Category Archives: Technology

You’ll wanna cry at the rise in ransomware

You’ll wanna cry at the rise in ransomware

Last month’s WannaCry ransomware attack took the world by storm, making a lot of people want to cry. Reportedly the files on 200,000 computers across the globe were encrypted and held ransom until victims paid to restore them.

While that particular attack has now come and gone, ransomware as type of malicious software isn’t going anywhere. According to the New York Times, it’s “one of the popular and lucrative ways to attack computers. In 2016 the FBI estimated that ransomware payments hit nearly a billion dollars (yes, with a “b”).

With that kind of money to be had, criminals are not going to give up a strategy that works. In fact, they’re just going to come up with angles to make you pay. Take, for example, a uniquely horrible new ransomware “Ponzi scheme” being reported in the media called Popcorn Time.

Here’s how it works: You can either pay up OR share a link to the ransomware and get two of your friends to fall for it. If they pay up, your own files get decrypted for free. Throwing others under the bus to avoid getting hurt yourself? That takes ransomware to the next level.

Despite the constant evolution of these schemes, there are some simple and consistent things you can do to be less vulnerable to ransomware:

1. Always download the latest computer updates. This is especially true for your computer’s operating system. In fact, set up auto updates and then you don’t need to even think about it. Here’s how to do it in Windows, here’s how to do it with a Mac. Note: The Windows vulnerability that let WannaCry in had been patched months earlier—but many organizations hadn’t updated their systems. Had they done so, WannaCry wouldn’t have gotten off the ground.

2. Back up your files remotely/externally. Backing up your computer files is never a bad practice, but you need to go a step further to be immune from ransomware. Store a back-up of your files on an external hard drive. Be sure to refresh it daily or weekly. You could make that super easy by using an online service (shameless plug: we do offer Backup Online so your files will be automatically backed up and always current!). Taking this action means if you do get hit, it’s no big deal—you can forget about paying ransom and simply restore your files from the stored backup.

3. Don’t open suspicious email attachments. If you don’t know the sender, or even if you do, think twice before clicking on an unexpected attachment. And don’t just worry about attachments or links that have “EXE” at the end (EXE stands for “executable” which means it’s a kind of file that can be run as a program). Ransomware is actually most prevalent in PDF and Microsoft Office document attachments.

4. Make sure you have updated antivirus software. Malware is rapidly evolving so one of the best ways to avoid viruses, ransomware, spamware, etc. is to always run up-to-date antivirus protection. It’s not full-proof—nothing is—but it’s a solid first line of defense. We  offer one of our own that’s always current (and you don’t have to do a thing!), but PC Magazine also recently reviewed 40 different antivirus options.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Don’t let a data breach happen to you

Don’t let a data breach happen to you

Unfortunately, in today’s world, data breaches happen. Companies and websites get hacked, or scammers trick people—maybe even you—into revealing important information. If you think your data has been stolen, your first step shouldn’t be to panic. Instead, take a deep breath and follow these steps so you can regain control over your information and minimize… Continue Reading

Today in tech news

Apple finally updates the Macbook Gizmodo jokingly said it’s been 27 years since Apple released new MacBooks, but actually has been about four (which is long enough). The big “ooooooh-ahhhhhhhh” feature is the Touch Bar that replaces all of those function keys you never use. What is it? An OLED strip touch display that allows… Continue Reading

Today in tech news

Venmo? What is it and how does it work?

While many college students are out spending away on game day, one college student made money in what may have been the easiest and most clever way possible. Sam Crowder, otherwise known as Venmo user SamC227C, held up a sign at a football game last month asking for money. That sign appeared on ESPN’s College GameDay and Sam has received… Continue Reading

Venmo? What is it and how does it work?

Here comes the sun… outages.

You’ve heard the song, no doubt. “Here comes the sun, doot-doot-do-doo Here comes the sun, and I say it’s alright.” Surely it’s stuck in your head now. You’re welcome. But while we’re on the topic, here comes the sun, indeed. The sun outages. Just like this time last year, another round of sun outages is… Continue Reading

Here comes the sun… outages.

What’s up with my Wi-Fi?

What’s up with my Wi-Fi?

Wireless internet lets you watch or browse from anywhere…as long as your Wi-Fi network works well. Because Wi-Fi depends on radio waves from your wireless modem, anything that or blocks or interferes with those waves could mean trouble for your connection. We’ve gathered some common causes for wireless network struggles and what you can do… Continue Reading

Channel guide for the Summer Olympic Games

The 2016 Summer Olympic Games get underway Wednesday and NBC is scheduled to air nearly 7,000 hours worth of programming across its various television networks and digital platforms. Here’s a guide to the networks and their BendBroadband channel numbers (standard definition/HD) set to carry all the action: NBC, 5/605 Bravo, 137/737 CNBC, 54/654 Golf Channel, 28/628 MSNBC, 59/659 NBC Sports, 27/627 USA… Continue Reading

Why TV Everywhere rocks and how to use it

Why TV Everywhere rocks and how to use it

Editor’s note: This article launches our new regular “Pro Tip” series on how customers can better utilize their BendBroadband services. We love TV at BendBroadband. We dig it all, from Seinfeld reruns to new episodes of Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and The Voice. We start our day with Good Morning America and end it with Scott… Continue Reading