IT Security Firm Highlights Danger of Pokemon Go to Canadian Business

Society is well and truly in the grip of Pokemon fever or, more specifically, Pokemon Go fever. This apparently benign augmented-reality game is a huge hit in Canada, and is installed on more than 6% of Android devices in the country. However, a Calgary-based firm of IT experts is warning how the nature of the application could render it a danger to business.

Earlier this month, Frontier Solutions published an article detailing the potential dangers associated with Pokemon Go, and explaining why business owners should be very wary of the app. Like many cutting-edge applications, Pokemon Go thrives off the information we feed into it. Once installed, the app will request permission to access user location, contacts, camera and stored items, and when the app is installed on an employee’s company device, the potential problems become apparent.

Before going on to explain how any data collected by the app can be easily distributed and then used to access sensitive accounts Frontier Solutions’ Terry Rowsell wrote;

“Although Nintendo itself might not be planning a massive data breach, such permissions are extremely risky in the current environment where cybercrimes have become rampant.”

Pokemon Go was not originally developed by Nintendo. Instead, it was developed by Niantic, and it is the privacy policy of this tech firm which has set alarm bells ringing amongst the experts. The wording of the policy affords the company exclusive rights to the information it gathers via the app, enabling Niantic to hand over information to law enforcement agencies, overseas databanks, or to third parties for a fee.

By installing Pokemon Go on devices also used to access and utilize company data, employees could be opening up your organization to Niantic and its dubious data policies.

Data breaches can be catastrophic to businesses, but so can malware attacks, which is why it is troubling that Pokemon Go has become associated with this sort of cybercrime. The problem first arose when the launch of the app was staggered between countries. By this time, the hype had already grown beyond breaking point, and so a number of imitation apps were created by independent developers to plug the gap.

It is these imitation apps, as Frontier Solutions points out, which pose the biggest danger in terms of malware and web security. Remote access tools – such as DroidJack, which targets Android users specifically – have been detected in some fraudulent versions of the game. Once this tool infects a business device, the potential ramifications can be disastrous.

Rowsell recommends that companies implement and enforce Acceptable Use Policies (AUPs) whereby personal applications cannot be downloaded onto company phones or other company devices and protect business data by enabling stored data encryption on all mobile devices.

Frontier Solutions Inc. (FSI) is a Calgary, Alberta- based information technology (IT) firm established in 1995, specializing in managed IT services for small to medium-sized businesses in the Calgary area.

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For more info, contact:

Terry Rowsell, President
Frontier Solutions Inc.
Phone: (403) 251-4402

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calgary IT Firm Advises Business to Guard Against Ransomware

Calgary IT Firm Advises Businesses to Guard Against Ransomware

In light of the recent massive cyber attack on Office 365 products, Calgary businesses utilizing Office and other software products need to prepare for and guard against threats posed by ransomware, advises Calgary IT specialist and Frontier Solutions Inc. President Terry Rowsell

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that is designed to block access to a computer program, whether software or specific documents, until the owner of the program or document pays ransom to the perpetrator, whether in bitcoins or other currency.

The so-called “Zero Day” attack perpetrated on Office 365 between March and June of 2016 by what has been dubbed “Cerber” malware, was reportedly spread mainly by phishing emails, complete with a “spooky” audio warning.  Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as passwords, user names and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity.

Global IT security firm TrendMicro has reported that Cerber is a ransomware-as -a service (RaaS) that is sold to other enterprising criminals, and that it targets Office documents, photos, and other files by encrypting them and then asking for ransom to decrypt the files.

The attack on Office 365, which many people previously considered to be infallible, is a major wake-up call for North American businesses. While Microsoft responded quickly to thwart the attack on Office in June, Rowsell notes it is clear that all businesses, whether in Calgary or elsewhere, can no longer ignore threats including ransomware and phishing.

Rowsell suggests that user awareness is the number one defense against ransomware, and that virus protection has proven insufficient when it comes to serious threats such as ransomware. He recommends two key steps local businesses can take to protect themselves against and prevent ransomware:  “First, educate your staff on the dangers of phishing emails and malicious websites.  Second, perform frequent backups to a device that is not physically connected to your servers.”

Avanan, an Israeli software security firm which originally detected the Cerber ransomware, claims that some 57% of organizations using Office 365 on their platform were reportedly targeted at least once by the malware. The University of Calgary was among local organizations that fell prey to ransomware during late May and early June, and it chose to pay a large sum of money to receive its information back from the attackers.

Rowsell advises those who are affected by a ransomware cyberattack to not pay ransom: “It (ransomware) is created and distributed by criminals. Every dollar spent on paying a ransom goes toward funding the development of bigger and badder ransomware.”

Frontier Solutions Inc. (FSI) is a Calgary, Alberta- based information technology (IT) firm established in 1995, specializing in managed IT services for small to medium-sized businesses in the Calgary area.

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For more info, please contact:

Terry Rowsell, President
or
Andrew Campbell, Business & IT Strategist
Phone: (403) 251-4402
Email: media@frontiersolutions.ca