Malware Alerts for Early 2016

Many have asked us what the current malware alerts are. Starting in 2014 the world saw a non-stop uptick in malware reports. This includes viruses, trojans, worms, phishing attacks, scam calls, and something relatively new: malvertising. 2015 saw a slight rise in what was already an extreme amount of malware in the wild.

How does anyone stay safe in this era of malware storms?

Slow down, research, think before you click

Once upon a time I could recommend that people stay away from certain unsafe sites or I would advise not to download products from shady sites. Now, malware can be hiding in the most unexpected places.

Currently, the 2 Biggest Malware Alerts are...

tech call scams and phishing attacks

Most of you have already had some experience with the dreaded tech call scam. This arrives as a cold call to your home or a terrorizing pop-up on your computer screen.

Your computer is full of viruses but never fear, Microsoft, Dell, Windows, McAfee, (place product name here) has detected them and is now ready to help you clean your computer.

All they need is for you to call their 1-8?? number or go to LogMeIn or TeamViewer so that the tech representative can jump onto your computer system and slay those dangerous viruses. When they are done they tell you they have installed their state-of-the-art, holy water anti-virus that will protect your machine forever and now all you need to do is give them your credit card account number so they can charge you for the house call and activate your lifetime security. This is when you find out this is going to cost you somewhere between $200 and $800 (they always seem to know just how much you have). 

Some people try to stop the intrusion when they get wise to the scam. It is then that the helpful tech turns into The Terminator and crashes your computer and leaves you locked out to boot.

When you receive pop-ups on your computer that ask you to call a number for any reason, THIS IS A SCAM. Try to “x” out of the pop-up. If the action is being blocked, then turn the computer off at the power switch. If the pop-up continues to appear and lock your machine after a fresh restart, you will probably need to take it to a trusted computer repair center for cleaning.

The majority of these tech call scam pop-ups find their way to your system via drive-by attacks. With these attacks, you don't have to click on anything, you just have to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Over the past year, places like Youtube, The Huffington Post website, or The Weather Channel website have all been hit by the Kovter group of fraudulent ads. 

A good bit of advice when it comes to these drive-by types of attacks is to:

FreeImages.com/Flavio Takemoto
  1. Make sure you have a quality security suite installed on your system.
  2. Add Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit (the free version is fine for home users). 

Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit works hard to block exploitive behavior before the dangerous payload  is downloaded. In other words, it blocks the creeper before it gets to your door. Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit works well alongside your chosen security suite and you will rarely even notice that it is running.

The other big news in malware alerts right now is phishing. A phishing attack is any suspicious email message that asks you to enter or verify personal information either by replying to the email or being directed to a website. Some of these attacks are better than others.

Many can be detected by poor grammar or spelling used in the email. But, if you still aren't sure, go to the company directly that is possibly being spoofed and ask if they have sent out any recent emails asking for personal information.

The IRS has issued a notice warning that it has seen a 400% surge in phishing and malware involving IRS information. Don't be a victim. Would you give your social security number or any account number to a random person who comes to your front door saying they work for your bank or credit card company? Me either!  Check back often or sign up for our newsletter to get up-to-date malware alerts.



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