Keeping your family safe from attackers, scammers and thieves on the web
Whether you're a Mac user, or typically use a Windows PC, you can't be too careful when it comes to your security and privacy online. These days, hackers are using many techniques to exploit connected users, from seemingly innocuous website advertisements, to nefariously constructed phishing scams impersonating AGL or Auspost.
To remain safe, it's no longer enough to be careful alone. Here at Double Click Computers, we have a team of experts keeping up to date on the latest threats our customers face every day. We're equipped to protect you from malicious individuals and organisations.
Have you been hacked?
If you suspect you've been the victim of a cyber attack, speak to one of our technicians today. If you do any online banking, we also recommend contacting your bank immediately.
There are many types of viruses that act in different ways, with different intentions behind them. Below is a quick explanation of some of the most common malware threats today. We can help you manage and eliminate these threats.
Starting with the worst of the bunch. Ransomware is software designed to do exactly what it sounds like: ransom you for money.
Often appearing in your emails, Ransomware disguises itself (very well) as a bill or receipt from your energy company, your telco, or even Australia Post. Once you've opened the attached document or website, the virus gets to work encrypting your files. The encryption it uses essentially locks you and everyone else out of your own files. Baby pictures? Customer invoices? Home movies from your wedding? This virus doesn't discriminate, all of your data is fair game.
Once it's finished working its magic, the ransomware will present you with a popup demanding anonymous payment of thousands of dollars in exchange for the 'key' to decrypt your data. Should this happen to you, 90% of the time the attacker will not be forthcoming with the key even after payment.
It is safe to assume at this point that your data is lost indefinitely, unless you've maintained a backup or recovery solution. In this worst case scenario, our staff can assess whether your data can be decrypted or recovered. From there, we can suggest a path forward to both remove the existing threat, and get you protected from any future attacks. If you've been ransomed, get in touch with us today to get back up and running.
One of the most prevalent forms of malware, adware is a range of software products that inject unnecessary and unrequested advertisements inside your web browser, email client program, or other software on your PC. Aside from getting in the way with popups and becoming a source of endless frustration, adware presents a number of additional risks to you and your computer:
- Privacy. These programs often gather a wealth of information about you and send it back to the remote attacker.
- Security. Adware threats create additional vectors through which more serious malware (like ransomware) can attack.
- Performance. Regular popups and unnecessary ads make your computer have to work harder to display the content, resulting in higher energy use, larger data consumption, and visible sluggishness.
Spyware is a virus variant that's designed specifically to traul your data and send it off to an external attacker. Malicious browser cookies are a common example, although many types of spyware threats exist. These include:
- Keyloggers that collect anything you type on your keyboard. This can include passwords, and other sensitive data.
- Remote control allowing attackers to log into and control your computer.
- Identity profiling allows an attacker to gather data from you in an attempt to perform further social engineering attacks to gather sensitive information, or to commit crimes under your identity using the mined information from your computer.
Thankfully, spyware protection comes included in most decent antivirus software products, consisting of a scanner to remove the threat, and firewall component to prevent it from calling home.
Potentially unwanted programs, or PUPs are software products that disguise themselves as a useful utility, often suggesting your computer needs "Driver Updates", "Registry Optimisation", or "Disk Cleanup". Ninety-nine percent of these programs are misleading you into paying for something that:
- you don't need, and
- can't actually be changed
Commonly installed alongside legitimate free software, these utilities will be picked up by a top-tier virus removal product such as Kaspersky Total Security or AVDefender.