Ransomware Hits Florida Town, Costs them $500,000 in Ransom

Ransomware Hits Florida Town, Costs them $500,000 in Ransom

No matter how big or small your organization is, security is always something that should be considered when it comes to securing your business data.  This is especially so if you are mostly handling confidential data such as data from customers.  Unfortunately, a town in Florida learned this lesson the hard way as they were recently hit by a ransomware attack.  As their operations was put to a standstill, they had no choice but to pay the asking price of cyber criminals, 42 bitcoins (equivalent to $500,000).

This wasn’t the only attack that happened in Florida as well, another municipality ended up paying cyber criminals $600,000 when the attack severed their connection to important data.  The mayor of the town even stated that he could not believe that in such a small town they would encounter such attacks.  They aren’t alone however, during the past years many other organizations such as major hospitals were hit by ransomware and were forced to pay to gain access to business-critical data.

“Ransomware is the canary in the coal mine,” said cyber-security expert Kevin Beaumont, who argued that the spate of attacks showed organizations needed to get better at basic IT security.

What can you do to prevent this?

As stated above, one preventive measure is to make sure that your employees are briefed on basic IT security as to make sure they don’t fall to attacks such as phising to prevent criminals from getting into the network.

Another would be to have data protection measures up, you may even start with a simple back up set up.  This is to ensure that during time of attacks or system failures, you will have a starting point to recover instead of trying to get whatever you can from your infected systems.

You may also consider advanced security protection from vendors such as Trend Micro which can help detect and quarantine suspicious files and activities from the Server level or even on your multiple endpoints.

To learn more about these solutions and how we can help you, you may contact us at 893-9515 and we would be happy to find the best solution for you company!

Security Advisory: Microsoft Alerts Customers to Patch BlueKeep Vulnerability ASAP

Security Advisory: Microsoft Alerts Customers to Patch BlueKeep Vulnerability ASAP

In case you didn’t hear, another big vulnerability was reported by Microsoft on May 14, 2019 known as “BlueKeep” which takes advantage vulnerabilities of Remote Desktop Services (RDS), Remote Code Execution (RCE), and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).  However, BlueKeep only affects older version of Windows, so users of Windows 10 and 8 can rest easy.  The severity of the vulnerability though has forced the hand of Microsoft and they have actually made and released a security patch for its unsupported versions.  They have classified this vulnerability as a critical level threat.

This is why as of June 4, 2019, Microsoft once again urged its customers to apply the patch as soon as possible as more than 1 million devices are still vulnerable to the attack.  This is to avoid another widescale malware attacks like those of the WannaCry ransomware attack back in 2017.  Many companies were affected by the attack and caused many business operations to stop, more notably hospital operations.

What can you do to avoid being affected?

Microsoft has already provided the solution to BlueKeep, make sure you download the latest security patch for your corresponding OS (you can find the patches here).  You may need to reboot your servers to ensure the patch is running properly.

For those who are Trend Micro users, specifically those who use Deep Security, if you are unable to apply the patch due to other reasons, such as being unable to reboot your servers, please make sure that you apply the correct policy for the virtual patching of Deep Security to ensure the security of your servers.  Below is the Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) rule:

  • 1009749 – Microsoft Windows Remote Desktop Services Remote Code Execution Vulnerability

You can view the official Trend Micro article on it here.

For those who are looking into a longer-term solution, you can consider solutions such as Citrix Gateway and Virtual Apps to secure your remote connections to Windows servers.

To learn more about these solutions, you can contact us at 893-9515 and we will help introduce you to different options that you have to help prevent these kinds of vulnerabilities!

A Closer look at Processor Vulnerabilities

A Closer look at Processor Vulnerabilities

The past few years has been rough on processor security, this especially for Intel as one of the biggest processor vulnerabilities Meltdown and Spectre was for nearly all their modern CPUs.  Although patches came out almost immediately to solve these issues, this was just the start to the security vulnerabilities as other attacks such as MDS (Microarchitectural Data Sampling) have been popping up.  So why are these vulnerabilities and security flaws only now coming to light?  These issues actually are quite complex and would need a further understanding of the advances of CPU technology such as the following below:

  • L1/L2/L3 caches
  • Speculative execution
  • Pipelines and buffers
  • Hyper-Threading

If you are unfamiliar with the above technologies, they basically function as ways to help improve the speed of the CPU.  In theory, without these components, we could have a much more secure processor at the cost of performance.  Vendors are caught in a predicament of wanting to increase performance but also have to consider the security implications of newer technology.  This shows in the patches for recent vulnerability fixes which brought performance down of the CPU by 5-30%.  The latter number can be alarming but does not usually affect home users as the 30% is more frequent for servers.

Although vendors are still working on improving their security to prevent future vulnerabilities from happening, there are still ways to make sure that your data is protected like adding an additional layer of security.  With the help of 3rd party security vendors such as Trend Micro can help with products such as Deep Security through virtual patching.

To get a more in depth understanding of the processor vulnerabilities, you can refer to this article here.  To learn more about Trend Miro Deep Security, you can visit our page here or contact us directly at 893-9515 and we will be more than happy to answer your inquiries!

Security Vulnerabilities: A Closer look at a Cyber Criminal’s Window to your System

Security Vulnerabilities: A Closer look at a Cyber Criminal’s Window to your System

You may be hearing more and more these days of new security vulnerabilities being discovered in the news and may be wondering what exactly it may imply?  Simply, a vulnerability represents the ideal opportunity for cyber criminals to infiltrate your system to compromise your data or to perform data theft.

According to current data now, we can see that these vulnerabilities will be popping up more often as 2017 had a record-breaking year for reported exploitable vulnerabilities, with almost 20,000 security flaws reported over the year.   For the year 2018, the data is still being tallied however, a report from RiskBased Security has already noted that more than 10,000 vulnerabilities have been reported in which 3,000 potential flaws which enterprises have failed to patch.

To better understand vulnerabilities, our friends from Trend Micro has segregated them into types in which to classify them:

Traditional vulnerability – is a programming error or other type of software issue that hackers can use to sidestep password protection or security measures and gain unauthorized access to legitimate systems. These are the most rampant types of security vulnerabilities.

Zero-days – are brand new software issues that have only just been identified and have not yet been patched by vendors.  As Trend Micro explained, “that’s because the vendor essentially has zero days to fix the issue or has chosen not to fix it.”

Undisclosed vulnerability – these are flaws that have been identified and reported, but are not yet disclosed to public users, giving vendors time to patch the issue.

So, what can you do to help address these vulnerabilities?

To help keep your enterprise safe from these vulnerabilities, Trend Micro suggests that you pay attention to current security research so that you can apply the necessary findings to help keep your business safe.  Another would be to make sure that you keep yourself up to date with updates and patches.  However, with the number of vendors and patches, it can sometimes be too much for your IT to patch immediately due to the volume.  Trend suggests the following patching prioritization scheme to help ease the load of your IT team:

  • The severity of the patched issue. Microsoft and other vendors will rate vulnerabilities according to how critical they are to overall risk. More critical patches should be applied as soon as possible, whereas less critical updates can represent a lower priority.
  • Vulnerabilities impacting your enterprise’s particular key software. Similarly, updates for software systems that are used on a daily basis within the enterprise and provide essential functionality should be prioritized over other updates. A patch for a software that is only intermittently used, or only impacts a small number of users in a single department of the company, for instance, can be put on the back burner.
  • Those currently being exploited. It’s important to prioritize patches for vulnerabilities that hackers are currently using to mount attacks.

To learn more, you may visit the original Trend Micro article here, visit our product page here, or you can also contact us directly at 893-9515 and we will be happy to answer your inquiries!

Trend Micro Awards CT Link as Partner of the Year for 2018!

Trend Micro Awards CT Link as Partner of the Year for 2018!

On February 26, 2019, Trend Micro hosted their annual Partners Appreciation Night, at the B1 Sports lounge New World Makati, to celebrate the achievements that each partner has contributed to help make 2018 a successful one.  Here they presented CT Link Systems, Inc. with four awards, which included the biggest award of the night, Partner of the Year!  This award is to acknowledge the partner with highest total of new and renewal revenues of all TM products for the year.

Below is the full list of awards CT Link received:

  • FY18 Partner of the Year – CT Link Systems, Inc.
  • FY18 User Protection Champion – CT Link Systems, Inc.
  • FY18 Sales Person of the Year – Malou Cruz
  • FY18 Sales Engineer of the Year – Bren Natal

Trend Micro awarded CT Link with the FY18 User Protection Champion award to acknowledge our efforts in providing endpoint security solutions to our customers.  These solutions include the following:

OfficeScan – provides advanced endpoint and ransomware protection for Windows, Mac and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

Vulnerability Protection – prevents network-based exploits and zero-day ransomware threats via vulnerability shielding

Endpoint Encryption – secures data with full disk, folder, file and removable media encryption

Integrated Data Loss Prevention – guards private data and intellectual property with integrated modules

Keep your data secure. Contact CT Link Systems, Inc. via our contact form or through our landline 893-9515.

Security Advisory: Vulnerabilities found on DHCP and Microsoft Exchange

Security Advisory: Vulnerabilities found on DHCP and Microsoft Exchange

Microsoft released patches for vulnerabilities that were actively being exploited via their regular security release on the last few months of 2018. They released 49 security patches and two advisories for 2019, seven were vulnerabilities rated as critical while 40 were important.

The highlight of these vulnerabilities is regarding to Windows DHCP Client (CVE-2019-0547), this allows a hacker to send commands on a machine by issuing DHCP responses. Alarmingly, most machines have DHCP client enabled across all windows operating systems, therefore applying this patch is a must. Another notable vulnerability is in the Microsoft Exchange software (CVE-2019-0586), this vulnerability could allow hackers to execute code as the system users and potentially can perform various tasks such as view, change, or delete data and even create new accounts.

Luckily for Trend Micro Customers specifically for Deep Security and Tipping point customers, Trend Micro has released virtual patch rules to protect you on those vulnerabilities immediately. While testing on the security patches released by Microsoft, Trend Micro customers can first apply virtual patch rules to eliminate exposure against possible attacks.  Please see below for the recommended virtual patches:

Trend Micro Deep Security and Vulnerability Protection recommended virtual patch rules are as follows:

  • 1009452-Microsoft Windows COM Elevation Of Privilege Vulnerability (CVE-2018-8550)
  • 1009462-Microsoft Edge Elevation Of Privilege Vulnerability (CVE-2019-0566)
  • 1009463-Microsoft Edge Chakra Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2019-0539)
  • 1009464-Microsoft Internet Explorer Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2019-0541)
  • 1009465-Microsoft Edge Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2019-0565)
  • 1009466-Microsoft Windows Multiple Security Vulnerabilities (Jan-2019) – 2
  • 1009468-Microsoft Edge Chakra Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2019-0567)
  • 1009469-Microsoft Edge Chakra Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2019-0568)

Trend Micro Tipping Point MainlineDV filters to be applied are as follows:

  • 33921: ZDI-CAN-7385: Zero Day Initiative Vulnerability (Microsoft Windows)
  • 33927: HTTP: Microsoft Edge Type Confusion Vulnerability
  • 33928: HTTP: Microsoft Edge Session Boundary Memory Corruption Vulnerability
  • 33929: HTTP: Microsoft Edge Type Confusion Vulnerability
  • 33930: HTTP: Microsoft Edge Use-After-Free Vulnerability
  • 33931: HTTP: Microsoft Windows Kernel Information Disclosure Vulnerability
  • 33948: HTTP: Microsoft Edge Type Confusion Vulnerability
  • 33949: HTTP: Microsoft Internet Explorer ProgId Code Execution Vulnerability

If you have any further inquiries with regards to these vulnerabilities with Trend Micro or as a non-Trend Micro user, contact us at 893-9515 and we would be happy to answer your inquiries!

Three Important Questions to keep in mind when securing your SAP environment

Three Important Questions to keep in mind when securing your SAP environment

Are you sure you are securing your SAP environment properly?

With the sensitive data stored in most SAP systems (HR, financials, and even more important, customer data), it would not be an exaggeration to say that it would be the main priority of attacks of cyber criminals.  This doesn’t mean that SAP does not prioritize security, this just means that security solutions have been continuously improving with the help of 3rd party enhancements.  In partnership with SAP, there are security solution partners such Trend Micro that ensure that enterprises are secure from attacks such as malware, denial-of-service attacks, cross-site scripting and other advance and targeted attacks.

So if you aren’t sure if you are properly securing your SAP environment, you can refer to this security question checklist below:

What are my security risks? Are you improving your ability to respond to customer feedback by moving customer applications to the cloud? Are you improving supply chain efficiency by opening an application to provide more visibility or communication with partners?

With how business-critical applications are now web accessible, cyber criminals now have more entry points in which they can exploit vulnerabilities in operating systems, web servers and even the business-critical application itself.  Although vendors release patches to fix these vulnerabilities, if they are not implemented on a timely basis, the system will still be at risk within those transition points.

Does my security integrate with my SAP environment?

You also need to consider whether your security can integrate well with your native SAP security.  SAP provides capabilities like the SAP Virus Scan Interface (VSI) as part of SAP NetWeaver ®  to allow certified third parties, like Trend Micro,  to augment native security capabilities.

What are the security requirements for my environment?

Cloud and virtual environments each introduce unique requirements for security. Understanding how your security solution is optimized for those environments is critical to make sure you can easily manage security and reap the expect cost, performance and agility benefits.

If you have any further inquiries on how you can better secure your SAP environment, you may call us at 893-9515 and we would be happy to help!

Managed Detection and Response: Helping to Fill in Business Security Gaps

Managed Detection and Response: Helping to Fill in Business Security Gaps

Managed detection and response (MDR) is an outsourced service that provides organizations with threat hunting service and responds to threats once they are discovered.  What sets it apart from other security services is the human element in which security providers provide access to their security resources such as their researchers and engineers who will now provide analysis to incidents while monitoring their networks.

The challenges MDR can solve

One of the more significant solutions MDR can provide to businesses is solving the lack of security skills within their organization.  Unlike bigger organizations, not all businesses can afford to hire and train dedicated security personnel that can do full-time threat hunting, which then gives them access to security which normally would be out of their reach.  This benefit is more apparent in medium sized organizations as they are targeted by cyberattacks while not having the proper resources or manpower to defend themselves adequately.  However, it must be pointed out that even if organizations budget costs and manpower to a dedicated team, they might not be able to find the right personnel in the first place.  In 2016, there were 2 million unfilled cybersecurity positions, a number that is expected to rise to 3.5 million by 2021.

                      What an organization stands to gain when MDR comes into play

Another challenge that is often overlooked by businesses is the sheer amount of alerts the security team receive on a daily basis.  Not all the alerts are malicious, but they can’t be easily identified so they must be checked individually, and threats found must also be scanned for correlation to see if there is a connection to find any bigger attacks planned in the future, and all of this take time.   MDR tries to address this problem by not only discovering the threats but also doing an analysis on the factors and indicators involved in an alert.  Analyzing and contextualizing are the most important skills of a security professionals’ arsenal, as security technologies can block threats but knowing the reasons and the patterns of the incidents can help you block bigger threats in the future.  MDR tries to solve the skill gap in cybersecurity that smaller organizations cannot usually afford due to their limited resources.

How does Trend Micro’s MDR work?

Trend Micro’s MDR provides a wide array of security services, including alert monitoring, alert prioritization, investigation, and threat hunting. It uses artificial intelligence models and applies them to endpoint, network, and server data in order to correlate and prioritize advanced threats. By investigating prioritized alerts, Trend Micro threat researchers can then work with organizations to provide a detailed remediation plan.

To learn more about Trend Micro’s MDR, you may read the original article here or you can contact us at 893-9515 and we will be happy to answer your questions!

New Exploit “Faxploit” affects HP OfficeJet All-in-One Printers

New Exploit “Faxploit” affects HP OfficeJet All-in-One Printers

Security researchers have recently demonstrated at the security conference DEF CON 2018 a vulnerability that can be exploited via HP OfficeJet All-in-One Printers.  It is being dubbed “Faxploit” by the researchers, Eyal Itkin and Yaniv Balmas.  The attack takes advantage of security flaws in the implementation of the fax protocol used by OfficeJet printers, making many businesses susceptible to the attacks.

The researchers have stated that for this particular exploit, all the attackers need is a fax number to exploit the vulnerability, which they can then hijack the network and all systems connected to it.  They then can infect the network with their malware or even worse, outright steal your business’ important data.  Researchers have said that the impact of this exploit is not a small one as it is surveyed that businesses have actually increased their fax usage by almost 82% in 2017, so even with many new technologies, fax is still one of the most used ways to move documents.

Faxploit is yet another example where unsecured devices that businesses use on a daily basis can result into vulnerabilities in their network that many cyber criminals can use to steal data or hold them ransom.  Especially now that the Internet-of-things (IoT) ready devices are getting more and more mainstream, attackers are finding more ways to hit businesses where they are at least protected since this is more or less still in the beginning phases.   These threats can stay longer in the system due to the device’s inability to protect itself, making attacks stealthier and more destructive to the organizations network.

However, HP has released patches for the vulnerabilities (CVE-2018-5924 and CVE-2018-5925) and users are recommended to apply the firmware updates to make sure they will not be affected.

For those who are interested in a more proactive approach for these types of attacks, Trend Micro’s managed detection and response service allows customers to investigate security alerts without the need to hire qualified incident response staff. It provides alert monitoring, alert prioritization, investigation, and threat hunting services to Trend Micro customers. By applying artificial intelligence models to customer endpoint data, network data, and server information, the service can correlate and prioritize advanced threats. Trend Micro threat researchers can determine the extent and spread of the attack and work with the customer to provide a detailed remediation plan.

To learn more about “Faxploit” you may read Trend’s original article here, or you may contact us at 893-9515 and we will be happy to answer your inquiries!

Security Tips: Business Email Compromise (BEC) Schemes

Security Tips: Business Email Compromise (BEC) Schemes

Business Email Compromise (BEC) Schemes

In the past few years, millions of dollars have been lost to fraudsters and scammers.  However, not all have been lost through malware attacks such as ransomware.  Business email compromise (BEC) schemes are sophisticated attacks focused mostly on companies who do wireless transfers frequently.  The FBI have estimated that nearly $750 million dollars have been lost to this type of schemes and affected more than 7,000 people between October 2013 and August 2015.  Below are a few versions of the scheme:

 

The Bogus Invoice Scheme

Referred to as “The Bogus Invoice Scheme”, “The Supplier Swindle”, and “Invoice Modification Scheme”. This scam is usually done by using the name of established partners of the business, they impersonate being an employee of the established partner while asking for wire funds for invoice payments to their fraudulent account by using a spoofed email, telephone, or facsimile.

CEO Fraud

Also referred to as “CEO Fraud”, “Business Executive Scam”, “Masquerading”, and “Financial Industry Wire Frauds”. The scammers impersonate high-level executives (CFO, CEO, CTO, etc.), lawyers, or other types of legal representatives while urging the victim that they are handling confidential and time-sensitive matters then pressuring the victim into wire transferring funds to a separate account which they control.

Account Compromise

In this scam, an email account of an employee is hacked and then used to make requests for invoice payments to fraudster-controlled bank accounts. Messages are sent to multiple vendors identified from the employee’s contact list.

Data Theft

This scam usually involves compromising an email of a role-specific employees (usually HR) in the victim’s company, then using the said email to gather identifiable information of other employees and executives which is later used as a jump-off point for more damaging BEC attacks to the company later on.

Below are some quick prevention tips on how you can avoid these types of attacks:

Prevention tips

  • Carefully scrutinize all emails. Be wary of irregular emails that are sent from C-suite executives, as they are used to trick employees into acting with urgency. Review emails that request transfer of funds to determine if the requests are irregular.
  • Educate and train employees. While employees are a company’s biggest asset, they’re also usually its weakest link when it comes to security. Commit to training employees according to the company’s best practices. Remind them that adhering to company policies is one thing, but developing good security habits is another.
  • Verify any changes in vendor payment location by using a secondary sign-off by company personnel.
  • Stay updated on your customers’ habits including the details, and reasons behind payments.
  • Confirm requests for transfer of funds when using phone verification as part of two-factor authentication, use known familiar numbers, not the details provided in the email requests.

 

To learn more about BEC attacks, you can read a more in-depth article from our partner’s, Trend Micro, informative article here.  If you have inquiries that you would like answered about this topic, you can also contact us at 893-9515 and we will be happy to help!