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Feb 2016

Jargon Buster Part 1

The computer world is filled with jargon that isn’t always self-explanatory. Here’s a quick overview of some of the terms you may come across when using your computer. Be advised that we have simplified things here — it isn’t an in-depth look at any one term.

Add-on - a software program that helps improve your experience on a website by providing multimedia or interactive content. Adobe Flash is a software add-on that allows Internet users to watch flash movies or play flash games.

App - short for application, is any type of computer program. Applications have existed for as long as computers, but the term 'app' is now more associated with software on a smartphone or tablet.

Bookmark – a way of saving a web page's address. Within most browsers, press Ctrl + D to bookmark the page you are viewing.

Browser - a “door” to the internet. Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are all browsers.

Cookies - are simple ’text files’ containing two pieces of information: a site name and unique user ID. Cookies are nothing to be scared of, they exist simply to make your interaction with frequently-visited sites more enjoyable. Without cookies, online shopping would be much harder. Cookies are nothing to be scared of, even if the prompts asking for your permission can be make you feel wary.

Search Engine - a software program, available through the Internet, that searches documents and files for keywords then returns the results of any files containing those keywords. The most popular and well-known search engine is Google.

URL - Uniform Resource Locator is the location of a file on the web. When you type the address of a web page into your browser, you are typing a URL. An example of a URL is http://www.diamondbyte.co.uk, which is the URL for our website. You would type this into your browser’s address bar to get to the intended website.

CPU/Processor - Central Processing Unit of the computer. The CPU manages the instructions it receives from hardware and software running on the computer.

RAM - Random Access Memory is a hardware device that allows information to be stored and retrieved on a computer.

Hard Drive - a device that permanently stores and retrieves information. Your Operating System is stored on your hard drive, as well as all software programmes, such as Microsoft Word.

Motherboard - the heart of a computer. It is a circuit board which distributes power to the CPU, RAM and all other computer hardware components and allows hardware components to communicate with one another.

Look out for more jargon busters in future blogs or visit our website using the URL mentioned above!!

CryptoWall

CryptoWall is a very dangerous piece of ransomware that over the last few years has not only been infecting individual users but large corporates all over the world (Lincolnshire County Council included) have also been targeted.

Ransomware is a type of malware that infects a PC, encrypts data files or the entire system and then demands payment (usually in Bitcoins – a digital currency) for a code that will restore the files. Even worse is that the hackers often take the payment but still do not unlock the data.

How does CryptoWall infect your computer?
The CryptoWall trojan is distributed in several ways. Malicious websites, or even legitimate websites that have been hacked, can infect your machine by installing it without your knowledge. However, it is mostly downloaded after opening an infected email attachment.

How do you know if your computer is infected?
When trying to open a Word, Excel or a picture file, the file is launched with the correct program, however the data will not display properly.
Alternatively, a text document or web page appears with a message informing the user that their files have been encrypted. It will demand that a payment of several hundred US dollars is made to obtain a code to unlock the files.

Please,
DO NOT EVER pay the ransom as there is absolutely no guarantee that your files will be reinstated. It's just a malicious way of earning illegal money. Bear in mind that every penny you pay these evil individuals will fund their attempts to target other victims. If nobody pays, they will hopefully stop these campaigns.

Once your PC has been infected with CryptoWall, there is nothing you or anybody else can do to get back your files. Your computer can be reset to factory defaults though.

How do you prevent Cryptowall from infecting your computer?
1. Be vigilant and secure
We say it in nearly every other blog but the first line of defence is to not get infected in the first place. Avoid clicking on links or opening attachments in suspicious email messages and beware of dodgy web sites. Regularly update your internet security software as well Adobe Flash, Java and Microsoft Office.
2. Back up your data regularly
You can do this using external hard drives, a cloud service or USB flash drives. NOTE: if your back-up device is connected to your computer when CryptoWall strikes, these will be infected too.
Although these steps are no guarantee, they do add another barrier against this and other viruses and ransomware.