LinkedIn Password Leak

The LinkedIn password leak is rearing it's ugly head again - that's right, again.  LinkedIn was hacked back in 2012, where hackers released 6.4 million cracked passwords to the internet.  In the past couple of days, the second wave of cracked passwords has hit and the number has grown astronomically to 164.6 million vulnerable, unique passwords.  This LinkedIn breach is the largest and most relevant publicly acknowledged password breach in the history of the internet.  If you have not changed your LinkedIn password already, it would be a good idea to do so now.  Typically, leaked passwords from online accounts are sold on the dark web.  You might not care about your LinkedIn password being stolen, but if you are someone who uses similar variations of the same password, or the same password for everything (you shouldn't do this), hackers have developed complex algorithms that figure out other passwords you may have - this includes bank accounts, which is certainly something that would be concerning to almost anyone.  Click here if you'd like to read more about the latest LinkedIn password leak.

The average person typically has around 26 online accounts, and companies such as ourselves usually manage hundreds of online accounts.  The best method of security is to find a good password management service or application that you like - let your password manager generate new, random passwords for each of your accounts.  If you do notice suspicious activity, change your password immediately, even if you haven't received a notification or email from that particular service - it's better to be safe than sorry.  Additionally, you can set multi-factor authentication or a two-step verification process to create an extra hurdle for hackers to get through on your most critical online accounts.  If you do not want a password management application, or don't think you need one, our advice is to routinely change passwords to your sensitive social media, email, bank accounts or other online accounts that you may have sensitive, personal information on.  This should be done about every 2-3 months to ensure maximum security of your information on the web.

The LinkedIn password leak is just the latest issue in what has seemingly become an industry - the selling and trading of your personal information.  Of course, the most powerful, profitable corporations and businesses employ sharing and trading tactics of some personal information to maximize the effectiveness of their reach when spending their advertising dollars - they simply want to know where and who to market to.  Password sharing is completely different because it is malicious, and typically these hackers operate overseas so there is little to no oversight done by our own governmental agencies.

Computer Repair in Tyler can help you secure your most sensitive data and give you ideas on how to combat this growing problem.  If you think you'd like multi-factor authentication or two-step verification processes set up on your sensitive accounts, we can help you depending on the service - some services allow this and some do not.  We can also set up a password management system for you and show you how to use it.  If this information is alarming to you and you'd like to take preventative steps, don't hesitate to call us or stop by today!


Petya Ransomware

The Petya ransomware just became a whole lot worse.  The unusual ransomware that first popped up on security researchers' radar in March now bundles a second file-encrypting program for instances in which it cannot replace a computer's master boot record to encrypt its file table.  Instead of encrypting files directly, it encrypts the master file table and replaces the computer's master boot record code with its own malicious code that displays the ransom note and leaves the computer unable to boot.  Typically, in order to rewrite the master boot record the malware needs to gain administrator privileges by asking users for access via the User Account Control application in Windows.  Previously, if Petya failed to gain admin privileges, the infection routine would stop.  However, the latest variant installs another ransomware program called Mischa that begins to encrypt files directly - an operation which does not require admin privileges.  The ransom that Mischa currently demands is about $875 to get access back to your files.  The installer for Petya and Mischa is distributed via emails that pose as job applications.  These emails contain a link to an online file storage service that hosts a  picture of the alleged applicant and a malicious executable file that masquerades as a PDF document.  If downloaded and executed, the fake PDF file tries to install Petya ransomware and if that fails, installs Mischa.

If you think your computer has already been infected, bring it to our South Beckham location and we can diagnose it for free.  Computer Repair in Tyler offers removal of spyware, malware and ransomware.  However, we strongly recommend that you routinely back up your important files and data because with ransomware there is currently no way around the ransom payment.  Even when you pay the ransoms, which are usually hundreds of dollars, there is no guarantee your files will be restored.  When you routinely backup your data, we are able to restore from your backups and get rid of the ransomware.  Read more about Computer Repair in Tyler's virus removal here.


Free Windows 10 Upgrade Offer "To End Soon"

Microsoft is letting customers know that the opportunity to upgrade to Windows 10 for free is closing. After July 29th, users will have to pay to upgrade. If you are currently running Windows 7 or later on your PC, you may have noticed the offers to upgrade for free over the last few months. Don't let it pass you by - there is no reason to put it off any longer after this announcement. Not to mention, Microsoft is no longer supporting any version of Windows that isn't Windows 10. When technical support is ended on an operating system, that operating system is open to more security vulnerabilities, viruses, and other malicious adware and malware.

Let Computer Repair in Tyler handle the upgrade for you. Sure, you can do it for free in the comfort of your home - but can you guarantee that all of your important files and data will still be there after the upgrade? In case of data loss, our experienced technicians can do a full, comprehensive backup of your files from your hard drive before beginning the upgrade process. After completion of the upgrade, we will make sure your files transferred over properly and will verify that your computer's drivers and applications are compatible with your new operating system.

We serve not only Tyler, but the entire East Texas area. We offer our services at our store-front location and we will come to you at your home or office upon request.


Running Old Versions of Windows?

Do you have a PC that needs updating?  Is your company or office still running old versions of Windows?  If so, you are unnecessarily putting yourself at risk.  Microsoft has killed support for ALL versions of Windows beneath Windows 10.  That means hackers and internet scammers will specifically target and exploit Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.  With no more support from Microsoft, these versions have security vulnerabilities including viruses and the up and coming ransomware, which has been crippling computers left and right. These vulnerabilities on the old operating systems will never be patched by Microsoft again.  This article from Computer World highlights the dangers of remaining on an old version of Windows.  It's time to upgrade.

Computer Repair in Tyler is here to help if you are unsure about performing these upgrades on your own.  Sometimes when performing a system upgrade, things go wrong.  Data is lost, files are missing, pictures are nowhere to be found.  Luckily, we fully backup your files before the upgrade, ensuring that your important data remains in tact.  Protect yourself from the dangers of the web - bring your computer to Computer Repair in Tyler!


Sometimes, You Really Can't Be Too Careful...

"Don't open emails if you don't know who they came from..."
"Don't download songs / movies / software from illegal sources..."
"Don't click on ads that claim your computer is broken..."

"...because you'll get a virus."

Most of us have heard these kinds of warnings before, and, for the most part, we are pretty good about keeping our computers safe from threats. But, just as our computers have gotten more complex and more powerful, so too have the viruses, malware, and hackers who want nothing more to break into them. These days, protecting your computer and important files from hackers isn't as simple as deleting that suspicious email or staying away from obviously rotten websites. A great example of this came across our news feeds this morning:

A group of hackers that develops and updates a powerful hacking tool known as Angler have managed to sneak dangerous web ads onto perfectly legitimate, highly visited websites like answers.com They did this by buying the domain names of recently closed media and advertising firms and using those names to trick online ad networks into accepting their dangerous ads. When a normal internet user viewed one of these ads, their web browser would be hijacked into running nasty malware designed to allow other hackers to install even nastier viruses!

What did these nefarious ads look like? Were they something that could be avoided if you saw them in time? Not really. At least some of these dangerous ads used perfectly unoffensive images, like the one of the socket wrench sitting at the top of this post!

This isn't the first time something like this has happened, either. Major companies like Forbes, DailyMotion, Microsoft's MSN.com, and even Reader's Digest have all inadvertently allowed dangerous ads to run on their websites within the last couple of years. All of them pointed to the advertising networks they contract with to show you online ads, but ultimately, it's innocent users that will continue to get hurt until companies start caring about every piece of content that gets displayed on their websites.

But, if dangerous web ads can appear on any site, what can you to protect yourself? Your first line of defense is still going to be a good set of anti-virus / anti-malware software. In fact, the most recent round of dangerous ads purposely avoided computers that had good virus protection already installed. Your next step might be to download and install an ad blocker for your web browser.

At ETV Software, we can help you pick an anti-virus package to help keep you safe, can check to make sure your Operating System and applications have the latest security updates, and can help you find and remove any viruses or malware that may already be lurking on your system. You can make sure your computer is protected by giving us a call today or by stopping by our Tyler Texas location at 1331 South Beckham Ave.


Microsoft Ends Support For Older Versions of Internet Explorer

 

Last week, Microsoft officially stopped supporting Internet Explorer versions 8, 9, and 10. These older versions will no longer be receiving bug fixes and, more importantly, security updates. Given that web browsers like Internet Explorer are the way many viruses make it to our computers, updating to the latest supporter version is very important for businesses and home users alike. The list of which version of Internet Explorer you should be running varies depending on which version of Windows you have on your computers. To be honest, it can be a bit confusing, but Computer Repair in Tyler can help you sort things out and make sure your computer is properly protected.

For more information you can give us a call at 903.858.4383, use the form on our Contact page, or stop by our location at 1331 South Beckham Ave. Tyler, Texas. (Look for the ETV Software sign, that's us!)