All posts in Infrastructure

Security Update for the Month Ending May to June 2017: Adobe Patches 20 Flaws

Veracity Consulting’s Vice President of Technology, Amy Krohn delivers the following recap of the cybersecurity happenings for the end of May through early June 2017 time period.

Adobe Patches 20 Flaws in Flash Player and Other Products! Updates released by Adobe on Tuesday for Flash Player, Shockwave Player, Captivate, and Digital Editions address a total of 20 vulnerabilities, including critical weaknesses that can be exploited for remote code execution. Update your Adobe products now!

Thousands of Firms Fail to Update Software on Most Computers: An analysis of 35,000 companies around the world showed that thousands of them have failed to update the software running on a majority of their computers.  Don’t let this happen to your company. If you need help with a plan, Veracity can assist you with our managed IT infrastructure services capabilities.

MAC USERS!  MacRansom RaaS Potentially Created by Copycats: A newly discovered ransomware family targeting Mac users is using the Ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) distribution model and uses code copied from previous MacOS ransomware, Fortinet researchers warn. The threat uses a web portal hosted on TOR, but samples aren’t readily available through the portal, and interested parties must contact the author directly to obtain them. Wannabe criminals can specify a ransom amount, a date to trigger the ransomware, and whether the malware should execute when someone plugs in a USB drive.

MAC USERS! MacSpy Malware Offered as Free Service: The first malware-as-a-service (MaaS) targeting Mac users was discovered on an underground forum available for free, AlienVault reveals. Users can infect machines by placing MacSpy’s unzipped folder onto a USB drive and manually executing a 64-bit executable called ‘updated’ when needed. Don’t load any unknown zip files on to your Mac or allow anyone else to, either. Do a scan on the device and then install.

About Veracity Consulting

Veracity Consulting is a Kansas City-based technology firm with a reputation of implementing and managing IT solutions and business strategies. Our mission is to change the complex world of technology into a more efficient and profitable solution for businesses and communities. We use a collaborative approach with our clients to create and implement viable and relevant solutions. We offer a comprehensive range of commercial and government solutions in the areas of Program Management, Data Management and Analytics, Strategy and Architecture, Managed Infrastructure, and Security.

About Amy Krohn

Amy Krohn has served as a leader in the technology industry for over 20 years.  Her areas of expertise include leading organizations and companies in executive leadership, strategic planning, enterprise architecture, as a mentor, leadership development, organizational change management, delivery management, vendor management, service management, and process improvements.  Amy currently serves as Veracity Consulting’s Vice President of Technology.

 

Facebook, Microsoft and Adobe! April Security Update with Amy Krohn

Veracity Consulting’s Vice President of Technology, Amy Krohn delivers the following recap of the cybersecurity happenings for April 2017.

VMware released patches for its vCenter Server product to address a critical remote code execution flaw that exists due to the use of a vulnerable third-party component. The vulnerabilities can be exploited for denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, remote code execution, and to obtain sensitive data. The security hole affects vCenter Server 6.0 and 6.5; version 5.5 or other VMware products are not impacted. VMware has advised users to apply the 6.5c and 6.0U3b patches to address the vulnerability.

Facebook on Friday, April 14, 2017, said it disrupted an international fake account operation that was firing off inauthentic “likes” and bogus comments to win friends it would then spam. Under pressure to stem the spread of “fake news,” Facebook has taken a series of steps including making it easier to report such posts and harder to earn money from them. Facebook said the campaign aimed to trick people into connecting as friends they would later target with spam.

Microsoft Patches Office, IE Flaws Exploited in Attacks. Microsoft’s security updates for April 2017 address more than 40 critical, important, and moderately severe vulnerabilities, including three zero-day flaws that have been exploited in attacks. If you are an Office and IE user, please update your applications.

Adobe patches have 60 vulnerabilities  across several products. Security updates by Adobe inform patch users of nearly 60 vulnerabilities across several of the company’s products. The Acrobat and Reader updates address 47 flaws, including many that could lead to simple code execution. Please be sure to accept this update.

Good-bye Microsoft Vista!  Microsoft Kills Support for Windows Vista this month. Now that support has ended, Windows Vista will continue to work as before, only that it will become increasingly vulnerable to security risks and malware. It’s time to upgrade!

About Veracity Consulting

Veracity Consulting is a Kansas City-based technology firm with a reputation of implementing and managing IT solutions and business strategies. Our mission is to change the complex world of technology into a more efficient and profitable solution for businesses and communities. We use a collaborative approach with our clients to create and implement viable and relevant solutions.

We offer a comprehensive range of commercial and government solutions in the areas of Program Management, Data Management and Analytics, Strategy and Architecture, Managed Infrastructure, and Security.

About Amy Krohn

Amy Krohn has served as a leader in the technology industry for over 20 years.  Her areas of expertise include leading organizations and companies in executive leadership, strategic planning, enterprise architecture, as a mentor, leadership development, organizational change management, delivery management, vendor management, service management, and process improvements.  Amy currently serves as Veracity Consulting’s Vice President of Technology.

Security Brief with Amy Krohn: Vulnerabilities in Common Devices

Veracity Consulting’s Vice President of Technology, Amy Krohn delivers the following recap of the cybersecurity happenings for March 2017.

Industrial Sector Becoming a Common Target for Attacks: According to Kaspersky Labs, the industrial sector is increasingly becoming a common target. This information is based on data collected by the company in the second half of 2016.  The problem is the devices used by network administrators, developers and contractors can freely connect to the Internet, and there is the vulnerability.  For email, hackers use common topics (e.g. UPS, bank messages) to send the malware. Be on the lookout for documents like Word, NSIS, AutoCAD, HTML, Java, BAT, PDF and Excel files.  Run a virus scan first before opening.

Apple Patches Hundreds of Vulnerabilities Across Product Lines: On March 27, 2017, Apple released security patches for its macOS and macOS Server, iOS, watchOS, tvOS, Safari, and Pages, to address over 200 vulnerabilities.

Google Researcher Finds New Flaw in LastPass: Google Project Zero researcher Tavis Ormandy has identified yet another serious vulnerability in the LastPass browser extension. The developers of the password manager are aware of the flaw and are working on a patch.  

FBI Warns Healthcare Industry of FTP Attacks: FBI warns the healthcare industry that threat actors are targeting FTP servers that have anonymous authentication enabled.  Talk to your System Administrators about the disable methods.

Botnet Pummels Retail Websites in Hunt for Gift Card Balances: A recently discovered Internet bot is conducting sustained attacks against retailers and checking millions of gift card numbers to determine if any have balances, Distil Networks researchers warn.

CIA’s Mac, iPhone Vulnerabilities Already Patched: Apple’s initial analysis shows that the iPhone and Mac exploits disclosed by the website WikiLeaks have already been patched, and Apple told WikiLeaks to submit vulnerabilities through the normal process.

About Veracity Consulting

Veracity Consulting is a Kansas City-based technology firm with a reputation of implementing and managing IT solutions and business strategies. Our mission is to change the complex world of technology into a more efficient and profitable solution for businesses and communities. We use a collaborative approach with our clients to create and implement viable and relevant solutions.

We offer a comprehensive range of commercial and government solutions in the areas of Program Management, Data Management and Analytics, Strategy and Architecture, Managed Infrastructure, and Security.

About Amy Krohn

Amy Krohn has served as a leader in the technology industry for over 20 years.  Her areas of expertise include leading organizations and companies in executive leadership, strategic planning, enterprise architecture, as a mentor, leadership development, organizational change management, delivery management, vendor management, service management, and process improvements.  Amy currently serves as Veracity Consulting’s Vice President of Technology.

Ready To Transform Your IT Like The Big Guys. Here’s How..

How to Transform Your IT Like the Big Shops

As a business leaders, we understand that it is everyday users who drive the business services. To be successful, products or services must create value in the world.  Veracity CEO Angela Hurt suggests that true service insights come from extreme users called mavens––those experts or connoisseurs of the service or product that you provide. These users typically make use of our services early and manipulate our products in ways that it was not intended to be used.

An example of this is outlier PC users, who gave birth to the rugged notebook market for the military and police. These users identified the need for portability and extreme durability.  These kinds of mavens are almost always the best models for unlocking new and exciting uses for services or products.

What can we learn from large tech shops with this experience? What practices can be applied to mid-sized and small businesses that have a little or no IT department? Here are three areas for decision makers to consider when deciding whether to transform any IT infrastructure:

  1. Protect your data. Safeguard key applications and remote offices across physical and virtual environments. This is critical as most businesses handle personal information about their customer.
  2. Accelerate your backups. Go for speed, efficiency, and flexibility. Don’t skip Business Continuity practices. Ensure the IT department can address any kind of recovery challenges and guarantee data protection for the business. Not sure? Get an audit!
  3. Centralize backup and recovery management. Replace your old legacy tape backup with an integrated solution. Look for Solutions Architects who are current on the latest trends in backup and recovery management. Doing this will ensure more accurate business performance and keep cost low.

Veracity Consulting’s Managed Services team can help any business, small or large, do more. In addition to everyday support, our Infrastructure professionals help to maximize the benefit of your IT by using the latest products to design infrastructure that is appropriate for the business demand, financially efficient, and performs well for the end user.

Infrastructure is always evolving and transforming to meet the needs of our customers.! It is important for business decisions makers to understand how to get the most out of their IT investments so that their companies are prepared for growth. Veracity Managed Infrastructure can get you there.

What Is Veracity’s IT Managed Service?

At Veracity, we partner with you to gain an understanding of the complex infrastructure, new applications, legacy applications, project support, maintenance, system availability, end-user experience, and other support challenges presented by your environment. This allows us to leverage your strengths to plan for your future and support today.

By helping to modernize your infrastructure, we help you to do more, faster, for less.

Our areas of expertise include:

  • Architecture Assessments
  • Infrastructure Revitalization
  • Virtualization
  • Disaster Recovery, and
  • Network Security and Compliance

About Veracity Consulting

Veracity Consulting is a Kansas City-based technology firm with a reputation of implementing and managing IT solutions and business strategies. Our mission is to change the complex world of technology into a more efficient and profitable solution for businesses and communities. We use a collaborative approach with our clients to create and implement viable and relevant solutions.

We offer a comprehensive range of commercial and government solutions in the areas of Program Management, Data Management and Analytics, Strategy and Architecture, Managed Infrastructure, and Security.

About Amy Krohn

Amy Krohn has served as a leader in the technology industry for over 20 years.  Her areas of expertise include leading organizations and companies in executive leadership, strategic planning, enterprise architecture, as a mentor, leadership development, organizational change management, delivery management, vendor management, service management, and process improvements.  Amy currently serves as Veracity Consulting’s Vice President of Technology.

 

September Cybersecurity Recap: Ransomware And Email Scams Still Dominate

Amy_Krohn-300x300

In September, the reoccurring threat theme indicated that parties needed to be on the lookout for ransomware. Veracity Consulting’s Vice President of Technology, Amy Krohn delivers the following recap of the USHS Cybersecurity Report for September 2016: Ransomware and Email Scams Still Dominate the Landscape.

Ransomeware Still a Major Issue for Companies!

There was an almost 200% increase in the number of ransomware discovered in the first half of 2016.  According to the FBI, there were over $209 million worth of ransomware-related monetary losses were recorded during the first three months of 2016 in the United States alone.

What is the best way to counter these attacks?

Organizations looking to protect against ransomware should consider solutions that one, identify and block malicious emails, files, and URLs before they can reach endpoints; and two, enable behavior and network traffic monitoring, which allows advanced detection and immediate suspension of malicious activities within the network.

Business Email Compromise Scams Continue to Spread

Email scams typically use social engineering lures rather than malware to intercept monetary transactions. The U.S. ranks among the highest for these types of attacks. Who are the most common targets? The company CFO, who tends to be spoofed because an email comes from the company’s supposed CEO.  The solution is education, but it is important to have security solutions that can block malicious emails and flag social engineering techniques associated with ongoing scams. Be sure to keep your company’s email servers up-to-date and create a plan of action before you are attacked. If you find your company without the necessary expertise to perform such tasks,  Veracity’s Manage Services infrastructure team can assist your company with the necessary maintenance and training.

About Veracity Consulting

Veracity Consulting is a Kansas City-based technology firm with a reputation of implementing and managing IT solutions and business strategies. Our mission is to change the complex world of technology into a more efficient and profitable solution for businesses andAbout_Us_Veracity_Consulting communities. We use a collaborative approach with our clients to create and implement viable and relevant solutions.

We offer a comprehensive range of commercial and government solutions in the areas of Program Management, Data Management and Analytics, Strategy and Architecture, Managed Infrastructure, and Security.

About Amy Krohn

Amy Krohn has served as a leader in the technology industry for over 20 years.  Her areas of expertise include leading organizations and companies in executive leadership, strategic planning, enterprise architecture, as a mentor, leadership development, organizational change management, delivery management, vendor management, service management, and process improvements.  Amy currently serves as Veracity Consulting’s Vice President of Technology.

The Zettabyte Era has Arrived!

zettabyte-infographReady for this?  The Zettabyte Era is upon us!

That forecast comes from networking equipment giant Cisco Systems, who recently released its latest Visual Networking Index that forecasts the bandwidth explosion happening.  CISCO predicts that global IP traffic will grow 300% ushering in the zettabyte era for IP traffic through put.  What the heck is a “ZETTABYTE”? Try this on for size: its equivalent to one and a half trillion gigabytes, ahem… PER YEAR.

Where is this coming from? High-definition streaming video, intelligent devices (i.e. the Internet of Things), virtual reality, and mobile device explosion in emerging countries like Africa.  What does this mean for business?   Large-scale and enterprise data centers, extreme networks of infrastructure, and lets not forget the enormous amount of data collateral this includes.  In addition to tripling cloud storage and services, we will see a push for new data and video compression techniques.  Somehow we need be able to push that projected IP traffic through existing and future broadband networks!

Emerging and Maturing Markets

Cisco predicts that “global network connections” will jump by 21 billion. These will be link devices, handhelds and IoT devices like smart cars.  As the “smart phone” conquers emerging markets, we will begin to see an on-slot of the need for greater bandwidth.  Business IP traffic in the Middle East and Africa will grow at a rate of 21 percent, a faster pace than the global average of 18 percent.

Is Your Technology Ready?

With this era of the Zettabyte approaching you must ask – how prepared is your business?  We know that we tend to let our technology practices become routine.  Don’t let your business vulnerable to a multitude of issues as we move into the “Zettabyte era.” Develop an understanding of the technology your company has and how it supports your business, sound technological decision making, and project successes. Veracity’s technology assessment will tell you if your business is prepared for the “Zettabyte Era.”

Veracity Logo 2About Veracity Consulting

Veracity Consulting is a Kansas City-based technology firm with a reputation of implementing and managing IT solutions and business strategies. Our mission is to change the complex world of technology into a more efficient and profitable solution for businesses and communities. We use a collaborative approach with our clients to create and implement viable and relevant solutions.  We offer a comprehensive range of commercial and government solutions in the areas of Program Management, Data Management and Analytics, Strategy and Architecture, Managed Infrastructure, and Cybersecurity

August Cybersecurity Recap: Staggering 11 Million Patient Records Breached in August!

Amy_Krohn-300x300

11 Million Patient Records Breached in One Month is Unacceptable

In August, more than 8.8 million patient and health plan member records were exposed as a result of data breaches. Here is a recap of the USHS cybersecurity report for in 8/2016 by Veracity Consulting’s Vice President of Technology, Amy Krohn:

August was a horrible month for data breaches, particularly in the healthcare industry. According to the latest installment of the Protenus Breach Barometer, the total number of healthcare records stolen or exposed this summer exceeds 20 million. The Breach Barometer shows that one of the most potent threats to healthcare data security are insiders or people that work for the healthcare providers. These individuals were responsible for causing approximately 43% of the data breaches reported in August 2016. Hacking was cited as a smaller cause, but was still a significant threat that could include anything from malicious individuals poking around in your systems to staged ransomware attacks. If you’ll recall, ransomware has become a hot button this year due to healthcare providers be held “hostage” by hackers until they pay for their systems to come back online. Ransomware was the second largest cause of breaches accounting for 29% of incidents.

Fortunately, we are doing better. Healthcare providers appear to be better prepared for breaches and are able to issue notifications well within the cybersecurity-rules-linkedintime frame allowed by the Breach Notification Rule.  But, 11 million patient records breached is far from acceptable. Companies must remember that each recorded breach is a hit to their bottom-line. Therefore, these types of threats must be dealt with quickly. Businesses need to stay ahead of hackers, keeping processes updated and communicating what security practices are acceptable for employees. This applies to all companies that deal with customer data, not just healthcare.  It is critical for companies to have plans in place to recognize attacks as they happen, as well as a plan for countering or stopping the attack. Last, companies need to hold a  review of processes post-attack. Now is the best time to audit your processes and infrastructure to insure that your vulnerabilities and weaknesses are protected. Engage the Veracity team to help you with infrastructure and cybersecurity assessments.

About Veracity Consulting

Veracity Consulting is a Kansas City-based technology firm with a reputation of implementing and managing IT solutions and business strategies. Our mission is to change the complex world of technology into a more efficient and profitable solution for businesses andvc communities. We use a collaborative approach with our clients to create and implement viable and relevant solutions.

We offer a comprehensive range of commercial and government solutions in the areas of Program Management, Data Services, Enterprise Architecture, Managed Infrastructure, Security, and Web Services.

About Amy Krohn

Amy Krohn has served as a leader in the technology industry for over 20 years.  Her areas of expertise include leading organizations and companies in executive leadership, strategic planning, enterprise architecture, as a mentor, leadership development, organizational change management, delivery management, vendor management, service management, and process improvements.  Amy currently serves as Veracity Consulting’s Vice President of Technology.

source: Department of Homeland Security, Protenus – june

It’s National “Be Heard Day” for Small Businesses

HEY!Each year on March 7 th, we observe National Be Heard Day by small businesses. This day was created specifically to celebrate small businesses. Today in America, there are over 145 million small businesses that are struggle to catch a break.  Today is your day to “Be heard”!

While Veracity supports all sizes of businesses, Veracity Consulting supports many small to medium businesses with IT solutions.  Our web and IT infrastructure assessment solutions offer relief in areas that smaller to medium businesses typically need the most help in to be competitive in today’s business market.  If you need help with your creative marketing, smart publicity tactics, a strong visual appearance or any of the other inventive ways of making you online presence known or if you know that you need expert assistance in IT support solutions, contact Veracity Consulting.  We offer scalable solutions that are affordable for smaller to medium businesses.  We want to help you succeed.

About Veracity Consulting

Veracity Consulting is a Kansas City-based technology firm with a reputation of implementing and managing IT solutions and business strategies. Our mission is to change the complex world of technology into a more efficient and profitable solution for businesses andvc communities. We use a collaborative approach with our clients to create and implement viable and relevant solutions.

We offer a comprehensive range of commercial and government solutions in the areas of Program Management, Data Services, Enterprise Architecture, Managed Infrastructure, Security, and Web Services.

When is the “Right Time” For A Technology Assessment?

Amy_Krohn

Veracity Consulting’s Vice President of Technology, Amy Krohn

Today’s technology changes quickly and the pace of business is just as fast. Often times, we let our technology practices become routine, which can ultimately leave our business vulnerable to a multitude of issues. Developing an understanding of the technology your company has and how it supports your business is critical to business continuity, sound technological decision making, and project successes. An assessment of the effectiveness of your IT program creates a foundation for future IT project planning. So, how do you know if a Technology Assessment might be what your organization needs? We can give you three reasons why you might want to consider one.

1. Change Driven

Your organization has undergone significant reorganization of its management, has a new CIO, or established a new strategic direction. The impact of organizational priorities on IT is a critical consideration for any organization undergoing change. Business objectives and IT objectives should align in order to deliver reliable and efficient technology solutions to employees, management, and clients. Technology should be leveraged to provide key measurable performance indicators, which are collected to identify the level of maturity of an organization. This data can be used to drive efficiency and measure the services the organization provides to bring value to the market place.

2. Event Driven

Your company has been hit with a budget cut, service disruption, security breach, or failure of an audit. Compliance-related issues are often unexpected and can be a show stopper for companies. When they surface, time matters. It is most critical to identify the issues, analyze them, and address them as quickly as possible. Conducting an evaluation of your technology using a third party is effective. Independent assessors can remain impartial and focused on the IT solutions that will improve the current state of technology for a company.

3. Your Eyes Only

Your company has not assessed its organizational maturity in the past three years. Bringing in an outside vendor to provide a technology assessment can give an organization access to expertise it might not otherwise have. But often companies become overwhelmed with conducting daily business that they fail to remain diligent about keeping service level agreements current and aligning IT objectives to business objectives. When IT becomes irrelevant or obsolete, a company often looks for immediate solutions from their current vendors, who tend to implement their own products. This can cause issues with other technologies used within the company or limit the capability of looking at a holistic solution for the service the technology provides.

A technology assessment provides you with a clear path for improvement and specific actions that can be taken to achieve results. Because an IT assessment provides a foundation for project and program planning, it is important to work with a partner that demonstrates a clear understanding of your organization’s issues and remains objective and constructive.

About Veracity Consulting

Veracity Consulting is a Kansas City-based technology firm with a reputation of implementing and managing IT solutions and business strategies. Our mission is to change the complex world of technology into a more efficient and profitable solution for businesses andvc communities. We use a collaborative approach with our clients to create and implement viable and relevant solutions.

We offer a comprehensive range of commercial and government solutions in the areas of Program Management, Data Services, Enterprise Architecture, Managed Infrastructure, Security, and Web Services.

About Amy Krohn

Amy Krohn has served as a leader in the technology industry for over 20 years.  Her areas of expertise include leading organizations and companies in executive leadership, strategic planning, enterprise architecture, as a mentor, leadership development, organizational change management, delivery management, vendor management, service management, and process improvements.  Amy currently serves as Veracity Consulting’s Vice President of Technology.