Let's Go Phishing!!

Recently one of our clients received the following email:

"To All Employees;

There's a scheduled maintenance on all Employee/Staff Microsoft Outlook from the 13th-15th of July (This Weekend) you may experience difficulty logging in between 7:00am to 12:00 Noon. Please provide your Username (___________) and Password (___________) immediately! Failure to do this may result in your account not been able to receive/send Emails. You can also contact the Office to do it in person.

©2018 HelpDesk."

Of course, we're their help desk, and we did not send this email, so this is immediately suspect from our standpoint.  We would never solicit credentials from our clientele in this fashion, first because our clients have already entrusted us with most of the credentials we need, and second because we'd never ask our clients to record their credentials in a place that could possibly be exploited, like an unsecure email.

Some things to look for in suspicious emails aside from the usual markers (usernames that don't match the email address of the sender, e.g. "Bob Smith<>"), there are usually some tells in the body of the emails themselves.  Now, even as native English speakers, we all make grammatical and syntax errors, but since most of these endeavors originate overseas, there are mistakes that non-native English speakers are more prone to making.  Watch for incorrect punctuation, such as the use of the semicolon ";" instead of the colon ":" in the opening of the email.  Read the letter aloud to yourself.  If it sounds disjointed or doesn't sound like it would ever be spoken aloud, it's probably from a non-proficient English speaker.  The first sentence in the letter would probably be written as follows:

"There is scheduled maintenance on all employee Exchange email accounts July 13-15 (this coming weekend), from 7:00 AM to 12:00 PM."

Not that my grammar, spelling, or word use are perfect, but when you read this sentence, it makes more sense.  Also, the use of "noon" instead of PM tends to imply that the writer is not used to using AM and PM in his daily life.  A a proficient English speaker would not likely use "12:00 Noon" after using "7:00 AM."  This is significant because most countries outside of the English-speaking world use the 24-hour clock (i.e. "military" time). 

The use of "been" in the second-to-last sentence instead of "being" could easily have been committed by an English-proficient person, but taken in conjunction with the other errors, it further compounds the issue that it's likely a foreign phishing scam.

The last sentence, like the first, does not read as if written by an English-proficient writer.  It omits why the reader is supposed to call the office in the first place.

In closing, trust your gut.  If you feel like something is a scam, you're probably right.  In the meantime, if you think you may have been exploited, feel free to contact us to set up a time to check out your system.
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Here's The Latest Scam:

Apparently, it's no longer enough to merely try to jack up your computers, these jokers also have to come after your phones too.  If you get any texts or calls that match the description in this article, ignore them.
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Ransomware Threats On The Uptick
A brief Google search (the picture to the left is page 2 of my search) is all that's needed to reveal the threat posed by Ransomware.  While viruses have been around since the first computer, for those affected, Ransomware has fulfilled the doomsday predictions of many of the worst scares since the inception of personal computing.

According to Tech Republic, Ransomware accounts for approximately 39% of all data breaches (statistics by Verizon).  Accounting for the remaining 61% of data breaches isn't that simple, as the distribution of those attacks is less concise.  This means that Ransomware represents the largest single outside threat to data, for both businesses and the consumers who patronize them.  In the U.S. alone, data breaches -- of which ransomware accounts for 2/5 -- cost businesses an average of $7 million per incident. 

Ransomware isn't just affecting the private sector either; less than a month ago at the time of this writing, the city of Atlanta was struck by Ransomware, leaving the city's utilities and bureaucracies with only paper and pen to fulfill their many functions.  Tally up the countless man-hours needed to enter all of that data into the system, and Ransomware pirates are racking up quite the tab at the Atlanta-area taxpayers' expense, $2.6 million according to the most recent figures.

We at Total Computer Solutions, Inc. do not care for the idea of losing our data, or forking over wads of cryptocurrency to some faceless cyberpirate.  To protect ourselves, we’ve partnered with the industry leader in Ransomware prevention, Sophos.  Sophos was one of the first antimalware companies to offer proactive Ransomware protection. Sophos monitors your network and computers for any activity that matches the signatures of Ransomware infections, and at the first sign of such activity, it stops the activity and rolls back any encrypted files.

Please contact us now to create a custom Sophos Endpoint package to help protect your business or home.
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