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.

How to Use a Password Manager

If you are like most, then you probably have multiple passwords that you use on a daily basis. From unlocking your computer to accessing your email, you should be using different passwords for every account you have. By using multiple passwords, you are creating a better security wall and protecting yourself even more. However, keeping track of all of those passwords can be tedious. Luckily, password manager can store all that information securely for you.

Read more

Network Security and Mobile Devices

In your office, you probably have Internet usage regulations and protocols. You have anti-virus software installed on everyone’s computer and you probably even use a spam detection tool for everyone’s email, but are mobile devices protected? Your network security can be placed at risk every time a user connects through their mobile device or public access point. Whether employees are using their mobile devices in the office or outside of the office to access work files, data, and other information, they could be the entry way for someone looking to steal from you.

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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.

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Cross Platform Security Software

More than likely, you have security programs and software set up on your computer. You follow best Internet practices and keep all of your data password protected and backed up. But, did you know that you’re still vulnerable? Because you use other devices like a cell phone or even a tablet, you could still be at risk for viruses, hacks, and other forms of spyware. Security software is no longer just for your computer. Why? Because your private information is stored in more places than ever before.

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Is Your Flashlight App Secure?

Have you ever found yourself needing a little extra light while searching for something in a dark room? Maybe you didn’t want to wake anyone up. Or, perhaps you just couldn’t locate the light switch. No matter your reason for needing that light, you probably just turned on your smartphone’s flashlight app. For some smartphone users, this means turning on the app that you specifically downloaded from the app store. But, did you know that could actually be a really bad thing?

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Necessity of Network Security

Network SecurityEvery day you use your office computer you most likely partake in computer security initiatives. When you’re at work, you’ve probably noticed or been told that your computers are on a network. Without really understanding what that means, you just accept it and move on. However, your network and more importantly network security are vital things to your company.

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Checking Your Software Sources

 
Imagine sitting down to your computer first thing in the morning, opening up the software you downloaded last night, and then realizing that nothing is working properly. It can be a completely frustrating and overwhelming feeling to know that your computer has been hacked, corrupted, or even attacked with malware. Knowing where your software comes from and who it is coming from is the first line of defense when it comes to keeping your computer safe.

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It's Time To Declare Freedom From Online Identity Theft

If you want to prevent your personal or business identity from being stolen by a cybercriminal, this report is a MUST-read!

This informational report outlines in plain, non-technical English common mistakes that many small business owners make with their computer and network security that puts their personal information and identity at risk of being stolen. It also further explains what identity theft is, and how you can prevent it from happening to you and your business.

You’ll Discover:

  • The top 3 ploys used by online identity thieves to easily gain access to your business and personal information, and how to avoid them.
  • 10 sneaky e-mails used to steal your identity that you should IMMEDIATELY delete if they land in your in-box.
  • One easy, surefire way to keep your network and computers safe and secure from online thieves.
  • What you need to know about the NEW scams being used to steal personal information via social media sites like Facebook.
  • Best practices to prevent you or your employees from inadvertently giving away passwords and other “keys to the castle” to Internet criminals.

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