Archive for October 2013

Now Here’s a Nasty Virus You Definitely Don’t Want

This particular virus, known as Cryptolocker is what’s known as “ransomware”.  What it does is encrypt your data files with an encryption key that only the bad guy can undo.  And they know what they’re doing, they are using VERY strong encryption.  What this means that without the key the bad guy has, you absolutely can NOT open your files, and there are no computer techs out there that are going to be able to help.  You might be thinking “I’ll be ok, I have an external hard drive I back up to”.  Well, if it’s plugged in, the virus will find those files and encrypt them to.  What the virus can’t touch are the online backup services like Carboinite, Mozy, etc.

The virus open a screen on your computer demanding $300 within 3 or 4 days, or the key capable of removing the encryption will be deleted, leaving your files forever scrambled.  There have been reports that people who have paid actually got their files back.

Most infections seem to be coming in the form of email links that run a program from the web, so I’ll repeat myself for the um-teenth time, DON’T click on links (or open attachments for that matter.)  If you do get this infection, you’ll have to pay the $300 and HOPE you get your data back, and THEN you’re going to need to have your hard drive wiped, the operating system reinstalled along with your programs and then your data restored.  That’s the only way to be sure the virus is completely gone.  Painful – yes! 

So don’t let a tempting email trick you into clicking that link – you may really, really regret it.

Find Cheap Flights Over Thanksgiving

Some of you may be planning to travelling by air over the Thanksgiving holiday.  If you are, be sure to check out Johnny Jet’s article on finding cheap fares.  His is also a great site overall for travel tips, bookmark it if you travel much.  Here’s the link to his article:

51 – Count Them – 51 Security Flaws

imageIf you’re still have Java on your computer in spite of all my warnings, then be sure to update to the latest version.  You should be at version 7 update 45.  In this latest update, they fixed 51 security flaws, all but one will allow a bad guy to run code on your computer, which you definitely don’t want.

Go to to see if you have the latest version.  If you don’t have Java installed, there is no need to install it, so you’re good to go.  If you DO have Java installed but are not at the latest version, it will tell you and you can do the update.

Approx. 75% of viruses on the web come in through computers running old versions of Java.  Don’t get caught with your Java down – update it today.

Yep, It’s Legit

imageSome of you may have received this email in the past several days.  Adobe got hacked and lots of email addresses and encrypted passwords were stolen.  I’m going to assume the encryption being used was good, but there is no way of knowing.

So if you get this message, go to, enter your email address and they will then send another email to you with a link to reset your password.

This perfectly illustrates why it’s important to NOT use the same password for everything.  If bad guys get your password from one site, they will then try to log onto banks and other financial institutions with the same information, and if they get lucky that’s bad news for you.

New Phone Scam – Beware

I received this notice today (10/4/13) from my credit union.  Apparently the bad guys are now preying on folks who feel at financial risk due to the government shutdown.  So if you or someone you know might be susceptible because you count on income from or have a gov’t backed loan, pass it along…


Valued Member,

As your financial institution, one of United Heritage Credit Union’s primary objectives is to protect you from financial fraud. We want to alert our members of a new phone scam that offers individuals financial assistance due to the government shutdown. The details are as follows:

  • Scammers claim assistance is available to all military and government employees, or those who have a government-backed loan.
  • Scammers ask individuals to pay a $200 processing fee in order to receive $8,000 in government assistance.
  • Scammers allege funds will be deposited to an individual’s account using the individual’s debit card number and that these funds do not need to be paid back.

To protect yourself from this scam and future fraud, please refrain from disclosing any personal information (account number, debit card number, credit card number or social security number) over the phone.  As a reminder, United Heritage Credit Union will never call or email you asking for your account number, debit card number, credit card number or social security number.


Now don’t pass this along FOREVER – that’s why I put the date in above.  This doesn’t need to be floating around the Internet 5 years from now  Smile

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