Q: I have been getting these messages from Google or Gmail Automation Service Reporting saying that I need to check in with them for some reason…just click here?
A: As a matter of fact…I have been getting several of those from Google, from FedEx and others. They really look official. The graphics all look just like the standard company graphics and the message sounds important. Except…something just seems a little fishy.

Q: I know what you mean. In fact, I am seeing messages, supposedly from someone whose name I recognize that also look a little fishy too. Same deal: Just click on this link.
A: Right. And this is where we get to the crux of the matter. Have you ever read between the lines?

Q: Say What?
A: Have you ever just passed the cursor over the sender’s name and seen what the full name really is? Is it really the real address of your friend? Have you just passed the cursor over the link that they want you to “Just click this link to reply…”? Is it really a link going to a Google or FedEx site or is it going to some other country like .ru which is somewhere in Russia.

Q: I’m catching on quick: Is this how I get infected by malware?
A: You betcha! It’s also called Social Engineering. They show you something that looks familiar and you do an automatic response and they gottcha!

Q: So how do I protect against something like this happening?
A: First read the message and, when your BS meter kicks in and it seems a little fishy, stop and read between the lines. Use that slow pass with the cursor over the From field and over the Links in the message. If they don’t look right or are pointing to a weird place, consider calling or contacting the person or company with an email address that you know is valid and ask them to confirm that the questionable message is valid. As another protection, have one good, up to date anti-malware program running in the background that will check for and protect against any attack that might happen if you mistakenly clicked on the link.

Q: OK, but somehow I got a bunch of malware on my machine. How do I get rid of it?
A: We at PC Applications have tools that we can use to remove unwanted malware and get your machine operating normally again. With our PC Cleanup service we clean malware and also apply updates to your system to protect it from future attacks by similar malware.

Q: And how can people get ahold of you if they have a malware or other problem with their PC machine?
A: They can contact us from our web site PCAPP or they can call us at 533-6510.