As you’ve probably noticed by now, Microsoft is releasing two Windows 10 updates each year. The one that most of you probably have is v. 1809. It was released in September 2018.
The next is v. 1903 (Initially released for testing in March 2019). Before it’s rolled out for the general public, it is tested by a lot of people and when the company is satisfied that it works as advertised, it is released in it’s final version.
This update is called the May 2019 Update and is now being gradually rolled out. If the update is available in your region, it will not be installed automatically, but rather offered as an available “Feature update to Windows 10, version 1903” that you can choose to “Download and install now”. To update, go to Settings>Update & Security>Windows Update and check for new updates.
There was a discussion of data loss and prevention in October, 2017. Go to the October Archives to read these posts. I will edit them to bring them forward in time, since this is a subject that comes up again and again. Check back on this.
You all have probably heard of the latest threat–ransomware that hit a number of countries, but hit Russia the hardest. Are you vulnerable?
You really should have the latest version of your operating system installed. Remember that Windows XP is an end-of-life product and is no longer supported. It is vulnerable. Windows 7 and 10 are safer–but they need to have all the latest updates installed.
In addition–you need to have a current version of anti-malware/internet security software installed. Scan your system regularly. And, most importantly, you need to have your data backed up. Ransomware only attacks your data. If you have a copy of all your date, you can replace the encrypted files. BUT–that backup needs to be offline. If you have a system that is constantly backing up your data, it will back up the encrypted data and you’ll be out of luck. If you have a backup that is offline, your data can’t be overwritten.
We recommend having your data stored on an external drive and plug it in only when you are doing a backup. If you are using cloud backups, talk to the company’s tech support to be sure they have a second copy of your data archived so it can be retrieved if your data is compromised.
Recently, there has been a noticeable increase pfishing attacks–notably using the Google Docs scam. You get an email from someone offering to share a document on Google Docs. If you don’t have a Google account, don’t use Gmail or don’t have anything stored in Google Docs, you don’t have to worry. However, if you do use Gmail be advised that clicking on the link you are sent will allow hackers to download your entire Google history and Google contacts, etc. Just delete the mail. DO NOT click on the link!
Here’s a link to an article that talks about remediation: steps: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/massive-gmail-google-doc-phishing-email
Ransomware first stated getting noticed around 2007. It grew slowly until 2014 and 2015. Between 2015 and 2016, the growth sharply increased. Experts predict that it will get worse in 2017 by about 25%.
Personal computers are not the only targets. It will be immensely more profitable to attack servers and hold them ransom. This can be very costly by causing business disruptions.
So–what to do? Install good anti-malware software and keep it updated, View unusual or unexpected email with suspicion, When in doubt, delete it. You can always reply to the sender if you think it might be legit.
let them tell you why they sent it.
I’m sure you all have heard that people lose data. This could occur for a number of reasons:
- You are typing a document and accidentally hit the wrong key. Oops–you’ve erased the thing you have been working on.
- You go to start up your computer in the morning and you get a message such as “no boot device”. Oops–your hard drive is no longer being seen by the computer.
- You sit down at your computer one day and try to open a document. What you get instead is a notice that your document has been encrypted and you need to pay $500 to get the decryption key.
- You open your word processing program (or graphics editing program) and try to find your documents or pictures. You find that the directories are empty.
- You come home after being out to dinner and find that someone has broken into your house and your computer is missing.
- You have kids or grandkids visiting and they ask to use the computer. When you again sit down to do some work, you have absolutely no idea it’s your computer. Everything is changed and your stuff is nowhere to be found.
- You have kids, grandkids, siblings, etc. visit you and offer to “help” you with your computer because it’s “too slow”. So they work on it and “fix” it for you. Now nothing works.
- There is a storm, fire, flood, or other disaster that destroys your office.
Sound familiar? Yep–it can happen to you.
In the last post, I described what can happen to you when you least expect it. We will now examine some things you can do to prevent the loss of your data (whether it be important legal documents, recipes for your favorite wine, or pictures of your family).
Back up your data–your first line of defense
- A simple backup can consist of you copying your data to some form of external media. This can be a CD, DVD, flash drive, or USB hard drive. In the case of a USB hard drives, most come with a backup program already installed. The backup should be done on a regular basis. Oh, yes–remember that your backup needs to be stored somewhere other than next to your computer! An offsite storage is preferable.
- Once you have your data covered, you need to think about your system as a whole. Unless you have a system disk, in the case of a hard drive failure, you will not be able to reinstall Windows. Many computers nowadays have a provision to make system recovery DVD’s. You need to do that. But that will only guarantee you can put the system back to the way it was when it was new. Your programs and data are not covered here.
- Using a recovery DVD, reinstalling all your programs (apps in Win 10!), and restoring your backed up data will allow you to continue with life. But at a cost–time! This whole process takes a bit of time to do it right. Measured in hours.
- A system image is a really good tool. It is a “picture” of your hard drive as it is now. The operating system, the programs, and the data. If you have a recent system image and you experience a hard drive failure, all you need to do is replace the drive, run the recovery program which restores the system image and you’re good to go. Simple.