Atlantic.Net Blog

Ransomware: Malware That Makes You Pay

ransomware-title

What is ransomware?

One of the fastest and most damaging cyber security threats falls under a category called “ransomware.” Ransomware is malicious code that encrypts all the user’s files and is usually downloaded unknowingly. This type of malware gets its name from what it does when a user tries to open an infected file: it prompts the user to pay a ‘ransom’ within a timeframe to receive a decryption key, which would then allow you to decrypt your files.[1] Even if you choose to pay the ransom, there is no guarantee you will gain access to your data. In this article, we will explain steps you can take to protect and secure your environment.

The numbers

Ransomware is a real threat to any business that allows user access, as it depends on users to spread it. Different industries also have different risks, with healthcare usually opting to pay the ransom to protect patient data, while the education industry has the highest rate of infection.  Other lucrative targets include classified documents, financial documents, and intellectual property[2]. With names like Telecrypt, iRansom, FSociety, and CryptoLuck, the goal of ransomware is all the same for their creators: making money. According to Lavasoft, the CryptoWall 3 ransomware cost users $325 million just in 2015 alone.[3] As ransomware grows and evolves, they become even more costly. At the end of 2016, one of the most harmful ransomware is named “Cerber.” Not only does it lock your files from being accessed, but recent variations have incorporated the stealing of personal information and scripts that cause your machine to target other servers.[4]

Source: https://info.bitsighttech.com/bitsight-insights-ransomware

Source: https://info.bitsighttech.com/bitsight-insights-ransomware

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Intrusion Detection Systems Confront Cyber Security & Cyber Crime Risks

Responsible businesses with sensitive data know they need a firewall to control traffic and secure their networks. What seems less well known, however, is the role that complementary technologies play in a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity.  An Intrusion Detection System (IDS) enables organizations to take a proactive security stance, which is why Atlantic.Net offers one for its security-conscious customers.

Amid all the headline-grabbing data breaches of the past year, the vulnerability of companies in industries like health care may be overlooked.  Data breaches began costing healthcare firms over $5.5 billion annually shortly after HIPAA became law, according to the Ponemon Institute.

Once online criminals have found a profitable target, they tend to return to it with ever more sophisticated attacks.  A report recently indicated that over 75 percent of the healthcare industry had been infected with malware in the past year, and noted that a shocking majority of ransomware targets medical treatment centers.

Cliches like the typical hacker being a teenager living in his or her parent’s basement are persistent, and harmful because they misrepresent the situation to the potential victims of hacking.  The numbers clearly show that hacking is now predominantly committed by sophisticated criminal organizations. Utilizing an IDS is a proactive approach to meeting that threat.

An Intrusion Detection System, or IDS, is a software application that monitors the network and hosting environment and analyzes activity on it.  Any activity which is considered unusual is ranked according to how high risk it is considered based on information from global threat databases.

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Two-Step Login is Now Available!

tfa-blog

We are excited to announce the release of a new feature called Two-Step Login (aka: Two-Factor Authentication, 2TFA, TFA). This new feature provides you an extra layer of security when accessing your Cloud account via the Atlantic.Net Cloud Portal.

What is Two-Step Login?

When you enable Two-Step Login, you’ll be required to provide a username and password like you normally do plus a randomly generated verification code.

You’ll be able to get the verification code by text message or by using a simple authenticator app for a smartphone.

How it helps protect your account

Most services only have one layer of security to protect user accounts: a password. With Two-Step Login, even if a bad guy hacks your password, he’ll still need your phone to get into your account.

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Why ECC Memory is Critical for Financial and Medical Businesses

By: Kris Fieler

As businesses depend more on big data, the need to prevent data loss has never been more important. One of the most vital areas for this loss prevention is where data is temporarily stored, RAM.  ECC, or Error-Correcting Code, protects your system from potential crashes and inadvertent changes in data by automatically correcting data errors.  This is achieved with the addition of a ninth computer chip on the RAM board, which acts as an error check and correction for the other eight chips. While marginally more expensive than non-ECC RAM, the added protection it provides is critical as applications become more dependent on large amounts of data.

ecc-vs-nonecc

Likelihood of a Memory Error

On any server with financial information or critical personal information, especially medical, any data loss or transcription error is unacceptable.  Memory errors can cause security vulnerabilities, crashes, transcription errors, lost transactions, and corrupted or lost data.

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Study: Cloud Beats Dedicated Systems on Availability

Adnan Raja October 16, 2016 by under Cloud Hosting 0 Comments

Availability is one of the biggest concerns of information technology chiefs. The NIH ran a study comparing availability of cloud and dedicated machines. Cloud won.

  • Availability Among Top Three CIO Concerns
  • Availability: Cloud Hosting vs. Dedicated Servers
  • Cloud for Fast Processing of Huge Datasets

Availability Among Top Three CIO Concerns

Unfortunately for CIOs, there are many aspects of their role that can be stressful. For a survey featured in CIO magazine in 2015, 276 CIOs and other top IT leaders discussed the elements that can give them the most trouble; and the top three were security, availability, and making the right hires.

Let’s look specifically at the issue of downtime; in other words, the need to optimize availability.

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Why One CIO is Pleased with the Cloud

Adnan Raja September 24, 2016 by under Cloud Hosting, Security 0 Comments

Like many other top IT executives in the public and private sectors, a CIO at the National Institutes of Health, Alastair Thomson, is guiding his agency’s staff toward the cloud.

  • Science is Getting Bigger
  • Big Data Fueling Push toward Cloud at NHLBI
  • The Power of Invisibility
  • Hello, I’m Available
  • Security as a Priority

Science is Getting Bigger

Science is ballooning. According to two bibliometric researchers, Ruediger Mutz of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Lutz Bornmann of Germany’s Max Planck Society, the amount of published science is growing at 8-9% per year. “That equates to a doubling of global scientific output roughly every nine years,” explains the British journal Nature. “Bornmann and Mutz find that global scientific output has probably kept up this dizzying rate of increase since the end of World War II.”

Publication is of course not the only way science is growing, as CIOs at science-oriented organizations are reminded on an everyday basis by the scope of their projects. The data used for research used to be discussed in terms of megabytes, then gigabytes. Today, it’s typical for a project to be working at the level of terabytes or petabytes.

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Vendors Bolstering Thin Clients to Account for Cloud-Hosted Desktops

Adnan Raja September 8, 2016 by under Cloud Hosting 0 Comments

Vendors such as IGEL Technology, HP, and Dell are boosting their support for cloud desktops to be used with their thin clients. This trend shows how manufacturers are having to keep pace as cloud becomes increasingly prevalent.

  • Thin Clients Move to Embrace Cloud
  • Thin Client OS Issues: Altra Federal Credit Union’s Experience
  • Thin & Zero Clients Expand Support of Protocols
  • Blast 2.0
  • Gartner: 38.4% IaaS Growth in 2016

Thin Clients Move to Embrace Cloud

In this increasingly cloud-based world, the makers of thin clients are modifying them so that their customers can seamlessly take advantage of cloud-hosted desktops and software.

The extent to which the business world has implemented desktops and software delivered through cloud hosting has expanded in recent years, with companies increasingly wanting to have third parties take care of managing the infrastructure. Meanwhile, the thin client market has been struggling, especially because low-end PCs have grown closer in cost. In order to stay in the game and get the attention of desktop virtualization companies, thin client heavy-hitters, including Dell, IGEL, and HP, have taken steps to support cloud-hosted desktops.

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Achieving Operational Excellence in the Era of Cloud Hosting

Adnan Raja September 6, 2016 by under Cloud Hosting 0 Comments

In the age of cloud hosting, as it’s increasingly adopted by enterprises, chief information officers can struggle to maintain operational excellence. Here’s how to deliver consistency with OE as you adopt cloud.

  • Challenges of the Multiple-Vendor Cloud World
  • Knowing What You Mean by “Operational Excellence”
  • Partner with the Provider so You Can Achieve OE
  • Governance of the OE Plan
  • Protecting Your Partnerships
  • Choosing a Strong, Secure Cloud Hosting Partner

Challenges of the Multiple-Vendor Cloud World

In 2016, the business world is benefiting from an increasingly broad variety of cloud tools; and the extent to which they are being adopted continues to grow. For information chiefs in enterprises with sizable on-site app hosting infrastructures who are in the process of adopting cloud more aggressively, you are going to face some threats to the continuity of strong computing operations. In a multi-vendor hosting scenario (i.e., that of cloud), on-site ways to check systems, strategize for disaster recovery, process transactions, manage system modifications, and schedule tasks are a few examples of the many IT responsibilities that can become unexpectedly complicated. Leaders both in business and IT will often not think it’s necessary to pay as much attention to these elements in the expanding cloud climate. However, everything must be integrated in some manner, and with the multi-cloud or multi-vendor situation which is becoming so common, it’s challenging for the quality of operations of your IT services not to suffer.

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Is Cloud Hosting the Future of Business?

Adnan Raja August 29, 2016 by under Cloud Hosting 0 Comments

It’s often difficult to tell if a technology is really taking hold, or if news of its trendiness is mostly industry chatter of businesses that are invested and trying to sell their biased perspective. Is cloud the future, or is it just hype?

  • What is Cloud Computing or Cloud Hosting?
  • How Fast is the Rise of Cloud, Especially IaaS?
  • Pros & Cons of Cloud
  • Strong Cloud Hosting for Your Business

When you search for “cloud computing” on Google, you get 74 million results. Compare that to “dedicated server,” which has only 569,000 results. That gives you a sense of the massiveness of this tech concept. Of course the cloud transcends the datacenter to be a major topic in consumer computing, such as iCloud storage, as well.

To what extent, though, does cloud go beyond being a trend? Is cloud hosting the future of business? Let’s look at what cloud computing is; forecasts on its growth; and pros and cons of this form of computing.

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Computing as a Cloud-Hosted Utility Has Become a Mainstream Idea

Adnan Raja August 22, 2016 by under Cloud Hosting 0 Comments

Small and medium businesses are increasingly adopting cloud, according to a recent survey. In fact, it is almost ubiquitous, with 95% of SMBs now using cloud or planning to use it. As businesses are increasingly using these services, the notion of cloud as a utility is going mainstream.

  • Business Cloud on the Rise: Survey
  • Cloud Hosting as a Utility
  • Business & On-Demand Cloud Hosting

Business Cloud on the Rise: Survey

Almost 19 out of every 20 SMBs currently use a cloud service or are in the planning stages of adopting one, according to a recent survey. Many companies are transitioning to cloud hosting because they are frustrated with their providers of traditional web hosting services.

The poll, from industry research outfit Clutch.co, looked at 300 companies with fewer than 1000 employees. Nearly three-quarters of respondents (72%) said that they have switched hosting web providers since 2011. Fully 86% of businesses said that they had problems with their web host within the last twelve months.

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