Category: Security Issues and Concerns

CryptoLocker – CryptoWall – CryptoWhatever!

It blipped in the news some months ago.  CryptoLocker, CryptoWall, CryptoWhatever.  Long and short of it once you get hit by it, it proceeds to encrypt documents on your PC and any network shares to which you have access.  Now of course if you choose to pay the ransom, which increases quickly the longer you wait, you may or may not receive an un-encrypt key.  Your antivirus “might” protect you against this but if the timing is wrong and a new mutation comes out before your AV can update itself, well, it’ll be pretty painful.

One of our long time clients had a user on a fully updated, fully protected PC get hit with this late on a Friday.  We experienced the tiniest fraction of possible damage because of two things:

1)      We quickly shut this machine down and separated it from the network.

2)      Most importantly, backups were in place.

Backups are your absolute best line of defense against ransomware.  And they should be tested periodically for restorability.  Are you 100% certain your defenses are all they can be?  If you’re not, you should be, we can show you how.

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Bundling InstallX

So you are downloading this GREAT app (or program) – everyone says it is the latest and greatest.  While getting it, all sorts of boxes pop up asking you questions and you are in a hurry and just click  yes… yes…. YES!  Ok… ok… OK! Install already!!

Congratulations!  You have just been Bundled.  We should be expecting a call from you in about a week with this question – just like we did from a current client this week (and I quote), ” I have this pop up that says “Install X Search Protect for Yahoo-ALERT.”  Am I supposed to “allow changes?”  If not how do I get rid of it?”

It is a simple fix – and isn’t a virus, but most of the time the apps aren’t for yOUR benefit and can be malicious.  Usually programs like these get installed through bundling with other more legitimate apps.  It’s a checkbox that needs to be cleared when the legit app is installed.

They can be a nuisance to your system as many times you will have a program on your computer that already does what the app you unintentionally downloaded does  – and they will compete against each other to make your system slower and cause issues further down the line.

For example – McAffee many times is bundled with other programs.  If you already have an antivirus on your computer the two of them are going to be like a couple of little kids and argue instead of focusing on the virus sneaking in the back door.

The InstallX app is not a virus, but it’s not necessarily a good app either.  The solution for any app pop-up you don’t want?  First, just close that box if you can.  Then we would recommend removing it.  You can do this in Control Panel under Programs and Features (or Add/Remove Programs if you have Windows XP… which you shouldn’t because it is no longer supported… see our blog on this…). Find the app you are trying to remove.  Then we suggest you run a program like MalwareBytes anti-malware ( www.malwarebytes.org ) to get rid of the remaining traces of it.  Free version is good.

Call us if you have any problems!

Happy computing!

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Heartbleed virus – changing passwords

Heartbleed, which is an encryption flaw in Open SSL, could be one of the biggest security threats the Internet has ever seen!  Your account information – and everything included with it (credit card information, address, passwords, etc.) could be compromised if you have logged into any of the affected sites over the past TWO YEARS.

What sites have been infected?  A collection of popular websites — from Airbnb and Yahoo to NASA and OKCupid.  You are very likely to be affected by this bug, either directly or indirectly… and there is nothing you can do about it until the websites that have been affected have found and patched the error on their servers. There is no point in changing your password if the website has not fixed the error yet – instead ask the company when it will have a patch to deal with Heartbleed.

Here is a link to a list of popular websites and whether they have been affected or not.  http://mashable.com

Once you have the all clear from a company it is safe to reset your passwords – doing it before then won’t make your data any safer!

And if you don’t want to change those passwords?  I hear State Farm has and excellent Identity Theft policy…

Happy computing!

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