What Exactly is a Spyware & How to Deal With It?

As the digital world is expanding and more people keep on joining the virtual world, digital criminals are also on the lose over the internet in order to make quick bucks. With the help of various malicious software, these cyber criminals get success in fooling novice internet users all around the globe.

These days, it has now become very important to be aware of malicious software which pose threats to netizens privacy. One such malicious software is Spyware. So, in order to tackle with it, we must first know what exactly is a Spyware and what it does.

Spyware is a term which refers to describe software which as the name suggests, act as a spy and sneaks into your computer without obtaining your consent or knowledge. Spyware takes the help of different sources like online advertisements, spam emails, lack of proper protection, etc for sneaking into the system.

Now the question arises, What Spyware do once it gets the entry into a PC? So, we must tell you that Spyware supplies personal information, confidential data, files/folders, etc to its developer. In some cases it is found that spyware is also used by some advertising firms to track a user’s browsing habits.

Spyware also have the capability of changing your web browser’s home page or search page, or include extra components to your web browser. They also make it very difficult for you to change your web browser settings back to the way you had them earlier.

Now the question that comes into mind is, How to deal with Spyware? So, dealing with such kind of malicious software is a mighty and responsible task. You must have a strong antivirus because a genuinely strong antivirus scans each and every software you install or restrict you from opening malicious software links or URLs.

However, if you still want to install something on your computer from the internet, make sure you carefully read all the softwares policies and agreements.

The other important tip you have to keep in mind is always be vigilant when you browse the internet. If you witness unwanted pop-ups or strange changes on your web browser, immediately uninstall the web browser and then reinstall it. After this, run a full system scan from your antivirus so that it can find remaining malicious software and removes them from your computer.

And last but not the least, don’t trust on result suggestions of search engines because developers who create malicious software can also manipulate with search engine settings and provide search suggestions as they wish. Stay immune and keep enjoying what internet is providing you through legal way.

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Top Five Online Security Tips for Travelers

As the internet is getting expanded to far flung places, and with availability of Wi-Fi connectivity almost everywhere, we have started using the web when traveling also. Be it checking email, browsing the internet, or keeping track of things while on the road, we use to do all the stuffs simply with our smartphones or laptops.

Even if we are on a vacation or going somewhere on official visit, we usually want to stay abreast with what is happening around. But with great powers threat to security also arrives, so we have to be sure that we all have immunity from cyberattacks when we use internet while traveling. So following are five simple security tips for travelers which can secure them from any cyberattack or privacy breach:

Dont trust public Wi-Fi-

These days airports, malls, hotels, etc. all offer public Wi-Fi, but they are not so secure and their security can be compromised. Security flaws are a common issue in Wi-Fi routers and any cybercriminal can sneak into the public Wi-Fi network by using specially-crafted software. With the help of hacking software cybercriminal can hack into public Wi-Fi network and set up a trap by using a fake network name that you might connect to, and then use it to snoop on, and even make way with your personal data.

It is recommended to use your cellphone network to connect with the internet instead of connecting through public Wi-Fi. And try using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) for creating a secure internet connection.

Turn off geo-tagging and geolocation features of Apps-

At present, hoards of Apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. use geo-tagging feature to include your location within your status or post. Even if you opt for not to share your location with the apps, your smartphone, with the help of GPS, keeps a track of all the Wi-Fi access points it can see around you. So, it is better to switch off GPS services or location services available on your smartphone.

Be careful when using public computers

Public computers, such as those at internet cafes, at hotels or at airports could possibly be infected with malware, which may spy on you when you use internet from public PCs. The malware developer can steal your confidential data in the meantime you do online shopping or login to your banks website to check your finances.

So, in order to be secure from cyber theft and privacy breach, try to avoid using public PCs for financial purposes.

Always have multiple layers of protection

You must update your laptop or smartphone regularly because every update of the operating system has security fix which will help you in tackling cyber attacks. Also it is recommended to buy antivirus for your laptop and for smartphones and tablets too. And last but not the least, always have two-factor authentication login for your accounts, so even if cybercriminal steals your password he/she have to go through another step before logging in to your account.

Lock your laptop and your smartphone when not in use-

There is a steep rise in theft and lost cases of smartphones and laptops all over the world. The cybercriminal might use your device either to steal your personal info or to do something malicious with your device. So in order to protect yourself from privacy breach or cyberattack, always make sure that you have locked your devices to keep all your contacts and content secure. And not only locking the device, you must pick the longest and most knotty unlock passcode or password for your device.

Rogue Security Software: Programs That Dupe Users by Claiming PC Security

When it comes to injecting malware into a PC and stealing money from PC users, cyber attackers have devised countless ways. Quite recently, we discussed about Defru, a rogue antivirus software. It simply shows cyber attackers have become increasingly innovative in terms of creating and distributing malware. It also invited many queries from our reader about Rogue security software. So, in this article we will discuss rogue antivirus software and its effects. It is a type of computer malware that is made only for duping users by making fake claims of securing them.

At present, Rogue security software are fast-developing and grave security menace in digital world. It masquerades as an authentic security software and generates misleading security alerts to scare PC users. It may also block certain website and will display malware warning when you try to access them. It creates this false ambiance only to acquire money fraudulently. The main aim of Rogue security software is to delude a user into believing that his/her computer is infected (or highly prone) with some malicious program and then makes user into purchasing fraudulent security software.

Attacker may use different names for this program. Though the name of the program suggests might suggest that it is PC security software and removes malicious programs but what it actually do is opposite. It stays in the computer and incessantly nags users about their PC being infected forcing into buying further versions. One vital thing of rogue security software is that it digs itself deep into the computer making it untraceable by user.

Akin to any other malicious menaces, rogue security software also pose some grave security risks to the PCs. The most common of them are as follows:

It gives a spurious sense of security: The most vital risk peered with rogue security software is that it makes a user think that the security program installed on his/her PC is legitimate and it will offer security against malware. Rogue security software reports to the user that malware has been detected on the PC and it removed the threat successfully. PC user thinks that his/her computer totally secured but actually the program gives no security.

What Rogue Security Software can Do-

  • Deceitful transaction: The main purpose of scammers is to make money. In most of the cases, if a user’s PC is infected with rogue security software, the program misleadingly alerts user about his/her PC being infected with severe malware and to remove it user must activate the product by buying license key. With the deceitful transaction it’s owner can also use user’s payment card data to steal additional money.

  • Disrupts genuine security software’s operations: Rogue security software can disrupt the operations of genuine security software or can disable the same.

  • Forbids users from visiting authorized security software vendors’ websites: It forbids users from visiting some well-known and genuine security software vendors’ websites to foil user’s download efforts of a legitimate security software.

So, rogue security software can be considered among the trickiest and most dangerous malicious software. In order to protect computer from such malicious programs, the user must install a genuine and updated version of antivirus that offers realtime web scanning options. And last but not the least a user must be vigilant on using the internet, and they must avoid visiting lessor known or suspicious websites. If a user come across any such alert that warns about infected PC, they must not install the software without researching on it on known websites.

Google Rolls out Android Lollipop 5.1 with Antitheft Feature

Google has come up with an updated version of its Android operating system ‘Lollipop’ that was launched back in November last year. Most interesting feature about this update is that Google launched Android Lollipop 5.1 with antitheft feature- ‘Driver Protection’. This feature is quite promising to help in driving down the Android phone theft. The updated Android, version Lollipop 5.1, will now be available with Google’s Nexus devices.

With the ‘Driver Protection’ feature, Google seems to be chasing Apple as the iOS had also came up with akin feature that really helped in taming the iPhone thefts. As soon Apple introduced security feature namely ‘Activation Lock’ in iOS 7 that enabled users to lock their phone if stolen, the majority of iPhone thieves went jobless. The results of the feature were astonishing as San Francisco saw a decrease of 40 percent in iPhone theft while New York witnessed 25 percent of the same and in United Kingdom it was 50 percent.

Much like Apple’s Activation Lock, the Google’s Driver Protection feature in Lollipop 5.1 enables phone to stay locked until a user sign in with their Google account. Phone cannot be unlocked using other account even if the phone gets a reset factory settings. It means that if your smartphone that is geared up with Android Lollipop 5.1 version gets stolen, thieves would neither be able to get hands on your data nor they can use the phone for their personal use.

Lollipop 5.1 version is laced with some more enthralling features, like- support for multiple SIM cards, high-definition voice calling, etc. The multiple SIM-card support will be particularly useful for people who may want to share the same phone among multiple family members while a high-definition voice calling feature will surely make voice calling fascinating. The update also let users connect to Wi-Fi networks and control Bluetooth devices via Quick Settings menu.

Although, Google has promised that 5.1 update improves Lollipop’s performance and overall stability. Without getting the real user-end reviews, it is hard to declare if the tech giant, Google, has fixed bugs that persisted in Lollipop 5.0 version. The main flaw that Lollipop 5.0 users discovered is non-availability of silent mode feature. When Google launched Lollipop, users quickly slammed the android version. If reports are to be believed, Google has fixed that flaw too with Lollipop 5.1 version. When the promised features arrive on more devices, the company must hope for Lollipop 5.1 with antitheft feature to bring considerable rise in the number of Lollipop users, which is currently a mere 3% among overall Android users.

Have you ever heard of ‘Ransomware’?

In digital world, you must have heard about terms like malware, adware, trojan, scam, hacking, etc. but have you ever heard of the term- Ransomware? Compared to other malware types, ransomware is relatively lesser known.

Ransomware is malware used by cyber attackers that restricts the user from accessing their computer in order to fetch bounty for reclaiming the access. While some kind of ransomware encrypts computer’s files stored in hard drives and others just lock the PC and display ransom messages on the screen. In simple language, it is kidnapping of files for ransom by digitally smart criminals.

Ransomware

Scams of ransomware started from Russia but, with time, spread its wings all across the globe. According to data released by security software giant McAfee, approximately 250,000 ransomware samples were collected till June 2013, doubling previous year’s number. By the end of year 2013, cyber authorities took down a ransomware worm ‘CryptoLocker’ which had extorted more than US$3 Million from its victims.

Ransomware acts as a computer worm which enters into the system via downloading of a file or exposure in a network connection. Ransomware then starts working on encrypting of files stored in hard drive of desktop/laptop or may lock the system. Some intelligent ransomware might encrypt the victim’s plaintext documents with a private decryption key which only the malware author knows.

Some victims of ransomware stated that they witnessed warning notices on their system’s display purportedly sent by companies or law enforcement agencies accusing users of doing illegal activities through their system or having illegal content such as pornography, pirated softwares, media, etc. stored in their hard drives and asked them for fines. Other victims of Ransomware confessed of paying the hackers some amount of money to get product activation code for Windows operating system as they encountered problem in opening the OS of their desktop/laptop as the notice on their display claimed that their computer’s Windows installation is counterfeit or requires re-activation.

These ransomware tactics forces the user into paying to the ransomware developer to get PC freed from ransomware. Ransomware developer delivers the access back to the user either by supplying a program which can decrypt the files or by sending an unlock code that reverses the actions of ransomware.

The payment delivery of ransomware is often done through wire-transfer or online payment voucher services like Ukash, Paysafecard, Bitcoin etc.

Detection of ransomware, while it is in encrypting stage, is not easy and later cracking the ransomware becomes almost impossible. So, it is recommended by security experts to use software or other appropriate security policies for blocking down known ransomware from entering the computer or laptop, along with offline backing up of the data stored in locations that can’t be tracked by ransomware.

Valentine’s Day Scam: Spammers, Scammers Targeting Online Shoppers, E-Cards

In the world we live, there is a necessity for us to show our love and care for our loved ones. Gifts are almost the perfect way to express our love and to make our loved ones feel special. Therefore, we often look for occasions when we can share gifts. As these occasions prove to be high yielding season for online shopping, technical scammers also don’t leave any stone unturned for scamming these customers.

Valentine’s Day is celebrated worldwide by the lovebirds and to cherish the event, couples gift each other different stuff to show their love and care towards each other. As online shopping is booming everywhere on the globe, couples too find the internet an better option to shop for their beloved. But Lovebirds, be warned!

To take the advantage of this rising-in-demand online shopping, spammers and scammers are making great efforts. The spam run is so high that the famous tech portal, Trend Micro has revealed around 117 different sender IPs that are running spams related with Valentine’s Day. Most of these spammed emails primarily come from the United States, followed by India, Ukraine, Canada, and the Netherlands. This flock of Valentine’s Day-themed emails can come in different languages, such as: English, German, Chinese, etc. With the emails, spammers gifts their recipients links to amazing, but fake, shopping discounts, dating sites that are actually scams, and spam-vertisements (advertisements seen inside spammed emails).

Valentine’s Day offers spammers and scammers a great opportunity of luring people into shelling out their hard-earned money or giving away their personal information under the deceptive veil of love. That said, as a computer user you do not need to panic with the thoughts of Valentine’s Day security. You just need be little vigilant while buying gifts online or opening an e-card from that special someone.

As the Valentine’s Day approaches closer our inbox generally gets flooded with emails about lucrative offers and high-end products on highly discounted prices. By the time you land on a webpage by following the link provided in such mails, your details are shared with the sender. You get scammed.

There are some basic precautions you can take in order to save yourself from cyberattack. While shopping online, you must keep following points in your mind:

  • Do not follow the links from unreliable and unknown sender.

  • Do not disclose your personal details on a webpage you don’t know or trust.

  • Always remember that phishing sites can impersonate authorized websites by copying their login page but scammers can’t copy the URL. So, always keep a check on the URLs to make sure that the website you are visiting is genuine.

  • Never share your passwords via email. Try to keep separate password for each account.

  • Install an anti-phishing browser add-on or genuine antivirus software with realtime web protection so that it can warn you when you are on suspected phishing sites.

E-card is also an amazing, easy and friendly way of sending your lovable wishes to dear ones. But if you are receiving an e-card then you must take following steps for protecting yourself from spam.

  • Always crosscheck the sender’s email address. Avoid unknown luring messages.

  • Never click on the link you are unsure of the sender or its intent.

  • Don’t click or download anything from an unknown source.

  • Always be cautious of attachment formats and size.

  • Use established greeting cards portals and it is recommended that you ignore the ones you have never heard of.

Most of the scammers and spammers are technical masters. They usually rides on the mistakes and carelessness of the users. If you are vigilant and active about your web browsing, chances are very few that someone would be able to cyberattack you. In any case, we always recommend installing genuine antivirus in your PC and regularly update it.

Mobility is Changing Enterprise IT

Last few decades have seen technology making many hard efforts to woo enterprises. For example- Microsoft’s Windows 10 showing signs of being enterprise focused, BlackBerry’s devices and software turning friendlier for corporate use, and there are countless examples more. Mobility in this sector was a meek point till late, but now it has taken up enterprise IT by storm. And now mobility is changing enterprise IT to its core.

How Mobility is Changing Enterprise IT?

Enterprise IT have always favored the adoption of methods that are cheaper to operate, secure with storage, higher on efficiency and easier to use. Mobility, with the advancement of tablets, phablets and smartphones, is serving all the greeds of enterprise IT. Riding on which Mobile Collaboration is being predicted as the real future of human communication. Here are some latest changes that mobility is inciting into the enterprises:

Mobile App Development– App Developers for BlackBerry, Android, Windows, iOS, and other leading mobile platforms are available at a stone’s throw distance now. Most corporate are hiring (or outsourcing) developers to get a dedicated application for their employees. Dedicated applications have promised very high usability, security, and reliability of the application. Another good news is- some of the existing and popular apps are also offering tweaks for the personalized experience for corporate affairs.

This overall ease of mobile-friendly apps has attracted the enterprises to adopt the newer technology. Most of the modern-day-employees are already using high-tech gadgets, so adapting to a new app is not a big deal. And there is no specific training requirement- another luring for enterprises.

Cloud Storage– Firstly, cloud service powers the software developers to design and develop applications on an ever available Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform. Secondly, it gives the powerful security and automated logs recording. So, cloud service is armoring the enterprise IT with a powerful medium to patrol the usage by employees even on mobility.

BYOD– Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) culture is expanding for it increases the productivity of the employees, by allowing them to work even when they are not at their workplace. For an enterprise, questions over the honesty of employees looms large in such circumstances and the enterprise IT is questioned. The mobility arrives with the answer- almost the perfect answer. Most of the dedicated enterprise applications for mobility have a great control over data sharing. Which means enterprise IT, after adopting a good mobility medium, can take a sigh of relief.

Security– Database, research, emails, etc. are some of the terms that most of the enterprises are centered on. And their security is optimum priority for enterprises. With the cyber security experts delivering the best to secure all the enterprise stuff, the risk involved in going for mobility is nothing more than than with non-portable devices.

Final Words

Within the devices that do not want to be restricted with the cables and wires, you can work more than that on wired and cabled devices, then why would enterprise IT oppose it? No reasons. Since, there are no reasons to oppose mobility, enterprise IT just decided to go with it.

Technology in the mobile arena has taken a giant leap in the recent past. From productivity to security, connectivity to affordability, everything has fallen in the right direction for the enterprises. Currently, mobility is one of the major factors that are shaping up the future of enterprise IT. But in the most probable chances it will soon be the biggest factor.