What to Watch For – Ransomware Attacks

TeslaCrypt is one of the most prevalent ransomware attacks in the US

Ransomware – What You Need to Know

Diverse Tech Services has noticed a sharp increase in attempted ransomware attacks over Q1 and Q2 2016.  These attacks are primarily initiated through e-mail attachments, but also through social media websites linking to infected websites. Websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are susceptible to these attacks by linking users to outside web addresses.
What does ransomware do?

There are different types of ransomware. However, all of them will prevent you from using your PC normally, and they will all ask you to do something before you can use your PC.

They can target any PC users, whether it’s a home computer, endpoints in an enterprise network, or servers used by a government agency or healthcare provider.

Ransomware can:

  • Prevent you from accessing Windows.
  • Encrypt files so you can’t use them.
  • Stop certain apps from running (web browser, anti-virus).

Ransomware will demand that you pay money (a “ransom”) to get access to your PC or files. We have also seen them make you complete surveys.

There is no guarantee that paying the fine or doing what the ransomware tells you will give access to your PC or files again.

How to protect yourself?

  1. Be cautious about unsolicited attachments
    The crooks are relying on the dilemma that you should not open a document until you are sure it is the one you want, but you cannot tell if it is the one you want until you open it. If in doubt, leave it out.
  2. Do not enable macros in any document attachment received via email
    Microsoft deliberately turned off auto-execution of macros by default many years ago as a security measure. A lot of malware infections rely on persuading you to turn macros back on, so do not do it!
  3. Regularly backup your important files
    There are dozens of ways other than ransomware that files can suddenly vanish, such as fire, flood, theft, a dropped laptop or even an accidental delete. If your company has a share drive or file server, make sure to save your important files there. Often saving them to “My Documents” or to the “Desktop” does not ensure that they are backed up.

 

How does ransomware work?

Ransomware is computer malware that installs covertly on a victim’s computer, executes a cryptographic attack that adversely affects it, and demands a ransom payment to restore it.

Simple ransomware may lock the system in a way which is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse, and display a message requesting payment to unlock it. More advanced malware encrypts the victim’s files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them. The ransomware may also encrypt the computer’s Master File Table (MFT) or the entire hard drive.

Thus, ransomware is a denial-of-access attack that prevents computer users from accessing files since it is intractable to decrypt the files without the decryption key. Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan that has a payload disguised as a legitimate file.

 

How does Diverse Tech Service stop the threat?

Diverse Tech Services utilizes the latest in security tools. We work to block all threat vectors to ensure total protection. When it comes to stopping these advanced threats in their tracks, we rely on our Email Security Service, or ESS.

ESS is a comprehensive and affordable cloud-based email security service that protects both inbound and outbound email against the latest spam, viruses, worms, phishing, and denial of service attacks.

Whether you manage your own mail server such as Microsoft Exchange or use a hosted service like Microsoft Office 365, Spam and viruses are blocked in the cloud prior to delivery to your network, saving network bandwidth and providing additional Denial of Service protection.

Seven Reasons Manufacturers Need Managed Services

  1. Skilled Resources: With an experienced managed services partner, manufacturers gain access to technologists with diverse experiences and depth of knowledge that can help them balance their IT needs with effectively running a manufacturing business.
  2. Lower Costs: These experienced, efficient technology experts are likely a fraction of the cost of full-time employees staffed round the clock thanks to managed services’ shared resource model.
  3. Best Practices: No more cutting corners. Professional managed services providers (MSPs) adhere to proven industry standards like the Information Technology Infrastructure Library’s (ITIL v3) best practices; Companies that operate on a global basis should also be able to deliver a common services platform that is consistent across all geographies, yet is flexible enough to meet unique regional needs.
  4. Proactive vs. Reactive Management: MSPs can offer detailed performance reviews that allow manufacturers to examine operational analytics and address issues proactively before a major service outage is experienced.
  5. Guaranteed Uptime: Using a managed services provider reduces the risk of downtime by properly managing physical, storage, and fixed network assets.  All changes are captured in an auditable configuration management database (CMDB) for compliance purposes, and stringent SLAs can be custom tailored to the organization’s needs.
  6. Predictable Costs: By embracing a managed service model, manufacturers can simplify budgeting with more predictable monthly costs for technology management.
  7. Time Savings: Knowing that they have a robust, reliable infrastructure in place puts the manufacturer’s struggle of prioritizing IT needs in the past. Previously overworked IT employees can now redirect their efforts to more value-added activities, focusing their time and attention on supporting business initiatives and building competitive advantage.

Touch on a frustration? Spark an interest? Reach out today! Call 317-524-5700 to learn more about Diverse Tech Services proven solutions for manufacturers.

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Internet browsers are not as simple as they once were. They do so much more than connect us to the Internet. A browser can offer you plug-ins to help you with specific tasks. They can be set to your custom preferences. And, a browser can provide you with faster speeds when using the Internet, depending on what you are doing. So, the question is: which Internet browser is right for you?

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Going VPN with Your iPad

If you’re like many modern workers, you enjoy or find it necessary to do work from home or other locations besides the office. Often, this means carrying around a laptop and depending on where you work and the type of work you do, this could mean carrying around a heavy laptop. It’s no secret that many workplaces are turning to tablets to get work done by allowing workers to be more productive in remote locations. But how does your iPad actually connect to the internal network? If you’re an Apple user, you can use the VPN with your iPad.

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Does The Thought Of Your In-House Computer Expert Leaving Scare You To Death?

Here’s an scary question most businesses don’t think about: what would happen if your computer guy suddenly quit? Most business owners think it would only be a temporary inconvenience when, in fact, the opposite is usually true. Want to know how much you are at risk? Ask yourself the following 6 frightening questions:

  1. Do you have written network documentation about your computer network? What software licenses do you own? What are the critical administrator passwords to your systems and devices? How is your computer network structured? What hardware do you own and when do your equipment warranties expire? Are there cloud vendors for email, online storage, hosted line of business applications, etc. that you don’t currently have? You should NEVER allow a single IT person or company keep this information under their full control over your network and company. If they suddenly left for any reason, this could lead to huge consequences for your company.
  2. Do you know where your backup files are stored and if they are being stored properly? If you are like most business owners, you’re too busy dealing with the “crisis of the day” to think about system backups and probably leave tasks to your internal expert. If your database gets fried and your tech is nowhere to be found, you might be in a lot of trouble.
  3. Do you have a written plan for restoring your network fast in the case of a disaster? If you don’t have a fully tested disaster recovery plan for your office, you could be at serious risk without ever knowing it until something happens.
  4. Do you know where all of your software is stored? Bad things can happen to computers and servers, and the situation can be made worse if you are not prepared. Taking a minute to organize and store your software in a secure place can save you a considerable chunk of money in the event that you need to restore a program on your systems. If you don’t have access to the software or don’t know where it is located, you might be forced to buy the software again.
  5. Do you know what routine maintenance is being done on your network? I know that the very idea of learning about and keeping track of all the servers, workstations and peripherals on your network is about as welcome as a black cat crossing your path, but it is important information to maintain. If your in-house expert leaves, who will take over?
  6. Do you know how to protect yourself from an ugly security breach if your in-house computer expert leaves? What happens if your in-house expert splits with no warning AND has access to your company’s network? As soon as humanly possible, you should disable his or her access, including remote access to your network and all cloud-based applications.

So how did you do? If you answered “no” to even one of these questions, you
need to get the answers now before
it’s too late.

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