Master Boot Record (MBR)

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The Master Boot Record (MBR) is the information in the first sector of any hard disk that identifies how and where an operating system is located so that it can be booted (loaded) into the computer’s main storage or Random Access Memory (RAM). The Master Boot Record is also sometimes called the “partition sector” or the “master partition table” because it includes a table that locates each partition that the hard disk has been formatted into. In addition to this table, the MBR also includes a program that reads the boot sector record of the partition containing the operating system to be booted into RAM. In turn, that record contains a program that loads the rest of the operating system into RAM.

Attackers have used destructive wiper malware to destroy the Master Boot Record of a computer rendering it inoperable. By destroying the MBR, it makes it so the machine cannot load the operating system. Without an operating system, there’s no way to rewrite the Master Boot Record into place and the machine becomes completely useless and unrecoverable. 

What does this mean for an SMB?

Wiper malware has reportedly been used by Nation States in state-sponsored hacking incidents. For example, in February 2022, Russian Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) have been tied to an attack on 70 Ukrainian government websites, using this destructive malware. This malware was used to target the Ukrainian government, non-profit, and IT organizations, and increased attacks and espionage against military targets. However, Small to medium-sized businesses are rarely attacked with these sophisticated malware tools that can destroy a computer. However, there are protective measures every organization should be doing to reduce the likelihood of falling victim to Wiper malware or other attacks.

Additional Cybersecurity Recommendations

Additionally, these recommendations below will help you and your business stay secure with the various threats you may face on a day-to-day basis. All of the suggestions listed below can be gained by hiring CyberHoot’s vCISO Program development services.

  1. Govern employees with policies and procedures. You need a password policy, an acceptable use policy, an information handling policy, and a written information security program (WISP) at a minimum.
  2. Train employees on how to spot and avoid phishing attacks. Adopt a Learning Management system like CyberHoot to teach employees the skills they need to be more confident, productive, and secure.
  3. Test employees with Phishing attacks to practice. CyberHoot’s Phish testing allows businesses to test employees with believable phishing attacks and put those that fail into remedial phish training.
  4. Deploy critical cybersecurity technology including two-factor authentication on all critical accounts. Enable email SPAM filtering, validate backups, deploy DNS protection, antivirus, and anti-malware on all your endpoints.
  5. In the modern Work-from-Home era, make sure you’re managing personal devices connecting to your network by validating their security (patching, antivirus, DNS protections, etc) or prohibiting their use entirely.
  6. If you haven’t had a risk assessment by a 3rd party in the last 2 years, you should have one now. Establishing a risk management framework in your organization is critical to addressing your most egregious risks with your finite time and money.
  7. Buy Cyber-Insurance to protect you in a catastrophic failure situation. Cyber-Insurance is no different than Car, Fire, Flood, or Life insurance. It’s there when you need it most.

All of these recommendations are built into CyberHoot the product or CyberHoot’s vCISO Services. With CyberHoot you can govern, train, assess, and test your employees. Visit and sign up for our services today. At the very least continue to learn by enrolling in our monthly Cybersecurity newsletters to stay on top of current cybersecurity updates.

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