5 things to know about the Wanna Cry ransomware

On Friday, May 12th companies and organizations around the world starting dealing with attacks by a ransomware strain variously known as WannaCrypt, WanaDecrypt and Wanna.Cry. Ransomware encrypts a victim’s documents, images, music and other files unless the victim pays for a key to unlock them, if at all.

This story has been everywhere, even my precious local news, so I figured we should give you some information as well.

Here are some things we think you should know about this story:

  • Misinformation – When we recorded the podcast Sunday night, the information I had was way off. I don’t remember my source but it was wrong. It was the NSA not CIA, $300 not $3000, and it was a security researcher not a reporter that helped curb the spread. Dave had some good sources, especially a Microsoft blog post calling for action on this type of attack.
  • What actually happened
    • Earlier this year the US government reported that data had been stolen from the National Security Agency, or NSA. Included in this was an exploit that Wanna Cry was based on.
    • In March, Microsoft released a patch for the vulnerability to its currently supported operating systems, Windows 7, 8.1 and 10. If your Windows computer was updated, it was not at risk. It only affects Windows computers.
    • There are tons of computers around the world that are not updated for one reason or another.
    • WannaCrypt was being spread primarily by phishing emails, most commonly links or attachments, and as a worm on unpatched systems. It only takes one person within a network to click a link and it will spread like wildfire through the system.
    • It is estimated that more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries were infected. The software then requires you pay about $300 in Bitcoin to unlock your files. Britain’s National Health Service, FedEx, Deutsche Bahn and LATAM Airlines were all hit.
    • A security researcher found a domain in the ransomware that was not registered, by registering it the spread was slowed.
    • We aren’t in the clear, security experts believe there are new strains being spread which bypass that domain.
    • Microsoft released a security patch even for unsupported versions of Windows.
  • These types of attacks are not slowing down! – There are new phishing and ransomware attacks showing up every day. These criminals are lazy and holding your data ransom is an easy way for them to make money.
  • How can you avoid being infected?
    • #OneBackupIsNoneBackup. You know who doesn’t need to pay the ransomware fee? People who have a good backup they can recover.
    • Pay attention to email. We get in a hurry and start clicking on links willy-nilly. Slow down, if something doesn’t seem right take a second look. Check the from address carefully, hover over links to see if the address is correct.
    • Keep your computer updated. If you’re still on Windows XP it might be time to updated. Unless you have a reason automatically install all updates.
    • Educate others. It is no good if you are doing everything right and someone else on your network gets infected and ruins it for everyone.
  • What to do if you are infected
    • Take a picture of the messages on your computer with your cell phone.
    • Turn off the computer.
    • Disconnect it from the network if hardwired.
    • Call someone. If you are at work call IT, if you are at home call someone who can help.
    • Keep your fingers crossed.

This stuff is scary and it should be, this software can do crazy things and cause tons of problems, be smart out there. If you need help contact us, we can help!

Further reading:

Episode 74: Windows 10 S-Town

Microsoft Surface Laptop S-Town

We try to solve the mystery of Microsoft’s announcements last week. Add to that some fun tech stories and tips, you have yourself another great podcast episode.

Links from the Show:

As always, thank you for listening!

Brought to you by #OneBackupIsNoneBackup

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Episode 47: Surface Studio and MacBook Pro on Fleek?

surface-studio-macbookpro

After Dave gets educated on terms the kids are using these days, we get into the week’s news, including the announcements from Microsoft and Apple. We wrap up with some epic picks of the week.

Links from the Show:

As always, thank you for listening!

Support the show: Shop Amazon

Subscribe and Review on iTunes

Contact Info:

If you would like to help support Notnerd financially, mentally or physically, please contact us via any of the methods above.
Check out this episode!

Episode 37: Nintendo, Notes and Nougat

Tokyo-2020-Mario

While we wait on Apple’s big event in a few weeks there is plenty to talk about from Microsoft and Google. Get caught up with what you need to know in tech this week!

Links from the Show:

As always, thank you for listening!

Support the show: Shop Amazon

Subscribe and Review on iTunes

Contact Info:

If you would like to help support Notnerd financially, mentally or physically, please contact us via any of the methods above.
Check out this episode!

Windows 10 Update Tips/Thoughts/Advice

Windows 10 Update
It is no secret that Microsoft has been very aggressive with wanting Windows 7 and 8.1 users to upgrade to Windows 10. They are all in on Windows 10 and say that it is the last operating system they will ever release, a bold statement to say the least. They have even been offering it as a free update to 7 and 8.1 users, which they remind you of daily and have even tried to trick you into updating.

According to Microsoft, this free update option expires July 29th, 2016 and I do not doubt they will be pushing even harder this last month to get you updated.

It is the question I have got the most lately, so I figured I would share my thoughts with you to help you decide if Windows 10 is right for you.

Disclaimers:

  • If your computer is company owned, or you use it to do work, please consult your IT department or provider. There are a lot of things that aren’t quite ready for the work environment. (If you need an IT provider, let me know)
  • If you do decide to upgrade, please be confident that you have a full backup of your computer before you start. I have seen bad things happen to people’s computers. (If you need help backing up, let me know)
  • If you use any special software, printers, scanners or anything else that is a little special, make sure it is compatible with Windows 10 before upgrading.
  • Microsoft says you can “roll back” to your earlier version of Windows if something goes wrong, don’t trust Microsoft.
  • Be careful, I have had some clients share a lot of money with me to get back up and running after trying to (or accidentally) updating to Windows 10. Did I mention having a good backup?

Who I think should upgrade (Unless any of the disclaimers above apply):

  • Unless any of the disclaimers above apply, if you are on Windows 8.1 go ahead and upgrade. There are a lot of improvements over Windows 8.1
  • People who like new things and change. If you are on Windows 7 it will seem a lot different, but not as different as Windows 8.1
  • People with newer computers. If a little sticker on your computer says Windows 8 or 10, you should be okay. I would say you should be okay if you bought your computer new in the last 2 years.

Who I think shouldn’t upgrade:

  • People with older, slower computers. If your computer has been around for a while it probably won’t be real strong with Windows 10 and might not update at all.
  • People who love Windows 7. I work with Windows 7 a lot, it is still really good and Microsoft is going to keep updating it for several more years. Maybe wait until you get a new machine to move to 10.

Other Tips and Info on Windows 10:

  • Microsoft has a Windows 10 Emulator so you can test out how it works. There is also a page with many of the Windows 10 Features.
  • If you want to stick with what you have, use the GWX Control Panel utility. You can make sure the update doesn’t happen and make the prompts go away!
  • Don’t use Microsoft’s new Edge browser, it isn’t ready for prime time. Internet Explorer is still installed or use Google Chrome.
  • Windows 10 is designed to be the same on all devices including desktops, laptops, tablets and cell phones (even though it seems like they are out of the phone game) This means it has touch features built-in and a lot flexibility, but you need a touch screen to use it.
  • If your machine falls under the too old to upgrade, start a piggy bank for a new machine. If you really want a great computer don’t forget about Apple.

If you want to hear me talk more about Windows 10 check out Episode 15 of the Notnerd Podcast.

If you have any questions, answers, stories or anything else about Windows 10 let us know here or on the social medias.

Please share this info with a friend in need of Windows 10 advice.