Archive for the ‘Internet Security’ category

Email Encryption – Protect your Business from Hackers!

June 29th, 2022

Often, businesses gather customer information and exchange emails with private information with customers, including details such as names, addresses, phone numbers, bank account details, and credit card numbers.

The problem is that many companies conduct business through unsecured email.

What does this mean to you?

It means that when you email a company, you’re putting your data at risk.

If you use an unsecured email account, those emails can be accessed by other people. Whether they are hackers or foreign government agents, they could intercept the messages and gain access to sensitive information.

  • They can steal your personal and financial data. Big problem!
  • Also, the stolen data can be used by criminals for online purchasing or total identity theft.

For example, a few years back…

Target customers were hit by a major credit card security breach (imagine if that was YOUR business?)

Payment card information was stolen from an unknown number of Target Corp. customers starting on the busiest Black Friday weekend. The Secret Service is investigating, according to a spokesman for the agency, which safeguards the nation’s payment systems. Target officials did not respond to requests for comment.

  • The breach involved nearly all of Target’s 1,797 stores in the United States!
  • The report said that at least 1 million payment cards were thought to have been stolen before Target uncovered the operation, but that the number could be significantly higher.

When all is said and done, this one will put its mark up there with some of the largest retail breaches to date. As noted, this has already happened to larger companies such as Target, Citibank, and Sony, and should cause small business owners to think seriously about email security.

  • The Hacking Team was just one of many security vendors that sold or gave away hacking tools to criminals. In 2014, the FBI uncovered evidence that the Chinese government had been selling hacking tools to criminal groups for years. It wasn’t just the Chinese government either, security vendors were also selling their hacking tools to criminals. The problem with this is that it could be anyone out there buying or selling these tools. It’s not as if there’s a shortage of hackers wanting to attack others, there’s always someone out there that wants to ruin your day.

So, what can you do?

One of the easiest options is email encryption. Did we mention it is easy? Yes, it’s really easy.

Why do it?

Email encryption offers you an extra layer of security, as the data inside the email is secured and cannot be opened or read by anyone who is not authorized to do so.

The email software is available today from The Computer Company, and it is a good investment as it offers the necessary protection. The software is easy to install and use, and not only does it offer you encryption, but also the ability to easily access your email from any computer in the world.

For a free evaluation or a demonstration of our email encryption solution, please contact us today.

Call the Direct Help Line :: 800.418.2358

Why it’s Time to move Your business to the Cloud.

May 12th, 2022

The cloud has become an increasingly popular destination for businesses of all sizes in recent years. Cloud computing can save businesses money in a number of ways. For example, by using the cloud, businesses can reduce or eliminate the need to purchase and maintain their own hardware and software.

In addition, businesses can take advantage of economies of scale by sharing resources with other organizations in the cloud. This can result in lower costs for everyone involved.

Reasons Why it’s Time to move Your business to the Cloud.

There are many other good reasons to move your business to the cloud. Here are some of the most important:

  1. Increased Efficiency: Moving your business to the cloud can increase your efficiency by allowing you to work from anywhere in the world with internet access.
  2. Reduced Costs: Cloud-based services typically have lower costs than traditional IT solutions, making them a good choice for small businesses.
  3.  Greater Flexibility: With cloud-based solutions, you can easily add or remove resources as needed, giving you greater flexibility in how you use technology. As your business grows, so do your needs for more storage, bandwidth and processing power. With the cloud, you can easily add more resources as needed without having to invest in costly infrastructure upfront.
  4. Extraordinary Back Up Protection and Disaster Recovery. Our self imposed demand for unmatched backup is key to your protection and our success. (Ask us for details when you’re ready to buy.) The Computer Company’s Cloud Service provides an easy and definitive pathway for data recovery solutions.
  5. Work from any where, any time, any device

With cloud computing, if you’ve got an internet connection, you can be at work. Improves communications, work efficiency and effectiveness. Allows you to fill blank spots in your workday, become more responsive, builds more controlled “think time” and/or “your time” when you want it!

Not moved to the cloud yet?

It’s no secret that businesses are rushing to move their operations to the cloud. The cloud offers a number of benefits, including cost savings, flexibility and agility. But it’s not just businesses that are benefiting from the cloud; consumers are too.

Call The Computer Company at 800.418.2358 

We are happy to answer any question you may have.

How to Keep Your Health Info Private in the Digital Age

December 21st, 2020

Today’s consumers have health and fitness literally at their fingertips. There are smartphone apps to help track calories. There are wearable devices to count steps per day or to help ensure you’re getting enough sleep at night. There are even Facebook groups to help you stay motivated to reach your fitness goals.

Although healthy industry regulations require medical providers to protect consumer health data, those regulations often don’t extend to health-related apps, social media, or wearable tech.

The Computer Company offers these need-to-know tips when it comes to keeping your health records safe:
What Companies Must Legally Protect My Health Information?

“Currently the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules protect health data in traditional settings, however, it doesn’t extend to health apps compliance. Many of the companies providing these technologies share consumers’ data with other entities, with no regard for privacy, without repercussion,” explains Compliancy Group. Read more.

The National Institutes of Health states that “Covered entities are defined in the HIPAA rules as (1) health plans, (2) health care clearinghouses, and (3) health care providers who electronically transmit any health information in connection with transactions for which HHS has adopted standards. Generally, these transactions concern billing and payment for services or insurance coverage. For example, hospitals, academic medical centers, physicians, and other health care providers who electronically transmit claims transaction information directly or through an intermediary to a health plan are covered entities. Covered entities can be institutions, organizations, or persons.” Read more.

 

Why Should I Care Who Has Access to My Information?

“Here’s the reality of life as a wearable device owner: There’s no doctor/patient privacy or patient privacy or any privacy for that matter,” Huffington Post notes. “Monitoring your health and collecting data is like publishing your own medical autobiography online.” Read more.

PBS.org reports that with its recent purchase of FitBit, Google has stated that privacy and security are a top priority, but consumer “advocates say Google and other tech companies need to prove that only a small percent — if any — of the data they release can be rematched with individual users …

The threat of re-identification has led privacy advocates to question the motives of companies that create health apps, which have not been proven to improve health.” Read more.

 

What Can I Do to Protect Myself?

The BBC reports that there’s “too much onus on the consumer to navigate an opting-out system” along with “the fear that hackers could access [databases] and find the details of individual users.” Read more.

When using social networking sites, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse states that users “become familiar with the privacy settings available on any social network you use, and review your privacy settings frequently. On Facebook, for example, you may want to make sure that your default privacy setting is ‘Friends Only.’ Alternatively, use the ‘Custom’ setting and configure the setting to achieve maximum privacy.” Read more.

 

How Should Healthcare Providers Protect My Medical Information?

First, it’s wise to get an idea of what constitutes a HIPAA violation. According to Zeguro “Although HIPAA violations arise in a variety of ways, they all incorporate “someone who shouldn’t know something who learns about it because there weren’t enough protections.” This definition includes everything from employees having too much system access, to a hacker gaining entrance to your system, to someone leaving a piece of paper on a desk or a screen open to view. Read more.

“Healthcare organizations, while under fire, have been improving their cybersecurity posture over the last few years. Many have hired cybersecurity professionals from more mature industries, like financial services; most are working to adopt strong frameworks such as ISO, NIST, and HITRUST to evaluate and improve cybersecurity controls, including security awareness training for the healthcare workforce,” explains Becker’s Health IT and CIO Report. Read more.

Navigating health laws and data privacy can feel complicated and overwhelming at times. Start by understanding the current laws, regulations, and health privacy certifications, such as HIPAA and HITRUST. Do some research before investing in wearable tech or signing up for an app or social account. Above all, read the privacy policies and review the settings for any software or hardware you use. By following the tips listed in this article, you’ll stand a better chance of keeping your medical data safe.

Contributed by:
Diane Harrison

diane@healthpsa.info

 

 

 

 

Cybersecurity Against The Dark Web

December 3rd, 2020

We are sharing this article we found on the web because it had a few good reminders about the need for increased security for our businesses.

 

Cybersecurity Against The Dark Web

“Not a second goes by when you, your family or your company aren’t under attack.”
By Neil George
November 20, 2020

Hacks happen to the most conscientious among us. Your credit cards, bank accounts, retailer-held account information and other types of individual identification data and information are all lucrative opportunities for all sorts of bad actors around the globe. And hacks occur every day on a 24/7 basis every second. The Breach Level Index from major defense contractor, Thales (OTCMKTS:THLLY) tracks data hacks. That measure reported more than 9.7 billion record hacks over the trailing six-plus years. And according to the same sources, the U.S. is the leading target, with 85% of all global identity thefts directed at Americans.

Thales goes on to say that on average, hackers hit and steal 75 record every single second of every single day.

And if you think that traditional firewalls and antivirus security keeps you safe? Nope — Thycotic, a Washington-based data security company (private) has interviewed “black hat” hackers, 73% of whom say the traditional security you depend upon is pretty much irrelevant.

And just hacking and getting data, and credit card and every other type of data isn’t the goal of hackers. Using it for fortune or fame is. And this is where the Dark Web – the underbelly of the internet – is there for all of the illicit transactions for any an all bent on mayhem.

The Clock is Ticking
Not a second goes by when you, your family or your company aren’t under attack. Your phone, tablet, laptop wi-fi network and even your smart appliances — if it’s on a network, somebody wants access.

It starts with phishing, where legitimate-looking emails asking for account confirmation can open up hell for those that click “continue.” Malware can embed itself into any device, providing all sorts of tracking or other data. And hackers also know social engineering can get you to willingly click on a link with disaster at the ready.

Article can be read in full here: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/7-cybersecurity-stocks-buy-defense-192726457.html

If you want to increase the protection for your network, please contact The Computer Company at 800 418 2358
To learn more please go to our website http://www.computercompany.net/Networking_Security.htm

Ransomware Assault Threatens US Healthcare System

October 29th, 2020

FBI warns ransomware assault threatens US healthcare system: At least 5 hospitals have been hit this week.

USA TODAY, Michael James, October 28, 2020

Federal agents warned Wednesday that a major ransomware assault is underway against U.S. hospitals, some of which have already been attacked by a shadowy band of cybercriminals.

Ransomware is an increasing threat to U.S. healthcare and has already cost hospitals tens of millions in recent years. A typical attack encrypts important data — such as patient records and billing information — until the hospital agrees to pay an exorbitant sum for ransom, usually in the form of Bitcoin or other digital currency.

Wednesday’s alert came from a joint federal task force that includes the FBI, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

At least five hospitals were hit with the ransomware attacks this week, the federal agencies said.

“We are experiencing the most significant cyber security threat we’ve ever seen in the United States,” Charles Carmakal, chief technical officer of the cybersecurity firm Mandiant, said in a statement. He’s concerned that the group may deploy malware to hundreds of hospitals over the next few weeks.

Ransomware attempts jumped 50% in the last three months, over the first half of 2020, and hospitals and health care organizations were the hardest hit, according to a study earlier this year by Check Point research.

Typical attacks demand several hundred thousand dollars and some have demanded $5 million or more, the research group concluded. Hospitals are often targeted because criminals know they are more likely to pay than other businesses. That’s because hospitals can’t shut down for long without impacting patient care.
Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: FBI warns ransomware assault threatens US healthcare system

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Email Encryption – Protect your Business

October 1st, 2019

Often businesses gather customer information and exchange emails with private information with customers, including details such as names, address, phone numbers, bank account details and credit card numbers.

The problem is that many companies conduct business through unsecured email.

What does this mean to you?

It means if someone intercepts your email they can steal your personal and financial data. Big problem! Because the stolen data can be used by the criminals for online purchasing or total identity theft.

For example, a few years back…

Target customers were hit in major credit card security breach (imagine if that was YOUR business!?)

Payment card information was stolen from an unknown number of Target Corp. customers starting on the busy Black Friday weekend. The Secret Service is investigating, according to a spokesman for the agency, which safeguards the nation’s payment systems. Target officials did not respond to requests for comment.

  • The breach involved nearly all of Target’s 1,797 stores in the United States.
  • The report said that at least 1 million payment cards were thought to have been stolen before Target uncovered the operation, but that the number could be significantly higher.

When all is said, and done, this one will put its mark up there with some of the largest retail breaches to date. As noted this has already happened to larger companies such as Target, Citibank and Sony, and should cause small business owners to think seriously about email security.

So, what can you do?

One of the easiest options is email encryption, did we mention it is easy? Yes, real easy.

Why do it? Email encryption offers you an extra layer of security, as the data inside the email is secured and cannot be opened or read by anyone who is not authorized to do so.

The software is available today from The Computer Company and it is a good investment as it offers the necessary protection.

  1. Host-based encryption software is where you set up an email domain on the server of the data encryption company to provide your business the needed security.
  2. This method can also be used to guard your system against spam, viruses and phishing attacks which is also a welcome added option.
  3. This is a good way of keeping virus attachments away from your system and it also prevents hackers getting into your system and then sending out spam from your system.
  4. It can also help to stop the hackers sending phishing emails from your company for financial gain.
  5. Encryption software is definitely worth considering for your business as it can keep your emails secure and also save you money by preventing the theft of your data.

For a free evaluation of your circumstances or a demonstration of our email encryption solution please contact us today.

Call the Direct Help Line :: 800.418.2358

Are You Keeping Your Data Safe?

August 30th, 2017

How would you answer that question? How can you keep your business information safe?

Sadly, what has happened in the city of Houston this week from the hurricane is an example of what can happen any where and to any business. If businesses have their business data backed up and secure off-site, they will be in a better position to resume business when the time comes. This is where the Cloud Storage Solution come in for most businesses. Why? To have Information Security you need to insure your business data is safe and confidential. It also needs to be quickly available when you need it.

So…. What are the risks to your business data?

No doubt you have seen the news, computers and the information more then ever are vulnerable to wide variety of threats.

Environmental threats. Severe weather can cause outages or knock servers’ offline. Downed lines from a freak autumn snow storm last year left millions in the Northeast without power for several days.

Malicious software. All computers, especially those connected to the internet, are vulnerable to attacks, viruses, worms, Trojans and other malware that can exploit weaknesses and damage data.

  • Cyber crimes from hackers that attack and try to access your computer for malicious reasons.
  • Viruses, Spyware, Ransom-ware are other obvious ones.
  • Unexpected events like old server cables can also take down a business overnight.
  • Human error. Even an employee can accidentally delete critical files.

Unauthorized users. Firewalls and intrusion-detection systems can protect outside users from changing your data or accessing confidential information like human resources and payroll, but the largest risks often come from an organization’s own employees.

Technical failures. Damage to the equipment that stores, processes and transmits information can range from someone tripping over and disconnecting a cable to a catastrophic server crash.

Easy Solution: Keep Your Data Safe in the Cloud with the Computer Company

The Computer Company will provide far better security than most businesses would likely to have in-house. Why? Because the main key to keeping your business data secure is to make sure timely protections are in place. And that’s what we do!

  • Our servers offer robust performance, security, reliability and scalability for all applications.
  • Our flexible configurations allow you to choose the right options and hardware upgrades to optimize performance.
  • Choose from multiple CPU cores, maximum memory and flexible storage.

More organizations are realizing the benefits of co-locating their mission-critical equipment within a data center.

  1. Co-location saves you thousands of dollars each year, not to mention the bother of spending time and energy towards ensuring the optimum performance of your server and your network.
  2. Server co-location leaves you free to concentrate on your core business and better utilize the resources you would have spent on your in-house data center.

The Computer Company’s reliable and secure co-location will grow with you to fit your ever changing needs. We serve clients from coast to coast, using only the highest quality equipment and Internet bandwidth available.

Not only does The Computer Company provide co-location in Connecticut, we offer dedicated servers, data backup, migration and managed hosting services.

Contact The Computer Company at 800 418 2358 for more information.

11 Sure Signs You’ve Been Hacked

August 17th, 2017

In today’s threats-cape, antivirus software provides little piece of mind.

In fact, anti-malware scanners on the whole are horrifically inaccurate, especially with exploits less than 24 hours old. After all, malicious hackers and malware can change their tactics at will. Swap a few bytes around, and a previously recognized malware program becomes unrecognizable.

Here are 11 sure signs you’ve been hacked and what to do in the event of compromise.

Sure sign of system compromise No. 1: Fake antivirus messages

In slight decline these days, fake antivirus warning messages are among the surest signs that your system has been compromised. What most people don’t realize is that by the time they see the fake antivirus warning, the damage has been done. Clicking No or Cancel to stop the fake virus scan is too little, too late.

Why does the malicious program bother with the “antivirus warning”? This is because the fake scan, which always finds tons of “viruses,” is a lure to buy their product. Clicking on the provided link sends you to a professional-looking website, complete with glowing letters of recommendation. There, they ask you for your credit card number and billing information. You’d be surprised how many people get tricked into providing personal financial information. The bad guys gain complete control of your system and get your credit card or banking information. For bad guys, it’s the Holy Grail of hacking.

What to do: As soon as you notice the fake antivirus warning message, power down your computer. (Note: This requires knowing what your legitimate antivirus program’s warning looks like.) If you need to save anything and can do it, do so. But the sooner you power off your computer, the better. Boot up the computer system in Safe Mode, and try to uninstall the newly installed software (oftentimes it can be uninstalled like a regular program). Either way, follow up by trying to restore your system to a state previous to the exploitation. If successful, test the computer in regular mode and make sure that the fake antivirus warnings are gone. Then follow up with a complete antivirus scan. Oftentimes, the scanner will find other sneak remnants left behind.
Please call us if you are experiencing any of these problems: 860.635.0500

Sure sign of system compromise No. 2: Unwanted browser toolbars

This is probably the second most common sign of exploitation: Your browser has multiple new toolbars with names that seem to indicate the toolbar is supposed to help you. Unless you recognize the toolbar as coming from a very well-known vendor, it’s time to dump the bogus toolbar.

What to do: Most browsers allow you to review installed and active toolbars. Remove any you didn’t absolutely want to install. When in doubt, remove it. If the bogus toolbar isn’t listed there or you can’t easily remove it, see if your browser has an option to reset the browser back to its default settings. If this doesn’t work, follow the instructions listed above for fake antivirus messages. You can usually avoid malicious toolbars by making sure that all your software is fully patched and by being on the lookout for free software that installs these tool bars. Hint: Read the licensing agreement. Toolbar installs are often pointed out in the licensing agreements that most people don’t read. Again please call us if you are experiencing this problem: 860.635.0500

Sure sign of system compromise No. 3: Redirected Internet searches

Many hackers make their living by redirecting your browser somewhere other than you want to go. The hacker gets paid by getting your clicks to appear on someone else’s website, often those who don’t know that the clicks to their site are from malicious redirection.

You can often spot this type of malware by typing a few related, very common words (for example, “puppy” or “goldfish”) into Internet search engines and checking to see whether the same websites appear in the results — almost always with no actual relevance to your terms. Unfortunately, many of today’s redirected Internet searches are well hidden from the user through use of additional proxies, so the bogus results are never returned to alert the user. In general, if you have bogus toolbar programs, you’re also being redirected. Technical users who really want to confirm can sniff their own browser or network traffic. The traffic sent and returned will always be distinctly different on a compromised computer vs. an uncompromised computer.

What to do: Follow the same instructions as above. Usually removing the bogus toolbars and programs is enough to get rid of malicious redirection.

Sure sign of system compromise No. 4: Frequent random popups

This popular sign that you’ve been hacked is also one of the more annoying ones. When you’re getting random browser pop-ups from websites that don’t normally generate them, your system has been compromised. I’m constantly amazed about which websites, legitimate and otherwise, can bypass your browser’s anti-pop-up mechanisms. It’s like battling email spam, but worse.

What to do: Not to sound like a broken record, but typically random pop-ups are generated by one of the three previous malicious mechanisms noted above. You’ll need to get rid of bogus toolbars and other programs if you even hope to get rid of the pop-ups. Call if you need help.

Sure sign of system compromise No. 5: Your friends receive fake emails from your email account

This is the one scenario where you might be OK. It’s fairly common for our email friends to receive malicious emails from us. A decade ago, when email attachment viruses were all the rage, it was very common for malware programs to survey your email address book and send malicious emails to everyone in it.

These days it’s more common for malicious emails to be sent to some of your friends, but not everyone in your email address book. If it’s just a few friends and not everyone in your email list, then more than likely your computer hasn’t been compromised (at least with an email address-hunting malware program). These days malware programs and hackers often pull email addresses and contact lists from social media sites, but doing so means obtaining a very incomplete list of your contacts’ email addresses. Although not always the case, the bogus emails they send to your friends often don’t have your email address as the sender. It may have your name, but not your correct email address. If this is the case, then usually your computer is safe.

What to do: If one or more friends reports receiving bogus emails claiming to be from you, do your due diligence and run a complete antivirus scan on your computer, followed by looking for unwanted installed programs and toolbars. Often it’s nothing to worry about, but it can’t hurt to do a little health check when this happens.

Sure sign of system compromise No. 6: Your online passwords suddenly change

If one or more of your online passwords suddenly change, you’ve more than likely been hacked — or at least that online service has been hacked. In this particular scenario, usually what has happened is that the victim responded to an authentic-looking phish email that purportedly claimed to be from the service that ends up with the changed password. The bad guy collects the logon information, logs on, changes the password (and other information to complicate recovery), and uses the service to steal money from the victim or the victim’s acquaintances (while pretending to be the victim).

What to do: Call if you need help. If the scam is widespread and many acquaintances you know are being reached out to, immediately notify all your contacts about your compromised account. Do this to minimize the damage being done to others by your mistake. Second, contact the online service to report the compromised account. Most online services are used to this sort of maliciousness and can quickly get the account back under your control with a new password in a few minutes. Some services even have the whole process automated. A few services even have a “My friend’s been hacked!” button that lets your friends start the process. This is helpful, because your friends often know your account has been compromised before you do.

If the compromised logon information is used on other websites, immediately change those passwords And be more careful next time. Websites rarely send emails asking you to provide your logon information. When in doubt, go to the website directly (don’t use the links sent to you in email) and see if the same information is being requested when you log on using the legitimate method. You can also call the service via their phone line or email them to report the received phish email or to confirm its validity. Lastly, consider using online services that provide two-factor authentication. It makes your account much harder to steal.

Sure sign of system compromise No. 7: Unexpected software installs

Unwanted and unexpected software installs are a big sign that your computer system has likely been hacked. In the early days of malware, most programs were computer viruses, which work by modifying other legitimate programs. They did this to better hide themselves. For whatever reason, most malware programs these days are Trojans and worms, and they typically install themselves like legitimate programs. This may be because their creators are trying to walk a very thin line when the courts catch up to them. They can attempt to say something like, “But we are a legitimate software company.” Oftentimes the unwanted software is legally installed by other programs, so read your license agreements. Frequently, I’ll read license agreements that plainly state that they will be installing one or more other programs. Sometimes you can opt out of these other installed programs; other times you can’t.

What to do: There are many free programs that show you all your installed programs and let you selectively disable them. My favorite for Windows is autoruns It doesn’t show you every program installed but will tell you the ones that automatically start themselves when your PC is restarted. Most malware programs can be found here. The hard part is determining what is and what isn’t legitimate. When in doubt, disable the unrecognized program, reboot the PC, and re-enable the program only if some needed functionality is no longer working.

Sure sign of system compromise No. 8: Your mouse moves between programs and makes correct selections

If your mouse pointer moves itself while making selections that work, you’ve definitely been hacked. Mouse pointers often move randomly, usually due to hardware problems. But if the movements involve making the correct choices to run particular programs, malicious humans are somewhere involved.

Not as common as some of the other attacks, many hackers will break into a computer, wait for it to be idle for a long time (like after
midnight), then try to steal your money. Hackers will break into bank accounts and transfer money, trade your stocks, and do all sorts of rogue actions, all designed to lighten your cash load.

What to do: If your computer “comes alive” one night, take a minute before turning it off to determine what the intruders are
interested in. Don’t let them rob you, but it will be useful to see what things they are looking at and trying to compromise. If you have a cellphone handy, take a few pictures to document their tasks. When it makes sense, power off the computer. Unhook it from the network (or disable the wireless router) and call in the professionals. This is the one time that you’re going to need expert help.

Using another known good computer, immediately change all your other logon names and passwords. Check your bank account transaction histories, stock accounts, and so on. Consider paying for a credit-monitoring service. If you’ve been a victim of this attack, you have to take it seriously. Complete restore of the computer is the only option you should choose for recovery. But if you’ve lost any money, make sure to let the forensics team make a copy first. If you’ve suffered a loss, call law enforcement and file a case. You’ll need this information to best recover your real money losses, if any.

Sure sign of system compromise No. 9: Your anti-malware software, Task Manager, or Registry Editor is disabled and can’t be restarted

This is a huge sign of malicious compromise. If you notice that your antimalware software is disabled and you didn’t do it, you’re probably exploited — especially if you try to start Task Manager or Registry Editor and they won’t start, start and disappear, or start in a reduced state. This is very common for malware to do.

What to do: Call if you need help. You should really perform a complete restore because there is no telling what has happened. But if you want to try something less drastic first, research the many methods on how to restore the lost functionality (any Internet search engine will return lots of results), then restart your computer in Safe Mode and start the hard work. I say “hard work” because usually it isn’t easy or quick. Often, I have to try a handful of different methods to find one that works. Precede restoring your software by getting rid of the malware program, using the methods listed above.

Sure sign of system compromise No. 10: Your bank account is missing money

I mean lots of money. Online bad guys don’t usually steal a little money. They like to transfer everything or nearly everything, often to a
foreign exchange or bank. Usually it begins by your computer being compromised or from you responding to a fake phish from your bank. In any case, the bad guys log on to your bank, change your contact information, and transfer large sums of money to themselves.

What to do: In most cases you are in luck because most financial institutions will replace the stolen funds (especially if they can stop the transaction before the damage is truly done). However, there have been many cases where the courts have ruled it was the customer’s responsibility to not be hacked, and it’s up to the financial institution to decide whether they will make restitution to you.

If you’re trying to prevent this from happening in the first place, turn on transaction alerts that send text alerts to you when something unusual is happening. Many financial institutions allow you to set thresholds on transaction amounts, and if the threshold is exceeded or it goes to a foreign country, you’ll be warned. Unfortunately, many times the bad guys reset the alerts or your contact information before they steal your money. So make sure your financial institution sends you alerts anytime your contact information or alerting choices are changed.

Sure sign of system compromise No. 11: You get calls from stores about nonpayment of shipped goods

In this case, hackers have compromised one of your accounts, made a purchase, and had it shipped to someplace other than your house.
Oftentimes, the bad guys will order tons of merchandise at the same time, making each business entity think you have enough funds at the beginning, but as each transaction finally pushes through you end up with insufficient funds.

What to do: This is a bad one. First try to think of how your account was compromised. If it was one of the methods above, follow those
recommendations. Either way, change all your logon names and passwords (not just the one related to the single compromised account), call law enforcement, get a case going, and start monitoring your credit. You’ll probably spend months trying to clear up all the bogus transactions committed in your name, but you should be able to undo most, if not all, of the damage.

Years ago you could be left with a negative credit history that would impact your life for a decade. These days, companies and the credit
reporting agencies are more used to cyber crime, and they deal with it better. Still, be aggressive and make sure you follow every bit of advice given to you by law enforcement, the creditors, and the credit-rating agencies (there arethree major ones).

The hope of an anti-malware program that can perfectly detect malware and malicious hacking is pure folly. Keep an eye out for the common signs and symptoms of your computer being hacked as outlined above. And if you are risk-adverse, as I am, always perform a complete computer restore with the event of a breach. Because once your computer has been compromised, the bad guys can do anything and hide anywhere. It’s best to just start from scratch.

Most malicious hacking originates from one of three vectors: unpatched software, running Trojan horse programs, and responding to fake phishing emails. Do better at preventing these three things, and you’ll be less likely to have to rely on your anti-malware software’s accuracy — and luck.

Please call us if you are experiencing any of these problems: 860.635.0500

Computer Networking

Eliminate Your Computer Support Problems

  • Network down?
  • Printer offline?
  • VPN underperforming?
  • Email over capacity?
  • Overwhelmed by spam?
  • System under a virus attack?

We have designed many IT administration and support solutions specifically to solve all these problems and others. Growing organizations do face computer support obstacles like these.  But TCC has already faced every obstacle and we know how to ramp your business back up to full efficiency.

Strengths and Skills

With our 24/7 customer support services, immediate response is guaranteed and we’ll stay focused on your needs until the problem has been resolved. Our total IT support services include:

Staff Support

We’ll augment your current IT staff and provide deep technical expertise at a rate more affordable than adding more staff

Risk Minimization

When your IT staff is unavailable, we can immediately resolve many IT problems. Use us as your emergency staff and always have IT help available.

Efficiency Optimization

Regular maintenance and system health reviews reduce downtime and increase the overall efficiency of your network. A thorough IT audit can reduce, if not eliminate, the expense of future infrastructure outages.

We provide, “IT Solutions Done Right.”

Hartford Location

15 Commerce Drive

Cromwell, CT 06416

860.635.0500

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Roger A. Grimes

The Latest Ransomware Is Deadlier Than WannaCry

June 30th, 2017

We hope you never see this screen.

Image from https://www.extremetech.com

The malware widely believed to be responsible is a version of Petya which security researchers are calling “NotPetya.”

Who has been Infected?

The world suffered another ransomware nightmare Tuesday, with pharmaceutical companies, Chernobyl radiation detection systems, the Kiev metro, an airport and banks all affected. One U.S. hospital also appears to be a victim. Worse is expected, thanks to some pernicious features in the ransomware sample.

Could this happen to you?
Perhaps most crucially, thanks to all these added features, the new strain will infect even patched Windows PCs, including those with Windows 10, as one IT professional noted in a blog, whereas WannaCry worked largely on older systems.

If Your System Fails, Could You Recover?

Disasters do happen.  The question is, when something fails, will it be a temporary inconvenience or a business-shaking crisis?  When a hard drive crashes, can you be back in business in hours? If a natural disaster shuts your network down, can you recover every business-critical application that day?

The Computer Company offers a full range of disaster recovery consulting services, practices, and solutions for your business to prevent many events, minimize any damage, and return your system to its full capabilities as soon as possible.  We do disaster recovery right.

Call 860-635-0500 today and get the protection your business needs.

 

WannaCry – How can I protect my business against the next attack?

May 18th, 2017

Consider these facts:

  • Ransomware attacks doubled in 2015.
  • The FBI estimated that ransomware would net criminals $1 billion in 2016.
  • And it may be worse in 2017.

The latest Ransomware is called WannaCry, and more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries have been affected, locking people out of their data and demanding they pay a ransom or lose everything. Victims include hospitals, banks, telecommunications companies, and warehouses.

How do I protect my machine?

If you’re running a Windows PC, make sure all your software is up-to-date. Also, don’t open suspicious emails, click on links or open any files you weren’t expecting.

How can I protect my business against the next attack?

  1. Apply Windows Patches when they come out. For example, in March, Microsoft released a security update which addressed the vulnerability from
  2. Make sure your business uses a good Antivirus that is kept up-to-date.
  3. Those who have Windows Update enabled are usually protected against most attacks.
  4. Update your Windows Operating System to the latest Windows 10
  5. Have backups for all your business files. (off-site backups are even better)
  6. Secure your business by moving to a Data Center with a plan to get updates and backups automatically done for you.