Chicago IT Support Blog

Lessons learned from the Target PCI Breach

Posted by Steven Thom on Feb 15, 2014 1:51:31 PM

More information has been trickling out regarding the massive Target PCI breach that took place during the 2013 Christmas shopping season. Forensic researchers first learned that hackers penetrated Target's network by means of a business transaction portal. It appears that Fazio Mechanical Services was the source. Fazio is a Pittsburgh-area nationwide mechanical contractor that services many large retailers. Now more details are emerging about the mechanism hackers used to infect the HVAC contractor. There are serious lessons here that businesses of all sizes need to learn. It's safe to say the face of PCI compliance will forever be changed as a result of the findings.

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Topics: 0day, breach, business continuity, cardholder data environment, chicago computer support, chicago IT support, Chicago PC Support, disclosure, exploit, firefox, firewall, hacker, homeland security, internet, internet explorer, java, Mac, malware, PCI, privacy, security, Security, software, update, virus, vulnerability, zero-day

Defend Against the CryptoLocker Virus

Posted by Steven Thom on Nov 16, 2013 7:39:06 PM

The "CryptoLocker" virus has been making a great deal of noise lately. Though we at Thom Infotech have not personally encountered it, we know others who have. We've written this post to help you to understand and defend against the CryptoLocker virus.

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Topics: 0day, adobe, breach, business continuity, Business Continuity, catastrophic data loss, chicago computer support, chicago IT support, Chicago PC Support, cryptolocker, disaster, disclosure, email, encrypt, encryption, ePHI, exploit, explorer, facebook, firefox, firewall, flash, google, hacker, Hipaa, Hippa, homeland security, infection, internet, internet explorer, java, malware, microsoft, oracle, patch, privacy, security, Security, software, update, UTM, virus, viruses, vulnerability, zero-day

179 Reasons to Upgrade Before January 2014

Posted by Steven Thom on Nov 15, 2013 1:06:06 PM

As of this writing there are roughly four useble business weeks left in the current year.  As 2013 winds down, businesses should consider performing needed upgrades sooner rather than later. At the risk of creating a lengthy blog post I'm planning to provide 179 reasons to upgrade before January 2014.

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Topics: business continuity, Business Continuity, chicago computer support, chicago IT support, Chicago PC Support, exploit, firewall, Healthcare IT, Hipaa, Hippa, homeland security, internet, internet explorer, java, malware, microsoft, patch, Section 179, security, Security, software, update, virus, viruses, vulnerability, zero-day

WordPress now offers automatic updates

Posted by Steven Thom on Oct 31, 2013 6:37:41 PM

There is welcome news for web developers this week as WordPress now offers automatic updates to the uber-popular web development platform. Starting out as a blogging tool, WordPress has morphed into a full website development ecosystem. Like many, this author has embraced WordPress due to its simplicity, flexibility, and easy search engine optimization.

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Topics: 0day, adobe, Apple, breach, chicago computer support, chicago IT support, Chicago PC Support, disclosure, email, exploit, firefox, firewall, flash, hacker, Hipaa, homeland security, internet, internet explorer, java, Mac, malware, microsoft, oracle, privacy, security, Security, software, threat, unpatched, update, virus, viruses, vulnerability, Wordpress, zero-day

Trendjacking threats are a growing concern

Posted by Steven Thom on Aug 9, 2013 5:20:25 PM

I'm sure you've seen this, and I hope you haven't fallen for it. Nevertheless, it must work because the bad guys keep doing it. The term is "Trendjacking", and it refers to spammers and malware authors using current trends to trick you into opening malicious email messages.

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Topics: 0day, adobe, breach, chicago computer support, chicago IT support, Chicago PC Support, email, exploit, facebook, google, hacker, homeland security, internet, internet explorer, java, malware, microsoft, patch, security, Security, trendjacking, update, virus, viruses, vulnerability, zero-day

Oracle closes critical Java vulnerability

Posted by Steven Thom on Mar 5, 2013 7:55:43 AM

Oracle announced today the release of updates for Java versions 5, 6, and 7 to patch a critical java vulnerability actively being exploiting in the wild. The patches were reportedly slated for release in April but the timetable was pushed up in response to a recent report demonstrating the active exploit. This further prolongs the life of Java 6, which was slated for retirement last month but continues to receive updates in the wake of a continual barrage of zero-day exploits.

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Topics: 0day, breach, chicago computer support, chicago IT support, chrome, exploit, explorer, firefox, google, hacker, Healthcare IT, Hipaa, homeland security, internet, internet explorer, java, Mac, malware, microsoft, oracle, patch, security, Security, software, update, virus, viruses, vulnerability, zero-day

Apple blocks vulnerable Flash plugins

Posted by Steven Thom on Mar 4, 2013 8:30:08 AM

Kudos to Apple. Last week they decided to start blocking vulnerable versions of Adobe Flash plugins from running in the built-in Safari web browser. This is in direct response to the active exploits in the wild affecting Macs as well as PCs. Users who fail to update when prompted are now receiving an error message indicating the "Blocked Plugin" when they try to visit a website that invokes the Flash plugin. Apple did something similar when they blocked Java on February 1st, 2013 in response the the zero-day we reported here. The users receiving the error need to visit the Adobe website and manually install the update in order to continue viewing Flash content.

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Topics: 0day, Apple, chicago computer support, chicago IT support, exploit, flash, Flash Player, hacker, internet, java, Mac, malware, oracle, patch, Plugin, security, Security, software, update, virus, viruses, vulnerability, zero-day

Yet Another Java Zero-Day

Posted by Steven Thom on Mar 3, 2013 12:09:38 AM

Researchers at the respected security firm FireEye have discovered yet another Java zero-day attack that leverages previously unknown vulnerabilities with the latest versions of Java (as of this writing Java v1.6 Update 41 and Java v1.7 Update 15) to install malware. This comes on the heels of a discovery of two other holes (as yet unexploited) by the Polish firm Security Explorations this past week.

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Topics: 0day, anti-virus, antivirus, breach, chicago computer support, chicago IT support, chrome, exploit, explorer, firefox, google, hacker, homeland security, internet, internet explorer, java, Mac, malware, oracle, patch, security, Security, software, update, virus, viruses, vulnerability, zero-day

Evernote hack results in forced password change

Posted by Steven Thom on Mar 2, 2013 4:09:12 PM

Evernote is a really cool app. I use it heavily in conjunction with David Allen's "Getting Things Done" system to organize my day and achieve my goals. I also use it for more mundane tasks such as grocery lists. I use it on my PC, my iPad, and my Android phone - it syncs up between devices. I also managed to get my wife to buy into the shopping list idea and we now share a folder between our accounts, syncing the shopping lists to our respective phones. We use the handy checkbox feature to make lists for the various stores we frequent, checking things off as we place them in the cart. It's very cool and I am no doubt the hippest, coolest shopper in the store. In fact I'm sure of it.

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Topics: breach, chicago computer support, chicago IT support, disclosure, email, exploit, internet, patch, privacy, security, Security, update, vulnerability

Adobe has scheduled an update for last week's Acrobat zero-day

Posted by Steven Thom on Feb 18, 2013 1:13:06 PM

Adobe announced in a blog post that they will issue updates for version XI, X, and 9 to close the zero-day hole revealed last week. The patch will be released for Windows, Linux, and Macintosh operating systems. All users are advised to install the patch as soon as it becomes available. Thom Infotech encourages Adobe Acrobat users to enable the automatic update feature that both downloads and installs the patch as soon as it becomes available. This can be found in the Edit > Preferences menu. Scroll down to the "Updater" section and change the default ("Automatically download updates, but let me choose when to install them") to "Automatically install updates". Our Managed IT Services clients will receive the update automatically.

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Topics: 0day, adobe, Apple, breach, chicago computer support, chicago IT support, chrome, email, exploit, explorer, firefox, hacker, Healthcare IT, Hipaa, internet, internet explorer, Linux, Mac, Macintosh, malware, microsoft, patch, security, Security, software, update, virus, viruses, vulnerability, zero-day

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Thom Infotech has been providing quality IT support for the Chicago area and beyond since 2000. We deliver proactive IT services that improve security and reliability. Our flexible pricing plans make it possible for small to medium businesses to leverage enterprise-grade solutions for security and business continuity.

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