Ransomware: A Disturbing New Trend in Cybersecurity

A recent rash of ransomware attacks on hospitals has shown the need for strong cybersecurity measures even at places not normally considered a high-value target for hackers. While ransomware isn’t new technology, its use as a tool for extortion is on the rise.

Ransomware locks you out of your data unless you agree to a hacker’s demands. Working Nets can help protect your business and customers.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks access to vital software or data, requiring a key or piece of code to unlock. It’s commonly used by hackers to extort their target — if you pay the hacker’s ransom, they’ll give you the key and you’ll be able to access your software or data. It’s been used recently in high-profile attacks against hospitals, banks and individuals. [Read more…]

Keeping your PC Virus-Free


A virus can ruin your PC, so we’re going to help you keep them out!

Viruses are the bane of a PC’s existence. They can bring your productivity to a grinding halt if they are not spotted and dealt with swiftly. Some of these nasty things require professional assistance to remove entirely, but smaller viruses and virus safety is easy to learn. So, we’re going to arm you against malware so that you can stay on track. Ready to pick up some sweet tips? Well, here we go! [Read more…]

Should you Worry About your Mobile Device Getting a Virus?

Is malware lurking on your mobile device?

We’ve talked a little about how to tell whether or not your PC has a virus, but what about your personal or company phone? You may not have thought much about this, but it warrants a little bit of your time. After all, if you use a company phone, or even a personal phone, for your job then your information might be at risk. That’s why Working Nets is here to give you the rundown on phone viruses so that your business can stay safe. Let’s go over the facts. [Read more…]

Signs That Your Computer Has a Virus

Computer viruses seem to be lurking behind every link these days. We have heard the horror stories of finding viruses on trusted websites. We’ve heard terrible things about losing all of your data to one of these awful creatures. Viruses are pretty commonplace depending on how you surf the net and what sorts of websites you frequent, but none of us are ever really completely safe. Now, don’t worry, there are ways of telling whether or not your machine has been infected and there is plenty you can do to protect yourself. Let’s check out some ways to see if you need some virus removal help. [Read more…]

Keep an Eye Out for “Ransomware”

You’ve heard of malware and spyware by now, and you likely have a good idea of how to protect your computer from malicious programs that can take information right off of your computer and share it with hackers. This week we’re talking about a specific type of malware, and a pretty vicious one at that. The creators of ransomware of not only hack your computer, but they’ve also developed a sneaky way to get money from you (you know, or your credit card number). In order to get control of your computer back, you have to pay them a ransom of $300. Sound pretty awful? It is. It’s also almost impossible to stop.

The most recent and powerful piece of ransomware is brought to us by Cryptolocker. Basically what this does is use a “botnet” (network of hijacked computers) to spread viruses to multiple computers. The FBI did try to shut Cryptolocker down, but their methods weren’t exactly flawless or foolproof. They seized Cryptolocker’s servers and replaced them with FBI servers. The problem is that the actual ransomware is still around. It just needs to be updated. Hackers are smart enough to figure out a way to start distributing the malware again. All they have to do is switch their method of delivery. While this may be a minor setback, it’s not going to be enough to actually stop them entirely. It’s just a bump in the road, especially when you consider that the people behind Cryptolocker have already managed to collect 4 million dollars in the span of nine months. It’s a dangerous “get rich quick” scheme that’s spawning a malware trend amongst hackers everywhere.

The problem isn’t just affecting Americans, but is a worldwide problem that is only growing. The moral of the story is to take precautions. Once ransomware is on your computer, you’re not going to be able to get it off without either paying the fine or losing the entirety of your files. And we really don’t suggest paying these criminals. Protect yourself.

  • Only open email from reputable sources and never click links that take you to outside pages unless you trust the site and have done some research.
  • Make sure that your firewall is up and running. It’s also advisable to have anti-malware and anti-spyware programs installed on your computer.
  • Do not click on pop ups and be careful about who you let use your computer. Make sure it’s someone you trust and someone who knows the precautions as well as you do.

Internet safety is important for avoiding being a victim of ransomware. Call us today to find out more about anti-virus and anti-spyware software as well as outsourcing your IT. You can reach us at (443) 992-7394 or visit WorkingNets.com today for more information!

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Source: Money.CNN

How Can I Protect My Computer From Viruses and Spyware?

Viruses and spyware are probably the worst things that could infect your computer. Not only will they slow down your machine, but they will cause great security threats to your personal data. So how can you keep your data safe and protect your computer?

Fortunately there are a few easy ways:

  • Install an antivirus program – an antivirus program needs to be kept up to date to do its job well. There are a variety of options available that vary on price and amount of coverage. It is best to do some research about each antivirus program to identify which one is right for you.
  • Be mindful of which emails you open – if you do not recognize the email sender, it may be a scam or include a harmful attachment. If you’re not familiar with the sender of the email, don’t open it. Potentially it can be dangerous and cause a lot of harm to your computer system.
  • Use a popup blocker- pop-ups are smaller browser windows that can appear on any website you are using. While many are advertisements, others can contain malicious software designed to give you a virus. A popup blocker can prevent this type of window from appearing.
  • Keep your software system updated – companies such as Apple and Windows periodically send out security updates. It is important to keep your computer updated to protect it from the latest security threats.
  • Clear your browsing history – when you’re using a public computer, consider clearing the browser history when you are done. This will protect you from leaving any personal information behind.

Welcome to Working Nets – your virtual IT Department in Baltimore!

At Working Nets in Baltimore, we support your business by providing top-notch Information Technology (I.T.) services to companies like yours: Companies that don’t need full-time I.T. services, but do need someone to turn to, when they are having a problem. We provide services like Network Design, Monitoring and Maintenance. We troubleshoot technical issues when they arise, and give you options for solving them. We help you use your technology investment to achieve your business goals.

At Working Nets, our focus is on your needs!

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Opening Attachments

You’re sitting at your computer checking your email, when you notice that you’ve got one from DHL. You open the message and read an official-looking message saying that they tried to deliver a package to you, but no one was available. Please open the attached file which contains a form they need to redeliver. Now maybe you’re waiting on a package and don’t remember whether it was DHL, UPS or FedEx; maybe you’re not waiting on a package and can’t figure out what they would be trying to deliver to you.


You get an email from your brother’s email address that says, “Check this out – it’s really funny!” It’s got an attachment. Well, your brother wouldn’t send you anything bad would he? (No seriously – would he? I probably don’t know your brother.)

In any case, you open up the attached .zip file, run the executable it contains and then… WHAM! You’re infected!! Suddenly you’ve got hundreds of porn pop-ups appearing on your machine. And you’ve got something that says it’s an anti-malware program that you don’t remember installing, coming up to tell you that it’s discovered 385 infections, and you need to run it to get rid of them.

Why did this happen?

In most cases, the reason this happened was because of a technique called Social Engineering. Social engineering is the act of manipulating people into performing actions or divulging confidential information – sometimes both.

Social Engineering relies, primarily, on two things: the basic trusting nature of most people, and fear.

In the first example, there was a little bit of both. You trusted that the email was actually from the company it said it was, and you were afraid something bad would happen (i.e. they wouldn’t deliver your package) if you didn’t do what they said.

In the second example, it was basically just trust. Why would you think that your brother would send you a virus? In fact, your next phone call or email is probably to your brother telling him that what he just sent you was infected. And when he tells you he didn’t send you anything, you don’t know what to make of it.

Windows Pre-Vista

The previous examples are most prevalent on PCs running Windows XP or earlier. Why? Because they’re the most susceptible. Here’s why:

Microsoft and most security experts agree that the best way to run your computer is as a “Limited User”. In other words, a user account that doesn’t really have the privileges to install software, or do other things that could impact the entire machine.

But most users don’t want to run their machines as a Limited User, because… well, frankly, it’s a pain. This, of course, is only even relevant for folks using Windows NT, 2000 or XP. Anything earlier than that didn’t even have the option to run as a Limited User anyway. (If you’re using anything earlier than Windows XP, we should talk anyway.)

But if you run as an Administrative User, then anything you run is run as an Administrator, and Administrators are presumed to know better.

Windows Vista/7 and the UAC

Enter Windows Vista (and now Windows 7) and UAC (User Account Control). This allows the best of both. When you log into your PC, you’re using a Limted User account, and you run everything in that limited mode. When you want to install something, or try to do anything requiring upgraded permissions, everything freezes and goes a bit dark, and a window pops up asking whether you want to allow it. If you say yes, it temporarily places you in Administrative mode to affect the change. Then you go back to your Limited User account, and continue your work.

There are two problems:

  1. People get so used to seeing that “annoying box” that they click Allow without even really looking at it, or thinking about it.
  2. Some people get so sick of the box they actually turn off UAC. Also, some vertical-market applications tell you to disable it (which is usually a sign of bad programming, but be that as it may…)

Either of these behaviors will allow malicious code to run unimpeded on your machine, even with a more-secure operating system. Turning off UAC is actually worse, because you no longer even know there’s anything trying to get in. It makes it, effectively, Windows XP in Administrative mode.


Here are some rules of thumb that I use when dealing with email attachments:

  • Don’t open them unless you have some reason to believe they are safe.
  • Just because the “sender” is someone you know and trust, doesn’t mean it’s safe. They could have gotten infected themselves, and the virus could be sending itself to all their contacts. Some malware is even smart enough to scan the user’s contact list, choose two names and then send messages “from” one to another. So some third party may have been infected, and you get an email “from” someone you may know in common.
  • In general, you can open attachments you’re expecting. If you’re waiting for me to send you a Service Contract proposal, and you get one from me, it’s probably okay.
  • Even if you weren’t expecting it, per se, if you have contextual reasons to believe it’s really from the person it says it’s from, it may be okay. In other words, if the message part says, “Open this. It’s funny.” – that’s not okay. But if it says, “Hey Dave – This is that article you asked me to write for your blog. Tell me what you think.” – that’s probably fine.
  • If you’re not sure, ask. Send an email back to the sender asking whether they really intended to send that file to you.