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Updated: 11/04/2016 08:30:02AM

Local firm targets data protection

 

By GARY ROBERTS

Staff Writer

Cost of Cybercrime

15 percent — How many of the
nation’s internet fraud victims are
estimated to report the crime to
law enforcement.

269,422 — Total complaints
nationwide.

$800.5 million — Total losses
reported nationwide.

No. 2 — Florida’s rank, behind
California, among states receiving 
the most complaints.

$52.5 million — Florida also was
second in total dollar losses.

18,637 — Number of complaints
filed by Florida residents.

$2,817 — Average loss of those
in Florida.

Source: FBI Internet Crime
Complaint Center 2014 data

CHARLOTTE COUNTY — Six months ago, a local construction company with just five employees was the unwitting victim of a ransomware attack, where the perpetrators demand money after blocking computer system access. Fortunately, there was limited information compromised, so the cybercriminals were ignored.

Then, the company was attacked again, this time creating calamity, then chaos. The business was locked out of all its data, with a different intruder wanting 352 bitcoins, or more than $200,000. Company officials were told by their information technology consultant not to pay and all the data was lost.

These events led the construction contractor to Zypha Corporation, a local firm that offers a complete virtual computing environment for small- and medium-sized businesses, including layers of cybersecurity.

“You do not have to be in the information business to be hacked. Anyone with a computer is susceptible,” said Jason Wolfe, Director of Sales for the Zypha Corporation, which has its North American headquarters in Murdock. “We tell our clients, IT is not their primary business. It is ours.”

FBI figures for the first three months of this year show $209 million was extorted by cybercriminals using ransomware. Nearly 50 percent of all organizations have been hit with ransomware and 9 out of 10 companies don’t survive a catastrophic data loss, with 43 percent never reopening and 51 percent closing within two years, according to a University of Texas study.

Small businesses present a bigger target because they typically hold more data than the average consumer, and often don’t have adequate preventative measures in place. Last year 33 percent of small businesses suffered a cyber attack from someone outside their business.

Rick Ciglar, Zypha Vice President of Operations, said 93 percent of ransomware attacks arrive through email that may look like a legitimate message and attachment. But when that attachment is opened, a virus is unleashed, encrypting or locking the user’s files. Businesses then must buy an encrypt key to retrieve their own data.

If the computer owner refuses to pay, the personal data also can be sold to a third party.

“These threats are real,” Ciglar said.

Businesses that intermingle their personal and professional computers also are vulnerable on both fronts. A Fort Myers company recently was breached by ransomware, with the cybercriminals asking for $50,000. Again, the ransom was not paid and company records were lost, along with 14 years of family photos.

“We encourage keeping separate business and personal environments. It’s very important not to mix the two,” Zypha CEO Darryl Keys said.

But ransomware is only one challenge to computer security. Cyber attacks are launched by spyware and other types of malware and viruses, with most believed to originate from Russia and Eastern Europe.

Data loss can also result from hard drive failure, human error by accidentally deleting or overwriting, file corruption and Mother Nature’s unpredictability with earthquakes, floods and, in Florida, lightning strikes.

Moreover, hackers can take control of your computer from a remote location, recording every keystroke to obtain personal information and correspondence. They can even access the computer webcam to actually watch their prey.

The cost to business posed by counterattacks and irretrievable data is huge, in lost productivity and IT support. When the IT system goes down, a company’s ability to operate goes down.

Keys said his company moves all customer applications and data to a secure, company-owned private cloud in the Zypha Data Center in Tampa. Simply put, cloud computing is computing based on the internet.

But there are ways for individual companies to reduce the threat to their computer systems.

Installing a firewall, along with antivirus and anti-spyware software, will help. As will using complex and secure passwords. Regardless of whatever steps have been taken to protect your computer, it is critical to copy all files.

“A small percentage of businesses actually back up their systems,” Keys said. “We offer our service so when you plug in, it’s there.”

Email:groberts@sun-herald.com

 

This article was published by the Charlotte Sun and can be found at http://yoursun.com/sunnews/portcharlotte/11846640-699/story.html.csp

 

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As part of our complete data protection strategy, Zypha USA uses geo-redundant backups based in Phoenix AZ.

Even though we have a hardened infrastructure in Tampa, there is an extremely remote chance of total site failure.

This added layer of protection ensures our customer’s data is fully backed up in two separate Data Centers for ultimate protection.

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Hermine?  What kind of name is that for a Hurricane?

Zypha engineers things better, because we take risk management very seriously.  Hurricanes are very serious risks indeed.  80mph winds, surf surges of up to 12 feet, power outages, and trees down to name a few.  That’s why the first hurricane to hit Florida in eleven years had an effect on our system measured at 0.00%.  This means that Zypha customers had 100% uptime throughout the storm.  If your server that lives on the ground in your break room was drowned, be sure to give us a call and let us move your business to the safety of the Zypha Cloud.


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Hillsborough County

The City of Tampa closed Bayshore Boulevard in anticipation of flooding from Hermine on Thursday afternoon.  Hillsborough County activated its Emergency Operations Center, WFLA reports. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn told the station that the city is ready for whatever Hermine may bring.  "In this community, we know where the low-lying areas are," he said. "We know where the areas are that hold water in the City of Tampa. We have barricades pre-positioned already in the event we need to deploy those barricades."


 

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The modern business place is filled with fast paced operating environments. It is probably fairly safe to say that things are tough in many organizations when it comes finding the resources to maintain the latest technologies to support IT needs as a company. Ironically, prior investments in IT infrastructure don’t always help with todays needs. A major part of the challenge with innovation in most organizations is the legacy landscape of applications and hardware systems that must ever be maintained, and supported, before innovation can even be considered. Then one must consider the pace of technology change itself, which can push organizations to do more in every budget cycle. This combined with a list of large, very different platforms and technologies for cloud computing gives one competing priorities.

Most businesses are not responding in an effective way to these pressures as a growing percentage of their IT resources are consumed and traditional IT workers skills are falling behind. Conventional IT staff can become challenged and need constant additional training as new enterprise products and platforms become far more sophisticated and complex than in previous generations, further opening up a learning and capabilities gap. All of this means that organizations continue to fall behind a migration curve, while the technology industry is a growing stream of new innovations. Too many IT decision makers are remaining focused on the novel or urgent topics of the moment, such as cybersecurity and analytics when it's time they did better, and looked to new methods such as Cloud Computing to meet IT challenges.

Simply put, cloud computing is computing based on the internet. Where in the past, people would run applications or programs from software downloaded on a physical computer or server in their building, cloud computing allows people access to the same kinds of applications through the internet. There are many reasons to consider moving to the cloud, the following are some to consider:

1.    Flexibility

Cloud-based services are ideal for growing or fluctuating demands. If your needs increase it’s easy to scale up. Likewise, if you need to scale down again, the flexibility is part of the service. This level of agility can give businesses using cloud computing a real advantage over competitors.

2.    Disaster Recovery

Businesses of all sizes should be investing in disaster recovery, but for smaller businesses that lack the required cash and expertise, this is often more an ideal than the reality. Cloud is now helping more organizations save time, avoid large up-front investment and include third-party expertise as part of the deal.

3.    Increased Collaboration

When your teams can access, edit and share documents anytime, from anywhere, they’re able to do more together, and do it better.

4.    Work From Anywhere

With cloud computing, if you’ve got an internet connection you can be at work.

5.    Security

Lost computers and mobile devices are an expensive problem. Potentially greater than the loss of an expensive device is the loss of the sensitive data inside it. Cloud computing gives you greater security when this happens. Because your data is stored in the cloud, you can access it no matter what happens to your machine while no one else will be able to access the data because nothing is stored on the local device.

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Even if you know the company it came from, a flash drive can bypass all the security on your computer.

I was reading this rather technical article and got spooked (http://www.ciscopress.com/articles/article.asp?p=1636214). If you want to read all the tech stuff, make sure and go through all the links in the Contents.

The basic concept is that the program that runs from the flash drive creates a fake USB keyboard (that you have no idea exists). Then the program can use the fake USB keyboard to open a command window and type in commands. The fake USB keyboard acts like your fingers on your keyboard and tells the computer to do things.

The article talks about how Hyundai came up with a cool marketing tool that allows the computer to go straight to a website once the flash drive is inserted. In this case, it is a very benign event. Nothing too dangerous, just a website for loyal customers.

The article continues to talk about how this same solution could be used to run programs on your computer (and do bad things) or take you to a website that does bad things to your computer.

And don’t forget the time the American Dental Association recently sent some bad stuff out on a flash drive (http://krebsonsecurity.com/2016/04/dental-assn-mails-malware-to-members/) by accident.

So… think twice before you insert that USB drive!