Allan Levy, Technology Director, Computer Booters
Unfortunately, Sun Lakes area residents have been targeted over the last year. Scammers know that we are a senior community.
Ransomware is a new and devastating threat. This software will encrypt your documents and demand payment to decrypt them. Should you pay? These people are criminals, and there is no guarantee that you will get a good code to unlock your data. To protect yourself from cyber attacks of this kind, you might want to do some research into Zonealarm Anti-Ransomware. Anti-Ransomware has been designed to immediately detect and block ransom attacks while also restoring any encrypted files.
Additionally, there are several new Facebook threats. Someone asks to be a friend and then sends you to a site that will load your machine with malware. Also, it will say Virus, call this number. Do not call. The person will connect to your machine and make it unbootable. I am working on such a damaged machine now. Note, you may have to turn off your machine to get out of this situation, since it may freeze.
Under no circumstances reply to a telephone call saying they will fix your machine – hang up. I have had to work on several of these machines. The people had to get new credit cards and checking accounts. The caller may claim to be from Microsoft. Microsoft does not call their customers. If they don’t say they’re from Microsoft, then they might say “Windows Technical Support.” DO NOT allow anyone you don’t know to access your computer EVER!
The IRS and utility company will not call and demand money by wire – again, hang up.
Please do not open attachments from people you do not know – they may contain very bad software that will damage your machine.
How can you protect yourself?
1. Have backup – this way, you can restore your pictures and documents. This applies to whether you run a business where the use of computers is essential or you are wanting to backup your own computer. Knowing that it could be as easy as backing up your files yourself or knowing that companies can provide IT consulting services (for your business), having a copy of all your documents and files may not be as tough as you initially thought.
2. Keep your operating system up to date.
3. Do not open attachments you are not expecting.
4. Do not open email you are not expecting.
5. Never give permission for macros to run – unless you really know the sender.
6. Consider antivirus software – this discussion is beyond the scope of this article.
7. Macs get infected also.
The Computer Booters will have a class on staying safe at home and on the internet.
Please back up your system – the Computer Booters will have classes to discuss this.
The Computer Booters will have Windows 10 classes. Please get the book, Windows 10 for Seniors for Dummies – you probably want the paperback. The book is available on Amazon for $19.32 and also available through Amazon Prime. It’s also available at Walmart, Target and Jet.com for the same price. We’ll use the book in our Windows 10 classes.