The Benefits of Structured Cabling for Your Business

  • How much do you know about your company’s IT network?
  • What type of cabling system do you use? 
  • When was the last time you upgraded your network cabling?

These are questions any business owner should have answers for. However, if you’re like most that we consult for, your answers aren’t sufficient.  Your IT network is the backbone of your organization. Without a strong network, your employees are wasting time and losing productivity every day.

cabling

Are you using old technology and running your business on an out-of-date network?

If so, it’s time for an update.

One of the most useful updates you can make to your network is to switch from that old point-to-point cabling system to a highly functioning structured cabling system.

Point-to-Point Cabling vs. Structured Cabling Systems

These are the only two methods for transporting data through network cables. Many continue to use the old point-to-point cable method for their data infrastructure. A point-to-point cabling system has a tendency to cause problems as your network needs expand is size and complexity. To understand why, you must know how a point-to-point cabling system works:

A point-to-point cabling is set up by connecting one component of a network, a server, switch or a device, directly to another component of the network using a fiber-optic cable. Twenty years ago, this type of wiring was an elegant solution for quickly and easily stringing together a network. At that time, most networks were small, and IT departments were smaller.

Today, as networks grow, and fast transfers of huge amounts of data are more essential, maintaining these older point-to-point cabling system, along with the thousands of cords necessary to operate them, places a big strain on a company’s IT resources.

To avoid dealing with this, many companies have switched to a structured cabling system. Instead of connecting each individual component of a network directly to another, a structured cabling system connects the servers and storage units directly to a communication backbone.

Local cabling panels are installed throughout the office and connected to the communication backbone with a single cable. A user can then connect his device to the entire network by simply plugging a short cable into the closest cabling panel.

The Benefits of Structured Cabling

You may be thinking, “Hey, isn’t adding a communication backbone and redoing all the cable systems in my office going to be expensive?” The answer is yes. Installing a structured cabling system can be costly, but it’s an investment in the future of your business.

Why is it such a good investment? There are many reasons. A structured cabling system:

  • Pays for itself. It’s true that changing from a point-to-point cabling system to a structured cabling system isn’t cheap. The cost of installing a structured cabling system can range from $100 to $500 for each connection. Companies in older buildings with less access to the ceiling and subfloor can expect to pay even more. But the investment will eventually pay for itself by both making your employees more effective and lowering IT costs.
  • Reduces the time necessary to make repairs. Since a structured cabling system is segregated into a group of devices connected to a single local cabling panel, it’s easy for your IT professional to identify problems and solve issues. An additional benefit is that users’ work won’t be disrupted if their devices aren’t connected to the cabling panel being serviced.
  • Helps you plan for the future. A cable has an average useful lifespan of 15 years. That’s two to three times longer than most devices.  The cabling system you install today is going to be around for a long time, and will handle several generations of devices. No one knows how large your business will grow, or what future devices you may require.  However, when you switch to a structured cabling system, you’re helping to future-proof your network.
  • Offers increased flexibility. Adding more devices to the network is much easier when using a structured cabling system. Instead of running a new cable from additional devices to a switch or server using a long cable, your IT professional can simply connect the device to the closest cabling panel. Removing devices is just as easy.  Simply disconnect the device from the cabling panel and the job is done. No more orphaned cables to find and remove, like when using a point-to-point cabling system.

Isn’t it time for you to make the switch from point-to-point cabling? Cenetric can install a structured cabling system for your business in Kansas. Contact us for a complimentary assessment of your cabling needs. (913) 210-1950 or email us at info@cenetric.com

6 Lessons Every Company Should Learn from the WannaCry Ransomware

WannaCry’s ransomware attack is mostly over – here are the lessons businesses must learn from the experience.

WannaCry

WannaCry was a particularly nasty bit of ransomware that infected Windows systems via network connections and encrypted important files to hold them as a ransom for bitcoins. The first wave of WannaCry is over, and we can learn a lot of important lessons from its rise and fall.

1. Operating Systems Change for a Reason

This is probably the number one lesson from WannaCry: The disappointing thing is that is a very familiar lesson that every security experts know well. You have to keep updating your operating system, not just to keep up with the times, but also to protect your business data.

This advice is so common that the real problem is probably something more insidious: Business leaders refuse to take responsibility for the platforms and operating systems they are using. WannaCry is the consequence for that leadership failure, and the sooner organizations recognize that, the better they will be able to plan for the future. Windows XP was particularly vulnerable to WannaCry – that’s an operating system that’s 1)12 years old, 2)surpassed by 4 newer versions of the operating systems with far more advanced tools and integration, and 3)an OS that hasn’t had any support at all from Microsoft (outside of this emergency patch) for nearly three years.

The very common excuse that business makes here is that, “We can’t update because of this regulation, or that compliance issue, or the need to maintain services to our customers.” First, these are incredibly weak excuses. A full upgrade will always take time, resources, and careful planning to meet necessary regulations. That’s part of the process, not an excuse to avoid it. Second, many organizations don’t even realize these are poor excuses because they haven’t actually asked experts. The first thing an organization should do if they are worried about upgrading an older operating system is to bring in an IT expert that has experience in these types of upgrades and ask for a consultation, advice, and ultimately a game plan for the best possible outcome.

2. Patches Don’t Just Get in the Way – They Protect Against Threats

Close behind the lesson about upgrading to new versions of your operating system is the importance of patching. Let’s divided this into two steps. First, your company must be aware of available patches, as they come out, and what they do. This is really easy, even if you aren’t in IT. New patches are heralded by blogs, emails, tweets and many other sources of information explaining what they are and what they accomplish.

Second, give top priority to any patches that are designed to fix vulnerabilities and increase security. Require all employees to download that patch on all machines, that day. Period. You don’t even have to turn on automatic updates, just make sure those patches are downloaded. WannaCry was patched back in March, but guess what? A lot of organizations have no patch plan or requirements, so it didn’t matter.

3. Lack of Awareness is a Vulnerability

Combine both our first lessons, and you get a reminder worth noting – companies cannot claim ignorance here. We have to be aware of the current security dangers, and how to deal with them. That means paying attention to what IT says, understanding how the business systems work, and knowing when a new malware or virus attack hits. These days, no manager can say, “Well, it’s not my problem.” It is.

4. A Single Good Practice Can’t Protect You From All Malware

In the past, most ransomware like WannaCry was spread primarily through phishing emails, and strong anti-phishing strategy was very effective at dealing with the threat. But guess what? Things changes. Cyberattacks regularly evolve and find different, more insidious ways to locate new victims. You cannot count on a single strategy to prevent any particular threat.

5. Network Segmentation May Be Growing More Important

Network segmentation refers to devices that avoid connecting to the business network or connect only briefly in closely monitored situations to avoid data vulnerabilities and malware. Especially after WannaCry, this is looking like a good strategy for companies that handle a lot of sensitive information.

6. The Consequences Will Always Be Worse Than Necessary Preparation

Some of the organizations affected by WannaCry include the UK National Health Service, the South Korean and Chinese governments, and organizations in more than 150 countries. Emergency health services were canceled, governments were unable to offer services, factories were suddenly shut down, and much more. This led to tremendous losses, and will probably lead yet again to a whole lot of fines, firings, and the loss of contracts. It doesn’t matter how demanding security changes are, they are always easier than dealing with the aftermath of a bad attack.

For more information on how to prevent the latest malware attacks, contact Cenetric at (913) 210-1950 or by sending us a message at support@cenetric.com.

It’s Not Even Close to Over… Wanna Cry?

In case you have been living in a cave the past three days…

Wanna Cry is a ransomware that spreads like wildfire by leveraging a Windows SMB exploit to remotely access and infect computers running on unpatched or unsupported versions of Windows. It infects the targeted computer then moves on to others on the network and those it can find on the open internet.

need-know-wannacry-virus

237,000 computers across 99 countries have been infected thus far.

The news has reported that a 22-year-old security researcher has stopped the Wanna Cry ransomware plague.

That’s only partially true.

He found a “kill switch” in the code of Wanna Cry that will keep one strain of Wanna Cry from infecting computers.

Here’s the problem…

Now there are multiple strains of Wanna Cry cropping up across the globe.

Some with a different URL “kill switch,” and if reports can be believed, at least one strain with no “kill switch” at all. This “no kill switch” variant is believed to have been created by parties not related to the criminals who developed the first Wanna Cry code.

Whatever the final number of Wanna Cry strains ends up being, the truth is that we aren’t even close to being done with Wanna Cry. And the criminals in control of this cyber-WMD aren’t done with causing us pain.

Yes, the infection rate has slowed, but that lull is likely only the calm before the second wave of the storm – according to industry experts.

Where did Wanna Cry come from?

There is no public information on the criminals behind Wanna Cry, but the SMB exploit they are utilizing is believed to be part of a hacking toolset that the NSA allegedly created and lost control of when a group of hackers called “The Shadow Brokers” stole it and dumped it onto the dark web.

Currently, the predominant strains of Wanna Cry are being thwarted before they infect computers by utilizing the method discovered by 22-year-old MalwareTech.

He discovered that by registering a domain name that was buried in the ransomware’s code, he was able to create a “sinkhole” that didn’t allow the virus to infect the computer.

The problem is that if the connection to this “sinkhole” domain is lost, Wanna Cry will move into “infect” mode.

As we have stated above, there are now several strains of Wanna Cry out there with a “kill switch” domain name in their code. Each unique domain name must be registered so that a “sinkhole” is created for that strain.

Even with these domain name “sinkholes,” we aren’t out of the woods.

Malware Tech, the security researcher who found the first “kill switch” buried in Wanna Cry code, has stated that “WannaCrypt (or Wanna Cry) ransomware was spread normally long before this and will be long after, what we stopped was the SMB worm variant.”

There are some scenarios that will allow your unpatched computer to be infected – even with the kill switch in place. Here they are

  • If Wanna Cry comes to you via an email, a malicious torrent, or other vectors (instead of SMB protocol).
  • If your ISP or antivirus or firewall revokes access to the “sinkhole.”
  • If your system requires a proxy to access the internet – common in corporate networks.
  • If someone utilizes a DDoS attack to makes the sinkhole domain inaccessible.

What to do…

The cyber-security experts of Cenetric advise you to:

  • Patch your computers
  • Run a decent anti-virus (We highly recommend Webroot)
  • Make sure your backups are current and secure

Because of the high-profile nature of this ransomware attack, there will be copycats that make Wanna Cry even more virulent and destructive.

Wanna Cry 2.0 is inevitable.

It’s important that you act proactively for your company now and get the Cenetric cyber-security team on your side.

We have the resources to help you stay running and safe.

Contact Cenetric today at (913) 210-1950 or info@cenetric.com

Dangerous Google Docs Phishing Scam on the Loose

 

This is a copy of a letter sent to our clients yesterday:

Please be aware that the964345bedcd94234a11f9eb0940fa2eere is an extremely sophisticated and real-seeming Google Drive phishing attack making the rounds right now. The attack appears to be an invite to a shared Google Doc, usually from a trusted sender. Clicking the link will take you to Google’s  sign-in page, just like a normal Google doc invite. However, by accessing the document, you grant it full permission to your account details, including the ability to access Gmail, Google Drive, and a wealth of other information.

Thankfully, the email is pretty easy to spot. It is addressed to hhhhhhhhhhhhhh@domain.com, and doesn’t quite look the same as a standard google doc share. If you receive an email like this, please delete it immediately. If you have already opened the document within, please contact Cenetric immediately for assistance revoking the associated permissions.

The below image is what the header looks like:

phish

Thank you,

Cenetric Support

From Telegraphs to USENET and How to Protect Yourself from Spam

When someone thinks of spam they typically think of unsolicited bulk commercial email they receive in their inbox. However, the concept of spam started a little earlier than you might think. How far back? How does 1864 sound? Spam in 1864 you say? Yes, in the form of a telegraph, advertising a local dentistry actually. The Telegraph was so much news that the local paper even reprinted the telegraph that was sent to many households, further propagating the message.

More recently, people consider the first spam email coming out of Digital Equipment in 1978 which went to a total of 393 people promoting their latest computer model. You can thank a Monty Python sketch based on a cafe that only served the canned spiced ham SPAM for the origin of the name. Another early spammer was the lawyers Canter and Siegel posting their “Green Card Lottery” message to USENET, a shared messaging system.

What does all this have to do with today? You don’t want to be known as a spammer. There are three ways to attack the spam problem. First off, you don’t want your marketing emails to be classified as spam. Secondly, you don’t want your mail server to be abused where someone sends spam through your hardware. While this wasn’t sent to you directly, your hardware could be blacklisted, thus affecting your own emails. Lastly, you don’t want your employees to respond to spam. There are ways to filter this at the mail server to prevent them from seeing the messages, or at least classify messages as fishy before their opened. Cenetric can help you to protect your business from being labeled a bad apple in the email business.

Starting with the most important avenue, ensuring your marketing messages get through, there are some best practices to know about. For starters, don’t just send emails directly to your clients. Putting everyone’s email in the “To:” field of a message is bound to cause problems when someone does a reply-all. If you absolutely have to send a message to LOTS of people, it is better to use the BCC (for blind carbon copy) field of a message. Better yet, rely on a mailing list management package like that offered by Constant Contact. Typically, you don’t want to add people to the mailing list yourself. Instead, people should opt-in. More importantly, with each message you send, there should be unsubscribed instructions.

Protecting your mail server is not an easy task. There are some simple steps you can do like requiring that users are authenticated before sending a message, but someone can just spoof the email headers to make it appear messages came through your server. To best protect your server, in 2012 DMARC, or Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance was introduced. Combined with the earlier introduced SPF, Sender Policy Framework, this makes sure that any messages appearing to come from your mail server actually came from your mail server. Cenetric can help you keep up with the latest ways to protect your email servers and thus getting your marketing messages through.

Lastly, it is important to look at the inbound side of spam. With all the talk of Russians hacking servers and the release of inappropriate celebrity photos, most of these attempts are triggered by phishing attacks of targets. You still need to worry about viruses being sent through email, but phishing involves fraudsters sending what look like real emails in the attempt to reveal personal information like passwords and bank account info. You don’t want your employees giving away the farm so that others can then get into your company network or your employees worried about identity theft. Cenetric can help protect your mail servers from letting these unsolicited emails through.

Call us at (913) 210-1950 or email sales@cenetric.com to learn more about how we can help keep your organization spam-free from all sides!

Are Your IT Policies Putting you at Risk of Security Breach?

Companies have solid reasons for embracing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and allowing for telecommuting so personnel can work from home or on the road, but doing so can increase the risk of data breaches for the company.  

Image result for security breachRemote Access policies are currently in favor with hundreds of
thousands of businesses across the United States, and the globe. While companies have solid reasons for embracing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and allowing for telecommuting so personnel can work from home or on the road, they increase the risk of data breaches for the company.

The Problem

The two problems are closely related. The first has to do with the concept of BYOD. The reason companies choose to allow this is that it allows their staff to have the most up-to-date technology without having to acquire advanced technology themselves. The second is telecommuting. Workers that telecommute only need an internet connection to log into their workplace computer systems.

By the Numbers

So, let’s look at some numbers concerning both problems. An article published in Great Britain tells about a survey of 500 companies in the UK and Germany. Among their findings:

  • 44% of organizations had a member of senior management lose a mobile device; and
  • 39% had a member of executives report a stolen device.
  • 54% of survey respondents noted that a non-senior management employee lost a device and 49% said a device that was stolen
  • 93% of these devices contained work-related data
  • 49% had work-related emails on them
  • 38% had confidential data or files
  • 24% contained customer data
  • 15% had company financial information

Results of similar surveys in North America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim all returned similar results.

What are the implications?

Many of these devices when lost or stolen have passwords stored without any protection. This means thieves have easy access to your company data. Often, lost or stolen devices have personal identifying information, personal financial information, or personal health information that can number in the tens of thousands. If this data, or other data such as customer lists or proprietary information, is breached, companies can see losses that go to the tens of millions of dollars.

More Numbers

  • 48% of companies reported they are unable to keep track of what data leaves the office and who is taking it off premise.
  • 54% agree that data can be safeguarded more securely
  • 67% of responding companies acknowledged they know that employees break the rules concerning removing data from the workplace, but, have not yet addressed the issue.

What Makes This Such a Big Problem?

Breaches are very expensive.

  • Your company reputation will suffer if your data is compromised. This isRelated image particularly the case if customer/client/patient information is breached. It is probable that your company will lose business directly because of the breach, and finding new business becomes harder too.
  • Most companies pay for identity theft monitoring and restoration for one year following a breach – this is an additional cost to the business and depending on the size of the breach can be very costly.
  • In many instances of data breaches, affected customers or business partners sue or join a class action suit against the company that was breached. Defense, settlements or jury awards is also a new expense.
  • Fines are often levied against companies that have preventable breaches and they can be in the millions – many small or medium-sized businesses can be driven to bankruptcy by these fines.

What You Can Do to Protect Your Data

  • Make sure your data is securely stored and require two-factor authorization for access to your system.
  • Install remote wiping applications on devices used by employees for remote or BYOD work
  • Perform routine penetration tests so your company can identify potential security flaws

For more network security information or for a free network assessment, contact Cenetric today at (913) 210-1950 or support@cenetric.com 

The Hidden Costs of Malware

Ransomware is malware that either freezes your computer or locks it so you cannot access data and programs that your company normally uses. The criminal that is holding your system hostage, demands a ransom that is usually paid in Bitcoin.

Imagine opening your business one morning, turning your computer on and reading a message that says something like: Attention – Your System is Locked. If you want your data and programs unlocked, you must pay a fee of $800. If you are a new business or a small one, $800 can be a lot of money. It is in effect a ransom payment and is the harbinger that your computer is a victim of ransomware.

What is Ransomware/Malware?

Ransomware is malware that either freezes your computer or locks it so you cannot access data and programs that your company typically uses. The criminal that is holding your system hostage, demands a ransom that is usually paid in Bitcoin. One thing about this kind of criminal is they believe in excellent customer service. Instructions are sent you about how to pay in Bitcoin. Also, the thief or gang of thieves usually do return your computer back over to you – otherwise, most people would not bother to pay the ransom.

However, the ransom is only the beginning of your expenses relating to a ransomware incident involving your business.

What Are the Other Costs of Ransomware?

In 2016, the average cost of paying a ransom demand involving accessing a business’ computer programs and data was $679. It is expected to rise in 2017 to nearly $800. But, that is not the only, nor necessarily, the greatest expense. The other costs attendant to ransomware include:

Regulatory Fines

It is the duty of every business to safeguard the Personal Financial Information (PFI)and Personal Identifying Information (PII) of clients and customers. Regulatory authorities such as the US Department of Health and Human Services (HIPAA compliance) or the Federal Trade Commission for letting PII fall victim to a ransomware attack. Fines can be high (millions of dollars) but are usually not levied if there had been no other prior issues regarding confidentiality. For those firms who had previous breaches, fines can quickly add up to millions of dollars.

A Lack of Productivity

When a computer system is unreachable, your employees are undergoing downtime. Without your business data and programs, they are unable to work and are simply nothing more than another expense due to ransomware. Depending on the size of your workforce is how much this costs. A research study by the firm Vanson Bourne for SentinelOne reveals that it takes 38 man hours to recover from a ransomware attack.

Loss of Customers/Lack of New Customers

When a company is victimized by a ransomware attack, most states require that anyone whose data may have been breached must be advised of the possible breach. Doing so may lead to customers leaving you for another company. Likewise, it is harder to find new clients or customers.

Loss of Employees/Inability to Hire Top Applicants

The situation is similar when it comes to employee retention and new hires – employees want to know their employer has an excellent reputation that is unsullied by a successful ransomware attack.

Ransomware is 100% recoverable without the fees! Don’t get caught off-guard today!

Cenetric can help you develop a strategy to protect against ransomware before it ever becomes an issue. Consultations are free: 913.210.1950 or info@cenetric.com.

6 Essential Email Tips

Emailing seems simple enough… but that’s not always the case. Use email in the wrong ways and it can lead to massive confusion, hurt feelings, and more work than necessary. At the same time, though, email the right way and you can end up with better, more productive days at the office.

But what exactly is the wrong way to email?

Here are a few things to watch out for:

Leaving out a subject line

Subject lines make a world of difference when it comes to efficiency inside your inbox. Forget to include one and you’ll regret it later. Four or five simple words can turn a 30-minute scroll through your inbox into a 5-second search for information.

Not signing off

When it comes to email, a sign-off is always necessary. Whether it’s just your name or a name and a Thank You, you should always include something in every email. Leave it out and you’ll look unprofessional.

Using sarcasm

Sarcasm can be difficult to detect when you’re standing right in front of someone. Using it in email without context is a recipe for disaster!

Resolving conflict

Email was not designed to help people resolve conflict. That is a feat that should be attempted in-person or, at the very least, over the phone. If ever you feel the email conversation has somehow morphed into conflict resolution, request that the conversation be continued face-to-face.

Not spellchecking

Everyone’s probably done it at some point. You send a message to someone and misspell something so badly that you’re embarrassed to look at yourself in the mirror. And typically… this situation could have been avoided if you had just looked over the email.

Leaving the email blank

When someone asks you to send over an attachment, you might not write anything inside the actual email. You might just attach the document and leave it at that. Heck, you may not even include a subject line – which you now know is a bad idea. But you’d be surprised by how confused people get when they receive an empty email, and they might be so confused that they miss the attachment altogether – which will only lead to more emails and further attachments.

Cenetric works with our clients to help them understand how to leverage technology to grow their business and run it more efficiently.

Call us for more information today: (913) 210-1950 or email info@cenetric.com

 

5 Best Time Management Apps For Small Business Owners

Time management apps are the solutions that small business owners need to maximize efficiency throughout their day.

Time Management

Small business owners are notorious for being pulled in one thousand directions at once. We wear many hats every day: billing, customer relations, vendor interactions, marketing, and the day to day operations of running a business are just a few of the directions that seek to continually dominate a small business owner’s attention. While this might be enough to overwhelm even the most dedicated of small business owner’s on a particularly busy day, there is a silver lining. Time management apps can help small business owners better prioritize and complete daily tasks.

What Time Management Apps Do Small Business Owners Need To Succeed?
No matter whether you are a seasoned small business owner, or are just starting out on your entrepreneurial journey, the following five time management apps will help you to successfully stay on task throughout the day.

  1. Achieve Flexibility With Asana Asana features a flexible interface that leverages a dashboard to help you prioritize projects, daily tasks, and other business responsibilities. This time management app is particularly useful for growing small businesses who need to coordinate with in-office employees and outsourced teams. One of the app’s best features is its ability to integrate with an extensive list of other apps and services, such as: Evernote, Google Drive, MailChimp, and Slack. With one simple dashboard you can streamline your projects, create cohesive conversations, and better manage an unlimited number of tasks.
  2. Stay On Time With Timely The proof is in the name. Timely combines scheduling, budgets, billing, a calendar, and many other administrative aspects into one convenient app. Through tags you can not only understand how your time is spent throughout the day, but you can optimize your tracking activities to improve your on-time completion of project deliverables. Timely can also connect your calendars from multiple sources, including: Google Calendar, Outlook, and Office365.
  3. Track Your Life Completely With OmniFocus One of the challenges that small business owners often face is a blurring of lines between their personal and professional lives. Fortunately, OmniFocus is the app that you need to succinctly keep track of everything that you do in life. From your weekly grocery shopping list to a detailed digital itinerary of tasks completed, OmniFocus helps you gain insights into what goals you need to set, and most importantly how you can allocate time to achieve them. Avoid blurring lines and missing deadlines with OmniFocus.
  4. Prioritize Effectively With 1-3-5 ListPrioritizing your day has never been easier thanks to 1-3-5 List. Simply put, the app allows you to choose one large task, three medium tasks, and five small tasks to complete on a daily basis. The list can then be customized to best suit your needs for each job. Thanks to this simple app, you can avoid becoming overwhelmed and achieve a sharper focus on what items are must complete tasks.
  5. Avoid Inefficiencies With Rescue Time Rescue Time is the app that literally allows you to rescue your day from inefficiencies. Whether you are spending too much time on individual goals or taking one too many “social media breaks,” Rescue Time will send you weekly reports so that you can have a clear picture of how you are using your time throughout the day.

The moral of the story is clear, with the right time management apps you can once again take control of your time as you discover effective ways to achieve the on-time delivery of each project. For additional insights into the apps and technology solutions that can help you achieve business success, contact Cenetric – Kansas City’s Leading Provider of IT Managed Network Services – at 913.210.1950 or by emailing us at: info@cenetric.com

20 Years of Viruses, Bugs and Computer Scams

Image result for computer virus

There are viruses that can be implanted on a computer in 2017, and lie in wait until a network becomes vulnerable before attacking. Unfortunately, viruses have come a long way from 20 years ago. The term virus was coined early on in computer history, but it’s every bit as relevant today as it was then. Just like biological viruses adapt to Purell and antibiotics, so too have viruses learned to adapt to new security measures.

Brain in 1986

Brain was the first reported computer virus on DOS, and was announced in January of 1986. It spread via floppy disk, and spawned generations of hackers with its ability to move from computer to computer. Brain appeared to be little more than a prank (courtesy of two developers in Pakistan), a joke in which the hackers actually revealed their real location in the text of the virus. Because the virus did little to harm people’s data or machines, it often went entirely unnoticed by users.

The Evolution

Today we refer to viruses as a specific kind of malware, one that can self-replicate and continue its destructive path indefinitely. While Brain may be one of the famous early viruses because it came about when computers were experiencing more ubiquity, self-replicating programs date back to the 1940s. Programs in the early days might slow down processing time, taunt users with cryptic messages, or severely impact performance. Once Brain was no longer a news items, new forms started to pop up. The ones that followed famously infected files from Yale University, destroyed files in Jerusalem, and exploited computers that were known to have buffering vulnerabilities. Viruses could be the product of hackers, or sometimes of legitimate company’s software.

Viruses Today

Viruses have gotten faster and more efficient to make them a force to be feared. They can delete photos, files and entire storage libraries. They’re developed to target Word, Outlook, Windows OS, Mac OS — nothing is safe. They can be designed to affect Facebook or Twitter users, or programmed to steal credit card information straight for the source. Hackers may be out for pure destruction or chaos, or potentially for ransom. The more the average person understands them, the faster hackers create new tricks to get in. Viruses can come in the form of a pop up, an email from a coworker, or a completely undetectable program that waits until the time is right.

Protection for Everyone

The physical world will never provide total safety, and the same holds true for the virtual world. But there are preventative measures you can take to safeguard your company from viruses that go beyond anti-malware and perimeter protections. Security needs to have layers to fend off the intelligent viruses of 2017.

LOGO HD 1920

Cenetric is the trusted choice when it comes to staying ahead of the latest virus developments and can provide you with tips, tricks and news. Contact us at (913) 210-1950 or send us an email at support@cenetric.com for more information.