It’s not if you get hacked, it’s when!

“9% of breaches are ever found – out of that 1/9 with monitoring and 8/9 by pure luck”. 1 This was a statement tweeted by Sami Laiho on October 17, 2016. Sami is a Microsoft MVP and a leading expert on Windows Security. This is a compelling statement, one which infers that if you haven’t already been hacked, it’s only a matter of time before you are and you may never know!

Hackers operate for many different reasons, often for the challenge it presents and not always to steal your data. Some hackers will simply plant malware on your website that will infect anyone visiting your site, this could cause minimal or no impact to your business. However, others with an intention to inflict pain upon a business, will release viruses or ransomware into a network. The motivation is usually financial benefit or organised criminal activity and could cripple a business.

Hackers with a motivation to cause disruption for political gain or intentional espionage, are impossible to stop, their method is to execute an aggressive attack on servers. As these hackers are often state sponsored (in the case of the US election hackings), they are well resourced and financed.

Businesses are most likely to fall victim to the “low hanging fruit hack”, this is where automated objects (bots) continually look for weaknesses in security, such as servers and firewalls that are not properly maintained or updated, viruses that have not been removed or untrained staff who are deficient in adhering to security protocols. It’s only when the bots detect a weakness that a physical person gets involved in the hack to investigate the opportunities and find an opening to plant viruses or malware.

Early in 2016 news broke of a medical centre in Los Angeles which was being held to ransom; reportedly to the sum of $3.6 million USD to decrypt their systems including all of the hospitals patient files. In this case hackers found an opening and tunnelled into the system where they found a number of vulnerable points and they released a CryptoLocker virus (a form of ransomware where all of the computers files are locked and the hackers request a ransom to unlock the files). The virus was released into the system and the hackers shut the system down internally so the IT consultants for the hospital could no longer access the systems. The attack destroyed the backups and current data.2

With bots continually trolling for the low hanging fruit targets, it’s inevitable that businesses will be hacked at some point if they haven’t already. Businesses need to protect themselves from the possibility of lengthy interruptions or the worst case scenario of a complete loss of data, by having at a minimum, functioning, regularly tested offsite backups and preferably, a complete disaster recovery plan.

At the very minimum you need offsite backups that are stored in a location not attached to your business, usually in a cloud environment or at an alternative location. If a hacker is successful in gaining access to your server, they are likely going to lock or destroy your local backups first and then follow the path to your offsite backup. This activity should raise alarms with your monitoring software and will also give you another layer of protection as they will need to either hack your host or managed services provider. A complete disaster recovery plan is yet another layer of protection for your data as it could be structured so that the offsite backup is in a location that your server cannot see.

Any business that requires their data, needs to ensure that they have a tried and tested solution for the recovery of their data. The worst is coming…

 

  1. Link to Sami Laiho Twitter http://tinyurl.com/jmygy9n

2. Link to an LA Medical CryptoLocker story http://tinyurl.com/hgx2day

CryptoLocker Viruses

CryptoLocker Viruses are once again attacking computers and servers.

We have had 2 clients recently who were severely impacted by CryptoLocker viruses, causing major data losses.

We worked for several hours (days actually) to recover their data for them through our diligent backup maintenance, however, they did lose their valuable time because of these viruses.

These last 2 viruses were received as attachments to emails in the format of Resumes. If you are not currently recruiting or expecting resumes to be emailed to you, then do not open any attachments you receive labelled as Resumes. These viruses are extremely difficult for virus scanners to pick up, so a reminder to always be careful opening attachments to emails, even if you do know who the sender is.

If you are concerned that you may have received a virus, please do not hesitate to contact us.

G20 Is almost here, are you ready?

We have identified a number of  our clients who will be affected by the G20 Summit, whether by road closures or simply because they are within (or located near) the security areas.

Some questions we have asked our clients and you may wish to consider…

  • Are you planning on working on the Brisbane Holiday day 14th November or over the  weekend of 15th & 16th  November?
  • Are you closing your office for the week or just a day (10th -14th November)?
  • Do you plan to work away from the office during this time or require the ability to do so?

If you answered yes to any of the above please let us know if we can be of assistance to you.

If you would like to find out more about the restricted areas and road closure, please visit the G20 Summit Website

 

Windows XP D-Day April 8, 2014

April 8, 2014, TODAY… this is D-Day for Microsoft end of Support for Windows XP and Office 2003.

If you still have Windows XP computers or Office 2003 products at home or in your office, you need to take action NOW to protect your data against the possible risks associated with end of support for these computers and software.

An article posted on the popular Tech site Gizmodo entitled “Are You or Is Someone You love Still Using Windows XP?” is using an image of the Grim Reaper to highlight the severity of not taking action.

Below is an excerpt from an article we published recently drawing attention to the risks of not replacing your old XP computers…

April 8, 2014, that’s the date on everyone’s minds and if it’s not and you are still using Windows XP computers and/or Office 2003, then it should be. That’s the date that Microsoft will cease to support Windows XP and Office 2003. Windows XP has been the operating system of choice for a number of years, however, it is coming to an end. For some time now, the end has been in sight (we’ve posted articles on our Facebook page over the past few months discussing this very topic)

What does this mean?

Well, it doesn’t mean that your computer is going to suddenly explode. You will however, have that feeling of being stranded on a deserted Island with only a soccer ball to keep you company and with no chance of being rescued.
As at April 8, 2014, Microsoft will release no further patches, fixes and security updates or provide any support for Windows XP. This operating system is nearly 12 years old. The technology is old and Microsoft have Windows 7 and 8 in the market that they will continue to support for a number of years.

Therefore, if you stay on Windows XP, you will be vulnerable to security threats such as viruses and malware etc. The experts are predicting that programmers are going to specifically target XP computers and release threats after the end of support date. There will be little to no way to stop these attacks.

Further, many third party suppliers such as MYOB and Leap Legal, to name but 2, will also no longer support users with XP computers, Windows Server 2003 and Office 2003. They will also, no longer issue program updates to help you run your programs on the old systems. Therefore, they will no longer guarantee the stability of your programs.

Read More?

If you would like to read the Gizmodo article  “Are You or Is Someone You love Still Using Windows XP?” Click here