Ransomware – Don’t Become a Victim

Ransom. When most people hear the term, they think chilling thoughts of loved ones being held captive in exchange for a large sum of money. But did you know your computer files can also be a victim of ransom? Ransomware is a malicious form of malware in which hackers can take control of your device, hold your files captive and demand you pay money through certain online payment methods in order to grant access to your system and files again. Ransomware will often restrict access to files by preventing users from opening or using their documents, pictures, spreadsheets and other files. Ransomware may also possibly encrypt files or lock your device.

Ransomware is one of the fastest growing forms of hacking. Anyone from an individual home computer user to a Fortune 500 company to police departments can be infected. The malware does not just infect desktops and laptops but can also infect smartphones. Often times the smaller the user, the more vulnerable they are to losing their files because they do not have secure methods of system backup.

How do you know if you have become a victim of ransomware? The attack on your device may be quite obvious such as a message that appears on your computer screen, saying the files are encrypted and the only way to access them is by paying a demanded ransom. That message may also be a scare tactic in that it appears to be a message from a local law authority or government agency stating you need to pay a fine or face legal action or from a legitimate software company telling your license has expired and you need to purchase a new license in order to unlock your system. These claims are false and are just a means designed to make users pay the money without telling anyone who might be able to restore your device. This particular form of malware is often referred to as ‘scareware’ as it forces users to pay a ‘ransom’ by intimidating or scaring them. Unfortunately there is no guarantee that paying the fine or ransom or doing what the ransomware tells you to do will restore access to your device and files again. In fact, if you pay the ransom, you could become a target for more malware.

There are different types of ransomware and it can infect your computer in ways other than a message popping up on your screen demanding money. Ransomware may also infect your device in a less apparent manner such as clicking a dangerous link, downloading software from an unknown source or visiting a malicious website or one that has been hacked. Like many common methods of hacking, ransomware can arrive via emails with links or attachments that, when the user clicks on them, the malware is unleased into your files.

Although there is no guarantee you can keep yourself from becoming a victim of ransomware, there are precautionary steps you can take to protect yourself against it:

• Install and use an up-to-date antivirus software program. (Users with no anti-virus protection or out of date browsers are more at risk)
• Make sure software is up-to-date
• Have a pop-up blocker enabled in your web browser
• Avoid opening emails or attachments from people or companies you don’t know
• Avoid clicking on links from unknown sources or sites
• Regularly backup your important files

If you find yourself an unfortunate victim of ransomware, the most important first step to take is to NOT pay the ransom or demanded money for your files. The next step is to remove the ransomware from your system. Some forms of ransomware may be removed without the loss of data or your files. However, the process of removing the malware varies and depends on the type of virus infecting your PC. A simple virus scan may work but oftentimes offline scans, methods of advanced file recovery or system restoration is required. Once the ransomware is removed, it’s time to assess and repair the damage. If you’re lucky, the cybercriminals have only hid your icons, shortcuts and files and did not encrypt your files. However, if you find yourself with malware encrypted files and data, your luck may have run out. The decryption key is often stored on the cybercriminal’s server and you will not be able to unlock or retrieve your hostage files.

As frightening as being a victim of ransomware can be, taking back control of your device is possible. If you have been vigilant in backing up your files, restoration of your files with minimal loss is possible as well. With over 15 years of IT experience and extensive knowledge in repairing numerous brands of laptops and desktops, KVS Computers is a reliable, trustworthy provider of computer repair services offering malware removal. Contact KVS Computers at 570-935-0545 or sales@kvscomputers.com.

KVS-email-signature

 

 

Posted in How to Recycle E Waste | Leave a comment

Muncy E-Cycle Event

On Saturday, May 9th, Muncy Rotary Club along with KVS Computers, an R2 certified electronics recycler, sponsored a community e-cycle (electronics recycling) event.  The event was held in an effort to bring awareness to the importance of electronics recycling.  On the day of the event, members of the Muncy community had the opportunity to rid their homes of old, outdated and unused electronics in a safe, secure and responsible manner.  In the 4 hours of the e-cycle event, two 53′ trailers were filled with 9,858 pounds of TVs and monitors and 7,484 pounds of miscellaneous electronics equipment like desktops, laptops, radios and phones.  Thanks to all who came out and supported Muncy Rotary Club and recycled their electronics responsibly!

If you or your business would like further information on responsible electronics recycling, contact KVS Computers.  As an R2 certified electronics recycler, we are committed to working together with local businesses and individuals for a cleaner tomorrow. Take the path to protecting our planet. Follow in the footsteps of KVS Computers and responsibly recycle your electronics equipment. Contact KVS Computers at 570-935-0545 or online at www.kvscomputers.com.

 

kvs logo

R2 2013

 

Posted in How to Recycle E Waste | Leave a comment

Working Together For a Cleaner Tomorrow

As the global demand for electronics rapidly increases, as well as the speed at which electronic devices become obsolete and are replaced, there is a growing and urgent need to increase awareness and expand the efforts of electronics recycling. In an effort to bring awareness to the importance of electronics recycling, KVS Computers, an R2 certified electronics recycler, along with the Hughesville Rotary Club sponsored a community e-cycle (electronics recycling) event on Saturday, April 11th. From 10am-2pm, members of the Hughesville community had the opportunity to rid their homes of old, outdated and unused electronics in a safe, secure and responsible manner. In the 4 short hours of the e-cycle event, three 53′ trailers were filled with 12,035 pounds of TVs and monitors and 13,599 pounds of miscellaneous electronics equipment like desktops, laptops, radios and phones.

Used electronics is the fastest growing segment of the waste stream with an estimated 50 million tons of discarded electronics every year and less than 20% of electronics being recycled in a safe and responsible manner. Therefore the importance of using an R2 certified recycler is imperative. Improper disposal of electronics can put you at risk for data breeches among other environmental liabilities. R2 certified electronics recyclers, like KVS Computers, are held accountable to the highest industry standards. R2 certified companies are committed to abiding by the rigorous requirements of the R2 Standard which ensures accountability and adherence to the highest standards for data security, health/safety of workers and sustainability of environmental protection. To prove their commitment to this standard, R2 certified companies also undergo yearly, multi-day third party inspections.

KVS Computers in Muncy, PA is the area’s only R2 certified electronics recycler in a 160 mile radius and is committed to working together with local businesses and individuals for a cleaner tomorrow. Take the path to protecting our planet. Follow in the footsteps of KVS Computers and responsibly recycle your electronics equipment. Contact KVS Computers at 570-935-0545 or online at www.kvscomputers.com.

kvs logoR2 2013

 

 

Posted in How to Recycle E Waste | Leave a comment

Celebrating Earth Day 2015

Want to win a FREE laptop??!! As an R2 certified electronics recycler, EVERY day is Earth Day at KVS Computers.  We are committed to being an environmentally & safety responsible corporate citizen. On a daily basis, we are proactive in our efforts to conserve resources and responsibly reduce, reuse and recycle. To celebrate Earth Day and promote responsible recycling/reuse, we are giving away a quality, refurbished laptop. To be entered to win the laptop, visit our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/kvscomputers) and like the contest post AND our page. A random winner will be drawn on Friday, May 1st.  Good luck and remember to protect our planet!!

Posted in How to Recycle E Waste | Leave a comment

KVS Computers Announces New Website

KVS Computers is proud to announce we have launched a new website! Check out our new, updated website: www.kvscomputers.com and find out more about our affordable, knowledgeable and reliable computer repair, IT services and IT asset life cycle management services.

kvs logo

Posted in How to Recycle E Waste | Leave a comment

Certified E-cycling Protects National Security

Certified Recycling Programs

Scaling up certified recycling programs for electronic waste – or e-waste for short – would protect more than just the environment. It will also protect the U.S. defense system from the potentially grave risks posed by failure-prone counterfeit electronic parts. According to a report by the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, counterfeit parts have pervaded the U.S. defense supply chain. The committee found more than 1,800 cases of counterfeit parts in defense systems but like the proverbial tip of the iceberg, what we can see is only a small part of the problem.

By “counterfeit”, it means that the parts have not been properly salvaged or refurbished under a certified e-cycler or even worse, have been fraudulently passed off as such. From the perspective of the defense and computer industries, the problem has continued to grow in recent years. As e-cycling grows around the world it creates a substantial market of inexpensive electronic parts and a feedstock of these counterfeit electronic components. Uncertified or disreputable recyclers have bolstered the counterfeit market to grow and proliferate through a sea of unaccountability. R2:2013 certified recyclers follow a specific set of regulations and protocols for handling salvageable and useable electronic parts.

As of now the federal government and the defense industry are implementing prevention and detection measures operationally and through their purchasing policies (DFAR/ITAR). With its very stringent criteria, R2 certification is positioned to be at the forefront of that fight. However, further action is needed by Congress to protect consumer products and better regulate electronics manufacturers’ practices.

There are some forward thinking government officials that recognize the dangers a poorly regulated e-cycling industry imposes on government and military operations, personnel safety and even cyberattacks. These forward thinking officials realize the importance and need for more certified e-cyclers. Unless vital electronic parts can show provenance to be untainted, undamaged, unaltered and from a credible source, the problem will not only continue but get worse.

The number of R2:2013 certified companies needs to grow to meet the increasing threat. A larger community of R2 companies will:
1) build a larger, global community of conscientious recycling and salvage companies
2) increase supply chain integrity
3) raise the standard both domestically and globally, building greater consumer awareness
4) choke the demand or unaccountability of counterfeit electronic parts in the market place

On February 4th, KVS Computers officially attained its R2:2013 certification and is ready to handle IT needs and e-waste from communities, corporations, government agencies and individuals. We are ideally located in Lycoming County of Pennsylvania making it the go to R2 certified E-cycler in the region. Contact us today and have confidence knowing your IT and data protection needs are being met to the highest standard.

To contact KVS Computers about e-cycling and IT solutions:

Cherif Ammar-Khodja, President/CEO
sales@kvscomputers.com
570-935-3545

R2 2013

Posted in How to Recycle E Waste | Leave a comment

KVS Computers Proudly Attains R2:2013 Certification

R2 2013KVS Computers is extremely proud to announce that after 8 long months of preparation, we have obtained the prestigious R2:2013 certification to become the 21st certified electronics recycler in Pennsylvania.

The R2:2013 (Responsible Recycling) certification is considered the platinum of standards and accountability and represents a steadfast commitment to responsible recycling in the electronics waste industry. The R2:2013 standard is the basis for this certification and was first developed about 10 years ago by a multi-stakeholders group of representatives from EPA, state regulatory agencies, OEM, Non-Governmental Organizations and other members of the recycling industry who recognized the need for a comprehensive certification program that addressed the operational and environmental challenges in electronics recovery, recycling and repair.

The R2:2013 standard is a globally accepted standard because of its three main goals: protecting people, protecting the planet and preserving resources. R2 Certified companies are committed to preserving natural resources by extending the useful life of equipment, parts and components. R2 Certified companies are strong advocates of reuse because it’s widely recognized as the most environmentally beneficial form of recycling. It uses less energy, preserves limited resources and leaves a smaller environmental footprint. These certified companies are committed to reducing, reusing and recycling electronics so that nothing ends up in landfills. The standard prohibits e-waste from being mishandled or illegally exported to underdeveloped countries that do not have the means to properly handle e-waste and has been successful in advancing goals of sensible, safe and sustainable electronics recycling.

The process to become a R2:2013 Certified company is an arduous one. Not only do companies that embark on this path need to develop a management plan for responsible recycling but they also need to develop environmental and occupational health/safety management systems. Companies that successfully complete the R2:2013 certification are not only certified in electronics recycling but are also ISO 14001:2004 Certified (a standard based on Environmental Management Systems) as well as OHSAS 18001:2007 Certified (a standard based on Occupational Health/Safety Management Systems). All 3 standards require organizations to not only be in compliance with what is set forth in each standard but also legally comply with local, state and federal regulations. R2 Certified companies are committed to safe and responsible reuse and recycling practices as well as being safety conscious employers and environmentally responsible corporate citizens.

Anyone can claim to be a responsible electronics recycler. So what makes an R2:2013 Certified company different than the average business who claims to be a responsible recycler? R2 Certified companies prove their commitment with annual inspections conducted by third party independent certifying bodies. R2 Certified recyclers and refurbishers comply with the requirements of the R2 Standard and the commitment to protect the environment, their workers and data security.  More and more businesses and government agencies are entrusting their decommissioned electronic equipment to R2 Certified life cycle management companies like KVS Computers because they recognize the value of protecting their brand and bottom line from data breeches and environmental liabilities stemming from improper disposal of their IT assets.

Using an R2 Certified company offers the following safeguards: protection from unintended consequences (involving data security, health/safety of works and communities) due to improper disposal of electronic devices, limited exposure to data breeches and environmental liability, highest standards for data destruction and sanitization of data sensitive devices, strict testing methods for equipment being resold and protection for your customers, your business and your personal information. These safeguards are what make the R2 Standard the fastest growing global electronics recycling standard.

So what does all this mean for the average person? If you are like most Americans, you or your company probably have electronic equipment you no longer use like desktops, laptops, several cell phones, monitors, tablets, printers, TVs and other data devices, collecting dust in your house or office because you don’t know what to do with them. You know the equipment may still hold some value. You know the e-waste can’t be thrown out curbside with the rest of your waste but you don’t know where to take it. KVS Computers is an IT asset life cycle management company who offers a whole suite of reliable and responsible IT asset life cycle management services. With KVS Computers obtaining it’s R2:2013 certification, you now have a means to SAFELY, LEGALLY AND RESPONSIBLY rid your office and house of all those retired computing, video and communication devices.   To learn more about the reliable services KVS Computers offers, check out our website at www.kvscomputers.com.  (To learn more about the R2:2013 standard, visit www.sustainableelectronics.org).  Contact us today at 570-935-0545 or sales@kvscomputers.com and have a peace of mind when retiring your IT equipment.

Posted in How to Recycle E Waste | Leave a comment

Dear America

Dear America,

The day I stepped foot on your soil, I knew that I was very lucky. To tell you the truth, I felt like I was superman. I believed in you before I even met you. When I met my wife Lisa, I felt like I hit the jackpot as she was and is the light if my life.
Today, I thank you for letting me run a business in your land and can prove that the dream of your founding fathers is alive and well. My business is about to go viral thanks for the endless opportunities that you provide.
From your big-hearted people, your freedom of speech, all the way to the right to bear arms I adore you and truly believe in you.
My promise to you is that I will always work hard and contribute to your success.

Sincerely,
Cherif Ammar-Khodja

Please share if you like; this is genuine.
1341

Posted in About america | Leave a comment

Trashing Electronics Now Illegal in New York State: PA Next?

The Huffington Post reports that New York State has recently taken e-waste recycling a step further. While 25 states, New York included, have laws governing proper e-waste disposal, New York has now made it illegal for residents to simply throw their old electronics into the trash for the garbage man. Residents can now be fined $100 per incident. As a neighboring state, Pennsylvania may soon adopt similar legislation.

Most states that regulate e-waste, like Massachusetts, Maine and Minnesota, ban only cathode ray tubes (like those in older TVs and computer monitors) from its landfills. However, New York bans landfill disposal of computers and peripherals, televisions, cathode ray tubes as well as small electronic equipment like VCRs and game consoles.

This is more than just a punitive measure against willfully neglectful, reckless individuals and companies who choose to disregard EPA laws and regulations. New York’s measure law actually helps protect those who may have their data compromised and used against them, such as anything from identity theft to obtaining financial information.

In truth, unprincipled recyclers (such as those who are not certified to the R2:2013 or E-stewards standards) not only make a profit selling extracted gold, silver, palladium and working components, but the data retrieved from SIM cards and hard drives are highly sought after in corporate espionage and ID theft rings worldwide. After stripping equipment of the valued and desired items, unethical recyclers can then take what’s left of the device to be dumped into the ocean or burned in the desert. Such illegal enterprises costs the tax payers millions and the black market is growing. As the demand for data-storing devices grows, so does their disposal. Done carelessly, it leaves the door open for criminal activity.

In order to protect user data as well as ecology in this current, ever demanding data storage device world, the need for more certified e-cyclers has become necessary. However, with approximately 432 R2 certified e-cyclers presently in operation in the US, and with the increasing use of electronics, the need for them is greater than ever. According to the trade group ISRI (Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries), the U.S. recycling industry employs more than 45,000 full-time workers, up from 6,000 in 2002, of which e-cycling is the largest growing segment. The group says the industry processed more than 4.4 million tons of outdated electronics equipment in 2011, with more than 70 percent of the material reclaimed and sold as scrap steel, aluminum, copper, lead, glass, plastic and circuit boards.

KVS Computers is committed to protecting the environment as well as our clients’ privacy which is why our company has been undergoing the rigorous steps to becoming R2:2013 certified. The R2:2013 certification is the most stringent and comprehensive certificate recognized by the electronics recycling industry. Companies are required to adhere to the high standards for the protection of the environment and their workers as well as data security. An R2 certified company not only consistently practices responsible recycling and accountability but they are held to the requirements of the R2 Standard and undergo regular inspections to maintain the certification. KVS Computers is in the final phases of becoming the next R2:2013 certified e-cycling company in the US. Located in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, KVS Computers seeks to soon become just the 21st R2:2013 certified e-cycler in the state and only one of two in nearly a 200 mile radius.

To contact KVS Computers about e-cycling and data destruction solutions contact:

Cherif Ammar-Khodja, President/CEO

sales@kvscomputers.com
429473_662724083839_6416376

570-935-0545

Posted in e-cycling, How to Recycle E Waste | Leave a comment

E-Waste Gaining National Awareness, Can’t Keep Pace.

The growing issue of e-waste is getting some mainstream press.  MSN News recently ran an article, Mounting Electronic Waste Poses Major Threat to Environment, Health, on the alarming growth and effects of e-waste.  While the article mentions the success of one leading national e-cycler, ERI, it makes it clear there are too few certified companies available to keep pace with this growing problem.

With each new study done, the data indicates that e-waste is growing faster than previously thought.  The most recent study showed that in 2012 the world disposed of 49 million metric tons of e-waste.  The new projected total for 2017 is now at 65.4 million metric tons for a 75 percent increase over the next five years.

KVS Computers is in the process of obtaining the R2 (Responsible Recycling) certification.  The top standard in the industry.  This accreditation is recognized world wide.  Even though KVS is a company with national reach, it will be the only certified e-cycler within 150 miles in north central Pennsylvania.  Pennsylvania is home to some of the nation’s top healthcare systems, educational institutions, agencies and manufacturers.

KVS Computers is proud to be a part of this new field and will obtain its R2 certification in early 2015.  As Pennsylvania is one of the 25 U.S. states requiring e-waste be handled by a certified e-cycler, KVS Computers’ certification will fill a much needed void in the region.  Like ERI, KVS Computers will have full capabilities to handle data destruction and electronic refurbishment on a worldwide scale.

To contact KVS Computers about e-cycling and data destruction solutions contact:

429473_662724083839_6416376

Cherif Ammar-Khodja, President/CEO

sales@kvscomputers.com

570-935-0545

Posted in e-cycling | Leave a comment