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April 2015 Newsletter Bookmark

Spring Is In the Air, Time For Spring Cleaning 

Spring is in the air and it is time for a good spring cleaning. These words my mother would say the first warmer day in April. And sure enough I was voluntold (forcibly volunteered) to open and clean all the windows from the top of the house to the bottom. Inevitably during the cleaning we would hear the words "how did this place get so dirty?" And of course nobody dared to suggest any answer to my Mom for fear of extra chores. When it comes to viruses and malware for your PC, I hear the same question many times, "How did I get infected?" I will try to answer that by giving the 9 easiest ways to get infected.

1.Simply click on any links. Simply clicking on any links without proper investigation will result you in having the risk of accessing either a malicious site or phishing site. Any of those are not good and you stand a high chance to get your computer infected, especially if you click on incoming links from unknown user.

2. Never perform software update. Attackers sometimes can make use of your out-dated software which consists of certain vulnerabilities to attack your computer and gain full control of it. A very good example is Adobe Flash player, your web browser, or any other application that has the potential to go out to the internet, and it stands a very high chance to get infected. As a result, just go on without updating your software and the attacker will find the vulnerability to penetrate where the attacker will then gain full access to your computer and plant a Trojan there.

3. Turning off automatic Windows update. Turning off the automatic Windows update is like turning off a security feature. Making your Windows update automatically means getting the latest security patch automatically as well. If you want to get infected, just don’t update your Windows and by 2-3 months’ time, you should be able to see the list of Windows vulnerability that you have.

4. No antivirus installed. If you still do not have any antivirus installed, I would like to know how you can tell if your computer is infected with a virus? How are you going to disinfect them? Antivirus software today can come as cheap as free and there is no reason for you not to install one. Let’s put it this way, antivirus software is like a security guard, do you see any banks operate without at least one security guard?

5. No firewall installed. A Firewall is not an antivirus. If you owned an antivirus and treating it like a firewall, then you might be wrong. A firewall is best at preventing and not disinfecting. Firewalls today can also come as cheap as free. Since we have a security guard as antivirus, firewall is going to be things that can prevent theft such as a solid steel door, CCTV, and good alarm system. As a result, if you don’t have a firewall, you are just welcoming the Malware to your computer.

6. Executing unknown file without scanning. When you download a file from somewhere or receive a file from your friend, do you run a scan on the file before executing it? How sure are you that the file you are about to execute is not malicious? Scanning just one file or two does not hurt and it should be done whenever you want to execute them especially when you just received a file. If you want to get yourself infected, download more files randomly from the internet and launch them without a proper virus scan.

7. Do not have a regular full system scan. Even human body needs regular medical checkup from time to time to know the condition of your health. The same goes for your computer…it needs to be scanned regularly so that you will know your own computer is Malware-free or not. Malware today does not have to be active 24×7. Most of them hide themselves and you can’t detect them until you scan your computer. As a result, scan your computer at least once a week to tell the Malware that the hide and seek game is over.

8. Do not read error messages. I realized that there are some users who somehow can read a long error message in less than a second. They are fantastic speed readers, aren’t they? No, they aren’t. They just ignore those error messages and click OK without reading them. If you do not know what is going wrong on the site you are visiting, you might just be visiting an unsafe site. They might have some security feature turned off and you did not realize because you didn’t read the error message. So now, do you want to spend your one minute to read the error message or just don’t read them and think that you are too smart to know everything?

9. Ignoring error messages. For some of the users who read error messages, but are somewhat stubborn or have no concern for their security, they just continue their browsing as usual. This happens commonly when the website is trying to tell you that the site that you are visiting has HTTPS connection error. This could lead to either the certificate had already expired or the web address had been compromised. That is why the Certificate Authority revoked the web certificate so that it can warn you all about the compromised event. However, many users just ignore them and don’t give a piece of concern at all on the HTTPS issue and just visit. Do remember that if you are visiting a non-HTTPS site, it means your communication channel is not encrypted!

Credit: Alan Tay

 

Read Full April 2015 Newsletter

Spring Is In the Air, Time For Spring Cleaning 

Spring is in the air and it is time for a good spring cleaning. These words my mother would say the first warmer day in April. And sure enough I was voluntold (forcibly volunteered) to open and clean all the windows from the top of the house to the bottom. Inevitably during the cleaning we would hear the words "how did this place get so dirty?" And of course nobody dared to suggest any answer to my Mom for fear of extra chores. When it comes to viruses and malware for your PC, I hear the same question many times, "How did I get infected?" I will try to answer that by giving the 9 easiest ways to get infected.

1.Simply click on any links. Simply clicking on any links without proper investigation will result you in having the risk of accessing either a malicious site or phishing site. Any of those are not good and you stand a high chance to get your computer infected, especially if you click on incoming links from unknown user.

2. Never perform software update. Attackers sometimes can make use of your out-dated software which consists of certain vulnerabilities to attack your computer and gain full control of it. A very good example is Adobe Flash player, your web browser, or any other application that has the potential to go out to the internet, and it stands a very high chance to get infected. As a result, just go on without updating your software and the attacker will find the vulnerability to penetrate where the attacker will then gain full access to your computer and plant a Trojan there.

3. Turning off automatic Windows update. Turning off the automatic Windows update is like turning off a security feature. Making your Windows update automatically means getting the latest security patch automatically as well. If you want to get infected, just don’t update your Windows and by 2-3 months’ time, you should be able to see the list of Windows vulnerability that you have.

4. No antivirus installed. If you still do not have any antivirus installed, I would like to know how you can tell if your computer is infected with a virus? How are you going to disinfect them? Antivirus software today can come as cheap as free and there is no reason for you not to install one. Let’s put it this way, antivirus software is like a security guard, do you see any banks operate without at least one security guard?

5. No firewall installed. A Firewall is not an antivirus. If you owned an antivirus and treating it like a firewall, then you might be wrong. A firewall is best at preventing and not disinfecting. Firewalls today can also come as cheap as free. Since we have a security guard as antivirus, firewall is going to be things that can prevent theft such as a solid steel door, CCTV, and good alarm system. As a result, if you don’t have a firewall, you are just welcoming the Malware to your computer.

6. Executing unknown file without scanning. When you download a file from somewhere or receive a file from your friend, do you run a scan on the file before executing it? How sure are you that the file you are about to execute is not malicious? Scanning just one file or two does not hurt and it should be done whenever you want to execute them especially when you just received a file. If you want to get yourself infected, download more files randomly from the internet and launch them without a proper virus scan.

7. Do not have a regular full system scan. Even human body needs regular medical checkup from time to time to know the condition of your health. The same goes for your computer…it needs to be scanned regularly so that you will know your own computer is Malware-free or not. Malware today does not have to be active 24×7. Most of them hide themselves and you can’t detect them until you scan your computer. As a result, scan your computer at least once a week to tell the Malware that the hide and seek game is over.

8. Do not read error messages. I realized that there are some users who somehow can read a long error message in less than a second. They are fantastic speed readers, aren’t they? No, they aren’t. They just ignore those error messages and click OK without reading them. If you do not know what is going wrong on the site you are visiting, you might just be visiting an unsafe site. They might have some security feature turned off and you did not realize because you didn’t read the error message. So now, do you want to spend your one minute to read the error message or just don’t read them and think that you are too smart to know everything?

9. Ignoring error messages. For some of the users who read error messages, but are somewhat stubborn or have no concern for their security, they just continue their browsing as usual. This happens commonly when the website is trying to tell you that the site that you are visiting has HTTPS connection error. This could lead to either the certificate had already expired or the web address had been compromised. That is why the Certificate Authority revoked the web certificate so that it can warn you all about the compromised event. However, many users just ignore them and don’t give a piece of concern at all on the HTTPS issue and just visit. Do remember that if you are visiting a non-HTTPS site, it means your communication channel is not encrypted!

Credit: Alan Tay

 

Read Full April 2015 Newsletter



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