Business + Partners

Crime and Crypto: An Evolution in Cyber Threats

Cybercriminals are constantly experimenting with new ways to take money from their victims. Their tactics evolve quickly to maximize returns and minimize risk. The emergence of cryptocurrency has opened up new opportunities to do just that. To better understand...

Cyber News Rundown: Bluetooth Man-in-the-Middle

Paired Bluetooth Devices Vulnerable to Man-in-the-Middle Attacks A new vulnerability has been discovered that would allow an attacker to easily view the traffic sent between two Bluetooth-paired devices. The core of the vulnerability relies on the attacker’s device...

3 Cyber Threats IT Providers Should Protect Against

With cybercrime damages set to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, a new bar has been set for cybersecurity teams across industries to defend their assets. This rings especially true for IT service providers, who are entrusted to keep their clients’ systems...

Social Media Malware is Deviant, Destructive

We've seen some tricky techniques used by cybercriminals to distribute malware through social media. One common threat begins with a previously compromised Facebook account sending deceptive messages that contain SVG image attachments via Facebook Messenger. (The SVG...

6 Steps to Build an Incident Response Plan

Reading Time: ~4 min.

According to the Identity Theft Research Center, 2017 saw 1,579 data breaches—a record high, and an almost 45 percent increase from the previous year. Like many IT service providers, you’re probably getting desensitized to statistics like this. But you still have to face facts: organizations will experience a security incident sooner or later. What’s important is that you are prepared so that the impact doesn’t harm your customers or disrupt their business.

Although, there’s a new element that organizations—both large and small—have to worry about: the “what.” What will happen when I get hacked? What information will be stolen or exposed? What will the consequences look like?

While definitive answers to these questions are tough to pin down, the best way to survive a data breach is to preemptively build and implement an incident response plan. An incident response plan is a detailed document that helps organizations respond to and recover from potential—and, in some cases, inevitable—security incidents. As small- and medium-sized businesses turn to managed services providers (MSPs) like you for protection and guidance, use these six steps to build a solid incident response plan to ensure your clients can handle a breach quickly, efficiently, and with minimal damage.

Step 1: Prepare

The first phase of building an incident response plan is to define, analyze, identify, and prepare. How will your client define a security incident? For example, is an attempted attack an incident, or does the attacker need to be successful to warrant response? Next, analyze the company’s IT environment and determine which system components, services, and applications are the most critical to maintaining operations in the event of the incident you’ve defined. Similarly, identify what essential data will need to be protected in the event of an incident. What data exists and where is it stored? What’s its value, both to the business and to a potential intruder? When you understand the various layers and nuances of importance to your client’s IT systems, you will be better suited to prepare a templatized response plan so that data can be quickly recovered.

Treat the preparation phase as a risk assessment. Be realistic about the potential weak points within the client’s systems; any component that has the potential for failure needs to be addressed. By performing this assessment early on, you’ll ensure these systems are maintained and protected, and be able to allocate the necessary resources for response, both staff and equipment—which brings us to our next step.

Step 2: Build a Response Team

Now it’s time to assemble a response team—a group of specialists within your and/or your clients’ business. This team comprises the key people who will work to mitigate the immediate issues concerning a data breach, protecting the elements you’ve identified in step one, and responding to any consequences that spiral out of such an incident.

As an MSP, one of your key functions will sit between the technical aspects of incident resolution and communication between other partners. In an effort to be the virtual CISO (vCISO) for your clients’ businesses, you’ll likely play the role of Incident Response Manager who will oversee and coordinate the response from a technical and procedural perspective.

Pro Tip: For a list of internal and external members needed on a client’s incident response team, check out this in-depth guide.

Step 3: Outline Response Requirements and Resolution Times

From the team you assembled in step two, each member will play a role in detecting, responding, mitigating damage, and resolving the incident within a set time frame. These response and resolution times may vary depending on the type of incident and its level of severity. Regardless, you’ll want to establish these time frames up front to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Ask your clients: “What will we need to contain a breach in the short term and long term? How long can you afford to be out of commission?” The answers to these questions will help you outline the specific requirements and time frame required to respond to and resolve a security incident.

If you want to take this a step further, you can create quick response guides that outline the team’s required actions and associated response times. Document what steps need to be taken to correct the damage and to restore your clients’ systems to full operation in a timely manner. If you choose to provide these guides, we suggest printing them out for your clients in case of a complete network or systems failure.

Step 4: Establish a Disaster Recovery Strategy

When all else fails, you need a plan for disaster recovery. This is the process of restoring and returning affected systems, devices, and data back onto your client’s business environment.

A reliable backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solution can help maximize your clients’ chances of surviving a breach by enabling frequent backups and recovery processes to mitigate data loss and future damage. Planning for disaster recovery in an incident response plan can ensure a quick and optimal recovery point, while allowing you to troubleshoot issues and prevent them from occurring again. Not every security incident will lead to a disaster recovery scenario, but it’s certainly a good idea to have a BDR solution in place if it’s needed.

Step 5: Run a Fire Drill

Once you’ve completed these first four steps of building an incident response plan, it’s vital that you test it. Put your team through a practice “fire drill.” When your drill (or incident) kicks off, your communications tree should go into effect, starting with notifying the PR, legal, executive leadership, and other teams that there is an incident in play. As it progresses, the incident response manager will make periodic reports to the entire group of stakeholders to establish how you will notify your customers, regulators, partners, and law enforcement, if necessary. Remember that, depending on the client’s industry, notifying the authorities and/or forensics activities may be a legal requirement. It’s important that the response team takes this seriously, because it will help you identify what works and which areas need improvement to optimize your plan for a real scenario.

Step 6: Plan for Debriefing

Lastly, you should come full circle with a debriefing. During a real security incident, this step should focus on dealing with the aftermath and identifying areas for continuous improvement. Take is this opportunity for your team to tackle items such as filling out an incident report, completing a gap analysis with the full team,  and keeping tabs on post-incident activity.

No company wants to go through a data breach, but it’s essential to plan for one. With these six steps, you and your clients will be well-equipped to face disaster, handle it when it happens, and learn all that you can to adapt for the future.

3 Cyber Threats IT Providers Should Protect Against

Reading Time: ~3 min.

With cybercrime damages set to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, a new bar has been set for cybersecurity teams across industries to defend their assets. This rings especially true for IT service providers, who are entrusted to keep their clients’ systems and IT environments safe from cybercriminals. These clients are typically small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), which are now the primary target of cyberattacks. This presents a major opportunity for the managed service providers (MSPs) who serve them to emerge as the cybersecurity leaders their clients rely on to help them successfully navigate the threat landscape.

Before you can start providing cybersecurity education and guidance, it’s crucial that you become well-versed in the biggest threats to your clients’ businesses. As an IT service provider, understanding how to prepare for the following cyber threats will reinforce the importance of your role to your clients.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malwarethat blocks access to a victim’s assets and demands money to restore that access. The malicious software may either encrypt the user’s hard drive or the user’s files until a ransom is paid. This payment is typically requested in the form of an encrypted digital currency, such as bitcoin. Like other types of malware, ransomware can spread through email attachments, operating system exploits, infected software, infected external storage devices, and compromised websites, although a growing number of ransomware attacks use remote desktop protocols (RDP). The motive for these types of attacks is usually monetary.

Why is ransomware a threat that continues to spread like wildfire? Simple: it’s easy for cybercriminals to access toolsets. Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) sites make it extremely easy for less skilled or programming-savvy criminals to simply subscribe to the malware, encryption, and ransom collection services necessary to run an attack—and fast. Since many users and organizations are willing to pay to get their data back, even people with little or no technical skill can quickly generate thousands of dollars in extorted income. Also, the cryptocurrency that criminals demand as payment, while volatile in price, has seen huge boosts in value year over year.

Tips to combat ransomware:

  • Keep company operating systems and application patches up-to-date.
  • Use quality endpoint protection software.
  • Regularly back up company files and plan for the worst-case scenario: total data and systems loss (consider business continuity if budgets allow).
  • Run regular cybersecurity trainings with employees and clients.

Phishing

Phishing is the attempt to obtain sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons. Phishing is typically carried out by email spoofingor instant messaging, and it often directs users to enter personal information into a fake website, the look and feel of which are almost identical to a trusted, legitimate site.

Phishing is a common example of a social engineering attack. Social engineering is the art of tricking or manipulating a user into giving up sensitive or confidential information. The main purpose of a phishing attack can range from conning the recipient into sharing personal or financial information, to clicking on a link that installs malware and infects the device (for example, ransomware uses phishing as its primary infection route.)

Tips to combat phishing:

  • Ensure your employees and clients understand what a phishing email looks likeand how to avoid becoming a victim by testing your users regularly. Train them with relevant phishing scam simulations.
  • Hover over URLs in email to see the real address before clicking.
  • Use endpoint security with built-in anti-phishing protection.
  • Consider a DNS filtering solution to stop known phishing and malicious internet traffic requests.

Brute Force Attack

A brute force attack is a cyberattack in which the strength of computer and software resources are used to overwhelm security defenses via the speed and/or frequency of the attack. Brute force attacks can also be executed by algorithmically attempting all combinations of login options until a successful one is found.

It’s important to note that brute force attacks are on the rise. Earlier this year, Rene Millman of SC Magazine UK reported, “hacking attempts using brute force or dictionary attacks increased 400 percent in 2017.”

Tips to combat brute force attacks:

  • Scan your systems for password-protected applications and ensure they are not set to default login credentials. And if they’re not actively in use, get rid of them.
  • Adjust the account lockout policy to use progressive delay lockouts, so a dictionary or brute force combination attack is impossible.
  • Consider deploying a CAPTCHA stage to prevent automated dictionary attacks.
  • Enforce strong passwords and 2-factor authentication whenever possible.
  • Upgrade your toolset. RDP brute force is a major ongoing issue. Standard RDP is highly risky, but secure VPN paid-for alternatives make remote access much more secure.

Leveraging Common Cyber Attacks to Improve Business

As an IT service provider, it’s important to remember that communication is everything. With clients, I recommend you define what exactly you’re protecting them against in an effort to focus on their top cybersecurity concerns. If you “profile” certain attack vectors using common attacks types, like ransomware, phishing, and brute force attacks, you’ll be able to clearly communicate to clients exactly what it takes to protect against their biggest risks and which technologies are necessary to remain as secure as possible.

Parsing the Distinction Between AI & Machine Learning

Reading Time: ~4 min.

I had the privilege of giving a keynote on one of my favorite topics, busting myths around artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), during DattoCon 2018 this week.

Webroot has been doing machine learning for more than a decade and consider this aspect one of our key differentiators for our solutions. However, for many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), that might not matter. They may have heard the terms AI or ML but aren’t sure how these advancements can help keep their company safe. Additionally, the managed service providers (MSPs) who provide millions of SMBs with security protection, might not know how this technology can help their customers either.

AI and ML are not the same thing. Marketing campaigns and news articles oftentimes confuse people into thinking that they are—and my insistence on clarifying their nuance might be overkill—but I think it’s important to know the difference so you can understand how each can help make cybersecurity stronger.

What is artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence interacts with people, whether emulating a human (think about chat bots) or pets. The AI component is that interactive component—the thing you can touch, feel, and see. AI technology is very nascent, and I expect great things to come in the near future.

What is machine learning?

Machine learning is artificial intelligence’s nerdy cousin. ML models are designed to analyze all of the data collected, behind the sciences, with no human interface. ML is the heavy science where all the data crunching takes place. This is the part of technology that a few companies, like Webroot, have been working in for a long time.

To dig in further, I decided to take to the streets (or aisles) of DattoCon 2018 in Austin, TX, and see what MSPs were hearing and thinking about in relation to AI and ML. I kicked things off by getting a grasp on what MSPs are being asked by their customers.

“Absolutely nothing,” said Steven Gomes, kloudfyre. “They don’t bring it up; it’s nothing I even talk about. I know AI is the future of processing speed and power — so it’s important to me because it means accuracy and intelligence. But my customers don’t ask.”

That’s the response I got across the board. MSPs know it is something key for the future of security, but their customers don’t ask about it at all. I’m heartened to learn MSPs understand the importance, but can they tell marketing hype from reality? I want to make sure they understand what’s important or key differentiators for AI and ML.

Identifying the problem, data and consumability are key.

First, you need to know what problem you’re trying to solve before you can engage ML models. Next is having substantial data to feed the models. Webroot analyzes 500 billion data elements a day that we link and push through our models to enhance our analysis. We have a lot of access to information that new players in the space simply do not. Data is key to training up a model. Finally, consumability is getting the ML models into the hands of the customer so that the solution can be actionable. It’s pretty easy to tune new models, but it’s not easy to get the models deployed and allow customers to get meaningful, actionable data from it.

What do MSPs hear from customers around what’s key with ML?

The general sentiment was that it’s a checkbox in that they know the words, and it’s a must, but there is no real data or understanding of the why. SMBs don’t know what it means or how it applies to their business other than making security generally better.Going one-step further, I get concerned people are enamored with the idea of the tech but not clear on the value it can provide.

AI and ML should help in three areas for customers.

First, it should help create new capabilities for the security stack while at the same time decreasing their costs and reducing their cycle time to detect and remediate threats. Second, it should help detect emergent, unexpected threat behaviors quickly enabling the security team or an orchestration solution to take action. Third, it should deliver value around people augmentation. It could be automation of remedial tasks or simply working around the clock while your human employees go home and sleep.

“MSPs are technologists. They have to take complex stuff for their clients and their clients have blind faith. So MSPs focus on effectiveness.” -Cameron Stone, sales, Webroot

When I dug in more about benefits, a recent MSP owner chimed in, “Almost all decisions are based on whether it reduces headaches and is an innovative tool for my customers; so if machine learning does that, I’m all for learning more. I’d be happy to read up on it, but my customers don’t have time to read or care about it.”

As a passionate fan of ML, I realized there is a lot more we in the industry need to do to help educate and make this technology easy to consume.

Machine learning’s super power is that the amount of data it can take it has no limits. Think about it the context of healthcare: what if the best doctors in the world could work on your issue, around the clock? ML can provide that value to cybersecurity.

I appreciate Datto letting me talk on my soapbox for a few minutes and hope to continue this conversation with more MSP partners.

3 MSP Best Practices for Protecting Users

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Cyberattacks are on the rise, with UK firms being hit, on average, by over 230,000 attacksin 2017. Managed service providers (MSPs) need to make security a priority in 2018, or they will risk souring their relationships with clients. By following 3 simple MSP best practices consisting of user education, backup and recovery, and patch management, your MSP can enhance security, mitigate overall client risk, and grow revenue.

User Education

An effective anti-virus is essential to keeping businesses safe; however, It isn’t enough anymore. Educating end users through security awareness training can reduce the cost and impact of user-generated infections and breaches, while also helping clients meet the EU’s new GDPR compliance requirements. Cybercriminals’ tactics are evolving and increasingly relying on user error to circumvent security protocols. Targeting businesses through end users via social engineering is a rising favorite among new methods of attack.

Common social engineering attacks include:

  • An email from a trusted friend, colleague or contact—whose account has been compromised—containing a compelling story with a malicious link/download is very popular. For example, a managing director’s email gets hacked and the finance department receives an email to pay an outstanding “invoice”.
  • A phishing email, comment, or text message that appears to come from a legitimate company or institution. The messages may ask you to donate to charity, ‘verify’ information, or notify you that you’re the winner in a competition you never entered.
  • A fraudster leaving a USB around a company’s premises hoping a curious employee will insert it into a computer providing access to company data.

Highly topical, relevant, and timely real-life educational content can minimize the impact of security breaches caused by user error. By training clients on social engineering and other topics including ransomware, email, passwords, and data protection, you can help foster a culture of security while adding serious value for your clients.

Backup and Disaster Recovery Plans

It’s important for your MSP to stress the importance of backups. If hit with ransomware without a secure backup, clients face the unsavory options of either paying up or losing important data. Offering clients automated, cloud-based backup makes it virtually impossible to infect backup data and provides additional benefits, like a simplified backup process, offsite data storage, and anytime/anywhere access. In the case of a disaster, there should be a recovery plan in place. Even the most secure systems can be infiltrated. Build your plan around business-critical data, a disaster recovery timeline, and protocol for disaster communications.

Things to consider for your disaster communications

  • Who declares the disaster?
  • How are employees informed?
  • How will you communicate with customers?

Once a plan is in place, it is important to monitor and test that it has been implemented effectively. A common failure with a company’s backup strategy occurs when companies fail to test their backups. Then, disaster strikes and only then do they discover they cannot restore their data. A disaster recovery plan should be tested regularly and updated as needed. Once a plan is developed, it doesn’t mean that it’s effective or set in stone.

Patch Management

Consider it an iron law; patch and update everything immediately following a release. As soon as patches/updates are released and tested, they should be applied for maximum protection. The vast majority of updates are security related and need to be kept up-to-date. Outdated technology–especially an operating system (OS)–is one of the most common weaknesses exploited in a cyberattack. Without updates, you leave browsers and other software open to ransomware and exploit kits. By staying on top of OS updates, you can prevent extremely costly cyberattacks. For example, in 2017 Windows 10 saw only 15% of total files deemed to be malware, while Windows 7 saw 63%. These figures and more can be found in Webroot’s 2018 Threat Report.

Patching Process

Patching is a never-ending cycle, and it’s good practice to audit your existing environment by creating a complete inventory of all production systems used. Remember to standardize systems to use the same operating systems and application software. This makes the patching process easier. Additionally, assess vulnerabilities against inventory/control lists by separating the vulnerabilities that affect your systems from those that don’t. This will make it easier for your business to classify and prioritize vulnerabilities, as each risk should be assessed by the likelihood of the threat occurring, the level of vulnerability, and the cost of recovery. Once it’s determined which vulnerabilities are of the highest importance, develop and test the patch. The patch should then deploy without disrupting uptime—an automated patch system can help with the process.

Follow these best practices and your MSP can go a lot further toward delivering the security that your customers increasingly need and demand. Not only you improve customer relationships, but you’ll also position your MSP as a higher-value player in the market, ultimately fueling growth. Security is truly an investment MSPs with an eye toward growth can’t afford to ignore.

RSAC 2018: “Clearing A Path for More Conversation and Context”

Reading Time: ~2 min.

Two big trends stood out at RSAC 2018. Many organizations that once thought all threat intelligence was created equal have gained appreciation for quality data feeds that deliver real-time information vs. crowdsourced or static lists. Endless alerts and flashy numbers are no longer enough. Companies want to know the “why?” and “what actions they can take?”

“What this tells me is that Webroot is in the right place at the right time with the best solution, and that is a great place to be,” said Michael Neiswender, vice president, embedded security sales.

The subtle messages of small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) and managed service providers (MSPs) demanding a certain focus didn’t fall on deaf ears. The question asked over and over was “how do you get into the SMB space?” There was a clear understanding that it’s a hot market, hard to penetrate, and has specific needs. SMBs require solutions architected from the ground up for multitenancy, high efficiency, and ease of use—customer experience cannot be neglected.

David Dufour, vice president, engineering said, “MSPs are a big business. A lot of people are aware of it, but they don’t know how to attract that market. We’re in a really good position as a company because we understand them.”

Big Conversations

As Webroot spoke with industry peers during the four-day cybersecurity conference, the conversations led to a few more themes.

Real Threat Intelligence is King

Security professionals have a desire for real-time, quality threat intelligence. They are looking for insights that draw from multi-geo, -device, and -businesses. How the updates are delivered to the customer is also of importance. The reality is the scale of threats and the associated risks facing organizations is increasing at a rate companies are finding difficult to manage.

Security is Everyone’s Responsibility

The idea of inherent security will become more mainstream. All companies will have to start thinking and acting like security companies, putting user education first. Loosely handling personal data is no longer an option. GDPR will make sure of that. Simple: your weakest link can be your strongest defense if properly trained.

Getting Back to Basics

Fundamental concepts of cybersecurity are as relevant as ever. The basics at their core address security as a requirement for businesses today in our connected environment. To be effective using cybersecurity start by following the basic fundamental concepts of protect, detect, respond, recover, and user training.

Into the Future

Threat intelligence will continue to offer a powerful position for those who choose to listen to the industry. As Webroot prepares for greater growth in the coming months and years, we are uniquely positioned for the future. You can expect more threat intelligence insights via our Annual Threat Report and Quarterly Threat Trends; continued investigation into our partners’ needs; and solutions that will meet partners where they are.

More companies will realize their customers want them to look at them in a new light. They will also begin to ask the right questions to provide solutions that uniquely address the concerns security professionals have when building their own internal security programs.

“There were companies that I could tell had methodically built out platforms to address specific threats,” said Gary Hayslip, chief information security officer. “These vendors differed from their competitors, because they knew what issues to solve and their technologies were uniquely focused on providing value by integrating with broader platforms to manage risk.”

Re-Thinking ‘Patch and Pray’

Reading Time: ~3 min.

When WannaCry ransomware spread throughout the world last year by exploiting vulnerabilities for which there were patches, we security “pundits” stepped up the call to patch, as we always do. In a post on LinkedIn Greg Thompson, Vice President of Global Operational Risk & Governance at Scotiabank expressed his frustration with the status quo.

Greg isn’t wrong. Deploying patches in an enterprise department requires extensive testing prior to roll out. However, most of us can patch pretty quickly after an announced patch is made available. And we should do it!

There is a much larger issue here, though. A vulnerability can be known to attackers but not to the general public. Managing and controlling vulnerabilities means that we need to prevent the successful exploitation of a vulnerability from doing serious harm. We also need to prevent exploits from arriving at a victim’s machine as a layer of defense. We need a layered approach that does not include a single point of failure–patching.

A Layered Approach

First off, implementing a security awareness training program can help prevent successful phishing attacks from occurring in the first place. The 2017 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report indicated that 66% of data breaches started with a malicious attachment in an email—i.e. phishing. Properly trained employees are far less likely to open attachments or click on links from phishing email. I like to say that the most effective antimalware product is the one used by the best educated employees.

In order to help prevent malware from getting to the users to begin with, we use reputation systems. If almost everything coming from http://www.yyy.zzz is malicious, we can block the entire domain. If much of everything coming from an IP address in a legitimate domain is bad, then we can block the IP address. URLs can be blocked based upon a number of attributes, including the actual structure of the URL. Some malware will make it past any reputation system, and past users. This is where controlling and managing vulnerabilities comes into play.

The vulnerability itself does no damage. The exploit does no damage. It is the payload that causes all of the harm. If we can contain the effects of the payload then we are rethinking how we control and manage vulnerabilities. We no longer have to allow patches (still essential) to be a single point of failure.

Outside of offering detection and blocking of malicious files, it is important to stop execution of malware at runtime by monitoring what it’s trying to do. We also log each action the malware performs. When a piece of malware does get past runtime blocking, we can roll back all of the systems changes. This is important. Simply removing malware can result in system instability. Precision rollback can be the difference between business continuity and costly downtime.

Some malware will nevertheless make it onto a system and successfully execute. It’s at this point we observe what the payload is about to do. For example, malware that tries to steal usernames and passwords is identified by the Webroot ID shield. There are behaviors that virtually all keyloggers use, and Webroot ID Shield is able to intercept the request for credentials and returns no data at all. Webroot needn’t have seen the file previously to be able to protect against it. Even when the user is tricked into entering their credentials, the trojan will not receive them.

There is one essential final step. You need to have offline data backups. The damage ransomware does is no different than the damage done by a hard drive crash. Typically, cloud storage is the easiest way to automate and maintain secure backups of your data.

Greg is right. We can no longer allow patches to be a single point of failure. But patching is still a critical part of your defensive strategy. New technology augments patching, it does not replace it and will not for the foreseeable future.

What do you think about patch and pray? Join our discussion in the Webroot Community or in the comments below!

Security Awareness Training: How to Get Started

Reading Time: ~3 min.

In the past, security awareness training for user education—i.e. empowering users to make more savvy IT decisions in their daily routines—was considered a “nice to have,” not a necessity. The decision to adopt user education was typically passed over because of budget, lack of in-house expertise, and the general lack of availability of high-quality, low-cost, computer-based training. In particular, small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have suffered from these types of constraints, compared to larger, more resource rich organizations.

Today, it’s clear that end user education isn’t just “nice to have,” and SMBs know it. As recently as August of 2017, a Better Business Bureau study on the State of Cybersecurity revealed that almost half of SMBs with 50 employees and under regard security awareness training among their top 3 security expenditures, alongside firewalls and endpoint protection.

The increase in interest and budget allocation for end user education is understandable. On average, SMBs face $80,000 in annual losses following a ransomware or data loss breach. Users are on the front lines of your business, and even the most advanced security can’t stop them from willingly, if unwittingly, handing over sensitive access credentials. If you’re not educating your users, then you are putting your organization at an unnecessary and costly risk.

Getting your end user education program started

Introduce to Stakeholders

Like any new program, building a foundation for success begins when you engage your stakeholders and management teams. Send an email explaining the value of security awareness to management, share details and reports around your first phishing and training campaigns, and loop in IT. Not sure how to craft that first email? Check out Webroot’s Security Awareness Training for help and templates to get you started.

Start out with a Phishing Campaign

Consider starting your security awareness program with a simulated phishing campaign. The results of the simulation can also be used to demonstrate value to any more skeptical or reluctant IT decision-makers. Use the first phishing campaign as your baseline to gauge the level of awareness your end users already have. Webroot Security Awareness Training comes with a variety of template options to help you get started. We recommend using a template that mimics an internal communication from HR or the IT department to get the most eyes on the email. For early campaigns, it’s also a good idea to use Webroot’s “404 Page Note Found” template so users who fall for the phishing lure are unaware. This will help keep water cooler talk at a minimum, giving you a more accurate baseline. After that, be sure to link your phishing campaigns to training pages and courses to maximize the training opportunity.

Share results with End Users

Use feedback to inspire smarter habits. A key objective for security awareness training is to engage end users and raise the level of cyber awareness throughout the organization. For instance, sharing results of a simulated phishing campaign can help employees understand the impact of poor online habits and motivate them to practice better behaviors.

Webroot Security Awareness Training lets admins see who clicked what in a phishing simulation. Bear in mind: the point of sharing results is not to shame the unwitting marks who fell for the scam. Instead, try capitalizing on everyone’s engagement by sharing an overall statistical report, so users can recognize whether they clicked or avoided the phishing lure, without fear of embarrassment. More importantly, such a report would show the statistics around the organization as a whole, opening the door for further training programs to fill security gaps and provide a continuous learning experience.

Continuous Training: Set up your phishing and training program

Once end users are engaged and understand the value, the next step is setting up a training program. There is no one-size-fits-all program, but we recommend running at least one to two phishing campaigns per month and a minimum of one to two training courses per quarter. Depending on the needs of each organization, you may want to increase the frequency and adjust intervals throughout the year. Webroot Security Awareness Training includes numerous pre-built phishing templates you can use, including real-world phishing scenarios (defanged from the wild.) It also offers professionally developed and engaging topical training courses, which you can be proud to share with your company. Courses range from cybersecurity best practices and 5-minute micro-learning courses to in-depth compliance courses on PCI, HIPAA, GDPR, SEC/FINRA, and more.

When you start seeing the significant impact that relevant, high-quality, and proven security awareness education has on your employees, you’ll wonder how your business ever managed without it.

Top 3 Questions SMBs Should Ask Potential Service Providers

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It can be daunting to step into the often unfamiliar world of security, where you can at times be inundated with technical jargon (and where you face real consequences for making the wrong decision). Employing `

In a study performed by Ponemon Institute, 34% of respondents reported using a managed service provider (MSP) or managed security service provider (MSSP) to handle their cybersecurity, citing their lack of personnel, budget, and confidence with security technologies as driving factors. But how do you find a trustworthy partner to manage your IT matters?

Here are the top 3 questions any business should ask a potential security provider before signing a contract:

 

 

 

 

 

While these are not all of the questions you should consider asking a potential service provider, they can help get the conversation started and ensure you only work with service providers who meet your unique needsservice providers who meet your unique nee.

  1. Ponemon Institute. (2016, June). Retrieved from Ponemon Research: https://signup.keepersecurity.com/state-of-smb-cybersecurity-report/
  2. Ponemon Institute Cost of Data Breach Study: (2017 June) https://www.ibm.com/security/data-breach

Thoughts from Webroot’s new President & CEO, Mike Potts

Reading Time: ~3 min.

I’m delighted to join the Webroot team officially today as CEO. We helped define the cybersecurity field in our first 20 years, but I believe our best days are ahead. With this introductory post, I thought I’d let you know where I intend to focus in my first months at Webroot, with the goal of taking our customers, partners, and company to the next level of success.

Thanks to an extraordinary team, Webroot is in a great place today. We lead the market with cloud-based solutions that set the standard for endpoint and network protection, threat intelligence, and now security awareness training. Our solutions provide essential protection for the connected world from an ever-growing number of malicious threats. We have the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the industry and achieved 14 consecutive months of double-digit growth.

That’s an outstanding foundation to build upon. Over the next several months, I’ll focus on People, Process, and Technology as I work to accelerate our momentum in innovation and customer success.

Our cyber community

People will always come first, both the Webroot team and our customers and partners. We’ll continue to invest in recruiting and developing the best talent. Our team has more experience in applying advanced machine learning to the challenges of cybersecurity than anyone, and we’ll continue to push the envelope on using that intelligence to solve the issues that are most impactful to our customers.  I plan to visit many of our business customers in the coming weeks, to understand how we could be doing better today, and how we can build our businesses together.

Process at scale

My focus on process will be about scale. You’ll quickly find that I believe in the value and leverage of working with partners. We have a great footprint with MSPs serving small- and medium-sized businesses today that we will continue to strengthen. We also have strategic technology partners embedding our threat intelligence in their products, and there is potential for many more.  Moreover, I’ll push the team to generate even more innovation, introduce it faster, and to more customers than we have before, while holding true to our core company values of integrity, innovation, excellence, and customer success.

Advancing technology

Finally, I will focus on technology. We disrupted the market with our revolutionary Webroot SecureAnywhere endpoint solutions and our threat intelligence. Since then, we’ve extended our protection to the network layer and added user training to address the last line of defense. I want to ensure we continue to build on this legacy, and just as importantly anticipate the next great market shift.

While new to Webroot, I’m not new to the cybersecurity and technology space. I have been leading companies in the application and security sectors for the past 25 years. Before Webroot, I served as an integration executive in the security business group at Cisco, following the acquisition of my company Lancope in 2015. As president and CEO of Lancope, my team and I led the transformation of the network security company, driving over 600 percent growth in five years. Prior to Lancope, I served as president and CEO of AirDefense and changed the game in wireless security. AirDefense was then acquired by Motorola. With this background and the great Webroot team, I feel we are prepared to do something truly special. Webroot is by far the healthiest company I’ve ever had a chance to lead from day one, so I foresee even greater potential for us!

I look forward to meeting our customers, partners, and advocates in the coming months, and have you all join in this next great chapter of Webroot history.

Regards,
Mike

More Automation. More #MSProfits.

Reading Time: ~2 min.

Savvy MSPs know that automation improves efficiency and strengthens their bottom line. In a nutshell, automation enables an MSP to reduce the amount of time its technicians spend handling routine or repetitive tasks, thus cutting costs for service delivery and freeing those techs to devote more attention to activities that generate more revenue.

Enabling Creativity Spurs Growth

It’s no secret that computers are more efficient than humans when it comes to performing repetitive work, while humans deliver superior results in situations that require creativity, critical thinking, and decision making. Part of the reason automation is so effective is because it enables MSPs to take advantage of these fundamental truths.

Freeing up your technicians for more appropriate endeavors presents benefits beyond simple cost savings. It also gives you the opportunity to differentiate yourself from other MSPs and position your business for future growth by finally enabling your technicians to see the forest for the trees.

When an MSP’s technicians are mired in routine administration and maintenance responsibilities—such as deploying security upgrades, performing regular disk cleanup, or managing tickets—there’s no time to step back and evaluate the overarching IT challenges that affect that particular client. And that means missed business opportunities.

More Time for Personalization

Proactively identifying a client’s IT challenges will help that client improve their business operations. This will not only differentiate you from other MSPs, it will also establish a foundation of trust upon which you can build long-term relationships with your customers; which, of course, is key to generating recurring, predictable revenue.

But an MSP can only design creative solutions to its clients’ business and IT challenges if its team has the time to identify those challenges. They need the bandwidth to consciously and continuously review each client’s business operations and craft powerful and personalized solutions.

Automation can solve that problem. Not only does it free up your IT team to focus on the specific issues each client faces, it also allows you to deliver a more comprehensive range of services individually tailored to those clients.

Today’s combination of automated and dynamic cloud services let you choose from an array of solutions for each of your clients, while still ensuring management is automated for maximum efficiency. The net result? You’ll boost your profitability by increasing customer satisfaction and long-term patronage, all while significantly reducing your management and operational costs.

Learn More… and Enter for a Chance to Win!

The Webroot #MSProfits Program is dedicated to helping MSPs boost their profitability by automating their business operations. Learn more about the benefits of automation, and enter for a chance to win a sophisticated home technology package.

Talking DNS Protection with ConnectWise

Reading Time: ~3 min.

It’s been an exciting week for our partner ConnectWise – they started offering customers Webroot SecureAnywhere DNS Protection. To get insight into why this matters, I sat down with George Anderson, Webroot’s product marketing director for business solutions, and Gavin Gamber, vice president of Channel Sales and Alliances at ConnectWise.


Can we start with the basics? What is DNS?

George: DNS stands for Domain Name System. The Basic job of DNS is to turn a human-friendly domain name like webroot.com into an Internet Protocol (IP) address like 66.35.53.194. Computers use IP addresses to identify each other. When a user accesses an external website or downloads files, their computer uses a DNS server to look up the domain name and then directs the user to that website.

Ok, kind of like a phone directory for the internet. That helps me understand the power DNS can hold.

George: That’s right. DNS is a powerful part of making the internet work. It also can be an equally powerful avenue for protecting a business. According to our data, many infections are generated through web browsing. Implementing web filtering security at the DNS layer can have a very significant impact on infection rates.

Wow. The internet is a big, beautiful, and scary place.

George: It can be. Using the internet is a high-risk activity for every business, regardless of size. Sometimes good sites can contain bad content. Users can fall victim to drive-by ransomware, employees can click on malvertising, and the list goes on.

Can you give us an example of what security at the DNS layer can stop?

Gavin: Let’s say, for example, you work with medical clients. Most of the end users are protected, but when guests come onto the network there is no way to monitor their web traffic. Since you don’t control the device, you don’t have any antivirus protecting the guest’s endpoint. With DNS filtering, you can protect the network and prevent guests from knowingly or unknowingly going to harmful or sensitive websites.

George: Using a web filtering solution at the DNS layer lets businesses do a few things. First, it creates policies for web usage that can be applied globally or by client. An MSP can decide, for example, whether to block certain content or social media sites. Second, it filters URLs for security risks, preventing infections by automatically sifting out known malicious websites. Finally, it allows a partner to monitor overall web usage and its security risk posture. What’s really different is that this all happens outside the network at the domain layer, so most infections are stopped at the earliest possible stage.

In a nutshell?

George: DNS Protection allows organizations to configure their router or firewall to point to Webroot’s secure DNS resolver servers for granular web filtering. Then, partners simply configure an acceptable internet usage policy. By doing so, they can block malicious URLs, restricted content, social media, or streaming sites they don’t want employees perusing at work.

ConnectWise, what are you hearing from partners about web filtering and its need?

Gavin: This is just one more layer of end user security that is typically time and labor intensive to set up. Our partners and their clients want to mitigate all attack vectors whether they manage all the devices on the network or not. As security risks persist, this is a must-have tool.

So what will all this mean for our ConnectWise partners?

George: First and foremost, it’s simple and easy for ConnectWise partners to deploy and manage. The new DNS Protection service has been fully integrated into the same Global Site Manager (GSM) console they use today for Webroot’s endpoint security. It also benefits from the same pillars of Webroot’s other security services.

  • No hardware or software to install
  • Includes robust reporting options for easy management
  • Direct benefits from Webroot BrightCloud Web Classification Service
ConnectWise, why are you excited for this new product?

Gavin: When we first saw Webroot SecureAnywhere DNS we were blown away by the ease of use and straightforward deployment. Our initial reaction was that our partners would find this incredibly valuable. Additionally, this really leverages the threat intelligence that Webroot has collected over the years and gives that control to our partners in a very powerful and consumable product.


Thank you, both. Glad we could chat all things web filtering.

Interested in learning more? We have additional resources. You also can discover everything Webroot is doing with ConnectWise at Automation Nation, June 19-21 in Orlando, FL. Visit us at booth #201, where you can see a demo of DNS Protection.

Webroot CTO Hal Lonas on Rethinking the Network Perimeter

Reading Time: ~5 min.

“What are our cybersecurity protocols?” This question is one that has, undoubtedly, been top of mind for CTOs at numerous corporations and government agencies around the world in the wake of recent ransomware attacks. Given the hundreds of thousands of endpoint devices in more than 150 countries that were infected in the latest global attack, WannaCry, can you blame them?

Cybersecurity stock buying trends are on the rise. According to CNN Money, the PureFunds ISE Cyber Security ETF (HACK), which owns shares in most of the big security companies, was up more than 3 percent in early trading the Monday following the first WannaCry attacks. Positive performance in cybersecurity stocks comes as no surprise as organizations shore up their defenses in preparation for future attacks—big or small. This is the security climate in which we live.

While the numbers have been rising on both fronts, do the affected organizations truly understand what to look for when addressing cybersecurity? Where should the protection start? What obstacles might organizations need to overcome? How can they be better prepared?

Hal Lonas, chief technology officer at Webroot, takes us beyond the sobering wake-up call that attacks like WannaCry bring, and discusses actionable advice companies should consider when fortifying systems against cybercriminals.


Where should an organization start when thinking about combating malicious files entering the network?

Organizations should think about their security in terms of layers. Between the user sitting in the chair and the sites and services they access from their workstations, every level of security is equally important. The vehicles malicious files use to infiltrate the network shouldn’t be ignored either. Is it a URL? Is it a USB key that’s physically carried into the office? Or maybe it’s an employee who takes their laptop home and uses it on an unsecured network—the possibilities are endless. We’re in a very interesting era in which mobility has become the norm, there are more internet-connected devices than ever, and there are more angles every day for cybercriminals to launch attacks. Essentially, the perimeter is dissolving. That means organizations need to rethink how they approach protecting their networks.

We’ve heard the term “dissolving” a number of times recently when talking about the traditional notion of the network. Can you speak more on that?

Let’s use my phone as an example. Right now, it’s connected to the secure employee wireless in this office. When I hit the coffee shop later for a meeting, it might be on their public Wi-Fi. While I’m driving to the airport this afternoon, it’ll be on a cellular network. By tonight, it’ll be on the guest Wi-Fi in a hotel. With each movement and interaction, perimeters converge and overlap, and this phone is exposed to different levels of security across a variety of networks. Each step means I’m carrying data that could be exposed, or even malware that could be spread, between those different networks. These days, company work happens everywhere, not just on a corporate computer within the security of an organization’s firewall. That’s what we mean by dissolving perimeters.

We’re in a very interesting era in which mobility has become the norm, there are more internet-connected devices than ever, and there are more angles every day for cybercriminals to launch attacks.

One line of defense is endpoint protection. Whether you’re using a mobile device or laptop, that protection goes with the device everywhere. Even as you switch between networks, you know that’s one layer of protection that’s always present. Network or DNS-level security is also key, to help stop threats before they even make it as far as the endpoint.

How does Webroot BrightCloud® Streaming Malware Detection fit into the layered approach? Is it cutting edge in terms of protecting against malicious files at the perimeter?

Streaming Malware Detection is pushing the boundaries of network protection. As files stream through network devices—i.e., as they’re in the process of being downloaded in real time—Streaming Malware Detection determines whether the files are good or bad at the network level. That means the solution can analyze files in transit to stop threats before they ever land on the endpoint at all. We partner with the industry’s top network vendors, who have integrated this and other Webroot technologies as part of their overall approach to stopping malicious files at the perimeter.

In terms of what we’re doing with Webroot products, we’re expanding the levels in which you can be protected—looking at more and more different aspects of where we can protect you. We’re tightening the reigns from endpoint protection, which we’ve traditionally done extremely well, and branching further into the network with Streaming Malware Detection, as well as network anomaly detection with FlowScape® Analytics. We aim to bring value to our customers by protecting holistically. We’re adapting as a company with our product offerings to this new reality we find ourselves in.

What cutting edge approaches is Webroot taking to combat what has already infiltrated the network?

We hear a lot about advanced persistent threats. The reality is that those long-resting, largely undetected threats do make their way through and land in an environment with the intention of wreaking havoc, but doing it low and slow to avoid detection. The malware authors are very smart, which is something we try to anticipate. Webroot is really good at a couple of different things, not least of which is that we’re incredibly patient on our endpoint products. Essentially, we’ll monitor something that’s unknown for however long it takes, journaling its behavior until we’re absolutely sure it’s malicious or not, and then handling it appropriately.

In addition, we’ve recently added a product that does the independent network anomaly detection I mentioned earlier: FlowScape Analytics. Essentially, it analyzes day-to-day activity within a network to establish a baseline, then if something malicious or abnormal happens, FlowScape Analytics instantly recognizes it and alerts us so that we can track it down. In conjunction with our other layers of protection, it’s a solid cybersecurity combination.

What technology do you see helping to protect networks at the same scale and velocity threats are coming?

Streaming Malware Detection is a big one. Traditionally, malware has been sent into a sandbox where it has to execute and takes up resources. The sandbox also has to simulate customer environments. This approach comes with a lot of complexities and ends up wasting time for customers and users while awaiting a response. For scalability, analyzing the malicious files in transit at network speed frees up time and resources.

Is there anything else organizations should take into consideration? Machine learning at the endpoint level?

We’re always asking ourselves, “where’s the right juncture to layer in more security?” I’d like to see more organizations asking the same. You can look at our history, during which we developed a lightweight agent by moving the heavy lifting to the cloud, and that’s the theme we’ll continue to follow. The detection elements of machine learning can fit on our client, but we’ll do the computing-intensive and crowd protection work for machine learning in the cloud. That gives you the best efficacy, shares threat discoveries with all of our products and services in real time, and keeps devices running at optimal levels.

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