Managed IT Force Blog

Managed IT Force provides purposeful and powerful IT management and support services to small and medium organizations in the Pittsburgh Area. Our clients enjoy world-class service and reliability for a predictable low fixed fee.

Ransomware is Still a Major Threat

Ransomware is Still a Major Threat

Ransomware is the scariest type of malware out there. It can have a myriad of negative effects on a business, yet it seems to still be on the fringe of the mainstream. Today, we thought we would give somewhat of a refresher course on ransomware. 

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Let’s Look at the Different Types of Ransomware

Let’s Look at the Different Types of Ransomware

The growing popularity of ransomware has been disconcerting to many IT professionals, particularly due to the different tactics that this malware variant has been spotted utilizing. In order to protect your business from these attacks, it helps to know how they work. We’ve put together a beginner’s field guide to ransomware types to help you identify (and hopefully avoid) it.

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Are You Ready for a Ransomware Resurgence?

Are You Ready for a Ransomware Resurgence?

Ransomware attacks grew less common in both 2018 and thus far in 2019 when compared to 2017. Unfortunately, recent events have made it more likely that this trend will reverse in the near future. Why is that? Simple: some municipalities have set a precedent of paying up.

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Mobile Malware Is Becoming a Bigger Problem

Mobile Malware Is Becoming a Bigger Problem

There was a time when people didn’t have to worry about getting computer viruses on their cell phones. Nowadays, with the exponential growth of mobile technologies, including application development options, mobile malware has become a problem, and it can be a big problem for your business. Today, we’ll take a look at the growing mobile malware market, from the threats to what you can do to keep it from being a problem for you.

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Bing Offers Malware and Filth

Bing Offers Malware and Filth

With a meager market share that is one-third the size of Google’s, one would think that Bing would be trying to keep controversy away from a user’s search results. However, the Microsoft search engine has recently encountered a few notable PR disasters that may be enough to convince some not to use it - especially if it leads to a security breach.

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Here Is a List of this Year’s Most Devastating Hacks

Here Is a List of this Year’s Most Devastating Hacks

Every business owner needs to consider how to approach network security. This is especially true with the litany of threats that face their organization’s network from simply being connected to the Internet. It may sound like an overstatement at first, but when you consider what some huge corporations--that have some very deep pockets--have dealt with very recently, it becomes evident that figuring out how to approach cybersecurity is one of the most important considerations any business owner has to make.

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Could Your Router be Infected with Malware?

Could Your Router be Infected with Malware?

Certain threats out there are dangerous enough to cause major entities to warn against them. In particular, a recent malware by the name of VPNFilter has been deemed dangerous and prevalent enough that the FBI has addressed it. Since the malware targets routers (probably not your first guess in terms of possible vulnerabilities), it has considerable potential to become a nuisance for your organization.

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Has Malware Made a Home in Your Router?

Has Malware Made a Home in Your Router?

Hackers and cybercriminals, like most people, tend to gravitate towards high-reward activities. In this case, that means that focus is turning to creating malware that attacks the router, potentially infecting the users that leverage it to connect wirelessly to the Internet. Researchers at Kaspersky Lab recently discovered an example of such a malware, so today, we will review this threat and how to best protect your network.

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Can You Recognize the Risks that Appear in Your Email?

Can You Recognize the Risks that Appear in Your Email?

Email is often touted as a favorite medium for launching cyberattacks against businesses and individuals. This is because it’s easy to hide the true intent behind an email attack within its contents, whether they are embedded images in the message itself, or links to external sources. How can you know for sure whether the links in your email inbox are legitimate?

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Links Discovered Between WannaCry and North Korea

Links Discovered Between WannaCry and North Korea

In a statement given by Tom Bossert, the homeland security adviser to the White House, blame for the WannaCry attacks leveraged from May 12th to the 15th in 2017 was attributed to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. This assertion is in line with the conclusions that New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and Japan have come to, according to Bossert.

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Latest Ransomware Attack is Brutal Reminder of Cyber Security Importance

Latest Ransomware Attack is Brutal Reminder of Cyber Security Importance

A new malware swept across the globe Tuesday, incorporating facets of many ransomwares that have made headlines recently. While it originally appeared to be a variant of the Petya ransomware, it has been determined that it shares more in common with WannaCry. However, “NotPetya,” as it has been named, has a few additional features that experts say make it worse than either of its predecessors.


Why NotPetya Isn’t Really a Ransomware
The first clue that researchers had that NotPetya had a different motivation was the fact that the ransom only demanded the Bitcoin equivalent of $300. Secondly, the only means of getting the decryption key was to send an email to an address hosted by German email provider Posteo. Despite the lack of preparation the payment method appeared to have, NotPetya itself was clearly designed to be able to infiltrate as many networks as possible and do maximum damage once inside.

A Hybrid Hacking Attack
Since the attack commenced, researchers have ascertained that despite its initial similarities with Petya, NotPetya shares many traits with other malicious programs. Like WannaCry, the attack that affected much of Europe, NotPetya leverages EternalBlue. EternalBlue is a National Security Agency hacking tool that targets unpatched systems and steals the passwords that allow administrator access. In addition to EternalBlue, NotPetya also utilizes EternalRomance, another code that was stolen from the NSA.

Once NotPetya has infected one computer, it extracts passwords from its memory or the local filesystem to allow itself to spread--including onto updated and patched Windows 10 systems.

How To Protect Your Files
First off, don’t expect that you can retrieve your files just by paying the ransom. Even if those responsible for NotPetya intended to keep their word and return them once paid, Posteo has shut down the provided email account victims were to receive their keys from. As a result, unless a victim was already following certain best practices, their files are as of yet unrecoverable.

However, this does not mean that everyone is vulnerable to this attack. Before the EternalBlue and EternalRomance exploits were distributed on the dark web, Microsoft had already released patches for the vulnerabilities. However, if these patches were not applied, a user’s systems were (and are) still vulnerable.

The best method to avoid infection from this kind of attack is to ensure your users understand the importance of cyber security efforts, and that all of your business’ systems are reinforced against the latest threats by keeping your defenses up-to-date.

Furthermore, even an infected user is not without hope if they have been backing up their files. If they have done so, all they have to do is disconnect their computer from the Internet, reformat their hard drive and restore their data from their backup solution. However, for this to work, you have to also be sure that your backups are up-to-date, and that your backup is stored in an isolated location, separate from your network.

Managed IT Force has the experience and expertise to help prevent you from becoming a victim of a malware like this, whether we help you manage your backups or help educate your users to avoid attacks like these in the first place. Give us a call at 724-473-3950 today.

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The Top 5 Online Threats Facing Every Business

The Top 5 Online Threats Facing Every Business

It doesn’t matter which industry your organization falls into. Your business will always be susceptible to threats in some way, shape, or form. Therefore, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your business understands how to protect itself from these threats, before it’s too late. We’ll help you learn more about the various issues that you need to watch out for, and what you can do to stop them.

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9 Types of Hackers You Need to Know About

9 Types of Hackers You Need to Know About

When you hear the term “hacker,” what do you imagine? You likely see what many see, a lone user hunched over a computer, creating chaos for chaos’ sake. However, this is a dangerously narrow view of those who qualify as “hackers.”

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Cops Lock Up Criminals, Ransomware Locks Up Cops

Cops Lock Up Criminals, Ransomware Locks Up Cops

Society relies on law enforcement to enforce laws in a fair and just manner, but even the police have their work cut out for them when they are targeted by a cyberattack. A recent incident in Cockrell, Texas shows that not even the police are immune to the threats of ransomware--particularly the emerging brand of ransomware, Osiris.

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