It’s almost Thanksgiving, and regardless of whether or not you celebrate the occasion, now is a great time to sit back and reflect on all the goodness and bounty we have in our tech-filled lives. Think about it. Just 10 years ago, iPhones were still two years away, Uber was a German word, and you could only use Facebook if you had aced the SAT’s and got yourself into Harvard.
- November 17th, 2015
- 9 Comments
Online Safety, PC security
Bet you can’t resist a good deal.
Well if you’re anything like the other 223 million Americans who made Black Friday/Cyber Monday purchases in 2014, you’re in good company. Move over Turkey Day, the end of November has two new(er) stars. And even though these two days, devoted to the fine art of hunting for insane discounts, can never really replace that special day dedicated to counting your blessings, retailers and consumers are nonetheless entranced by the newcomers.
- November 11th, 2015
- 2 Comments
Online Safety, PC security
Ransomware. The word itself sends shivers down our spines. The concept that someone could be brazen enough to infiltrate and lock your computer, and then have audacity to demand money so you can get your information restored or unlocked, is shocking and terrifying. It’s also happening with increasing frequency.
Ransomware is a type of malware that locks your computer or mobile phone and prevents you from accessing your data (all of it!) until you pay a ransom. That ransom is usually demanded in Bitcoin payment, an encrypted form of online payment that enables the hacker to collect money online and anonymously. As for the rates demanded, these can vary widely. In some cases, victims are asked to pay hundreds of dollars; in other cases (usually those that target businesses and corporations) victims are asked to pay several thousand dollars.
Social Engineering is a pretty hot topic nowadays. It seems like every time you turn around there is another story about a major corporation, important person or institution whose data has been compromised. Often, these hacks began with an email that shouldn’t have been opened, or the revealing of information that should never have been told.
No, these attacks are not the brainchild of some evil tech genius, cranking out infected code and overrunning systems with malware. Rather, they are the results of an art that dates back as far as human existence, when the first cave man convinced the second cave man that it was entirely worthwhile to trade his woolly mammoth for a handful of rocks.
It’s fun to be scared by frightening costumes and pranks at Halloween. Heck, who DOESN’T like a good DIY zombie get-up? But one thing that’s definitely NOT fun is being hit by a real-life cybercriminal who is trying to hack into your PC or steal your identity.
After all, ghosts, witches, and haunted houses are one thing. Having your PC turned into a zombie, your email hacked by a cybercriminal, or all the data on your computer held ransom by a cyber con artist – well that’s something altogether different.