Your Old Computer and You: Part 1

By HCS Technical Staff

It was recently announced that Microsoft will be ending any and all support, including updates, for Windows XP in two short years. Nearly 45% of the world’s computers run Windows XP.

This announcement just made the day of every malware writer and botnet owner and cyber-villain out there…

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Malware & Cyber Warfare

HCS Technical Staff
How is it done?
Offensive computer attacks are usually conducted by exploiting flaws in a computer web interface (most often a “login screen”) or surreptitiously installing malicious software (“malware”) on targeted computers to produce a number of effects on the computer system or devices that it controls.
How does it happen?
In the broadest sense, human error is what leads to successful computer attacks. A computer running an unpatched legacy operating system, using an unpatched legacy web browser to view shady sites, opening the attachment on a weird email, a poorly designed web-facing login screen, unencrypted wireless transmissions, or lax enforcement of a security policy in a building are the most common examples of human error.
How does it impact relationships between nation-states?
It provides an indirect means for nation-states to wage deniable proxy war against rival nation states. The best example of this is the Stuxnet worm attack on the Iranian government’s nuclear program. There is also the element of “mutually assured destruction” in cyberwarfare that would impact how major world powers like the United States, Russia, and China deploy offensive cyberwarfare capabilities. I would not be surprised to see treaties between major nation-states (like the United States, Russia, or China) that could function as a sort of “Geneva Convention”
What threat does it pose to me as a civilian?
The biggest cyber threats to a civilian are:
  • Loss of water services
  • Loss of electrical services
  • Loss of Internet service
  • Loss of Financial services
  • Exposure of personal information and/or intellectual property/trade secrets
  • Identity Theft

What can I do to protect myself?
  • Follow basic disaster preparedness procedures
  • Use a prepaid Visa or other cash card for once-off transactions online
  • Keep some cash on you to do basic transactions in the event you have to get a new credit card number
  • Check your online bank account regularly for suspicious transactions or transactions you don’t remember making.
  • Use a LiveCD Operating sytem for online banking and sensitive personal financial transactions
  • If your machine is running Windows XP, back up your files and install Ubuntu Linux instead
    • Microsoft is no longer providing Service Pack Support to Windows XP
  • If you MUST use a Windows computer, keep the following in mind:
    • Make sure it is Windows 7
    • Routinely run Windows Update
    • Install Microsoft Security Essentials
    • Install CCleaner
    • Install Malwarebytes Antimalware
    • Keep your web browser up to date and install multiple web browsers on your PC
    • Google Chrome and FireFox are good to go.
    • I know we are all good Christian Warriors and wouldn’t do such things, but be mindful that surfing for pornography or pirated movies is not much different than going into the “bad part of town” to buy drugs. Big boy rules apply.
How can I protect my small or medium-sized business?
  • Contact Hammerhead Combat Systems Today!