Jun 22 2010

Symantec: SMBs Change Security Approach with Growing Threats

Category: BCP,MalwareDISC @ 1:50 am
Image representing Symantec as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

By: Brian Prince

A survey of small to midsize businesses from 28 different countries by Symantec found that companies are focusing more on information protection and backup and recovery. Driving these changes is a fear of losing data.

Today’s small to midsize businesses (SMBs) are facing a growing threat from cyber-attacks, and are changing their behavior to keep up.

In a May poll of 2,152 executives and IT decision makers at companies with between 10 and 499 employees, Symantec found SMBs are now spending two-thirds of their time dealing with things related to information protection, such as computer security, backup and archival tasks, and disaster preparedness. Eighty-seven percent said they have a disaster preparedness plan, but just 23 percent rate it as “pretty good” or “excellent.”

Driving the push for these plans, as well as the interest in backup and recovery, is the fear of losing data. Some 42 percent reported having lost confidential or proprietary information in the past, and all of those reported experiencing revenue loss or increased costs as a result. Almost two-thirds of the respondents said they lost devices such as smartphones, laptops or iPads in the past 12 months, and all the participants reported having devices that lacked password protection and could not be remotely wiped if lost or stolen.

In the past, SMBs would settle for having antivirus technology, said Bernard Laroche, senior director of product marketing at Symantec. Now, however, they are starting to realize the threat landscape is changing, he said.

“If you look at endpoint usage … in most SMBs that’s the only place where the information resides because people were not backing up … so if somebody would lose a laptop at the airport or somebody steals the laptop in the back of car or something, then your information is obviously at risk and that can bring a lot of financial impact to small business,” he said.

The survey also found SMBs are spending an average of about $51,000 on information protection. The financial damage for those who suffer cyber-attacks can be significant. Cyber-attacks cost an average of $188,242 annually, according to the survey. Seventy-three percent said they were victims of cyber-attacks in the past year, and 30 percent of those attacks were deemed “somewhat/extremely successful.” All of the attack victims suffered losses, such as downtime, theft of customer or employee information, or credit card data, Symantec reported.

“The concept of, ‘I’ve got an antivirus solution, I’m fully protected,’ I think those days are gone,” Laroche said.

Detail information on Symantec SMBs Suites:

Symantec Endpoint Protection Small Business Edition 12.0

Symantec Protection Suite Small Business Edition 3.0

Tags: Backup, Business, Computer security, Credit card, Emergency Management, Small business, SMB, SMB suites, Symantec, Warfare and Conflict

Jul 16 2009

Common Information Security lapses

Category: Information SecurityDISC @ 4:36 pm

Information Security Wordle: RFC2196 - Site Se...
Image by purpleslog via Flickr
User Security
  • Opening email attachments with integrated email clients

  • Not updating client software

  • Downloading untrusted software

  • Not creating or testing backups

  • Using wireless router connected inside the LAN
  • Strategic Security

  • Not providing training to security personnel

  • Only addressing physical security, neglecting data security

  • Not validating security fixes

  • Relying on firewall for all security needs

  • Not evaluating impact on reputation and data of security breach

  • Not implementing long term security decisions, relying on hot fixes to put out fires

  • Not addressing issues, neglecting security as policy
  • Operational Security

  • Not hardening internet connected host

  • Connecting test systems to the internet

  • Not updating systems on a regular and emergency basis

  • Using unencrypted protocols for management, reporting

  • Choosing bad default user passwords, changing passwords in insecure manner, or notifying users in insecure manners

  • Not testing or maintaining backups, not understanding the intricacies of backup software and procedures

  • Tags: Backup, Information Security, poor security, Security, security mistakes

    Oct 29 2008

    Laptop and traveling precautions

    Category: Laptop SecurityDISC @ 12:58 am

    Laptop security

    Best practice emphasize the fact to backup the data if you can’t live without it, in the same way a traveler must avoid taking sensitive data on the road unless it’s absolutely necessary to do so. If you do plan to take sensitive data with you on the laptop, the necessary security controls must be implemented and go with the sensitive data. The data protection controls should be based on your information security policy data classification.

    The laptop hardware itself is only worth few hundred dollars these days, but on the other hand it’s hard to put a price tag on the exposed data which may have a drastic impact on your organization, especially these days when most of the organizations are at the edge due to financial chaos.
    Frequent travelers know it’s possible to lose a laptop or lose data because laptop may become inoperable due to hardware malfunction. Planning an important business trip should include encrypting sensitive data and backup on a remote website (Carbonite). So in case you lose your laptop or it’s is inoperable for some reason, you can remotely recover backed up files from site within reasonable time.


    Here is how you can encrypt your data on Windows laptop with built-in utility EFS

    1. Create a new folder, and name the folder Private.
    2. Right click the new folder and choose properties
    3. Click advanced button
    4. Check encrypt contents to secure data box and then click OK, Apply and OK again.

    You have created a secure area where you can put your sensitive documents. Any file or subfolder you add to this folder (Private) will be encrypted automatically. Basically any type of file except Windows system file will be encrypted in this folder. Now if the attacker steal your laptop and remove your hard drive and mount on a system where the attacker has administrative privileges, the attacker will not be able to access the contents of the folder Private. On the other hand 256-bit AES encryption key is stored in encrypted form as a file attribute called the data decryption field (DDF). The EFS private key, needed to decrypt the DDF and extract the file encryption key, is also stored in encrypted form in the registry. The master key, which is used to obtain the key needed to access the EFS private key, is encrypted by the systems key and also stored locally. So the attacker will be able to decrypt the EFS protected files if he can somehow get possession of the system key.

    Luckily we do have a choice whether to store the system key locally on your laptop. If you click start, then Run and then launch syskey.exe utility, you can choose how and where the system key will be stored. The dialogue box will present three options.

    1. Store the startup key locally
    2. Store the startup key on the floppy disk
    3. Generate the startup key from a password

    With the two non default options, you will be requiring to either insert the floppy or enter the password whenever the laptop is BOOTED. The floppy option is highly inconvenient for laptop users but the password options seem sufficient to protect the laptop data. On the laptop which doesn’t have a floppy drive, don’t try to click the floppy option because when you boot next time the laptop will be looking for the system key on a floppy before booting.

    Survey: CISOs worried about mobile data security

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    Tags: aes, Backup, Booting, carbonite, Cryptography, data classification, data ptotection, ddf, efs, encryption, exposed data, financial chaos, Hardware, Notebooks and Laptops, private key, Security, security controls, sensitive data, system key, threats, Windows