WannaCry: A historic cyberattack

No one can escape the news of WannaCry. The IT industry has been covering this type of malware for years, but never has one campaign spread so far or infected so many computers. Read on to gain a greater understanding of what happened and how to prepare yourself for the inevitable copy cats. Ransomware review Ransomware is a specific type of malware program that either encrypts or steals valuable data and threatens to erase it or release it publicly unless a ransom is paid. We’ve been writing about this terrifying threat for years, but the true genesis of ransomware dates…

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Mac HandBreak downloads infected by Trojan

macOS version of HandBrake, an open-source video transcoding software that converts multimedia files into various formats, was recently infected with a Trojan. According to HandBreak’s announcement, if you downloaded the app between May 2 (14:30 UTC) and May 6 (11:00 UTC), there’s a 50% chance that your system got infected. Read on to find out more. How to know if your device was infected HandBrake can be downloaded from its official website and via mirror sites, or sites that provide the same content as the primary site. Infected downloads came from the mirror site, download.handbrake.fr, where the installer file (HandBrake-1.0.7.dmg)…

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How to defend against WannaCry

Both businesses and individuals across dozens of countries are scrambling to fix their computer systems after a ransomware, named WannaCry, caused major disruptions earlier this month. Like most ransomware, WannaCry encrypts files and demands a Bitcoin payment for their release. What’s worse, more WannaCry variants will likely be developed in the near future, according to security researchers. Fortunately, there are some common strategies you can use to mitigate the damage of the ransomware. Update your software The first (and probably best) defense against WannaCry ransomware is to update your operating system. New research from Kaspersky shows that machines running Windows…

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Web browser cybersecurity, ranked

Cybersecurity didn’t become more important in light of the WannaCry ransomware epidemic, it just became more visible to the average internet user. If like so many others, you’re auditing the security of business’s software, web browsers are a great place to start. Learn more about how your browser choice stacks up in your security comparison. Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE)/Edge Despite their nearly identical logos, Edge and IE are actually different browsers with vastly different security strategies. Microsoft’s legacy browser, IE, isn’t even fully supported anymore. The most recent version still gets occasional updates, but experts don’t expect that to last…

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4 Tips for better server management

With so much technology moving to the cloud, onsite servers aren’t getting as much attention as they used to. Optimizing this critical piece of business technology is no small task, but there are a few simple things you can do to ensure the success of your in-house servers. Mount your servers properly Small businesses are usually forced to prioritize the here and now over long-term planning. Not for lack of caring, it’s just a fact of working on tight budgets and with small teams. This is especially evident when it comes to server planning. When your business first sets up…

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New phishing protection for Gmail on Android

One of the most common ways hackers infiltrate networks is by using phishing scams — fraudulent emails to trick unwitting users into giving away login credentials or downloading malware. Although this is the oldest trick in a hacker’s arsenal, it’s still an incredibly effective attack method. To blunt the potency of these scams, Google released an anti-phishing feature for Gmail apps on Android devices. Read on below to find out how it works. Phishing warnings The new Gmail app feature uses Google’s Safe Browsing technology to examine billions of URL links per day and identify websites impersonating legitimate ones, like…

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Windows Server 2016 and virtualization

Virtualization is a great way to save money and increase the efficiency of your existing IT hardware, but how exactly do you implement a virtualization solution? There are several vendors that provide software solutions, but there’s one almost everyone has already worked with: Microsoft. In its latest operating system release there are a few ways to virtualize your office. A brief history of Windows Server The Windows Server operating system has been around for decades. As an advanced option for onsite servers, this operating system grants access to high-level access management settings, DNS customizations, and network configuration management. In fact,…

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Network Security Threats Make You Wanna Cry?

WannaCry continues to infect organizations around the globe over the weekend. If you’re on our Proactive Monitoring and Maintenance plan, North Star is protecting you and your IT infrastructure. If you’re not on this plan, we should talk. You should highly consider this to be a major threat to your organization. In addition to deploying our Proactive Monitoring and Maintenance security plan, it is essential you continue to keep your systems up-to-date on the latest software versions. To combat this new wave of threats, North Star is offering a free Ransomware Prevention Best Practices tip sheet. You can download it…

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More security features for Office 365

Microsoft has commercially released new products and upgrades that will secure company information. The threat intelligence and data governance features are designed for businesses that adhere to strict regulatory guidelines and need an extra layer of protection against cyberattacks. Here’s a detailed look at what these additions can do for your business. Threat Intelligence Threat Intelligence for Office 365 gathers data from Microsoft security databases, Office clients, email, and other recorded security incidents to detect various cyberattacks. This feature gives users in-depth knowledge about prevalent malware strains and real-time breach information to analyze the severity of certain attacks. What’s more,…

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The most advanced Gmail phishing scam yet

As the technology that recognizes and thwarts malware becomes more advanced, hackers are finding it much easier to trick overly trusting humans to do their dirty work for them. Known as social engineering, it’s a dangerous trend that is becoming increasingly prevalent. Read on to educate yourself on how to avoid the most recent scam and those that came before it. Broadly defined, “phishing” is any form of fraud in which an attacker tries to learn information such as login credentials or account information by masquerading as a reputable entity or person in email, IM or other communication channels. These…

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