Ransomware : Cyber Blackmailing

What is it?  It is a form of malware that attacks your computer(s)

Why should I care? If you get it, it will either cost you money to get your data back or cost you money to restore your computer(s) to its original state.

Where does it occur? It occurs in your computer of course, usually one that is connected to the Internet. It can also occur by someone finding a Thumb Drive and plugging it into your computer.

When does it happen? It usually happens when people are careless and/or when the IT department does not keep the software and hardware up to date.

Why does it happen? It happens because, my conjecture, there are thieves in this world who are trying to make an easy living.

How does it happen? A virus enters and controls your computer and then the thieves request money to unlock your computer until you pay them (usually in Bit Coin) money before they will unlock your computer and release your files.

How bad can it be?

Most ransoms start at $300-$500 with a deadline to pay, and once the deadline has passed (say a week) the value will most likely increase to over $1,000.00

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2016/02/18/california-hospital-ransomware-attack-hackers/  $17K

Ransomware called WannaCry shut down 65 hospitals in the United Kingdom, and affected not just computers but storage refrigerators and MRI machines (May 2017).

How can you avoid such an occurrence? Update software and hardware; educate your people on what to do on their computers and more so what NOT to do on their computers. The first line of defense is an educated employee. There are technologies that can help reduce the expense that ransomware can cause. One, is to store your data using SAN technology and two, to virtualize all your servers.

Find your Voice with Capraro Technologies, Inc.

VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol refers to a digital, cloud-based phone service. Using VoIP technology will allow your business to make and receive phone calls over the Internet. Why is VoIP so popular? Because not only does it provide flexibility and scalability, adding and removing phone lines as needed, but it can also save your business money.

With VoIP, you will have the same messaging features that you are familiar with, such as voicemail, conference calls and call forwarding. In addition, if your business is spread out over multiple locations, using VoIP you only need to dial an extension to reach a co-worker at any office.

To utilize VoIP, all your business requires is a reliable high-speed Internet connection and a digital phone. Interesting in learning more about VoIP? CTI offers a variety of different purchasing options including contracts with no upfront costs or you can purchase the digital phones outright from CTI. We’re here to find the best solution for your specific business needs. Contact CTI at 315-733-0854 or email captecnic.development@gmail.com today! 

Disaster Recovery with CTI

Did you know that the Red Cross estimates that 40% of businesses shut down by a natural disaster never reopen? The top two reasons are (1) the company has no disaster plan to guide their actions under extreme duress after the disaster; and (2) there’s no effective data backup.

So what is a disaster plan? A disaster recovery plan is a documented, structured approach with instructions for responding to unplanned incidents. This step-by-step plan consists of the precautions to minimize the effects of a disaster so the organization can continue to operate or quickly resume necessary functions. CTI can provide a risk assessment specific to your industry as well as develop policies and procedures to meet your industry’s specific requirements ensuring you are prepared in the event of a disaster.

When it comes to data backup, protect your data in CTI’s state-of-the-art data center, with backup generators and fault tolerant servers, providing a high probability of data availability.  Storage Area Networks (SAN) and System Replications will backup your data to CTI’s data center on a scheduled basis, depending on your business needs. This is a cost-effective solution for your business as long as you have an Internet connection. Also should your facility become unusable, with disaster recovery, CTI can get you up and running with minimal downtime, should that be in a secondary location(s) or in CTI’s office.

Whether you’re looking for a new disaster recovery plan or strengthen the one you already have, CTI can help you improve your ability to respond and recover from disruptive events and refine your strategy for IT recovery. Also while data loss can have  a debilitating effect on a business, good continuity and recovery planning can ensure that the impact from the most severe failure, can result in minimal disruption.

Call us at 315-733-0854 for more information on how we can develop a disaster recovery plan for your company, so that you won’t be part of the 40% of your reckless competitors.

Cyber Security Guidelines

In 2017, IBM’s chairman, president, and CEO, Ginni Rometty, said: “Cybercrime is the greatest threat to every company in the world.” And she is right. To avoid your company becoming a victim, it is imperative to adopt a security-driven culture. Below are a few guidelines to do just that. 

Cyber Education:

The first firewall, is the human firewall. Training your employees on how to be smart when online is very important. Develop a security policy, emphasizing the importance of cyber security. Advise your employees never to download anything that is suspect. They should also know what to do if they receive an unsolicited email and they should NEVER click a link or open an attachment if they don’t know the sender.

Password Management:

Two of the most common passwords used are “123456” and “password.” Easy to remember but just as easy for a hacker to access your computer. Review with your employees password guidelines to help secure their account credentials and protect your company’s information.

  • Passwords should be a minimum of 12 characters. The more characters, the more secure the password.
  • Never use names, places, dictionary words or a combination of these.
  • Use a mixture of numbers, symbols, upper and lower case letters.
  • Each application or system should have their own unique password.
  • Change your password every 3 to 6 months.
  • Never write your passwords down or save them to a shared computer.

Network Security:

Be sure that your firewall is programmed properly. A firewall is a network device which blocks unauthorized incoming traffic from accessing internal networks and bars outgoing traffic from accessing unauthorized external networks (such as social media sites). This procedure isolates your computers from external threats. Your network administrator can customize your firewall specifically to your company’s needs. 

Computer Security:

Keep antivirus and operating system software up to date. When you receive a security or software update notification for your computer, it’s critical that you take the time to perform the update.  Many updates are sent to protect your system(s) from malicious attacks.

Backup & Disaster Recovery:

The Red Cross estimates that 40% of business shut down by a natural disaster never reopen. Why? The top two reasons are (1) the company has no disaster plan in place and (2) there is no data backup plan. It is important to prepare your company for the worse case scenario and to ensure that the impact from the most severe failure, can result in minimal disruption.

Whether you already have a cyber security policy and are looking for training for your staff or you need assistance with developing your cyber security plans, CTI can help. CTI’s engineers can also provide disaster recovery planning specific to your industry and needs. Call CTI today at 315-733-0854 for more information.

The Dreaded Blue Screen of Death

The dreaded “BLUE SCREEN” of death! It always seems to get me when I desperately need my computer to send an urgent email to my boss or attend a video conference. Regardless of when the blue screen of death descends on your computer, panic tends to follow.

So when this does happen to you, be sure to do some simple troubleshooting before jumping the gun (as I have) and assuming that your computer is a lost cause. 

  1. Check the connections – a computer that doesn’t detect a monitor isn’t going to display anything on the screen. So if you have a desktop computer, make sure that the cord that connects your monitor to your PC hasn’t come loose.
  2. If you have a laptop, is your battery charged? I have been guilty in the past of putting my laptop on sleep mode and just forgetting about it until the battery is depleted and the computer shuts down. So if you have a laptop, make sure it’s plugged in and make sure it’s powered on.
  3. If your system is on, plugged in and the cables are hooked up, try restarting your system. A lot of times, if you have a system that you leave on all the time, it just needs to be refreshed.

If after all of this, you still have the blue screen of death, it’s time to consider that the issue might be a bit more serious. In this case, it may be a good idea to consult a professional. If you are a business and have a managed service contract with CTI, then give us a call. We will solve the problem.

What exactly is a managed service contract you may ask, well that is a good question! A managed service contract is a contract that allows you and your staff unlimited IT support on all of your existing devices for a fixed monthly rate. With a managed service contract CTI can be your onsite IT provider or support your IT staff.

The other option is break/fix. This is where you don’t have a contract with CTI, but are in need of our services and would pay per the hour to resolve your issue. Depending on the severity of your issue this might be a cost effective way to go.

Either way, our IT staff takes a proactive approach to all your IT needs such as hardware infrastructure management, continuous network monitoring, firewall upgrades and more for a fixed monthly cost. Our support services are designed to meet your specific business needs. Call CTI today at 315-733-0854 to learn more and avoid the blue screen of death.