Core Computing Blog

The Malware We've Been Warned Would Come Is Here

Make sure you're patching your systems. Or call us and we can take care of all of your patching needs for you.

A NEW STRAIN of ransomware has spread quickly all over the world, causing crises in National Health Service hospitals and facilities around England, and gaining particular traction in Spain, where it has hobbled the large telecom company Telefonica, the natural gas company Gas Natural, and the electrical company Iberdrola. You know how people always talk about the Big One? As far as ransomware attacksgo, this looks a whole lot like it.

Read the full article here.

https://www.wired.com/2017/05/ransomware-meltdown-experts-warned/

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Internet Privacy In A Time of No Privacy

Since browsing habits are now up for sale, we at Core are recommending that you keep yourself safe, secure, and free from tracking by using a VPN. VPN is the acronym for a Virtual Private Network. A VPN is a safe and encrypted network. VPN client software on your computer or smartphone connects you to the secure network. So long as that's active, all that you do on the internet is private. Your shopping habits are safe and, so, you have no information for the ISP to sell. Here's what it looks like:

Image from PIA http://www.privateinternetaccess.com

After much research, we are recommending that our clients use Private Internet Access for their VPN needs. They have servers all over the world and, most importantly, they do NOT share their logs with anyone. Their mission is complete privacy.

You can sign up here: https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/pages/buy-vpn/corecomp and then give us a call if you need assistance getting it set up. It's really pretty painless and PIA's walkthroughs are helpful.

Protect yourselves and your families' privacy.

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Tech Helping Domestic Abuse Survivors

We think of tech as social media or business functions. But tech could serve a higher purpose. It could save lives.

"One afternoon three years ago while her children were playing in a park, Kristin Mathiesen was nearby trying to use the precious moments she had to organise a way to leave her abusive partner.

“I had set myself a target to leave him,” she explained. “I only had a few minutes to make the call to the refuge but it turned out I needed to make a couple more calls including a national helpline because there wasn’t a suitable room, it was so much hassle. I didn’t have a smartphone to research anything quickly and in the end I just booked a hotel.”"

 Read more:'I had minutes to make the call': the tech helping domestic abuse survivors

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Oh, Those Russians Again...

If you have Kaspersky antivirus on your PC, you may want to rethink that decision and choose another. I don't want to be political on this blog, but there's some scary privacy issues here.

From Robert Reich on Facebook - Sunday, April 2, 2017  (https://www.facebook.com/RBReich/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED&fref=nf):

 

The noose tightens.

1. Recall that after former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates was told recently by the White House she didn’t have clearance to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, and then, when she said she was going to do so anyway, Devin Nunes, the Republican chair, cancelled last week’s hearing.

2. One of the people Yates was planning to discuss was former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

3. Last week Flynn asked for immunity from prosecution in return for spilling some beans.

4. Now we learn that last week the White House asked Flynn to “amend” the financial disclosure form he turned in months ago before he was named Trump’s National Security Advisor.

5. Guess what? Flynn’s “amended” disclosure, released yesterday, lists income from Flynn's consulting firm, whose clients are not revealed, as well as income from several Russian firms that he had left out of his original form -- including the cyber-security firm Kaspersky Government Security Solutions.

6. Kaspersky makes some of the world’s most widely used anti-malware programs, and has documented ties to Russian intelligence agencies. The company’s founder, Eugene Kaspersky, was educated at a KGB-sponsored cryptography school, and worked as a Russian intelligence agent. An investigation by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2015 found that the company frequently used data collected from its hundreds of millions of customers to aid Russian authorities -- including the KGB’s successor, the FSB -- in criminal investigations. Since 2012, many high level positions at the company have been filled with former Russian military and intelligence agents.

7. In December, Russian prosecutors charged a manager at Kaspersky with treason, saying he and two Russian information-security officials were “interacting” with U.S. intelligence officials, according to a defense lawyer in the case.

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The Russians are coming...for your Mac?

We've been recommending anti-virus and anti-malware software to our clients for a year or more now. But we still get pushback on it. For the longest time, we Mac users had been free from the worry of hacking and viruses and other assorted malware. But those days are gone (and have been for a while). Enter the Russians...

The Russian hacking group APT28 has created malware that targets Macs. The malware uses Xagent which, on the Mac, is a backdoor to the system. It can be used to execute file or to log passwords, amongst other things.

How does this actually happen? Well, not being a programmer I can't give you a detailed explanation. What I can tell you, though, is that one way it executes itself is by taking advantage of a vulnerability in MacKeeper. You know, that software that is advertised as a protection and cleanup suite for your Mac? It's sneaky too...sometimes you don't even realize you've downloaded it. It shows up on speedtest.net and looks just like the kind of button you should click to start your test. Yes, even I have gotten taken by the ploy. It's not a fun experience and it's, somehow, always surprising when it happens.

Our advice, as always, is to be very careful where you go on the internet. Pay attention to everything that's clickable. And if it doesn't come from the Apple Store and you didn't go looking for it specifically, don't download it.

And always always always, if you're not sure...call us.

Read more about the hack here: https://www.macrumors.com/2017/02/14/xagent-malware-targets-macs/

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