Acronis Tutorial – Five Keys to Finding the Best Cloud Storage for You

Published here : https://www.acronis.com/en-us/articles/best-cloud-storage/

Whether it’s smartphones giving driving directions or business files housed on corporate servers, our reliance on data is constantly evolving and forever expanding. To put that growth into perspective, IDC estimates there will be a 10-fold rise in worldwide data by 2025.

The more data we rely on, the more data we have to store. The challenge is keeping it secure and accessible at the same time. Online storage is a great way to complete that task, but few people know how to evaluate their options to find the best cloud storage for them.

The good news is that by examining vendors based on just five questions, you can easily find a cloud storage service that fits your needs, both for personal and corporate data.

Wait…what is cloud storage?

Simply put, it is a way to store data off-site on a network of servers that you access through an internet connection. Rather than saving your files and folders on your computer or another local storage device like an external hard drive or network attached storage (NAS), you upload your data to a server network located somewhere else.

Because it’s internet accessible, you can retrieve a file from the cloud anytime, anywhere, on any internet-enabled device.

cloud storage

To ensure you’re choosing one of the best cloud storage providers – one that can deliver convenient access reliably, securely and affordably – we recommend you keep the following five questions in mind.

1. What is the cloud storage service doing for you?

Not all vendors are the same, so you’ll want to know exactly what services you’re entitled to and how your data will be handled. That means you’ll need to carefully review the company’s service level agreement (SLA) before signing up. It defines the terms of the agreement and clearly establishes the level of service you can expect from the cloud provider.

The SLA will also detail the level of availability you can expect from a cloud service provider’s network, which is important. You don’t want to pay for anywhere, anytime access and then find out you cannot connect because their data center is off-line.

We talk more about availability below, but it’s worth remembering that quality vendors will proudly tout their monthly availability rate in the company’s SLA.

Cloud storage vs. cloud backup

Historically cloud storage was for anyone who wanted convenient access to their data from anywhere, while cloud backup stored a backup of your data off-site so it could be used to easily restore your system.

Acronis True Image blurs the line by combining file sync and share capabilities with online backup, giving you the best of both worlds.

2. How do they keep my data safe?

The remote, off-site nature of cloud storage gives your data an added level of protection in case the original file is lost because of hardware failure, ransomware infection, natural disaster, or even accidental deletion. But how is the vendor securing the files on their servers?

Keeping your data safe

While your data is on the server network, the cloud provider should take steps to keep that data safe. Find out how they protect their data centers. Are their security personnel on-site 24/7? Is there video surveillance of the server rooms? How do they control physical access to the data center? Acronis’ data centers, for example, demand both biometric and security token-based authentication to gain access.

Getting your files to the data center also needs to be secure, so any cloud storage service you consider should offer robust, personal key encryption. That will safeguard your data when it is in transit to and stored in the cloud. Personal key encryption means the user sets their own keys and passwords so not even the vendor can decrypt the files while they are on the server network, while in-transit encryption protects the files from being compromised or stolen while being uploaded or downloaded.

Looking for the best cloud storage for business?

Why reinvent the wheel? If you’re looking for a business solution, start by asking the peers in your professional network what services they use and whether they’d recommend them. Once you’ve collected some suggestions from trusted colleagues, you’ll have an informed perspective when you talk to the vendor.

When evaluating a cloud storage provider, ask how many corporate customers they have. Find out the how many companies (not the number of users) and whether they cover many businesses of your size. You could also inquire how many of their clients are in your industry, since they’ll have similar data needs as yours.

3. Will they be there when I need them?

It doesn’t matter if you’re entrusting a cloud storage service with your company’s important documents or precious family photos. In both cases, you need to know the vendor will still be there when you need those files, so assess the company’s short-term and long-term availability.

In the short term, you’ll want to know that they offer technical support if the need arises. The SLA should provide support details, but make sure the cloud vendor you pick provides technical support 24/7/365.

In the long-term, you want to choose a vendor who isn’t likely to go out of business. There are two easy ways to judge a company’s viability and likely longevity.

Consider a vendor with an established, stable customer base. Providers who are consistently meeting the needs of businesses or families like yours are more likely to have the foundation needed to survive. But do a little digging to see if they are losing customers, which would be an obvious red flag.

A more reliable option is to examine their financial standing. Publicly traded companies are simple since you can review their annual report, but even established private companies can be quickly researched online. Be wary of newcomers who do not have established track records, customer bases or business models, or your cloud cover might blow away unexpectedly.

4. Where is my data located?

There are several reasons why knowing the location of the data center storing your files. To start, there might be compliance requirements for your industry that require the data center not be overseas.

data centers

The location can also impact the data transfer speeds. A regional data center can provide faster access your data because if the data center on the other side of the globe, your upload and download speeds will be slower. You’ll want to find a cloud backup provider who offers access to regional data centers and, even better, allows you to choose the data center location.

5. Do they have any necessary certifications?

There are a few categories of certifications you might consider before signing any cloud storage contract.

Data security is critical for the reasons outlined above, so choose a vendor that can certify they have the best safeguards. Companies whose data centers feature the best operational and security controls will hold either a SSAE-16 or SAS 70 type II certification. ISO 27001 certification can also show that a cloud service vendor has met the international standards for information security management.

Your access to the cloud should be uninterrupted. The vendor you choose should have data centers with redundant power and environmental controls in place that will provide constant availability. While the SLA will detail the level of availability you can expect, you can limit your search to vendors whose data centers offer Tier IV certification – the highest ranking available.

Finally, if your industry demands regulatory requirements, ask if the cloud provider has relevant certifications. Healthcare companies will need a vendor that meets the compliance standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Final Thought

Because of the explosion of data usage and the size of the files we must to keep, families and businesses of all sizes need convenient, secure, and affordable storage solutions. As a result, countless cloud storage companies have opened their doors during the last several years. Some are proven vendors like Acronis, with robust cloud offerings, while others only have basic services or new companies trying to establish themselves.

By evaluating a potential vendor’s level of service, security, availability, location and certifications, you can ensure your family or business data will not only be stored safely in the cloud, but it will be accessible for when you need it – now and in the future.

The Worst Passwords of the last year

Everyone who uses a PC or Mac gets told not to use easy to guess passwords like “123456” or “password” . As it turns out – people obviously aren’t that bothered as they still use them.

Password management application provider SplashData on Tuesday released a list of the 100 Worst Passwords of 2017, compiled from more than 5 million passwords leaked during the year. For a fourth consecutive year, “123456” and “password” took the top two spots on the list.The list included plenty of other usual suspects like “qwerty” (No. 4), “football” (No. 9), “iloveyou” (No. 10) and “admin” (No. 11), along with some new additions, including “starwars,” which ranked as the 16th worst password of 2017.

“Unfortunately, while the newest episode may be a fantastic addition to the Star Wars franchise, ‘starwars’ is a dangerous password to use,” SplashData CEO Morgan Slain said in a statement. “Hackers are using common terms from pop culture and sports to break into accounts online because they know many people are using those easy-to-remember words.”

Other new additions to the list this year included “letmein” (No. 7), “monkey” (No. 13), “123123” (No. 17), “hello” (No. 21), “freedom” (No. 22), “whatever” (No. 23) and “trustno1” (No. 25). SplashData warned that using any of the passwords on the top 100 list “would put users at grave risk for identity theft.”

The company recommends using passphrases instead of simple passwords, mirroring advice earlier this year from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Passphrases should include at least 12 characters and a mix of characters, including upper and lower cases, SplashData recommended. Users should also be sure to set a unique password for each website, and consider using a password manager.

Without further ado, here’s SplashData’s list of the top 25 worst passwords of 2017. To see the full 100, click here.

1 – 123456
2 – password
3 – 12345678
4 – qwerty
5 – 12345
6 – 123456789
7 – letmein
8 – 1234567
9 – football
10 – iloveyou
11 – admin
12 – welcome
13 – monkey
14 – login
15 – abc123
16 – starwars
17 – 123123
18 – dragon
19 – passw0rd
20 – master
21 – hello
22 – freedom
23 – whatever
24 – qazwsx
25 – trustno1

Signs your company has outgrown its free email solution

Free email is great when your company is first starting out. But its good to recognise the signs which tell you when when you have grown beyond the capabilities of your free email service and you need a more robust and secure solution. The business email requirements of a growing company are much different than those of a small startup. Whether you’re using Gmail or another free service, there are signs that indicate your business has outgrown free email.

These points indicate whether you should move to a paid solution or not…

1. Security
If you’ve experienced any sort of security breach — or are even worried about it happening — you need a more secure solution that offers increased, enterprise-class security capabilities.

2. Storage

Maximum storage has been reached : a very simple reason to upgrade because your free email has now become paid for. Storage space should never cause you to delete or change how you use your email, especially when paid solutions offer large stores of data.

The current state of email security
With new threats emerging daily, every organization needs an email security strategy.

3. Domain names
Using a custom domain for your business email is a vital way to ensure your business appears professional. For example, “yourname@yourcompany.com” has a lot more credibility than “yourcompany@gmail.com.” While free custom email addresses are available, they often leave you open to security threats, because the company you host through will likely have access to your data and other information.

4. Data Privacy
If you’ve ever felt the need to own and manage your email data, it’s time to move to a paid solution. Often, when you agree to free email terms, you’re granting the email provider permission to mine your data and send you ads—which is how their companies remain profitable while offering free services. Not only can this distract from your work, it also puts your company’s data at risk.

5. File sharing
Need to share files and collaborate securely with your team? Paid email solutions enable team-based collaboration and sharing without putting confidential company information at risk. Office 365 for example offers Microsoft Teams which is a great way to share files, chat, calendars etc.

Move to a secure and robust email solution that offers your growing business increased security, enhanced customization and a variety of features and capabilities to improve collaboration. Not only will this keep your company running smoothly and increase teamwork, you will minimise time spent on IT Services getting the best out of your ‘free’ solution.

PR PC Support offer both Office 365 and Microsoft Hosted Exchange. Speak to me about upgrading and migrating from free email to a secure, robust ad and spam free email solution.

 

 

Microsoft Teams – Here’s some Tips & Tricks

Tag people to get your message noticed

These are a few of my favorite Teams

Keyboard shortcuts make Teams more accessible

Make collaborating on files a breeze

Streamline access with custom tabs

It’s all about meme

Always be in the know with notifications

Take your team with you

Keep communication fuss free—Title your chats

Connect your Team to the world with connectors

Stay in the loop with activity alerts

Introducing Microsoft Teams—the chat-based workspace in Office 365

Credit : By Kirk Koenigsbauer

Microsoft Teams delivers on four core promises to create a digital workspace for high performing teams.

Chat for today’s teams

First and foremost, Microsoft Teams provides a modern conversation experience for today’s teams. Microsoft Teams supports not only persistent but also threaded chats to keep everyone engaged. Team conversations are, by default, visible to the entire team, but there is of course the ability for private discussions. Skype is deeply integrated, so teams can participate in voice and video conferences. And everyone can add personality to their digital workspace with emojis, stickers, GIFs and custom memes to make it their own.

1

A hub for teamwork

Second, Microsoft Teams brings together the full breadth and depth of Office 365 to provide a true hub for teamwork. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote, Planner, Power BI and Delve are all built into Microsoft Teams so people have all the information and tools they need at their fingertips. Backed by the Microsoft Graph, intelligent services are surfaced throughout the workspace to help with information relevancy, discovery and sharing. Microsoft Teams is also built on Office 365 Groups—our cross-application membership service that makes it easy for people to move naturally from one collaboration tool to another, preserve their sense of context and share with others.

2

Customizable for each team

Third, since all teams are unique, we’ve invested deeply in ways for people to customize their workspace, with rich extensibility and open APIs available at general availability. For example, Tabs provides quick access to frequently used documents and cloud services. Microsoft Teams also shares the same Connector model as Exchange, providing notifications and updates from third-party services like Twitter or GitHub. Further, we are including full support for the Microsoft Bot Framework to bring intelligent first- and third-party services into your team environment.

3

Today, we are also announcing the Microsoft Teams Developer Preview program, allowing developers to extend Microsoft Teams. We will have integrations with over 150 partners at general availability—including our early partners Zendesk, Asana, Hootsuite and Intercom. This is the first step in providing the customization users want and the tools and support our developer community will need to integrate with Microsoft Teams.

Security teams trust

Finally, Microsoft Teams provides the advanced security and compliance capabilities that our Office 365 customers expect. Data is encrypted in transit and at rest. Like all our commercial services, we have a transparent operational model with no standing access to customer data. Microsoft Teams will support key compliance standards including EU Model Clauses, ISO 27001, SOC 2, HIPAA and more. And, as customers would expect, Microsoft Teams is served out of our hyper-scale global network of data centers, automatically provisioned within Office 365 and managed centrally, just as any other Office 365 service.

4

Microsoft Teams joins the Office 365 universal toolkit

Microsoft Teams joins the broadest and deepest portfolio of collaboration applications and services to help solve the diverse needs of people and organizations globally. As we’ve learned from our 85 million active monthly users, all groups have a diverse set of needs when it comes to working together. Office 365 is designed for the unique workstyle of every group and includes purpose-built applications, all deeply integrated together.

  • SharePoint provides intranets and content management solutions to more than 200,000 organizations and 190 million people.
  • Yammer is the social network for work, enabling cross-company discussions for 85 percent of the Fortune 500.
  • Skype for Business provides real-time voice, video and conferencing and hosts more than 100 million meetings a month.
  • Office 365 Groups is our cross-application membership service that makes it easy for people to move naturally from one collaboration tool to another.

Turn on Microsoft Teams today

Early private preview customers are seeing benefits in using Microsoft Teams. “Based on our early use of Microsoft Teams in Office 365, we believe it is the digital cockpit we’ve been waiting for,” said Andrew Wilson, CIO of Accenture. With the public preview available today, administrators can enable Microsoft Teams through the Office 365 admin center.

 

Mail Services Offered by PR PC Support

We are pleased to be able to offer Microsoft Hosted Exchange mailboxes and all versions of Office 365 at competitive rates. If you are thinking of moving your email to a more secure, robust and protected mail service , or even if you currently have a Hosted Exchange mailbox or Office 365 licence – speak to me and see if I can get you a better deal for existing users or a competitive quote for new users.

All our hosted Exchange mailboxes come with free email signature software with each mailbox.

We also offer a Secure email service which works with most common email platforms.

For more information please browse below

 

Hosted Exchange

Office 365

Secure Email Messaging

BitDefender – AntiVirus

Download Brochures

Office 365

Secure Email Messaging

Acronis Backup Cloud

BitDefender AntiVirus

Email – what platform should I use and why? Free V Paid email…

Before you can decide which email type to use – you need to understand the differences between each one and the pros and cons related to each one

POP3

POP3 (Post Office Protocol, version 3) was the first major email protocol that was used in the early 1990s at the early years of the internet. A POP-based email service is simple: your email client (such as Outlook, Mac Mail, or Thunderbird) connects to the mail server and then downloads your emails directly to the computer. The downloaded email is then deleted from the server (though, most clients have a setting that can prevent this).

PROS:

  • Cheap – no licenses required – usually free
  • Supported by virtually all devices.
  • Simple to implement and configure.

CONS:

  • When a message is downloaded, it is removed from the server (if you save messages to the server, you may end up downloading the same email multiple times).
  • When a message is sent, there is no server copy.
  • If you access your mail on different devices, you’ll see different emails depending on what was downloaded to which device.
  • No way to organise your inbox. The inbox is your only folder.
  • Hasn’t had a major update since 1988.
  • Largely obsolete.

IMAP

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) is the second major iteration of how people access their email – and also the most popular today. It has all the functions of POP3, but also has one major benefit that matters to most users: email syncing between multiple devices. This allows you to have the same email experience between devices because all your email (incoming and outgoing) are stored directly on the server, rather than downloaded directly to your computer. For this reason, IMAP replaced POP3 and has largely made it obsolete.

PROS:

  • Cheap – no licenses required.
  • Supported by virtually all devices.
  • Email syncing. All messages, including sent messages, are saved on the server.
  • Folder support to organize your inbox.
  • Compatibility: if your server supports IMAP, it most likely supports POP3.

CONS:

  • Easy to run out of inbox space if you never delete emails or have small storage.

 Hosted Microsoft Exchange and Office 365

Microsoft Exchange / Microsoft Office 365 is a proprietary platform developed by Microsoft. It requires the purchase of user or server licenses. Traditionally, it has been marketed to the Enterprise-level consumer and offers all the functionality of IMAP but also has other features to help businesses and organisations better collaborate among employees and staff. Features such as shared address books & calendars, shared file storage, and native integration with other Microsoft products like SharePoint and Office. Microsoft Office 365 – competes directly with Google Apps for Business – and is geared to make Enterprise-level functionality found in Exchange more cost-effective for small to medium-sized businesses.

PROS:

  • Email syncing – instead of downloading an email, a copy is created on your device while the original stays on the server.
  • Folder support to organize emails.
  • Sent messages are saved on the server.
  • Native integration with most Microsoft products.
  • Offers many collaborative tools to enable team members to share resources like calendars and documents.
  • Licenses can be purchased per-user.
  • Multiple aliases per mailbox
  • Ability to backup mailbox and restore to individual emails

CONS:

  • Can be expensive
  • Setup and maintenance requires specialized knowledge.

WHO SHOULD USE HOSTED EXCHANGE or MICROSOFT OFFICE 365?

  • If you want the benefits and functionality of Exchange server, but a more simple, streamlined experience.
  • If you want to avoid the licensing costs of a full Exchange server and only want to pay on a per-user basis.

WHICH ONE IS THE BEST CHOICE?

Your email is just as important as any of your other IT services, so you will want to make sure you’re getting the best value for money, as well as the best possible service. There are lots of free email options out on the market, but does it make sense to use them if you’re running a serious business?

BENEFITS OF PAID EMAIL SERVICES

Paying for an email service means that you can easily send emails through your own domain, so you can have a professional email address like yourname@yourdomain.com. It makes your company look professional, and make your service seem more credible. What’s more, it’s relatively easy to set up a basic email service, and many paid providers can automate the set up for you.

If you pay to host your email through private server hosting, or through a service like Google Apps or Office 365 then you will also get a more reliable service compared to free email hosting. You will also have dedicated customer service and support, plus the server you choose to host with most likely has higher security in place and email filtering to help reduce the amount of spam and viruses and malware you will receive.

Additionally, services like Office 365 offer extras such as cloud storage, and email access on the go, which can be particularly useful if you need to access your email remotely

WHY BOTHER WITH FREE SERVICES?

The big pro is that the service is free. And if you’re a small business who doesn’t rely heavily on emails to get in touch with clients or customers, then you can most likely get by for a while by using a free email client.

You don’t necessarily have to live with a @gmail.com or @hotmail.com domain either. Gmail easily lets you use their system to send emails from your own domain, however you need to have your domain set up to handle this. You can usually use the free email services that your DNS offers (usually limited to one free email address) to set up the initial server and then filter it through Gmail, Yahoo or whatever free service you want to use.

However, these free services aren’t as secure so are more open to hacking, and you’ll have to live with adverts in and around your emails. What’s more, if you’re on a free service, then your email may not be routed with priority, meaning that you may not experience an instantaneous conversation.

PRICING AND SERVICES

If you’re a small business, the attraction of a free email service might be the fact that you don’t have to deal with the cost of running an email server. However, it can cost very little to host email. Some private servers can cost a few pounds a month, and full packages such as Google Apps or Office 365 cost between £3 and £7 per month for a basic package. So cost should never be a factor when it comes to ensuring the best email service for your company!

Contact us for a quote for any of the Microsoft Hosted Exchange or Office 365 services.

Shame, confusion among office workers spur record numbers to give in to ransomware

Posted by : https://businessinsights.bitdefender.com/shame-confusion-among-office-workers-spur-record-numbers-to-give-in-to-ransomware

By Filip Truta on Nov 03, 2017

Despite considerable efforts to educate employees on ransomware, many organizations still don’t know what to do if they fall victim to an attack. According to part 2 of Intermedia’s Data Vulnerability Report, a record number of employees and their employers are paying ransom.

Intermedia examined the security habits of more than 1,000 office workers and found that many employees draw a blank when they fall victim to ransomware. About a third admit they aren’t even familiar with ransomware.

“This lack of awareness, paired with massive global attacks such as WannaCry and Petya (and new strains popping up all the time like Bad Rabbit), is resulting in both employees and employers paying ransoms in record numbers,” according to the report.

Although 70% of office workers say their organization regularly communicates about cyber threats, employees aren’t always told what exactly to do if hackers seize their computer. Because of this, employees hit by ransomware sometimes take matters into their own hands, which can dramatically undermine their organizations’ security efforts.

In fact, the study shockingly reveals that employees shoulder the costs of ransomware payments more often than their employers – 59% paid the ransom personally, and 37% said their employers handled the payment.

In organizations where WannaCry was named as part of the cybersecurity training, as many as 69% of employees paid a ransom themselves. Intermedia suggests shame, as well as lack of knowledge, may drive employees to pay ransom themselves.

Other findings include:

  • Over 73% of Millennial workers affected by ransomware report paying a work-related ransom
  • 68% of impacted owners / executive management said they personally paid a work-related ransom
  • Small and medium-sized businesses are particularly vulnerable to ransomware attacks as they lack the resources, tools and/or training that larger organizations use to recognize, prevent and protect themselves
  • Ransom paid by office workers averages $1,400
  • Growth in ransomware attacks is directly linked to the increased willingness of victims to cough up ransom money

To mitigate the risk of falling victim to a ransomware attack, companies would be smart to employ a proven enterprise security solution trained in sniffing out not just ransomware, but any kind of malware.

Regular backups are also a good idea. In case of an attack, organizations can restore from backup with little or no harm to their operations and, ultimately, their bottom line.

With ransomware damage costs predicted to exceed $5 billion in 2017 (up from $325 million in 2015), and the General Data Protection Regulation just around the corner, doing nothing is no longer an option – neither for big corporations nor for small businesses.

Hackers Distribute Malware-Infected Media Player to Hundreds of Mac Users

Yet another software supply-chain attack hits popular applications.
Lucian Constantin
Oct 20 2017, 3:52pm
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/bj789w/elmedia-player-malware-hack-mac-trojan

Hackers managed to compromise the website of a company that develops several popular apps for Apple computers, distributing malware-infected versions of those apps to hundreds of users. Security researchers from antivirus firm ESET reported Friday that the free version of Elmedia Player distributed from Eltima Software’s website contained a macOS information stealing trojan known as OSX/Proton. The same malware was distributed earlier this year through another trojanized version of a popular macOS application called HandBrake.

Eltima told me in an email that hackers also managed to trojanize one of the company’s other applications, an internet download manager called Folx that also acts as a BitTorrent client. The Proton malware is capable of stealing a lot of data from infected computers including history, cookies, bookmarks, and log-in data from browsers; cryptocurrency wallets; SSH authentication keys; macOS keychain data; Tunnelblick VPN configuration data; PGP encryption keys and data stored in 1Password, a password management application.

Elmedia Player has 1 million users as of August, according to Eltima. The company provides free and paid versions of its software programs and distributes them through its website and through the Mac App Store. Only the installers for Elmedia Player and Folx downloaded by users from the company’s website contained the Proton trojan, an Eltima spokeswoman told me. “The built-in automatic update mechanism [of the applications] seems to be unaffected.”

The security breach happened Thursday and was discovered relatively fast by ESET who reported the incident to the software developer. The malicious installers were available on Eltima’s website for around 24 hours and were downloaded by almost 1,000 users. “Users who downloaded and executed the software on October 19 before 3:15 PM EDT, are likely compromised,” the ESET researchers said. On Friday morning, Eltima announced that both apps are now “safe to install and malware-free.”

The attackers don’t appear to have compromised the company’s development infrastructure, as happened recently with the developer of a Windows application called CCleaner. Instead, the hackers just managed to hack into Eltima’s website through a vulnerability in a JavaScript-based library called TinyMCE. The malicious installers were not digitally signed with Eltima’s Apple developer certificate, but with a different developer ID under the name Clifton Grimm. It’s not clear if this certificate was obtained from Apple by using a fake identity or if it was stolen from another developer. Gatekeeper, Apple’s first line of defense against malware, allows signed binaries to execute without warning by default, Patrick Wardle, director of research at Synack and a macOS security expert, told me in a Twitter direct message. Because of this, most Mac malware is now signed with stolen or fraudulently obtained Apple developer IDs, with the latter being much more likely, he said. “It appears Apple has a problem with ensuring only legitimate developer IDs are given out,” Wardle said.

Apple revoked the misused Clifton Grimm certificate after being alerted by ESET and Eltima, but users who downloaded and executed the rogue Elmedia Player and Folx installers before this happened didn’t get a Gatekeeper warning. At installation, Proton displays a fake password authorization window in order to gain system administrator privileges. It’s not unusual for legitimate applications to request such access, so users might easily be tricked into inputting their password. There is some evidence that this new attack might have been perpetrated by the same attackers who compromised a legitimate download server for the HandBrake video converter application in May and distributed a malicious version of that program to macOS users.

In both cases, the trojanized installers infected computers with Proton and in both cases the malware’s command-and-control servers used domain names similar to those of the compromised software. The difference is that the rogue HandBrake installer was not digitally signed, meaning that users would have had to override Gatekeeper manually in order to install it.

To determine if they’ve been infected users can search their systems for the presence of the following files or directories: /tmp/Updater.app/, /Library/LaunchAgents/com.Eltima.UpdaterAgent.plist, /Library/.rand/ and /Library/.rand/updateragent.app/. If any of them exist, Proton was installed, according to ESET.

“As with any compromise with an administrator account, a full OS reinstall is the only sure way to get rid of the malware,” the ESET researchers said. “Victims should also assume that the secrets outlined in the previous section are compromised and take appropriate measures to invalidate them.”

Software supply-chain attacks pose a very serious danger because they abuse the existing trust relationship between users and software developers. These attacks can happen in several ways and can be very hard to detect and prevent. Attackers recently managed to distribute infected versions of CCleaner—a Windows system optimization tool—to over 2.2 million users after hacking into the program developer’s infrastructure. Last year, attackers hacked into the website of popular open-source Transmission BitTorrent client on two separate occasions and distributed infected installers to macOS users.

In order to compromise Macs, attackers need a way to get malicious applications onto them, and hacking into a legitimate developer’s website to surreptitiously trojanize a popular app is a great way to achieve this, Wardle said. We’ve seen attackers use this mechanism before, so it won’t be surprising if they continue to rely on this attack vector, he said.