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Directive Blogs

Directive has been serving the Oneonta area since 1993, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

“No More Ransom” is Leading the Fight Against Ransomware Abroad

Ransomware is one of the more dangerous threats out there today, and since it is so prominent and dangerous, it is a popular choice amongst hackers. To combat this threat, a community has formed around the cause, encouraging users to not pay the ransom by providing free malware removal tools for the most popular ransomware threats.

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Ransomware Attack on NY Medical Billing Firm Impacts Nearly a Million People

We keep hearing about major ransomware attacks and data breaches, but it never feels good when something is hit close to home. Unfortunately, that’s the case as a recent cyberattack hit a New York medical billing company that impacted more than 942,000 people and 26 healthcare organizations.

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Ransomware Costs You More than Just the Ransom

Okay, let’s say you’ve been infected by a ransomware attack, and (against our advice) you’ve elected to pay the ransom. That’s the biggest cost that comes with it, right?

Unfortunately, wrong. A ransomware attack comes with a lot more financial impact than just the payment the attacker demands. Let’s go over some of these other costs that can actually outpace that of the ransom.

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Which Industries are Most Likely to Be Targeted by Ransomware?

Let’s begin by making one thing abundantly clear—all businesses and industries could potentially be targeted by ransomware, regardless of their size or target audience. However, as of late, some industries have been targeted more and more. Let’s examine some of the commonly targeted industries that ransomware is frequently waged against.

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Educators Having Increased Exposure to Ransomware

Ransomware is devastating as a cyberthreat, but some industries are hurt by it more than others. One such industry is education, and universities and schools are struggling to keep up with these cyberthreats. Most even do the unthinkable in response to attacks: they pay the ransom.

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When It Comes to Ransomware, It's Best to Avoid It

Ransomware is widely regarded as one of the worst modern cyberthreats out there today, and there's plenty of evidence to support this. These attacks and their aftereffects can devastate businesses of all industries. Let's consider why it is that ransomware is so dangerous, and what can be done to fight it. 

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Ransomware Isn’t the Only Malware You Need to Know

Network security could mean any number of things, but more often than not, people are using the term as a blanket statement against the dreaded idea of malware and its many forms. Today, we are discussing how vast the world of malware can be and how often you might find yourself misunderstanding what it exactly is. Knowing all this can help you identify if you have become a malware victim or not.

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Ransomware is Only Getting Worse in 2022… So What Can You Do?

Ransomware has been commonplace for years, with no sign of it going anywhere anytime soon. Let’s take a few moments to examine the state of ransomware right now, and review how to keep it from impacting your businesses.

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New Developments in Ransomware are Potentially Devastating

While it only makes sense to assume that a cybercriminal would focus specifically on those targets that would bring them the greatest profit—in other words, larger businesses—the reality of modern cybercrime renders this assumption grossly outdated. Let’s examine how different developments in ransomware have made it possible for cybercriminals to be far less discerning in who they target.

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Fake Ransomware Shows That Fear is Often Our Worst Enemy

There’s no way around it; ransomware is bad stuff, plain and simple. The first half of 2021 saw a massive increase in ransomware attacks that made the lives of countless individuals and business professionals difficult. However, a new trend is surfacing, and it’s one that you might be surprised to see: fake ransomware threats.

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Ransomware Costs May Surprise You

Did you know that the United States is the leader in ransomware payments? According to a survey from Mimecast titled “The State of Ransomware Readiness,” the U.S. has the highest average payment for ransomware out of the entire world at more than $6 million per victim. These shocking numbers likely stem from high-profile ransomware attacks, but they are also indicative of a larger problem, that being people who still pay the ransom.

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Identifying Tactics Used to Disseminate Ransomware

Ransomware is such a massive threat that all businesses should be aware of the latest news and findings regarding how it spreads and how it can be prevented. According to a recent report, the latest modes of transporting ransomware have been revealed. What can your organization do to keep ransomware off of its network? Let’s find out.

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What Happens When You Get Ransomware?

We often discuss how your business can avoid the impact of ransomware, but what we don’t often discuss is what happens to businesses that do, in fact, suffer from such a devastating attack. We want to use today’s blog as an opportunity to share what your business should (and should not) do in the event of a ransomware attack, as well as measures you can take to avoid suffering from yet another in the future.

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Six Ransomware Misconceptions Oneonta Businesses Tend to Have

Ransomware, ransomware, ransomware. Every day the news reports of a company, a hospital, or even a city getting hit with a cyberattack. It is to the point where it is becoming “background noise”. Unfortunately, many business owners have reached the point where they have begun to tune out the warnings and are lowering their defenses, exposing themselves to risk. Here are 5 misconceptions local businesses have regarding ransomware.

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New Study Finds That Paying Off Your Ransomware Attackers Has Some Severe Consequences

We know, we know; you’re probably sick of seeing ransomware in headlines, and so are we, but we cannot stress enough how important having an awareness of it is for any business owner. A new study has found that businesses infected by ransomware who choose to pay up experience a different type of fallout--one that is a major cause for concern and a stark reminder that there are no guarantees with ransomware. Ever.

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The Real Lesson of the Colonial Pipeline Ransomware Attack

Most businesses are aware of the recent rash of ransomware attacks. Attacks have recently shut down gas flow to several states, meat processing plants, and even government agencies such as the MTA. However, what many businesses may not realize is that one thing could have prevented the pain, loss, and disruption from an attack like this: a solid backup solution.

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Ransomware Has Gotten So Bad, It’s Aligned with Terrorism

Ransomware has rapidly progressed from an irritating annoyance to a legitimate global threat, with the U.S. Justice Department officially going on the record and establishing that future ransomware investigations will be handled the same way that terrorism cases are now. Let’s review the reasons behind this policy change and how your business should respond.

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Hackers Start Beef with JBS Ransomware Attack

Last weekend saw a significant cyberattack waged against the world’s largest meat processor and distributor, JBS S.A., that completely suspended the company’s operations in both North America and Australia… and as a result, has impacted the supply chains associated with the company. Let’s examine the situation to see what lessons we can take away from all this.

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Cybersecurity Lessons to Be Learned from the Colonial Pipeline Attack

Headlines have been filled with news pertaining to the recent hack of Colonial Pipeline, which has created significant gasoline shortages up the east coast of the nation. While the pipeline has been restored, the way this was accomplished sets a dangerous precedent. On top of this, the attack seems to have set off bigger infrastructural changes in the political space.

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Ransomware Is Tricky, So Strategize Against It

What if I told you that 92 percent of all organizations that are hit by a ransomware attack and agree to settle with the scammers, don’t ever see their data again? You’d probably say that you would never, ever pay and those that do, don’t make sense. Most people keep that stance until their choices are to pay for the data in the hopes of getting it back, or lose it completely. Let’s unpack ransomware and the strategy that hackers most utilize to deploy it: Phishing.

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Cyberattack Discovery Time is Decreasing (But This Isn’t All Good News)

Research has revealed that cyberattacks are spending decreasing amounts of time on their targeted networks before they are discovered. While this may sound like a good thing—a faster discovery of a threat is better than a slower one, after all—this unfortunately is not the case.

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Three Ransomware Tips for Area Businesses for 2021

For 2020, the word in technology was ransomware, and while many businesses were caught off-guard, there are no longer any excuses to not take cybersecurity seriously. Here are three ransomware and cybersecurity lessons businesses should learn before it’s too late.

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Lessons Learned From Chenango County’s Ransomware Attack

Dangerous cyberthreats don’t just affect major businesses—they are just as likely to hit close to home.

In fact, just two weeks ago, a ransomware attack left half of the computers operated by Chenango County held hostage by hackers, who demanded $90,000 to surrender access to the files. Learn how Chenango County was able to say “No” and recover their data.

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Bad Situations Can Come Down On Your Business Through Phishing

For the past several years, ransomware has been a major thorn in the sides of businesses. Hackers that were once known for “hacking” into networks, changed tactics when encryption just got too strong. Today, these “hackers” use confidence tactics to gain access to accounts. Once they’re in, their strongest tool is ransomware. Let’s look at what makes ransomware so dangerous and how your company can combat the constant attacks that come your way. 

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Ransomware is Still a Major Threat

Ransomware is the scariest type of malware out there. It can have a myriad of negative effects on a business, yet it seems to still be on the fringe of the mainstream. Today, we thought we would give somewhat of a refresher course on ransomware. 

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Let’s Look at the Different Types of Ransomware

The growing popularity of ransomware has been disconcerting to many IT professionals, particularly due to the different tactics that this malware variant has been spotted utilizing. In order to protect your business from these attacks, it helps to know how they work. We’ve put together a beginner’s field guide to ransomware types to help you identify (and hopefully avoid) it.

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Does Your IT Provider Practice Good Cyberhygiene?

I have a confession to make: it’s actually a pretty trying time to be in the IT business right now. A year ago, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement for IT and Managed Service Providers (MSPs) about an increased risk of being targeted by cybercriminals.

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Are You Ready for a Ransomware Resurgence?

Ransomware attacks grew less common in both 2018 and thus far in 2019 when compared to 2017. Unfortunately, recent events have made it more likely that this trend will reverse in the near future. Why is that? Simple: some municipalities have set a precedent of paying up.

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65 Bitcoin Ransom Paid by Florida City

65 of any currency doesn’t seem like a lot of money, but when you are dealing in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, it adds up quick. One city on Florida’s Atlantic coast is finding that out the hard way after getting hit with a ransomware that stymied the city of 35,000 government’s ability to function. Let’s take a look at the situation that made the city’s leaders agree to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to scammers.

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Ransomware Shuts Down Doctors’ Office - Is Your Business Protected?

Let me ask you a question… let’s say that you’re about one year from your projected retirement, when a ransomware attack encrypts all of your files. What do you do? Pack it in and retire early? This is precisely the situation that the practitioners of Brookside ENT & Hearing Services of Battle Creek, Michigan, have found themselves in - and it may not be over yet.

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The SamSam Ransomware Is Absolutely No Joke

The funny thing about ransomware is that they give them very strange names: Bad Rabbit sounds like the name of a villainous bunny who gets his comeuppance in some type of modern nursery rhyme, not malware that would ravage hundreds of European businesses. Locky seems like the son of Candado de seguridad, a character Medeco would come up with to educate kids on proper physical security. The latest in a long line of funny-named ransomware, SamSam, isn’t a pet name for your pet ferret you perplexingly named Sam, it is one of the worst ransomware strains ever, and it has caught the attention of U.S. Federal law enforcement.

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Tip of the Week: Ransomware Is Exploding… Is Your Business Ready For The Blast?

When it comes to Internet threats, ransomware is the one that causes the most fear, especially for small and medium-sized businesses, as it should. According to the Cisco 2017 Annual Cybersecurity Report, ransomware is growing at a yearly rate of 350%. It’s time to make sure that you’re doing what you can to stop your business from becoming another ransomware statistic. Here’s five very good tips that will help you avoid becoming a victim of the next big ransomware attack!

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Cops Lock Up Criminals, Ransomware Locks Up Cops

Society relies on law enforcement to enforce laws in a fair and just manner, but even the police have their work cut out for them when they are targeted by a cyberattack. A recent incident in Cockrell, Texas shows that not even the police are immune to the threats of ransomware--particularly the emerging brand of ransomware, Osiris.

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Getting Greedy: Ransomware Hackers are Asking for Way More Money

If fiscal reasons have stopped you from securing your network against ransomware thus far, you may want to reconsider your strategy. Not only are attacks still becoming more and more prevalent, but the developers of ransomware have lowered the price of admission for aspiring cyber criminals. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to keep your business protected against a ransomware attack.

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ALERT: Massive Ransomware Attack is the Biggest Ever

Run your Windows Updates and be very skeptical about opening unsolicited emails. Failure to do so may result in a very dangerous strain of ransomware that could infect your entire network and spread to your clients, partners, and prospects.

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Software Patches Take on New Importance After the WannaCry Ransomware Fiasco

On May 11th, 2017, the world was introduced to the WannaCry ransomware. The ransomware spread around the globe like wildfire, infecting hundreds of thousands of devices and catching many major organizations and businesses by surprise. The full extent of the ransomware’s damage is still being assessed, yet, one thing we do know: this whole fiasco was preventable.

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Sadly, the WannaCry Ransomware Disaster Could Have Been Easily Prevented

On May 11, 2017, the WannaCry ransomware spread around the globe like wildfire and disabled computing infrastructures belonging to organizations of all shapes and sizes. As the world watched the news unfold, it seemed as if practically no business was immune to this ultra-powerful ransomware. Yet, many quick-thinking organizations were. All because they had the foresight to follow IT best practices.

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Would You Share Your Browser History? This Ransomware Will

Ransomware is a tricky piece of malware that locks down the precious files located on a victim’s computer, then (in theory) will return access to them when a ransom has been paid. Depending on the files stored on a victim’s computer, they might simply blow it off and not worry too much about losing access to a couple of pictures or videos--but what if this ransomware threatened to expose your web browsing history?

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30 Schools Shut Down In Montana After Cyber Attack

Students generally love it when classes are cancelled for whatever reason, but thanks to a cybercriminal group called TheDarkOverlord Solutions, a school in Flathead Valley, Montana was disrupted for an extended period of time. This downtime resulted in a disruption of operations for over 30 schools, as well as the threat to the personal information of countless teachers, students, and administrators due to a ransomware attack.

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Targeted Ransomware Checks for Particular Attributes

Put yourself in the shoes of a cybercriminal. If you were to launch a ransomware attack, who would be your target? Would you launch an indiscriminate attack to try to snare as many as you could, or would you narrow your focus to be more selective? As it happens, real-life cybercriminals have largely made the shift to targeted, relatively tiny, ransomware attacks.

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The Single Greatest Defense Against Ransomware

In 2017, ransomware became a huge threat for businesses, so when discussing how nefarious actors will be leveraging new ransomware streams in 2018, you have to do so with some urgency. Today we will provide some information on ransomware, the current trends, and some trends you have to be very mindful of going forward.

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A Ransomware Cyberattack Struck Atlanta, Georgia

Ransomware doesn’t discriminate with its targets, as the city of Atlanta, Georgia now knows so painfully well. The city became the target of a ransomware attack that crippled many of its critical system workflows. The municipal government suffered from one of the most advanced and sustained attacks in recent memory.

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Ransomware: The Smaller The Business, The Bigger The Problem

The variety of malware known as ransomware exploded in popularity in 2016, encrypting victims’ files and demanding cryptocurrency payments to restore the data to the estimated tune of $1 billion. This may seem to suggest that large corporations and companies are the primary targets of these cyber criminals--and for some, they are.

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What the Future Holds for Ransomware

Ransomware is a growing problem for businesses, being one of the most difficult threats to remove from an infrastructure. Not only is it easy to spread, but difficult to avoid as a whole. How can your organization prepare for this threat? It starts by being mindful of how ransomware is spread and how your employees react to it, both now and in the future.

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A New Perspective on Ransomware

We are going to switch things up a bit and walk you through a retelling of a ransomware attack through the eyes of a business owner. Usually when we talk about these types of threats, we approach it from our perspective and talk about what you should do to prepare and what the threats are, but we wanted to try to show you what an event like this could feel like, for you, in your position, and in your own eyes. We hope that this will raise awareness of how crippling an event like this can be on your company, and we hope you let us know if this perspective helps you, your colleagues, and your staff get a more personal sense of what ransomware can do. Enjoy!

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Where We Stand: 2017’s Cybersecurity in Review (So Far)

After a year like 2016, it should come as no surprise that 2017 has been a year of significant cyber threats. Looking back on the events of the year so far may help us to anticipate what kind of threats we can anticipate in the second half of 2017.

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Alert: Fake Email Invoices Contain Ransomware

b2ap3_thumbnail_ransmoware_article_400.jpgRansomware is still on the rise, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has labeled it as one of the biggest dangers to businesses of all kinds. Compared to other methods of spreading malware, ransomware has a unique return on investment that keeps hackers wanting more. One new variant of ransomware uses a phishing attack that’s tailored to your real-world address, which is exceptionally concerning for victims.

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Alert: Petya Ransomware May Be the Worst Yet

b2ap3_thumbnail_more_ransomware_400.jpgRansomware is such a popular method of attack used by hackers that new variants of it pop up every few months. Among these is Petya, a nasty new ransomware that masquerades as an unsolicited resume in an organization’s email inbox. Don’t be fooled, though; the only work these hackers are looking for is to work you out of a couple hundred dollars.

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New Mac-Targeting Ransomware is a Real Bad Apple

b2ap3_thumbnail_iphone_ransomware_400.jpgRansomware has been spreading like wildfire over the past few years, but up until very recently, Mac users were spared from this troubling development. Now, security researchers at Palo Alto Networks have discovered what they believe to be the first instance of completed ransomware on an Apple device. As this threat is “in the wild,” Mac users should be wary of it and see it as a potential threat.

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Why Your Business Should Be Concerned About CryptoWall

b2ap3_thumbnail_new_ransomeware_400.jpgRansomware is one of the most devastating computer viruses in today’s computing landscape. You may have heard of one of its most famous variations, Cryptolocker. It received a lot of attention when it dramatically hit the scene two short years ago. Thankfully, the threat from CryptoLocker has decreased after the GameOver Zeus botnet was taken down last year. Although, now we’ve got a new, more contagious strain of this ransomware to deal with known as Cryptowall.

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Ransomware: A Look at Today’s Worst Cyberthreat

b2ap3_thumbnail_get_your_encryption_key_400.jpgThere are many types of malware out there, but few are as scary as ransomware. Imagine being struck by a threat that instantaneously locks down your files and keeps you from accessing them until you pay a certain amount of money. If your business is targeted by ransomware, would you be able to protect it from dragging your operations into a bitter pit of despair?

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