Just recently on a clients computer had what’s known as a “Ransomeware” virus sent to us through email as an attached word document for a response to an ad for hire on Craig’s list. When the word document was opened the document had instruction on how to enable editing.
When you “Enable Editing” you allow the document to run what is known as macros, macros are a form of a programming language that word uses to increase normal functionality and customization of documents. This allows dishonest individuals to put malicious code into the document that can cause harm to your computer. All or Most of Microsoft Office products have this ability. Microsoft has put a warning that shows up when there are macros embedded in the document, this is to help against harmful coding allowing you to chose to enable or not.
- Do not open emails from anybody you don’t know and if you have to open the email do not click links or open documents until you are pretty sure it’s someone you know or have talked to. Sometime they will spoof email address and send from yourself or someone you might know. Ex: From: John.Doe@domain.com To: John.Doe@domain.com
- A lot of hackers will send zip files and or .exe (executable files) posing as word or pdf documents. Telling you this is a receipt for something or an unpaid bill; better yet they will say this is your airline tickets. It’s just a scam for them to get you to open the files and activate the virus.
- Links to unfriendly website are other way of getting viruses to your computer. Some time if you hover over the links (do not click them) you can see where the link goes. Some links are encrypted and some are clever enough to have link removed or hidden so you can’t see where they go.
It’s a lot of smoke and mirrors just to try and get you to click the links. I have seen fishing links in emails that appears to be from FedEx and when you hover over the links, they do not go to FedEx. They will mimic your bank or other accounts you may have. Just be careful and watch what you are clicking on.
- Here is an example of hackers mimicking Microsoft website trying to get you to type your user name and password in while recording them. At the same time they are trying to get you to call them to pay for a service of removing something you don’t have or never had. It’s a fishing site.
These are some examples of the many ways individuals are trying to get your to pay for, steel, infect and corrupt your computer system. You never want to open emails from someone you don’t know, click on links you’re not sure about and never give your information to a sight that is asking unless it’s a site you use every day. When in doubt close windows by the upper most red x, sometime website will pop up images of a window and when you go to click cancel or click red x to close, you are just clicking an imaged and the site install or run software on your computer. Another reason for close windows by the upper most Red x, sometime when you click cancel they silently install software to your computer and you think you said no (cancel) but they do it anyway.