Go West is providing this security alert as a cautionary measure for users with a consumer grade router or network attached storage device at their home or small business.  Due to a recent malware attack known as VPNFilter, the FBI and US-CERT are encouraging users with home devices from Linksys, MikroTik, NetGear, TP-Link and QNAP to reboot the device.  Users should also ensure device firmware is up-to-date and change passwords on these devices.

What Is It
VPNFilter targets small home and office routers and network attached storage devices.  Once infected, the device allows criminals the ability to launch further attacks, collect personal website information, block network traffic, or they can render the device completely unusable.

Official US-CERT alert statement: https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/alerts/TA18-145A

Manufacturers LinksysMikroTikNetgearQNAP and TP-Link have posted instructions for users to follow to update their device software.

How Does It Impact Me
There is very little risk associated with this malware attack for commercial organizations utilizing business grade devices.  However, it is vital that organizations be aware of the vulnerability for remote users connecting from a home office.  Those users are more likely to be using a consumer grade router and should follow the recommended procedures.

If you have concerns or questions regarding a potential consumer grade router at your business please reach out to Go West support at support@gowestit.com.

Go West IT is celebrating eight years in business this week.  We started with five employees and a handful of great customers.  Eight years later our team has grown to 27 team members and we are searching for the 28th.  Our customer base has grown into the hundreds and we still work with most of that original handful of customers.

Earlier this week I thanked our team members for their contributions to our continued growth and success.  We did not get here alone.  Our success to date results from countless relationships with vendors, consultants, mentors, and most of all a fantastic group of customers who value our services and routinely refer us to prospective customers.  Thank you all very, very much!

Our business, like those of our customers, has adapted quickly to the changing IT landscape.  Go West IT is a leading provider of Microsoft cloud offerings, cybersecurity solutions, and managed IT services to small and medium sized businesses.  We are one of the very few managed service providers of our size to obtain SOC 1-SSAE 18 Type II and SOC 2 audits that provide our regulated customers third party verification of the adequacy of and adherence to security and availability controls.  In 2017, Go West IT was recognized as the Microsoft US SMB West Region Azure Partner of the Year for our leadership in taking small businesses to the cloud.  Most importantly, our team members solve and prevent real problems for our business customers every single day.  We have been and will continue pushing forward to empower people, solve problems, and protect value.

Thank you all very much.  We are looking forward to the next eight years!

— David Lewien, President

I recall a time when IT professionals adopted the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” approach to patching. To be sure, there was a time when patching firmware and software might have introduced more problems. That time is long gone. Aggressive patching is the new normal. Gone too are the days when a diligent IT person might go around to all the computers, servers, firewalls, switches, and other network attached devices and get them patched. That manual approach is no longer feasible and adhering to a manual patching plan is foolish. The nature of the modern cybersecurity landscape requires a platform which identifies patches that are needed, facilitates automated patching, and provides reporting & alerting to uncover anomalies.

Look no further than the Intel chip security vulnerabilities (Meltdown & Spectre) publicized this first week of 2018 for evidence of this new norm. When Operating System patches are released to mitigate this newly divulged flaw it will be critical that the patches are applied as quickly as possible.

Go West IT offers managed service plans that utilize state of the art remote monitoring and management platforms designed to keep systems updated and rapidly apply patches when new vulnerabilities are divulged. Stand on our shoulders and use the systems we have already built to keep your business ahead of the curve. Please contact us today at 303.795.2200 or info@gowestit.com.

David Lewien – President

Something You Know + Something You Have

One of the easiest ways to increase your security profile is to utilize multi-factor authentication (MFA).  MFA is just like it sounds, more than one form of authentication is required to access a system.  In most cases this is your normal login credentials (username & password), as well as an additional form of authentication such as the use of a randomly generated passcode or hardware token.

This is a vital form of additional security for Office 365 users, as access to your O365 login credentials opens the door for someone to not only gain access to your email but also potentially your documents (OneDrive), file sharing (SharePoint) and perhaps your entire VOIP phone system (Skype for Business).  If MFA is enabled, despite the criminal having your login credentials, they would most likely not have access to the additional device containing the MFA passcode.

The best part?  It’s free!  Basic MFA is included with your Office 365 licensing at no extra charge but must be enabled.

Please watch the following presentation by David Lewien, President of Go West IT, to learn more about Office 365 MFA, view examples of how it works and additional considerations to keep in mind.  If you are interested in enabling MFA please contact us today at 303.795.2200 or info@gowestit.com.

Leveraging the Cloud – 

Many businesses today use cloud services of some kind, but not every business has committed to moving to the cloud or is leveraging cloud services to their advantage.  Cloud services aren’t right for every situation but it is important for businesses to consider cloud options whenever IT changes are at hand.  Go West IT can help cut through the buzzwords and show you when and how to leverage the cloud to benefit your business. This includes everything from SaaS solutions, such as hosted Exchange with Microsoft Office 365, to comprehensive IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) solutions in the Microsoft Azure, private white-label or Go West IT cloud environments.

Leveraging our extensive experience and strong vendor relationships, Go West IT was uniquely positioned to be on the forefront of the cloud services movement.  As a Gold Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider, Go West IT provides end to end management of your Microsoft cloud services.  Go West IT was recognized as the 2017 US SMB Azure West Region Partner of the year at this year’s Microsoft Inspire event.  Click here to watch the video to hear more about Go West’s cloud adoption story.

Contact us today to begin charting a course to meet your cloud services objectives.  303.795.2200 or info@gowestit.com

Go West IT today announced it has been named 2017 US SMB Azure West Region Partner of the Year by Microsoft’s US Small and Mid-sized Business (SMB) Group. The award recognizes the US SMB partner that has demonstrated key competitive Azure wins achieved in the West Region. Members of the US SMB Partner Program have shown dedication to arming the small business community with the right technology and services they need to be successful.

Go West IT, founded in 2010, is a managed service provider and information technology leader servicing small and medium sized businesses that use technology to deliver products and services to their customers.  The majority of customers have 10-200 employees with information technology infrastructure housed on-premise, in the cloud, or both.  Offerings include managed service plans, cloud infrastructure, network administration and cybersecurity.  Go West IT has quickly grown to be one of the premier IT service firms in Colorado, supporting over 150 businesses and thousands of users on a daily basis.  The company adheres to a set of strong values and believes in the opportunity to facilitate excellence every day for both customers and team members.

“This award provides recognition of the hard work of our dedicated and talented team here at Go West.” – David Lewien, President

Go West IT along with winners in six other categories were recognized during the Microsoft US SMB Partner Award Reception in Washington, D.C. on July 10, 2017.

A new and aggressive ransomware using a variant malicious code known as “Petya” is spreading at an alarming rate.

Petya comes on the heals of WannaCry just a few weeks ago and is getting a great deal of publicity because of the rate of infections and the well known victims. Petya is a very serious threat.  The frequency and velocity of these types of attacks will continue to increase.

Risk mitigation actions include the following:

1.  Patch, patch, patch… Patch all applications (OS, Adobe, Java, Flash, Mac), not just Windows Operating Systems.
2. Implement a solid backup solution (including offsite backups) for critical data so you can recover quickly from ransomware without paying a ransom.
3. Use a good business class firewall that scans for viruses and intrusion attempts.  Go West uses and recommends FortiGate firewalls.  FortiGate firewalls with UTM features enabled are helping to mitigate this particular threat.
4. Use good business class antivirus software on all of your devices.
5. Train yourselves and your people how to identify phishing emails.  Go West recommends and resells KnowBe4 phishing testing and security training for this purpose.
6. Employ a third-party email filter to scan inbound and outbound email.

Open RDP (Terminal Server) access is particularly vulnerable to this threat.  RDP access should be restricted to VPN and/or SSL gateway connections only.

Go West IT customers using our Go Proactive and Go Comprehensive managed services benefit from routine Microsoft and third party application (e.g., Adobe, Java, Flash) patching, managed antivirus, and managed backups to mitigate the current Petya threat and those that will follow.

If you are a Go West IT customer and are not yet using our Go Proactive or Go Comprehensive managed services we strongly recommend engaging Go West in this regard to help protect from this particular threat and those that will follow.

Please visit our website and click on Solutions, the Cybersecurity to watch a short video for more information on how tot protect you and your business from cyber threats.

Andrew Lanning, Co-Founder of Integrated Security Technologies and chair of the PSA Security Cybersecurity Committee, forwarded me a great article in the Harvard Business Review regarding the behavioral economics of why executives underinvest in cybersecurity.  This is a must read for executives who have ultimate responsibility for protecting shareholders, employees, customers, and data.  This is also a great read for anyone to whom an executive has delegated the tasks of protecting shareholders, employees, customers, and data.

https://hbr.org/2017/06/the-behavioral-economics-of-why-executives-underinvest-in-cybersecurity

 

 

Cyber criminals are targeting small and medium sized businesses for one reason, it produces results for the criminals.  I know that cybersecurity is a big topic and small businesses can become quickly overwhelmed by the scope of the issue but doing nothing is not an option.  Please take seven minutes to watch this important video from Go West IT to help you cut through the clutter and prioritize your cyber risk mitigation task list.

Go West IT Cyber Risk Mitigation Tasks