Common Computer Viruses

How to Understand the Terms of Common Computer Viruses

Part of owning a computer is having to deal with the different viruses and bugs that can corrupt your system. In this article, we will educate you about some common terms for computer viruses and what they mean. These terms can get used incorrectly so it’s important for you to know what they mean and how they are used. You may come into contact with files that can compromise your computer, so it’s critical that you get some great anti-virus software. Tech Sentries can help you know just what you need and we’ll also do all the legwork behind the scenes to keep your system safe!

Recognizing Computer Viruses

Just what is a virus? What does it do? A computer virus can do a lot of damage. They are programs that mix into your other Common Computer Virusessoftware programs where they spread and multiply. They are almost always there due to nefarious intent. It can be hard to know when and if you’ve been infected by computer viruses, so you need to know the symptoms to look for. They include lost space on your hard drive, data that becomes corrupted, pop-ups that are relentless, and personal information that becomes compromised.

Computer Worms

Computer worms have a very serious implication and can cause a lot of damage in your system. Worms don’t need other software programs in order to clone themselves. This makes them different than viruses. They look for soft spots in your security and networks in order to infect other computers. While your files are not altered, these computer worms recreate themselves on their own, making them very destructive.

Trojan Horses

Trojan horses, or trojans for short, are very sneaky and hackers absolutely love them. They are considered malware and are most often spread through attacks on social engineering. While they cannot reproduce themselves, they are still highly dangerous and can cause catastrophic damage. This makes them different than other computer viruses. Once a system has been infected with a trojan horse, it helps hackers be able to get your personal information, credit card numbers, passwords, etc. They can even cause your webcam to get turned on without you knowing it.

Rootkits

Rootkits are considered trojans and they look for access through administrative routes in order to gain root. Rootkits conceal themselves and can also hide things like registry keys, other files and even your network connection. Rootkits are so destructive and difficult to remove that more often than not, your entire operating system will have to be reinstalled in order to clean your system of them.

The internet is full of potential dangers as you download various files or even click on certain links. It’s impossible to know all of the dangers or prevent them. The only way to have the assurance that your computer is safe is to have superb anti-virus software that runs constantly. Tech Sentries knows exactly how to protect your computer and will keep it protected by doing the behind the scenes work while you are busy with other things. This means you will never have to even think about computer security because we will do it for you in the background at all times! While there are many products on the market to protect you from computer viruses, none can compare to the superior protection we offer here at Tech Sentries.

For more information, please call us here at Tech Sentries today! 843-282-2222.

Avoiding Online Scammers

Avoiding Online Scammers After the Orlando Shooting

It seems that scammers always come out in the wake of tragedies to exploit the generosity of people who are anxious to help the victims of these events. Unfortunately, it’s no different with the recent shootings in Orlando. The kindness of strangers is always a unique opportunity for the internet scammers to come to the surface. We want to point out some of the things scammers often do in the wake of tragedy and major upheaval.Avoiding Online Scammers

Scammers will appear on the tail of tragic events due to the high level of emotion. The Better Business Bureau of Florida has warned the public to be extra vigilant in the wake of the Orlando shootings. Knowing what to look for and using good common sense will go a long way in protecting you against cybercrimes.

Crowd-funding websites are often quickly organized after these types of tragedies. The problem is that it can be difficult to know who is behind them. Anyone can set up a GoFundMe type of site, claiming to raise money to benefit victims and their families. Because these sites are hard to properly vet, make sure you know who is behind it if you choose to donate through a crowd-funding site. The Better Business Bureau expects fraudulent sites raising donations to come after the Orlando shootings. It’s a way that scammers target people while they’re emotionally vulnerable.

If you would like to donate to the families and victims of the Orlando shooting, please do it through safe online sites, such as well-known charities. If you get emails with links asking you to click on them in order to donate, avoid them and close out that page. Go to your charity of choice directly by entering in their website address or doing a search for them. Avoid links that come in your email. Scammers also will take a popular charity or donation site and register it with a slightly misspelled name, luring people in that way. Many won’t notice it. This is why it’s important to do a double check of the accuracy of the URL address you are typing in.

A few other things to be aware of are:

  • Vague Appeals – Don’t donate to sites who don’t clearly lay out how funds will be used and how they will be distributed.
  • Proper Government Registration -Most states require bona fide charities to register with a government agency of that state before they can legally solicit funds. Making sure that your charity is registered is another way to stay safe with online giving.
  • Individual Family Funds – Often, families of victims may have their own trust funds set up, and these are not required to be registered. In these cases, the Better Business Bureau encourages you to make sure the funds are received through a legitimate third party, such as a bank or lawyer.
  • Clarity and Transparency – Any legitimate charity should always make it clear on their website how donations will be used and distributed. They will state financial goals and what they hope to do with the funds once they are raised. They want their donors to be as aware of the entire process as possible.

Remember, NOTHING should seem vague when donating to a charity. Never give personal information such as bank accounts, without knowing exactly who you’re donating to. If you suspect you have been scammed, notify the local authorities immediately. Also, be cautious and watch for changes in your credit score, odd accounts opened up with your name, and other signs of identity theft. It’s always a good idea to have an identity theft safeguard policy in place.

The bottom line here is that there are lowlife internet scammers just waiting to take advantage of the Orlando shooting tragedy. They are using a variety of phishing ploys that will try to lure you into everything from blood drives to links that claim to have exclusive video footage of the details of that awful night. Don’t ever click on these links just out of shock value and curiosity! Stay safe online and be sure to go through tried and true charities to donate and help the victims of this horrible crime.

Be sure to warn your friends through social media if you become aware of scammers. Word of mouth is still the best way to help people stay aware! Tech Sentries is always here to help you stay safe online and our prayers go out to all the families of the Orlando shooting.

downloading software safely

Tips for Downloading Software Safely

We all have to download software sometimes, and most of the time it’s because we purchased that software from a reputable company, and we don’t worry about the safety of the download.  However, there are other times, we’re sort of “shooting in the dark,” and maybe it’s a free download we saw advertised (and it looks REALLY interesting).

downloading software safely

For the less experienced computer users, downloading software safely might pose some problems and unexpected results.

Can you really trust software developers to have your best interest at heart?  After all, those extra security measures are sometimes costly; it’s so easy to choose profit over safety.

One would think that directly downloading a piece of software from the developer would be a guarantee of rock solid safety.  Unfortunately, this may not be the case.

Here are some tips to make downloading software safer:

1. What’s the Reputation of the Site?

Go ahead and take the time to visit the website of the company offering the product you want to download.  Pay particular attention to the product page.  You can check on the safety rating by using “WOT” which means Web of Trust

If you’re a newbie, be sure to load the WOT Extension as it will prevent you from even loading any unsafe sites, not just download unsafe software.  WOT focuses more on the reputation and the ethical stance of the site, while SiteAdvisor is preoccupied almost entirely with malware detection alone.  Pay attention to what both of these tools tell you.  If your site/software passes muster with both of these tools, you’re probably safe.  But not so fast…

2. Download and Scan 

Go ahead and download the software, but right away you should scan it using your anti-virus software. Upon completion of the scan, you should have a better idea of the safety of the downloaded file. Even still, you are not finished. Read on…

3. Are There Unwanted Extras? 

This might be the last step, but it’s certainly not the least important. This might sound complicated, but you need to check for any and all bundles of extras or options that are simply not needed and therefore, not wanted. The downloaded file can contain or download additional software. Some of these extras can be a real pain in the neck to get rid of — things like changing your browser’s default settings, or messing with your home page. So even if your anti-virus software says the fie is good this no guarantee that you are safe.

Conclusion

In this day and age of ransomware and polymorphic viruses you need more than traditional anti-virus protection. At the current time ransomware and viruses are capable of morphing every 15 seconds. To keep up with the onslaught, the traditional approach would require updating your virus definitions every 15 seconds.

As you can imagine this is an impossible task.

This is where Tech Sentries steps in. We incorporate a Proactive White List technology. Simply said this means it does not matter how many times or how often executable files change, if they are not on our approved list we are going to stop it from running on your computer.

If you want to learn more about Tech Sentries go to our website www.techsentries.com or give us a call at 843-282-2222.

Text Scam Myrtle Beach

Two-Factor Authentication Text Scam

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cyberattack tech sentries

The Most Common Types of Cyber Attacks in 2016

2016 presents more cyber threats than ever, but there are also more solutions than ever. Here at Tech Sentries, we’re working hard to help you “Guard Your Technology” and stay protected and secure! The following are some great tips to help you get used to practicing “safe cyber” habits.

Common Cyber-Attacks:

Cyber-attacks are no joke and unfortunately, they are increasing all the time. According to several reports, the most concerning cyber-attacks for this year include hacking and other means of online extortion, scams that involve hacking and stealing Cyber attack tech sentriespasswords, scams involving asking you to “recovery your passwords,” digital threats and hacks that can actually cause damage to your hardware, and many other such attacks. Because of the huge increase in our use of mobile devices, the attacks on mobile security have also increased significantly.
The best way to prevent mobile cyber attacks is to prevent your personal info from being exposed. This means, if possible, don’t store personal data on mobile devices. If you must keep it there, be sure to NEVER keep it all in the same location! If you were to be hacked on your mobile device, it would be way too easy to gain access to everything—your credit cards, ID, and other info — especially if you make it easy by keeping it all in one neat folder.
There is another cyber-attack method happening more and more called ransomware. This is where entire systems in hospitals and schools, etc., become hacked into and all the files and data are rendered useless. The only way to restore the lost files is for the victim to pay a huge sum of money to the hacker to restore it, which may or may not work! This rewards the criminal behavior, but at the same time, people feel they have no choice. Unfortunately, giving into the demands of these hackers’ only increases the likelihood that the cyber attacks will continue.

Password Recovery Scams:

There are many scams involving password recovery. Cyber criminals hack into your email account and then gain access to passwords and other sensitive information. Not only is your account (and life) seriously compromised, but the hackers also have access to all your contacts, which could cause your friends, family and business associates to be attacked as well. It’s a very ugly problem.

Back Up Your Data:

Since digital attacks can really render your devices unusable or even frozen, it’s important that you make a habit of backing up all your information on a regular basis! Just remember there are three rules to follow – back up, back up and back up. It’s the best and only proven way to recover lost data should anything happen to your computer or mobile device.

One other crucial tip is NEVER use the same password or username for multiple accounts. Get in the habit of creating passwords that are extremely strong, using symbol characters, capital and lowercase letters and numbers. The combination of these characters will make it far more difficult to hack into anything. Change your passwords regularly – at least once every couple of months, and even more often if you can.

Anything that has a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection can be a target of digital attacks as well. You may not be aware that modern appliances such as refrigerators, smart cars, smart TVs, etc., do not come equipped with software programs that protect them against hackers and cyber-attacks. This doesn’t leave you feeling very safe for sure. So what to do? Back up your files and all data! Keep up with your backups and keep them going.

Update Vulnerable Applications:

Keep them up to date and you will be keeping yourself safer. It can be inconvenient, but it’s well worth it! These updates are where programs fix breaches or holes in security. Getting lazy about installing updates just makes you more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
At Tech Sentries, we do this for you.

We hope these tips have helped you get started with keeping your safe from cyber threats. For more information, call Tech Sentries today! (843) 282-2222!

Tech Sentries Security

The Greatest Offense is a Great Defense

There are safe programs that Tech Sentries considers approved for you to use in your computer work. It may happen that, once in a while, a program will be blocked that you really want. Don’t fret…that’s the robust nature of our security checks and this level of guard against malicious threats is unparalleled. You can always tell us if we should authorize a certain program or software for safe use. This approval can be for all computers in a location or the authorization can be for just one.

It’s crazy to think there are people who lurk about online just to steal your identity, harass you slander yoTech Sentries Securityur good name, hack into your personal banking, and a host of other crimes. There are many online threats these days and unfortunately, not many of the products available in the market place do an adequate job protecting you –UNTIL NOW! At Tech Sentries, you can count on the best protection available to keep you and your online presence safe and secure!

And it doesn’t end there—it gets better! Our product can get rid of that obnoxious adware that pops up every time you try to shop online. Even though adware isn’t considered a virus, it can still make you feel hijacked by constantly popping up when you don’t want it or need it. We’ve all felt overwhelmed by annoying adware, but you don’t have to any longer! Whether it’s adware, spyware or ransomware, Tech Sentries can block it for good.

Did you know that you can get a virus without even clicking on anything in certain websites? The virus can get in and infect your computer through security holes in commonly-used software that is often free. Programs like Adobe Flash Player and Java are prime examples. The best way to avoid this issue to is to keep your programs constantly updated, but due to the inconvenience of that, many people don’t bother. At Tech Sentries, we do it all for you automatically, so you’ll never have to think about updating again!

There is no greater security than what you will get with Tech Sentries!

Why You Need An Internet Password Manager

Are you one of the millions of people who have only a handful of passwords for the many websites you access daily? Most likely your passwords are weak or not unique enough to keep your information safe. So, what to do? Enter the password manager.

An internet password manager program takes all the various login information that you have across the internet, logging you in automatically when you visit sites that you have stored. As you enter in all your various passwords to the password manager, it encrypts them so that the only one you’ll have to remember is the main master password.Internet Password Manager

Never Reuse Your Internet Passwords!

Reusing passwords has become a huge problem due to all the security breaches it causes, even on large powerful websites. People who are up to no good can use a password leak to gain your personal information, giving them access to sensitive data on all your accounts. If you use the same password at multiple sites, you are only increasing the chances that your identity could be stolen or your bank accounts wiped out.

Preventing this kind of disaster is largely dependent on using strong, unique passwords on every website you register for. Good strong internet passwords should be a combination of letters, symbols and numbers and be long. The unpredictability of this type of password is the best way to keep your information safe.

Big-time web users may have hundreds of passwords to keep up with, while even just the average person could have dozens. Most people aren’t going to be able to remember all these passwords, so using a password manager can not only keep track of the ones you create, but also generate passwords that are secure and unique for the many websites you visit.

What’s It Like To Use A Password Manager?

For one thing, it will ease your mind. Instead of trying to memorize dozens of passwords, you can spend your energy on being productive. The first time you sign into a website, you will enter your master password in your internet password manager, and that will prompt it to automatically fill in the appropriate fields of usernames and passwords on the site you are visiting. Staying logged into the password manager will ensure that this process happens automatically. You’ll never have to try and retrieve the information you created the account with on a particular website. Instead, the internet password manager does it all for you. When creating new accounts on various websites, a password manager will prompt you to let it generate a random password that is strong, unique and safe. Each time you visit a website you have created accounts on, your password manager will immediately fill in your personal information such as email address, username and password.

For more information on password managers, call Tech Sentries today!

Why Browser-Based Password Managers Aren’t Ideal

All main internet browsers have their own built-in password managers. However, they don’t stack up next to a program dedicated to nothing but managing internet passwords. Many browsers such as Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer actually store your various passwords unencrypted on your hard drive. Unless your hard drive has been encrypted, anyone is able to hack into your computer and steal your passwords, and thus, your personal information found on all the websites you visit.password manager

While Mozilla Firefox does allow you to store your passwords in a form that is encrypted using a master password, its password manager isn’t the best option either. It has no features in its interface that allow it to create random auto-generated passwords. It also isn’t able to sync across multiple platforms, such as the iOS systems. A password manager that is dedicated will solve these issues, as well as allow you to manage your passwords on all the devices, computers and smartphones that you use. So, which password managers are best? We think three stand out.

Three Great PassWord Managers

Dashlane is newer than several others, so it may not be as recognizable. However, their apps for nearly every major operating system and platform make them stand out. They also have a dashboard that helps you analyze the security of your passwords. It also has a feature that can randomly change your passwords for you. The best part—it’s free if you’re only using one device. If you need to upgrade, it’s simple and inexpensive. With Dashlane, you can choose to store your passwords in the cloud or on your hard drive.

LastPass is a great password manager that is cloud-based. It has everything you could need to operate it across any operating system and multiple browsers. Not only is it very powerful, it also features authentication that requires two steps for added security. This makes it impossible for anyone else to get into your vault.

KeePass. There are people who aren’t willing to use a cloud-based password manager like LastPass. If that’s you, KeePass is a great option. It has mobile apps, browser extensions, and is a desktop-based application. This allows you to always be able to manage and access your passwords and even the program’s code if you felt like it. The part you may not like is having to manage your passwords yourself. Syncing them between all your devices would need to be done manually.

What You Need to Know to Get Started With a Password Managers

There is only one master password you’ll need to remember and so it’s crucial that you make it very strong. You can change this password at a later time, but not unless you know your original master password. Because of this, you may want to store a copy of it in a very safe place such as a firebox or bank vault. These password managers use heavy encryption and is why no one can ever see your stored passwords. If you lose your master password, you would have to sign in to every website you use and re-create an account with a new password and start the whole process over again.

Finally, once you start using a password manager, you should begin to make all the passwords you use more secure. Programs such as LastPass have features that will notify you of duplicate passwords or weak ones that need to be more unique and secure. You can also use your password manager to store and manage other sensitive information, such as credit card numbers.

For more information, call Tech Sentries today!

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