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Know Your Cyber-Attacker: Profiling An Attacker

I remember the days when hacking was something that people did because they could. It wasn’t quite done for fun, but people wanted to show off their computer skills. More often than not, hacking was harmless, someone broke into a system and left a little calling card, but beyond that there was very little damage done. It was for the thrill as much as anything. While I suspect the Hollywood portrayal of hackers being young, socially-awkward men working on their own at a computer in their darkened bedroom was never completely accurate, there was an element of truth to it. These days that’s simply not the case. Hackers and cyber attackers can be highly-funded and well organised, and their targets can range from money to intellectual property (IP) to service disruption. Some cyber attackers ar...

5 Tips To Avoid A Cyber Attack

Cybercrime is a threat to your business. Long gone are the days when rogue software was created by programmers for fun. The truth is, inadequate IT security will hit your bottom line. According to F-Secure, 87% of SMEs suffered some sort of security breach over the past year. 63% were attacked by unauthorised outsiders and 23% were hit by denial-of-service attacks. 79% of these victims were targets of opportunity. And any one of these victims could have been you. But there are more than 180 million unique strands of malware out there. And new viruses are being developed every day. So what can you do? How can you avoid a cyber attack? 1. Choose Your AV Wisely Anti-virus software is more complex than you might think. It has to be. Computer viruses are mutating all the time and the protection...

What To Do If Your Backup Provider Pulls Out Of The Market

Symantec’s Backup Exec.cloud offering has officially been removed from the market, leaving current customers just one year to migrate to an alternative solution. This generous window of opportunity is not indicative of the cloud industry in general, with companies like Nirvanix typically leaving a much smaller migration window. So what do you do if your backup provider pulls its product from the market? Firstly, it’s important to recognise the difference between a service being retired and a provider going bust. When a company ceases trading, you no longer deal with that company – you deal with administrators. This usually means you have little to no chance of retrieving your data. However, if a provider pulls a certain product from the market but continues trading, as in the case with Sym...

Data In The Dock: Corporate Theft On The Rise

Keeping Intellectual Property (IP) and business critical information safe is now a crucial part of a modern company’s IT infrastructure. More than ever, in this climate of government-sponsored attacks and highly publicised hacktivist events, businesses are increasingly being fined for data breaches or finding themselves in the courtroom launching claims against former employees. The scale of the problem has been identified in a recent research report from law firm EMW which shows that the number of high court cases related to corporate data theft has increased 250 per cent between 2010 and 2012. The report finds that these thefts are costing small to medium size businesses (SMEs) a vast amount of money in losses and legal fees. And it’s not just SMEs businesses that need to be careful as t...

Establishing Trust Online

Trust is the key to sales in any line of business. Whether online or on the high street, there is unlikely to be a transaction without trust and understandably it is more difficult to build trust online. E-commerce sites that ensure trust is a central feature of their website design will often experience lower bounce rates and fewer abandoned purchases and failures to convert. This is because their customers – whether new or returning – have reasons to trust the site and the company they are shopping with. When shopping online customers want an easy and simple experience, which leaves them feeling satisfied with their purchase and not worried about their personal details being given to third parties or whether their products will ever arrive. Understanding customer ‘pain points’ helps you ...

Dealing With The Growing Data Storage Dilemma

Dealing with vast amounts of data used to be a problem faced purely by large enterprises. However, in today’s world of rapidly increasing data, it’s now an issue for companies of all sizes, including SMEs. Symantec’s recent State of Information Survey conducted over 38 countries worldwide found that SMEs expected their storage to increase by 178% over the next year. The large amount of data companies now produce, which can be in the terabytes and petabytes, needs to be backed up and stored so it can be accessed easily and quickly. It needs to be archived in case it is needed in the future, and also for compliance reasons; and it needs to be replicated, so it’s available for use in the case of a disaster. All this needs to be done cost-effectively and securely. Increases in data volume now ...

Dealing With The Consumerisation Of Data Storage

It only seems like yesterday that organisations were being warned to watch out for people using thumb drives. The capability for someone to walk in to an organisation with a storage device in their pocket, download documents or other data via their PC and walk off with it was just too easy – and a big threat to information security. Suddenly, there was a wave of organisations super-gluing the USB ports on computers and of vendors providing software that blocked the use of external storage systems. Now there are new versions of the same problem have come into play. One is the use of cloud storage systems like Dropbox, Apple iCloud and Microsoft SkyDrive. These enable an individual to access data from any of their devices at any time – provided that there is an internet connection in place. ...

IT Security: Dealing With The Unknown-Unknowns

People in the IT security community soon become familiar with the names of various types of malware. Even the general public may recognise some of the more notorious forms: Stuxnet, Flame and Zeus, for example. But it’s easy to forget that all malware starts out with no name, which is the way perpetrators of attacks would like it to stay. Names are given by the defenders in the fight against computer crime. New malware is perhaps the biggest challenge facing the IT security industry – unknown-unknowns as a former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld put it. The term used in the industry is zero-day attack. Security firms have become pretty good at spotting the known stuff over the years. At its most basic, that function is a big part of what most desktop antivirus and content-filteri...

One-Third Of Global Targeted Attacks Are Aimed Against Small Businesses

Symantec today announced the findings of its June 2012 Symantec Intelligence Report, which shows 36 percent of all targeted attacks (58 per day) during the last six months were directed at businesses with 250 or fewer employees. As reported in the recent ISTR, this figure was 18 percent at the end of December 2011. During the first half of the year, the total number of daily targeted attacks continued to increase at a minimum rate of 24 percent with an average of 151 targeted attacks being blocked each day during May and June. Large enterprises consisting of more than 2,500 employees are still receiving the greatest number of attacks, with an average 69 being blocked each day. “There appears to be a direct correlation between the rise in attacks against smaller businesses and a drop in att...

10 Dos And Don’ts For Business Instant Messaging

UK firms are missing out on the business benefits of Instant Messaging (IM) because of security concerns, according to research. This is despite the fact that three quarters (75 percent) of office workers who use IM for work value the speed and immediacy it affords. Indeed, findings from a nationwide YouGov survey reveal that in a world where information is exploding, if used in the right way and for the right purposes, IM can actually help ease the flow of information within organisations. More than half (55 percent) of those who use IM at work say it cuts down on email traffic and 50 percent find it more efficient than email. Almost two thirds (64 percent) of those who use IM do so to ask colleagues questions needing immediate answers, 46 percent use it to distribute information quickly ...

eDiscovery Confidential: A Look Ahead At 2012

2011 proved to be a lively chapter in the eDiscovery odyssey, with notable acquisitions of eDiscovery vendors by technology giants HP and Symantec, and a growing focus in the federal courts on creating strong judicial standards around eDiscovery. As the amount of electronically stored information (ESI) continues to grow exponentially, it’s inevitable that the energy of regulators and the courts, along with the capital resources of strategic investors and acquirers, will increasingly be directed at eDiscovery software and services. At the same time, the burgeoning costs associated with growing ESI will prompt litigants and the courts to look for innovative ways to reduce the cost of eDiscovery while continuing to effectively manage litigation and regulatory matters. Against that backdrop, h...

Why Are SMBs Attractive To Hackers?

A Symantec global survey of nearly 2,000 SMBs showed that 50 percent did not consider themselves an attack target. However, looking at today’s threat landscape, this is clearly a misconception. If a site is online, regardless of its popularity, it will be targeted. Why are SMBs attractive to hackers? Hackers are going after low hanging fruits. These are the companies who are less security aware and do not have the proper defenses in place. According to the 2011 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, hackers are increasingly targeting smaller, softer, less reactive targets since these provide a lower-risk alternative to financial institutions. Why would someone want to hack an SMB site (an application or server)? For a variety of reasons: Data retrieval. Nearly all data may considered o...

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