The UK government has released a National Cyber Strategy to help guide the country’s strategic approach to combating the proliferation of cyber threats. As part of this strategy, the UK government is looking to expand its regulations under the Network and Information Systems (NIS) to include managed service providers (MSPs). The government’s efforts follow a string of supply chain attacks targeting SolarWinds, Microsoft Exchange Servers and the Colonial Pipeline. The UK government has highlighted a number of barriers to proper management of supply chain risks, including low risk recognition, limited visibility and insufficient expertise and tools to evaluate suppliers.
This strategic move by the UK government involves widening the scope of the NIS regulations to include MSPs. Original NIS regulations came into effect in 2018 to optimize cybersecurity offerings provided by companies within the essential services industries – water, energy, transport, healthcare and digital infrastructure. Expansion of the NIS regulations to include MSPs informs part of the UK government’s broader strategy to improve the country’s overall cyber resilience.
MSPs provide critical digital outsourcing services for IT departments and manage key business processes for many organizations. As such, MSPs play a vital role in promoting a digital-first economy. The UK government wants to ensure MSPs are fully prepared to manage ongoing cyber threats and protect the data integrity of their customers.
As the UK government moves forward with its plans, part of its proposal involves defining what an MSP does, from a commercial perspective. Under the proposed regulations, MSPs could be required to enact reasonable and proportionate security measures to protect their network and proactively manage the risks associated with services provided to customers. As of late, the NIS regulations that are being proposed could carry reporting requirements and heavy fines for those MSPs that don’t comply.
Embrace regulatory shifts with ease
We know adapting to these new and evolving requirements can be overwhelming.
Carbonite + Webroot are here to help. We offer a suite of business solutions to help keep your customers secure with reliable always-on protection, backup and recovery solutions designed to fit your needs.
Find the best solution for your business.
According to the latest ISACA State of Security 2021 report, social engineering is the leading cause of compromises experienced by organizations. Findings from the Verizon 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report also point to social engineering as the most common data breach attack method.
Social engineering is a term used to describe the actions a cybercriminal takes to exploit human behavior in order to gain access to confidential information or infiltrate access to unauthorized systems and data.
What does social engineering look like?
Social engineering can take many forms. Some malicious actors might trick you into giving your password or financial information away. They may also try and convince you to provide remote access to your computer or mobile devices. Cybercriminals are looking for ways to gain your trust and take advantage of your curiosity by sending messaging that contains malicious links or downloads.
“One method of attack bad actors use quite frequently involves spoofing legitimate vendor support centers. Cybercriminals will pretend to represent these organizations by posting sponsored ads online or through promoted search results. They will offer assistance and sell expired or stolen products of the vendor they have impersonated. These cybercriminals prey on unsuspecting individuals who offer up their personal and financial information because they believe they are in contact with the real vendor,” says Tyler Moffitt, senior security analyst at Carbonite + Webroot, OpenText companies.
Some common social engineering tactics include:
- Impersonating someone. An urgent request from a ‘friend’ or person you may know is a common tactic used by bad actors to compromise your information by attempting to gain your trust.
- A legitimate-seeming request from a trusted source. A phisher may send an email, message or text that appears to be from a legitimate organization you interact with. According to the latest IDG report, phishing attacks are on the rise.
- Oversharing personal information online. Some cybercriminals will gather intel through social networking sites like Twitter or Instagram and use that information to spoof various services or places you visit.
“Oversharing personal information online is especially dangerous for public figures or prominent employees. Cybercriminals conduct research online through a user’s social media channels to determine where a person visits and what activities a person participates in. Cybercriminals will then spoof their target with seemingly legitimate messages from that vendor with attractive offers. All they need is a click,” says Moffitt.
Avoid becoming a victim
To outwit social engineering attacks:
- Slow down and remain in control. If you receive a message that conveys a sense of urgency to act, carefully consider whether you should respond.
- Beware of what you download. Use a reputable web browser and remain conscious of what links you are accessing before clicking on them. Avoid downloading free applications that may possess remote access trojans that can compromise your device.
- Delete any requests to provide financial information or passwords and report them as spam. Avoid responding to requests for help or offers to assist from individuals you don’t know.
- Invest in security awareness training. Prevent your devices from becoming compromised by common attack vectors by investing in security awareness training. Testing yourself regularly with phishing campaigns can help you learn what to avoid.
As cybercriminals continue to exploit human behavior and take great strides to make their attack vectors appear harmless, it’s important to remain vigilant of how cyber threats continue to evolve.
Webroot offers a number of solutions to help you tackle these ongoing cyber threats. Experience powerful and reliable protection from Webroot that won’t slow you down. Whether it’s updating your antivirus software or learning to spot phishing traps with security awareness training, Webroot has you covered.
If you own a computer that seems to have slowed to a crawl, you may be thinking about replacing it. But what about all the files on your old dinosaur? You may be thinking about transferring them to an external hard drive, a time-consuming and tedious process, or you may have heard of the far simpler process known as “cloning.”
Cloning is the act of creating a direct, one-to-one copy of a hard drive. Like the term suggests, cloning a computer will leave you with an identical copy of all the particular apps, files and settings on the device, which a user can then install onto a new one or keep as a backup in case something disastrous happens to the original.
Cloning is a pretty simple procedure and there are a lot of free tools to help you do it. But one problem it won’t help you solve is data bloat. Bloat is unwanted data that slows down a computer. This unwanted data can come in all types of different forms. It could be music, photos, games and apps, spreadsheets or text documents. One specific type of bloat, known as “software bloat,” occurs from successive updates to a computer program as they’re layered over one another time after time.
Generally, bloat is the result of the steady accumulation of more and more data as it’s added to your computer. Bloat eats away at the available memory on your hard drive and can lead to performance issues, most notably, slowing it down. If you’re experiencing frequent crashes, it may also be a problem with a corrupted file trying to execute.
You can’t clone the bloat away
Here’s where the problem with cloning comes in. Since a slow computer is a common reason for getting a new one, and cloning simply replicates all the data already stored on a device, it may not be the best strategy for getting existing files from an older computer onto a new one. Given that you’ve also probably updated your hardware, it won’t slam the breaks on your processing speeds immediately, but it’s an added burden right out of the gate.
An alternative strategy is to back up your old device to the cloud and migrating files to the new one as needed. When done this way, all the old and unnecessary files you don’t think to update yourself aren’t taking up space on your shiny new laptop. When automatic cloud backup is installed, all the latest files from the initial computer exist online, ready to be pulled down to your device whenever a local copy is needed.
Transferring data piecemeal can also help identify anything problematic that’s causing a device to crash. Once isolated, it can be easier to uninstall or delete.
By storing the majority of your files in the cloud, you ensure free space remains on your hard drive log into the future. It’s less taxing on your device, and you’ll notice better performance as a result. There are also organizational benefits to having old files stored in one convenient location. If you’re combing for tax documents from previous years, for instance, you know where to grab them from your old drive. Without having to having to watch an old laptop inch along.
So, when it comes time to replace an old computer, think twice about cloning. Choosing cloud backup from Carbonite could help extend the life and improve the performance of that new device.
The ransomware attacks that make headlines and steer conversations among cybersecurity professionals usually involve major ransoms, huge corporations and notorious hacking groups.
Kia Motors, Accenture, Acer, JBS…these companies were some of the largest to be compromised by ransomware in 2021. These were mainly hit with well-known variants, sometimes unleashed by state-backed hacking groups. But it’s key to understand that no “Top 10” list of ransomware incidents paints an accurate – or at least comprehensive – picture of the impact ransomware played over the last year.
That’s because, small businesses and not-for-profit organizations are often hit the hardest by ransomware. Here are a couple factors to consider that might help reframe how we think about ransomware, who’s targeted and why small businesses can’t escape the gaze of ransomware groups.
- Attach Surface vs. Cybersecurity Resources
In our 2021 Webroot BrightCloud® Threat Report, we found overall infection rates to be rising fastest in the healthcare, non-profit and arts/entertainment/recreation industries. Schools, local governments and hospitals are some of the most commonly targeted types of institutions, accounting for some 2,400 breaches in 2020, according to the Ransomware Task Force’s (RTF) 2021 report.
We don’t typically think of these organizations as having excess budget earmarked for ransomware actors, so why are they so often targets? What makes them attractive to cybercriminals? It turns out, it’s exactly this lack of resources.
Often operating with limited IT budgets, hospitals, schools and local governments also typically run some of the most complex and difficult to secure networks. Spread out over multiple locations and responsible for hundreds or even thousands of devices – factors referred to as the “attack surface” in information security – make these institutions attractive targets. To make matters worse, a shortage of cybersecurity professionals and budget constraints mean they handle these challenges short-staffed.
- “Average” Ransomware Costs Can Be Misleading
Many security companies justifiably try to quantify the costs of ransomware year over year. While almost all agree both the number of attacks and the demanded ransoms are rising, these stats can obscure the real story.
Leaving aside the fact that they’re almost certainly underreported – businesses tend not to disclose ransomware incidents to avoid negative publicity and fines from regulatory agencies – a few high-profile incidents can drive up averages and distort the perceived cost to small businesses.
“I could never afford a $50 million ransom like the one hackers demanded of Acer,” the thinking goes, “so I must not be worth their time.” While understanding, this conclusion misrepresents the problem.
In fact, the median ransom demand in 2021, according to advanced findings from our upcoming threat report, was $70,000. Still potentially bankruptcy-inducing, this figure is within reach for a far greater number of businesses. Hence, a larger number of businesses are considered acceptable targets by criminals actors.
- Ransomware as a Service Changed the Game
Maybe it was the case once, but malicious actors no longer have to be savvy behind a keyboard. Ransomware as a service (RaaS) is an increasingly popular business model among malicious actors where interested parties can buy ransomware “products” – malicious code meant to encrypt a target’s files – from a developer online.
According to the RTF, “In 2020, two-thirds of the ransomware attacks…were perpetrated by cyber criminals using a RaaS model.”
While supply chain attacks and major breaches of global corporations still require a good deal of technical sophistication, cracking the dentist’s office down the street no longer does. All that’s needed is a working knowledge of the dark web, a connection to a developer with loose morals and some startup capital to purchase the code.
This means casting a wider net with smaller ransomware demands threatens to ensnare more small and midsized businesses than before this business model emerged.
Securing small businesses in the crosshairs
Business owners and the MSPs that secure them can see how a set of factors are converging to increase the cybersecurity risks to businesses of all sizes. Luckily, there are a few steps, relatively easy to implement, that can help these organizations reduce their risk of falling victim to ransomware – or to limit the scope of any successful attacks.
- Locking down Remote Desktop Protocols (RDP) – As the trends from 2021 emerge, it’s become clear that open RDP ports are the most common method of compromise among small businesses. They’re simply too easy for cybercriminals to discover and exploit, so lock them down.
- Educate end users – The next common method of compromise is phishing attacks, independent of company size. But our research suggests that regular phishing simulations can dramatically reduce click-through rates among frontline users.
- Install reputable cybersecurity software– What used to be the main method of defense against malware is now only a single method of defense, but it’s still a critical one.
- Set up a strong backup and disaster recovery plan– Misconfigurations and user-enabled breaches are almost impossible to stop entirely. Having backups of critical files can reduce the pressure to pay a ransom and undermine the leverage cybercriminals have against a business.
Interested in learning more about ransomware and its effects on businesses? Download our eBook on the Hidden Cost of Ransomware.
Threat actors are becoming more sophisticated, agile and relentless in their pursuit of stealing personal information for financial gain. Rapid and evolving shifts in the threat landscape require the knowledge and solutions to prepare and prevent threats that could spell disaster for organizations’ reputations and operations.
Organizations of all sizes remain at risk. Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and managed service providers (MSPs) are especially vulnerable to the stealth efforts of bad actors. With fewer financial resources, a ransomware payment demand could mean the difference between staying in business and closing up shop.
Government entities are also prone to attack. In December 2021, Belgium’s Ministry of Defence experienced a cyberattack exploiting the Log4j vulnerability that paralyzed the ministry’s computer network. Within the same month, Australia’s utility company, CS Energy, experienced a ransomware attack involving the well-known ransomware Conti.
Evolving cyber threats can be unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean businesses have to tackle them alone. A robust security stack can help businesses stay protected and prepared. Establishing this level of resilience involves partnering with a provider that has human-powered threat hunting resources.
What is threat hunting?
Threat hunting involves actively searching for adversaries before an attack is carried out. Threat hunting involves the use of tools, intelligence and analytics combined with human intervention. Threat hunting centers around the proactive containment and identification of potentially damaging files before malicious vectors can cause severe damage to an organization’s operations.
What does a threat research analyst do?
“At Webroot, we focus our efforts on analyzing customer data. Our threat research analysts examine this data to determine if malicious files are present. Our analysts are constantly looking for files that possess certain characteristics that make up various types of malware. If we identify and determine that critical elements of a suspicious file are present, we classify and block them. Making determinations can be approached in different ways. One avenue of determination is carried out by creating isolated conditions to run the suspicious file to see what results it presents,” says Marcus Moreno, manager, threat research at Carbonite + Webroot, OpenText companies.
“Since our database is comprised of mass quantities of SMB and MSP data, we can continue to make determinations from a large and evolving data set. This is why SMBs and MSPs can derive value from partnering with Webroot,” adds Moreno.
Take your security stack to the next level
Cyberattacks will continue to be a concern for businesses, governments and individuals. Combatting cyber threats means adopting a cyber resilience approach. Cyber resilience is the ability to remain operational in the face of threats – whether human or maliciously-based. One important element of a solid cyber resilience strategy is to remain in a pre-emptive and proactive stance. Avoid costly ransomware payment demands, bolster customer confidence and minimize downtime for business operations by investing in a solutions provider backed by threat hunting capabilities.
Discover how Webroot’s solutions can protect your business.
Phishing attacks sustain historic highs
In their latest report, IDG and the pros behind Carbonite + Webroot spoke with 300 global IT professionals to learn the current state of phishing. We learned that 93% of IT executives are still concerned about phishing – and it’s no wonder, as companies averaged 28 attacks each over the previous 12 months.
Luckily, the report details how to fight back. With the right preparation and the right protection, companies can prevent all but 0.3% of attacks.
Phishing capitalizes on COVID
Phishing attacks have been part of the cybercriminal arsenal for years. But it’s only recently that phishing has flourished into the scourge it is today. That’s because cybercriminals have found success by targeting COVID-19 fears with their schemes.
In fact, phishing attacks spiked by 510% from just January – February 2020, according to the 2021 Threat Report. These increases leveled off by the summer, but phishing attacks still increased 34% from September – October 2020. Overall, 76% of executives report that phishing is still up compared to before the pandemic.
COVID-based tactics might purport to have new info on a shutdown, to share COVID stats or even suggest info from your doctor. But in each case, cybercriminals are looking to steal your information.
Who’s getting attacked?
IT departments are feeling the brunt of these attacks, with 57% of them targeted by phishing. Carbonite + Webroot Sr. Security Analyst Tyler Moffitt says, “Even if malware targets someone with lower-level access, the attack will move laterally to eventually find an IT administrator.”
He goes on to say that attackers can then linger for a week or more to find valuable data or steal a balance sheet that gives an indication of how much ransom to charge.
Because they often have important credentials, top executives and finance groups are also common targets. Public-facing customer service employees also offer easy access.
Consequences of phishing
75% of global IT executives say they’ve suffered negative consequences from phishing attacks. That includes:
- 37% suffered downtime lasting more than a day
- 37% suffered exposure of data
- 32% lost productivity
- 19% had to pay legal or regulatory fines
A layered approach to security
But it’s not all bad news. Yes, phishing is using new tactics to target businesses. But there are ways to fight back.
The report cites training as one of the most effective tools. But the frequency of training varies greatly, and 25% of those who use it don’t include phishing simulations. By using security awareness training that offers regular simulations, you can reduce phishing by up to 70%.
But even with great training, the report notes that people will still click some of the time. That’s why a multi-layered approach gives peace of mind that not all is lost if one person messes up.
No layer is 100% effective, but taken together many layers get very close. A defense in depth security posture utilizing DNS and endpoint detection as well as a sound backup strategy can give you confidence that you’re prepared to withstand even a successful phishing attack.
Ready to start protecting yourself and your business? Explore how Carbonite + Webroot provide a full range of cyber resilience solutions.
If you’ve considered using a virtual private network (VPN) at all, it’s likely to establish a secure connection while working remotely or to connect to public networks. But privacy enthusiasts appreciate the benefits of a VPN even from the comfort of their own homes. Depending on your level of comfort with your internet service provider (ISP) – and what country you live in – setting one up for your household may be a smart bet.
Before diving into why, here is a brief refresher on what a VPN is and why they’re useful.
The VPN basics
Think of a VPN as a tunnel your internet traffic travels through to keep nosy onlookers from being able to see what you’re doing online. More literally, VPNs are tools used to encrypt network traffic and to hide a user’s IP address by masking it with a proxy one – in this case one belonging to the VPN provider.
A VPN may route your encrypted traffic through a datacenter located anywhere in the world (though it’s best when it’s nearby so the user’s experience doesn’t suffer).
Why would one want to use a VPN?
Typically, they’re used by individuals logging onto public networks as an assurance their activities won’t be monitored. In addition to maintaining privacy, this also prevents cybercriminals from stealing sensitive data from banking transfers, paying bills or conducting other sensitive transactions from places like airports or coffee shops.
Corporations may also mandate the use of VPNs for remote workers so that sensitive company data is more difficult to compromise. To protect against data breaches or other leaks, network administrators typically encourage encrypting traffic using a tool like a VPN.
Check out this post for more on why you should use a VPN on public networks.
Do you need to use a VPN at home?
It depends on a number of factors.
It depends on where you live and how private you want to keep your web browsing habits. Physical location is a factor because, in the United States, it’s been legal since 2017 for ISPs to sell certain data they’re able to gather unless the customer explicitly opts out. Most major ISPs claim to not sell user data, especially anything that can be used to identify the user, but it’s technically not illegal.
In countries where this practice is prevented by law, users may have fewer privacy concerns regarding their ISP. In the European Union, for example, strict privacy standards laid out in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) prevent even the gathering of user data by ISPs. This makes the case for a VPN at home harder to make, since most websites already encrypt data in transit and home networks are unlikely to be targeted by things like man-in-the-middle attacks.
For U.S. users, though, using a VPN at home makes good privacy sense. Despite some attempts to learn what major ISPs do with our data, they’re not always forthright with their policies. There are also no guarantees an ISP won’t suddenly change those policies regarding the sale of user data.
If you don’t want to leave the issue up to your ISP, shielding personal data with a VPN is a good choice.
Choose your VPN wisely
If you’re not careful, your VPN can end up doing the same thing you got it to avoid.
“If you’re not paying for it, you are the product,” or so the saying goes. This is especially true for many free VPN services. Free solutions often track and sell your browsing data to advertisers to generate revenue. Be sure to choose a “no-log” solution that doesn’t track your online activity for sale to third-parties.
It’s also important you choose a VPN from a vendor that:
- Is established enough to have access to servers worldwide
- Has a professional support team on-staff and available to assist with any issues
- Is easy to configure and simple to use, so you actually will!
After checking these boxes, it’s a smart choice to use a VPN at home under some circumstances.
For a proven, reliable solution, consider making Webroot® WiFi Security your VPN of choice on the go and at home.
Whether you’re shopping for the latest tech gadgets or checking your work email, your online presence is susceptible to malicious threats. No industry or sector is immune. Even in the early days of 2022, a hospital in Jackson, Florida, experienced a ransomware attack that left medical professionals struggling to access patient records. Attacks like this not only have implications for patient care, but they also serve as a stark reminder of ongoing privacy issues in the online realm. As consumers and businesses are becoming increasingly more concerned about their data privacy, understanding how to protect that information becomes vital.
This week, the global community is rallying together to raise awareness about online privacy through Data Privacy Week.
What is Data Privacy Week?
Data Privacy Week began as a day of awareness in the United States, Canada and Europe and to commemorate the signing of Convention 108, the first internationally binding agreement addressing privacy and data protection. This year, the initiative has expanded to a week-long effort to generate awareness.
As data privacy and security implications become important for both businesses and individuals, there are a series of steps everyone can take:
- Adopt privacy mindfulness. Whether it’s for your home or your business, ensure you take privacy into account when you agree to the terms and conditions of items available for download from the internet or when you create a program that may expose your employees to online risk.
- Educate yourself. Avoid common attempts to compromise your information and identity by investing in security awareness training. Participate in simulated modules to test your knowledge and learn what traps to avoid.
- Back up your precious files. Not ready to part with your personal information? Make sure it’s backed up. That way, if you experience accidental or malicious data loss, your information is secure and accessible.
- Use antivirus software. Ensure online activities like shopping and browsing are secure by investing in a reliable antivirus. Adhere to updates and always renew your subscription to avoid a lapse in protection.
- Partner with a reliable provider. Some providers offer free protection and backup solutions, but can you really trust them? Always do your research and select a reputable provider to keep your devices and data safe.
From the rise of ransomware as a service (RaaS) to the use of malware to disrupt the political landscape, security, privacy and governance remain at a crossroads. With no signs of a resolution apparent, it’s important for everyone to take stock of their security stack.
One reliable approach is to adopt cyber resilience. Cyber resilience is a multi-layered, defense in depth strategy to ensure continuous access to your personal and business data no matter what happens. Establishing cyber resilience begins by assessing your current defense approach and employing the tools and know-how to remain protected and prepared for unknown threats. Whether it’s taking the time to educate your staff, upgrading your antivirus solution or investing in a reliable backup provider, make cyber resilience a priority.
This Data Privacy Week, let’s move beyond just becoming more aware of bad actors. Let’s take action to protect our data and our privacy.
The onset of COVID-19 accelerated growth of the digital nomad. No longer just for bloggers and influencers, the global workforce is increasingly becoming more highly connected and widely dispersed. As workforces become more globally linked, businesses large and small need to protect themselves from evolving threats. Employees represent the first line of defense from malicious vectors that attempt to compromise your organization’s information technology infrastructure through common access points.
With approximately 1 in 10 malicious sites hosted on a benign domain, could you spot the difference? Being aware is the first step towards protecting your business. Security awareness training (SAT) can help.
What is Security Awareness Training?
Security awareness training is a proven, knowledge-based approach to empowering employees to recognize and avoid security compromises while using business devices. Through a series of effective delivery modules, SAT provides employees with relevant information and knowledge on topics like social engineering, malware, compliance and information security.
Effective security awareness training can significantly boost your organization’s security posture. Simply put, this type of training empowers your team to remain vigilant against cyber scams or attacks that prey on human error.
Webroot® Security Awareness Training offers your business an easy to implement training program that helps to reduce the risk of security breaches. Through a series of simulations based on real-world attacks, employees gain the know-how to spot common scams, including phishing attempts that could wreak havoc on your IT infrastructure. Webroot’s training has been recognized as a Strong Performer in The Forrester Wave™: Security Awareness and Training Solutions category. Our industry-first, global management features allow you to spend less time deploying our solution and more time reaping the benefits for your business.
Here’s why Webroot® Security Awareness Training adds value:
Proven efficacy. With computer-based training, your employees will be able to drastically reduce the odds of clicking on a malicious link within a short period of time.
Relevant and current effective training. Experience over 120 courses at one inclusive rate. Course topics include cybersecurity, phishing and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Webroot has 85 micro learning modules that can be completed in 10 minutes or less. With multiple media formats, extend your reach with infographics, videos and posters.
Fully customizable phishing simulator. Over 200 real-world templates for everyday scenarios, including shipping alerts, vendor invoices, missed delivery, human resource policy changes, account lockout, critical software updates and more.
Trackable campaigns. Successfully monitor and track your employees’ success within a built-in learning management system (LMS). LMS automatically keeps track of participation, sends reminders and schedules reports for review. Reports can be shared with management to show progress and accountability.
Give your employees the know-how to combat cyber threats
To reduce infections, cut downtime and ensure your business remains resilient against evolving cyberattacks, security awareness training is a must. From compliance training to spotting phishing attacks, training is a critical element of developing and maintaining a robust cyber resilience posture.
Maximize your ability to protect your business with security awareness training. Whether you’re an enterprise, SMB or MSP, make security awareness training part of your regular cyber education routine.
Prevent costly security breaches with Webroot® Security Awareness Training.
To get started with a free trial, please visit, https://www.webroot.com/ca/en/business/trials/security-awareness
Successfully recovering from disruption or disaster is one of an IT administrator’s most critical duties. Whether it’s restoring servers or rescuing lost data, failure to complete a successful recovery can spell doom for a company.
But mastering the recovery process happens before disaster strikes. This is especially true for large datasets. Our breakdown is here to help you along the way. We also have an even more detailed walkthrough for how to back up large datasets.
Large datasets have lots of variables to consider when figuring out the ‘how’ of recovery. After all, recovery doesn’t happen with the flip of a switch. Success is measured by retrieving mission critical files in the right order so your business can get back to business.
5 essential questions to ask before backing up large datasets
IT pros know that a successful recovery takes trial and error, and even a bit of finesse. And with many things in life, a bit of preparation can save a lot of downtime. So before you start, ask yourself these questions:
- What’s my company’s document retention policy? (And don’t forget regulatory requirements like GDPR)
First, you need to ensure you satisfy your company’s retention policy and that you’re in compliance with any regulatory requirements when choosing what to backup. Before sifting through your data and making hard decisions about what to protect, you need to take this important step to make sure you don’t run afoul of legislation or regulations.
- Which data is mission critical to the business?
Once in full compliance with company policies and regulations, it’s time to highlight any data that affects the operations or the financial health of the business. Identifying mission critical data allows you to prioritize backup tasks based on desired recovery options.
You can also exclude data that isn’t mission critical and isn’t covered by regulations from regular backup scheduling. Any bandwidth you save now will give you added flexibility when you make it to the last step.
- What types of data do I have (and can I compress it)?
Data is more than 1s and 0s. Some datasets have more redundancy than others, making them easier to compress while images, audio and video tend to have less redundancy. Your company might have a lot of incompressible images leading you to utilize snapshot or image backup. This allows you to move large datasets over a network more efficiently without interrupting critical workflows.
- How frequently do my data change?
The rate of change for your data will determine the size of your backups and help you figure out how long it will take to recover. That’s because once you have an initial backup and complete the dedupe process, backups only need to record the changes to your data.
Anything that doesn’t change will be recoverable from the initial backup. Even with a very large dataset, if most of your data stays static then you can recover from a small disruption very quickly. But no matter the rate of change, anticipating how long it will take to recover critical data informs your business continuity plans.
- What size backup will my network support?
Bandwidth capacity is a common denominator for successful recoveries. It’s important to remember that you can only protect as much data as your network will allow. Using all your bandwidth to make daily backups can grind business to a halt. This is where your preparation can help the most.
Once you’ve answered the first four questions, you should know which data need to be accessible at any hour of the day. You can protect this data onsite with a dedicated backup appliance to give you the fastest recovery times. Of course, you’ll still have this data backed up offsite in case a localized disaster strikes.
IT assets cost money and often represent large investments for businesses. New technologies bring advancements in business continuity but can also add complications. And to top it all off, IT ecosystems increasingly must support both legacy technology and new systems.
Some vendors are slow to adapt new pricing models that fit with emerging technologies. They add on excessive overage charges and ‘per instance’ fees. This adds costs as businesses scale up their environments – more servers, databases and applications increasingly escalate prices.
Finding the right partner
That’s why it’s so important to work with a vendor that offers unlimited licensing. You’re empowered to protect what you need and grow your business without worrying about an extra cost. Most importantly, businesses shouldn’t have to skimp on protection because of an increase in price.
Time to get started
Protecting large datasets goes beyond just flipping a switch. Preparation and careful consideration of your data will help you land on a strategy that works for your business.
Interested in learning more about Carbonite backup plans?
2020 may have been the year of establishing remote connectivity and addressing the cybersecurity skills gap, but 2021 presented security experts, government officials and businesses with a series of unprecedented challenges. The increased reliance on decentralized connection and the continued rapid expansion of digital transformation by enterprises, small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and individuals, provided cybercriminals with many opportunities to exploit and capitalize on unsuspecting businesses and individuals. With nothing short of a major financial windfall waiting in the midst, numerous organizations and individuals fell victim to the mischievous efforts of malicious actors.
Threats abound in 2021
In 2021, we witnessed so many competing shifts, many of which we detailed early on in our 2021 BrightCloud® Threat Report. In particular, we witnessed an increase in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and a surge in the usage of the internet of things (IoT). For enterprises, SMBs and individuals that entrust IoT devices for work and entertainment, this opens up vulnerabilities to malicious vectors that take advantage of unprotected blind spots and wreak havoc.
The cybercrime marketplace also continued to get more robust while the barrier to entry for malicious actors continued to drop. This has created a perfect breeding ground for aspiring cybercriminals and organized cybercrime groups that support newcomers with venture capitalist-style funding.
Suffice to say, a lot has been happening at once.
Below, our security experts forecast where the main areas of concern lie in the year ahead.
Malware made leaps and bounds in 2021. In particular, six key threats made our list. These dark contenders include LemonDuck, REvil, Trickbot, Dridex, Conti and Cobalt Strike.
“In 2022, the widespread growth of mobile access will increase the prevalence of mobile malware, given all of the behavior tracking capabilities,” says Grayson Milbourne, security intelligence director, Carbonite + Webroot, OpenText companies. Malicious actors will continue to improve their social engineering tactics, making it more difficult to recognize deception and make it increasingly easier to become a victim, predicts Milbourne.
Earlier in 2021, we detailed the hidden costs of ransomware in our eBook. Many organizations when faced with an attack, gave into the demands of threat actors, paying hundreds of thousands of dollars on average. Since mid-October 2021, there have been more than 25 active strains of ransomware circulating. The evolution of ransomware as a service (RaaS) has vastly proliferated. Conti, in particular, continues to be the more prevalent ransomware affecting SMBs.
“As the year progresses, we will likely see faster times to network-wide deployment of ransomware after an initial compromise, even in as little as 24 hours,” says Milbourne.
“Stealth ransomware attacks, which would deploy all the necessary elements to control, exfiltrate and encrypt key assets of an organization but do not execute until there is no alternative, will likely continue to proliferate,” says Matt Aldridge, principal solutions consultant at Carbonite + Webroot. “This approach will be used to get around restrictions on reporting and on ransomware payments. Criminals can extort their targets based on the impending threat of ransomware without ever having to encrypt or exfiltrate the data. This could lead to quicker financial gains for criminals, as organizations will be more willing to pay to avoid generating awareness, experiencing major downtime or incurring data protection fines,” forecasts Aldridge.
There was no shortage of discussion surrounding cryptocurrency and its security flaws. The rise of exchange attacks grew, and quick scams reigned. The free operation of cryptocurrency exchanges and marketplaces will be significantly impacted by government regulation and criminal investigation in 2022, especially in the United States.
“This year, we will likely see new threat actors become strategic in their cost-benefit analysis of undertaking long-term mining versus short-term ransomware payments. The focus will likely fall to Linux and the growth of manipulation of social media platforms to determine price,” predicts Kelvin Murray, senior threat researcher, Carbonite + Webroot.
“Simply put, attacks on the supply will never stop; it will only get worse,” says Tyler Moffitt, senior security analyst at Carbonite + Webroot. Each year the industry gets increasingly stronger and more intelligent. Yet every year, we witness more never-before-seen attacks and business leaders and security experts are constantly looking at each other thinking, “I’m glad it wasn’t us in that supply chain attack,” continues Moffitt.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) fines have more than doubled since they came out a few years ago just as ransom amounts have increased. These fine values have also been promoted on leak sites. Moffitt predicts GDPR will continue to increase their fines, which may serve to help, instead of thwart, the threat of ransomware extortion.
Last year, we forecasted phishing would continue to remain a prevailing method of attack, as unsuspecting individuals and businesses would fall victim to tailored assaults. In our mid-year BrightCloud® Threat report, we found a 440% increase in phishing, holding the record for the single largest phishing spike in one month alone. Industries like oil, gas, manufacturing and mining will continue to see growth in targeted attacks. Consumers also remain at risk. As more learning, shopping and personal banking is conducted online, consumers could face identity and financial theft.
What to expect in 2022?
The new year ushers in a new wave of imminent concerns. In 2022, we expect to see an increased use of deepfake technology to influence political opinion. We also expect business email compromise (BEC) attacks to become more common. To make matters worse, we also foresee another record-breaking year of vulnerability discovery which is further complicated by bidding wars between bug bounty programs, governments and organized cybercrime. Most bug bounties pay six figures or less, and for a government or a well-funded cybercrime organization, paying millions is not out of reach. Ultimately, this means more critical vulnerabilities will impact individuals and businesses. The early days of 2022 will also be compounded by the discovery of Log4j bugs hidden within Java code.
“The critical vulnerability identified within Log4Shell is a great example of how attackers can remotely inject malware into vulnerable systems. This active exploitation is happening as we speak,” says Milbourne.
The key to preparing for the plethora of attacks we will likely witness in 2022 is to establish cyber resilience.
Whether you’re looking to protect your family, business or customers, Carbonite + Webroot offer the solutions you need to establish a multi-layer approach to combating these threats. By adopting a cyber resilience posture, individuals, businesses small and large can mitigate risks in the ever-changing cyber threat landscape.
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Each year, as online shopping ramps up in the weeks before the holidays, so do online scams targeting the elderly. This season – in many ways unprecedented – is no different in this regard. In fact, COVID-19, Zoom meetings, vaccination recommendations and travel warnings all provide ample and unique precedent for social engineering attacks.
Not surprisingly, cybercriminals often target those least able to protect themselves. This could be those without antivirus protection, young internet users or, unfortunately, your elderly loved ones. The FBI reported nearly $1 billion in scams targeting the elderly in 2020, with the average victim losing nearly $10,000.
This holiday season, it may be worth talking to elderly relatives about the fact that they can be targeted online. Whether they’re seasoned, vigilant technology users or still learning the ropes of things like text messaging, chat forums, email and online shopping, it won’t hurt to build an understanding of some of the most common elder fraud scams on the internet.
The most common types of online elder fraud
According to the FBI, these are some of the most common online scams targeting the elderly. While a handful of common scams against older citizens are conducted in person, the majority are enabled or made more convincing by the use of technology.
- Romance scams: Criminals pose as interested romantic partners on social media or dating websites to capitalize on their elderly victims’ desire to find companions.
- Tech support scams: Criminals pose as technology support representatives and offer to fix non-existent computer issues. The scammers gain remote access to victims’ devices and sensitive information.
- Grandparent scams: Criminals pose as a relative—usually a child or grandchild—claiming to be in immediate financial need.
- Government impersonation scams: Criminals pose as government employees and threaten to arrest or prosecute victims unless they agree to provide funds or other payments.
- Sweepstakes/charity/lottery scams: Criminals claim to work for legitimate charitable organizations to gain victims’ trust. Or they claim their targets have won a foreign lottery or sweepstake, which they can collect for a “fee.”
All of the above are examples of “confidence scams,” or ruses in which a cybercriminal assumes a fake identity to win the trust of their would-be victims. Since they form the basis of phishing attacks, confidence scams are very familiar to those working in the cybersecurity industry.
While romance scams are a mainstay among fraud attempts against the elderly, more timely methods are popular today. AARP lists Zoom phishing emails and COVID-19 vaccination card scams as ones to watch out for now. Phony online shopping websites surge this time of year, and are becoming increasingly believable, according to the group.
Tips for preventing online elder scams
Given that the bulk of elder scams occur online, it’s no surprise that several of the FBI’s top tips for preventing them involve some measure of cyber awareness.
Here are the FBI’s top tips:
- Recognize scam attempts and end all communication with the perpetrator.
- Search online for the contact information (name, email, phone number, addresses) and the proposed offer. Other people have likely posted information online about individuals and businesses trying to run scams.
- Resist the pressure to act quickly. Scammers create a sense of urgency to produce fear and lure victims into immediate action. Call the police immediately if you feel there is a danger to yourself or a loved one.
- Never give or send any personally identifiable information, money, jewelry, gift cards, checks, or wire information to unverified people or businesses.
- Make sure all computer anti-virus and security software and malware protections are up to date. Use reputable anti-virus software and firewalls.
- Disconnect from the internet and shut down your device if you see a pop-up message or locked screen. Pop-ups are regularly used by perpetrators to spread malicious software. Enable pop-up blockers to avoid accidentally clicking on a pop-up.
- Be careful what you download. Never open an email attachment from someone you don’t know and be wary of email attachments forwarded to you.
- Take precautions to protect your identity if a criminal gains access to your device or account. Immediately contact your financial institutions to place protections on your accounts. Monitor your accounts and personal information for suspicious activity.
Pressure to act quickly is a hallmark of social engineering scams. It should set off alarm bells and it’s important to let older friends or family members know that. Using the internet as a tool to protect yourself, as recommended by the second bullet, is also a smart play. But more than anything, don’t overlook the importance of helping senior loved ones install an antivirus solution on their home computers. These can limit the damage of any successful scam in important ways.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Protect the seniors in your life from online scams this holiday season. You might just save them significant money and hassle.
We have just the tool to do it, too. Discover our low-maintenance, no-hassle antivirus solutions here.