Beware of the Bolder Exploits

GandCrab v5 was discovered on September 24

Security professionals have been trying to stay ahead of GandCrab. It has evolved to it’s 5th version and has potentially become 2018’s most prolific ransomware. Unfortunately, the criminals behind it continue to experiment with new features.

Researchers announced the discovery of GandCrab v5 recently (September 2018), the latest major update to a strain of ransomware that has gained significant traction in the criminal community this year.

GandCrab appeared in late January and the ransomware found success almost immediately, infecting more than 50,000 victims in less than a month. The success also earned the group the attention of the authorities, however, and in late February a collaboration between Bitdefender, Europol, and the Romanian Police resulted in the seizure of command-and-control servers and the release of a decryption tool victims could use to recover their encrypted files.

The raid was unfortunately just a minor setback. Within a week the GandCrab v2 was released, rendering the decryption tool ineffective.

GandCrab authors would continue iterating from there, consistently making tweaks, issuing updates, and fixing bugs on a regular basis. Thanks in part to this “agile” approach, GandCrab has managed to stay one step ahead of many traditional security solutions and gain widespread popularity amongst criminals who rent it out for use in their own campaigns.

GandCrab v5 was discovered on September 24, but, true to form, its authors busily spent the next week working out kinks and making minor changes, resulting in version 5.0.4 appearing by October 2.

Security researchers have noticed the ransomware appeared to be attempting to incorporate the same exploit code for the Windows Task Scheduler ALPC zero-day vulnerability. This exploit can give GandCrab elevated privileges once the ransomware is installed on infected machines. Microsoft released a fix for the vulnerability as part of its September 2018 updates. If they haven’t already, organizations are advised to patch to mitigate that specific threat as soon as possible.

Stay ahead of the cybercriminals by hiring a professional managed services firm like CCNY Tech. We can keep your hardware running great and your operating system safer from vulnerabilities. Let us setup proper backups, failovers to keep you up and running. We also monitor your systems and keep all your systems updated to stay ahead of problems. Give us a call at 1-800-566-4786 or visit ccnytech.com to get started.

ITAD Growth Linked to Corporate Goals

Last year, the average cost of a data breach was $3.62 million, according to Ponemon Institute. Many companies often focus on potential fines, however, the largest financial impact comes from the cost of cleaning up after a data breach and the loss of customer confidence.

According to a recent report published by MarketsandMarkets.com: The Global ITAD market was valued at USD 10.12 Billion in 2015 and is expected to reach USD 20.09 Billion by 2022. The evolution of technologies such as cloud computing, Big Data analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), and the changing landscape of Information Technology has contributed to the increase in e-waste processing. IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) is being adopted by many companies to minimize the environmental impact as well as the risk of data theft by following government standards and environmental regulations.

The Growth of Remarketing Services

IT asset remarketing service is a revenue-sharing program that is designed to obtain maximum returns. The services help the service providers to determine the asset recovery strategy that is most closely aligned with the clients’ business objectives.

It is a double-edged sword for businesses that fail to act properly today. There are legal ramifications of not being proper stewards of data. These can be costly or nearly fatal to a business in the privacy-conscious world we are living in.

Environmental concerns are real as well and must be respected to avoid massive fines. For many years, companies would attempt to remove equipment and resell it on auction sites or give the hardware away to employees. Some unknowingly would improperly add it to the waste stream as e-waste. This has become a worldwide health concern and can cause irreversible environmental damage.

Data Destruction

One of the things to consider is, should data be destroyed at your own site, or is it OK to do it at the ITAD provider’s site? If you are shipping equipment, what level of logistics services do you need?

Three considerations include:

  • Do you require asset scanning to enable full asset tracking?
  • Do you need drives destroyed to DOD Standards?
  • Should vehicles be dedicated or shared?

Then there’s the question of which data destruction method to use. Various data destruction methods have varying levels of security and cost. Options include:

  • A single-pass or multiple-pass data wipe: drives can be reused and provide a residual value return
  • Degaussing: no ability to resell the drive and no visual indicator that it has worked, but a cheaper alternative to shredding when performed at customer sites
  • Crushing/drilling/pinning: low-cost options that show physical evidence that they have been performed. However, these methods destroy the residual value of the unit and the data is still present on the platters despite their not being able to spin up
  • On-site shredding: the most secure form of data destruction, but it is expensive and destroys any residual value

What’s important to understand is that one size does not fit all when it comes to IT disposal. What suits one company may not suit another, and there is a good chance that different business will have different needs regardless of industry or sector.

Some say that physically destroying hard drives at your own site is always the best option. For very highly sensitive data, it may be. But this isn’t always the case. On-site shredding guarantees security only if you watch every single hard drive go into the shredder yourself. And there are other pitfalls.

Since it can be expensive to shred hard drives at customer sites, companies often stockpile large numbers of drives to be shredded at once to cut cost. However, the longer you keep data around, the more chance there is of something getting lost or someone stealing it. It’s likely safer to choose an alternative data destruction method if it reduces the time the data remains on the drives.

The key to getting disposal right is to engage it in a professional and sophisticated manner. Your security team will always want the most secure option; your procurement team will always want the cheapest option that can generate the maximum residual value returns; your project management/service management team will want the most practical solution to deliver the most seamless end-user experience possible; and your ITAD provider will have their own methods that work best from their experience. The hardest part is balancing the different needs.

CCNY Tech is a Market Leader in ITAD

CCNY Tech has found that perfect balance of security and value recovery. We have created a stress-free way to transfer equipment out of your facility (leaving more room for your main IT functions) and recover value quickly and effectively.

Our ITAD team has more than 10 years of experience handling enterprise hardware and all work is done professionally by our internal staff.

We promise to act quickly on your behalf to make sure that the least impact of depreciation affects your hardware. Our partnership program will allow us to expedite the remarketing process and recover the most value back to your organization.

CCNY Tech has a worldwide network of buyers and logistics to make this stress-free process. Our facility is equipt to handle the largest IT Asset Disposition clients and we continue to perfect the process.

Guide to IT Security Awareness

IT security is essential and becomes a more widespread topic with each passing year. Every company knows that it needs it, but many find it overwhelming. Regardless of your level of security though, at the end of the day, it comes down to the end-users. It is important for all members of a company to recognize and understand their impact on IT security. This article will help serve as a guide for awareness.

Every company should have the essentials: firewall, passwords, pop-up blockers, etc. However, after all of that, the users are the first line of defense in IT security. For this reason, security awareness training should be a regular meeting. While you may assume that the simple things are “common sense,” you do not know what the average user has been exposed to outside of the workplace.

It’s important that every member is on the same page and supplied with the same tools to recognize and prevent security threats from turning into security breaches. This can be done with some simple training that focuses on a few key points.


Awareness

Simply having the discussion about threats helps to create a culture of awareness within the organization. While this definition can range, the primary goal is to be sure that everyone understands what security for your company looks like. For the average user, it does not have to be very complex. Mostly, you want them to understand where threats may be and how their actions can affect the entire network.

This is where you would want to discuss changing passwords, creating secure passwords, recognizing phishing scams, emails with strange texts and senders, etc. The concerns for the security of the organization have to become part of the company culture. All members should not only feel accountable, but also motivated to help protect against security breaches.


Understanding

Once you establish awareness, it’s important that employees truly understand what they are looking for. A good training program will inform employees about what current attacks look like and how they affect the organization.

Example: The Equifax Attack and How it Impacts Your Data Security

You must also teach what to do when actually facing an attack. This training can also be done continuously through emails and newsletters. This could mean discussing everything right down to not plugging an unknown USB into a company computer. Also, not clicking on suspicious links. Showing examples and covering the very basics may seem like overkill but is actually just helping to create a well-rounded organization.


Behavior

Lastly, you want to see changed behavior. Once employees are aware of malicious activity and understand that they play a part in company security, you must provide clear directions for their efforts. It is best if your organization creates a plan for what members can do when they spot an issue.

For example, what should your end-users do when they receive a suspected phishing email? You can keep things very simple, but make sure that the entire company is on the same page.

Security awareness training can be your wisest investment. It is the most cost-effective security solution and actually plays an enormous role protecting against breaches. While it does require some time, it helps to create a more unified culture as well as a more secure environment.  


A great way to begin implementing a security awareness program is to send your network specialists or management to cyber security training. There are courses that can be taken by members of your organization to learn about threats and protective measures that can then be taught throughout your company.

https://www.sophos.com/en-us/support/professional-services/training-offerings.aspx

CCNY Tech is an IT sales and services company. For over 25 years, CCNY Tech has been supplying IT equipment as well as providing maintenance and IT recycling services. Partnering with some of the top brands in the industry, they are experts in equipment and custom configurations. CCNY Tech IT professionals provides custom solutions to businesses of all sizes. Learn more at ccnytech.com.

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