How To Protect Yourself from Hackers

June 16th, 2014 by

Following the recent press coverage of ‘Gameover Zeus’, the virus that the American Justice Department dubbed “One of the most sophisticated cyber threats ever”, there’s never been a better time to recap on how to keep your details safe online.

What is the Gameover Zeus Virus?   

Last week, authorities around the world discovered a massive computer virus that had diverted millions of dollars away from company and personal bank accounts. Its name was ‘Gameover Zeus’ and it had been lurking in the online ether since 2011. The virus was able to infect computers when the computer’s user clicked on a link from an infected email.

Over the weekend, international crime fighting organisations joined with legal experts in Operation Tovar to address the threat. Together they have succeeded in temporarily shutting down the machines that were used to control the infected computers, so that they can’t be used to infect new computers. By now, anyone with Gameover Zeus already on their computers should have been contacted by their Internet service providers, with advice on what to do next.

The game may be over for Gameover Zeus, but this incident has highlighted how important it is to protect your computer and personal data – it’s estimated that this virus cost the world billions of pounds.

How can I protect my computer from viruses?        

Follow the simple steps below and you’ll ensure your computer is protected from the majority of potential online threats.

  • Make sure your computer is updated with the latest operating system
  • Keep updated antivirus and malware software running on your computer. If you don’t already have antivirus software installed you can download free versions from getsafeonline.org – a site run by the National Crime Agency that was involved in bringing down the Gameover Zeus criminals.
  • Change your passwords, just in case they have been compromised.
  • Pay close attention to all bank and credit accounts. Notify your bank immediately if you notice any unauthorised activity.
  • Beware of unsolicited or unexpected email. Do not open any email if you are unsure of the sender.

Which antivirus/malware software should I use?

Antivirus software works by scanning all the downloaded materials on your computer in search of dangerous programming. It is a program designed to remove malicious programs that have been activated and currently pose a threat to your machine.

Free antivirus software is available. However,if you’re going down the free route, make sure you download from a reputable site. Even an antivirus software site could be a vessel for hackers. Stick with trusted names like Avast, AVG and Bitdefender, for example

If you are willing to pay for top protection services, some trustworthy brands include Norton by Symantec, Kapersky, and Bullguard. These brands charge you a monthly fee in return for continuous protection for your personal files.

How can I tell if my computer is infected?

There are a number of ways to tell if you have become a victim of a computer virus. If you notice any of the following actions your computer may have become compromised…

  • Slow computer operation.
  • Erratic cursor movement from your mouse.
  • Unauthorised logins to your bank accounts or unauthorised money transfers.
  • Unexpected chat windows appearing on your computer’s desktop.
  • Locked computer files and/or ransom demand for said files.

What should I do If I have been hacked?

If you find your computer has been hacked don’t panic, recovery is possible. There are steps you can take to restore your computer to working condition. Immediately run a complete system scan for viruses and malware and change any passwords that were infiltrated. For more information read our support articles My Account Was Hacked!



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