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.

5 Easy Things You Should Do To Protect Your Business Now

Let’s face it: no one likes to think about bad things happening to them, much less plan for them. But since September is National Disaster Preparedness Month, we want to give you a quick “brush up”on some simple things you can (and should!) be doing to protect your business.

  1. Review Your Business Insurance Carefully. Most businesses carry some type of general liability insurance that would pay them if their building and the things in it were damaged. However, many businesses do not have enough coverage to replace all the computer equipment and devices, desks, art, supplies and other things they’ve accumulated over the years that are housed in their office. Make sure you review your policy every year and keep in mind new additions and assets you’ve accumulated during that year.
  2. Consider Cloud Computing. One of the biggest advantages of cloud computing is that your data and assets are stored off-site in a highly secure, high-availability data center, with fail over and redundancy built in. That means that if your building were destroyed and you had to evacuate, or if your server melted down due to an unexpected hardware failure, everything you’ve worked so hard to create over the years is safe and not a sitting duck in your unsecured closet or server room.
  3. Secure Your Data. Making sure that your data is protected from theft is a never-ending battle you don’t want to lose. Companies that get hacked and expose sensitive client and employee data can face severe penalties, lawsuits and massive loss of credibility in the marketplace. Make sure you never have to send an e-mail to your customers explaining the bad news that a hacker accessed their info through you. Further, if you keep any sensitive information (even passwords to portals containing sensitive information) on portable laptops, phones and other devices, make sure you have a way of controlling and safeguarding that information.
  4. Write A Simple Disaster Recovery Plan. The key word here is “simple.” If your plan gets too complicated or difficult, you won’t do it. But at a minimum, think of the disaster that is most likely to happen and that would have a severe and negative impact on your company’s survival.
  5. Review Your Employee Internet Policy. With so many people “addicted” to Facebook and Twitter, it’s important that your employees know where the line is in what they can and can’t post online. We also recommend content-filtering software to block content and web sites you don’t want employees visiting during work hours.

Call us during the month of September and we’ll give you a Disaster Recovery Business Assessment for FREE (a $297 value)!

Storm Season Is Upon Us… Are You Protected?

Spring begins on March 20th! It’s not too late to prepare for those pop-up storms that occur randomly at this time of year, often resulting in everything from ice damage to lightning fires. During this time of year the threat of fire, flood, severe storms, water damage from office sprinklers and even theft is very real.

One of the most valuable assets for any company is its data. Hardware and software can easily be replaced, but a company’s data cannot!   As a reminder to all of our clients and friends, here are some simple things you should do to make sure your company is ready for any natural disaster.
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3 Gifts For You This Valentine’s Day

3 Free Valentine's Day Offers

Finally, Valentine’s Day gifts that won’t make you fat or give you cavities! During the entire month of February, we’re having a special event for all of our clients (new and old) to show them a little love and appreciation.

  • A FREE Gift and Goodie Bag ($100 Value). Call us for anything during the month of February – a repair, an upgrade or even a quote on a project – and we’ll give you a free Valentine’s Day Gift and Goodie Bag chock-full of useful, interesting and fun gifts. Yes, we are keeping the contents secret, but the value is over $100!
  • A FREE Deep Network Analysis Scan ($497 Value). We call it our DNA Scan…  Are you worried about viruses, spyware and hackers? Are you curious about whether or not your business could be moved to the cloud? Are you uncertain about how safe your data is? Would you like to know for sure if your backups are really working? The results from this propitiatory diagnostic can help.

Read more

Backing Up Your Server Alone May Still Lead To Data Loss

Most business owners know that it is important for their server(s) to be backed up. But what about your computers (desktops, laptops, Macs)? Though it’s true that quite a bit of your data is stored on your servers and backed up on your network, your computer itself (your icons, your background, all of your settings, your  local files, music and pictures you save stored, and all of your software applications) is most likely NOT  being backed up.

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If your computer were to crash, get a virus, or simply die, all of that information could be lost. The company data that you’ve saved to your server would still be there IF you are saving everything to your server (a big if for many people), but everything else would be gone. You would have to recreate that computer by reloading all of the software and settings. And if you’ve ever had this happen to you, you know that it can take a significant amount of time to do. What a pain!

So, How Do You Solve This Problem?

Simple. You use an imaging software on your computer that automatically takes periodic images of the machine and sends them offsite or to your server for safe keeping. Imaging software takes a “picture” or “snapshot” of your computer so it records it exactly as it is with all of the software, settings and local files you have on it. This way, if your computer ever crashes, there is no need to re-load everything onto it and reconfigure the computer. Simply restore your last “image” from before the crash and your computer can be back to its old self again. This is a huge time saver and can be a life saver when something goes wrong.

Protect Your Desktops And Laptops!

Sign-up for a 30-day FREE trial (a $99 value) of our DataCare Desktop Backup Solution  and see for yourself how simple it can be to keep your computer data and files safe and sound. You may be amazed the peace of mind that you find when you are completely backed up!

 

A FREE Disaster Prevention Planning Kit To All Of Our Clients And Friends

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we decided to offer a Disaster Prevention Planning Kit – A $397 Value – absolutely FREE to all of our neighbors and friends!

Why are we doing this? Because we want to give it to you as a way of showing our gratitude for the great year we’ve had. And if disaster does strike (and we sincerely hope it doesn’t!), YOU will be really grateful to have planned out in advance what you need to do to minimize your downtime and costs to your business.

Who’s This For And What’s Inside?November-Image

This kit is designed for the small or medium business owner, office manager or IT pro who wants to make absolutely certain their business wouldn’t be shut down after a fire, flood, theft, virus attack, hardware failure or any of the dozens of data-erasing disasters that could happen to any business at any time.

And let’s be honest…chances are that you DON’T have a good disaster recovery plan in place and have really no earthly idea if you truly could be

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back up and running fast in the event of a disaster. That’s why it’s so important that you get an d implement this simple and easy disaster recovery kit.

  • A FREE “fill-in-the-blank” Business Continuity and Disaster Preparedness Plan that will make it SUPER easy for you to put a simple (but effective) disaster recovery plan in place.
  • A FREE Emergency Supplies Checklist to make sure you have what you need on hand should disaster strike.
  • A FREE guide titled, “The 10 Disaster Planning Essentials For A Small Business Network.” This will outline key systems and steps you need to take to make sure your computer network is safe and can be accessed in the event of a disaster.
  • A gift voucher entitling you to a FREE Disaster Recovery and Backup Audit where one of our senior, certified technicians will come onsite to review your current backup system to make sure ALL of your data is being backed up correctly and in a usable format. We’ll also make sure your data isn’t corrupt and look for any unforeseen problems that may be brewing.

 

How to Recover Your Lost Computer Files – Inexpensively and Easily

happywomanatlaptopWe maintain our computers similarly to how we maintain our own health – rarely do we take the time to learn about preventing health complications, and instead work to repair our health once we’ve become ill! We take care of our computers the same way, in that we rarely think about the safety or well-being of our data until something happens that leads to data loss or corruption. And when that does happen, how do you recover your lost computer files? Read more

What Every Business Owner Should Know About Backing Up Their Data To Get A Fast, East, And Economical Recovery In The Event Of A Disaster

If your data is important to your business and you cannot afford to have your operations halted for days – even weeks – due to data loss or corruption, then you need to read this report and act on the information inside. This report will outline the most commonly made, costly mistakes that most small business owners make with their data backups, as well as important questions you should ask any offsite backup provider before giving them access to your data.

You’ll Discover:June-Image

  • What remote, offsite, or managed backups are, and why EVERY business should have them in place.
  •  12 critical characteristics you should absolutely demand from any backup service; do NOT trust your data to anyone who does not meet these criteria.
  • Where tape backups fail and give you a false sense of security…
  • Frightening trends, cases, and questions every business owner should know and consider regarding data security.
  • The single most important thing to look for in a remote backup service provider.

It’s Time To Break Up With Your Old Tape Drive

They say breaking up is hard to do; but when it comes to choosing between your old familiar tape drive and risking your company’s data, it should be a no-brainer. Tape drives are notorious for failure — and if you are still swapping out tapes as your only backup source, here are 4 reasons you need to break it off:Feruary-Image

  1. Your tape drive is a cheater. Here you are, faithfully swapping tapes and taking them home every day (at least you do most of the time), feeling secure that your data is safe and that you could be back up and running again fast in the event of a disaster, right? Wrong.Your tape drive only backs up your data—the information you have physically typed in; but your software programs, network settings, printer and Internet configurations are NOT getting backed up and cannot be recovered from the tape. That means if your server were to go up in flames (or simply fails) you would have to find all your software disks and authentication codes and REBUILD your server. That task could take several days, costing you a lot of money and lost time.
  2. You could lose an entire day’s worth of work. Ever lose an hour’s worth of work or a document because Word crashed? Now imagine losing an ENTIRE DAY’S worth of work. Frustrating, huh? Since tape drives can’t perform open file OR continuous backups, if your system crashes at the end of the day, all the documents, entries and work you (and your entire staff) completed that day are toast. And if Murphy’s Law applies, that would be the day you hammered through a grueling 30-page report.Newer virtual backup systems will take a snapshot of your server every 30 minutes, saving your work from going into Never-Neverland. Plus, if you leave files open at night when you leave for the day (and we all do that occasionally), it will back up those files too.
  3. Your tape drive will abandon you when you need it most. You can only retrieve the data from your tape with a compatible tape drive. If you have had your tape drive more than 2 years, it may be a phased out model, no longer available to order. This could mean that when you need to recover your data, you are unable to, even if the data is there.
  4. You can’t trust a tape drive. Tapes have an average failure rate of 100%—they all fail, it’s just a matter of when, not if. Plus, you have to remember to swap out tapes every day, which leaves room for human error.

The bottom line is this: Tape drives are antiquated, and they’re an incredibly unpredictable way of backing up your company’s data. That’s why we urge all our clients to “break up” with their old tape drives and upgrade to Diverse Tech Services Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan.