Current eMessage > Technical Information > June 2017

Technical Information

Ransomware in the news again!

by MACC’s Technical Support Team

Many of you know of people, or have personally been hit by ransomware in the last couple of years. For those who have not, ransomware is malware that normally encrypts files on the infected machine and demands payment to get them unencrypted.

The latest one, Wannacrypt/Wannacry is not much different. This ransomware was written to target aging Windows operating systems like Windows XP, Vista, etc., since Microsoft is no longer updating them. Many businesses around the globe still use these operating systems and this caused the ransomware to spread rapidly.

For example, on April 8, 2014, Microsoft ended its support of the Windows XP operating system, yet businesses around the globe continue to use it! Windows Vista support ended on April 11, 2017 and is also vulnerable. The latest operating system, Windows 10 isn’t affected by this ransomware.

What can you do to help prevent this from happening?
Everyone should educate themselves on how ransomware is distributed and ways to protect themselves from losing their data if they do become infected. Phishing emails have become more advanced and can be difficult to spot. Hackers use official-looking company logos and language in order to trick people into clicking on any attachments or links within the email. If you receive an email that raises suspicions, do not click on any links or attachments within the mail and contact your IT support as soon as you can.

Make sure your computers and servers are up to date with the latest patches and service packs and do not turn off Windows update. When your operating systems reach their end of life make sure to replace or upgrade the computers that are affected. In the case of this particular strain of ransomware, Microsoft deemed it important enough to release an update for their unsupported systems. This is a highly unusual action for Microsoft and should demonstrate just how severe this attack is.  You can find more information from Microsoft at:

Finally, every business and private individual should invest in a data backup routine. While these services will not stop a ransomware infection, they will allow anyone who has been infected to recover their data without having to pay the ransom.

MACC has multiple weapons in the fight against ransomware. Our MARS service ensures the safety of your Accounting Master and/or Customer Master database by backing data up to MACC daily. Our MBUS solution can back up specific folders or your entire server to the cloud. We have also partnered with Dell to offer the latest in virus prevention with Dell Threat Defense. In addition, we use and sell SonicWALL firewalls. SonicWALL recently announced their labs identified the WannaCry virus weeks before the May attack and was able to roll out protection in advance to customers with active security subscriptions.

We take data security very seriously at MACC and are committed to offering our best to help you strengthen your defenses. If you have any questions, or if there is anything we can do for you, please don’t hesitate to contact your MACC Tech Support Team and we will be happy to help!  We can be reached at 402-533-5300 or via email at [email protected].

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