So I Think I’ve Been Hacked!

10 STEPS TO RECOVER FROM A COMPUTER HACK

So you think you've been hacked?So a friend tells you that you’re sending spammy-looking emails out.  But it can’t be–you had no idea.  You even check your sent email folder to see if you’re crazy, but all the emails look familiar.  You respond bewildered to your friend, not knowing what to do.  Have I been hacked??

The first thing to do is stay calm!  Part of the scam here is to get people worried and scared that everything on their computer has been stolen, which is terribly unlikely.  It’s most likely that this message was spoofed with your name and/or email but that your email wasn’t hacked.

If you think your computer has been hacked, but no-one has contacted you about a strange email, start at step 4.

Let’s do some discovery. Then figure out how to get cleaned up!

1. The first thing to do is to get a copy of the email “headers.”  This is the code sent through the servers that contain an email.  The headers are found by different means in each email client.

In Apple, click View —> Message —> Raw Source
In most Outlook versions, open the email in a new window, click File —> Properties
In Gmail, Click the down arrow, then click Show Original

All headers read from newest to oldest, so the top being the latest messages and the bottom being the originating headers.  So look towards the bottom of the header and search up for the first instance of these:

Look for:
“Received From: example1.com” and this server is who really sent the message
Look for the next “by: example2.com” to see who then received the message
X-Mailer is the device used to send the message.
You can also look for the line “DKIM-Signature” and find the d=somedomain.com.  This is a third party sending an email but is authorized by somedomain.com.

 


Example Header


*A more simple solution is to paste the header into Google’s Header Check at https://toolbox.googleapps.com/apps/messageheader/ and confirm the servers used match the real sender

If example1.com matches the From name domain, then this verifies this email as legitimate.  If you notice that the example1.com is somewhere located in India or Belgium, completely different than the sender, it’s fair to say that this was a spoofed email.

If you’ve been spoofed, then it’s time to tell your friend that he/she should run their virus and malware scanner and add that sender to their blocked list (since it really isn’t you).  In this case, that’s all.  Spoofing happens all the time and there’s little you can do to prevent it.  You haven’t been hacked, nothing has been stolen.  No need to proceed to #2.

But, if your discovery from above shows the email to be legitimate, then someone is likely sending email on your behalf.  This changes things.  If you determine someone is sending emails on your behalf (or you aren’t sure), then you should take some action. Go on to #2.Virus Stamp

2. Change your email password(s) and security questions immediately.  If you have a lot of sensitive information on them, consider enabling 2-factor authentication.  If your email has been blocked or you can’t log in, Use the recovery methods provided by the email company.  Check your contacts list to make sure it’s still there.

3. Notify your friends that you’re account has probably been hacked and to not open any strange emails from you, especially attachments.

4. Virus Scans. Run your Antivirus Scanner in “Full Scan” mode.  This will take a while, but you need to do this.  Consider running a full Virus scan on your other computers to make sure nothing has spread.

What Virus Scan?  Use whatever virus scan you have installed or consider switching to Kaspersky or Avast, which have the top ratings in 2018, if you think it’s not finding the virus.  The best FREE antivirus is Avast, rated by Toms Guide and PC Magazine.

Free vs. Paid?  Well, under normal conditions I recommend using free virus scanners.  They usually take less resources and don’t bog the computer down when running a scan.  However, these are circumstances I’d recommend a paid service:

  • You have kids (or you) like to click on a lot of things, not always knowing if it’s safe.
  • Your computer stores a lot of sensitive information.
  • You want to “set it and forget it” and don’t mind paying for it.
  • You think you may have been hacked big time!  Now’s probably the time to pony-up.

 

Do I have a virus?

5. Run a good malware scanner.  Malwarebytes.com has a free one.  For serious hacks, consider paying for a virus and malware scanner combo.  Avast has a very reputable one this year.

6. Make a backup of your computer.  Everyone should have a backup! Google “creating an ‘Image’ of your hard drive.”  Keep this backup in case things get worse.

7. Contact Credit Agencies.  Depending on how much sensitive information is stored un-encrypted on your computer (ie. bank info, social security numbers), consider contacting the credit agencies to see if anything has been run through your credit.  Change banking and other sensitive website accounts you use online.  If you don’t save a lot of this type of information, you can skip the hassle.

8. Run a scan of your Windows Operating Files to be sure your operating system is running correctly.  To do this, in the search field, type “Command” without the quotes.  Right-click on the Command Program and “Run as Administrator.” On a command line type “sfc /scannow” without the quotes.

9. If you can’t access your computer, follow instructions given by LifeWire.

10. Monitor your computer!  If, after trying all of the above steps, it’s slow, freezes, restarts on its own, the next step is to reinstall Windows.  But that’s for another article!

Feel free to reach out to us if you need any help.  We offer free consultations by phone or through the help desk.  Happy computing!

 

Don’t Fall For This Pop-up Scam

It’s very likely you’ve been jammed up while working on your computer by none other than a stubborn pop-up that just won’t go away.  You close it, ignoring the warnings not to, and it comes back with a vengeance.

The latest of pop-ups most likely to hit you where it counts, is the one claiming to rob your bank account, passwords, and take your computer hostage–unless you call the “Microsoft 800 number” to supposedly clear everything up (and take between $200-$500 from you to do it).  This is one of the latest scare tactics scammers are using to get you to buy their (fake) services.

If you see a pop-up like this, there’s several things you need to do.  First, don’t panic. Nothing is happening to your bank info.  Nothing is likely happening to passwords or anything else.  Nothings is likely happening at all.  It’s a scare pop-up to invoke fear and get you to take action.

Second, don’t call the number.  Microsoft never tells you that you have a virus. Your virus scanner or a Malware scanner would tell you, but not in an internet pop-up.

Here’s what you do instead: Despite the instructions it provides, try to close the window or your web browser.  It may pop back up, which can be the trouble.  If you can’t get it shut, click Control-Alt-Delete and open the Task Manager.  Click on the Applications tab and find the windows that aren’t closing, click on each of them and click End Task.  This should give you control back.

Third, you’ll need to clean things up a bit. Run your Virus scan (full scan).  Run a Malware scanner.  The best program to start with is Malwarebytes Free version.  Open you browser back up and clear all cookies, caches, and history.  You can now resume normal life!

Sometimes, this isn’t enough to clean the Malware.  If you get the pop-up back, check out our Help Desk Solution on downloading AdwCleaner.  Go here for that page.

Best wishes for clean browsing!

Tech Tips

Tech Tips

1.  Be sure you have a Virus Scan program and it’s up-to-date. I never recommend anyone paying for this service. One, FREE versions are good enough. Second, the paid versions are too robust! I’ve seen computers run slower with paid programs. Windows 10 (and 8) come with FREE scanners, called Windows Defender, and it should be running automatically. You can check under SETTINGS to be sure. I think this works fine. For Windows 7 I have used Microsoft Security Essentials most (FREE) (link here) and AVG FREE VERSION (link here).

2. Run a Malware scanner? Anytime someone calls me about a slow computer, this is the first thing I recommend. Every month or 2, I run Malwarebytes (link here). It’s free to download and use, but it will want you to upgrade ($) after 30 days. Just say NO when the time comes.

3. Need Speed? You may know that you can upgrade most computers by adding memory (RAM). You also may know that you get what you pay for in a computer. So when you spent a lot when initially buying the computer, it may have been because of the motherboard or “CPU” being an Intel i5 or i7.

BUT a third way to speed up your computer (mostly Desktops because this is a cheaper trick) is to add a Solid State hard drive to your computer to run it on. Solid State drives are drives that don’t spin and use similar technology that’s in your smartphone.

Get Your Cracked Screen Fixed!

We promise to beat the price of the competition

All Apple devices, including iPads and iPhones

We also replace batteries!

 

 


FOLLOW US on Facebook, Twitter or G+ for daily tips & Tech News!

Uninstall QuickTime for Windows

QuickTimeAs with most things, computer programs also have have a life expectancy. Who would have known?  Now if you are reading this from Windows XP, then the seriousness of this issue may be a moot point!  But with outdated and no longer supported software come entry points for Malware, Viruses, and other security holes.  If security is a concern for you, then read on and learn how to uninstall QuickTime.

Trend Micro announced recently that there are serious vulnerability (safety) issues using the Windows version of QuickTime (QT).  QT is know for providing Mac-formatted video to both the Mac and PC.  The Windows version is no longer supported, meaning no patches will be provided to fix this issue, so it’s recommended that Windows users uninstall the program.

QT was once a requirement to use iTunes on the PC and to view videos created by the Mac world, QT is no longer a necessity (iTunes v.10.5 and later).

Here are screenshots and instructions on removing it from a Windows 7 computer.  Windows 8 and 10 users also can search for “Uninstall a Program” in the search bar to remove it.

Uninstall Quicktime Screenshot

Uninstall Quicktime Screenshot

 

Get More content like this in your inbox by signing up:

Are You Sipping the JAVA?

Java EmblemJava has become synonymous with a favorite filtered beverage!  In fact, many grab a cup or two (or ten) of java to start their day.  But there is another type of Java, symbolic to the image to the left, that we may know less about.

In a world of impostors, you’ll want to know about Java updates and how to be sure they are legitimate!

Java is a universal programming language that allows many of the interactive web pages we use to function.  You will see about 1 update flash up on your screen every month.  It’s this frequent because of the frequency of new malware and viruses created to “break through” Java and infect your computer before your virus scan ever finds it.

Java is the number one way malware and viruses are infiltrated to your computer, so it’s important to update Java when prompted to.  By keeping it updated, you can prevent these attacks.

If you use a PC, this is the screen you will see pop up when you need to update:

Java Update Screen for PC

Below is the Mac window your will see when a Java update is available:

Java Update Screen for Mac

While Java is updating, this screen will display (PC):

Java Installing Screen for PC

 

After installation, you will be asked to re-start your computer.

If you are ever in doubt about the validity of a Java update, you can search for “Configure Java” in your control panel or Start Search menu.  Click on Update tab, and then “Update Now” button.  This is also where you can turn on the auto-updates!

Need more information?  Contact My Computer Solutionz.

Windows Updates

Similarly to Java Updates, you should also be updating Windows automatically.  Search “Windows Updates” in your Start Search bar.  Click on “Change Settings” to ensure “install updates automatically (recommended)” is selected.

I also check (enable):

  • Recommended Updates
  • Who Can Install Updates
  • Microsoft Update
  • Software Notifications

Happy Computing!

-Mark

[author_info]

Stay connected by email:

[wysija_form id=”2″]