Ransomware the next big threat to data 0 134

Ransomware ESET East Africa

You wake up with bloodshot eyes after banging on your keyboard in the wee hours of the night to beat the deadline for a grand project. But on powering your computer the following morning, suddenly a red banner flashes on your screen coaxing you pay Ksh50,000; you are warned that failure to do so, your treasure trove of data is lost forever.

Welcome to the world of Ransomware and it is just beginning. That is ominous warning experts have given both private and public sector organisations in Kenya pointing to an imminent rise in Cyberattacks in the form of Ransomware.

The underground criminal world has devised a way to lock your data and get you to part with a tidy ransom for it. Ransomwares viruses are often disguised as innocuous emails, links or pop-ups, thereby easily hoodwinking gullible users to grant access to their system for infiltration and eventual takeover for ransom. “Anyone is vulnerable”, says Bruce Donovan, Regional Manager for ESET East Africa, a security solutions firm.

There are now multiple ransomware viruses floating around the internet. Though they typically operate like Trojan horses, infecting your computer without you knowing, only in this instance, the bugs aren’t corrupting your files, they are encrypting them.

For law enforcements agencies, governments, small and large enterprises among others, lack of access to critical data can be disastrous in terms of the loss of sensitive important information, the interference with regular operations, financial losses suffered for data restoration, and possible reputational crisis.

The TeslaCrypt ransomware has been in widespread among cybercriminals since it was launched last year. But in an unforeseen turn of events, criminals behind the ransomware released the master decryption key for TeslaCrypt. Security vendor ESET has used that key to develop a decryptor tool for TeslaCrypt and recently made free to public.

However, this does signal the end of Ransomware, criminals are increasing accessing new and more effective Ransomware. According ESET East Africa, “It is important to note that ransomware remains one of the most prevalent forms of internet threats and prevention is essential to keep users safe. Therefore, users should keep their operating system and software updated, use a reliable security solution with multiple layers of protection, and regularly backup all important and valuable data at an offline location.”

Donovan explains that just like with many maladies plaguing human kind, prevention is often the best medicine to tackle the threat of Ransom Attacks. “This calls for continuous and earnest education of ICT services consumers”, he says.

Cybercrime remains a lucrative enterprise. To keep ahead of their game, criminal gangs invest a lot of time in research and development to contrive new forms of attacks, with Ransomware becoming their favourite pass time.

This is particularly so, in this age of social media where through Social engineering techniques, criminals are able to evolve faster than the markets. Social engineering refers to the psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information.

And herein lies the dilemma, as the East African region forges ahead economically, and continues to attract new investments and interest from global companies, hackers are following the money.

This calls for added vigilance by private sector organisations and governments and who are more likely to fall victims of a ransom attack. Critical is to be aware of the vulnerability in the first place, since many attacks are disguised as legitimate links and prompts.

“In our experience we have found that very few organizations invest in testing out risk scenarios as well as back up and disaster management and recovery solutions – the best tool available in response to ransomware threats, other than data encryption technologies,” says Mr. Donovan.

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ESET Security for IoT 0 219

IoT

IoT is a phrase used often in the cyber security space, but what does it really mean? IoT stands for Internet of Things and to put it simply, refers to any device that can be connected to the internet. This is no longer just computers or cellphones but also refers to Smart TV’s and fridges, coffee machines, headphones, speakers, wearable tech, cars and soon enough, pretty much anything.

A more formal definition of IoT given by TechTarget

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

With all of these connections, IoT provides endless opportunities but also poses dangers.

These dangers include:

  • Your devices being used to spy on you using capabilities such as cameras or voice recording software
  • Devices being hacked to obtain personal information or to take over functionality of the device
  • In addition to this, having multiple devices connected to the internet opens further opportunities for these devices to bypass firewalls and access other devices on your network.

To help protect your IoT devices, your home network, and even your favorite shopping or social website—ESET has enhanced the Connected Home Monitor feature within its recently released home products, available to try or upgrade to for free.

How the ESET connected home monitor addresses these dangers

The ESET connected home monitor includes IoT vulnerability detection, a router-connected smart devices test, and a catalog list of connected devices on your network.

Connected home monitor

The enhanced feature is continuously updated to detect and alert you to new devices connected to your network, as well as the latest vulnerabilities affecting your devices. If a vulnerability is found in a device, ESET will report the cause and possible steps you can make to fix it, such as changing default configurations or updating the device’s firmware from the manufacturer.

Start protecting your home today with ESET’s home security products – click here.

Convergence Partners acquires Stake in ESET East Africa 0 260

Convergence Partners acquires Stake in ESET East Africa

Acquisition to accelerate growth opportunities for ESET in Kenya.

Pan-African ICT investor, Convergence Partners and ESRO Limited announced at the annual AfricaCom conference in Cape Town, a recently concluded acquisition of a significant minority stake in ESET East Africa by Convergence Partners.

ESRO Ltd are the ESET distributors for the East African region. With its acquisition of a stake in ESRO Ltd, Convergence Partners will now be involved in developing the opportunity for growth for ESET in numerous East African countries. To date the focus has been on Kenya with a recently established ESET Kenya office to ensure the support for local partners is optimized.

“In the emerging native cloud environment coupled with edge computing, data is becoming more vulnerable and we have witnessed increased vulnerability of public and private data repositories to cyber threats and attacks. Cyber security solutions like that offered by ESET are a critical line of defense. We are excited to partner with ESET in this journey,” said Andile Ngcaba, founder and Chairman of Convergence Partners.

The benefits of the new relationship with Convergence Partners will be impactful for ESET Kenya, as their recent entry into the local market will be backed by the established Pan-African presence which Convergence Partners brings to the partnership.

“We are delighted to welcome Convergence Partners as key new shareholders to our business. With a strong emphasis on channel and relationships, we share a vision on growing local cyber security skills in Kenya and together will further develop the ESET brand and distribution opportunities in East Africa. In particular, their portfolio of investments in telecommunications and value-added services offer an important distribution vector for us in these countries,” said Alistair Freeman, director of ESRO Ltd.

The ESET range of multi-award-winning security software has been distributed in the Southern African region as a recognized brand for 15 years. Emphasis has always been placed on top quality customer service and channel support, underpinned by ESET’s strong brand and reputation for excellent products.

Miroslav Mikus, Sales and Marketing Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa at ESET said “We welcome Convergence Partners aboard ESET’s business in Southern Africa – a market which has long been our strongest presence on the African continent. We look forward to continue winning the trust of users in East Africa with the best quality cyber-security protection and the help of both Convergence Partners and ESET East Africa to increase the market share of our products.”