Posts Tagged ‘san francisco’

Ransomware Hits Light-rail System, Resulting in Lost Revenue

Brian Heckert

Principal Content Editor, Dell EMC
My first long-term exposure to technology was the typewriter. I still love that invention, which really sparked my interest in writing. For the past 20 years, I have worked in high tech as a content development specialist, marketing writer, and documentation editor. Prior to working in the software industry, I was a journalist, photographer, photo editor, and military fire fighter. After hours, I enjoy spending time with family, reading, and hiking in the mountains.

Ransomware really gets around, faster than even the best form of mass transportation can move busy commuters to work.

ransomware-on-the-rail

Recently, ransomware caused the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority (SFMTA) light-rail system to lose revenue when the organization shut down ticket machines and fare gates as a precaution to the malware attack. According to the SFMTA site, ransomware infected mainly 900 office computers. However, another source claimed that more than 2,000 computers were infected, including office admin desktops, CAD workstations, email and print servers, employee laptops, payroll systems, SQL databases, lost and found property terminals and station kiosk PCs.

The ransomware scrambled the data on infected hard drives, posted a message on corresponding computers (“You Hacked, ALL Data Encrypted, Contact For Key (cryptom27@yandex.com) ID:601.”), then demanded a 100 Bitcoin ransom (approximately US$75,000) before the cybercriminals would agree to hand over a master decryption key that would allow the SFMTA to decipher the data ransomed on the infected hard drives.

Ransomware is a threat to businesses that already costs millions of dollars each year, and unfortunately is prevalent and grows more sophisticated. There are literally millions of new malware variants each year. In 2015 there were 431 million variants added, according to the Internet Security Threat Report.

Using a variety of attacks, criminals can inject malware into your network, which then holds your data or other systems hostage until you pay a ransom. Ransomware gains access to a computer system through a network’s weakest link, which is typically a user’s email or social networking site. Once a user clicks on a malicious link or opens an infected attachment, the malware spreads quickly throughout the system.

When a file or other data is held for ransom, the affected organization must meet the financial demands of the cybercriminal in exchange for a decryption key to “unlock” the ransomed data. If you don’t pay the ransom, you forfeit access to your computer and the data that’s on it. You also forfeit access for others to shared documents and data, compounding the impact exponentially. You might think that’s the worst case. Not so. (more…)

What This Year’s Super Bowl and Cloud Data Protection Have in Common

Lori Witzel

Product Marketing Manager, Spanning by EMC
Lori Witzel is a Salesforce MVP, has worked with and for SaaS companies since 2005, and has been sharing info with, listening to, and learning from tech users ever since. She is currently PMM for Spanning Backup for Salesforce, as well as PMM for Spanning Backup for Google Apps. Prior to Spanning Backup, Lori worked for various early-stage Cloud start-ups, mid-sized middleware providers, and ed tech firms, and she’s always eager to learn more. Lori's profile on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/loriwitzel

This year’s Super Bowl could be characterized as “The D-Bowl” – a contest that may be decided by who had the best defense. While the two final contenders are still TBD at the date of this blog’s writing [editor update – the final two are the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers], as FiveThirtyEight’s Neil Paine wrote regarding the NFL’s Final Four, “…defensively, this might be the best quartet of teams in any conference championship round.”data protection defense

So what on earth do the Final Four have in common with SaaS and cloud data protection? You guessed it! It’s all about the D, and protecting what’s most valuable in an organization. According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, one of the definitions of “defense” is a “means or method of defending or protecting oneself, one’s team, or another.” The Super Bowl finalists and EMC’s Cloud Data Protection both have strengths in protecting their teams, and in reducing the risk of loss.

For example, let’s think about Salesforce, a popular SaaS and cloud customer relationship management platform, one we use at EMC. Salesforce data is often used to populate sales pipeline reports, and that data also flows downstream into ERP systems. It contains information vital for executive management planning and resource allocation. Now imagine, if you will, that something happens to cause Salesforce data loss during the last two weeks of a quarter – what would THAT do to the reporting needed within an organization?

I know, you’re skeptical – Salesforce surely provides extensive data protection and recovery for its platform. And I’d agree that Salesforce is redundant, secure, and has a great record for uptime. But Salesforce has no way to distinguish changes made by mistake from changes made on purpose. They cannot protect an organization from admin errors, or third-party application sync errors, or custom misconfigurations that lead to data loss. (more…)

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