The online world today is more dangerous than ever. Business and personal computers are susceptible to being attacked. Hackers can steal your most valuable data or encrypt it. And if your data gets encrypted, it will prevent you from accessing your files, data, software, and much more. Here at CDO Technology, we understand what it takes to protect your data, and we can explain how it works. We can help bulk up security with enterprise antiviruses, secure your infrastructure with business class routers or firewalls, provide data backups, and much more. A business or enterprise class antivirus isn’t just important, it’s a must. On top of that, our Managed IT Services will catch problems before they become big issues. Once we catch the small problems, we can fix them before they slow down or cripple your business
CDO Technology does managed IT Services in the Greenville area
How do our Managed IT Services work? They do automated updates for MS Windows, MS Office, Microsoft Updates, Java, Adobe, Web Browsers, and more. Managed IT Services will monitor your servers and workstations 24/7. They will also restart the server if an update/patch requires it. Additionally, the automatically clean temporary files, defrag hard drive(s), restart critical services, and install critical patches. The software will automatically notify CDO of problems with performance, services, antivirus, backups, storage, windows log event errors, software changes, and if the server should shut itself off. After an automated notification, CDO will review problem and contact the customer if the problem requires an onsite or remote service call (service fee applies). These automated notifications can be the difference between CDO fixing an issue before it becomes a major problem (no or minimal downtime) and the server going offline, failing, or becoming corrupted for a major downtime event.
Managed IT Services will monitor data or system backups to make sure that they are backing up according to the prescribed backup schedule. However, it is extremely important that you choose backup software that will check the data for corruption and completeness prior to backup, encrypt the data both locally and for transmittal to the Cloud. This will ensure that should you ever need the backup data that it will be available completely in a non-corrupted form. CDO believes that every business should have a local backup (on-premise) and a backup in the Cloud (off-premise).
Business owners need to be educated on what they need to do and how to do it properly and affordably. As these viruses and hackers continue to advance, combating them requires an ongoing and evolving process. It’s not enough to just react, you need procedures and services in place prior to a hack, virus infection, or hardware failure.
Contact CDO Technology to help keep you safe by protecting your business, data, and your future.
The current technology market is adapting so quickly that it can be hard to keep up with. In 2017, we had one of the worst data breaches in history when Equifax was hacked and the information of 143 million users including social security numbers was exposed. The most current data breach, and the biggest one experienced to date, is the Data Analytica scandal involving the information of 200 million registered voters on Facebook through a 3rd party app. These data breaches are happening more frequently and affecting more people all the time. Understanding what Fortune 500 companies are doing to keep your information safe from cyber attacks is both critical and very complex.
CDO Technology handles Cyber Security for Greenville, South Carolina
Fortune 500 companies need to stay on high alert because one attack can destroy their reputation, trust of their users and can adversely affect long term profits. Companies must provide constant education and preventative measures for all their employees to help slow down data breaches. This educational process includes learning the latest trends in cyber breaches and learning how to avoid them. This process can be tedious, as phishing scams, remote access, and fake software updates are constant battles between the users and criminals. The trick for users is making sure that we have a good antivirus and strong security hardware at our house or business. We must also be educated on as many possible threats as possible.
As online consumers, people must understand the risks that are involved in giving up personal information. It’s in our best interest to make sure the right security measures are put in place on our computers and that viruses are removed as quickly as possible to prevent any further damage. Before we opt-in online, make sure we understand what we are opting in. We must do more than just read the text provided, we must also understand the source and understand where our personal information will be distributed.
Here are few tips that can help you prevent attacks:
- Be picky with who you share your confidential information. Consider opting out of company’s sharing policies.
- Always keep a good updated antivirus on your computer and have strong security hardware in your home or business to stay ahead of cyber criminals.
- Be aware that these criminals are on social media as well. Make educated choices on what you share and who you share it with.
- Always keep up with updates on your computer as Microsoft and Apple constantly provide security updates to help prevent attacks.
- Always report suspicious emails or content to help the businesses know that there are attacks going on.
I hope that I have provided some general information on what to watch out for and how to protect your personal information. CDO Technology spends a great deal of time researching the latest trends and staying up to date on ransomware, virus protection, and security hardware to make sure that you have an ally online.
If you believe that your computer and your personal information is at risk, we can help you get the antivirus and security hardware to stay protected. Contact us today to learn more about cyber security.
Perhaps one of the most frustrating malware infections found today is file encryption ransomware. The two notable ones are CryptoLocker and CryptoWall. These are classified as malware; they are not technically viruses. Ransomware often infect a computer by being downloaded in a seemingly harmless file. They then encrypt one’s personal data and demand payment in exchange for a decryption key that is stored on a remote server. There is deadline by which payment must be received before the key is deleted; after which, access to the encrypted data is impossible.
Initially it is important to have a basic understanding how one is infected and how ransomware works. Both CryptoLocker and CryptoWall need to be downloaded, and are most commonly received as email attachments; although, they can also be downloaded from websites. These websites are often advertising or media sharing sites. To be infected the file need only be downloaded; it does not need to be opened. The infected files in email attachments often appear as zipped files, but these too need only be downloaded. Once downloaded, the malware uses an asymmetrical algorithm design to generate encryption keys. This means there two keys. One is called the public key which is used to encrypt files, and the other is called the private key which is used to decrypt files. The private key is stored on a remote server controlled by the attacker. It is notable that CryptoLocker and CryptoWall do not lock users out of their computers, as is the case with many other kinds of ransomware. They only encrypt data files.
The Crypto ransomwares usually have a list of file types that it searches for to encrypt. These are primarily different formats of image and text files. Depending on the malware sometimes music is encrypted, and a new version of CryptoWall targets game files. Both CryptoLocker and CryptoWall are aggressive and can infect baked up files on external hard drives and network devices when they are connected to the infected computer and turned on. Some ransomware also sends itself to other people via email from the originally infected computer. When access to an encrypted file is attempted by the owner, a message will be given informing the customer that they need to pay a specific amount of money within a certain period of time to get the private key and gives instructions on how to make payment. Typically 72 hours is the period of time given, but in some cases it will give the owner a few weeks and the cost will rise every week. Both CryptoLocker and CryptoWall usually display a countdown timer with the message. The amount of money asked for is usually around $300 to $500. In certain cases, people have been charged up to around $1000. Some versions of ransomware, especially in the case of CryptoWall, ask for payment in bitcoin. Bitcoin is an unregulated digital currency that can be mined (process of creating new bitcoins) and can be used in certain transactions and exchanged for other currency. Sometimes payment is required through cash card or prepaid credit card because such cards are untraceable. When the specified period of time passes and if payment has not been made, the private key is deleted from the remote server and the owner can never access their files again.
Although very similar, there are some small differences between CryptoLocker and CryptoWall. It is important to note that CryptoLocker is older than its counterpart and is currently rarer. An international, joint law enforcement operation shut down the majority of servers that were being utilized to distribute CryptoLocker when they took out the Gameover Zeus botnet. Additionally, CryptoLocker has been reverse engineered and many private keys have been recovered giving those infected some hope. There are also still several copycat versions of CryptoLocker in circulation; although few neither are as sophisticated nor do these have any design improvements over the original malware.
CryptoWall became more prominent after the demise of CryptoLocker. CryptoWall infects computers in much same way as CryptoLocker; although, it utilizes weaknesses in websites and employs exploit kits to infect users. It can also be contracted in downloads and emails. As before mentioned, CryptoWall demands only bitcoin as payment and typically charges a higher base amount than CryptoLocker. CryptoWall usually provides a website through which infected people can pay. This website is designed to make tracing difficult. CryptoWall is not yet as widespread as CryptoLocker. The primary concern with CryptoWall is that there is no way to recover the files it encrypts without paying the criminals behind it. CryptoWall can always be removed, but documents and images will remain encrypted.
There are some simple but important ways to reduce the risk of infection. The first order of business is to maintain a good anti-virus on one’s computer. Additional tools that target malware are also helpful to keep the system clean. Backing up all of one’s user data, especially text and picture files, is essential. External hard drives and similar devices should be turned off or disconnected from the computer when not in use. This is important because, after the computer is infected, ransomware can easily infect any connected data storage device(s). Caution should be used when surfing the internet and when checking email. Any program or file that is downloaded from the internet should come from the original source, and third party download sites should be avoided. If an email is received that is not recognizable, do not download any attachments from it. All these guidelines are helpful for general protection, as well as ransomware.
CryptoWall is definitely more feared because it is the only ransom malware from which your files cannot be saved if you chose not to pay for the private key. However, the majority of other ransomwares can all be removed without data loss. CryptoLocker is much less of a threat since its downfall; although, it can still cause significant harm as can its copy cat counterparts. Caution and regular backup of files are the two most important pillars to avoid the frustration that encryption ransomware presents.
What are Servers?
Servers have been around as long as networks. The generic use of a server is to ‘serve’ something to other computers. This communication is done with a variety of different server types with their own specific uses. They act as facilitators, storage, and so on. Not all server types are exclusive; many types can be simultaneously in use on the same server machine. Some servers can even be client computers (those on which people access the data being served) at the same time.
Some common types of servers are most recognizable. These are: FTP, proxy, game, and web servers. These machines are usually somewhat similar to the personal computers found in most homes and businesses, although they usually have specific software and hardware to provide a smoother transition of the data. Servers usually have more storage space, faster processors, and more RAM (random access memory) in order to make them more efficient. Rather than a standard operating system used by the general public (such as Windows 7), servers usually have a server platform. An example of this for a PC would be Microsoft Server.
FTP servers are used to provide access to files, either publicly or after using a login, depending on whether the files are free or for a fee. This functionality is usually included on web servers, as well, to allow easy access to web site owners to upload and download their own files.
Proxy servers are an extra step between the end user (also known as the client computer) and another server (usually a web server) that handles filtering, sharing connections, and helps to improve performance. These are sometimes used by employers to limit employees’ access to certain web sites from the workplace.
Game servers are those used by online games to provide the interface and processing for them. These are most notable when the game is an MMO (massive multiplayer online) game, in which many people around the world are connecting at the same time, to play the same game. There is often interaction between the players, which necessitates a server that is powerful enough to keep up without causing lag (pauses in the gameplay, during which the game continues, but the player misses the action because the server ‘catches them up’ by skipping).
Web servers are by far the most common ones. These are the servers that house the web pages (such as the one you are currently reading). These communicate with the client’s browser and send the information – text, images, videos, etc. – that is requested. Pretty much anything that is accessed through a browser (such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc.) is processed by a web server.
Others include application servers, which handle linking databases with web servers; list servers, which handle mailing lists for newsletters and other bulk email processes; chat and IRC (internet relay chat) servers, which allow real-time communication between people wherever they are; mail servers which handle basic email; and news servers which carry newsgroups such as the USENET service, although these are not as popular among the general public as they once were.