Well it is almost holiday shopping season. During this period; many people opt to online for doing a good majority of their Christmas shopping. Virus hijackers like to take advantage of the extra online traffic by writing new virus code and infecting thousands of sites in order to get their malware out into the wild. We see it happen year after year. One of the most aggressive of these infections is ransom ware called the FBI virus. This virus is brutal once it gets into your system. Depending on how long it stays in your system, your computer can be locked down sometimes even in safe mode with no easy way to get into your operating system. The fake screen that pops up looks very real and can be intimidating for many people. Essentially the virus lets you believe that you are committing a violation and you need to pay $200.00. The money is usually requested to be made as a money pak from Walgreen’s or Wal Mart. As real as it may appear, it is a fake program. Do Not Pay the $200.00 as the screen will still remain on your computer and the virus will still be there.
One of the worst aspects of the FBI virus is that it is almost never stopped by anti-virus software. It appears to be most common with video sites and X rated websites.
In addition we have seen an increase in exe hijackers and the system restore virus that actually changes the configuration of your files so that you think they have been erased. These virus variants are a bit easier to remove but registry fixes often have to be implemented in order to get the machine back to a normal state. Most of these virus attacks will take several steps to completely remove. It can almost never be done just by a simple scan from your anti-virus program.
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A disaster recovery plan is critical for the health of every small business but, only 25% of the businesses I encounter have a plan in place. Personally, I Feel this is because business owners don’t have a clear idea on what needs to be done; not knowing where to begin, they put off building a disaster recovery plan. A good Plan starts with backing up Business Critical Data.
So Just What is Business Critical Data?
Business critical data includes information your business could not recover if it were lost. Any small business disaster recovery plan should focus on keeping this irreplaceable data safe. That data might include:
- Customer information
- Email correspondence
- Financial records and information
- Sales and shipping records
- Insurance, vendor and employee contact information
- LAN and WAN Network diagrams and IT vendor service level agreements
- Telephone service level agreements
- Drawings or Specification documents
- HR records
- Video or audio records
- Procedures and Policies
- Quality and product tracking records
- Inventory records
- Certificates and Licenses
- Security information
- Manuals, books and other products created for and by your business
- Offsite storage indexes which include what is stored off site, where it’s stored, and when it was update.
Now you have a idea of what Business Critical Data is you can begin putting together your Disaster Recovery Plan.
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Clean the LCD screen with a soft dry cloth. If the screen is really dirty, use distilled water, applying limited amounts to the cloth, never spray water or any liquid directly onto a computer screen or use a laptop screen cleaning kit. Apply light pressure as you wipe the screen because LCD screens can crack under direct concentrated pressure. Never uses an Ammonia based cleaner on your laptop screen it will damage the display
If you don’t have antivirus software installed, then you need to get on this right away. I would highly recommend Vipre Anti-Virus If you are looking for a good antivirus. The second part of this is that you need to keep this software up to date and you need to run scans regularly. Most good antivirus software packages will automatically update themselves. However, it is a good idea to check that this is happening. When it comes to scanning, it is a good idea to scan every week or so. By keeping your virus protection software up to date and by scanning often, you can make sure you catch any threats before they can wreak havoc on your PC.
Be Careful When Opening and Clicking Links Within Emails
Opening a bad attachment or directly clicking on a virus in an email are two really common ways to get a virus. There are quite a few ways to avoid this. First, be really careful opening emails that have attachments from people you don’t know. Second, if you open an email, you don’t recognize the sender, and the email itself really doesn’t make sense, then don’t click on any of the links in the email. In this case, it is best to just delete the email and move on. Last, if you are not with a solid email provider like G Mail, Yahoo Mail, etc, then you may want to think about switching. These services do a great job of filtering out any viruses before they even get to your inbox.
Be Careful When Browsing the Internet
Another really common place to get a virus is from a bad website. We have all been there, we have clicked on a link or a result in Google search and we end up at a website that just doesn’t look trustworthy. This site is trying to get you to download stuff, has tons of popups, and won’t even let you go back. In most cases, you are still OK. However, what you do next may determine if you get a virus or not. First, see if you can go back or even see if you can close out the browser window. If it doesn’t let you, you can try to close any popups or notifications using the “X” or the cancel button. If you still can’t get away from the bad site, you can use the task manager by pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL to manually close your browser task. The big key is that whatever you do, don’t allow your browser to download anything. Most browsers today will ask if you are sure that you want to continue with a download. This is where you make your last stand against the virus.
To go along with this, it is best to just avoid certain types of sites. First of all, avoid public torrents and public torrent sites. These are well-known virus farms. You may also want to be careful around any type of adult sites or any low quality streaming sites. I am not talking about YouTube here. I am talking about sites that stream a specific TV show or channel illegally. These types of sites might have malware as well.
One last thing to look out for when browsing is fake “download”, “play now”, “play”, etc buttons. Be really careful around these. Keep an eye out for these on sites that you particularly don’t trust. Also, while on the topic, don’t fall for the “Your computer is infected” ads or popups as well. These are usually a trick to get you to download a virus. If you see one of these and you are unsure, close it, then open up your virus protection software and run a scan. This will tell you if you are truly infected or not.
Be Careful When Downloading Programs or Files
There are many times when you really just need to download a program or file from the Internet. If you do this correctly, then there is no issue. However, the key here is that when you download something, make sure it is from a trusted source. Downloading software directly from the software manufacturers website is one good tip. For example, if you need to download iTunes, download it from Apple itself, not some third party distributor. The only time you should download from a third party site is when the site itself links to the third party site for the download.
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By following the tips and advice above, hopefully you will never get a virus again.
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