Ransomware is the scariest type of malware out there. It can have a myriad of negative effects on a business, yet it seems to still be on the fringe of the mainstream. Today, we thought we would give somewhat of a refresher course on ransomware.
The growing popularity of ransomware has been disconcerting to many IT professionals, particularly due to the different tactics that this malware variant has been spotted utilizing. In order to protect your business from these attacks, it helps to know how they work. We’ve put together a beginner’s field guide to ransomware types to help you identify (and hopefully avoid) it.
Ransomware attacks grew less common in both 2018 and thus far in 2019 when compared to 2017. Unfortunately, recent events have made it more likely that this trend will reverse in the near future. Why is that? Simple: some municipalities have set a precedent of paying up.
There was a time when people didn’t have to worry about getting computer viruses on their cell phones. Nowadays, with the exponential growth of mobile technologies, including application development options, mobile malware has become a problem, and it can be a big problem for your business. Today, we’ll take a look at the growing mobile malware market, from the threats to what you can do to keep it from being a problem for you.
With a meager market share that is one-third the size of Google’s, one would think that Bing would be trying to keep controversy away from a user’s search results. However, the Microsoft search engine has recently encountered a few notable PR disasters that may be enough to convince some not to use it - especially if it leads to a security breach.
Every business owner needs to consider how to approach network security. This is especially true with the litany of threats that face their organization’s network from simply being connected to the Internet. It may sound like an overstatement at first, but when you consider what some huge corporations--that have some very deep pockets--have dealt with very recently, it becomes evident that figuring out how to approach cybersecurity is one of the most important considerations any business owner has to make.
Certain threats out there are dangerous enough to cause major entities to warn against them. In particular, a recent malware by the name of VPNFilter has been deemed dangerous and prevalent enough that the FBI has addressed it. Since the malware targets routers (probably not your first guess in terms of possible vulnerabilities), it has considerable potential to become a nuisance for your organization.
Hackers and cybercriminals, like most people, tend to gravitate towards high-reward activities. In this case, that means that focus is turning to creating malware that attacks the router, potentially infecting the users that leverage it to connect wirelessly to the Internet. Researchers at Kaspersky Lab recently discovered an example of such a malware, so today, we will review this threat and how to best protect your network.
Email is often touted as a favorite medium for launching cyberattacks against businesses and individuals. This is because it’s easy to hide the true intent behind an email attack within its contents, whether they are embedded images in the message itself, or links to external sources. How can you know for sure whether the links in your email inbox are legitimate?
In a statement given by Tom Bossert, the homeland security adviser to the White House, blame for the WannaCry attacks leveraged from May 12th to the 15th in 2017 was attributed to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. This assertion is in line with the conclusions that New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and Japan have come to, according to Bossert.
It doesn’t matter which industry your organization falls into. Your business will always be susceptible to threats in some way, shape, or form. Therefore, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your business understands how to protect itself from these threats, before it’s too late. We’ll help you learn more about the various issues that you need to watch out for, and what you can do to stop them.
When you hear the term “hacker,” what do you imagine? You likely see what many see, a lone user hunched over a computer, creating chaos for chaos’ sake. However, this is a dangerously narrow view of those who qualify as “hackers.”
Society relies on law enforcement to enforce laws in a fair and just manner, but even the police have their work cut out for them when they are targeted by a cyberattack. A recent incident in Cockrell, Texas shows that not even the police are immune to the threats of ransomware--particularly the emerging brand of ransomware, Osiris.
As a technology-using business owner, it’s your responsibility to take the security of your organization’s data seriously. This entails knowing the finer details of the many security threats that are out and about on the Internet. Here is a list that includes many of the major threats that you’ll want to keep a lookout for in the business world, and what you can do to stop them.
VirusesIt’s not uncommon for a computer to get infected with a virus after some use. All it takes to get one is clicking on the wrong link or downloading an infected file. Viruses often cause both major and minor problems, with the least of your worries being a major slowdown. In many cases, viruses are the simplest of threats, and could be symptoms of much worse problems. If you suspect that your computer has been infected by a virus, make sure that you check for other problems as well.
MalwareAnother major contender for most popular threat is malware, simply because of how incredibly varied the term is. “Malicious software,” is designed to perform a specific task, and as such, there are practically infinite types of malware out there. Some variants try to steal data, while others just want to destroy it. Regardless, you should do everything you can to keep malware out of your system. Antivirus and antimalware programs are great ways to eliminate threats that have made it into your infrastructure.
TrojansTrojans, like their namesake (the Greek Trojan Horse), install backdoors on your device to allow for remote access. This is mainly so hackers can have a way into your device for a future hacking campaign or otherwise. In fact, trojans are often installed on a device during other, less serious hacking attacks, using a distraction that takes the focus away from the trojan being installed. If you want to ensure that you catch trojans on your network, you want only the most powerful antivirus solutions.
RansomwareThis is perhaps the most dreaded threat that there is in today’s business world. Ransomware is malware designed to encrypt your files using high-end encryption protocol, which then demands that you pay a fee for the decryption key. The only surefire way to get your data out of this situation safely is to restore a backup, but some organizations don’t even have this contingency available to them. Additionally, most ransomware moves around via spam, so it’s important that you make sure you have protection against it. This includes malicious links and attachments, as well as educating your team on what to look for.
Phishing and Spear PhishingPhishing and advanced spear-phishing are designed to take advantage of the human aspect of your organization. Through technologies like email or phone calls, hackers will try to steal sensitive information or coax passwords or credentials out of unsuspecting users. Spam messages are often personalized to make them appear to be the real deal, even though they’re just messages designed to trick the user. Phishing messages often come in the form of threats from fake law enforcement or government agencies, which take advantage of the fear factor. These messages can be prevented with a spam filter that keeps them out of your inbox in the first place.
If you have concerns about the security of your organization’s infrastructure, reach out to us at 217-428-6449.
With all of the major data breaches making the news these days, it’s not very surprising when you hear about a new one. However, what is surprising is just how much the average cost per breach has skyrocketed in recent years. The cost of data breaches is up 29 percent since 2013, which equates to roughly $4 million per data breach.
This sobering statistic is from a recent study by the Ponemon Institute and IBM Data. In it, 283 international companies that experienced a major data breach were examined. Here are some more findings from the study:
It’s important to keep in mind that this study doesn’t track the reputation fallout that a business experiences after news of their data breach goes public. This includes future customers choosing another business, as well as losing clientele. It’s difficult to put a number to factors like these, but one thing’s for sure; it will certainly be a major loss for any business that experiences a data breach. Reasons like these are why the average business that fails to recover their lost data after a breach will go out of business within one year of the incident.
Do you think that you’ve got what it takes to bounce back from a costly data breach? If you’re unprepared and you don’t have a proper data backup solution or your business continuity plan is inadequate, then you’re in for a world of hurt.
Therefore, how much should you invest in a quality data backup solution? Before you make your decision, consider three more relevant points of interest from the study.
Cost per record from data theft due to malicious intent: $236. This is data that’s considered lost or stolen due to hacking attacks like ransomware or viruses. This category is virtually limitless with thousands of new strains of malware released on the Internet every single day.Cost per record from data loss due to hardware failure: $213. This is data that’s lost due to system malfunction or hardware failure, like a server or workstation crashing unexpectedly. The good news; hardware failure is relatively easy to safeguard yourself against if you follow best practices and perform routine maintenances on all of your equipment. Cost per record from data loss due to human error: $197. This is data that’s lost due to the actions of the user. It could be from intentional actions like sabotage by a disgruntled employee, but it’s often accidental, like moving a file to the wrong place or deleting something important. The best way to protect yourself from human error is by educating everybody who accesses your company’s data; a tall task if your staff consists of computer novices.
The takeaway from all of this is that your data is perhaps worth more than what you realized. Therefore, you need to protect your company with solutions that can minimize the risk of threats and help you bounce back quickly, should a breach ever occur. Network Solutions Unlimited has the enterprise-level security solutions that you need, like firewall, antivirus, spam-blocking, content filtering, backup and disaster recovery, and more, to ensure your business won’t be derailed by an unforeseen data breach. To learn how we can best protect you, call us today at 217-428-6449.
Hackers of all shapes and sizes use brute force attacks to gain access into accounts and infrastructures, but do you know how they work and what your business can do to protect against them? Failing to understand brute force attacks could put sensitive information in the crosshairs of hackers, and leave it vulnerable to ongoing attacks.
What Are Brute Force Attacks?A brute force attack consists of a hacker repeatedly assaulting a login form with credentials at an incredible rate, hoping to crack the code and gain access without knowing the password to the account or system login. Most brute force attacks are performed by an algorithm that’s designed to rapidly input thousands upon thousands of credentials every second, hence the term “brute force.” Since it takes a more deliberate and frontal assault, rather than using a discrete or intellectual path, it’s considered more straightforward and forceful. Though there are many types of brute force attacks, one of the most common is called a dictionary attack, where password attempts are systematically generated with popular words pulled from the dictionary in order to access the system.
Why They’re a ProblemMcAfee Security reports that in 2015, brute force attacks accounted for about 25 percent of all online hacks, second only to Denial of Service attacks. Perhaps this is due to how straightforward these attacks are, since they are deliberate attacks that don’t require skirting around security measures. Those behind brute force attacks know that they will be caught, which makes them particularly dangerous, since all caution is thrown to the wind and forgotten. These types of attacks are used to access accounts or system infrastructures in order to steal credentials like credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, and other data.
Plus, brute force attacks can be used to install a rootkit on a device, or turn a PC into a zombie bot. It’s not uncommon for brute force attacks to be used as a jumping-off point for other major threats.
What to DoA security solution that can lock out users based on IP location or failed login attempts is one way to protect your business from brute force attacks, but if the attacker is executing the campaign with a botnet, these measures will be limited in their ability to protect you. Botnets consist of several infected computers with various IP addresses, acting as individual users, thus rendering your security measures useless.
One other technology that can be effective at eliminating brute force attacks is two-factor authentication. In addition to your password, two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security. Basically, if hackers don’t have access to your physical device or a secondary email account, they won’t be able to get the second code required to access your account or infrastructure. Two-factor authentication is a great asset in general, so it’s worth taking into consideration regardless of what type of business you’re running.
Your business should be equipped to handle all types of online threats, particularly those which are dangerous and present a significant threat. Network Solutions Unlimited can help your business integrate solutions designed to maximize your organization’s security and continuity. To learn more, give us a call at 217-428-6449.
Next time you see an unsolicited resume in your email, it’s worth scrutinizing before you just click on it. It could be a nasty new ransomware called Petya.
Malware has traditionally targeted industries that are exceptionally profitable. For example, hackers like to target retailers for their wealth of financial credentials. One of the most profitable industries, entertainment, is also subject to similar torment, including Steam, the PC gamer’s most valuable tool for gaming binges.
Did you know that some of the most successful hackers actually know very little about computer coding? In many cases, a hacker simply tricking someone into handing over their personal information works out even better for them. This is a tactic known as social engineering, and the only way to defend against it is to stay one step ahead of the hacker’s devious plans.