Friday, August 27, 2010

Keeping your Computer Healthy....

now why on earth is she sending us this? I hear you ask. 
Well, simple really, I got a distressed phone call last night from one of our group who thought she "had been scammed".

Scamming and Viruses are part of what we are exposed to on the net, same as 'snail mail', we get junk mail in our post box, and SPAM in our inbox which may or may not contain a virus.

I well remember the worry of my very first virus.............watching the pic on my computer screen decay into oblivion before my eyes. (Not unlike an old masters painting of rotting fruit really - wonder if a virus still has the same visual effect?? -  sorry I digress)

Anyway, in the interests of keeping us all online and happy, I thought I would pass on some info that I have come across in the years that I have been fooling around on the net.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not professing to be an expert, to have all the answers or anything even remotely like that..........these are just some of my own experiences, and most of you will have had the same experiences, this post if for those of us who haven't or who worry about breaking their computer. 

Some of us have received the type of mail referred to above,  or at least heard of it......basically it goes something like this......
friend/relation is overseas, lost everything and is in dire straights and needs you to send money NOW.....

The wording in these e-mails is a bit of a dead give away........obviously written by someone who has the right words but the syntax is all wrong! 

As with any request in life, you get your facts straight before you re-act, make sure the rellie really is travelling, and scrutinise the e-mail carefully, quite often there is a giveaway, such as in the one below
 The To: section, my e-mail addy is not contained in there........this e-mail probably went to every yahoo account holder in cyberspace, and don't you just love the beady little 'eyes' just before the 'Good day'<g>

These are the ones that promise you 40% (always 40%....go figure) of some millions that need to be transferred to your account - from Africa it is the long lost rellie who died intestate....Russia, the oil tycoon who has been arrested for political reasons, poor innocent boy he, and you must help out such a poor soul.  Just send your bank details and you will instantly be rich, rich, rich.

And before you think that no one in their right mind would be silly enough to respond...........know that it happens, so many of these types of e-mails go out and less than 1% of e-mails received are replied to........yes, actually replied to and bank details given, enough replies to make it financially well worth while for the scammer.Which is why we get so many of them.......check out your SPAM box, bet its full of them!

There is also a lot of fear about e-mails containing viruses, e-mails cannot contain a virus, they are made of words only, o.k., sometimes the words can worry.........
However, a virus is actually a computer program and can be attached to an e-mail, but it has to be downloaded to infect your computer, and only you can do that. 
The attachment will look something like this in your e-mail inbox,the paperclip icon is the attachment that may or may not contain a virus.
 or if you have opened the e-mail, the attachment will show on the body of the e-mail, again the paperclip!
Just delete the e-mail, don't click on the attachment unless you trust the sender.
Of course, all attachments are not viruses, we all use them every day, your newsletter comes to you as an attachment.

Another trick is the hi-jacking of actual e-mail addresses, imagine my surprise when I got an e-mail from myself promising me Viagra at wholesale prices!!!!.  Yes, I have several e-mail addresses.

When you open these e-mails, you confirm that the address is active, which opens the address up to lots of SPAM, now SPAM is not necessarily a bad thing, it's just junk mail after all, you just need to be careful and if you get an offensive e-mail from someone you know, don't tear into them, find out first if they did actually send you the offensive e-mail, remember the Viagra?!

I was also witness to one poor unfortunate lass who was a member of an online quilting group, she was being flamed for sending inappropriate e-mails, she was innocent of any wrongdoing and the flamer then had the embarrasement of having to publicly appologise.

Then there is the dud internet site, when you click on the site link, up pops a rather alarming notice claiming that you have Malware, a worm or virus, all words aimed at scaring the pants off you and making you panic. I got this sign on a google search, and while taking the time to grab the camera to take a pic,
it morphed into this, that green 'download' bar was travelling at a great rate of knots I can tell you!, again designed to scare and startle. 
 Although this looks very much like the page you visit to see the disc drives and hardware on your computer it is actually just a video animation, but it has some alarming claims on it the red 'Your Computer is Infected!'  the Risk Levels of 'Critical', again in red and at the bottom of the screen the 'Security' box.with all its tricks.

From the 'Turn off messages about virus protection', what a good idea that would be, NOT!, onto what the whole scam is about,  that little box on the bottom right, looking so comfortingly familiar outlined in blue, 'Find a program online', click on that and the virus is IN.

 I shut the site down, but not the computer, so up pops this little beauty, 'Your computer remains infected by viruses....etc, Return to System Security and download it to secure to your PC'.  Well of course if you click that little blue 'OK box', you're a done dinner.....
Get good security on your computer and trust it.....never panic.....never follow links thrown up on your screen.
To get rid of this pest I had to re-boot.......only takes seconds but....

Now, enough of this, go, the internet awaits, I really do need to find that quilt pattern! and if you have read to the end, I hope there has been some comfort in there for you.  
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