These Police Officers Called for Backup… and it was Infected with Ransomware

The police exist to serve, protect, and enforce the law, but who can we turn to if even the cops are made victim of a cyberattack? This is the question the residents of Cockrell, Texas have to answer, as their police department fell victim to a ransomware attack known as the Osiris Ransomware.

Before you start to worry too much about this terrible new strain of ransomware, you should know that “Osiris” has been identified as a recent version of the Locky ransomware. The police department likely only referred to it as “Osiris” due to their encrypted files all sporting the extension “.osiris.”

This began as many ransomware attacks do; an on-screen message notified the police that their files had been locked, and would only be unlocked if the department paid up the demanded $4,000. As happens far too often, the ransomware was introduced into their system when a member of the department opened a spoofed email that appeared to be an official department communication. In keeping to best practices, the police’s IT department elected to restore the infected server’s files from a backup.
Unfortunately, the backup they had to restore from was taken after their systems had been infected, meaning that all they had were more locked and infected files.

This caused Cockrell authorities no small amount of trouble, as the encrypted files included years and years of photographic and video evidence to be used to prosecute cases. Time will only tell how much of an impact this will have on legal proceedings.

These events serve as a warning to all who rely on data in order to do their job, including businesses everywhere. It is essential to remember that your security is only as good as the people who are given access to your data. Furthermore, it reinforces the importance of keeping more than just one backup of your system. Backing up incrementally, and storing archived backups off site will usually safeguard a business from having the entire backup corrupted in the event of ransomware like this.

Contact Us

Reach out to us at (844) 493-0015 so we can optimize your IT to protect you against ransomware and other critical issues.

The police exist to serve, protect, and enforce the law, but who can we turn to if even the cops are made victim of a cyberattack? This is the question the residents of Cockrell, Texas have to answer, as their police department fell victim to a ransomware attack known as the Osiris Ransomware.

Before you start to worry too much about this terrible new strain of ransomware, you should know that “Osiris” has been identified as a recent version of the Locky ransomware. The police department likely only referred to it as “Osiris” due to their encrypted files all sporting the extension “.osiris.”

This began as many ransomware attacks do; an on-screen message notified the police that their files had been locked, and would only be unlocked if the department paid up the demanded $4,000. As happens far too often, the ransomware was introduced into their system when a member of the department opened a spoofed email that appeared to be an official department communication. In keeping to best practices, the police’s IT department elected to restore the infected server’s files from a backup.
Unfortunately, the backup they had to restore from was taken after their systems had been infected, meaning that all they had were more locked and infected files.

This caused Cockrell authorities no small amount of trouble, as the encrypted files included years and years of photographic and video evidence to be used to prosecute cases. Time will only tell how much of an impact this will have on legal proceedings.

These events serve as a warning to all who rely on data in order to do their job, including businesses everywhere. It is essential to remember that your security is only as good as the people who are given access to your data. Furthermore, it reinforces the importance of keeping more than just one backup of your system. Backing up incrementally, and storing archived backups off site will usually safeguard a business from having the entire backup corrupted in the event of ransomware like this.

Contact Us

Reach out to us at (844) 493-0015 so we can optimize your IT to protect you against ransomware and other critical issues.

Tip of the Week: You May Want to Remove Your Wi-Fi Information From the WiGLE Database

The next time you look at your device’s available Wi-Fi connections when in public, take a look at what some of the local connection names are. Chances are that you’ll see some names that match a nearby organization or family. Others might still be using the default SSID, like Linksys/Netgear-something-or-other. Others might get a little more creative. The latter example may have the right idea; using an obscure wireless network name is much more secure than naming your connection after what it’s associated with.

That’s not to say that those who have named their home Wi-Fi networks things like “FBI Surveillance Van 3” or “Pretty Fly for a Wi-Fi” are in the right, but you get the idea. Instead of misleading people with your SSID, you want to think of your wireless network’s name as a shield against possible hacking attacks. In fact, it’s recommended that you don’t broadcast it at all if you can help it, but this isn’t always an option–especially for organizations that offer Wi-Fi to the public as part of their consumer obligation.

One website in particular highlights the importance of naming your Wi-Fi network something inconspicuous. A service called WiGLE collects information from wireless networks and compiles it in an online database that’s searchable. WiGLE also offers software solutions that can map, query, and update these databases. Among the uses for WiGLE are: educating the public, research projects, site surveys, journalism, analyzing wireless usage, and finding usable networks while on the go.

Knowing that a tool like this exists, should make you stop and ask several questions. If your wireless network’s data is being collected, is it at risk? Is it something that you should be worried about? How do you remove your business’s wireless network from WiGLE? Well, WiGLE has posted answers to all of these questions:

“If your network is in WiGLE and you don’t like it, we’ll take it out immediately, but you should look into making your network harder to detect AND more secure; remember that you’re the one bombarding passers-by with your signal. We aren’t affiliated directly with any particular community or interest (other than our own), but we applaud the efforts of the people who wrote the stumbling software that feeds our project, the people looking to use wireless in innovative ways, and especially the community of people who just dig wireless network access and dig sharing it.”

To learn more, you can access the website here.
What are your thoughts on WiGLE? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to reach out to us for help securing your company’s wireless network.

Contact Us

Are you confident in the security of your wireless network? Don’t hesitate to call us at (844) 493-0015 if you feel it’s time to audit one of your most targetable entry-points.

The next time you look at your device’s available Wi-Fi connections when in public, take a look at what some of the local connection names are. Chances are that you’ll see some names that match a nearby organization or family. Others might still be using the default SSID, like Linksys/Netgear-something-or-other. Others might get a little more creative. The latter example may have the right idea; using an obscure wireless network name is much more secure than naming your connection after what it’s associated with.

That’s not to say that those who have named their home Wi-Fi networks things like “FBI Surveillance Van 3” or “Pretty Fly for a Wi-Fi” are in the right, but you get the idea. Instead of misleading people with your SSID, you want to think of your wireless network’s name as a shield against possible hacking attacks. In fact, it’s recommended that you don’t broadcast it at all if you can help it, but this isn’t always an option–especially for organizations that offer Wi-Fi to the public as part of their consumer obligation.

One website in particular highlights the importance of naming your Wi-Fi network something inconspicuous. A service called WiGLE collects information from wireless networks and compiles it in an online database that’s searchable. WiGLE also offers software solutions that can map, query, and update these databases. Among the uses for WiGLE are: educating the public, research projects, site surveys, journalism, analyzing wireless usage, and finding usable networks while on the go.

Knowing that a tool like this exists, should make you stop and ask several questions. If your wireless network’s data is being collected, is it at risk? Is it something that you should be worried about? How do you remove your business’s wireless network from WiGLE? Well, WiGLE has posted answers to all of these questions:

“If your network is in WiGLE and you don’t like it, we’ll take it out immediately, but you should look into making your network harder to detect AND more secure; remember that you’re the one bombarding passers-by with your signal. We aren’t affiliated directly with any particular community or interest (other than our own), but we applaud the efforts of the people who wrote the stumbling software that feeds our project, the people looking to use wireless in innovative ways, and especially the community of people who just dig wireless network access and dig sharing it.”

To learn more, you can access the website here.
What are your thoughts on WiGLE? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to reach out to us for help securing your company’s wireless network.

Contact Us

Are you confident in the security of your wireless network? Don’t hesitate to call us at (844) 493-0015 if you feel it’s time to audit one of your most targetable entry-points.

Tip of the Week: Stuck Using a Public PC? Be Sure to Follow These 2 Privacy Tips

Full disclosure: we don’t recommend doing anything important, or really anything at all, on a public computer. However, we understand that sometimes life works out in an unideal fashion, and sometimes you can be stuck doing something you shouldn’t, and otherwise wouldn’t. Even in these cases, there are steps you can take to preserve your security.

Despite the explosion in mobile device connectivity, the use of public computers is still remarkably common. Unfortunately, the same remarks can’t be said about their relative security. These open devices tend to have few solutions in place–if any–especially when compared to the average privately-held device.

However, as we go through the steps you need to take while using a public computer, we will also go through some alternatives that you really should consider implementing before you find yourself in this risky situation.

Use a Private Browser

The default settings for most web browsers are designed, more or less, for a single user’s exclusive use. This is why your browser collects data like your history, what you’ve downloaded, and account credentials. It’s all done to make the user’s experience simpler–which, on a private machine, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

However, these capabilities don’t just go away because more than one person uses the computer, and so if you enter some sensitive credentials, the next user may be able to access and utilize them as well. Using a private browser prevents you from leaving those digital footprints on the machine by having it “forget” what you were just using it to access.

Keep in mind, private browsers aren’t a cure-all when it comes to your online security. Even though the computer itself won’t have a record of your browsing, it doesn’t mean that private browsers wipe your trail from the Internet as well. In order to do that, there are other measures you’ll have to take.

Use a Virtual Private Network

Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, are a step up from a private browser. Once a user logs in to their VPN, their IP address is effectively shielded from view, and their activity is processed through an encrypted virtual tunnel. Using proxy servers that span across the globe, your identity and location are shielded enough that you will never be the target of an opportunistic attack.

As far as price is concerned with a VPN, there are free options out there, as well as many very reasonably priced, paid varieties. Your VPN would need to be set up on your office network before you plan on using it from an outside location.

When it comes to doing business while travelling, it’s only natural that the urge is there to use whatever is available. However, if you must decide between productivity and security, it is much more prudent to prioritize security. After all, without your security, you may just find that your finished product has been tampered with or stolen.

On the topic of security, it cannot be said enough that using a public computer in any professional capacity is simply not a risk that is worth taking. There is simply no way that you may be sure that your data is absolutely safe.

Contact Us

JDL Group can help you maintain your security in situations like these. Give us a call at 973.607.2140 to learn more.

Full disclosure: we don’t recommend doing anything important, or really anything at all, on a public computer. However, we understand that sometimes life works out in an unideal fashion, and sometimes you can be stuck doing something you shouldn’t, and otherwise wouldn’t. Even in these cases, there are steps you can take to preserve your security.

Despite the explosion in mobile device connectivity, the use of public computers is still remarkably common. Unfortunately, the same remarks can’t be said about their relative security. These open devices tend to have few solutions in place–if any–especially when compared to the average privately-held device.

However, as we go through the steps you need to take while using a public computer, we will also go through some alternatives that you really should consider implementing before you find yourself in this risky situation.

Use a Private Browser

The default settings for most web browsers are designed, more or less, for a single user’s exclusive use. This is why your browser collects data like your history, what you’ve downloaded, and account credentials. It’s all done to make the user’s experience simpler–which, on a private machine, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

However, these capabilities don’t just go away because more than one person uses the computer, and so if you enter some sensitive credentials, the next user may be able to access and utilize them as well. Using a private browser prevents you from leaving those digital footprints on the machine by having it “forget” what you were just using it to access.

Keep in mind, private browsers aren’t a cure-all when it comes to your online security. Even though the computer itself won’t have a record of your browsing, it doesn’t mean that private browsers wipe your trail from the Internet as well. In order to do that, there are other measures you’ll have to take.

Use a Virtual Private Network

Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, are a step up from a private browser. Once a user logs in to their VPN, their IP address is effectively shielded from view, and their activity is processed through an encrypted virtual tunnel. Using proxy servers that span across the globe, your identity and location are shielded enough that you will never be the target of an opportunistic attack.

As far as price is concerned with a VPN, there are free options out there, as well as many very reasonably priced, paid varieties. Your VPN would need to be set up on your office network before you plan on using it from an outside location.

When it comes to doing business while travelling, it’s only natural that the urge is there to use whatever is available. However, if you must decide between productivity and security, it is much more prudent to prioritize security. After all, without your security, you may just find that your finished product has been tampered with or stolen.

On the topic of security, it cannot be said enough that using a public computer in any professional capacity is simply not a risk that is worth taking. There is simply no way that you may be sure that your data is absolutely safe.

Contact Us

JDL Group can help you maintain your security in situations like these. Give us a call at 973.607.2140 to learn more.