Better Safe Than Sorry – Be Vigilant!

Over the years, our Help Desk gets a fair amount of calls from our clients that had been scammed by someone claiming to be Microsoft or some other competent support entity. It can happen a variety of ways. The most common way is browsing and an image flashes, often with a voice warning you that you have a virus and to call such and such a number to resolve it. It may ask you to click a link, which could deliver a virus to your computer. If you call them, they may ask for a credit card for prepayment, but could also offer to “fix” it for free, but install ransomware to force you to pay later or lose your data. Sometimes, they call you on the phone and say that this is the IT department and to go to a website so they can remote in and fix something. I had one such call on my cell phone a few years ago and I had some fun with them for a while. So when we recently hired a new person at Eagle and he called upon a client whose laptop fell off our antivirus radar, I was elated to hear the conversation just down the hall where our client questioned the authenticity of the call. He asked for our company name and number and said he would check it out and call back. I was so thrilled, I sent an email to his manager and said that this was great to hear. Our Tech even used the name of his manager, who he did check with first to...

Good Advice: “Avoid smothering it with a pillow.”

Windows is updating… And the next thing it says is to not turn off your computer. So here you are putting your life on hold while your computer appears to be doing nothing for quite some time. Maybe you really need to get to work and have deadlines to meet. There isn’t an easy out when the computer is updating the operating system and some of the Windows 10 updates are pretty hefty. It is true that we could install Windows 10 on a new hard drive more quickly than some of these cumulative updates take to install and we have had many calls about this in the last few months. The quickest way to see your friendly Eagle Technician at your desk is to shut it off or unplug it. It will usually damage the operating system and require a reinstall. Yes, we know how it happened. Here at Eagle headquarters, we refer to it as “smothering it with a pillow.” Letting the update run the course might take some time, but it almost always completes eventually. We have seen some updates take up to 2 hours depending on the age and speed of the computer, which is a good reason to refresh your hardware on a regular basis. Time is money, and slow computers cost more and more in the long run. Another scenario is that it’s the end of the day and you want to leave as soon as possible. You click Start and the only option is to “Update and shut down.” How frustrating! If you have a desktop you don’t plan on taking home,...

What happened to the Internet?

Last Friday October 22, the information superhighway hit a few potholes by way of a DDoS attack. Some of you might be thinking “DOS,” or “Disk Operating System,” but this is a Denial of Service attack. Officially, it is a DDoS attack – just put the word “distributed” in front of the acronym. Some of our clients were impacted by this, but mostly because they could not reliably access certain websites. This only appeared to affect the United States. This maneuver was pretty well thought out. For years there have been reports that malware and viruses can attach to a phone or any other internet-connected device, but if you don’t see a virus warning then how do you know that there is a problem? If you don’t have an antivirus application looking for viruses, then you probably would not know. Can you install antivirus on a network connected printer? Despite best efforts, some malicious programs evade mitigating mechanisms anyway because they are not displaying signatures that the antivirus or firewalls are programmed to look for. So what really happened last week? Gizmodo.com reported “today a massive DDoS attack took out a major piece of the internet infrastructure.” That paints the picture of crews of workers gathering smoking piles of internet and hauling it away in dump trucks while other crews install new pieces of internet. First, it helps to have an understanding of how the internet works. It’s basically a bunch of wires that connect devices together. I describe it as a highway and road system. You leave your house and drive onto your street. You see road signs...

CryptoLocker Virus Holds Businesses Hostage

Imagine you come home to find an extra lock on all your doors, bars on your windows and the garage door is bolted shut. There’s a sign saying you’ve been locked out of your house until you pay a ransom. There’s no way around these locks and nothing can cut the material they’re made from. This is very much what it’s like to be infected by the CryptoLocker virus. You can see all of your possessions but using them is out of reach. CryptoLocker, categorized as a ransomware Trojan has become one of the most historically devastating viruses to hit the internet. Believed to have started on the 5th of September, 2013. CryptoLocker typically comes through as an email attachment, commonly disguised as a legitimate business email. Crypto has also piggy backed on other viruses, the Gameover ZeuS and botnet Trojans. Some have found infected Java code and flash banner ads on sites. Crypto has a great deal many ways to infect an unsuspecting machine. What does Crypto do exactly? Crypto gains access to a computer operating in a windows environment as mentioned above. Once on a computer it will encrypt certain types of files stored on a local hard drive and mapped network drives the user has access to. This is important to know because one impacted computer can affect the data of all other computers on the network and put your whole business at risk! The encryption uses 2048-bit RASA public-key cryptography, the private key needed for decryption is generated and stored on the malware controller’s servers. They commonly use a slew of proxies to help hide...

Service Alert: CyptoLocker Virus

Imagine your laptop being held hostage and you have 72 hours to pay a ransom in order to see your files again? How would this impact you? How would it disrupt your business day or that of your team? I do not often send out blast emails to our customers, but I wanted to make you aware of a particularly destructive virus making its way through the internet. The virus is most commonly called CryptoLocker and there are several versions of it. Please forward this to your entire organization or technical contact at your company. This communication is only being sent to primary contacts. The CryptoLocker virus first made an appearance in early September 2013 and is a “ransomware” virus, meaning that it will not release your computer until the ransom is paid. This payment ranges from $300 to $700 or more. We first became aware of it 3 weeks ago when a colleague informed us it hit one of their sites in Wisconsin. To this day, their network is only limping along having experienced a significant loss of data. It struck closer to home last week when one of our clients was hit and we are still working through it. At this time, it cannot be removed. The virus usually comes attached to an email and is disguised as a PDF document, but it is actually an executable file that delivers a virus payload to the computer. It immediately encrypts files on the computer and any files that this computer has access to, such as server shared folders, making them useless to the rest of the users. Only...