Early this year ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald and then a monsoonal trough passed over north-eastern Australia (Queensland and Northern NSW) causing massive damage to thousands of homes, businesses, roads, bridges and other essential infrastructure. Several people died in the tragic floods that resulted. Many homes and businesses were without power, water and sewage support for weeks after the emergency.
While we shouldn’t forget the huge affect these storms have had on peoples’ lives, we should also take the opportunity to look at the impacts on businesses and the lessons that can be learnt. The most important lesson is the importance of disaster recovery plans for businesses.
An important aspect of any disaster recovery plan should be to use cloud computing to keep key business information and applications off-site in secure locations where they are safe from natural disasters such as floods, fire or human error.
Businesses affected by the floods that that did not back up their key business information lost their data under the floodwaters or through water damage and they may never recover. Businesses that relied on on-site devices as their only backup will have experienced significant business delays trying to restore their backup tapes, disks and hard drives.
Earlier this year an American company released the results of their cloud storage adoption survey suggesting that eighty per cent of cloud storage users claimed that they could recover their data in less than 24 hours (with nearly a quarter estimating an instantaneous recovery). Alternatively, nearly one in six respondents that were not using cloud storage estimated that it would take more than a week to recover their data after a disaster. This is a significant difference.
Business information managers considering ways to maintain operations during (or after) major disasters or disruptions must now consider cloud-based solutions as a necessary component. Cloud technology is now affordable for all businesses. Because the cloud makes information and applications accessible through the Internet it makes it possible to maintain a business even during disasters.
The important lesson is that, as part of your disaster recovery plan, cloud backup is now the best business protection method available to reduce the risk of data and information loss during disasters. For more information about cloud backup contact The Vault Corporation.
Why would a master criminal want to hack into your business when they could be making millions of dollars stealing credit card details from large businesses?
A lot of business people think that they are safe from hackers because a hacker has nothing to gain from stealing their data or breaking into their system or network. Why would a professional hacker waste time with their business when there are big corporations to attack?
But hacking is not always about evil geniuses trying to cause the downfall of the world but is more like bored teenagers making mischief. They wander around in cyberspace looking for sites with poor data security or with weak security processes where they can create a bit of mayhem and then go back to their algebra homework.
One of the most troublesome hackers to the US Government this year was Cosmo. Cosmo was recently arrested with many others as part of large FBI exercise targeting credit card fraud in the US. He lives with his mother like most 15 year olds.
A Wired article (click here) describes some of his escapades this year with his group.
They DDoS’ed (distributed denial of service attacked) government and financial sites, including NASDAQ, the California government and the CIA, which they took down for several hours in April.
They repeatedly posted the Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg’s, address and Social Security number online.
They broke into one billing agency using social-engineering techniques in May and dumped 500,000 of their credit card numbers online.
Cosmo was the social engineer for the group; a specialist in talking his way past security barriers. He had methods for getting into accounts on Amazon, Apple, AOL, PayPal, and a lot more.
Social engineering in online security terms specifically refers to manipulating people into divulging confidential information that can be used to gain computer system access.
So make sure you use secure software access and use data encryption. For more information about online security contact us.
A small business in my neighbourhood was locked out of their network by hackers last week. The small business of 12 people was prevented from getting access to their own network unless it paid a $3000 ransom demand.
The hackers had used a form of malware (malicious software) known as Ransomware. The hackers had downloaded the ransomware onto the servers and encrypted the network, which stopped the business getting access to their vital financial records.
The hackers had demanded an immediate ransom payment of $3000 which would increase by $1000 for every week that the business did not pay.
This week the company’s employees are still sitting around waiting for their IT company to decipher the encryption. No work is getting done.
The hackers who are thought to be based in Eastern Europe have made similar attacks on a number of Queensland businesses. The police advise people to report this type of crime to them straight away.
How to prevent ransomware attacks
This could have been prevented if the business had taken some basic steps to protect their network from attack:
» Make sure your staff are made aware of the danger of malicious software and malicious website links and are careful when using the internet and emails
» Use an appropriate IT network security solution that uses real-time anti-virus software, email scanning, real-time website protection, software and hardware firewalls, network intrusion detection and network monitoring technology
» Make sure all your servers are regularly updated to the latest version of your security software package
» Perform regular back-ups of you non-infected systems and data
» Make sure all computers on your network are regularly updated with their internet security packages