February 2013 Newsletter

 

Recent warnings of ransomware campaign targeting Australian organisations

CERT, the national Computer Emergency Response Team, has confirmed an increase in the volume of ransomware targeting Australian organisations.

Ransomware is a type of malware (malicious software) that typically locks a victim’s computers, often also encrypting data on the system. A display screen usually follows that demands payment to unlock or decrypt the data.

Examples often include a fake warning claiming that the victim’s computer has been associated with criminal activity. For example, the extortionist may claim to be from the fake Anti Cyber Crime Department of Federal Internet Security Agency (ACCDFISA) and that paying a fine immediately will unlock the computer and avoid further criminal proceedings. 

This is an attempt to extort money. As with any extortion, you are advised not to pay.

The attackers are known to commonly use Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) as an entry point to your network, possibly using authentication credentials obtained by key loggers, or accessing systems with weak credentials. 

Cyber crime involves the unauthorised access to or impairment of computer systems. If you suspect you have been the victim of cyber crime, report it to your local law enforcement agency.

Recommendations

Reliable Computers suggests that stakeholders consider the following specific mitigations to protect against this cyber security risk

  • Make regular backups of all your important files, and importantly store copies of your backups offsite. The attackers are known to also encrypt or delete backups that are connected to the computer or network.
  • Ensure your systems are fully updated. This includes servers that are accessed remotely, in particular those running RDP services, as well as computers that are used to access them.
  • Users of Server 2003 Small Business Server.
  • Limit remote access to your systems directly from the Internet.
  • Enforce strong passphrase/password policies on your RDP server to reduce the risk from brute force attempts at cracking passwords.
  • Implement account lockout policies (account locks if too many false attempts are made) on your RDP server to reduce the risk from brute forcing attempts.
  • Where remote access is necessary, use secure methods such as a Virtual Private Network (VPN), require two-factor authentication (two methods, not just password), and restrict access to only those individuals, systems and services that really require remote access.
  • Use up-to-date anti-virus software, and consider using different vendors for gateway and desktop systems.

Cloud Storage. Access Your Files Worldwide. We Show You How.

With the introduction of cloud storage and cloud servers, it has become easier than ever to backup all your important computer files online. You are now given the flexibility of accessing all your files from anywhere in the world, with the benefit of knowing that all your important pictures, videos, music, files, documents, as well as other programs and data are securely stored and available to you 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

With our extensive knowledge of cloud storage and backed up by customer and webmaster reviews we help you chose the best cloud storage service provider for you.

1. Free Trial Offers
2. Access Files From Anywhere
3. 100% Automated Online Backup
4. Secure and Encrypted Storage
5. Unlimited Online Storage
6. Sync with Various Computers

What is the Review Process that you uses to Find the Best in online storage companies?

Our ultimate goal is to assist our readers in finding the best in cloud storage and the most expeditious way in which to do that is to use the same criteria in reviewing each online cloud storage provider. Our experts provide a professional review (an expert look at the company) and then we open up our forum to customers that have used the service and want to rate it themselves. This is how we are able to provide an unbiased opinion and technical look at cloud backup while also offering the sentiment of the consensus of actual customers.

Our professional reviews and customer reviews both use the same ten point look at the cloud online storage company. We highlight what is most important to the consumer, with categories such as how much storage space the company offers, as well as how reliable the cloud file storage company is. Each category receives a score based on a 1 to 5 star system and that is how we determine the overall rating for the company.

Let’s take a look at how Reliable Computers looks at an online cloud storage provider:

Value for Money
Selecting a cloud data storage company that is the least expensive does not mean that the customer is getting the best value for their money. What Reliable Computers looks for in value is a combination of everything that makes up the cloud storage company and then, how much they charge. This might mean that the customer will see a cloud backup company that charges more for their service, but if they are ranked highly in value for money, then that company also offer superior features, storage space and reliability which, when weighed against the cost, makes up the rating for this online storage category.

Reliability and Uptime
This category is based on statistical data related to the uptime of the service. It is expected that cloud storage companies have a 99.9% uptime; however some may fall below that due to unforeseen circumstances. Reliable Computers believes that the consumer should be made aware of that so that they may make the most informed decision in selecting their online storage service provider.

Customer Service
The Reliable Computers staff reviewers put cloud storage company customer service departments through a test. This test is conducted as a live phone or live chat customer service request. The time that it takes to get a response and a solution to a problem is rated for speed, helpfulness and efficiency.

Technical Support
Technical Support and customer service are closely related; however this category is a rating of the technical proficiency of the tech support staff. Certainly, it is one thing to have a friendly and helpful tech support agent assisting you and quite another to have one that is all of that and actually solves the problem quickly.

Features
This category is a rating of the amount of features that are offered as well as their usefulness to the consumer. Some cloud storage companies tend to comment on a large number of features that they offer however, those features are not always of a benefit to the consumer. Reliable Computers keeps a careful eye on this category when reviewing a company.

Storage Space
This category is a comparison of the amount of storage space offered by the company. Storage space also factors into the ‘value for money’ rating.

Ease of Use
When testing cloud storage services, Reliable Computers rates how easy that service is to use. This is compared against a benchmark of general users and technically proficient users. A good rating represents a median between ease of use for general and technical users.

Overall Rating
The overall rating category is the accumulation of all the rankings assigned to the aforementioned categories. This category gives the cloud storage consumer a quick overview of the company that is being reviewed and can be helpful in making a well informed and expedited decision.

In conclusion, Reliable Computers works as an advocate for the cloud storage consumer by assessing those services and reporting directly to the consumer. By also including customer reviews, Reliable Computers delivers an overview of cloud storage companies in a way like no other review site does.

Next month we will show how each cloud storage solution stacks up.