Upgrade your firewall because ransomware is back in Business, again.

Upgrade your firewall because ransomware is back in Business, again.

Ransomware is back in the media, again. With destructive attacks continuing to impact governments, educational organisations and business operations in multiple states, countries & Continents, with Texas recently under fire with superior, advanced attacks.

 

Capital One was also an immense firm recently caught under siege from Ransomware.

Precise attacks can start in an abundance of unprecedented ways – some with a simplistic phishing email, others with hackers leveraging vulnerabilities in networks in order to jump onto other systems within the network. However, one of the most devastating ransomware attacks to happen in years, resulting in a worldwide disturbance, was when Capital One’s networks were exploited and vulnerabilities were blown wide open to the public.

Since the strike, new vulnerabilities have been identified, but there are still many networks out there that are highly susceptive to cyber-attacks.

Regrettably, many of these badly written networks are piled with issues that are easily ‘wormable’, which otherwise means hackers & malware can exploit these gaps in an automated method with no user interaction at all, enabling the malware to spread quickly and efficiently to a wide group of systems. In other words, taking over your entire infrastructure in a matter of moments.

 

Of course, deploying an industry-leading security product and operating a strict patch management strategy are the most beneficial practices. But there are also other best preparations you should consider to help keep ransomware, hackers & threats out of your network in the first place.

 

Your firewall provides indispensable protection against exploits by closing up or shielding vulnerable ports, as well as blocking attacks using an Intrusion Prevention System. IPS looks at network traffic for openings, exploits, and blocks any attempt for attackers to get through your network border or even cross boundaries & segments within your internal network.

Here are the firewall essentials to prevent ransomware attacks from getting into your Business network:

  • Reduce the surface area of attack: Review and revisit all port-forwarding rules to eliminate any non-essential open ports. Where possible use VPN to access resources on the internal network from outside rather than port-forwarding.
  • Introduce IPS protection: Apply proper IPS protection to the rules governing traffic to/from any Windows hosts on your network.
  • Reduce the risk of lateral movement: Protect against threats moving laterally on your network and consider segmenting your LANs into smaller sub-nets, assigning those to separate zones that are secured by the firewall. Apply suitable IPS policies to rules governing the traffic traversing these zones to prevent worms and bots from spreading between LAN segments.

Want to get the best solution for your business?

At iTeam, we take a security-first approach to technology – ensuring our client’s systems are best protected.

If you have any concerns, questions or simply want to explore how to better secure your business, please do get in touch with the team for a FREE demonstration, consultation to explore how exposed your business might actually be and identify actions to take.

To book a consultation or to arrange a further discussion, please get in touch via our form below, call 03330 507 690 or email Chris on cwatson@iteam.co.uk.

Texas is one of the biggest States in America, they’re not immune to Cyber attacks.

Texas is one of the biggest States in America, they’re not immune to Cyber attacks.

Texas is a very large state, huge in fact. With around 30 million residents it’s the second-largest state in the United States, it has a landmass twice the size of Germany, and a GDP greater than Russia. Texans like to boast, “Everything is bigger in Texas”, and usually that’s a good thing to brag about. This time bigger unquestionably wasn’t better.

 

The news hit late August that 22 government organisations in the Lone Wolf State were under bombardment by structured & advanced ransomware attacks. It’s a timely reminder that as attacks continue to develop, it’s essential that your security evolves even faster.

 

How do you avoid complicated ransomware outbreaks?

So, how can you help guarantee your business isn’t the next victim of universal cyber threats?

Firstly, does your security solution provider have industry-leading technology to ensure criminals can’t use old, exposed software programs to distribute and introduce ransomware into your IT infrastructures?

iTeam can perform tests on your systems to ensure they are dependable & guarded, with confirmation that your business is abiding by suitable methods, including penetration testing and intrusion testing, however, the very basic elements of reinforcing endpoints with vendor security patching, ensuring antivirus is up to date is the often neglected start point.

Should that not deter an attack, or should an exploit not be leveraged – how will your solution stop attacks it’s never seen?

So why not choose your local IT professionals to keep your Business infection free! That’s no mean feat in the current climate. We use a multi-layer approach of services and products to keep your systems running virus-free and we can manage your email too, to keep them from contaminating your business IT.

Keeping a continuous lookout on the security that is deployed in your systems.

 

Want to get the best solution for your business?

At iTeam, we take a security-first approach to technology – ensuring our client’s systems are best protected.

If you have any concerns, questions or simply want to explore how to better secure your business, please do get in touch with the team for a FREE demonstration, consultation to explore how exposed your business might actually be and identify actions to take.

To book a consultation or to arrange a further discussion, please get in touch via our form below, call 03330 507 690 or email Chris on cwatson@iteam.co.uk.

Cyber Essentials is Changing in 2020

Cyber Essentials is Changing in 2020

Cyber Essentials is 5 years old and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has reviewed the scheme. They will be looking to improve it by appointing a new Cyber Essentials Partner in order to ensure that Cyber Essentials keeps pace with the changing nature of the cyber security threat and remains relevant.

The aim is to:

    • refresh the service
    • increase accessibility
    • provide a simpler path to certification

The current system is administered by several Accreditation Bodies and this has brought about a lack of consistency and added complication. To simplify it there will only be one. The new partner has not been appointed yet, but the new system is expected to be in place by April 2020.

Cyber Essentials is required by Government to be affordable and accessible and the new system will have to meet these requirements.

There are currently 5 Accreditation Bodies operating the scheme on behalf of the NCSC and each one appoints a number of Certification Bodies with the knowledge, training and experience to be able to review and assess Cyber Essentials applications. iTeam is a Certification Body through the IASME Accreditation Body.

As we do not know what the new system will look like it is difficult to predict whether iTeam will continue to be a Certification Body with the new Accreditation Body but whatever happens Cyber Essentials will continue to exist. It is not necessary for iTeam to be a Certification Body for us to continue to provide our Total Secure Systems Management (TSSM) cyber security add-on to our support contracts and continue to get ourselves and our clients Cyber Essentials certified.

Other non-Certification Body MSPs use third parties to certify their clients. Services are being developed to certify in a different way, for instance rather than having us to complete your questionnaire once a year it may be possible to run an application to constantly assess your compliance.

One good thing is that the refresh of the Cyber Essentials scheme will give it better visibility in the business community and encourage more organisations to adopt it which means we will all be safer.

David Hewett
Managing Director
iTeam Solutions Ltd

5 Tips to Secure Your Office

5 Tips to Secure Your Office

When thinking about securing your business from cyber threats, the mind quickly turns to phishing, hacks and viruses, but there are many security threats in and around the office that can expose your business to a host of threats and cybersecurity issues. In conjunction with a solid cybersecurity solution provided by your MSP, be sure you and your employees follow these office tips to protect your physical workspace from system comprises, unauthorised breaches and data loss.

1. Unlocked devices

Mobile phones, laptops, desktops, tablets and even printers/multi-function devices should all be locked and password protected when unattended, as these (and any other) network-connected devices can be comprised, allowing for unauthorised access into your system or unauthorised removal of data from it. Even though most devices lock/power down after idling for some period of time, create an office culture where locking devices becomes second nature for all employees. It’s not that you don’t trust your colleagues, it is just being safe.

2. USB Drives

USB drives pose a host of security issues and we don’t like them at iTeam. Unknown drives should never, ever be used, as they could easily contain hidden malware or spy software that could steal data or install ransomware on your network. However, those drives that you do use for normal business functions must be recorded and kept under lock and key so they are not compromised with malware, misplaced or stolen. USB drives make it far too easy for curious eyes or unauthorised users to get a peek into sensitive or confidential business information and are unfortunately left behind in public places (airports, coffee shops, etc.). Make sure any and all USB drives used in your business are cataloged and their whereabouts known at all times—or perhaps look to cloud solutions for sharing/transporting data and ban the use of them completely.

3. Paper Documents

What may be innocuous to your employees could be valuable to others who want to infiltrate your systems. At the end of the day, be sure that papers, reports, financial records and any other proprietary data is off the desks and locked away. When they are no longer needed, shred any documents with financial records, proprietary data or confidential information. And of course, to minimize the problem, go paper-free wherever possible.

4. Passwords

It’s a common occurrence, even in the face of many strict cybersecurity policies, but many employees use notes or cheat sheets for the various usernames, logins and passwords they require for day-to-day work. Nothing could defeat the purpose of a password more easily than doing this, and leaves the door wide open to anyone who accesses your office to gain entry into your network and systems. We recommend the use of a software-based password management system to prevent this risky behaviour. It may not be as quick to access those important passwords as writing them on a sticky note, but is far more secure so just get used to doing it.

5. Wallets and Keys

Just as easily-accessed passwords are a threat, wallets and keys that are left on desks during meetings, bathroom breaks, lunches, etc., can all leave your business exposed to unauthorized entry. Pay special attention to this if there are areas of your business under lock and key, or if ID/keycards are used, as these are typically kept in wallets. Lost keys and access IDs can quickly lead to tampered or duplicated methods of access, so if need be, offer lockers or secure places where employees can store their personal belongings while they work.

So as well as considering technical measures to guard against cyber threats, consider these security best practices. They are largely not about spending money but changing your workplace culture to become more aware of how physical security and cyber security can help protect your business.

I’m always happy to talk about how iTeam might be able to help you look after your data and systems more securely. Please get in touch if you think we can help.

David Hewett
Managing Director
iTeam Solutions Ltd