Wednesday, May 31, 2017

How To Stay Safe from WannaCry and Other Online Threats

 If you follow the news, chances are, you've heard about the latest ransomware attack, named WannaCry, that has infected thousands of computers worldwide. While it is still spreading to personal devices and to offices, there are some simple things to keep in mind if you want to stay safe.

Ransomware works by exploiting a vulnerability in your operating system (mostly Windows) and it encrypts your files. The victim is then asked to pay a ransom ($300 worth of Bitcoin) to get their files unencrypted. This situation is avoidable with some precautions while browsing and downloading files from the internet.

Update your Operating System

If you're on an older version of Windows (XP and Win 8), you should immediately upgrade to the latest version of Windows 10 to stay safe from WannaCry. For those of you that are using the latest Windows OS, make sure that your system is up-to-date and you will not be vulnerable to this attack. Since this attack spreads through the internet, it would be wise to avoid spammy-looking emails asking you to open or click on a link. Emails containing download links should not be clicked unless it's from a trusted source. If you have disabled automatic updates on Windows, head over to your control panel and switch it on.

Download and install a ransomware blocker

After you've updated your system, chances are that you won't be a victim of WannaCry. To protect your system from further attacks like this, check whether your antivirus has a dedicated ransomware blocking feature. There are some free software like Malwarebytes Anti-Ransomware and CybereasonRansomfree that you can download to protect your PC. This will monitor your incoming and outgoing internet traffic for possible signs of malware and will alert you of any suspicious activity under the hood. After this, set your browser mode to "HTTPS only." This ensures that all the traffic between your computer and the website you visit is encrypted.

Backup your data

There are two options to consider while backing up your documents and media. You could backup your personal and important files on an external hard disc. Copying data would not take more than an hour and a weekly backup is highly recommended. If ever your device gets infected by WannaCry, or your OS crashes, you won't have to fret over lost data. Besides the regular hard disc backup, you can use cloud services like DropBox and Google Drive to safely store your files. Use two-factor-authentication for login to these web services. While they're highly secure portals to store your digital files, it would be best to use an app like Google Authenticator to add an extra layer of security.

What about my mobile devices?

As of now, WannaCry seems to be spreading on Windows specific devices. Nevertheless, if you have an Android, iOS or Windows phone, be careful while browsing and downloading attachments. Only install software and mobile applications from trusted sources that you can rely on.

With these things in mind, you should be safe from every type of online attack like WannaCry. Inform your colleagues and family members on the importance of doing regular backups and downloading files only from trusted sources online. WannaCry is known to spread through computer networks, so a collective awareness is needed to ensure that the hackers don't get their way.

Robert Blake

800.860.5831 x190

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

#Ransomware stat 10: 48% of IT pros report ciritical data loss for an #SMB due to ransomware

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

#Ransomware stat 9: 63% of IT pros say an attack lead to business threatening downtime

Monday, May 22, 2017

#Ransomware stat 8: Causes of ransomware? Phishing emails and lack of employee training.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

#Ransomware stat 7: Less than 1 in 4 incidents of ransomware are reported to authorities

Saturday, May 20, 2017

#Ransomware stat 6: cryptolocker is still king with 95% of IT pros still battling this giant

Friday, May 19, 2017

#Ransomware stat 5: 31% of IT pros reported multiple attacks against $SMBs in a single day

Thursday, May 18, 2017

#Ransomware stat 4: 60% of providers report 1-5 attacks against #SMBs, 40% report 6+ attacks

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

#Ransomware stat 3: 9 out of 10 IT service pros report recent ransomware attacks on #SMBs

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

#Ransomware stat 2: 95% of IT service pros agree, ransomware is a problem for SMBs

Monday, May 15, 2017

#Ransomware stat 1: ransomware has cost US small businesses over $75B in downtime

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Are You Prepared for a Disaster?

May 2017

Navigating your journey

Are you Prepared for Disaster?

We are very busy in our day to day lives and day to day tasks.  We easily ignore the many risks we face.  Have you thought of what would happen if a pipe or water heater busted and flooded your home, or in my recent case one of my office suites?  Do you have the right insurance?  Is the deductible too high?  What data could you lose if your computer got wet and shorted out?

My tenant and I have been working through this in the last week and a half.  Five a.m. I was called by my tenant to find that water was gushing from the ceiling.  It was not raining outside. 

I rushed to get to the office, took a quick look at where the water was coming from and climbed into the attic and shut the water valve to the water heater off.  Lucky for me the valve worked.  I have been in situations where the valve was stuck.  It was great fun.  (Sarcasm)

We had an inch or more of water in the entire office suite and a small amount of water seeping into the next suite.

I contacted my agent who was awake and took my call early in the morning.  She gave me a name of an individual who owned a remediation company.  He showed up within an hour of the call.  His employees began to show up and started cleaning up the water.

My tenant lost one monitor but luckily did not lose any PCs nor the server.  As we all know loss of data can be disastrous if not very costly.

The office took five days to dry out with the use of fans and de-humidifiers after the water was vacuumed up. 

The plumber was there on the first day and had the water heater replaced on the next. 

The take away:

Look around at your office or home and determine what risks you may face in the event of a water pipe or water heater failing.  Even worst, a fire.

Make sure you have adequate insurance.  Also, make sure you can afford the deductible in the event you have a claim.

Make sure you have a backup of your data.  Preferably a dual back up.  One on site and one in the cloud, encrypted.

Make sure your electronics, most importantly your PCs are not on the floor.  Also, make sure the power supplies nor isobars are not on the floor.  My tenant had two PCs on the floor and was lucky that they did not short out.  Only one isobar strip shorted and took out a monitor.

Check the age of your water heater.  If you are not sure if it is too old, contact and consult with a trusted plumber.

If you are a renter and you rent your home or your office, purchase renters insurance.  It is cheap and it will cover your valuables and protect you from liability for incidents caused by your negligence.

Take time now to be sure you can withstand a disaster.
Corey N. Callaway
Registered Investment Advisor      

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Saturday, May 6, 2017

#Ransomware stat 5: 31% of IT pros reported multiple attacks against $SMBs in a single day

Friday, May 5, 2017

#Ransomware stat 7: Less than 1 in 4 incidents of ransomware are reported to authorities

Thursday, May 4, 2017

#Ransomware stat 3: 9 out of 10 IT service pros report recent ransomware attacks on #SMBs

4 Ways to Protect Your Computer from Ransomware

Viruses and other forms of malware have been around for awhile now, but ransomware represents a whole new level of online threat. Unlike the first computer viruses, which sought to destroy data, and the later forms of malware which sought to steal it, ransomware actually holds your files hostage until you pay a ransom to get them back.
The required ransom for the return of the data varies widely, from a couple hundred dollars to thousands or tens of thousands when large businesses and critical infrastructure like hospitals and government agencies are targeted. Regardless of the amount demanded, a ransomware infection is an extremely scary and dangerous thing.
Even worse, once your system has been compromised the same ransomware bandits could strike again, taking your data hostage and holding you up for even more money. As with earlier forms of computer hacking and malware infection, the best way to protect against the growing threat of ransomware is prevention. Here are 4 smart ways to keep ransomware off your computer and out of your life.
#1. Keep Your System Up to Date
Keeping your computer up to date is one of the best ways to protect yourself from all kinds of malware, including ransomware. Software and hardware manufacturers discover new vulnerabilities all the time, and when they do they issue patches and updates. Installing those patches and updates promptly is the best way to prevent ransomware writers from exploiting those vulnerabilities.
#2. Use a Good Spam Filter
Many malware infections, including ransomware, originate with an email written and sent by the bad guys. Using a powerful spam filter is one of the best ways to protect yourself from these threats. Check your inbox carefully and be sure to mark any suspicious messages as spam. Over time, the spam filter will learn which messages are legitimate and which ones are not, filtering out dangerous messages before you even see them.
#3. Think Before You Click
Even the best spam filter cannot catch every suspicious email, and it is up to you to use common sense and good judgment. Always think before you click, and be suspicious of any email containing embedded links. If in doubt, contact the sender to verify the authenticity of the message, or go directly to the sender's website rather than clicking the emailed link.
#4. Back Up Your Data Frequently
Threatening to hold your files hostage does not carry the same level of threat if you have a backup copy ready. Backing up your data on a daily basis is perhaps the best way to protect against the threat of ransomware. If you have a current backup and a ransomware infection does strike, you can simply clean your computer and download your backed up files. Cloud backup services make this kind of protection easier than ever before, so there is no reason not to do it.
Ransomware is a growing threat, and one that is only expected to get worse in the future. If you want to protect your computer, it is not enough to install anti-virus software and forget it. You need to take proactive steps, and use your own common sense, to keep the bad guys at bay and keep your data protected.

Bit by bit can assist you in protecting your system from existing and future threats! Contact us for an appointment today, 877.860.5831 or the website.