‘Tis the Season for Cyber Ghouls and Goblins

With the holiday season fast-approaching, consumers are gearing up for several months of mega-shopping and festivities ahead. The cyber ghouls and goblins are also chomping at the bit to join the fun by stealing some of your shopping dollars and your data. In this BlogBytes, we will take a closer look at the risks of cyber-attacks particularly during the holiday season and how you can protect yourself with a little help from LTO technology.

Follow this Link – Beware!

Throughout the holiday season, malware infections more than doubled in 2016 from 2015, during the weekend of Black Friday and Cyber Monday (as reported by Enigma Software Group in a DarkReading.com article).  More consumers are shopping online and the cyber-attackers are getting smarter on how to fool you into opening the malware doors.  As the article points out, “Consumers are most likely to fall for emails that appear to come from legitimate companies. These messages may promise a free gift card or claim there is a problem with an order, but instead include a malicious link that will download malware onto the victim’s computers.”

So beware of suspicious links such as these in your emails, as they can easily be disguised! Your system and your company’s assets may get exposed to devastating breaches such as ransomware attacks, file deletions, production shutdowns, sensitive data exposures and more!

Be a Smart Shopper and a Smart Storage Manager

What can you do to help reduce the risk of attacks from cyber ghouls and goblins? The following best practices can make a difference:

Train your staff: Encourage employees to be on the lookout for suspicious communications in e-mails and on social media. Train your employees to ask themselves, “Who sent this?”,is it from a legitimate source?”, and “where is the email directing me to?”  Educate employees to hover their mouse over suspicious links and to take a look at the URL to see where it is directing them to. In most cases, the URL beneath the linked text can be fake or fraudulent. The e-mail may look legitimate, but to be sure, employees should seek advice directly from the official website it is imitating or report the email as spam.

Keep Security Current: Malware and attack methods can often change over time as well, so it is imperative to

make sure security software and anti-malware for user devices as well as company systems are current. These updates should be automatic and reviewed on a regular basis.

Backup Critical Data: Making a copy of critical data can be a life saver should the primary copy ever get damaged or destroyed during an attack. This is probably the most important thing you can do for your organization! To be extra safe, make sure a copy of the data is stored offline and offsite.

Prepare for the Worst: Backing up data to an online device, such as disk, can also leave data vulnerable to attack because it still remains online and accessible. Using removable storage media, like LTO tape, helps prevent electronic access to data because the media removed from the system is no longer accessible electronically and therefore deemed ‘offline’.  This is often referred to as an air-gap between the tape cartridge itself and the computer systems.  An additional benefit of being offline is that the tape cartridge draws no additional power which contributes to an even lower cost, data content preservation solution.

Be Even Smarter: Cyber-monsters and disasters strike without advanced notice! Therefore, it is imperative that a copy of critical content is stored at a location that is offsite or even out of the region in case of a large scale disaster.  Storing a copy of the critical data in a remote location can be accomplished in many ways, including remotely storing a copy of LTO tape cartridges, disk-to-disk replication, disk-to-cloud and disk-to-tape via network, internet or communication line technologies. In addition, LTO tape data encryption can add an extra layer of protection.

To summarize, as we head into festive season, be smart about the use of e-mails and social media as we have learnt that these are the primary methods for cyber-monsters to attack you and your business. Or, be even smarter and use LTO technology to help protect and secure your sensitive data in the long-term!

Want to discuss your storage needs with the LTO Program representatives and see LTO-7 technology live? You can find us demonstrating LTO-7 tape and discussing LTO-8 specifications at the ISC East security conference in New York on November 15 and 16.