A new strain of ransomware is massively infecting computers worldwide, and the infection lies in the fact that Microsoft released a patch that has a vulnerability that is being exploited.
Among the affected systems include the National Health Service in UK and Scotland, Telecom companies in Spain, and even the US' own FedEx.
There is a patch available to fix the vulnerability and you should patch your systems immediately to avoid being affected by this ransomware.
Ransomware infections hold your data for ransom by encrypting it. The encryption key can then be bought for a set amount of bitcoins, but there is no guarantee that you will get your data back. Your organization should already have a backup/disaster recovery solution in place in case something like this occurs so that the data can be retrieved, but if it does not and a ransomware attack occurs, without the encryption key the data cannot be retrieved.
One of the groups that has begun exploiting this Windows vulnerability in unpatched systems made the ransomware "WannaCry." The malware also goes by the names Wcry, Wana Decrypt0r, or WannaCryptor.
Antivirus companies such as Avast and Kaspersky saw many more of their users being attacked by this ransomware today than they usually do. One of the countries that seems to have been attacked most by the ransomware is Russia, but the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), Spain’s Telefonica wireless operator, and even the U.S.'s FedEx service have also been hit, causing significant disruption.
The NHS released a statement saying that it believes the malware is tied to WannaCry and that at this stage, there is no evidence that patient data has been affected. The ransomware showed a message saying that the ransom will double if it’s not paid in three days. (The ransom is currently $300 worth of Bitcoin.) If seven days have passed with no ransom, the group will keep the files encrypted forever.
How To Protect Yourself From Ransomware
If you haven’t installed the March patch bundle on your computer yet, it’s time to do so. Keeping your system up to date is one of the best ways to keep it secure. It won’t save you from malware that uses zero-day vulnerabilities, but it should keep your system safe from the vast majority of exploits that rely on publicly disclosed vulnerabilities--such as the one used by the WannaCry malware.
If for some reason you can’t patch your system, having an antivirus or similar security solution that has confirmed it can block the latest version of WannaCry and other ransomware would be a good way to stop it, too.
According to Cisco’s Talos threat intelligence team, the ransomware looks for open 139 and 445 internet ports. If your organization uses these ports, it may be time to disable them, at least until your systems are patched.
If you don't have a backup/disaster recovery (BDR) solution in place, or you would like for us to check if your BDR solution is up to date, please contact Rush Tech Solutions. We can help.
What happens when your internet goes down? You call your internet service to see what the problem is. If they say everything is okay on their end, you start thinking you probably need an Information Technology (IT) service provider in order to help you find the problem.
In Atlanta (GA) there are several local IT service providers who will help you with your needs. Choosing the right one can be difficult, as certain service providers will specialize in different areas.
Basically, the process can get complicated. With so many different types of technology, service options, hardware and customized solutions out there, you need to find a service provider with extensive knowledge.
In order to simplify the process and make it easier for you to get your IT systems back up and running, you’ll need to go through the process of selecting a local IT service in the metro Atlanta area to help you. But how are you supposed to know who is the best option for the setup you currently have? Here are three steps you need to take to find the best IT service in the Atlanta area.
Gather The Information You Are Going To Need
When speaking to different Atlanta IT services, they are going to ask you some standard questions to best help you in your search. Knowing the answers to these questions beforehand is going to greatly speed up the process.
You should know ahead of time how many people are using your service or technology. The amount of people is important, as this gives your provider an idea of how many endpoints they may have to investigate. Know whether your server is on-site or if it is hosted in another location. If you’re not sure of this beforehand, it may be hard for different IT services to give you an estimate.
Have an understanding of how much money you are willing to spend to try to fix the problem. The more complicated the system, the more expensive the process can get. Make sure you hammer out all these details before you call up your first Atlanta IT service and start asking questions.
Determine The Type Of Service That You Need
There are two ways that IT providers handle their services – hourly and managed; some IT providers offer both. Depending on the amount of support you need, one or the other may be better for you. In order to select the correct type, you need to understand the difference between them.
In general, managed IT services are on call whenever you need them. They are usually paid a monthly amount to be available at all times. Hourly services are used for one-time service needs, such as the failure of a piece of hardware or a network problem. Your decision will depend on your budget and how often you are having problems.
Start The Search
Do some general web searches and compile a list of Atlanta IT services that you think you may want to look into. Review the different websites; ask friends, family or co-workers who may have run into the same issues in the past. They are a great resource to tap when looking for an IT service.
If you aren’t able to find a source through research or recommendation, trial and error is the best possibility. Look for a reliable, friendly and experienced group of professionals to cater to your IT service needs.
Servicing the metro Atlanta area, Rush Tech Solutions is a multidisciplinary IT service. Contact us for more information on how we can help you with your IT solutions.
Third Annual ALS Charity Poker Tournament
In support of a good friend of Rush Tech Solutions who lost his mother to this ugly disease, we will be participating in a charity poker tournament this Saturday. In addition to our participation, we will be offering our services free of charge to individuals and small businesses during the week of August 23rd-August 31st to those who donate $20 or more, or if your business donates $50 or more, to this very worthy cause.
The 3rd annual ALS texas hold'em poker tournament for Walk to Defeat ALS will be August 22nd at 1:00pm at Kuzan's Sports and Spirits located at 105 Horizon Dr, Suwanee, Georgia 30024 (770) 614-8545 with registration starting at 12:00 noon. A $50.00 donation is requested with additional donations accepted for the first 2 hours of tournament. A silent auction will be available again this year with many items to bid on as last year. All proceeds will be donated in memory of Suzanne Marshall. Prizes for the tournament will be 1st place = $600.00 / 2nd place = $300.00 / 3rd place = $100.00 Any questions or pre-registration contact Christy Lynch at firstname.lastname@example.org or Scott Marshall at email@example.com Food and beverages will be available for purchase, walk-in's welcome.
Tips to follow before taking your computer to get it serviced
By: Jason Rush, President, Rush Tech Solutions
Your computer contains important information, much of it private. The computer professional that will repair it may need to change or alter your operating system (more than likely Windows), which generally requires access to your password-protected administrator account. The technicians that will be working on your computer are probably honest people, but you can't count on that. And even if they are honest, they may still wipe your hard drive out of necessity or incompetence.
But with the right precautions, taking your PC on a service trip shouldn't result in a disaster.
Here are some tips that can help save your data and privacy, and provide you with some peace of mind.
Put important files in the “cloud”: If you plan to work while your computer is being repaired, make sure that the files you need for your current projects are in a folder for your Dropbox, OneDrive, or other cloud-based storage account. That way, these files can be easily accessible on any other computer that you use. And any changes you make to those files on that computer will be synced to your real PC automatically once you get it back.
Backup your files: Next, if possible, create an image backup of your hard drive. That way, if the technicians wipe your hard drive and reinstall Windows from scratch, you can restore all of your data, including documents and files. And if they really mess things up, you can restore Windows to the way you had it set up before you sent it to them.
A little forewarning though: If they had a good reason for reinstalling, restoring everything from the image backup could restore the problem that was the reason for repair in the first place. Check with the computer repair company to make sure they think this is a good idea.
Rush Tech Solutions recommends that you use Partition Wizard along with an external hard drive for the backup.
Protect your sensitive files: You probably have files that you don't want people to see. These include bank and credit card statements, tax forms, or anything that might embarrass you.
You might want to either remove them securely or encrypt these files. (You do, after all, have them backed up.)
Make your computer accessible: The computer repair company will probably need to boot your PC. Rather than giving them the password on a piece of paper, disable Windows' logon password.
Don't assume the tech knows what the problem is: Sure, you told them what problem was on the phone, but that doesn't mean the message got to the correct person. Try and write as detailed a description of your problem as you can.
Save the file to the Startup folder. You can do this by entering the path %appdata%\microsoft\windows\start menu\programs\startup\ into the File Name field. That way, the file will load automatically when you boot.
Windows 7 Start menu File Name field
Then print out the file and tape the hard copy to the body of your computer for the technician to find easily.
Now, do keep in mind that these steps can be relatively easy to perform if the computer is booting and can be logged into. But, if the computer won't boot, or you can't log into Windows, don't fret. Your data is still on the hard drive and can be retrieved. Just call Rush Tech Solutions and we will put your mind at ease and rid your computer of whatever ails it.