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Phishing: These are the most common techniques used to attack your PC

Microsoft Office macros, PowerShell and more are still proving to be popular with cyber criminals distributing attacks via phishing emails, warn researchers after analyzing billions of attacks.

Creating malicious Office macros is still the most common attack technique deployed by cyber criminals looking to compromise PCs after they’ve tricked victims into opening phishing emails.

Phishing emails are the first stage in the attack for the majority of cyber intrusions, with cyber criminals using psychological tricks to convince potential victims to open and interact with malicious messages.

These can include creating emails that claim to come from well-known brands, fake invoices, or even messages that claim to come from your boss.

There are number of methods that cyber criminals can exploit in order to use phishing emails to gain the access they require and, according to researchers at cybersecurity company Proofpoint, Office macros are the most common means of achieving this.

Macros are a function of Microsoft Office that allow users to enable automated commands to help run tasks. However, the feature is also abused by cyber criminals. As macros are often enabled by default to run commands, these can be used to execute malicious code – and thus provide cyber criminals with a sneaky way to gain control of a PC.

Many of these campaigns will use social engineering to encourage the victim to enable macros by claiming the functionality is needed in order to view a Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel attachment. It’s proving a successful method of attack for cyber criminals, with Office macros accounting for almost one in 10 attacks by volume.

But Office macros are far from the only attack technique that cyber criminals are commonly adopting in order to make hacking campaigns as successful as possible.

Sandbox evasion is the second most common attack technique used by criminals distributing phishing emails.

This is when the developers of malware build-in threat detection that stops the malware from running – effectively hiding it – if there’s a suspicion that the malware is running on a virtual machine or sinkhole set up by security researchers. The aim is to stop analysts from being able to examine the attack – and, therefore, being able to protect other systems against it.

PowerShell is also still regularly abused by attackers as a means of gaining access to networks after getting an initial foothold following a phishing email. Unlike attacks involving macros, these often rely on sending the victim to click a link with code to execute PowerShell. The attacks are often difficult to detect because they’re using a legitimate Windows function, which is why PowerShell remains popular with attackers.

Other common attack techniques used to make phishing emails more successful include redirecting users to websites laced with malicious HTML code that will drop malware onto the victim’s PC when they visit, while attackers are also known to simply hijack email threads, exploiting how victims will trust a known contact and abusing that trust for malicious purposes, such as sending malware or requesting login credentials.

The data on the most common attack techniques has been drawn from campaigns targeting Proofpoint customers and the analysis of billions of emails.

Train users to spot and report malicious email. Regular training and simulated attacks can stop many attacks and help identify people who are especially vulnerable.

Stop phishing today: Learn more at – a Cloudstar company.

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Cloudstar Adds Additional Encrypted Storage Capacity

Cloudstar is pleased to announce additional dedicated EMC, All Flash, Unity Private Cloud Storage. This capacity increase will provide additional self-encrypting storage for our financial services and health care clients who are in need of meeting certain applicable regulatory compliance requirements such as HIPAA.

The demand has never been higher. With data security concerns at an all-time high, it is no surprise companies continue to place a premium on ensuring sensitive data is protected from unauthorized access. Whether it is due to internal policies or external compliance, securing data continues to be a high priority for organizations of all sizes. The additional EMC storage systems acquired by Cloudstar address these concerns through controller-based Data at Rest Encryption ([email protected]), which encrypts stored data as it is written to disk. This provides yet another layer to protect against unauthorized access by rendering the drive unreadable without the encryption key. In addition to peace of mind, [email protected] offers additional benefits including regulatory compliance, secure decommissioning, and the possibility to eliminate the need for
physical drive shredding.

Customers have the option of purchasing storage allocations on dedicated EMC Unity hardware, or shared hardware available in a wide variety of configurations, and drive array options.

Contact your Cloudstar sales representative for more information.

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Cloudstar Adds Support for WireGuard VPN

Cloudstar is pleased to announce support for WireGuard® VPN.

Often times, our competitors will force non-Citrix users to install bulky and expensive business-grade firewalls just to logon, print and scan when working from home.

Not only can this be cost prohibitive, but it provides another set of problems – one more device to manage, update and support…..and yes, one more target for hackers.

Cloudstar solves this problem with WireGuard® .

WireGuard® is an extremely simple yet fast and modern VPN that utilizes state-of-the-art cryptography. It aims to be faster, simpler, leaner, and more useful than IPsec, while avoiding the massive headache. It intends to be considerably more performant than OpenVPN. WireGuard is designed as a general purpose VPN for running on embedded interfaces and super computers alike, fit for many different circumstances. Initially released for the Linux kernel, it is now cross-platform (Windows, macOS, BSD, iOS, Android) and widely deployable.

Additionally, WireGuard does NOT use passwords, but rather a single SSH key- as such, the entire solution is not only extremely secure, but 100% hands off making for an extremely easy and transparent user experience.

Call us today to learn more.



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Cloudstar is Pleased to Sponsor the 2021 Voice of The Title Agent Special Report

For over a decade, the October Research annual Voice of the Title Agent survey has given a voice to big and small title agents across the country. This year, Cloudstar is pleased to announce sponsorship of this very important industry study and report. If you’re interested in taking part in the survey, you may to so by clicking HERE.

As an active member and leader in the land title community, Cloudstar is also sponsoring the 2021 Cyber-Security Special report in addition to the new 2021 Business Continuity Special Report.

We would like to thank our customers for their continued support of October Research and highly encourage them to participate in the above survey.

Voice of the Title Agent

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We’re Hiring! Director of Human Resources

Our International Cloud Computing, Telecommunications, and Technology Consulting Family of Companies is seeking a Director of Human Resources (HR). The Director of HR reports to the Chief Financial Officer and is responsible for the overall HR functions of the company. The Director of HR will help employees be successful in their roles by offering services to support each individual, as well as the company as a whole. This is an exciting leadership opportunity for someone with an extensive background in human resources! The salary range for this role is $120-140k.

Responsibilities of the Director of HR:

  • Overall Human Resource management of the staff including strategy and development, coaching of employees, and long term planning for staff
  • Talent acquisition including, but not limited to the recruitment and hiring of new employees
  • Coordinate company benefits programs (Health, Dental, Vision, Disability, Life, Supplemental, 401k)
  • Facilitate orientation for any and all new employees
  • Update company’s protocol dependent on changes in laws and regulations
  • Maintain all policies, procedures, and employee handbook
  • Oversee and direct all required training courses
  • Encourage team morale with employee appreciation programs
  • Introduce strategies for employee growth and career building
  • Handle all Human Resources tasks such as employee verification, unemployment claims, and exit interviews
  • Record and file all necessary employee records
  • Experience working with and evaluating credit and background checks
  • Work with Regulatory Compliance department to maintain internal process controls to meet compliance objectives (AICPA SOC1 / SOC2 / SOC3 – TYPE 2)

Job Requirements:

Requirements of the Director of HR:

  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • Master’s degree preferred
  • 10-15 years’ experience
  • SHRM-SCP or SHRM-CP preferred
  • Oracle NetSuite experience preferred
  • AutoTask experience helpful
  • Rev.Io experience helpful
  • PayChex experience preferred
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite
  • Anticipate and navigate any personnel issues that may arise
  • Strong sense of initiative
  • Work well in a team environment
  • Superb leadership skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Detail-oriented and highly organized
  • Experience in project management

Compensation Package:

  • 120-140k based on experience
  • Health, Dental, Vision Insurance
  • HSA
  • 401k with employer match
  • Life insurance (employer paid)
  • 10 days PTO
  • Employee American Express Card
  • Work from home
  • Relaxed team environment

Now Hiring HR Cloudstar

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Cloudstar Adds Support for FreeBSD

Cloudstar is pleased to announce support for the ultra secure unix like FreeBSD operating system- when hosted in either our private cloud, public cloud, or within our customer’s infrastructure.

FreeBSD is a free and open-source Unix-like operating system descended from the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD), which was based on Research Unix. The first version of FreeBSD was released in 1993. In 2005, FreeBSD was the most popular open-source BSD operating system, accounting for more than three-quarters of all installed simply, permissively licensed BSD systems.

FreeBSD has similarities with Linux, with two major differences in scope and licensing: FreeBSD maintains a complete system, i.e. the project delivers a kernel, device drivers, userland utilities, and documentation, as opposed to Linux only delivering a kernel and drivers, and relying on third-parties for system software; and FreeBSD source code is generally released under a permissive BSD license, as opposed to the copyleft GPL used by Linux.

The FreeBSD project includes a security team overseeing all software shipped in the base distribution. A wide range of additional third-party applications may be installed using the pkg package management system or FreeBSD Ports, or by compiling source code.

Much of FreeBSD’s codebase has become an integral part of other operating systems such as Darwin (the basis for macOS, iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and tvOS), TrueNAS (an open-source NAS/SAN operating system), and the system software for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 game consoles.



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Cloudstar Welcomes Director of Title Services


January 8th 2021 – Jacksonville FL.  Cloudstar is proud to announce and welcome Nancy Allen as the company’s Director of Title Services.  Nancy will be responsible for managing the title service department which includes consulting, SQL reporting, and workflow services for ResWare, RamQuest and SoftPro along with developing innovative new technologies such as blockchain integrations, APIs, and machine learning.

Throughout her 15+ year career, Nancy has worked across a wide range of industries from real estate title, settlement services and mortgage default, to FinTech, Big Data, and blockchain technology. Nancy specializes in process improvement, data analysis, product and project management and technology implementation.  She is also a subject matter expert in the mortgage industry.  Prior to her current role, she served as Senior Vice President of Operations at Oversite Data Services, LLC., where she was instrumental in developing a docket-based legal compliance and management solution recognized by HousingWire as one of the most innovative technologies in the U.S. housing economy. Additionally, Nancy served as Director of Operations at Albertelli Law, a full-service real estate law firm.

“We are extremely excited to have Nancy on board as her industry and technical knowledge make her a true leader in the mortgage and land title space and a major asset to our team” said Christopher Cury, EVP at Cloudstar.

Nancy graduated Summa Cum Laude from Florida International University, obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in Finance, and is currently an MBA candidate, specializing in Business Data Analytics.  She holds Six Sigma Champion and Lean Black Belt certifications and has a distinguished record for successfully analyzing critical business needs, identifying deficiencies and opportunities, and developing innovative and cost-effective solutions to accelerate growth and drive performance.  Nancy is an incredible talent with the experience and ability to make an immediate impact on any operation.

Nancy Allen

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Cloudstar Adds Support for Promox Virtual Environment

Cloudstar is pleased to announce the addition & support of Promox Virtual Environment to our suite of Cloud products and services.

Promox provides compute, network, and storage layers into one single solution and is part of Cloudstar’s strategy to embrace open sourced solutions meet the next generation of cyber security challenges.  This addition dovetails with the addition of Cloudstar’s Linux and open-source offerings through our recent acquisition of open sourced hosting company, CloudBunny.

“Banks, Credit Unions, Law Firms, and Title Companies, are facing more cyber security challenges than ever before, and by embracing the native security that open source solutions such as Linux provide, they’ll have one more tool in their arsenal of defense against ransomware and data breaches” said Gregory McDonald, CEO of Cloudstar.

Proxmox VE is an open-source server management platform for your enterprise virtualization. It tightly integrates KVM hypervisor and LXC, software-defined storage, and networking functionality on a single platform. With the integrated web-based user interface you can easily manage VMs and containers, highly available clusters, or the integrated disaster recovery tools with ease.

Enterprise-class features and a 100% software-based focus make Proxmox VE the perfect choice to virtualize your IT infrastructure, optimize existing resources and increase efficiencies with minimal expense. You can easily virtualize even the most demanding Linux and Windows application workloads, and dynamically scale computing and storage as your needs grow ensuring that your data center adjusts for future growth.



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Cloudstar Publishes Work From Home Internet Guidelines

With COVID-19 lockdowns increasing, more and more people are choosing to work from home.  Some are not even choosing; they have no other option. With that being said, many are experiencing trouble connecting and have no idea where the problem may reside.

Cloudstar is pleased to provide new educational resources to help those working from home better understand the Internet technology they rely on to perform their day-to-day tasks.  These business related tasks are very different from traditional home Internet use such as streaming video content, or engaging with friends over social media.

Let’s take a look at what’s required of our Internet connection to use business applications, remote desktops, video conferencing, and VoIP.  Then, take a deeper dive in how it all works, and the steps we can take to make our Internet work even better.

Click HERE to learn more.

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Cloudstar Launches Virtual CTO Service

Cloudstar is pleased announce a new service offering, designed to address business of all sizes, by offering virtual CTO’s on demand.

Is your business struggling with finding technology solutions to fit its needs? Do you believe you are losing money due to a lack of technological efficiency? A Virtual Chief Technology Officer, an outsourced, off-site IT manager, solves these issues and more every day.

Click HERE to learn more!


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