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Emsisoft, Coveware offer free ransomware services to hospitals

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to overwhelm healthcare and medical facilities, another complication has surfaced: the possibility of a ransomware attack, which have been shown to spike during the spring and summer months, according to antimalware vendor Emsisoft.

In anticipation of such attacks, Emsisoft and incident response company Coveware partnered for an initiative to give healthcare providers access to both companies’ complete range of ransomware response services at no cost for the duration of the crisis. The aim is to get impacted providers operational again in the shortest possible time so that patient care is minimally disrupted, Emsisoft threat analyst Brett Callow said.

In the event of a ransomware attack, Emsisoft and Coveware will provide services to hospitals and medical facilities that include technical analysis of the ransomware; the development of a decryption tool, if possible; and “as a last resort, ransom negotiation, including transaction handling and recovery assistance including replacement of the decryption tool supplied by the criminals with a custom tool that will recover data faster and with less chance of data loss,” according to a blog post from Emsisoft.

Bill Siegel, CEO of Coveware, cautioned that a ransomware attack on a healthcare organization will still have devastating consequences, regardless of how Emsisoft and Coveware can mitigate it. “Even with our help, it will likely result in unnecessary causalities because of the disruption,” Siegel said.

Bracing for ransomware attacks

Emsisoft’s blog said, “it is likely that there will be an increase in the number of healthcare providers impacted by ransomware in the coming months and unfortunately this increase may coincide with the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak. Further, the spikes may be more pronounced than in previous years due to security weaknesses resulting from hastily introduced work-from-home arrangements, personal device usage and staffing shortages.”

A ransomware attack could hinder response efforts, communications and treatments during the pandemic.

Even prior to the pandemic, healthcare facilities were a common target of ransomware attacks. At least 764 healthcare providers were impacted by ransomware in 2019, according to the Emsisoft report, titled “The State of Ransomware in the U.S.: Report and Statistics 2019.”

However, two ransomware gangs, Maze and DoppelPaymer, announced Wednesday they would cease ransomware attacks on medical and healthcare facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these promises, the problem persists, according to Callow.

“I saw a medical research company in the U.K. was attacked a couple days ago by a group who steals data and threatens to release it if you don’t pay,” Callow said, referencing the Maze group.

Siegel said he hopes the promise made by ransomware gangs is genuine.

“It will be interesting to see if Defray/777 ransomware affiliates adhere, as that variant almost exclusively targeted healthcare providers prior to the pandemic,” Siegel said.

Since the announcement on Wednesday, no one has yet to take up the free offer, and both Callow and Siegel said they hope no one will need to.

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For Trade – Intel i3 8350K LGA1151

Looking to trade with another lga1151 as upgraded CPU in gaming pc and don’t need an unlocked cou for the htpc.

Would also consider trade with AM4 bundle.

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KPMG’s digital shift fuels AI-empowered audits and more, reducing risk across every industry | Transform

Envision this: It’s another frenetic morning in the stock market as an army of traders at one company chat with their clients by phone – counseling and cautioning, buying and selling.

The outcomes of those calls and transactions carry no guarantees, of course. There will be some winners, some losers. But before the closing bell rings, the traders’ company – an advisory client of KPMG – is sure of one outcome: the engagements were analyzed and potential risks surfaced.

How can the company be so certain? It deployed KPMG’s trader-risk-analytics platform, a solution that applies Azure Cognitive Services to help reduce risk and meet rising regulatory requirements within the financial services industry.

The platform is just one example of a solution jointly developed in the KPMG and Microsoft Digital Solution Hub, and a testament to KPMG’s drive to digitize its customer offerings across advisory, tax and audit by implementing Microsoft’s intelligent cloud.

En employee walks through a hallway at KPMG.
An employee at KPMG.

To accelerate KPMG’s move to the cloud, KPMG and Microsoft have signed a five-year agreement that will allow KPMG and its clients to benefit from Microsoft innovations, including a strong focus on AI, risk and cyber security.

As one of the “Big Four” organizations, KPMG’s services and solutions encompass all industries – from government to banking to health care. That wide-ranging impact means KPMG also provides a potent business case for the potential of Microsoft technology to enhance and revitalize customers’ businesses across every sector, says Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

“Together with KPMG, we’re accelerating digital transformation across industries by bringing the latest advances in cloud, AI and security to highly regulated workloads in audit, tax and advisory,” Nadella says.

To grasp the scope and reach of KPMG’s digital evolution, take a closer look at one of the platforms it has launched for a core business line – audit. Better yet, just meet KPMG Clara.

KPMG is bolstering audit quality by infusing the process with data analytics, AI and Azure Cognitive Services, allowing audit professionals to use company data to bring more relevance to their audit findings and continue to meet increasing regulatory requirements and standards. KPMG uses Azure Cognitive Services to provide more continuous, holistic and deeper insights and value on audit-relevant data.

The company’s smart audit platform, KPMG Clara, is automated, agile, intelligent and scalable – ushering in what KPMG calls a new era for the audit. KPMG is deploying KPMG Clara globally, allowing clients access to real-time information arising from the audit process and communication with the audit team.

A KPMG building is shown from outside with grass in the foreground.
A KPMG building.

In addition, KPMG Clara will integrate with Microsoft Teams, providing a platform for audit professionals to work together on a project, centrally managing and securely sharing audit files, tracking audit-related activities and communicating using chat, voice and video meetings. This will simplify the auditors’ workflow, enabling them to stay in sync throughout the entire process and drive continuous communication with the client.

“Technology is disrupting organizations across the globe,” says Bill Thomas, global chairman of KPMG International. “Clients are turning to us like never before to help them implement, manage and optimize the digital transformation of their organizations.”

In fact, 65% of CEOs believe that AI will create more jobs than it eliminates, according to a survey of 1,300 CEOs conducted by KPMG for its 2019 “Global CEO Outlook” report.

The survey also found that 50% of CEOs expect to see significant a return on their AI investments in three to five years, while 100% have piloted or implemented AI to automate processes.

Through its tech expansion, KPMG’s clients will benefit from “consistent global service delivery, greater speed of deployment and industry-leading security standards to safeguard their data,” the company says.

At the same time, KPMG professionals will gain access to an arsenal of cloud-based tools to build business solutions and managed services that are embedded with AI and machine learning capabilities.

And with robotic process automation (RPA), they can utilize AI-infused software that completes the types of high-volume, repeatable tasks that once drained hours from their work weeks.

Two people inside a KPMG building enter a stairwell.
Two people entering a KPMG member firm.

“Technology and data-driven business models are disrupting the business landscape,” says KPMG global chairman Thomas. “Our multi-year investment in digital leadership will help us remain at the forefront of this shift and further strengthen our position as the digital transformation partner of choice for our clients.”

KPMG also is modernizing its workplace for 207,000 employees across 153 member firms, using the Microsoft 365 suite of cloud-based collaboration and productivity tools, including Microsoft Teams.

KPMG deployed Dynamics 365 for more than 30,000 of their professionals across 17 member firms. This equips them with modern customer-relationship applications to quickly and efficiently manage both client requests and client demand.

Says Nadella: “KPMG’s deep industry and process expertise, combined with the power of our trusted cloud – spanning Azure, Dynamics 365 and Microsoft 365 – will bring the best of both organizations together to help customers around the world become more agile in an increasingly complex business environment.”

Top photo: Two people sitting in a KPMG lobby. (All photos courtesy of KPMG)

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Author: Microsoft News Center

AWS Access Analyzer aims to limit S3 bucket exposures

Amazon Web Services is taking another crack at mitigating S3 bucket misconfigurations and data exposures with a new tool called IAM Access Analyzer.

Announced at the re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, IAM Access Analyzer will be part of the AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) console. The tool will alert users when an S3 bucket is configured to be publicly accessible and will offer a one-click option to block public access to ensure no unintended access.

“When reviewing results that show potentially shared access to a bucket, you can Block All Public Access to the bucket with a single click in the S3 Management console, configure more granular permissions if required, or for specific and verified use cases that require public access, such as static website hosting, you can acknowledge and archive the findings on a bucket to record that you intend for the bucket to remain public or shared,” Shasya Sharma, senior technical product manager for AWS, wrote in a blog post.

The IAM Access Analyzer console will group all publicly accessible buckets and show users whether this access is a result of an access control list (ACL), policy setting or both, as well as what permissions are enabled for that bucket. 

AWS buckets are private by default, but that hasn’t stopped a series of high-profile data exposures due to misconfiguration, including exposures involving data from the Department of Defense, Verizon and more. AWS has been trying for two years to mitigate S3 bucket exposures, beginning with making it clearer when buckets were public, sending emails to owners of public buckets, introducing new settings to batch change bucket settings, and adding new tools.

AWS announced Control Tower at a re:Invent conference in Boston earlier this year as a landing page for some of these tools, such as AWS Config, which allows users to set standardized rules for S3 buckets and receive alerts if a new bucket is deployed that isn’t consistent with those rules.

Chris Vickery, director of cyber risk research at UpGuard, based in Mountain View, Calif., who has found a number of exposed S3 buckets, said IAM Access Analyzer “is definitely a step in the right direction,” but may not see wide adoption.

“The most notable aspect being that you have to know it exists and proactively turn it on,” Vickery told SearchSecurity. “Entities with massive already-existing configurations and systems may be hesitant to change things even if problems are detected, for fear of breaking the overall functionality.

“There is also the aspect of smaller operations, without sophisticated IT staff, feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the tech language, ID strings and other output,” Vickery added. “Those types of people want to simply know ‘Am I in trouble? Yes or no?’ It’s a complicated situation because Amazon doesn’t inherently know the purpose of each customer’s use.”

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For Sale – HP Proliant Microserver N54L AMD Turion II Dual Core 2.2GHz Barebones

I have swapped out my hard drives and ram into another unit so this system is now surplus to requirements.
Yours for £90 delivered
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For Sale – Surface Go (8GB RAM/128GB SSD) inc. Black Type Keyboard

Purchased this recently on another forum but decided I have too many devices. I tested it fully and used it for a week or so, battery life and everything else working as expected.

Both the Surface Go and Type Keyboard are boxed and in good condition. It has been upgraded to full version of Windows 10 Home.

Screen is spotless, and the unit casing is fine bar a couple of hairline scratches where the keyboard has latched on, and a few minor ones on the back. Pics from previous sale are here, note this does not include the pen.

Looking for £350 including delivery (RMSD which will cost £20), this combo still retails for £610 new.

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For Sale – Surface Go (8GB RAM/128GB SSD) inc. Black Type Keyboard

Purchased this recently on another forum but decided I have too many devices. I tested it fully and used it for a week or so, battery life and everything else working as expected.

Both the Surface Go and Type Keyboard are boxed and in good condition. It has been upgraded to full version of Windows 10 Home.

Screen is spotless, and the unit casing is fine bar a couple of hairline scratches where the keyboard has latched on, and a few minor ones on the back. Pics from previous sale are here, note this does not include the pen.

Looking for £350 including delivery (RMSD which will cost £20), this combo still retails for £610 new.

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Elastic SIEM spring release will complete Endgame tie-in

Elastic Inc. is preparing another shot across the bow of IT monitoring and analytics competitor Splunk with the integration of endpoint security features it plans to complete in the next six months.

The Elastic SIEM will add initial integration with software from Endgame, the endpoint security firm Elastic acquired in June, in a release that will be available Nov. 1. This initial integration will pull Endgame telemetry into the Elastic back end, where it can be visualized alongside the rest of an organization’s information from Logstash, Beats and other data collectors, via Kibana.

In the next release, endpoint security data will be displayed in the Elastic SIEM user interface, and will be covered by the Elastic Common Schema, a specification that adds consistency to data collected from various sources. Users will also be able to take enforcement action on endpoints through the SIEM UI in the later release, such as isolating an infected host, killing a suspicious application process, or removing an attacker from a system.

Sebastian Mill, CTO of global development, InfoTrackSebastian Mill

The Elastic SIEM, available since June, appeals to Elastic Stack users who want a centralized monitoring, logging and data visualization platform for various types of data, whether for infrastructure and application performance monitoring or security operations. This convergence of data monitoring tool sets reflects a convergence between security and IT operations teams under DevOps.

“We have over 100 developers across three countries,” said Sebastian Mill, CTO of global development at InfoTrack, a legal practice software maker based in Australia, with offices in the U.K. and U.S. “All of them can log in and see how their app is performing, and Elastic makes it easier for us to provide security to our DevOps teams as well.”

Security monitoring is particularly complex in a geographically distributed infrastructure where hundreds of millions of logs are collected from systems on a daily basis. InfoTrack, which uses the Elastic SIEM, plans to add endpoint security integration when it becomes available, and use Elastic’s machine learning tools to refine security analysis on its data.

It’s … really interesting to us that we cannot just alert and monitor, but also take action, and [avoid] alert fatigue from various different tools.
Sebastian MillCTO of global development, InfoTrack

“With endpoints, the number of assets will increase exponentially,” Mill said. “It’s also really interesting to us that we cannot just alert and monitor, but also take action, and [avoid] alert fatigue from various different tools.”

Endgame helps Elastic catch up with its chief competitor, Splunk, which already offers endpoint security monitoring and enforcement features in its Enterprise Security product. So far, the Elastic SIEM’s chief appeal for enterprise users has been cost, as the SIEM product is not licensed separately from Elastic Stack, and Elastic has typically charged less for data collection and retention than Splunk, although Splunk introduced new pricing models, including $10,000 “Rapid Adoption” packages, last month.

Elastic SIEM users wary of endpoint security costs

Elastic also plans to take a competitive approach to cost with endpoint security in the Elastic SIEM, though some enterprise users are more concerned about how data collection costs and network bandwidth demands will shake out with many more endpoint assets to monitor. Endpoints are any devices attached to a network, which also includes laptops, desktops and even API endpoints on servers.

“It becomes very interesting to see how much data will be sent into Elastic, where Elastic will ultimately make its money, and how much will stay on the client,” said John Gerber, principal cybersecurity analyst at Reston, Va., systems integrator SAIC, who has worked as a dedicated consultant at Elastic customer Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) since 2001.

“One has to question [the] balance of keeping [data] local and calculating at the endpoint, versus sending [it] to the central log area for analysis, and how that model will be affected by Elastic’s pricing,” he said. “It will be interesting to see what develops as Endgame and Elastic work these issues out.”

Endgame’s agent can store data locally on the endpoint when it is disconnected and then stream it back to the Elastic Stack when a network connection is available, which organizations can use to optimize bandwidth, Elastic officials said.

The Elastic Common Schema also does some pre-analysis of data before it’s ingested, which eases some of the performance requirements for ingestion into the central data repository and analysis once it’s there. Users also have a choice about whether they attach endpoints to the Elastic SIEM if they are concerned about data collection and storage costs.

On the licensing front, as of its Nov. 1 release, Elastic will not charge separately for Endgame for users of its Elastic Enterprise license. Users of this license level will get Endgame agents with no additional fee.

However, ORNL’s Gerber said he believes Endgame will require a license upgrade for his organization to Elastic Enterprise from Elastic Stack Platinum.

“Organizations will need to decide if they switch their license completely to Enterprise, split their licenses, or stay with [a lower] license while they wait for their current endpoint protection license to expire and Endgame to get integrated in Elastic,” he said.

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For Sale – Gaming PC, i7 7700k, 16GB DDR4, GTX 1080ti, 240GB SSD, 1TB HDD

Is this the PC we are speaking about via PM that I have already agreed to buy on another thread??

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Amazon buys NVMe startup E8 Storage to boost public cloud

Another NVMe flash startup has been acquired — this time by a public cloud storage giant.

Amazon confirmed it will acquire E8 Storage and deploy its rack-scale flash storage in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud.

Amazon said the transaction includes “some assets” that include hiring the E8 Storage team. E8 Storage CEO Zivan Ori reportedly will join Amazon in an unspecified executive capacity.

Israeli news outlet Globes first reported the story, citing unnamed sources who estimated Amazon will pay between $50 million and $60 million to acquire E8 Storage. A separate report by Reuters said the purchase price is much less, citing another source with knowledge of the deal. Amazon did not publicly disclose the acquisition price.

Amazon’s move comes two weeks after its public cloud rival Google bought file storage software startup Elastifile and nearly one month after holding company StorCentric acquired NVMe array hopeful Vexata.

The Amazon-E8 Storage marriage signals growing interest in NVMe flash. There is widespread industry belief that the NVMe protocol will eventually replace traditional SCSI-based storage. SCSI traffic makes several network hops along the network. By contrast, NVMe allows applications to talk directly to storage across multilane PCIe devices.

For Amazon, the deal highlights the competition it faces from enterprises seeking an AWS-like alternative that costs less than AWS and is managed on premises. It will be worth watching to see if Amazon integrates E8 Storage gear with AWS Nitro compute instances, which use NVMe as the underlying media with Elastic Block Store.

By acquiring E8 Storage, Amazon gains a storage operating system optimized for NVMe flash, said Eric Burgener, a research vice president of storage at analyst firm IDC.

“E8 has an NVMe-over-TCP implementation integrated in its software. It’s not that Amazon couldn’t have built that, but E8 already built it and it works. TCP is clearly the future of NVMe-over-fabrics-attached storage. That’s where the volume is going to be,” Burgener said.

Ori and Alex Friedman founded E8 Storage in 2014. Both previously had worked in management positions at IBM Storage. Friedman was E8’s vice president of R&D. E8 Storage emerged from stealth in 2016, with a dense block-based array that combines 24 NVMe SSDs in a 2U standard form factor.

The E8 Storage software targets analytics and similarly data-intensive workloads that require extreme performance and ultralow latency. E8 received more than $18 million in total funding, including a $12 million Series B round in 2016.

In addition to E8 arrays, customers have also been able to buy E8 Storage software on reference architecture with servers by Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Lenovo. The vendor this year added parallel file storage to target high-performance computing.

E8 Storage was an early entrant in end-to-end NVMe flash. The E8 architecture is based on industry-standard TCP over IP. Other NVMe startups include Apeiron Data, Excelero and Pavilion Data Systems.

Burgener said he wouldn’t be surprised to see more consolidation in NVMe storage. After ceding ground early, Burgener said legacy storage vendors have aggressively pushed into NVMe.

“Most of the majors have gotten their marketing acts together around selling NVMe for mixed workload consolidation, but they also want to go after the same kind of dedicated workloads” first targeted by NVMe startups, Burgener said.

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