Why Become Computer Savvy?

By | August 19, 2014

Computer hacked

Knowledge is power and as a computer user power is knowledge of knowing how to defend your system against hackers. Why become computer savvy is not the question. The question is why NOT become computer savvy?

Well, the majority of our society believes becoming computer savvy means having the knowledge to take a computer apart or build one from barebones. That’s just not the case. We all don’t have to be computer techs.  It simply means taking action and practicing the basics to protect our digital privacy and avoid identity theft as best we can.

Basically once a week there’s news about online entities impacted by hackers, such as  NASA,  PlayStationFacebook,  JP Morgan financial Institution, and the latest triumph unfortunately was the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) which four million employee accounts were compromised.

That being said, there’s no doubt the common home network or hot spot is severely vulnerable to say the least. As they say, “Easy pickings.”

             What Hackers Don’t Want You To Know

Companies Have Lost Millions Due To Virus Attacks
Recognize Anomalies And Take Action
Programmers – Hackers: Same Difference
Pay Up or Else!
Scammed by Social Engineering.
This is Windows Support Calling. Right!
Never Let Any Unauthorized Entity Connect.
The Second They Remotely Connect It’s Over.
Social Engineering Scams Revealed.
Surf the Internet Wisely.
Never Provide Sensitive Information Online.
Best Practices to Protect Your Data
Email Threats.
The Purpose of Hackers.
What Can We Do?
Remain Alert.
Disclosure


Companies Lost Millions Due To Virus Attacks

There is a lack of data breach reporting and transparency which numbers will stagger you. Most will never admit falling victim to hackers, the number of times it’s occurred, or the extent.

It’s advantageous for companies NOT to broadcast breaches due to the embarrassment of failing to do their jobs. It’s terrible for a business to show weakness in this era of technology – savvy criminals. They must adhere to guidelines enacted by the Federal Law  Gramm-Leach Bliley Act. This act requires companies to explain their practices of how they safeguard customer sensitive information.

Furthermore, they must show they’ve complied with the Safeguard Rule in comprehensive language explaining their privacy notice, customer rights, and offer feedback.

The last thing clients want to hear is the company storing their private, sensitive, or financial records was compromised and on top of that they are now at risk of identity theft possibly worse. Consumers and clients understandably loose faith in that company’s inability to safeguard their confidential information.

They’ll cancel accounts and take their business elsewhere. Jokingly, I want to say until their next company fails to protect their records. Let’s face it, today it’s happening all over this country and abroad like it’s nobody business. Pardon the pun.

Most times a data breach goes unnoticed and the extent of the crime. The procedure is they must contact law enforcement, shareholders, and consumers in advance of a forensic investigation.

No one has a magic wand to instantly determine where, when, who, or why. Sophisticated hackers take months to plan, execute and obfuscate. Actions taken to investigate are a painstaking scientific endeavor; in other words, methodical procedures performed around the clock.

Those affected by the attack will not get answers right away because those answers must be based on facts not baseless unsupported assumptions. It may take months to ascertain who, what, when, and how. Then more time to reestablish security measures and most likely how to protect all involved from repercussions of the attack.


Recognize Anomalies And Take Action

Using a sequence of educated defenses to avoid insidious hackers and their worms, Trojans, and what have you is extraordinary difficult. You can’t stop them if they want to get in; however, you know your machine well enough to recognize anomalies. An anomaly is something that deviates from the normal behavior, such as pop-ups, slow response time, hard drive working too hard, or freezing, just to name a few . Those are clues. So, you’ve determined your computer is infected now it’s extremely imperative to know what actions to take get rid of it and mitigate the damage if possible.


Programmers – Hackers: Same Difference

Recently, computer programmers have become more and more daring and relentless having made tremendous progress in their efforts to steal, sell, manipulate, or separate you from your money. I call them computer programmers because it takes a certain amount of skills to create an intelligent mechanism such as a virus.

Viruses are created for a number of reasons like to collect sensitive information, prove their intelligence, bragging rights, recognition, hold computers hostage for monetary gain, or espionage meaning to spy. They are relentless in their schemes / efforts to put your / our lives disarray.


Pay Up or Else.

This man made virus will prevent you from opening any executable files until you have paid them with your credit card information. Obviously this means your computer is locked down and you’re rendered helpless. You can’t run the  anti-virus program or Windows Restore because it says it’s infected. And even after payment there’s no guarantee they will release your computer or even if they will; it may be a one way operation for them.

Once you’ve provided them with your sensitive information get ready to have your identity exploited. My computer has been taken hostage at lease twice and I’ve cleaned my niece’s laptop of the same virus. Has your computer been taken hostage?


Scammed by Social Engineering.

Let me ask if you’ve ever heard of Social Engineering? Yes…no. Well, most haven’t or understand its particular performance and execution unless they’re in Information Technology, work with finances, or in any of the security fields. These individuals have been made aware by their employers of this method to gain information; however I say anyone can still be listed as vulnerable if you’re not on your p’s and q’s.

Social engineering is a technique used by scammers which involves a performance of gaining a individual’s awareness to implant a false trust. It’s used to specifically compromise the integrity of a predefined security defenses, such as providing passwords, company information, or employee data.

It’s similar to a con game…they gain your trust to extract or have you divulge confidential information making you an unsuspecting accessory to their crime. You may be approached by a co-worker, by telephone, or even a phony website. Social Engineering is a serious threat and everyone is a target.

Possiblity of Social Engineering at work


 Example of Social Engineering.

Let me give you an example of social engineering. Thus far this has happened to me about 3 times, but the first time I listened as the caller from the “Windows Support Team” told me my computer was infested with viruses and it was sending out pings (unauthorized messages over the Internet) and he was assigned to help me.

I asked, “Do you work for Microsoft?” He stated, “No. I was assigned by my manager.” I listened some more. He went on to say that my computer was infected and sending out numerous phishing emails too. He then instructed me to perform a series of  tasks on my computer that led me to Computer Management > Event Viewer > Customer Views > Administrative Events.

The Administrative Events is a log of various applications and windows components that report problems and the status of problems via alert messages. Once I knew where he directed me to I then knew it was a total scam. The alerts messages are not a list of viruses which the caller insisted they were. Administrative Events is specifically used to troubleshoot system issues and can be deleted.

Administrative Event

Now, if a non-computer savvy person were to see this they’d be understandably concerned and want to take immediate action. Needless to say everyone wants their computer cleansed of viruses, right.  Bingo!  And that’s exactly what the scammer banks on. Your urgency to clean your computer; exploiting your vulnerability regarding computers.


Never Let Any Unauthorized Entity Connect.

I knew where he guided me, but I played along and at that point he sealed his doom, but I still listened to learn more about this tactic (I’m so curious). He directed to go to a website and I did. It listed 3 types of remote technologies and one was Team Viewer. I said to myself, “This guy wants to connect to my computer remotely.” Okay, I’d heard enough.

I asked, “What’s the company you represent again?” He gave it to me. I looked it up and apparently it’s nothing new because there were articles about this type of scam. I became indignant and yelled, “How could you do this to people?”

I continued…”I know a thing or two about computers (Lol!) and those are legit files NOT viruses. You know I just looked  you up on the web and you’re listed as a scam, stupid. “Don’t call my house again.” But they are persistent and they still call every once in a while under another fictitious name. So beware!

 


The Second They Connect It’s Over.

You see how he tried to use me to assist him in obtaining my private information and no doubt if I let him connect he would have installed a backdoor to access my computer at his convenience. He tried to gain my trust by using Windows as part of his company’s organization hoping I would relate it to Microsoft.

Plus gain my confidence by illustrating that he knew more than I did and of course using Windows in his title would authenticate his legitimacy.

I hope I’ve illustrated how this scam is perpetrated on innocent people by means of Social Engineering. The attempt to gain your trust by using a well known word like “Windows” followed by saying your computer is infected by viruses and they’ve contacted you to help. Pay attention folks: Microsoft or anyone else do not make unsolicited house calls. 

Then they’ll take you through a series of steps to discover the bogus viruses on your computer which happen to be legit computer files; in addition, have you set them up remotely to access your computer and at this point folks it’s a done deal. They’re in. They no longer have need of your assistance. You will ferociously thank them for cleaning your computer. Literately!


 Social Engineering Scams Revealed :

1.) Maintain a healthy skepticism and be vigilant of new acquaintances.

2.) Beware of strangers befriending too quickly.

3.) Never reveal non-confidential information about you or the company on the telephone, online, or in person.

4.) Someone phones you stating your credit card has been compromised: Reply okay, hang up, and call the number listed on the back of your credit card.

5.) Never give up your password(s) to anyone at anytime; if you must change it immediately afterwards.

6.) Beware of co-workers, yes, co-workers attempting to find the location or possible personal choices for your passwords, such as family pets, children names, etc.

6.) Beware of fake, spoof, or parody websites. Some will look identical to the authentic banking website, but look closely at the Uniform Resource Identifier (URL) and ensure its starts with https://……….. this means your communications is encrypted and therefore secure.

What is computer savvy? Well, I’m not saying no one can be tricked, exploited, or manipulated; these people are very good at what they do and anyone can fall prey, but at least you’re aware of the possible tactics and dangers in the digital domain.

 HP.com (Hewlett-Packard)


Surf the Internet Wisely.

How effective are your Internet searches? The Internet is a powerful tool and must be used wisely or your computer will suffer the consequences. To paraphrase Andy Greenhaw there’s approximately 1.3 trillion gigabytes of good and bad information on the web.

The savvy surfer knows what to do if he /she encounters trouble. These days people are performing a tremendous amount of online job searches. You may come across a site asking you to input your social security number.


Never Provide Sensitive Information Online.

I usually enter number 1s or 0s in place of the actual SS number. With all the identity theft occurring every day in cyber space, such as soliciting confidential data which officials tell computer-15812_1280you to safeguard. Sensitive data such as your Social Security number which they insist you keep in a safe place. However, it’s in-comprehensive to know everywhere you turn that’s the confidential information most required by entities.

Providing this information does indeed subject you to identity theft. Hackers will open a new line of credit, file for a new mortgage, or create a fraudulent job history. Are you computing consciously?


 

Best Practices:

1. ) keep your browser software up to date: download new patches for new vulnerabilities.

2.) Remove malicious files from your computer by running the anti-virus software to update its definition.

3.) Ensure you scan files for viruses prior to downloading from the Internet.

4.) Watch out for phishing attacks used online to trick users into providing sensitive information. Possibly from banks, social media, payment processor, or shopping sites. They usually contain links leading to bogus sites posing as legitimate sites.

5.) Don’t used the same passwords for multiple sites because this makes it easy to retrieve your confidential information. Try keeping track of passwords by writing them down and placing in a safe place.

6.) When entering sensitive or buying online make sure the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) / web address starts off with  Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). A encrypted secure web address and not merely HTTP.

7.) It’s critical to never ever although it’s convenient to use public free Wi-Fi. Attackers use wireless sniffers to invade and steal information as this line of communication is unprotected.

8.) Never configure your browser to remember passwords, I know it’s convenient, but they’re saved in one location on the computer and  highly attractive to attackers if they’ve gained access to your system.

My purpose for enlightening you to these best practices is not to deter you from going about your daily computing activities, but to ensure you’re exercising precautions in order to  experience the Internet in a wise and safe manner.



Email Threats.

I’m sure everyone has received email with an executable attachment (.exe) not knowing  the sender. It could be junk / spam or one that appears to be harmless. As we know today it’s the primary strategy used by hackers to infect your computer with a Trojan horse virus. To be on the safe side delete that email.

There are three main information security factors and they are confidentiality, integrity, and availability.  First, Confidentiality is the insurance that email is protected from hackers. Second, Integrity ensures it hasn’t been tampered with during the transport from sender to recipient. Third, Availability ensures that providers, such as AOL, Gmail, MSN, and the like maintain a constant up-time of 99.9999% serving its customers.


The Purpose of Hackers.

Today digital programmers or hackers are steadily creating various methods to infiltrate your privacy, destroy data, shutdown networks and  home computers by the use of adware, viruses, spam, and phishing.

Their intentions are to exploit weaknesses in computer systems for fun, protest, profit, or  merely to conquer a challenge. Spam a/k/a junk mail  is another major threat because they’re delivered in heavy volume and contain viruses, malicious code, and solicitation to gain private information.

Email is not spared the element of phishing a/k/a identity theft which we discussed earlier. In the attempt and most times they’re successful with creating spoofed websites created to trick consumers into providing personal information, such as SS numbers, passwords, and of course credit card information. Don’t be fooled!


What Can We Do?

1.)Run the anti-virus software and update its definitions.

2.) Be cautious of email with attachments exe, .pif, .scr, .bat, .com.Ink, or .shs. They’re known to contain malicious code ( opens backdoors on infected systems allowing an access for the hacker to upload information to a remote computer or turn it into a bot)  geared to invade and damage your computer.

3.) Scan emails to ensure it’s virus free.

4.) Turn on Windows automatic updates.

5.) If you’re using instant messaging applications ensure it’s NOT in the computers start menu; meaning it does not automatically start when the computer is turned on.

6.) It’s beneficial to stay current with the latest virus news, so you know what to watch out for.


Remain Alert.

Do you know about hackers and they’re capabilities or can you recognize a virus’s behavior if your computer becomes infected? Well, knowing about these two evils of the web will keep you from falling victim to their traps, mitigate their affect, and finally clean your computer quickly before damage is irreversible.

As the idiom goes “know your enemy.” So, you have my take on what is computer savvy and it’s not difficult to learn; furthermore, it’s basic common sense. Move forward and have great Internet and surfing experiences, but also be alert of its hazards.


Full Disclosure:

The links / banners on windowsregistrykeys.com are affiliate links, which they have granted this website the honor of advertising their merchandise. I will earn a commission if you click on the link or make a purchase using that link. If you make a purchase, the price you pay will be the same whether you use my affiliate link or go directly to the vendor’s website. By using my affiliate links, you are helping support this site and I genuinely appreciate your patronage.


Author: Wanda

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38 thoughts on “Why Become Computer Savvy?

  1. Helen

    I was under the assumption to be computer savvy I had to know how the computer worked and be able to fix it when it broke. I know it would be great to be able to do those things. But from reading your article I know it goes beyond that. Thanks for clearing things up for me.

    Reply
    1. Wanda Post author

      Hi Helen, most people are under that same assumption, so you’re not alone.

      Cheers,

      Wanda

      Reply
    1. Wanda Post author

      Please do. I hope your sister can utilize the information on my website and post comments too.

      Cheers!

      Wanda

      Reply
  2. Audrey

    I was under the assumption that when people asked if you were computer savvy they meant if you’re able to name all the parts and such. After reading your blog I now know different. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Wanda Post author

      Hi Audrey, I figured that’s the assumption most people are under and now you know better. Good for you!

      Thank you for commenting.

      Wanda

      Reply
  3. Jewell

    Can I simply just say what a comfort to discover a person that really understands what they’re discussing on the internet.
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    A lot more people really need to read this and understand and recognize scams of today. Good job and I will pass on to my friends.

    Reply
    1. Wanda Post author

      These are just some of what nefarious happenings in this world today.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Cheers,
      Wanda

      Reply
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    1. Wanda Post author

      Good to hear Jake, please come back and to find I’ve added more content.

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      Wanda

      Reply
  6. Verna

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    Reply
    1. Wanda Post author

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    1. Wanda Post author

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      Reply
  8. deon

    Hello, yeah this post is in fact nice and I
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    Reply
    1. Wanda

      You’re very welcome Deon. Come again!

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      Wanda

      Reply
  9. Gabriela

    Hi, just wanted to tell you, I loved this post. It was inspiring to realized you don’t have to be a tech to grasp what’s happening in our digital world today. Keep on posting!

    Reply
    1. Wanda

      You right you don’t have to be technically inclined, Gabriela. It’s beneficial to get a sense of how our society is impacted.

      Cheers!

      Wanda

      Reply
  10. RodrickJAzzaro

    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up.
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    Anyhow, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

    Reply
    1. Wanda

      I apologize for the glitch, but very happy you reposted and thanks.

      Wanda

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  11. Will

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    1. Wanda

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  12. Rvillanue

    You should be a part of a contest for one of the most useful websites online.
    I am going to recommend this web site! You are so on point. Everyone is getting hacked these days. When will this internet be safe from these crazy people? I know you don’t have the answer; just thought I air it out. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Wanda Post author

      I wish I could conjure a realistic answer to that question, Rvillanue. The Internet is vast swamped with millions of variables and hopefully one day the Government will devise a solution. BTW I’m not aware of a contest recognizing useful websites, but I thank you for the induction 🙂

      Reply
  13. JDeanne

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    Reply
    1. Wanda Post author

      This is great news, Jdeanne, I’ve configured my site to render favorably to mobile devices. Nice!

      Fantastic!
      Wanda

      Reply
  14. Carmine

    I can tell ya there’s no way I could ever take a computer apart and it’s good to know I don’t have to. Thanks for writing this. I’ll be back.

    Reply
  15. Dean

    In my view its actually remarkable how I feel you wrote this with me in mind; in other words designed for me. I especially enjoyed the write up on surfing the web wisely. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
    1. Wanda Post author

      Learning defensive moves while surfing the web keep your computer malware free, but also knowing how to rid the pc of it when you do. Glad you found it worth your while.

      Cheers!
      Wanda

      Reply
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    Reply
    1. Wanda Post author

      Hi Zachery, thanks for visiting and please do holla at your friends for me.
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      Reply

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