Viruses, Ransomware, Phishing, and email Spam are some of the most commonly referenced computer buzzwords these days. All have become household words - below are descriptions of each.
Viruses, Malware, and Ransomware
Computer viruses have been around for as long as there have been personal computer networks to proliferate them, starting with the "Creeper" virus in the early 1970s. There are many thoughts as to what started them, but never a solid answer that applies to all of them. There have been stories that say they came from bored, unemployed programmers; that they are the creation of terrorists; that they are created by angry teenagers. The end result is that they can come from anywhere and can simply be written by anyone with a moderate understanding of computer programming. Due to the growing number and the many types that make up the broad term it's hard to establish an accurate number; though you may see anything from 10,000 to 1 million reported, with that number growing by as many as 600 per month.
Whenever we look at an unprotected system, it is not uncommon for us to detect many Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs). These are programs that come in with a supposed wanted function such as automatic driver updates or other performance enhancers but we have yet to see one of these programs that is actually wanted. They usually come along as extra applications that download themselves in the background when another intended program in installed.
Most scary for any business is the relatively new form of threat, called Ransomware. This is a type of program that is accidentally downloaded by clicking links in emails, downloading unknown email attachments, or visiting a compromised website. That program then immediately encrypts all of the data files on the computer or local network, deletes the key for decoding the files, and requests a sum of money to get the files back. The only REAL way to resolve this is to recover from a backup or not get the Ransomware to begin with. Paying the criminal is the last resort.
Whether you are dealing with viruses, worms, trojans, ad-ware, malware, spyware, or any of the many other nuisances out there, we can help you put together a plan to protect yourself and prevent infection. Our Remote Monitoring and Maintenance system handles these and many other issues.
Spam and Phishing
Spam is unfortunately a common problem that just about anyone with a computer has had to deal with. By definition, any email that you get that is advertising a product or service that is unsolicited by you is considered Spam. They come in the form of promises of fantastic weight reduction, terrific prices on watches, and the ever-popular guarantee of the best prices for the pharmaceuticals that you need. There are ways to avoid getting an unreasonable amount of Spam in your mail account, but nearly everyone has to do a certain amount of work to sort through what they do get.
Phishing is another big problem. In fact, even if you don't already know the term, it's a much larger problem than regular spam. Phishing (fishing) is an attempt to "fish" for information from an unsuspecting user. That information can be personally identifying data (such as account numbers, social security numbers, and other private info) or can be a direct attempt to tricking a person into providing their ID and Password for an online system, which allows the phisher on the other end to access accounts and steal, redirect, or impersonate users to cause further damage.