Cyber Crime: With so many more people shopping and paying their bills online these days, it can be an irresistible temptation for cybercriminals to take advantage of those unaware of how to protect themselves from cybercrimes such as identity fraud and personal data theft.
One of the biggest issues we find at Computer Medic On Call is discovering malware lurking behind the scenes on people’s laptops. One of the most effective ways to protect your data is to ensure that you are mindful of malware!
Malware can cause you a whole lot of problems if it finds its way on to your device. It can be difficult for you to tell if your laptop has been infected, but it is worth understanding about malware, what it is and what harm it can do.
What is malware?
Malware is short for malicious software. Its objective is to either damage your device or steal your valuable personal data from it. Cybercriminals also use malware to take over your device so they can access your contact list or use your network to infect other people’s computers too.
You can see why malware is such nasty stuff and why you should have your laptop checked for any infections if you suspect something isn’t quite right with your device, or you suspect it has been infected.
There are different types of malware and each one is set to do as much damage as possible. For example, ransomware is malware that will prevent you from accessing files on your device. You may try opening a file only to be locked out of it and a message appears on the screen from the cyber-criminals that sent the malware to you asking for a payment – or ransom – before they unlock your device.
This is why it is so important to keep yourself protected from cyber-criminals using malware to steal your data or to demand money from you. If you suspect that your laptop has a malware infection, do not hesitate to contact Manchester PC for help to get your device checked and cleaned on any infection.
How can I tell if my laptop is infected?
Sometimes malware infections can be so subtle that it can be difficult for you to tell your laptop has been hit. But there are little clues to look out for that could mean an infection, such as:
If you are experiencing any of these issues, it could be that malware has gotten into your laptop. You should run a scan from your antivirus software (you do have antivirus software, right?) and see what results you get.
If your laptop is severely infected, then you may need our help at Manchester PC to fix your issues and start over again from scratch. If you are worried, get in touch with us and we will explain everything.
Don’t leave anything to chance
If you suspect that your laptop has had malware on it for a while, you shouldn’t use it until you have had it checked and cleaned. There is a good chance that the cyber-criminals that sent the malware to you can see everything that’s on your device – including your personal information, financial data, the sites you visit – everything!
They can use your data to steal your identity and access your bank accounts, purchase goods and services in your name and do a lot of damage to your finances and credit score.
If you know that you have had a malware attack and that you have had your personal information stolen, then you should report it to Action Fraud. But report any fraud from a different device to the one that is infected.
Be careful when shopping online
With more people shopping online, especially at Christmas, cyber-crime incidents have been on the increase. According to a report by Action Fraud, data has shown that cyber-criminals conned 17,407 Christmas shoppers out of almost $13.5 million, an increase of over 20% when compared to the same period in 2018.
Cyber-crime has also increased by 30% during the pandemic as more people turn to online shopping under tight rules over restricted movement.
Protect yourself online by being careful where you shop. Make sure you only buy from trustworthy retailers and always check for the little locked padlock on the address bar that shows the site is secure. If you are unsure, check out the business on leading consumer websites to make sure they are legitimate.
Be careful of any emails and texts you get with sales bargains that may contain links to fake websites that want to steal your personal data. If you are suspicious, then use a search engine to check out the deal with the company instead of clicking on the link.
If you have a credit card then use that to shop online. The major credit card providers offer protection for your online purchases and will refund your money should you be a victim of fraud. Using your credit card will also mean that cyber-criminals will only be able to steal your card details and not your bank account details, so your main bank account will be protected.
You can also use an online payment platform, such as PayPal, Apple Pay or Google Pay, as these payment platforms can authorize your payments without disclosing your payment details. They also operate their own dispute resolution section, so should anyone take an unauthorized payment, they will investigate it and reimburse you.
If you think your laptop is carrying malware that is putting your personal data at risk, do not hesitate to contact Computer Medic On Call for help. We can check and clean your laptop and return it to you free from any hidden malware and viruses.
Computer Medic On Call is committed to bringing you the highest quality computer service available for all of your information and systems needs. Serving in Broward and West Palm Beach in Florida State for IT Support. Our experience provides us with the skills to offer a range of high quality computer services.