Phishing

New Phishing Attack Targets Gmail Users

PhishingIncreased awareness is taking place concerning a phishing attack. It has been around for over a year and is targeting Gmail users. Inboxes are being infiltrated by hackers, which is allowing these cyber criminals access to both incoming and outgoing email messages. That in and of itself isn’t the shocker. What is more surprising is what happens next. Hackers look for emails that have links attached and replace them with a Gmail login screen that is malicious. Once the user clicks on the attachment, they will see a Gmail login screen prompting the login and password for that account. Once this happens, the hackers have instant access to sensitive login information, making it easy for them to see a whole new inbox to start the process over from.

Here’s how it works…

Let’s say someone sends you an email that has a Word document attached to it. That email is sent from their Gmail account to your Gmail account. Your account becomes hacked, which opens it up to cyber criminals who can get in and put that malicious Gmail login screen in place of the attached Word document. Now when you click on that attachment, you follow the prompts to sign into your Gmail account. Instead of opening the document as you thought it would, it gives hackers full access to your password so they can get into your account. They grab more email addresses from your list and repeat the cycle.

Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks take place when malicious links, malware or attachments sent by hackers infect your account through the emails they send. They are certainly nothing new, but they are always changing and evolving, becoming more sophisticated and tough to catch.

This Gmail attack is a great example of that. Usually there are several red flags associated with a phishing attack that make it easy to avoid being infected. But with this attack, it comes from an email thread that seems familiar and trusted. You usually don’t know the sender, whereas in this Gmail attack, you most likely do know the sender. It’s easy to suspect a hacker when you see urgent messages in your email, telling you to please open immediately. It could be under the guise of overdue bills, an invoice that has a mistake, package tracking info, etc. Because it is coming from a trusted source, you click on the malicious attachment, giving the hackers the info they are looking for. One tip is to watch out for spelling and grammar mistakes. The hackers are counting on the fact that you won’t think twice about it if it’s coming from an email you already deem safe. If you see spelling errors, be careful about what you click on. Also, be wary of any screen prompting you to log into your account when you’re already logged in! Many people miss the small but obvious signs of a phishing attack.

Stay safe online with more tips from Tech Sentries! Call us at 843-282-2222.

computer problems Myrtle Beach

Top Ten Computer Problems Your IT Specialist Can Fix Remotely

computer problems Myrtle BeachRemote IT support has come a long way, with many IT issues able to be solved without having the device in hand. An IT technician can usually speak with the user and handle most issues remotely. This means you don’t have to live in the same city as the IT expert. It also means that they must be able to handle a host of issues quickly and efficiently. Gone are the days where the user had to be guided step by step by the expert. Logins and desktops can be accessed remotely, making computer repair easier than ever.

While remote IT repair has indeed come a long way, it can’t fix everything. There are some problems such as networks, printer issues or peripherals, that must be fixed in person. Read on to see the top ten issues that can be fixed remotely!

  1. Windows Blue Screen of Death (BSOD).  This is a scary problem to most users and usually the assumption is made there is no coming back from the blue screen. However, it doesn’t always mean that you need a whole new set of hardware. Often, simple things like updating Windows or replacing a driver can solve the blue screen horror.
  1. Can’t Connect to the Internet. Believe it or not, this is usually a very easy fix. More often than not, it’s an unplugged cable or a locked-up router. A tech can remotely login to your system and with the assistance of a person on the other end, have it resolved quickly.
  1. Can’t Log In. Most of the time, this too can be solved remotely. Something as simple as cap lock being on or a cable being loose is often all it is. Sometimes the problem is a little deeper, such as an Active Directory problem or a profile that has become corrupt. All of these problems can be addressed remotely.
  1. Accidentally Deleting Files. This one is by far the most common issue IT techs face. The biggest thing to stress here is GET A BACKUP plan! It’s always better to plan ahead before a problem happens. Tech Sentries has the best backup available. Having said that, it is possible in some cases to retrieve deleted files. Even so, you should perform backups on a regular basis.
  1. Computer Running Slowly. This is a big one. We see these calls all the time and it can make for a very frustrated user. Most of the time, a good cleaning of the computer’s files and functions will solve this problem. It could also be malware that needs to be removed, a failed update that got stuck running in the background, or even a faulty app. These issues can all be resolved remotely.
  1. Random Rebooting. If you’ve ever dealt with this, you already know it can be maddening! Often, your work is lost if the computer reboots itself randomly so it’s crucial to get this repaired. Good news is that your IT specialist can usually fix this remotely.
  1. The Network Printer Won’t Print. It’s hard to say why this happens sometimes, but it can usually be fixed remotely. It could be un unplugged cable or toners and cartridges that ran dry. Even if it’s a configuration issue. Network printer problems are usually easily solved.
  1. Slow Internet. The internet can get boggy when too many people are using it with incorrect configurations. While it could be a virus or other malware, a slow running internet is often fixed simply by rebooting and reconfiguring the router, which be done by your IT specialist remotely.
  1. Wi-FI Network Randomly Dropping Devices. Most of the times, this problem is a configuration issue. Sometimes exterior problems such as super thick walls or a lot of metal all around can be the culprit. Unfortunately, we can’t solve these issues. But, most other Wi-Fi connectivity problems can easily be fix on a remote basis.
  1. Frozen Computer. Although you don’t usually need professional IT help for a frozen computer, it’s one of the most common calls that come in. If this happens to you, unplug the computer for a few minutes and reboot. If it continues freezing up on you, an IT specialist can log in once it’s up and running again and diagnose the problem. It can be challenging to fix this issue remotely, but not impossible.

No matter how great your computer is, you should always have a relationship with an IT support team. Whether it’s proper backup or major computer repair, Tech Sentries is the best in the business! Call Tech Sentries today! (843) 282-2222.

computer encryption Myrtle Beach

Computer Encryption and How it Works

computer encryption Myrtle BeachKeeping others from being able to see the content on your computer is your right. No justification is needed—only appropriate action. In today’s political climate, computer security is one of the most common questions we are asked here at Tech Sentries. These questions often deal with protecting your data, keeping the government out of your affairs, and even encryption. If you don’t know what encryption means, much less how it’s used, this article is for you!

So Just What Does Computer Encryption Mean?

Basically, encryption involves scrambling text into a unique code using mathematics. Special encryption software uses algorithms to generate these codes from your text. Unless you are a person who knows how to unlock this code, it will look like unrecognizable nonsense.

The key to unlock encryption is referred to as a cipher. They have been used in many ways for the last 2000 years. Due to their complexity, it can take many years for any person or computer to successfully decode or unlock the cipher.

The truth is we all use computer encryption everyday but might not be aware of it. Did you know that each time you log into your bank account, join a Wi-Fi network or shop on an HTTPS site you are using encryption? These types of transactions use encryption called “in transit,” which deals with information transferred over the internet. If a file or disk gets encrypted on a computer, it’s referred to as “in place or at rest” encryption.

To put it simply, think of encryption as bits. The standard encryption key uses 256 bits, which literally has billions of possible cipher combos. The math is downright overwhelming! The two most common encryption types are symmetrical and asymmetrical. This simply means that with symmetrical, the same key is used to both lock and unlock the encrypted files. The opposite is true of asymmetrical—one key locks it and another unlocks it. The latter is the more commonly used method.

How Does Computer Encryption Work?

Certain software is used that creates ciphers which are highly complicated. This is what will scramble the data in your folders and files. Often, the encryption is so complicated that it can only be read once unless properly decrypted or “unlocked.” While a supercomputer or superhuman might be able to decode the encryption, it would likely take many years. Instead, encryption software can be installed like other programs and you will need a strong password to protect the files it encrypts. The password is your cipher to unlock everything so it is crucial to choose wisely when creating this password. Here are some tips:

  1. Don’t use words from the dictionary
  2. Try creating a phrase rather than just a word
  3. The more characters, the stronger the password
  4. If possible, use combinations of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters such as (#$%&!).

You might have a file with one or more lines of text in it that could be dangerous. If you enter that line into your encryption software, it would take the line of text and convert it to a long combination of letters, numbers and characters that would make no sense to anyone unless decoded. It may end up looking far longer than your original line of text, which makes it even harder for a hacker to get to it.

Should I Encrypt My Data?

For the most part, we strongly encourage everyone to encrypt their data. Even more so if you use tablets and/or laptops. Encryption goes a long way in protecting you from spying eyes of thieves, hackers, and even government. It also prevents malware and other viruses from getting into your data. The simple fact that it takes your carefully chosen password to unlock your files makes encryption worth it—everyone who values their privacy and security should use it!

There are a few options depending on what device you’re using.

Each of these options works in much the same way. Enable or install the encryption program, set a drive or folder, give it a secure password and encrypt. Just do not forget that password!

What About Backdoors?

The term “backdoors” has come up when certain officials aren’t happy with security companies not providing them a “backdoor” way to access encrypted files. Government seems to always want to put more surveillance in place and they don’t take too kindly to companies refusing to provide them with a hidden key that would allow them access to the data they want whenever they choose. Fortunately, no backdoor access is currently being enforced and we have no reason to believe that these security companies are building any backdoor access to their encrypted data files.

The bottom line is encrypting your files is legal, free and easy to do. If you run a business or just have personal files you don’t ever want anyone gaining access to, computer encryption is the safest thing to do!

For more information about computer encryption and computer security, call Tech Sentries today! (843) 282-2222.

ransomware Myrtle Beach

Cerber Ransomware Kicks Into High Gear During Post-Holiday Shopping

ransomware Myrtle BeachAfter a relatively calm period, the researchers at Microsoft are warning that the ransomware known as Cerber has resurfaced stronger than ever. The target audience? Holiday and post-holiday shoppers. It also targets the data files of enterprise businesses.

Most of us are a little more aware of the need for cyber security during the holidays, but the need is equally important after the holidays! The Malware Protection Center at Microsoft has reported that the cyber attackers have amped up their game during this post-holiday season. One reason is the number of online shoppers looking for great deals after Christmas.

Top security researchers are now aware of a couple of new campaigns and spam that pinpoints all the consumer transaction during the post-holiday season. Cerber ransomware is constantly changing, causing user files to be encrypted while holding them for ransom. Just in the last several weeks the authors of Cerber ransomware are now attacking critical applications of major business files.

The newest version of this ransomware has been programmed to target the database files of Microsoft Acess, Oracle and MySQL. It’s not unusual for these files to be shut down as they are encrypted by malware.

As with so many other viruses, attackers are going straight for your inbox and flooding them with malicious links and downloadable attachments. As soon as you click on the link, the virus moves in, installing the ransomware. What’s worse is that it creates what looks like zip files that are password protected. The body of the email often contains the password, making this another huge red flag for malware. It usually states that order and delivery details are in the email.

Vulnerabilities found in previous Adobe Flash websites can also be used to exploit Cerber. If a person happens to be on this site, they will unknowingly download the malware to their computer. What’s more, any information on the version of Cerber ransomware has been scrubbed, which makes it even harder to track.

Unfortunately, an even wider net has been cast by Cerber and it’s now targeting dozens more types of files. Executing .exe, .cmd, and .msi files is now happening for the first time with Cerber ransomware.

Cyber criminals have to constantly be changing and updating their versions of ransomware in order to go undetected by antivirus software programs. Ramping up the malware complexities tells us how determined these criminals are to destroy and attack your personal files. Don’t become a victim—never click on unfamiliar links in your email! Use common sense and close out any ads or emails with suspicious links.

For more information on cyber criminals and how to stay safe from ransomware, call Tech Sentries today! (843) 282-2222.

Ransomware Myrtle Beach

Why Backups Aren’t Enough

Perfect backups will not always prevent the consequences of a ransomware attack, but backing up is vitally important.

Myrtle Beach Ransomware

 

The Problem with Ransomware:

A high-profile ransomware attack hit a well-known transportation agency over a recent holiday weekend.  This attack was a major eye-opening event, to say the least.  For the first time, a major transportation agency has been shut down by a ransomware attack.  To give you a few details, they estimated that approximately 900 of the computers in this agency were affected.  They were using backups and this provided them with the ability to restore data with no intentions of paying the ransom; so one would assume all was well.  Not exactly…

The transportation agency’s use of backups prevented them from losing all their customer and internal data.  The use of a simple backup prevented a major catastrophe for this agency.  Without the backups, they would have been faced with paying the ransom in this case, or been faced with heavy financial losses.  It took approximately 2 to 3 days in order for most of the computers to be restored and the rest followed within the week.  A large portion of their workforce was inaccessible for several days and some parts were down for almost an entire week.

The inability to work and work properly is going to cost any business money and valuable resources.  With the transportation agency’s computers inaccessible, they had to shut down the terminals and payment systems, allowing the public to ride the metro for free.  Many local articles stated that the systems being down was costing the agency $500K for every day that they were down and not working. This ransomware attack cost this transportation agency over a million dollars in the time they were down and not running.  Backing up a system can save data and is very important, but many times it is not quick enough to get you back online without losing valuable time.     

The Solution:

The story of the transportation agency demonstrates the vital importance of prevention when it comes to ransomware attacks.  In order to eliminate this problem before it begins, it’s important to put your emphasis on prevention instead of detection and recovery.  We believe that prevention is the only way to protect your business investment, and that is why we use global application whitelisting. Whitelisting allows you to avoid organized attacks and targeted areas because unknowns are always blocked no matter how new they are.  We have no way of knowing what antivirus protection the agency was using, but even with their backups they suffered huge financials losses due to downtime.

Prevention is key!  If you have any questions about ransomware attacks and how to keep your business protected, please give us a call at 843-282-2222 TODAY!

Ten Computer Repair Myths

Facts Over Myths Myrtle Beach

If you’re like most of us, it’s hard to know what’s fact and what’s fiction when it comes to computer repair. We thought we’d take some common myths and shed some light on what you really need to know.

  1. Slow computers need to be reformatted. This is perhaps one of the most common myths out there. Just because you have a computer that is running too slow doesn’t mean you need to reinstall Windows! Slow computers can be caused by many things, including lack of hard drive space, malware and viruses or just having too much stuff on it. Unused software takes up a lot of space and can bog down your machine. We don’t reformat computers in our shop unless it’s a last resort!
  1. My computer is running slow so I need to buy a new one. We would never tell you not to buy a new computer if you want one, but you don’t have to do that just because your current one is running a bit slowly. Computers don’t run slow simply because they are puckering out. There’s usually a reason that is very fixable. Allow a professional computer repair company to look at your old computer before jumping into the decision to spend money on a new one. You might be surprised what can be done!
  2. If I have a Mac, I won’t get a virus. Let’s be clear—Macs are NOT immune to viruses. It’s true that in the early days of Mac, viruses weren’t able to handle their operating system. However, Mac’s OSX and iOS now are more vulnerable as cyber hackers have come up with viruses that can, indeed, infect Mac computers.
  3. Windows Firewall is all you need to stay safe. We wish this were true, but alas, it’s not so. Windows firewall is excellent and goes a long way to protect your computer, but it isn’t enough. To avoid problems, it’s imperative that you also have a good antivirus software and malware protection.
  4. Windows Defender is built into Windows, so it’s always the best. We hear this one a lot and felt the need to shed some light on this myth. While Windows Defender is good, there are still other third-party antivirus software programs that are superior. To get the absolute best antivirus protection, talk to Tech Sentries! We’ve got your back.
  5. You need new memory to keep your computer from continuing to crash. This is outrageous to assume that faulty RAM is the only reason your computer crashes. There are many things we look for, including updates gone wrong, Windows errors, conflicts with software and several other issues that a good computer repair shop will know to check for.
  6. Name brand parts always last longer and work better. This can be true of many things, for sure. However, when it comes to computer parts, the main difference is the quality control and tech support offered by branded parts. Often, the parts are made under the same roof as the generic parts and have the same standards of production. Branded parts do not always work better or longer.
  7. You should always drain the battery in your laptop to get the longest charge. While this may have been true in the early days of laptops, it is no longer the case. Older batteries were made of Nickel-Metal-Hydride and it was thought that draining the battery was necessary to keep your battery working longer. Today’s laptop batteries are made from lithium ion and work the opposite. Draining your lithium battery before charging will actually cause it to resist charging over time. The answer here is to charge your battery whenever you feel like it, no matter how drained it is.
  8. Wipe your hard drive clean with a magnet before you sell them. Here’s the truth—it doesn’t work. It worked back when we still used floppy disks, but this is no longer the case. The only way to securely wipe your hard drive clean is by employing specific software that overwrites several times over each memory sector.
  9. You’re completely safe online as long as you’re in private or incognito mode. This is a big one and it’s completely untrue. Private mode will prevent you being tracked on your own computer, but it will not prevent you from outside tracking or from hackers, viruses or malware. Private mode does prevent the browser you are using from using any cookies or creating data from your searches. If you are on a network computer at work, your employer may still be able to track your online searches, so it’s important that you stay safe and avoid any websites that could cause problems for you, whether you are in private mode or not.

For more computer repair myths, stay tuned to our blog! Tech Sentries is the best protection on the market today!

Got questions?  Call us at 843-282-2222!

Myrtle Beach Data Loss Prevention

Preventing Data Loss

Data Loss Myrtle Beach

 

Data loss affects every one of us, whether it is through home use or within an enterprise.  Data loss is something that no computer user can ignore.  It can range from family photos, copies of your resume or essential corporate data.
In each situation, it is serious business.

Being data recovery experts, we have experience in handling data loss on all levels.  While managing and recovering lost data is something we can do, we would prefer that you didn’t have to suffer from data loss at all.  Let’s take a look at the four main causes of data loss and how they can each be prevented.

Data Loss: Top Causes

Data loss is very common and varied, but can be categorized into four main areas.  The main causes of data loss that we see are:

  1. Failure of hardware
  2. Deliberate deletion or theft
  3. Deletion by accident
  4. Malware and viruses

Failure of Hardware

When your hardware fails, it can include anything from a hard drive dying to the loss of power to your data source.  It can also include events like having your main electricity affected by a storm or spilling that morning coffee onto your laptop.

Deliberate Deletion or Theft

Highly competitive businesses can suffer from industrial espionage, while all businesses can experience the anger of a disgruntled employee.  Wiping a system or leaving a time bomb code on a server is something that is very common.

Deletion by Accident

The number one reason we get called for data recovery is deletion by accident.  Hitting the delete key when sorting through files or hitting Format when cleaning up the hard drive, deletion by accident occurs every day.

Malware and viruses

With the best software and defenses in place, malware and viruses can still get through and cause many issues with data loss.  They can delete your data just because it can and others can hold your data by encrypting it and only giving you the key when you pay.

How to Prevent Data Loss

When it comes to preventing data loss, the task is a twofold process.  First, we must protect ourselves from the risk outlined above.  Secondly, we need to make sure that despite our best efforts, we have a working copy of the data that you need.

Hardware Maintenance – In order to help prevent data loss, we need to make sure that your computer or server is always kept, cool, free of dust, and maintained on a regular basis.  Surge protectors are also a huge help.  Using RAID striping across a server can help you survive a hard drive failure as well.  Many times, hardware failure is difficult to avoid.  Using RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks), UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) or other mechanical means to keep your system safe is a good idea, but they are by no means foolproof.

Local and Cloud Backup – When it comes to preventing deletion by accident, there is not a lot that we can do except enable shadow copy or File History in Windows 10.  This is by no means foolproof, but they are useful in restoring personal computer and office documents.  Microsoft Office can also be used to upload copies to Office servers as well as keep local backups.  Manually copying your data to cloud storage at the end of your day can be extremely important as well.

Malware and Virus Protection – Quality antivirus and malware programs and a router firewall can help keep malicious codes out of your systems.  By using a firewall, you can prevent hackers from gaining access to your computers and servers.  This is an essential part of IT security.

A Home user should take advantage of the firewall if it is provided in their ISP modem or router setup.  Companies should buy a hardware firewall suitable for the size of the network in order to provide adequate protection for their needs.

Deliberate Deletion or Theft As we stated before, there is little that you can do in order to prevent the attack of a determined attacker.  Restricted logins can help to prevent major damage and RAID will help, but only the use of offsite backups will save you from deliberate deletion or theft.

Backup Solutions That Are Effective and Won’t Break the Bank

Automated backup solutions can cost you thousands of dollars a year, but you may not need to go that route.

Home Users – Important documents can be protected from data loss by utilizing the cloud storage solution.  You can copy them manually into the folder or you can use Tech Sentries Backup or other programs to copy that data for you.  A failure can occur when you least expect it.  It’s a good habit to back up your computer, cellphone, tablet and other devices on a regular basis.

Small business – A home user approach will work great if your business is just you or a few people.  Otherwise, there are a few low-cost cloud storage options that will supply you with backup software that will automatically keep your data copied in the cloud storage.

Larger business – Microsoft Azure Storage, EMC and a few others provide enterprise-level backups that are needed for larger businesses.  If you need something on this scale, it is very likely that you will have an IT department that can manage this for you.

Preventing Data Loss as a Combined Approach

A two-fold process is needed in order to prevent data loss.  It’s important that you do what needs to be done in order to make sure your hardware remains working optimally at all times. Make sure that you secure your machines and network from harm’s way.

Once you have done this, you can then look at the data itself.  Keep copies, whether through manual or automatic backups.  Also, consider using third party systems such as Tech Sentries Backup to maintain offsite backups.  This will ensure that you can quickly recover your lost data should something happen.  An effective backup solution is only regarded as effective if you have two copies —  the original copy and one in a completely different location.  At this point, you can consider yourself well covered!

If you have any questions about preventing data loss or need our help with data recovery, please give us a call.  We are here to help you!

Scam Alert Myrtle Beach

Protecting Yourself From Email Scams During The Holidays

Fraud Alert Myrtle Beach

 

During the holidays, it’s extra important to be aware of email scams as you’re sending and receiving your holiday gifts and packages. One of the more common scams during this season are the fake delivery notices that you have a package waiting. Consumers are once again reporting this scam at an alarming rate so we wanted to help you be aware of what it is and what it looks like

What Does This Email Scam Look Like?

The scam works like this: An email is sent by the scammers with the subject line reading something like “Delivery Failure From USPS.” There will be a link to click on to find out why your package wasn’t able to be delivered. As soon as you click on that link, you’ve opened up your computer for the virus. Some of the lingo used might look something like this:

USPS.com

You have a package that your postman was unable to deliver.

Please print the label provided to you through this link and take it to your nearest post office to retrieve your package.

NEVER CLICK ON THE LINK!

Clicking on links associated with these email scams can open up a host of issues. The biggest risk is downloading a virus to your hard drive. This allows your sensitive information to become exposed and easily stolen. Scammers would have access to your passwords, credit card info and other financial data.

Often, malicious ransomware and malware infect your computer without you ever even knowing it. Once you attempt to sign into various accounts online, the email scammers will use a mirroring program to record your actions and they will use that to steal every bit of personal information they can get their hands on.

It isn’t just the post office dealing with these scams—UPS and FedEx also have fallen prey to hackers and scammers. The scary part is the scammers will use official looking logos and websites to make themselves look legit. You will receive notices that look completely official from the shipping companies, making it hard to know when you are dealing with an email scam.

Protecting Yourself

Stay aware! If you get emails that you don’t think you should be getting from either the post office or a major shipping company, do not click links within that email! Even though you may be waiting on a package, it’s better to deal with the company directly, rather than risking a virus by clicking on a link.

Be on the lookout for any phone calls claiming to be employees of any of these agencies. If you are called and asked for sensitive information, never provide that info until you know for sure who you are dealing with!

Look for obvious errors in grammar and spelling on any emails or other communication. It’s usually a dead give-away that you’re dealing with an email scammer.

Never answer texts you aren’t sure about. This, too, can open you up for email scams.

You can never be too careful when it comes to your personal information this holiday season! It’s ok to be suspicious of any text, email or phone call that you aren’t sure about. If you are expecting a package, always deal directly with the shipping company!

For more information on how to protect yourself from email scammers during the holidays, call us today at Tech Sentries! Our number is 843-282-2222.

Remember “Think Before You Click!”

Which Generation Is More Likely To Fall Victim To Online Scammers?

Scammers Myrtle BeachDid you know that elderly people aren’t necessarily the most likely to be scammed online? Well, the Better Business Bureau issued a report stating that its Millennials and Generation X’ers who are the most likely to be a victim of scammers. The reason? The elderly population are far more likely to actually report the incident of a scam before financial loss occurs. In fact, over 90% of them will report it sooner than the younger generation. Even though Millennials and Generation X’ers are far more tech savvy, they are far slower to report being scammed, making them much more likely to lose money as a result.

Oddly enough, many of these younger people never reported the scam activity because they never actually believed they were really a victim. Even though they may feel they are immune to malware attacks and other scammers, none of us are immune to it. Staying aware and being informed is your best defense, no matter how old you are! Knowledge is power when it comes to protecting yourself against online scams. If you fail to report being scammed in a timely manner, your chances of suffering a financial loss will increase dramatically! The elderly population seem to know this.

One other important factor worth noting is that the individual’s online activity can play into becoming a victim of scams. This is because of online shopping and other retail websites visited by younger people. Individuals under the age of 45 tend to shop online much more than the older generation, thereby making them more susceptible to online scammers and malware.

The bottom line for a take-away lesson here is to always be aware of the fact that you are as much at risk for being scammed as anyone else. If you are solicited to spend money, sign up for various websites and their services, or even asked to click on a link you receive in your email, STOP and THINK before you click anything! Make sure that you are spending only in secure websites with secure methods of payments. If you have any questions about what you are seeing, call the BBB and ask them to verify the site or company before you spend any money or click any links that could cost you dearly!

While it is possible to recover a financial loss, it’s very difficult if it is not reported immediately! To get the absolute best protection, call Tech Sentries today! We can apply the best application whitelisting technology which will block unsafe or unwanted programs from ever opening. Let us show you how easy it is to be protected so you can keep your mind on the things that matter most to you!

Jackware—What Is It?

Myrtle Beach JackWareHave you ever heard of jackware? In this day and age, we hear a lot about ransomware, spyware, adware and all kinds of other “wares,” but probably not jackware. However, it’s still malicious software that gets in and controls many devices whose main function is NOT digital communication. Your car is a perfect example of just such a device. Your car may have some communication abilities, but think of it like this: we’re looking at cars as simply a means to get from one spot to another.

Jackware is essentially a more specialized ransomware, which like its name suggests, gets in your software, encrypts your files and demands a ransom in order for you to unlock and get your files back. With jackware, it seeks to lock up your car’s ability to run until the ransom is paid.

The following is important to note!

 Jackware has not actually been defined as an active threat just yet. It’s still a bit theoretical in nature, although we here at Tech Sentries are a bit doubtful of jackware being stopped. There are people constantly coming up with new ways to hack into our everyday lives and create chaos through our computers, software, telephones, and now even our cars if something isn’t done. Brand new cars are essentially fancy computers on wheels and so they are very vulnerable to jackware after they have left their manufacturing facility to be shipped across the world.

All last year, we heard about the Fiat Chrysler Jeep problem where the design process wasn’t stellar and many of the systems were wide open for hackers. So, we now know that in order to stop this problem, protection must happen during the design process. Car companies need to ensure consumers that everything they do with the car’s onboard computer is safe. For instance, many people now can control systems in their homes, such as alarms, lights, etc., all from their vehicles. If jackware really does become a huge reality, then your car is one more portal from which hackers can work their evil. Many smart cars now come with Wi-Fi capabilities and this could be a big problem if it’s not completely secure.

 So How Do We Stop Jackware?

 This is the million dollar question. Unfortunately, the world has not done a good job at all of deterring cyber crime. Hackers just get better and smarter at what they do, so the risk of becoming a victim is huge. In order to stop jackware, it would have to involve changing policies within major manufacturers, as well as staying ahead of the technical curve. Gone are the days when clicking on a link in an email was the only way to get hacked by ransomware. Millions of dollars have been paid to cyber criminals by desperate people trying to get their files recovered. Companies need to be employing the best anti-malware security they can find. We also need to actually prosecute the criminals behind the ransomware!

The question remains if ransomware will actually spawn a branch called jackware. It absolutely seems certain that this will happen at some point. One of our biggest concerns is that of self-driving cars. Any vehicle that is equipped with onboard computers is at risk for jackware.

The best way to stay safe and protect yourself from ransomware attacks—including the possibility of jackware—is to have the best protection available today. Tech Sentries stays on top of all the latest threats so you don’t have to.

Call 843-282-2222 today for a free consultation.

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