Faronics Tech Roundup – September in Review

The realm of cyber security changes very quickly, with new malicious techniques emerging on a regular basis even as mitigation solutions try to keep up. By understanding the threats and solutions that are being created, organizations can better protect themselves. Let’s take a look back at some of the biggest cyber security news that took place in September:

Ransomware-as-a-Service Targets Android Devices

Ransomware-as-a-Service kits are making it easier than ever before for aspiring cyber criminals to create malicious apps and make a quick payday from unsuspecting users. According to ZDNet, hackers simply need to download the Trojan Development Kit app onto an Android phone, follow simple instructions and fill out the forms to create a ransomware program of their own without writing a single line of code. The kit comes with a variety of customization options including keys used to unlock infected devices, the icon used by the malware and animations to be displayed on infected devices.

TDK and other similar kits should be worrying to any security professional. Once attackers pay a one-time fee, they’re free to distribute the ransomware and make as many variants as they want. This offers a capable tool for low-level criminals and seasoned developers alike. Organizations must reinforce app policies and ensure employees know how to spot suspicious programs.

Ransomware-as-a-Service makes it easy for anyone to create a malicious app.

Equifax Breach Affects Millions

Earlier this month, Equifax, one of the three major consumer credit reporting agencies, was hacked, exposing sensitive information for 143

Deep Freeze Enterprise 8.5 is Now Available

We’re happy to announce the release of Deep Freeze Enterprise 8.5.

In this latest version, we’ve added several new enhancements and features. With Deep Freeze Enterprise 8.5, you can

 

1. Add ThawSpaces on the Fly

A reinstallation of Deep Freeze is no longer needs to add a new ThawSpace – ThawSpaces can be configured at any time are added on the next Thawed restart.

 

2. Delete ThawSpaces

Lookout for a new Delete ThawSpace action from Console toolbar (in addition to Format ThawSpace). A new DFC switch/deletethawspace has been added as well.

 

3. Thawed Alerts

Ever forget to Freeze a computer and wonder how long it was Thawed for? You can now specify the length of time after which a Thawed workstation turns red. A new “Thawed For” column is now available to displays how long a workstation was Thawed for.

 

4. Combination Scheduler Task

Customers often chain scheduled console tasks like (1) Wake-On-Lan, (2) Send Message, (3) Run Windows Update, (4) Shutdown so we thought why not provide a new Combination Task? The new Combination Task allows you create a single Scheduler task to chain up to 5 scheduler tasks so you don’t have to change multiple tasks when the unexpected happens.

 

5. Client Update and More Scheduler Tasks

Customers had

Safeguarding Data : How Ransomware Can Affect the Master Boot Record (MBR)

Ransomware is becoming one of the most dangerous cyber attack methods that businesses face, as well as the most lucrative for cyber criminals. Hackers are beginning to target organizations of all sizes to infect more networks and yield a bigger payday. In fact, businesses in 10 states experienced a 500 percent boost in ransomware attacks, Small Business Trends reported. For small- and medium-sized businesses globally, there was a 231 percent increase year-over-year from Q1 2016 to Q1 2017.

SMBs and many other organizations cannot afford the costs and damages that ransomware brings. Global ransomware damage costs could go over $5 billion this year, a remarkable increase from $325 million in 2015, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. Ransomware is becoming more sophisticated to convince users into downloading malicious files and waiting while the program takes over the machine. By the time individuals realize what happened, the ransomware may have already cracked the master boot record and taken control. Let’s take a closer look at how ransomware can hack into your Master Boot Record and ways to protect your business from this rising threat.

Petya was the first ransomware to encrypt the Master Boot Record.

Tales of Petya

Typically, when ransomware impacts a user, the best thing to do is to reboot the machine and restore everything from backups. However, if the Master Boot Record has been compromised, users are completely locked out of their computers and held at the whim of the attacker. One of the first and most successful examples of

Data Security : 4 Cost-effective Measures for SMBs to Secure Their Business Data

Small and medium-sized businesses can no longer afford to take data security threats lightly, and believe that they won’t be affected by data breaches. While there are certainly bigger fish out there that hackers can fry, SMBs are actually becoming more attractive targets due to the general lack of protection put in place. According to Inc contributor Joseph Steinberg, about half of all cyber attacks now target SMBs. These organizations are more likely to pay ransoms, can provide access to other businesses, have valuable data and will have a more difficult time detecting an attack as it occurs.

If these numbers don’t scare you, the consequences of a breach should. Sixty percent of SMBs that experience a cyber attack shut down within six months, The Denver Post reported. The ransom payments, costs to recover, lost customers and damaged reputation all add up and can be easily avoided with the right protections. It’s easy for SMB leaders to believe that safeguards are out of their reach, but necessary tools are more available than they think. Let’s take a closer look at four ways that SMBs can secure their data at a low cost:

1. Set Up Automated Maintenance Schedules

Automated schedules can help with data security measures, by rolling out out updates and maintenance. For organizations with a large number of machines or a small number of IT professionals, it can be difficult to ensure that hardware and software solutions remain up-to-date. Rackspace noted that organizations often spend 10 hours or

Malware-Induced Downtime: 4 Ways to  Protect Critical Systems

Malware use is on the rise, with 323,000 new strains identified per day, according to one industry estimate. Hackers are increasingly offering mass production of malware and tailored cyber criminal services to earn more money and develop techniques that will avoid detection for longer periods of time. While organizations can certainly patch their vulnerable hardware and applications, 99 percent of malware is modified once it’s seen so that it can continue evading security tools across other vulnerable systems, according to Verizon’s 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report.

With the pace of malware evolution, it’s very difficult for businesses to ensure that they’re secure. As a result, malware attacks have caused significant downtime for affected organizations, along with associated damages. The attack on shipping and logistics conglomerate Maersk is one of the most recent examples. According to The Digital Guardian, the company experienced a NotPetya cyber attack that disrupted its critical systems, resulting in an outage that cost $200-300 million in losses, among other consequences. Rather than becoming a victim to malware-induced downtime, it’s time for businesses to take action. Let’s take a closer look at four ways that will help protect critical systems from infection and disruptions:

1. Segment Your Assets

A flat network with administrative and critical infrastructures existing on the same plane can be a significant source of security hazards for businesses. CSO Online contributor Tom Olzak noted that in this type of environment, information can flow to and from critical systems with little or no control, and remote