Archive for the ‘Security and Compliance’ category

Xcitium – the new Comodo zero threat solution

July 31st, 2022

Every 11 seconds a new ransom incident occurs and every day the AV-TEST Institute registers over 450,000 new malicious malware and unwanted applications.

What if you could provide 100% protection from those unknown ransomware and malware attacks?

Well, – Now you can!

Comodo Security Solutions has rebranded as Xcitium as it unveils its patented ‘ZeroThreat‘ technology, to be the first in this new Gartner Domain Space “Containment for Endpoints”

Xcitium will have an official launch at the Black Hat USA Exhibition (Aug 6-11, 2022). 

ZeroThreat’ technology employs Kernel API Virtualization to isolate and eliminate threats such as zero-day ransomware and other malware before those can cause damage, all without interfering with a customer’s operations. 

“Xcitium’s ZeroThreat Technology, utilizing patented Kernel API Virtualization, prevents unknown malware from accessing critical system resources that cause damage, while providing complete use of the unknown file or application—this is a distinct departure from all existing vendors which terminate the offending unknown once their engine makes a threat determination,” 

Sarah Pavlak, Industry Principal at Frost & Sullivan

(In 2018, as Comodo, the company expanded beyond its original business strategy of keeping the Internet secure through SSL certificates. It focus was on unified managed endpoint protection in response to the increasing, advanced threat, landscape.

Since its inception, Xcitium has a track record of zero security breaches when completely configured.

The ZeroThreat technology is the cornerstone of the Xitium endpoint suite.

It is built with a signature role to keep the Internet safe with:

  • advanced endpoint protection (AEP),
  • endpoint detection and response (EDR),
  • managed detection and response (MDR).

For more information, contact: Synergy Software Systems 0097143365589

Microsoft Purview – a family of data governance, risk, and compliance solutions

June 28th, 2022

The worldwide shift to a hybrid workplace has pushed us all to embrace ubiquitous connectivity. New connections help us to be more collaborative; and to routinely edit and share documents in real-time from wherever we work. Instant messaging a tool of convenience is now a cornerstone of communication. People in business, operations, and technical roles are adept at combining disparate solutions to meet changing needs. Multiple mobile and smart devices, go beyond secure corporate networks.

Constant connectivity brings evolving, inherent risks. Organizations have seen a massive increase in their digital footprint, often with data fragmentation and growth across a multitude of applications, devices, and locations.  Dark data, which organizations pay to store, but goes underutilized in decision making, is growing at a rate of 62 percent per year.  The virtual office and new collaboration mediums open doors to harassment, sensitive data leaks, and other workplace policy infractions. It’s a big digital world for any organization to manage. 

Microsoft Purview is a family of data governance, risk, and compliance solutions that can help your organization to govern, to protect, and to manage your entire data estate. Microsoft Purview solutions provide integrated coverage and help address the recent increases in remote user connectivity, the fragmentation of data across organizations, and the blurring of traditional IT management roles.

Microsoft Purview combines the former Azure Purview and Microsoft 365 compliance solutions and services together into a single brand. Together, these solutions help your organization to:

  • Gain visibility into data assets across your organization
  • Enable access to your data, security, and risk solutions
  • Safeguard and manage sensitive data across clouds, apps, and endpoints
  • Manage end-to-end data risks and regulatory compliance
  • Empower your organization to govern, protect, and manage data in new, comprehensive ways

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/compliance/compliance-manager-templates-list?view=o365-worldwide

https://www.microsoft.com/security/blog/2022/04/19/the-future-of-compliance-and-data-governance-is-here-introducing-microsoft-purview/

Comodo Scores 100% in Endpoint and Internet Security Detection Tests – Ask Synergy Software Systems

June 25th, 2022

Comodo is the only Endpoint Protection company that is brave enough to publicly announce 100% protection against Ransomware and Malware for your endpoints.

Such a bold statement!!! We will be happy to demonstrate the unprecedented technology behind this statement (Valkyrie AI-based Auto Containment).

In March of 2022, AVLAB completed the 17th edition of its Advanced In The Wild Malware Test. Ten endpoint protection products were continuously evaluated, using thousands of unique malware samples to challenge the solutions against real-world threats. Products needed to demonstrate their capabilities using all components and protection layers.

Both Comodo’s Advanced Endpoint Security and Internet Security solutions received top honors with a recognition of ‘Excellent’. The products blocked all 2,050 possible threats and provided protection against all 0-day samples. Comodo’s Advanced Endpoint Protection (AEP) is the only solution that prevents 100% of ransomware and other malware, utilizing a patented, virtual isolation capability that confines unknown files and code in a protective container until it is determined to be 100% safe.

Once again, Comodo has proven the effectiveness of our solution during this latest evaluation,” said Faith Orhan, EVP of Engineering at Comodo. “As the results of this test illustrate, Comodo is still the only endpoint security solution on the market that applies the Zero Trust principle of ‘Never Trust; Always Verify.”

June 2022 cumulative Windows Update to seal the zero-day security hole

June 18th, 2022

the June 2022 cumulative Windows Updates seal the zero-day security hole that enabled an exploit called Follina (CVE-2022-30190). 

The security flaw was in a Microsoft Windows Support Diagnostic Tool (MSDT) remote code execution bug, which allows hackers to execute arbitrary code within apps by using the tool, such as installation of programs, change or deletion of data or creation of a new Windows account with a compromised user’s rights on the affected PC.

The bug affects machines running Windows 7 and later. 

The bug appears to have been exploited by Chinese hackers to send malicious documents to Tibetans. and also to target U.S. and European Union government agencies. 

Other cyber-savvy criminals could use the same exploit on unpatched PCs to cause havoc. so we like Microsoft, recommend that you ensure your PC is patched as soon as possible. 

Microsoft strongly recommends that customers install the updates to be fully protected from the vulnerability. Customers whose systems are configured to receive automatic updates do not need to take any further action,” said Microsoft.

With automatic updates enabled you should already protected. If not then to ensure you have the latest patch go to the Windows Settings app, navigate to the Windows Update section to see whether your PC is up to date,, or needs an update, or in some cases a restart to apply the update.

Do this to keep your PC protected from malicious and opportunistic hackers. 

Beware spam email attachments

June 14th, 2022

Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook and other users could be exposed to spam emails that could break their Windows, PC with just one click. The dangerous malware on the spam email could steal sensitive personal and financial, data and also steal credentials for Windows and banking services.

Security experts warn that threat actors are taking advantage of a vulnerability that hasn’t yet been fixed by Microsoft to distribute the dangerous Qbot banking trojan malware .

This malicious software has been found in infected Word documents that are spread by email.

The Qbot malware also a allows bad actors to deploy a backdoor on infected Windows machines and to give remote access to ransomware gangs.

Scammers try to trick people to click on the infected attachment by sending fake invoices, payment and banking details, scanned documents or bills. One scam even suggested that people had received a pay rise.

To help keep safe from these threats, do not click on unsolicited emails from unknown addresses , and especially not on any links or attachments in such messages.

‘You can usually identify a scam by taking a close look at a sender’s email address,

Cybercrime update – increasingly scary

June 13th, 2022

According to the recent 2022 Ransomware Trends Report” (Veeam), compiled by surveying 1,000 global IT leaders, paying a ransom for an organization’s hijacked data doesn’t ensure return of the stolen data.   

  • 24 percent of organizations that paid the amount demanded by ransomware attackers ended up not recovering their stolen data.
  • 19 percent of those affected by ransomware were able to recover their data through their own means and without having to pay off the attackers.
  • When data is eventually recovered after remediation through payment, data recovery took an average of 18 days.
  •  (22 percent) reported it took one to two months to fully recover the data,
  • 3 percent said they were down for two to four months.
  • Some time was spent decrypting the encrypted stolen data, but much of the downtime is attributed to deep scans of restored systems to confirm they were “clean” from any ransomware remnants.
  • Backup repositories were targeted 94 percent of the time.
  • Specific production platforms or application types were targeted in 80 percent of successful ransomware attacks, making ransomware prevention not just the duty of IT security
  • Phishing e-mails and malicious links and Web sites continue to be the top (44 percent) ransomware entry points,
  • Infected patches and software are close behind with 41 percent of all ransomware attacks by those surveyed.
  • The remaining entry point sources:
    • Compromised credentials and spraying attacks (35 percent).
    • Insider threats (32 percent).
    • Zero-day vulnerabilities (26 percent).
    • Only 1 percent of those who experienced a ransomware attack were not able to identify the entry point

About 25 years ago a business report indicated that a majority of companies that lost their computer system for more than one week went out of business within 18 months. A sobering thought given our increased dependence on systems in the digital age, and the surge in state sponsored cybercrime.

The 2022 Ransomware Trends Report” indicates that most organizations don’t have the tools or know-how  to recover their hijacked data before they end up paying for their data back.

  • A strong Modern Data Protection strategy requires a commitment to a clear policy that the organization will never pay the ransom, but do everything in its power to prevent, remediate and recover from attacks,.  
  • IT should routinely test their data protection solutions and protocols and ensure that employees are well-versed in spotting possible ransomware attacks.

Veeam credits the improvements in monitoring tools and a concerted effort toward ransomware prevention by many IT shops for the high success in identifying the source of ransomware.

The report finds that.

“This alone should drive broader conversations within IT, so cyber security isn’t just the delegated to the security team; database administrators should also help ensure that database servers are secure and administrators should help ensure hypervisors are patched, that Windows updates are routinely run, etc.,”

How to protect yourself against ransomware

Whether a simple ransomware attack, a double- or triple-extortion attack, a self-contained threat family, or a RaaS attack executed by an affiliate network, the defense strategy is the same: employ the principles of zero trust to limit vulnerabilities, prevent and detect attacks, and limit the blast radius of successful breaches.

 Here are some best practices recommendations to safeguard your organization against ransomware:

  • Get your applications off of the internet. Ransomware actors start their attacks by performing reconnaissance on your environment, looking for vulnerabilities to exploit, and to calibrate their approach. The more applications you have published to the internet, the easier you are to attack.
  • Use a zero trust architecture to secure internal applications, make those invisible to attackers.
  • Enforce a consistent security policy to prevent initial compromise. With a distributed workforce, it is important to implement a security services edge (SSE) architecture that can enforce consistent security policy no matter where your users are working (in office or remotely). 
  • Use sandboxing to detect unknown payloads. Signature-based detection is not enough in the face of rapidly changing ransomware variants and payloads. Protect against unknown and evasive attacks with an inline, AI-powered sandbox that analyzes the behavior rather than the packaging of a file.
  • Implement a zero trust network access (ZTNA) architecture. Implement granular user-to-application and application-to-application segmentation, brokering access using dynamic least-privileged access controls to eliminate lateral movement. This allows you to minimize the data that can be encrypted or stolen, reducing the blast radius of an attack. 
  • Deploy inline data loss prevention. Prevent exfiltration of sensitive information with trust-based data loss prevention tools and policies to thwart double-extortion techniques.
  • Keep software and training up to date. Apply software security patches and conduct regular security awareness employee training to reduce vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cybercriminals.
  • Have a response plan. Prepare for the worst with cyber insurance, a data backup plan, and a response plan as part of your overall business continuity and disaster recovery program.
  • To strengthen defences against ransomware, embrace layered defenses that can disrupt the attack at each stage—from reconnaissance to initial compromise, lateral movement, data theft, and ransomware execution.

The amount of time cyber criminals intruders are spending inside victims’ networks is increasing, providing them with the ability to carry out higher complexity campaigns and more damaging cyber attacks.

According to analysis by cybersecurity researchers at Sophos, who examined incidents targeting organisations around the world and across a wide range of industry sectors, the median dwell time which cyber criminals spend inside compromised networks is now 15 days, up from 11 days the previous year.

The 2022 ThreatLabz State of Ransomware report breaks down a year’s worth of intelligence from a variety of sources, including over 200 Billion daily transactions and 150M daily blocked threats across the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange, and shows that ransomware is becoming even more attractive to criminals. Attackers are able to wage increasingly profitable campaigns based on three major trends:

  • Supply chain attacks,
  • ransomware-as-a-service ecosystems,
  • multi-extortion tactics.

Ransomware attacks increased by 80% year-over-year, accounting for all ransomware payloads observed in the Zscaler cloud.

  • Double extortion ransomware overall increased by 117%.
  • Manufacturing was the most targeted industry for the second year running, – almost 20% of double-extortion ransomware attacks.

 Some industries saw particularly high growth of double-extortion attacks, including:

  • healthcare (643%),
  • food service (460%),
  • mining (229%),
  • education (225%),
  • media (200%),
  • manufacturing (190%).

Some recent events………

The DeadBolt ransomware started 2022 with attacks that targeted internet-facing Network-Attached Storage (NAS) devices.

  • First target was QNAP Systems, Inc. in January 2022. According to a report from Censys.io, Jan. 26, 2022, out of 130,000 QNAP NAS devices that were potential targets, 4,988 services showed signs of a DeadBolt infection.
  • ASUSTOR, another NAS devices and video surveillance solutions vendor, also experienced DeadBolt ransomware attacks that targeted an unknown number of its devices.
  • In March, DeadBolt attackers again targeted QNAP devices; and  the number of infections reached 1,146 by March 19, 2022.
  • On May 19,2022, QNAP released a product security update stating that internet-connected QNAP devices were again bargeted by DeadBolt, this time aiming at NAS devices using QTS 4.3.6 and QTS 4.4.1.
  • The number of DeadBolt-infected devices is very high for a ransomware family that exclusively targets NAS devices.

LockBit 2.0 is ransomware as a service (RaaS)

  • This first emerged in June 2021 as an upgrade to its predecessor LockBit (aka ABCD Ransomware), which was first observed in September 2019.
  • Since its inception, the LockBit 2.0 RaaS attracted affiliates via recruitment campaigns in underground forums, and thus became particularly prolific during the third quarter of calendar year 2021. The LockBit 2.0 operators claimed to have the fastest encryption software of any active ransomware strain as of June 2021, claiming accordingly that this added to its effectiveness and ability to disrupt the ransomware landscape.

An ongoing phishing campaign targeting Facebook users may have already netted hundreds of millions of credentials and a claimed $59 million, and it’s only getting bigger.

  • Identified by security researchers at phishing prevention company Pixm in late 2021, the campaign has only been running since the final quarter of last year, but has already proven incredibly successful. Just one landing page – out of around 400 Pixm found – got 2.7 million visitors in 2021, and has already tricked 8.5 million viewers into visiting it in 2022.
  • The flow of this phishing campaign isn’t unique: Like many others targeting users on social media, the attack comes as a link sent via DM from a compromised account.

The Vice Society ransomware group has claimed responsibility for the recent cyber attack on the city of Palermo in Italy, which has caused a large-scale service outage.

  • The attack occurred last Friday, and all internet-relying services remain unavailable, impacting 1.3 million people and many tourists visiting the city.
  • The authorities admitted the severity of the incident on Monday and explained that all systems had to be taken offline to contain the damage, warning that the outages might last a few more days.

Shields Health Care Group Inc., which provides imaging and ambulatory surgical services at dozens of locations, said in a notice on its website Tuesday that data including names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and medical or treatment details is among the information that may have been compromised.

  • The breach has been reported to federal law enforcement and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights.
    • That agency reported on its website that 2 million people were affected.
    •  An FBI spokesperson said the agency had no comment.

The Cuba ransomware operation has returned to regular operations with a new version of its malware found used in recent attacks.

  • Cuba ransomware’s activity reached a peak in 2021 when it partnered with the Hancitor malware gang for initial access.
  • By the end of the year, it had breached 49 critical infrastructure organizations in the United States.

Russia-Ukraine

The Kremlin-backed cyberattack against satellite communications provider Viasat, which happened an hour before Russia invaded Ukraine, was “one of the biggest cyber events that we have seen, perhaps ever, and certainly in warfare,” according to Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder of CrowdStrike and chair of security-centric think tank Silverado Policy Accelerator.

  • An obvious purpose of the attack was to  disrupt Ukrainian communications during the invasion, by wiping the modems’ firmware remotely, it also disabled thousands of small-aperture terminals in Ukraine and across Europe.
  •  The attack disrupted satellite connectivity for thousands, and disabled remote monitoring of 5,800 wind turbines in Germany.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict has the world on high alert.

  • Several attacks associated with the Russia-Ukraine conflict, combined multiple tactics, such as HermeticWiper and PartyTicket ransomware.
  • Most of this activity has targeted Ukraine.
  • Government agencies have warned organizations to be prepared for more widespread attacks as the conflict persists.

Microsoft has obtained a court order to seize 41 domains used by what the Windows giant said was an Iranian cybercrime group that ran a spear-phishing operation targeting organizations in the US, Middle East, and India.

  • The Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit said the gang, dubbed Bohrium, took a particular interest in those working in technology, transportation, government, and education sectors: its members would pretend to be job recruiters to lure marks into running malware on their PCs.
  • “Bohrium actors create fake social media profiles, often posing as recruiters,” said Amy Hogan-Burney, GM of Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit. “Once personal information was obtained from the victims, Bohrium sent malicious emails with links that ultimately infected their target’s computers with malware.”

Last month the notorious Russian ransomware gang Conti threatened that if a ransom wasn’t paid it would overthrow Costa Rica’s government.

This month, the Hive ransomware gang hit Costa Rica’s Social Security system, and also struck the country’s public health agency, which had to shut down its computers on Tuesday to prevent the spread of a malware outbreak.

The Costa Rican government said at least 30 of the agency’s servers were infected, and its attempt at shutting down systems to limit damage appears to have been unsuccessful. Hive is asking for $5 million in Bitcoin to unlock infected systems.

As ransomware becomes less profitable or carries a higher risk for attackers It is logical for ransomware actors to eventually convert their operations to business email compromise (BEC) attacks.

In the US, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has repeatedly found that total money stolen in BEC scams far exceeds that pilfered in ransomware attacks—though ransomware attacks can be more visible and cause more disruption and associated losses.

The newer Industrial Spy group is applying greater pressure on victims by hacking their websites to display ransom notes.

The Canadian Department of National Defence confirmed recently that a key supplier – CMC Electronics  a key supplier to a critical defence initiative.–  reported that they were victim of a ransomware attack.

  • CMC makes cockpit systems integration, avionics, display solutions, and high-performance microelectronics for military and commercial aircraft.
  • It was recently selected to supply the avionics and software applications for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s new Calidus B-250 turboprop light attack combat and training aircraft
  • It was reportedly attacked by a gang calling itself AlphV. The FBI say the gang also operate under the name BlackCat. and had compromised over 60 organizations worldwide as of March of this year.

Attackers compromising Microsoft Teams

February 19th, 2022

Security researchers at Avanan, a cyber security company warns that attackers are compromising Microsoft Teams accounts to slip into chats and to spread malicious programs to participants in the conversation.

Since January, hackers have accessed compromised accounts and shared executable files titled ‘User Centric’.

The file is a Trojan malware that can eventually take control of a user’s computer should a user click on it. The virus is usually hidden as an attachment in an email or a free-to-download file, then transfers onto the user’s device

Most users trust Microsoft Teams implicitly. However, Microsoft Teams is used both by professionals working from home for sharing files, or with invited external users, so users may click on files attachments with less regard to question the authenticity. 

Microsoft Teams surpassed 270 million monthly active users last month. The number of daily active users of Microsoft Teams have almost doubled the past year, increasing from 75 million users in April 2020 to 145 million as of the second quarter of 2021.

When working outside your secure corporate network on your own device you still need an antivirus program that scans and inspects files for malicious content.

Sr its an email or inside Microsoft Teams if are get sent a file, then before clicking on it make sure you carefully read the name of the file and file extension , and the details of who sent it . Contact your workplace’s IT department if you receive any strange files.

If you need to improv your security then ask Synergy Software Systems about Microsoft Defender and other tools like Kasperksy. Data security and data privacy is of increasing concern , and compliance with legislation is increasingly import for example for data privacy.

With Microsoft Defender for Oce 365 you are also protected within SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams. ATP (Advanced Threat Protection) for SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams helps detect and block existing files that are identified as malicious in team sites and document libraries by locking them and preventing users from accessing such files.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/security/business/threat-protection/office-365-defender

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/microsoft-defender-for-office/introducing-the-microsoft-defender-for-office-365-migration/ba-p/2952369

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/security/office-365-security/migrate-to-defender-for-office-365?view=o365-worldwide

call: 0097143365589

U.A.E. to introduce Corporate Tax – 2023 -ask Synergy Software Systems

February 2nd, 2022

Background

The UAE has long positions itself as a place where foreign investors are welcome and where incomes are tax free. Low taxes and a friendly business environment helped to transform the 50-year-old nation.

The UAE faces steep competition from neighboring Saudi Arabia, which is working overtime to attract businesses and families to relocate to the kingdom

The UAE’s Finance Ministry said that it will aunch corporate tax in line with worldwide efforts to combat tax evasion and to meet issues posed by the global economy’s digitization,

The ministry also stated that the measure will prepare for the implementation of a worldwide minimum tax rate, which will apply a different corporate tax rate to large multinationals that meet certain conditions.

It was announced on Jan 31 that for the first time, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will establish a federal corporate tax of 9% on profits on business profits on June 1, 2023,

  • Businesses engaged in the extraction of natural resources will be exempt from the UAE CT as such businesses shall continue to be subject to Emirate level taxation
  • The UAE CT shall be a Federal level corporate taxation. Thus, all UAE businesses, corporations and entities engaged in and licensed to undertaken commercial activities shall be subject to the UAE CT.
  • Corporate tax will be payable on the profits of UAE businesses as reported in their financial statements prepared in accordance with internationally acceptable accounting standards “with minimal exceptions and adjustments”, 
  • The corporate tax will not apply to personal income from employment, real estate and other investments, nor to income earned from a business licensed outside the UAE.

Introduction of Transfer Pricing

Under the CT regime, UAE businesses will be required to comply with transfer pricing rules and documentation requirements as set out in the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines

Free Zone Businesses

Free zone businesses will be within the scope of UAE CT and required both to register and to file a CT return.

Those businesses will however continue to benefit from CT holidays / 0% taxation while they comply with all regulatory requirements and do not conduct business in mainland UAE. 

Multinationals

The press release and FAQs indicate that there will be a different tax rate for large multinationals that meet the criteria under ‘Pillar Two’ of the OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting project (i.e. those that have consolidated global revenues above EUR 750m).

Tax basis

The Federal Tax Authority will be responsible for the administration, collection, and enforcement of CT.

Where a business is resident for CT purposes will be determined either based on the place of incorporation / registration (legal seat), or the place of effective management and control of the business.

To help small firms and entrepreneurs, the ministry further stated that the new system entails:

  • a basic statutory tax rate of 9%,
  • a 0% rate for taxable profits up to 375,000 dirhams, ( about $102,107.50 . )

CT will be payable on the accounting net profit reported in the financial statements of the business, with minimal exceptions and adjustments

Tax losses incurred from the CT effective date can be carried forward to offset taxable income in future financial periods.

No UAE CT will apply to:  

  • Employment income, income from real estate, income from savings, investment returns and other income earned by individuals in their personal capacity that is not attributable to a UAE trade or business;
  • Dividends, capital gains and other investment returns earned by foreign investors.  

Exemption from UAE CT will be available for: 

  • Capital gains and dividends earned from qualifying shareholdings; 
  • Qualifying intra-group transactions and restructurings.

Domestic and cross border payments of interest, dividends, royalties and other payments will not attract a withholding tax in the UAE.

UAE CT will have to be filed electronically once for each financial period but without a requirement for advance UAE CT payments on the basis of provisional tax returns. 

The tax scheme will allow UAE business groups to be taxed as a single entity or to apply for relief amid losses or restructuring. UAE group companies can form a tax group and file a single tax return for the entire group, and transfer tax losses to other members of the group.

Foreign tax credits will be available for taxation incurred by UAE businesses on income earned outside the UAE’s corporate tax to avoid double taxation.

The UAE CT regime should remain one of the most competitive in the world. The UAE will offer the most competitive CT regime in the region, with Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Qatar imposing CT at rates between 10% to 35% (Bahrain currently does not have a broad based CT regime). 

The introduction of a UAE CT regime would enable the UAE to adopt and implement the OECD BEPS 2.0 measures to address the tax challenges arising from the digitalisation of the global economy, and the introduction of a global minimum tax rate for large multinationals.

What next?

The relevant legislation for the CT regime is currently being finalised and will be subsequently promulgated. Once promulgated, the UAE CT Law will provide more details and guidance on several critical aspects.

Further information is expected to be made available by mid-2022, to give UAE businesses at least 12 months to get ready.

Key considerations for UAE businesses

To prepare for the new corporate tax (CT) profile of the UAE consider an internal working team and whether auditor discussions are needed

Consider the application and impact of the new UAE CT Law on :

  • UAE entity(ies) and/or operations
  • Revenue booked under Mainland UAE versus Free Trade Zone setups
  • Economic substance profile and/or CbCR filings
  • Group structure
  • Inter-company transactions
  1. Investment/Holding structures
  2. Be prepared to adopt new tax and transfer pricing compliances (where applicable).
  3. Consider impact on share price and ability to raise finance
  4. Review IT systems and their configuration to support taxation, and budget for any external consulting resource to e.g. create filing returns reports, or to amend existing reports e.g. TB, cash flow.
  5. Consider whether there needs to be any changes to policies and training for the finance team.
  6. Consider a dry run pilot in a test system to ensure that you can produce timely accurate reports in the correct format.

(Most Dubai stocks fell in the Middle East on February 1 after the United Arab Emirates unveiled that it will be taxing corporate earnings from next year.

Moody’s said: “the introduction of the 9% federal corporate tax is broadly credit negative for domestic UAE corporates because it will reduce their operating cash flows.”)

Teams Enhancements

November 5th, 2021

At this year’s Ignite conference. Microsoft announced updates and new features to its business communication platform. Mesh for Microsoft Teams, provides new options for digital meetups with personalized avatars and 3-D environments. Personalized avatars, will give a sense of presence in meetings without turning on cameras.

Users will have more options to join meeting rooms and virtual collaboration spaces using redesigned avatars that will move and react based on your speech . Tuesday’s announcement comes after Facebook unveiled its similar virtual avatar technology that will soon be available in its newly christened Meta social media platform relaunch.

Microsoft said that users will not only be able to come together in new virtual reality rooms, but will be able to collaborate and to share on documents stored in Microsoft 365. Users can join a Mesh room either from their PC, or smartphone or mixed reality device.

This arose from a multiyear collaboration between Microsoft and mega-partner Accenture, an Ireland-based IT services firm that is known for virtual conference and meeting technologies.

Mesh for Microsoft Teams will begin to roll out in 2022 in preview and will launch with a set of prebuilt immersive spaces, with options for organizations to create their own custom spaces to be added.

 Microsoft Teams Enhancements
For Microsoft Teams, the company unveiled more features one of which is the inclusion of a virtual green room to allow organizers and guest speakers to interact in a second virtual space to collaborate on presentation content, monitor chat and socialize. Microsoft said this feature will be available in preview in early 2022.

To secure shared documents a new feature planned for 2022 called Teams Connect. will allow for Teams channels to be shared with outside individuals and organizations, with IT retaining control on how and what documents can be shared.

Teams Chat will be upgraded and it will permit individuals in a Teams organization to use their personal Teams account to chat and collaborate., and also o chat with yourself, which Microsoft said will be useful for personal organization and keeping memos stored in one place.

Google chrome update now to avoid being hacked.

November 2nd, 2021

If you use Google Chrome then update your web browser(s) without delay and use a hidden feature to combat hacking.

This warning is a concern because two of the problems found by the cyber team at Google have been given the dreaded ‘zero day’ rating, which means that it’s highly likely the bug is already known to criminals and hackers.

A ‘zero-day threat’ or vulnerability is a newly discovered software vulnerability for which the developers have zero days to fix the problem because it already has potential to be exploited by hackers. When hackers take advantage of the software security flaw to perform a cyberattack, that is known as a ‘zero-day exploit’.

The latest version of Chrome fixed eight issues with the software, two of those were  high risk. Google confirmed on its Chrome update page that it’s aware of exploits for these two issues codenamed CVE-2021-38000 and CVE-2021-38003 both issues have w been fixed, but users need to update their Chrome browser.

The Stable channel has been updated to 95.0.4638.69 for Windows, and for Mac and Linux the update will roll out soon.

A step-by -step guide on the website reads: “We’ll ask you to change your Google Account password if it might be unsafe, even if you don’t use Password Checkup.”

If you think your Google Account, Gmail or Google products have been hacked, then follow these steps to spot suspicious activity, and get back into your account, and make it more secure.

Sign in to your Google Account

If you can’t sign in, then go to the account recovery page and answer the questions there as best as you can.

Review your account activity

  1. Go to your Google account
  2. Select Security on the left navigation panel
  3. On the Recent security events panel select Review Security events and check for any suspicious activity:
  • If you find activity that didn’t come from you, then select ‘No, it wasn’t me’. Then, follow the steps on the screen to help secure your account.
  • If you did the activity, then select Yes.
  • If you still believe someone else is using your account then go to think link to check whether tis been hacked https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/6294825#signs-account-hacked

Take more security steps

Make your account even more secure use s 2-step verification and/or install a more secure browser.

Extensions and plugins

There are several browser extensions that help you to see who is tracking your web-surfing but many of these invasively track themselves. These either help protect you or let you know who is tracking you – while not tracking themselves, or, if they do, it’s minimal..

– HTTPS EverywhereYou might still find yourself visiting a HTTP website that doesn’t support encryption by default? This plugin forces it to use encryption, which helps to protect your online purchases, payment details, and general web surfing from malicious actors who are eavesdropping for theft purposes.

– Privacy Badger: This extension, from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), works on and Chrome. It monitors third parties and ad networks that try to track you through cookies and digital fingerprinting and can even auto-block them.

– Disconnect: Disconnect, is an extension available for Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari, and Opera, can visually show you which websites are tracking your activity in real time. Invisible trackers that monitor you can also be easily blocked with Disconnect. 

What else can you do?

Remember, it’s very hard to escape data collection and surveillance. When you use Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter, be aware most of these online services track you and only recently started to adopt end-to-end encryption. Every big tech company – Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Apple – has had issues in the past over their contractors listening to user conversations recorded by their apps and assistants.