Most of the malware and ransomware that comes through the internet and onto our systems is thanks to email attachments. If you see an "invoice" with an artificially rushed, demanding tone from a powerful figure (such as your work boss) and they've attached a "PDF", be very skeptical and do not open it. The same goes for links, since they can take you to a very shady site. Make sure to update your computer with security patches to prevent infection from background exploit kits across the web.
Sue is on AOL and is having issues with "Guce." What is that? Leo says it's adware by AOL that seeks to bypass adblockers in her browser. Guce is owned by Verizon, which also owns AOL and they don't like users using ad blockers or reading emails without ads. So it will redirect her to Guce.advertising.com. But many consider it a browser hijack, which would turn it into malware. Go into the browser settings under extensions and see if there's an adblocker installed. She can either turn off the ad blocker, white list Guce or better yet, GET OUT OF AOL! Leo recommends Gmail.
Greg's parents were using EDGE on Windows 10, and it shut off and went into a reboot loop. They took it in and got it reset. But how can they avoid it in the future? Rich says that it sounds like his parents got bit by some malware after clicking on something. It's very easy to fall victim to. So encourage them to not click on any links or open attachments. Also, make sure their software is up to date. Of course, you could replace their Windows machine with a Chromebook. That would be very secure, and if something happens, you can powerwash it back to normal.
If you become the victim of a phishing scam, here are a number of things you should do if you can:
John just upgraded to Windows 10, does he still need an antivirus? His tech people say he should. Leo says it's not bad to have an antivirus, but Windows 10 already comes with one called Defender. So he won't really need anything else. But Leo also says that the best defense is good behavior. No antivirus is 100% effective...at best they are 50% accurate. Also, they don't guard against so-called Zero-Day attacks. So avoid clicking on links or opening attachments, and keep the OS updated.
Martin has a backup running on his computer all the time, and he's worried that malware can get onto it. Leo says that current malware is "wormable" and can actually take advantage of Microsoft's networking, spreading through the network. It's called "eternal blue." So if you have hot storage that's online and current, you have to treat it as vulnerable. The only real good backup is a disconnectable backup.
Joe is a high school computer teacher, and he had scanned a bunch of photographs that he scanned on his computer. He took that folder and moved it to another folder, but it disappeared and was replaced with a file cabinet folder. Leo says that a CAB file is a compressed folder. He searched the entire computer for the folder, and it was gone. Fortunately, he had a backup. But what happened? A virus?
Ross is worried he may have been hacked after searching for the Quicken Support number online and calling them. Could he have gotten a phony number? Leo says never Google phone numbers unless you go directly to their website. Leo says that hackers will buy ads for specific search error messages, and it could be that Ross had been compromised after giving them access to scanning the computer. Leo says it would be prudent to scan his system. Before doing that, since Ross is very savvy, he could do a search with Malwarebytes first. Ross did and found nothing. That's good news.
Manny got a Tiny Hardware Firewall, and he really likes it for when he's on the road. It was recently updated by THF and he wants to know how often he has to send it in to get updated. Leo says that security flaws have to be acted upon by getting one to click on something so the malware can take advantage of it. Often, so-called zero-day exploits are designed around this, and people have no real way of knowing they've been hacked. But keeping a system and THF patched, will mitigate vulnerability, except for zero-day exploits, which are patched pretty quickly.
Do not open email attachments, as they are one of the most common causes of innocent computer users getting infected with malicious malware. Email attachments are "the kiss of death." Ask the sender to place the attachment in Dropbox, etc. or other safer alternatives. Furthermore, Mac and Windows 10 users can open PDF files by themselves, so no need to download and install additional software like Adobe Reader. There are too many vulnerabilities these days regarding email attachments and outdated Adobe software.