Microsoft is making firmware updates available for Surface RT, Surface Pro and Surface Pro 3 on its August Patch Tuesday. Here’s what’s inside.
Small businesses using Synology™ NAS (network attached storage) devices are at risk of a new ransomware style attack, further demonstrating the risks of the Internet of Things trend and once again reinforcing the importance of having online backups. This particular attack calling itself “Synolocker” has taken advantage of vulnerable (and unpatched) Synology storage devices that are exposed to the Internet. The perpetrators have scanned Internet address space to easily discover the devices (on Port 5000) and have injected code that encrypts files rendering them useless until a ransom is paid. Victims are asked to pay approx. USD$350 in Bitcoin to obtain a decryption key via a TOR Hidden service website – allowing the criminals to remain undetected by law enforcement agencies. This is the same payment method we have previously witnessed with the PC Malware called Cryptolocker that appeared late in 2013. If your business is using a Synology™ NAS, you’re advised to follow the advice provided by the manufacturer here . Please also consider the risks of exposing any device to an Internet connection unless it is absolutely needed – and at a minimum only expose devices that you’re committed to fully managing and keeping up to date. Until next time, stay safe out there.
When it comes to the Internet of Things many of our small business customers are struggling to understand what all the fuss is about. And who can blame them. After all what is so exciting about the ability to connect your vending machine or your refrigerator to the Internet, right? Wrong. Take my word for it, everyday devices are getting smarter and businesses must follow suit. The exciting part for business owners is that this concept has started to be widely embraced by manufacturers and is present in everything from fleet vehicles to industrial equipment. According to Gartner , the Internet of Things market will top $309 billion in direct revenue by 2020, with most of that money stemming from services This ‘Internet of Services’ will go well beyond simple monitoring of objects. Analytical software can also be used to extract data to provide critical information about the way devices are functioning and what they are doing. For example, an IP connected thermostat may reveal ways of saving on energy bills or smart stock control systems to help track and manage stock movements within the business for maximum profitability. Internet connected devices will soon be routinely providing small businesses with information to help them cut costs, improve efficiency and reveal usage patterns leading to increased profitability, productivity and customer satisfaction. Our own Internet of Things study revealed 38 percent of small businesses expect to adopt smart devices and the Internet of Things within the next two years rising to 60 percent in two to three years’ time. However, the majority will have neither the time nor the resources to mine through this mass of information to extract the most valuable data. Instead they are likely to turn to their IT partners who will use monitoring and management tools capable of interpreting the data to help with simple every day decisions. With the right tools IT providers can use this information to help unlock significant business value from everyday objects for their customers. It is possible, for instance, to monitor vital factory equipment remotely to detect patterns of behaviour associated with imminent failure. When this happens the device automatically sends an alert to someone. They can then carry out preventative maintenance thereby saving many thousands of dollars in lost production time. Spiceworks, an AVG partner, recently asked more than 400 IT professionals for their thoughts regarding the Internet of Things. In it more than 25 percent of the respondents said they did not know how they will manage the influx of new connected things. In fact, the majority, (59 percent) said they had no plans to do anything about the Internet of Things. This is a little surprising. Smart devices are spawning a whole set of new opportunities for the services industry. From boilers that tell heating companies when they need servicing to connected cars that continuously collect and transmit data these devices are providing fresh ways for a whole host of established organizations to boost their services income. IT providers should be no exception. Service-enabling the Internet of Things is a market that can be measured in trillions of transactions. Recurring services revenues makes the Internet of Services bigger than the sum of all the connected devices in the world – and potentially more financially rewarding for enterprises, developers, manufacturers and small businesses alike. For those more forward-thinking, entrepreneurial services providers the sooner you set up your business to manage the ‘Internet of Services’ the sooner you can capitalize on getting in ahead of the game.