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Cyber Security


Your servers are full of Data, Cyber Criminals love them.

Your servers are full of Data, Cyber Criminals love them.

P 37% of cyber attacks are discovered directly on servers, making them the most likely place to identify an attack within an organisation. That’s one of the alarming stats taken from a recent survey of 2,700 IT managers around the world.

 

 But why are servers such tempting targets for cyber hackers?

1. Servers are at high value

Servers often contain an organisation’s most valuable data. For example, personally identifiable information (PII) such as employee and customer records could be stolen if they’re not adequately secured (for example, with encryption) on the server.

Regulations, such as the strongly introduced GDPR that protects EU citizens’ data, levy significant fines for non-compliance. Attackers know this and will threaten to release sensitive data if their demands are not met.

2. Server downtime is very costly

Servers are the motherboard of organisations and are critical to their day-to-day functioning. Unexpected downtime can seriously impact productivity by revoking access to important files or communication tools such as Microsoft Teams. Ransomware attacks can cause organisations to grind to a halt unless a costly ransom is paid.

In instances where an organisation is reliant on servers for commercial function downtime can be even more severe.

3. Servers are the perfect staging ground to attack

Servers are usually strongly connected in an organisation’s network. They are also online & running 24/7 all year round, which makes them an ideal platform for launching further attacks and performing reconnaissance looking for weak spots to exploit across the entire network. If you can’t identify a compromised server, the gates to your IT stronghold could be wide open to the elements.

So what can be done in order to secure your organisation’s servers? The answer is in the right combination of advanced protection, visibility with powerful tools like Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) and server specific features such as File Integrity Monitoring.

With Sophos Sandstorm, you’ll receive a next-gen advanced threat defence. It provides a whole new level of targeted attack protection, visibility & Analysis. IT can quickly & accurately identify evasive threats before they enter your network.

What other solutions miss, Sophos Sandstorm uses powerful, cloud-based, next-generation sandbox technology.

 

We’re Urban Network, we can help save your Business.

We specialise in managed IT & technology services to help businesses across London & the wider-South East, from our base in Wapping, East London.

Urban Network has a proven track record, with extensive experience and a full portfolio of industry accreditations & certifications.

Among our range of skills, we have a specialism in cyber security. Ensuring we aid our clients with employing the best & most appropriate security practices, procedures and tools to protect their sensitive data.

If you have any concerns or challenges with your cyber security, or with your technology generally, we would like to hear from you. Please contact the team today.

 

GDPR Fines are nasty, here’s a few ways to avoid them.

GDPR Fines are nasty, here’s a few ways to avoid them.

In the recent months as you’re well aware of, both British Airways (BA) and Marriott Hotels have hit the headlines because of eye-watering GDPR fines – £183 million for BA and £99 million for Marriott.

The fines show that the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), has given enforcers like the UK’s ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office), some serious tools to play with. BA’s fine is almost 400 times larger than the ICO’s previous record fine – a unworthy $645,000 penalty handed to Facebook for the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

With these new fines in play, we highly recommend you make sure you’ve minimised your risk of being next in the firing line.

GDPR is focused on protecting European Union citizens and it applies to anyone who holds personal data on an EU citizen, wherever in the world you are located. Marriott, a U.S. organisation, is a case in point.

Here are five best rules we recommend all organisations stick to, in order to minimise the risk of a GDPR data loss fine:

  1. Patch early, patch often. Minimise the risk of a cyber attack by fixing vulnerabilities that can be used to gain entry to your systems illegally. There is no perimeter, so everything matters: patch everything you can get hold of.
  2. Secure personal data that’s in the cloud. Treat the cloud like any other computer you own – close unwanted ports and services, encrypt data and ensure you have proper access controls in place. And do it on all your environments, including QA and development.
  3. Minimise access to personal data. Reduce your exposure by collecting and retaining only the information you need, and making sure the only people with access to it are the people who need it to do their jobs. Not everyone needs access to certain data.
  4. Educate your entire team. Ensure that everyone who might come in to contact with personal data knows how they need to handle it – this is a GDPR requirement. Whether they’re invovled with computers or not, everyone needs to know.
  5. Document and prove data protection activities. Be able to show that you have thought about data protection, and have taken sensible precautions to secure personally identifiable information.

We can help

Urban Network can perform tests on your systems to ensure they are protected, as well as information that your business is conforming to best practice, including penetration testing and intrusion testing, however the very basic elements of patching endpoints with vendor security patching, and ensuring antivirus is up to date is the often overlooked start point.

Our Sentinel monitoring software can cover these elements of your network, and coupled with one of our recommended Enterprise Firewalls, the basics are all covered.

To add extra layers of additional security, Urban Network can liaise with you to ensure that there are comprehensive policies in place for password control, access control and network housekeeping and importantly remote access and BYOD policies. We can look at the current implementations of any other facet of your network, and give advice on industry best practices to ensure your business is sufficiently covering your risk.

 

We’re Urban Network, we can help save your Business.

We specialise in managed IT & technology services to help businesses across London & the wider-South East, from our base in Wapping, East London.

Urban Network has a proven track record, with extensive experience and a full portfolio of industry accreditations & certifications.

Among our range of skills, we have a specialism in cyber security. Ensuring we aid our clients with employing the best & most appropriate security practices, procedures and tools to protect their sensitive data.

If you have any concerns or challenges with your cyber security, or with your technology generally, we would like to hear from you. Please contact the team today.

 

With the power of Firewall, you can prevent Ransomware.

With the power of Firewall, you can prevent Ransomware.

Ransomware has vaulted to the top of the news, again. With devastating attacks continuing to impact governments, education and business operations in multiple states, counties and countries, With the United States being the most recent under attack.

Capital One was a major firm recently caught under fire of Ransomware.

These attacks can start in a number of different ways – some start with a simple phishing email, others begin with hackers leveraging vulnerabilities in networking stacks to gain a foothold and move quickly to other systems on the network. One of the most devastating network vulnerability exploited in a ransomware attack was Capital One a couple of months ago.

Since then, new vulnerabilities have been discovered, but there are still many networks out there that are vulnerable.

Unfortunately, many of these un-managed networks stack vulnerabilities that are ‘wormable’ which means that hackers & malware can exploit these holes in an automated method with no user interaction, enabling the infection to spread quickly and easily to a wide group of systems.

Of course, deploying an industry leading protection product like Sophos SG Series, and maintaining a strict patch management strategy are top best practices. But there are also other best practices you should consider to help keep ransomware, hackers, and attacks off your network in the first place.

Your firewall provides essential protection against exploits by closing up or protecting vulnerable ports, as well as blocking attacks using an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS). IPS looks at network traffic for vulnerabilities, and exploits and blocks any attempt for attackers to get through your network perimeter or even cross boundaries or segments within your internal network.

Here are the essential firewall best practices to prevent ransomware attacks from getting into and moving laterally on your network:

 

  • Reduce the surface area of attack: Review and revisit all port-forwarding rules to eliminate any non-essential open ports. Where possible use VPN to access resources on the internal network from outside rather than port-forwarding. Specifically for RDP, ensure port 3389 is not open on your firewall.
  • Apply IPS protection: Apply suitable IPS protection to the rules governing traffic to/from any Windows hosts on your network.
  • Minimise the risk of lateral movement: Protect against threats moving laterally on your network and consider segmenting your LANs into smaller sub-nets, assigning those to separate zones that are secured by the firewall. Apply suitable IPS policies to rules governing the traffic traversing these zones to prevent worms and bots from spreading between LAN segments.

We’re Urban Network, we can help save your Business.

We specialise in managed IT & technology services to help businesses across London & the wider-South East, from our base in Wapping, East London.

Urban Network has a proven track record, with extensive experience and a full portfolio of industry accreditations & certifications.

Among our range of skills, we have a specialism in cyber security. Ensuring we aid our clients with employing the best & most appropriate security practices, procedures and tools to protect their sensitive data.

If you have any concerns or challenges with your cyber security, or with your technology generally, we would like to hear from you. Please contact the team today.

 

Everything in Texas is huge, including the Cyber Attacks.

Everything in Texas is huge, including the Cyber Attacks.

Texas is a big state. Stupidly big. With up to 30 million residents it’s the second largest state in America, it has a land mass twice the size of Germany, and a GDP larger than Russia. Texans like to say, “Everything is bigger in Texas”, and usually that’s a good thing to brag about. However, this time bigger certainly isn’t better.

News hit a few weeks back that 22 government organisations in the Lone State were recently under attack by coordinated & intelligent ransomware attacks. It’s a bright reminder that as attacks continue to evolve, it’s crucial that your defences evolve even faster.

 

How do I make sure I’m not involved with an intelligent ransomware attack?

So how can you help ensure your organisation isn’t the next ransomware victim?

To hit the ground running, does your solution provide or have industry-leading technology to ensure attackers can’t use un-patched, vulnerable software programs to distribute and install ransomware into your systems?

Urban Network can perform tests on your systems to ensure that systems are secure, and your business is conforming to best practice, including penetration testing and intrusion testing, however the very basic elements of patching endpoints with vendor security patching, and ensuring antivirus is up to date is the often overlooked start point.

Should that not stop an attack – or should an exploit not be leveraged – how will your solution stop attacks it’s never seen before?

Our Sentinel monitoring software can cover these elements of the network, and coupled with one of our recommended Enterprise Firewalls, the basics are covered.

To add layers of additional security, Urban Network can liaise with you to ensure that there are comprehensive policies in place for password control, access control and network housekeeping and importantly remote access and BYOD policies. We can look at the current implementations of any other facet of your network, and give advice on industry best practices to ensure your business is sufficiently covering your risk

Keeping a continued eye on the security that is deployed in your systems.

 

We’re Urban Network, we can help save your Business.

We specialise in managed IT & technology services to help businesses across London & the wider-South East, from our base in Wapping, East London.

Urban Network has a proven track record, with extensive experience and a full portfolio of industry accreditations & certifications.

Among our range of skills, we have a specialism in cyber security. Ensuring we aid our clients with employing the best & most appropriate security practices, procedures and tools to protect their sensitive data.

If you have any concerns or challenges with your cyber security, or with your technology generally, we would like to hear from you. Please contact the team today.

 

Don’t let the storm of GDPR catch you out, BA face £183m in fines.

Don’t let the storm of GDPR catch you out, BA face £183m in fines.

In recent news, British Airways has been given notice of a record-breaking £183 million fine, followed a day after by Marriott Hotels at £99.2 million.

The reason? Breaching data protection laws. This should be enough to unnerve anyone responsible for cyber security and handling personal data, whether they are a large corporate, or a small business.

Don’t fall into the same pit, it certainly won’t be easy to get out of…

What happened to British Airways and Marriott Hotels?

British Airways’ fine of £183 million represented 1.5% of its turnover in 2017, which was only achieved as a reduction to the maximum penalty through cooperation with the ICO investigation. If the ICO had sought the maximum fine of 4% of BA’s total revenue, the bill could’ve been £489m.

For Marriott Hotels, Information Commissioners Office are proposing a £99.2m fine.

It’s said that about 30 million of the hacked guest records related to residents of 31 countries in the European Economic Area. Seven million related to UK residents.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?

The GDPR came into force in May 2018 and is the biggest transformation to data protection and privacy in the past 20 years. The GDPR gives data regulators the power to fine up to £18m, or 4% of annual global turnover, whichever is greater. In a new attempt by European policymakers to incentivise security practices and stop large-scale data breaches.

Last year Facebook was fined £500,000 by the ICO, which involved the data of up to 87 million users improperly being shared with third-party developers without sufficient consent. Given Facebook’s worldwide revenue was £31.5bn in 2017, they could have received a fine of up to £1.26bn had the case had been eligible under GDPR.

 

Small & Medium sized business are not immune.

It is a common mistake to think that your business will not be targeted. Most hackers are conducting their attacks at random – with businesses often falling victim to malicious software breaching their network, at the fault of a staff member inadvertently clicking on a suspect link in an otherwise unassuming email.

 

How can I protect our business from a Data breach?

If you’re unsure at this point, we’d recommend giving us a call; we’d be more than happy to advise your next steps.

This is not the best time to be worrying whether your security is up to date or not.

Which brings us onto the first point, cyber security best practice.

Making sure you’ve got the most appropriate security for your business, whilst also applying updates frequently to solidify its performance and protection. You don’t want to be left vulnerable simply because you’ve delayed the patch by a week or two.

Another major point; it is a legal requirement of GDPR to ensure you back-up your data, and ensure it is encrypted.

Whether this data resides on personal laptops, or stored away in remote data facilities via the internet, every business regardless of size should employ a 3-2-1 backup rule to best mitigate data loss & minimise the impact of an outage.

 

 Lastly, but very much still incredibly important, is to ensure that your team are trained and aware of their susceptibility to cyber-attack.

As discussed in a previous blog, phishing takes its aim directly at your team; firing emails left, right and centre, embedded malicious attachments and links to fraudulent websites, from which software to steal or corrupt your data can manifest itself into your network. Staff awareness is key to data protection, if your front-line team understand this level of importance, you’ll have few issues keeping out of its path.

 

We’re Urban Network, we can help save your Business.

We specialise in managed IT & technology services to help businesses across London & the wider-South East, from our base in Wapping, East London.

Urban Network has a proven track record, with extensive experience and a full portfolio of industry accreditations & certifications.

Among our range of skills, we have a specialism in cyber security. Ensuring we aid our clients with employing the best & most appropriate security practices, procedures and tools to protect their sensitive data.

If you have any concerns or challenges with your cyber security, or with your technology generally, we would like to hear from you. Please contact the team today.

 

You might have been hacked, but would you know?

You might have been hacked, but would you know?

Identify and act on cyber threats to your business with Endpoint Detection & Response

 

Learn lessons from cyber-attacks to better defend your business

Businesses are facing well organised and dangerous attackers, including nation states and cyber-criminals that are determined to breach your cyber defences. Attacks are on the rise and, with the random nature by which IT networks are penetrated, it’s becoming an unfortunate inevitability that we will all suffer from an attack at some point, regardless of whether we have been specifically targeted or not.

We shouldn’t have to sit back and suffer… with the extreme rate of attacks taking place, why should we not learn lessons from what’s happened and use those lessons to better improve our defences for next time?

Adapt & better defend yourself with Endpoint Detection & Response

With an Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR) service, you cannot only be actively alerted to attacks taking place, but benefit from intelligent insights that break-down the steps involved to spot patterns & stop the same attack from taking place again.

All credible security vendors that supply & support EDR services will permit their customers access to the global intelligence and remedial protection insights gained globally from deployments of their software across each endpoint device.

What can we do with the insights?

EDR supports targeted attack analytics, which is a holistic approach to attack detection. Making advanced AI and expert threat research available to any organisation that’s a customer of the EDR product.

There is no longer the need to manually correlate scans of your devices, with limited intelligence gained from only your own network. This fragmented approach results in visibility gaps, too many false positives, longer threat dwell times and less precise detection.

With the power of EDR, your outsourced IT partner or internal IT personnel, can be the step-ahead in protecting your business with security awareness otherwise unavailable to them.

How does EDR work?

EDR collects event data across multiple termination point, including end user computers, servers, email and cloud applications, providing a holistic view across the business and a global view based on telemetry from thousands of enterprises.

The security vendor employs data scientists that create analytic applications, which employ the latest artificial intelligence and advanced machine learning techniques to detect suspicious activity. This activity is investigated by their own attack investigation teams, who’s role it is to determine actual attack patterns occurring in your environment and feedback critical updates to your console in real time, with details of the attack actor, the devices impacted by the attack and advice on remedial actions to take to repair & protect further exposure.

 

Want to get the best of cyber security for your business?

At Urban Network, we take a security first approach to everything that we do with technology.

If you have any concerns, questions or simply want to explore how to better secure your business, please do get in touch with the team for a FREE demonstration and initial consultation to explore how exposed your business might actually be.

To book a consultation or to arrange a further discussion, please get in touch via our form here, call 020 7749 6899 or email us hello@urbannetwork.co.uk.

Data backup…your last line of defence in the war against hackers

Data backup…your last line of defence in the war against hackers

Data backup…your last line of defence in the war against hackers

What is the threat to my data?

In the rise of threats to our valuable & private data, cyber-criminals are forever creating new ways to disrupt and defraud our professional and personal lives. One of the cyber threat trends that has seen a sharp increase in activity within recent years is Ransomware.

Ransomware takes its action via the form of malicious software that restricts or removes your access to file data stored on your computer or server. Downloaded from an illegitimate website or arriving on your computer via an email link or attachment, the Ransomware application rapidly installs itself & begins to infect or take control of your file data without the computer user even necessarily being aware an attack has taken place.

Ransomware, as the name suggest, is a means by which hackers can take something belonging to you or your business and hold it to ransom for release upon receiving a monetary payment from you. Although, there’s no guarantee they’ll even release the file upon receiving your payment!

 

Can we stop ourselves becoming a victim?

Although it is critical to ensure you have cyber defences in place, it is almost impossible to ensure that you are 100% protected from the threat of cyber-crime, particularly from the specific threat of Ransomware.

The malicious software used to launch a Ransomware attack is constantly evolving and can take many forms, despite security vendors continually updating their software & threat analysis, there is a strong chance that an innocent action by one of your users will result in their machine becoming infected at some point.

 

What can we do if we’re attacked?

Firstly, make efforts to limit your exposure to attack by ensuring you have cyber defences in place and have conducted awareness training for your team.

But, when you inevitably suffer from an attack, your last line in the defence against cyber-crime is to rely upon secure recovery point from a current, ring-fenced data backup solution.

With a professional-grade backup service, you can benefit from peace of mind that your up-to-date data is stored, securely, in an alternative offsite location and is ready for recovery at a moments notice in the event of loss or corruption to any, or all, of your files or system data.

 

But we already backup data to a disc?

Having a data backup of any kind is a helpful initial step to take in a bid to recover your data in the event of any loss. However! A basic backup to an external disk is by no means a reliable or secure means to achieve true peace of mind with all of your system data.

There are a number of manual elements to a disk backup that limit its effectiveness in a disaster; most critically, the need for a person to take the disk offsite and remember to bring it back again.

In the event of a Ransomware attack, should the disk be connected to the network, it will most likely be infected and render the backup useless. This, twinned with limited means of running effective regularly scheduled backups, results in a data backup to disk being a too restrictive and risky means of recovery in the event of a disaster.

 

What should we do instead?

All businesses should operate with an automated on-site + off-site backup service, confirming to the 3-2-1 backup rule.

3 copies of your data – one active on your server/cloud storage/computers, one local backup copy and one offsite copy.

2 forms of media – varying medium of disk or device used to store the backup copies.

1 copy held offsite.

The service should be managed and monitored daily by your external IT service provider or member of internal IT personnel – with strict urgency placed on taking action in the event of a failure or issue logged from the previous day’s backup.

It all sounds costly, however implementing a professional-grade backup solution doesn’t have to cost the earth; particularly if you factor in the cost and inconvenience of a total, or even partial, loss of data.

Employing these rules within your business can go a long way to ensuring a fast & effective recovery from a disaster, should you suffer the loss or corruption of any data, however large or small.

 

Want to get the best of cyber security for your business?

At Urban Network, we take a security first approach to everything that we do with technology.

If you have any concerns, questions or simply want to explore how to better secure your business, please do get in touch with the team for a FREE demonstration and initial consultation to explore how exposed your business might actually be.

To book a consultation or to arrange a further discussion, please get in touch via our form here, call 020 7749 6899 or email us hello@urbannetwork.co.uk.

Who else knows your username & password?

Who else knows your username & password?

Your details might be all over the Dark Web… what is it?

There are three varying grades of the internet – the ‘Public Web’, surprisingly forming only around 4% of the internet, is what we all use everyday, and includes services like websites and social media platforms. The ‘Deep Web’, representing the largest amount at around 93% of the internet, consists of private servers & systems, such as cloud services and CRM databases. Which leaves around 3% of the internet cordoned off typically for illegal activity. Identified as the ‘Dark Web’, untraceable and difficult to access, it is therefore a prime location for the shared activities between criminals of all kinds.

 

How do my details get there and why?

If a hacker has been able to steal a list of user login credentials from a particular system or service; these private details will have value to other cyber criminals, and therefore are shared and sold with other parties on the Dark Web.

This community want access to your details to penetrate your lifestyle, mimic your actions and, through a number of different means, look to defraud you and those you are connected with.

 

Should I be worried?

If your login credentials, email addresses and passwords, have been exposed and listed on the Dark Web, they will likely be available to anyone & everyone that wants them….

And, far worse; if you typically use the same passwords, email addresses and login IDs across lots of different platforms you access, such as accessing your online banking, social media profiles, email accounts and private photo & data storage; you are incredibly vulnerable to cyber-attack and being defrauded via your entire internet presence.

With access to all of these private services, it is incredibly likely your identity will be stolen and used as a platform to try to defraud those you are connected with via social media and email.

 

But, what can I do?

There are services available that can scan the Dark Web and first & foremost identify whether you are at risk. Such services can maintain a constant look & watch by trawling the data found within the dark web for your personal credentials, such as; email address, or other associated usernames or handles, and then raise an alert if anything of note can be found at any time.

If your details are found, you are then immediately made aware of your position of vulnerability, and critically can take action by at least resetting your passwords and user IDs wherever used.

 

How can I avoid becoming a target?

It is almost impossible to stop yourself from becoming a target; an unfortunate harsh reality we must all accept, is that at some point, our personal data will be stolen from somewhere. Whether that’s through our own lack of cyber security, being the victim of a phishing attack, or, a mistake on someone elses part.

BUT! What’s more far more important is being aware when you’re at risk, and having a process in place to mitigate your exposure both personally, and for your business. By implementing best security practices, such as the setting of secure passwords, ensuring that you regularly change those passwords, differ the passwords & login details across different systems, and lastly, implement cyber security features such as 2-Factor / Multi-Factor Authentication (2FA/MFA).

By enforcing cyber security features, such as 2FA or MFA, you are able to add another hurdle to cyber criminals in the process of accessing web-based data & services, beyond the first-tier of only usernames and passwords. Should your password be obtained elsewhere and that person tries to access a system that you use, you’ll receive notification by text message, phone call, or email, to your device to authorise that login; therefore faulting cyber criminals from getting to your data.

 

Want to get the best of cyber security for your business?

At Urban Network, we take a security first approach to everything that we do with technology.

If you have any concerns, questions or simply want to explore how to better secure your business, please do get in touch with the team for a FREE demonstration and initial consultation to explore how exposed your business might actually be.

To book a consultation or to arrange a further discussion, please get in touch via our form below, call 020 7749 6899 or email us hello@urbannetwork.co.uk.

Dark Web Demo