Cybersecurity Christmas Gift 2017
Free Security Training for Matrixforce Clients
My passion is protecting people from getting robbed by cybercriminals. What keeps me up at night is that according to the U.S. Department of Justice, Computer Crimes Division, 4,000 people are hacked by ransomware every day. The biggest asset and the highest risk in every business are the staff, which is why successful firms invest heavily in their personnel.
The problem is that the pace of technology and cybercrime is always increasing, but there is little data breach education provided for most employees. That’s why for Christmas, Matrixforce is providing individual cybersecurity training to all clients for FREE.
As a kid from Preston, Oklahoma, I didn’t get what the big deal was when my COBOL professor at Tulsa University was shocked on our second assignment that I used less than an hour of mainframe time, while the other students used over 20 hours. If you remember Tom Hanks in the beginning of the movie Joe and the Volcano, the mainframe lab was a lot like the eerie dingy gray basement office with the yellow-green lighting and strange crackling noises – definitely not what I saw in my future. So in 1985, my first lessons in cybersecurity were learning to hack into the university mainframe with a modem and XT computer to upload a program to test in about 2 minutes of runtime.
Itching to get some experience, an internship at Dupont in 1987 was my next exposure to the security of the first NetWare networks. The exposure to scientific process, security culture, and savvy business process would shape the rest of my career. Whether it was phreaking to get free long distance modem calls to bulletin boards or setting up the first firewalls and e-mail or web servers, it was clear those with know-how would try to access any system of interest to use resources. By 1999, what had largely been harmless pranks had become malicious attacks or profit models like advertising e-mail SPAM. Then in the 2000’s foreign governments began targeting businesses worldwide for profit and cyberwarfare.
By 2015, I was very concerned as there was tons of chatter from the dark web on new hacking techniques and by 2016 that concern turned into panic. The first wave of attacks on clients were fairly rudimentary, usually caused by someone absent-mindedly clicking an e-mail link to install a malicious program that would encrypt common data files like DOC or PDF. Anti-virus could be run on the affected workstation to remove the malware and data folders could be restored from backup.
The early ransomware was basically an extraordinarily annoying virus which took a little extra effort and time to recover. It was surprising that anti-virus wouldn’t prevent the ransomware from being installed from the onset, but it was user error and a small hassle with nobody ever paid the ransom.
In 2016, the annoying ransomware became devastating. Besides drive-by downloads from malicious websites and the onslaught of phishing e-mails, the game had changed to hacking weak passwords via remote desktop or VPN. Once the cybercriminals gained access, they downloaded their favorite hacking tools and encrypted the Operating System and all files of every workstation and server on the network.
Now you had to reinstall all workstations and servers before you could even restore data. Few environments backup workstations since the data is centralized and restore of database applications and all files with permissions is a much more difficult task. An average business with 30 workstations and 5 servers could easily take 5 days to reinstall and restore!
Unfortunately, the ugly truth is that most businesses have inadequate disaster recovery and online backup vendors were making a killing. The drawback is that restoring afterward is reactive and still very costly downtime/business loss after the fact. No anti-virus, firewall, or security patch stops ransomware. While there are a few upstarts that created programs to block any unapproved programs from running, virtually no one was focusing on ransomware prevention.
Don’t Be Easy Prey
While Matrixforce had done Microsoft Gold Certified network security seminars since 2003, something drastic had to be done to protect unsuspecting business owners and get the word out. Virtually every business unregulated or not now falls under some form of privacy law and often must prove security focus with published risk assessments for their customers.
As part of a collaborative 6 month project, I worked with other cybersecurity experts from around the world to publish the #1 Best-Seller Easy Prey to give guidance to small and medium business owners who were the main targets for cybercriminals. Then I began a media tour on ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox News to warn the public about the perils of ransomware. As a result Harvard and Nasdaq invited me to speak about the Delta Method and Vetted IT Support.
If it seems like EVERYONE in technology is suddenly a cybersecurity expert, it’s because they gave themselves that moniker. After all, who is going to say otherwise? There are no governing boards or state certifications.
Merry Christmas from Matrixforce
While you may have gotten our Christmas goodies and calls and e-mails thanking you for a great year, one of the best gifts we can give you for this Christmas is FREE Security training for your staff. Many clients have already been contacted about the free data breach training with a sample announcement and instructions. In conjunction, your staff will be invited to this blog for additional cyber outreach. Following the security training, they will begin to receive a weekly 1-2 minute security video tip because we must all be constantly vigilant for cybersecurity.
Over 6,000 individuals will be invited via e-mail between December 15th, 2017 and January 31st, 2018. If you have questions or haven’t seen any correspondence on this free offer, please contact us or (918) 622-1167. See the following holiday schedule for year-end with emergency support as needed for Christmas and New Years.
On behalf of all of us at Matrixforce, thank you for the privilege to protect you and have a Merry Christmas!
– Kevin Fream, CEO