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Acronis #CyberFit Summit Dubai Gathers World-Class Experts Under One Roof

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Acronis has successfully concluded its #CyberFit Summit Dubai — the third stop in the Acronis World Tour, an ongoing industry event series dedicated to bringing cyber protection to businesses everywhere. Marking the start of the event, the company has released its annual Acronis Cyberthreats Report 2022, an in-depth review of cybersecurity trends and threats worldwide. The report warns that managed service providers (MSPs) are particularly at risk — having more of their own management tools, such as PSA or RMM, used against them by cybercriminals, and thus are becoming increasingly vulnerable to supply chain attacks. “

Supply-chain attacks on MSPs are particularly devastating since attackers gain access to both their business and clients — as seen in the SolarWinds breach last year and the Kaseya VSA attack earlier in 2021, one successful attack means crippling hundreds or thousands of SMBs. The report also shows that during the second half of 2021, only 20% of companies reported not having been attacked — as opposed to 32% last year — indicating that attacks are increasing in frequency across the board.

“The cybercrime industry is a well-oiled machine, using cloud and machine intelligence to scale and automate their operations. While the threat landscape continues to grow, we see that the main attack vectors stay the same — and they still work,” says Candid Wuest, Acronis VP of Cyber Protection Research. “While the attack surface is growing and 2022 will surely bring us surprises, cyber protection automation remains the only path to greater security, reduced risks, lower costs, and improved efficiency.”

Key trends of 2021 — and predictions for 2022
Beyond the growing efficiency of cybercriminals and the impact on MSPs and small businesses, the Acronis Cyberthreats Report 2022 shows:

  • Phishing remains the main attack vector. 94% of malware gets delivered by email — using social engineering techniques to trick users into opening malicious attachments or links, phishing has been topping the charts even before the pandemic. It still continues to grow rapidly: just this year, Acronis reported blocking 23% more phishing emails and 40% more malware emails in Q3, as compared with Q2 of the same year.
  • Phishing actors develop new tricks, move to messengers. Now targeting OAuth and multifactor authentication tools (MFA), these new tricks allow criminals to take over accounts. To bypass common anti-phishing tools, they will use text messages, Slack, Teams chats and other tools for attacks such as business email compromise (BEC). One recent example of such an attack was the infamous hijacking of the FBI’s own email service, which was compromised and started sending spam emails in November 2021.
  • Ransomware is still the #1 threat — to big companies and SMBs alike. High-value targets include the public sector, healthcare, manufacturing, and other critical organizations. But despite some recent arrests, ransomware continues to be one of the most profitable cyber attacks these days. Acronis predicts ransomware damages will exceed $20 billion before the end of 2021.
  • Cryptocurrency among the attackers’ favourite playing cards. Info stealers and malware that swaps digital wallet addresses are the reality today. We can expect more such attacks waged directly against smart contracts in 2022 — attacking the programs at the heart of cryptocurrencies. Attacks against Web 3.0 apps will also occur more frequently, and new and increasingly sophisticated attacks, such as flash loan attacks, will allow attackers to drain millions of dollars from cryptocurrency pools.

Growing need for cyber protection in MEA: two data centers opening
Overall, in terms of cybersecurity, this year was the worst on record; not just for many organizations, but for many countries as well — including the UAE, a country now pushing to fight the global “cyber pandemic.” And despite their best effort, as Acronis’ own recent survey shows, 25% of people in UAE still do not use any cyber protection tools.

Malware attacks remain a global phenomenon, and every country has to fight it. Reviewing the normalized malware detection in our research, we saw countries like Taiwan, Singapore, China, and Brazil with over a 50% detection rate. However, the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region also rank fairly high on the list, with the UAE at 38%; South Africa at 36%; and Saudi Arabia at 29%.

We see similar statistics for blocked ransomware attacks: the UAE ranked 33rd globally, responsible for 0.3% of all global detections — a 63%  increase from Oct 2021 — while South Africa ranked 30th globally, responsible for 0.4% of all detections — a 64% increase from October 2021.

While ransomware attacks are clearly on the rise in MEA, the high malware detection rates could mean that countries are paying more attention to cyber protection by upgrading their detection capabilities.

The Acronis #CyberFit Summit taking place as a hybrid event in Dubai, UAE on December 8th─9th aims to help local organizations and citizens build up their cyber defences. The platform engages world-class cybersecurity and industry experts and provides an in-depth look at how companies can enhance their IT infrastructure capabilities — with a particular focus on MSPs, the backbone of channel business.

Acronis is also using this platform to pre-announce the opening of two data centers in Africa — Nigeria and South Africa — opening in Q2 2022, helping to fulfill the company’s ongoing plan of building 110 data centres worldwide within two years.

Acronis Cyberthreats Report 2022
The Acronis Cyberthreats Report 2022 is based on examining attack and threat data collected by the company’s global network of Acronis CPOCs, which monitor and research cyber threats 24/7. Malware data was collected by more than 650,000 unique endpoints around the world running Acronis Cyber Protect — either as a client of an MSP using the solution or a business running the solution. The end-of-year update covers attacks targeting endpoints detected between July and November 2021.

The full report provides in-depth insights into the top cybersecurity and threat trends the CPOCs observed during the second half of 2021; a review of malware families and related statistics; a deep dive into ransomware’s most dangerous groups; the vulnerabilities that contribute to successful attacks; and Acronis’ security recommendations for 2022 and beyond. Check out the findings for the first half of 2021 in our Acronis Cyberthreats Report: Mid-year 2021.

Acronis #CyberFit Summit in Dubai, UAE
Remote work is here to stay, and so are the increased levels of sophisticated cyberattacks — and so it’s up to both companies and individuals to follow the best cyber protection practices available.

If you are keen to learn more about cybersecurity pain points and available solutions for businesses, register now for the Acronis #CyberFit Summit World Tour 2021. One platform that allows you to:

  • Attend result-focused virtual sessions for free and learn from world-class experts on cyber protection.
  • Enhance your MSP business’ cyber protection capabilities with advice from the top channel, cybersecurity, and industry experts.
  • Hear exclusive case studies of successful, profitable, and scaling MSPs and MSSPs.
  • Learn how to grow your business with cybersecurity-forward services.
  • Join hands-on, interactive workshops, insightful panels and breakouts, and inspiring keynotes — while enjoying IT channel networking opportunities.

Channel Talk

Entrust Signs Up CyberKnight as New Distributor for the Middle East Region

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Entrust has announced its new distribution partnership with CyberKnight to address compliance and simplify cyber threat management. In line with evolving regional compliance regulations and standards, Entrust’s new partnership with CyberKnight as its newest regional distributor will see the two companies jointly build solutions for the Middle East market that achieve the highest standards of cyber security.

Entrust and CyberKnight are strategically aligned on their security vision with a ‘Zero Trust’ philosophy at its core. With the aim of increasing access to the highest standards of security for Middle East customers, Entrust’s new partnership with CyberKnight will further enable the delivery of digital security solutions to customers, by tapping into CyberKnight’s local network to offer advice, education, expertise, and confidence.

“Digital transformation in the Middle East continues to evolve at a phenomenal pace, especially as the demands of the past two years called for a rapid implementation of cloud-based systems to manage the unprecedented shift to remote workforces,” said Scott Kemish, Global Vice President Channel Sales, Entrust. “In order to support local customers championing cloud adoption while meeting the requirements of local compliance regulations, as well as protecting themselves against an all-time-high of cybercrime, we have entered a stage of channel development that requires our channel distribution partners to stand up and make a difference; CyberKnight has all of the right attributes that we are looking for in the market.”

“Our partnership with CyberKnight further cements our commitment to the region, and we look forward to helping more customers transform their digital security in line with the requirements of this new age,” Scott continued. Over the last two years, the rapid adoption of cloud solutions to enable remote working resulted in an increase in cybercrime globally, as it provided cybercriminals more opportunities to target victims at home. Cybercrime is set to cost the global economy $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. And industry research reveals that, in the UAE, the average cost of remediating a ransomware attack is over $500,000.

“The pandemic has reminded us that cybercriminals are constantly fine-tuning their skills and techniques. If we do not help our customers do the same, then they will be playing catch-up,” said Avinash Advani, Founder & CEO of CyberKnight. “Our partnership with Entrust as our newest vendor will enable us to continue helping customers fill the existing gap between their digital transformation efforts, and their security posture by securing their digital ecosystems as well as supporting them with their zero-trust security journey. We are very excited about working with them to further support our local customers across the region.

Entrust’s certificate solutions, PKI, identity and access management, encryption key management and hardware security modules are available to local customers through the partnership. Later this year, Entrust will join CyberKnight’s annual roadshow, set to take place in November 2022.

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Cyber Security

The Rising Risk of Ransomware Attacks on Organisations and How to Mitigate it

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According to the 2022 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report, “ransomware volume increased 105% year over year and is up 232% since 2019.” With the risk of ransomware attacks continuing to rise, it’s crucial to shield your organization from these attacks to avoid unwanted financial fallout.

Ransomware attacks commonly target an organization’s file servers and databases using malicious code to encrypt files such as documents, images, and videos on the system. Ransomware can also be programmed to find vulnerabilities on the network and use these to spread to other systems in an organization. Ransomware attacks are typically executed through social engineering like widespread phishing attacks, but cybercriminals can also specifically target a certain entity, sometimes a popular one. These attacks have the potential to cripple an entire organization’s database.

Once encrypted by ransomware, files are almost impossible to retrieve without the decryption key. To get this key, the victim is demanded to pay a ransom—often millions of dollars—within a short timeframe, usually 24 to 48 hours. If the victim organization keeps a backup of its files, then it’ll be able to restore those files and avoid paying the ransom. If not, the organization often has no option but to pay the ransom.

However, if you fall victim to a ransomware attack, it’s strongly recommended that you don’t pay the ransom to regain access to your encrypted files. This is because you are relying on the integrity of a cybercriminal. The cybercriminal may not give you the decryption key after the transaction or, even worse, they may continue to target your organization and repeatedly demand higher ransoms now that they know you’re willing to pay.

In recent years, it has become much easier to develop ransomware, resulting in the continued rise in ransomware attacks. Cybercriminals can develop and execute a ransomware attack with readily available open-source code and with easy-to-use drag-and-drop platforms. It is also hard to track these cybercriminals because transactions involving ransomware are commonly made using cryptocurrency.

Ransomware attacks can result in exploitation and loss of your organization’s critical and confidential data. But there are steps you can take to prevent and mitigate these attacks.

Back-Up Your Data
Take regular backups of all your files and data; this way, even if your system is infected, you can erase the infected files and recover them using your backups. This cannot prevent a ransomware attack, but it can mitigate the risk of losing all your data.

Keep Your System and Software Up-to-Date
Maintain a healthy patching routine. This includes updating your software as soon as possible when patches for security vulnerabilities are released by vendors. To keep your device secure from ransomware attacks, use a security solution that can identify these attacks at their earliest stages and mitigate their impact.

Be Careful Where You Click
Beware of social engineering attacks and email scams, and avoid downloading files from untrusted sources as these can result in your system being exploited by malicious software like ransomware. What makes social engineering attacks so dangerous is that they take advantage of human error rather than system vulnerabilities.

Create Awareness Among Employees About Ransomware Attacks
Since human error is a major vector cybercriminal manipulate to carry out ransomware attacks, it is essential to educate and train employees on social engineering and email phishing attacks to effectively secure your organization against them.

ManageEngine’s security information and event management (SIEM) solutions protect your enterprise network from cyberattacks and insider threats. SIEM solutions collect and analyze the security data generated by your devices in real-time, alerting you about vulnerabilities, indicators of compromise, and any suspicious activity to help you mitigate the risk of ransomware attacks.

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Cyber Security

Ransomware Hit 59% of UAE Organizations Surveyed for Sophos’ Annual “State of Ransomware 2022”

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Sophos has released its annual international survey and review of real-world ransomware experiences in the State of Ransomware 2022. The report shows that 59% of UAE organizations surveyed were hit with ransomware in 2021, up from 38% in 2020.

The report summarizes the impact of ransomware on 5,600 mid-sized organizations in 31 countries across Europe, the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. The main findings for the UAE in the State of Ransomware 2022 global survey, which covers ransomware incidents experienced during 2021, as well as related cyber insurance issues, include:

  • Many organizations rely on cyber insurance to help them recover from a ransomware attack – 85% of mid-sized organizations had cyber insurance that covers them in the event of a ransomware attack – and, in 100% of incidents, the insurer paid some or all the costs incurred.
  • Ninety-eight percent of those with cyber insurance said that their experience of getting it has changed over the last 12 months, with higher demands for cybersecurity measures, more complex or expensive policies, and fewer organizations offering insurance protection.

“The findings suggest we may have reached a peak in the evolutionary journey of ransomware, where attackers’ greed for ever higher ransom payments is colliding head-on with a hardening of the cyber insurance market as insurers increasingly seek to reduce their ransomware risk and exposure,” said Wisniewski. “In recent years, it has become increasingly easy for cybercriminals to deploy ransomware, with almost everything available as-a-service. Second, many cyber insurance providers have covered a wide range of ransomware recovery costs, including the ransom, likely contributing to ever higher ransom demands. However, the results indicate that cyber insurance is getting tougher and in the future ransomware victims may become less willing or less able to pay sky-high ransoms. Sadly, this is unlikely to reduce the overall risk of a ransomware attack. Ransomware attacks are not as resource intensive as some other, more hand-crafted cyberattacks, so any return is a return worth grabbing and cybercriminals will continue to go after the low hanging fruit.”

Sophos recommends the following best practices to help defend against ransomware and related cyberattacks:

  1. Install and maintain high-quality defenses across all points in the organization’s environment. Review security controls regularly and make sure they continue to meet the organization’s needs.
  2. Proactively hunt for threats to identify and stop adversaries before they can execute their attack – if the team lacks the time or skills to do this in house, outsource to a Managed Detection and Response (MDR) specialist.
  3. Harden the IT environment by searching for and closing key security gaps: unpatched devices, unprotected machines, open RDP ports, etc. Extended Detection and Response (XDR) solutions are ideal for this purpose.
  4. Prepare for the worst. Know what to do if a cyber incident occurs and keep the plan updated.
  5. Make backups, and practice restoring from them so that the organization can get back up and running as soon as possible, with minimum disruption.
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