Important Virus Warning:

Tim Barber - November 6, 2013

As a part of our service to you and/or your business, please take the time to read the following important information we have gathered regarding a dangerous virus that has been spreading and affecting friends and customers locally and nationwide. 

The virus is called the CryptoLocker Virus. 

It is usually sent via email from FedEx, DHL, or other well-known brands, and appears as a harmless attachment. The attachment looks like a voicemail, or a notification that you have a package waiting to be picked up - usually in PDF format. 

Upon downloading, the virus installs on the users' computer - and mapped network drives - then silently encrypts all the users' personal files - Word Documents, spreadsheets, pictures, mp3s etc. Then, once done, 
it informs you that these files are no longer accessible until you pay via untraceable money order between $100 and $700 to have the encryption removed - with a time limit typically of 100 hours.

This type of virus is called "Ransomware" and has the ability to render the your personal files useless.


Obviously the best way around all this is to not be infected in the first place: So be extremely cautious when checking emails and browsing the web- and inform your employees to do the same. DO NOT open any attachments from any sender if you do not know them personally - or know exactly what the contents are.
 

At this time there is no known fix for the virus once it has been installed - and no decryption for your files, once encrypted. 

HOWEVER - here are some ways to help protect yourself:
 

  • Back up your files to an external hard drive daily - make a full copy of all your important files and folders on a drive and promptly remove it after the backup is complete.

  • Use a cloud based backup service such as Carbonite - and know what is actually being backed upStore your most important files & photos on a cloud storage service such as Google Drive.

  • Make sure you have some sort of spam filter on your email - or use a service that filters spam, such as Google MailKeep your computer updated - MS Windows updates and Anti-Virus updates are typically designed to patch known security issues. Run windows updates manually if you're not sure if they're running.

  • Act quickly! If you suspect you've downloaded a questionable attachment - completely shut your computer down and contact us immediately!

  • Lastly - if you're unsure about the current security status or computer's backup procedures, please call us - it's what we do every day.

 

Contact

Brian Morgan - 970-729-0742

TellurideBytes.com

 

Below is an image of what the virus looks like - after you have been infected:

Whats's up with your E-mail?

Tim Barber - August 9, 2013

At Telluride Bytes, I view it as sort of an added perk to the job, secondary to providing technical support, to make sure I’m aware of the best solutions out there to issues that I see every day in the office. And without competition, issues surrounding email are hands down the most frequently experienced; I’d say probably in the area of 70-80% of everything we do. So, safe to say, if someone calls us with an issue, there’s a good chance it’s because their email is acting up.

It’s because of this that I want to educate, not only our clients, but anyone out there willing to learn from what I’ve experienced in the field of technical consulting, in the hopes that I may have an impact on the total amount of computer-related stress headaches exist in the world. So here’s the bottom line:

 

If you haven’t given your email, or your company’s email any thought in over 2 years, chances are there’s a better system out there that you may not be aware of.  
 

I could predict the typical response to that being “if I haven’t had to think about it, that means it’s working, and why should I worry about it now, right?” And I must say, that’s a pretty reasonable response. And it’s entirely possible that, even if you do use older email technology, it could still be working perfectly for you, so long as it was set up perfectly. However let’s ask a few questions first. Are you sure your email is being safely and frequently backed up, in case your computer crashes, or the building burns down? Are you able to sync email, contacts, and calendar items with all your new devices (iPads, smartphones, tablets etc?) Are you able to share those same items between employees within the company, and other people as well? If you answered no, or not sure to any of these questions, it may be time to think about updating your email system.

 

Having done lots of research, at the time of writing this article, there are 2 major players in the email game today: Microsoft with their Office 365 product, and Google Apps. 

This article isn’t going to delve into the details comparing the pros and cons of each, if you’re looking for that info, try here. This article is about Google Apps, because that’s the product we’ve decided, after much experience, we’re going to support. So here’s the info you should know about it.

 

Google Apps is a completely cloud-based solution for accessing email, managing contacts and calendars, working on documents, and more; Plus the ability to easily share any of the above items with anyone. Included in the $4 per user per month cost, is 30GB of online storage per user, Google’s unrivaled spam protection, a guarantee of 99.9% uptime, and technical support for the .01% of the time it goes down.

 

The more you utilize google’s services, the more powerful they become. Google Drive allows simultaneous user access to word documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more through an easy to use web interface that’s accessible via any device with an internet connection.

 

Cloud storage of your email and related items means being able to avoid labor intensive upgrade processes for new computers, difficult recoveries should a computer go down, and the ability to access your e-mail without needing your computer.

 

 

  • 30GB of storage space - additional storage space available if needed

  • Easily shared calendar items, contacts, and documents

  • Automatic cloud-based backup by design

  • Seamless integration with Android OS phones & tablets

  • MS Outlook integration

  • Sync items across all your devices (smartphones, tablets, computers, etc)

  • Offline access available

  • Cost: $4 / user / month

Outdated POP3 Email:
 

- Requires total reliance on MS Office

- Requires manual backing up

- Labor-intensive to migrate to new computer, or recover from a broken computer

- Does not support syncing of email, contacts, or calendar items between devices

 

Google Apps:
 

- Reliable access to all email & data from any internet browser

- Dedicated iOS and Android apps for email keeps everything synced between all devices

- The reliability of one of the biggest IT companies in the world hosting your email


additional benefits:

-not required to purchase MS Office licenses

 

For more details, visit:

http://www.google.com/enterprise/apps/business/benefits.html

 

Hopefully you found this info valuable. And if you’re interested in updating, I hope that you give Telluride Bytes a call to help.

 

Tim Barber

Telluride Bytes

970-670-0846

TELLURIDE BYTES

TECHNICAL CONSULTING

970.729.0742