Zombies at your Backdoor: Protecting your Digital World

Posted by on Monday, April 30th, 2012

Zombies, bots and other evils are worming their way into your life and you don’t even know it. If you are like me, you are sitting at your computer, or reading this on your tablet or smartphone, feeling secure that your software is protecting your device. Unless you are a techy, you probably leave your anti-virus to do its work while you do yours. That isn’t enough.

On Friday I wrote about an FBI effort to clean up damage done by an international hacking scheme. This program ends on July 9, and if your computer is affected you may not be able to access the Internet. I went to the suggested website and performed an easy test. I was happy to find out that my computer was not affected, but if I hadn’t checked the FBI site for the latest cybercrimes, I might not have known.

All of the experts agree on one thing; creating a strong password is one of the easiest ways to protect your information. It is a simple thing, but thousands of people ignore this advice. I can’t tell you how times I have been in an office where the company computers either started without a password, everyone knew the password, or the password was “password”.

Some programs will help you create a strong password by only approving a password of a certain strength. Your date of birth, 123456, your dog’s name or your child’s name are not going to protect you from hackers. Most people choose an easy password so they won’t forget it or have to write it down. Read “How I’d Hack Your Weak Passwords” on Oneman’s blog to learn how to choose a secure password and keep out the bad guys.

The Good News Web Designers Association provides updated lists of the latest viruses. I have no idea what a Troj/Invo-Zip is, but it is the top virus for April 2012. This site provides important advice and dozens of tips to help you protect your computer. We all know, or should know not to open email attachments unless we know where they came from, but we still do it. If you are dying to open a risky email attachment, go to the library or

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an Internet Café.

Those who use Mac are always lording it over us PC users, because Mac has been considered almost impervious to viruses, but that is changing. For information on how to protect your PC, check into the Microsoft website on a regular basis. Protect your Mac by checking out the helpful tips on Macworld. Mac is still the safest computer, but most people and most companies are PC.

Your smartphone has become your right arm, your personal assistant and your computer, when you are away from your computer. You need to be just as vigilant. While you are telling your friends where you are on Foursquare, or furosemide 60 mg updating your status on Facebook, you could be allowing strangers with bad intent into your private life. PCMag provides information on how to protect your smartphone, and it starts with a password.

The FBI is your best source for information on cybercrime. “Hackers and spammers may be using your computer right now. They invade secretly and hide software to get access to the information on your computer, including your email program. Once on your computer, they can spy on your Internet surfing, steal your personal information, and use your computer to send spam — potentially offensive or illegal — to other computers without your knowledge.”

The Federal Trade Commission also supplies tips for protecting your computer. Read Botnets and Hackers and Spam (Oh, My!) for more tips.

If you have finished reading this and want to go get a cup of coffee and take a break, shut off your browser. It is another simple thing that experts recommend to protect your computer.


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Former FBI Assistant Director Tom Sheer has recruited the best from the FBI, DEA, IRS and Secret Service to build a formidable team at Sheer Investigations. Our private investigators have the sensitivity and experience to handle the most delicate investigations.

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