Ask CyberGuru: Have I been hacked?

Ask CyberGuru: Have I been hacked?

Ask CyberGuru

In this month’s Ask CyberGuru, we are asked: “I received an email advising that my email account has been hacked and a RAT installed on my computer. Further, it says I have been filmed using my webcam and personal information has been downloaded and will be shared on my social networks if I don’t pay the ransom in crypto-currency. Is this true?”.

There has been a series of emails doing the rounds recently advising that “RAT” (remote access technology) software has been installed onto your computer, threats of a personal nature are made and advised that this software will be made available to your social media if you don’t pay via crypto currency. Along with this, in some cases, the information include may include a password that you may have used.

This type of scam is the current flavour of the month and we have heard of several forms of this scam. One of the reasons these emails have particularly spooked clients is that the emails often contain threats of character assassination such as releasing “video” of the recipient watching adult content to their friends and family on social media, irrespective of whether they have done so or not.

Whilst this email seems threatening and intimidating, generally this email is an attempt to blackmail the recipient into paying money to the scammer. Oftentimes, the password may have been made public through a previously compromised website, and these passwords are often what makes this email more concerning.

If you suspect you may have been compromised in any way, protect yourself by:

  1. Changing all passwords on accounts with the password if displayed or not. Please check the “Have I been Pwned?” website (link opens in new window) to identify if your email account has been listed as being compromised in a data breach. If so, make sure you change any passwords immediately. As the email address and password is known, leaving these changes may cause issues in the future.
  2. Performing a full antivirus scan of your computer using a reputable internet security program. Further, please ensure you use secure (HTTPS) websites only to ensure your information is encrypted and remains safe. Always use internet security software on your computers and devices when online.
  3. Deleting the email and do not respond in any way to the hacker, and most certainly do not pay the ransom. Be wary of emails requesting you click to open a website or to access an important file. Do not take any action on the email.

If you are concerned you may have been or are compromised in any way, please contact CyberGuru for further advice. If you believe you have been the victim of identity theft or any information has been leaked, we strongly recommend that you seek immediate assistance.

Ribbon changes are coming to Microsoft Office

Ribbon changes are coming to Microsoft Office

Ribbon changes are coming to Microsoft Office

After twenty years of faithful service the familiar Microsoft Office ribbon, containing your menus and commands, is going to change. As part of the latest round of updates, a new look is being rolled out progressively across the Office programs, beginning with Outlook. But don’t worry, you will have two choices of ribbon – the simplified ribbon or the classic ribbon.

If you have been using Office for a while, you will begin to notice some changes to the look and feel of the various products. Starting with Outlook, Microsoft is revising how the user interface appears. The simplified ribbon aims to help users “focus on their work and collaborate naturally with others”. The simplified ribbon will streamline the existing top section of the screen, reducing the space it takes up on the screen.

Here’s an example of how it looks in Outlook:

Ribbon changes are coming to Microsoft Office - Example of Ribbon changes - Microsoft Outlook
Example of Ribbon changes – Microsoft Outlook

You can switch between the simplified ribbon and the classic ribbon by using the switch icon, which is located near the top right of the window.

These changes will also follow on Word, Excel and PowerPoint. In addition, the ribbon has a new appearance with new colours and icons and has been designed to scale on screens of any size.

For more information on the simplified ribbon, please see the Use the Simplified Ribbon support page (link opens in new window) and reference guide (link opens in new window).

CyberGuru provides consulting, training and support in Office 365, including Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint as well as a range of other products. If you would like to know more or want to enhance your knowledge and skills, please contact us.

Stay Smart Online Week 2018

Stay Smart Online Week 2018

CyberGuru is once again a proud partner of Stay Smart Online Week from 8-14 October 2018. This year’s campaign is Reverse the Threat, which is designed to “mobilise a movement against cybercrime with our partners and the wider community.”

Each year, Stay Smart Online hosts an awareness week to empower people, business and the community to protect themselves when online. Similarly, at CyberGuru, we seek to empower and enable our clients to be more self-sufficient in maintaining their computers as well as helping people be safe online.

According to the 2017 Norton Cyber Security Insights Report Global Results, one in four Australians were hit by cybercrime last year. As part of Stay Smart Online, we seek to bring together the Australian public, business and government to reverse the threat of cybercrime.

Here’s four tips on how to do this:

  1. Carefully check email messages that you receive before clicking or taking action. If you receive an email or text message that you are not expecting, call the company that supposedly sent it (using their official website or phone book, or listed details from a separate document).
  2. Don’t use public wi-fi connections, use a VPN or private network instead. Public wi-fi connections at airport lounges, libraries and coffee shops are not as safe as you may think. Cybercriminals may be able to see the information being sent between your phone and the Wi-Fi hotspot.
  3. Install new updates regularly. Smart phones, computers and apps require updates to add new features, resolve bugs and fix security holes. Install updates as they arrive or set them to automatically update.
  4. Create strong passwords that are different on all of your accounts. You may use a phrase or series of words that are easy to remember but hard to guess. You may use a password manager or implement multi-factor authentication to help protect you further.

For more information about protecting yourself and for more tips and advice, please see the Stay Smart Online website.

We encourage you to sign up to the CyberGuru Newsletter, as well as to sign up for the Alert Service.