Tag Archives: McAfee

BT to lead creation of 2017 Cyber Security Challenge UK Masterclass

Cyber security experts from BT, Airbus, the National Crime Agency, the Bank of England, Cisco, McAfee, Checkpoint, De Montfort University’s Cyber Technology Institute and 4PumpCourt have announced that they will stage “the most advanced Cyber Security Challenge UK Masterclass ever” on 12-14 November in London.

Spanning two-and-a-half days, Masterclass is the culmination of a year’s worth of nationwide face-to-face and online competitions designed to unearth and nurture new talent for the cyber security industry and address a critical skills shortage that affects Government, businesses and the public.

Led by BT in partnership with Airbus, the competition will see dozens of the UK’s top cyber enthusiasts face each other in a battle that will test their capabilities to deal with cyber attacks and their understanding of business know-how. The challenges will evaluate contestants’ technical, business and soft skills, in turn mirroring the different ways in which professionals communicate today.

This year’s Masterclass will demonstrate how cyber security can be an accessible career choice that has a number of different facets and pathways. BT recently identified 87 different roles in the cyber security industry, each requiring a different skill set, which will be reflected in this year’s competition.


Highly experienced professionals from Government as well as public and private sector organisations across the country will judge the contestants for a number of aptitudes that will rank their suitability for jobs in the sector. The best performing candidate will be crowned Cyber Security Challenge UK Champion.

Thousands of pounds’ worth of career-enabling prizes will be issued to those who take in the finale including training courses, tech equipment and even a fully paid-for Master’s degree sponsorship at De Montfort University, allowing one lucky contestant the chance to study for an MSc in Cyber Security.

Over the years, more than half of the contestants in the Challenge’s face-to-face and Masterclass competitions have moved into jobs in the industry after demonstrating their skills in front of assessors.

Competitions like this are crucial for identifying top quality recruits that could reduce the skills deficit. Industry association (ISC)2 predicts the skills gap will reach 1.8 million unfilled positions by 2022, leaving a lack of professionals able to defend our infrastructure from hackers.

Nigel Harrison, acting CEO at Cyber Security Challenge UK, said: “This year’s consortium of sponsors is working on taking Masterclass to the next level, adding new dimensions and levels of game-play that we’ve yet to see in our competitions to date. We’re always trying to match our challenges to the way in which industry is evolving and ensure that they test for the skills industry requires. We look forward to seeing how the finalists fare in a modern cyber security scenario.”

Rob Partridge, head of BT’s Cyber Academy, added: “Filling the cyber security skills deficit is immensely important for the long-term safety of the UK’s digital economy. We need to make sure that industry and Government are collaborating such that young people are engaged and switched on to the breadth of roles in cyber security and the various career paths available to them. These competitions are vitally important for unearthing hidden talent and helping to develop the next generation of UK cyber talent to the standard being set in many other countries.”

Kevin Jones, head of cyber security architecture and innovation at Airbus, explained: “In order to continue protecting vital UK infrastructure and businesses from both current and future cyber threats, it’s particularly important that we address the skills shortage. Competitions such as Cyber Security Challenge UK help to provide a safe and representative environment for contestants to gain experience and learn from industry experts, which in turn will help them understand the variety of skills needed and the careers available within the cyber security sector.”

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30% of NHS Trusts have experienced a ransomware attack” finds SentinelOne

30% of NHS Trusts in the UK have experienced a ransomware attack, potentially placing patient data and lives at risk. One Trust – the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust – admitted to being attacked 19 times in just 12 months. These are the findings of a Freedom of Information (FoI) request submitted by SentinelOne.

The Ransomware Research Data Summary explains that SentinelOne made FoI requests to 129 NHS Trusts, of which 94 responded. Three Trusts refused to answer, claiming their response could damage commercial interests. All but two Trusts – Surrey and Sussex and University College London Hospitals – have invested in anti-virus security software on their endpoint devices to protect them from malware.

Despite installing a McAfee solution, Leeds Teaching Hospital has apparently suffered five attacks in the past year.

No Trusts reported paying a ransom or informed law enforcement of the attacks: all preferred to deal with the attacks internally.

Ransomware which encrypts data and demands a ransom to decrypt it has been affecting US hospitals for a while now. The Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles notoriously paid cyber criminals £12,000 last February after being infected by Locky, one of the most prolific ransomware variants.


With the infected computers or networks becoming unusable until a ransom has been paid* or the data has been recovered, it’s clear to see why these types of attack can be a concern for business continuity professionals, with the latest Horizon Scan Report published by the Business Continuity Institute highlighting cyber attacks as the prime concern. This is a very good reason why cyber resilience has been chosen as the theme for Business Continuity Awareness Week in 2017.

“These results are far from surprising,” said Tony Rowan, chief security consultant at SentinelOne. “Public sector organisations make a soft target for fraudsters because budget and resource shortages frequently leave hospitals short changed when it comes to security basics like regular software patching. The results highlight the fact that old school AV technology is powerless to halt virulent, mutating forms of malware like ransomware. A new and more dynamic approach to endpoint protection is needed.”

Rowan continued: “In the past, some NHS Trusts have been singled out by the Information Commissioner’s Office for their poor record on data breaches. With the growth of connected devices like kidney dialysis machines and heart monitors, there’s even a chance that poor security practices could put lives at risk.”

*Note that the data isn’t always recovered even after a ransom has been paid

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McAfee study highlights mobile threat for SMEs

New research conducted by McAfee has found that mobile malware tripled in scope last year, compromising 82% of Android apps.

McAfee has discovered that 82% of Android apps are compromised with increasingly malicious and invasive malware, in particular placing at risk those smaller businesses without a mobile device management strategy in place.

The study found a steep rise in malware downloaded through seemingly harmless apps, such as tools, to give cyber criminals remote control over devices or use exploits to get installed on vulnerable systems. It also revealed that over a third of apps (36%) know users’ account information, while more than a quarter (26%) read how individuals use the apps on their chosen device.

Mobile technology: crucial for SME business success

For small businesses this proliferation of threats comes at a critical time. According to an Oxford Economics study, mobile technology is crucial for SMEs to succeed in business. For most SMEs, mobile is instrumental for delivering customer service benefits and improving product development.

The steep rise in attacks against mobile devices not only puts small businesses at risk but also opens up access to the much larger organisations with which many SMEs do business. Protecting SMEs and securing the supply chain is incredibly important to ensure any potential data breaches are not exacerbated and cause widespread damage.

Tim Stone: SME director for the EMEA region at security specialist McAfee

Tim Stone: SME director for the EMEA region at security specialist McAfee

Information gathered through malware can give cyber criminals the exact geographic location of infected devices as well as the ability to contact the victim via SMS to launch attacks such as highly personalised phishing scams.

The vulnerabilities also allow hackers to find defences such as antivirus software and instruct malware to manoeuvre around or interfere with it.

Protecting against mobile malware

SME business leaders should take this proliferation of threats as a stark warning and ensure their business is protected against mobile malware by following the below advice:

(1) Educate employees
Mobile and remote users often struggle with technology and see security systems as an obstacle to productivity. They will click past a software update alert or defer a suggested scan in the interest of speed. Small business owners should educate remote employees and provide security tools that work well and as unobtrusively as possible to minimise any potential threats, user error or naivety.

(2) Inventory devices
SMEs should identify and secure all devices employees use, including USB sticks, smartphones, tablets and laptops. This will enable them to identify devices that shouldn’t be accessing the network.

(3) Protect the network
With employees logging on at various times and places, networks are under threat. Protect network access with virtual private networks (VPNs) and firewalls.

(4) Remove access to the network once employment is terminated
It may sound obvious, but it’s not always top of the list when an employee leaves. Blocking access immediately will prevent past employees from having access to valuable and confidential company data.

Tim Stone, SME director for the EMEA region at security specialist McAfee, urges small business owners to take action now.

“Small businesses have become a prime target for cyber criminals,” said Stone. “The research findings show that mobile malware is the weapon of choice. One incident is enough to potentially obliterate businesses and reverberate through the supply chain, causing further damage. It’s critical that SMEs do not gamble their reputation and their customers’ details and put into place basic steps that will deter attackers and boost defences.”

To find out more about the mobile threat download the McAfee Mobile Security report

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Europol appoints McAfee’s Raj Samani as cybercrime advisor at EC3

The EU’s law enforcement agency, Europol, has announced the appointment of Raj Samani (EMEA CTO at McAfee) to the role of cybercrime advisor at its European Cybercrime Centre (EC3).

Based in The Hague in the Netherlands, EC3 officially began its activities on 1 January this year with a mandate to tackle several key areas of cybercrime.

It aims to become the focal point in the EU’s fight against criminal activity online through building operational and analytical capacity for investigations and co-operation with international partners in the pursuit of an EU free from cybercrime.

Raj Samani: Chief Technology Officer for the EMEA at McAfee

Raj Samani: Chief Technology Officer for the EMEA at McAfee

Raj Samani will now lend his expertise to EC3 in this formal capacity alongside his full-time role as Chief Technology Officer for EMEA at McAfee, the world’s largest dedicated security technology company.

Key objectives Raj will fulfil within the cybercrime advisory role include providing advice on the latest cybercrime trends across the globe and advising on technological advancements that can better serve Europol in its fight against cybercrime.

Samani commented: “Cybercrime is a global issue that demands a stronger public-private sectorpartnership. I’m honoured to be offering my assistance to the excellent work conducted by the team at EC3.”

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