It’s a jungle out there – Computer security tips

Computer Security is for everyone!

In the information technology world, computer security is important for everyone. Hackers don’t just attack the big companies and governments anymore.

Image courtesy of hywards at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So what can you do to keep your computer and network safe? Though there is no 100% guarantees, here is a few things that will help.

Anti-virus

The first and foremost thing that no computer should ever be without is an antivirus program. It may be the most important computer security you have. There are many free options, but Wolfe Computer Solutions does not recommend using free anti virus programs. We offer a managed anti-virus plan, or we have standard Emsisoft licenses available.

Back-Ups

Back ups are vital to your computers life.  If you keep any file of any value on your computer, back ups are beyond essential.  Do you have family videos, family pictures, financial files, your resume, your school work, your……. I think you get the point.  If you lost these how hard would it be to replace them?  Pictures and videos are frequently irreplaceable.  You need to have a physical back up (like a portable hard drive) or a cloud backup (like Carbonite) or both.

Browser

The much maligned Internet Explorer is a source of a large number of computer security issues.  Wolfe Computer Solutions suggests using Chrome from Google, or Firefox. Then be very wary about all extensions used in them.  We go so far as suggesting not using extensions at all.

Updates

Keeping the latest security updates on your Computer system.  This includes Operating system updates (Window Updates) as well as updates for all of the programs you use.  Flash, Acrobat, Office and more need to be updated as hackers can find ways in through un-patched holes in these programs.  Wolfe Computer Solutions is in the process of adding update management (or as we call it in the computer industry patch management ) to our Business Managed Service plans, as well as to our Home User computer care plans.

DNS

Using the DNS (Domain Name Service) from your internet service provider works to turn that dot com into an internet address, but there are other much more secure ways to do it.  Wolfe Computer Solutions suggests using OpenDNS for this service.  It takes a bit to set up, but once you have it working, it will block phishing sites as well you can set up some basic filtering to block gambling, pornography, and more.

E-Mail

This is one area where personal caution comes in very helpful.  If you are not expecting an invoice or attachment from someone DO NOT open it.  Remember that legitimate companies are not going to ask you to email your password.  Check the links you click and make sure that you are really going where the email says you are.

So a little focus on computer security goes a long way.  If you have questions about your set up, or would just like to talk to a professional, give Wolfe Computer Solutions a call!

307-222-9270

or

Did you really send that?

More and more, in the business world, we are seeing email coming  to our inboxes that are not legitimate. Scammers are using these for some nefarious purposes! Such as to steal your personal data (commonly referred to as phishing), to steal your money (frequently by selling you a product that is not legitimate, such as a fake Anti-virus software), or to flat out extort money from you (this can be by threatening “legal” action or encrypting your files “for your safety” and asking for ransom).

The key thing to remember with this type of email scam, prevention is key.  A little education will go a long way in preventing these types of scams.

How can I tell?

There are several ways to tell if an email is legitimate or scam.

The first thing to remember is that a legitimate company will NEVER ask for your password in an email  Your bank, Paypal, Amazon, Apple, and more do NOT need your password to access your account details.  If an email asks for your password, you can very safely delete the email on the spot.

A second thing to look at is the links.  When you hold your mouse pointer over a link in an email, your email program should show the actual link in a pop up or status bar.  The link will point to a phony address, which usually has part of the address, but will end with something else.  There is a great example of this at: Bust Spammers.

A third thing to consider is if someone you do business with sends you an “invoice” and you are not expecting it. If you did not purchase anything from them, there is a good chance that the email contains some really bad news.  (Only if you open the “invoice” and let the mal-ware attached loose!)  If you get something like this, you should probably call the sender and let them know that they may have been compromised.

 

For more information, or to have a computer expert in Cheyenne help you out, call Wolfe Computer Solutions at:

(307)222-9270

or use the form below to email us:
Form removed due to SPAM BOT. Will be added soon
 

 

Who stole my Netflix?

I’ve Been Hacked!

I was talking to Gary Freeman at KGAB radio this morning about an article in Business Insider about the availability of Hacked Netflix, Hulu Plus, Spotify and similar accounts on the “Dark Web”. These accounts are available for purchase for just a few dollars or less. How does this happen, how do I know, and how do I fix it?

How does this happen?

So the first question is how does this happen? There is several ways:

  1. The bad guy breaks into a website that has a password and your email. Some examples are Adobe, vTech, 000webhost, and elicit sites such as Ashley Madison.
  2. The hacker uses the email address he pulled off of that site and tries it on other sites like Netflix.
  3. Since many of these sites allow multiple logins at the same time, it will not kick out the legit user even if they are watching a movie at the time.
  4. This is then put up for sale on the “Dark Web.”

Have I been hacked?

There are several ways to tell if your accounts have been hacked:

  1. Check Have I been pwned for your email addresses.
  2. Check for strange suggestions based on what you have watched. (Even though you did not watch that!)
  3. Strange stuff in your downloaded music on Spotify, or Rhapsody type accounts.

They got me!

You have done that and discover that you have been hacked and someone is using your accounts for free (or close to it.) What do you do? Fortunately this is not a hard hack to fix. Of course the first thing you need to do is change your password! A lot of these services have an option to sign out all devices. You should do that! Some other things to consider in choosing passwords and security in general:

  1. Use strong passwords. Include capital letters, small letters, numbers and symbols. Some use a short sentence with mixed capitals and replacing a few letters with symbols as a password. For example: TheD0gjumped@fence!
  2. Change your passwords regularly. No less often then every 3 months.
  3. Don’t use the same password for everything. If you get hacked from Adobe and have the same email and password on your bank, the Adobe hacker got your bank password. That is potentially VERY bad!
  4. Have a good anti-virus program on your computer. There are several good free ones out there.

For more information, or to have a computer expert in Cheyenne help you out, call Wolfe Computer Solutions at:

(307)222-9270

or use the form to email us: