2016: The Year of Ransomware

The amount of people on the internet has been steadily increasing over the years, which means there is more personal data and information on the internet than ever before. Since the start of 2014, ransomware has steadily been increasing and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

Huge events (like the election) seem to be a huge lure for cybercriminal activities. The only variable for these ransomware activities seems to still be in the beginning stage of the process and does not encrypt files, yet. Furthermore, this ransomware looks for very specific files that have a unique extension name, but they’re able to rename the file and prevent access to it from the original file owner.

Ransomware attacks never seem to get picked up by the media because they don’t want to spread fear throughout the public. Just last week, one of the biggest cloud computing companies in the U.S. was victim of cybercriminal activities. The hackers locked all files on the cloud and demanded a large sum of 30+ bitcoins in order to unlock the files. Nobody seemed to be talking about this even though there was a huge breach of privacy as these files could have been released to the public which contained social security numbers, credit card numbers, addresses, private emails, passwords, and more.

2016 is already turning out to be the year of ransomware, locking up computers, networks, or files until a ransom is paid by the victim of the cyber attack. Are you concerned about what to do if this happens? Are you curious about ways to prevent this from happening to you? Here are some tips to protect yourself from being a victim of a ransomware attack.

Manage backups appropriately

Getting rid of the ransomware is always the most difficult part. If you can’t get rid of the ransomware, then you will be forced to pay the ransom that the cybercriminals are asking for. The easiest way to get around this is by having a safe backup of your network and files. This way you can remove everything (including the ransomware) and then upload your backup and things will go back to running smoothly.

Make sure your software is all up to date

Cybercriminals look for loopholes in your software, usually when new updates roll out. New updates roll out with softwares when they see their could be a breach of security, so if you don’t update your software you could be prone to being a victim of a ransomware attack.

Remove remote desktop access

Some companies or employees like to use Window’s native “remote desktop access” feature to access their files and programs on the go or at home. When you enable this feature, you are at risk for a ransomware attack because you’re leaving your network and servers open to be accessed by cybercriminals.

If you’re looking for help for Minneapolis IT Services to prevent you from becoming the victim of the next ransomware attack, check back later to read more tips on protecting your network and files.

Workforce Transitioning To Working Remotely

Statistics show that within the next year there will be over 1.6 billion people working remotely worldwide, or 38% of the ENTIRE workforce. These people who are working remotely realize the importance of having a laptop that gives you everything you need when working on the go. Making sure your laptop is speedy, easy to carry around, decently priced, has a battery that lasts you all day, and great memory. Continue reading more to see why I believe these are some features your business laptop must have.


Making sure your business laptop has a fast processor and a nice graphics card is more important than you think. Nobody likes waiting for things to load. Nobody likes applications freezing and having to restart your computer. Nobody likes when your typing faster than your computer can keep up with. Nobody likes when your computer runs like it’s from 1990 when you have more than 2 programs open. This is why it’s important to make sure your business laptop is up to date and can process the work you’re doing in a timely manner. You don’t need the most expensive graphic card and processor for your laptop if you’re using it just to browse the internet and send emails, but it’s just something to keep in mind. If you’re a graphic designer or edit videos, then having a super fast processor to handle the large files and a good graphic card to really see the details in your pictures is a must have.


The newer laptops have done a phenomenal job of making their laptops easy to carry around. This is one of those things where you don’t really realize nice it is until you actually feel the difference yourself. I had a 2008 Microsoft laptop for a few years and absolutely loved it. It was big though and clunky and always hated carrying it around. In 2010 I bought a MacBook Pro and I was in shock at how much more “portable” this laptop was. It was so much lighter, so much thinner, I loved everything about it. It wasn’t a hassle to throw it in my backpack or my briefcase and carry it around like it was before with my old dinosaur laptop from Microsoft.


Pricing is always hard because you never know if you’re actually getting the best “bang for your buck.” You can lean more towards the cheaper side of things knowing that you’re probably not going to get a “great” quality laptop that will last you 10 years, or you can lean more towards the expensive side knowing you might be “paying for a logo” such as Apple.

Find something that you’re comfortable with, that falls within your budget. Do your research, talk to people at the stores and get unbiased opinions. Read reviews online, make a list of things you for sure want on your laptop and find a laptop that’s priced decent that can accommodate  all of your needs. You can always reach out to www.techstars.us to help with your managed IT solutions or advice on which device is best for you and your company!