CyberSecurity: Why your organisation needs to Get Wise to the New Threat Landscape

The CyberSecurity landscape changes every day, with new actors, new threats, new schemes, and new ways to infiltrate websites, emails, devices, and almost anything that is connected to the internet. We’re constantly reading about the rise of spear phishing, DDoS attacks, global malware threats, ransomware, CEO fraud, and more.

Screen 022.png

Despite all of the attention that CyberSecurity is receiving, there is still a widely held belief in the small- to medium-sized business or organization (SMB) that cyberattacks happen to someone else - the “Ostrich Effect”

Apparently, this is something that is prevalent in humans; it is our natural instinct to avoid unpleasant or difficult news or situations. Unfortunately, hiding from a problem doesn’t make it go away. It just continues without you, delaying the inevitable.

This is the state of CyberSecurity in the SMB market today. The threat exists. It’s real. It’s growing. It is not going away, and if we continue to bury our heads in the sand, it is going to get much worse. 

Ransomware as a Service or RaaS is a direct threat to SMBs

ransom.png

SMBs should be aware that Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) can be used by anyone with the desire to commit cyberextortion and this has changed the threat landscape. SMB's are now at more risk than ever before.
Consider these statistics:

  1. Cybercrime is expected to cost the world over $6 trillion USD by 2021.
  2. SMBs are under attack as cybercriminals understand SMBs have fewer resources and far less protection than larger entities.
  3. Half of all cyberattacks are against SMBs.
  4. Ostrich Effect statistics: 77% of SMBs say their companies are safe from cyberattacks, yet 83% of them have no formal cybersecurity plan.
  5. 6 out of 10 SMBs do not have a contingency plan should they undergo a cyberattack.
  6. 66% of SMBs say they are not worried about a cyberattack.
  7. Most SMBs do not have policies in place to provide procedures for employees in the case of an attack.
  8. While most small businesses feel that they have adequate protection for themselves and their customers, Visa, Inc. reports that SMBs represent over 90% of payment data breaches.  
  9. Most small businesses do not have any cybersecurity training in place for their employees, while 83% of breaches are caused by untrained employees being duped by phishing and spear phishing activities.

Being Proactive is the Way to Defend against Cyberattacks

datarisk.jpg

While the news on the CyberSecurity front is daunting, SMBs with a proactive plan of protection are far less likely to suffer a breach. When considering a plan for protection, these four areas should be reviewed:

  1. Risk Assessment—it is critical to know what data is at risk, where it is, and how to protect it.
  2. Risk Remediation—have a process to remove/back up/encrypt data to bring to “clean state.”
  3. Protection—utilize advanced technologies to secure a safe environment for your business and your customers.
  4. Education—instigate employee CyberSecurity awareness training.

A proactive approach to protection is the key to being safe for most businesses and organisations, whatever their size.

Remember,
if you are connected to the Internet,
you must be protected!

If you would like us to assist, please Ring us now 01-2166 970 or click here to send us a form.

Protect Your Networks with Easy Patch Management

One of the easiest ways for hackers to breach networks is by targeting the vulnerabilities of out-of-date software. It has never been as important to ensure that all devices on your network are correctly patched with the most up to-date software updates.

That’s why keeping software current with the latest security patches
is essential for strong Cybersecurity.

screen0087.jpg

GDK's Remote Monitoring & Management Software (RMM) streamlines patch management by giving you granular control over your patching policies through our Monitored Helpdesk System. Whether you want to automate the entire process, customize patches for certain devices or manually approve or deny patches, RMM gives you peace of mind while getting the job done

  • Automatically approve patches based on severity so you don’t miss a critical security update
  • Schedule updates for specific maintenance windows to avoid disrupting productivity
  • Sup port more software, including critical Microsoft programs and over 80 third party application families

Patches are provided for popular Software including, but not limited to:

  • Microsoft Office 365, Exchange, SQL Server,
  • Internet Explorer and Windows OS, Java, Adobe, Mozilla Firefox,
  • Google Chrome, Apple iTunes and Apple QuickTime.

To assist our clients we install an easy patch management strategy.

If you would like us to assist, please Ring us now 01-2166 970 or click below to send us a form.

The New Promethean ActivPanel V5 has arrived

As Ireland's leading supplier of Promethean Interactive Whiteboards and Flatscreens, GDK is delighted to announce that the much-heralded, award-winning new version of the Promethean ActivPanel V5 is finally here.

TheActivPanel V5 ships with the Android Operating System and Promethean Activ Inspire Software as standard, offers positive teaching, learning and technology benefits:

Click here for more information

WannaCry Ransomware Attack: What You Need to Know

Since being unleashed on 12 May 2017, the WannaCry Ransomware attack has become the largest ransomware event in history, crippling 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries. While it was briefly slowed (accidently, as it turns out) by a British security expert, criminals have since updated the malware. It continues to spread at an alarming rate.

A lot of media attention has focused on the organizations affected by WannaCry – notably FedEx, Nissan, Spain’s Telefonica, Britain’s National Health Service, the Russian Interior Ministry, and Germany's rail network. Maybe reporters assume multinational corporations and branches of government have been vigilant and are better at keeping their computer systems up-to-date. (Turns out, they aren’t.)

But for individuals, families, and small office/home office users, WannaCry and other ransomware programs continue to pose a serious threat to their data ... even if the impact on consumers doesn’t receive the same media attention.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a particularly vicious type of malware that infects your computer, blocks you from accessing your data, and demands a ransom in order to regain control of your files. Typically, ransomware will encrypt all of the files and then post a message that promises to decrypt the files if the ransom is paid … or destroy them if not.

What is WannaCry?

WannaCry is a piece of ransomware that is also known as WannaCrypt (as well as WanaCrypt0r 2.0, Wanna Decryptor 2.0, WCry 2, WannaCry 2 and Wanna Decryptor 2). What it’s called isn’t as important as what it does.

What’s been so devastating about WannaCry is how quickly it spread. Leveraging a vulnerability in Windows with the worm-like exploit called EternalBlue (which originated with the USA’s National Security Agency, but was made public by the Shadow Brokers hacking group), WannaCry exploits a flaw in Microsoft’s network file sharing protocol. It seeks out other vulnerable computers on the network to infect, which allows it to spread at an exponential rate.

The ransom for WannaCry starts at $300 in Bitcoin (the untraceable online crypto-currency), but as time goes on the amount required to unlock your files increases. (With more than 200,000 computers infected, that potentially represents $60 million in ill-gotten gains.)

Doesn’t my anti-virus software protect me?

Using quality anti-virus and anti-malware software is absolutely vital to a strong data protection plan. However, it is important to recognize that new ransomware threats cannot be stopped by those solutions. Here’s why.

Anti-malware programs work by comparing any unknown program trying to run on your computer against a list of known threats that security researchers have already identified. That helps avoid known malware threats, but it doesn’t account for so-called zero-day exploits: malware that exploits vulnerabilities that have not yet been discovered by the security community.

WannaCry used a zero-day threat to exploit a Microsoft vulnerability that had only recently been uncovered. Microsoft issued a software patch to close that hole, but not all its customers had gotten around to installing it. The combination of unknown threat (invisible to signature-based anti-malware measures), unpatched vulnerability, and very effective replication led to the WannaCry pandemic.  

How to defend/protect against WannaCry?

Security experts recommend four steps to help safeguard your computer from being infected by WannaCry.

  1. Make sure your computer’s software up to date. Just before the ShadowBrokers hacking group revealed the vulnerability, Microsoft released a patch for the exploit, known as MS17-010. That alone was newsworthy, since Microsoft was patching operating systems that it no longer supported, but clearly a lot of individuals and organizations did not download the patch. In order to avoid infection, immediately confirm that your system software is current.
     
  2. Create a full image backup of your system, ideally using a secure backup solution with active ransomware protection. A full image backup includes everything, including files, folders, programs, operating system, and system settings. If your computer becomes encrypted, you can simply restore your system in a matter of minutes.

    Since WannaCry also infects backup files, you’ll want to use backup software with active ransomware protection in order to safeguard both your system and your backup files. If your backup solution only offers reactive ransomware monitoring – analyzing newly backed up files – that is not enough.
     
  3. Regularly download updates for your anti-malware software to ensure its signature database is up-to-date. That will protect you against already-discovered threats.
     
  4. Be alert to how criminals try to get malware on your system. Most viruses get onto your computer when you click on a link or open an attachment in a malicious email that is designed to look safe and lull you into a false sense of trust. You can also pick up infections from malicious online ads and by visiting dubious websites (think illegal or questionable content), as well as infected USB drives. There’s a whole segment of the criminal underground whose sole job is to figure out how to get you to lower your guard and open your door to them. Be wary online.

To protect yourself from the next ransomware attack, you should contact GDK to discuss how you and your computer systems can be protected using the latest Anti-Virus Software with active ransomware protection to ensure your system is protected.

What to do if I’m infected by WannaCry?

If your computer is already infected, it may be too late, but here’s what the experts recommend. Firstly, do NOT click on “decrypt” or “check payment.” Paying the ransom doesn’t always work: one in five users who pay never get the promised remedy. After all, you’re dealing with criminals on the other end of the transaction.

If you can, download and install the patch from Microsoft.

If you have an isolated backup of your system – one that was not connected to the infected computer, like a cloud backup – you can restore your infected files. But keep in mind that WannaCry will try to infect backup files as well, so if you only have a backup on a local drive, you might be out of luck.


There are real benefits to implementing a proactive GDK IT Care Plan to manage your security concerns. You are most welcome to call or email us to discuss your concerns and to investigate how GDK could help you.

 

Benefits of adding additional Memory to your Servers

Memory is what feeds processing cores, it’s one of the most effective and affordable ways to improve CPU utilisation and efficiency.
There are huge benefits of adding additional Memory(RAM) to your Servers that include:

  • It’s the fastest, easiest, most dependable way to increase Server performance
  • When CPUs are fully utilised, you will be able to use fewer Servers to accomplish more
  • Fewer Servers keeps power, cooling, and software licensing costs lower
  • It’s one of the best ways to cut costs and overcome workload constraints.

Additional Memory helps overcome 5 top server workload constraints:

  1. Limited budget: More memory helps increase CPU efficiency and utilisation, which in turn decreases a server’s cost of ownership because users are getting more performance out of it and are able to use fewer servers to accomplish more.
  2. Unexpected or unpredictable workload demands: More RAM helps eliminate quality of service variance because it provides extra resources for virtualised applications to store and use active data, which lives in memory.
  3. Limited floor space: Scaling up and using less servers optimises limited floor space and cuts power, cooling and software license costs.
  4. Rapid growth in user base: Hosting more users requires more RAM to maintain quality of service levels and gain system flexibility.
  5. High power and cooling costs: More RAM helps servers use power in the most efficient manner plus using fewer servers lowers total energy costs.

The bottom line:
Improve workload performance with more Memory, not necessarily more Servers

For more information, please contact us to discuss how we can help.