What MSPs can learn from malware found at a Vermont utility company

Posted by Michelle Burke on Jan 3, 2017 11:58:01 AM

Russian malware attack.jpegAs we were ringing in 2017 this past weekend, government officials were announcing that they found evidence of malware on a computer belonging to Burlington Electric Department (BED), a local electric utility provider located in Burlington, Vt. Thanks to quick detection, BED was able to isolate the malware to one computer before it could attack the company’s entire grid system.

While this particular situation was resolved quickly, the attack brings up new threats that MSPs can’t ignore. The malware found on a single BED computer shows the destructive new intentions of malicious hackers, who, in this case, could potentially have shut down an entire community’s power during the cold winter season.

And, the growing popularity of the Internet of Things—which isn’t known for strong security—has the potential to make this type of threat even more powerful. By the year 2020, the number of IoT  devices connected online is expected to rise to more than 20 billion. Larger organizations, such as manufacturers, building automation systems, and electric departments, as well as smaller companies, such as retail stores, private practices, and any SMB accepting online payments, are potential victims.

So, how can you protect SMBs from evolving threats?

1. Focus on Service

The strongest defense available starts with a fully managed security solution that goes beyond simple file-and-folder data backup and restore. Computer Weekly has repeatedly advised IT service providers of the importance of focusing on selling service, rather than simple security products, to SMBs to help them understand the importance of fully managed Internet security. Total data protection that incorporates both security and backup services is the best offering you can have to keep your SMB protected.

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The goal of a total protection solution is to provide a full set of security features, all managed through a single pane of glass. This includes your antimalware protection, bare metal restore, full data backup, security, and recovery, as well as firewall solutions. Education is also a key component because end users are the single biggest threat leading to compromised security.

2. Have a Plan

Once you have data backup and system security in place, you’ve minimized the probability of needing a full system recovery. However, as a reliable MSP, you also need to plan for a worst case scenario and be able to recover critical data for your SMB customers following an attack—and you’d better be fast!

Work with each of your SMB customers to develop a functional plan that includes best practices and precautions to take to avoid a ransomware infection. Provide your customers with clear expectations of what they need to do if an attack does occur and what the recovery process will be like following an attack.

3. Provide Next-Generation Protection

There is now a fundamental need to securely protect any device with an endpoint. As cyber-crimes and ransomware threats evolve to focus on disrupting smaller organizations,  firewalls are now a necessity in any internal network, rather than a nice-to-have feature.


Fully armed next-gen firewalls offer advanced threat protection, including protection against zero-day exploits, providing you with the security you need to confidently protect your customers.

As we start off 2017, fully managed Internet security is quickly being a requirement for SMBs. Luckily, the increased need for total data protection solutions leaves more opportunity for you to build even stronger relationships with your customers.

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Topics: Cyber Security

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