Computer experts in the US discuss scams, security – The Star Online

While computers and security measures have advanced over the last several years, local experts say people should be more wary of scammers.

“Typically when it comes to security, the failure point is usually the person – the user – not the computer because that’s kind of how (the scammers) are going,” said Jonathan Rader, owner and operator of Rader Computers. “You can still get viruses and stuff like that, but it’s a lot easier to trick the user into giving them their stuff.”

A scam that has been common recently is a pop-up advertisement on the computer screen.

Rader said the pop up will say the computer has a virus and a phone number should be called. The call is then directed to someone who attempts to trick the caller into giving remote access of their computer. This access allows the scammer to plant evidence and make the user think something is actually being fixed in order to steal money.

“Really it was never a virus. It was just a scam,” said Rader. “Sometimes they will just get you to pay the money there and that’s it, but sometimes they will try to get to your bank account. They’ll have you log into your online banking and try to get money that way.”

Rader said another scam he often sees is where people will call impersonating someone from a company, such as HP or Microsoft, and try to gain access through remote access. A similar impersonation scam is also common when someone tries to search for a support helpline.

To prevent issues like this, Rader said people should make sure they get phone numbers from a company’s actual website. To filter out potential scams from pop up ads, Rader said installing pop up blockers can keep these nuisances from showing up. Staying off of illegal sites can also help to mitigate the chance of a virus or scam.

Glenn Martin, a senior technician at the PC Landing Zone, said the main thing someone can do to confirm the security of their computer is to make sure everything is up to date.

James Vanderheiden, owner of Quality Data Products, said people should try to educate themselves on different scams, which happen all throughout the year and mainly target the older population.

While not buying extra antivirus software helps save money, Vanderheiden said the only real way to protect a computer is through a hardware firewall.

“There’s several of these but they’re just not feasible for the the average user because they’re thousands of dollars and subscription-based. What they’re designed for is if you have a school or a corporation that has hundreds of users, you put one in place, pay a subscription, and it’s worth it. But if you’re just one user sitting at home it’s really not worth it,” said Vanderheiden.

Martin said extra antivirus software isn’t very much needed, as most computers are designed with security in mind with free antivirus software built in. Virus protection, which often slows down the computer, can be necessary for older computers that can’t get the latest updates.

“Say your computer is designed to run generally four processes at a time, so that’s how many things it’s doing before it moves onto the next thing,” said Martin. “Say it has 20 things it needs to run. Well, you throw an antivirus in with that then that’s going to be taking away one of your processes that it can run at a time. Now it’s using two of its processes to run antivirus and then two are trying to do everything that the computer normally does.”

To help protect children from harmful things they might encounter online, Martin said parents can create an administrative account or block certain keywords in the privacy settings of browsers. – Tahlequah Daily Press, Okla./Tribune News Service


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