If I would get $1 for every client who asks me. “How could I get a virus? I have (Insert your Anti-Virus program here).” I would be a rich man.
In the past issues, I have written about anti-virus protection and the latest threats. Removing a virus properly can take hours for the scanning alone. Most browsers will be hijacked and will need manual removal of the viruses. If you have a business network a laptop can infect your network or server. This is not a far off chance. This is very common.
Needless to say, sites that stream illegal content are full of viruses. What makes it frustrating is a user will download a program in error. Buried in the program is malware that will hijack your PC or worse. Hackers know no one will alert the authorities saying, “So I was on this illegal movie streaming site and I got a virus.”
But that’s not the only place to get them. If you go to buy a program, or download a free, well-known program, make sure you are going to the official site, and only the official site. When you hit the wrong installer, your machine can be gobbled up by hundreds of programs that install themselves.
Rule of thumb is to have a proper anti-virus program. McAfee, Symantec, AVG and some free programs should be installed. The key is to make sure these programs are updated often. Pay the money. Most of these are under $100 a year maximum. GCG has an Anti-Virus that is cloud managed and monitored by our team. This helps but isn’t foolproof. Installing multiple Anti-Virus programs doesn’t work. Could actually give false positives.
Watch your flashdrives. People will allow friends to plug in a USB device and the device will then infect your PC. The rest is history. Some offices have us disable USB drives.
Most recently there have been some really nasty viruses. These are a cut above what IT people have seen in the past. Viruses are like graffiti for hackers. No rhyme or reason–just annoyances. Now viruses are looking for information to gather information possibly for identity theft.
Please don’t panic and call every bank account you have. When in doubt call your bank. Check that there aren’t any charges for $1. Married couples are great targets because one might think the spouse made the purchase. The elderly unfortunately may not check their bank accounts often. They may not know they have been hacked till way after the hackers are gone. Speak to your parent or neighbor about this. Don’t make them nervous. But warn them to check their credit cards thoroughly for the $1 charges.
Hackers will test a purchase to see if a $1 charge goes through. If it does, one could lose thousands of dollars before one even notices.
Most recently, ransomware is hitting machines. Ransomware will grab files on your PC. The files will then be encrypted. You will see an alert saying. “If you want these viruses Decrypted pay this amount.” Sadly even if you do pay, your files many not be decrypted. Some of these files are highly technical and will take a lot to be decrypted. Ransomware really is horrible and perpetrated by the lowest form of hackers. There used to be some sort of code to hacking. Now it’s blackmailing people in a tough spot.
NEVER EVER pay any group, Alert, or pop up with any sort of payment. In this situation I highly recommend calling your local IT professional. If you paid by credit card, call and have that credit card cancelled immediately. It’s not my style to say there is no answer. But there really isn’t.
Back up your files to Dropbox, Box, Azure, One Drive etc. Will the encryption be copied to these drives? Also do a local backup to an external drive then to the cloud. The external files should be labeled by date. This way you can retrieve the decrypted files.
Take a USB drive and copy those most critical files. Then put the key in a safe deposit box and/or a fireproof safe. Scan all of your passports, Driver’s licenses, House insurance, Car insurance and birth certificates. God forbid in a crisis, these documents may be needed to order new ones.
Of course the Anti-Virus companies and the government will be on top of this and will come up with a solution. IT professionals are constantly reading to stay ahead of the hackers.
If you have any questions or comment Shneur Garb can be reached by [email protected] Shneur is the CEO at The Garb IT Consulting Group in Teaneck, N.J.
By Shneur Garb