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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cryptolocker Virus and You

I came across this article Cryptolocker Virus News Article and believed it was noteworthy to point out some good tips and ideas drawing from experience.

First off, these viruses are usually the result of visiting sites that are less than reputable.  Never submit information on a website you don't trust or (let's be honest) is completely riddled with pornographic images.  Secondly,  always keep your anti-virus updated with the latest definitions.  Third, keep your anti-malware scanner software updated as well.  Lastly, even with the latest updates on both antivirus and anti-malware, it does you no good if you don't run regular scans on your PC.  Most PC techs will tell you to run a scan at least once a week or more often depending on your web surfing activity.

Depending on your antivirus program, be sure to visit its website for information on this virus, and tips on how to prevent it from giving you trouble on your PC.  A good rule of thumb for myself is that I clean my browser history, delete my cookies, and run every scan possible with both my anti-virus and anti-malware software programs at least twice a week.  This is not because of pornographic sites, but because I do a lot of research both on black hat sites and white hat sites.  I have to be well versed in network security.  But for the average user, a scan of both programs at least once a week is more than prudent.

Also, if you have children, please limit their internet activities, set parental controls, and block websites entirely if you think there may be some questionable content.  For more information, please visit the following sites I believe to be helpful: - For Norton security products. - For McAfee security products. - For AVG security products. - Kaspersky Security products.

If you still need help, please contact a PC technician immediately for assistance.  Also keep in mind that like with any new virus or computer or network security issue, updates are being put together as fast as humanly possible.  Patches are being made, and updates are being designed to close loopholes.  Be sure to keep up-to-date on all updates (whether you're a MAC or PC user).

For more information, contact your network or system administrator if in a work environment.

Friday, September 6, 2013

US and UK spy agencies defeat privacy and security on the internet (Courtesy:

This latest blog I wanted to share because of the rise of concern over privacy and security.  I felt it necessary to write about this after reading the following link:


I stumbled upon this when I was checking my "Google+" account.  To be fair, I haven't read the article in its entirety.  Though playing devil's advocate, I can see some potential benefits to this happening.  And because of the rise in concern over privacy and security after the recent leak of NSA (National Security Agency) domestic eavesdropping, I felt it necessary to point out some of the potential benefits here as opposed to the potential pitfalls some folks jump to (the conspiracy theorists).

The first and foremost benefit is this:  It's better this happens by the United States and the United Kingdom's spy agencies than have it happen by someone with less-than-honorable reasons.  Let's face it, everyone would be in an uproar if someone in a much more foreign (and hostile) sovereign power did it.  I'd be in total concern that someone broke my encryption codes in a foreign hostile region than my own government.  Besides, unless I'm doing something completely illegal, I have nothing to hide.

Another benefit to this development is that because of this government sanctioned "breach", a "white hat" or ethical hacker (someone who is paid to legally break into secure networks and computer systems) can find solutions to such breaches of security and privacy, and find new countermeasures and defenses against such cyber attacks.

Suppose these "white hats" didn't exist.  Let's just say for the sake of argument that our governments weren't proactive in setting up these legal breaches, who would be responsible for the safety and security of our computer systems and networks?  The manufacturer's?  The individual public users?  "Black Hats"?  Those are the folks we really should worry about.  They are the ones who hack for many reasons.  Primary reasons include greed, bragging rights, and to "just have fun".  Sometimes, although rare, "Black Hats" have been used for political cyber attacks on politician's systems, networks, etc.  

My personal suggestion to get an idea of what this all means, watch the movie "Live Free or Die Hard".  In this movie, they talk of something hackers everywhere both live for and fear called a "fire sale".  I won't explain the details of which since they are explained in the movie, and while I don't think it'd actually happen, it's a very real worry.  "White hats" who work on government payroll are constantly working on making sure someone or a group of people are not able to perform this theoretical "fire sale".

One final thought on this subject, for those of us in I.T. (Information Technology)/I.S. (Information Security) industries, this can be a useful development, because it means someone is already working on solutions and remedies to counteract such breaches and cyber attacks.  Those of us in said industries are working hard to keep up with developments like this so that we can do our job that much more effectively and efficiently.  The last thing we want is for someone to blame us for something that wasn't within our control, or even a degree of control.  

Have questions or need something explained?  Send me an email at, and I'll do my best to either answer your question or provide an explanation.  If I cannot, I'll point you in the right direction.  If you'd like your question or explanation featured in a blog, let me know too!  Thanks for reading.