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  • Geebo 9:01 am on May 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: malware, , WannaCry,   

    Latest ransomware attack shows need to keep systems current 

    Latest ransomware attack shows need to keep systems current

    Do you work for a company that still uses Windows XP because there’s a crucial piece of business software that only runs on the 16-year-old operating system? If so, your Monday morning may not be the most productive due to a global ransomware attack called WannaCry. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the concept of ransomware, it’s a piece of malware that not only infects your computer, but encrypts your files and does not allow you to access them until you pay the hackers holding your system hostage a ransom that it paid through the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. So far, WannaCry has infected over 200,000 systems in 74 countries including a large Spanish telecom and the National Health Service in the UK. In the US, courier service FedEx has said that a portion of their systems have been infected as well.

    The attacks started this past Friday and a security expert was able to find a vulnerability in WannaCry, but since then a new version of the malware has been spotted out in the wild. Since the new version of WannaCry went out during the weekend, a number of companies could be infected and not even know it until they start booting up machines today. The malware was designed specifically to exploit a vulnerability in a number of Windows-based operating systems based on an NSA spy tool that was released to the public by another group of hackers. Windows released a patch for the exploit, even for Windows XP which stopped receiving regular updates from Microsoft in 2014, but many systems unfortunately remain unpatched. Both the US and UK governments are urging those infected with WannaCry to not pay the ransom, which is said to be around $600 USD per infected machine. There is no guarantee that your files will be released once the ransom is paid.

    If you are still running Windows XP at home, you’re running a machine that is ripe for the pickings by malware and ransomware. As previously mentioned, since Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft you are no longer receiving any security updates. There are many free to low-cost alternatives to running XP, such as running a more secure Linux operating system. If you’re a business still using XP because the software needed to run your business only works on XP, it is highly recommended that you upgrade to a more current operating system like Windows 10. While it may be saving you money now to keep using the antiquated OS, in the long run it could cost you your entire network. There are simple and low-cost ways to run XP exclusive programs and applications in Windows 10. Lastly, if you think that you’d rather press your luck against such attacks remember this: it only takes one employee to click on one bad attachment to bring your entire operation to a grinding halt.

     
  • Geebo 10:37 am on January 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , fruitfly, , malware, osx   

    Apple users have two new threats to deal with 

    Apple users have two new threats to deal with

    If you’re a fan of the Apple ecosystem because ‘they don’t get viruses’ you may want to rethink that reasoning. While still not receiving as many threats as Windows machines Apple devices are still vulnerable to glitches and attacks. Two of those issues recently made the news.

    The first, and less damaging of the two threats, is a glitch in iOS that can cause you’re iPhone to crash. If someone sends you a text with the white flag emoji, the number zero, and the rainbow emoji, it will crash your iPhone if it is running iOS 10. You don’t even have to read the text before it freezes your phone. Luckily, this glitch does not cause any lasting damage and your iPhone should restart.

    The second problem is a piece of malware called Fruitfly that is targeting Mac computers. If your Mac is infected a bad actor can take control of your webcam and can take screenshots of whatever you’re working on. This malware seems to be only targeting a specific industry and may not have spread into consumer machines just yet. However, Apple has issued an update to OSX to fix the exploit.

    No matter whether you use Mac or Windows, iOS or Android, you still have to be concerned about your device’s security.

     
  • Geebo 11:02 am on January 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , malware, power grid, Vermont   

    Has the power grid been hacked? 

    Has the power grid been hacked?

    Over the New Year’s weekend a story made the rounds that the power gird in Vermont had been hacked by foreign aggressors, Russian hackers to be specific. As is usually the case with these stories the cyber-devil is in the details.

    Much like the claims that the Russians hacked the 2016 US election the truth is somewhere in the middle. In the so-called power grid hack it was reported that Russian hackers had gained access to the power grid in Vermont. That turned out to be not the case. Instead, it was revealed that Russian malware was found on a laptop owned by a utility company. The laptop itself had no connection to the power grid, not to mention that Russian malware can be a misnomer.

    Russia is a haven for hackers and malware, this doesn’t mean that they are necessarily state sponsored. Also, not only is malware for sale to whoever wants to pay the price but any computer can be infected with it regardless of who owns it. For the most part malware is usually injected into computers when the user clicks on a risky link or email attachment. It’s normally used to cast a wide net to infect as many people as possible rather than singling out a single machine.

    So as it stands right now the power grid is relatively safe from Russian hackers. There’s a better chance of it failing from its own decay.

     
  • Geebo 11:04 am on December 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Broxu, internet explorer, malware, Stegano   

    New malware attacks millions of Internet Explorer users 

    New malware attacks millions of Internet Explorer users

    A new form of malware has infected millions of users of the Internet Explorer browser. The malware uses flaws in Explorer along with Adobe Flash in order to gain access to the user’s email passwords through keylogging and taking screen shots.

    The malware, called Stegano, infects users through an ad for something called ‘Browser Defense’ of ‘Broxu’. You don’t even have to click on the ad for your computer to become infected if you are using Explorer.

    In case you were wondering this story is actually from 2016 and not 2002. So in this day and age why are people still using Internet Explorer? Microsoft doesn’t even want you to use Explorer anymore as they have replaced it with the Edge browser as of Windows 10. Explorer has been notorious for being insecure for many years.

    Instead of using Explorer, try using one of the many alternate browsers like Firefox and Chrome. Both of these browsers have plugins that can not only block ads, which is where a lot of malware comes from, they can also block Flash, whose security flaws are also well-known.

    And if it’s your parents or grandma who are still using Explorer use this little trick to make them think they’re still using Explorer while keeping them safe.

     
  • Geebo 11:59 am on September 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Brad Pitt, , , malware   

    The rumors of Brad Pitt’s death have been greatly exaggerated, but the news of it will infect your device 

    The rumors of Brad Pitt's death have been greatly exaggerated, but the news of it will infect your device

    Whether you wanted to know it or not, you’ve no doubt probably heard the news of Hollywood couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are getting divorced. The power couple, nicknamed Brangelina, are calling it quits after an 11-year-relationship, two of which they were married. Facebook news feeds filled up with links announcing the split, usually followed by people saying they don’t care while posting the link.

    However, even this minor news story has brought some hoaxsters out in full force. In your Facebook news feed you may see a story that claims Brad Pitt has committed suicide in the wake of his recent talks of divorce. Not only is the story not true, the link is disguised as a Fox News link to send you to a hoax page. (Insert your own joke about Fox News and hoax page here.) The fake page is designed not only to get your Facebook details but to also inject malware into your device.

    If your Windows computer does become compromised with malware many tech experts recommend downloading anti-malware protection. Malware Bytes is one of the most trusted anti-malware tools in the industry. If you have been infected by malware, ,start your computer in safe mode by pressing the F8 key while your machine boots up. Then run your anti-malware program to clean out your system.

    To modernize an older quote, don’t believe everything you see and only half of what’s posted on Facebook.

     
  • Geebo 10:02 am on August 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , malware, ,   

    New ransomware knows you by name and address 

    New ransomware knows you by name and address

    Ransomware is a nasty bit of malware that can lock you out of your computer or network and will hold your files ransom until you pay a bad actor to release them. One of the more infamous ransomware incidents involved a hospital in Kansas that paid the ransom in order to regain access to their patients’ records. One of the main ways ransomware infects a computer network is when a user either opens a strange email attachment or goes to an infected website.

    Now the BBC is reporting a new type of ransomware that tricks you into infecting your computer with your own name and address. In this case the scammers will send you an email that appears to be a large bill that you owe. Normally scam emails like this are generic in their presentation however this new type of attack makes the email look more official by having your name and address listed. Like any other phishing email, it tries to trick you into clicking on to an infected website. Once your computer or network is infected and your locked out from your files, the ransowmware will not only detail instructions on how to pay the ransom with Bitcoin, but it will also give you a timer that shows you how much the ransom increases the longer you wait. There has been no word yet how the attackers have been able to match up the names and addresses to the email addresses. While the malware has only been reported so far in the UK, it’s probably only a matter of time before it shows up in the US.

    The best protection against ransomware is to not click on unknown email attachments or strange websites these emails ask you to click on. It also helps to make multiple back ups of all your important files. According to Wired, if you do become infected, disconnect any infected computer from the network and try to use anti-malwarwe tools to remove the infection from the computer. They recommend only paying the ransom as a last resort as paying the ransom only propagates the attacks.

     
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