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Questions Arise from Most Recent MSP Ransomware Attack

Managed service providers (MSPs) typically utilize third-party software platforms to access, monitor and patch client computer systems. These platforms provide a huge array of tools to help us do our jobs. These tools are installed by the MSP on client computers, servers, and other devices. With these tools, we can perform almost any task remotely, thereby minimizing disruptions on the client-side and providing our customers with a superior experience. While most MSPs have procedures in place to minimize threats (indeed, that's usually the point), third-party software applications are now becoming the target of attackers. That's because these applications typically have extensive access and permissions to operate on systems unfettered. Over the weekend, one MSP software provider cal...
White House Urges Companies to Take Steps Against Ransomware Attacks
Computers, Internet, Tech News, Tech Talk

White House Urges Companies to Take Steps Against Ransomware Attacks

As previously stated on this blog, ransomware attacks are up 485% year-over-year according to an industry report. In just the last few months, several high-profile ransomware attacks have impacted corporations, sending shockwaves that have not only impacted large corporations but individuals and their personal wallets. The White House penned an open letter urging private companies of all sizes to take ransomware more seriously. The letter outlines several steps that companies need to take in order to secure themselves against a ransomware attack: Implement best practices to help prevent and stop the spread of cybersecurity threats.Backup data, system images, and configurations. Regularly test backup systems and keep backups offline.Update and patch systems promptly.Develop and t...
Do You Really Need to Pay for a Domain Listing?
Internet, Websites

Do You Really Need to Pay for a Domain Listing?

In today's mail, I received an invoice for $289 for website services. Specifically, the invoice wanted payment for listing my apheus.com domain in their directory. Now let me begin by saying that I'm not going to pay this invoice. It has nothing to do with my domain registration or website. I don't need this "service" and I doubt if any other legitimate business would need it either. In a nutshell, these types of services skirt along the lines of a scam. Now of course the companies that offer these directory services would argue that they are providing a legitimate service to their clients. And it is true, they are actually delivering the service they promise - they are listing the domain in their directory. However, in most cases, these "invoices" are designed to trick domain owne...
Ransomware Attacks Up 485%
Computers, Internet, Tech News, Tech Talk

Ransomware Attacks Up 485%

According to the most recent Bitdefender 2020 Consumer Threat Landscape Report, ransomware attacks were up 485% in 2020 compared to 2019. And there's no indication that 2021 will see a reduction in attacks. That's a number that should shock most business owners into taking immediate action. Indeed, Apheus is actively warning all of our customers to do something - take action to defend your business against these types of cyberattacks. A ransomware attack can cripple a business. This past weekend, a major pipeline company called Colonial Pipeline was struck by a ransomware attack that effectively shut down the delivery of fuel to the northeast portion of the United States. While there were some immediate ramifications, there will be long-term effects as well. This attack is being ca...
What Are NFTs?
Computers, Internet, Tech News, Tech Talk

What Are NFTs?

So here's something new that my intern alerted me to last week: NFTs. Now you may be asking yourself (just like I did), what are NFTs? NFT stands for non-fungible tokens, which in itself, still doesn't quite answer our question. According to Forbes, an NFT is "a digital asset that represents real-world objects like art, music, in-game items and videos." So again, what does that mean? Basically, you have a digital asset such as a cat GIF. You purchase that GIF from the creator for say, $100,000, usually in cryptocurrency. You now own that asset. But you may be asking yourself one of several questions: Why buy it?Why does it cost so much?If it's already spread across the internet, how do you own it?What's the point?! I'm still struggling with understanding this whole NFT thing....
I Know You’re Listening…
Tech Talk

I Know You’re Listening…

Do you have a computer problem or maybe just a general technology question? Call in the Tech Talk show every Tuesday morning at 8:30 am on WTCA in Plymouth. We have your answers. Listen live on FM 106.1, AM 1050, or online at am1050.com. I know you're listening, so give us a call! The phone number is 574-936-4096. Plus, stay tuned at the end of the show for your chance to win a gift card from our prize wheel.
Using to TikTok to Expand Your Understanding of Technology
Tech Talk, Technology

Using to TikTok to Expand Your Understanding of Technology

I love TikTok. TikTok is a place for creators. I've been a fan for a long time, but did you know you can actually utilize it to expand your understanding of technology? There are a lot of creators on the TikTok platform that produce some amazingly simple and useful content. Here are a few examples. Microsoft Office Tips & Tricks I follow Mike Tholfsen on TikTok. He also has a YouTube channel. He has some amazingly simple and useful Microsoft Office tips and tricks. I'm not even sure how he packs so much information into a video only a minute long. As he says, he keeps his videos "short and sweet." From what I can tell, Mike does work for Microsoft, and his tips are spot-on. And with more than 242,000 followers as of this blog post, he definitely has an audience. iPhone Tips &...
Watch Out for Amazon Scams
Internet, Tech Talk

Watch Out for Amazon Scams

I've noticed an increased number of Amazon scams as of late. Some of my clients have been reporting fairly elaborate (and convincing) messages telling them that they have problems with orders, unpaid invoices, or orders pending delivery. The links in these messages are obviously not goint to take you to an Amazon website. These types of messages are a type of phishing message. Most of the time, they are trying to get into your Amazon account where you probably have your credit card information stored. Once they're in your account, they start placing orders using your name and credit card. When they place the order, they won't usually have it shipped to your home or business. Instead, they'll ship it to a drop point for pickup later. Recently, I uncovered just this situation happen...
Hard Drive Full? Here’s a Couple of Suggestions
Computers, Tech Talk

Hard Drive Full? Here’s a Couple of Suggestions

A full hard drive can actually cause your system to slow down considerably. If your hard drive is showing full on your computer, there are probably a couple of culprits. First of all, maybe you just have too many files stored on your hard drive. Photos and videos downloaded from your phone or camera can really eat up hard drive space, especially if you have a small drive. Consider transferring those files to another drive or using a cloud storage solution to get those files off of your system. Microsoft's OneDrive, DropBox, Google Drive, or a similar product will do the job. Secondly, it could be that you have a ton of temporary files on your system that you didn't even know you had. While Windows 10 does an excellent job of cleaning up those temporary files, I have noticed a l...
The Great Suspender has Seemingly Been Suspended from the Chrome Web Store
Internet

The Great Suspender has Seemingly Been Suspended from the Chrome Web Store

Google's Chrome web browser is a memory hog. It's been that way for a while and it's somewhat annoying. However, I'm still a big fan of Chrome because it integrates so well in my day-to-day operations. So much so that I find it hard to move away. I was using Firefox for a time, then switched back to Chrome, only to switch to Brave (which disappointed me when it stopped syncing), then back to Chrome. So it seems that I'm sticking with Chrome for the time being. I'm even using Chrome on my new Mac Mini, much to the disdain of my intern who is frequently encouraging me to use Safari. But I'm sticking with Chrome for the time being. Even though my main computer is now a Mac, I still use Windows PCs quite frequently, so Chrome helps me keep everything uniform and synced. I'm also a b...