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IS goes phishing

Internet Solutions has launched PhishNet in an effort to support corporate cybersecurity education efforts.

PhishNet allows security teams to launch authentic phishing campaigns to their colleagues, bolstering training by demonstrating what a phishing lure looks like – and how easy it is to fall for one.

“Even in a company with a vibrant, happy, positive office culture, employee behaviour is one of the biggest risks to cybersecurity,” says Sean Nourse, Chief Solutions Officer at Internet Solutions. “Phishing attacks are increasingly sophisticated and they target individuals, so proactive employee education is an important element of a holistic cybersecurity strategy.”

Internet Solutions recently tested the efficacy of phishing by sending a PhishNet campaign to a list of IT-savvy contacts. Despite deliberate spelling errors, an outdated logo and a questionable subject line, a staggering 40% of recipients clicked the phishing link contained in the email.

“This test clearly demonstrated that everyone is vulnerable to phishing, not only people who are technologically-inexperienced,” says Nourse. “We can be negligent and distracted using our personal devices, and we’re no different when using company laptops, mobile phones and tablets.”

Phishing remains one of the most popular forms of cybercrime because it is highly profitable – it is easy to distribute thousands of emails that appear legitimate, and it offers returns in the form of banking PINs, credit card details, passwords, compromising personal information, confidential company and client information, or installation of malware or ransomware.

The recent WannaCry attack, which affected hundreds of thousands of machines worldwide, reportedly launched when an unsuspecting computer user opened a .zip file contained in a phishing email.

Our dependence on mobile devices aids phishers as small screens make it difficult to examine emails and websites carefully, and we’re more likely to unthinkingly click links while on the go.

PhishNet provides security teams with detailed reports on who clicked the links contained in the mock-emails, who submitted credentials when prompted and even who is running vulnerable or outdated Internet browsers. This helps companies identify which employees require additional training and contributes to security efforts by making employees aware of new cyberthreats.

Nourse is quick to point out that employee education should be regular and supportive, rather than punitive.

“Overly harsh measures in the case of accidental system compromise will only make employees less likely to report such incidences,” says Nourse. “Limiting device usage and Internet access is not usually practical either. A service like PhishNet contributes to an ongoing education effort that recognises how vulnerable all computer users are.”

Additional information on PhishNet can be found on the website and on YouTube.

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Veeam passes $1bn, prepares for cloud’s ‘Act II’

The leader in cloud data management reveals how it will harness the next growth phase of the data revolution, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

Veeam Software, the quiet leader in backup solutions for cloud data management,has announced that it has passed $1-billion in revenues, and is preparing for the next phase of sustained growth in the sector.

Now, it is unveiling what it calls Act II, following five years of rapid growth through modernisation of the data centre. At the VeeamON 2019conferencein Miami this week, company co-founder Ratmir Timashev declared that the opportunities in this new era, focused on managing data for the hybrid cloud, would drive the next phase of growth.

“Veeam created the VMware backup market and has dominated it as the leader for the last decade,” said Timashev, who is also executive vice president for sales and marketing at the organisation. “This was Veeam’s Act I and I am delighted that we have surpassed the $1 billion mark; in 2013 I predicted we’d achieve this in less than six years. 

“However, the market is now changing. Backup is still critical, but customers are now building hybrid clouds with AWS, Azure, IBM and Google, and they need more than just backup. To succeed in this changing environment, Veeam has had to adapt. Veeam, with its 60,000-plus channel and service provider partners and the broadest ecosystem of technology partners, including Cisco, HPE, NetApp, Nutanix and Pure Storage, is best positioned to dominate the new cloud data management in our Act II.”

Veeam has been the leading provider of backup, recovery and replication solutions for more than a decade, and is growing rapidly at a time when other players in the backup market are struggling to innovate on demand.

“Backup is not sexy and they made a pretty successful company out of something that others seem to be screwing up,” said Roy Illsley, Distinguished Analyst at Ovum, speaking in Miami after the VeeamOn conference. “Others have not invested much in new products and they don’t solve key challenges that most organisations want solved. Theyre resting on their laurels and are stuck in the physical world of backup instead of embracing the cloud.”

Illsley readily buys into the Veeam tagline. “It just works”. 

“They are very good at marketing but are also a good engineering comany that does produce the goods. Their big strength, that it just works, is a reliable feature they have built into their product portfolio.”

Veeam said in statement from the event that, while it had initially focused on server virtualisation for VMware environments, in recent years it had expanded this core offering. It was now delivering integration with multiple hypervisors, physical servers and endpoints, along with public and software-as-a-service workloads, while partnering with leading cloud, storage, server, hyperconverged (HCI) and application vendors.

This week, it  announced a new “with Veeam”program, which brings in enterprise storage and hyperconverged (HCI) vendors to provide customers with comprehensive secondary storage solutions that combine Veeam software with industry-leading infrastructure systems. Companies like ExaGrid and Nutanix have already announced partnerships.

Timashev said: “From day one, we have focused on partnerships to deliver customer value. Working with our storage and cloud partners, we are delivering choice, flexibility and value to customers of all sizes.”

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‘Energy scavenging’ gets funding

As the drive towards a 5G future gathers momentum, the University of Surrey’s research into technology that could power countless internet enabled devices – including those needed for autonomous cars – has won over £1M from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and industry partners.

Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) has been working on triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG), an energy harvesting technology capable of ‘scavenging’ energy from movements such as human motion, machine vibration, wind and vehicle movements to power small electronic components. 

TENG energy harvesting is based on a combination of electrostatic charging and electrostatic induction, providing high output, peak efficiency and low-cost solutions for small scale electronic devices. It’s thought such devices will be vital for the smart sensors needed to enable driverless cars to work safely, wearable electronics, health sensors in ‘smart hospitals’ and robotics in ‘smart factories.’ 

The ATI will be partnered on this development project with the Georgia Institute of Technology, QinetiQ, MAS Holdings, National Physical Laboratory, Soochow University and Jaguar Land Rover. 

Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the ATI and the principal investigator of the TENG project, said: “TENG technology is ideal to power the next generation of electronic devices due to its small footprint and capacity to integrate into systems we use every day. Here at the ATI, we are constantly looking to develop such advanced technologies leading towards our quest to realise worldwide “free energy”.

“TENGs are an ideal candidate to power the autonomous electronic systems for Internet of Things applications and wearable electronic devices. We believe this research grant will allow us to further the design of optimized energy harvesters.”

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