Is Ineffective Technology The Real Reason Why Cybersecurity Is Failing? We Disagree…

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HelpNetSecurity.com
 posted a rather provocative article recently that postulated that the reason why cybersecurity was failing is due to ineffective technology.  Although we can see how many might consider this to be an accurate representation of the cybersecurity industry right now, we at Wedge would have to disagree on whether this is a completely accurate picture.  Although there might be a lot of heavily marketed but ineffective technologies on the market right now, there are also several innovative companies whose technologies will potentially disrupt the industry and fix some of the failings that are evident out there.

The article and underlying report by DebateSecurity.com does touch on a few key ideas as to why the industry finds itself in this interesting case of misperception; such as efficacy issues (with many solutions not really performing as they are advertised), which leads to trust issues by CISO’s who buy a solution and then “cross their fingers and hope that the technology works”.  The other key idea being that it is also an economics problem, with an “asymmetry between the parties that prevents buyers from effectively evaluating technology” and that it “incentivizes vendors to bring sub-optimal solutions to the market”.  Apart from governments, very few buyers in the market have the ability to use detailed and independent cybersecurity efficacy assessments as part of their procurement process.  For the most part it is because it takes time and resources to conduct assessments on several solutions to find the best one for the organization’s use case.  As such, they often end up going with the solutions with the most advertised features or on the ones that have the best marketing, instead of putting the priority on the actual efficacy of the solution itself.  Basically, buyers end up typically looking for the least expensive solution that can do the “most” for them. Because of the conflicting goals between the buyer and the seller, the “sub-optimal” solutions often end up being sold based on price or “advertised features”.

When it comes down to it, the unfortunate result of the long-standing disconnect between buyers and sellers in the cybersecurity space has resulted in the acceptance of ineffective technology as being “normal”.  Companies / buyers will often only be able to perhaps try only a couple of solutions and then end up basically taking a risk on one of them; “hoping” that it actually works for their organization.
 
So, what are some of the suggestions that the article and the report make for solving this issue?  There are four characteristics that have been broadly agreed upon as requirements for comprehensively defining cybersecurity technology efficacy.  These are that the solution:

1. Must have the capability to deliver the stated security mission (fit-for-purpose)
2. Must have the practicality that enterprises need to implement, integrate, operate and maintain it (fit-for0use)
3. Must have the quality in design and build to avoid vulnerabilities and negative impacts
4. Must have its origins from a vendor company, its people and supply chain, such that no additional security risks are introduced.

The thought is that in order for changes to start happening to the cybersecurity industry, coordinated action between all stakeholders (buyers and sellers) would have to occur and that it might only be achieved through regulation.  Several respondents to the DebateSecurity report stated that a transparent assessment of technology could help to solve what is essentially a breakdown in the market, and that setting standards on technology assessments, instead of the technology itself could help to prevent stifling innovation that might occur otherwise.

When it is all said and done, the big challenge for cybersecurity professionals is trying to select effective technologies for their organizations.  Unfortunately, the pressure is on them to choose the right technologies with limited assessment resources, especially when buying the wrong solution may see them looking for employment elsewhere.
So, why does Wedge disagree with the overall premise of HelpNetSecurity’s article?  Well, for one, we feel that we are one of those innovative companies whose technologies is seeking to disrupt the industry!  We have patented technologies that have proven their effectiveness time and time again and we are starting to win converts with our Real-time Threat Prevention approach to cybersecurity.  Unlike many of the larger solution providers who rely on the big marketing budgets to sell their products, Wedge has been quietly winning customers over with our innovative orchestrated threat management platform.  We base our solution on our patented high performance SubSonic Engine and Deep Content Inspection technology that enables us to go further than other solutions by reassembling packets into their MIME objects so that we can “see” the intent of the content.  Over the years, with our Open Service Bus, we have been able to take the best-of-breed security services on the market and run them on our high performance platform to offer the best of the best that is available.  More recently, we have also incorporated automated and continuously learning AI / Machine Learning neural  networks to help in the ongoing cybersecurity battle.  This allows our Wedge Absolute Real-time Protection platform to now be able to even recognize zero-days and never-before-seen malware, blocking it in real-time!  And, as new technologies are developed, we’ll continue to add them to our platform…

When it comes down to it, Wedge has always focused on creating highly effective cybersecurity technologies, right from the start.  We have been and continue to be a company focused on innovation.  That is why we feel that by painting the whole industry with the same brush and stating that it is failing because of ineffective technology does companies like ours, who are bringing innovative and effective solutions to the industry, a big disservice.  Hopefully, the companies out there who are peddling ineffective solutions will soon be displaced by innovative solutions like ours.  To find out more about some highly effective technology in the Cybersecurity industry, feel free to contact our team at: info@wedgenetworks.com.

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Another Municipality Hit By a Cyber Attack / Cyber Fraud: Why Not Prevent These Occurrences Using WedgeARP – Real-time Threat Prevention?

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Here’s an interesting case of a municipality that has lost money, not due to ransomware this time (unlike the other blogs that we’ve done such as: thisthis and this) , but due to cyber fraud.  Portageonline.com reported that the Municipality of Westlake-Gladstone, in Manitoba, “was the target of a malicious cyber security breach, in which a significant amount of money was electronically stolen from the Municipality’s operating bank account.”  What makes this different from the typical attack is that instead of using a ransomware angle, the hackers infiltrated the Municipality’s network, were able to access confidential banking account information, and made off with approximately $447,000.00 via a number of electronic withdrawals in amounts of $9,950.00.
 
This occurred even though the municipality had a secure server and their network was being monitored by an IT security management company.  That IT management company continues to state that they have been “unable to detect any suspicious activity on the administrative office server and network and are confident that the server and networks in our office are secure.” So, a cyber-attack has occurred that resulted in the loss of almost half a million dollars and the IT management company still hasn’t found out how it happened?  There seems to be something wrong with this picture and something lacking in the municipality’s current security set-up and/or security management company.

Granted, lately, we’ve been so focused on ransomware attacks that have hit municipalities and government departments, that we forget that there are other cyber attacks that are still being perpetrated, with the results still being the loss of money.  With the main moneymakers continuing to be very targeted ransomware, a lot of government IT departments may neglect to consider other zero-days and never-before-seen malware that can also lead to monetary loss in other ways.

That’s why at Wedge, we continue to press for organizations to consider looking at solutions such as our Wedge Absolute Real-time Protection (WedgeARP) that integrates AI/Machine Learning neural networks into our orchestrated real-time deep content inspection platform.  Along with our high performance engine, the AI/ML deep learning aspect of our solution enables us to detect not only the ransomware attacks that are so widespread and rampant, but also any other never-before-seen attacks that could lead to the security breach as described above.  

If a hacker has been able to gain access into your secure network, who knows what sort of damage can be done or what confidential information could be exfiltrated to allow unauthorized access into other secure systems, such as the banking network, in this case.  Stay one step ahead by integrating solutions such as WedgeARP that take a pro-active approach to network security and that can PREVENT hackers from gaining access to secure servers and networks BEFORE they can do any harm.  For more information on how your organization can secure itself against cyber attacks such as these, contact our team at: info@wedgenetworks.com.

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Paying Ransomware Can Now Get You Sanctioned By the US Department of the Treasury: Here’s How Wedge Can Help!

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A big ransomware game changer came down the pipe on October 1st, from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)  as they issued a Ransomware Advisory alerting companies of potential sanctions risks for facilitating ransomware payments.  This has the huge potential of taking away many companies’ “solution of last resort” when it comes to dealing with a ransomware attack on their organizational network infrastructure and proprietary data.  Granted, in theory, stopping the ability for companies to pay malicious cyber actors who carry out ransomware attacks, SHOULD have the effect of reducing the monetary allure for carrying out the attacks.  However, by taking away the ability to pay ransom, in the short term at least, this will definitely affect a lot of businesses; many of whom could be forced to cease operations should access to their systems and data be unrecoverable through means other than paying the ransom.

According to the Ransomware Advisory, “OFAC has imposed, and will continue to impose, sanctions on these actors and others who materially assist, sponsor, or provide financial material, or technological support for these activities.”  What this new advisory brings to the forefront is that now, facilitating ransomware payments on behalf of a victim may also violate OFAC regulations and be subject to sanctions.  The OFAC has designated a list of malicious cyber actors under its cyber-related sanctions program and other sanctions programs, including perpetrators of ransomware attacks and those who facilitate ransomware transactions, with whom sanctions would apply to ANY organizations who deal with them.  Many of those on the list are well-known cybercriminal organizations who have been responsible for the majority of ransomware attacks.  These include: Cryptolocker developer Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev, WannaCry developer Lazarus Group, Russia-based Evil Corp (responsible for the Dridex malware and others), just to name a few.

As we alluded to a little while back, large organizations are becoming favourite targets of ransomware attacks.  For one, they often have deep pockets and enough resources to actually pay the ransom in order to get their systems and data back.  They are also the organizations that often have the most to lose if their systems go down.  A case in point is the recent attack on Garmin, which had a massive effect on global positioning services.  Although Garmin was able to get their systems and services back online in somewhat short order, there is speculation that they actually caved in and paid the ransom demanded in order to facilitate this.  There is also speculation that they may face sanctions as a result of doing so!!

So, with this recent advisory, hopefully things may turn things around in the war against ransomware.  Unfortunately, the victims of the attacks are going to be greatly affected as paying a ransom is no longer on the table.  By paying the ransom, they face potential sanctions from the OFAC; basically a triple whammy of you’re “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” because if you don’t, you lose your systems and data but if you do, you pay the ransom AND also now a fine.

In the meantime, the best defence against ransomware has always been prevention, not the current approach of detect and remediate, where you have a patient zero who could be the catalyst for a ransomware attack. Refer back to our blog here.  Wedge’s Absolute Real-time Protection (WedgeARP) platform has been proven to be one of the most highly effective solutions against ransomware by offering real-time threat prevention.  By detecting and BLOCKING ransomware attacks BEFORE they have a chance to access a network and do harm, organizations are spared the costly remediation efforts, and now, potential sanctions when dealing with a successful attack.  By utilizing patented Deep Content Inspection techniques, along with orchestrated threat management with multiple layers of protection – INCLUDING AI deep learning / machine learning based threat detection – WedgeARP can SEE the intent of content and is able to detect and block ALL malware (known, customized and never-before-seen), all in real-time.  If your organization is concerned about the effects a ransomware attack could have on its systems and operations as well as the financial impact and potential government sanctions it could face, maybe it’s time to think about adding real-time threat prevention as part of its arsenal.  Contact our team at: info@wedgenetworks.com to learn more.

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Edgecore Networks Partners With Wedge Networks to Integrate Wedge’s Absolute Real-time Platform into Joint Product and Solutions Offerings

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24 September 2020 – HSINCHU, Taiwan and CALGARY, Canada: Edgecore Networks Corporation (Edgecore), the leader in open networking, delivering wired and wireless networking products and solutions to data centers, service providers, enterprises and SMB customers worldwide, has formally entered into a technology and distribution partnership with Wedge Networks.  Through this partnership, Edgecore will integrate Wedge’s Absolute Real-time Protection™ (WedgeARP™) platform software into a selection of its hardware devices such as Access Points, CPEs, Edge Devices, Network Devices, etc., for its global client base. 

WedgeARP™ provides network-based, real-time threat protection for all types of endpoints in a wide range of networks (mobile data, 5G, SD-WAN, SASE, and smart-city/IIoT). With an embedded deep learning AI engine and patented real-time deep content inspection technology, WedgeARP™ can detect never-before-seen malware in milliseconds. Running on an orchestrated threat management platform, it is an effective and autonomous approach to enable large-scale real-time threat prevention.

Within a global ecosystem of commercial partners and open-source communities, Edgecore Networks delivers networking solutions based on open hardware and software platforms that increase choice, freedom, greater control, encourage and quicken innovation, lower TCO, and stimulate new business models.  Through this agreement, Edgecore expands its product offerings with the addition of Wedge Networks’ software technology, creating an excellent opportunity for providing real-time threat protection to its clients around the world

TT Hsu, Vice-President at Edgecore Networks stated, “We have been working very well with Wedge Networks on our technology integrations and are pleased to formalize our strategic alliance as it will allow Edgecore to enhance our cybersecurity offerings with real-time threat prevention to our growing client base. Edgecore has a strong focus on providing complete solutions that generate value for our customers and to assist with realizing the potential for our digital-network society.  This partnership with Wedge Networks, and the joint products the alliance will bring, is expected to keep us ahead of the technological curve for network security going forward.”

“Edgecore is a key technology partner for Wedge and shares our vision of real-time threat prevention for the cloud connected world,” commented Dr. Hongwen Zhang, Wedge Networks, CEO & CTO. “The joint solution will benefit customers and partners to secure their digital transformation in the rapidly emerging SASE architecture.”

Edgecore Networks is authorized as a Strategic Technology Partner to promote the joint technology solutions around the world.

About Edgecore Networks 

Edgecore Networks Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Accton Technology Corporation, the leading network ODM.  Edgecore Networks delivers wired and wireless networking products and solutions through channel partners and system integrators worldwide for the Data Center, Service Provider, Enterprise and SMB customers.  Edgecore Networks is the leader in open networking providing a full line of open Wi-Fi access points, packet transponders, virtual PON OLTs, cell site gateways, and 1G, 10G, 25G, 40G, 100G and 400G OCP-Accepted™ switches that offer choice of commercial and open source NOS and SDN software. For more information, visit: www.edge-core.com.

About Wedge Networks

Wedge Networks Inc. is a Real-Time Threat Prevention solutions company. Its innovative technology platform, Wedge Absolute Real-time Protection (WedgeARP™), is a software defined orchestrated network security system. Deployed, via the cloud, on premises, or in a virtualized environment, in data centers by enterprises, governments, and managed security service providers, WedgeARP™ inspects, detects, and blocks in real-time, malware and cyber threats (known, unknown and customized). Wedge does this through its patented Deep Content Inspection (DCI) technologies, combined with artificial intelligence and best-of-breed security functions.

Awarded a Gartner Cool Vendor designation, and twice bestowed with Build-In-Canada Innovation awards, Wedge Networks is headquartered in Calgary, Canada with international teams in the North America, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East and North Africa regions.

For more information on Wedge Networks, visit: https://www.wedgenetworks.com/.

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PR@wedgenetworks.com

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AI Automating Cybersecurity in Post-COVID World: Wedge can get you straight to Level 5…

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A great article in Venturebeat was recently published that brought up the marked acceleration of using AI in the realm of cybersecurity.  Unfortunately, cybercriminals are ahead of the curve in this regard and are evolving much more quickly in order to take advantage of the situation.  Cybercriminals have already started looking at artificial intelligence to help increase the breadth and depth of their attacks.  They have already begun utilizing AI to allow for faster cracking of passwords and to even automate their attack infrastructure.  With cybercriminals utilizing AI to their benefit, the question becomes, “What about the other side?  How can the Good Guys Utilize AI to defend against these attacks?”  

Venturebeat provided a nice little chart on the Levels of Cybersecurity Automation, which outlined the following:

Level 1 – Manual Detection & Manual Response – Events are detected by Security Operations Center (SOC) and fraud teams; manual mitigation of individual events.

Level 2 – Manual Detection & Semi-Automated Response – Responses are sufficiently well-understood that automation through rules and scripts is used in response and mitigation.

Level 3 – Semi-Automated Detection & Semi-Automated Response – Event detection facilitated by automated analytics; typically where machine learning (ML) is introduced.

Level 4 – Automated Detection & Semi-Automated Response – Event detection is fully automated through ML and other analytics, driving SOC & fraud workflows, investigations, and rule generation.

Level 5 – Fully Automated Detection and Fully Automated Response – Detection and response systems are fully automated for all events; manual effort is primarily focused on improving the automated system as opposed to dealing with individual events.   And this is where Wedge Networks can take you!

Unfortunately, most organizations are at Level 1, with some more sophisticated organizations in the Level 3 and 4 range. In order to adequately defend against the cybercriminals in the long term, organizations are going to have to be at Level 5, where AI can help to overcome the Security Gap; which is the gap in which the finite network security resources are quickly overrun by the exponentially expanding security threats.  Without Level 5, resources will continually be spent trying to deal with individual events, instead of focused on improving the security as a whole.. As the cybersecurity industry continues to further integrate AI and machine learning into solutions, it is boiling down to more of an analytics and automation problem; one that can often be plagued with both false positive and false negative issues that need to be worked out.  More false positives and customers are unhappy, more false negatives and successful attacks increase, and customers are again unhappy.

So, with all of the above, where is YOUR organization at in terms of AI integration?  Does your cybersecurity solution utilize AI and machine learning?  If not, why not?  If they do, to what level is it integrated?  

The great things is that Wedge saw the writing on the wall several years ago and did something about it.  We’ve actually been integrating Ai and machine learning into our Wedge Absolute Real-time Protection (WedgeARP) platform for several years now and with great success!  We have been orchestrating AI at the network level with our Wedge Advanced Malware Blocker, which revolutionized malware PREVENTION.  WedgeAMB orchestrates AI technology and other technologies to detect and block both known and unknown (never-before-seen) malware, preventing them from entering the network and stopping attacks before they can start.  Combined with WedgeIQ and the actionable threat analytics that it provides, Wedge has been at the forefront of AI utilization in the cyber security realm.  

And, we’ve not stopped improving!  Wedge has further devised Wedge Nucleation, which is an automated continuous deep learning process for real-time threat prevention.  This process uses automation for continuously training artificial neural networks (ANN) from filtered and labeled network data.  With each iteration, the ANN further improves its accuracy of filtering and labeling network data, adding to the ever-evolving intelligence.  This intelligence further reduces both false positives and false negatives, leading to much more accurate results.  To learn more about how Wedge has been utilizing AI in its real-time threat prevention platform, contact our team at: info@wedgenetworks.com.  It’s time that organizations jump ahead of the cybercriminals and protect themselves against the new generation of AI-based attacks.  Wedge Networks can enable your organization to do just that!

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RHEA Inc. Enters into Strategic Alliance With Wedge Networks

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Leading cybersecurity and engineering solutions company, RHEA Group to offer Wedge Networks Absolute Real-time Protection platform – WedgeARP™ in Canada and across Europe and South America

10 September 2020 – CALGARY, Canada: RHEA Inc., headquartered in Montreal, Canada, offers bespoke engineering solutions, system development and security services, announced today that it has been appointed as an authorized Elite partner for Wedge Networks in the Canadian, European and South American markets. Through this strategic alliance / partnership, RHEA Inc. will be able to deliver the Wedge Absolute Real-time Protection™ (WedgeARP™) platform to its global customers who are actively looking for real-time protection from advanced persistent threats and never-before-seen malware.

WedgeARP™ provides network-based, real-time threat protection for all types of endpoints in a wide range of networks (mobile data, 5G, SD-WAN, SASE, and smart-city/IIoT). With an embedded deep learning AI engine and patented real-time deep content inspection technology, WedgeARP™ can detect never-before-seen malware in milliseconds. Running on an orchestrated threat management platform, it is an effective and autonomous approach to enable large-scale real-time threat prevention.

Through this agreement, RHEA Inc. expands its portfolio of cybersecurity solutions and the addition of Wedge Networks creates an excellent opportunity for providing real-time threat protection to its clients around the world.

Yves Metten, Executive Vice-President at RHEA Inc. said, “We are excited to enter into this strategic alliance with Wedge Networks as it will allow RHEA to enhance its real-time cybersecurity protection offer to its client base worldwide.”

“We will be offering the WedgeARP™ platform throughout the markets that we touch, and, with our in-house cybersecurity team, we will execute both sales and technical support to ensure the best solution integration and overall customer experience throughout Canada, Europe and South America,” said Metten.

RHEA Group is a niche and highly specialized international engineering company that provides services to the most respected institutional organizations and firms in aerospace, security, and defence around the world. Over the past three decades, the organization has contributed to history by working on many profound and ground-breaking projects. RHEA’s Concurrent Design methodology and information technology solutions have enhanced the design process of complex systems and products worldwide.

“RHEA Group is an important organization for Wedge Networks to partner in our mission to secure the cloud-connected world,” stated Dr. Hongwen Zhang, Wedge Networks, CEO & CTO. “Its dealings with some of the most mission critical applications for many prestigious organizations across the globe will place the WedgeARP™ platform into areas where real-time cybersecurity is of the highest priority.”

RHEA Group is authorized as an Elite Partner to distribute, market, and promote the Wedge Networks solutions in Canada, as well as across Europe and South America.E

About RHEA Group 

RHEA Group provides bespoke engineering solutions, systems development and cybersecurity services for space, military, government, and other critical infrastructure organizations. Their security teams are led by specialists with decades of experience and customers receive ongoing support from their highly skilled experts. As a trusted organization, RHEA has been providing cybersecurity services to government departments and organizations on two continents for decades. 

Headquartered in Montreal for its North American operations and in Belgium for its European operations, RHEA employs in excess of 550 people and has offices in Canada, Belgium, UK, Czech Republic, Italy, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands. RHEA is ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certified. For more information, visit: https://www.rheagroup.com.

About Wedge Networks

Wedge Networks Inc. is a Real-Time Threat Prevention solutions company. Its innovative technology platform, Wedge Absolute Real-time Protection (WedgeARP™), is a software defined orchestrated network security system. Deployed, via the cloud, on premises, or in a virtualized environment, in data centers by enterprises, governments, and managed security service providers, WedgeARP™ inspects, detects, and blocks in real-time, malware and cyber threats (known, unknown and customized). Wedge does this through its patented Deep Content Inspection (DCI) technologies, combined with artificial intelligence and best-of-breed security functions.

Awarded a Gartner Cool Vendor designation, and twice bestowed with Build-In-Canada Innovation awards, Wedge Networks is headquartered in Calgary, Canada with international teams in the North America, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East and North Africa regions.

For more information on Wedge Networks, visit: https://www.wedgenetworks.com/

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For media enquiries, please contact:

PR@wedgenetworks.com

mcc@rheagroup.com

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Popular Anti-Malware Products Are Failing to Recognize Notable Threats: Time to Replace Out With WedgeARP!!

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A brief but interesting article happened across my desk that made me pause and ponder the state of the popular and established cybersecurity solutions currently on the market.  Namely, the article from ITProPortal.com  that declared that “Half of anti-malware products fail to recognize notable threats”.  According to new analysis from SE Labs, many of the most popular and well-established solutions currently on the market do not protect their users from all notable threats.  In recent testing, the security firm put 14 of the world’s most popular cybersecurity solutions to task, with more than half of these products failing to identify all the threats sent their way.   The only notable exceptions to this shortcoming were products from Microsoft and Kaspersky Labs; both of which scored 100 percent on the tests.

What was interesting is that SE Labs pointed out that “Although we do ‘create’ threats by using publicly available free hacking tools, we don’t write unique malware so there is no technical reason why any vendor being tested should do poorly.”  In its testing, the firm used common threats that affect the general public as well as more targeted forms of attacks.  To us here at Wedge Networks, this is somewhat of a shocking revelation as we feel that if a virus is known and has a signature, it should be easily detected and blocked.

Now, with their failings in recognizing notable threats, one can only imagine how badly these products would fare with the new and never-before-seen malware that are being used by hackers and bad actors today!  If your firm is currently using some of the more popular cybersecurity solutions, you may want to do some research on whether your solution was one of the products that SE Labs tested.  If it is, you may want to consider replacing it out with Wedge Absolute Real-time Protection (WedgeARP).  WedgeARP uses patented deep content inspection and orchestrates multiple layers of security protection, including conventional and heuristics-based AV technologies (utilizing their full databases, unlike many solutions who are only able to use portions of the databases!).  This is just to catch the already known malware!  On top of that, it further enhances these AV technologies with deep machine learning / AI AV that can detect and block all of the unknown and never-before-seen malware and other variants.  WedgeARP does this all in milliseconds; enabling real-time threat prevention of all known and unknown malware threats.  If more than half of the more established cybersecurity solutions are failing on the simple task of detecting known threats, perhaps they are now past their prime.  To learn more about WedgeARP and how it can provide real-time threat prevention of both known and unknown malware, contact us at info@wedgenetworks.com.

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Wine and Spirits is Not Immune To Ransomware: Real-time Threat Prevention is Key to Securing Confidential Information

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It’s turning out that Wine and Spirits will be potentially drowning their sorrows in drink as U.S. alcoholic beverages giant Brown-Forman was hit by a cyber attack recently.  In this attack, attributed to the Sodinokibi (REvil) ransomware operators, the attackers were found to have been able to exfiltrate over 1TB of confidential data; with plans to sell the most important information to the highest bidder and then release the rest to the public. Although the company was able to prevent their systems and data from being encrypted, as per a Brown-Forman spokesperson stating that, “Brown-Forman was the victim of a cybersecurity attack. Our quick actions upon discovering the attack prevented our systems from being encrypted”, the kicker here is that the REvil group announced that they had been able to spend more than a month in Brown-Forman’s network examining the company’s user services, cloud data storage, and general structure, with proof provided in screenshots of database backup entries as recent as July 2020.

The attackers claim that the huge trove of data that they stole contained confidential information about employees, company agreements, contracts, financial statements and more, with documents dating back as far back as 2009.  As we’ve written in a previous blog, it is a common misconception by companies thinking that once the hackers have come in, taken data, and encrypted systems that they then leave so as not to get caught.  What is actually the case is that they can often still be lurking around the company’s network surreptitiously, continuing to monitor internal communications to ensure a more positive outcome to their demands.  This may have been such a case in Brown-Forman, with REvil lurking around in their network for an extended period, learning all about the company and its operations.

Although Brown-Forman was “lucky” in that their systems were not encrypted and that they could continue business operations, the fact is that hackers are holding onto a huge amount of data that can still be ransomed.  With no active negotiations taking place between the company and the hackers, it will be interesting to see how everything plays out in the end.  REvil continues to prompt the company for payment, saying that the group could force payment or get a higher price for the data in auction, since it contains a swath of information that could be useful to both investors as well as competition.  

This is yet another example of how the current “Detect and Remediate” approach to network security proves that it just does not work.  Companies continue to put themselves, their employees and their customers at huge risk by not looking at solutions that provide Real-time Threat Prevention.  Wedge Absolute Real-time Protection is such a solution.  Using patented deep content inspection, orchestrated threat management of multiple security services, and deep machine learning / AI, WedgeARP can detect known, unknown, zero-days and APTs and BLOCK them in real-time before they have a chance to infiltrate the network.  Prevention is the ONLY way to defend against ransomware attacks such as the one at Brown-Forman.  Contact our team at info@wedgenetworks.com to find out more.

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Ransomware Partly to Blame for Company Being Forced Into Financial Restructuring: Could Your Firm be Next?

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Just a brief blog today about the dire results of a ransomware attack that hit foreign exchange company Travelex.  Stemming a ransomware attack that hit the company in December 2019, in conjunction with the current COVID-19 pandemic, the company has been forced into a GBP84MM financial restructuring in a bid to save the business.  “Despite operating over 1000 ATMs and 1000+ stores globally, and providing services for banks, supermarkets and travel agencies in over 60 countries, the firm was forced to cut over 1300 jobs as part of the restructuring.”

In this case, the Sodinokibi (REvil) variant of ransomware is believed to have been used in the attack, which forced its website online and impacted its brick-and-mortar stores and banking services.  Unfortunately, it took the company over 2 weeks for Travelex to get its customer-facing systems back online in the UK, causing an untold amount of monetary and brand damage.  The cause, although unconfirmed, suggests that the company had a critical unpatched vulnerability in its VPNs that may have allowed attackers to remotely launch malicious code.  Reports also state that the REvil hacker gang responsible for the attack demanded a ransom of GBP4.6MM for the decryption key and to delete stolen customer data.

This case again brings to light the dire consequences that some firms may face if they are hit by a ransomware attack.  Although Travelex has taken the steps to overcome the effects of the attack, as they work through a financial restructuring in order to safeguard jobs and to keep the business as an ongoing concern, many other companies are not as lucky.  Without adequate emergency and contingency plans in place, some companies have been forced out of business altogether.

So, the question is, “Could your firm be next?”.  How well prepared is your organization if it were to be hit by any sort of ransomware?  Do you have protection in place to detect and block something that could spell the doom of your company?  If you have any sort of concern that your organization could go under in such an attack, we suggest that you consider putting in place real-time threat protection that can detect and block all such attacks, BEFORE they can enter your network to do any harm.  Wedge’s Absolute Real-time Protection (WedgeARP) orchestrated threat management platform is a proactive way of dealing with all malware (including APTs, zero days, known and unknown).  Utilizing patented Deep Content Inspection techniques, along with orchestrated threat management with multiple layers of protection, WedgeARP can provide the safety blanket that organizations need in this age of increasing ransomware attacks.  WedgeARP is the first and only platform that applies deep learning / machine learning-based threat detection to network content.  The best way to not have to pay a ransom is to take the preventative approach of stopping ransomware before it can even get into your network.  Contact our team at: info@wedgenetworks.com to find out more about how you can protect your organization.

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Garmin Ransomware Attack: How Malware Had a Massive Effect on Global Positioning Services

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An interesting ransomware case affected one of our co-workers recently as he went hiking in the Rocky Mountains.  This being that his Garmin GPS was out of commission as he was trying to navigate himself through the wilderness.  The good thing is that he was not in a life and death situation and lost somewhere in the forrest. The bad thing is that he was left with no mapping capabilities and did find himself trekking somewhat blindly during several sections of his hike.
 
Unfortunately, our co-worker was one of millions of customers globally in this situation as GPS titan Garmin’s website, customer support, apps and communications were all taken out by a massive ransomware  attack in late July 2020.  This ransomware, which was finally admitted by the company after days of nebulous statements, locked users out of their GPS services and disrupted a wide variety of Garmin GPS-based systems, along with causing Garmin an untold amount of reputational damage.  This is due to what many perceive to be mismanagement of the initial crisis response by the company.

According to an SEC report that the company filed in December of 2019, Garmin officials provided some insight into just how damaging a cyberattack would be to the company as it has transitioned from a simple GPS navigation company to a health and fitness tracking organization.  It collects, stores, processes and uses a wide variety of personal user information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, payment accounts, height, weight, age, gender, heart rates, sleeping patterns, GPS locations and other activities.  Any of this information, if it were to be leaked, could cause a ton of headaches for the company as users lose confidence in Garmin’s ability to safeguard their confidential data.

In this case, security experts have confirmed that the WastedLocker ransomware was to blame for the attack.  This ransomware is a new variety that is operated by a hacker group known as Evil Corp.  The only positive news about the usage of this particular piece of ransomware is that it does not yet appear to have the capability to steal or exfiltrate the data before it encrypts the victim’s files (unlike even newer ransomware strains). This seems to be the case as Garmin put out a statement saying that it had “no indication that this outage has affected your data, including activity, payment or other personal information”.  In some cases, companies that have backups can sometimes get away without paying the demanded ransom.  However, those who do not have adequate backups have often faced ransom demands as high as $10MM.  With this uptick in ransom demands, it will not be surprising if other big companies are targeted in the near future as well.  Unlike smaller organizations who do not have the resources to pay high ransoms, bigger companies are often well-insured and can pay a lot more.

As Garmin’s services start coming back online, there is speculation that the company ended up having to give in to ransom demands in order to get their services back as quickly as they have been able to.  The interesting thing is that the U.S. Treasury department imposed sanctions on Evil Corp for their involvement in a decades-long hacking campaign against a variety of large global corporations and other U.S. interest.  As a result, it is nearly impossible for U.S.-based companies to pay ransoms to this hacker organization as they are generally prohibited from transacting with sanctioned groups.  This sets up a legal minefield for any company that considers paying a ransom to Evil Corp as a result of the WastedLocker ransomware.  In this respect, guess are that Garmin somehow did pay a ransom and may face some Treasury department sanctions in the near future.

Getting back to the underlying point of this story is that ransomware is certainly becoming a huge thorn in the side of corporations around the world.  It is causing companies grief in terms of lost revenues from service disruptions, losses to reputation, potential data breaches, as well as losses from having to pay ransoms.  The thing is that ransomware attacks such as these could be easily prevented through the use of Detect and Block solution such as the Wedge Absolute Real-time Protection (WedgeARP) platform.  Through a combination of patented Deep Content Inspection, orchestrated threat management and deep learning / machine learning, WedgeARP is able to stop all malware (including known, never-before-seen, APTs and zero-days) in real-time, BEFORE they can enter the network.  If companies such as Garmin were to embrace the proactive Detect and Block approach to network security with a solution such as provided by Wedge, this attack could have been stopped before any damage could occur.  To find out more about WedgeARP and the Detect and Block approach, contact our team at: info@wedgenetworks.com.  

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