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Ferrum Technology Services blog

Ferrum Technology Services has been serving the Elgin area since 2007, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Phishing Attacks and How to Avoid Them

Phishing Attacks and How to Avoid Them

Phishing attacks are the bane of modern businesses, and any organization’s employees need to be cognizant of the threat they pose. Unfortunately, no matter how much you protect against them, hackers are usually crafty enough to work their way around even the most well-defended security measures. However, not even the best security measures can keep your employees from making a split-second decision to click on a link or download an infected attachment.

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Google Play Works to Reduce Ad-Fraud

Google Play Works to Reduce Ad-Fraud

What’s a smartphone without some apps to download to it? With millions of apps to choose from, developers might often have less-than-virtuous motives that put their users at risk for their own benefit. Recently, Google has removed 22 apps from the Google Play Store that were found to contain automated click-fraud scripts. We’ll delve into what these developers were up to with these fraudulent applications, as well as how they would affect the two-million users that downloaded them.

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A Look at this Year’s Worst Cybercrimes

A Look at this Year’s Worst Cybercrimes

It’s fair to say that today's organizations are faced with more online threats than ever before. To properly manage the information systems that they depend on for productivity, redundancy, and operational management, they need to ensure that they are doing what they need to do to mitigate problems stemming from the continuous flow of threats.

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Surveying the Damage of Meltdown and Spectre

Surveying the Damage of Meltdown and Spectre

At the time of this writing, it has only been about a half a year since the Meltdown and Spectre exploits became public knowledge. Fortunately, patches were swiftly rolled out to mitigate the problems that these exploits could cause, but that doesn’t mean that these exploits are dead and buried. Let’s look back at Meltdown and Spectre to help us establish where we stand today.

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Email Malware is the New Schrӧdinger’s Cat

Email Malware is the New Schrӧdinger’s Cat

There is a famous thought experiment devised by physicist Erwin Schrӧdinger, describing a very particular paradox in quantum physics through the experience of a cat. While Schrӧdinger’s cat was initially intended to demonstrate a very different phenomenon, it can also be applied to something that all businesses need to consider: their email security.

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20-Year-Old Exploit Finds New Life as ROBOT

20-Year-Old Exploit Finds New Life as ROBOT

There is no shortage of threats on the Internet, from situational issues to deliberate attacks meant to damage your company or steal your valuable data. While new threats pop up almost every day, some have been around for some time--so long, that many seem to not consider them as viable threats.

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A DDoS Attack Hits Your Productivity and Profits

A DDoS Attack Hits Your Productivity and Profits

How quickly could your business recover if it were suddenly hit by a Distributed Denial of Service, or DDoS, attack? Are you protected against the effects they could have on your operations? If asked these questions, most businesses should want to say yes, but in reality, over half lack the means to defend against DDoS.

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What It Means To Disinfect Your Computer

What It Means To Disinfect Your Computer

We have no problem going on the record as saying that there are more than enough strains of malware to go around. As such, it’s important that you know what to do if your workstation is struck by an infection.

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Alert: Homeland Security Finds U.S. Power Grid Vulnerable to CrashOverride Malware

Alert: Homeland Security Finds U.S. Power Grid Vulnerable to CrashOverride Malware

On June 12th, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a warning to power grid operators and electric utilities concerning a newly surfaced malware called CrashOverride (aka Industroyer). Only, it’s not entirely new. The world has seen this before and the fallout from it is concerning.

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Lowlife Ransomware Hackers Now Asking for More Than $1k Per Attack

Lowlife Ransomware Hackers Now Asking for More Than $1k Per Attack

Ransomware remains a very real threat, and is arguably only getting worse. Attacks are now able to come more frequently, and there are opportunities for even relative amateurs to level an attack against some unfortunate victim. However, this is not to say that there is nothing you can do to keep your business from becoming another cautionary tale.

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Don’t Assume Your New Device is Free of Malware

Don’t Assume Your New Device is Free of Malware

Imagine that, despite the extreme care you took to avoid threats from infecting your devices, they turned out to be infected anyway. However, what if the device had been infected before you had even gotten your hands on it?

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This Malware Only Needs 2 Minutes to Turn a Security Camera Into a Zombie

This Malware Only Needs 2 Minutes to Turn a Security Camera Into a Zombie

There are billions of devices that now connect to the Internet, even devices that may seem to not have any practical reason to do so. However, there is a new type of malware that uses these devices to perform attacks on the networks of all types of organizations: Mirai.

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Don’t Overlook Internal Threats as You Safeguard Your Network From External Ones

Don’t Overlook Internal Threats as You Safeguard Your Network From External Ones

Doing business on the Internet is a dangerous gambit, and not one which should be taken lightly. Every small business uses some kind of sensitive information that is valuable to hackers. Most think that preventative measures are enough to ensure their security, but the fact remains that only through threat detection and elimination can you guarantee that all issues are promptly handled.


The threats to your organization’s infrastructure are numerous and plentiful, and while some will make themselves known immediately, others will hide in plain sight. These threats are designed to either leak information or provide new outlets for hacking attacks. Regardless, it’s important to identify attacks that have weaseled their way through your defenses before they have been around long enough to cause damage.

Breaches are Inevitable
To truly understand how threat detection is just as important as threat prevention, you need to come to grips with the worst-case scenario. It’s not an uncertainty that you’ll be hacked at some point--in fact, it’s very likely, and as such, you need to make sure that you’re prepared for any and all situations, including a data breach. Even large organizations and enterprises that pride themselves on security can experience data breaches. Consider the high-profile hacks of Sony and the United States Office of Personnel, as well as the health care provider Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. If these organizations had anticipated data breaches, perhaps they may have been able to prevent them--or at least mitigate the damage.

This is why you absolutely need to expect the worst in order to keep it from happening. While preventative solutions can help, it’s also imperative that you implement ways to detect intrusions, as well as ways to eliminate threats. Only then can you be ready to tackle any and all threats that want to hurt your business.

What You Can Do
CIO recommends what they call a preventative “triad” of sorts. This includes protection, detection, and reaction. You’ll need both security solutions like a firewall, and monitoring tools that allow you to check (and eject) threats from your network.

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Alert: Largest Recorded Breach of Android Nets Hackers a Big Pay Day

Alert: Largest Recorded Breach of Android Nets Hackers a Big Pay Day

A previously known malware called Ghost Push now has a component that has caused countless problems for over a million Android users. This component, called Gooligan, is the source of the trouble, and it adds to this chaos by infecting over 13,000 new devices every day.

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5 Steps Every Business Can Take to Avoid Ransomware

5 Steps Every Business Can Take to Avoid Ransomware

Ransomware is a dangerous online entity that continues to cause problems for businesses of all sizes. Thanks to its ability to encrypt workstations and even entire networks, ransomware has made its way to the top of the threat food chain, and it’s your responsibility to protect your business from it. Since infections are (more or less) impossible to remove, your best option is to prevent infections from happening in the first place.

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Alert: New Mobile Malware Spreads via Twitter and Takes Over Your Phone

Alert: New Mobile Malware Spreads via Twitter and Takes Over Your Phone

There are countless threats out there that can mean danger for your business, but one of the most innovative to date utilizes a malicious Twitter account to administer commands to a botnet made up of infected Android devices. In fact, this is widely considered the first threat to actively use a social network in this manner, making it a wake-up call for security professionals and social media users alike.

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Did You Know Early Ransomware Spread via Floppy Disk?

Did You Know Early Ransomware Spread via Floppy Disk?

Ransomware might be a relatively new player in the battle for the Internet, but its short history shouldn’t belittle the damage that it can do to both businesses and users of personal computers. Perhaps you’ve had the misfortune to encounter it for yourself, and your files were locked down because of it. Regardless, ransomware is now a prevalent part of the online crime scene, and people are using it to extort money from innocent users, making it a considerable threat.

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When Pyramid Scheme Meets Ransomware

When Pyramid Scheme Meets Ransomware

First hackers created a formidable ransomware. Then, when word got out about how to avoid this ransomware, they began to bundle a second ransomware to create an encryption catch-22. Now, the developers of the Petya and Mischa ransomware have adopted a Ransomware-as-a-Service model and have opened their nefarious malware up to distribution.

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A Classic Example of Why You Should Only Allow Trusted Apps to Access Your Data

A Classic Example of Why You Should Only Allow Trusted Apps to Access Your Data

If your employees are given an Android device to use for work, or if they bring in their own as a part of a Bring Your Own Device strategy, you may want to pay special attention to what follows.

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Alert: Apple OS X Now at Risk of Ransomware

b2ap3_thumbnail_ransomware_now_affecting_apple_400.jpgRansomware is a major problem in both the personal and private sectors of computing, but up until very recently, Apple users had little to fear from potential ransomware hacks. Security researchers at Palo Alto Networks have discovered what’s known to be the first completed ransomware on an Apple device. The threat, called KeRanger, is officially “in the wild,” and is a danger to any Mac user.

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