Considering the recent WannaCry global attacks (Click here to read more) the need for stronger network security and user training has never been greater. The WannaCry ransom-ware attack mainly targeted Windows XP machines due to known security flaws, Microsoft stopped releasing patches as of April 8, 2014, there are however other means that ‘hackers’ use to attempt to gain access to both business and residential networks.

Cold calling is a technique that is being used more and more frequently, it started with the ‘your computer has a virus’ spill, pressuring the receiver to connect to a remote session to allow the caller access. This has now recently moved onto ‘there is a security risk with your internet connection’. They claim to be from BT, Openreach, TalkTalk and other internet providers, which goes some way to reassure the receiver that this could be genuine. Once on the network, the caller can do almost anything they like. The caller typically accesses your data and encrypts it with ransom-ware, this ‘locks’ the files from being opened until a sum of ransom is paid. The data is then released if the terms are met, so they say. However, it is highly unlikely even after the ransom is paid the data will be returned to normal, it all depends on how nice your hacker is feeling (Being a hacker, not normally very).

No legitimate IT provider is going to call claiming they require access to your local network. Please refrain from providing any personal information as this can all be used against you or your company.

If you’ve been talked into providing the caller with access to your machine, there are some steps that you can use to protect yourself. Change all your passwords and usernames (is possible), starting with your main email account and any bank and/or credit card logins. Contact your bank to ask them to be on the lookout for anything suspicious. Ensure you’re using up-to-date security software to scan and cleanse your computer, and if the scammer did get you to do something to your computer, use the System Restore function to roll back the settings.

If you would like learn more, have been targeted, caught by a scammer or would like to increase the security of your network please don’t hesitate to contact Apponotec.