ransomware Myrtle Beach

Cerber Ransomware Kicks Into High Gear During Post-Holiday Shopping

ransomware Myrtle BeachAfter a relatively calm period, the researchers at Microsoft are warning that the ransomware known as Cerber has resurfaced stronger than ever. The target audience? Holiday and post-holiday shoppers. It also targets the data files of enterprise businesses.

Most of us are a little more aware of the need for cyber security during the holidays, but the need is equally important after the holidays! The Malware Protection Center at Microsoft has reported that the cyber attackers have amped up their game during this post-holiday season. One reason is the number of online shoppers looking for great deals after Christmas.

Top security researchers are now aware of a couple of new campaigns and spam that pinpoints all the consumer transaction during the post-holiday season. Cerber ransomware is constantly changing, causing user files to be encrypted while holding them for ransom. Just in the last several weeks the authors of Cerber ransomware are now attacking critical applications of major business files.

The newest version of this ransomware has been programmed to target the database files of Microsoft Acess, Oracle and MySQL. It’s not unusual for these files to be shut down as they are encrypted by malware.

As with so many other viruses, attackers are going straight for your inbox and flooding them with malicious links and downloadable attachments. As soon as you click on the link, the virus moves in, installing the ransomware. What’s worse is that it creates what looks like zip files that are password protected. The body of the email often contains the password, making this another huge red flag for malware. It usually states that order and delivery details are in the email.

Vulnerabilities found in previous Adobe Flash websites can also be used to exploit Cerber. If a person happens to be on this site, they will unknowingly download the malware to their computer. What’s more, any information on the version of Cerber ransomware has been scrubbed, which makes it even harder to track.

Unfortunately, an even wider net has been cast by Cerber and it’s now targeting dozens more types of files. Executing .exe, .cmd, and .msi files is now happening for the first time with Cerber ransomware.

Cyber criminals have to constantly be changing and updating their versions of ransomware in order to go undetected by antivirus software programs. Ramping up the malware complexities tells us how determined these criminals are to destroy and attack your personal files. Don’t become a victim—never click on unfamiliar links in your email! Use common sense and close out any ads or emails with suspicious links.

For more information on cyber criminals and how to stay safe from ransomware, call Tech Sentries today! (843) 282-2222.

Jackware—What Is It?

Myrtle Beach JackWareHave you ever heard of jackware? In this day and age, we hear a lot about ransomware, spyware, adware and all kinds of other “wares,” but probably not jackware. However, it’s still malicious software that gets in and controls many devices whose main function is NOT digital communication. Your car is a perfect example of just such a device. Your car may have some communication abilities, but think of it like this: we’re looking at cars as simply a means to get from one spot to another.

Jackware is essentially a more specialized ransomware, which like its name suggests, gets in your software, encrypts your files and demands a ransom in order for you to unlock and get your files back. With jackware, it seeks to lock up your car’s ability to run until the ransom is paid.

The following is important to note!

 Jackware has not actually been defined as an active threat just yet. It’s still a bit theoretical in nature, although we here at Tech Sentries are a bit doubtful of jackware being stopped. There are people constantly coming up with new ways to hack into our everyday lives and create chaos through our computers, software, telephones, and now even our cars if something isn’t done. Brand new cars are essentially fancy computers on wheels and so they are very vulnerable to jackware after they have left their manufacturing facility to be shipped across the world.

All last year, we heard about the Fiat Chrysler Jeep problem where the design process wasn’t stellar and many of the systems were wide open for hackers. So, we now know that in order to stop this problem, protection must happen during the design process. Car companies need to ensure consumers that everything they do with the car’s onboard computer is safe. For instance, many people now can control systems in their homes, such as alarms, lights, etc., all from their vehicles. If jackware really does become a huge reality, then your car is one more portal from which hackers can work their evil. Many smart cars now come with Wi-Fi capabilities and this could be a big problem if it’s not completely secure.

 So How Do We Stop Jackware?

 This is the million dollar question. Unfortunately, the world has not done a good job at all of deterring cyber crime. Hackers just get better and smarter at what they do, so the risk of becoming a victim is huge. In order to stop jackware, it would have to involve changing policies within major manufacturers, as well as staying ahead of the technical curve. Gone are the days when clicking on a link in an email was the only way to get hacked by ransomware. Millions of dollars have been paid to cyber criminals by desperate people trying to get their files recovered. Companies need to be employing the best anti-malware security they can find. We also need to actually prosecute the criminals behind the ransomware!

The question remains if ransomware will actually spawn a branch called jackware. It absolutely seems certain that this will happen at some point. One of our biggest concerns is that of self-driving cars. Any vehicle that is equipped with onboard computers is at risk for jackware.

The best way to stay safe and protect yourself from ransomware attacks—including the possibility of jackware—is to have the best protection available today. Tech Sentries stays on top of all the latest threats so you don’t have to.

Call 843-282-2222 today for a free consultation.