Monday, 15 May 2017

As we start Monday, organizations are likely having the same conversation after hearing about a major Ransomware attack over the weekend. What happened? What is WannaCry? Are we exposed? 

The WannaCry ransomware has exposed an ugly truth with IT security. When the basics are ignored due to putting off important updates or not wanting to spend money on anti-virus protection.

So, what happened?

The WannaCry Ransomware is a type of malicious software that blocks access to a computer or its files, demanding money to unlock the files.  Friday’s attack encrypted more than 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries, demanding a payment of $300. Researchers say payments won't help, as there is no way to actually track who has paid the ransom, and the decryption process requires personal interaction with the attackers. It's best to assume the files are lost unless there is a backup.

Making things worse, in addition to leveraging an exploit stolen form the NSA, Friday's attacks also included the installation of another stolen NSA tool – Double Pulsar – which leaves infected systems encrypted and exposed to remote attacks.

Warning for Monday: If you turn on a system without the MS17-010 patch and TCP port 445 open, your system can be ransomwared.

At the time of writing this, they have collected $53,453.58 USD in payments since Friday.

Updates, patches, anti-virus and blame

While Microsoft had released updates to patch the NSA exploits targeting SMB in March. However, these updates were for Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10, along with Windows Server 2008-2016. It was late Friday that Microsoft released patches for Windows XP and Server 2003. As solid paid anti-virus that blocks Ransomware would have also worked in preventing the spread.

Patching isn't a silver bullet

With many organizations like the NHS relying on Windows XP, which was discontinued from Microsoft's update cycle last year. Patching these systems is not always an option as they may have be relying on expensive medical devices that are using software not compatible with latest version of WIndows.

The silver lining

Most anti-virus vendors and endpoint protection vendors will detect Friday's variant of WannaCrypt, so new infections should be easier to flag. However, this doesn't mean the worst is over. Additional attacks are expected, which is why patching, disabling SMBv1, backups and paid anti-virus are so vital.

The WannaCry ransomware had slowed by late Friday partly due to a researcher who discovered the kill switch. All he had to do was register a domain because if the domain responds, WannaCry doesn't spread. Another variation on Sunday was stopped using a similar domain.

Kill Switch from Friday:
Kill Switch from Sunday:

Remember, payment won't recover the encrypted files. If backups aren't an option, you'll have restore the system and keep infected hard drive with hopes that there will be a decryption tool available in the weeks or months ahead.

Please ensure you update your system and have solid paid anti-virus. We recommend MalwareBytes Anti-Exploit ($49.95) and ESET Internet Security ($59.95).

Thursday, 2 March 2017

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Saturday, 4 February 2017

With Thexyz Webmail you have the choice of using your own domain or one of our domains. Using your own domain offers more features and benefits than using one of ours. I am going to list some of the reasons in this post to show you how the $14.95 per for a domain is well worth it.

Full Admin Control

When you use your own domain for Thexyz Webmail, you also get access the the admin area which enables additional features such as unlimited email aliases. You can also change your email address and edit your password yourself.

Microsoft‎ SharePoint Included

When using your own domain with Thexyz Webmail you also get a free hosted SharePoint site which includes 250MB of storage. This storage can be upgraded as needed.

Custom Webmail Site

When you use ‎your own domain, you also have the option to upgrade to use your own branded webmail site. This will let you use your own logo on login and webmail pages, you can also add notifications and messages to webmail. A great way to add notifications to all members of your domain. Using your own domain also adds the option to use webmail chat.

Secure Webmail Chat

Using your own domain with a custom webmail site adds a secure instant chat feature directly to webmail. This way you can chat instantly with other members of your domain.

Take Your Email Account To Different Providers

Unlike when you use your email account with the domain of your ISP or with free email providers. You are not tied down to using one service with your own domain. This means that can move your email service from different providers.

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