Watch Out for WannaMine

Computer Culture Admin - Wednesday, February 21, 2018
The name “WannaMine” is a coined term that refers to a malware family that uses the network spreading capabilities of WannaCry to deliver cryptomining malware rather than ransomware.

Cryptomining is when crooks secretly get your computer to do the calculations needed to generate cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin and then keep any cryptocoin proceeds for themselves.

To make money with cryptomining it requires a lot of electricity to deliver the heavy processing power on lots of computers. By illegally installing cryptominers inside your network, the badguys steal your resources to do their work.

If malware like WannaMine can penetrate your network, you are at serious risk of other malware at the same time, including ransomware. Don’t ignore WannaMine infections if they show up – where one crooks goes, others will surely follow.

Cyber Security Risk Preparation

Computer Culture Admin - Wednesday, February 21, 2018
HP Cover the cyber security basics

- Patching, antivirus and a firewall

Understand how security breach could affect your company

- Data loss

- Compromise sensitive customer information

- Phishing and social engineering attacks

- Denial of service

- Blackmail

- Identity theft

Understand where the threats come from

- Email, rogue sites, careless staff members

Develop a Cyber Security Policy

- identify risks related to cyber security

- establish cyber security governance

- develop policies, procedures and oversight processes

- protect company networks and information

- identify and address risks associated with remote access to client information and funds transfer requests

- define and handle risks associated with vendors and other third parties

- be able to detect unauthorised activity

Reduce the risk from the Human Factor

- Privilege abuse

- Data mishandling

- Unapproved hardware (devices, external drives) and software

- Internet and email misuse

Have a Recovery Plan

- Develop a plan of what to do when there is a cyber attack

Communication Plan

- Understand what resources and actions you need to get the business productive again

Keep your infrastructure up to date

- Older hardware can be a significant risk as the support ends

OneDrive and SharePoint

Computer Culture Admin - Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Over this past year OneDrive and SharePoint have become one of the favoured cloud storage solutions.

As part of this migration to the cloud we set up users with a SharePoint team site.

A SharePoint team site connects you and your team to the content, information, and apps you rely on every day. For example, you can use a team site to store and collaborate on files or to create and manage lists of information. On a team site home page, you can view links to important team files, apps, and web pages and see recent site activity in the activity feed.

We then use a third-party backup application to carry out a cloud to cloud backup to protect the data.

Please call our sales team if you would like to find out if this technology is suitable for you?

5 Likely Technology Trends for 2018

Computer Culture Admin - Wednesday, February 21, 2018

1. Cryptocurrencies

Over this past year, Bitcoin has had a marked impact in the financial world, but there are dozens of other cryptocurrencies out there which are still evolving. There are several impediments to Bitcoins increased acceptance, partially caused by the volitivity in its trading price.  It only needs major financial institutions to recognise these currencies to change the landscape.

2. Blockchain

Blockchain is a digital ledger in which transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly. This technology will soon find its way into credit card companies and other industries where high security is required.

3. Social Media

Many expect that the impact of social media on our lives and news dissemination will only increase.

4. Augmented Reality

Already Apple and Samsung phones are capable of high end AR and recently there are new releases of advanced AR headsets.  Some are predicting the release of another app which will have a greater impact than Pokémon.

5. Virtual Assistants

Virtual assistants are in the market place in phones, however expect to see these built in to other devices such as your television in the near future.  Watch out for Samsung’s Bixby technology.

Your Desktop or Laptop is probably effected by the Intel Flaw

Computer Culture Admin - Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Meltdown and Spectre are two memory corruption flaws that could allow hackers to bypass operating systems and other security software to steal passwords or encryption keys on most types of computers. They are CPU hardware design flaws that we techies understand. In a nutshell, Meltdown breaks the isolation between the user app and the OS, so the app can do a memory dump and steal any data in it. Spectre goes further. It breaks the isolation between apps. It's harder to exploit but harder to mitigate.

Early in January this flaw was discovered and security patches that have been released to guard against this are slowing down personal computer and servers, with systems running on older Intel processors seeing a noticeable decrease in performance.

I own a computer, am I affected?
Probably. All 64-bit Intel processors are vulnerable to the exploit, so anyone who bought a desktop or laptop computer using an Intel central processing unit (CPU) in about the last 10 years, or who uses one at work, will be impacted. Intel has suggested processors made by rival AMD are also potentially vulnerable – a claim which AMD has played down – and it may take time for the dust to settle on those claims. British chip-designer ARM has reportedly indicated that some of its processors, which are widely used in smartphones, may also be affected.

What should I do?
Nothing. Software vendors will issue patches for the fault in the coming days and weeks and so long as automatic updates are turned on, these should self-install.
Rob Pope, chief executive of cyber security agency Cert NZ, says it is monitoring the situation and computers users should be "alert to the issue", but it hasn't as yet issued any specific advice.

Storm in a tea cup?
Not really. Intel has acknowledged the software fixes will slow down processes carried out on its CPUs, in some cases by 30 per cent or more. For some other tasks the performance overhead will be less than 2 per cent. Vice president Stephen Smith said the impact should not be significant "for the average computer user", but that is arguably optimistic. Computer servers in data centres that are used to run cloud computing services are more likely to experience a bigger impact than home PCs that are used for web browsing and gaming.

People may notice services that they access over the internet run a bit slower in the weeks and months ahead, even if software on their own computer is okay. Computer processors aren't always the "bottleneck" that determine how fast computers run, so it is impossible to be specific about the performance impact people can expect.

What is the flaw?
To speed up computing, modern computer processors will try to jump ahead to process software routines while they are still awaiting the outcome of another operation or instruction.
What Google's researchers discovered was that the results of those "speculative processes" can be stored in memory in a way that allows data to be accessed by software (including malicious software) that should not have the right to access that information.

Is that a big deal?
Yes. Smith noted that exploiting the flaw would be complex. But the vulnerability is so fundamental that it can't be ignored. It could expose almost anything on a computer to hackers, including passwords, Smith has acknowledged. The flaw appears especially concerning for usually-secure cloud computing platforms, where servers might be running a variety of software, processing information for a large number of businesses and individuals – all of which might be put at risk by a single exploit.

For the full article click here.

Security Watch 2018

Computer Culture Admin - Tuesday, January 23, 2018
2017 was quite a year for cyberattacks, including:

  • Equifax: A breach that led to the theft of personal information for hundreds of millions of US citizens.
  • Shadow Brokers: A hacking group that sold Windows exploits they allegedly stole from the NSA.
  • Google Docs: A sophisticated phishing scam that tried to compromise victims’ email accounts.
  • WannaCry: A ransomware attack that affected thousands of organizations, even harming hospitals in the UK.
  • Petya: Another ransomware attack that followed on the heels of WannaCry, affecting organizations in multiple countries.
  • Vault 7: A breach of the US Central Intelligence Agency that led to sensitive documents being published by WikiLeaks.

The experts expect that 2018 will be far worse and here is why:

Cybercrime has gone professional over the last 5 years. Attacks have become much more sophisticated and intense. The bad guys are now going after your employees. They bypass your firewall/antivirus security software and social engineer your employees to click on a malicious link or open an infected attachment.

From that point forward, they hack into your network and put keyloggers on accounting systems. You can guess the rest. A few days later the organisation’s bank accounts are empty, or valuable corporate intellectual property is stolen. Another cyberheist victim.

Social Engineering is the No. 1 go-to strategy for the bad guys. They are going after the human—the weakest link in IT security—and your last line of defence.

Ransomware is only going to get worse in 2018. Email is still their favourite attack vector, and their sophistication is increasing by the month. The downtime caused by ransomware can be massive.

Ransomware, the threat that seemed to smash all other cybersecurity topics in 2017, is still evolving by the day, and experts said companies should expect more sophisticated attacks in the new year.

Highly targeted phishing attempts, possibly powered by artificial intelligence; greater risks to shutting down industrial operations; and an increasing regulatory burden on preventing ransomware attacks are all part of the picture companies will need to consider in 2018.

Your Password Probably Needs to Be Changed

Computer Culture Admin - Tuesday, January 23, 2018
The email addresses and passwords of 771 million people have been published online during a gigantic data leak.

Personal data collected by a “spambot” called Onliner has been dumped on a server thought to be located in the Netherlands.This bot is designed to spread malware that steals banking details and infects people’s computers to pump out more viruses as well as vast amounts of spam.

Troy Hunt, who owns the website HaveIBeenPwned, said the leak was “the largest single set of data I’ve ever loaded into HIBP”. His website offers an easy way of finding out if your details have been published in a data breach.

“Just for a sense of scale, that’s almost one address for every single man, woman and child in all of Europe,” he said.  Mr Hunt said the incident is so severe that even he was caught up in it. He added: “The first place to start is with an uncomfortable truth: my email address is in there. Twice.”

Anyone whose email address is on the list is likely to be hit by a barrage of spam. If your email address is on the list, your account could be taken over and turned into a spam factory or used to distribute dangerous malware.

To see if your email and password could be compromised click here.

Kiwis Scammed out of Millions of Dollars

Computer Culture Admin - Tuesday, January 23, 2018

New Zealanders have lost more than $1.9 million to cyber security issues in the past nine months. Specifically, $1.1 million was scammed during the third quarter of 2017, bringing the total financial loss to $1.9 million since the launch of CERT NZ in April.

CERT NZ takes reports from all Kiwis about how they have been affected by cyber security, with plans in place to assist in recovery strategies. Reports they received in the third quarter show that NZ's geographic isolation is no barrier to being affected by these threats. In that quarter CERT NZ received 390 incident reports of which the vast majority, 297, were responded to by the organisation.

They have seen an increase in targeted invoice scams and a 50% decrease in ransomware reports. As a result, they encourage all Kiwis affected by cyber security issues to report any incidents to CERT NZ, so they can give advice on how to avoid and overcome them.

Security Spending
The rise in cybercrime across the country follows news that worldwide enterprise security spending will total US$96.3 billion in 2018, representing an increase of eight per cent from 2017.

According to Gartner research, organisations are spending more on security as a result of regulations, shifting buyer mindset, awareness of emerging threats and the evolution to a digital business strategy. “Overall, a large portion of security spending is driven by an organisation's reaction toward security breaches as more high profile cyberattacks and data breaches affect organisations worldwide,” Gartner research director Ruggero Contu observed. “Cyber-attacks such as WannaCry and NotPetya, and most recently the Equifax breach, have a direct effect on security spend, because these types of attacks last up to three years.” As outlined by Contu, this is validated by Gartner's 2016 security buying behaviour survey.

Of the 53 per cent of organisations that cited security risks as the no.1 driver for overall security spending, the highest percentage of respondents said that a security breach is the main security risk influencing their spending. Consequently, security testing, IT outsourcing and security information and event management (SIEM) will be among the fastest-growing security subsegments driving growth in the infrastructure protection and security services segments.

In addition, Gartner forecasts that by 2020, more than 60 per cent of organisations will invest in multiple data security tools such as data loss prevention, encryption and data-centric audit and protections tools, up from approximately 35 per cent today.

Skills shortages, technical complexity and the threat landscape will continue to drive the move to automation and outsourcing.“Skill sets are scarce and therefore remain at a premium, leading organisations to seek external help from security consultants, managed security service providers and outsourcers,” Contu added. “In 2018, spending on security outsourcing services will total $18.5 billion, an 11 per cent increase from 2017. The IT outsourcing segment is the second-largest security spending segment after consulting.”  By 2019, Gartner predicts that total enterprise spending on security outsourcing services will be 75 per cent of the spending on security software and hardware products, up from 63 per cent in 2016.

Contu said enterprise security budgets are also shifting towards detection and response, and this trend will drive security market growth during the next five years. “This increased focus on detection and response to security incidents has enabled technologies such as endpoint detection and response, and user entity and behaviour analytics to disrupt traditional markets such as endpoint protection platforms and SIEM,” Contu added.

For the original article click here.

Leveraging New Technology, Employee Satisfaction, & Business Success

Computer Culture Admin - Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Overall, the research indicates that organisations investing in workplace technology are more likely to be successful in the APAC market than those that don't. In fact, 89% of respondents who rate their companies as above average in business performance also believe their companies are technology focused. Employees of successful businesses are over two times more likely to rate their organisation as 'extremely focused’ on technology when compared to those who rate their companies as below-average performing businesses.

Leveraging new technologies
Technology was cited as the top priority for APAC professionals. However, what’s interesting is that 72% of ANZ businesses are ‘not at all focused’ or ‘somewhat focused’ on leveraging technology to empower productivity and improve employee experiences. Furthermore, only 16% of ANZ professionals consider technology to be an ‘enabler of automating menial tasks to save time.’ 

So where does this put ANZ in relation to the wider APAC market?
ANZ falls below the APAC average of 23% for leveraging technology, indicating that ANZ professionals are behind when it comes to recognising the full potential of technology to overcome business challenges. Mark Henley, director of transformation and digital strategy at Adobe, Asia Pacific, comments, “In the current Experience Business era, smart organisations are realising that outstanding customer experiences hinge on their ability to attract the best people.” “As a result, businesses today must strategically invest in workplace technologies to drive productivity and deliver a compelling experience for employees.”

Man vs machine
Nearly 1 in 3 (34%) of ANZ professionals surveyed state that they are “anxious about the impact” of artificial intelligence and machine learning. However, they are significantly more optimistic about these technologies compared to their APAC counterparts; 73% of APAC professionals say they are either 'somewhat' or 'extremely concerned' about the impact of new tech.

Millennials drive innovation
While technology spearheads innovation at the workplace, the report finds that young employees are also driving positive transformation. Some of the top ways young workers are driving change across the organisation include by sparking creative thinking and innovative projects, creating diverse and open-minded environments, and propagating social media use and engagement.

Enabling work-life balance in mega-cities
62% of respondents were based in major metropolitan cities, with populations of more than 5 million, and the survey finds that technology is critical to enabling work-life balance for office workers across APAC. Almost two-thirds of these office workers rated the wide availability of job opportunities, lifestyle choices, and infrastructural facilities as top reasons for choosing to live in the region’s major cities. These respondents named 24x7 availability and the ability to work across all their devices as the most important ways technology can accelerate their productivity.

The Future of Work: APAC Study included more than 4,700 APAC office workers who use a computer daily for work. The research was conducted from October 17 to November 13, 2017. The survey included working professionals from various sectors across 10 countries - Australia, New Zealand, India, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

For the original article click here.

Cyber Monday (27th November 2017)

Computer Culture Admin - Monday, December 18, 2017

Your age, gender, and location can determine how likely you are to fall victim to internet crime on the biggest online shopping day of the year, according to a new report from OpenVPN.


In the USA, last year's Cyber Monday (Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday) was the biggest online shopping day in the history of US e-commerce, with $3.39 billion spent online. This year's promises to be even larger. However, malicious attacks against consumers increase almost 40% on Cyber Monday, and online shoppers need to be more vigilant than ever to ensure the safety of their personal information.


To help consumers better understand their risk of falling victim to an attack, a new report from OpenVPN analysed cybercrimes reported to the FBI and CSN in 2015 and 2016—concentrating on internet crime, fraud, and identity theft. With this data, researchers found the states that were affected most in the country for cybercrime victims, the amount of money lost, the number of victims, and the most victimized sex and age.


In terms of gender, men fell victim to cybercrime more, 75% more often than women, the report found—possibly because men spend more money online, it noted. In terms of age the report found, people over age 50 were the group most likely to fall victim to attacks in about 30 states.

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