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IT News
July/August 2017  
In This Issue

All 2017 eRecycling proceeds are donated to Kate's Club.  Kate's Club empowers children facing life after the death of a parent or sibling. Read more about their mission here!
 
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Malware threats continue to rise.  In this issue, we give an update on recent threats and suggestions for protection.

Microsoft Office 2007 reaches the end-of-support in 2017, meaning there will be no updates or support options. Office 365 or Office 2016 are good replacements.  Please reach out if you have questions or want to discuss options.

As always, send questions, suggestions or comments!

Mary
Computer Security for Employees - It's a Jungle Out There and You Need Protection
Technology alone cannot keep us safe online.  Trained and vigilant, employees are the most effective protection for phishing and CEO Fraud scams.

LAN Systems has designed an employee training program focused on the latest threats. We use real examples to show you how to spot the clues and avoid the traps. Don't be a victim, learn how to recognize a cyber scam.
 
If you are interested in the training for your company or organization, please contact lauren@lansystems.com.
 
Cyber Safety for Employees - Petya and WannaCry Update
Petya . . . the latest in encrypting Ransomware
Petya, WannaCry and variants have attacked thousands of computers, hundreds of companies and is causing havoc in cyberspace. It seems there is no end to the mischief these outbreaks have caused. Adding insult to injury, victims cannot pay the ransom because the email address to confirm payment has been shutdown by authorities. But, you can avoid the disaster by using some common and computer sense.
 

Separating truth from hype

It is so hard to know what is real. You can read all the available information and still have no idea how to protect your computer. Often it seems the best thing to do is just turn off all your electronics, but there must be a better way. And there is if you take precautions.

Update your operating system

If you are still using XP and Server 2003, update your operating system. Unless you have a compelling reason, like legacy software, to use a non-supported operating system, upgrade it. In the unique circumstance where you are bound to use an out-of-date OS, make sure it is not accessible from your network or the Internet and that you have the highest level of security and monitoring available.

Keep your systems patched

Even current, supported operating systems and applications need patching. As vulnerabilities are uncovered and new features are added, software vendors will issue patches. Basically, there are two types of patches, critical and non-critical. Always apply critical patches.
In a rare move, Microsoft issued patches for non-supported operating systems to combat the WannaCry outbreak. The malware used a vulnerability deep in the operating system that could be patched.

Become an expert on how to detect a phishing attack

Whether an email, IM, phone call or website, something that tricks you into doing something that gives up your personal information or grants access to your computer is a phishing attack. As you can imagine, the name comes from fishing. You bait a hook and see what you get. It is not surprising that so many people are taken in by phishing scams. The scams are quite plentiful and the bait looks like the real thing. Phishing is the number one way of delivering ransomware. Learn how to spot them and avoid being a victim. Remember, just like learning anything, it takes practice to spot phishing and other online scams. Keep your eyes open and be vigilant.
For more information, see our article: Cyber Security for Employees - Phishing

Have a current, offline backup

Take a moment to review your backup strategy. There are only two questions that you need to answer:  
  1. Is your backup current?
  2. Do you have an offline copy of your backup?
If you answered no to either of these questions, stop right now and fix your backup. For more information, see our article: Data Backup - Easy as 3-2-1

Err on the side of caution

If you have any doubt, stop. Get someone to look at it with you. Think about it. Look at it again. Remember, the phisher is hoping you will act impulsively, not rationally. Often, if you look harder at phishing attempts the scam becomes clear. Take a second look, it could prevent the nightmare of identity theft and ransomware. If you believe an email or other communication may be legitimate, contact the company directly to inquire before doing anything.
If you see something suspicious, report it. Merchants, banks and law enforcement should be contacted if you suspect your identity has been stolen. Phishing can be reported to US-CERT at phishing-report@us-cert.gov   , the Anti-Phishing Working Group at reportphishing@antiphishing.org , FTC at spam@uce.gov   or the Internet Service Provider/Registrar. If you see something that concerns you and want to discuss, you can contact at our HelpDesk at 770 662-0312 or email HelpDesk@lansystems.com.
Data Backup - Easy as 3-2-1
A good and complete data backup of your computer system is your first line of defense against data loss.  And a little planning will protect you against a variety of mishaps. Whether your data is lost because of a disaster or held for ransom from a hacker, your data backup will save the day.  You can do the backup yourself or hire a managed services company to schedule and maintain,  Either way, it is important to understand your options. 
   
An easy-to-understand strategy is the 3-2-1 backup plan. It has been used for years in the computer industry as a formula to protect data. This type of backup plan is simple but adequately safeguards data so that if the worst happens, the system can be rebuilt and the data restored - quickly and reliably.
3: Keep three copies of critical data.  Be sure to have three unique copies of any data that you want to protect stored in three different places, including bare metal images, databases or files of any type. Having your data stored in multiple locations is important because it lessens the risk that a disaster would destroy more than one copy of your data. For instance, the local storage on an internal hard drive, external disk, NAS, tape, DVD, flash drive and Cloud can all count toward your three copies. Preferably, store external disks or tapes offsite in a fire-proof location. Cloud backup has built in redundancy by the provider but should only be counted as one of your three copies. It is important that the data is under your control and easily accessible.
2: Have your data on two types of media.  Today, this primarily means on media in two different locations. Because disks are so reliable and economical today, they are the most common type of media used for small business backup. Even though tape backups are no longer used as widely in small business, it still has popularity in large environments. If you are backing up to the Cloud, it is likely to be saved to disk with tape archiving.
1: One copy must be offsite and offline.  This is the critical copy that can be used to restore your system in case of a disaster where your IT resources are seriously compromised or destroyed. A tape or disk backup that's offsite at a remote location will meet this criteria. But remote, cloud-based backup will not, unless it is also an offline copy.
Missing from the steps is one specifically for verification. Testing your data backup might be implied in the rule but I like to add a zero so there is no question that the backup will be tested.
Often business owners are overwhelmed with the variety of backup solutions, but don't let the complexity prevent you from taking action. Use the simple rules of the 3-2-1 data backup plan with today's technology to safeguard your business from even the worst disaster.
Contact us for a free roadmap that you can use to evaluate or create a backup strategy for your company.