Computer & PC Help

Companies and responses to ransomware25 Dec

Well, it finally happened… It took long enough but FINALLY companies are taking the initiative to educate their users on spam mail and it’s affects. I guess it took millions of dollars in company losses to finally get IT departments to wake up. This is too little too late, the damage has been done and millions have been lost. And this was so unnecessary too. It’s truly unfortunate that IT departments are reactive instead of being pro-active, which I guess it a commentary on society too. No one has the time to do anything. There are companies that hire people to do a job and those individuals simply hire contractors to do what they were hired for. How this makes sense is beyond my comprehension. If you hire a skilled IT person, they should have the tools to do what you need otherwise why do you need that person. Don’t get me wrong, everyone needs help and it is necessary to have support contracts on some essential things for the business. Personally, I like to be involved in every project on my watch, but sometimes it doesn’t always happen, so I have to get involved by myself. I’m the type of Network Admin who likes to have their hands in on everything and learn as much as I can and depend upon no one else to get the job done. Of course, it doesn’t always work out that way, but for the most part I get it done.

How an owner of a company can just sign checks and in a sense not know where his or her money is going again is something I just can’t wrap my head around. In fact, most IT people I know depend upon contractors to get them though. In all fairness I know some that don’t too.

Anyway, let me get back on track. Now what companies are doing is sending their own spam mail to see what user will simply click on the link and cause issues. If the user does click on that link they must go for education. Really? Why wasn’t this part of orientation? I often hear especially from HR that they haven’t got the time to go though and read every email they encounter. But on the other hand, the result of that is viruses and ransomware. Everyone needs to MAKE the TIME to examine any emails that come into their inbox. Education goes a long way to prevent disaster. And its simple things too, like misspellings, and phony email addresses that if the use just took the 3 seconds to look, they’d see for themselves. The same applies for the home users.

No employee of any company should be allowed to have open internet and access to check their personal mail on a company computer. NO one.

I’ve said it many times; you can have all the security money can buy, firewalls, software, virus scan etc. It takes one user to just click on a link and it’s over.

Recently, I had a client with a pretty nice size operation. One of the admins working from home was logged into the office one evening and decided to check their own mail on the company laptop. The first mistake was allowing that Admin to even do that. This company decided to have something called split DNS in their firewall which allows a remote user to not only be connected to the company servers, but the outside ones too. That shouldn’t be allowed. I tried to convince the owner not to do that, but that owner wouldn’t listen. It took all of 30 seconds before the entire place was getting encrypted. In fact, they didn’t even know until the next day. This happened on a Sunday evening. Everything was lost, everything including backups. Luckily, I was smart enough to store some of the critical information on Tape, but the client was against that because it was too old school. Old school saved this clients business. I had to basically rebuild everything and that admin is no more. I recommended that admin be terminated for basically being stupid. Now, after the cleanup, that owner decided to have education to all the employees of the business. I’ve devised a phony email to see if the employees will fall for it and if they do, they must take a course on what not to do.

Other companies are doing the same. This is an example of something you might find in your in box.

If you look at the yellow highlight, you can see its not even spelled correctly. But when a user is not paying attention, they will not see that they will click on this link and try to follow what they believe is a company directive.

There are many companies doing the same thing. Here’s a link to an article about Go-Daddy offering a bonus:
“GoDaddy sent an email to employees announcing a surprise holiday bonus. It was really a phishing email test, and those who failed were invited to get more security training”

So, my question is why did it take millions of dollars in lost revenue to do something so simple? Its not like no one knew about it. How do you think that terrible Hacking occurred at SolarWinds and the Government? A user got an email disgusted as a Microsoft email didn’t think about it and just clicked on the link that infected everything.
Check out this article:

If you are a Network Administrator, I offer this to you. Fight the fight, don’t allow things like split DNS on your VPN accounts. Don’t allow open access to internet, personal email, Facebook, twitter, etc. Unless your job depends upon these things, there’s no reason for anyone to have access to that. If the CEO is demanding access simply remind that person of what can happen if they are not careful and hopefully you can persuade them to list to reason. There are tools out there, iron mail, Proofpoint etc. but again sometimes they slow down the process. But all and all NOTHING beats the 10 mins or even 30 minutes of education to all employees regardless if it’s an orientation or a required on-line learning that you create.

We as the “guards” must make sure our environment is safe for everyone and things like Ransomware are stopped. I will say it again, you can spend millions of dollars on all the security in the world, however, it takes just one use to click on a link and your business can be demolished.

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