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Kaspersky defends the Mac

With the increasing number of threats aimed at the Mac OS, Kaspersky Lab has released the Kaspersky Security for Mac solution, designed to protect user’s personal data as well as offering parental control with a simplified user interface.

Kaspersky Lab announces Kaspersky Security for Mac, the all-new security solution designed to protect users of Apple computers from emerging threats. Kaspersky Security protects the Mac OS X environment from all kinds of threats, combining traditional security technologies with cloud-based methods and offering a rapid response to the latest dangers. Besides protecting computers from Mac-specific threats, the new solution also prevents Windows and Linux malware from spreading to other computers and, for the first time, provides an effective Parental Control feature set, protecting your kids from viewing inappropriate content online.

Mac Threat Landscape: Stable Growth with Significant Outbreaks:

Why should Apple computers be protected with a proper solution, offering the best-in-class protection against all types of threats? We at Kaspersky Lab think that the value of your personal data is the most significant reason. As the market share of Apple computers grows, cybercriminals are paying much more attention to it. The result is a steady growth in the number of malicious programmes for Macs, and a number of highly dangerous incidents that are emerging more often.

The most recent example is the Flashfake Trojan, which has turned at least 700,000 Mac computers into zombie machines meaning they could be controlled fully by the attacker. Considering the market share of 6 to 10% (depending on the source) for Mac computers, such a high number of infected computers from just one malicious program is a truly alarming fact. The rise of Flashfake started from a large number of hacked online blogs that criminals seeded with the malicious component. When visiting these blogs, users were prompted to update Adobe Flash Player a seemingly legitimate request. However the downloaded package exploited vulnerabilities in the installed software, resulting in a massive epidemic.

Apple’s reaction to similar threats in the past has been to release patches closing the software vulnerabilities however up to two months after the breach is discovered. Until that happens, a computer operating without a third-party security solution remains vulnerable.

New Protection Technologies:

Kaspersky Security for Mac utilises the latest protection technologies to better fight all types of threats, including Trojans, worms, spyware, adware and keyloggers. The file scanning module is activated during start-up and checks new and updated files automatically, minimising impact on system resources. The ability to detect and block Mac-, Windows- or Linux-specific malware also prevents the spread of malicious objects to other computers at home, or those belonging to friends and colleagues. The antivirus database is updated hourly to ensure protection against the latest threats, while cloud-based security technology reacts to the most recent malicious objects within minutes.

To provide even better protection, Kaspersky Security for Mac now provides Web Protection features that detect and block malicious, fraudulent and phishing websites and alert users about each online threat detected.

Anti-phishing technology makes your Mac more secure, especially when you are using online banking or payment services. To protect confidential data such as credit card numbers or passwords, Kaspersky Security introduces the Virtual Keyboard. It comes as an extension to the standard Safari browser and also works with Google Chrome and Firefox. Using this keyboard to enter sensitive information makes it impossible for criminals to intercept sensitive data using keyloggers. The keyboard pops up on screen at your request, and is accessible from all relevant password forms on web pages.

Feature-rich Parental Controls:

Parental Control is the latest addition to Kaspersky Lab’s new Mac product, providing a safe and regulated online experience for your children. Parents are able to set a time limit on their kids’ Internet activities, or specify the exact times each day when children are allowed to go online. Kaspersky Security for Mac will ensure that SafeSearch in search engines like Google will always be enabled, ensuring that only appropriate content will be displayed in search results.

Specific file types can be restricted for downloading when your child uses the computer. Of course, certain undesired websites may be blocked as well: either manually or by category. Moreover, Kaspersky Security monitors kids’ activity in social networks like Facebook. This feature allows parents to monitor who the child communicates with, and to restrict certain contacts or whole social networks. The extensive reporting functionality ensures that parents always know when and how their children use the World Wide Web.

Better performance and simplified user interface:

Overall, the new Kaspersky Security for Mac provides better performance and usability. Kaspersky Lab’s own set of iSwift technologies offers intelligent file scanning, checking only items which have been created or modified since the previous run. The revised user interface, with easy-to-understand settings and all necessary information in the main windows, makes it as user-friendly as possible.

Availability:

Kaspersky Security for Mac is currently available online at a Recommended Retail Price of approximately R509.58.

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Time is running out for Microsoft SQL Server 2008

Companies are urged to update from the dated database management software as end-of-support looms, writes BRYAN TURNER.

The 11-year-old Microsoft SQL Server 2008 database management software is reaching the end of its support on 9 July. The applications that use databases running on this software will be at risk of security and stability issues.

On self-managed databases, upgrading to the latest database version comes with a lot of risks. Many IT departments within companies go by the motto: “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it”.

Microsoft made it very clear that it would not be updating SQL Server 2005 after its extended support date and even left it vulnerable to Spectre and Meltdown by not releasing patches for the dated version.

Updating SQL Server versions may seem daunting, but the benefits far outweigh the effort it takes for a migration. In the last major version update, SQL Server 2016 introduced simpler backup functionality, database stretching, and always-encrypted communications with the database, to name just three features.

While backing up the database may be the last thing on the typical database administrator’s mind, it’s become increasingly important to do so. In SQL Server 2008, it’s clunky and causes headaches for many admins. However, in SQL Server 2016, one can easily set up an automated backup to Azure storage and let it run on smart backup intervals. Backing up offsite also reduces the need for disaster recovery for onsite damage.

Database stretching allows admins to push less frequently accessed data to an Azure database, automatically decided by SQL Server 2016. This reduces the admin of manually looking through what must be kept and what must be shipped off or deleted. It also reduces the size of the database, which also increases the performance of the applications that access it. The best part of this functionality is it automatically retrieves the less accessed records from Azure when users request it, without the need for manual intervention.

Always-encrypted communications are becoming more and more relevant to many companies, especially those operating in European regions after the introduction of GDPR. Encryption keys were previously managed by the admin, but now encryption is always handled by the client. Furthermore, the keys to encrypt and decrypt data are stored outside of SQL Server altogether. This means data stored in the database is always encrypted, and no longer for the eyes of a curious database manager. 

The built-in reporting tools have also vastly improved with the addition of new reporting metrics and a modern look. It includes support for Excel reports for keeping documentation and Power BI for automated, drag-and-drop personalised reporting. Best of all, it removes the dreaded Active X controls, which made the reporting in a webpage feel very clumsy and bloated in previous versions.

A lot has changed in the past ten years in the world of SQL Server database management, and it’s not worth running into problems before Microsoft ends support for SQL Server 2008.

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Why a messy fridge means a messy digital life

Businesses across the world are struggling to secure their data due to employees not recognising their responsibility for digital clutter; the proliferation of digital documents and files without thought for managing the security consequences. The global report “Sorting out digital clutter in business” from Kaspersky Lab1 found a number of correlations between the creation of digital clutter at work and human habits behind it, such as… organising a fridge. It revealed that nine out of ten (95%) people who see their fridge as organised said the same about their working digital life. 

Digital clutter includes the files, documents and data created at work without the business’s full visibility or control over how they are stored and who has access to them. It becomes a security risk when we consider that 72% of employees store documents at work that contain personally identifiable or sensitive data, which if exposed could either reputationally or financially damage a business, its employees and potentially its customers.

Tackling digital clutter is a challenge for businesses and one of the most important steps is understanding who is responsible for it. Nearly three quarters (71%) of employees believe either business leaders, the IT or security team should be responsible for ensuring emails, files and documents have the appropriate access rights, rather than themselves. The problem is that while IT and security teams can control the access given to employees to access files and folders, there is room for human error. Whether accidentally or intentionally, for example, employees could give their colleagues or those outside the business access credentials or bypass IT administrators with new collaboration tools. With employees creating and collaborating on multiple documents simultaneously, they all must take responsibility for their actions causing digital clutter.

Source: ‘Sorting out digital clutter in business’, Figure 2

As the report showed, in employees’ everyday life there are habits that may correlate with the creation of digital clutter. As well as the majority of people who have similar habits with their fridge organisation as they do their digital life, 88% of those who re-organise their fridge before a holiday, also do so for their work files. 

Source: ‘Sorting out digital clutter in business’, Figure 4

“With data volumes increasing exponentially, business leaders should take notice of digital clutter and its potential security risk,” said Maxim Frolov, Vice President of Global Sales at Kaspersky Lab. “It is true that organising your fridge won’t guarantee your defense against security breaches, but implementing the same mindset towards digital clutter will make you more resilient against cyber threats. Employees need to be educated on how to best manage their digital assets, and there should be simple but effective protection in place; one that does not add complexity but reduces it.” 

To avoid becoming a victim of digital clutter, Kaspersky Lab urges businesses to consider:

  • Getting employees trained up – it is very important that training teaches practical skills applicable to employees’ daily work such as with Kaspersky Automated Security Awareness Platform.
  • Regularly reminding staff how important it is to follow cybersecurity rules to not to let cyber skills fade away, for example by hanging posters with advice around the office
  • Making backups of essential data to ensure corporate information is safe and regularly updating IT equipment and applications to avoid unpatched vulnerabilities
  • Finding a dedicated solution for small and medium businesses with simple management and proven protection features; such as Kaspersky Endpoint Security Cloud.

To read the full report on digital clutter, please follow this link.

[1] Kaspersky Lab commissioned research specialist OnePoll to survey 7,000 employed adults from December 2018 to January 2019 across UK, USA, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Brazil, China, Mexico, Japan, Malaysia, South Africa, Russia, and Turkey who work in an office and use computers

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