Surviving in a Sea of Viruses

Tips to Keep Your Computing World Safe

2014 saw the rise of more computer threats than ever before. Actually the threats doubled from the year before…and it is predicted that they will continue to grow in 2015.  Security and privacy have moved to the forefront of the computing world. These threats are making Heartbleed and Crytolocker common household terms. Sea to Sky has compiled some terms, tips and tricks to help keep your computer safe for business and personal use.

Types of Threats


This one of the most dangerous forms of ransomware that quickly finds its way into your computer. Once in your system, it attaches itself to your files and data (in your drives and networks) and encrypts them. After successfully encrypting all of your data, it then sends you a pop-up asking you to pay a ransom so to obtain the encryption key to release them. They also has a countdown timer which destroys the encryption key after ninety-six hours if the ransom has not been paid by then.

Breach of data at point-of-sale

Cyber criminals are always figuring out new ways of attacking the POS terminals used by online merchants to process customer payments. The criminals attack these terminals and steal sensitive financial information including credit card details of customers. Lookout for anomalies in your accounts and reporting any suspicious activity immediately.

Rogue Security Software

Rogue security software might report a virus, even though your computer is actually clean. The software might also fail to report viruses when your computer is infected. Inversely, sometimes, when you download rogue security software, it will install a virus or other malicious software on your computer so that the software has something to detect.

Targeted Attacks

New virus strains are being designed to attack specifically determined targets. The attacks now known as targeted attacks are becoming increasing common and are estimated to rise even higher this year.


Adware attacks tremendously increased last year. They frequently disguised as download sites that include a bundled adware. Adware is virtually in all corners of the internet. Some variant forms of these viruses can even auto-install themselves in your computer.


The list of malware includes virus, worms, rootkits, Trojans, dialers, malware and spyware among many others. 2015 is projected to see even greater evolution of these malicious programs.

Computer Safety Tips

Tips to Keep Your Computer Safe in 2015

Use a strong password

A strong password is one that is complex, with a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. While some people use the same password for everything, try to avoid that practice.

The three most common passwords are password, 123456, and 12345678. When creating a password, use eight characters (numbers and letters) or more and, to make them easier to remember, try using short phrases separated by spaces or underscore marks – such as “cat_May_34” Try using other symbols like: #$* or)(

Also, please avoid using the same user name/password combination for multiple online site logins.

Beware downloading

Beware of what and where you are downloading. This is a way that viruses can get on your computer. If the site feels a little sketchy…it probably is.

Keep your software up to date

This security tip is very important. Software makers like Microsoft and Oracle routinely update their software to fix bugs that could potentially be exploited by hackers. Make sure every program/app is up-to-date…every single one is a potential entry on to your computer for hackers.

Don’t click on links within unknown emails

A really good rule of thumb is if you don’t recognize a sender of an email, don’t click on any links within it….or even open it for that matter.  Microsoft says 44.8 percent of Windows virus infections happen because the computer user clicked on something.

Use free antivirus software

You don’t have to pay for software to protect your computer or for an annual subscription to maintain the latest virus protection. For Windows users, Microsoft Security Essentials is free. Avast is another free anti-virus program.

Back up your computer

Please back up the information on your computer? If you don’t (29 percent of computer users fall into that category) you have no protection from calamities ranging from hard drive failure to your house burning down. If you value your data, back it up…it could save your butt in the future.

You have four basic backup options: burn data to CD or DVD, use an external hard drive, online backup service, or cloud storage. Use a service like Google Drive, and your files will be continually backed up to the cloud. And the price is right: free for up to 5 GB of data.

Use a firewall

Just because you have antivirus software running doesn’t mean you have a firewall. Both PCs and Macs come with built-in firewall software. Be sure to check that it’s enabled.

Quick Tips

Stay aware of current virus news by checking sites like McAfee’s AVERT Alerts.

Make sure that anti-virus software checks all files every time files are opened.

Be careful when exchanging disks and files between computers. When taking a file to a computer lab for printing, write protect the disks

Make sure that Microsoft Office macro virus protection is enabled.

If you are unsure if you are competent to safely use your computer…take a course from professionals or get a knowledgeable person to help you.


Keep Up to Date on Threats

1 Comment

  1. […] Anitvirus software goes a long way to protecting your computing life….but safe internet practices and knowledge go even further to help protect your virtual world. Here are some more tips to keep you safe: […]

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