A ‘unique’ 2 week window to prepare for ‘powerful computer attack’- What to do next ?

You will have seen many stories in the media recently about Cyber Attacks such as ‘Heartbleed’,’Cryptolocker’ and now ‘GOZeuS’, which is also known as ‘P2PZeuS’.Many false stories circulate on the internet about viruses and other threats all the time and you have to be careful what you read and believe but these recent ones are genuine unfortunately.The UK National Crime Agency(NCA) has warned computer users (Windows Users MAC users can relax for now) they have two weeks to back up files and update security software to prevent significant damage.

A memo from the NCA mentioned the UK public has a “unique, two-week opportunity” to safeguard against the cyber threat that stems from the GOZeuS and CryptoLocker malware families.

The NCA’s advice is:

“Members of the public can protect themselves by making sure security software is installed and updated, by running scans and checking that computer operating systems and applications are up to date,” The NCA have taken action in conjunction with authorities in several countries and is led by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI], and it has meant the network of infected computers has been weakened therefore meaning action is now possible.

GOZeuS, which is also known as P2PZeuS, has reportedly been responsible for millions of pounds worth of fraudulent activity across the globe and intelligence shows that around 15,500 UK computers are currently infected with “potentially many more at risk”.

Users are infected by clicking an illicit link or attachment that allows the malware to silently monitor activity and capture personal information such as bank details.The second threat, meanwhile, comes from the increasingly prevalent Cryptolocker malware family that encrypts a user’s files before a pop up appears on-screen and explains that a ransom must be paid to release the files.
“Nobody wants their personal financial details, business information or photographs of loved ones to be stolen or held to ransom by criminals. By making use of this two-week window, huge numbers of people in the UK can stop that from happening to them. Our message is simple: update your operating system and make this a regular occurrence, update your security software and use it and, think twice before clicking on links or attachments in unsolicited emails,” Andy Archibald, head of the NCA cyber crime unit added.

So what should you do next?

1. Download the Security Scanner from Microsoft (see here ) to see if your PC is installed with any of the existing threats.Dont panic if a scan reveals you are infected as any infected files will be removed by the scanner.

2. We strongly recommend investing in paid for (not the free versions) top rated Internet Security software (not just Anti Virus software).Then run a full scan and remove or quarantine any threats you find.To help with this we are giving a special discount on ESET Internet Security Products of 30% off the Recommended Retail Price ( e.g. a discount of 30% off the RRP of £39.99 inc VAT for a single user annual licence for ESET Smart Security)  if you order through us in the next two weeks.ESET is the premier online security package in the industry and consistently comes out top in the independent industry ‘Virus Bulletin’ awards (see here).As standard ESET is offering 25% discount in June if you buy direct so you need to order through us for the full discount.Contact us here  to order or for more advice.

3. Make sure that your PC/Laptop has done its most recent windows updates.

4. Use a secure browser like Google Chrome/Firefox when browsing the Internet don’t use Internet Explorer.

5. Manage your passwords carefully don’t use the same one for everything and make sure you have a minimum of eight characters including two numbers and a symbol.

Let us know if we can help further.

Tim Eveleigh.

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