PCSOFT Blog

PCSOFT has been serving the Smeaton Grange area since 2005, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

How to Mitigate the Damage You See from Ransomware

How to Mitigate the Damage You See from Ransomware

This year saw a considerable rise in the number of high-profile ransomware attacks, so if you have not already considered what you are going to do to put a stop to them for your own business, you need to do so now. Thankfully, there appear to be several measures you can implement to limit the damages done by ransomware, and it all starts with some preparation.

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What to Do If Your Network is Hijacked by Ransomware

What to Do If Your Network is Hijacked by Ransomware

It’s one thing to avoid ransomware entirely, but what does a business do when it’s already within its walls? Today we are going to discuss how your business can recover from a ransomware attack, as well as measures and solutions you can implement to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

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A New Ransomware Awareness Tool is Making the Rounds

beware_ransomware

Ransomware is such a major problem for computing-dependent organizations that even government agencies are getting involved, equipping businesses and organizations with tools to help themselves identify whether or not they are at risk of these attacks. The most recent addition to this group, the United States’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have made their Ransomware Readiness Assessment, or RRA, available as part of its Cyber Security Awareness Toolset.

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Ransomware is a Serious Problem… Here’s How to Deal with It

Ransomware is a Serious Problem… Here’s How to Deal with It

Ransomware has been a scourge to businesses for years now, with it unfortunately experiencing a renaissance of sorts as the COVID-19 pandemic came to the fore. With increased phishing attacks and other means of spreading ransomware now taking advantage of the ongoing situation, it is all the more important that these attempts can be identified and mitigated.

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There Isn’t Much that Is More Devastating than Ransomware

There Isn’t Much that Is More Devastating than Ransomware

Countless high-profile ransomware attacks have surfaced over the past several years, all against targets like manufacturers, pipelines, hospitals, and utility companies. Obviously, these attacks are a cause for concern, but some small businesses might make the mistake of thinking themselves too small to target. Unfortunately, this is simply not the case; we’ll help you protect your business from these devastating cyberattacks.

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What the Irish Health Service Disruption Proves About Data Restoration

What the Irish Health Service Disruption Proves About Data Restoration

This past May, Ireland’s Health Service Executive—the organization responsible for providing healthcare and social services to the country’s residents—was successfully targeted by a major ransomware attack. Unfortunately, we are still talking about it now because the entire situation has forced us to acknowledge the aftereffects of such an event.

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Meat Packers On the Wrong End of Malware

Meat Packers On the Wrong End of Malware

Once again, ransomware strikes, this time targeting the world’s largest meat processor and distributor, JBS S.A. This disruptive cyberattack forced the company to suspend operations in both North America and Australia, a move which had devastating consequences to the supply chain. What can we learn from this situation?

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Colonial Pipeline Ransomware Response Raises Questions

Colonial Pipeline Ransomware Response Raises Questions

As is often the case with ransomware attacks, the situation with the Colonial Pipeline hack has grown more complex as more information regarding the attack has been discovered. Here are some of the major developments that you should keep top of mind in the wake of this devastating ransomware attack.

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Cyberattacks are Happening Faster with Less Time for Early Detection

Cyberattacks are Happening Faster with Less Time for Early Detection

In what sounds like a positive shift, cybersecurity experts have announced their research has found that cyberattacks are spending less time on the networks they infiltrate. Unfortunately, this isn’t such a clear-cut positive. Today, we’ll discuss “dwell time” and how less of it is a problem. 

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Cybercrime (And Lightning) Have No Problem Striking Twice

Cybercrime (And Lightning) Have No Problem Striking Twice

We’ve become aware of a concerning phenomenon: the perception that a business that has already been targeted by a cyberattack, won’t be attacked again. We here to tell you that this is decidedly not the case—in fact, according to cybersecurity solutions provider Crowdstrike, there’s a 68 percent chance a targeted business will see another attack within a year.

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Well-Trained Staff Will Avoid Ransomware

Well-Trained Staff Will Avoid Ransomware

Ransomware has been a real problem for the past several years. This is a result of a shift in the ways hackers approach their craft. Once known for breaching networks directly, the establishment of uncrackable encryption left hackers looking to change their strategies. Today, they use scams to get people to give them access to network resources. If they are successful, it can deliver more than headaches for a business. Let’s look at what makes ransomware so dangerous and how your company can combat the constant attacks that come your way. 

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Ransomware Revisited

Ransomware Revisited

Ransom: a sum of money is demanded in order for the release of goods.
Software: the programs and other operating information used by a computer.

What do you get when you combine the two? Ransomware. 

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Hackers Target Municipalities and Why That’s a Problem for Your Business

Hackers Target Municipalities and Why That’s a Problem for Your Business

On March 22, 2018, a remote-triggered ransomware called “SamSam” demanded a one-time payment of $51,000 be made to restore the city of Atlanta, Georgia’s, data. Despite an operating budget somewhere in the neighborhood of $625 million, Atlanta’s municipal leaders refused to pay the fine. The “hostage situation” has cost the city over $2 million already with an expected $9.5 million more likely to be spent restoring and re-enforcing the municipality’s network and infrastructure. This doesn’t take into account downtime and the significant amount of data lost in the hack. Whether or not you think it’s a good idea to not pay the ransom, if a whole city - especially one as large as Atlanta - can effectively be crippled by a single hack, you better believe that your business has to get serious about its cybersecurity efforts.


The situation in Atlanta, where months later they are still foraging through the rubble, is a cautionary tale for everyone; and by in large, you are seeing that everyone is taking this threat seriously. With WannaCry, Not Petya, Locky, and Crysis all hitting the business community in 2017, it has become evident to a lot of business owners that they only thing standing between a fate where they are paying some dissident group for their own data, and one where they are insulated from this hell is their ability to act on the cyber security strategies they’ve created for their business. Today, we will go into why these attacks keep happening and provide you with some of the best practices organizations like yours are going to have to implement (and stay on top of) if you don’t want to be just another victim of hackers looking to make a quick buck.

Reasons for Ransomware
The obvious one is greed. Hacking groups that have the knowledgeable personnel want to extort money from people who can (and will) pay it. There have been extensive studies done in the effort for law enforcement and security professionals to understand just what makes cybercriminals tick. Most black hat hackers don’t start hacking to cause chaos, they started doing it because they were curious and when it becomes obvious that companies and organizations have major security holes in their networks, instead of stopping, they crack the network open and see what they can find. Some even start benevolently sharing the information with companies, but contempt for prideful IT administrators who wouldn’t admit to vulnerability for fear of looking bad at their jobs, can get the curious hacker to retaliate. Once the money starts flowing in, the individual can justify their decisions.

People do worse for money, right?

But why ransomware? Well there are a few factors that have evolved malware into ransomware. Firstly, the relevance and general unregulated cryptocurrency market. Since there is no real oversight in cryptocurrency, and Bitcoin holders have total anonymity it makes it ideal for hackers to demand. Secondly, abundance of code. Ransomware-as-a-Service offerings on the dark web allow malevolent parties to gain access to code that only a short time ago, required professional coders to write. Thirdly, modern day operating systems don’t have the runtime detection capabilities that could stop ransomware execution. Lastly, and probably most importantly, is that users have not been properly trained on how to protect themselves when opening attachments.

Security has been getting better, but with hackers facing uncrackable encryption rolled out by IT administrators and cybersecurity professionals, they have become increasingly skilled at deploying social engineering tactics and phishing techniques. Today, it can be difficult for the average computer user to ascertain that they are looking at a phishing email with a spoofed email address, giving hackers new avenues to infiltrate or get their malicious code onto networks.

What Can You Do?
There are several strategies you can take to keep your network free from ransomware. They include:

  • Back up your data: In keeping regular backups of your system and changes in data offsite, you are essentially protected against any type of ransomware situations. Sure, you may deal with a bit of downtime, but talk to your IT professional about your recovery options to ensure that if something terrible happens, your business won’t lose any critical data.
  • Educating employees: Ransomware is often deployed the same way a lot of malware is, through email attachments, downloads, and through the web. Training your staff on how to decipher risky situations, and what to do when they encounter them, can go a long way toward keeping ransomware, and other malware, off of your business’ network.
  • Restricting access and code execution: Sometimes ransomware is written to execute from data folders, so having a full access control system in place can add a line of defense to your security system.
  • Maintaining and patching software regularly: Keeping your anti-malware and security software up to date can go a long way toward keeping malware like ransomware off of your network.

There are a lot of other practices at a network level and with your email solution that you can utilize to keep unwanted entities out of your network. The IT professionals at PCSOFT are experts at keeping network and infrastructure up and running, reducing downtime, and providing a dynamic, secure, and reliable computing environment conducive to high-levels of productivity.

Ransomware may be a huge threat to the health of your business, but with the right solutions and practices, you won’t end up like the city of Atlanta. Call us today at 02 98730080 to learn more about our comprehensive cybersecurity services.

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Could Your Business Be a Victim of Targeted Ransomware?

Could Your Business Be a Victim of Targeted Ransomware?

If you were a cybercriminal, what would be your preferred method of launching a ransomware attack? Would you rather create a catch-all threat that could capture as many potential victims as possible, or a calculated approach to land a big one? Despite the proven results of larger ransomware initiatives, most cybercriminals have made the shift to smaller, more targeted attacks against specific companies, and in some cases, individuals.

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Bad Rabbit Ransomware Strikes Targets in Eastern Europe

Bad Rabbit Ransomware Strikes Targets in Eastern Europe

In yet another widespread ransomware attack, Eastern European countries saw an assortment of their critical establishments and infrastructures struck by an infection known as Bad Rabbit. Government buildings, media establishments, and transportation centers were among the targets of this attack.

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Tip of the Week: 5 Reminders To Protect You Against Ransomware

Tip of the Week: 5 Reminders To Protect You Against Ransomware

The Internet is a vast place filled to the brim with threats, especially for businesses that need to preserve the integrity of their infrastructure and keep critical data safe. The Cisco 2017 Annual Cybersecurity Report states that ransomware is growing at a yearly rate of 350%, which is a considerable number to say the least. Here are five tips that can help you keep your business safe from ransomware infections.

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LeakerLocker Takes Exposure to New Heights By Sharing Your Mobile Browser History

LeakerLocker Takes Exposure to New Heights By Sharing Your Mobile Browser History

Ransomware, the malware that locks down its victim’s files until they pay up, has always been a frustrating issue to deal with. However, a recent mobile ransomware will make the issue a little more personal… by sharing the victim’s mobile browsing history.

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Sadly, the WannaCry Ransomware Disaster Could Have Been Easily Prevented

Sadly, the WannaCry Ransomware Disaster Could Have Been Easily Prevented

On May 11, 2017, the WannaCry ransomware spread around the globe like wildfire and disabled computing infrastructures belonging to organizations of all shapes and sizes. As the world watched the news unfold, it seemed as if practically no business was immune to this ultra-powerful ransomware. Yet, many quick-thinking organizations were. All because they had the foresight to follow IT best practices.

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Lowlife Ransomware Hackers Now Asking for More Than $1k Per Attack

Lowlife Ransomware Hackers Now Asking for More Than $1k Per Attack

Ransomware remains a very real threat, and is arguably only getting worse. Attacks are now able to come more frequently, and there are opportunities for even relative amateurs to level an attack against some unfortunate victim. However, this is not to say that there is nothing you can do to keep your business from becoming another cautionary tale.

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Year in Review: 2016’s Biggest Breaches

Year in Review: 2016’s Biggest Breaches

2016 was quite the year for cybersecurity and the assorted issues, threats, and concerns associated with it. As 2017 rolls along, we may be able to anticipate what this year might bring by reflecting on the events of the last.

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