Thursday, January 29, 2015

Will Healthcare Data Breaches Be Worse in 2015?

2014 was a year that data breaches consistently remained in the headlines. No business was safe as we saw many industries from home improvement to entertainment fall victim. The healthcare industry accounted for 42 percent of all reported data breaches in 2014. With healthcare leading any other industry in data breaches, the FBI’s Cyber Division warned the entire healthcare industry that their security practices are falling short compared to other industries. Many reports are now suggesting that healthcare organizations should expect to see more data breaches in 2015 with even bigger and more costly violations that ever before.  

A report released by Experian, a global information services firm, cites in its second annual data breach forecast that because of the growing entry points to protected healthcare information such as mobile devices, wearables, and other new technologies, the healthcare industry will be more vulnerable than ever before. Other reports revealed that a widespread lack of confidence in securing protected health information (PHI) will place a bigger target on healthcare.

With the big push to move all patient healthcare and personal information into digital format in recent years, the industry has become a primary target for hackers. Two motivating points were made by Consultancy IDC’s Health Insights unit in their annual top 10 predictions for healthcare. First, by the year 2020 about half of all digital healthcare data will be unprotected, the second, that healthcare organizations will experience at least one and as many as five cyber-attacks in 2015 versus 2014.

Experts say that attacks will not only grow to be more complex, but will become even simpler for hackers to commit moving forward. Today, attackers are using social media to hunt for better targets and expanding the attack surface to include Wi-Fi-enabled devices that are running vulnerable firmware. Attackers can now even rent the entire infrastructure that is needed to run online cyber scams easily without the required knowledge that it used to take to be successful. With 2015 expected to see record cyber-attack numbers, is your organization prepared? 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Unitrends Announces the Availability of Release 8.0 Software

In December 2014, Unitrends announced the full availability of Unitrends Release 8.0, the latest version of software from Unitrends that powers their Unified Data Protection physical and virtual backup and recovery appliances. This release prompted major upgrades to both the Unitrends Enterprise Backup (UEB) and Recovery-Series physical appliances.

Unitrends Enterprise Backup (UEB) delivers physical and virtual data protection in one solution that easily deploys as a virtual appliance in VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V environments and extends coverage from on-location to a second site or cloud environment. The Unitrends Recovery-Series of hardware appliances offers both rackmount and desktop backup appliances that provide unified data protection for virtual and physical environments, including instant and disaster recovery, backup, and archiving.

One new enhancement of Unitrends 8.0 is physical protection for large-scale deployments. By further integrating and extending broad protection with EMC and NetApp NAS devices through file-level methods, Unitrends 8.0 provides large enterprise customers with more flexibility and simplified backup management. New support for Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP) backups also helps organizations improve performance, scalability, and ease-of-use through tighter integration with NAS storage.

Unitrends Bridge technology provides a single-click physical to virtual transformation that allows users to leverage an existing VMware infrastructure, Hyper-V infrastructure, and/or the Unitrends Recovery-Series appliance to spin up physical systems and virtual machines after the event of a failure or planned migration. The Bridge technology can now be used for instant recovery of Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs) to a different Hyper-V host or recovered from offsite replicated backups.

With the release of Unitrends 8.0, Hyper-V Server 2012 and higher can now run VMs from SMB 3.0 shares.  Unitrends can protect these at the Host level and eliminates the need to manage agents for every VM. For those protecting Microsoft SQL Server, an improved scalability performance of up to 66% in SQL Server environments can be seen as well as improved data deduplication with up to 30% enhanced retention. Replication performance has also increased up to 40% and improvements made to Adaptive Deduplication technology give a 40% greater retention than the previous version of the software. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Worldwide x86 Server Market Sees Continued Growth

Back in December, both IDC and Gartner released their third-quarter assessments of worldwide server shipments and revenues reports. Each of these reports concluded that there was modest growth within the market, with the most demand coming from large-scale cloud service providers with big data analytics, mobile, and social areas also showing modest growth. Both Gartner and IDC agree that the server market is being driven by the investments in hyperscale data centers. Gartner stated in its report that overall shipments grew one percent with a similar one percent revenue growth, whereas IDC claims a 5.7 percent shipment growth with revenue up 4.8 percent year over year improvements.

It was agreed upon in both reports that HP still remains the leading server vendor with Gartner reporting 26.9 percent and IDC reporting 26.5 percent of the total market share. IBM was revealed as the second largest holder of the market share with Gartner reporting 18.5 percent and IDC reporting a 23.2 percent share. Dell and Cisco came in as the number three and four vendors in revenue-based market share yet saw the biggest gains within the quarter. Cisco saw the highest growth in Q3 of 2014 with sales up more than 30 percent year over year, but from a much smaller base. 

The x86 server business continued to grow as shipments were up 1.2 percent with 7.4 percent growth in revenue with HP’s ProLiant servers seeing the biggest increase in demand. Blade servers increased 2 percent year over year due to their use in virtualized and converged enterprise environments, reaching $2.3 billion.

Both reports also agreed that non-x86 servers continued to see a decline for the thirteenth consecutive quarter. According to IDC, IBM leads the non-x86 segment and saw a 24 percent revenue decline. Much of this decline was credited to October’s sale of their x86 server line to Lenovo. Gartner’s findings revealed that RISC/Itanium shipments declined by 17.1 percent with revenue dropping 8 percent. IBM was one of the vendors that took the worst hit with this decline and continues to revive their RISC-based Power Server line with an open source initiative.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The POODLE Attack

In mid-October a serious security bug in Secure Socket Layer (SSL) 3.0 was revealed. SSL is the technology that many commercial web sites use to safeguard the security and privacy of communications with clients and customers. Given the name “POODLE,” an acronym for Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption, all systems and applications that utilize the SSL 3.0 with cipher-block chaining (CBC) mode were vulnerable. Here, an attacker would inject malicious JavaScript into the victim’s browser allowing them to observe and tamper with encrypted network traffic on the wire.

On December 8th, it was announced that there was a new POODLE flaw that extends to specific versions of an SSL-like encryption standard known as Transport Layer Security (TLS). As POODLE has been repurposed to attack TLS, it was discovered that although TLS is very strict about how its padding is formatted, some implementations omit to check the padding structure after decryption takes place. The main target of POODLE TLS is browsers, as the attacker must inject malicious JavaScript to initiate the attack. The impact of this issue is very similar to POODLE and even easier to execute as there is no need to downgrade modern clients down to SSL 3 first. If an attack is successful it will take about 256 requests to uncover one cookie character or only 4096 requests for a 16-character cookie.

The POODLE attack is considered to have less potential risk than the Shellshock and Heartbleed attacks but that does not mean it should be ignored. Users can disable SSL 3 in their browsers easily to protect themselves from potential attacks. Web site operators should take the action to disable SSL 3 on their servers as soon as possible even if the most recent TLS version is supported. An active MITM attacker can force browsers to downgrade their connections down to SSL 3 and then be exploited.