All posts by Michelle Drolet

The End of Ransomware

Everything you need to know to stop ransomware.

Please join Towerwall and Sophos for an exclusive lunch and learn to learn how to stop ransomware cold. You’ll find out about:

  • Polymorphic Malware
  • What is Next Generation Malware
  • How does a ransomware attack happen?
  • 9 best security practices to apply NOW!

June 28, 2017 | 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Sophos Inc. 3 Van de Graaff Drive, 2nd Floor, Burlington, MA 01803

Please email to RSVP to this event.

Michelle Drolet of Towerwall Named a Power 30 Solution Provider in CRN’s 2017 Women of the Channel

BOSTON – May 15, 2017Towerwall (, a data security services provider for small to mid-size businesses, today announced that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named Michelle Drolet, Towerwall founder and chief executive officer, to its list of 2017 Power 30 Solution Providers, an elite subset of its prestigious annual Women of the Channel list.


CRN’s editorial team selects Women of the Channel honorees based on their professional accomplishments, demonstrated expertise and ongoing dedication to the channel. The Power 30 Solution Providers belong to an exclusive group drawn from this larger list: women leaders in solution provider organizations whose vision and influence are key drivers of their companies’ success and help move the entire IT channel forward.


Michelle Drolet is a seasoned security expert with 27 years of experience providing organizations with IT security technology services. She is the founder of the 5th annual Information Security Summit hosted by MassBay Community College and scheduled for June 8, 2017. Keynote speaker is Martha Coakley, former Attorney General of Massachusetts. Drolet writes a monthly column, “InfoSec at your Service” for Network World magazine and is a regular contributor to Worcester Business Journal.

In November 2016, Cyber Defense Magazine named Towerwall a “Cyber Security Leader for 2016.” Towerwall was among the top 20 companies to receive the recognition for exceptional information security (InfoSec) products and services. In October 2016, Michelle Drolet was voted among six other local business leaders as “2016 Outstanding Women in Business” by the Worcester Business Journal.

Towerwall clients include AMG, Middlesex Savings Bank, Becker College, CannaCare, Allegro MicroSystems and Smith & Wesson, local SMBs and law firms. Towerwall has reseller partnerships with Sophos, Varonis, AlienVault, Websense, Snoopwall, Qualys, PhishMe and many other nationally-recognized security vendors.


“These extraordinary executives support every aspect of the channel ecosystem, from technical innovation to marketing to business development, working tirelessly to keep the channel moving into the future,” said Robert Faletra, CEO of The Channel Company.


“They are developing fresh go-to-market strategies, strengthening the channel’s network of partnerships and building creative new IT solutions, among many other contributions. We congratulate all the 2017 Women of the Channel on their stellar accomplishments and look forward to their future success,” Faletra added.


The 2017 Women of the Channel and Power 30 Solution Provider lists will be featured in the June issue of CRN Magazine and online at



About the Channel Company

The Channel Company enables breakthrough IT channel performance with our dominant media, engaging events, expert consulting and education, and innovative marketing services and platforms. As the channel catalyst, we connect and empower technology suppliers, solution providers and end users. Backed by more than 30 years of unequaled channel experience, we draw from our deep knowledge to envision innovative new solutions for ever-evolving challenges in the technology marketplace.


About Towerwall

Founded in 1993 and based in Framingham, Massachusetts, Towerwall provides organizations such as AMG, Middlesex Savings Bank, Becker College, CannaCare, Allegro MicroSystems and Smith & Wesson, with IT security technology services required for secure business-class networks.  Strategic partnerships with Sophos, Varonis, AlienVault, Websense, Snoopwall, Qualys, and many other nationally recognized security vendors allows Towerwall to offer its customers an integrated approach to solving their security needs by coupling best-of-breed technology with top-notch integration services. For more information please call (774) 204-0700 or email us at

Copyright ©2017. The Channel Company, LLC. CRN is a registered trademark of The Channel Company, LLC. All rights reserved.. 

Michelle Drolet interviewed on “Today’s security challenges” in recent TechTarget E-Handbook

Channel partners can make arguments for the integrated security suite and the best-in-class point product method, but the decision ultimately rests on a customer’s specific needs.


“Security is not one-size-fits-all, so it depends on the type of organization and what their risk tolerance level is,” said Michelle Drolet, CEO at Towerwall Inc., a data security services provider based in Framingham, Mass. “There are a lot of questions that need to be answered before you can make that decision.”

 Click here to read the full article >

10 things I know about… Public Wi-Fi

10. Freely hackable

Free public Wi-Fi connections are treated like a public utility, but they can be making you vulnerable to hackers.

9. Sign me up

By default, most mobile phones/devices are set to ask your permission to join a network. Once you obtain credentials, the known network will join your phone automatically.

8. Sniffing you out

Public Wi-Fi hotspots are vulnerable since anyone sharing the same hotspot can use sniffing software to intercept your browser session while you’re visiting websites.

7. Session hijacking

Hijacking your browser session allows hackers to pick up your session cookies, allowing hackers to impersonate the victim, even if the password itself is not compromised.

6. SSL encryption

Many websites use SSL encryption for their login pages to stop hackers from seeing your password, but do not use encryption for the rest of the website.

5. Cross-site scripting trickery

Using cross-site scripting, hackers can trick the victim’s computer into running code that appears to be trustworthy, allowing the attacker to perform hacks.

4. Stealing your cookies

Malware or other unwanted programs can use session hijacking to steal a browser’s cookie to perform unwanted actions without the user’s knowledge.

3. Download a VPN

The best way for to protect yourself on public Wi-Fi networks is to download a virtual private network (VPN) app to your mobile device, which utilizes encryption.

2. Safer in the cloud

VPNs create a virtual network within any Wi-Fi network, thereby hooking into a secured Internet connection via the cloud.

1. Worry less

With a VPN, users of public Wi-Fi need not worry about a device automatically detecting and connecting to an unsecured network.


This article was originally featured in the Worcester Business Journal > 

Join Towerwall at the New England Bank Technology & Retail Banking Conference

Michelle Drolet and the Towerwall team will be attending the 36th Annual New England Bank Technology + Retail Banking Conference and Exhibit, on Friday, May 19th at the DoubleTree in Danvers, MA.

Stop by Booth 27 where we will be discussing:

FinTech Security Challenges

Topics include:

  • Today’s top security threats and how to stay safe
  • Identifying risk and understanding compliance
  • Cybersecurity regulations and policy development
  • Mobile banking

View our FinTech Services >


Cannabis Banking: What You Need to Know

Topics include:

  • What you need to know about Banking Cannabis
  • Obstacles and challenges you may face
  • Navigating through roadblocks and regulations
  • Why Continuous Compliance is key

View our Cannabis Compliance Services >




Click here to register today >



Cannot attend?

Schedule a meeting with Michelle Drolet and our data security team.

Contact us to schedule today >

Protect your unstructured data with user behavior analytics

User behavior analytics sniffs out anomalies in users’ actions and alerts IT security teams of suspicious behavior

The theft of unstructured data is extremely common. It can be very difficult to safeguard emails and files when a lot of people have access. Even the CIA is not immune, judging by the recent exposure of its hacking tools via WikiLeaks. It’s ironic that the CIA’s hacking guides have been hacked, but it just goes to show how difficult it can be to prevent.

Carelessly handled unstructured data is an easy target, and it can prove very valuable for hackers. Since unstructured data may not be monitored, attacks and successful exfiltrations often go unnoticed for long periods.

For example, the big data breach at Yahoo was only investigated after someone offered to sell millions of accounts on the black market.

Many companies have no idea that they’ve been infiltrated. The global average time between compromise and breach detection is 146 days, according to FireEye. Clearly, there’s a tangible need to cut that down, and user behavior analytics could be the answer.

What is user behavior analytics?

The idea behind user behavior analytics is to establish what normal activity looks like at an organization and to monitor for anything unusual. The focus is firmly on users, and suspicious behavior is flagged so that the IT security team can investigate. Many different actions might be flagged as worthy of further investigation, such as an employee accessing a system at 2 am, suddenly modifying thousands of files or trying to change administrative privileges.

Being able to detect when users access sensitive data is the first step toward securing it properly. The beauty of user behavior analytics is that it’s about keeping a watchful eye on activities that IT security teams are worried about. That might be all activity pertaining to sensitive data, but it can also include mass failed log in attempts, email attachments sent to personal accounts and changes made outside of change control windows.

People are the weakest link in cybersecurity

A lot of time and money we put into information security is centered on software tools, but we know that the weakest link in cybersecurity is employees. It makes a lot of sense to take a closer look at people. Some security incidents can only be detected by analyzing people and their behavior with regard to valuable company data.

A full 88 percent of end users say their job requires them to access and use proprietary information, according to Varonis. Interestingly, 62 percent say they have access to company data they probably shouldn’t see.

Getting into the network through an employee’s account can give a determined attacker access to a lot of unstructured data, some of which will arm them with the ammunition they need to burrow deeper or infiltrate new systems laterally. IT practitioners say insider negligence is more than twice as likely to cause compromise of insider accounts than anything else.

It’s important that we look beyond perimeter defenses. Better firewalls, antivirus software or malware detection are not going to solve the problem, but user behavior analytics could make a real difference.

Uncovering anomalies inside and out

Because user behavior analytics sniffs out anomalies in user behavior, it can determine when a legitimate user’s credentials are being used by an external attacker. But the fact that it quickly identifies any deviation from the norm means it can spot the changes that signal insider theft or sabotage as well. Anything that doesn’t match the usual pattern of daily business sparks an alert.

These kinds of alerts still require an experienced security officer to investigate and assess them, but they can drastically cut down on the time it takes to identify and confirm problems. As user behavior analytics technology improves, it’s likely to encompass more automation and go beyond data breach identification.

All of the best security strategies include a blend of technologies and take a holistic view of the potential risks. The cost of a data breach is so high that it’s essential to take every action at your disposal that might mitigate the risk. Coupled with solid perimeter defenses, user behavior analytics is a powerful asset in the fight against data theft, and it represents an irresistible opportunity for companies to tighten up unstructured data protection.


This article was recently published in NetworkWorld >
Image credit: Thinkstock

AlienVault announces new training: Incident Response for USM Appliance Analysts

AlienVault recently announced a new addition to the AlienVault training portfolio: Incident Response for USM Appliance Analysts, a two-day course that we will start delivering Live and Online in May.

AlienVault has had *many* requests from customers and MSSPs for training focused on the analysis of threats identified by the USM Appliance. This course provides security analysts with the knowledge and skills to fully leverage the AlienVault Unified Security Management (USM) Appliance to perform analyst duties to identify and remediate known and emerging threats.

Please visit the web page below to learn more:

Botnets: Is your network really protected?

Security is taking a backseat as more and more devices connect to the internet

The tech world moves at a tremendous pace, unleashing wave after wave of innovation intended to improve our everyday lives. Many new devices, from security cameras to fridges, or TVs to baby monitors, are now internet connected. This affords us remote access and facilitates the collection of data, which is ostensibly used to make our systems “smarter.”

However, it also opens new doors into our offices and homes through which hackers can come uninvited.

There were around 6.4 billion connected things in use worldwide in 2016, and that’s set to grow to 8.4 billion this year, according to Gartner. There’s no doubt that the Internet of Things (IoT) will bring many benefits, but it also brings greater risk.

Awareness is growing, but everyone needs to take steps to secure IoT devices.

Hacking your IoT devices

Security has yet to catch up with the IoT trend. A couple years ago, an HP study found that 70 percent of IoT devices were vulnerable to attack. You may wonder how hackers gain access to these devices in the first place. Often, it’s because default passwords and credentials are used. In some cases, devices are woefully insecure by design with administrator logins that have been baked into the firmware.

The success of the Mirai DDoS botnets, which took control of devices such as routers, DVRs and digital cameras, was based on malware that scans a broad range of IP addresses and tries to log in to devices using default usernames and passwords. A botnet of more than half a million devices was assembled to attack one of the key domain name service providers, Dyn. It took down large parts of the internet last October, impacting major websites, including eBay, Amazon, Netflix, PayPal, Reddit and Spotify.

Devices are also frequently hacked through phishing emails, where users are tricked into opening attachments or clicking links that install malware or redirect them to false website fronts designed to steal their credentials. Malware can even be delivered through an old USB drive, so don’t be tempted to plug one in if you find it lying around and don’t know where it came from. Curiosity can kill the cat. For years we’ve seen cases of people picking up USB fobs in parking lots dropped there on purpose by the bad guys.

Building botnets

Hackers seize control of vast numbers of devices quite quickly and build botnets, which are networks of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of devices. They use these botnets to carry out volumetric attacks that flood target websites or servers with traffic, sometimes managing to make them completely inaccessible for normal folks. They may also be used to send spam, scan for further vulnerabilities, exfiltrate stolen data, or conduct brute force attacks.

These botnets often span the globe, and the devices often lack static IP addresses, so it’s very difficult to reliably identify them and block them. There’s little indication for the victim that their device has been infected and is now being used for nefarious activities.

To make matters worse, many hackers are just looking to turn a quick profit, so they offer botnets for hire to anyone willing to pay. Since the malware required to build a botnet can be bought, or a botnet can be rented directly, there’s no real skill barrier to deploying one.

Defending your networks

You’ll need to do some homework to make sure your network is safe. To start, make sure you change the default passwords that come with your IoT devices. This is an easy first step, but it’s not enough. You should also look into the manufacturer and be vigilant for admin credentials that are hardwired in the firmware.

The next thing you need is a decent firewall and a security platform that scans your network in real time and analyzes traffic to uncover threats. Look for malicious traffic detection, botnet detection, and command and control call-home traffic detection. You want a system that can identify suspicious traffic and highlight an infected host quickly, then isolate it until you can take action.

We must also bring more scrutiny to bear on IoT device manufacturers and software developers. If we don’t collectively start taking security more seriously, the IoT could be our downfall.


This article was originally posted on Network World >

InfoSec at Your Services Meetup: 7 Secrets of Offensive Security – Thursday, April 6, 2017

Join us for our next InfoSec at Your Services Meetup:

“7 Secrets of Offensive Security”
by Gary Miliefsky



Thursday, April 6, 2017
6:30 PM to 8:00 PM


319 Speen Street, Natick

Host: Gary Miliefsky

Gary Miliefsky
Meet Gary >

We will discuss:

The 7 Secrets of Offensive Security. With all the breaches happening in the news, isn’t it time you get one step ahead of the next threat? Get proactive and learn these secrets before you become the next victim.

Gary Miliefsky is the co-founder and CEO of SnoopWall, Inc. He is a breach prevention expert who has appeared on Good Morning America, the Today Show, CNN, FOX New, CTV and network programming across North America. SnoopWall is the leader in network breach prevention. They are ranked as the top mobile device security company by Cybersecurity 500 and one of the top 50 Most Valuable Tech Companies in Insight Success.

Click here for more information and to register >