CatManDu Now Offers Local Technology Concierge Service In Amarillo

We’re proud to annouce that we’re now offering our Technology Concierge service. This exciting service let’s you connect directly with a local technology expert — your very own Technology Concierge who can assist you with any technology-related question or problem you may have!

Need a new router but don’t even know what a router is?! Contact your Technology Concierge — they can help with that!

Looking for a new Internet Service Provider because you’re tired of Netflix “buffering” while you’re trying to binge watch your favorite series? Don’t keep suffering! Contact us today to how a Technology Concierge can assist you.

Is your computer running slowly but you don’t want to take it to that “big box” store? Sign up today and let your Technology Concierge help you!

These are just a very few examples of how our Technology Concierges can help you with your technology-related questions or problems. Please check out our Technology Concierge website at cat-man-du.com, give us a call at 806-350-8324, or stop by us and see us in person at our physical location (that’s right: we’re “real” people and we’re local — we’re your friends and neighbors!) at:

8501 SW 34 Ave.
Amarillo, TX

We look forward to serving you!

 

AVGater Uses Vulnerability To Infect PCs using Installed Antivirus

Florian Bogner, a security auditor from Austria has discovered a vulnerability in many popular antivirus titles that allows a hacker to use the AV quarantine folder to infect a more sensitive area of a computer such as C:\Windows.

Using a phishing email, a hacker can then use a Windows feature called NTFS file junction point to restore malware that the antivirus software already moved into quarantine.

Bogner has contacted popular Antivirus companies like Trend Micro, Kaspersky and Malwarebytes and they have already released updates.

For individuals, it is advised to immediately update Antivirus software and for businesses, it’s advised to disable the ability to restore quarantined files.

Android Users – Marcher Malware Is A Significant Threat

Raiffeisen Meine Bank, BankAustria, and Sparkasse customers have been targeted by a banking Trojan named Marcher which launched as a phishing email pretending to be from the victim’s bank. Once the link on the email is clicked, it takes the recipient to a fake website that requests PIN numbers and account information. Then a popup asks the user to install the bank’s “security app” which is actually Marcher.

Normally, a phishing scam like this isn’t newsworthy anymore but this is different because it targets specific banking customers and bundles the attack with the malware infection.

Once installed, Marcher asks for permissions to every aspect of the android device, like SMS, networking, address books and more and it also asks for the victim to re enter credit card numbers for apps that require purchases such as Google Play.

Android users are advised to make sure that they keep their devices updated as well as avoid clicking on email links and installing apps from those links.

ONI or Devil Malware Hits Japanese Businesses

We have seen so many new strains of ransomware like WannaCry, GoldenEye, CryptoLocker, Petya and Bad Rabbit (to name a few) that it’s beginning to become a full time job just to keep up with this new strain of computer virus/ malware.

This new strain of ransomware (we’ll just call it Devil to make things simple) began searching through the network to gain control of key machines like servers using a Trojan virus variation. The targeted servers that did not have this Microsoft security update were then infected but this particular malware code did not activate right away but remained hidden. Then, after lying dormant, the ransomware struck and encrypted all machines that it touched.

While this new malware was most likely created for monetary gain, there is much debate in the cyber security world about this, with questions arising about Devil possibly being created simply as a cyber attack. One clue has been found inside the code of Devil when researchers found bits of the Russian language. This has led researchers to believe that Devil originated in Russia and may have been designed to simply damage it’s targets.

New Ransomware Variant – Bad Rabbit – Spreading Worldwide

The new ransomware is a variant of Petya and is spread via a fake Flash update. So far, several antivirus companies are claiming that their updated security products protect users from bad rabbit.

According to the US-CERT warning, “US-CERT discourages individuals and organizations from paying the ransom, as this does not guarantee that access will be restored. Using unpatched and unsupported software may increase the risk of proliferation of cybersecurity threats, such as ransomware.”

ATM Hacking Malware Being Sold On The Dark Web – Cheap!

The website is called ATMjackpot and sells the malware title Cutlet Maker. The name comes from Russian slang “Cutlet” which means a “roll of money.”

The malware coders claim that it works on any Wincor Nixdorf ATM. Most ATMs are vulnerable to hackers because the machines have a computer inside that run an operating system just like a desktop PC.  Many ATM computers still use old operating systems like Windows XP which is no longer supported or updated to fight the latest threats. This fact, coupled with open and available USB ports makes the machines the perfect targets for hackers.

What Industry Is Experiencing 2,500% Growth? Ransomware

WannaCry, Locky, GoldenEye and Cryptolocker are just a few of the ransomware titles that emerged in 2017 and with them, an estimated cost of 1 Billion dollars (go ahead, do the Dr. Evil pinky thing) to businesses worldwide.

According to research by Carbon Black, from 2016 to 2017 there’s a $2,502% increase in the sales of ransomeware within the dark web. Cybercriminals are happily buying code that is producing fast profits for their fledgling organizations

The report has uncovered a rapidly growing industry with some surprising findings.

A marketplace with 45,000 product offerings, including “DIY Kits” for ransomware code
This dark marketplace has gone from $249,287.05 in sales for 2016 to $6,237,248.90 in sales.
Some sellers are making over $100K annually

For more interesting findings please see the original article by Carbon Black.

Some Equipment Is Built To Last 10 Or More Years – Your PC Isn’t

cat.ma.du is located in West Texas – farm and ranch country. For the most peart are a hearty bunch – spending many hours outdoors in extreme weather working with our hands and with heavy machinery.

When I first started driving in the city – and still to this day – I was complaining about how slowly everyone drove. A friend told me, “Don’t get mad at the guy driving slowly in front of you, he spent all day yesterday on a tractor driving 15 MPH in a circle.” I still get mad, but this perfectly illustrates how the lines between life in the country and life in the city often blur here in West Texas.

What does all of this have to do with computers? Did you just fall for clickbait and this is actually an attempt to sell you farm equipment? No. Here’s my point and my theory.

Farmers and ranchers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on equipment but they expect that type of technology to last for decades. My theory is that they expect this from all of the equipment that they buy, even a new computer.

Unfortunately, PCs just don’t last that long anymore. While there is no definitive answer as to how long they will last or how often you should replace your computer, here is our collective experience that matches many in our industry.

Plan to replace your PC every 3 – 5 years (the life expectancy of a laptop is slightly less). Here are a few reasons why.

Hardware fails.

The hard drive (where the data is stored) fans, power supply and the motherboard all fail eventually. These are man made components that are prone to giving out. We often see lower end computers have hardware failure what we call “a year and a day.” We started using this term to describe failures that happen just outside of the manufacturer’s warranty and it happens quite often.

Software constantly evolves and software companies stop supporting older versions.

Unlike a John Deere tractor (which you can typically find someone who can work on even a very old one), computer software companies eventually stop supporting and updating old versions. The cost is just too great.

Modern PC users run more applications and programs on the same computer than ever before and as each software title updates, it often uses more resources.

I remember my first Windows PC, it had Windows 3.1 installed on it. I ran MS Money and AOL on it. That’s it! Now, a new PC comes with dozens of apps right out of the box. Then the typical user begins to install the different apps that they need. All of these apps take system resources and with each upgrade they use more and more. This often makes it necessary to buy new hardware to upgrade or simply buy a new PC over time.

Proactively replacing a PC before a catastrophic failure typically costs less money and definitely takes less time and causes less stress.

When a PC is completely dead it takes different tools and a different approach to retrieve the data, find software keys (or buy new software) and get the new PC up and running than it does to transfer everything from one operational computer to another.

A thrifty person can sometimes squeeze an extra year out of a computer but sometimes that gamble is a bust and it actually costs them more money than just purchasing a new one when the time comes.

Fighting Viruses Get’s Tougher – Popular Cleanup App Targeted

Over 2 million users recently installed a version of CCleaner that had been hacked and included a trojan virus, according to the software developer.

This isn’t the first time that software that is designed to help and protect computers has contained malicious code It is, however, the first time that a popular tool (used many computer repair companies and technicians) has been successfully targeted. And while the software company has given the all clear, it was recently discovered that the newer (not compromised) version is also affected.

It get’s worse, in addition to the Trojan injected into the code, the infection contains a second payload that hasn’t been executed as of yet.

This form of infecting a victim with viruses and malware is being called a “supply chain” attack because it relies on the fact that the person downloading and installing the software trusts the source and the software company.

The truth is, if the end users or the computer techs that they are trusting to remove viruses don’t stay on the cutting edge of technology (and news of this nature), they will end up eventually doing more harm than good due to future attacks like this one.

As cat.man.du enters it’s 15th year helping home PC users and home businesses battle the constant threat from hackers and viruses, we are committed to constantly monitoring the tools and apps that we use to fight malware, spyware and viruses and never become complacent.

Who’s Calling? Not Equifax!

Just in case you are living under a rock, 143 million Americans (that’s almost half of the population) just had their Social Security numbers, names, driver’s license and birth dates stolen when Equifax was hacked.

It doesn’t help that Equifax itself has made it confusing and difficult to check to see if you are one of the victims by creating a confusing web page that gives users conflicting information AND a weak PIN, AND is vulnerable to spoofing which would create even more victims.

If you want to know how to NOT handle a data breach, Equifax just wrote the definitive rulebook.

Now, hackers and the scammers are taking full advantage of the situation by calling people and pretending to be Equifax.

The Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning asking people to not interact with anyone calling and claiming to be with Equifax. They aren’t calling you, they don’t do that (neither does Microsoft or Google or any major company) they don’t have the resources and frankly don’t care enough to try.

The scam starts off with something like “This is Equifax calling to verify your account information.” It may be an automated call or a live person.

Do not press one, do not trust your caller ID, do not interact with the call in any way.