So did anything go drastically wrong this morning? Hopefully not, but let us consider one scenario that could have happened. You woke up and drove to the local newsagency to get the paper and some milk and went to pay via a card – it declined. Without any cash in your wallet you had to skip your normal cereal and coffee and could not read the latest Byte Me article.
Once home you logged into your bank to find the balance saying $1.13 – what!!! You do some frantic searching of the web to find their contact number and fire up your emails at the same time. While calling the bank, a heap of emails start rolling in from friends and work colleagues asking what the Excel file that you sent them was all about?
You try to log into Facebook to answer some of them, but your password does not work. The stupid automated message press 2, press 5, press 1, press3 bank message finally gets you through to a human that tells you that they are in card services and the person that you need to speak to is in their fraud section. They are unable to transfer you, so some sweat beads start to form on your forehead as you go through the press this, press that – stupidity once more.
Finally through to the fraud section to find that your credit card has emptied your account 4 days ago. Thousands of dollars have gone in just 5 different transactions and the bank is blaming your computer security. You wonder if you could just go back to bed and wake up in a different dream that is not a nightmare. The other 50 plus unread emails in your inbox suggest that you sent a weird Excel spread sheet to everyone in your address book.
This nightmare gets worse when you find that one of the emails is from a scammer admitting to gaining access to your PC and blackmailing you for another $15,000. Pay or they are going to release compromising photos of you that they found on your PC to all of your contacts. They even include a sample photo and it is disgusting. It is your face, but it has been cleverly tampered with and so has a photo of your best friends’ wife. The consequences of this clever photo editing are far reaching and just starting to sink in.
Just four hours after waking up, your previous life as you knew it seems a distant memory. Because your brain is in overload you do not even remember the email and attachment that you received a fortnight ago. You had tried to open the attachment to see what it was, but nothing appeared to happen. This was when the hacker’s software was quietly released onto your system, and he has had access ever since.
The above nightmare may seem extreme, but it is not too farfetched. Either the bank account draining, or the blackmailing has already happened to thousands of people before you. So many of us put off until tomorrow the actions that we need to take today. Internet security has never been as important as it is right now, and it is only getting worse.
This year we have specifically added 2 important new technicians to our team to help deal with these threats. In fact Jon has come direct from the Dept of Defence in Canberra where he headed up their Cyber security breech team. Jon has investigated all manners of Cybercrime and has even written reports to the Australian Minister for Defence.
Next week we will look at some of the Internet security measures that we can put in place to keep prevent you waking to a nightmare.
Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 07 49 222 400.
We have developed a brilliant self-help troubleshooting section on our website – so if you are having computer problems, but can still browse the web, please check it out. Click here to go to Kerr Solutions IT Troubleshooting
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