SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Connected Devices, Remote Security: Data Encryption and Security in the Cloud

By Pete Johnson

Security” used to mean worrying about HTTPS certificates on your websites. The notion of a “device” was a browser and all you really had to do was to guarantee that traffic between it and your web servers was encrypted.

Then the “bring your own device” (BYOD) phenomenon caused system administrators to worry about things like isolating WiFi traffic for visitors and providing VPN tunneling software of iOS and Android, so that employees could access corporate assets in the palms of their hands. “Device” then meant “smartphone.”

But now, “device” means something different. Manufacturing equipment, plane engines and even parking meters all qualify. Devices seem to outnumber people, reminding us why we need IPv6. But this new notion of “device” also requires a very different security model unless you want to fall victim to a hacker because you forgot to secure every thermostat in your building.

Building Multiple Security Levels on top of HTTPS
Different vendors address this more complex security model in different ways, but generally speaking, it has three components to it: Authorization Engine, Handshake Certificates and HTTPS.

HTTPS is still the underlying technology for encrypting traffic, but unlike the old days of web surfing (when we used to argue about the length of the keys), modern device traffic puts two layers on top of that base encryption. First, there is a set of certificate handshakes that makes sure that some cloud entity should be talking to the device in question. On top of that is typically a cloud-driven authorization engine that can confirm or deny specific instructions to the device.

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After quietly infecting a million devices, Reaper botnet set to be worse than Mirai

Reaper is on track to become one of the largest botnets recorded in recent years — and yet nobody seems to know what it will do or when. But researchers say the damage could be bigger than last year's cyberattack.

By Zack Whittaker for Zero Day | October 24, 2017 -- 12:46 GMT (05:46 PDT) |



A little over a month ago, a sizable botnet of infected Internet of Things devices began appearing on the radar of security researchers.

Now, just weeks later, it's on track to become one of the largest botnets recorded in recent years.

The botnet, dubbed "Reaper" by researchers at Netlab 360, is said to have ensnared almost two million internet-connected webcams, security cameras, and digital video recorders (DVRs) in the past month, says Check Point, which also published research, putting its growth at a far faster pace than Mirai.

It was Mirai that caused a massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack last October, knocking popular websites off the internet for millions of users. The collective bandwidth from the huge number of "zombie devices" that were infected and enslaved was directed at Dyn, an internet infrastructure company, which overloaded the company's systems and prevented millions from accessing popular websites.

Mirai was "beautifully simple," said Ken Munro, a consultant at UK-based security firm Pen Test Partners. The malware would scan the internet and infect connected devices with default usernames and passwords, which either weren't or couldn't be changed by the owner.

Reaper, however, "is what Mirai could easily have been," said Munro. It takes a slightly different, more advanced approach by quietly targeting and exploiting known vulnerabilities in devices and injecting its malicious code, effectively hijacking the device for whenever the botnet controller is ready to issue their commands. Each time a device is infected, the device spreads the malware to other vulnerable devices -- like a worm.

Mirai aggressively ran each device against a list of known usernames and passwords, but Reaper is "not very aggressive," said Netlab.

By targeting a known vulnerability, the botnet can swiftly take control of a device without raising any alarms.

"One of the reasons Mirai didn't achieve its full potential is that the compromise didn't persist beyond a reboot," said Munro. "Hence, multiple botnet herders were competing for control of the compromised DVRs that comprised it, so the huge botnet it could have been was never built," he said.

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Fall Security Survey - Please Participate!

Not on is it back-to-school but it’s Fall with everyone madly back to work. Would you be able to spare a few moments to assist us in assess your security-related attitudes and preferences? Your contribution to this crowded sourced survey helps keep our community alive and thriving!

We are curious
about your emphasis on security as an MSP practice and vendor preferences.

It’s all very simple. Complete the survey HERE.

Security Survey


Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

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More Government – More Money! TaaS

I recently surveyed our community and discovered something amazing! Over 40 percent of the IT community we speak with has either a relationship or interest in creating an opportunity with local/county/regional governments. Our large response rate to the survey made this esignitstatistically valid (read “not fake news”) and we were pleasantly surprised. Which brings us to the point of this blog. Pursuing more government accounts means more money for MSPs, partners, resellers and consultants. It’s good Azure-based recurring revenue work.

One of the biggest challenges in working with government in the past was the sales cycle. For those

of us who recognize selling into enterprise is a long journey, I can assure you the government sales cycle traditionally has a similar if not greater duration! In the past getting a foot in the door of a governmental entity could easily take a year or more with a combination of budget cycles, fiscal year start dates, political dimensions and more conspiring to lengthen your business development efforts.


Fast Track
There is a new way for MSPs et al to rapidly get a foot in the door. One of my community members, a successful ISV, recently reached out for advice on how he could rapidly ramp and scale his patented government security solutions. I’m happy to help and the good news is that you can too. In general a simple short consulting effort can lead to an “Affordable, Saleable Azure delivered and supported” 50% margin reoccurring Trust as a Service (TaaS) sale.

Here is how it works. Esignit is already in market with a portfolio of government security solutions. This is not a startup with closure risk (and embarrassment to you, the MSP et al). Ranging from the City of San Francisco to several counties in Washington State, Esignit bring the cred factor: referenceable clients.

More specific to you (the MSP et al), you will use the Esignit tools as a foot-in-the-door “door opener” to penetrate the Government veil and secure great recurring predictable new business. And if you already serve governments, this is merely a chance to expand your scope, scale and reach.
What’s the secret sauce? For many of the Esignit solution, there is no cost to the governmental entity. This results in a rapid sales cycle and high conversion rate by legally bypassing procurement procedures.

Learn more
As an MSP et al, I’d encourage you to click HERE and fill out the form to learn more. In future blogs, I’ll explore each product including the patented 256-bit encryption algorithm that is the foundation for the product portfolios success.

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Ransomware attacks and demands have cost individual companies tens of thousands of dollars just in recent months.  And the money isn’t the only loss, data breaches in tandem have surged in numbers as well.  There are too many risks and debilitating results possible today to ignore the newsfeeds.  Layered security is mandatory and solutions zeroing in on specific malware threats, like ransomware, are being sought by those responsible for protecting networks, companies, and their monetary and intelligent assets.  Big money is at stake and remediation after an attack and breach of data is futile.

WinPatrol Enterprise reports that they have introduced the first true centrally managed anti-ransomware specific solution to the channel market.  Based on recent exposures and threats, ransomware ranks as one of the top security headline headaches for service providers and resellers. 

Are your current solutions covering all the bases?    

Powered by its own Artificial Intelligence engine, the WinPatrol engine is so effective that it blocks ransomware it’s never encountered, ransomware never even seen in a lab. 

WinPatrol Enterprise provides much more than simple Anti-Ransom for Business.

Features include:

1.     Software Inventory – Know every program being run in your organization

2.     Block any software you don’t want running on your network.

3.     Anti-Ransom Protection utilizing its artificial intelligence engine.

4.     SafeZone, a local safe repository where the end user can save files

5.     Network Lockdown – Protects your network drives.

6.     Registry Protection.

7.     Zero Day Threat and Exploit protection. Its artificial intelligence engine excels at detecting the unknown.

The days of needing to obtain a sample first are over. Ransomware is evolving too quickly, those who don’t adapt with speed and artificial intelligence won’t survive.

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Son – It’s Not Plastics. It’s Security

By: Harry Brelsford

An oft-quoted classic movie scene from “The Graduate” (1967) [] concerns a successful businessman giving career advice to 21-year-old Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) to go into plastics as a career choice. Fast forward the movie nearly 50-years and the prudent career choice is cloud security. It’s an evergreen that will bring you, the MSP/CSP/partner, great riches and professional satisfaction. Few would disagree in the magnitude of this opportunity.

A study by Symantec, the “Website Security Threat Report” is your key to transforming yourself into a component cloud security professional. As part of our SMB Nation mantra about “starting over,” the introduction of this report is very timely for all of us. Some of us remember watching “The Graduate” and the impact it had on the dialog of the late 1960s and 1970s. So this is a welcome geek reboot.

The paper, which you can download HERE, focuses much of its energy on the Heartbleed bug, which shook the foundation of Internet security. The authors have, quite frankly, selected a reference point we can all relate to as the incident happened within the last two years. But the paper is much more than a Heartbleed news recap. The point is that cyber criminals are busy making their own opportunities for exploitation, theft and disruption. Symantec contends and I concur that cyber criminals have become more professional, sophisticated and aggressive in their tactics to the detriment of businesses and individuals alike.

To manage your expectations as your both read and use this security paper to enhance your skills, understand that is it organized into two major areas:

  • Web Threats. High profile vulnerabilities (Heartbleed, ShellShock and Poodle) are reviewed to level set. Then vital solutions such as SSL and TSL certificates are discussed.
  • eCrime and Malware. This is truly an interesting part of the paper. Prices paid by underground entities for stolen identities, malware and e-crime services are holding steady due to high-levels of demand. Ransomware is getting nastier and increasing in volumes. The paper reports it has grown over 45X since 2013.

To continue this journey and to make yourself both security aware and security competent, download the paper HERE.

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MachNation provides recommendation for IoT security vendors

The Internet of Things continues to lead industry news and innovation in the second half of 2015, and myriad providers and vendors are attuned to IoT’s importance. 

MachNation, an IoT insight services and application development firm, announced today recommendations for five security vendors and 10 requirements for creating a secure solution in “IoT Security Landscape and Vendor Recommendations 2015.”

“MachNation has been providing our customers with industry-leading analysis and strategic support for their IoT initiatives,” said Steve Hilton, co-founder and President, MachNation. “Today, we are thrilled to announce a new publication that provides a list of 5 recommended IoT security vendors and 10 requirements to help public and private sector organizations craft a holistically secure IoT solution. We recommend the IoT security solutions of ARM, Bayshore Networks, Cisco, Intel and Wipro.”

The report, available here, covers the five recommended providers in detail and provides information about 13 other IoT security vendors.

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Stoneware, Inc. Announces Future Release of Hosted Solution, Two “Boosting” Add-ons

stonewareStoneware, Inc., an Indiana-based Lenovo company, recently announced that it will be releasing a SaaS version of its webNetwork solution. In addition, the company stated that it has two new add-ons for webNetwork, designed for online security and ease of browsing.

The SaaS version of webNetwork will be hosted in secure data centers. Features of this upcoming release include enhanced support for HTML5, Chromebook, Android tablet and Mac technologies, webPass Single-sign-on, access to public cloud and network storage via webStorage and the ability to deliver published Windows/virtual apps to a variety of devices.

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Heartbleed Bug Update: Community Response

heartbleedAs many of you remember, we covered the Heartbleed Bug news break last week. This latest security flaw has grabbed the attention of IT Professionals and SMB end users alike due to its attack on the OpenSSL standard, and the fact that it took so long to uncover. We have recently received two responses from our community with tips for ensuring safety in the wake of this bug.

To start, long-time SMB Nation Community member, Carl Mazzanti, CEO, eMazzanti Technologies, sent over an e-mail with information on how they are keeping their eCare customers safe:

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“Heartbleed Bug” Impact

heartbleedWe recently received a high-priority message from Jessica DeVita, the Uber Geek Girl, regarding the recent breach of HTTPS security. The so-called “Heartbleed bug” attacks the OpenSSL technology, taking users’ personal login information for many sites.

In fact, Tumblr yesterday issued this statement about the breach: “We have no evidence of any breach and, like most networks, our team took immediate action to fix the issue. But this still means that the little lock icon (HTTPS) we all trusted to keep our passwords, personal emails, and credit cards safe, was actually making all that private information accessible to anyone who knew about the exploit.”

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snom and Secusmart GmbH Partner to Advance Deskphone Security

snom logosnom technology recently announced that it has partnered with Secusmart GmbH to add an anti-tapping feature to its phones. Secusmart GmbH is the company that is currently responsible for securing the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel’s phone, and the two organizations have entered into numerous partnerships since 2012.

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ThreatTrack Security Announces Updates to ThreatAnalyzer Solution, Plans for Partner Program

Earlier this week, ThreatTrack Security released news that it is recruiting specialized security partners to add the company’s ThreatAnalyzer solution to their offering portfolio. The company explained that the new program is available starting Q1 2014 to VARs and MSPs, and will include sales, marketing and technical support.

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AVG to Sponsor Child Internet Safety Summit

AVG TechnologiesAVG recently announced that it will be the headline sponsor at the 2014 Child Internet Safety Summit, being held in Westminster, London, UK on July 3, 2014. This particular summit, currently in its third year, is focused on creating a safer web environment in which children can learn.

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McAfee Labs Releases Q3 2013 Threat Report

mfe primary logo rgb.smallEarlier today, McAfee Labs released its Q3 2013 report, titled “McAfee Labs Threats Report: Third Quarter 2013.” The McAfee Labs team is made of 500 researchers in over 30 countries, who look through real-world examples to build each quarterly report.

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AVG Offers Secure Online Backup Solution to AVG CloudCare Platform

Luke WallingAVG Technologies today announced the addition of Online Backup to their CloudCare solution. As many of you remember, AVG launched their CloudCare platform during the 2012 SMB Nation Fall Conference, and the company has reported high adoption numbers among channel partners.

AVG Cloud Care with Online Backup, or OLB, has been integrated into the existing AVG CloudCare system and can be activated with one click. I was able to speak with Luke Walling, Vice President of Sales and Operations, AVG (pictured) earlier today, and he mentioned that the addition of the OLB option is the first time that AVG as a company has a solution focused primarily on data protection as opposed to “frontline security.”

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McAfee, Office Depot Survey Find False Sense of Security in SMB Space

mfe primary logo rgb.smallMcAfee recently released the findings of a survey conducted jointly with Office Depot on SMB security perceptions. The survey, conducted in September 2013, found that 66% of the 1000 SMBs polled said that they felt confident about the security of their data and devices, while 77% said that they had never been hacked.

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Guest Blog: Do you Know Who Controls Your Data?

Ari RabbanBy Ari Rabban, Co-founder and CEO,

Would you pay $33,000 for a used Dell PowerEdge R410 blade server? What if it were the one that made WikiLeaks a household name?

That’s what someone paid on eBay, where Bahnhof, Wikileaks’ hosting provider, put the server up for sale. The auction is a cautionary tale for any SMB that outsources its telecom or IT to a cloud provider.

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Cbeyond Releases Security Best Practice Tips List

cbeyond smallCbeyond recently released a list of five best-practice security tips for SMBs as part of their “Technology Ally” series. The list was composed primarily for employee and customer data practices, and was aimed at SMBs, as they have a lot to lose from a data breach.

The five tips outlined by Cbeyond are as follows:

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Fortinet Rolls out 10 UTM Platforms for SMB, Branch Office Markets

Fortinet logoFortinet said earlier this week that it has added its newest product line known as FortiGate Unified Threat Management (UTM) designed for SMBs, distributed enterprises, retail networks and branch/home offices.

The 10 new products include the FortiGate-200D series, which includes the FortiGate-240D andFortiGate-200D, the FortiGate-100D series, which includes the FortiGate-140D, FortiGate-140D-POE, FortiGate-140D-POE-T1 and FortiGate-100D, FortiGate-90D/FortiWiFi-90D and FortiGate-30D/  FortiWiFi-30D, providing SMB customers with an unparalleled range of security and deployment options to meet their unique security requirements.

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McAfee Completes Tender Offer of Stonesoft; Next-Gen Firewall Now Available

McAfee said today that it has made progress in its acquisition of Stonesoft Oyj by completing the tender offer that was announced on May 6.  Stonesoft is known for its next-generation firewall, which is being positioned as “visionary” in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Network Firewalls.  With the completion of the tender offer, Stonesoft is now a McAfee group company, and all Stonesoft products and technologies are part of the McAfee portfolio. 

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Raising Your Hand – Discussing Trustworthy Computing!

The timing couldn’t have been better following the NSA whistleblower matter. I recently met with Microsoft executive Tim Rains to review his new study titled “Bridging the Gap: Cloud Computing Delivers Surprise Silver Lining for Business,” which focuses on security and reliability. But first–a wee bit of background on the whole trustworthy computing initiative inside Microsoft.

Click on the image at right to view my chat with Tim Rains.

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Symantec 2013 Global SMB IT Confidence Index Now Available

SymantecEarlier this week, Symantec released the results of their 2013 Global SMB IT Confidence Index. This report is based on the responses from 2452 SMB organizations (1-20 employees) from 20 countries, all of whom were asked 17 questions which were condensed to form an overall confidence rating. Respondents were all responsible for their organization’s IT. The report found three tiers of SMB in terms of business success, top, middle and bottom, which correlated directly to their confidence score.

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McAfee Appoints New SVP of SMB Division

mfe primary logo rgb.smallThis morning, McAfee released news that they have named Bill Rielly as the Senior Vice President for the company’s SMB division. In his new role, Mr. Rielly will work with company President, Michael DeCesare, on strengthening McAfee’s global presence in the SMB sector.

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Study: Password Security, Access Still Biggest MSP Security Threat

PASSPORTAL today announced the results of their comprehensive MSP Password Security Study and released a major update to its password management solution designed for MSPs.

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F5 Networks, Inc. Releases RSA Event Survey Results

F5 Networks LogoF5 Networks, Inc., yesterday announced the results of their 2013 RSA Security Trends Survey, conducted last week at the RSA Conference in San Francisco, CA. The key finding of this survey is that many organizations are finding it difficult to keep up with the rapidly-changing security environment. In the report, F5 lists the respondents’ top security impacts, and how they feel about traditional safeguards.

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Barracuda Networks Releases Next-Gen Firewall

Barracuda LogoYesterday, California-based Barracuda Networks, Inc. announced the release of the Barracuda Firewall. This next-generation firewall solution is designed specifically for the SMB space.

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McAfee Welcomes New Partners to Security Innovation Program

McAfee logoToday, McAfee announced that they have added eleven new partners to the McAfee Security Innovation Alliance (SIA). In addition, seven existing partners were promoted to the status of “Technology Partner” within the program.

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AVG Announces New Security Solutions for Android Devices

AVG TechnologiesToday, AVG Technologies released their latest mobile security solutions for Android tablets and smartphones. AVG AntiVirus FREE and PRO 3.1 include an updated user interface and better security features for mobile devices.

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Dell Offering Single Console for “Inside-Out” Protection via Quest Solution

As reports of corporate data breaches regularly surface, Dell Software is now enabling IT to drive connected security across the organization, offering protection from the inside and the outside. As a result, the company announced the release of Quest One Privileged Access Suite for Unix, which combines Active Directory bridge and root delegation technologies to combat against poorly managed privileged accounts with a single, intuitive interface, to help protect the organization--from the inside out.

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AlgoSec’s BusinessFlow Security Management Suite Includes App-Centric Policy Management

AlgoSec said its latest version of the AlgoSec Security Management Suite is now available. The new version marks the general availability of AlgoSec BusinessFlow as an integral product of the suite, delivering innovative, application-centric security policy management that boosts business agility and the availability of enterprise applications. Additional enhancements to the Security Management Suite include extended device support, deeper integration capabilities, enhanced reporting and performance and IPv6 support.

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Symantec Kicks off 2013 with New Strategy (including Layoffs)

Symantec Corp. yesterday announced that it has created a new strategy that includes a new Office of the CEO, expanded products and services, and also layoffs of various executives and middle management staff. The company says these measures are designed to streamline and simplify the company so it can deliver significantly improved performance for customers and partners.

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Excel Micro Enters Into Partnership with Reflexion Networks

Excel MicroEarlier this week, SaaS distributor, Excel Micro, Inc. announced a distribution partnership with Reflexion Networks, Inc., a provider of cloud-based e-mail security solutions.

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AVG Passes 1k Partner Mark, Releases New Version of CloudCare

AVG TechnologiesYesterday at CES 2013 in Las Vegas, AVG announced that they have signed more than 1000 partners to their AVG CloudCare small business IT management platform. The first version of CloudCare was launched in October 2012 at the SMB Nation Fall Conference, and the latest version, 2.1, was unveiled at CES yesterday.

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Dell SecureWorks Combats Security Vulnerabilities with Add-on Cloud Solutions

Dell SecureWorks is now offering a new Vulnerability Management Service (VMS) and a new Web Application Scanning (WAS) Service for the Cloud. These add-on Cloud security solutions are currently available for purchase by customers of Dell Public Cloud, Dell Cloud Dedicated Service and customers of VMware vCenter 5.0 environments.

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