Attention: Pay a ransom to get your data back!

Well we have all heard of viruses and spyware and spam, but how many of  you are familiar with ransomware?

In the recent weeks we have have seen at least two businesses that were hit with attacks that rendered their computer useless. Well let me re-phrase that, it was worse than useless. The computer was fine but they lost all of their data!

What is Ransomware?

Wikipedia says forms of ransomware encrypt files on the system’s hard drive, while some may simply lock the system and display messages intended to coax the user into paying. Modern ransomware attacks were initially popular within Russia, but in recent years there have been an increasing number of ransomware attacks targeted towards other countries, such as Australia, Germany, and the United States among others.[1] 

Here is an example of what can be displayed on your screen:

How did the attack happen?

So how does this happen? The intruder logged into their computer and installed a program that locked all of the users files. When the user logged in they could not open files and instead got a message that said they were being held for ransom and if they would pay money the intruder would give them a code which would unlock the files!

How could it have been prevented?

Could this happen to you?  The answer is it depends. It depends on your usage of security measures to prevent access to your system.  In this case there were several steps that could have prevented the attack. In fact, if the user would have just implemented one of our 8 points of protection, the simple process of having a robust password, this attack could not have happened! Our experience is that many users have no password or a very simple password. A recent attack on Yahoo.com found that the most popular passwords were:

  • “123456”
  • “111111”
  • “password”

The hackers that entered into the computers used a program prepopulated with many passwords like those  above to guess the passwords. So, a password like “password” becomes no password at all!

The moral of the story? You need to take precautions to protect your data. Unfortunately there are many ways you can be attacked and so one step cannot provide you with a secure system. While a robust password would have prevented this problem, it would have done nothing to prevent a virus, or a crashed hard drive, or spyware.

That is the thing about protecting your system. Computer security is not an event, it is a process! You never know when or who or how you will be attacked.  So, you must take ongoing  steps to make your system protected and then can go about your business…..with your data intact!

Cryptolocker


Screenshot of “Cryptolocker”, the most recent and most devastating forms of ransomware.

 

Kermit was wrong!!!!!!!!!

Sorry but Kermit was wrong! We all know who I am talking about, as I just googled Kermit and the first page was full of links to topics about the famous green frog of the Muppets.

 Now I am not saying the most famous frog of all never gets it right, but one of his most memorable quotes to me is, “It’s not easy being green”.

Kermit sings about green

Why do I say he is wrong? I am excited to say that Xerox offers several printing and copying devices that makes it very easy to be green. Not green colored but environmentally green!

These devices use blocks of ink instead of toner and as a result produce much less waste than laser printers. On an average over four years that translates into 18 pounds of waste instead of 244 pounds for a laser printer.  Here is a comparison of waste comparing solid ink and laser printers.

Being green isn’t the only reason I like Xerox solid ink printers. They have great managed print solutions. What is managed print? It is the way of the future for printing! While many of us have utilized this mechanism for copying, managed print has now come to…..printers! (Bet you didn’t see that coming)

Managed Print prevents throwing away toner!

So here is managed print in a nutshell. In the old days you bought a printer, bought all kinds of supplies for the printer, and used it until it broke. During the life of the printer you paid for supply after supply and the occasional service call. When the printer finally broke you tossed the printer and bought a new one. You then took the supplies from the broken printer and used them in the new printer…..NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you are still with me you know this is NOT true, as the new printer will NEVER utilize the supplies from the previous printer, so you DON’T use those supplies, instead you leave them in your supplies cabinet for a year or so and then THROW THEM AWAY!

So here is the math. Say you buy a laser color printer for about $1,000 which utilizes toners that cost $150 for each color. Since most people have one of each color on the shelf, you are sitting on $600 in the closet to be thrown away. In addition, on average you will have 1/2 of each cartridge in the printer, so when the printer breaks you will have approximately $900 of ink that will be THROWN AWAY! 

With Managed Print, when the printer breaks you just send the unopened toner back to Xerox at no cost to you!

Managed Print eliminates the administrative cost of purchasing:

Managed Print allows you to print as much as you like and never buy toner, as Xerox ships you the ink as you need it and you receive a monthly bill for the pages you print at a predetermined cost per page. This eliminates the administrative cost of  all the purchases of supplies over the years!

Managed Print controls your costs!

Petroleum products are one of the key components of printer toner and ink. Most printer manufacturers raise their supplies costs annually. Now you lock in your page cost for 3 to 5 years! This can be a huge savings!

Managed Print helps you budget!

With Managed Print you can now budget your printing costs as you know your total costs and have no surprises, as all service is included in the pre-determined print price and the price per page is fixed for several years. As a result, you have a reliable cost structure as opposed to the surprises you currently have with the old toner solution.

Managed Print provides you information!

Without this solution you have no idea how much black and white and color printing is done throughout your company. With it you received monthly reports of what quantity of pages are printed from which device, allowing you to redeploy your printing to the most economical devices, saving you money!

Take a look at solid ink printers from Xerox and managed print. It is the way printing should be!