Microsoft ended support (i.e. patches, security updates, etc.) for Windows Server 2003 on July 15th, 2015.
Anyone still using this operating system is highly vulnerable to cyber-attacks, when a hacker tries to compromise another person’s system. The "patches" and "fixes" Microsoft provides are intended to repair and improve the integrity of their operating systems; thus, ensuring less vulnerability to system hacking or failure that could result in personal information and/or your clientele’s being tampered with, stolen, or lost.
As a result, any devices used for business operating on Windows Server 2003 are no longer in compliance with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act), and PCI (Payment Card Industry) standards.
The intentions of PCI, SOX, and HIPAA are to protect the privacy and ensure the validity of your clientele’s information, as well as that of your company.
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Update September 25, 2014
We at Five K Technologies
strive to provide the best possible support to our customers, and that includes warning you about potential threats to your computer systems and your data.
A new virus called Cryptowall has recently started attacking computers in Yakima.
This virus encrypts data on your PC and server and then holds it for ransom, demanding you pay in a currency called Bitcoins.
It is intelligent and even targets specific program data, like Stampscom.
At this time over 250,000 systems in the United States have been attacked by Cryptowall.
Unfortunately, there are many ways for this virus to infect a system.
It has been passed through spam Emails with attachments or links, drive-by-download attacks from sites infected with exploit kits, and through installations by other malware programs already running on compromised computers.
A drive-by download is a program that is automatically downloaded to your computer without your consent or your knowledge.
Drive-by downloads may happen when visiting a website, viewing an e-mail message or by clicking on a deceptive pop-up window: by clicking on the window in the mistaken belief that, for instance, an error report from the computer's operating system itself is being acknowledged, or that an innocuous advertisement pop-up is being dismissed.
Here are some ways to help protect your systems and data.
- Perform regular daily backups of your system and data, this is the best protection.
- Make sure your System Restore function on your computer is enabled.
- Maintain safe Web surfing habits, do not visit unfamiliar sites or click on advertisements on pages while surfing.
- Use caution when opening Email, do not open Email from unknown senders especially those with attachments and/or links.
- If you are opening a browser and it does not open to your usual homepage close it immediately and contact your IT Administrator or Five K Technologies.
- Do not install free software without first consulting your IT Administrator or Five K Technologies, often the reason software is free is because of what is embedded in loaded with it
By Susan Bradley on October 24, 2013 in Top Story
Online attackers are using encryption to lock up our files and demand a ransom — and AV software probably won’t protect you.
Here are ways to defend yourself from CryptoLocker — pass this information along to friends, family, and business associates.
Forgive me if I sound a bit like those bogus virus warnings proclaiming, “You have the worst virus ever!!” But there’s a new threat to our data that we need to take seriously. It’s already hit many consumers and small businesses. Called CryptoLocker, this infection shows up in two ways.
First, you see a red banner (see Figure 1) on your computer system, warning that your files are now encrypted — and if you send money to a given email address, access to your files will be restored to you.
Figure 1. CryptoLocker is not making idle threats.
The other sign you’ve been hit: you can no longer open Office files, database files, and most other common documents on your system. When you try to do so, you get another warning, such as “Excel cannot open the file [filename] because the file format or file extension is not valid,” as stated on a TechNet MS Excel Support Team blog.
As noted in a Reddit comment, CryptoLocker goes after dozens of file types such as .doc, .xls, .ppt, .pst, .dwg, .rtf, .dbf, .psd, .raw, and .pdf.
CryptoLocker attacks typically come in three ways:
1) Via an email attachment. For example, you receive an email from a shipping company you do business with. Attached to the email is a .zip file. Opening the attachment launches a virus that finds and encrypts all files you have access to — including those located on any attached drives or mapped network drives.
2) You browse a malicious website that exploits vulnerabilities in an out-of-date version of Java.
3) Most recently, you’re tricked into downloading a malicious video driver or codec file.
There are no patches to undo CryptoLocker and, as yet, there’s no clean-up tool — the only sure way to get your files back is to restore them from a backup.
Some users have paid the ransom and, surprisingly, were given the keys to their data. (Not completely surprising; returning encrypted files to their owners might encourage others to pay the ransom.) This is, obviously, a risky option. But if it’s the only way you might get your data restored, use a prepaid debit card — not your personal credit card. You don’t want to add the insult of identity theft to the injury of data loss.
More here: Article at Windows Secrets
Goodbye Microsoft Security Essentials: Microsoft Now Recommends You Use a Third-Party Antivirus
Microsoft Security Essentials (Windows Defender on Windows 8) was once on top. Over the years, it’s slid in the test results, but Microsoft argued the tests weren’t meaningful. Now, Microsoft is advising Windows users to use a third-party antivirus instead.
This revelation comes to us from an interview Microsoft gave. Microsoft’s official website still bills MSE as offering “comprehensive malware protection” without any hint that they no longer recommend using it. Microsoft is not communicating well with its users.
Update: Microsoft has now released a statement, saying “We believe in Microsoft antimalware products and strongly recommend them to our customers, to our friends, and to our families.” Their statement unfortunately doesn’t directly address Holly Stewart’s comments or MSE’s history of worsening test scores. Given MSE’s poor scores, all the stories we’ve heard about it failing people in the real world, and Microsoft’s inconsistent communication, we still don’t feel we can recommend MSE anymore.
More here: Article at How-To Geek