Latest Ransomware Virus

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If you have been following the news over the last two days, you may have seen a report about a new virus called “WannaCrypt”. This email is designed to give you some basic information about this virus.

It appears that the primary spread of this virus is caused by a vulnerability in the Windows Operating System. A patch for this vulnerability was released in March of this year, so if you keep your system updated on a regular basis, and if you follow a few common sense steps, you should not have a problem with this virus.

Security Steps to Follow:

  1. Avoid clicking links in emails – a common method of causing infections is to “hide” a link in an email. For example, you might see a link that says If you click this link, it will not take you to Google, but rather a “broken link” page on our website. The point is that the link text can say one thing, but the actual location you are taken too is completely different. Hiding links such as this is a primary way of spreading infections. A cautious user would “hover” their mouse over the link, and look for a small status that shows the actual location this link will take you to.
  2. Update, Update, Update!  PLEASE – update your windows operating system on a regular basis, and PLEASE update your anti-virus software on a regular basis.  For those of you on our Managed Service plan, you can rest easy that our system updates your operating system, anti-virus software, and more on a regular basis.
  3. BACKUP!  Suppose you DO get infected with a Ransomware Virus of some type – can you afford to pay several hundred dollars or more to have your data possibly decrypted? Even after a virus is cleaned out of your system, the data may remain encrypted. An automated online backup system is MUCH cheaper than paying the Virus makers and hoping that they will indeed decrypt your data.
  4. If you DO have a warning pop up on your screen indicating you are infected, or if you get a strange pop up while surfing the web, encouraging you to “Click OK” or something similar, the safest bet is to hit the power button on the computer, pull the plug, and/or remove the battery. This immediately breaks the connection to the website in question. They you can either power it up and immediately run a virus scan, or bring it to us for assistance.

It appears that a strange flaw in this WannaCrypt virus allowed a researcher to basically halt the spread of the virus. There have been some indications, though, that new variants are coming out that do NOT have this flaw. Take the time to check the status of the updates on your computer and look into a backup system for your data. If you need help, do not hesitate to give us a call or send us an email and we will be happy to provide assistance.



Brian Twitchell
Senior Partner
phone: 207-265-2051


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