Month: April 2016

Three U.S. Hospitals Hit in String of Ransomware Attacks

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Three U.S. hospitals were hit hard this week by “ransomware” attacks that brought down their systems — the latest providers of medical care to be targeted in this way.

The servers for Chino Valley Medical Center and Desert Valley Hospital, both in California, were running normally again by Wednesday after the attack.

Ransomware is a strain of malware that encrypts data on infected machines, then typically asks users to pay ransoms in hard-to-trace digital currencies to get an electronic key so they can retrieve their data.

You Should Never Pay Ransomware Hackers, Security Experts Say

“The malware disruption did not impact patient safety or compromise patient records, staff records or patient care,” said Fred Ortega, a spokesperson for Prime Healthcare Management, which represents both Chino Valley and Desert Valley.

The state’s Department of Public Health as well as federal law enforcement agencies are coordinating an investigation into the malware attack. As of Wednesday, most systems had been brought back online, Ortega said.

A third hospital, Methodist Hospital in Kentucky, also fell victim to a ransomware attack this week, reported cybersecurity journalist Brian Krebs. The hospital’s information systems director told Krebs that a type of ransomware called “Locky” was to blame. The hospital did not immediate return calls from NBC News.

Apple Users Targeted in First Known Mac Ransomware Campaign

According to Symantec Security, the ransomware program Locky spreads through spam email campaigns, many of which are disguised as invoices.

“Word documents containing a malicious macro are attached to these emails. If this macro is allowed to run, it will install Locky onto the victim’s computer,” according to Symantec.

In February, a Los Angeles hospital forked over $17,000 to hackers that took out its computer network.

by Connor Mannion

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It’s Spring Cleaning Time for Computers, too!

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women-cleaning-computer-300x200This is the time of year that we all tend to clean things out, spruce things up and get ready for the months ahead. While we all concentrate on our closets, garages, and gardens, are you looking at your computers?

There’s an annual check-up for your automobile’s health, one for your physical health, and one for your pet’s health. Why don’t we schedule a check-up for the item that we probably spend more time with than we do our cars or our pets (very sad to say!).

Your home and work computers, tablet, and smartphones are probably the first things you turn on every day and the last thing you turn off. We just assume that they will be there when we need them. But can you remember the last time you had an issue with one of these devices and didn’t have access for hours, or maybe a day? It seems like our entire life is thrown off balance. In a work setting, hours of time are lost, most often resulting in lost revenue

Scheduling an annual review of your business computer systems just makes sense. For those of you not using an automated managed services platform, are you certain that all of your employees are performing updates as they should, or are you on top of those for your servers? When did you actually buy that server that runs your company everyday—might it be time for an upgrade before it dies in the middle of a work-day?

You’ve probably been using the same technology to manage your emails and your spam for some time now, but are you aware of more efficient and perhaps more cost effective ways to handle these? Are your employees accessing your work computers from home or on a tablet or smartphone? Are you aware of the new file sync and share services which are not only easy to use but increase productivity and security?

So, as we jump ahead to Spring you may want to meet with your business technology provider to review exactly what is running your business every day! Such a meeting can save time down the road, prevent lost productivity, and perhaps reduce your costs due to more efficiency.

Written by
pabventures/March 2016

Are Your Younger Employees Oblivious to Online Security?

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Millennials are often believed to be the most tech-savvy employees within an organization, but a recent survey from Symantec actually shows that users under 35 are actually less concerned with security than previous generations.

These “digital natives” are sharing information online at an unprecedented rate, but without some of the safeguards used by their older counterparts. With this in mind, could your younger staff members pose a risk to your company’s online security? The Facts Symantec surveyed 1000 people, 500 of which were under the age of 35.

The results of the survey show that among millennials:
72% don’t use security software on their devices (compared to 55% for those over the age of 55)
52% don’t protect their home Wi-Fi password (40% for 55+)
58% don’t run regular security updates (29% for 55+)
48% of millennials don’t use complex passwords

Given that a striking 95 percent of cyberattacks are the result of human error, these figures should be concerning for employers. More and more millennials are accessing secure work files from their personal devices, or reusing passwords across a variety of platforms. These bad habits can be an easy way in for an attacker, seriously compromising your company’s online security.

Fixing the Problem–
This mindset comes from a generation that has seen technological innovation at its finest, and as a result, millennials often incorrectly assume that their devices are protected. Employers must challenge this notion to correct the security problem among millennials.

To ensure that lax attitudes towards security don’t threaten your organization, you should thoroughly train each staff member that joins your team. You might cover: What’s appropriate to share on social media and with others online Which devices they can access work files from Correct password protocols Awareness of current scams and viruses You should set up mandatory password requirements and automatic security updates for each workstation in your office, as well as for company-owned devices that your employees take home with them.

Keep these important policies front of mind with routine reminders and regular training sessions to update them on the ever-changing world of online security. Digital natives are confident in their technical abilities, as well as the built-in security of the devices they use. However, this confidence is often misplaced, and it can actually be harmful in a professional environment. Keep your company safe by reminding millennial employees of the importance of online security, both on social media and internally.

Article from Strategic Staffing/February 5, 2016