Viruses, Trojans and Malware, oh my!

There are a lot of rumors about ransom-ware out there that many of you may not believe.  Something like it won’t happen to me.  Well, it is out there and it can happen, even to you.    There are many ways of distributing ransomware and other threats to your computer that you will not even see until it’s too late.  Ransomware is delivered through Viruses, Trojans, and Malware.  Yes, all of these are delivery methods.  The most common form of delivery is self-inflicted.  

Self-inflicted delivery is not new. You have probably seen it on websites and in your email (mostly as spam).  As an email, it is usually an attachment and can be opened by easily clicking on it.  On web pages, it is in the form of a click-through ad or article which by coincidence is also easily clickable.   When you click on this email or ad or whatever else is lurking out there you are inviting it to install itself and/or activate it.  This, unfortunately, bypasses the base defenses of most all anti-virus programs protecting you from just this sort of thing happening in the first place.

The unfortunate part is that because you load initiate the loading of the program your virus program does not do as thorough a job of checking out its validity.  This often causes the evil/insidious program to be able to install itself when it would normally be blocked.

I have found that the most common delivery is through email.   This is because with the right wording most people will open anything.  Don’t be most people!  Email can be spoofed to make it look like it came from someone or someplace you think you know.  The best rule here is if you are not expecting an attachment from an email you know, don’t open it even if it looks ok.   Treat ALL attachments like they will destroy your computer.  If necessary, email or call the person sending the attachment and ask if it’s legitimate.

With websites, you need to be cautious too.  Don’t click on banners or other ads.  There are more and more every day that is coming up as malicious software installers.   If you are downloading something make sure you download the right object.  A lot of free software sites make it difficult to tell which button is the actual download button.  Try avoiding free stuff as much as possible.  And if you do download something run it through your virus program before you do anything.  This is usually as simple as right-clicking on the file and choosing the virus program from the pop-up menu.

Remember, only YOU can prevent cyber fires.

Mapping a network drive

There are several different ways to map a network drive in Windows. Each way is, although different, basically the same. They all achieve the same end result and can be used interchangeably.

1. Use Windows Explorer
2. Use command prompt “Net Use”
3. Use Group Policy Editor

In Windows Explorer there are actually two ways of doing this. The easiest is to expand the network and then choose the computer which has the directory you want mapped. Then just left click on the directory and choose map network drive. All that is left after that is to assign the drive letter. The second method is in the Explorer header there is an option to Map Network Drive. This option will open a similar window without a drive mapping already filled in. You can now either browse for the folder or can type it in directly using the UNC of the folder.

If you want to use the command prompt you can use a command “Net Use”. With this command you can map drive letters and printer shares. You just need to know what the share name is.

Ex: net use x: \\mysharedcomputer\sharename

There are more options with net use that you can use to enter login credentials and such you can get a list by typing “net use /?”.

The last option is with group policy manager. This option is great for a server side configuration. There are a lot of things you can do the group policy manager but for now let us concentrate that you can map network drives. The best reason for doing it this way is for multiple people that need to share the same resource. It transcends changing of both computers and people. Setup correctly the only thing you need to do with group policies enabled is to attach the computer to the network and everything else is done for you. You can map network drives, printers, establish login policies, create defaults for internet explorer, assign local privileges, basically almost anything can be tweaked to your desire here and automatically update when the user logs on. All of these things can managed down to granular settings either by user, computer or even operating system. Any one all three or any combination thereof.

On your server based Group Policy Management Editor under “User Configuration” go to “Preferences” / “Windows Settings” then use “Drive Maps”. You can also setup login scripts and use the “net use” command from within these scripts.