Computing Security Awards Finalist Image

Computing Security Awards 2021

At Custodian360 we are proud to announce that we have been nominated in two categories at this years Computing Security Awards.

We have been nominated for Security Service Provider of the Year and also for Customer Service Award – Security. There’s some stiff competition in both categories but voting is now open so you have your chance to cast a vote for Custodian360 right here.

With the continued emphasis on remote working due to the Covid-19 epidemic and numerous high profile attacks and data leaks 2021 has been another challenging year for the Cyber Security Industry. The key factors in getting through this period, though, are the unstinting efforts of suppliers and software developers, and the provisions they have made to help their clients and customers who are having to adopt these new ways of working.

With the Computing Security Awards, we have an opportunity to think about the providers and solutions within the industry that you think have supported or assisted you most and who have upheld the traditions of the industry over the last year.

Every vote counts so don’t forget to vote today in both the Security Service Provider of the Year & Customer Service Award – Security categories.

Respect in Security Pledge

Custodian360 backs Respect in Security to remove harassment from the industry.

At Custodian360 we are proud to have signed up to Respect in Security and took our corporate pledge earlier this week. Respect in Security is an initiative setup to take a stand against all forms of harassment and support victims both online and in the workplace. As a corporate partner we will continue to ensure that all members of our team have a safe workplace, free from harassment or abuse.

The infosec community is a fantastic thing, made up of people from all walks of life but for too long there has been an underbelly that has soured the experience for some. If we all take a stand to stamp out any form of harassment and work to create a diverse and inclusive community the fantastic industry that we are lucky enough to work in will become and even better place.

Custodian360, as a member of the cybersecurity community committed to the prevention of all forms of harassment within our industry, hereby pledges its support for a workplace and community free from harassment and fear.

Harassment is any unwanted physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct that has the purpose or effect of either violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. Harassment may be persistent or an isolated incident and may manifest obviously or be hidden or insidious. It may take place in person, by telephone or in writing, including emails, texts, or online communications such as social media. The definition of harassment applies equally to situations of direct communication as it does to situations of active exclusion of individuals, or solicitation of such communication or exclusion.

This pledge applies in the workplace as well as in work-related settings outside the workplace or outside the regular business day. We pledge that:

We will work to eliminate harassment, to include all employees, partners, customers, and interactions. Any form of harassment, even when not unlawful or directed at a protected category, will not be tolerated.

We will not tolerate, condone, or ignore any form of harassment no matter where it occurs, or the personnel involved.

We will ensure that staff members are not asked to operate in unsafe organisational or social environments.

We will empower employees, contractors and third parties to come forward with reports without fear of retaliation, and to immediately and respectfully respond without prejudice. We recognise that those reporting harassment are not in any way disloyal to the company or the community, and that everyone deserves to work in a positive environment.

We will protect the anonymity of those reporting suspected violations to the greatest extent reasonably possible.

We will regularly educate employees and contractors what constitutes harassment and why it’s never acceptable, while continually maintaining and actively reviewing our policy and reporting mechanisms.

We will regularly discuss reporting protocol with our employees and ensure that we make a public version of this protocol publicly available for external reference and use.

Custodian360 and The ICC Group.

Custodian360 are excited to be partnering with The ICC Group to bolster and support them in providing critical managed security to their existing customers and new. 

With the ever-changing world of technology and the speed at which it moves, it is now more important than ever to keep up. Adding new solutions to The ICC Groups portfolio to complement their existing services has become a key focus for them. Custodian360 are pleased to work with The ICC Group to accelerate the ability to detect and respond to the increasing volume of endpoint threats, which is now more than ever, critical to any organisation.  

For The ICC Groups customers this will mean in addition to monitoring their customers networks, keeping downtime to a minimum from hardware failures, they are now able to provide further support to also reduce their downtime due to security breaches. 

Nikki Webb, Global Channel Manager for Custodian360 had this to say,  “I have had the pleasure of working with Jason Kay for the last couple of years and I have always found him to be astute and committed to the task in hand, he has a real passion and understanding of his customers’ Cyber Security needs. I think The ICC Group are currently making all the right moves as an MSP and we are excited to be on this journey with them. Cyber Security is at the forefront of every organisation’s critical planning and I have no doubt that Jason Kay and his dedicated team at The ICC Group will ensure their customers, new and old, will benefit from such partnerships.”

As a Custodian360 MSP, we can provide you with solutions to bolster your portfolio, including our Gartner leading fully managed EDR and EPP solution against ransomware, persistent threats and other malware, removing the support burden.  Along with this we provide world class partner support, we are a channel only privately owned company who support MSP’s around the world, if you are interested in finding out more about our partner program then please get in touch with 

Emotet Returns

Emotet Trojan


Since its initial discovery in 2014, the Emotet trojan has become an increasingly dangerous and persistent threat to users and organisations across the globe. The US Department of Homeland Security CISA division, refers to emotet as ‘among the most costly and destructive malware’ affecting from small to large scale organisations of both the private and public sectors.

Emotet started out as a way to steal users banking details, the scope and capabilities of this trojan have changed drastically.

From spreading itself across a network infecting other machines to skimming Outlook contact information to use in spear phishing attacks to stealing browser history, user credentials and installing other malware such as backdoors and ransomware, emotet can be extremely damaging to an organisation. Also, due to Emotet being polymorphic and able to constantly change and modify itself, it is increasingly difficult to detect and prevent against using typical signature-based methods with hundreds of unique payload variants discovered daily.

Phishing Email Example

Phishing Email Example

Emotet trojans will generally arrive on a user’s machine via emails like the above example. Spam emails spoofing common brands and institutions (banks, government departments) with layouts and language designed to encourage the user to click on the malicious attachment or link to sites hosting the document for download.

Crimeware-as-a-service (CaaS) helps ensure that new versions of these email attachments can be generated and distributed on a near constant basis ensuring its ability to evade traditional AV on Zero-day.

We regularly see new Emotet detections and an example of a malicious emotet attachment that one of our agents detected had been created only 4 hours prior.

VT History

In a short span of time, a new .doc attachment was generated with a new file hash value which would be unknown to a traditional AV solution was attached and emailed to an unsuspecting user ready for the morning inbox clear-out.

At the time of the detection, our threat researcher uploaded a copy of the threat file to VirusTotal where only 8 other Vendors were aware of and had the file marked as malicious.

VT Detections

This means that on many other AV solutions, the file would have been allowed to run and would not have been detected.

For this example, the user clicks on the attachment unaware as the document starts delivery of the Emotet payload.

From the attack storyline on our management console, we can see that as soon as the doc is opened, it attempts to utilise PowerShell to run obfuscated code. Code obfuscation is one of the methods used by hackers to evade static analysis engines in Anti-Virus and help disguise their activity.

Story Line

In this case, the PowerShell code attempts to create a network connection to reach out to a compromised domain online and download the additional emotet payload to the users’ machine to exploit further.

For any business, such an attack could cause severe consequences that would translate to high financial costs and reputational damage.

In this case, the threat was detected by the behavioural engine of the agent which was able to determine that the activity exhibited by the threat was malicious and then, autonomously killed and quarantined the threat from the users’ machine. After the threat was investigated by our security analysts, the threat was successfully remediated against without any disruption or compromise to the user’s machine.

Without our agent in place on the user’s machine, the result may not have been as favourable.


Alex James – Lead Security Analyst – Custodian360

5 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Anti-Virus

It shouldn’t be news to anyone that cyber threats are on the increase, and the requirement to have an effective security solution has never been more pressing as advanced hacking techniques continue to proliferate in the wild.

With the market awash with vendors making bold claims and news stories making even bolder headlines, it can be hard to separate the fact from the fiction. If you’re new to endpoint security, here’s the five basic things to ensure that you get right about the options available.

1. Viruses Aren’t the Only Threat

Security threats have evolved beyond all recognition from the early days of the computer virus, but most security solutions still carry the term “anti-virus” in their name, which is really something of a misnomer in the modern threatscape.

The reality is that cyber attacks take many different forms that have nothing to do with being a virus, and they can range from the indiscriminate to the highly targeted. These include ransomware, spear-phishing, drive-by attacks and both software and hardware vulnerabilities that can lead to loss of customer and corporate data.

And don’t fall into the trap of thinking your business is too small to be targeted. Attackers are now weaponizing machine learning to produce highly-targeted campaigns, at low cost to themselves.

Also, don’t forget that threats can come from within; disgruntled employees know the weaknesses of your system better than any outsider. Good endpoint security needs to be able to detect bad behaviour no matter the point of origin.

2. Malicious Files Aren’t the Whole Story

Most people think that security software works by scanning files on the local computer and deciding whether they are malicious or not. Like the term ‘anti-virus’, that’s a bit of an old-fashioned way of thinking about it. Although there are still legacy AV programs that primarily work in that way, even they will usually offer some additional functions such as blocking malicious websites or detecting excessive use of resources typically used by ransomware and crypto-miners.

However, for truly effective protection, you should be looking at security solutions that do more than that. Today’s cyber criminals are able to leverage fileless attacks, change DNS settings to re-route your network traffic and inject code into legitimate processes. A legacy AV solution that primarily focuses on scanning for malicious files is, like last week’s soup, well past its sell-by-date.

3. Trust is a System Weak Point

As we hinted in the previous point, untrusted software is not the only danger on your endpoint. Even first-party and established software brands can be leveraged to breach your system.

While MS Office Macro attacks have a long history, Macro-less attacks such as DDE can exploit vulnerabilities that will bypass many security solutions because they appear to be coming from trusted applications. Similarly, most businesses will likely have a need for legitimate PowerShell operations, and yet PowerShell-powered attacks are becoming increasingly common. You need a security solution that’s smart enough to allow PowerShell to maintain your productivity, but also able to ensure that it can tell the difference between malicious and legitimate behaviour.

Modern malware can also run without interference on many systems running AV solutions if it is able to operate with system-level privileges, whether through a privilege escalation vulnerability or other methods of infection. This is because many AV packages take the wrong approach by granting trust by identity, rather than by behaviour. When security solutions take this kind of “whitelisting” approach, the endpoint is left vulnerable to supply chain attacks and fake certificates.

4. There’s Power in Simplicity

Security software doesn’t have to be hard to use, and you shouldn’t have to be a security expert to manage it. Unfortunately, a lot of security software gives business owners just that impression, overcomplicating things with diagnostic tools and components that require specialist training courses to master. Be sure to choose an endpoint solution that minimizes maintenance tasks, presents a clean, easy-to-understand interface and provides one-click remediation.

You want a solution that anyone in your team can quickly learn and operate. It’s important for business continuity that knowledge of your security solution is not tied to specially-trained members of staff. Who knows how long before they move on, taking their expert knowledge of your security solution with them?

5. Security is a Mindset, Not a Product

Probably the biggest thing you can get wrong about AV software is believing that it can solve all your security issues in one fell swoop. Threats come in many shapes and forms: from indiscriminate ransomware attacks to disgruntled employees. What’s your plan of action when (don’t think “if”) a breach occurs? How will you respond? Failure to have a response plan in place could mean greater damage to your customers, your data and your reputation.

This is why you need an endpoint solution that can be part of your entire response plan. A cross-platform solution like SentinelOne can provide deep visibility into even encrypted traffic across your network,  one-click remediation and rollback, and a single, holistic agent that’s simple to use.

Our Takeaway

Ignore the stereotype of sophisticated cybercriminals targeting billion-dollar businesses. Most attacks are opportunistic and target not the wealthy or famous, but the unprepared. According to a 2018 SentinelOne survey of US companies, 56 percent suffered a ransomware attack in the last year. Given that the majority of organisations will be hacked over their lifetime, it is imperative that organisations have the necessary tools to spot and stop an attack quickly and effectively.

This is why you need an endpoint solution that can be part of your entire response plan. A cross-platform solution like SentinelOne, provided by Custodian360 can provide deep visibility into even encrypted traffic across your network, one-click remediation and rollback, and a single, holistic agent that’s simple to use.


This blog was first posted by Migo Kedem

Trickbot Trojan On The Rise

Over the last month, we’ve noticed an increased amount of weaponised trojan documents detected by our Custodian360 agent.

Criminals have setup a large variety of fake email campaigns spoofing email domains to imitate genuine emails typically from financial institutions such as PayPal, HMRC, Sage, Barclays etc.  They typically use language which demand the user’s attention such as an “unpaid invoice” or “bill attached” and have a weaponised document attached for the user to open.

i Example of spoof email (Screenshot taken

Once opened, the threat will attempt to use exploits and vulnerabilities in Office to gain ability to create system process and download additional malicious payloads all without the users’ knowledge.

Whilst newer versions of Office have additional protections and countermeasures against this type of attach, many businesses still run older versions of Office. In a 2017 survey by Spiceworks, 68% of companies are still running instances of Office 2007 which won’t have sufficient protective measures in place against this type of threat.

Custodian360 effectively protects against this type of threat by using documents and scripts analysis engine to prevent their execution including unknown zero-day campaigns.

However, end users should still be advised to be vigilant and avoid opening unknown attachments and companies should be encouraged to move away from using older versions of office due to the vulnerabilities and increased security risk which these types of threats attempt to exploit.

Data Snapshot: The state of productivity suites in the workplace

Found on Spiceworks:

Alex James – Lead Security Analyst – Custodian360

Gartner’s New Buzzword

Gartner have a new buzzword, Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR). We want you to find the solutions that enable you to deliver it and deliver it profitably!

EDR – is the acronym for Endpoint Detection and Response which is one of the hottest topics for 2018 in the industry. 2017 saw the real emergence of EDR but 2018 is shaping up to dwarf last year.

Industry analyst Gartner, spawned the concept in 2013 has concluded that a more proactive approach is now needed, no longer can we simply attempt to block attacks, we must provide early and effective detection to minimise dwell time and damage and quite simply, this is what EDR provides.

EDR allows service providers, resellers and IT companies to climb the value chain by adding this solution to their portfolio and providing a valuable new layer of protection to customers’ security infrastructure.

All of this is great, but it only works of your chosen EDR is rapid to deploy, easy to use and manage and most importantly, profitable.

How do you make EDR profitable?

Complexity jumps straight out as a consideration; most solutions require multiple agents, and this adds a huge overhead into your management of the solution on your customers behalf. If they are managing themselves then it’s likely they won’t have the resource need to manage to solution.

Most EDR solutions, because of the way that they work are very “noisy”, huge amounts of alerts are generated, and these then have to be sifted through by a human. As has always been the case with other ground-breaking solutions, this makes them useless because of the time it takes to get to the right alerts.

It sounds as though all we are offering here is a complex and noisy solution. Unless this becomes a tick box on a compliance form will it ever offer value to you or your customers?

It’s a simple answer, and that answer is yes. Many new players are releasing their versions of EDR but the market leader is still SentinelOne and as their MSSP Partner Custodian360 simplifies the solution even more.

Custodian360: Giving you the tools and resource to provide value

Custodian360 is the only way to obtain SentinelOne as a fully managed service.

What does this mean for you? It means you can deploy the market leading EDR solution to your customers with no need to “skill up” or recruit new staff to manage a deluge of alerts every day or setup your own SOC to manage operations. Once the single agent is deployed, your job is done and Custodian360 take over operations entirely.

There are a number of features that Custodian360 provide and some of these are critical elements in any EDR solution:

  1. Rapid Deployment – Cloud Based Console up and running in minutes.
  2. Simple – There is only one agent, not many.
  3. Ease of use – A single console shows you everything you need to know.
  4. Automated Mitigation and Remediation – No need for you to manually intervene. Our analysts do that for you and remediate threats whenever necessary ensuring downtime is kept to an absolute minimum.
  5. Compatibility – Works with all Operating Systems and can co-exist with existing AV solutions.
  6. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning – Enables the agent to learn to identify false positives to reduce alerts and focus is given to real and dangerous threats.
  7. Automated Reporting and Alerting – Configure once and receive your reports monthly or weekly along with notifications of all alerts if required.

But do customers even want EDR?

I don’t think we’d be exaggerating if we said that customers’ demand for EDR is about to go stratospheric.

An EDR article in eSecurity Planet describes the growth in EDR as “explosive” and they report that Gartner’s forecast “is for almost 50% annual growth for EDR at least through 2020, putting it way out in front of most areas of IT”.

From this it’s a small step to work out the market value, again, according to Gartner’s EDR Estimates of some $1.5 billion – very likely when you consider that out of some 711 million devices that can make use of EDR, only 40 million currently do!

“Alert Fatigue” is already a well used term but a recent global EDR survey found that 72% of respondents report that their teams already suffer “alert fatigue” so if you can take away that fatigue for them and provide an effective and market leading solution, you can see why they will want to buy.

The message from the market is clear: for service providers, resellers and other IT partners, EDR is a revenue boost waiting to happen.

Just make sure you choose to sell solutions that are actually usable!

What is the Difference Between Traditional and Next-Generation Anti-Virus?

What is the Difference Between Traditional and Next-Generation Anti-Virus?


APRIL 12th, 2018 BY Andy James


One of the lessons learned by many businesses over the past three years of the ransomware age is that traditional signature-based anti-virus solutions are lacking the power to combat today’s flood of evasive malware.

This is why Custodian360 is excited to offer our Managed Security Services, a client security solution that leverages not only the SentinelOne Endpoint Protection engine but also Lookouts Mobile Threat Protection, powered by static and behavioural artificial intelligence, to deliver next-generation anti-virus (NGAV) capabilities.

So, what exactly is a NGAV solution, and why does it matter?

No signatures

Traditionally, anti-virus solutions (AV’s) have required frequent (daily or weekly) updates of their signature databases to protect against the latest threats. Custodian360 uses a static artificial intelligence (AI) engine to determine if new files are threats before they can execute. In addition, it has a behavioural AI engine to protect against file-less threats (e.g., PowerShell scripts, macros within documents, lateral movement, etc.).

No weekly updates

These AI engines do not require daily/weekly updates, as they “degrade” very gracefully over time. This is because the behavioural analysis engines do the work instead of matching files to an ever-aging database of file ID’s and signatures.

Even if customers upgrade their agents only once a year, they will have much greater protection than what traditional AV is able to provide. With the power of SentinelOne’s AI models, today’s zero-day attacks are instantly convicted by models developed in the past. This is the benefit of a mathematical approach to malware prevention, detection and response versus legacy, signature-based approaches.

No recurring scans

Apart from the management overhead of updating signatures, traditional AV’s also recommend recurring disk scans to make sure threats did not get in. These recurring scans are a big source of frustration for the end users, as their productivity is impacted during the scans. With Custodian360, these recurring scans are not required at all. End-users get much better performance and, in many cases, do not even know that the solution is installed.

No performance overhead

Another reason for the poor performance of traditional AV’s is that they became bloated by implementing many features, such as endpoint firewall, full-disk encryption, etc. Many of these features are now available on modern operating systems. Custodian360 was designed to orchestrate OS functionality instead of replicating it. This also translates into a much better end-user experience.

No cloud dependence

Another limitation of traditional AV’s is their reliance on cloud connectivity for best protection. Signature databases have grown so large that it is no longer possible to push the entire database down to the device. So, they keep the vast majority of signatures in the cloud, and only push the most prevalent signatures down to the agent.

Furthermore, end users frequently work in cafés, airports, hotels and other commercial facilities. In most of these cases, the Wi-Fi provider is supported by ad revenues, and encourage users to download the host’s tools (i.e., adware) to get free connectivity. These tools or the Wi-Fi access point can easily block access to the AV cloud, which poses a huge security risk. Custodian360 is fully autonomous and protects the user in these situations. The efficacy of the agent isn’t impacted by its connection to the internet.

NGAV for endpoints

I invite you to learn more about Custodian360, which not only provides NGAV capabilities, but also cloud-based reporting and real-time forensics.

To learn more, download the “Custodian360 powered by SentinelOne” data sheet.

Does Security as a Service Make Sense?

We hear a lot these days about everything as a Service and certainly, some of it makes sense. With services such Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure platform available it’s so cheap and easy to create a server that provides Public Applications, why would you bother hosting them in-house yourself?

But what about Security, surely this is something you need or want to have control of and there’s no real model for buying this as a Service is there?

That all depends on who you are of course, if we look the largest companies that span the globe they deliver many different types of services to their users, but they tend to provide it as a Service to them. If the business as a whole invests in setting up a Security Operations Centre (SOC), employing staff to run it and purchasing software and tools for them to use, then they don’t just swallow this cost. Different business units are often charged for using these services making them “as a Service”. It’s a good business model to recoup the millions of pounds that you’ve just spent on building the service and the SOC.

The big difference here though is that these business units don’t get a choice about how they buy these services, they are mandated and added automatically to their budgets.

Not really a fair market for them but you start to see how they consume everything as a service.

Once we move down the ladder a little and get to the mid-size businesses it starts to get a little more interesting. There’s not quite so much money available here, go to the MD or CEO and ask for £1,000,000 to build a SOC and there’s a predictable answer. Why would you go to the effort of building all of this when big providers have already done it? Why not use your OpEx budget to buy Security as a Service?

For some there are problems with compliance, data not being able to leave region or territory can make it difficult to find a provider who can accommodate all of your needs; if you’re big enough, you can generally find a provider who will put some effort into winning your business and investing in their infrastructure in order to accommodate you.

So, the big guys have it easy. If they want this, then they can get it but that also means that everything we have seen so far is all about providing Security as a Service for those that can pay a premium for it.

We are now left with those businesses with say, less than 350 employees, this includes everyone from sole traders up to that though. What should they do? Well that clearly varies with size so let’s pick a sweet spot and focus on a business with 150 employees. It’s a good size business, revenue is likely to be in the high millions at this point and you’d hope that net profit is good too as this is the bit we are going to start eating into when we look at new services.

I hear your groans, asking for money that comes out of profit at this size company is never easy and we’ve all been there before. Something has to give before you get increased budget so let’s have a think at what we are going to need.

Top of the list is a product or set of products to tell us when something bad is happening. At 150 licenses nobody is going to do us a good deal so let’s say we need 3 products to deploy to give us the ability to detect threats and breaches. Let’s now pick an average price for a product and settle on £75.00 per seat per year, that quickly becomes £225.00 per seat per year because we have 3 products remember. We also have 150 users so now we’re up to £45,000.00 just for the products and we aren’t being extravagant here.

Next, we need Security Analysts, not only are they not cheap but they are getting harder and harder to find. Again, let’s make some assumptions, a good Analyst is going to command a £50,000.00 salary, don’t forget NI to go with that and we are now at £56,900.00 and it’s fair to say we should add a bit more for all those costs of employing that nobody knows about until they employ staff, so we’ll call it a £60,000.00 salary. How many do we need though? At a very minimum it has to be 2 and this is the absolute minimum and won’t give us coverage or response outside of our normal working hours. If we want 24×7 we need to look at 6 Analysts but we’re trying to do this on cheap aren’t we and this means we stick with 2. So, we are at £120,000.00 for our Analysts, plus the products brings us to £165,000.00 per year and that’s a number that is going to keep rising, we also have to retain staff and with the cyber security recruitment market the way it is currently that’s never going to be easy.

It’s also not going to be that cheap either, there’s so much we haven’t included in our budget, training, monitoring software and associated consultancy etc. etc. We are also now committed to products, if they aren’t as good as we were led to believe then we are stuck with them, no chance of more budget so we now have increased costs associated with responding to threats and alerts. Our staff may now start to get a bit annoyed and look to see if the grass is greener elsewhere.

You start to see the bigger picture here, securing yourself against the ever-changing threat landscape is becoming harder and harder to do, it’s taking more and more tools and the talent pool we can choose from to “drive” our tools is effectively becoming smaller.

Providing effective Cyber Security in-house is fast becoming a unicorn.

The time has come not only for solutions providers to provide Security as a Service at a price that businesses can afford and not only that, it is time for them to become flexible. Rather than getting fat off the growing demand why don’t we all work towards a common goal, build services that are easy to consume and drive good Customer Service by making it easy for people to change provider.

Bad business model I hear you shout. You’d be right too but isn’t it more important to carry out your business with integrity and give customers the choice.

This thinking drove AVR International to partner with SentinelOne to launch Custodian360 last year to deliver a Managed Endpoint Protection platform to the masses. Custodian360 is aimed at the SMB market and businesses using this service no longer need to employ security analysts to manage systems and respond to alerts as our SOC team proactively monitor, analyse and respond to every alert we receive.

To find out more about Custodian360 you can call us on 01189 346635, email us at or come and meet us in Portsmouth

Ransomware criminals extort $1 Million From South Korean Company


If ever there was a flagship incident to demonstrate the power of ransomware, this is it. Ransomware, a particularly infamous form of cybercrime where business critical data is restricted until payment is made, has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

This story is a little different. While ransomware can attack businesses both large and small, many criminals utilising the numerous viruses available target low hanging fruit: small business. It’s a simple numbers game, with many small companies having little to no cybersecurity in place. This tendency makes a volume approach attractive to cybercriminals.

A million dollars is, of course, slightly different from this approach. High profile attacks aren’t exactly uncommon, with the recent strike on the UK’s healthcare system with ransomware virus WannaCry drawing international attention.

 The details

Nayana, an established web hosting provider that located within the South Korea, was the victim of the attack. Believed to have occurred on June 10, weaknesses in the overall cybersecurity arrangements of the company made them a prime target for exploitation.

 As is usually the case, the ransomware itself came in the form of a premade virus named Erebus. Able to target over four hundred file types, the sophisticated code easily penetrated the company’s assets. The attack spread through 153 Linux servers owned by the web hosting company, leaving owner Chil-Hong facing an absolute disruption to provision of service.

As is often the case, negotiations occurred. The criminals initially demanded a staggering 550 bitcoin payment; well in excess of the $1 Million dollars that Chil-Hong bargained the criminals down to. With the CEO already having liquidated assets, two instalments of the total are claimed to have been made.

Hoping to conclude the ‘deal’ as quickly as possible to restore his customers data, Chil-Hong quoted on Twitter that the ‘probability of recovering all the data will be higher’ once the last instalments are made.

This notion, while understandable, sets a dangerous precedent. As you might imagine, criminals don’t exactly obey the law, nor will they reliably honour a personal agreement. Many victims of ransomware attacks who have paid up find themselves subject to further demands.  While it is common for modern ransomware to incorporate a payment system, there is no guarantee that any form of response will be even received should a payment be made.

Protecting your assets

 Fortunately, it is not an exhaustive or costly process to protect your business assets from being exploited by cybercriminals. Ransomware works by restricting access to vital information and data that cannot be found elsewhere; this makes safeguarding simple.

Backups of all business-critical assets is a simple first step. This ensures that should you be targeted in an attack, you will be able to restore your documents to working order separate from the attack itself. With the need for payment removed, recovery can subsequently take place.

Employee awareness is also a practical measure. Many data leaks and cybersecurity issues, including susceptibility to ransomware, can be avoided by cascading information on security processes and information on attacks. With many attacks being caused by internal sources, mandating a greater level of awareness of the threats posed by ransomware and other cyberattacks can provide remarkable results.

Investment in professional support and software, however, remains a powerful measure in the fight against ransomware and cybercrime. Although the above measures can ensure an acceptable level of overall security, many businesses cannot afford to be remotely susceptible to an attack.

Just as modern ransomware has evolved and become more sophisticated, so has software that protects against it. A combination of investment in this software, combined with professional consultancy services such as a data and security audit, can ensure a level of protection that removes your business as a viable target in the digital world.