Email scams and viruses and other ominous stuff

It seems that half the people I talk to of – excuse me – a certain age have computers infected with viruses.

Scammers and identity thieves – may they roast in the deepest cinders of hell – are becoming more clever in enticing people to open emails and attachments to emails with viruses.

BE CAREFUL!   If there is anything about an email that seems strange to you, don’t open it right away.  You might do a web search using the subject line to see if there is something going on.  People pass along and forward around infected stuff all the time.

This morning, for example, I got one claiming to be from FedEx.  I wind up using FedEx quite a bit, so it had my attention.  However, it didn’t look right.  I did a search and sure enough there was something malevolent within.  Check HERE for more on the fake FedEx thing.

Again, be careful!  Exercise a healthy suspicion.

Also, back up your files and do some basic maintenance on your computer.   One day your hard drive will fail or you will have some other problem.  You will lose things you don’t want to lose and headaches will multiply.  I dedicate a little time on Saturday mornings to tidy things up.  I defrag the drive if necessary and check the registry and make sure to check my back ups.

One way to back things up, if you are not using a service such as Carbonite, is to have an external hard drive, a big one. I suspect most people initially don’t need one bigger than 1 TB.  HERE is one that is pretty affordable.

Memory is cheap.  Losing your files is not and is painful.  Do the math.

If you are crusin’ around on the internet without virus software and firewall, etc., you’re nuts and you’ll be really sorry.

Make yourself a nice pot of Mystic Monk Coffee or Tea, sit down in the chair, and get it done!

I’m just sayin’

BTW… for the Litany for the Conversion of Internet Thugs click HERE.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. APX says:

    I got my first taste of malware this summer. Biggest.Headache.Ever. I went through the Litany for the the Conversion of Internet Thugs several times. Thankfully it didn’t happen during the school year. I didn’t have any type of virus protection on my computer at the time. Now I do.

  2. NoTambourines says:

    You really have to develop an eye for it. Usually something’s “off” in the language. Thank heaven spammers often aren’t native English speakers and don’t have the knack they think they do for imitating an “official” document. Thank heaven also that half the world can’t spell (not talking about typos. I want to get paid by the typo).

    I also virtually never click on anything in Facebook, partly because I don’t want it spawning spam to my friends, and also because I’m leery of it being shared. (And knowing my luck it would be “[My name here] read an article on [delicate health issue].”) I don’t know if it was a glitch, but last week I noticed friends’ comments on photos from people who aren’t my friends (and their photos) showing up in the news feed.

    Lastly, I never click on any link for my bank. I don’t Google it to save typing; I don’t click links from my email. I type in that URL from beginning to end. Might be paranoid, but I don’t want anyone partying with my money in Kreplachistan.

  3. NoTambourines says:

    Two other warning signs I’ve noticed that I wish I remembered in my last comment:

    1. The message asks for more information than what seems normal or appropriate.
    2. The message seems uncharacteristically urgent (or threatening — do this by xyz date or else…).

  4. Jerry says:

    External drives are good, but they are not sufficient unless you have multiple drives and one is kept in a secure off-site location at all times. An on-site external drive works for recovery from on-disk damage (malware, drive failures, power surges, etc.), but they will most likely be damaged by fire, flood, tornado, etc.

    Another point: do not keep your external drive plugged in or connected to the system when it is not being used. To do so exposes it to the same risks as the internal drive.

  5. wanda says:

    Hi Fr. Z., We are in the process of doing these kinds of safekeeping measures. I wanted to see the hardrive you mentioned, but, I can’t get the link to work. Your post is very timely, indeed. Thank you so much!

  6. Darren says:

    I bought an external harddrive a few years ago. It was one of my best investments. Before that I kept backing up photos and other important images to CD-ROM, which can take forever. I also have an old computer which is not connected to the internet. I sometimes copy the contents of my external drive onto that as a double-backup.

    Another clue to an e-vil-mail is that the entire message itself is clickable.

    Lately, my yahoo email get so many emails from “Adriana”, often with different last names, or no last name… but that must be one of the first names of choice of email thugs these days.

  7. acardnal says:

    Father Z, what app do you recommend/use for cleaning the Registry?????

  8. cowboy says:

    Father, this is just one more reason for you to (eventually) get that Mac (or Linux)! Much harder to get viruses (though not impossible)…

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