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CTN Solutions has been serving the greater Philadelphia area since 1997, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

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

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 SamSam Ransomware Is Absolutely No Joke

The funny thing about ransomware is their 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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A Ransomware Cyberattack Struck Atlanta, Georgia

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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A New Perspective on Ransomware

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What the Future Holds for Ransomware

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.


Ransomware locks down files on your business infrastructure. Through ransomware, it’s easy to cripple a business by limiting access to important information or files located on an infrastructure. If the user fails to pay the ransom, they risk losing their data for good. Even if they do pay the ransom, there’s no guarantee that the hacker will give up the encryption key. The user is presented with a conundrum; pay up for a potential to get your data back or ignore the request and hope for the best.

Ransomware was primarily spread through the use of spam when it was first introduced to the online environment. Hackers would create ransomware campaigns to spread it to as many users as possible, hoping that any number of them would choose to pay up rather than lose access to their precious files. As time went on, however, ransomware became used in a more targeted fashion. Rather than claim as many targets as possible, hackers instead chose to go after only those who were most likely to pay up with spear phishing tactics designed to fool even the most stalwart and mindful user. In many cases, these targeted attempts were made against businesses, whom value data more than the average end user might.

These spear phishing attempts are incredibly difficult to identify for the untrained eye, and the amount of damage they could inflict on your company is untold. Your employees need to be able to identify potential ransomware threats. Even the cautious approach might not be enough, however, as the future of ransomware could potentially hold even more dangerous threats. Already, hackers are taking advantage of threats that can be purchased on the online black market, including ransomware threats, vulnerabilities, and even lists of targets. How can a small business protect themselves from such a prominent threat?

It all starts by remaining as mindful of security best practices as often as possible. By this, we mean trusting no suspicious message in your inbox without first double-checking any information found in it. If you receive an unsolicited message with an attachment claiming to be a resume, bank statement, shipping information, or anything else that seems out of place, think twice before downloading it. The same can be said for any links that cannot be verified as secured.

Is your business prepared to handle the next generation of ransomware? While we don’t know what the future holds, we know that you can confidently face it with security services from CTN. To learn more, reach out to us at (610) 828-5500.

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Targeted Ransomware Checks for Particular Attributes

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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30 Schools Shut Down In Montana After Cyber Attack

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.


TheDarkOverlord Solutions also went as far as to make graphic death threats against the children attending the schools, taking advantage of the memory of recent school shootings. This hack resulted from the Columbia Falls district server being targeted, which contained all sorts of personal data belonging to residents of the school district. This includes addresses, medical histories, behavioral history, and other information that’s helpful to cybercriminals. Thanks to these events, 30 schools closed and canceled any weekend activities. When class resumed, there was more security in place.

TheDarkOverlord Solutions, true to its name, targets individuals that have particularly lucrative data on the line. In July 2017, they were responsible for a major information harvest from healthcare providers which resulted in almost 9.5 million records going up for sale on the black market. These records were reportedly stolen from a clinic, a healthcare provider, and a health insurance provider.

This same group also reached out and made their name known by stealing media from Netflix. The popular series Orange is the New Black was released prior to its actual release date, thumbing the nose of the audio post-production studio that provided a ransom of $50,000. It just goes to show that you can never trust a thief!

All signs point toward the Columbia Falls school district to not pay the ransom demanded of them. They made the correct choice by not giving in to the demands of hackers, as there is no reasonable expectation that the data will be handed back. If they do decide to pay the ransom, it’s money that’s just going toward funding further ransomware attacks. Plus, if they are willing to pay, it just shows that the tactic actually works.

The best way to stay secure is to protect your organization against all types of threats. To learn more, reach out to CTN at (610) 828-5500.

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

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%. Are you’re doing all you can to prevent 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!


  1. The First Line of Defense: You and your employees are the first line of defense against ransomware - and all malware. Educating yourself and your employees on the dangers and best practices to keep yourself, your data, and your network safe against ransomware is honestly the best way to protect your business from a cyber threat. Keep yourself apprised of the best ways to prevent victimization.
  2. Whatever You Do… DON’T PAY THE RANSOM: You might have heard this before. It’s something that nearly everyone discussing ransomware says or writes about at some point. Paying ransom is no guarantee that you’re going to get your data back. In fact, the first payment is often a gateway to increasing demands and your data is still gone. Don’t Pay the Ransom! Instead of paying the criminals who have hijacked your data - contact your IT service provider and let them know what is happening.
  3. Backing Up Data on a Regular Basis: Regularly backing up data is the most effective way to prevent losing your data from ransomware. In the event that a ransomware attack does find its way onto your network, you have a copy of that network and data backed up in its entirety from just a few minutes before. Make sure that a copy of that backup is not stored on the infected network, or lost to hackers.
  4. Keep Security Software and Patches Up-to-Date: New ransomware is always being introduced. New variants of malware are always being created, which threaten your network. Luckily, your operating system and software are always working overtime to come up with ways to keep your data and network secure. Updating your security software and paying attention to patches is a great way to make sure that you’re protected when ransomware strikes.
  5. Beware of Email: One of the primary methods of ransomware transmission and infection is email. Users should be cautious of any email that is unsolicited or unexpected, particularly if there is a link or attachment.

For Microsoft Windows users, there is a lot of good information about ransomware contained on the Ransomware FAQ that is regularly updated in the Windows Defender Security Intelligence (WDSI) database of threats to Windows computers. That is just for starters - for those of you who want to make sure they’re doing everything possible to reduce their chance of contracting ransomware, reach out our security experts today at (610) 828-5500.

It’s estimated that ransomware attacks will cost businesses $5 billion in 2017 and that number only includes those who pay ransom. Imagine if everyone who was attacked paid their ransom. Are you familiar with these five ransomware tips? Is there anything else you have found to be effective? Let us know in the comments below.

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ALERT: Massive Ransomware Attack is the Biggest Ever

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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A Look Back at 2016’s Biggest Cyber Security Stories

A Look Back at 2016’s Biggest Cyber Security Stories

2016 saw many notorious data breaches, along with developments in malware and other threats to security. It’s always helpful to reflect on these developments so that the knowledge can be used in the future to aid in developing new strategies for taking on the latest threats. How will your business learn from the mistakes of others in 2017?

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5 Best Practices to Protect Your Business From Ransomware

5 Best Practices to Protect Your Business From Ransomware

Ransomware is an online threat that continues to develop and evolve to accommodate the motives of cyber criminals around the world. Ransomware locks down your business’s files and demands a decryption key for their safe return, which makes it difficult (or impossible) to move forward with operations. How can you prevent ransomware from destroying your business’s chances of survival?

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Ransomware: A Hated Malware With an Intriguing Past

Ransomware: A Hated Malware With an Intriguing Past

The short, yet devastating, history of ransomware is littered with what amounts to individual horror stories. As you may well know, ransomware, is a particularly devious and potentially devastating strain of malware that, when enacted, locks a computer’s files down so that the user can’t access them. In their stead, a message is relayed that instructs them to contact a third party to pay a ransom for access to the files. This is where the threat gets its name.

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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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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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