For a living, I run a IT business from home. I profession is in working with the home family PC, I also educate the owners of the family PC of the dangers of identity theft, from pc being compromised. Plus maintenance to the PC too.
With the recent spick of STO Accounts being attacked and or hacked, I just wanted to share to everyone on some basic maintenance to help in prevention.
With my experience in the field, I find the low lives who want to steal your identity, don’t sit on a pc in some garage trying to find away to hack your PC. They set it up by you giving them permission, by clicking on a link, or replying to a spam email etc, that may have malware on the link which you gave permission to be installed on your PC by just one click.
Here is some things to watch out for:
- They may try by using banks, internet providers etc. to get you to reply to then asking for your personal information. They don’t do that. Best to get in contact with your bank, ISP and inform them of the spam.
- With a large social media out there, (Facebook, Twitter etc) I have seen a legit email looking like if it came from the social media, except it might say `Dear Valued Customer’ or `Dear Sir/Madam’ or something in that nature. The emails from social media will have your name like `Dear Woody_Valley’ or `Hi Woody_Valley’.
- Lotto emails or you have x amount of dollars here in a person’s will, I won’t bore too much with this. They mostly linked to Nigerian scammers. If it is to good to be true, regardless of their family budget at the moment is, it usually is.
Telephone Cold Calls
One thing they have been doing is cold calls of someone representing Microsoft, or a international computer company, saying that one of their clients had a email from you that had a virus attach to it. They ask permission to do a remote access (access your computer via the internet) to do some repairs, but what they doing is stealing your identity. I had one of my clients say hey had someone do this to them, they didn’t get access, but they were really sounding very professional in their approach. Best to say I’ll get my IT guy to have a look and hang up.
Internet and Downloading
With everyone who is providing a service, they will be someone wanting to do harm on the internet.
- I recommend using Google in doing a search, they have a warning clause if there is a threat of a site you want to have a look at.
- Pirated music is one of the most common ways of having malware on your pc. Best and safest way is to pay for it, or get your music from a legit free music download site, if you need something to make a trailer etc. Just remember, the artists have bills to pay too.
The thing I can’t stress enough, just doing the simple, but effective thing to protect your PC. If you spend the time in doing this, at least once a month, you not only help in Lessing the risk being hacked, but keep your PC in top condition and running smoothly too. Also it is good to do if you have the `invincible’ teenager sharing the PC too.
- Windows Update. You might have it set up to do important auto updates, but there is some optional updates that is Windows based, that also need to be installed too.
- Keep your flash, java, Adobe reader, Chrome, iTunes etc. up to date. Just as important as windows. They let you know if there is an update, just spend the time to install it.
- Antivirus Protection. I always recommend, for best protection is to have a Antivirus you paid for, I find most of the free antivirus is useless. The only free product I use and recommend is Ad-Aware, from a Swedish company called Lavasoft. They do a good job of keeping you up to date with antivirus. But my main point is to make sure it is up to date and do full systems scan too.
- Run a disk cleaner, to remove unwanted temporary files from your pc, which could harbour something nasty in your pc. With windows, when you download or import something from like your digital camera, it creates a tempery file to store the file, then makes a copy of it to store were you have wanted to save the file. Creating a second file that takes up space on your hard drive. The window version is fine. I use Ccleaner, it really gives a good cleanout of unwanted stuff, and makes the pc run allot smoother. If you choose to tryout Ccleaner, make sure when installing, untick the update request, they ask you to get the paid version.
- Disk Defrag. With the files and software on your Pc, they get thrown around allot on your hard drive and be broken into groups, doing a disk defrag will put the files/ software back into one place, helping in running your pc more efficiently.
Here is some other little things you might find helpful.
- Norton’s has a free application you can load to help in protecting Facebook too. By doing a scan to any attachments linked to friend’s comments, I find quiet helpful.
I hope it helps out in protecting your PC, feel free to leave a reply of any tips you may have or recommened software to help in provention of hacks on PCs.