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.

What is SSL?

SSL Security

You may or may not have seen the letters SSL on a website or an email at some point. If you’ve paid attention to a web form when providing personal information or credit card information, those three letters were more than likely there. But, what do they mean? SSL is an acronym for Secure Sockets Layer, which is technology lingo for security.

It’s a little more complicated than that. SSL is standard security that encrypts links between services and clients. Usually this link happens between a web server and browser or an email server and client. What’s important for you to understand is that it keeps your sensitive information protected.

What Type of Information

It’s important to understand the type of information that SSL can keep protected for you. You might actually be surprised to learn that you utilize SSL every time you log in to a website. Typical information that SSL keeps protected includes:

  • Usernames
  • Passwords
  • Social security numbers
  • Credit card numbers
  • Health information

SSL helps keep people and data secure every day. Before you send any of this information through an online form, make sure you see the small lock icon or the green address bar—both are guarantees that the site has an SSL certificate.


What’s an SSL Certificate?

Essentially, the SSL certificate creates a pair of keys (one public and one private) that work to establish the encrypted connection. The most important thing about certificates is that the most come from reliable sources. A web browser won’t trust just any certificate, which can be created by almost anyone. Instead, browsers have lists of trusted Certificate Authorities they trust. With this process, a web browser can trust an organization because they are using one of the pre-approved Certificate Authorities for their SSL certificate.

Why You Need An SSL Certificate

Why do you need an SSL certificate? It’s fairly simple: in order to have users trust you and feel comfortable providing you with their private information, they need that security. In some cases, like if you’re asking for credit card information,

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you’re required to have an SSL certificate. For other things like addresses, phone numbers, social security number, and health information, your customers want to know their information is protected and having that certificate does that.

Internet Identity: Changing the Way You Interact Online

Imagine you’re having a conversation with someone you just met. You aren’t going to tell them your entire life story after having known them for only 5 minutes. Instead, you might tell them where you are from and they will observe things like your height and eye color. Over time, the two of you may have multiple conversations in which small pieces of your life can be pieced together. Eventually, you both get to know each other from talking, observing, and sharing parts of your own story. In much the same way, your Internet identity can be revealed every time you go online.

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How to Make Your Password Stronger

How to Make Your Password Stronger

With the world increasingly turning to the Internet for solutions, work, finances, and basically everything else, passwords have become our first line of defense. But, what happens when that line is broken? What happens when your password has been cracked? The reality is, you can lose a lot because once someone has our password, then gain access to most of your life.

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The eBay Hack and What You Need to Know

Password Security

By now, you have probably heard that eBay was hacked recently. There’s even a good chance that you are an eBay user and have been notified about the hack. If you received an email from eBay, it most likely told you that you should change your password to help keep NS0-920
your information protected. And while that is crucial, it certainly isn’t all you need to know.

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Serious Internet Explorer Bug

Internet Explorer Bug

If you are currently reading this blog post in Internet Explorer, you might want to take minute to switch to a different browser. Over the weekend, FireEye Research Labs discovered a bug in the Internet Explorer Web browser that as of today (April 29) has no solution. It may not seem like it’s a huge deal, but when you consider approximately 50% of all browsers currently being used are Internet Explorer that can lead to some serious issues.

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9 Steps To Take Now To Be Certain Your Finances Are Protected Online

Seems like we’ve been inundated over the past 6 months with rampant cybertheft. Target, Nieman

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Marcus, Yahoo and even mysterious $9.84 credit-card charges. Unfortunately, in the world we live in, this is most likely the norm going forward and not just a blip on the radar.

So, how can you stay protected online? While there is no way to absolutely, positively, 100% stay safe online, by taking these 9 steps, you will be as safe as possible.

  1. Only Shop On Secure Websites. Before you type your credit card into a website, ensure it is secure. Look for “https://” in the address bar of your web browser when you are checking out.
  2. Avoid Financial Transactions Over Public Wifi. You can’t guarantee that free or shared WiFi access is secure. Ok to connect for browsing the web, but avoid financial transactions on these connections.
  3. Use A Secure Network For Financial Transactions. Protect your computer with a firewall, antivirus and anti-spyware software.
  4. Setup Banking Alerts For Unusual Or Large Transactions. Ask your bank to notify you of any suspicious or large transactions.
  5. Pick Complex Passwords. Use phrase acronyms and keyboard combinations. Never use repeat passwords or words in the dictionary for your financial accounts.
  6. Use Credit Cards Instead Of Debit Cards. Most credit cards offer better fraud protection, plus if money is stolen from a debit card, then it has already left your bank account.
  7. Never Directly Answer Or Respond To An Email From Your Bank. Criminals have become very adept at appearing that they are a financial institution when they are not. Never rely on links in emails to access your financial accounts.
  8. Install Available Security Updates On Your Computer, SmartPhone and Tablets. Many cybercrimes target known security holes on your computing devices. Stay up to date to stay secure.
  9. Check Your Bank Balances And Statements Regularly. Good ol’-fashioned visual checks on your balances and a scan of your transactions are the best practice to be sure that nothing has slipped through the cracks. 

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At no cost or obligation, our highly trained team of IT pros will come to your office and conduct a comprehensive Cyber-Security Audit to uncover loopholes in your company’s online security.

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Urgent Security Warning for Businesses Running Windows XP or Office 2003

If your organization is currently running  Windows XP or Office 2003 on one or more computers in your office, or your network email is on Exchange 2003, you need to know about a dangerous security threat to your organization that must be addressed within the next 3 months. Please take a moment to read this important announcement. Read more

Could You Be Infected With Malware?

Has your computer been running extremely slow lately? Are you getting a lot of strange pop-ups and things of that nature? You may be infected with malware!


Malware is a catch-all term for virus, trojan, and spyware infections.

If you own a computer that has access to the Internet and e-mail, then it is only a matter of time before you fall victim to a malicious spyware program, virus, worm, or hacker. Every day we get customers coming in who are experiencing computer problems due to these threats, and it is only getting worse.

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