Infected with CryptoLocker 2.0? We can help!

As you probably know some of the islands in the Philippines were recently wiped out by a typhoon in April. Through various humanitarian efforts infected with CryptoLocker 2.0? We can help! are being rebuilt so children can get back to school.

However, my friend Andy Trish recently travelled to the Philippines and discovered that those efforts contain no provision for computers in those schools. Locally DHL has agreed to provide free shipping for any computers that we would like to send. Harbor Computer Services will prepare the computers and make sure they are in good working condition and package them up for shipment. What we need are computers with at least 1 year of life left in them.

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A PC or Laptop will do. The PC’s need to be complete with mouse, keyboard and monitor. If you have any to donate please let us know and we’ll come pick them up. Regarding tax write off, there won’t be any. Andy is working with and us and DHL and other IT firms and BYond. It’s going direct from you to a school so when they open on day 1 there will be computers for the teachers and kids.

Email or call us if you have a computer or laptop hanging around the office that works but isn’t needed anymore. 17 April 2014, this combination of powerful forces caused a devastating humanitarian impact resulting in some 6,300 deaths, around 28,700 people injured, and more than 1,000 people unaccounted for. In addition to human suffering, Haiyan caused extensive destruction and damage to housing, livelihoods and infrastructure, leading to a drastic reduction in living conditions, income, and access to basic services. 489,600 houses totally destroyed and 595,100 partially damaged. Comcast announced it has surpassed one million Wi-Fi hotspots across the nation, according to a press release that the company recently issued.

Cities include San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D. Atlanta as well as areas of New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and Delaware. This is a value-added feature that directly improves their patrons’ experience. Examples include restaurants, cafes and bakeries, retail establishments and office waiting rooms. This additional access point provides Xfinity Internet subscribers with a Wi-Fi signal without the need to share a homeowner’s private network password. This service is included at no additional charge. As a business, we received a  notice from Comcast touting that their new Wifi Service is available and includes at no additional charge a free public wifi within.

Also note that this free public wifi can’t be turned off if you accept the wifi router from them. This is a big deal because it means that as a business YOU are paying for Comcast to provide free wifi to the general public. Our recommendation therefore is that our clients do not accept the free wifi router from Comcast. Wifi routers are inexpensive enough to not warrant the risk. If you use any of the services below you need to visit them and change your password. You also need to change your password for any other site where you have used that same password.

That Play is effected is a big deal. That means your Android phone and tablets are wide open. Google has yet to announce how they will handle issuing updates for all of the apps in the Google Play store. Some Good News: Here’s what isn’t affected. Microsoft software including all of their hosted products are safe.

Trade, Citigroup, Fidelty, Schwab, Ameritrade, USBank, Wells Fargo and LinkedIN are all safe. If you have any difficulty changing your passwords ask us for assistance. If you have any questions about Heartbleed ask us about that too. Heartbleed is the latest in an epidemic of attacks on the Linux foundation of the Internet. Most websites use Linux in one way or another but until recently the hacker community has left them alone. OpenSSL is the SSL certificate processing portion of websites.

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I would recommend doing that for any website where you are entering in your username and password. If you are curious about which websites were vulnerable, here are a few that still are as of last night: yahoo, flickr, eventbright, zoho, squidoo, petflow, fool, lastpass and slate. They are among tens of thousands. So let’s say you use one or more of those common websites.

You might feel that there’s nothing there in your personal information to worry about. There’s just your name, email address, home address, business address and perhaps some stored credit card information. The later is of course a concern but the larger concern is whether you used that same password any where else. That’s really what the bad guys are after. If you need assistance, we’re here to help. It was not meant for you. I hit enter and sent it to the wrong group.

Infected with CryptoLocker 2.0? We can help!

It’s time to give back and help make this profession better as a whole. This week we’ve been working with the parents, of an employee, of a client. But when something extraordinary presents itself and we can help we will. Where did they get the information? Was it your computer, a website, your bank, your library card, your insurance company, a credit card, mortgage company? Since you don’t know how or where someone got your identification from you have to cancel everything.

Start as if you’ve lost your wallet. Then close your bank accounts and open new ones. Keep a permanent suspicious activity alert on those accounts. Consider removing online banking from the accounts. Both require in person only account changes. ID Theft Tool Kit: Are you a victim of identity theft?

If you receive a notice from the IRS, please call the number on that notice. If not, contact the IRS at 800-908-4490. Fill out the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039. Please write legibly and follow the directions on the back of the form that relate to your specific circumstances. Have your computers formatted and reloaded. It’s a giant hassle but it will never go away unless you go through this process and do it with some speed. This arrives in a friends email today.

It looks just like a message from Facebook but it isn’t. Hover your mouse and wait a second for the pop-up to appear that tells you where you are going to go if you click. Above I hovered my mouse over the See Comment button and instead of facebook. That means that if I were to click I would be taken to a spoof website or an infected website that would download a trojan only my computer. Usually this is done to gather passwords for you account that they can later try at financial institutions or to gather personal information that can later be used to open a credit card in your name. Even better than hovering, just go to Facebook and read the comments there and delete the email. It always better to go to the source yourself.

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By now I think that most everyone has met Parrish and you’ve provided favorable reviews of his work thus far. Parrish comes to us with 13 years experience in a wide range of areas, which is critical when working with small businesses. We’ve narrow down the current crop of candidates and will be testing their technical skill on some real world problems then making our decision. We like to get our new staff around to meet everyone, to see the full range of clients and get the broadest possible exposure to all of the things that we do. While many businesses are still battling Cryptolocker, the scammers have not been resting. New attacks seem to have a theme around social engineering.

Social engineering is when someone calls to convince you of something by gaining your trust. The State of Michigan sent out a scam alert that there’s a company trying to sell you on supposedly required compliance auditing. Microsoft is warning people that you’ll never receive a call from a Microsoft support person out of the blue. If one calls hang up on them right away. They just want your credit card and other personal information. IT firm that is using the end of life date for Windows XP as a method to scare people into buying their services.

Oakland University employees found out the hard way that their information was stolen. When filing taxes they are finding that someone already filed in their name and got a fraudulent refund! The way to beat social engineering attacks is to simply not believe the person on the other end of the phone line or the letter writer. If you get any suspicious calls, email or letters give us a call before you give them any information. We can help you determine whether it’s legitimate or not. New technology from Microsoft combines Kinect and projection to come up with an immersive experience.

If you thought 3D was cool you have to see this. Still comes with Office, 200GB One Drive and a year of free Skype calling. Apple devices needs to be patched right away. Windows XP arrived on the scene in 2002. 12 years is an unheard of life span for a supported operating system but its time has come to an end and the malware writers are really, really excited.

They are excited about the opportunity presented by having an in production operating system that never gets another security update. A noticeable lull has occurred in new attacks and new security discoveries in Windows XP. Among our clients we see very few XP computers left. Those that are left fall mainly into the category of machine controllers or thin clients. Thin clients can continue to be used because they are locked down from change and don’t directly access the Internet themselves.

Infected with CryptoLocker 2.0? We can help!

This makes them more resilient to changes over time and we can just keep those in place. For machine controllers we need to lock them down so that they have no Internet activity at all on them. This won’t eliminate the possibility of infection but it will greatly lessen the chance. Infections today are mostly network aware which means that if they can get a foothold on your network the next thing they will do is look for additional computers to infect. They may even specifically look for XP computers.

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What happened to make XP more vulnerable? The security and OS design that was state of the art in 2002 isn’t even close today. We’ve reached the point in time where the code in XP just can’t be secured. It doesn’t have the capability because the technology to protect it didn’t exist at that time. So the code can’t be secured.

Infected with CryptoLocker 2.0? We can help!

If we haven’t talked about securing your XP computers yet, let’s make sure that we do soon. That April 14th date is going to get here sooner than we realize. It’s that time of year when we busily rush around while reflecting on what kind of year it’s been and how thankful we are for the great customers we have. We continue to be amazed by you and your success and humbled to be a small contributor. We had a busy week of planning, shopping and baking last week and over the weekend. I know some of you wait by the door to be the first to grab them as they enter, so keep an eye out this week. The elf is on her way!

If you have a Windows 8 computer, then your upgrade to Windows 8. This is the latest version of Windows 8. This upgrade is also being delivered in a new way. It is coming down via the Microsoft Store and Microsoft expects therefore that ALL Windows 8 computers will be updated to the new version. They so much so expect this that they are withholding updates to Windows 8 and only publishing them for Windows 8. The short story is that we need to upgrade your computer to Windows 8. 1 and we need to do it soon.

Infected with CryptoLocker 2.0? We can help!

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While it’s free to download, it is also a long slow process to complete. In fact it takes about two hours from end to end. We’ve gone through and updated all of ours. They went off without a hitch so we’re optimistic that yours will too. Charley will be contacting all of you with a Windows 8 computer to schedule the time to perform the upgrade.

I’ll post some of the more interesting changes in Windows 8. 1 is another blog once this project gets rolling. Microsoft announced that starting December 1st your school district can start handing out Office 365 free to its students. Schools and universities must have licensed Office for staff and faculty institution-wide, according to Microsoft, to be eligible for the student give-away.

When students graduate, their Office 365 subscription expires. This assumes that your school district uses Microsoft Office. If they don’t, then I have to wonder how good of job they can possibly be doing. Every business uses this software so every student needs to know it. Monster list proficiency in Office as a requirement. 80 for a four-year subscription to Office 365 University.

That subscription program allows Office 2013 to be installed on up to two PCs or Macs, and Office Mobile on as many as two mobile devices. Do note that just like in your business when the licensing allows multiple installations, it is multiple installations on devices used by a single individual never at the same time. So for example you can install it on your desktop and your laptop. Or your laptop and your phone. Or your desktop and your tablet.

I realize how that subject line reads so just so no one panics these are two separate topics completely unrelated. 5 million dollars of equipment each week. This location is the largest of their build centers. Cryptolocker: Cryptolocker continues to rage through the land. This virus arrives as an attachment and then proceeds to encrypt any files that the person logged into that computer has access to in the network. Anti-Virus software does not catch it because its behavior isn’t unusual in any way.

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It installs like normal software and it uses only the rights that the logged in person already has. This means it doesn’t break any rules. I then took our procedures, the policies and an accompanying paper written by a member of my staff at Third Tier and put them together into what I called the Cryptolocker Prevention Kit and published it on my technical blog. It has been downloaded between 800-1000 times per day by other IT professionals around the world since. We freely shared this information with our peers in the IT industry because we felt a need to do so. There was a lot of fear and uncertainty and since we had what we thought was a good solution we shared it. Better that more businesses get protected from disaster or extortion than fewer.

Next week I will be attending Microsoft MVP Summit in Redmond, where I’ll have many opportunities to provide input into new technologies being developed there. Credit card processing organizations and banks are beginning to demand a dedicated PC that resides on a separate network from the rest of your computers in order to process a credit card transaction or access online banking. We have seen two instances of this so far and based upon the trend and industry reports from others we think that this requirement is going to spread quickly. It means purchasing a computer just for this purpose.

It means separating the wiring that the computer connects to from the others in the LAN. As far as isolation goes, most of you will be all-set. The Calyptix firewalls that we recommend have at least 4 networks available and all of the security tools necessary to create and protect the isolated space. We’ll be taking this project up in our lab to build and configure very simple inexpensive devices to service the purpose of online banking. In this case we’ll look to create a different configuration using these tried and true devices. It’s our goal to stay ahead of the trend.

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So we’ll be ready with a solution when your bank issues the requirement or when you are ready to move to higher security banking. We have seen a rash of websites attacked and essentially destroyed recently. The attack is poorly executed and fills the website with enough garbage to cause it to be unable to run. The sheer number of files that are placed in the folders and the code changes make it impossible to clean.

The website has to be reuploaded from the original files. We suspect that many of our clients do not have a backup copy of their website. It seems that generally web developers do not provide a copy. If not, then we should download a copy from your live site now and place it in your office for safe keeping.

Gosh it’s been an interesting week. We received notification that APC has recalled some very old surge strips. These were manufactured prior to 2003. If you have one of them around they are a fire risk. Below is a picture of what they look like. If you have one of these you will need to check the bar code to see if yours is effected by the recall.