Security Overwatch

The purpose of this page it to assist our customers and anyone that visits our website in understanding what viruses are out there, what they do to your system and what can be done to combat them.
We will look through the net and various anti-virus company sites and find the information on the virus and post them here so that our clients don’t have to search all over the place for information.

Virus Types Explained

Trojan: As the name suggest Trojan’s sit on your computer quietly and let in other malicious programs. Unlike viruses, Trojans do not self-replicate. They are spread manually, often under the premise that they are beneficial or wanted. The most common installation methods involve system or security exploitation, and unsuspecting users manually executing unknown programs. Trojan’s are usually distributed via e-mail, malicious or hacked Web pages, Internet Relay Chat (IRC) and peer-to-peer networks.

Spyware:
As the name suggests this software gathers information without the users consent and sends that information to its author. Most spyware is installed without users' knowledge, or by using deceptive tactics. Spyware may try to deceive users by bundling itself with desirable software. Some spyware authors infect a system through security holes in the Web browser. The installation of spyware frequently involves Internet Explorer.

Adware: is any software package that automatically renders advertisements in order to generate revenue for its author. The advertisements may be in the user interface of the software or on a screen presented to the user during the installation process. The functions may be designed to analyse which Internet sites the user visits and to present advertising pertinent to the types of goods or services featured there. Adware is often used as a catch all term for malicious software, most Adware is described as irritating as you get pop-ups when browsing the internet, however some adware observes the computer user's activities without their consent and reports it to the software's author and this is what is known as Spyware.

Ransomware:
Has seen an increase on the international market since 2013. Ransomware restricts access to the computer system that it infects, and demands a ransom be paid to the creator of the malware in order for the restriction to be removed. Ransomware often utilize elements of scareware to extort money from the system's user, for example, display notices purportedly issued by companies or law enforcement agencies which falsely claim that your system has been used for illegal activities which users see and click on the links provided to remove said illegal activity. In 2013 the CryptoLocker Ransomware was responsible for $3 million dollars’ worth of ransoms before it was taken down, There is currently a variant of this Ransomware out in the wild called CryptoWall, the only way to get files back without payment is using a backup of your data.

Malware: Short for Malicious Software, 'Malware' is an umbrella term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software, including computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, scareware, and other malicious programs. Malware is often disguised as, or embedded in, non-malicious files. Malware can be included in official software from companies as a form of market statistics tracking or prevention of piracy, unfortunately these can create security vulnerabilities on the user’s machine allowing other more Malware to infect the computer.
 

Ransomware:

As I mentioned in the explanation section above, Ransomware has become a major problem in the IT World over the last couple of years, the thing to understand about computer viruses is that they are constantly evolving, unfortunately Anti-Virus software is a reactive process as they can’t predict how virus coders will modify the initial virus. The most common way to get attacked by Ransomware is via email or pop up adds while browsing the internet.

Things you can do to prevent loss of Data from Ransomware:

1.    Do not open suspicious looking emails or click on URLs / hyperlinks in such mails. This cannot be stressed enough and is still a major reason for infection. When in doubt, delete!

2.    These emails can come from people you actually know, as their PC may have been infected by some other malware that sends emails out to all their contacts anonymously.

3.    Do not open suspicious looking attachments or attachments from unknown / untrustworthy senders. Current ransomware variants often embed themselves in attachments as jpeg files (the most common image file type).

4.    When browsing the internet do not click on pop-ups that state that your computer or software is out of date. This is another way ransomware infects your machine. Computer software will usually have its own system for managing updates. If in doubt, please don’t hesitate to call us.

5.    Make sure you have up-to-date anti-virus software installed. We recommend ESET anti-virus software to our clients as it is a very aggressive anti-virus program that already blocks a number of the Ransomware variants.

6.    Make sure that your computer’s operating system is updated regularly. Your operating system does afford you some basic protection against older variants of Ransomware and viruses that are still on the internet.

7.    Back-up your critical data on a regular basis. We supply a backup solution to our clients for their servers, which involves changing external hard drives on a regular basis, we suggest they change them out on a daily basis and take one copy offsite. We also offer cloud storage in the form of Iron Tree backups which uses Panda Security Anti-Virus.

8.    If you suspect your machine has been infected, you should do one of two things, either shut down your machine immediately or unplug the network cable, (Click to View Image). This will lower the chance that the infection spreads to other networked devices like your server.


Data within applications such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and One Drive can also be compromised by most forms of Ransomware. If you do choose to go the cloud storage route, make sure you choose a proper cloud backup solution that adequately secures and protects your data.

 

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