As the new year unfolds, we want to take a moment to look back at the top cybersecurity and information technology trends we saw in 2018.
Cybercriminals are savvier than ever and, in 2018, LMT saw its fair share of ransomware (like CryptoWall, CryptoLocker, and WannaCry) incidents impacting our clients. According to a 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report, ransomware incidents made up about 40% of all reported malware incidents.
What is ransomware exactly? It is a nasty form of virus that encrypts your important files (making them unusable to you) and holds them for ransom until you pay to get access back. Additionally, it tries to hide inside the OS and delete shadow copies of your files – making it difficult to restore your data from backups.
How does it work? There are several different methods that can spread ransomware and infect your devices.
- Phishing Emails: Ransomware is often triggered by the end user via a phishing email. These emails trick users into clicking a link which in turn downloads malware onto their computer.
- Exploit Kits: These will take advantage of any security vulnerabilities to deploy malware and execute the attack. Vulnerabilities are usually in the operating system, applications, or websites you visit.
It’s not all bad news, though. Because LMT is always on the defense, here is what we did in 2018 to help protect your valuable data against ransomware attacks:
- Deployed sophisticated network-based policies on your firewalls to prevent ransomware from being able to function.
- Conducted daily audits of your data backups to make sure that if you did get infected, we could get your data back with minimal loss of information and productivity.
- Implemented daily enhancements to LMT’s SpamGuard spam filtration service to stay ahead of newly developing and breaking phishing campaigns.
- Further developed strategic partnerships with cybersecurity specialists to provide Social Engineering training to help users avoid ransomware delivery traps.
- Notified our clients when new high-risk campaigns were detected.
Microsoft Patches – Windows 10 October 2018 Update Pulled
Every year, Microsoft pushes out two mandatory Feature Updates which are intended to provide major patch and enhancement changes. These updates always come with their fair share of challenges as they may affect compatibility with programs, scanners, printers, accounting packages, etc. We are familiar and very capable of assisting our clients with such issues, but the October 2018 update presented a much more daunting one – the update started to randomly delete users’ documents! In an unprecedented move, Microsoft pulled the update within 10 hours of its release.
While we have no control over Microsoft’s patch cycle, we can always assist in undoing as much damage as possible. Utilizing LMT’s Desktop Management software, we quickly responded to this issue and were able to uninstall the update from PC’s that were updated and for the PC’s that didn’t get updated, we were able to prevent the automatic deployment to 2,000 PC’s.
Microsoft is now executing a staggered re-release for this Feature Update after fixing it and LMT is watching closely to make sure it doesn’t disrupt our clients. LMT’s Desktop Management software is monitoring the status of the deployment, notifying us of when it occurs, and LMT Engineers have been reaching out to assist with the challenges of an off-cycle Feature Update. We are also preparing for the next Feature Update, scheduled for April 2019.
Planning for 2019
As we look towards 2019, there will surely be more waves of ransomware, phishing, new laws and regulations, Update issues, and attacks utilizing information technology as a threat vector.
Rest assured knowing that LMT is always actively taking measures to improve and maintain compliance, prepare for unforeseen disasters, and strengthen your cybersecurity and IT environment stability.
So, what can you do now?
- Work with your LMT Account Manager to review your options and plan for enhancing security, stability, integrity, and methods for better protecting your IT environment.
- Educate yourself and your staff to prevent falling victim to phishing emails. Work with your dedicated LMT Account Manager and Account Executive to review Social Engineering training and security tools.
Stay tuned for our next blog post where we will explore what experts are predicting for 2019 cybersecurity trends.
Stay safe and cautious,
LMT Technology Solutions