One of the ways you can easily protect yourself against malware and viruses is by running as a "Standard" or "Limited" user in Windows. When you run as administrator, programs can easily get full access to your system, including those that might be installed without your knowledge. But when you run as a standard user, you may run into an issue where a program won't run because it requires more permissions. An example of software that would require additional permissions would be a screen recording program. When this happens, you can elect to run that individual program as administrator.
The latest scam to hit the interwebs is an email saying that you've been hacked and spied upon, viewing porn online and unless you send thousands in Bitcoin, they will send the information to everyone you know. If an email plays upon your fear or strong emotions, don't fall for it!
Read more at krebsonsecurity.com.
Tom has a friend who gave a technician remote access after calling a number in a popup ad for his Echo. Leo says he fell victim to a scam and there's a good chance that his computer is infected with malware, a key logger, remote access trojans, the works. At this point, the only safe thing to do is backup the data, format the hard drive, and reinstall Windows from a known, safe source, then update. Only then can he be sure his computer is safe.
There's a hack on some websites that will make you think that your computer has frozen and you won't be able to get it back unless you call an 800 number and pay money. Leo says it's nonsense phishing scam. Control At Delete or Force Quit the browser. Everything will get back to normal.
John's friend got bit by the popup that said she had a virus and then when she called "Microsoft support" they wanted $300 to fix it. Leo says it's a phishing scam. And once you give someone access to your computer, not only will they not fix anything, but they make the infection even worse by installing other malware. The only way forward now is to backup the data, format the hard drive, and then reinstall Windows.
Heidi is worried about the Russian VPN Filter hack. She bought a Netgear router to replace it. Is she safe? Leo says that some Netgear models aren't protected, but if she installs the latest firmware, she should be OK, and NetGear does update routers automatically.
Neil is worried that the VPN Filter hack will affect his Asus router because his model isn't protected. Should he be worried? Leo says first thing he can do is update his firmware. Asus keeps their firmware up to date regularly and uses open source DD-WRT firmware. So if there isn't one, he can patch it himself. But Asus routers are great because they update them constantly. Neil should reload the most current firmware, even if he has already updated it. That will wipe out any additional problems.
Mike's personal laptop was hacked by someone at work. He also believes that person is stalking him. Leo says that from a technological point of view, it would be wise to wipe the PC completely and reinstall Windows. But he'd also recommend contacting the police.
VPNFilter has compromised over 500,000 routers in the US and can only be wiped if you reboot the router. It can also affect a vast array of routers. To find out if your router is vulnerable, check out this list at symantec.com.
While you're at it, it may be a good time to update your router firmware too.