Simple tips to prevent Mac ransomware

High-profile ransomware cases include the WannaCry and Petya outbreaks in 2017, which infected hundreds of thousands of Windows PCs around the world. However, Mac computers can get ransomware too. If you have a Mac, it’s important that you follow the security best practices below.

What is Mac ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious program that forcefully holds computer systems hostage until the ransom is paid in untraceable cryptocurrency. It’s typically distributed using phishing emails, but it can also spread via unsecured networks.

When Mac computers are infected by ransomware, users won’t be able to access their data since it’s fully encrypted. Ransomware messages will also threaten to release the information to the public or destroy sensitive data if victims don’t pay by a certain deadline. Healthcare and finance organizations, in particular, are more likely to pay the ransom because they need constant access to critical data.

Types of Mac ransomware

Even though Mac ransomware is less prevalent than Windows ransomware, there have been some cases in the past couple of years.

In 2016, KeRanger ransomware was distributed through popular BitTorrent app Transmission. KeRanger was signed with an authorized security certificate, allowing it to evade the macOS’s built-in security measures. The ransomware also infected more than 7,000 Mac computers.

Patcher was another strain of Mac ransomware that was discovered in 2017. This type of ransomware disguised itself as a patching app for programs like Microsoft Office. When opened, Patcher would encrypt files in user directories and ask for a ransom paid in Bitcoin. The problem was the ransomware was so poorly built that there was no way to retrieve the decryption key once the ransom was paid.

Attacks like these can make a resurgence at any time, which is why you need to learn how to deal with them.

An ounce of prevention goes a long way

Preventive measures are the best way to keep your Macs safe from ransomware. This involves updating your software regularly to defend against the latest threats and only installing programs from the official App Store.

Since ransomware initially infects computers using phishing emails, make sure to avoid suspicious links and email attachments. Always be on high alert even if the email appears to come from a legitimate company or someone you know.

You must also maintain backups and have a disaster recovery plan to keep your business running in the off chance that ransomware successfully infiltrates your systems.

Responding to ransomware

If your Mac is infected with ransomware, never pay the ransom fee. There’s no guarantee that hackers will release your data if you give in to their demands, much like what happened with Patcher ransomware.

Instead, use an up-to-date antimalware program to remove ransomware on your computer. Cybersecurity experts will also release free ransomware decryptor tools to clean up the infection, so keep an eye out for these on the internet. If these programs and tools are not effective, contain the spread of the ransomware by disconnecting from the network and run data recovery procedures — provided you’ve backed up your data in an external hard drive or the cloud.

Mac ransomware attacks may not be common, but they’re still a threat you need to prepare for. If you need more guidance, contact our team of security experts today. We stay abreast of the latest Apple threats and know just how to keep your business safe.

Posted in Apple, General Articles A | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Mac security 101: Ransomware

Whenever a new strain of ransomware is discovered, Mac users are barely affected by the news. But there are rare occasions where ransomware specifically targets Mac computers. Being aware of and knowing how to defend against these threats is crucial if your business mostly relies on Mac devices. Here’s what you need to know about Mac ransomware.

What is Mac ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious program that forcefully holds computer systems hostage until the ransom is paid in untraceable cryptocurrency. It’s typically distributed using phishing emails, but it can also spread via unsecured networks.

When Mac computers are infected by ransomware, users won’t be able to access their data since it’s fully encrypted. Ransomware messages will also threaten to release the information to the public or destroy sensitive data if victims don’t pay by a certain deadline. Healthcare and finance organizations, in particular, are more likely to pay the ransom because they need constant access to critical data.

Types of Mac ransomware

Even though Mac ransomware is less prevalent than Windows ransomware, there have been some cases in the past couple of years.

In 2016, KeRanger ransomware was distributed through popular BitTorrent app Transmission. KeRanger was signed with an authorized security certificate, allowing it to evade the macOS’s built-in security measures. The ransomware also infected more than 7,000 Mac computers.

Patcher was another strain of Mac ransomware that was discovered in 2017. This type of ransomware disguised itself as a patching app for programs like Microsoft Office. When opened, Patcher would encrypt files in user directories and ask for a ransom paid in Bitcoin. The problem was the ransomware was so poorly built that there was no way to retrieve the decryption key once the ransom was paid.

Attacks like these can make a resurgence at any time, which is why you need to learn how to deal with them.

An ounce of prevention goes a long way

Preventive measures are the best way to keep your Macs safe from ransomware. This involves updating your software regularly to defend against the latest threats and only installing programs from the official App Store.

Since ransomware initially infects computers using phishing emails, make sure to avoid suspicious links and email attachments. Always be on high alert even if the email appears to come from a legitimate company or someone you know.

You must also maintain backups and have a disaster recovery plan to keep your business running in the off chance that ransomware successfully infiltrates your systems.

Responding to ransomware

If your Mac is infected with ransomware, never pay the ransom fee. There’s no guarantee that hackers will release your data if you give in to their demands, much like what happened with Patcher ransomware.

Instead, use an up-to-date antimalware program to remove ransomware on your computer. Cybersecurity experts will also release free ransomware decryptor tools to clean up the infection, so keep an eye out for these on the internet. If these programs and tools are not effective, contain the spread of the ransomware by disconnecting from the network and run data recovery procedures — provided you’ve backed up your data in an external hard drive or the cloud.

Mac ransomware attacks may not be common, but they’re still a threat you need to prepare for. If you need more guidance, contact our team of security experts today. We stay abreast of the latest Apple threats and know just how to keep your business safe.

Posted in Apple, General Articles C | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

How to defend against Mac ransomware

Although a majority of ransomware attacks usually target Windows computers, this doesn’t mean Mac users are completely safe. Ransomware attacks for Macs are a rarity, but they do occur. So how can you prevent ransomware from infecting your Mac? We’ve compiled some helpful security tips for you.

What is Mac ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious program that forcefully holds computer systems hostage until the ransom is paid in untraceable cryptocurrency. It’s typically distributed using phishing emails, but it can also spread via unsecured networks.

When Mac computers are infected by ransomware, users won’t be able to access their data since it’s fully encrypted. Ransomware messages will also threaten to release the information to the public or destroy sensitive data if victims don’t pay by a certain deadline. Healthcare and finance organizations, in particular, are more likely to pay the ransom because they need constant access to critical data.

Types of Mac ransomware

Even though Mac ransomware is less prevalent than Windows ransomware, there have been some cases in the past couple of years.

In 2016, KeRanger ransomware was distributed through popular BitTorrent app Transmission. KeRanger was signed with an authorized security certificate, allowing it to evade the macOS’s built-in security measures. The ransomware also infected more than 7,000 Mac computers.

Patcher was another strain of Mac ransomware that was discovered in 2017. This type of ransomware disguised itself as a patching app for programs like Microsoft Office. When opened, Patcher would encrypt files in user directories and ask for a ransom paid in Bitcoin. The problem was the ransomware was so poorly built that there was no way to retrieve the decryption key once the ransom was paid.

Attacks like these can make a resurgence at any time, which is why you need to learn how to deal with them.

An ounce of prevention goes a long way

Preventive measures are the best way to keep your Macs safe from ransomware. This involves updating your software regularly to defend against the latest threats and only installing programs from the official App Store.

Since ransomware initially infects computers using phishing emails, make sure to avoid suspicious links and email attachments. Always be on high alert even if the email appears to come from a legitimate company or someone you know.

You must also maintain backups and have a disaster recovery plan to keep your business running in the off chance that ransomware successfully infiltrates your systems.

Responding to ransomware

If your Mac is infected with ransomware, never pay the ransom fee. There’s no guarantee that hackers will release your data if you give in to their demands, much like what happened with Patcher ransomware.

Instead, use an up-to-date antimalware program to remove ransomware on your computer. Cybersecurity experts will also release free ransomware decryptor tools to clean up the infection, so keep an eye out for these on the internet. If these programs and tools are not effective, contain the spread of the ransomware by disconnecting from the network and run data recovery procedures — provided you’ve backed up your data in an external hard drive or the cloud.

Mac ransomware attacks may not be common, but they’re still a threat you need to prepare for. If you need more guidance, contact our team of security experts today. We stay abreast of the latest Apple threats and know just how to keep your business safe.

Posted in Apple, General Articles B | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Reduce your PC power consumption

There’s a computer in almost every home and office nowadays. A typical desktop that’s switched on 24/7 for a whole year releases carbon dioxide equivalent to what an average car releases in an 820-mile drive. To save energy, you don’t need to make drastic changes; you can start by making small adjustments that will ultimately lead to significant savings.

1. Disconnect your external devices

Devices that connect to your PC such as printers, headphones, and webcams consume power, too. That’s why you should disconnect or remove these devices from your PC when you are not using them.

2. Use a smart strip, especially for computers you cannot turn off

A smart strip is a series of several electrical outlets in one strip, with circuits to monitor and maximize your gadgets’ power consumption. It can electronically unplug any device so that they stop drawing current, and you save energy. By connecting your PC and peripherals like printers and scanners to the smart strip, you don’t need to unplug your equipment when you’re not using them.

3. Adjust your computer’s energy settings

You can also consume less energy by adjusting your PC’s power settings. For example, you can make sure your hard drive and monitor go into sleep mode when they’re left idle for a few minutes. You can further save electricity by lowering the brightness of your screen.

4. Shut down and unplug your computer when not in use

If you are not yet using a smart strip, then it’s best to shut down your computer when you’re not using it. Make sure to unplug your machine and its peripherals as well, because leaving them plugged in consumes standby power.

5. Use a charger only when charging your laptop

When we charge our laptops, it’s easy to just leave them there and forget about them. This overcharging eventually degrades the battery. Meanwhile, leaving the charger plugged in — even if it’s not connected to your computer — also consumes standby power. To save energy, either use a wall outlet with a timer, or plug your charger on a smart strip.

6. Choose an Energy Star-compliant PC

Energy Star is the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) symbol for energy efficiency. Every product that earns the Energy Star symbol is guaranteed to deliver both quality performance and energy savings. The more stars a product has, the more energy-efficient it is. Studies have shown that a single Energy Star-compliant computer and monitor can save between $7 and$52 per year in electricity bills.

These tips should help you develop energy-conservation habits and make smart choices in hardware. If you need assistance in choosing the best hardware for your specific needs, give us a call. We’ll be glad to help.

Posted in General Articles C, Hardware | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

6 Ways to save energy with your PC

It’s a dilemma: you want to save energy, but you need to use your PC every day. You can turn off your computer when it’s not in use, but a plugged-in PC or electrical appliance, even when switched off, still consumes standby power. If this is the case, how exactly can you save energy? Here are some tips.

1. Disconnect your external devices

Devices that connect to your PC such as printers, headphones, and webcams consume power, too. That’s why you should disconnect or remove these devices from your PC when you are not using them.

2. Use a smart strip, especially for computers you cannot turn off

A smart strip is a series of several electrical outlets in one strip, with circuits to monitor and maximize your gadgets’ power consumption. It can electronically unplug any device so that they stop drawing current, and you save energy. By connecting your PC and peripherals like printers and scanners to the smart strip, you don’t need to unplug your equipment when you’re not using them.

3. Adjust your computer’s energy settings

You can also consume less energy by adjusting your PC’s power settings. For example, you can make sure your hard drive and monitor go into sleep mode when they’re left idle for a few minutes. You can further save electricity by lowering the brightness of your screen.

4. Shut down and unplug your computer when not in use

If you are not yet using a smart strip, then it’s best to shut down your computer when you’re not using it. Make sure to unplug your machine and its peripherals as well, because leaving them plugged in consumes standby power.

5. Use a charger only when charging your laptop

When we charge our laptops, it’s easy to just leave them there and forget about them. This overcharging eventually degrades the battery. Meanwhile, leaving the charger plugged in — even if it’s not connected to your computer — also consumes standby power. To save energy, either use a wall outlet with a timer, or plug your charger on a smart strip.

6. Choose an Energy Star-compliant PC

Energy Star is the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) symbol for energy efficiency. Every product that earns the Energy Star symbol is guaranteed to deliver both quality performance and energy savings. The more stars a product has, the more energy-efficient it is. Studies have shown that a single Energy Star-compliant computer and monitor can save between $7 and$52 per year in electricity bills.

These tips should help you develop energy-conservation habits and make smart choices in hardware. If you need assistance in choosing the best hardware for your specific needs, give us a call. We’ll be glad to help.

Posted in General Articles B, Hardware | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Save on electricity with these PC tips

When it comes to saving energy, every little bit goes a long way. The more energy-efficient your PC habits, the more money you save. In fact, activating your PC’s power-saving features can save you up to $50 a year. And if you want to increase your savings even more, take note of the following tips.

1. Disconnect your external devices

Devices that connect to your PC such as printers, headphones, and webcams consume power, too. That’s why you should disconnect or remove these devices from your PC when you are not using them.

2. Use a smart strip, especially for computers you cannot turn off

A smart strip is a series of several electrical outlets in one strip, with circuits to monitor and maximize your gadgets’ power consumption. It can electronically unplug any device so that they stop drawing current, and you save energy. By connecting your PC and peripherals like printers and scanners to the smart strip, you don’t need to unplug your equipment when you’re not using them.

3. Adjust your computer’s energy settings

You can also consume less energy by adjusting your PC’s power settings. For example, you can make sure your hard drive and monitor go into sleep mode when they’re left idle for a few minutes. You can further save electricity by lowering the brightness of your screen.

4. Shut down and unplug your computer when not in use

If you are not yet using a smart strip, then it’s best to shut down your computer when you’re not using it. Make sure to unplug your machine and its peripherals as well, because leaving them plugged in consumes standby power.

5. Use a charger only when charging your laptop

When we charge our laptops, it’s easy to just leave them there and forget about them. This overcharging eventually degrades the battery. Meanwhile, leaving the charger plugged in — even if it’s not connected to your computer — also consumes standby power. To save energy, either use a wall outlet with a timer, or plug your charger on a smart strip.

6. Choose an Energy Star-compliant PC

Energy Star is the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) symbol for energy efficiency. Every product that earns the Energy Star symbol is guaranteed to deliver both quality performance and energy savings. The more stars a product has, the more energy-efficient it is. Studies have shown that a single Energy Star-compliant computer and monitor can save between $7 and$52 per year in electricity bills.

These tips should help you develop energy-conservation habits and make smart choices in hardware. If you need assistance in choosing the best hardware for your specific needs, give us a call. We’ll be glad to help.

Posted in General Articles A, Hardware | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

How to stop VoIP theft of service

As the use of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phones becomes more widespread, so do the security threats that target VoIP, such as theft of service. This threat is the most common type being used by cybercriminals today. Let’s examine how it affects your VoIP network and the preventive measures to counter it.

What is theft of service?

Internet-based phone systems are far more vulnerable to fraud compared to traditional telephony services. VoIP calls face threats ranging from identity theft, eavesdropping, intentional disruption of service, and even financial loss. Theft of service, the most common type of VoIP fraud, includes stealing usernames, passwords, and account information. Hackers usually introduce malware into your system to crash it or steal user passwords.

From a legal standpoint, theft of service means obtaining service from an individual or a company without payment. It may involve deleting or changing invoicing records, unauthorized invoicing, or taking the property of a service provider.

Also, hackers may simply want to crash your system and will flood the network with packets of data so that callers lose access. They may also try to intercept the packets to eavesdrop on calls.

A third type of VoIP hack accesses your VoIP system and allows spammers to flood your office with promotional calls similar to junk email. This type of attack is called spam over internet telephony (SPIT). Once they infiltrate your communications system, they might broadcast unsolicited messages, advertisements, or other commercial messages over your VoIP.

The solution

Defending against theft of service requires nothing new or unusual, aside from a little common sense and technical preventative measures.

Common sense measures involve making your passwords as secure as possible and preventing unauthorized physical access and use of your VoIP phone instruments. The technical stuff? Keeping your antivirus software up to date and combining it with fraudulent call routing detection and encryption software.

VoIP has become an essential business communication tool, so it makes perfect sense to understand exactly what theft of service is to avoid its negative impact. We’d be more than happy to give you advice on implementing any of these protections or managing your VoIP services. Give us a call to get started.

Posted in General Articles C, VoIP | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Preventing theft of service in VoIP

VoIP phone systems use the internet just like any PC. Therefore, hackers can gain access to your servers and data network through VoIP phones. Understanding how to combat theft of service in VoIP is critical, so if you want to learn how to do it, read on.

What is theft of service?

Internet-based phone systems are far more vulnerable to fraud compared to traditional telephony services. VoIP calls face threats ranging from identity theft, eavesdropping, intentional disruption of service, and even financial loss. Theft of service, the most common type of VoIP fraud, includes stealing usernames, passwords, and account information. Hackers usually introduce malware into your system to crash it or steal user passwords.

From a legal standpoint, theft of service means obtaining service from an individual or a company without payment. It may involve deleting or changing invoicing records, unauthorized invoicing, or taking the property of a service provider.

Also, hackers may simply want to crash your system and will flood the network with packets of data so that callers lose access. They may also try to intercept the packets to eavesdrop on calls.

A third type of VoIP hack accesses your VoIP system and allows spammers to flood your office with promotional calls similar to junk email. This type of attack is called spam over internet telephony (SPIT). Once they infiltrate your communications system, they might broadcast unsolicited messages, advertisements, or other commercial messages over your VoIP.

The solution

Defending against theft of service requires nothing new or unusual, aside from a little common sense and technical preventative measures.

Common sense measures involve making your passwords as secure as possible and preventing unauthorized physical access and use of your VoIP phone instruments. The technical stuff? Keeping your antivirus software up to date and combining it with fraudulent call routing detection and encryption software.

VoIP has become an essential business communication tool, so it makes perfect sense to understand exactly what theft of service is to avoid its negative impact. We’d be more than happy to give you advice on implementing any of these protections or managing your VoIP services. Give us a call to get started.

Posted in General Articles B, VoIP | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

What is VoIP theft of service?

Despite often going undetected, theft of service is the most common type of fraud for phone systems that use the internet to make calls. How does it affect an organization’s VoIP network and how can businesses prevent or minimize the risk of this type of fraud? Let’s take a closer look.

What is theft of service?

Internet-based phone systems are far more vulnerable to fraud compared to traditional telephony services. VoIP calls face threats ranging from identity theft, eavesdropping, intentional disruption of service, and even financial loss. Theft of service, the most common type of VoIP fraud, includes stealing usernames, passwords, and account information. Hackers usually introduce malware into your system to crash it or steal user passwords.

From a legal standpoint, theft of service means obtaining service from an individual or a company without payment. It may involve deleting or changing invoicing records, unauthorized invoicing, or taking the property of a service provider.

Also, hackers may simply want to crash your system and will flood the network with packets of data so that callers lose access. They may also try to intercept the packets to eavesdrop on calls.

A third type of VoIP hack accesses your VoIP system and allows spammers to flood your office with promotional calls similar to junk email. This type of attack is called spam over internet telephony (SPIT). Once they infiltrate your communications system, they might broadcast unsolicited messages, advertisements, or other commercial messages over your VoIP.

The solution

Defending against theft of service requires nothing new or unusual, aside from a little common sense and technical preventative measures.

Common sense measures involve making your passwords as secure as possible and preventing unauthorized physical access and use of your VoIP phone instruments. The technical stuff? Keeping your antivirus software up to date and combining it with fraudulent call routing detection and encryption software.

VoIP has become an essential business communication tool, so it makes perfect sense to understand exactly what theft of service is to avoid its negative impact. We’d be more than happy to give you advice on implementing any of these protections or managing your VoIP services. Give us a call to get started.

Posted in General Articles A, VoIP | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Keep track of work with Google Tasks

Small- to medium-sized business owners and managers lead busy lives. There’s always one task or another that needs their attention ASAP. Thanks to Google Tasks, keeping on top of all their day-to-day duties is simple and easy. Find out how this app can give productivity a boost.

What is Google Tasks?

Google Tasks is a to-do list application that’s linked to your Gmail account and Google Calendar. With Google Tasks, you can create to-do lists for the day, week, month, or year. You can also add notes to provide more detail to each task as well as set reminders so you never miss a deadline. All lists you create are stored in the cloud, ensuring that you can access them on any internet-connected device whenever, wherever.

How to use Google Tasks

On your PC, you can easily access Google Tasks through your Gmail inbox. When you open Gmail, you’ll see a sidebar on the right. Click on the blue icon with a white diagonal dash at the bottom of the sidebar to launch Google Tasks.

To create a new task, simply click Add a task. To edit the details of the task, add a subtask, or set a due date, hover over the task and select Edit (represented by a pencil icon). You can also right-click on the task and select a specific action from the menu.

Once you finish a task, hover over the circular icon next to the task. This will transform the circle into a checkmark, and clicking on this will mark the task complete and remove it from your list. If you accidentally strike a task from your list before it’s done, simply click Undo at the bottom of the window.

You can also install the Google Tasks app onto your smartphone or tablet so you can check and edit your lists even while on the go.

Other useful features

These helpful features of Google Tasks will make managing your to-do lists even easier:

  • Create multiple lists. Click on My Tasks at the top of the window to open a dropdown menu. Select Create new list and enter a name for the list. Click Done. Select Add a task to populate your list.
  • Rename lists. Click on More (the icon with three dots) and select Rename list.
  • Change the order of tasks. Click and drag each task up or down the list.
  • Move a task to another list. Right-click on the task and select Move to another list from the menu.
  • Add reminders to Google Tasks from Google Calendar. Copy existing reminders from Google Calendar by clicking More and selecting Copy reminders to Tasks.
  • Sort your to-do lists. You can sort the lists you make either by the order in which you made them or by due date. Click on More, and under the Sort by menu, choose My order or Date.

If you would like to learn more about using Google Tasks or any other Google app, reach out to our team of experts today.

Posted in General Articles C, Google | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed
  • Internet Presence Management for Small Business Owners

    pronto logoFull-service, pay-as-you-go all inclusive websites, from design and content to SEO and social media management for one low monthly price.

    Learn more about our small business online marketing services.