VeeamON 2018

VeeamON 2018

Who’s going to #VeeamON 2018?

Register here.

Please let us know if you will attend. We’ll be there in force. Here is what you can accomplish at VeeamON 2018:

• Gain Access to over 60 breakout sessions covering the latest in data management and Hyper-Availability
• Connect with experts and get hands-on experience with Veeam Solutions
• Attend VMCE trainings or sit for my VMCE certification onsite during the conference
• Discover Solutions in Veeam’s Partner Expo Lounge where over 50 sponsors will be exhibiting
• Network with peers and industry experts to learn what is and is not working best in their industries

Hope to see you there,

Will

 

Don’t Let the Reaper Get Your Data

Don’t Let the Reaper Get Your Data

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, concerns are escalating over one of North Korea’s three major hacking organizations because of both their adeptness and sheer brazenness. APT37 aka, “Reaper,” is the hacking group is well known for attacking South Korea, but has since decided to attack companies in Japan, Vietnam and the Middle East. What is especially noteworthy about its recent slew of attacks is the heightened level of sophistication — and that they have made little effort to disguise their bad deeds.

Cybersecurity company FireEye, Inc. monitors Reaper’s attacks and in a report issued earlier this month reveals that Reaper is utilizing a toolset that includes access to zero-day vulnerabilities and wiper malware. Reaper has shown preference to hacking information within companies involved in automotive, aerospace, chemicals, and health care industries. They also recently attacked South Korea when they discovered a vulnerability with Adobe Flash which was then able to install malware on infected computers who opened the corrupt Adobe Flash files.

FireEye squarely points the finger at the North Korean government as the true face of Reaper due to malware development artifacts and targeting that supports state interests. FireEye claims to easily trace these attacks back to the Pyongyang IP addresses that Reaper has been using.

Reaper is just one of a growing collection of hacking groups linked to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s regime, including “Lazarus,” which the US blamed for the Sony pictures Entertainment data theft in 2014. Bloomberg Technology posits that North Korea has been widening its cyber-operations to gather cash and intelligence to offset the penalties of international sanctions. The sanctions against North Korea have been on the rise, yet North Korea seems unconcerned and continues to ramp up attacks on foreign countries.

Whether your company is a Reaper target or potentially attractive to another cyber-criminal, attacks are on the rise. Being vigilant within your own company is mission-critical to prevent losing data. The best defense to a cyber-attack is to have a comprehensive and tested disaster recovery plan in place that include an air-gapped backup. You may still be vulnerable to cyber threats, but your day-to-day impact is significantly minimized.

NEW Backup for Microsoft Office 365

NEW Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Office 365 Backup

Whether you have completely migrated to Office 365, or have a hybrid Exchange and Office 365 deployment, your business objectives remain the same. You must remain in control of your data and you need Office 365 backup and recovery at your fingertips.

One of the most vulnerable situations for an IT Admin is when their only option is to send a support ticket and wait. Don’t let this be you.

Backup for Microsoft Office 365 mitigates the risk of losing access to your Exchange Online email data and ensures Availability to your users.

With Office 365, it’s your data

Microsoft Office 365 enables you to work anywhere, anytime, without the need to maintain your own email infrastructure. It also provides a great way to minimize your on-premises footprint and free up IT resources. Even though Microsoft takes on much of the management responsibility, this doesn’t replace the need to have a local backup of your email data.

With Office 365, it’s your data — you control it — and it is your responsibility to protect it. Utilizing Backup for Microsoft Office 365, allows you to:

  • Empower your IT staff to take control of your organization’s Office 365 data
  • Reduce the time and effort needed to find and restore email data
  • Protect against data loss scenarios that are not covered by Microsoft
  • Facilitate the migration of email data between Office 365 and on-premises Exchange

Backup Office 365 email

You need to securely backup Office 365 email data back to your environment for a variety of reasons (i.e. to follow the 3-2-1 Rule of backup, to facilitate eDiscovery and to meet internal policies and compliance requirements). The most important reason being — for the peace-of-mind that comes from knowing you’ll be able to restore your users’ data when needed!

With Backup for Microsoft Office 365, you can retrieve Office 365 Exchange Online mailbox items (email, calendar and contacts*) from a cloud-based instance of Office 365 and uniquely back up this mailbox data into the same format that Microsoft Exchange uses natively — an archive database based on Extensible Storage Engine (ESE), also known as the Jet Blue database.

Office 365 Backup

Restore Office 365 email, calendars, and contacts

Never settle for less than fast, efficient recovery of Office 365 mailbox items with best-of-breed granularity.

Veeam Explorer™ for Microsoft Exchange allows for quick search and recovery of individual mailbox items residing in either archived Office 365 content or on-premises Exchange backups. Mailbox items can be restored directly to an Office 365 mailbox, an on-premises Exchange mailbox, saved as a file, emailed as an attachment or exported as a PST.

Office 365 Restore

eDiscovery of Office 365 email archives

Without a local copy of your data, retrieving emails for regulatory or compliance reasons can be costly and time consuming, and can ultimately present a major disruption to normal business operations.

But, not with Veeam! You can leverage the familiar, advanced search capabilities and the flexible recovery and export options of Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Exchange to perform eDiscovery on Office 365 email archives — just as easily as you would today with your on-premises Exchange server backup.

Office 365 eDiscovery

To start a free trial of Office 365 Backup, contact sales@globaldatavault.com

 

Cry Me a River…Really?

Cry Me a River…Really?

Yep. That’s one headline I saw this weekend about the WannaCry attack. And I guess we can understand that sentiment, maybe. Our view at Global Data Vault, is our job is to be ready to help any of our customers hit by this outrageous attack. Our customers use our services to recover from Ransomware attacks quite regularly and this one is far from over, and I suspect we’ll help our customers perform more than a handful of recoveries. We may all know this by now, but here is some background on the subject.

Ransomware is malware that encrypts and sometimes later deletes files from computers, smartphones, and other intelligent devices – now even including TVs. Ransomware is operated by organized crime gangs, many of whom are based in Russia. The proceeds of these attacks are being used to fund terrorism, human trafficking, drug operations and other nefarious activities.

The first known Ransomware attack occurred at a World Health Organization AIDS conference in 1989. At the time, the intent was to extort small amounts of money. Another early implementation posed itself as antivirus software which the victims were encouraged to purchase in order to eradicate malware that was planted by the same code.

Today, with attacks from so many sources, and with the advent of untraceable virtual currencies like Bitcoin, and through the existence of sophisticated encryption algorithms, ransomware has become a billion-dollar industry.

There is even a market that supplies tools to build ransomware and tech support for implementing attacks. The encryption is often now 256 bit RSA grade and is too sophisticated for even large technical organizations to solve. Citrix reports that many large companies are keeping Bitcoin available as a last-resort.

Even further frightening are cases where remote access trojans have been used to monitor a potential victim to determine the scope of the organization and assess its ability to pay a given ransom.

History

CryptoLocker was the first wideapread attack and first appeared in 2013. It was supported by a large network of malware bots (together called a botnet) which is used to distribute the actual attack. Cryptolocker extorted over $3 million before being shut down by the Department of Justice who took control of the botnet and issued a warrant and a bounty for Russian hacker Evgeniy Bogachev for his involvement.

New threats exist; Cryptowall is believed to have extorted over $350 million; Locky operated in 30 languages; Petya encrypts entire hard drives. As bad as these are Cerber is the most prevalent, accounting for 90% of Windows ransomware.

Cyber attacks through email attachments. Word, Excel and PDF files containing dangerous macros are sent as bait – usually calling themselves invoices, etc. If the user opens the file and allows the macro to run, the attack will generally succeed. Your inbox has become your most vulnerable point.

Avoidance and Prevention

  1. Patch Everything – as often as possible – patch every application.
  2. Do not allow local admin rights on user desktops.
  3. Desktop antivirus is helpful but not enough because the attackers are continually recompiling their code to escape detection. Secure email gateways also help but are also limited for the same reason.
  4. BACKUP – is the only real protection!
  5. Follow the 3-2-1 rule: Always have 3 backups, on 2 media types and 1 offsite. More on the 3-2-1 rule later.

Backup Strategy

As a service provider working in this area, we see attacks on a weekly basis. We have performed hundreds of recoveries. The following points are the lessons learned from our own experience and the well-organized thoughts on this subject from Rick Vanover Director of Technical Product Marketing at Veeam Software.

  1. Use different credentials for backup jobs! An attack or attacker with credentials to access your system might also attack your backups.
  2. At some point commit data to offline media such at tape. If it’s offline, it cannot be attacked.
  3. Use Veeam Cloud Connect (we do). It uses a different method of authentication and a different backup API.
  4. Store backups in a different file system.
  5. Take SAN snapshots of your local backup repository.
  6. Expand and master the 3-2-1 rule – use the 3-2-1-1 rule: have 3 copies of your data, on 2 types of media, have least 1 offsite and at least 1 offline.
  7. Test – have 0 errors after recovery is tested! Veeam’s Sure Backup verification is one great way to test.

While this is a good start, there are other many other technical strategies we implement for our customers. GDV employs as many as possible for each of our customers. We’re always happy to discuss how you can leverage these ideas.

We hope this is helpful. Good luck and stay ready.

How to Destroy a Hard Drive

How to Destroy a Hard Drive

How to Destroy a Hard Drive

When replacing an older desktop, you may have reservations about just chucking it into the bin. You’ll need to be certain that you’ve erased all the information contained on your computer’s hard drive. This task can be tougher than you think, but we’ve collected a number of methods that can do the trick.

Step 1: Wipe the drive.

This step typically involves getting some type of wipe CD, inserting it into your computer’s CD drive, and then following instructions to prompt it to do its thing. While specialized forensic teams could still somehow retrieve your stuff, at least on TV, the wipe is an essential first step for Type A personalities. Type B folks can head straight to step 2.

Step 2: Choose your weapon.

Wiping the drive is never enough, so your second step for surefire hard drive obliteration is to remove the hard drive platter from your computer and subject it to any of the below methods, or combination thereof. Make sure you choose a method that: a.) won’t hurt your family, pets or friends; b.) won’t get you arrested; and c.) sounds like a heck of a lot of fun.

Blast with a hammer.

Fast, direct and awesome for alleviating aggression, taking a hammer to your platter comes with deep benefits. Wear safety goggles, choose a firm surface and start smashing away. Note that platters made of ceramic or glass will shatter readily, while those made of metal may be more fun to destroy using an alternate method.

Melt in the microwave.

Unless you never want to hear the end of it, don’t use your family’s kitchen microwave for this stunt. Get an old crummy used one; plug it into an extension cord outside, far, far away from any living being. The radiation is not strong enough to destroy the drive, so you have to keep zapping the platter until it either melts or explodes. Try 10-minute intervals and see what happens – by opening the door with a broom handle and remaining far, far away and out of its potentially explosive path.

Burn, baby, burn.

Again, the heat alone won’t destroy the drive. But transforming it into melted goop will. Choose an outdoor fire pit or barrel and toss your drive on the fire, checking periodically for melting progress. Another option is to go for protective gear, a heat-resistant set of tongs and a blow torch.

Break out the hacksaw.

In all honesty, a hacksaw won’t do much for hard drive destruction. But “hacksaw” is more fun to say than “angle cutter.” Choose a powered, handheld angle cutter, insert a dramatic-looking blade, grab your safety goggles and go for it. Oh yeah, clamp down your platter on a durable surface to keep it from flying all over and hitting you in the face once you start cutting.

Regardless of the weapon of destruction you choose, it’s imperative to note one ironic twist: how much easier it is to accidentally lose data than it is to try to intentionally destroy it. That’s where we can help with our cloud backup solutions. Enjoy!

Ready for the Windows Server 2003 Deadline?

Ready for the Windows Server 2003 Deadline?

July 14 marks the end of an era, and your business could face disaster if you’re not properly prepared. The era to which we’re referring is the end of service and support for Windows Server 2003, a server platform heading out to pasture in 2015. Proper preparation consists of upgrading your server platform to Windows Server 2012.

What Happens if You Don’t Upgrade

Despite the quickly approaching deadline, The Register reports about 8 million instances of Windows Server 2003 OS are still in operation. An estimated 1.6 million of those, or 20 percent, are expected to continue business as usual past the July 14 deadline.

Ignoring the deadline means ignoring the fact that Microsoft will no longer be issuing any security fixes or extended support for Windows Server 2003. This leaves any business still using the system totally on its own when it comes to hacks, attacks and other vulnerabilities. Most at risk is any data on your server system, which could end up easily accessed from the Internet.

Top Tips for Making the Migration

These projects require lead time and appropriate scheduling, and that could take months. Yes, that means you should get started pronto. A handful of tips can help.

Make a game plan. Your plan begins by getting a good handle on your existing environment. Figure out what applications, data and other components need to be moved to the new environment. Do your research on Windows Server 2012 so you know exactly what you’re getting into.

Do your testing. Double check applications and other components you need to move are compatible with the new server. If they’re not, make the necessary changes to ensure they will be.

Back up your data. No further explanation necessary on this one, as you want to ensure nothing gets lost during the transition.

Don’t forget the downtime. Every migration comes with downtime when resource-intensive tasks are going to slow down or altogether halt your system. Schedule those tasks for off-peak hours, such as evenings and weekends, or whenever your business is at its slowest. Do your best to ensure your business remains up and running as regularly as possible.

Make a transition plan. Here you want to make sure people can easily access and use the information required while you’re moving between the two environments. Ensure information is properly synchronized and all permissions remain intact.

Fine-tune your management. You want your new environment to be as compliant, secure and efficient as your previous one. Achieve this by ensuring your have the proper management team at the helm to get a firm grasp on intricacies, streamline the workflow and truly make the most of your new system.

Even if you’re not fully entrenched in Windows Server 2012 by July 14, you should be well on your way. The sooner you can make the switch, the sooner you can once again enjoy continuous security and support.