Archive for October, 2013

Computer Extortionists Using ‘Ransomware’ Called CryptoLocker

While there is nothing new about ransomware – different forms of it have been circulating since as far back as 1989 – in recent weeks internet security firms have reported a surge in computers affected.

In a recent article posted on the Guardian, one version has been highlighted and is cleverly hidden in an email complaint from a supposedly unhappy customer.

It was from paymentsadmin@lloydsplc.co.uk, and Sarah Flanders, a 35-year-old charity worker from north London, didn’t think twice about opening it. But the email contained software that immediately began encrypting every file on her computer – from precious family photos to private correspondence and work documents. In just a short time all her files were blocked, and then a frightening message flashed up on her screen: “Your personal files have been encrypted and you have 95 hours to pay us $300.”

According to the Guardian article, if infected you will no longer be able open, read or view your files, anyone with the decryption key could easily do so.

That means any of your documents containing passwords or personal information, along with your photos and videos, could potentially be accessed by cyber-criminals – and although there is no evidence of encrypted files being uploaded or sold on for this purpose at the moment, it is theoretically possible.

CryptoLocker currently only affects PCs and can easily be removed with anti-virus software, but its effects cannot. “I don’t think anyone in the world could break the encryption,” says Gavin O’Gorman, spokesman for internet security firm Symantec. “It has held up for more than 30 years.”

Of course, digital security is a major part of what we do here at PC Survivors of Massachusetts. If you’re looking for a safe and secure way to recycle your computers, please check out our services.

If you’re looking for a reliable asset disposal service, PCS of Massachusetts is ready and willing to help you recycle your electronics and destroy your data.  Give us a call at (781) 335-1220 or contact us online here.

31

10 2013

White House Seeking Cybersecurity Framework Comments

In February, President Obama issued an executive order meant to increase the nation’s infrastructure’s capabilities to manage cyber risk. In support of this goal, the order directed the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to convene industry and other stakeholders to develop a voluntary framework for reducing cyber risks.

Fast forward to Oct. 30, The White House announced the  start of the 45-day public comment period for the Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework.

This announcement represents an important milestone in this collaborative effort to develop the framework, and the feedback received during this period will inform the final version.Already over the past eight months, individuals and organizations throughout the country have provided their thoughts on the standards, best practices, and guidelines that would meaningfully improve critical infrastructure cybersecurity. Some have already begun leveraging drafts of the framework to communicate with their executives and have provided feedback from their experience. Once implemented, the framework would provide businesses, their suppliers, their customers, and government agencies a common language and methodology for determining how they can best protect themselves.

According to a statement posted on the White House Blog, organizations can use the framework to describe their current cybersecurity posture, as well as their target state for cybersecurity. It can also help companies identify and prioritize opportunities for improvement and assess progress toward their goals.

Of course, digital security is a major part of what we do here at PC Survivors of Massachusetts. If you’re looking for a safe and secure way to recycle your computers, please check out our services.

If you’re looking for a reliable asset disposal service, PCS of Massachusetts is ready and willing to help you recycle your electronics and destroy your data.  Give us a call at (781) 335-1220 or contact us online here.

31

10 2013

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

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The Department of Homeland Security is celebrating the 10th anniversary of National Cyber Security Awareness month this October as a part of its mission to “create a safe secure and resilient cyber environment.”

In an article over at Digital Journal, we found a few good tips to keep in mind when using social media.

“Once something is posted online, there’s virtually no getting rid of it. When a student posts pictures, adds their current location or divulges other personal information, they are revealing sensitive data about their life that could be damaging if accessed by the wrong person,” the post reads.

  •  Protect passwords. Create strong and different passwords for banking, social media and any other site that requires a login, and don’t share them. Include upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Password-protecting your phone and computer can give you one more step between your important information and thieves.
  •  Be mindful of the information you share with the public. If you wouldn’t be comfortable with your parents or teachers seeing your post, then rethink it.
  •     Buff up on your privacy settings. Change all Facebook settings to “Friends Only” for all posts for a more secure profile.
  •     Consider your phone’s privacy settings. Because your smartphone is like a mini computer, it’s important to protect the information stored in it as well. Turning your GPS location settings off can also keep your whereabouts more private.

 

Of course, digital security is a major part of what we do here at PC Survivors of Massachusetts. If you’re looking for a safe and secure way to recycle your computers, please check out our services.

If you’re looking for a reliable asset disposal service, PCS of Massachusetts is ready and willing to help you recycle your electronics and destroy your data.  Give us a call at (781) 335-1220 or contact us online here.

29

10 2013