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What a Firewall Does (and Doesn’t) Keep Out of Your Network

b2ap3_thumbnail_firewall_wonderwall_400.jpgOne of the most vital parts of your network security is a firewall. This is generally your first line of defense against the myriad of threats that can be found while online, and are instrumental to comprehensive network security. Despite this common knowledge, some folks might not understand specifically what a firewall does to keep your systems safe.

Here’s how a firewall works, and what it protects your business from.

What It Does
Your network’s firewall essentially acts like a bouncer. It makes sure potential threats don’t make their way into your network, and prevents them from leaving so they can be taken care of appropriately. The firewall scans the data that flows in and out of a network for these threats, and either allows it access or it doesn’t. Some of the higher-end firewalls are capable of investigating network traffic, validating connections and data packages, checking for legitimate application data, and even closely examining specific signals going to and from your network.

What It Doesn’t Do
The strength of your firewall often determines its ability to keep threats out, but generally, you can’t expect your firewall to protect you from more advanced threats, like viruses, spyware, adware, and phishing scams that have their roots in social engineering tactics. These advanced threats are designed to take advantage of human naivety in order to trick users into opening suspicious files, or entering sensitive information into forms on corrupted sites.

How Should You Integrate a Firewall?
Many PCs and workstations come equipped with built-in firewalls, but these are shoddy at best. You shouldn’t trust the security of your network to the likes of them. You want a firewall at each network access point in order to keep all information flowing to and from your network. Most hardware, like the wireless router, also has a built-in firewall, but for the average business owner, this won’t be enough to put a stop to the threats that want to bring your company down.

Therefore, a comprehensive, powerful solution is needed to guarantee maximum network security. This is what Total Networks’s Unified Threat Management (UTM) solution is designed to do. You’ll not only receive an exceptionally powerful firewall, but you’ll also be able to take advantage of other security solutions, including antivirus, spam-blocking, and content-filtering.

Network security can’t be put off any longer. Call us today at (602)412-5025 to see what our UTM can do for your business.

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Things Get Ugly When Hackers Turn on Each Other [VIDEO]

b2ap3_thumbnail_hacker_vs_hacker_400.jpgNormally in cybersecurity, we hear about hacking attacks and immediately sympathize with the victim. It’s usually an individual or a business that suffers the most; yet, a recent trend is showing that hackers are lashing out at one another in response to certain threats. In response to a hack from the cyberespionage group Naikon, another group, Hellsing, retaliated with their own attack.

It might seem like a classic case of good ol’ revenge, but the researchers at Kaspersky Labs seem to think it hints toward a new trend in the world of cybercrime. They are calling it the advanced persistent threat (APT) wars, in which two major threats duke it out for supremacy over their target.

The attack in question was initiated on April 15, 2015, when Naikon targeted the smaller threat, Hellsing, with a spear phishing attack. Hellsing, however, didn’t respond well to the attack, and instead turned their own malware against Naikon. Naikon responded by posing as a member of a foreign government. As you might imagine, this back-and-forth action continued with both parties, ultimately resulting in Hellsing sending a password-protected message containing a backdoor specially made to target Naikon.

Commenting on the behavior of these two entities, Costin Daiu, Director of the Global Research and Analyst Team of Kaspersky Labs, reports:

The targeting of the Naikon group by Hellsing, in some sort of a vengeful vampire-hunting — “Empire Strikes Back” style, is fascinating. In the past, we’ve seen APT groups accidentally hitting each other while stealing address books from victims and then mass-mailing everyone on each of these lists. However, considering the targeting and origin of the attack, it seems more likely that this is an example of a deliberate APT-on-APT attack.

These two threats going after each other tooth and claw was likely in the interest of gathering information; something which advanced persistent threats are known for. It’s an interesting exchange of blows, almost like they’re trying to outsmart each other. It’s the classic example of who can gain advantage of vital information that can be leveraged for greater profits.

Will the future see a world in which cybercriminals scramble for power, only to fall from grace and be lost to the ages, like the remains of an empire spreading itself too thin? Only time can tell. In the meantime, not even other hackers are safe from advanced persistent threats that lurk on the Internet. As a business owner and end user, the last thing you want to do is get caught between two wild hacking animals vying for a scrap of meat. Be sure to keep your machines up to date with the latest patches and upgrades that will minimize the possibility of a hacking attack.

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