Category Archives: Security

4 Signs that There’s Malware Hiding on Your Work Computer

Portrait of shocked and surprised IT manager realizing there is malware hiding on the work computer

Having a proactive plan to deal with malware can minimize the impact

Malware comes from everywhere. You can pick it up from files, websites, interesting PDFs and so much more. Everyone is subject to a little malware and it’s understood that professionals who must access the internet for work will inevitably get some kind of malware on their work computers. That’s just the world we live in now, and businesses have long since adapted to the idea of Backup Recovery when cybersecurity is never 100%.

But as a professional living your day-to-day, it’s also important to know how to identify malware when you pick it up. Unlike when the trend started back in the 90s, modern malware is pretty darn sneaky. It doesn’t cover your screen in ads anymore or obviously open and close programs. Instead, it eats your processor speed and steals your data in the background. Sometimes for months before you realize.

Today, we’re here to share four of the most tell-tale signs that there’s malware hiding on your work computer and it’s time to do a little BDR with a fresh operating system.

 

Unusually Slow Performance with Offline Programs

Internet speed ebbs and flows, even in the most high-speed office or the quietest residential neighborhood. You may expect the occasional slow performance due to internet speeds (or you may not) but slow offline programs are a completely different story.

You know your computer. You know how fast it can handle the offline programs you use regularly. Things that don’t need the internet like a simple calculator, word processor, or image editor. If you’re getting serious lag and latency when you should have your computer’s whole processing power to yourself, this can indicate that you’re sharing power with malware.

A malware program may be able to hide its install location or running processes. But it can’t hide the resources it uses up.

 

Unseen Programs that “Refuse to Close” When You Reboot

When you reboot your computer, Windows will tell you if there’s a program that didn’t close out smoothly with the ShutDown command. Often, this is just a Chrome browser you didn’t fully close. But sometimes, it’s a surprise. Your computer may tell you that Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge are still running when you never use those programs. It might tell you something called xvb55t is running and won’t close, and that is a definite tip-off.

If something is opening programs invisibly on your computer and won’t close when you shut down… that’s malware. No two ways about it. And it’s time to fully wipe your system, because it’s hidden deep.

 

Your Web Extensions Aren’t Working as Expected

So often, web extensions are the cause or target of a malware attack. Most modern professionals run with some kind of ad blocker on. If you use Adblock plus, for example, it tends to pop open an extra tab nearly every time you open a new browser window. Especially from a new or recently cache-cleared device. If that browser window stops popping open, or if any of your other extensions start acting in an unusual or suspicious fashion, malware is often the cause.

You may want to clear your caches, prune your unused extensions, and possibly recover the entire computer to make sure no malware files have been hidden on your computer.

 

After a Scan/Clean/Reboot, You Still Scan Trackers

If you have a manual scanning program like CCleaner or something similar and you suspect there’s malware on your computer, there’s one sure way to check just how virulent that malware really is.

Start with a scan-clean cycle. Scan for trackers and junk and clear them. These could be anything and are often just clearing your temp files of web-junk that could be slowing you down. Reboot your computer, then do another scan. Find new trackers? Find new junk? There’s malware adding malicious crud to your computer as soon as it gets a chance. Also, watch your scanned-for and threat-eliminated results. If the scanner says 1 tracker was found, but it eliminated 3 trackers by the end-report, those trackers were added while the sweep-and-clear was ongoing.

You not only have malware, you have seriously aggressive malware and BDR is the best option.

Find malware on your computer? Have a really intense suspicion that there’s malware lurking? Now is the time to use your company’s backup recovery plan or get in touch with your IT help desk for guidance on how to fully wipe and safely restore your work computer. For more cybersecurity, backup recovery, and malware protection insights, contact us today!

The Importance of Multi-Factor Authentication

Digital fingerprint login multi-factor authentication

Doing nothing is no longer an option as cyber criminals are no longer targeting just large corporations.

Doing nothing is no longer an option: maintaining security for your business’s data–and your customers–has become more critical than ever. If you aren’t actively protecting your business, you can experience downtime (which can mean an expensive loss of income, not to mention the loss of employee labor during your downtime) or lose data. Turning to multi-factor authentication can offer a number of key benefits for your overall network security.

Benefit #1: Weak or stolen credentials play a role in a high percentage of cyber attacks.

Weak credentials, like poor passwords, can make it easy for hackers to break into your company’s system. Worse, when a hacker steals a worker’s credentials, they can often access your company’s data almost entirely unnoticed. A high percentage of cyber attacks begin with weak or stolen credentials that then allow the hacker full access to the system. The higher up the person the stolen credentials come from, in many cases, the more access is provided to the hacker due to those stolen credentials.

Multi-factor authentication makes it harder for hackers to log into your system.

Instead of relying on those weak credentials, multi-factor authentication uses something unique to the user–a phone number, for example–to add an extra layer of protection when they attempt to log in. While it’s not impossible for hackers to work around this barrier, it does slow them down substantially.

Benefit #2: Multi-factor authentication is easy to implement.

You  may already use multi-factor authentication in many areas of your life, often without realizing it. When you forget your email password, for example, the system may trigger a text alert that lets you access your account. It’s a quick, easy method to add an extra layer of security–and it’s one that even your most technologically-challenged team members will be able to easily add to their arsenal.

Benefit #3: Password theft is getting easier.

Tricks like keylogging and phishing are becoming increasingly common, and more hackers than ever have the keys to unlocking your password. Through multi-factor authentication, on the other hand, you make your private data much more difficult to steal–which can in turn create a substantial layer of protection around your entire company. You don’t want to leave your customers or your data at risk–and multi-factor authentication can offer the protection you need.

Benefit #4: Multi-factor authentication helps show the effort your company is putting toward cybersecurity.

Today’s customers are savvier than ever. They understand the threat represented by hackers and other cybersecurity challenges, and they want to know that your company is taking the right steps to protect their private information. When you require multi-factor authentication, you let your customers know that you genuinely care about their security and are willing to take the right steps to protect them.

Benefit #5: Multi-factor authentication can actually streamline workflow.

One of the biggest objections to multi-factor authentication is that it can make it harder to log into the systems you use every day. The reality, however, is that multi-factor authentication is fast. Most of today’s systems deliver a text within seconds, allowing you to quickly log into the system and access the information you need–but they also provide a substantial layer of protection that makes it much more difficult for a hacker to access company data. Advances in technology continue to streamline the process, making it easier on your employees and customers without decreasing the protection added by those elements.

You can no longer afford to do nothing when it comes to securing your company. If you’re ready to take the leap and protect your business and your customers with multi-factor authentication, contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

10 Benefits to Digitizing Your Business Documents

Digitizing your business documents shown with filing cabinet drawers on a computer screen

Reduce physical storage needs and documents readily available are just a few reasons to go all digital

Running a business is a constant process of optimization. Everyone wants to provide better goods and services, improve efficiency behind the scenes, and ultimately generate greater profits each year by lowering overhead and increasing revenue. However, if you’re still working with paper documents then your business is missing out on a major optimization opportunity. Digital document storage has come a very long way in the last 10 years and with the addition of the cloud to the available network infrastructure, there’s never been a better time to digitize.

Not sure about whether it’s the right choice? A lot of businesses are hesitant to change a major aspect of their internal process like how paperwork is managed for fear of damaging office efficiency. However, let us assure that once you make the switch to a self-organizing digital document management system, your efficiency will not only recover quickly, it will blow the top off your charts as employees gain back hours every week that would normally be spent filing, searching for files, or even just collating and stapling paper documents. Here are ten of the best benefits of going digital.

1) Reclaiming Office Space

How much space do paper documents take up in your office? A storeroom? Two store rooms and a supply closet? Then there’s the possibility of rented storage space for archived folders not to mention all the filing cabinets and in/out boxes taking up space in the employee office space. Once you’ve digitized, you might be surprised how much open space is created both in storage rooms, and on employee desks.

2) Saving on Auditor Fees

When the auditor comes to call, you pay their hefty hourly fees but they also expect you to bring them all the documents to be audited. With a paperwork system, this means paying them for the half hour or more per visit that your staff spends searching and fetching specific paper documents. All this paid-for time is regained with a document management system as your auditor can quickly and easily access everything they need in seconds, not minutes or hours.

3) Instant Document Retrieval

Speaking of fast document retrieval, how much time do your employees spend each week essentially shuffling paper or seeking desperately for misplaced documents? A single mis-file into an adjacent folder can cost hours of lost employee time, especially if you simply must have a specific copy or filled form. With an online document management system (DMS), files can be found instantly. Even if they’re in the wrong digital folder, a simple keyword or category search will quickly locate any specific document that’s needed no matter when it was scanned or how it was filed. Even mistakes can be fixed with a few clicks or taps.

4) Access from Anywhere

Running back to the office for a document is no one’s idea of a good day, especially when a project or deal was almost complete except for one missing sheet of paper. When your documents are stored on the cloud through a handy online management platform, they can be reached from anywhere. Employees and clients alike can log in and access any document they are authorized to view or edit making those last minute trips to the office for paperwork a thing of the past.

5) Cutting Edge Security

How secure are your sensitive business and customer documents? Do you keep them under lock and key in a filing cabinet, or more likely, do they sit on an employee’s desk for days or weeks at a time? While there’s a certain amount of security in physical documents, the best way to protect important data is to lock it away under the highest-tech procedures possible. With cloud document management, that’s exactly what you get.

6) Share, Collaborate, and Sign

When dealing with paper documents, the process of collaboration can be tedious and you can forget about collecting signatures quickly. Waiting on paper documents to be snail-mailed, signed, and returned or even delivered to and from via couriers can add hours, days, and even weeks to a project schedule. With online documents, you can quickly and easily share anything with anyone, invite them to edit the document with you, or shoot over a copy for a digital signature which can return to you in minutes if the recipient is ready for the transaction.

7) Open to Analytics

One of the most powerful tools any business can employ today is high-end computer analytics. AIs and similar programs can scan thousands of data points to produce interesting statistics like the average amount of time customer are active, the demographics of your existing customer base or the most popular account type. Once your documents are digitized, you could much more easily feed any information you have into an analytics program to get back useful business data.

8) Regulation Compliance Maintenance

Every business has to comply with regulations, whether it’s about how you store customer data or how you store leftover food. There are always documents to help you stay compliant and there is always an audit every year or so. Having a live, easy to access and edit documents not only make staying compliant easier, it also makes updating compliance with new rules and providing information to auditors go more smoothly.

9) Disaster Recovery Guaranteed

If something happens to your building or storage facility, so too does this thing happen to all your paper documents. Fire and flood can destroy them completely and even an earthquake can make it very hard to retrieve your paperwork and start again. With cloud-stored documents, you could disaster recover with laptops in a tent if that’s what it took and every document would be perfectly preserved for the purpose.

10) Green Without the Recycle Bin

The final benefit of digitizing those heaps of paper documents is the environmentally friendly aspect. Here is your opportunity to recycle reams, stacks, and mountains of paperwork and then never need to use up that many trees worth of paper again. You can stop buying pallets of printer paper and you can even tone down the big green bin in the office because from here on out, your paperwork will be made of electrons, not actual paper.

Digital transformation is something that every business and department is taking on this decade. Even if you are in an industry that traditionally works with physical paperwork, it’s important to digitize to back up, edit, manage, and secure your documents. For more information about the digital transformation and how your team can streamline digitization, contact us today!

Removing SAVEfiles Virus and Others with Webroot

Hands on a keyboard removing SAVEfiles virus with Webroot

Protecting workstations and servers is critical in preventing downtime

SAVEfiles is a recent high-profile web virus making its rounds on the internet. It is attacking Windows based computers, workstations and servers with the goal of locking out the user and encrypting key files through AES and RSA algorithms. The hackers demand a ransom (in the form of Bitcoin) in order to restore full service. Like the WannaCry virus before it, this is a dangerous malware that should be avoided at all costs. In the case that it has infiltrated your system, there are a few things to know.

Response

First and foremost, users should not under any circumstances actually send the funds to the hackers. Most likely the scammers will not send the encryption key and the victim will simply be out his or her money with no result.

Secondly, even if the hackers send the encryption key, it will most likely be located on another malicious server location. Accessing that server may allow your computer to download or access additional malware. That malware could spread to other people in your network or simply lock additional files on your computer. So it is ideal to avoid this result.

Next, use reimage repair to start over from the beginning with your Windows system. That detects the ransomware and helps to restart and avoid the malware. Finally, use a high quality anti virus tool like Webroot to eliminate the malicious software and free yourself of the damage.

Anti-Virus Tools

In order to solve this dilemma, the best thing to do is apply a Webroot Anti-virus tool. It is an evolution of the well-known Spy Sweeper product. It has a handy “fix it now” feature that does not require the user to do anything but click the button to resolve the problem. At that point, the software will search the entire system for foreign, unauthorized files and eliminate them.

Webroot has a vast library of potential viruses that it can knock out with ease. Additionally, it can detect new files that enter the system if they are not authorized. It will then eliminate those after the user authorizes it.

Webroot has one the Virus Bulletin certification for excellence four times. ICSA labs has also certified it as a dependable anti virus solution for computers and servers. For this reason, many people are willing to rely on it to fix their systems.

The Webroot version 7.0 is the most impressive release yet. This version has much better user interface design. It also divides messages into “Green”, “Yellow” and “Red” so that it is very simple to prioritize. Green means that the system is clear, yellow messages are warnings and red messages indicate a virus must be removed. It also offers automatic periodic scans that are either Quick Sweeps or Full Sweeps.

Other Actions

In the future, there several additional security steps you may take. Firstly, you can purchase a USB stick and keep sensitive files in this device offline. Additionally, you may keep redundant files in different locations on the cloud. That way, if your device is compromised you still can access the important files from another device.

Of course, don’t click on suspicious links or download software from unverified sources. These are the most common sources of viruses online.

Make sure to change passwords every so often so that if the device is compromised once, it won’t continue to be compromised.  Network admins should make sure to have different passwords and authentications for different levels of the network as well.

Get Started

Webroot Antivirus is a leading provider of antivirus tools. They have helped large and small companies attack malicious software and prevent it from infecting an entire network. For more information, please contact us.