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Alerts

WannaCry Ransomware Outbreak

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You may have heard about the WannaCry ransomware attack that affected computer users worldwide (see this BBC story for the full details along with some technical details at Bleeping Computer). If Weston patches your Windows systems as part of our CompleteCare or other managed patching services, we applied a Microsoft patch to your covered machines back in mid-March that will help protect your computer from this particular ransomware (we also forced the install of the patch recently for machines that hadn’t been online for a while). However, this is yet another reminder to be extremely vigilant about what links you click on and what emails you open. Backups and business continuity planning are also critical if you are infected (read our recent whitepaper for more information on the Business Guide to Ransomware).

Even if you get an email and attachment from someone that you know, if you were not expecting it, contact that person and make sure it was sent by them. Many of these attacks utilize software that will attempt to impersonate an email user and send an email to everyone in their contact list.

If you are a HIPAA-regulated environment (or even if you're not), we recommend reading our blog article on ransomware and HIPAA and the various ways you can help protect yourself

Backups are still the best way to protect yourself. If you do manage to get encrypted with early variants of WannaCry, don’t reboot your computer as the recently-released Wannakey tool might be able to get the encryption keys. The early versions of the malware were poorly written and had a kill switch that slowed things down from becoming a lot worse than it was (new variants have since fixed those flaws).

It's a brave new world out there, stay vigilant.

-- Your Weston Support Team

Microsoft Word Vulnerability

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Microsoft Word 2013 logoA vulnerability has been discovered in Microsoft Word that could allow malware to get into your system. Microsoft is working on a fix or this, but for at least the next couple of weeks be especially vigilant if you receive a Microsoft Word attachment from someone that you don't know.

If you get a document from someone that you do know that you were not expecting, it is a good idea to check with them and make sure that they sent it. It only takes a minute to check versus the hours to clean up and the possible loss of data if something gets through.

This is a good reminder that it's a cruel digital world out there so definitely don't click on links or attachments from anyone you don't know, and view with suspicion any links or attachments from someone you do know that you were not expecting (especially those that are asking for you to pay an invoice or transfer money). WestonBlock and our antivirus software should block most of these but nothing beats plain old vigilance.

More technical info on the Microsoft Word vulnerability for those of you interested can be found here

Don't hesitate to contact us at if you have any further questions.

-- Your Weston Support Team

Weston Holiday Office Schedule

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Weston's offices will be closed on the following days this upcoming holiday season:

  • Thanksgiving (11/24-11/25).
  • End Of The Year Company-wide Meetings (12/9-12/10).
  • Christmas Eve Observed and Christmas Day Observed (12/23-12/26).
  • New Years Day Observed (1/2/16).

Emergency support for network-down and complete work-stoppage situations is available for our CompleteCare and WestonEssentials clients by calling your local Weston office and following the telephone prompts to contact the after-hours emergency consultant (emergency after-hours rates will apply):

  • Bend: (541) 383-2340
  • Anchorage: (907) 375-8324
  • Spokane: (509) 228-7718

Weston wishes all of you a safe and enjoyable holiday season!

Healthcare Data Breaches are on the Rise

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healthcareitFrom HealthcareITNews, more breaches happened in Q3 of 2016 than in the previous two quarters. Some 118 security incidents were either reported to the Department of Health and Human Services or first disclosed in the media in Q3 2016, compared with 89 in Q2 and 63 in Q1. Based on the types of breaches from the article, proper protections may have alleviated some of breaches or prevented them from happening in the first place.

Avoid "Budget Forecast" Emails

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windows 7 zip iconOver the last few days, we have seen an uptick in folks receiving an email with subject “budget forecast” (or something similar). This email has an attachment in zip format. Please do not open this or any other attachments in zip format from anyone that you do not know. Even if it is from someone that you do know, make sure and check with the purported sender to make sure that they actually sent it. Those zip files generally contain malware, usually in the form of virus-ridden Excel or Word documents (which we've discussed before on our blog).

You'll see what the icon looks like (roughly, as it's different, depending on the version of Windows you're using) to the right of this text.

As a reminder, always view attachments with suspicion and do not open any that are from someone that you do not know. Or, as stated above, even if it is from someone you know, make sure that they sent it. Apply the same rules to emails with links that invite you to click on them (here are some tips to recognize phishing scams).

It only takes a few minutes to check the validity of an email, where it can take hours to clean up a virus, not to mention the downtime and potential loss of files it can cost you.

Thanks and stay vigilant!

Tagged in: Email Security Tips Virus