Two new tools for defeating ransomware

A simple Google search of “ransomware” returns just over 9 million results. So, too, does a search for “Three Mile Island,” the location of the late-70’s Pennsylvania nuclear meltdown. And while we don’t mean to equate the near catastrophe of the latter to having your company’s data hijacked by computer hackers, ransomware can in many cases end in disaster for your business.

The way in which these nefarious operators commandeer your information and deny you access usually involves some fairly sophisticated stuff. The ransomware they install on your system is essentially a virus that “locks up” your data, and it can’t be unlocked unless you pay them for the keys.

Some of these data-encrypting viruses are strong, such as the CryptXXX strain. It has been infecting businesses for the past few months, and its latest mutation can’t be quelled by decryption programs found for free on the internet.

Two relatively new types of ransomware aren’t quite as virulent as CryptXXX, but we’d like to bring you up-to-date on them nonetheless. Here’s a look at what they’re called, what they do, and how you can defeat them should your business be impacted.

PowerWare

The first of these recent ransomware varieties is called PowerWare, which also goes by the name PoshCoder. It imitates a more complex ransomware program called Locky, although with less effectiveness.

This spring, PowerWare was discovered attacking healthcare organizations through Windows PowerShell, a scripting application used for systems administration. Fortunately, programmers at hi-tech security firm Palo Alto Researchers were able to quickly create a decryption tool named “powerware_decrypt.py” that unlocks ransomed data with relative ease.

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Outlook gets new CRM add-on

Have you ever wondered how sales teams spend their time each week? According to Salesforce, on any given weekday an average sales representative spends more than 70 percent of their time managing emails. Since they are spending more than half of their working lives in their inbox, wouldn’t it be ideal if their customer relationship management software can be integrated into it? A newly released add-on called Lightning for Outlook may just be the answer.

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5 ways to get the most out of the latest fads

Have you seen folks wandering around downtown, staring at their phone like it was a map pointing them to a pot of gold? Or ordering pizza over a Facebook chat conversation with an awkward cashier? With some creative marketing and structuring, your SMB could be on the other side of those people’s phones. Tech fads, even if they don’t last long, are a treasure trove of cheap new customers -- if you know how to cheaply capitalize on these trends. Here are our five tips on how to achieve that.

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VoIP call-quality issues explained

Most people have always assumed that a landline from the established local telco is what their office needs, but the new reality is that you have options. Now you can choose to make calls over the internet with VoIP (Voice over IP) and enjoy convenience, simple set-up, and all the features you’d expect from a traditional phone system, for less money. But what about call quality?

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6 advanced search tips for Gmail

Looking for an important file or message among endless emails in your inbox is no fun, especially if you need it right before a meeting starts. You’ve tried using the basic search box at the top of Gmail and found out that it didn’t help either. Don’t worry, we’ve rounded up 6 search operators that will help you sort through your inbox to get what you need in a jiffy.

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