Common Security Issues
Updated: Jan 23, 2019
In 2018, the most common security issue that a standard user will run into, regardless of what computer they're using, is phishing. Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by disguising as a trustworthy entity through electronic communication. It will be a scam through either an ad pop up, saying you have an issue or a virus, and that you need to contact Microsoft for some reason. It will usually be extremely hard to close out of and will prompt you to call a number. If you do, then they will attempt to take sensitive, personal information. Another common scam is receiving a phone call from someone claiming to be Microsoft or another technology company. Either way, their goal is to convince you that you need to download a remote access program so that they can have access to your computer. If they gain this access, they can either harm your computer, lock you out, or trick you into believing that you have an issue and it's going to cost a certain dollar amount to fix. These two scams are the most common issues you will face in 2018, going into 2019.
How to avoid these scams? It is a matter of paying attention, be careful of the sites you are on and what you're clicking so that you don't get these advertisements. If you do end up in a situation and are confused of what to do, call us and we can help you. Otherwise, just close out of things if you can and do not call any number they are prompting you to call. If you aren't sure but something looks fishy, possibly the verbiage isn't correct, or it is asking you to call a phone number then it is probably a scam.
We tend not to see legitimate viruses anymore, because it is much harder to infiltrate a system these days, however we do see many ads that trick people into letting them have access to their computer or making them pay an amount of money to "fix an issue" which was never there in the first place. That being said, there are traditional viruses that can cause harm to your computer (delete data or encrypt your hard drive). One of the more common viruses is ransomware. This is when the virus encrypts your computer and holds it for ransom until you pay a certain amount of money. Unfortunately, in many cases even when you pay the ransom, you are left with a computer that is broken, and all your data gone. If you are in this situation and your computer does get encrypted, by that point it is too late, and it's not worth paying any fee if you aren't getting that data back. Luckily there are a lot of safeguards against viruses, however they do still happen on occasion.
With all of this, the largest solution is backups, backups, backups. Prevent losing any data no matter what scams or viruses you may run into by backing up your system. This is the only sure way for you to keep your data safe. If you are experiencing something suspicious or having trouble navigating scams, then always feel free to bring your computer in for a virus scan and cleanup or give us a call at 855-728-6824.