Dealing with Ransomware

Ransomware can ruin your day. It can be an annoyance or it can wreck you company or organization. The most important piece of advice we give our clients that, in spite of everyone's best efforts, should they be attacked by ransomware is to first: DO NOTHING! Call us. We've been quite successful in helping to recover from ransomware attacks, even for those who are not our clients. However, once non-technical people start trying to fix an attack themselves, things can spiral out of control very quickly. This article from our friends at Norton by Symantec provides basic advice for individual and small systems users. It also contains good general advice for users and systems of all sizes.

Malicious software that uses encryption to hold data for ransom has become wildly successful over the last few years. The purpose of this software is to extort money from the victims with promises of restoring encrypted data. Like other computer viruses, it usually finds its way onto a device by exploiting a security hole in vulnerable software or by tricking somebody into installing it. Ransomware, as it is known, scores high profile victims like hospitals, public schools and police departments. Now it has found its way into home computers.

The nefarious ransomware business model has turned out to be a lucrative industry for criminals. Over the years its ill repute has made law enforcement team up with international agencies to identify and bring down scam operators.

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New Petya Ransomware similar to WannaCry

 

The problems with Ransomware attacks continue. Be extremely cautious of emails from unknown senders or even emails from known sources that appear unusual or have unrecognized links.  Here's an up-to-date summary of what's known about these exploits and how to protect your systems.

A new ransomware attack called Petya, PetyaWrap, or GoldenEye began spreading worldwide on June 27th, and it looks similar to the WannaCry outbreak in May. It targets Microsoft Windows operating systems and so far reports show that all systems from XP to Windows 10 are susceptible.

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WannaCry Ransomware Attack Redux

Tens of thousands of words have been written about the "WannaCry" ransomware attack on computers and computer servers all across the world. Below is a summary of what occurred. Fortunately for Computing Center cients, no one got hit. We are very diligent about keeping Microsoft and other operating systems fully patched and up-to-date. Additionally, the perimeter security systems that we deploy kept the expoit from even reaching many networks.

But this is not over. The next exploit could be far more difficult to detect and recover from. We continue to caution all our clients on the basic three steps that every business and organization must take to protect its computer systems:

  1. Be absolutely vigilant in securing your systems, including running all patches and updates promptly.
  2. reliable backup and disaster recovery solution remains the best and most effective defense against ransomware attacks. If you are hit with ransomware, restoring your system and data from fresh backups is the only way to recover without paying the ransom.
  3. And finally, people should be cautious when opening emails and attachments (particularly executable files and zipped files). Employees can greatly benefit from IT security awareness training on how to recognize threats and suspicious activity.

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Business Scams on Social Media

The old adage: "If it sounds too good to be true it isn't!" goes for social media too!  Scammers are using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites to dupe the unsuspecting.

Scammers try to contact people in many ways. They call, email, put ads online, send messages on social media and more. If you own a small business, they’re trying to contact you, too. 

Lately we’ve been hearing about scammers who reach out to small businesses through Facebook messages. People have reported receiving messages on Facebook telling them that they’re eligible for – or that they’ve won – a business grant. If you get a message like this through your personal Facebook account or on your company’s page, don’t respond. It’s a scam. The government won’t contact you on social media to offer you money.

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Medical Identity Theft - What to Look out for

 

Cybercriminals are giving a new meaning to the term ‘Health is Wealth’. Medical identity theft has victimized over 2.2 million people and that number is growing. Although medical identity theft is not something new, the increasing number of data breaches has increased the number of victims.

What is Medical Identity Theft?
Medical identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information to get free medical care, medical devices or prescription drugs under your name.

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