The 5 creepy tricks you don’t want see on your PC (and how to get rid of them)

Threats & Hacks

Scaring our friends and ourselves for Halloween is a tradition. But the thought of losing all of the stuff we keep on our PC or in the cloud is can produce actual terror, at least for me.

Here are 5 frightening sights that might appear on your screen and what you can do about them.

1.  Pay up if you want your stuff.

RansomwareCost02

The NSA may be watching you but they aren’t extorting you, at least for now. Online criminals are.

One of their favorite tactics is ransomware — malware that refuses to let you access your files unless you pay a ransom.

How much of a ransom? Currently it’s about $300 USD.

This is a tactic that works, again and again, in more than a half dozen languages. F-Secure Labs working with Finnish police and CERT-FI estimates that criminals have collected hundreds of millions of dollars in ransom across Europe and North America.

Here’s how to get rid of it.

2. You left your door wide open.

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95% of vulnerability-related attacks reported by our clients in the first half of 2013 involved just 5 vulnerabilities – 4 of them involved the Java-plugin.

That’s why Timo Hirvonen of F-Secure Labs recently wrote, “If uninstalling Java or at least disabling the browser plugin is not an option for you, make sure you have the latest version of Java installed.”

3. We have have the keys — to everything!

Every few weeks a major internet company sends out an email that like this that told Adobe users that “certain information relating to 2.9 million Adobe customers, including customer names, encrypted credit or debit card numbers, expiration dates, and other information relating to customer orders” had been accessed in a cyber attack:

adobe

These kinds of attacks become a much bigger deal if you use the same password for your most important accounts, which you don’t, right!

You should be using use a strong, unique password for all of your most important accounts, of course.

4. Just let me in.

the_mother_of_all_suspicious_files

This comic from xkcd shows the reason that Internet Security even exists: suspicious files. But this is the MOTHER OF ALL SUSPICIOUS FILES. Spooky, huh?

Hopefully you rarely or never see ridiculous prompts like this because your system and security software are patched and protected. Our free Health Check will make sure that you are.

5. The Blue Screen OF DEATH!

Windows_XP_BSOD

This is the fabled Blue Screen of Death, which used to be a lot scarier because it used to appear quite commonly and result in actual trouble.

If you see it these days, it probably means you’re using a really old computer, which is probably more painful than scary. But what’s dead doesn’t always stay dead. A version of Bad Blue was recently spotted on Windows Phone and an iPhone.

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