Computer & IT Solutions

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How secure is the data stored on your computer?

With the recent news headlines from the TV and newspapers about the latest security threats to your computers, you could understandably be thrown into a panic.

These latest threats are specifically written to attack PC’s running Windows, so if your computer doesn’t run Windows – Stop right here. This does not affect you – but other problems might, so always keep your anti-virus up to date.

If you are running Windows, read on.

What is it all about?

‘Gameover Zeus’ is a particularly nasty piece of malware – malicious software – that will hunt around inside your computer for files that look like they may contain financial or other sensitive information. Once it finds them, it steals them.

The FBI has said that the criminals in this case used “phishing” emails to install ‘Gameover Zeus’ on victims’ computers. A phishing email is one that looks like it came from somewhere official, like your bank, but didn’t – instead directing you to download the rogue malware.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) has estimated that around 15,000 computers may currently be infected in the UK. Worldwide, it runs into the millions.

But while the 15,000 figure is relatively low, this warning should not be ignored. Everyone should run a scan on their system and this should be done on a regular basis. – a government-backed initiative – published a list of downloads it recommends to run a sweep of your system and get into shape. Unfortunately, overwhelming traffic is causing the site to falter, and so people are also being directed to the UK Cyber Emergency Readiness Team (Cert) instead. –  (Dave Lee: BBC News)

What should you do?

1. Don’t panic.

2. Ensure that you keep your anti-virus and anti-spyware systems up to date.

3. Ensure that you have backups of all your irreplaceable files. A sensible thing at all times!

4. Keep your computer operating system, applications and anti-virus protection up to date.

A good way of running a specific scan for these threats is available at the Trend Micro Security Site.

First work out whether you’re running the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows. To do this:

Right Click on ‘My Computer’ or ‘Computer’ (depending on the version of Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8). Then Left Click on ‘Properties’ in the menu that appears. This will bring up information about your system. At the top it will state what the Operating System is and will also tell you if it’s the 32 or 64 bit version.

Then go to the Trend Micro page and click on the download link for the 32-bit or 64-bit scanner. Allow this to run (it takes about 15 minutes), it will check for these threats and will remove them if found.