24 Jun

Be Wary Of Cyber Thugs

I was talking to a customer earlier in the week who had received a call from someone who stated that his company was contracted by Microsoft. He said that they had detected some sort of malware on the customers’ computer and that they could fix it.

These sort of calls are becoming more and more common and the real purpose is to gain access to your computer in order to install malicious software. The most insidious software these people can install is a program known as a ‘key logger’. Basically, it records all of your key strokes and sends them off to the cyber thugs. This could include your online banking login information, facebook and other sites that you log into. With the information gained from a key logger program, these cyber thugs may be able to steal your identity and cause all sorts of grief for you online and offline.

Here are some tips for keeping your information secure:

  • Never let anyone on the phone talk you into allowing access to your computer. Common sense tells us that the mere concept of monitoring people’s computers for malware would be a huge breach of privacy.
  • Use a program like ROBOFORM to store your passwords. Roboform defeats key logging programs by submitting the login information to the login form instead of requiring you to type it in. I’ve used Roboform myself since 2003 to store over 1000 logins and passwords. Roboform has a free trial version that you can download.
  • Never open email attachments that you weren’t expecting. Hackers and cyber thugs are smart – they will make the email and the attachment look genuine. If you are unsure, call and check with the sender to make sure it is legitimate.
  • Always keep your virus scanner up to date. It’s one of those things – like backups – that don’t seem important until you lose everything! I’ve used McAfee for the past few years as it is easy to use and very effective in detecting and removing potential threats.
  • Keep a backup of your most important information. Memory sticks are cheap and it only takes a few minutes to back things up. I have a 500GB external hard drive that I use for backups. It cost me less than $100.

If you do all of the above then you will seriously reduce your chance of ever losing your data, your important login information or your identity – not to mention the peace of mind you will having, knowing that you have your computer secured and a backup of your important data and information.