Lockscreen ransomware will prevent you from accessing your PC or files and will show you a full-screen message whereas encryption ransomware will change your files so that you cannot open them. If you get hit by ransomware, a type of malware, you will not be able to use your PC—your PC will be held “hostage” until you pay a “ransom.” You will have to do something before you can get your computer back and even then you may not get your computer back, as there is no guarantee. Money may be demanded or in some cases they may make you complete a survey. Ransomware is occurring more frequently and anyone with a computer could be the target, even a home computer.
Many times ransomware is automatically downloaded when you visit a malicious website or when a website has been hacked. Malware looks to find vulnerabilities in your PC to infect it, so it is imperative that the latest software updates are installed on your PC. Other malware that can infect your PC can come from spam emails that try to trick you to open a malicious link or attachment that will install the malware on your PC. Removable drives such as USB flash drives and external hard drives can be infected and when connected to your PC the malware will be installed. Malware can also be installed when downloading software from third-party websites or sharing files through peer-to-peer networks. It is always best to download from an official vendor’s website and don’t just click OK, read exactly what you are installing!
Protect yourself from ransomware/malware by installing and using an up-to-date antivirus solution, make sure your software is up-to-date, do not click on links or open emails or attachments from people or businesses you don’t know, turn on your smart screen in IE, run pop-up blocker in your web browser, and BACKUP YOUR FILES!
Last month, due to the seriousness of the problem, The Federal Trade Commission held a ransomware event to talk about how to protect your computer and what to do if you’re a victim. Visit their website, OnGuardOnline, to learn more and to report a fraud or scam (you can also sign up to get scam alerts by email) - https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0038-onguardonline
What to know before installing an App
If you do not want to be tracked, hacked or conned be very careful before installing an app, take the extra few minutes to read the permissions. Before installing the application you will be asked permission for the app to have access to certain data or capabilities on your device. The app may want to have access to your contact list, phone call logs, location, wifi, SD card (for note taking, backup, video and camera apps), SMS (app may want to send on your behalf for a fee)—be sure you know what the app really does! We suggest you only download apps from sites you trust and to check ratings and reviews to be sure they are widely used and respected.
Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store on iTunes check for malware, viruses, and anything that might be malicious in the apps offered, and although their filtering process is good, no process is perfect. Some apps have been known to add bloatware and ad-ware, upload user’s data to their own servers, constantly want you to download additional apps thru non-disable-able notification bar pop-ups, and there are those apps that have a lot of ads that will use up your data plan and drain your battery. If you decide to enable installation of apps from third-party sources on your phone, which we suggest you never do, then be very aware of the risks. Hackers are looking for vulnerabilities in the apps and software of our phones so it is very important to download and install software updates for your phone and apps!
BlackBerry – will no longer design and build their phones
After 14 years of making phones themselves, BlackBerry will no longer be designing their smartphones in-house, but will continue to focus on its software and security products. The last phone they made, which was their first Android-powered device, the Priv, was released last November. They will outsource to partners their hardware development as they did with their second Android phone, the DTEK50, which shipped a couple months ago. At their peak, September 2013, they had 85 million BlackBerry subscribers worldwide, but by March 2016 they were down to 23 million losing out to Android and iOS platforms. They are now looking to the future with their new software BlackBerry Radar and BlackBerry Hub+.
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