Understanding Malware and How We Can Protect You

Viruses have come a long way since the late eighties and now malware has become an everyday concern for not only personal computers but primarily for companies and organizations of all sizes. As technology improves and we become more and move connected across devices and it only puts us in a more vulnerable place. We want to have everything at our fingertips without thinking about the heightened risks we are taking. Malicious software continues to improve and is taking advantage of these weaknesses. Keep in mind that you are only as secure as the least secure connection or device.

 

 

 
There are many forms of these viruses that can harm, sabotage, extort, and ultimately delete your data, including; worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, scareware, and other computer contaminants. This is a widespread issue and is not slowing down. Last year over 100,000 new malicious IP addresses were added per day verses 85,000 the previous year. Spear-Phishing campaigns targeting employees increased by 55 percent last year and ransomware increased by 35 percent. Experts believe that attacks will only increase in 2017. Computer viruses currently cause billions of dollars’ worth of economic damage each year due to causing system failure, wasting computer resources, corrupting data, increasing maintenance costs, etc. Anyone can be a target of cybercriminals, but smaller companies are becoming more and more attractive to these treats due to their perceived lower level of protection.

 

 

 

Recently there have been a few major attacks that have made national news even though these attacks are happening every day. One being how ransomware shut down payment for public transit in San Francisco and secondly an attack that affected 1 billion yahoo accounts back in 2013.

 

 

 

San Francisco Municipal Railway was unexpectedly hacked when cybercriminals pushed HDDCryptor malware, in return it locked up files across the organization and encrypted their network. This attack was executed with ransomware which is a devastating security threat that keeps your files and system functions hostage until you pay the ransom. Using Discryptor the hackers also overrode the MBR, which showed the ransomware demands rather than the normal login screen when the computer was turned on.

 

 

“The primary impact of the attack was to approximately 900 office computers. The SFMTA’s payroll system remained operational, but access to it was temporarily affected,” said Holland, spokesperson.

The hackers were not successful in getting the ransom but did manage to shut down the payment system, forcing the city to allow passengers to ride for free. The total loss of revenue was not reported, but is estimated to be a substantial amount.

“The SFMTA has never considered paying the ransom. We have an information technology team in place that can restore our systems, and that is what they are doing.”

Due to proper back up procedures the damage was minimal, but SFMR was still compromised and lost not only money due to running for free but also the feeling of security within their own systems.

 

 
Secondly, Yahoo has been in the news before for large scale hacks of personal information. This latest news comes from an attack that happened back in 2013 that was twice the size of the attack in 2014 and compromised 1 billion users. Being that the attack happened years ago, the hackers had access to user information unknown to yahoo or their customers for years. Giving hackers months of time to exploit the data they collected leaving end users vulnerable. This will not only mean changing your password for yahoo but for possibly all other accounts.
Yahoo seems to have had multiple attacks due to the same vulnerability and/or the culture of the company. Accent Consulting keeps monitoring of systems and user support at the forefront to best defend against missed vulnerabilities and poor company culture around technology.

 

 

 

 

We take a wide range of measures to best protect your business from attacks through strategy, support, maintenance, cloud services, and monitoring. With these multiple layers of defense protection, you know that you are doing everything you can to stay safe.

 

 

 

Accent consulting understands the importance of the threat of malware and our service consists of:

 

  • Delivering strategic planning around your technological infrastructure and analytics around backups, connectivity, technology performance, and labor. There will be quarterly security threat scanning along with quarterly social engineering cyber fraud awareness.

 

  •  Keeping you and your employees educated on the most up to date email best practices, password generation, and informing you on how to keep proper limited privileges and admin rights distributed.

 

  • With proactive maintenance our technicians will continuously be updating and patching as needed to keep you from being vulnerable.

 

  • We provide software to add even more layers of protection like Barracuda and Webroot.

 

  • One of the most important pieces of being protected from any version of malware is your backups. We will make sure that you have a way to restore your backups and our technicians will run offsite cloud backups every night and help you control your versioning. We will be here to monitor your levels of threat protection and backups 24/7 365 days a year.

 

Accent Consulting prides it’s self on the many layers of protection that we offer. Both proactive and reactive to ensure that we are doing all we can to keep you safe from these vicious attacks. Evidence is only showing that attacks will only ramp up next year and as you are only as secure as your weakest connection or device, now is the time to make sure you are protected. The best way to defend again malware is to have multiple layers of defense and have our experts at Accent Consulting guide you and your company to stay informed and safe.

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