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Zero-day virus demonstrates the importance of proactive IT-security measures

Friday, October 30, 2015

Last week a number of our clients were targeted by a virus pretending to be a scanned document from their local photocopier. Unfortunately, none of the major antivirus software systems detected the virus and allowed you to open a word document containing a macro connecting your computer to hacked websites where it downloaded a malicious executable.

This type of outbreak, where the vulnerability is undisclosed until it starts affecting your network, and where no antivirus programs have blocks in place, is known as a zero-day outbreak, as you have zero days to act once the virus is detected.

If you were affected by the virus, you are not alone. Telstra reported that over 180,000 of their customers got the same infected email and iiNet reported similar numbers.

This outbreak shows, yet again, that there are organisations out there working very hard to bypass security measures in an attempt to take control of your networks and access valuable information. The best defence against this type of outbreak is you being suspicious, refraining from opening attachments from unknown sources.

The outbreak happened on Friday, but it took until Sunday before we were confident that all companies' antivirus software was up to date. The nature of this outbreak also made us take the unusual step to notify many of you to take precaution on Friday.

Our team reviewed over 10 different software solutions, engaged all the top-tier security vendors and manually blocked as many emails as we could during the outbreak. Once we identified a detection process we then systematically and manually deployed the solution to ensure everything was clean. Having our team proactively manage this changing virus definitely minimised the damage caused.

I want to thank you all for allowing us to disrupt you to do this important work and keep your systems secure. The events again demonstrate how important it is for businesses to have a dedicated IT Security team, as those who don't would have been much more exposed to damage.

 

We recommend you review this cyber map from Kaspersky that shows real-time virus attack statistics across the globe. When writing this, Australia is listed as the 31st most targeted country in the world.

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