• Hani Eshack


Introduction


As your business becomes increasingly more digital, the devices, back-end systems, and applications you’re using generate an overwhelming amount of data - which will only continue to increase.

A multitude of different data sources creates potential vulnerabilities that make your business an easy target for cybercriminals and ransomware. The increasing number of employees working remotely and on-the-go has created more risk. When your employees exchange critical business data using smartphones, tablets, and personal laptops, your proprietary data, as well as financial information, may be exposed and, therefore, vulnerable to an attack. Not to mention, they can easily download malicious applications that can infect their devices and hold data hostage. With the BYOD (bring-your-own-device) movement on the rise, it’s only getting easier for hackers.

New Cyber Threats Pose New Security Realities


When thinking about cybersecurity, it’s not just about “if” your business will be attacked; it’s about “when” it will be attacked. Infection methods are more sophisticated and phishing scams look more realistic. Two of the more recent ransomware attacks serve as valuable evidence.


In May 2017, a phishing scam posed as a Google Docs request. When people clicked a link within the email, the hacker was able to access all their emails and contacts, as well as send and delete emails within accounts. The attack compromised more than 1 million Gmail accounts.


PayPal accounts were also targeted with a highly sophisticated phishing scam that asked people to take a selfie while holding credit cards and a form of identification.3


Why were these attacks so successful? Because people immediately trusted the emails they received. By leveraging the logos and powerful brand recognition that Google and PayPal have, the creators of these attacks were able to catch people off guard and, in turn, infect more devices.

But perhaps the most destructive ransomware thus far is WannaCry, which also has worm-like capabilities. While most ransomware typically limits infection to the device that clicked and installed it, malware like WannaCry can spread across a network and replicate itself onto other devices.


Once WannaCry infects a device, it finds and encrypts files, displays a “ransom note” and demands bitcoin payment from infected users.

Reports indicate that the ransomware strain has spread to 150 countries, impacting 10,000 organizations, 200,000 individuals, and 400,000 machines.

Recently, a new variant of WannaCry has emerged, infecting 3,600 computers per hour.


These occurrences reaffirm that cybercriminals are more clever, their targets are larger and their attack methods are more aggressive. We want to help you be prepared in the event ransomware infects your devices and, most importantly, minimize or prevent critical business data from being stolen.


Our Six-Step Approach to Keeping Your Data Safe


Much like biological viruses, there are many ransomware threats circulating the web. With every occurrence, the sophistication of these viruses is increasing in a multitude of ways, including how they spread and how they encrypt data.


As an IT service provider, we know that protecting your business from ransomware is not a single-prong approach. Being able to mitigate or prevent attacks is our top priority.


We have put in place an agile, multi-layered approach that can adapt as new and increasingly hostile threats emerge.

Our best-in-class approach consists of six layers:


1. Patching


The most basic layer of protection is to monitor and patch all computers and applications. With the latest patches, we can address all known OS Security vulnerabilities. Patching provides the most basic layer of protection to operating systems, especially once a security flaw is uncovered. We provide the latest patches to ensure your operating systems are running at peak performance and that all system vulnerabilities are addressed.


2. Antivirus and Network Monitoring


People are being targeted through more sources than ever — email, ad networks, mobile applications, and devices. Anti-virus and network monitoring examines all files and traffic and filters them against all known threats.

We keep virus definition files updated to protect these systems.


3. Backup and Disaster Recovery


There is sometimes a gap between when a threat is first introduced and when we receive notification and can develop a remedy. We do a full-system backup to protect your back-office systems. This enables us to stay on top of things when an attack occurs and provide a recovery option for unknown threats and even the most catastrophic failures.


4. Endpoint Backup


Although there’s a layer of protection on your back-office systems, you still need to have backup and recovery of data for devices. These devices create, share and store business data, and if a cybercriminal captures this proprietary and sensitive information, it can have a significant impact on business productivity and profitability. We do real-time data backup on these endpoints to prevent business-critical information from being compromised.


5. Secure File Sync and Share


We want to allow your employees to collaborate securely from any location and using any device — even their smartphones and tablets. Using our enterprise-grade, secure file sync and share solution, you can grant access and editing controls for specific documents, such as Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations, and we can help employees to recover documents that are maliciously or accidentally deleted.


6. Education and Awareness


The most important step in our process is to create awareness about these threats. We offer training and educational materials to help you educate your employees about cybersecurity risks, new ransomware strains, and best practices for spotting phishing attempts, suspicious emails, and other security risks. Empowering them to be proactive and encouraging them to report questionable content using rewards and incentives will help increase awareness and decrease overall risk.

We Protect Your Business With A Comprehensive Solution


New ransomware threats are constantly emerging and evolving. To learn how we can protect your business and provide a secure and collaborative environment for all your employees, contact us today.


Email: info@criticalitsolutions.com

Phone: 240-442-2960


SOURCES

  • http://www.zdnet.com/article/research-74-percent-using-or-adopting-byod/

  • Recode, “More than a million people were affected by the Google Docs phishing attack,” May 4, 2017.

  • International Business Times, “PayPal Phishing Scam: Victims Asked To Take Selfie With Credit Card, ID,” June 6, 2017.

  • Autotask, “Expert FAQ: What you need to know about WannaCry,” May 18, 2017.

  • Barkly, “WannaCry Ransomware Statistics: The Numbers Behind the Outbreak,” May 2017.

  • The Verge, “The WannaCry ransomware attack has spread to 150 countries,” May 14, 2017.

  • ZeroHedge, “New Variant Of ‘WannaCry’ Virus Emerges Infecting 3,600 Computers Per Hour,” May 15, 2017


  • Layla Eshack

Are you concerned about your child’s screen time, or wondering whether you should be?


Screen time is one of the most highly debated topics among parents in this age of technology. This Pew Research article highlights some of the top questions parents have:


How do other parents feel about screen time?


Is there such a thing as too much screen time? How much is too much?


Can we realistically limit our children’s screen time while they are also attending school and learning online?


How can parents make sure children are still engaging in physical activity when they would rather use the computer?


Check out the full article here:

https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2020/07/28/parenting-children-in-the-age-of-screens/

  • Layla Eshack


October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month!


We are here to help you stay safe. Here are the top “tricks” you need to be aware of this month:

#1: Phishing


Phishing is the most common type of cyber attack. It occurs when someone sends malicious emails or links while disguising themselves as a trustworthy source. Often times phishing emails can come from what appears to be a legitimate source, such as a bank or government agency. The idea is to get the email recipient to share information or click on a malicious link or attachment.


Phishing is THE most common way that hackers collect private information. Studies show that one in 99 emails is a phishing email.


99% of cyber attacks result from someone clicking a link.


In order to stay safe, DO NOT click on links from unknown senders. You should only click on links or download attachments when they are from someone you know or you were expecting them.


In these pandemic times, hackers are taking advantage of the fear and unemployment rates. A recent trend is for hackers to impersonate the government. Government agencies such as the IRS typically operate through the mail, and you should be suspicious of any calls or emails from someone claiming to be the IRS.

#2: Ransomware


Ransomware is a strategy hackers use to claim your system using malicious software. They block access to the system and data until a ransom of money is paid.


Ransomware attacks can be targeted at individuals or businesses and may demand various amounts of money, often a cryptocurrency such as BitCoin.


For businesses, this can be devastating. Ransomware attacks can close operations and pressure business owners to pay the ransom just to be able to function again, but the ransoms can be so high that the damage is impossible to come back from.


If your system becomes compromised, it can be too late. Preventative measures should be taken, such as strong password security policies and user training regarding safe cybersecurity practices. Talk to your IT professional about how your business is staying safe.

#3: Insider Threats


It can be easy to overlook the vulnerability of your computer system if you only consider external threats. Insider threats are dangers posed by those who have (or had) legitimate access to your system. These can be accidental or intentional.


Examples of insider threats include a careless employee, a sneaky former employee, a compromised 3rd party vendor, or a deceptive spouse.


Organizations sometimes fail to consider the true risks that insiders pose to their cybersecurity. Yet, internal risks are every bit as dangerous and damaging as the external ones, even if there is no malicious intent.


Check out our blog post on the Dangers of Insider Threats:

https://www.criticalitsolutions.com/post/the-dangers-of-insider-threats

#4: Malware


Malware is software designed to damage your computer system. It can be easily downloaded onto a device by clicking on a link or downloading an attachment with malware (such as in a phishing email).


The uses of malware can vary. Sometimes this malicious software can be used to steal valuable information. Sometimes it can be used to lock your system and conduct a ransomware attack. A virus is considered a type of malware, although a virus will replicate itself and spread through multiple programs.


Your computer system should have anti-malware and anti-virus software in place.


Talk to your IT professional about what you are currently doing to stay safe, and how you could reduce risk.

Questions? Call Critical IT Solutions to see if your business qualifies for our free risk assessment. 240-442-2960

12305 Cypress Spring RD

Clarksburg, MD 20871

Call

T: 240.442.2960
F: 877.344.7601

 

© 2020 by Critical IT Solutions LLC.

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