We say a sad farewell to Mavis, who has decided to retire. We will miss her dearly. On another note we would like to welcome Lizèl (we call her Lizzi) to the Eagle Owl Team. She has taken over from Mavis. Hope we will be walking a long path together.
We now have our very own Facebook Profile. If we haven’t sent you a friend request yet, please send us one. You will find us under the name, Bubo Capensis (Scientific name for Eagle Owl).
After the story about Ransomware on Carte Blanche last Sunday, we decided it might be a good time to just remind all our loyal clients to watch out for the following signs that your computer may be infected by malware:
Protect Your Computer
Malware (short for malicious software) is software designed to infiltrate or damage a computer without your consent. Malware includes computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware, scareware and more. It can be present on websites and emails, or hidden in downloadable files, photos, videos, freeware or shareware. (However, it should be noted that most websites, shareware or freeware applications do not come with malware.) The best way to avoid getting infected is to run a good anti-virus protection program, do periodic scans for spyware, avoid clicking on suspicious email links or websites. But scammers are sneaky: sometimes malware is cleverly disguised as an email from a friend, or a useful website. Even the most cautious of web-surfers will likely pick up an infection at some point.
Phrases to know and remember in case of emergency:
Virus: Malware programs that can reproduce itself and infect other computers.
Spyware: It surreptitiously monitors and collects information about you, your computer and/or your browsing habits without your consent — usually for advertising purposes. It can also gather info from your address book, and even your passwords and credit card numbers. Unlike viruses and worms, spyware does not usually self-replicate.
Signs that your PC may have been infected by Malware
Real malware is generally designed not to be noticed. The people who write these programs don’t want you to clean them off of your computer. But if you know what to look for, you can recognize a symptom that might be caused by malware.
Suddenly poor performance. If your PC is running slower than it used to, or it seems to be running an awful lot of stuff in the background, malware could be the cause.
Standard maintenance programs don’t work. Malware will often protect itself by disabling programs that might help you identify and remove it. So if programs like Windows Update, Task Manager, your antivirus program, Regedit, System Restore, or Msconfig fail to work, you have reason to be suspicious. I should mention that some of these programs—especially Windows Update—can regularly fail without help from outside bad guys—although if it’s one of several programs that fail, malware is likely.
New, unwanted toolbars that won’t go away. All sorts of programs might install a new toolbar into your browser, and usually, it’s no more than a temporary annoyance. But if you can’t turn off the toolbar, or you do turn it off and it soon reappears, there’s something more sinister at work.
Your home and search pages change. This is very much like the toolbar problem. If these pages change toolbarsomething you don’t want, and you change them back, but your change doesn’t last, something is running that you have to stop.
What to do when you are infected …. contact a proffesional.
The Top Ten Tips to Protect Yourself from Malware
Worms, viruses, Trojan Horses, and now ransomware… Attacks on digital devices are continuous and everincreasing. But, all is not lost. There are effective measures you can take to ensure that you don’t open yourself up to such threats.
1. Do not open suspicious looking emails or click on URLs / hyperlinks in such mails. This cannot be stressed enough and is still a major reason for infection. If in doubt, delete!
2. Do not open suspicious looking attachments or attachments from unknown / untrustworthy senders.
3. When browsing the internet do not click on pop-ups that state that your computer or software is out of date.
4. Make sure you have up-to-date anti-virus software installed. (this is where managed anti-virus is always a good thing).
5. Back-up your critical data on a regular basis.
6. Act on your suspicions if something appears to be wrong with your PC / laptop.
7. Turn your PC off immediately if you suspect it is infected. (You know you are infected when you try to access data and a pop-up asks for money to access that data. Turn your PC off right then and there and call a professional).
8. Do not try to fix it yourself unless you are an IT professional who has dealt with ransomware before.
All Lenovo laptop users who purchased their laptops within the last year please take note of the following:
Lenovo’s Superfish screw-up highlights biggest problem in software
Holes made by third-party software that are ripe for exploitation by hackers go far beyond Lenovo. Security researchers last year discovered major vulnerabilities in two widely used open-source software tools, dubbing the flaws Heartbleed and Shellshock. Although they were accidentally introduced, they had survived for decades because companies trusted that the small teams of volunteers developing the software had thoroughly checked the software.
There’s also the intentional security hole the National Security Agency is accused of inserting into a tool made by the RSA Corporation that scrambles user data to protect it. It’s highly unlikely companies would have paid RSA to protect their data had they known, and RSA denies that it knew about it. To be sure, Lenovo’s Hortensius said his company has taken steps to ensure few users can still run into Superfish. But it was only after security experts began howling about Superfish’s behaviour that some security programs detected and removed the software.
So basically Superfish takes and stores all the information available about you, stores it and then makes it available to advertising companies.
Just a reminder:
The winter is slowly coming to an end, which means it’s almost time for Spring cleaning. Don’t forget to let us know when you want your computer dust busted.
Hope you have a fabulous start to Spring !
The Eagle Owl Team
021 930 6766