Anti-Virus – Do we still need it or is it doomed?

With the advancements in technology the threat landscape is evolving too.

Malicious software is becoming harder to detect and remove – it is also starting to affect a wider range of devices because of the ‘Internet of Things’. There has been some cases that advance malicious software can even bypass the anti-virus software by changing its code!

In some ways there is truth behind what Brian Dye, senior vice president of Symantec famously said a few months ago ‘Antivirus is dead’ and it is ‘doomed to failure’ because Anti-Virus relies on a signature database to block out malicious behaviours so, if a particular piece of malicious code has never been seen before – you will probably be a victim to it.

However AV is not completely doomed as Eugene Kaspersky quite rightly said, it is still ‘very much alive and kicking’ because as threats evolved so has the traditional AV. It is about choosing a product that has a database that is continuously updated and have a good feature set.

Many vendors are now reinventing AV and changing it to ‘Endpoint Security’ which offers a wider range of features from your standard things like Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware and Anti-Malware but, include features like application control, mobile device security, encryption and rule-based system behaviour blocking.

However security has become more complex and just because AV or ‘Endpoint Security’ has more features, we cannot just relying on it to be the sole system defences, it is not viable anymore. It will not provide an adequate level of protection for a modern day complex network.

Networks have developed into complex environments with multiple layers and a range of devices connected so, a layered approach to network security is key because it helps protect the different level within the infrastructure.

AV should just be seen as the first line of defence only, its aim is to protect users from things like spam emails, malicious attachments and websites. Occasionally some will get through but this approach is more secure and safer. Always keep in mind there is no 100% defence against the malicious cyber-attacks because the variables are always changing. Continuously network monitoring is also key to catching any abnormal behaviour.

For more information on network security please feel free to contact us on 0845 603 5552 or info@netshield.eu

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Information Security isn’t just a Technology issue but, a Business one..

As the lines between work and play blurs due to the advances of technology, it becomes more apparent that ‘Information Security’ within the workplace is not just the IT department’s issue.

Information or data is a business enabler, it enables operations and productivity so, the security of it should be viewed as essential and promoted throughout the company – but, in most cases it is not.

Is this because we instinctively protect what we can see in front of us like buildings, personnel, hardware, the tangible assets but, we neglect the intangibles such as information because we struggle to see the physical value of it? Or is it the general attitude towards data security, the idea that we just need to do enough to meet regulations and compliance standards?

IT Security should be seen as a task to minimise risk for an organisation

This risk management is not just limited to the IT department or within the office because let’s face it, many of us do work a little when we get home even if its just checking our emails.

‘As many as 49% of individuals would use their personal device for work, found in a recent Norton Report’.

Employees use of unauthorised personal mobile devices can be a threat because it is an unknown object on the IT network. For example, if a user was to save business data onto an unauthorised device and then it was infected by malware, the data could end up in the wrong hands!

However, it is not about the IT department forbidding personal devices – if devices are approved then it is safe to have on the network. It’s all about having policies in place and training employees on how to access business data securely. The training should not be limited to the use of mobile devices but, general IT security practices i.e. always encrypt email containing sensitive data or never write login credentials on a piece of paper.

It is also important to ensure staff are aware of ‘Social Engineering’ because no matter how protected an IT Network is, there is always the possibility of external threats getting in, like CryptoWall which tricks users into opening infected attachments, exploit security gaps in Sliverlight, Flash and Java then, similar to CryptoLocker it will encrypt your files and demand a ransom.

Regular IT network assessments are recommended – not only will it help protect and minimise potential security risks, it can also be an opportunity to assess the efficiency levels of the network.

There will always be a possibility of a breach in security for every company, it could be due to a cyber attack, human error, social engineering etc but,if risk management is a common goal amongst every employee not just the IT department, it can help manage and minimise security risks in the long run.

To find out more about data protection or IT network security you can contact our consultants on 0845 603 5552 or drop us an email on info@netshield.co.uk

Malware – The Potential Horrific Consequences

In the Kaspersky Security Bulletin it suggests Corporations are increasingly falling victim to Cybercrime, a whopping 91% of those surveyed by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International  fell victim to a cyber-attack at least once in the last 12 months. The top causes included Viruses, Malware, Spam and Phishing – in 2013 alone Kaspersky Lab products detected almost 3 billion malware attacks on user computers!

Spam and Phishing is certainly not a new concept but, the emails sent are becoming more sophisticated, they are adopting an appearance of something that the recipient is familiar with – appear like it is from a delivery company, social media, stores etc.

Spam can just be a simple form of electronic junk but, it can also be malicious spam with the purpose of either make money, obtain sensitive information or spread malicious codes – like CyptoLocker, which surfaced in 2013, it would encrypt the victim’s data and sell it back to them for monetary gains. It is a Trojan Ransomware distributed through a series of phishing campaigns. The emails imitated well-known delivery companies and financial institution preying, on our trust of these companies and our curiosity to see what the attachment is about. It effected over 12,000 victims within one week and to this day there are still stories of CyptoLocker causing chaos and victims paying to obtain decryption keys for their own data.

The sophistication of spam, malware and phishing attacks is not just limited to emails being sent through a computer – but, in January it was found 750,000 spam emails were sent from compromised smart fridges!

However these fridges were not infected using traditional methods like a Trojan Horse but, most of them have been ‘simply left open, so existing software running on them can be used by attackers’ said a spokesperson for Proofpoint who made the discovery. It would be interesting to know, how many people have smart fridges and how many people would buy one?

The US retailer ‘Target’ would be one of the recent examples of how malware can cause horrific consequences. Target’s point-of-sale (POS) system was infected with malware, causing as many as ‘40 million credit and debit card details and 70 million customers’ personal details being stolen in a cyber-attack!

This POS malware attack has caused financial losses, decrease in brand reputation and consumer confidence. In a recent press release issued by Target due to the attacks they had to reviewed their forecasts, predicting a 2% – 6% decrease in sales for this quarter and whether it is directly related to the data breach or not, Target also stated there will be store closures in May.

Target’s incident shows being a victim can have an impact on profits, consumer confidence and brand reputation. A malware breach on this scale is not something that a company can recover from overnight and it can potentially have long-term implications but, only the coming months will reveal the true scale of the consequences for Target.

The consequences of being victims of spam, malware, viruses and phishing is never a good one. In general the motive is simple – cybercriminals want to obtain business data and make money! So, be vigilant and make sure your systems are protected.

To discuss methods of protection against malicious software contact us today.

Data Loss – It could happen to you…

Businesses are reliant on data to be operational but, what happens if suddenly all your data is gone or if some of it is missing?
Businesses are reliant on data to be operational but, what happens if suddenly all your data is gone or if some of it is missing? What is your data backup plan?