Cryptolocker- What You Need To Know

Within the last month, Internet security companies have discovered a new type of “ransomware” named Cryptolocker.

Ransomware has been around for a while. You may have seen those fake popup windows that show up on some websites saying “Your Computer is Infected! Click here to clean it!” Once you click, you’re prompted to run some shady software, and then that software keeps throwing up “Pay me or these screens will keep popping up” warnings.

Rogue antivirus software is the most common type of ransomware, but Cryptolocker puts a new twist on holding your computer hostage…and it’s both genius and a scary at the damage it can do. Unlike rogue antivirus software (which pretty much just keeps generating pop-up windows), Cryptolocker searches out all of your documents, photos, music files…anything you hold dear on your computer, and then proceeds to encrypt them with military-grade encryption. After it does this, a countdown screen appears and you have until the timer runs out to pay $300 (US) to obtain the key. As mentioned this is military grade encryption, meaning it has one key to unlock your files, and if that key is lost not even the NSA can get your files back. Read more of this post

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Be careful out there: Conduit Search spyware is annoying the Internet

UPDATE: In early 2014 a more aggressive version of Conduit Search started showing up. If the below instructions are not effective, we would suggest using Malwarebytes to remove the infection. You can download a free version of Malwarebytes here. (During installation, you may want to uncheck the “Enable free trial of Malwarebytes Anti-malware Premium” box if you don’t want a 30 day trial of the premium software to install.) Once installed, simply click “Scan Now” and Conduit Search (as well as any other infections) should be cleared up pretty quickly. Business professionals may want to consider TOAST.net’s Managed Antivirus product instead, which will block and clean infections as well as send you a regular security report to help you manage your network.

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Original Article:

We’re seeing a lot of reports of something called Conduit Search showing up on customer computers over the last few weeks, causing problems ranging from an inability to get to certain websites to getting completely locked out of your Internet connection. Conduit Search is essentially a
browser hijacker: a program or an add-on that attaches to your web browser and changes settings in ways you did not authorize.  In this case, browsers that are infected with Conduit will have their home page changed to search.conduit.com, and any searches performed will go through Conduit’s search engine rather than Google, Bing, Yahoo, or whatever search engine you are used to using. This search information is collected by Conduit for marketing and ads, then search results are displayed that make the business money with each click. Read more of this post

Security Alert for Internet Explorer Users

Microsoft URGES everyone to install security tool

UPDATE: Microsoft has released a patch to fix this security issue as of 9/22/12. Please run Windows Update to make sure you are patched.

 

This week, Microsoft is urging Windows users to install a security tool to protect against a newly discovered bug in Internet Explorer.

This security issue may allow hackers to take control of infected PCs and affects all versions Internet Explorer browsers. Microsoft is currently working to patch the flaw, but their security tool should protect users in the meantime.

The free security tool, called the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit,  is available from Microsoft.

The malicious software,  known as Poison Ivy, was discovered last Friday and has the capability of stealing data and assuming remote control of infected PC’s. Being a “zero-day” infection, there are not any effective patches or protections available against it as of yet. Antivirus manufacturers are working on updates to protect against Poison Ivy, and are expected to have them available later this week.

In the meantime, be sure to install any Windows updates as soon as they are available. Check for the latest updates from Windows Update.

For free antivirus software, visit TOAST.net’s Software Page.

Update 9/20/12:

Microsoft has announced a patch for this vulnerability will be made available on Friday, Sept. 21st via Windows Update.

If your technology isn’t transparent, it’s not working.

I was driving home from the office the other day and felt the urge to blast some tunes. Without even looking, I hit the power button on the radio, hit the scan button several times, and adjusted the volume just loud enough to blast away all thoughts of the TPS reports and stapler requisition forms due the next day. If you think about it, a car radio is a perfect example of “transparent technology.” They are all designed to fit the car’s environment, the controls are easy to use, and they work without having to put much thought into it…the radio is a part of the car rather than its own special-needs device. All technology should work this same way. Its whole purpose is to make lives easier and more efficient, not complicated and expensive. Many tech-curmudgeons will say “All modern technology is complicated!”, and that’s a true statement. The trick is to make sure you’re using appropriate technology. Read more of this post

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