Category Archives: Malware

Recent Virus Release: Issues With Ransomware

Recent Virus Release

How to avoid dangerous Ransomware

Although computer viruses have always been a problem in the workplace, nowadays, surfing the web is getting more dangerous than ever. Not only are there plenty of websites filled with dangerous viruses, but many developers might even try to trick you into downloading dangerous software.

For example, let’s say you were looking for a solution to update your computer, and there was a seemingly legit website that provided some download links. In reality, this could just be a trick to get you to download some dangerous software. Even worse, though, many times, you might even accidentally download ransomware.

Basically, it is a sophisticated piece of malware that blocks the victim’s access to his/her files. Obviously, though, that’s only the gist of it, and the malware can be a lot more dangerous than it appears at first glance. With that said, even though many businesses know how to handle computer viruses, ransomware is in a league of its own. Here are a few things businesses should know when dealing with ransomware, and how to prepare it.

#1. What Makes Ransomware So Dangerous?

As I had mentioned before, even though it blocks access to your files, that’s putting it mildly. Aside from encrypting and locking all the data on your computer, the hacker also demands a ransom. If the sum of money isn’t paid within a certain amount of time, all your files will be deleted. Another downside is that once your device gets infected, it’s nearly impossible to get rid of the virus. In fact, the FBI has even encouraged victims to pay the ransom, since it’s the only way out. With that said, the only way to truly beat this piece of malware, is by paying the ransom, or avoiding it completely.

#2. How Does Ransomware Affect Your Business?

Aside from the obvious, which includes deletion of your files, ransomware affects your business from a more personal perspective as well. A company’s reputation is essential to running a successful organization, and ransomware can have a major effect on this, especially when it comes to your loyal customers. Remember, whatever happens in the workplace will have an impact on everyone, especially if it’s security related.

For example, let’s say you had both your files and customer documents on one device. If they got deleted due to ransomware, imagine how this would affect your customers. Not only would they go to look for business elsewhere, but more than likely, they will tell other potential customers about the incident as well. In the long run, this could turn potential customers away from your business. After all, customers don’t want to hear excuses. They want a business that not only protects their data, but one that also knows how to respond in the event of any unexpected incidents.

#3. How Can You Protect Yourself?

As dangerous as ransomware is, it’s definitely not unbeatable. One of the key ways to protect yourself, is by making sure to avoid it, since it’s very difficult to get rid of once you’re infected. Not only do you need to be smart about the websites you visit, but also be cautious of suspicious files and emails. Make sure to scan everything before downloading it, and always have anti-virus software installed. By taking these precautions, not only are you preventing yourself from getting infected, but you’re also setting a good example for your employees in the workplace.

For more information about the recent impact of ransomware, why it’s so dangerous, and how it affects customers, feel free to contact us today at SystemsNet. We look forward to hearing from you, and assisting you in the best way possible.

No end to ransomware in sight – so how can Webroot Antivirus help?


Protection against a ransomware attack

Malware seems to be everywhere, spreading to your devices from a range of sources including infected websites and email attachments.

One type that’s been frequently making the news is ransomware. Once ransomware gets in your system, it will lock you out of critical files or prevent you from using devices on your network. Cyber criminals deploying ransomware give you an ultimatum: pay a certain amount of money by a deadline, or lose access to your data permanently.

ZDNet recently reported on how ransomware has come to dominate malware infections, and has become more malicious and sophisticated, with some strains locking users out of their entire operating system or stealing data off the infected devices.

What are some of the effects of ransomware?

Ransomware can hit businesses and other organizations with staggering costs:

  • If you haven’t made regular, reliable data backups that have been kept safely apart from any system infected with ransomware, you may permanently lose your data. Ransomware can deny you access to financial spreadsheets, invoices, contracts, employee records, customer data, and ongoing projects.
  • Applications you need to use for your business operations are no longer accessible, hindering your ability to meet customers’ needs.
  • You suffer from downtime, with various business operations grinding to a halt.
  • Customers lose trust in your ability to safeguard your systems and their own data.

If you decide to pay the ransom (an inadvisable course of action), you wind up losing more money to the cyber criminals targeting you. Furthermore, they won’t necessarily hold up their end of the bargain; maybe you’ll end up permanently blocked from your data. It’s also possible that the criminals will accept your payment, restore access, and strike again the next day.

The news is full of painful reports about ransomware. Just recently, a police department lost several years of data (including some evidence) to ransomware, and a hotel paid cyber criminals who used ransomware to control the rooms’ electronic door locks. Hospitals, schools, and of course businesses of every size have come under attack from his virulent form of malware.

What can you do to prevent a successful ransomware attack?

Maintaining well-protected data backups and training employees in safer computing habits are both essential strategies for decreasing the chances that you’ll suffer a ransomware infection.

There’s also another line of defense that can help you protect your devices: a powerful, comprehensive anti-malware program.

For example, let’s look at the highly recommended Webroot anti-virus.

The core quality of any anti-malware program is its ability to identify malware and block it from becoming active on your devices. To detect malware, Webroot works off a massive database in the cloud. The database undergoes real-time updates, keeping you protected against the latest known threats.

What if you’re facing a new strain of malware that hasn’t yet been identified? This is a legitimate concern for ransomware in particular, with cyber criminals generating and deploying new strains. In that situation, what Webroot would do is analyze the new code introduced to your computing device and maintain it in a kind of quarantine until it’s deemed acceptable.

Will this work to fend off ransomware 100% of the time? Unfortunately not. There isn’t any anti-malware program that can successfully block every single strain of ransomware, especially new ones that crop up. Webroot, at least, offers you powerful, intelligent monitoring that will still detect many of the threats menacing your business.

The prevalence and maliciousness of ransomware makes it one of the greatest threats to your business. Although anti-malware/anti-virus software can’t serve as your sole defense against ransomware, when it’s an effective program like the one offered by Webroot, you still enjoy significantly heightened protection. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information, including advice about the Webroot package that’s best suited for your business.

Signs Your Computer Is Infected With Malware


Suspicious or unwanted pop-ups could be a sign your computer has been infected with malware.

Whether you own a personal computer, or have an entire network at your disposal, it’s always important to be knowledgeable about malware. Aside from infecting your computer in numerous ways, malware is also found where you’d least expect it to be. For example, there are many websites out there which seem safe at first glance, but upon visiting them, your computer may become vulnerable to malicious software and other dangerous programs. As another example, you may even receive an email from what appears to be a coworker, only to find out it’s completely unsafe when you open it. With that said, what are some ways in which you can tell your computer’s infected with malware?

#1. Repeated Advertisements 

While just about any website will have advertisements, one sign that your computer is infected, is if you notice the same ads on every website visited, especially if they happen to be suggestive or explicit. For example, let’s say that you’re on a website for your business, and the advertisements are for estrogen pills. When visiting other sites, you also notice these same ads constantly showing up. It’s not often for websites to display the same advertisements, so this could be a case that your computer has become infected.

#2. Unwanted Pop-ups 

One of the most common signs that your computer is infected with malware, is if you keep receiving frequent pop-ups. This doesn’t just happen from visiting unsafe websites, either, but many downloadable files are often bundled with adware and other hidden programs, which are often the cause of this issue. Because there are many who don’t read the terms of service before downloading files or programs, they might not be aware of what’s really being downloaded. However, there are plenty of downloadable programs where you wouldn’t suspect they’re unsafe, even through careful observation. Always be cautious when installing files and/or programs on your computer.

#3. Suspicious Emails

As was briefly mentioned earlier, a sign your computer may be infected with malware, is if you happen to receive suspicious emails, especially from your coworkers. In the emails, are they requesting important information from you, and does the tone of their message seem off? If you’re not sure whether the message was from them, always confirm before taking any action, and block the email address in question. While suspicious emails may not always be a sign that your computer is infected, it could be an indication that someone wants your device to become susceptible to malware, which will be the case if you open the suspicious email.

#4. Slowdown on Your Computer

While there are plenty of reasons for a computer to run slower than usual, never hesitate to check and see if it’s malware related, as it can have an effect on your computer’s performance. Besides, how long has your computer been running slow? If it’s an incident that’s happened recently, perhaps it’s a problem with your machine being infected. On the other hand, if it’s not very frequent, it may just be a case of unnecessary programs slowing down your performance. Either way, always make sure you know the reason for your computer’s lack of performance. Unlike the other signs your computer is infected with malware, such as receiving unwanted emails, it can be harder to narrow down the reason for your computer’s slowdown.

While many businesses are more than aware of how dangerous malware is, knowing whether your computer’s infected or not, is just as important. Between repeated advertisements on various websites, numerous pop-ups through downloadable programs, as well as receiving suspicious emails from what appear to be your coworkers, there are plenty of ways to tell that your computer is infected. For more information, contact us today at SystemsNet.

Fighting Malware and Other Cyber Disasters: Consider a Risk Management Approach


A risk management plan can help protect your company from malware and other cyber security disasters.

Determining the nature and extent of cyber security risks is a critical challenge companies face. Working within budgetary constraints, companies need to draw up and implement a comprehensive plan for cyber security that encompasses all business operations and keeps various risks at an acceptable level.

When so much of what a company does depends on computing devices, there are numerous points of vulnerability that cyber criminals can exploit. Companies need to understand the kinds of risks they face, the likelihood of different IT disasters, and the best ways to manage each type of risk.

A recent article from Business Insurance discusses how good risk management provides companies with important insights about cyber security risks and recommendations for steps to take. Knowing how to manage your cyber security risks is integral to better protecting your company from malware and other cyber crimes and IT disasters.

How should you go about managing your company’s cyber security risks? The following are several key tips.

1) Rely on meaningful data

As much as possible, you should quantify the risks your company faces and the likely effects of your solutions. Quantifying risks helps you prioritize the vulnerabilities that need the most attention and resources. You can also determine whether or not a particular solution has worked as you anticipated, and whether your solutions are cost-effective. Without supporting data, you’re less likely to have a clear picture of your company’s cyber security performance.

2) Choose your metrics carefully

How do you intend to measure different kinds of risk? What’s an acceptable level of risk to work with? Unfortunately, there aren’t always industry standards or other widely agreed-upon best practices to help you determine the answers. To start with, you can consult with IT security professionals and well-informed business leaders to get a better sense of how to best measure and manage risk.

3) Make sure you’re comprehensive

Risk management should encompass all aspects of your company and its operations. Every business operation exposes you to cyber security risks. HR personnel work with software and files containing employees’ payroll data. Employees in sales and marketing handle sensitive customer information. Your accounting personnel process critical financial information. Understand the vulnerabilities in every type of hardware and software you use and in the IT set-up your business relies on.

4) Stay realistic

There’s no way you can avoid all risks or bring the chances of an IT disaster down to nothing. Sometimes, you’ll have to accept a risk, because the benefits are greater. You may not always have the means to significantly reduce a particular risk. Other times, you’ll need to do everything you can to bring the level of risk down as much possible, because failing to do so will severely undermine your company. A strong risk management approach helps you make the best possible decisions within the constraints affecting you.

5) Make it a group effort

Risk management is based on collaboration among IT personnel and company leaders. This collaboration ensures that your company’s decision makers are all on the same page when it comes to prioritizing cyber security, understanding the risks, and keeping the risks at acceptable, manageable levels. Ultimately, every IT security decision you make needs to serve your company’s goals and further its growth. Your IT personnel can’t work in isolation, without an understanding of your company’s needs and objectives.

To protect your company, you need to manage risks effectively. You can’t rely on one-size-fits-all cyber security solutions. You also can’t protect your business if your IT security decisions lack coherence and direction and remain disconnected from your company’s goals. Don’t hesitate to contact us for further advice and assistance. We can help you assess your risks and come up with solutions for managing them in a way that best protects your company from IT disasters.