Worldwide Cyberattack – What you need to know to protect yourself

By now you have probably seen reports of a ransomware attack that is taking place worldwide.

Although major corporations and government agencies are being hit, small business and residential users are subject to being attacked as well.

In this post we won’t go into the technical details of what happens if you’re hit (except the results), we’re going to focus on how to prevent becoming a victim.

You will know if you’re affected because you will lose access to all of your data files (documents, photos, e-mail, etc.) and you’ll see a message indicating that you have a certain period of time to send a “ransom” (hence, ransomware) which is usually in the range of $250-$1,000, in the form of Bitcoin to an e-mail address.

If you’re hit and you have a backup of your files (many of our clients are now using cloud backup as well as a local backup – if you do NOT have this installed, go to , sign up for the 1 Year Plan and use the Code PCMDX) turn off your computer and contact us.  We will schedule a time to come our and re-image your computer.  There is no other recovery option available.

If you’re hit and you do not have a backup of your files, contact us for further options.  The last thing we want to do is to pay the ransom, however, depending on how important your documents are we will explore all options.

Here’s how to prevent THIS attack:

  • Make sure your Windows Update is up to date.  In Windows 10 your patches are done automatically.  In Windows 7, go to Control Panel, Windows Update, and run the update.  All PCs patched after March 14, 2017 are safe from THIS attack
  • Do not open any attachments in e-mails  from people you don’t know, or that indicate they have an invoice attached, and the attachment is a Word, Excel, .zip, or .exe file.  Rule of thumb is if you don’t know the sender, don’t open the attachment.
  • Do not click on any links in e-mails from senders you don’t know OR if the e-mail is vague in nature.
  • Make sure your anti-virus program is up to date.  Remember, most AV programs WILL NOT prevent this attack, however, you should have it up to date regardless.
  • Train all of your users in the above.  Training is the number one prevention method.
  • Backup, backup, backup.  Backup your files.  Backup your computers.  If you have questions about how to backup, contact us today.

This post will be updated as we receive more information.  Last Update 5/15/17 8:30am


And the most vulnerable software of 2015 is…Apple OS X

In what must come as a shock to many Apple fans, a list of the most vulnerable software of 2015 was just released and Apple OS X led the pack with 384, followed closely by Apple iOS with 375.

The list includes any and all software that is installed on a computer.  A computer is defined here as any device capable of processing data.  This includes, but is not limited to, computers, PCs, smartphones, laptops, servers, tablets, etc.

Operating systems (what makes the device run – like Windows, OS X, Android, Chrome, Linux) were obviously included.

In the past, Microsoft was often been criticized for making software that was vulnerable to attacks, yet in 2015 the first Microsoft entry on the list was Internet Explorer, which has been replaced on the Windows 10 operating system by Microsoft Edge (although IE will still run on Windows 10).

Linux fans have also been big critics of Windows OSs, yet Ubuntu Linux (#11)comes in ahead of Microsoft’s first entry of a PC OS (Windows 8.1 #12).

You’ll see from the list that many programs you use on a daily basis (yet may not be aware that you’re using, since many run in the background allowing you to do certain tasks) like Adobe Flash Player (#2) and Oracle Java RE (#29).

So what exactly does this mean?  It means that you need to keep your system updated, patched, backed up and protected against vulnerabilities like malware.

All of the companies on the list release updates and patches for their software on a regular basis.  Microsoft does it on “Patch Tuesday”, the second Tuesday of the month, or, in the event of a zero-day vulnerability, they may release it sooner.

Apple has their updates, which can be installed automatically, as do Adobe and Google.

But that just addresses patches and updates.  You also need to keep your files backed up.  There are plenty of programs and services out there that help you back up, most automatically.  Don’t know if you need to backup your device?  Just ask yourself one question:  “Is there anything on this device that I can absolutely, positively not live without?”.  If the answer is Yes, then you need to have a backup.  If you’re a business, you don’t have a choice but to backup.

Everything listed is something you can do yourself and it takes only a couple of hours per month if you’re a home user.  If you’re a business user, it might require an IT professional to make sure you’re patched and backed up.  PC Medics of Alabama services both residential and business clients, so contact us today for a free estimate if you don’t want to tackle this yourself.  You can reach PC Medics of Alabama via phone at 205-201-0389 and via e-mail at .


If You Use Firefox, You Need To Patch Right Now

A zero-day threat has surfaced on Firefox browser.  If a user lands on a compromised web page, the browser could fall prey to an attacker who could steal files on a Windows or Linux computer.

The fix is simple, which just required to update the browser.

To do so, open Firefox, click on Help>About (if you don’t see the Help selection in the menu field, right click on the grey area towards the top of the Firefox window, and click on Menu Bar).  Once you click About, a box will open that will show you the version of Firefox you’re have installed and a button to upgrade, if applicable.

Click on the Update button (if it’s there – if you’re up to date, the button won’t be available).  Once the update is complete, you’ll be asked to restart Firefox, and you’re done.

Patches should be run on Firefox (and other applications) at least monthly.