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10 Ways to Spot a Phishing Email

10 Ways to Spot a phishing email

Phishing emails are quite prevalent these days. Below are some ways to spot malicious emails.

“Phishing” is an attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and/or credit card details (and, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by pretending to be a trustworthy entity in an email. [1] Phishing can also occur over the phone or on websites, but email is the most common means.

Millions of phishing emails are sent to unsuspecting victims all over the world everyday. Some phishing messages are so ridiculous that it is easy to identify them as frauds. Others can be more deceptive. Below are ten things to look for when trying to decided if an email is legit.

1: The email contains a mismatched web address

Oftentimes the URL (aka. web address) in a phishing message will appear to be valid. BUT, if you hover your cursor over the URL, you can see the actual hyperlinked address (often at the bottom of the screen). If the hyperlinked address is different from the address that is displayed, the link could be fraudulent or malicious.

2: Website address is misleading

This trick is often used by scammers as a way to convince people that a message came from a reputable company like Amazon, Apple, or your bank etc. The scammer creates a web address that looks like it’s from a reputable company. It could look something like amazon.badcompany.com or usbank.scammersRus.com. It likely won’t be that obvious, but you get the idea. The word before the “.com” is what matters in computer-speak, so make sure it’s legit before clicking on it. And if you’re still not sure, it’s best to just type a web address directly into the browser search bar.

3: The email contains misspellings and bad grammar

This is often a tell-tale sign of a scamalicious email. If a message is filled with poor grammar or spelling mistakes, it probably didn’t come from a major corporation’s legal or customer relations department. It likely originated from Russia, China, or a poor eastern European country.

4: The message asks for personal information

Scammers often trick people to give up personal info by saying something like, “your account is going to be closed unless you update your account information with us ASAP.” If you are still unsure if the email is really from your bank or the company they claim to be, call the company directly, or email them through their website. Do not click any links in the email. That’s exactly what they want.

5: The offer seems too good to be true

This holds especially true for email messages. If you receive an email from someone unknown to you who is promising you the moon, the message is a scam.

6: You didn’t initiate the action

If you get an email that says you have won the lottery or a contest you did not enter, you can bet your bottom dollar that it is a scam.

7: You’re asked to send money

You might not asked in the initial message. But sooner or later, they will ask for money to cover expenses, taxes, fees, shipping etc. If that happens, you know it’s a scam. But hopefully you didn’t click on their questionable links to get this far.

8: The email makes unrealistic threats

We touched on this above, but this is a common one. For example, people have received official-looking emails allegedly from their bank. Everything may look real, but then it will say something like “your account has been compromised and if you do not submit a form [along with your account number] and two picture IDs, your account will be canceled and a judgement will be placed against you.”

A real company won’t send an email like this.

9: The message appears to be from a government agency

Sometimes emails claim to be from a law enforcement agency, the IRS, the FBI, or some other agency. US government agencies don’t normally use email as an initial point of contact, so it’s more than likely fake.

10: Something just doesn’t look right

When in doubt, don’t click. It’s best to be on the safe side and protect your computer and your personal information.

Remove Cryptowall Trojan Malware

Remove Cryptowall & Restore Files

A new piece of pesky malware is making its rounds. Often identified as “Trojan.Cryptowall”, it is a Trojan that encrypts your computer files making them inaccessible. It then requires payment to have the files decrypted and to remove Cryptowall.

The threat typically gets installed by clicking links in spam emails, via exploit kits hosted through malicious ads or compromised sites, or by other malware.

This is a nasty piece of malware. As always, we recommend users to be very careful what links they click on and to avoid suspicious websites. In about 30% of cases we have been able to successfully restore access to some or all of users’ files after removing Cryptowall. The remaining option is a system restore to remove the treat. 

We do not recommend paying the ransom as directed by Cryptowall. There is no guarantee that the scammer will give you a decryption key to unlock your files, and the threat still remains. If your computer has been taken over by this frustrating piece of malware, give us a call or bring in your computer for us to take a look. We are glad to help.

Computers Plus Repair in Lexington, KY: (859) 523-5355

More Detailed Info on Cryptowall

Once Cryptowall is installed on your computer, it creates several registry entries to store the path of the encrypted files and the program runs each time the computer restarts. It encrypts files with certain extensions on the computer and creates separate files with directions on how to allegedly acquire the decryption code.

This threat attempts to convince you to pay money to get the passkey to free your files. It uses a number of different schemes to encourage you to pay the ransom. Of course after the scammer gets your money, he is under no obligation to release your files.

Another variation of Cryptowall is termed Trojan Cryptodefense. Cryptolocker is a similar piece of malware.

Means of Infection

In Cryptowall spam campaigns, the email will usually contain an attachment to an infected file along with a message that tries to coerce the user to download the file. The spam email might say the attachment is an purchase invoice, an undelivered package reminder, or a fax alert. If you open the attachment, your computer will promptly be infected with Trojan.Cryptowall or a variation of it.

It can also be transferred through exploit kits on compromised websites or malicious ads. The Rig exploit kit and the Nuclear exploit kit are two kits that have been used to compromise users’ computers with Cryptowall.

Other pieces of malware can install Cryptowall as well. For example, if a computer is already infected with Downloader.Upatre or Trojan.Zbot, then it’s at risk of getting Cryptowalled.

Functionality

Cryptowall was designed to prevent you from opening your files so that it could attempt to require payment in order to regain access. It does this by encrypting a large number of files on the computer with public/private key encryption using a very strong 617 digit or 2048-bit RSA key.

Once it has your files on lockdown, Cryptowall displays a ransom message via text document or HTML page. It may also warn that the decryption key will be deleted after a certain amount of time in order to pressure the you into paying quicker. The scammer may demand hundreds of dollars, and the amount may increase after a certain amount of days.

Remove Cryptowall. Remove Cryptolocker

The message will then give a link to a website where the scammer wishes to take payment. These sites are usually hosted on the anonymous Tor network, which scammers often use to hide their identity. The threat has asked the user to install a Tor network browser in order to access the site, but newer versions of the threat do not require the user to do this. The user may have to pay using an anonymous currency such as bitcoin to help shield the attacker’s identity.

Remove Cryptowall. Remove Cryptolocker

Even if you pay the ransom, there is of course no guarantee that the scammer will give you a decryption key to unlock the files.

Laptop DC Jack Repair and Replacement – Lexington KY

DC Jack Repair and Replacement

We Repair DC Jacks / DC Plugs / DC Connectors / DC Power Harnesses / DC Power Sockets and Electronic Key Fobs

Laptop DC Jack Repair in Lexington KYIf you have to wiggle your laptop cord or hold it at an angle to get a charge, your laptop likely needs DC jack repair. Also, the DC jack on your laptop may be damaged if the power cord no longer charges it, although this can also be due to a failed laptop charger cord – we carry many models in stock.

Oftentimes, the DC jack can be repaired or replaced at a reasonable cost. Our repairs run from $50 to $150 depending on the amount of work involved in the repair. We have parts for certain popular models in stock and can quickly acquire other model parts for speedy repair of your laptop. Sometimes we must partially disassemble the laptop before it can be determined if the faulty jack can be re-soldered or must be replaced. Read more

Upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $15

Get Windows 8 Pro for $14.99

Windows 8 logoMicrosoft Windows 8 Upgrade Offer:

  1. Buy a qualified Windows 7 PC between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013
  2. Register for the offer
  3. Redeem your promo code to receive the $14.99 upgrade

If you buy a qualified Windows 7 PC between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013, you can purchase a download of Windows 8 Pro for 14.99. Read more

Tips for Cleaning a Laptop LCD Display, Flat Screen TV or Monitor

Caring for a Laptop LCD Display, Flat Screen Monitor, or Flat Screen TV

Displays are expensive. And you probably want yours to last a long time, so why not take good care of it? It should probably go without saying that great care should be taken when eating or drinking near a laptop or other display because sometimes even the smallest amount of water in the wrong spot can short out the internal components. Not to mention food and drink gets the keyboard and screen all dirty and gross!

Also, make sure you never pick up your laptop or monitor by the screen. This could cause damage to the screen. Make sure to pick it up from underneath to avoid potential damage. If your laptop LCD has been damaged, most times it can be fixed.

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Our First TV Commercial – Computers Plus Repair – Lexington KY

Check Out Our Very First Commercial!

“Has your computer died? Running slow? Full of viruses? How much will it cost?

Drop your computer off at Computers Plus Repair and we’ll provide any service you need for the lowest price in town, or we’ll come to you (or we can login remotely). Computers Plus Repair is locally owned and operated so you know you’ll get the same expert service every time. We specialize in OS installs, failed hard drives, back ups, and LCD repairs on any Mac or PC (as well as virus removal, optimizations, upgrades and much more). Plus, we sell budget friendly refurbished computers (we buy used computers too). Computers Plus Repair in the Pimlico Shopping Center, where honest advice is always free.”

859-523-5355
[email protected]

3120 Pimlico Pkwy. Lexington, KY
Next to Subway and Great Clips
a BBB Accredited business

Let us know what you think.

Aaron Collins Wish for the Homeless and Those in Need

In Honor of Aaron Collins’ Last Wishes

Update 11/5/12: In honor of Aaron Collins, with the help of our great customers, Computers Plus Repair was able to donate $165 to Lighthouse Ministries to support local people in need, and $150 to fully fund a micro loan for Zewde Metaferia of Ethiopia to purchase an ox to help her cultivate her family’s land and transport her crops to market. “The increased income from agriculture will go towards giving my children a more nutritious diet, keeping them in school and paying for medicine. In the long term I hope to carry on developing my business to get more income,” she said.

ZEWDE METAFERIA - Zimbabwe World Vision Microloan

Zewde Metaferia of Washinaniget, Ethiopia

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Tips for Backing Up Data and Preventing Data Loss

Data loss can affect anyone…

It is especially problematic for those who have valuable information stored on their computers, such as business documents, financial records, or personal photos and videos.

Every hard drive will mechanically fail at some point and need replaced. Sometimes there are warning signs, and sometimes there aren’t. Also, malware and viruses can damage or delete critical system files. Oftentimes the only solution is to reformat the drive and reinstall the operating system. In these cases, everything on the drive will be lost.

We often perform data recovery for our customers in Lexington, KY due to hard drive failure or virus infection, and they usually regret not having a backup system in place when their valuable data is no longer accessible.  A little bit of planning now can prevent serious frustration and stress down the road in the event of hard drive failure or operating system corruption.

Here’s what we recommend to prevent data loss:

1. Back up your data

An excellent preventative measure is to buy an external hard drive. An external drive can be attached to any computer at any time simply by plugging it into a USB or firewire port. 

Many external drives also have the added benefit of one-touch and/or scheduled back ups – you simply specify the folders and the software will take care of the rest. Macrium Reflect software is a good free backup software if your external hard drive doesn’t come with it’s own software, or if it’s not user friendly. A 250GB hard drive will provide ample room for the average user, and Newegg.com is a good website to shop and compare drive prices, sizes, and ratings.

If it’s a desktop computer, an alternative is installing a second internal hard-drive in your computer (which we can do). Read more

Computers Plus Has Moved!

New Location!

Computers Plus, previously at 135 Moore Dr off Nicholasville Rd in Lexington, has recently moved to a new location at 3120 Pimlico Pkwy. Ste 142 (next to Subway). We are now called Computers Plus Repair, and we’ll be serving you from the Park Hills Shopping Center, between Tates Creek Rd. and Alumni Dr off of Man O War Blvd.

Map of 3120 Pimlico Pkwy. Ste 142 Lexington, KY 40517

We want to be your one-stop computer solution. We’re carrying all the most common parts, and we’ll order and start stocking just about anything you request. So let us know! Help make your one-stop computer shop even more convenient.

Computers Plus Repair – New Name, New Owner!

We can now offer better prices and more personal service. We will continue to honor all Service Saver plans that are still in effect from the old store, and we will be growing the parts inventory to include all the necessities for custom computer builders.

Be sure to keep an eye on us over the next year as we plan to make many changes and improvements to the store. More updates are sure to come your way! Better yet, “like” us on Facebook to be sure to keep up with special promotions and news.

While you’re at it, browse around our new website to get to know more about us,

Or give us a call for more information:

(859) 523-5355