27 March

Protect Yourself from Ransomware Attacks

Posted

security_vector_icon_368The virtual criminal underworld has adopted a new way to make a quick dishonest buck through “ransomware,” a practice by which cyber criminals use spam to access and hold your files ransom.

According to the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), ransomware cases began popping up in 2013. In less than one week after the phenomenon’s emergence, more than 12,000 users fell victim to ransomware schemes, largely through infected emails.

The most common ransomware on the scene is CryptoLocker. By using the same techniques used to encrypt files for good, cyber criminals have found a way to put data behind bars… and then dangle the key in front of you.

Here’s how it works:

A user is exposed to spam through an email or link, which opens the door for the games to begin. That spam often includes a malware attachment that infects the user’s PC. It attaches and encrypts all of the user’s documents. At that point, they’re locked out of their own data. In the midst of this, they’re provided a link to unlock their files – for a price, typically between $100 and $300.

Will the hackers start to adjust the price based on the number of files? Almost certainly. The number of CryptoLocker-like attacks is going to skyrocket, which means the need to guard against these attacks is more important than ever.

Here’s what you can do to protect yourself:

  • Use a good spam filter. Spam is still the #1 entry point for malware.
  • Use a good firewall with application defense and antivirus features. Packet filters don’t cut it.
  • Use a good AV/anti-malware product. They are not perfect, but they will stop a lot of the junk before it has a chance to do damage.
  • Use software restriction policies on Windows and blacklist known malware executables.
  • Keep your systems patched. Java, Acrobat and other problem programs can be used to automatically launch malware.
  • Use a good backup system. If you don’t pay the ransom, you better have some good backups to recover from.
  • Restrict user rights. CryptoLocker can only encrypt files the user has access to.
  • Use your brain. Most malware doesn’t work without one crucial ingredient: a sucker to open the email or attachment. User awareness is key.
  • Respond quickly. “Ransomware” needs time to encrypt files. Shut down infected machines immediately and live CD-based tools to clean up the mess.

 

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17 March

20 Years, 25,000 Custom-Made Computers

Posted

It’s a milestone that takes Citon Computer Corp founders Steven Dastoor and Sean Dean down memory lane.

What started as a company that solely built custom computers has now grown into one that offers a broad spectrum of IT services, including its cloud computing center and information security practice.

Yet even with its growth, it hasn’t abandoned its roots. This month marks a major milestone for Citon, as it celebrates the construction of its 25,000th custom-made computing device.

The first Citon computer stands next to the company's 25,000th model, representing how far technology -- and Citon -- has come in 20 years.

The first Citon computer stands next to the company’s 25,000th model, representing how far technology — and Citon — has come in 20 years.

The timer began ticking in 1994 when Citon opened its doors for business. Twenty years later, the creation of the 25,000th custom-made machine is reminding employees just how far they’ve come.

“We are really passionate about getting the right technology in the hands of our customers,” Dastoor said. “Some twenty years ago, the only way was to sit down and understand the actual need before designing the system. While the landscape for PCs has certainly evolved, the theory remains the same. We want to diagnose the need before we prescribe a solution, be that for security, mobility or high-performance. Or in many cases, all three.”

While Citon has always stood against solid competition in the world of computing, two key factors have propelled it to success: a quality, custom-made product and the promise of outstanding customer service.

“That’s one of the main reasons they choose us,” Dan Murto, Citon’s System Build Supervisor, said. “They know we build a great product, and you don’t get much more local than this…. They do it for the great localized service and our ability to be boutique while adhering to industry best practices.”

Citon’s custom-made computer customers run the gamut – from home users to hospitals. While many of the custom-builds have remained in relatively normal territory, Citon has been stretched over the years to create products that are out-of-this-world, literally.

A mining company approached Citon, seeking a machine with the horsepower to 3D map the planet– and Citon delivered.

That wasn’t the only time Citon stepped outside of the box. On another occasion, Citon built a computer to generate airflow dynamics models.

For Citon employees, these are the projects that keep life interesting, yet it’s their mission to help area businesses succeed that keeps it growing – from 25,000 computers and beyond.

17 March

20 Years, 25,000 Custom-Made Computers

Posted

It’s a milestone that takes Citon Computer Corp founders Steven Dastoor and Sean Dean down memory lane.

What started as a company that solely built custom computers has now grown into one that offers a broad spectrum of IT services, including its cloud computing center and information security practice.

Yet even with its growth, it hasn’t abandoned its roots. This month marks a major milestone for Citon, as it celebrates the construction of its 25,000th custom-made computing device.

The first Citon computer stands next to the company's 25,000th model, representing how far technology -- and Citon -- has come in 20 years.

The first Citon computer stands next to the company’s 25,000th model, representing how far technology — and Citon — has come in 20 years.

The timer began ticking in 1994 when Citon opened its doors for business. Twenty years later, the creation of the 25,000th custom-made machine is reminding employees just how far they’ve come.

“We are really passionate about getting the right technology in the hands of our customers,” Dastoor said. “Some twenty years ago, the only way was to sit down and understand the actual need before designing the system. While the landscape for PCs has certainly evolved, the theory remains the same. We want to diagnose the need before we prescribe a solution, be that for security, mobility or high-performance. Or in many cases, all three.”

While Citon has always stood against solid competition in the world of computing, two key factors have propelled it to success: a quality, custom-made product and the promise of outstanding customer service.

“That’s one of the main reasons they choose us,” Dan Murto, Citon’s System Build Supervisor, said. “They know we build a great product, and you don’t get much more local than this…. They do it for the great localized service and our ability to be boutique while adhering to industry best practices.”

Citon’s custom-made computer customers run the gamut – from home users to hospitals. While many of the custom-builds have remained in relatively normal territory, Citon has been stretched over the years to create products that are out-of-this-world, literally.

A mining company approached Citon, seeking a machine with the horsepower to 3D map the planet– and Citon delivered.

That wasn’t the only time Citon stepped outside of the box. On another occasion, Citon built a computer to generate airflow dynamics models.

For Citon employees, these are the projects that keep life interesting, yet it’s their mission to help area businesses succeed that keeps it growing – from 25,000 computers and beyond.

17 March

20 Years, 25,000 Custom-Made Computers

Posted

It’s a milestone that takes Citon Computer Corp founders Steven Dastoor and Sean Dean down memory lane.

What started as a company that solely built custom computers has now grown into one that offers a broad spectrum of IT services, including its cloud computing center and information security practice.

Yet even with its growth, it hasn’t abandoned its roots. This month marks a major milestone for Citon, as it celebrates the construction of its 25,000th custom-made computing device.

The first Citon computer stands next to the company's 25,000th model, representing how far technology -- and Citon -- has come in 20 years.

The first Citon computer stands next to the company’s 25,000th model, representing how far technology — and Citon — has come in 20 years.

The timer began ticking in 1994 when Citon opened its doors for business. Twenty years later, the creation of the 25,000th custom-made machine is reminding employees just how far they’ve come.

“We are really passionate about getting the right technology in the hands of our customers,” Dastoor said. “Some twenty years ago, the only way was to sit down and understand the actual need before designing the system. While the landscape for PCs has certainly evolved, the theory remains the same. We want to diagnose the need before we prescribe a solution, be that for security, mobility or high-performance. Or in many cases, all three.”

While Citon has always stood against solid competition in the world of computing, two key factors have propelled it to success: a quality, custom-made product and the promise of outstanding customer service.

“That’s one of the main reasons they choose us,” Dan Murto, Citon’s System Build Supervisor, said. “They know we build a great product, and you don’t get much more local than this…. They do it for the great localized service and our ability to be boutique while adhering to industry best practices.”

Citon’s custom-made computer customers run the gamut – from home users to hospitals. While many of the custom-builds have remained in relatively normal territory, Citon has been stretched over the years to create products that are out-of-this-world, literally.

A mining company approached Citon, seeking a machine with the horsepower to 3D map the planet– and Citon delivered.

That wasn’t the only time Citon stepped outside of the box. On another occasion, Citon built a computer to generate airflow dynamics models.

For Citon employees, these are the projects that keep life interesting, yet it’s their mission to help area businesses succeed that keeps it growing – from 25,000 computers and beyond.