Ransomware Looks to Blackmail Enterprises

When most people think of threats to their computer systems and networks, the usual suspects come to mind — malware and keystroke loggers that are meant to steal passwords to remotely access corporate networks and online accounts. Then, of course, there are the viruses designed simply for the sake of destruction, rendering one’s computer little more than an expensive, oversized paperweight. But perhaps the most dangerous threat of all is one that, while it has been around for a long time, is only now coming into prominence. It’s called “ransomware,” and if it sounds scary, that’s because it is. CryptoLocker is a well-known example circulating today. Ransomware is an accurate moniker, as this breed of malware encrypts the contents of your computer and then its creator offers to provide the decryption key — for a nominal fee, of course. Thinking of booting up in safe mode and deleting the ransomware from your computer? That’s all well and good, except your files are still encrypted and you still don’t have the key to unlock them. Ransomware Threatens Enterprises on Multiple Levels Encrypting your most important files isn’t the only method that cyber criminals employ, however. They can also place files on your computer that put you in an awkward position. Common practice includes downloading indecent materials on a computer that one uses for work. Employees fearful of losing their jobs for having illicit content found on their devices are that much more likely to pay the “ransom.” And if it works against one employee, cyber criminals have good reason to suspect that others in the same organization will acquiesce, meaning...

RSA 2014: Three Key Remote Access Takeaways

This year, with cryptography and information security becoming higher profile than ever before, more than 25,000 attendees made the trip to San Francisco for RSA Conference, which was filled to the brim with interesting discussions of new trends, research and technology. Despite several prominent experts boycotting the event in light of the $10 million the NSA secretly paid RSA, the show still sold out seven months in advance and comedian Stephen Colbert braved the backlash to deliver an electric closing keynote address. Here are three main takeaways from the conference relating to remote access security: The Internet of Things is growing, and we need to secure it. The Internet of Things (IoT) was the conference’s number one buzzword, and attendees were concerned with securing the billions of connected devices that are currently proliferating. Quite distressingly, the general feeling at the conference was that the industry is not yet ready to secure devices such as household appliances, medical devices or connected cars. VPNs, however, can provide a solution to secure IoT communications, by ensuring that all of the information traveling between connected devices and users stays within an encrypted tunnel, and the industry as a whole should look towards adopting them more widely within devices. Point solutions are no longer enough. Attendees eagerly discussed everything from forensics to advanced persistent threats (APTs), but the common thread was the importance of integrated solutions. From a remote access security perspective, it was refreshing to hear professionals who work on other security components sharing that view. In fact, Network World identified integration as the number one element that security vendors are now focusing...