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AskBillFirst Newsletter - August, 2016
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Ransomware Hasn't Left Us

 

I know I keep bringing up ransomware but there's a reason. Ransomware is one of the most active malware going right now. The average payout from a victim of ransomware to regain access to their files is $300. According to online sources, the cybercriminals holding computers for ransom are raking in $34,000,000 annually. More than 9,500 people pay ransoms to hackers each month. These are not only companies but individuals as well.

The threat of ransomware has become so great that several international organizations have teamed up to fight it. The “No-More-Ransom” site is an initiative of the National High Tech Crime Unit of the Netherlands’ police, Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre, Kaspersky Lab and Intel Security. Its mission is twofold: preventing ransomware infections and helping the infected recover their data without paying the crooks.

If your computer is not currently infected with ransomware, you can look at the prevention advice to get tips on how to try to avoid becoming infected. 

  1. Back Up daily. the recommendation is to back up to two locations, the cloud and an external drive. I use iDrive for my cloud backup. iDrive also allows you to back up to an external drive. Unplug the external drive after backing up as ransomware will lock files on connected drives.
  2. Keep your antivirus software updated. 
  3. Keep all of your software updated, especially your operating system and Adobe software.
  4. Trust no one. Any account can be hacked and used to send out infected email. See my next tip to find out how to scan email with attached files to see if they are infected.
  5. Always question windows that pop-up on your computer, especially those that tell you your computer is infected. 

If your computer is infected, the site has some solutions to try to help recover your files without having to pay the ransom.

As much money as the cybercriminals are making on this, it's not going to go away anytime soon.

 

Checking if that Attached File in Your Email Contains Malware


If you haven't received emails from UPS stating your package couldn't be delivered but open the attachment and you can find out why, or from a friend telling you about this great opportunity and open the attachment to find out more, or click the link to be taken to a website to get more information, or the email from a company telling you to open the attached invoice to see how much you owe them, consider yourself one of the lucky few.

One of the things these emails have in common is that those attachments or links usually contain malware that once opened will infect your computer in any number of ways, including possibly locking your data files and holding them for ransom. 

Some of the emails are obvious fakes and you can safely delete them without touching the attachments or links. Some of them though could be genuine. You might be expecting a delivery from UPS, or your friend might have a great opportunity for you. How can you be sure before you open the attachment or click the link?

There is a website called virustotal that will scan your email attachments and will send you back a report letting you know if the attachment is malware or not. 

The sending process is as follows:

  1. Create a new message or forward your received email with scan@virustotal.com as the destination address.
  2. If you wish to receive the results as plain text, write SCAN in the subject field. 
  3. Attach the file to be scanned. Such file must not exceed 32MB in size. If the attached file is larger, the system will reject it automatically.

If you completed these steps correctly, you will receive an email with the file scan report. The response time will vary depending on the load of the system at the moment in which the file was sent.

You can also upload individual files from your computer or check website addresses by going to https://www.virustotal.com/en/  and either uploading a file or entering a website address so if you want to check that website your friend is recommending, don't click on it but highlight it and copy and past it into the checker.

One other tip, if you hover your mouse pointer over the link without clicking, a window will open, or you'll be able to see the information at the bottom of your screen, showing you the actual website address you will be taken to if you were to click. You might be able to see that the link isn't going to take you where you think it might.

Note that virustotal scans the file against 40 some antivirus engines.

Word Definitions From Your Browsers

I ran across this the other day and thought some of you might be interested.

I was reading something on a website and came across a word that I wasn't sure of the definition. Instead of picking up my dictionary, I highlighted the word, right-clicked on it, and chose "Search with Google".

My browser then opened another page with a list of sites about that word, of which the first few were definitions.

Some browsers will also allow you to translate the word into another language.

Try highlighting a word or phrase and then right-click on it to see what other options you may have.

Everything coming to Netflix in August 

 

Click the following to see the list: Coming to Netflix

If you use Amazon Prime video or iTunes as well as Netflix, I found these web pages that will allow you to search for what you want to view and the results will show you which streaming media offers the show/movie for free and which ones will make you pay for it.

GoWatchIt - GoWatchIt is your comprehensive guide to finding movies and TV shows on the platforms you care about – in theaters, online, on TV, or on Blu-ray/DVD. Use GoWatchIt to discover, consume, or bookmark everything you want to watch!

JustWatch - On JustWatch you can easily find out where to watch your favorite movies & TV shows in the United States. Choose your favorite streaming providers and see what’s new.
Filter by genre and release year to find the perfect movie to stream Search for a specific movie or TV show to find out where to watch it legally online. Available also as an app for your phone.


 

AskBillFirst Remote Computer Service

"Hi Bill, my computer is running beautifully again!!! Thank you!!!"
"Hi Bill, my computer is working just great."
"Thanks again!! You're the best!!!"


Those are just a few of the comments I've received from people I've worked with.

When your computer is running slow, or your programs aren't working, who are you going to call? When your software vendor is blaming your hardware and your hardware vendor is blaming your software, who are you going to call? When your helpful friend decides to help you out by running some new special program and your computer no longer starts, who are you going to call? When your kids get done using your computer and you can't run your programs because of all of the popup ads, who are you going to call? Need 
help in getting your new technology set up properly so that you are safe from vendors who want to get to know you better, and from other bad elements on the internet?

 

You're going to want to call me. I can remotely connect to your computer to assist you with what may be going on with your system so don't hesitate to ask if you need to. It won't always be free support, but I promise that I won't charge anything if I can't help you. I can assist with both Windows and Macintosh computers. 
 

I also offer a monthly service for a small fee, where I connect to your computer remotely, with your permission, and run Windows updates, security scans, and clean up your hard disk. This ensures that you're running with the most recent "safe" updates and your computer is working at its best. 

 

This service also entitles you to unlimited email and phone support throughout the month as well. 

 

Please email me at billj@askbillfirst.com or call me at 714-922-0135 if you have any questions.

 

You can also click here or the link below to schedule a consultation with me or to set up the monthly service.

https://www.vcita.com/v/bill.jimenez

 

TO READ PAST ISSUES OF THE NEWSLETTERS CLICK HERE

This issue is kind of technical in nature...I know, duh.

If you have any questions or need help with any of this, please contact me.

 

If you find this information worth sharing, please do. Forward it on, or encourage your friends and family members to sign up to recieve their own newsltetter

 

Additionally, I am available for technical support. I can remotely connect to your computer to assist you with what may be going on with your system so don't hesitate to ask if you need to. It won't always be free support, but I promise that I won't charge anything if I can't help you.
 

Please email me at billj@askbillfirst.com or call me at 714-757-0976 if you have any questions.

 

You can also click here or the link below to schedule a consultation with me or to set up the monthly service.

https://www.vcita.com/v/bill.jimenez




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