Category Archives: Anti-virus

Recent Virus Release Starts In Ukraine And Spreads Across The Globe

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Cyber security is a critical component in preventing downtime in your network

An international cyber attack, known as “Petya”, struck computer systems across the globe, starting in Ukraine. Tens of thousands of machines in Ukraine and the United States were impacted. Automated teller machines stopped working in the capital of Ukraine. Workers all across the globe had to quickly scramble to make the necessary adjustments.

It has not been determined who is responsible for the cyber attack. No details have been released at how impactful the cyber attack was. The attack started on the Ukrainian government. This is not the first cyber attack that has taken place as of late. The difference between this cyber attack is that it seems to be one of the most advanced attacks that have taken place since the National Security Agency had some of its hacking tools stolen.

This global hacking attack took control of all the computers. Since the hackers obtained control of the computers, the attackers demanded ransom in order for them to release access to the owners of the computers. This recent attack used the hacking tool, Eternal Blue. Eternal Blue was also used in the WannaCry attacks. Not only did the attacks use Eternal Blue, but there were also other methods that were used to carry out the cyber attacks.

There has not been any acknowledgment on the National Security Agency’s behalf regarding the use of their hacking tools. However, there have been many computer security professionals who have requested that the National Security Agency to help everyone across the globe protect itself against tools that they created.

Microsoft releases patches for its software and operating systems, but this does not always mean that the patch will be installed quickly and correctly. Since the ransomware used more than one method to spread across the computers, even some computers that were actually patched correctly and patched quickly were not excluded from the attack.

One of the most well-known computer attackers is viruses. Viruses can do a great deal of damage to computers, and an entire organization. There are various types of viruses that each have the ability to compromise a computer in multiple ways.

While many people think they will never download a file that is corrupt or that they will never click a website that is a scam, it is important that everyone remembers that a hacker is very intelligent. A hacker can create any type of virus and anyone can easily be tricked. Some viruses can even lead people to believe that they are software that will protect you from a virus.

Once your computer has been infected with a virus, your entire computer can be damaged beyond the point of repair. Your computer’s performance can be slowed down, critical files, photos, and videos can be damaged, lost, spread across other computers, etc. Viruses can cause you to spend up to thousands of dollars in computer repairs, replacements, etc.

Fortunately, there are tools you can use to help you protect yourself. One of those tools is Webroot Antivirus. The internet is not as safe as we would like it to be. Even if you are a computer whiz or extremely tech-savvy, you may still accidentally download malware, viruses, or you may even be a victim of identity theft.

When you are aware of the consequences of not having the proper anti-virus protection, you will be able to spread the word to others. Hackers are savvy, and they can easily trick anyone into clicking a link or downloading a file. We want you to protect your files, your computer, and your business. Contact us today for additional information on the latest virus releases and the best protection for your servers and workstations.

The WannaCry Attack & How Webroot Protects You

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The headache of WannaCry ransomware attack

On May 12th, 2017, a ransomware virus known as “WannaCry” rapidly spread through private networks and the Internet. The ransomware soon held data “hostage” in hundreds of thousands of computer systems, disrupting Great Britain’s National Health Service along with other institutions and businesses across more than 150 countries. However, systems with Webroot SecureAnywhere software installed found themselves thankfully protected from the virus.

Initial wave of attacks

The WannaCry ransomware virus uses a worm-like mechanism, or “cryptoworm,” to spread across private networks and the Internet. Once it affects a system, it encrypts the system’s data and holds it for ransom. The ransomware demands that the system owner’s deposit several hundred U.S. dollars’ worth of Bitcoins into a specific account before the ransomware will release their data.

The WannaCry virus works by exploiting a vulnerability in Windows operating systems. The vulnerability has a complex and storied history and may have been known to the U.S government long before it was known to Microsoft. However, soon after learning of their software’s security vulnerability, Microsoft released a security patch on March 14th, 2017 to protect supported systems.

The initial attack took place on May 12th, 2017 and quickly affected more than 300,000 systems whose owners or administrators had not yet installed Microsoft’s patch. Perhaps the cyber attack’s most prominent target was Great Britain’s National Health System. On May 13th, Microsoft took swift action against the attack. Although it had already released a patch for supported versions of Windows, the company now released an emergency update for legacy versions, including Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, despite the fact that Microsoft no longer officially supported these operating systems.

A security researcher who blogs under the name “MalwareTech” effectively halted the initially wave of attacks. Inadvertently, the researcher found that by registering an extremely long domain name found in the code of the WannaCry malware, the attack came to a halt. In short, registration of that domain was the “kill switch” for the virus.

Further attacks and findings

At least two variants of the initial WannaCry virus began to impact still more computer systems on May 14th, 2017. However, Matthieu Suiche, founder of Comae Technologies, found another kill switch in the code of one of the two variants. According to Suiche in a Tweet with an accompanying graph on May 15th, his company halted roughly “10K machines from spreading further.” As a result, the second wave of attacks was not as effective as the first.

After the initial two waves of attacks, further variants of WannaCry have continued to affect systems across the globe. As of May 25th, 2017, the most recent attack making headlines is WannaCry’s apparent penetration of the postal service in Russia.

Webroot’s protection

One indication of the effectiveness of anti-virus and security software such as Webroot may be customer call volume during an attack. One would expect call volume to spike as users suddenly find their systems compromised. However, according to Webroot’s LeVar Battle, responding to a comment on the company’s May 13th update to the Webroot Threat Blog “our call volume has not been impacted at all by this threat.” The post explains that despite the virus’ widespread impact, the basic structure of the malware itself is “similar to what we’ve seen before.” It is the worm-like propagation of the virus that has taken so many systems by surprise. According to the May 13th blog post, “Webroot SecureAnywhere does currently protect you from WannaCry ransomware.” At the same time, Webroot strongly recommends updating to the very latest version of your system software, a best practice that ensures mult-layered security. Moreover, they recommend becoming as educated as you can about ransomware and other common security threats.

Webroot’s latest post, addressing the second wave of attacks, reinforces their earlier reassuring statement and further maintains that Webroot is continuing to develop new solutions to protect their users against WannaCry variants as they arise.Â

Staying secure

The WannaCry ransomware attack is one of the most damaging cyber-attacks in years. The virus’ worm-like method of propagation exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft operating systems. Although Microsoft released a patch for supported systems well ahead of the attack, many companies and institutions did not install the patch in time. As a result, WannaCry’s initial wave of attacks affected more than 300,000 computer systems across more than 150 countries. Although cybersecurity researcher MalwareTech inadvertently halted the inital attack with a kill switch, new variants have continued to arise. Thankfully, users of leading security software Webroot SecureAnywhere found themselves protected from the attack.

Contact us to learn more about how Webroot can help protect you from malicious security threats such as WannaCry.

Backup Disaster Recovery and Dealing with Computer Viruses

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A backup disaster recovery plan can ensure that, if you’re affected by a computer virus, your information will remain safe.

When you’re in the workplace, you always need to have a plan for combating viruses. Hackers are becoming tricker in their tactics, and it’s imperative that you’re outwitting them. In fact, viruses and other malicious software, should always be a cause for concern in the workplace. While it’s true that those aren’t the only disasters which may occur, they certainly leave the most lasting impact. For example, let’s say there was an unexpected power failure, or liquid spilled onto your keyboard. While these are damaging, at worst, you might simply lose any unsaved files.

With computer viruses however, some of these erase all the data on your hard drive, and make your device completely inaccessible. What is the best way to deal with these attacks? First of all, you need to have a disaster recovery plan. That way, even if your device does become infected, all your files are easily recoverable. However, just because you have a backup disaster recovery plan, that doesn’t mean you should seek out computer viruses, or be laid back about your security. We’ll get back to this discussion, but in the meantime, let’s look at the best way to actually combat these attacks from cybercriminals. After all, a recovery action plan is one thing, but you want to deal with these threats directly as well.

Anti-Virus Software

Even the most inexperienced businesses know that anti-virus software is the most common way to deal with…well, viruses. Whether you’re using McAfee or Kasperky Security, network protection is great for preventing your computer from getting infected. Without security on your computer, the Internet is a dangerous minefield. One wrong move, and you could be taken out.

However, having anti-virus software for your company isn’t enough; you need to have the right security as well. For example, have you installed the most recent software available, or have you been using the same program for years? Many hackers look for security holes and vulnerabilities in outdated software. If you’re not using the latest anti-virus software, for example, it might be easier for them to attack you.

One thing that makes these programs great isn’t just the network protection, but it secures you while you’re on the Internet as well. Many programs now have safe features which block malicious pop-ups on websites, and even warns you of sites that are dangerous. If you make a careless mistake and go to the wrong site, for example, you’ll be prevented from going any further. Overall, anti-virus software is one of the most important and basic tools for protecting your business.

Now that we’ve discussed the basics for protecting your business, let’s get back to having a disaster recovery plan. It may not combat viruses directly, but how is it effective when your business is under attack?

The Effectiveness of a Backup Disaster Recovery Plan

First of all, it’s effective because it makes the cybercriminal’s attack, completely ineffective. They lose all sense of power, and no longer accomplish their goal. In fact, let’s look at it this way. Let’s say you had multiple backup methods, storing your data via a flash and cloud computing. If a hacker infected your computer with a virus that erased the files on your hard drive, you’d have nothing to lose. You might need a new computer, and you’d still have to get the virus off, but your data is safe and sound. All files are still stored on your portable device, and even accessible via cloud (the Internet).

Overall, you can’t have one without the other. Combating viruses directly is important, but what if you need to recover your data, and don’t have a recovery plan? On the other hand, don’t completely rely on a backup plan, without having programs to combat these viruses, either.

For more information about the importance of having a backup disaster recovery plan, especially when dealing with malicious software, feel free to contact us today at SystemsNet. We look forward to hearing from you, and assisting you in the best way possible.

Why should you install Webroot Antivirus?

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Webroot Antivirus is an award-winning antivirus software that is effective and affordable.

Antivirus programs are a critical cyber security defense. A high-quality program will have the capacity to block a wide variety of attacks launched from different sources.

Cyber criminals are constantly coming up with malware to infect your computing devices. Depending on the kind of malware they use, your device may stop working. You could get locked out of programs and files. Your personal information, including passwords, could end up exposed and stolen, resulting in potential financial losses and identity theft. Cyber criminals can also turn your computing devices into bots that launch attacks on other computers, even without you knowing it.

Your antivirus software is a critical line of defense against cyber attacks. Although you can’t rely on an antivirus program alone to combat cyber crime, you need a high-quality program installed on your devices.

Why choose Webroot?

As with any other software, antivirus programs vary in quality. It’s important to buy a program that meets high performance standards and offers you efficient, cost-effective service.

Webroot Antivirus, which works for PCs and Macs, is a highly rated, award-winning program. The following are several reasons you should look into Webroot for your cyber security needs:

  • Real-time, cloud-based protection. Antivirus programs generally maintain a database containing known malware and rely on it to identify and block attacks. Instead of storing their database on your local devices, and requiring you to update it periodically, Webroot maintains its database in the cloud. The database gets updated in real-time and contains a gigantic list of all known malicious programs. When new threats come along, Webroot immediately performs sophisticated analyses on them. If the program is unknown, Webroot takes steps to find out more about it before allowing it to do certain things on your computing device.
  • Less interference with your device. You can successfully install Webroot in less than a minute. The program takes up very little space on your device, leaving much more computer memory at your disposal. Furthermore, it usually performs scans in only a few minutes at most. Other antivirus programs typically take at least 10 times longer to complete a scan of your device. Even though Webroot’s scan is significantly shorter, the program is still thorough. Once it detects and deals with a virus, it performs additional scans until the results come up clean.
  • A plethora of services. You can choose among different Webroot plans, and even the most basic one contains a variety of important services. These include a firewall, ransomware protection, and the detection of fake or malicious websites that trick people into disclosing personal information or downloading infected files. Webroot also offers enhanced identity protection, keeping your passwords and other user information more secure as you browse the Internet.
  • Available for multiple devices. These days, you need antivirus programs for phones and tablets, and not just for desktop computers or laptops. Many people use their smartphones for both personal reasons and work-related tasks. Their phones are full of sensitive information. With phones, people are also more likely to use public Wi-Fi, which remains unprotected and exposes their device to unauthorized users. Webroot offers versions of its program for multiple devices, including tablets and phones. For basic protection, there are free apps available for both iPhone and Android devices.

Please contact us to further discuss picking the best antivirus program for your computing devices. We recommend Webroot for its high standards, powerful performance, and ease of use. If you’re having difficulty deciding which Webroot plan to pick, we can review them with you and make sure you’re getting the most out of whatever plan you invest in. A high-quality antivirus program is essential for keeping your computing devices and online identity safe against cyber attacks.