Author Archives: Tina

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CRACK – the virus, not the drug

CRACK – the virus, not the drug

So, I got a call today asking about CRACK.  I told them “I’m against it and you shouldn’t do it”.  Obviously I was being funny, but I really did mean that.   What they really wanted to know about was CRACK the adware/malware.  Here’s what it is:

Crack

  • Rank this week: Nº 15
  • Websites affected: 10
  • Users affected: 1,000,000 – 5,000,000
  • Affected Operating Systems: All Windows OS

 Crack Summary

Crack is an Adware software that delivers advertisement content to end-user and may be considered privacy-invasive. This set of malware includes toolbars, multi-offer installers, intrusive and fraudulent applications, free versions of commercial products which displays advertising, and any software that is funded by advertising.

How do you recognize cracking?

Whether or not it’s possible to recognize cracking depends on what’s being cracked. For example, software companies likely won’t know if someone has cracked their software. Likewise, students using the public Wi-Fi at the corner café won’t know if someone has cracked the Wi-Fi network and is capturing their vulnerable data, such as banking info or passwords. That said, it might be obvious that your computer has been cracked if your friends and colleagues start getting phishing emails from your email address.

How do you stop cracking?

Trying to stop cracking is like trying to stop crime itself, and if Batman can’t do it, we don’t have much hope of that happening anytime soon. As long as people with criminal intent and the skills needed to crack into computer systems exist, cracking will persist. So is there no hope?  Of course there is!  Here are a few tips:

  • Use a strong password
  • Don’t open any attachments sent from suspicious email addresses
  • Never send your banking info or credit card numbers via email
  • Don’t use public Wi-Fi for any activities you want to keep private

I always say that not being a victim to cyber crime is as simple as using common sense.  Click bait is exactly that.  It’s designed to entice you to click on it with either scare tactics or promise of something cool.  Don’t be a “Clicky McClickerton” as I like to say.  Know what you are clicking on and trust the source you are getting data from.

Happy Computing!


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Top 10 Cyber Crime Prevention Tips

Top 10 Cyber Crime Prevention Tips

Cyber Crime is rampant!  Viruses are everywhere!  So how can you protect yourself from being a victim of ransomware, malware, and cybercrime?  Well let’s start by being smarter than the criminals.  They count on the fact that you can be scared into clicking on anything they put in front of you and statistics show that they are pretty accurate.

FACT –

A company is hit with ransomware every 40 seconds.

15% or more of businesses in the top 10 industry sectors have been attacked

1 in 5 businesses that paid the ransom never got their files back

Now that I’ve “spooked” you, let’s talk about how easy it is to change the odds of you becoming a victim.  It’s easier than you think to protect yourself and your data from Cyber Crime.  Here’s a start, but consult a professional if you really want to lock the Cyber Criminals out. 

Use Strong Passwords

Use different user ID / password combinations for different accounts and avoid writing them down. Make the passwords more complicated by combining letters, numbers, special characters (minimum 10 characters in total) and change them on a regular basis.

Secure your computer

Activate your firewall – Firewalls are the first line of cyber defense; they block connections to unknown or bogus sites and will keep out some types of viruses and hackers.
Use anti-virus/malware software
Prevent viruses from infecting your computer by installing and regularly updating anti-virus software.

Block spyware attacks

Prevent spyware from infiltrating your computer by installing and updating anti-spyware software.

Be Social-Media Savvy

Make sure your social networking profiles (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MSN, etc.) are set to private.

Check your security settings.

Be careful what information you post online. Once it is on the Internet, it is there forever!

Secure your Mobile Devices

Be aware that your mobile device is vulnerable to viruses and hackers.

Download applications from trusted sources.
Install the latest operating system updates
Keep your applications and operating system (e.g. Windows, Mac, Linux) current with the latest system updates.

Turn on automatic updates to prevent potential attacks on older software.

Protect your Data

Use encryption for your most sensitive files such as tax returns or financial records

Make regular back-ups of all your important data, and store it in another location.

Secure your wireless network

Wi-Fi (wireless) networks are vulnerable to intrusion if they are not properly secured.

Review and modify default settings.

Public Wi-Fi, a.k.a. “Hot Spots”, are also vulnerable. Avoid conducting financial or corporate transactions on these networks.

Protect your e-identity

Be cautious when giving out personal information such as your name, address, phone number or financial information on the Internet.

Make sure that websites are secure (e.g. when making online purchases) or that you’ve enabled privacy settings (e.g. when accessing/using social networking sites).

Avoid being scammed

Always think before you click on a link or file of unknown origin.

Don’t feel pressured by any emails. Check the source of the message. When in doubt, verify the source.

Never reply to emails that ask you to verify your information or confirm your user ID or password.

Call the right person for help

Don’t panic! If you are a victim, if you encounter illegal Internet content (e.g. child exploitation) or if you suspect a computer crime, identity theft or a commercial scam, report this to your local police. If you need help with maintenance or software installation on your computer, consult with your service provider or a certified computer technician.

 

Lastly, have a security audit done yearly.  This will make sure that you are staying current with your network protection.

 


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Affordable Cloud Backup – Automatic, Easy, and Carefree!

Affordable Cloud Backup – Automatic, Easy, and Carefree!

Recently, BITS has become an authorized reseller of Crashplan online backup.

Subscribers in more than 100 countries rely on Crashplan to provide easy-to-use, affordable and secure cloud backup solutions with anytime, anywhere data access. The company has backed up more than 300 billion files, restored nearly 20 billion files, and currently backs up more than 350 miles each day.

You’ll never have to remember to back up again
Crashplan offers automatic, continual and secure online backup for your business computers & servers, so you can rest easy knowing your irreplaceable files are protected. Once installed, your files will be backed up automatically to the cloud – no hardware required – so you can get them back when you need them most.

Anytime, anywhere file access
Not at your computer?  No problem! You can get to your backed up files from any computer connected to the Internet or even from your smartphone.

Protect your files with BITS & Crashplan today! 
For more information on how you can start backing up the files, contact us today!

Happy Computing!


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Petya Ransomware, can it hit you?

Ransomware is such a scary thing. The thought of losing all of your files is horrifying! With the latest Petya ransomware hitting 65 countries it seems that the cybercriminals have taken things to a new level.

Last month, the WannaCry ransomware infected thousands of computers and was stopped when developers found a flaw in the code. The Petya ransomware is the Internet crime world’s touche’ since it appears they have fix the flaw in this version of the code. So researcher are back to the drawing board to come up with a new solution to combat this version of the ransomware. Security researcher Amit Serper of Boston’s Cybereason has identified a method that essentially acts as a vaccine for computers infected by the malware. His method tricks the ransomware into thinking that it’s already operating on a machine. Serper is being widely praised for the innovation — but he says the fix is “a temporary workaround.” It’s a workaround that is needed, in my opinion, until we can get this one under control.

So what can you do to protect your files?

  1. BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP!  – make sure you have a reliable backup both onsite and remote.  Check to make sure you have at least a week of good backups (we recommend 30 days).
  2. UPDATE YOUR ANTI-VIRUS – having proper, up to date anti-virus and malware protection can go a long way to protecting you against these types of threats.
  3. APPLY SYSTEM UPDATES – I know too many people that get the notice that they have pending updates for Windows and just ignore it.  These updates are released for a reason so make sure you keep your system up to date with the latest security and software patches.

 


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Cabling done right

I had the opportunity to visit a prospect that needed some help with network issues. They had problems with slow connections, intermittent Internet, voice calls cutting out, etc. So, I told them I’d come by and see if I could determine what could be causing their problems. On the surface, everything seemed normal. Then I got to see their IT closet and found the problem. The cable management was awful! I really wasn’t sure where to begin to start identifying the issue.

When an office has a network issue, the ability to quickly located and identify key cabling in the network cannot be overstated. Properly run and labeled cable isn’t just aesthetically pleasing but it’s highly functional as well. Let’s say your company has a computer that will not connect to the network and you need to troubleshoot the cabling. Which environment would be easier to do so in, A or B?

A

 

B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When your network is down you lose production by the minute. Having a clean, well-organized, well labeled network that is properly designed can make the difference between minutes and hours to identify, locate, and solve network issues. Whether you outsource your IT administration or have a network admin in house, you need to have proper cable management and everything should be labeled. Your current network administrator may not always be your network administrator. Time is money, and nothing is more essential than your company’s data infrastructure. Your cables are the veins that pump your data, provide your Internet, and help you communicate with the World.  Just food for thought.  When you open your network closet can you tell what does what?  If not you should have it evaluated and fixed.