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The Changing Nature of Ransomware

Lance Waterly

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Ransomware is on the rise. In 2014, ransomware was the 22nd most common form of malware. By 2016, it was the 5th. Due to the increased success of ransomware attacks, and the relative ease of distributing it, it has become a favorite of hackers and data thieves. But like all pernicious malware, ransomware is changing. Here, we’ll examine some of the ways ransomware is changing its nature.

Ransomware is Becoming More Profitable

Malware attacks are typically carried out to extract profit, mine information, embarrass the victim, or to cause chaos. A successful ransomware attack encrypts and locks user data.

This means that computers that run business operations are inaccessible and can cause daily actions to grind to a halt.

Many small and medium-sized businesses are unaware of how to remove Ransomware. Without a thorough plan in place, data restoration can be a complex if not impossible process. Because of this, many businesses choose to pay the ransom for restored access. The cost of paying a ransom has only risen. According to the 2017 Internet Security Threat Report, the average profit for ransomware attacks has risen from $294 in 2015 to $1,077 in 2017.

For many small and medium-sized businesses, a one-time payment of around $1,000 can seem like a quick, easy way to end the situation. However, according to managed service security experts, paying the ransom may not restore your access and may not be your best option. In fact, one in five businesses that paid a ransom didn’t receive restored data or access.

The newly mainstream nature of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin is beginning to empower ransomware attacks. These transactions methods naturally protect identity; payments made this way are not traceable in the same ways credit card transactions are. If the potential of safe profit remains for propagators of ransomware, the frequency of attacks of this nature will only increase.

Public Shaming

Ransomware attacks will begin to use public shaming more often as an element of extortion. Attacks like the one against San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency will become more common in the foreseeable future. This attack displayed a ransom on all Muni station screens, locking out user access and denying riders from purchasing and redeeming tickets. This kind of public shaming attempts to manipulate public opinion in order to secure the demanded ransom.

Eroding consumer trust is one of the most malicious aspects of a public ransomware attack. Organizations that utilize public facing digital screens can expect to face increased attempts to compromise their systems. That includes ATMs, digital advertisements and billboards, self-checkout kiosks, and other outward facing displays that are connected to the main computer system.

If these public shaming styled ransomware attacks prove to be successful, they will only increase in the future. Public shaming demonstrates that ransomware attacks are not always carried out for profit. These attacks are also carried out to damage reputations, decrease public trust, and cause general chaos.

Ransomware As Chaos

Because ransomware attacks enable the author to lock access to data and computer systems, future ransomware attacks may be employed to cause chaos with little regard to extracting ransom payments. As more and more hackers utilize ransomware they will begin to use it for other purposes.

State-sponsored attacks may utilize this malware to disable daily functions of other states. What’s more, ransomware campaigns may focus on voting computers in an attempt to erode confidence in elections. Or worse, to hinder the voting ability of a nation.

Ransomware Evolves to Evade Detection

Ransomware viruses typically attack vulnerabilities in older operating systems and systems without security software in place. However, modern ransomware viruses are being written without an executable file. This allows the malware to bypass some security measures by appearing legitimate.

These new ransomware families can avoid detection by traditional security software. Because they take advantage of scripting language to hijack and encrypt files they may appear legitimate to older, out of date security protocols.

The changing nature of ransomware attacks means security measures must evolve as well.

Email Attacks

Most ransomware spam attacks are filtered by email providers—Google, Apple, Microsoft, and so on. However, ransomware authors are looking to write viruses that slip through large-scale spam filters.

As more ransomware spam makes it to email inboxes, employee actions become more important. Ensure your organization utilizes employee practices to avoid downloading or opening malicious emails.  

Safeguard Your Organization

If your business is hit with a ransomware attack, your options are somewhat limited. You can pay the ransom and hope you receive restored access, you can contact IT security firms in the hopes that a decryption algorithm exists, or you can count your losses, wipe your system, and start over.

Of course, the best defense against ransomware is a good offense. There are a number of steps you can follow to safeguard your organization from attacks.

Ensure you regularly update your security and operating systems, consider weekly or even daily backups on unconnected servers, institute employee education to avoid simple mistakes like opening spam email or visiting suspicious websites, and work with cyber security experts to ensure your system is secure and up to date.

Ransomware is quickly becoming one of the most malicious cyber threats facing small and medium-sized businesses. Strong prevention measures will help your organization stay ahead of ransomware attacks.

Lance Waterly is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley, CA. He spent nearly twenty years working with IT solutions companies since the earliest versions of the world wide web, and now enjoys writing about his experiences while giving advice to businesses to keep the industry moving forward. In his free time, he takes his grandkids on long walks through their neighborhood.

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Finance

3 Technologies Revolutionizing Online Business

Steven Sanders

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Modern technology has proven itself disruptive time and again which has allowed businesses to flourish and advance in industries like education, manufacturing, logistics, and finance. Disruptive innovation is also disrupting companies from Google to Microsoft. While in the past the disruptions were unexpected, it has allowed business owners and entrepreneurs to see how the innovative ideas are lucrative opportunities that improve business models significantly. Here are three transformative technologies that are revolutionizing businesses worldwide.

1. API Integration

An application program interface (API) is a software building application tool that determines how API components interact. Partnering with a skilled API Integration company will help companies identify API sets that best connect hardware and software and allow user devices, programs, and data to function and interact with one another. Companies need API integration for many reasons, including to:

  • Connect to cloud apps
  • Develop new APIs
  • Extract data from legacy systems
  • Write new apps
  • Increase productivity
  • Manage APIs in-house
  • New technology integration
  • Develop product or service ideas
  • Generate software solutions for end-users

Some of the most popular APIs utilized by companies include YouTube, Google Maps, Twitter and Amazon. As technology progresses, API integration offers limitless possibilities for companies to expand as growth and revenue do.

2. Artificial Intelligence

Thinking about artificial intelligence (AI) in the past mostly innovative thought process, but today it is a mainstream tool used in daily business operations to improve efficiency and productivity. By 2030, experts predict that AI will contribute $15.7 trillion to the global economy and 26 percent gross domestic product to local economies. As more businesses pop up online, APIs will customize customer experiences and analyze data that interprets consumer buying histories to predict future product or service trends. It will also help companies use predictive AI to target new demographics based on behaviors.

What is clear about AI is that it is set to disrupt more companies in the future because of quantum computing that will be smarter and more complex than how we are using it now. It will solve problems like global warming, poverty, space exploration, and disease all because of AI superhuman quantum computer systems that will dissect and analyze data in seconds without programmers feeding them commands. Popular AI in use today includes Siri, Alexa, Cognito, Netflix, and Amazon. The next generation of AI will include facial recognition, augmented reality, internet of things connectivity, emotional replication, drone delivery, and voice or visual search platforms.

3. Blockchain Cryptocurrencies

For the past few years, blockchain cryptocurrencies have thrown many industries into a disruptive state as it decentralized how companies buy, sell and store data. Blockchain uses transparent ledgers to connect an extensive network of users, so it has a reputation of being a tamper-proof way to make transactions, which is an indispensable tool to e-marketers. Blockchain technology like Smart Contracts will also become mainstream, which will allow businesses to use it to secure financial transactions via cryptocurrency exchanges.

Companies must prepare for the future of AI and blockchain technology by investing in the type of resources that transforms new talent and streamlines information technology departments to win in business.

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Technology

The Cost Of Building a Social Media App

Steven Sanders

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Stages of Social Media Development

  • Product Vision
  • UI/UX Design
  • Architectural design
  • Develop & Testing
  • Publishing

However, when it comes to creating a social media application, there are some things that have to be considered.

First, it’s important to decide what app it will be. In general, all social media apps are divided into two groups: cross-platform and native ones. Usually, we work with native platforms, and there are a few reasons for that.

Native applications made for specific operating systems, whether its iOS or Android. Cross-platform applications work for both OS systems, making it cheaper while you won’t have to hire multiple developers to create each OS.

But, creating a native app can have some issues. For instance, it’s not as convenient as cross-platform devices and isn’t able to use every function within a mobile device such as geolocation. And in this guide, we’ll help you determine the social network development cost so that you can create the next Facebook!

Success Factors

There are some factors that must be considered if you want your app to be successful, increase user’s trust, and bring them pleasant impressions of your first app:

  • Fast Speed
  • Appealing design, engaging animation, and an intuitive UX and UI
  • Easy communication access for users
  • Security of financial and personal information
  • Great possibilities for sharing and content creation, open social network

Optional Features

There are some features that are used to serve the goal of your social media application and help it stand out from the competition. For instance, if the social media app is created around events, it needs to have an event feature and a calendar. If its main idea is photos, shopping, geolocation, and camera rows are the main solutions for its success.

  • Offline guides
  • User activity history
  • User Experience
  • Geolocation
  • Offline work

There is a large number of optional features that can be added to your app, and these costs can vary based on the complexity of the project.

How Much is the Social Network Development Cost?

In general, there are two ways you can pay for developing your social network app.

  1. Fixed-price
  2. Hourly price

Fixed price scheme states that you and your development team will agree on a set price for the entire project. This is based on a detailed plan based on the development process. And the price for hourly jobs is higher than usual, based on the possible risks.

At the same time, paying your development team hourly means that you’ll have to pay for every hour of the project and on each stage of the project. In this payment plan, it’s easier to change the project based on its development stage and effectively control the process.

For simple apps, expect to pay around $10,000. But if you’re trying to implement advanced features such as a responsive website design and geolocation, it might cost around $50,000-$100,000 for it to work correctly. And if you’re going for an enterprise-level product, then expect to pay $250,000 for a dedicated IT team to complete the project.

Conclusion

Now that you know the social network development costs, you can now hire a team to help build your first app. Remember, your app needs to be appealing to your audience, so keep your target audience in mind throughout the duration of the project. Thus, you’ll be able to get your app developed and create a compelling social network for your users.

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Software

Network Olympus and Your Organization: A Quick Guide

Steven Sanders

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Long gone are the days of direct monitoring to employees. While this system works, it’s better to have software that helps you monitor your corporate network. With Network Olympus, it gives you the ability to monitor the uptime and performance of the network appliances and computers.

We understand that performance is a key part of maintaining a long-term business. And with this system, you can get alerted if the performance indicators go below a certain level. Thus, using remote networks is a great way to ensure that your business is running properly while preventing insider threats from harming your organization.

Fortunately, we’ll show you why companies are looking at network-olympus.com. The benefits that the software gives you will help you stay ahead of your competitors.

Mobile Team Management

Being able to access your network remotely prevents the need to stay on site constantly. If you have to work from home or your local coffee shop, remote access does this for staff living in remote cities, offices, countries, or branches to assess the network’s performance – even if the software is installed on the headquarters.

This means that if your device doesn’t work in a remote expert, network specialists can help you fix the problem without too much viewing on your end. They can see the network maps and updated metric themselves.

Access Levels

Having access to a remote network give your team better-increased security. Some network administrators don’t like the concept of remote access is through using encrypted authentication and ensuring that the user logs in with the right method.

Another feature for security issue protection is by data encryption. By doing this, it allows you to customize the user access. Most of the Mount Olympus remote monitoring tools will give you access to the admin or user level to enable maps or dashboards. By managing this access to users, you’ll have complete control over your network and protect the connection.

Also, you should get a tool that will consistently update and create patches for any security holes that occur. While these security threats are common, good security tools help notify users once the patch is launched.  This allows you to take control of the advanced security measures fully.

Constant Access

When using network-olympus, users have more access because of their remote capabilities. As long as you’re on a network due to VPN connectivity and or a point-to-point, you’ll be able to manage and utilize connected devices on the network. Regardless of your location or where they’re located.

By having more remote capabilities for your IT team, you’ll have the flexibility to handle the tasks that the modern world demands. And you’ll have peace of mind because you can see your network from a glance, whether that comes from a city, country, or a world.

Concluding Thoughts

Overall, network-olympus.com is perfect if you’re trying to manage a team of 10-50 employees. By using their software you’ll experience increased productivity, remote network management, and better employee communication. Thus, we suggest you try out Network Olympus and see how it improves the functionality of your team.

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