Extortion Popup Scams and Infection Vectors
In part 1 and 2 we discussed what an extortion Pop-up scam, and other virus’ were. In this chapter we will now discuss Extortion Popup Scams and Infection Vectors.
Extortion Popup Scams and Infection Vectors: What is an infection Vector?
An infection Vector is basically a way for a virus to be able to infect you or others on a network with it’s code. Whether that be an email, a shared drive, or an infected webpage or document. There are unfortunately many ways to get a virus but there are ways to minimize the risk, which we will discuss here.
Extortion Popup Scams and Infection Vectors: How infection Vectors happen
Infections rarely just “happen”, they are usually triggered by the user unknowingly. Most virus’ try and take advantage of the users habits to infect the users machine. For example an email phishing virus will send out a bunch of email attachments from an infected persons machine, using their address book. As far as the user on the other end is concerned the attachment is safe because it’s coming from a trusted source. However when the attachment is opened, usually named something benign like “invoice for July”, the payload (Extortion Popup Scams and Infection Vectors) is triggered and the receiving user is now infected and can infect other users as well. Some infections happen without the user’s doing anything at all. A virus may use a security hole, or a feature in an operating system to infect the users’ computer.
Extortion Popup Scams and Infection Vectors: Some vector examples:
The simplest example is the email phishing scam. In this scam, the user receives either an anonymous email or one from a trusted source such as a friend or co-worker. The email may contain a bunch of links to “check out” or an attachment marked “Urgent please read” for example. Hence, Extortion Popup Scams and Infection Vectors. Both are dangerous but the attachment is the most dangerous. With a links based email, your browser may be programmed to display advertising pop ups, or the homepage of your browser hijacked to show an advertisers homepage. The most prevalent virus will encrypt your files and ask for a bitcoin payment. Even if you pay the ransom there is no guarantee that the hackers will send the de-encryption code. Unfortunately, this practice gives criminals an incentive to infect others.
Extortion Popup Scams and Infection Vectors: What we’ve learned
We’ve discussed the vectors for infections from virus’ but what have we learned? Well here are a few tips to help you protect yourself:
- Make sure your operating system is up to date with the latest security patches. i.e. “Windows update”. A lot of virus’ use security holes that users haven’t patched as a vector for infection. Even if the updates are on automatic, you can at any moment, manually install any security updates.
- Buy or download an appropriate anti-virus program that has real time protection. This will allow the anti-virus program to scan files as they are opened allowing you to quarantine them if they are infected.
- Beware of “click bait”. You’ll see at the bottom of legitimate sites, silly little factoids that you can click on i.e. “See what Britney Spears is doing now” or something to that effect. Don’t click on it. While most are benign, it’s a prime target for hackers to hijack those pages and infect you with a virus. If you really need to see what Britney Spears is doing, google it. Surely there is a legitimate site reporting on it.
- Beware of attachments. Try and think about the content of the email, the attachment and the context of the email. Would your Grandmother really be sending an attachment at 4 in the morning marked “Urgent please open”? If you are unsure don’t feel embarrassed to calling someone to verify they sent an email and/or attachment. In fact you are doing them a favor, because if they didn’t send it and you got it from them, chances are they might be infected with a virus.
Extortion Popup Scams and Infection Vectors: Summary
We hope this article helps by giving information on how virus’ can get into a computer and ways to avoid them. If you think that you have a virus or spyware and are overwhelmed don’t hesitate to contact an IT support service like 1CS. Some virus’ do more damage the longer the computer is on so if you have a virus, it may be prudent to shut the computer down and let an IT professional take a look. Thank you and happy computing.