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.

Avoiding Viruses and Malware

You’re probably seen popups when browsing the Internet. You’ve most likely received an email from a sender you didn’t know with a link. If you’ve ever clicked on those popups or opened that link in the unknown email, then you might have been the victim of a virus or other malware attack.

Read more

Defending Against Sophisticated Malware

We all get the phishing emails asking us to send our email addresses, user names, and log in passwords to the email sender. We all know this a bad idea, but there’s another type of phishing: spear phishing. Where phishing attacks can ask for a variety of information, spear phishing attacks want just one thing: for you to click on a link. These links, more often than not, will take you to a site designed to attach your computer and steal your information, and occasionally, will include CryptoLocker files.

Read more

How to Become Infected With Malware

infected-computer

There are countless ways a computer can be infected with malware. There are way too many to list in one post, and they change almost daily. So, rather than presenting you with the latest, most horrifying, cluster of viruses and malware preying on business and home users, we’ll explain how networks and computers can become infected, and share a few examples from our own clients.

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!

virus-attack

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.

Read more

Three Worst Kinds Of Spam and How to Avoid Them

Spam e-mails are not only annoying and time consuming, but they’re also becoming more dangerous to your personal privacy and the security of your computer. Millions of computer users are getting infected, spoofed, and tricked by spam e-mails every year, forcing the user to pay hefty fees to clean and restore their PCs back to working order. There are 3 NEW dangers that all computer users must be aware of: Read more