Data is the new oil? How to block your webcam from hackers. Net Neutrality and what this means for y

Net Neutrality: What this FCC change means for you!

You've probably heard by now, Net Neutrality is over. The FCC has voted to repeal the rules over how internet service providers grant online access to us. This change could have a significant impact on your internet use and even worse, what it costs you. What does this mean for internet use? When Net Neutrality was in place, all internet service providers had to treat all digital content equally. In layman's terms, one website cannot have privileges of loading faster than another website. With the new repeal, internet service providers can now charge websites for faster load times, so smaller websites that can't afford the charge will be slower, possibly to the point of being unusable for some of us. We also mentioned costs of the internet can be affected. This has already started happening. At the moment, an upswing in internet costs is mostly affecting streaming services. If you're a Netflix user, you may have noticed the recent price increase. If you're a Cox Internet subscriber, there is now a cap on how much internet data you can use each month... No more unlimited data! If you go over your allotted amount, there's a pretty steep charge. You can prepay for more data through Cox if you're likely to go over each month. This will avoid overage charges. If you want to help fight the FCC ruling, sign a petition asking the FCC to re-instate Net Neutrality. Every voice helps! If enough people speak up, maybe we'll get our internet freedom back!


How to see if your webcam is hacked... And what to do to prevent it!

It happens every day, someone clicks on a compromised website link or opens an infected email and BAM! You've got a virus! Hackers use the same method of taking control of your webcam, either through a sophisticated Trojan virus or with a RAT-remote administration tool. Once in, the hacker not only has control of your webcam, but also has access to your personal data, internet browsing activities, your emails, and they can even make administrative changes (such as installing software) or restarting your machine. How can you tell if you've been hacked? Most webcams have an LED light next to it. If it starts blinking while you're not using it, it can mean you're being watched. In some cases, a browser add-on can also cause this. If you see the blinking light on your webcam active while it's not in use, it's best to scan your computer with Malwarebytes. (Click here for the free PC version, click here for the free Mac version) and Super Anti Spyware (click here for free PC version, no Mac version available yet - just run Malwarebytes). Anything these programs find while scanning are considered to be malicious and should be removed or quarantined. If your webcam doesn't have this light, you can scan with the programs we mentioned above. How to protect yourself before you get hacked:

  1. Install antivirus software - whether you're on a PC or a Mac, you need an antivirus. You can get infected on both platforms these days.

  2. Turn on your firewall - a hardware and software firewall are both great protection against malware and hackers. All networks should have a hardware firewall (your router has a hardware firewall built in, but you can upgrade to a more sophisticated firewall. We can install the more sophisticated firewall for you - see the column on the right in this newsletter). Your computer should always have a software firewall turned on as well.

  3. Secure your WiFi - if you have an open WiFi network or a weak password, you can be infiltrated by a hacker sitting on your street in a car, or by a bad neighbor.

  4. Think before clicking - hackers lure people into downloading malicious software by hiding it in pictures, attachments and links within emails. When browsing the internet, hover over a URL (or a link) before clicking on it with your mouse. The URL will display bottom left on your browser when you hover over it. Verify the link is correct and not taking you somewhere different than the selection you're making.

  5. While browsing the Internet, avoid tech support offers - ever see a popup saying you have an infection and to call the number on your screen for help? Never click the popup or call the number they list. More than likely, you don't have an issue and this is an attempt made by a hacker to infiltrate your computer. Some of these are so malicious, you can't close out of them. Hold down the power button on your computer until the machine shuts off (usually 5-7 seconds). Then start your machine again and don't restore browser pages.