How many of us go a little glassy –eyed when some new computer malware is announced? This week, the National Crime Agency’s Cyber Crime Unit scored a very large victory when, along with Police Agencies in Europe, it shut down and forced offline a particularly insidious and nasty piece of malware that has infected thousands of Windows machines in the UK, and about three million computers worldwide. Infection was by way of innocent looking or ‘trusted’ emails or links on social media sites.
The infection is called Ramnit and is designed to work like a very large robot or ‘botnet’ that automatically sends a person’s financial details back to base. The advice of the Get Safe Online website is to check to see if your machine has been infected.
Links at their website lead to Symantec (maker of Norton Anti–Virus) who offer a free check, as do Microsoft, who do a step-by–step, unambiguous and easy to follow guide to signs that might show the computer has an infection. If in doubt download the tool and run it.
The NCCU’s Steve Pye said:
“Through this operation, we are disrupting a cybercrime threat which has left thousands of ordinary computer users in the UK at risk of having their privacy and personal information compromised. This malware effectively gives criminals a back door so they can take control of your computer, access your images, passwords or personal data and even use it to circulate further spam messages or launch illegal attacks on other websites.”
Mr Pye continued:
“As a result of this action, the UK is safer from RAMNIT, but it is important that individuals take action now to disinfect their machines, and protect their personal information.”
I can only state that it pays to keep a check on your anti–virus programme, keep it updated, and schedule full or deep scans on a regular basis. Also, make sure the firewall is switched on.
With all kinds of new banking apps which are coming onto the market designed for smartphones, laptops and pads, it is more important than ever to update one’s own knowledge and understanding.
Full independent advice on all aspects of keeping yourself safe online is in the easy to read and follow website of Get Safe Online.