Tag : platform

Cerber Ransomware – Business Model for Extortion

cerber ransomware

Cerber ransomware earned close to $200,000 in July alone, despite a payment rate of 0.3 percent (not even 1 percent!), due to its affiliate distribution model, according to Check Point Software technologies Ltd.and IntSights Cyber Intelligence.

If this rate were to continue, without increasing, that would mean a $2.3 million payout over the course of the year, said Maya Horowitz, group manager of threat intelligence at Check Point.

An affiliate model means that non-technical customers can run their own campaigns using the platform and still walk away with 60 percent of the profit. Customers receive access to management rools, Cerber’s Bitcoin laundering system, and of course, the Cerber ransomware. Horowitz reports that each day an average of eight new cerber ransomware campaigns are launched, adding to the over 150 affiliates.

Another “brand name” ransomware commonly seen today is Locky. Locky differs greatly from Cerber in that Locky is run by one solo team of threat artists, with all proceeds directly going to this team as they do not share their malware with any other parties. Cerber is acting as a business model, taking ransomware to a new level and allowing anyone to join in on the cyber crime cash cow. Not only does Cerber allow user to gain a 60 percent cut, but they also offer a 5 percent referral bonus for member that recruit. This is most certainly the future of malware, with more services to follow this model.

This is one of the first times that security researchers have been able to follow the trail. By extracting the unique Bitcoin wallet identifiers assigned to each victim, Check Point was able to follow the money trail to the central wallet, then to a network of other wallets that are apart of the Bitcoin mixing service, and then to the final destinations. Hundreds of thousands of wallets were followed, which allowed Check Point to actually see the payment rate of people who paid the Bitcoin ransom.

Surprising to most, the number was a very small 0.3 percent. In comparison to other ransomware reports, this percent is much lower. However, this number has been able to foster a hefty income.

 


 

To view the origin of this post, and to educate yourself in more detail, please visit : www.csoonline.com 

BVA Cloud Offering – Virtual Servers – Cloud Servers

For about 2 years now BVA has developed and tested an offering that allows organization the opportunity to move their physical servers off-site into the cloud.  There are several advantages with this type of architecture that really helps business grow and increase their overall up-time and satisfaction.  This offering is important for BVA as well as organization here in the valley.  The days of replacing physical servers are over for the small to medium size businesses.  It’s important to reevaluate your long term strategy so that it falls in line with what is going on in the technology world.  Too many times do we see organization’s continue with the old-line of technology due to inexperience and lack of confidence in change.  This offering that BVA has decided to adopt, truly leverages virtualization in a very robust and redundant infrastructure.  This offering is housed at a local data-center that is a tier 1 facility.  The virtual cluster/farm is roughly 40 physical servers hosts leveraging the VMware virtualization platform.  This offering can provide a public and private cloud solution. Both solutions are very reliable and offer a 100% SLA on hardware up-time which is quite beneficial and worth the cost associated for this type of infrastructure architecture.  This environment has redundant switches, firewalls, power, and bandwidth.  There are three different ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) which allow true redundancy when it comes to back-bone connectivity.

The biggest difference between the two offerings is pretty straight forward:

  • Public Cloud Server – a host environment that is a 40 physical server environment that is not dedicated to your organization
  • Private Cloud Server – a host environment that is a 3 physical server environment that is dedicated to your organization

The cost is really aggressive and I feel its realistic for a small to medium size business looking for advanced IT solutions.  Here is a great example of the cost structure because it is varied depending on the specifications needed via physical server.

  • 2 Processors, 2GB of RAM, 250GB of 15k rpm Disks = $350/Month
  • 4 Processors, 8GB of RAM, 250GB of 15k rpm Disks = $610/Month
  • 4 Processors, 16GB of RAM, 350GB of 15k rpm Disks = $950/Month

MAC Microsoft Office 2011- Finally Got it Right

It feels like I have been waiting forever for the new release of Office for the Mac.  With Microsoft Office for the Mac 2011 (Home and Student version, $119; Home and Business version, $149), Microsoft has finally gotten it right. After a string of disappointing releases, the new Mac version of the world’s most widely-used office suite is a spectacular success, and an unexpected triumph for Microsoft’s Macintosh group. Compared with Office for the Mac 2008 and its predecessors, Office 2011 is innovative, better-designed, startlingly faster, vastly more powerful, and far more compatible with Office for Windows. It even includes a few features that outclass anything in its Windows-based counterpart, Microsoft Office 2010 ($499, 4 stars). If you’re a casual, light-duty office-suite user or a student, iWork ’09 ($79, 4 stars) is still a great option, but if you’ve got heavy-duty work to perform on the Mac, you’ll want Office for the Mac 2011.  The cost for the suite is pretty reasonable for the applications you get.

Office for the Mac still has some minor weaknesses, and at least one feature that’s less powerful than in the previous version—Office no longer syncs calendars with iCal. Overall, it’s the best office suite ever for using the Mac as a serious platform for getting work done.  Office for the Mac comes in two versions, a Home and Student Version (single user package, $119; three-user family package $149) and a Home and Business Version (single user package, $199; licensed for two machines, $279). The Home and Student version includes Word 2011, Excel 2011, PowerPoint 2011. The Home and Business version matches the Home and Student version plus Outlook 2011, which replaces the Entourage mail, calendar, and contact manager app in recent versions.

Pros: Fast, flexible office application suite. Most powerful Mac office software. Highly compatible with Office for Windows. Well-integrated with OS X. Visual Basic for Applications recorded and programmed macros fully supported. Newly-designed Outlook replaces Entourage as mail/calendar/contact app.
Cons: No calendar synching with iCal. Outlook won’t synch with or retrieve mail from Exchange Server 2003 or earlier.
Bottom Line: Office for the Mac roars back with fast, powerful application suite the best of its kind for the OS X platform.