April 8, 2016 Instant messaging service Whatsapp has now announced that it will use end-to-end encryption to scramble all users’ communications and ensure they can only be decrypted by the recipient’s device. This has huge implications for intelligence agencies as we are only too aware following the FBI/Apple debate around the San Bernadino gunman’s iPhone. Indeed, public opinion is generally divided over end-to-end encryption although security experts around the world are reluctant to weaken encryption mechanisms to allow security agencies to read communications. Here to comment on this news is Richard Anstey, EMEA CTO at . Richard Anstey, EMEA CTO at : “This announcement by WhatsApp reflects a growing consumer awareness of the purpose and merits of encryption. It’s a win for privacy advocates, but undoubtedly a cause of frustration to governments across the world. Following the Apple/FBI scandal, and the return to prominence of the Snooper’s Charter in the UK, encryption has beenpushed into the mainstream despite encryption algorithms having been around for years. End-to-end encryption is a very simple concept: as soon as a message leaves a sender’s device, the characters are scrambled into a series of letters and numbers which mean nothing to everyone except the recipient who holds the only key that can now interpret the message. “End-to-end encryption is already posing a problem for intelligence agencies which are pushing for “backdoors” to decrypt messages between terrorists, some of which may be exchanged on WhatsApp. However, security experts across the world – including myself – are very reluctant to weaken encryption mechanisms, because this would have a wider knock-on effect in day-to-day life – both personal and professional. It can cause all sorts of sensitive information to become less protected from hackers, criminals and unfriendly nation states.” About Intralinks (NYSE: IL) is a leading, global technology provider of secure enterprise contentcollaboration solutions. Through innovative Software-as-a-Service solutions, Intralinks software is designed to enable the exchange, control and management of information between organisations securely and compliantly when working through the firewall. More than 3.1 million professionals at 99% of the Fortune 1000 companies have depended on Intralinks' experience. With a track record of enabling high-stakes transactions and business collaborations valued at more than $28.1 trillion, Intralinks is a trusted provider of easy-to-use, enterprise strength, cloud-based collaboration solutions. Comments are closed
April 7, 2016 Malware continues to become a growing and increasingly costly risk to mobile users today, with one in every 30 mobile browsing transactions, and one in every seven mobile app sessions proving to be potentially harmful. In fact, roughly 5.9 percent of subscribers encounter a risky website every day and are transmitted through URLs and mobile apps that mobile users access daily according to our . Even more concerning is that teens and children populations are especially vulnerable as the proliferation of mobile devices, online and app activity increase dramatically. And because mobile is ingrained in all we do and how we live, it’s become increasingly difficult to identify and mitigate the growing volume of attacks targeted at this vector. While there are vendors out there who represent various parts of the ecosystem and focus on everything from mobile device management (MDM) to endpoint security, communication service providers (CSPs) are in a unique position in theindustry because they are at the heart of the digital experience and can stop threats at the network level. CSPs have access to a goldmine of network user data that can be used to better understand a range of user profiles when it comes to risky behavior. When armed with relevant data, CSPs can gain insights into who might be most susceptible to engaging with sites that may contain malware, spyware or phishing scams, and intervene with network-based solutions that can minimize that user’s specific risks. By offering network-based security services, CSPs have the opportunity to provide added value to their subscribers and protect users based on their personal mobile habits and behaviors. At the same time, they gain a unique opportunity to monetize the network, increase ARPU and even reduce churn. What’s the big deal? In large part, mobile security is an afterthought for consumers and business people who don’t have the time to manage multiple subscriptions, update to the latest softwareversion or worry about where they click (even if it appears to be from someone you trust). As opposed to the case for fixed networks, while some regulators already require mobile operators to provide basic security against mobile malware, a large majority do not. And while every mobile user is at risk of security threats, no two users are alike in their risky behavior and in turn, the security measures needed for them to remain safe. What user profiles are at the greatest risk? We found that on average, mobile subscribers have about 72 interactions on three different websites on any given day. Whether it be a social networking platform, a trending game, news application or e-commerce website, every time a user touches content on a website or mobile app, they’re leaving themselves vulnerable to attack. The key to understanding who is at risk is the ability to accurately identify profile groups that represent common mobile user perceptions, expectations and behaviors. Segmenting mobilesubscribers by demographics and usage classifications can help CSPs to determine the types and level of security risks each unique customer might encounter within the network as they go about their typical daily business. When you get down to the data, there are some interesting trends around which profiles are at greatest risk – and it might not be who you most expect. According toconducted by Allot Communications, business people display the riskiest online behavior, with 79 percent of businessmen and 67 percent of businesswomen utilizing potentially risky mobile apps on a daily basis. These numbers are followed closely by youths and millennials, 67 percent of which also access questionable apps on a regular basis, putting their mobile devices and personal information at risk. While mobile app downloads are oftentimes protected, their outgoing use is not, fooling certain users into believing they are accessing harmless apps when in truth, they are leaving themselves susceptible tomobile threats with each and every use. Take clicking a link on a social site like WhatsApp for example; while the app download itself is protected, accessing that outside link may not. Why is this important? More and more, CSPs are faced with the task of keeping their subscribers secure from the oncoming slew of cyber threats that continue to increase both in size and sophistication. Fortunately, CSPs can be highly effective when it comes to halting cyber attacks. In the face of widespread, emerging, and more persistent online threats, operators can utilize subscriber data to protect users from malware and other Internet-borne threats that can harm reputation and productivity, damage mobile devices, comprise personal data, and cause financial loss. When armed with relevant data and information surrounding customer behavior — for example, knowing if the user is a business woman on the go or a child accessing educational apps — CSPs are able to engage with subscribers to identify how tominimize their specific security risks. With the insider knowledge available through subscriber data comes the ability to offer individualized security services to protect subscribers from harmful malware. CSPs can provide services anywhere from network-based anti-malware to parental controls to protect consumers against cyber attacks that can cause the loss of personal and professional content. For example, rather than providing security per app, safeguarding users at the network level allows security measures to provide a protective blanket for all mobile online activity. With access to a user’s unique mobile preferences and use cases, and the ability to analyze each individual, CSPs are better positioned than ever to protect their subscriber base. This not only secures the users themselves, but also gives CSPs a competitive advantage over other providers that may not be utilizing this critical user data to fight off threats to user privacy and content. By analyzing network data,filtering users into highly targeted categories, and offering network security that provides an umbrella over users’ complete online activity, CSPs are given a major advantage when it comes to thwarting off cyber crime in their networks and keeping users consistently protected in the face of malware. About Yaniv Sulkes Yaniv Sulkes is a telecommunications professional engaged in designing, developing, productizing and marketing industry leading solutions for over 15 years. Sulkes currently serves as the AVP of marketing for Allot Communications. Prior to Allot, Sulkes managed a large-scale telecom engineering project and served in different software engineering capacities. Sulkes has an M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering and B.Sc. in industrial engineering and management from Tel-Aviv University. Comments are closed
April 7, 2016 According to a Service Max survey, 75 per cent of people who typically call out a field service technician because the product has broken, not for maintenance purposes. What this means for field service professionals is that when a customer calls, they’re likely needing a rapid fix. That’s why the first-time fix rate is the holy grail of field service providers. As head of managed service provider IT Specialists (ITS), I’ve found that to keep second site visits to a minimum and improve the customer experience, field service managers should avoid these mistakes. Mistake #1: Inefficiently Managing Spare Inventory The Service Max survey referenced above indicated that if an engineer had to return to the customer site, 61 per cent of the time, it was because the technician didn’t have the parts needed to solve the issue. At ITS, we solve this problem by assigning engineers to four regions across the UK. We also use nine regional depots located across the country, whichenables engineers to store and gather replacement parts quickly for customers. This strategy has enabled us to offer low on-site response times tied to service level agreements and to achieve a first-time fix rate greater than 92 per cent (according to Aberdeen Group, the average for best-in-class field service organisations is 88 per cent). Mistake #2: Mismanaging Engineers’ Skills Investing in training and additional certifications will widen the organisation’s pool of engineers who are equipped to work on certain equipment or software. To ensure each assignment is a proper fit for the engineer’s unique skills and certifications, the business can approach the dispatch process methodically and strategically. For example, senior engineers can use their experience with the business and their familiarity with engineers’ capabilities to schedule site visits. Mistake #3: Not Offering Preventative Services Even better than achieving a first-time fix is preventing a system malfunction in thefirst place. This is particularly important if the customer has recovery time objectives to meet for business continuity and disaster recovery purposes. At ITS, we use the remote management tool N-able, which is installed on the customer’s servers and desktops and allows us to monitor most of the customer’s systems. If a potential issue occurs, our technical support team can respond to the issue before the customer is even aware it exists. For example, we use N-able to manage printers for Howden’s Joinery, a UK-based manufacturer and supplier of kitchens and joinery products. Previously, Howden’s printers were not networked, consumables were unmonitored, supplies replenishment was not automated, and paper use was not cost-effective. Having implemented monitoring software (after networking the printers), we are now able to address any issues with the printers and manage the supply of consumables. Mistake #4: Succumbing to Business As Usual It’s all too easy to fall into a routine ofperforming processing a certain way because “that’s how we’ve always done it,” but it’s important to continually generate fresh ideas and solutions for business challenges. The organisation could hold a monthly review meeting where heads of the department review the past month’s performance and conduct real-time SWOT analyses on every aspect of the business. The meeting could encompass performance reviews, business threats, resource planning, development opportunities, and statutory and legal responsibilities. ITS uses these meetings to generate innovative ways to solve client problems as well. For instance, road freight company Baxter Freight wanted us to not only provide new hardware and build a network but also brainstorm ways to future-proof their business. The plans had to benefit both ITS and Baxter Freight, with products that were cost-effective for both businesses. Working together, the ITS team created a strategy for improving Baxter Freight’s business resilience. The strategyincluded plans to adopt larger products, such as a managed cloud-based disaster recovery as a service platform, as the business became more established. Mistake #5: Failing to Familiarise Engineers With Product Offerings Whether engineers are supporting a product sold by the organisation or providing a service offered by a managed service provider (MSP), they need to be familiar with all the products and services the organisation provides. Using this knowledge, the engineer can suggest other solutions that can solve the client’s unique business challenges. For instance, an MSP’s engineer might go on-site to repair a server and hear the client mention that the organisation is having trouble coping with data sprawl and is considering virtualising some of their environment. The engineer knows that the MSP offers cloud-based infrastructure as a service (IaaS), so the engineer can suggest that as a solution. While plugging services that are unrelated to field service might seemcounterproductive, doing so shows the customer that the organisation is able to meet the client’s business objectives. In turn, the client is more likely to continue a relationship with the business. Mistake #6: Neglecting Regulatory Requirements Regulatory compliance is a pressing concern for organisations across multiple industries. That’s why field service organisations need to be able to demonstrate that they can meet regulatory requirements. The organisation might choose to adopt a business continuity standard or undergo a third-party accreditation process to achieve a certification such as ISO 9001 for quality management systems or ISO 27001 for information security management systems. By avoiding these pitfalls, field service organisations will increase their first-time fix rates, improve their ability to prevent issues before they occur and help clients meet their business goals. About Matt Kingswood Matt Kingswood is the Head of Managed Services of Midlands and London-based ,a nationwide Managed IT services provider. ITS is part of the US Reynolds and Reynolds company which has a strong heritage in data backup and recovery services. In his position, Matt is responsible for developing Managed IT services within the UK and is currently focused on the next generation of cloud and recovery products, and . Matt has more than 20 years of experience in the information technology industry, and was formerly CEO of The IT Solution – a full service IT Supplier acquired by ITS. Since joining ITS, he has led efforts to introduce a range of managed services based on the new ITS cloud platform. Previously Matt had a career in technology for several top tier investment banks before founding and selling several companies in the IT services industry. Matt has an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s in computer science from Cambridge University. Comments are closed
April 7, 2016 To work on the Incapsula team at Imperva is to be exposed to DDoS attacks all of the time. From watching 100 Gbps assaults making waves on computer screens around the office, to having our inboxes bombarded with reports of mitigated assaults, DDoS is just another part of our awesome daily routine. Yet, every once in a while an attack stands out that makes us really take notice. These are the ones we email each other screenshots of, discuss with the media and write about in our blog. Often, these assaults are canaries in a coal mine for emerging attack trends. It’s one of these canaries that I want to talk about here—an attack that challenges the way we think about application layer DDoS protection. A bit about application layer DDoS attacks Broadly speaking, layer 7–aka application layer–DDoS attacks are attempts to exhaust server resources (e.g., RAM and CPU) by initiating a large number of processing tasks with a slew of HTTP requests. In the context of this post itshould be mention that, while deadly to servers, application layer attacks are not especially large in volume. Nor do they have to be, as many application owners only over-provision for 100 requests per second (RPS), meaning even small attacks can severely cripple unprotected servers. Moreover, even at extremely high RPS rates—and we have seen attacks —the bandwidth footprint of application layer attacks is usually low, as the packet size for each request tends to be no larger than a few hundred bytes. Consequently, even the largest application layer attacks fall way below 500 Mbps. This is why some security vendors and architects pitch that it is safe to counter them with filtering solutions that don’t necessarily offer additional scalability. A ginormous HTTP POST flood The attack that challenged this theory occurred a few weeks ago, when one of our clients—a China-based lottery website—was the target of a HTTP POST flood attack, which peaked at a substantially high rate of 163,000RPS. Attack traffic in RPS (requests per second) As significant as this request count was, the real surprise came when we realized that the assault was also consuming bandwidth at 8.7 gigabits per second (!)—a record for an application layer attack and definitely the largest we had ever seen or even heard about up until that point. Attack traffic in Gbps (gigabits per second) Looking to understand how an application layer attack could reach such heights, we inspected the malicious POST requests. What we found was a script that randomly generated large files and attempted to upload (POST) them to the server. By doing so, the perpetrators were able to create a ginormous HTTP flood, consisting of extremely large content-length requests. These appeared legitimate, up until the TCP connections were established and the requests could be inspected by —our application layer DDoS mitigation solution. The attack campaign was launched from a botnet infected with a malware variant. From there, itwas accessing the website under the guise of a Baidu spider, as seen above. Overall, the attack traffic originated from 2,700 IP addresses. The bulk were located in China, as evidenced by the map below. Why 8.7 Gbps DDoS spells trouble for hybrid DDoS protection When taken out of context, an 8.7 Gbps attack may not seem like cause for concern—especially these days, when security service providers, , regularly share reports of 200, 300 and 400 Gbps assaults. However, these attacks are all network layer- they’re expected to be large. On the other hand, a multi-gigabit application layer assault is an unforeseen threat. As such, it can succeed where a much larger network layer attack would fail. This is because application layer traffic can only be filtered after the TCP connection has been established. Unless you are using an off-premise mitigation solution, this means that malicious requests are going to be allowed through your network pipe, which is a huge issue for multi-gig attacks. Acase in point are hybrid DDoS protection solutions, in which an off-premise service is deployed to counter network tier threats, but an customer-premises equipment (CPE) is used to mitigate application tier attacks. The bottleneck in hybrid DDoS protection topology While conceptually effective, the Achilles heel of this topology is network pipe size. For example, to successfully mitigate a ~9 Gb layer 7 attack—like the one described—a CPE would require a 10 Gb uplink. Otherwise, the network connection would simply get clogged with DDoS requests, which cannot be identified as such until they establish a connection with the appliance. An insufficient uplink in this situation would result in a denial of service, even if the appliance filters the requests after they go through the pipe. Granted, some of the larger organizations today do have a 10 Gb burst uplink. Still, perpetrators could easily ratchet up the attack size, either by initiating more requests or by utilizing additionalbotnet resources. Hence, the next attack could easily reach 12 or 15 Gbps, or more. Very few non-ISP organizations have the size of infrastructure required to mitigate attacks of that size on-premise. Furthermore, application layer attacks are easy to sustain. Recently we witnessed one that extended for over , while even ten days of burst creates a nightmare in overage fees. From a financial point-of-view, this is one of the main reasons why DDoS mitigation solutions exist—to offer cost-effective scalability as an alternative to paying for high commits and overages. The canary in the coal mine Experience has shown that effective DDoS methods are rarely an exception to the rule. As we speak, the aforementioned attacking botnet remains active and the technique used in the attack is still being employed. Furthermore, it is likely to become more pervasive as additional botnet operators discover its damage potential. The existence of these threats make another good case for off-premisemitigation solutions that terminate HTTP/S outside of the network perimeter. They are unrestricted by your network’s pipe size and are able to scale on-demand to filter any amount of application layer traffic. This is exactly what happened with the above mentioned 8.7 Gbps layer 7 assault, when our Website Protection was able to handle the specific HTTP flood attack vector automatically and out-of-the-box. Having said that, we do realize that some organizations are under regulatory obligation to terminate HTTPS encryption on-premise, and have no choice but to use mitigation appliances. If this is the case, our best advice is to consider upgrading your uplink so that it can at least counter attacks below 10 Gbps. One way or another, this assault is a reminder to consider scalability when strategizing defense plans against application layer attacks. Further details about the attack can be found on . About Imperva (NYSE:IMPV), is a leading provider of cyber security solutions that protectbusiness-critical data and applications. The company’s SecureSphere, Incapsula and Skyfence product lines enable organizations to discover assets and risks, protect information wherever it lives – in the cloud and on-premises – and comply with regulations. The Imperva Application Defense Center, a research team comprised of some of the world’s leading experts in data and application security, continually enhances Imperva products with up-to-the-minute threat intelligence, and publishes reports that provide insight and guidance on the latest threats and how to mitigate them. Imperva is headquartered in Redwood Shores, California Comments are closed
April 6, 2016 Security researchers and hackers are caught up in an endless game of cat and mouse, with threats constantly evolving to thwart even the most stalwart of defences. Traditional methods of combatting new threats, reliant on signature based approaches to detecting malicious files, URLs, or IP addresses, are failing to block more sophisticated attacks resulting in an overwhelming number of attacks slipping under the radar. Even the much acclaimed sandbox approach has recently come under attack, as hackers are finding innovative new ways to detect that code is running in a virtual environment and to lay dormant until released from captivity. It’s not just the tactics that have dramatically changed, so too has the nature of ‘end points’ themselves. Today they are just as likely to reside in the cloud or be a mobile or tablet owned by the employee, as a traditional laptop or PC. And as the IoT comes of age the number and nature of end points in need of protection could spiralout of control. The stark reality is that traditional security defences that use static signature-based methods to determine whether a file is malicious or benign are simply not up to the job. What’s more analysing the binary structure of suspected malicious code to identify similarities with different files or families of malware is only marginally more effective, since attackers can quickly adapt and create more variations on the theme that will render statistical, mathematical models almost as useless as a normal static signature. A new, more robust, disruptive approach that focuses on the actual core of malware, its behaviour – which cannot change as easily as its hash or other static indicators – is way overdue. A new Era of Endpoint Protection Enter the next generation of end point (NGEPP) solutions, which – like their cybercriminal adversaries – have dramatically evolved their modus operandi. Their emphasis is on a behaviour-based approach to malware detection which – unlikethe signature, or sandbox approach -is not content to concentrate solely on mitigation; but focuses instead on offering real-time prevention, detection and mitigation along with forensic analysis across the entire attack lifecycle. The ability to see what is running on an endpoint, and how every application or process is behaving, is key to combatting the detection problem. What’s more this analysis needs to happen at the scene of the crime, namely the end point itself. Like any disguise, it’s a lot easier to change your appearance than it is to change the way you act. By tracking the behaviour of a threat in real-time from the point of detection, to mitigation, remediation and forensic analysis, security teams are able to start to bring advanced malware and zero day exploit threats under control. Recognising the ‘Masters of Disguise’ So how does NGEPP work? A layer of pre-emptive protection initially stops existing known threats in their tracks at the point of entry, replacing thecapabilities traditionally provided by antivirus or host-based IPS. The sheer volume of new threats that surface daily, including new forms of malware, zero day exploits or insider threats using tools like Powershell to avoid detection, mean you need to go much deeper than simply protecting against known threats, to detecting previously unknown threats. New end point technology is capable of detecting these new, stealthy threats not by what they are, but by how they act, regardless of what disguises they might use to try and evade detection. Tackling these unknown, targeted attacks requires real-time monitoring and analysis of application and process behaviour as well as the ability to determine the context of the attack to minimise the possibility of false positives. This inspection needs to occur even when the user is offline to avoid the possibility of USB or other infected digital devices becoming the source for an attack. In this way, even attacks which have never been seenbefore can be detected and stopped at their source. However, to complete the task it’s vital to ensure that the final steps of mitigation and forensic analysis are performed in order to complete the whole process and prevent the possibility of any reoccurrence. In order to avoid any negative residual impact, the NGEPP should be capable of responding to an attack in a variety of different ways such as: quarantining a file, killing a process, disconnecting an infected machine from the network or shutting it down completely. This needs to be automated to ensure that it occurs before the threat has a chance to ‘phone home’ to a command and control server to deliver its payload, or move laterally. Rolling Back Time To ensure the network returns to its former state and doesn’t harbour any unwanted vestiges of the attackers visit such as modified files or an encrypted hard disk from a ransomware attack, the end point software should be capable of rolling back to a pre-attack status. Thefinal part of the puzzle is figuring out what caused the attack and that’s the forensics part. It’s vital to be able to quickly analyse the scale and scope of the attack, pinpointing who was targeted and with what type of threat. These learnings accelerate the remediation process and help organisations avoid a similar situation occurring further down the road. With the advent of new regulations like the EU Data Protection Regulations looming on the horizon, it has never been more important to secure and protect sensitive data. Businesses everywhere are waking up to the fact that legacy security approaches are becoming less and less effective against an arsenal of constantly evolving attacks by cybercriminals, nation states, and terrorist organizations. As the risks and regulatory fines escalate dramatically, a new generation of security companies are rising to the challenge and proving worthy adversaries to hackers. NGEPP promise to provide the mousetrap to put an end to theeternal cat and mouse game of one-upmanship that has dogged the security profession for far too long and to put security professionals back in control of their IT environment once again. About Tomer Weingarten Tomer co-founded , a next generation endpoint security company in 2013. He is responsible for the company’s direction, products, and services strategy. Before SentinelOne, Tomer led product development and strategy for the Toluna Group as a VP of Products. Prior to that he held several application security and consulting roles at various enterprises, and was CTO at Carambola Media. Comments are closed
April 5, 2016 Never before has Mac OS X been as heavily targeted by cybercriminals as now. Whereas infections like browser hijackers and ad-serving malware aren’t newcomers on the Mac arena, crypto ransomware appears to be making first baby steps toward the invasion of this huge niche. The term denotes a cluster of malicious programs that stealthily infiltrate into computers, encode the victim’s personal files and extort money, usually Bitcoins, in exchange for a secret decryption key. Windows users have been suffering from file-encrypting Trojan assaults for years, with the early incidents recorded back in 2011. As opposed to that, Apple’s strong focus on code verification and elaborate security mechanisms held back the nastiest of attacks. Maintaining the status quo, however, turned out to be a nontrivial challenge. Ironically enough, it is white hat researchers who pioneered in creating Mac ransomware, and perpetrators simply followed suit. A Wake-Up Call In November 2015, aBrazilian security enthusiast Rafael Salema Marques demonstrated that Mac OS X isn’t bulletproof against ransomware plagues. He spread the word about his proof-of-concept where a program he dubbed Mabouia was able to get around the defenses of a Mac machine and wreak havoc with files in a matter of minutes. The PoC infection is written in C++ and applies 32 rounds of XTEA block cipher to encrypt data and thereby render it inaccessible. Just like real-world ransomware, it generates a 128-bit private key, transmits it to a C2 server and recommends a sleek recovery service requiring a fee. Marques also added some ransom pricing flexibility to the mix, playfully offering three different payment models to hypothetical targets. The “Not as Important Plan” implies the decryption of 20 files and a handshake for $50; the “Important Plan” presupposes the recovery of 100 files plus a hug for $70, and the “VIP Plan” guarantees the decoding of all files and a kiss as a bonus for $100. All of theabove go with “lifetime support” which is particularly funny. Mabouia is executed when a Mac user extracts a ZIP archive, which can be delivered over a phishing email disguised as a missed delivery notification, a payroll or similar eye-catching subject. Since the app only targets files stored in the User folder, it can do without elevated privileges to make changes to data. All in all, this PoC should have raised some flags because it was the first viable crypto malware tailored for Mac. The author provided his full code to Apple and Symantec so that the security researchers could prep countermeasures for likely attacks that aren’t purely educational. The lesson, however, hasn’t been learned, and the bad guys ended up outsmarting the industry. The Menace Gets Loose Things started getting out of hand as the first real-world Mac ransomware emerged in early March 2016. Referred to as KeRanger, the strain initially circulated over a poisoned downloader of Transmission 2.90, an edition ofa popular open-source BitTorrent client compatible with Mac OS X. The hackers had managed to compromise the official Transmission web page and replace the legit application’s DMG file with a malicious loader. Consequently, everyone who installed the aforementioned version ended up catching the ransomware. Unimpeded distribution of the KeRanger app stemmed from the fact that it was signed with a valid Mac developer certificate. Apple’s Gatekeeper, therefore, didn’t identify or block it on the early stage of the campaign. For some reason, the infection remains in a dormant state for three days after its code is executed on a target Mac box. Then, it traverses the hard drive in order to spot files matching a certain predefined range of extensions. It looks for personal documents, images, videos, databases and other potentially important data. KeRanger continues the onslaught by reaching out to its Command & Control via The Onion Router technology and obtaining a unique encryption key. Thevictim’s files ultimately become encrypted with 2048-bit RSA algorithm. This crypto is asymmetric, which means that the criminals’ server is the only place keeping the private decryption key. The ransomware displays a document named README_FOR_DECRYPT.txt, which instructs the infected Mac user on how to recover the data. In particular, the victim needs to send 1 BTC, or around $400, to redeem what’s locked. KeRanger operators only accept Bitcoins, because it guarantees the anonymity of payment transactions and helps them evade tracking by the law enforcement. To prove that the deal is real, the scammers can decrypt one file for free. To their credit, Apple withdrew the rogue app development certificate shortly after the malicious campaign commenced. KeRanger in its original form and shape is, therefore, unable to bypass Gatekeeper and run on Mac machines at this point. The vendor of the Transmission applet promptly adopted measures as well, cleaning up their website from malware andposting a notification about the necessity of an immediate upgrade to a safe version 2.92. And yet, the fact that the incident took place keeps a question mark hanging over the efficiency of ransomware response mechanisms. Evolution of Mac Ransomware In fact, there are other breeds of Mac ransomware at large, but those are browser lockers rather than crypto viruses, and the damage isn’t nearly as high. The infamous FBI MoneyPak malware affects Safari on infected Macs by displaying a persistent page that impersonates the FBI. The warning message contains false accusations of illegal user activity such as a violation of copyright and distribution of prohibited adult content. It also says that all file were encrypted, but that’s total bluff. All it takes to resolve the issue is reset Safari. As opposed to ridiculously primitive browser lockers, the Mabouia proof-of-concept and KeRanger are the first samples of Mac ransomware code that actually encrypts victims’ files. As it turned out,Apple’s security barriers aren’t much of an insurmountable obstacle for cybercriminals. This obvious progress in attack vectors and techniques gives us a glimpse of what the future holds: ransomware may start targeting Mac OS X and will quite likely become a number one security concern for Mac aficionados in the near future. About David Balaban David Balaban is a computer security researcher with over 10 years of experience in malware analysis and antivirus software evaluation. David runs the project which presents expert opinions on the contemporary information security matters, including social engineering, penetration testing, threat intelligence, online privacy and white hat hacking. As part of his work at Privacy-PC, Mr. Balaban has interviewed such security celebrities as Dave Kennedy, Jay Jacobs and Robert David Steele to get firsthand perspectives on hot InfoSec issues. David has a strong malware troubleshooting background, with the recent focus on ransomware countermeasures.Comments are closed
April 5, 2016 The threat landscape in 2016 is almost completely unrecognisable from that of ten years ago. Today’s landscape is populated by actors who are well resourced, highly determined and increasingly sophisticated, not to mention motivated by anything from ideology (hacktivists and cyber terrorists), geopolitical gain (state-sponsored hackers) or, most popularly, money. While there are still the worms and viruses of old popping up, most cyber criminals have all but abandoned these vectors in favour of more targeted, covert and successful attacks. Targeted attacks and Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) first surfaced publically in around 2010, when the so-called Operation Aurora attacks on Google and others foreshadowed the firm’s exit from China. Stuxnet quickly followed and suddenly the floodgates were open. Typically beginning with a “spear phishing” email or social media message using social engineering techniques, malware is the triggered to download onto the system. Themalware will quietly load in the background without the user’s knowledge, escalating privileges inside the network until it finds the data it’s looking for. Attackers spend time researching their targets on the internet to hone their phishing lures, and are increasingly zeroing in on IT administrators, whose privileged accounts will give them unlimited access. They also spend time researching possible vulnerabilities on the system so that the malware can bypassing existing defences. The cybercriminal underground that sits beneath all of this on the “Dark Web” of anonymisation networks like Tor and I2P and private forums is a immense, enigmatic beast. Estimates have put its size between 4-500 times the size of the “surface” web. There cybercriminals buy and sell stolen credit cards, identities, exploit kits and other attack tools which have democratized the ability to launch sophisticated targeted campaigns. The fact that enterprises are now hugely more exposed to such threats through aflood of new vulnerabilities appearing every month, and through an explosion of new cloud services and applications, makes the bad guys’ jobs even easier. That organisations have to secure these increasingly complex environments with minimal budget is just the icing on the cake. Yet the stakes are higher than ever. The average cost of a data breach in 2015, up 23% in just two years. The repercussions are immense: loss of brand and shareholder value, damage to customer loyalty, legal costs, financial penalties, and remediation and clean-up costs to name but a few. Target that losses related to its massive breach totalled $148m, a staggering amount but one that just begins to scratch the surface. A losing battle? Given the size, scale and sheer organisation of the cybercrime underground – notwithstanding the threat from state-sponsored attackers and hacktivists – it’s not surprising that the security industry is continuously on the back foot. Its adversaries are more agile, and have theelement of surprise and the cloak of anonymity on their side. Slowly the security industry has adapted – building new solutions which moved away from the old static AV signature-based model. Firstly, by developing heuristics detection – which spotted malware based on characteristics in its code – and also through behavioural-based techniques. There’s also been a shift to cloud-based threat prevention systems which stop or block threats before they hit the network. The new generation of tools pioneered by the likes of FireEye and Trend Micro are designed to stop those all-important zero-day threats often used in targeted attacks – that is, those which exploit as-yet-unseen flaws. Sandboxing executes an unknown threat in a virtual environment in near-realtime to see if it’s dangerous or not. Security vendors have also been developing tools which leverage big data analysis of customer data and threats in the wild to identify and correlate new malware. Such is the sheer volume of threatsthat these companies need vast data centers and computing power to even stay on a par with the cybercriminals. Security is broken Yet, after all that investment software security vendors still admit that the best security stance for a CSO today is to accept that they have already been breached. If a hacker is determined enough they will get into your organisation. The best the industry can do is to provide systems which try to spot when this has happened as soon as possible in an effort to minimise the risk of data loss. It is easy to see why organisations are reducing their security budgets when security software clearly is clearly broken. Did you know: Your pc/mobile device can be compromised just by visiting a malicious webpage? Targeted attacks go undetected for months or even years Around are clicked on, irrespective of volume Opening a malicious PDF or Word attachment could lead to a covert, multi-year data breach The increased 56% in 2015 Apple products are not immune. There arehundreds of thousands of new malware strains discovered every day. The pace of malware creation is increasing all the time: the volume of malware found last year accounts for one third of all malware ever written. From this is it easy to see why security is broken. Organisations need to find a new way of stopping these attacks, and if software-based solutions aren’t working then it is time for stronger, more resilient hardware-based solutions. About Cesare Garlati Chief security Strategist, Cesare is an internationally renowned leader in mobile and cloud security. He is the former Vice President of mobile security at Trend Micro and Co-chair of the Mobile Working Group at Cloud Security Alliance. The prpl Foundation is an open-source, community-driven, collaborative, non-profit foundation supporting the next gen connected devices industry that supports and provides guidance for a hardware-led security approach to IoT. Comments are closed
April 4, 2016 In a world of technological dependence, I like most other professionals suffer from increasing degrees of paranoia, and fear that my person, presence, and logical footprint may be subject to some form of compromise, interception, or manipulation from any one of many exposures – a Paranoid State which has driven my acquisition and use of multiples of security defences with which I reduce my surface of attack from State-Sponsored invaders of all colours be they Chinese driven by Titan Rain type events, American under the banner of Prism; or any other manifesting out of the criminal-ventures which could have impact on my personal, and financial wellbeing. So, having established that I am suffering from what I feel is an informed state of healthy paranoia, I have taken a number of steps to secure my operational use of technology by employment of a number of easy to use solutions which underpin a desired level of a safe technological lifestyle encompassing: Mobility > e-Mail >Telephony > Messaging To accommodate a level of serenity, I have evolved usage of, or recommend the following applications and tools, and start the conversation with focus on securing mobile telephony, repressing opportunities for all to enable of modicum of security into the life of the common man [and woman] when they make that call: Mobile Telephony: On occasions where there is need to ensure that the mobile calls I make from my Cell Phone are subject to enhancement of security, over the basic service, I employ the Blackphone solution out of the Silent Circle stable [This security enhancement comes in two offerings. Number 1 being hardware based device of the Blackphone cell-phone, fully enabled with their own modified circuitry, chipset, and in-built security functionality. Option 2 is in the form of a localised software installation on your own cell-phone, which in my case is an IPhone 6s. Whilst in both cases the user can make insecure none-encrypted calls to Granny, the keyfeature is, where the conversation is sensitive the Blackphone user may go secure and invoke the required level of VPN encapsulation to protect conversations. This providing a Black-to-Black fully fledged end-to-end secure communications channel; or Black-to-None–Black end device, which would be secured to the point of the Silent Circle Server presence only, with the onward unsecured channel out of that environment being delivered to the none complaint none Blackphone device – but then here half security is better than none. This service works well, is low cost at around $10 per month, is stable and represents for me a very good ROI. e-Mail Security: When it comes to security of a cross-platform e-Mail system, with focus on all users who deserve to have the choice of using a mail platform that enables them with a level of defence without the need to get too tech. Here I often recommend Protonmail [Protonmail is service delivered out of Switzerland, and serves up the functionality toaccommodate various levels of security and of course encryption. As with Blackphone Protonmail-to-Protonmail provides a fully secured channel between service enabled users. However, with Protonmail-to-none Protonmail environment, again as with the Blackphone the second leg of the logical journey is insecure. But here the user may impose a higher level of security by selecting additional levels of encrypted control which require the recipient to enter a password to decrypt the secured content. But this solution goes further and also allows the sender to set time-to-live rules against the communication, and to label the type of communication [e.g. Business, or Private etc.]. At Fig 1 below shows some of the key features of the mail application in action: Fig 1: Secure Messaging: We all utilise text messaging from time to time, and in this space my solution of choice comes in the guise of Wickr which supports iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux 32 & 64 bit, and of course Android [Again here wehave a very capable tool which enhances the security profile of this common activity by encryption, as well as other supporting key security features such as time-to-live, and Secure Shredding. Easy to use, and is also available for use in the corporate space with their Enterprise solution – great features, and highly recommended. [See below Fig 2] Fig 2 – Wickr Mobility and the VPN: Beit personal, or business related, we all encounter the dangers of connecting to public access points in hotels, airports, and of course on public transport. On such occasions as this, as soon as we go promiscuous over Wi-Fi, our communications are potentially open to man-in-the-middle attacks which can sniff out our passwords, and other such private/personal details. It is in this space my personal option of choice is to employ the very robust solution IPVanish [to secure my channels before I touch any potentially hostile, open link [and trust me I know having been compromised myself at time of an urgentrequirements]. IPVanish is an easy to use security tool which mitigates what can be a significant and dangerous exposure when embarking on travels. Se Fig 3. Fig 3 The above are just a few tools which are available to be used by even the most none-tech-savvy person who wishes to implement a tad of security to protect their logical-life. It may not be the ultimate desire of everyone to be Paranoid, but in my cases it does help with relaxation at night. About Professor John Walker Visiting Professor at the School of Science and Technology at Nottingham Trent University (NTU), Visiting Professor/Lecturer at the University of Slavonia [to 2015], Independent Consultant, Practicing Expert Witness, ENISA CEI Listed Expert, Editorial Member of the Cyber Security Research Institute (CRSI), Fellow of the British Computer Society (BCS), Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (RSA), Board Advisor to the Digital Trust, Writer for SC Magazine UK, Originator of DarkWeb Threat Intelligence, CSIRT,Attack Remediation and Cyber Training Service/Platform, Accreditation Assessor and Academic Practitioner and Accredited Advisor to the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences in the area of Digital/Cyber Forensics. Twitter: John Walker is also our Expert Panel member. To find out more about our panel members visit the page. Comments are closed
April 4, 2016 That the CMS Wordpress is a common choice in blog platforms everybody knows, but what we see is that this use most of the time is implemented with no security countermeasures (according to the OWASP Top Ten 2013 – The Ten Most Critical Web Application Security Risks, the category Security Misconfiguration is in the fifth position), even when the website was already compromised before. To avoid some of the threats and increase the security level we inform below some of the best practices in hardening of CMS Wordpress: Use strong passwords: with letters, numbers and special characters, and longer than 12 characters. Is important to avoid to use common informations about yourself like your birthday or something related and also words found in a conventional dictionary even if it is in another language. Avoid to use out of date and/or unknown (with no recommendation) plugins and themes, or that was obtained through piracy (commonly used to spread web malwares). Also search ifit has a and if you found any of your plugins or themes in this list and don’t have pack/update after the date shown, deactivate it as soon as possible. Also is possible to configure automatized update on the configuration file of Wordpress, more details access . Keep daily or weekly (or the period of your choice) backup routines (automatically) that store the files in other server (remote), try to use sftp or SSH to proceed the transfer of this – . Put your website behind of a WAF (), that will analyse all the HTTP requests (often GET and POST) and blockade the bad ones (that matched in a malicious network signature). A well known open source WAF is the Apache ModSecurity. Put script verification/detection mechanisms in all the comments text boxes and subscribe newsletter or contact form to avoid SPAM incidents by the website. Adds blank index.php within of the directories, because is common to host the website in shared server which isn’t possible personalize the web serviceconfiguration and the directory listing option is often enabled. Normally creates this file in the directories “wp-includes”, “wp-content”, “wp-content/plugins”, “wp-content/themes” and “wp-content/uploads”. Put digital certificate in all the pages of your website (HTTPS, prefer TLS order than SSL v3.0 (CVE-2014-3566)) both publicly accessible and restricted. More details . Avoid to use more than one website within an account (commonly in Plesk or cPanel systems), because if only one was compromised the invasion will spread to the others and this security incident will have a huge impact in all your business. About Icaro Torres Icaro Torres is a technologist of network computer and postgraduate in information security, that works in the HostDime Brazil with technical support and audit/security of the systems hosted in Datacenters of the company. He is contributing in the OWASP with translation projects and in the chapter in his city. He continuously studies about web applicationsecurity, pentest and malware analysis. Comments are closed
April 1, 2016 The rapid development of drone technology and growing awareness of their potential threat has lead to a burgeoning drone detection market. Technology providers offer reliable detection mechanisms, but now organizations face a new challenge: How do you respond to an alert? Each drone countermeasure has its own pros and cons, and choosing the right one is no easy matter. Just as there are multiple drone detection mechanisms, there are also multiple drone countermeasures. When creating a drone response plan, organizations have to take into account legalities associated with the airspace around them, as well as the feasibility and pros and cons of each countermeasure. No single response is ideal for every threat or even every organization within a single industry. Counter-drone measures can be divided into three categories: 1. Regulation, Manufacturing Standards (Registration, License Plates, Pilot License, etc.) This approach involves using a drone’s registration andlicense plates to report the pilot. A drone detection system should feature a camera that records every intruding drone. The recording is saved with all the other data, including date and time. The recording and data can be recalled at any time, such as for investigative purposes. This countermeasure offers a number of advantages. It allows the organization to identify the owner and, because the incident is addressed through the authorities, there is more transparency and less liability for the reporting organization. It also means fewer pilot failures because the drone isn’t directly attacked. Of course, this approach is only feasible if the drone is registered and has license plates. This is unlikely to be the case in high-risk scenarios involving terrorists or criminals. No-Fly Zones/Geo-Fencing A geo-fence is a virtual barrier that prevents drones from flying in defined areas. A software program defines the boundaries of a no-fly zone via global positioning system (GPS) or radiofrequency identification (RFID). The primary advantage of geo-fencing is that it can reduce the risk of unintended threats by preventing drones from entering the no-fly zone. However, not all drones use this technology, it can be circumvented and there are several other approaches that make it hard to use reliably today. 2. Passive measures Passive measures involve reducing the threat posed by the presence of a drone without actually disrupting the drone. If the drone is detected on time you can: send security personal to intercept the drone, lead people to safety, block the drone’s view, lock cell doors and gates in the case of a correctional facility, and search the site for dropped objects. This approach offers several advantages. Depending on the application, it can be highly effective. It doesn’t require approval from authorities and can be combined with the countermeasures previously mentioned. It reduces the risk of someone getting hurt as a result of a crash. However, thereinlies this countermeasure’s number one disadvantage: The drone is not stopped. A dangerous payload may still be delivered and, in the meantime, productivity takes a hit as you attempt to mitigate the risk to your people and other assets. 3. Active measures Active measures physically stop the detected drone. This is their number one advantage. In most cases when drones are stopped they present a crash risk, which can cause physical harm and even fatalities, especially in heavily populated areas. Another drawback is that in most countries these can only be used by law-enforcement in the case of an imminent threat. Active Countermeasures include: Jammer, Spoofer Jamming or spoofing a drone’s radio connection or GPS is currently the most practicable and effective active countermeasure which will cause the drone to either return to its start position, sheer away, land or crash. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell until you do it. This drone countermeasure can also affect other radio andGPS connections in the vicinity and is difficult to execute with drones in auto pilot mode. It’s also subject to approval by your local authorities. However, jamming or spoofing does offer an additional advantage beyond taking down the drone: It leaves open the possibility of eventually tracking down the pilot. Firearms, electromagnetic pulse (EMP), laser You can also choose to take down intruding drones using firearms, EMP or laser. In this case, the drone is destroyed and crashes. Firearms are only effective at low range, so they have minimal use cases, and are subject to approval by your local authorities – as well as EMPs and lasers. These are military technologies and therefore not economically viable. Counter-Drone Taking down an intruding drone with a counter-drone reduces the risk of a crash. However, it requires having a competent pilot at the ready, 24/7 to respond to intruders. In addition, the counter-drone must be extremely powerful. Both of these factors make thiscountermeasure cost prohibitive for most organizations. Net canon The final active countermeasure offers the benefit of stopping intruding drones without minimal crash risk. It involves shooting a net over the drone from the ground with a net cannon. Unfortunately, this approach also offers the greatest disadvantages in that it is only effective at low range and has a low success rate. As you can see, choosing the most effective drone countermeasure is no easy task. However, just as the most effective drone detection systems combine detection methods to ensure accuracy under varying conditions and to reduce false positives, they should also offer you flexibility in deploying a variety of drone countermeasures. Organizations should also look for a provider who will serve as a consultative partner in identifying the appropriate countermeasure for your use cases. About Jörg Lamprecht01 CEO, Co-Founder, In 1996, while still studying maths and computer sciences at the University ofKassel, Jörg Lamprecht set up his first company, Only Solutions GmbH, with Rene Seeber and another fellow-student. The software company really lived up to its name: one of the products it developed was the first search engine for pictures on the internet, which was used – among other things – to trace missing children. Only Solutions was later renamed Cobion and now belongs to IBM. In 2006, Jörg founded Qitera. In 2011, he discovered the emerging market for drones and responded by founding Aibotix, a company that produces unmanned aircraft for professional use by surveyors and engineers. Aibotix was sold to the Hexagon group from Sweden in February 2014. At Dedrone, Jörg uses his expertise as founder and manager for leading the areas business development, sales and marketing. His special focus is on setting up international partner and distribution networks.
March 30, 2016 Notes from the Battlefield: Cybercriminals vs. Business Travelers and How to Keep Your Data Safe It used to be that a business trip was just a business trip, complete with pay-per-view TV in bed, tiny bottles of shampoo and room service for anyone feeling extravagant. Yet in today’s era of global business travel, mobile devices, and ever-more-sensitive digital data, a seemingly innocuous stay in a hotel could result in disastrous security breaches for business travelers and the companies they represent. What are the security concerns currently affecting executive travelers, and how did they creep undetected into the hospitality industry to muck up a relatively good thing? More importantly, what can executives and security professionals do to fight back? Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy following a spate of cyber attacks that targeted executive-level guests at luxury hotels in Asia. First recorded in 2007, the attacks came to light more fully a few years later whenresearchers got reports about a cluster of customer infections. Here’s how it works: Attackers infiltrate hotel WiFi networks and fool users into downloading malicious software that looks like a bona fide software update. Once the user downloads the virus, an advanced key-logging tool is installed that enables the hackers to track passwords. They relentlessly spearphish specific targets in order to compromise systems and use a P2P campaign to infect as many victims as possible. To evade detection, the hackers delete their tools from the hotel network after the operation is finished. The original DarkHotel attacks were striking due to their sophistication and the suggestion of a state-sponsored campaign. High-profile executives from businesses, government agencies and NGOs were among the targets, with located in Japan, Taiwan, China, Russia and South Korea. Researchers believe that the initial DarkHotel campaign was likely the work of a nation-state campaign, with signs that itmay have originated in South Korea. Not Just for the 1% Anymore: DarkHotel For the Rest of Us The cloak and dagger nature of the original DarkHotel campaign and its possible tie-in to government spying make it all too easy for more run-of-the-mill companies and executives to continue along their merry way, harboring the illusion that DarkHotel won’t affect them. Sadly, that’s simply not the case. Cyber attacks on luxury hotels have expanded greatly since they were first discovered, potentially numbering in the thousands, among hundreds of hotels worldwide. Starwood Hotels became a recent casualty of cybercrime late last year when , enabling unauthorized parties to access payment card data of customers. Corporate executives with valuable personal assets make enticing targets for hotel hackers. However, cyber criminals often set their sights on a bigger target: the victim’s corporate assets. It’s easy to see how enterprise data is at risk given that hackers can gain access toeverything on a victim’s mobile devices. They can also install malware targeting files, photos, built-in cameras and microphones, enabling a level of cybercrime unthinkable in the past. And don’t forget that a hotel’s reservation database and keycard system can provide useful access to customer information. Not surprisingly, a new wave of cyber criminals has turned hotel hacking into a veritable free for all, often lying in wait to cherry-pick their targets. There are businesses hacking competitors, governments hacking businesses, and governments hacking each other. And let’s not forget regular old cyber thieves who are simply out to make a buck. As malevolent as it may seem, DarkHotel is a part of a digital ecosystem and the outgrowth of new ways of computing. What trends in today’s technology landscape have allowed them to take root? The Evolving Digital Landscape: DarkHotel 2.0 Two key technology trends have emerged that account for much of the DarkHotel phenomenon and explainwhy business travelers and their enterprise endpoints are exposed to significant security risks. First, executive travelers are connecting to data and services using their own mobile devices. This widespread practice has increased hacking possibilities exponentially, with enterprise data especially at risk as executives work and check in with their corporate offices from the road. Not only do users often have several devices – smartphones, tablets, laptops, and wearables – but they’re weakly protected and regularly in use. They also handle large volumes of increasingly sensitive data. This is alarming since hackers can extract unencrypted or weakly encrypted data from devices, and even modify a device to obstruct security measures. The second trend in mobile computing presents a much bigger problem and involves executives using cellular or public WiFi networks rather than corporate networks. By taking data outside of corporate firewalls/IPS/NAS or DOS network protection, users areincurring risks to not only their own devices, but to others connected to the same business network. Whether hotels own and operate their network infrastructure or use a managed services firm, most carry little to no security and don’t encrypt their public networks. Sometimes hotels also have routers susceptible to easy hacking. Hackers take advantage of the fact that every wireless device is designed to trust the network to which it connects. The threat is real: , resulting in exposure to commjacking of an estimated 10,000,000 laptops. Accordingly, “man-in-the-middle” attacks where hackers lure users to connect to fake public or cellular WiFi networks have become the preferred strategy for so-called “commjackers” that target hotels and other public spaces such as coffee shops and airports. Whereas hijacking a public WiFi or cellular network was once time consuming, complex, exorbitant, big and bulky, the tools of the hacking trade have gotten simpler, cheaper, smaller and morepowerful. Using inexpensive open source tools and widely available network equipment, even novice hackers can now easily commit man-in-the-middle attacks. Videos available on YouTube, attracting millions of views, describe the steps needed to accomplish this, with the tools needed to commjack networks now being sold online for nominal cost. With the means so simple and the rewards so rich, it’s no surprise that DarkHotel have taken off. Where does this leave business executives who have sensitive data to protect? Fighting Back: Security Strategies to Help Executive Travelers Stay in the Game There are various common sense strategies that executive travelers can adopt to safeguard their mobile devices. All devices should be equipped with anti-malware and anti-virus solutions and include password protection, encryption, data backup and remote data wipe capabilities. Other smart protective measures include using a VPN or IPSec and paying attention to SSL certificates when conductingsensitive, online activity. Multi-factor authentication with one-time use tokens are a good safeguard and users should always delete saved public networks. It’s also important that travelers double-check update alerts that pop up on their computer during hotel stays. Enterprise IT departments can also play a role in ensuring digital security. Executives should outline their travel plans to their IT personnel, who may have access to intelligence on cyber threats. Security professionals can also check devices upon the executive’s return for signs of hacking, and implement training to help executives minimize security risks while traveling. Still, the above strategies can only do so much absent safe WiFi and cellular connectivity. Fortunately, enterprises can also take steps to secure the network used by executives who are on the road. To accomplish this, companies need comprehensive network protection equivalent to a corporate Firewalls/IPS/NAS. Enterprise IT departments canpurchase and deploy such solutions that operate in conjunction with existing anti-malware solutions. Telcos and MSSPs are increasingly doing the same to provide network-level security on top of their core business services, software installation and maintenance. Using monitoring solutions available on the market, users can install a software agent on their mobile devices to detect malicious networks in real-time and prevent devices from connecting to compromised hotspots. Such security packages can deliver real-time threat maps and enable companies to plan their response protocols. Enterprise security solutions are also available to protect against remote-based commjacking, where hackers remotely take control over routers and cellular base stations to access voice and data traffic. Help for Those Who Help Themselves Many of the original DarkHotel techniques remain in use today, with the addition of some new strategies. Like bedbugs, hackers are evolving alongside the strategiesdesigned thwart them. Fortunately, while the risks posed to business travelers by DarkHotel are alarming, it is possible to secure data and prevent potentially astronomical losses to corporate data, assets and IP. What can’t be mitigated are the risks posed by inaction, where business travelers and their companies simply hope for the best and cross their fingers that hackers won’t hit them. In today’s mobile-first world, executive travelers who haven’t been hit already probably will be soon. About Dror Liwer Chief Security Officer, Dror is the co-founder and Chief Security Officer of Coronet. He has extensive management, business development and technological experience building and leading technology-centric, client-facing organizations. As a senior technology executive, he has a proven track record of building organizations, motivating teams, and working with senior non-technology executives, applying his unique blend of strategic direction-setting and tactical executioncapabilities.
March 30, 2016 The kerfuffle over naming of vulnerabilities like Badlock and ShellShock misses the mark on why this is a good thing for the industry. Given the sheer volume and scale of the application security problem companies face today, anything that draws attention to the seriousness of the state we’re in is a good thing. I’d argue that the moniker ‘Heartbleed’ created so much buzz that it forced companies to evaluate their own exposure because Boards and senior management had heard of it and were asking. Would the same be true if it were simply known as CVE-2014-0160? Of course, we don’t want to take this so far that the power of the naming gets oversaturated, like your favorite song on heavy radio rotation. It is almost impossible to comprehend why application security isn’t getting more attention. In 2014 alone, there were eight major breaches through the application layer, resulting in more than 450 million personal or financial records stolen. And we aren’t talking aboutsmall breaches at companies no one has heard of. Target, JPMorgan Chase, Community Health and TalkTalk are four examples of companies that have suffered breaches due to vulnerabilities in software. With such high-profile breaches, you would think more people would be paying attention. And if naming serious vulnerabilities in a memorable way helps achieve this then that’s a benefit for the whole industry. Chris Wysopal, CTO, Veracode is a leader in securing web, mobile and third-party applications for the world’s largest global enterprises. By enabling organizations to rapidly identify and remediate application-layer threats before cyberattackers can exploit them, Veracode helps enterprises speed their innovations to market – without compromising security.Veracode’s powerful cloud-based platform, deep security expertise and systematic, policy-based approach provide enterprises with a simpler and more scalable way to reduce application-layer risk across their global softwareinfrastructures.Veracode serves hundreds of customers across a wide range of industries, including nearly one-third of the Fortune 100, three of the top four U.S. commercial banks and more than 20 of Forbes’ 100 Most Valuable Brands. Comments are closed
March 30, 2016 Major web browsers are to consider blocking the cryptographic hash function Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA)-1 from as early as June this year as it becomes increasingly vulnerable to forgery attacks. In light of this Oscar Arean, technical operations manager of disaster recovery provider , advises businesses to act now in order to protect customer data. The SHA algorithm was developed by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to be used when digitally signing signatures. In effect, it acts as a ‘fingerprint’ making it easy to tell if a document has been modified. Until recently, many believed the complex algorithm would be immune from hackers due to the significant costs of attacking SHA-1. However, with the advent of increasingly affordable cloud computing, this figure has dropped drastically, as Arean explains: “Around three years ago, researchers estimated that a practical attack against SHA-1 would cost around $700,000 using commercial cloudcomputing services. But recently researchers estimated that this could cost between renting the Amazon EC2 cloud platform – well within the reach of the cyber criminal’s budget. Because of the increased danger of malicious tampering with SHA-1 encrypted documents, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla have decided to stop trusting SHA-1 through their respective web browsers, with actions potentially being taken to block access by as early as this summer (June 2016). “This will obviously have a big impact on those businesses still using SHA-1. Some websites’ password verification, proof-of-work and message integrity processes are still based on the SHA-1 algorithm, meaning that sensitive customer information is at significant risk from dangerous cyber-attacks. Moreover, with the major web browsers snubbing SHA-1 certificates, potential visitors would be blocked or refused access if trying to visit a SHA-1 encrypted site. The results are thus either a breakdown of trust from a website’s users,or a complete lack of traffic due to incompatibility with modern browsers. Clearly, both are severely damaging to any website’s business and so website managers need to act quickly to ensure their encryption methods are up to date, secure and trusted by both consumers and web browsers.” Thankfully, Arean explains, upgrading SHA-1 to SHA-256 can alleviate these security and compatibility concerns. The process can be straightforward as well, and rests upon working with a strong certificate provider and educating a user base about these changes: “Organisations looking to upgrade their website’s encryption services need only to contact their certificate provider and purchase the SHA-256 certification. That’s really it – the provider can make the necessary encryption changes and sign off, as an independent third party, that your site’s hashing algorithm is legitimate. “When educating your users about this change, the situation can become more complicated. Old browsers or operating systems,such as Windows XP SP2, do not support SHA-2. As such, websites need to be clear that after the upgrade, users will need to use new browsers, such as Firefox, which are still compatible with their hardware while supporting the secure SHA-256.” Arean concluded: “Websites that are yet to upgrade to the SHA-256 model need to act quickly – a failure to move away from SHA-1 could mean the end for sites using the now insecure hashing algorithm. It’s imperative businesses action this now by making the necessary upgrades.” About Databarracks provides ultra-secure, award winning Disaster Recovery, Backup and Infrastructure services from UK-based, ex-military data centres. Databarracks is certified by the Cloud Industry Forum, ISO 27001 certified for Information Security and has been named as a “Niche Player” in Gartner’s 2015 Magic Quadrant for DRaaS. Comments are closed
March 29, 2016 USB Thief, a new threat to data, is capable of stealthy attacks against air-gapped systems and also well protected against detection and reverse-engineering. researchers have discovered a new data-stealing Trojan malware, detected by ESET as Win32/PSW.Stealer.NAI and dubbed USB Thief. This malware exclusively uses USB devices for propagation, without leaving any evidence on the compromised computer. Its creators have also employed special mechanisms to protect the malware from being reproduced or copied, which makes it even harder to detect and analyze. “It seems that this malware was created for targeted attacks on systems isolated from the internet,” comments Tomáš Gardoň, ESET Malware Analyst. The fact that USB Thief is run from a USB removable device means that it leaves no traces, and thus, victims don’t even notice that their data were stolen. Another feature – and one that makes USB Thief unusual – is that it is bound to a single USB device which prevents it fromleaking from the target systems. On top of all that, USB Thief has sophisticated implementation of multi-staged encryption that is also bound to features of the USB device hosting it. That makes USB Thief very difficult to detect and analyze. USB Thief can be stored as a plugin source of portable applications or as just a library – DLL – used by the portable application. Therefore, whenever such an application is executed, the malware will also be run in the background. “This is not a very common way to trick users, but very dangerous. People should understand the risks associated with USB storage devices obtained from sources that may not be trustworthy,” warns Tomáš Gardoň. Additional details about the USB Thief Trojan can be found with Tomáš Gardoň or in a on ESET’s official IT security blog, WeLiveSecurity.com. About ESET Since 1987, has been developing security software that now helps over 100 million users to Enjoy Safer Technology. Its broad security product portfoliocovers all popular platforms and provides businesses and consumers around the world with the perfect balance of performance and proactive protection. The company has a global sales network covering 180 countries, and regional offices in Bratislava, San Diego, Singapore and Buenos Aires. Comments are closed
March 29, 2016 Over the last decade we’ve seen a significant increase in mobile technology and it is now becoming the heart of customer experience; forcing retailers to figure out how the digital and physical relationships can work together. Retailers must now decide whether to equip their personnel with mobile devices, introduce more self-service kiosks or expand mobile technology even further; all in the aid of delivering a personalised approach and improving the in-store experience for shoppers. So how has mobility become so important and where it will need to go to meet the expectations of consumers? Rise in mobility It is considered by the end of 2016 more consumers will be browsing on mobile devices than on traditional computers for the very first time. This trend has greatly increased since smartphones first appeared ten years ago and has encouraged consumers to expect the same level of engagement from their retailers. Some retailers have taken this on board, resulting in a riseof instore mobility, but most haven’t. Leaving customers wanting more; a recent study found 93 per cent of consumers would like to see more stores using instore mobile technology, highlighting its lack of uptake so far. Impact on customer experience So far the rise of mobility has seen a significant impact on customer experience. 73 per cent of consumers feel retailers which offer instore mobile technology provide superior customer service, with a further 64 per cent more likely to shop at a retailer which provided instore mobile technology. This highlights how increasing mobility in store is having a positive impact on customer experience; which will soon result in increased satisfaction for shoppers, eventually driving sales. What the future holds As highlighted, one element of the future which is guaranteed is that shoppers expect to see more retailers using instore mobile technology. However retailers must understand the type of technology to implement and consider whatrequirements shoppers of the future will have. 65 per cent of consumers are keen to see instore mobile technology that can order online if a product is not available. This is an interesting reverse to what most consider as the normal omnichannel approach of ordering online and collecting instore. 63 per cent of consumers have also stated they prefer mobile point of sale (PoS) compared to a traditional cashier checkout, with a further 72 per cent preferring mobile PoS as it offers faster checkout times or no queues. When considering these shopper expectations it is clear to see mobility has made a strong impact on customer experience and will be at its heart going forward. Retailers must now take these facts on board and plan a future mobility strategy to meet the expectations of the next generation of customer. About Nassar Hussain, Managing Director for Europe and South Africa at SOTI is the world's most trusted provider of Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions, with morethan 15,000 enterprise customers and millions of devices managed worldwide. SOTI's innovative portfolio of solutions and services provide the tools organizations need to truly mobilize their operations and optimize their mobility investments. Comments are closed
March 27, 2016 Security procedures are vital in many areas of every day life. Across the globe, busy airports ensure crew and passengers alike go through thorough and strict security checks. This may be time-consuming and inconvenient but is absolutely necessary to ensure passenger safety and the consequences of skipping such processes have the potential to be extremely dangerous. Similarly, when you log on to your online banking account, you may have to enter one or more security codes and PIN numbers to be granted access, which can be frustrating when you’re in a hurry but it is monumentally important to prevent your data getting into the hands of someone else. It’s evident that security procedures may seem inconvenient in consumer’s day-to-day lives, but how does this reflect into their professional world? The sheer level of valuable and perhaps sensitive information a business holds means that the security measures organisations put in place are likely to be strict and sometimestime-intensive. In line with this, as employees increasingly access both company and personal data on the same devices, these processes need to be implemented in order to ensure employees at every level are doing all they can to keep company data secure. However, employees don’t particularly want to spend time going through such strict processes. So, what businesses need to consider is whether they are making security processes too complicated for employees to adhere to day-to-day? Freedom vs. Security Employees want the same freedom as consumers. They want to work from mobile devices, from anywhere, at any time. In the same breath however, they still need to do this at a level of security suitable for the business. Consumers may have one password for all online accounts, just because it’s easier to remember. Or they may simply shun online services requiring two-factor authentication, such as online banking, as it takes too much time. The trouble is, if employees have this lax attitudeto security on their work devices, they may be opening your business up to all sorts of risks. BYOD and the ever-growing mobile office must become a top priority. The right employees must have access to the right sources at the right time, whether they’re on the move or in the office. This means that ensuring there is the correct access management strategy in place to cope with a mobile office is imperative. The rise of the data breach The consequences of employees being the weakest security link are becoming increasingly severe. There have been many developments concerning the issue of data security over recent years. In fact, until recently, information management was something only larger businesses thought about. However, over the past twelve months in particular, the issue has been thrust to the front of all CIOs minds as attitudes towards data protection have changed. The most recent update of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), leading to the biggest overhaul ofregulation in the last twenty years, coupled with several high-profile data breaches including those of Ashley Madison, Hilton Hotels and WHSmith, reinforces the fact that, with the ICO watching, businesses must be more prepared than ever to secure and protect sensitive information – and it doesn’t have to be too complicated either. When staring down the barrel of a data breach, it isn’t necessarily the breach itself that could upend a business. Now, with these new measures in place, it’s the possibility of being fined up to four per cent of global turnover by the ICO, as well as the almost guaranteed negative press coverage hitting a company’s reputation, thus damaging its relationship with its customers. These risks aren’t something that enterprises should be taking lightly. Streamlined, simple and secure Employees are still the weakest link when it comes to information management, so rather than implementing complex security measures that discourage workers, security needs to be asuser friendly as possible. For example, advising employees to use stronger passwords and change them more frequently does not solve the problem and may not be physically possible when employees have five or more passwords. Organisations need to adopt a solution that completely removes the majority of user function – not doing so encourages employees’ to get around processes and put your organisation at risk. Companies with data in the cloud should implement an IAM solution as soon as possible in order to get access under control and ensure employees aren’t discouraged by complex security measures. Forrester Research estimates this type of solution will reduce your organisations threat surface by 75 per cent. A solution such as this allows employees to easily access apps and programmes whilst keeping business data secure, it removes the human error element and is quicker and more convenient for employees to adhere to. Another simple way to address the issue of security within anorganisation is to teach staff about the security issues that face the business. By being more aware of the potential threats, staff are more likely to take security procedures seriously and perhaps notice if something doesn’t seem secure. Comments are closed
March 23, 2016 Cybersecurity remains a key concern and a real threat to many businesses. As a recent study of 150 board members in the UK , the estimated average cost of lost data over one year could amount to as much as £1.2 million. Yet there still remains a lack of boardroom governance across the UK’s major industries. It prompts the question as to whether there are other aspects around security and critical infrastructure that are being overlooked by UK boardrooms, which could also result in significant financial loss if ignored. Protecting buildings and assets, communications and data systems, marine and transport equipment and power and water sites, to name but a few, against damage is crucial to a business operations. A power cut for any length of time for example can have substantial impact; stopping productivity, allowing unauthorised individuals to enter systems and sites and risks a business’ reputation both with its customers and within their industry. Having a contingencyplan in place if power is lost can reduce, if not eradicate in some cases, the risk to business security and keeps everything operational. Take, for example, a building, plant or site, if the power is deliberately tampered with and security fences, alarms and CCTV cameras deactivated, a business is at risk of people entering their property, staff not being notified and the crime not being recorded. Businesses need to review how many power cuts they have experienced in the past year alone, and the cost to the business each time this happens. They could be looking at thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of pounds for large companies, and when this is added up, the total cost over the year can be astronomical. In addition, individual components will be damaged as a result of a power spike, surge or dip, leading to costly repairs. With the need for more focus on resilience and business continuity comes the need to invest in technology that can provide the robust reassurance businessesnow seek. In the event of a power cut, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system will switch seamlessly to backup batteries without interrupting the power, ensuring there is no disruption to normal service. On restoration of a company’s power, the system automatically switches back to mains power and begins to re-charge the batteries. In addition, extra security can be added to UPS’ in the way of keys and passwords, giving further peace of mind to businesses that their critical infrastructure is protected The fact is that a business’ reliance on power cannot be underestimated and 100% uptime is now demanded; there’s no room for failure and the security risks are too high. All areas of a business’ security need to be higher up the boardroom agenda as the environment is constantly changing and the risks and costs to the business increase. With growing emphasis on cybersecurity, the wider security landscape can’t be forgotten. What it comes down to, is that if left too late, theconsequences can be almost too much to think about. Scott Billson, Senior Sales and Marketing Manager, Comments are closed
March 23, 2016 In an episode of the TV show “Sherlock,” a pair of bad guys die in a crash after a hacker takes complete control of their car. In an episode of “Homeland,” the vice president is assassinated with his own pacemaker when a cyberattacker takes control remotely and stops his heart. On “CSI: Cyber,” a hacker infiltrates a navigation app, directing victims to areas where they get robbed. These scenarios are no longer just the stuff of Hollywood writers’ overimagination. As our lives become increasingly digitized and connected through the Internet of Things (IoT), those kinds of hacks are becoming more and more plausible. Especially with Gartner estimating the number of connected devices in the consumer and business sectors to reach — and many of those devices not necessarily being designed with security in mind. But even more troubling is the reality of attacks on critical public infrastructure — the possibility of a hacker disabling a city’s entire 911 system or plunging anentire region into darkness by taking out the power grid. As former U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has been frequently quoted, “The most destructive scenarios involve cyber actors launching several attacks on our critical infrastructure at one time, in combination with a physical attack on our country.” Combined with the disabling of critical military systems and communication networks, these kinds of actions would result in what . Security experts have warned that several state actors have the capability of compromising U.S. critical infrastructure — including the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which reportedly is . Public infrastructure an increased target The , part of U.S. Department of Homeland Security, responded to 295 incidents related to critical infrastructure in fiscal year 2015, 50 more incidents than the previous year. Many incidents go unreported, ICS-CERT said. Even if the number seems small compared to data breaches in the private sector, the potentialconsequences are far more devastating. According TrendMicro’s 2015 “ ” of the 575 respondents — heads of security and CIOs of major critical infrastructure from 26 members of the Organization of American States — 43 percent indicated they had experienced an attack while 31 percent weren’t sure. And about half of the respondents noted an increase in computer systems incidents from the previous year, with another 40 noting steady levels. In another 2015 from around the globe, the Aspen Institute and Intel Security found that nearly half of the respondents thought it was either likely or extremely likely that “a successful cyberattack will take down critical infrastructure and cause loss of human life within the next three years.” Respondents in the United States were more concerned than those in Europe. Just the last few months saw several critical-infrastructure attacks around the world. In December, about 225,000 customers of several Ukrainian power companies lost power for hours. ,and Russian hackers were blamed. More recently, via a phishing attack. Although the grid itself wasn’t afffected, this was yet another example of a particularly vile type of attack. And as we saw in February when , this kind of threat may not only cost organizations a lot of money but could also completely cripple critical operations — in this case, access to patient data and ability to perform tasks that impact patient health, such as lab work and scans. The NSA’s director that several governments have already breached energy, water and fuel-distribution systems in the United States. One known incident that surfaced last year was by Iranian cybercriminals in 2013. ‘Detection and response’ as the new normal Various security experts expect to see . Both Symantec and McAfee listed this among their , with McAfee noting a new trend of cybercriminals selling direct access to critical infrastructure systems. According to McAfee’s survey, 76 percent of respondents think those threats areescalating, while . Nation-state actors are likely to be the culprits. CrowdStrike’s also predicts that in 2016, specific nation-state actors will likely target agriculture, healthcare and alternative energy sectors “not just for intellectual property, but also for know-how such as building native supply chains and administrative expertise.” The ramifications of the security incidents on critical infrastructure don’t just include disruption of critical operations and critical business applications. An ESG survey found that 32 percent of organizations also of confidential information. The fallout for an organization may lead to increased regulatory scrutiny and government penalties because of laws such as . Many of the attacks happen because of the lack of analytical security systems. In a SANS Institute survey of critical infrastructure organizations, less than a third felt they had excellent or very good visibility into their networks’ threats while 40 percent rated their visibilityas OK, poor or very poor. Traditional, signature-based security solutions no longer hold up to today’s sophisticated threats, especially as more data moves to the cloud. That means organizations needs to get serious about advanced analytical systems that can correlate various processes and policies — and help provide the kind of detection and response that antimalware and other single-layer technologies simply can’t handle. The increased targeting of critical infrastructure should be a wake-up call. It’s only a matter of time before a disastrous attack wreaks havoc. Organizations need to up the ante on their cybersecurity and shift the focus on detecting all security breaches and bringing situational awareness to incidents — especially those that may pose incredible harm. About Sekhar Sarukkai Sekhar Sarukkai is a co-founder and the chief scientist at , driving the future of innovation and technology. He has more than 20 years of experience in enterprise networking, security and cloudservices development.
March 23, 2016 Denial of service attacks are so common now that “DoS attack” hardly needs explanation, even to the lay person. The phrase “DoS attack” instantly conjures images of banking sites that refuse to load, and gaming consoles unable to connect. The other instant reaction is to think of the attackers such as , the , or the . However, not all denial-of-service is the product of a coordinated attack. Many forms of DoS are organic by-products of completely normal traffic. So-called “normal traffic” includes everything from legitimate customers, business partners, search-index bots,data-mining scraper-bots, and other more malicious automated traffic. As we know, anywhere from 40- 70 percent of any given web site’s traffic is automated traffic. Combined with often unpredictable surges in legitimate user traffic, maintaining the availability of any Internet-based service is daunting. This brings up a topic of frequent debate. Who should be responsible for managing availability—thesecurity team or the infrastructure and application development teams? The security triad of “confidentiality, integrity, and availability” (CIA) dictates that security practitioners work to ensure availability. The scope of this duty extends beyond availability issues caused by malicious attacks. Attackers regularly perform reconnaissance to identify vulnerabilities in availability. These vulnerabilities range from capacity of ISP links and firewall performance, to DNS server availability and application performance. Sizing ISP links and firewall throughput are well-understood and easily quantified aspects of availability planning. The latter areas of DNS capacity and application performance are oft-overlooked areas of application security. Application security practices are maturing to address remediating OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities such as injections, scripting, or poor authentication and authorization handling. However, many application security scans do not include identifyingprocessor-intensive and bandwidth-intensive URLs, as these aspects of application performance monitoring (APM) might be seen as the sole responsibility of the application development and/or server administration teams. After all, it’s their job to ensure the code is optimized and the server capacity is available, or is it? Unfortunately, while server infrastructures are more elastic thanks to virtualization and applications are often built to take advantage of that compute power, without proper monitoring and regular scanning weaknesses in application capacity can quickly lead to serious outages. A single underperforming URL or other web application widget can affect the load of an entire server or farm of servers. Further, application dependencies can cause more serious race conditions, leading to widespread impact. Proactively scanning the web applications to identify underperforming URLs not exposed in software QA or user acceptance testing enables the security team to addadditional protections to heavy or processor-intensive URLs. These protections range from additional log and alert thresholds to more aggressive bot detection and dynamic traffic throttling. Without such preventative measures, a marketing campaign, Cyber Monday, or an eventful news day can cause denial of service conditions unrelated to any malicious attack patterns. Many, if not most, traditional security measures are derived from understanding the normal state of traffic and then identifying anomalous patterns. This methodology is implemented in everything from IP address blacklisting and whitelisting, attack signature checking, SYN flood detection, and source/destination ACL’s. However, these methods fall short when the cause of DoS is rooted in well-formatted requests for legitimate services. Since the majority of traffic on Internet-facing web sites is automated, filtering out malicious or illegitimate automated traffic offers protection resource-intensive features of the webapplication. Profiling web applications for resource-intensive components–similar to the approach of attackers—also provides additional insight. Gaining insights into fragile application components enables more effective monitoring, resulting in increased server response times. These can be used as metrics for more dynamic response to potential L7 DoS conditions. Security and availability are intrinsically linked. Leveraging components of the infrastructure such as application delivery controllers (ADCs), application performance monitoring (APM) solutions, and other availability tools is vital to a comprehensive security practice. Even if these solutions might not have security, threat, or firewall in the product name. About Brian A. McHenry As a Senior Security Solutions Architect at , Brian McHenry focuses on web application and network security. McHenry acts as a liaison between customers, the F5 sales team, and the F5 product teams, providing a hands-on, real-world perspective.Prior to joining F5 in 2008, McHenry, a self-described “IT generalist”, held leadership positions within a variety of technology organizations, ranging from startups to major financial services firms. Twitter:
March 22, 2016 I sraeli software researchers have found a way to , previously found to leave millions of devices susceptible to cyber attacks. Stagefright was originally described as ‘the worst Android bug ever discovered’, however the exploit – dubbed ‘Metaphor’ by its creators – marks the first time the vulnerability has been compromised in the operating environment. According to Jan Vidar Krey, head of development at Norwegian security specialists , Android’s inconsistent patching and system updates leave far too much to chance, inviting cyber attackers to try their hand at executing malware on foreign devices: “Although Google released security patches for Stagefright vulnerabilities, not every Android phone and tablet can receive and install them, leaving a large number of devices vulnerable. Metaphor, however, is an appropriate name for the flaw, which can be viewed as being representative of Android’s history of shoddy security: heterogeneous but woefully predictable.”Stagefright 2.0, a second critical exploit discovered by the researchers, was found to exploit weaknesses in .mp3 and .mp4 files and remotely execute malicious code. Krey commented: “It’s not a surprise that the Stagefright vulnerability is back in the news. When it was revealed, there was : patches and updates were only available for recent models. The first hack could impact up to 95 per cent of devices, so manufacturers’ failure to address the flaw in the six months that passed since its discovery is a huge oversight. Sadly, consumers will ultimately pay the price. Krey advised: “Android’s operating system is currently the security equivalent of shark-infested water, and the only way to guarantee secure processes is to ensure your app is completely protected. When you’re hosting sensitive information on applications, these threats pose a real concern. Instead, apps must be self-defending and able to identify malware as and when it appears. Until Android is able to straighten out itsOS and stop leaning on dodgy patches, base layer app security must be upheld as the crux of a device’s security. Whether Android alone will ever be able to offer a safe environment to carry out transactions is yet to be seen, but I wouldn’t bank on it.” About Promon Traditional security systems such as antivirus, antispam and antimalware are outdated and no longer able to protect companies and users against security threats and cyber-crime. provides full protection for applications against existing and new malware threats. Promon's patented method for detecting and blocking security threats against applications enables self-protected apps allowing users risk-free utilisation of a potentially unprotected computer, tablet or mobile telephone. Promon is a global operating company with its head office in Oslo. Comments are closed
March 22, 2016 Check Point has revealed the most common malware families being used to attack organizations’ networks and mobile devices globally in February 2016. For the first time, malware targeting mobiles was one of the top 10 most prevalent attack types, with the previously-unknown HummingBad agent being the seventh most common malware detected targeting corporate networks and devices. Discovered by Check Point researchers, Hummingbad targets Android devices, establishing a persistent rootkit, installs fraudulent apps and enabling malicious activity such as installing a key-logger, stealing credentials and bypassing encrypted email containers used by enterprises, with the aim of intercepting corporate data. Check Point identified more than 1,400 different malware families during February. For the second month running, the Conficker, Sality, and Dorkbot families were the three most commonly used malware variants, collectively accounting for 39% of all attacks globally inFebruary. 1. ↔ Conficker – accounted for 25% of all recognized attacks, machines infected by Conficker are controlled by a botnet. It also disables security services, leaving computers even more vulnerable to other infections. 2. ↑Sality – Virus that allows remote operations and downloads of additional malware to infected systems by its operator. Its main goal is to persist in a system and provide means for remote control and installing further malware. 3. ↑Dorkbot – IRC-based Worm designed to allow remote code execution by its operator, as well as download additional malware to the infected system, with the primary motivation being to steal sensitive information and launch denial-of-service attacks. Check Point’s research also revealed the most prevalent mobile malware during February 2016, and once again attacks against Android devices were significantly more common than iOS. The top three mobile malware families were: 1. ↑ Hummingbad – Android malware thatestablishes a persistent rootkit on the device, installs fraudulent applications, and enables additional malicious activity such as installing a key-logger, stealing credentials and bypassing encrypted email containers used by enterprises. 2. ↓ AndroRAT – Malware that is able to pack itself with a legitimate mobile application and install without the user’s knowledge, allowing a hacker full remote control of an Android device. 3. ↓ Xinyin – Observed as a Trojan-Clicker that performs Click Fraud on Chinese ad sites. Nathan Shuchami, Head of Threat Prevention at Check Point said: “The rapid rise in attacks using Hummingbad highlights the real and present danger posed to business networks by unsecured mobile devices and the malware that targets them. Organisations must start to protect their mobile devices with the same robust security as traditional PCs and networks as a matter of urgency. With the range of attack vectors open to hackers, adopting a holistic approach tosecurity that includes mobile devices is critical in protecting both corporate networks and sensitive business data.” Check Point’s threat index is based on threat intelligence drawn from its , which tracks how and where cyberattacks are taking place worldwide in real time. The Threat Map is powered by , the largest collaborative network to fight cybercrime which delivers threat data and attack trends from a global network of threat sensors. The ThreatCloud database holds over 250 million addresses analyzed for bot discovery, over 11 million malware signatures and over 5.5 million infected websites, and identifies millions of malware types daily. About Check Point Worldwide Leader in Securing the Future Since 1993, has been dedicated to providing customers with uncompromised protection against all types of threats, reducing security complexity and lowering total cost of ownership. We are committed to staying focused on customer needs and developing solutions that redefine thesecurity landscape today and in the future. Comments are closed
March 21, 2016 More Than Half of Survey Respondents Believe Digital Currency is the Future; Consumers Throw Caution to the Wind on Security for their Work and Personal Email Accounts IEEE, the world’s largest professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for humanity, today announced the findings of an online survey that detail more than 1,900 technology enthusiasts’ views on digital safety and the future of cybersecurity. According to the results, when asked what year mobile payments would be secure enough to the point where traditional methods (such as cash and credit cards) would no longer be required, 70 percent of respondents indicated a major shift by 2030. The survey results also found, on a scale from 1-5 (1 being least concerned to 5 being most concerned), a similar percentage between the lack of concern regarding the security of work email (50 percent) and personal email (49 percent) accounts, which is surprising given that there is no dedicated IT departmentto monitor and protect personal email as there is for a work-affiliated account “Now more than ever, cybersecurity is a necessary safeguard to our digital lives, which hosts a variety of our private and personal information,” stated Diogo Monica, IEEE member and security lead at Docker. “Cyberattacks can now unfortunately happen in nearly every element of our lives, such as our car, connected home and wearable devices. Whether it’s putting more reliance in digital systems for our currency or trusting that our email accounts are secure, we need to be cognizant and take the necessary precautions to protect our digital footprint.” Consumers No Longer on Cloud Nine More than one quarter (26 percent) of participants also noted that the cloud was the least preferred method for storing their information; 49 percent of respondents chose personal computer log as their primary option. Respondents did have concerns regarding other considerations to their digital footprint. When asked on a scalefrom 1-5 (1 being riskiest to 5 least risky) about their personal information being available on certain platforms, respondents believed that online banking (72 percent), syncing to the cloud (53 percent) and banking/mortgage information (60 percent) were extremely risky, indicating a 1 or 2 for each. “There is a stigma attached to the term “cybersecurity” and “hacker,” due in large part to personal and corporate attacks, but there is so much opportunity and growth available in the cybersecurity industry,” stated David Brumley, IEEE member and director of CyLab at Carnegie Mellon University. “Initiatives such as ‘Hacking for Good’ can not only provide tools and a career path for students, but it can help change the perception that a “hacker” isn’t representative of the field as a whole. Responsibly encouraging and developing the next generation of cybersecurity personnel is needed to ensure we are protected in the future.” Internet Starts with “I” – Managing Your Digital Home There isa level of sophistication among respondents who monitor their home Internet activity. According to the results, 22 percent of respondents have automated alerts set up for any attempted connectivity, 11 percent utilize visualized monitoring in real-time and 3 percent connect to a cloud monitoring system. When asked what would be most affected by the continued developments of cybersecurity, participants noted identity theft (42 percent), followed by online anonymity (27 percent), piracy (18 percent) and viruses (12 percent). About the Survey IEEE hosted an online survey on IEEE Transmitter, which was hosted from February 16 – March 29. The survey asked participants who are actively engaged in technology trends a variety of questions regarding their digital comfort level as well as what the future might hold for the future of cybersecurity. The total number of survey respondents garnered was 1,903. Full survey results can be found by visiting IEEE Transmitter. About IEEE is the world'slargest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. IEEE and its members inspire a global community through IEEE's highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities. IEEE, pronounced "Eye-triple-E," stands for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The association is chartered under this name and it is the full legal name. Comments are closed
March 18, 2016 Gone are the days when companies only had to worry about valuable documents leaving the building in a pocket or briefcase. Today, sensitive and proprietary information can move across networks in digital format – and even be plucked out of these networks from the sky. The need for intrusion detection has expanded beyond the front door of your building to the network and now, thanks to advances in drone technology, the airspace above. Chances are good you have a drone or someone you know has a drone – they’re amongst the fastest growing technologies available. In just two years, the worldwide market for consumer drones has experienced a 167% increase in sales, according to marketing and investment firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB). World drone sales are estimated to have hit 4.3 million units, and KPCB estimates the market to be worth about $1.7 billion. Drones are used for a variety of purposes, ranging from farmers checking on livestock to utility companiesinspecting power lines and videographers using them to film weddings. As with any technology, as drones become more advanced, they also become more accessible. For example, a drone that can carry up to 11 pounds and fly over a mile can be purchased on the Internet for less than $2,000. As the price continues to go down, we can reasonably expect the risk they pose to increase. The security risks posed by drones Drones link physical and cyber security by making it possible to transport snooping devices within close proximity of data centers and networks. What’s more, using a GPS and autopilot, many drones can fly a programmed route without a pilot. This means an attacker can be in a completely different location from the crime scene. This isn’t just a hypothetical. In 2015 the security industry witnessed several examples of how drones can be used to steal sensitive data: Security firm SensePost introduced its Snoopy drone, which is designed to hack smartphones and steal data. AerialAssault’s David Jordan introduced a drone designed to penetrate test networks and collect unencrypted data. Student researchers in Singapore developed software that can identify open Wi-Fi printers and then establish a fake access point to intercept documents. The software can be loaded onto a smartphone that is attached to a drone. It won’t be long before cybercriminals add drones to their arsenal. So how can organizations protect their data? The sophistication of drone technology requires a new kind of intrusion detection system. The drone detection system Drones vary in size, speed and shape, which makes it difficult to detect them via any single monitoring method. For example, audio detection would fail to recognize silent drones like gliders or fixed-wing drones. Cameras are unable to detect all shape-changed drones, such as those designed to look like birds. Even radar, which is traditionally used in the detection of aerial vehicles, must be modified to effectively detect drones.The best solution uses a drone detection system that incorporates multiple mechanisms, or sensors, to detect and identify drones in real time based on signatures. The cloud-based network of sensors helps ensure accuracy under varying conditions and reduces false alarms. You can think of it as an intrusion detection system for the sky. By analyzing characteristics like flying behavior and silhouette and neural network classification of the cross-section, the system can determine whether the entity flying through the air space is a drone or, for example, a bird. Drone detection systems are still young, but vendors are working hard to advance the technology. For example, organizations can expect drone detection systems to integrate with their network-based intrusion detection and prevention systems, physical security dashboards. Also radar and other long-range technologies will enhance drone detection technology. Interdiction and countermeasures, though still early in the game areprogressing as well. This is a tricky challenge due to a variety of legal uncertainties. Shooting down a drone or interfering with the radio and GPS signals could result in an out-of-control drone that causes property damage or – worse, yet – physical harm to those in the vicinity. In the meantime, security staff can take safety measures offline, such as leading people to safety, blocking the view, locking doors and gates, searching the site for dropped objects and searching for the pilot. Alert videos can also serve as evidence and play an important role in helping to identify the culprit. About Jörg Lamprecht CEO, Co-Founder, In 1996, while still studying maths and computer sciences at the University of Kassel, Jörg Lamprecht set up his first company, Only Solutions GmbH, with Rene Seeber and another fellow-student. The software company really lived up to its name: one of the products it developed was the first search engine for pictures on the internet, which was used – among otherthings – to trace missing children. Only Solutions was later renamed Cobion and now belongs to IBM. In 2006, Jörg founded Qitera. In 2011, he discovered the emerging market for drones and responded by founding Aibotix, a company that produces unmanned aircraft for professional use by surveyors and engineers. Aibotix was sold to the Hexagon group from Sweden in February 2014. At Dedrone, Jörg uses his expertise as founder and manager for leading the areas business development, sales and marketing. His special focus is on setting up international partner and distribution networks. 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March 17, 2016 The world has been talking about “mobile payments” for years, but the phrase means different things to different people. So what exactly are mobile payments? And how much more mobile than cash or cards can payments actually get? Some people believe that mobile payments are those made using mobile phones. Others, myself included, understand the phrase to mean the most mobile, cash-independent payment method possible—although I consider cash to be more mobile than many other forms of payment. But let’s leave those alone for the moment. The second most mobile payment type is the credit card: electricity doesn’t always work, and as Barclaycard demonstrated so effectively in its ad, you can even use your card on a waterslide. Now let’s take a look at the much-lauded smartphone. Of course, people have their smartphones with them most of the time, but, as the majority of business travellers at airports have demonstrated, they will seize any opportunity to extract just one moredrop of power from any source—even the most inaccessible ones—to ensure that their smartphone batteries will survive the day. I’m not convinced that relying on your smartphone (and thus, its battery) for your payment options is a good idea. Ultimately, you’d still have to carry a credit card—or at least a battery charger—to ensure that you weren‘t left high and dry if the worst happened. This begs the question, though: if you’re going to be carrying a credit card anyway, why do you need a smartphone to make payments? Many people, on the other hand, would say: “Ah, but with a smartphone I can make contactless payments”. While this statement is perfectly true, it applies equally to credit cards. When it comes down to it, smartphones are nothing more than a medium for storing credit card data. Any credit card can also be equipped with a contactless function; and unlike a smartphone, it won’t break if it‘s dropped into water or onto a concrete floor. There are also NFC credit card stickerswhich you can, for example, stick onto your mobile phone. Paradoxically, doing this allows you to add mobile payment functions to even the oldest Nokia. In any critical review, it is important to remember that smartphone operating systems incorporate a wide range of functions. By their very nature, therefore, smartphones will always contain security vulnerabilities which can, in extreme cases, even jeopardise the security of your payment data. It’s not just payment data that is at stake here (although a fraudster could use it to go shopping), but all the data pertaining to user purchasing patterns. You’re probably thinking: “What’s wrong with someone seeing what I’m buying?” Now, though, imagine that you were on holiday in the USA and that someone could use your phone to see that you were currently making all your purchases there. Wouldn’t that be the best time for them to burgle your flat? I don’t understand why developers feel compelled to include payment functions in smartphones.Why don’t we just use credit cards? They’re the most widespread, most mobile of all mobile options and—most importantly—they’re the least breakable. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether the NFC chip is embedded into a rectangular plastic card, a cufflink, an earring or a sticker; I’ve simply yet to be convinced of the consumer benefits of using a smartphone. The facts are: – Mobile payment systems’ success is determined by the availability of NFC-capable terminals and the acceptance of credit cards by retailers. – Local card systems, like, for example, Carte Bleu or Girocard, are becoming less popular among retailers due to the European interchange regulation. Retailers are losing the cost benefits they have hitherto enjoyed, and are being forced to accept more complex payment processes. – NFC is now effectively the standard. As of 2016, all POS terminals must be NFC-capable. Why, then, haven’t NFC payments taken off in countries outside the UK, for example,Germany? There is, in theory, nothing technical or structural standing in the way of mobile—or even, contactless—payments. Except, of course, the Germans themselves. In a country where frugality is still considered a virtue, customers are unwilling to pay for banking services. Instead, they believe that everything should be free, from the cards themselves to cash machine withdrawals, account maintenance and loans. Nowhere else in the world is “free banking” as ingrained into the culture as it is in Germany. Contactless cards are only slightly more expnsive to produce than standard ones. Banks in Germany tend not to offer them, however, because they’re afraid customers won’t want to pay the difference. For this reason, contactless payments using credit cards are still largely unknown in Germany, whereas they’ve become the norm in countries like the UK and Sweden. Perhaps this is precisely the advantage of making mobile payments via smartphones: adding credit card data to a smartphone ischeaper than adding an NFC chip to every customer’s card. This means, though, that it’s not the consumers who are reaping the benefits of smartphone payments: it’s the card-issuing banks. In future, NFC-capable credit cards will be the standard for mobile payments—even outside the UK. Alternative “mobile” payment systems, which use options like QR codes rather than NFC, will never achieve this level of popularity. It’s not just the technology vendors and the hugely diverse operators of all kinds of “mobile payment types” who are to blame for this state of affairs; instead, it’s fear and lack of knowledge on the part of retailers. It no longer matters whether chips are embedded in smartphones, stickers, or body parts. Instead, convenience and cost will determine which option consumers prefer. About Philipp Nieland Cofounder and Chief Technical Officer Philipp Nieland studied economics and computer science at university and founded PPRO in 2006. He is responsible for the company’sbusiness operations and business development. In 2003, he founded his own consultancy firm and ran the company as CEO. From 2000 to 2003, he was Manager Systems & Applications at Telefónica. Philipp founded his first company, a consultancy firm for internet technology, at the age of 19 while still at university. Building on his entrepreneurial skills and wealth of expertise in information and network technologies, Philipp is committed to driving the growth of PPRO. Comments are closed
March 17, 2016 I clearly remember the first time I saw a computer. Someone was playing a video game called Demo Rush 3 at a church. I remember staring at him, not understanding what he was doing. I couldn’t help but wonder how the game actually worked. This fleeting, early moment ignited a passion in me that was to inspire one of my life’s defining journeys. To relate this story, allow me to go back to the beginning. My father died when I was a young boy, and it was decided early on that my siblings and I would move to a village so that we could live with my auntie and further our education. There were 12 of us living in a two-bedroom house with no running water. But I had other things on my mind. I was determined to stay in school and get an education. Each day, I woke up very early to walk the three kilometers separating my auntie’s house from school. I remember sharp stones poking into my bare feet because I didn’t have any shoes to wear. Despite this fact, or maybe because of it, Ihave fond memories of that period of time in my life. We all loved each other very much. In this supportive environment, I learned the values of hard work, of helping others, and of being resourceful. I wouldn’t have traded any of it for the world. Fast forward a few years. One of my first memories with computers is when I learned to type on a keyboard. I was 15 years old, and I knew that I didn’t have enough money to access a computer at an internet cafe or training center let alone to buy an actual keyboard. A solution came to me when I spotted a box with a picture of a keyboard on it. I cut out the computer keyboard picture and carried it around with me so that I could teach myself how to type. As my high school teacher taught the class to type on real keyboards, I practiced moving my fingers to learn all the letters and symbols across my makeshift cardboard keyboard. It was in high school that my curiosity for computers really took off. In 2005, a high school friend named MichealeOkwii told me that his dad was starting an internet cafe business. When he told me about it, the first thing I wondered was whether I could help out at the cafe even if that meant just being around the computers and not touching them. Micheale told me that he would ask his dad. I was filled with anticipation as to the possibilities. The following day, he came back and told me that I could help them sweep and mop the café each day before school if I wanted to, but that was all I could do. My immediate response was yes! At this point, I didn’t know anything about computers, but I did know that this was an opportunity for me to be around computers, and that was what I wanted most. I was grateful that Micheale’s father was willing to let me volunteer as a cleaner at the internet café. Enthusiastically, I woke up every morning at 4:00 am and walked three kilometers to the café. It took me about 30 minutes to clean, and when I was finished, I headed off to school. After three months ofworking at the café, they allowed me to touch the computers and learn how to properly turn them on and off. Being able to touch the computers was the first step for me, and it was at this point when I knew I was going to be able to start slowly gaining more knowledge about computers. Eventually, as they trusted me more, they gave me the responsibility of turning on the computers each morning after I cleaned. During my school holidays, the internet café was a haven for me. I spent all of my time there cleaning and using the computers to learn as much as I could. I still was not being paid for cleaning, but at this point, I wasn’t concerned with money. What mattered to me most was that I was getting hands-on experience. I used this energy to learn and understand as much as I could about computers. This routine of volunteering and school went on and on until one day I was hired not only to clean the café but also to help customers surf the web and help my friend’s father fix thecomputers. I was paid one USD dollar per day, but I didn’t mind. I had learned so much! By the fourth year of work at the internet café, I knew I had accumulated as much knowledge as I could, so I decided to search for something else that would challenge me further. While I still worked at the café, a Canadian girl named Melissa Meartens asked me for help with her cell phone. She had come to Uganda with her friend Ann to volunteer with a Canadian charity organization. Melissa, Ann, and I fast became good friends. During their two month stay, they noticed that there were a lot of street kids in Jinja wandering around by themselves begging for food. I loved helping street kids, as did Melissa and Ann, so we decided to get to know the kids better by playing soccer and talking with them. We began to build strong, trusting connections with the kids. When Melissa and Ann had to leave for Canada, I chose to continue my relationship with these street kids. As I got to know the kids better, Ilearned some of them wanted desperately to go to school, some were passionate about playing soccer, and some just wanted a safe place to live and food to eat. I stayed in touch with Melissa and kept her updated about the street kids. Together, Melissa and I helped them enroll in school and tried to provide them shelter. Months later, we turned this collaborative effort into a non-profit organization. Melissa helped me connect with the Canadian charity organization that she had been volunteering with during her time in Uganda. I introduced myself and began volunteering with this organization soon thereafter, an experience which ultimately gave me the opportunity to meet more awesome people. Case and point, in my last year of high school, I met a Canadian mother and son, Brenda and Tanu Huff, who were both in Uganda volunteering through charity. Tanu and I quickly became as close as brothers. I desperately wanted to continue my studies after high school yet I didn’t know how I would payfor it. I remember mentioning my desire to go to university to Tanu at one point and how I didn’t know how I could pay for my studies. Little did I know how much he would take my desire to heart. Tanu came up with an amazing idea. During his time in Uganda, he had developed a love for Ugandan music and had asked me to collect all the dance style music that I could for him. He told me that when he returned to Canada, he was going to present the idea of a fundraising dance to his high school so that I could start university. Sure enough, when Tanu went back to Canada, he was able to make his idea happen. In total, he raised $4300–enough for me to start university. The next chapter in my journey happened as I was walking along Main Street in Jinja. I spotted a truck with a logo on it that struck me because I thought it could have been some kind of organization relating to computer technology. I did some research and discovered that I was correct. I knew that I wanted to connect with thisorganization, but I needed to locate that mystery truck. Over the next few days I searched around town and was pleasantly surprised when I found it right there on Main Street. At that point, I decided to wait to see if I could meet the owner of this truck, so I sat nearby and waited. It turns out that the owner of the truck was an American who was living in Uganda and working with computers. After meeting him, I asked if I could volunteer with his organization. He presented me with his business card and told me to get in touch with him if I was serious. I was so excited at this prospect that I sent an email to him that same day letting him know that I was very serious. At the time, he was starting up a computer training centre and welcomed me on as a volunteer. It was at this training centre where I learned about computers in greater depth. I absorbed a lot, including knowledge about computer programming and web development. After a few months of working there, I left Jinja for Kampalato study at Aptech University and pursue a degree in software engineering. Tanu and Brenda Huff’s family/friends did whatever they could to continue to fund my post secondary education. In order to keep fundraising, I began painting pictures for the Huff family so they could raise the remainder of funds for me to finish my degree. So there it was, my dream was coming true. I went through University and graduated with a Software Engineering degree. Afterwards, I decided to move back to Jinja and once again volunteer with the same computer training centre. At that point, I had acquired enough knowledge about computer programming and web development that I became a more effective teacher. (I especially enjoyed teaching youth in Uganda.) Through my connection with the American director of the charity with which I was volunteering, I was able to make some solid international relationships within the hacker community. These connections allowed me to learn more about hacking, to get involvedwith CEH: Certified Ethical Hacking, and to ultimately speak at Derbycon in Louisville, Kentucky in the fall of 2015. This conference was attended by over 3,000 people, each of whom had significant hacking expertise. The experience opened many doors for my career and helped me to see things differently as I discovered new opportunities I had not even considered before. As a result of this experience, I am finalizing my CEH and now realize how much I want to be a Computer Hacker Forensics Investigator (CHFI). I have remained very close with Tanu and his family, and I am currently visiting them in British Columbia. A few years ago, Tanu and I started a Canadian not-for-profit organization to bridge the gaps in our world. I am volunteering my time to code a unique web application for our organization which will launch soon! But that is a story for another time. As I move ahead and look toward to the future, I hope to one day be able to continue to explore my passion for computers andespecially to help the youth in Uganda experience some of what I have learned, especially in the area of coding and programming. I want to work again with the street kids that were there when this all began. I really believe that I can use what I have learned through my education to improve literacy in Uganda and moreover, Africa as a whole. When I look back at where I started, I recognize how fortunate I am to have met the people that I have along the way that allowed me to discover my passion and build a better life as a result. Because of this, I know I need to give back all that I can. Just because you don’t have access to a piece of software, computer or keyboard, doesn’t mean that you can’t learn Infosec. Sometimes there will be no one to help you figure out a command, but you have to problem solve and figure out a way to do it. Study each and every material you can get your hands on; It will pay off. If you work with passion, through the labour of love you will be more motivatedwith how much you get out of your efforts and how much you can accomplish. At some port, I couldn’t compile software but that didn’t stop me from learning. Passion has always been what drives my motivation. I come from a third world country where people don’t know about Infosec, but it never stopped the spark and the courage within me to learn. I believed in myself and that one day I could be part of a global need. It might seem like it is very hard and you might wonder or be unsure of where to start, but don’t give up. Educating yourself is important but success in this industry needs more than just knowledge. Networking A+, Linux operating system knowledge, a degree or any form or qualification in computer science or software engineering will be of so much help but you have to have the passion. About Henry Wanjala Henry Wanjala was born on 14/07/1989, in Jinja in Uganda. He studied in Jinja for both elementary and high school. Henry went to university in Uganda’s Capital, Kampalawhere he graduated with a Degree in Software Engineering. Mr. Wanjala is involved with robotic’s literacy movement in Africa. In February of 2016 he mentored high school students in London Ontario, Canada for the First Robotics Competition in March of 2016. In September of 2015 he spoke at Derbycon Hacking Conference in Kentucky. Henry is currently coding a web application that enables people to help small-scale initiatives globally that are working to improve social, humanitarian and environmental issues. Comments are closed
March 17, 2016 A hacker gang dubbed Anunak pulled off a high-profile attack against Energobank based in Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. This breach took place in February 2015, but its details surfaced lately in the respective report by Group-IB, a computer forensics firm hired to look into the incident. The fraudsters managed to deploy the Metel Trojan (the name is a transliterated Russian word for “Blizzard”) in the bank’s IT infrastructure. Also known as Corkow, this malware provided the hackers with unauthorized access to trading system terminals. Over the course of only 14 minutes, the offenders succeeded to conduct currency exchange transactions on behalf of the bank, which resulted in US Dollar/Ruble exchange rate to fluctuate from the regular 60/62 (buy/sell) down to 55/62. Consequently, the criminals were able to carry out multimillion-dollar deals, where interested parties could get quick profit by purchasing dollars cheaper and selling them at theaverage market rate. A total of 7 currency exchange requests were made within this brief time span, amounting to more than $500 million. The malware was then remotely deleted from the trading system. According to financial experts’ estimates, this artificially created temporary margin made the bank suffer losses in the millions. Meanwhile, the central bank admitted the exchange rate volatility but denied the fact of illegal manipulations, stating that the predicament could have resulted from traders’ mistakes. Dmitry Volkov, the cyber crimes investigation division leader at Group-IB, claims the Corkow Trojan is capable of traversing the contaminated Intranet thoroughly enough to even locate remote machines that may handle sensitive financial transactions. Furthermore, the malware in question was found to adopt sophisticated antivirus evasion techniques. It can, therefore, fly under the radar of the mediocre defenses that most of the targeted organizations employ. This feature hasenabled the Anunak criminal gang to create a botnet of over 250,000 workstations across the globe, including internal networks of more than 100 financial organizations. According to the report mentioned above, Energobank was breached via a spear phishing attack. Some of the employees were imprudent enough to open an email masqueraded as a message from a Russian banking authority. These emails contained malicious code tasked with exploiting security loopholes in Microsoft Office software. As a result, Corkow was instantly executed on the machines and quickly propagated across the bank’s network. This isn’t the only known incident involving the Metel (Corkow) malware. Its circulation was first spotted in 2011, and it had remained mostly dormant until the Energobank story. Group-IB researchers believe this was a “pilot” campaign to check how far the bad guys could go with their Trojan. Members of the Anunak ring have since unleashed Corkow to conduct another defiant heist. In August 2015,the malware attacked the credit card system used by about 250 Russian banks. This compromise made it possible for the hackers to steal hundreds of millions of rubles during just one night. The perpetrators withdrew money from ATMs and rolled back these transactions so that repeated cash-outs could be done in other banks’ ATMs. At this point, no instances of bank fraud using Corkow Trojan have been detected outside Russia. That being said, security professionals claim it may pose a risk to financial organizations elsewhere around the globe. About David Balaban David Balaban is a computer security researcher with over 10 years of experience in malware analysis and antivirus software evaluation. David runs the project which presents expert opinions on the contemporary information security matters, including social engineering, penetration testing, threat intelligence, online privacy and white hat hacking. As part of his work at Privacy-PC, Mr. Balaban has interviewed such securitycelebrities as Dave Kennedy, Jay Jacobs and Robert David Steele to get firsthand perspectives on hot InfoSec issues. David has a strong malware troubleshooting background, with the recent focus on ransomware countermeasures. Comments are closed
March 16, 2016 Phishing is an increasingly devious, almost artistic, threat. The ultimate goal is to trick a target into either downloading malware or disclosing personal or corporate information through social engineering, email spoofing and content spoofing efforts. Having snared an individual, there are a number of ways they can be exploited – from personal identity theft, to large scale corporate breaches. Phishing is thought to have originated around 1995, but it was in 2005 that it become more widely recognised as an attack vector. Ten years later and phishing is still an issue. Phishing Evolution ‘Phishers’ cast their nets wide, playing a statistical game in the certainty that a percentage of people will fall for the scam. As illustration, a 2015 study of 150,000 phishing emails, by Verizon partners, found that 23 percent of recipients open phishing messages, and 11 percent open attachments. In the last decade, phishing education has raised awareness to the risks posed frommessages arriving in mailboxes. As users question the legitimacy of emails, and conversion rates fell, phishers needed ways to hone their messages to increase the probability of success. Unfortunately, in tandem the popularity of social networking sights – such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. has furnished phishers with a veritable wealth of information that can be used to legitimise their messages. Coined as ‘spear phishing,’ it makes it increasingly difficult to determine fact from fiction. While it might seem all a little one-sided, there have been some wins for enterprise security. For starters, as phishers are playing a numbers game, firewalls and email gateways have become adept at spotting and blocking high volume traffic, meaning many campaigns never arrive in individual’s mailboxes. Another development has been the rise in anti-virus software that monitors and spots the tell-tale signs of messages containing malware, again diverting them away from inboxes. As with any‘profession,’ maximising return on investment is key, so unsurprisingly the scammers are also adapting their techniques, obfuscating their code to evade detection and reducing the volume of messages being sent. One tactic is focusing efforts on the ‘Big Phish’ in the pond – fewer targets, but bigger – in some cases MUCH bigger, returns! Introducing Whaling The term ‘Whaling’ is a play-on-words, reflecting the idea that an important person may also be referred to as a “big fish” or in our case “phish.” While having all the same characteristics of phishing, rather than casting a wide net the scam will target a specific end user – such as a C-level executive, database administrator or celebrity. Corporate websites, LinkedIn profiles, and even an organisations key twitter accounts, all openly promote the identities of the high level individuals, thus divulging the key characteristics Whalers need to ply their trade. As with any phishing endeavour, the goal of whaling is to trick the targetinto disclosing personal or corporate information through social engineering, email spoofing and content spoofing efforts. One example of a whaling attack (also referred to as CEO Fraud) that has yielded results is a ‘wire transfer’ scam. The victim, who is normally a high level executive, receives a spoofed message from a hacker posing as the CFO, or even CEO of a partner company, requesting a money transfer be placed for a vendor payment or company acquisition. Of course, instead of this money being applied to the vendor or merger in question, it instead is applied to a remote account the hacker controls. These messages can be innocuous at first, with the hacker (disguised as an executive or internal employee) asking the victims if they are at their desks. To pull this off, the hacker sends the emails using a display address of the company’s domain, but uses a reply-to address of an external domain, often a free email service. Using this method, the victims can often end upconversing with the hacker via email without realising they are being duped. This method has been used to steal thousands of dollars from companies in fraudulent transfers, often with the requests in the $20-50K range. While that is quite a bitter pill to swallow, many attempts are for much higher amounts and can lead to financial ruin for some companies. A network hardware company called Ubiquiti was victim to one of these schemes in mid-2015, except instead of wiring tens of thousands of dollars, they were defrauded to the sum of $40M. They were able to recover a few million, but it is likely that the majority of the cash will never be back in their hands. At the beginning of 2016 Belgian Bank Crelan, Crédit Agricole’s Belgian subsidiary, announced that it had fallen victim of Whaling attack and had lost over €70 million ($75.8 million) in the process. The FBI is on record as saying that companies around the world lost around $1.2 billion / €1.07 billion in the previous two years towhaling attacks. Many companies spend much time and money on protecting their network traffic or public facing servers from hacks, which is extremely important. But these social engineering spear phishing attempts are why it is equally paramount to protect employee communications as well. Don’t take the bait While firewalls and anti-virus continue to have a part to play in defending an organisation against attacks, the scammers are becoming increasingly canny in the type of campaign devised and the method in which they execute the scam. To avoid the bait, organisations need to be equally devious. Here’s some tips to avoid the Phisher’s net, and the Whaler’s snare: As an organisation, consider a different configuration for high level executive email accounts. For example if, as an organisation, email addresses are typically firstname.lastname@example.org, instead use lastname.firstname@ or even firstinitial.surname@, better still a pseudonym that only trusted personnel will recognise – anythingthat makes it impossible for phishers to spoof Initiate a process that must be followed when an unusual request is made – picking up the phone and verifying the request may have prevented some of the wire fraud seen in the last few years Consider having a ‘secret phrase’ that top-level executives use when communicating to each other so that messages can be legitimised easily A policy that all messages are encrypted – while this wouldn’t stop a scammer sending a message and it being received, the fact its not encrypted should ring alarm bells Mitigating the risk through the use of a reliable e-mail and Web filtering solutions are essential. While identifying the Whaler Net is tricky, it’s not impossible and much of the user guidelines still apply. If its sounds too good to be true, or just barmy, then don’t do it – challenge it! About Fred Touchette Fred Touchette joined AppRiver in February 2007 as a Senior Security Analyst. Touchette is primarily responsible for evaluating securitycontrols and identifying potential risks. He provides advice, research support, project management services, and information security expertise to assist in designing security solutions for new and existing applications. During his tenure at AppRiver, Touchette has been instrumental in accessing critical IT threats and implementing safeguard strategies and recommendations. Touchette holds many technical certifications, including CCNA, COMP-TIA Security+, GPEN –GIAC Network Penetration Tester and GREM - GIAC Reverse Engineering Malware through the SANS initiative. He is highly regarded as an expert on email and Internet-based cyberthreats, and has been referenced in several top technology publications including USA Today, Forbes.com, Dark Reading and more. Comments are closed
March 16, 2016 Garter’s for Web Application Firewalls (WAF) estimates that the global WAF market size is as big as $420 million, with 24 percent annual growth, making a Web Application Firewall one of the most popular preventive and/or detective security controls currently being used for web applications. PCI DSS 3.1 suggests WAF deployment as an alternative to vulnerability scanning while ISACA’s “” includes WAF in the 10 key security controls that companies need to consider as they embrace DevOps to achieve reduced costs and increased agility. Nowadays, a number of large and midsize companies offer various WAF solutions, usually packaged together with DDoS protection, CDN, ADC and other related offerings. Amazon Web Services (AWS) has itself recently launched its own WAF service. Gartner predicts that by 2020, more than 60 percent of public web applications will be protected by a WAF. However, in 2015 Gartner had only one vendor listed in its WAF MQ as a Leader (Imperva), and onlytwo vendors listed as Visionaries (DenyAll and Positive Technologies). All other vendors are either Niche Players or Challengers. Many more WAF vendors were simply not present in the MQ for not meeting the inclusion criteria. Last year, security researcher Mazin Ahmed published a to demonstrate that XSS protection from almost all popular WAF vendors can be bypassed. XSSPosed (the project) prior to announcing its private and open Bug Bounty programs, published new XSS vulnerabilities on the largest websites (including Amazon) almost every day and was effectively an insightful resource for observing just how security researchers bypassed almost every WAF mentioned in the Magic Quadrant. The emerging trend of RASP (Runtime Application Self Protection) can also be bypassed using similar techniques as for WAF bypass. High-Tech Bridge recently published which demonstrated that a WAF can be used to mitigate even such complicated vulnerabilities as Improper Access Control or SessionFixation. Sadly, many commercial vendors do not provide even a half of ModSecurity’s technical ability and flexibility for virtual patching. However, High-Tech Bridge’s research also highlighted that ModSecurity OWASP CRS can be bypassed in default configuration, and that creation of custom rulesets may be very complicated and time-consuming. There are five main reasons why WAF protection often fails these days: 1. Negligent deployment, lack of skills and different risk mitigation priorities Many companies simply don’t have competent technical personnel to maintain and support WAF configuration on a daily basis. Not surprisingly, they just put their WAF into detection mode (without blocking anything) and don’t even care about reading the logs. 2. Deployment only for compliance purposes Midsize and small companies frequently install WAFs just to satisfy a compliance requirement. They don’t really care about practical security, and obviously won’t care about maintaining their WAF.3. Complicated diversity of constantly evolving web applications Today almost every company uses in-house or customized web applications, developed in different programming languages, frameworks and platforms. It’s still common to see CGI scripts from the 90s in pair with complex AJAX web applications using third-party APIs and web services in the cloud. Moreover, web developers need to update their web applications almost every day to meet business requirements. Obviously, such a dynamic and diverse environment can hardly be protected even by the best WAF and the most competent engineers. 4. Business priorities domination over cybersecurity It’s almost unavoidable that your WAF will cause some false-positives by blocking legitimate website visitors. Usually, after the first complaint to the management from an unhappy customer who could not pay for the service and left for a competitor, WAF is being definitely moved into detection-only mode (at least until the next QSA audit).5. Inability to protect against advanced web attacks By design, a WAF cannot mitigate unknown application logic vulnerabilities, or vulnerabilities that require a thorough understanding of application’s business logic. Few innovators try to use an incremental ruleset hardening in pair with IP reputation, machine learning and behavioural white-listing to defend against such vulnerabilities. However, they need to pass complicated learning cycles that take quite a lot of time, and are not yet reliable enough. A Web Application Firewall remains a pretty complicated security control to deploy and maintain within an organization. However, a WAF remains probably the only preventive security control for web applications, significantly reducing the risks of web vulnerabilities exploitation. A properly configured WAF can prevent simple vectors of the most common web vulnerabilities (such as XSS and SQL injections), even in very dynamic and complicated environments. Moreover, if for a reason it’simpossible to patch the vulnerable web application source code or apply vendor’s patch, virtual patching via WAF can be a life-saver. Nevertheless, in no case should a WAF be considered a panacea against web attacks, and shall always be completed by other security controls, such as Vulnerability Scanning, Developer Security Training and Continuous Monitoring, as suggested by ISACA. Yan Borboën, partner at PwC Switzerland, MSc, CISA, CRISC, comments: “As of today, we can say that cyberattacks have become the new normality in our today’s digitally connected world. There is no ‘magic bullet’ for effective cybersecurity, it’s a journey which is starting with the identification of your key risks and your crown jewels (i.e. client data, intellectual property, etc) and then to find the right mix between technologies, processes, and people measures.” Being insufficient to properly mitigate complicated security flaws in modern web applications, a Web Application Firewall still remains anecessary security control within organizations. About Ilia Ilia Kolochenko Kolochenko is the Foundation of web security company High-Tech Bridge and the chief Architect of ImmuniWeb® # platform. Ilia previously worked as a Penetration Tester, IT security expert and manager for various financial institutions in Switzerland and Central Europe. Ilia holds a bachelor degree with honors in Mathematics and Computer Science. Ilia also has a military background from Swiss artillery troops where he served prescription to Creating High-Tech Bridge Comments are closed
March 15, 2016 It doesn’t matter what industry you are in: passwords are going to be a major player in daily lives no matter where you are. Despite the famous 2004 prediction that the password is dead, it’s still kicking around today – along with an entire list of requirements and password policies in place to make it as secure as possible for any given environment. Interestingly enough, recent studies have shown that some of those policies – namely mandatory password changes – may not be all that we had originally thought them to be. Lorrie Faith Cranor, Chief Technologist at the Federal Trade Commission and Comp-Sci professor at Carnegie Mellon University, recently published noting that mandatory password changes may not be as effective as IT professionals think, and actually serve as little more than a minor hurtle to a typical modern day attacker. Usability is King Cranor cites two detailed research studies, as well as evidence put together through her own research at CarnegieMellon, which supports the claim that mandatory password changes put a harmful strain on the end-users in an environment that can ultimately make their accounts less secure. We’ve all been privy to the pains of mandatory password resets – on top of the literal dozens of passwords that we have to remember and use each day, we are then expected to come up with something strong and secure all over again. It can be a nightmare, honestly. In those situations, it is not unheard of to fall into the habit of setting a usable password in favor of a more highly secure one – and therein lies the issue: end-users are more inclined to take whichever path is more convenient at the risk of sacrificing security. In her case-study, Cranor cites research to support this claim, noting that, “…we found that CMU students, faculty and staff who reported annoyance with the CMU password policy ended up choosing weaker passwords than those who did not report annoyance.” In cases where accounts are truly atrisk, this practice serves to negate many of the security polices put in place – even if the password has to be changed frequently. It also serves as an interesting point in support of the fact that much end-user behavior is at least partially dependent on levels of frustration (referred to as annoyance). As it happens, people are predictable. When forced to change passwords on a regular basis, not only do end-users tend more towards setting weaker passwords, their password changes are more likely to follow a predictable transformation. UNC researchers found that once one password was cracked for a specific user, attackers can . If we acknowledge that password fatigue and frustration is one of the root causes of this human error in judgment, resolutions can be readily implemented to overcome such potentially disastrous end-user behavior. So What’s the Verdict? This research on mandatory password changes has made one thing very clear: end-users seek out convenience and usabilitywhenever they can, often with no regard to the potential fallout. With the increasing number of passwords required for daily access, adhering to a stringent policy for password changes has made end-users react in a way that is more manageable yet less secure – which can put an entire network at risk. In order to provide a secure alternative, solutions like password managers or even should be provided to end-users where available. Single Sign-on makes use of industry standard protocols (SAML, CAS, Shibboleth, Kerberos, etc.) in order to eliminate the need for users to enter multiple passwords or even respond to multiple login prompts. Additionally, an appropriate, fully integrated SSO solution can eliminate password fatigue and encourage end-users to create strong, complex passwords that are simple to manage and even recover when forgotten. Of course, as Cranor noted in an , “You never have to explain why you’re making things more secure…removing that requirement would require a lotof explanation.” It’s like a coworker of mine frequently says, ‘Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.,’ but in reality, we need to be able to adapt to the evolving nature of digital security – even if that means upending some previously established standards. More and more evidence is coming to light in regard to the need for mandatory password changes, and it seems that now is a good a time as any to take a good look at existing authentication security and see what can be done to increase security in a way that end-users will be able to manage. Things are changing in the world of cyber security – if we are to keep from being left in the dust, our best practices need to keep changing too. About Christopher R. Perry Christopher is the Content Manager and Editor with PistolStar, Inc., an authentication solution company that addresses various pain points and identity management concerns with their fully customizable solution. Christopher has an M.A. in English from SUNY Albany, and hasheld various IT Positions that include Tier 1 Technical Support and hardware setup as well as custom P.C. construction – giving him a unique, supportive perspective from which to write.
March 14, 2016 Data breaches are expensive. Gross costs stemming from Target’s infamous 2013 breach totaled $252 million. And the Ponemon Institute’s annual survey saw the cost for each compromised record had risen for the eighth consecutive year to approximately $150. Coupled with the number of data breaches reaching an all-time high in 2014 (a short-lived record likely to be beaten in 2015), it’s no surprise that cyberinsurance is in high demand. However, cyberinsurance should be viewed only as a safety net to protect financial interest, and not the foundation of a cybersecurity architecture. Interest in cyberinsurance has risen alongside the increase in serious data breaches as a means for companies to recoup a portion of the financial losses they sustain when sensitive data is stolen or otherwise exposed. Target recovered $90 million of its $250 million loss thanks to insurance, so there’s a very obvious benefit to having it. But at a recent conference for CISOs where experts puttheir heads together to address some of their common problems, I was surprised by how many executives were hedging their company’s data loss bets with cyberinsurance policies. A changing landscape While certainly helpful, cyberinsurance isn’t the panacea CISOs might be hoping for. Data breaches have reached near-daily frequency, and the costs continue to climb. As such, cyberinsurance premiums are going up – sometimes by more than 30% – as are the policy conditions and exclusions. Insurers are also raising deductibles and setting limits on coverage. This has impacted more severely, due in large part to the number of recent costly breaches in those business sectors. Other factors also affect the cost of cyberinsurance, such as the mandated requirements for breach disclosure and notifications, which varies by industry. This can significantly run up the costs of a data breach well into the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, driving some insurers to cap coverage at $100 million forrisky customers. Thus, insurance payouts may only cover a portion of the costs, which typically include: Breach notifications to affected customers Voluntary or mandatory credit monitoring services PR and communications services Forensic investigations Lawsuits IT remediation Fines and other penalties Brand and reputation damage Loss of business Loss in market capitalization The long-term repercussions Beyond the cost of the data lost, there are other factors to consider, such as damage to brand reputation and loss of customer trust, which can last for years and are much harder to quantify. And the general public isn’t going to care that the business saved money when their personal data was compromised. They’re going to want to know how it happened, when it happened, and what the company is going to do to prevent it from happening again. If customers don’t feel secure doing business, they’ll go elsewhere. Having cyberinsurance won’t change that, nor will it save a CISO’s job should adata breach occur. This is not to say that cyber liabilitity insurance doesn’t have a place in the corporate quiver; it does. However, a legal hedge against a data breach is not the best way to go as it’s a reactive, not proactive, strategy. Cyberinsurance should only be viewed as one component in a more comprehensive cybersecurity strategy to protect the organization against a breach. Companies still need to build a proper defense to prevent a data breach from happening in the first place – or at least minimize its effects. This is best accomplished by following cybersecurity best practices, such as identifying the critical data assets, restricting or limiting access to them, applying a layered defense approach, monitoring the data assets for unapproved access or activity, and responding promptly to any suspicious activity. No insurance policy in the world is that multi-talented. About Daren Glenister Daren Glenister is the Field CTO for (NYSE: IL), a leading global SaaS provider ofcontent management and collaboration solutions. In his role, he acts as a customer advocate, working with enterprise organizations to evangelize data collaboration solutions and translate customer business challenges into product requirements, helping to steer Intralinks’ product roadmap and the evolving secure collaboration market. Glenister brings over 20 years of industry experience and leadership in security, compliance, secure collaboration and enterprise software having worked with many of the Fortune 1000 companies helping to turn business challenges into real world solutions. In the past, he has led technical and consulting businesses for CA Technologies, Symantec (Bindview), BMC Software Intellinet and Sterling Software. Follow him on Twitter: @DarenGlenister.
March 14, 2016 Advertisements and marketing are inseparable concepts. It’s embedded e-commerce content that allows various online services to exist without charging their customers a penny. There are unspoken guidelines that the interested parties follow along the way, such as avoiding the redundancy of ads and only promoting commodities that are safe. Ideally, these campaigns aren’t overly intrusive, both the service providers and the end users are satisfied. This remarkable equilibrium, however, is amazingly easy to disrupt. Malicious programs categorized as adware drastically diminish one’s online experience by injecting obnoxious ads into all websites that the person visits. Note the fundamental difference between regular advertisements and the ones spawned by adware. The former are authorized and generated on the server side while the latter are isolated strictly to a particular computer. Since the evil counterparts aren’t bound by regulations of any sort, they tend to getsuperfluous and may even cram up the greater part of an arbitrary web page. Virus-borne items include ads above the fold, coupons, banners, price comparison charts, bogus software updates, inline text and full-page interstitials. Such a diversity enables the cyber criminals to get the biggest bang from their ad click fraud campaigns, but the infected users suffer the consequences big time. Although adware removal may be a challenge to perform, below are the techniques worth adopting to get rid of nasty ads on sites. Windows uninstall functionality should be the starting point. This feature is built into the operating system and allows removal of any installed program in a couple of clicks. All it takes is go to Control Panel from Windows Start menu, select Uninstall a Program, examine the software list, pick the malicious entry and hit Uninstall. Some malware, though, obfuscates its presence on a PC and may not be listed, in which case it’s recommended to proceed to the next step.Manual removal from web browsers is very efficient when it comes to adware troubleshooting. Since it’s the web browsing facet that gets hit by these infections in the first place, spotting and trashing the offending browser add-on is one of the prerequisites of a successful cleanup. Nevertheless, adware can add a scheduled task to reanimate the extension after such action on the user’s end. A full reset of the affected browser’s configuration is, more efficient, moreover, it remediates the unwanted changes. In Google Chrome, this option is under Advanced Settings; in Mozilla Firefox, you need to go to Help – Troubleshooting Information; and in Internet Explorer, it’s under the Advanced tab of the Internet Options interface. Please be advised all personalized browsing data will be obliterated as a result of this procedure. Registry troubleshooting may be necessary because adware usually creates new registry entries to persevere on the PC. This way, its executable is automaticallylaunched as part of the system startup routine. To access the registry, type ‘regedit’ in the Start menu’s Search box, select the respective command and hit Enter. Then go to Edit and pick the Find option. In the box named ‘Find what’, type the name of the adware and press Enter. To figure out the name, take a look at the ads that are causing issues – there is typically an inscription down at the bottom, for instance ‘Ads by Shopperz’ or alike. If the registry search returns something for that query, do not hesitate to delete those entries. Temp folder cleanup is another recommendation that’s worthwhile. Having attacked a computer, PUAs (potentially unwanted programs) tend to download auxiliary components to the Temp directory, which is located on the system volume under AppData – Local. An easy way to access that folder is by typing %temp% in the Search box. Deleting all entries there is safe. File traces of the infection will thus be removed as well. ‘Show hidden files’ is amust-enable option. Some adware strains try to thwart removal by hiding their folder. Most of the time, the obfuscated malicious objects lurk inside Program Files or AppData directory. To view and delete those, go to Control Panel, select Appearance and Personalization, and choose Folder Options. Proceed to the View tab, scroll down to Advanced settings, pick the ‘Show hidden files, folders and drives’ option and save the changes. Take a look at the contents of the above-mentioned folders, locate suspicious entries that were recently added, and remove the ones that are related to the adware program. Automatic removal of remaining adware traces is strongly advised. No matter how thorough you believe the manual cleaning was, the infection’s fragments are still likely to be scattered across the system. Be sure to use a reliable security suite that proved to be efficient in adware scenarios, such as free Malwarebytes Anti-Malware or AdwCleaner. Run a full scan and get all detectedartifacts removed. Last but certainly not least, a few simple prevention techniques can keep ad-injecting viruses away. First off, treat freeware installations with caution. Most of the known adware samples are distributed through bundling schemes, where a harmless free product and unwanted items go in one package. The presence of dangerous extras is typically mentioned in fine print during the setup, which is why users overlook them. Technically, this is a legal spreading method, but its ethical facet is questionable. Be careful when using Torrent Trackers. The tactic dubbed Torrent poisoning can be leveraged to distribute malicious code via the P2P protocol. It is currently a growing attack vector. Also, do not install anything recommended by nagging popup alerts on websites, whether it’s a Flash Player update or the “best” movie downloader. All in all, just be prudent when online and steer clear of stuff that looks fishy. About David Balaban David Balaban is a computer securityresearcher with over 10 years of experience in malware analysis and antivirus software evaluation. David runs the project which presents expert opinions on the contemporary information security matters, including social engineering, penetration testing, threat intelligence, online privacy and white hat hacking. As part of his work at Privacy-PC, Mr. Balaban has interviewed such security celebrities as Dave Kennedy, Jay Jacobs and Robert David Steele to get firsthand perspectives on hot InfoSec issues. David has a strong malware troubleshooting background, with the recent focus on ransomware countermeasures.
March 11, 2016 The planets are aligning against the privacy of every individual who uses a healthcare system; those planets being complexity and new technologies. Modern medicine has to deal with massive numbers of patients and the routes taken by patient data are often highly convoluted, complex and open to error. As the system currently stands, patient information is shared between what amounts to, a small eco-system of associated actors. These include: employers, lawyers, insurance companies, general practitioners, pharmacies and hospitals. The image below shows some work carried out to quantify the complexity of the data sharing eco-system – this shows the pathway of data when a simple blood test was ordered by a general practitioner. This study, , was carried out back in 2006 by Enrico Coiera and since then the complexity has increased as new technologies such as Cloud systems and mobile devices have entered the arena. The types of data flowing through the healthcare eco-systemare also highly varied. Often the data capture mechanisms used varies across the system and results in data that is difficult to aggregate and analyze. This non-standardization is compounded by the era of big data. Healthcare data is now, on the whole, digitized and the volumes of digitized data are massive. This has both positive and negative connotations for the healthcare industry. On the plus side, it is expected the use of big data can save the industry billions. predicting a $100 billion increases in annual profits with the use of big data. On a more negative note, the complexity of the healthcare data eco-system may well be one of the reasons healthcare is a prime target for cyber-crime. In 2014 one of the biggest security breaches ever, involving personally identifying information (Pii) occurred against healthcare insurer Anthem. This breach resulted in the theft of almost 80 million records containing personal details, including social security numbers. In addition,cyber-crime against healthcare providers is not surprising when you consider that a healthcare record is worth more than any other data record on the black market, figures from the setting the price of the average stolen healthcare record at $363. But it’s not just the big breaches that are a worry for patient data privacy; even small breaches can result in loss of privacy. The HIPPA Breach Notification Rule requires that any healthcare industry member has to reveal a breach that affects more than 500 individuals. The resultant notification list can be seen on the website of the . If you generate a report for January 1st 2015 to 22nd September 2015, it pulls up 190 incidents ranging from laptop thefts, to unauthorized access of electronic healthcare records and spans the range of the extended family of healthcare provision. HIPAA should never be used as a coverall for privacy protection. HIPPA is a set of guidelines for security best practice. Healthcare privacy is a much more diffuseconcept that cannot be simply achieved by applying encryption to a database, as exemplified by one of the well published Target privacy breaches, where the company sent out baby coupons to a teenage girl, identifying her, to her parents, as being pregnant. Making a complex system even more so New technologies, which are adding new routes of data vulnerability, do bring patient benefit. The use of electronic healthcare records (EHR) within an integrated platform brings greater efficiency, allowing disparate units, such as consultancy, documentation and pharmacy to more easily share information on a given patient. A 2013 study by RAND showed that the USA could save around $78 billion by moving to a fully EHR system. However, the advent of ‘data driven medicine’, which is enabled by the use of EHR and Cloud based platforms, will open up new challenges for data protection and privacy of information. Mobile devices or mHealth, which offer advanced data collection and sharing opportunities,are also becoming ubiquitous in healthcare, with an estimated using a mobile device for work and 50% of those using an iPad in their practice. The use of mobile devices to generate and share data is not, of course, confined to the professional. Patients are starting to use mobile apps. A report by mobile analyst, in June 2014, saw a 62% increase in the use of health apps by the public and there is a move for the data generated using these apps to be shared with doctors, so much so, that the FDA are currently exploring how to regulate these apps. Then there is the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT). The benefits of IoT in healthcare can be substantial as research identified in a report by MacAfee on , shows the use of IoT in healthcare provides a saving of $63 billion in the next 15 years. However, as an extended family of Internet connected devices enter the patient data eco-system, we will see even more complexity and more pathway extensions that open up areas where privacy andsecurity are at risk. The same report also stated that privacy violations are one of the expected downsides of the use of IoT in healthcare and that the use of encrypted data transmissions between devices is crucial to remediate this issue. Where do we go from here? Efficient data sharing is a vital part of modern medicine. Add to this the need to share these data across different device types, often using Cloud technologies, within a context of an increasingly sophisticated cybercrime landscape and you create a can of worms as far as ensuring that patient data privacy is upheld. Organizations such as the provide standards and certifications that provide a for health record privacy, particularly EHR. They have embedded the HIPPA privacy and security requirements into the U.S. Medicare and Mediaid EHR incentive programs, requiring providers to reach certain levels of attainment in the use of EHR’s. The (CDT) in partnership with the California Healthcare Foundation, have developed a setof privacy principles in healthcare use of data that cover off the main areas of consent, notice, security and choice. The bottom line outcome of the review is that patients should have more choice in how their information is collected and used; the fundamental principle being that patients have rights to their own data. The CDT recognizes that patient data is needed for research, for example, but it should be used in an environment of transparency and user choice. The CDT is currently running a series of consultative workshops with stakeholders looking at the impact of big data on patient privacy and how to resolve these issues. One of the areas they wish to focus in on, is how to interpret the Fair Information Practice Principles or FIPPS-based HIPPA rules. The outcome they are hoping for is to create privacy principles that will encompass both traditional and emerging healthcare applications. But principles and guidelines are not enough; you need technical innovation that can applythese principles. There are a number of groups working in the technology area of healthcare data sharing, including the Kantara Initiative. Here a working group, known as , is working on an open standard Internet protocol that will allow users to manage their consent to share data within a healthcare context. It is the use of technologies like the UMA protocol that will enable the use of wide scale EHR platforms with an extended IoT/mHealth framework, to be utilized in a more transparent, consented and privacy enhanced manner. About Avani Desai Avani Desai is a Principal and Executive Vice President at , with over 13 years of technology and privacy experience. About Jeanmarie Loria Jeanmarie Loria is the Managing Director of , where provides quality consulting and project management services to payors and providers to increase clients’ ROI and satisfaction.
March 11, 2016 Ordinarily, falling victim to a ransom plot means that you are the son or daughter of some wealthy person and the only way to get out of it is by paying tons of money or waiting for Arnold Schwarzenegger or Kurt Russell to come and rescue you, or, at least, that’s what TV would have us believe. These days being held for ransom can actually happen quite differently with your computer of all things. I’m talking of course about ransomware, a particularly diabolical type of , that is to say, bad software, that’s been making headlines recently. Here’s how it works. Once ransomware gets on your computer, usually through an affected email attachment or the all too common Trojan horse attack, it will lock your computer or your data in some way and demand payment in exchange for giving control of your system back to you. Some of the simpler forms of ransomware will simply try to fool you into thinking there’s something wrong with your computer and get you to pay money to fix it.A common tactic that we see in those banner ads that tell you that you’ve been inexplicably infected by something. Now often times with those, you’ve got at least rudimentary control over your system still, so the only real issue is that you have to deal with constant pop-ups until you find a way to get rid of the malware. A much more irritating kind of ransomware will lock your computer entirely and keep you from logging into your operating system unless you pay the money. Many of these varieties of ransomware will display a threatening message purporting to be from the FBI or some other super hardcore police agency, saying that your computer was used for something highly illegal, but you can get your computer back and avoid doing a hard time, just by paying a few hundred dollars. Sounds absurd, right? But people have fallen victims to this and even if you recognize the scam immediately, it can be a real pain to remove. Worst of all is the ransomware that not only locks your systembut also encrypts your files and won’t provide you with the keys to decrypt them unless you pay up. The most notable of these being Cryptolocker, although many other variants have popped up since that one first made the news back in 2013. There are other issues with this type of ransomware, unsurprisingly. Cyber-criminals aren’t the most trustworthy folks, and many people have reported not getting their files back even after paying the ransom. On top of that, some kinds of ransomware don’t even ask permission, they just hit your Bitcoin wallet and take the money without even giving you a chance to say: “Well, hold on, let me think about whether this data is worth paying for.” So, how can you rescue your computer and protect your cash if you get infected? Many of the non-encrypting types of can be removed by booting into safe mode and running an up-to-date anti-malware tool. Or, if that fails, downloading a bootable removal tool to a flash drive and running that. However, if you’ve beenhit by a crypto ransomware, you’re probably out of luck. As most of these use a very strong algorithm. In fact, the FBI has advised people to just pay these ransoms in the past. If you don’t like the idea of your money going to online criminals, back up your data somewhere, preferably offline. Remember please, to explain to your grandparents what a banner ad is if they call you in a panic over having fifty viruses on their all-in-one PC. About David Balaban David Balaban is a computer security researcher with over 10 years of experience in malware analysis and antivirus software evaluation. David runs the project which presents expert opinions on the contemporary information security matters, including social engineering, penetration testing, threat intelligence, online privacy and white hat hacking. As part of his work at Privacy-PC, Mr. Balaban has interviewed such security celebrities as Dave Kennedy, Jay Jacobs and Robert David Steele to get firsthand perspectives on hot InfoSecissues. David has a strong malware troubleshooting background, with the recent focus on ransomware countermeasures.
March 11, 2016 Many of the modern gifts are digital products like notebooks, ultrabooks, tablets, smartphones. How do we protect our children when they go online? According to the latest statistics, our children are spending over 9 hours a day connected. Think how scary that statistic is, 9 hours! You are probably asking yourself what are they doing all that time, and how much information are we really giving them in order to understand how to use the Internet securely? Staying on top of dangerous apps that your kids shouldn’t be downloading is crucial. And now there’s a way that kids can hide those bad apps right in plain sight. You have to know what to be cautious about. There are many perilous things out there. For example, there is an app called YouNow. Hugely popular with young people, parents should really be aware of. YouNow is a streaming application that’s most certainly on your kids’ devices. With hashtags like ‘bored’ or ‘dancing.’ There are millions of children actuallychilling out and streaming. One more hashtag: ‘sleeping squad’ features users while sleeping. In most case, young people are live streaming as they are sitting at home in their rooms. They are basically talking to unknown people who are writing messages back. Sounds innocent, but can get not so innocent fast. Kids tend to do kind of shocking things to earn likes. They are also sharing a lot of personal information. It’s just one app parents should keep on their radar. Some other apps parents should keep tabs on are texting apps like ooVoo, , and Kik. Other include the self-deleting apps like Snap Chat, Burn Note, and Yik Yak. Finally, the dating apps like Tinder, MeetMe, and Scout. You also want to pay attention to apps that will hide certain apps on your phone. For example, Vaulty, it allows users to generate a password-protected repository where you could hide videos and pictures. In addition, Vaulty may take a photo of anyone who attempts to enter the vault but puts in the incorrectpassword. Hide it Pro, similar to Vaulty, it enables you to conceal files. Hide it Pro itself is masked to look like a media manager. The app shows a lock protected folder where users can conceal videos, messages and also other applications. So, what can we do to keep our kids protected when they are playing with their gadgets? Listed below are the most important steps you have to be taking be certain that your sons or daughters are secured. The first one: location, location, location. Wherever your kids are using a computer, make sure it’s in a public area of the household, that way you can be casual and just sneak on by and look at what they happen to be watching and typing. Mothers can be casually cooking or whatever it is and see that children are doing something that is safe and secure. According to the latest surveys, over 17% of parents had seen their kids doing things online that were completely inappropriate. 60% of parents said they didn’t really know what their kids weredoing, and that’s totally scary. Next tip, stay on top of social. Get all of your kid’s usernames and passwords. If they want accounts, they need to share with you their accounts’ usernames and passwords. Not only that, friend them, follow them and see what’s going on. Some children may write bad comments or post inappropriate photos. As a parent, knowing where to look and be aware of this allows addressing such situations. Next tip stresses: “Share with one, share with all.” You have to educate your children about their digital footprint; they need to understand that what they’re putting online, whether their profile is locked for public or not, it is going to stay there for good. Parents should be concerned about their kids over-sharing about their family and themselves. Take action. This is critical. Use parental control software. There are various free and paid versions. Parental control software monitors your child’s location, allows you to limit how much time they spend online,allows you to limit the websites they are going to. And if they want to go to a specific website, they can send you a special message requesting it. You can send them messages that take over their apps or the device itself and doesn’t allow them to use it until they respond to your message. Parental control software lets you whitelist the apps your kids wishes to install. In fact, you should become an for all those devices. Putting limitations on what children can do is absolutely adequate in present day tech world. Finally, teach critical thinking and reward it once these kids learn. Set some limitations when you give them a device. Don’t just give it but teach first how to use properly. About David Balaban David Balaban is a computer security researcher with over 10 years of experience in malware analysis and antivirus software evaluation. David runs the project which presents expert opinions on the contemporary information security matters, including social engineering, penetrationtesting, threat intelligence, online privacy and white hat hacking. As part of his work at Privacy-PC, Mr. Balaban has interviewed such security celebrities as Dave Kennedy, Jay Jacobs and Robert David Steele to get firsthand perspectives on hot InfoSec issues. David has a strong malware troubleshooting background, with the recent focus on ransomware countermeasures.
March 10, 2016 NNT review and discuss the range of Cyber Security Threats predicted by analysts and vendors and present a Top Ten of Cyber Security Safety Measures. Drinking kale and beetroot smoothies isn’t one of them, but to find out why not, and to see what did make the list, read on… “To begin with we consulted a number of expert sources. As with many of these prescient type reports, conjecture and guesswork certainly play their part. That said there is enough fact based on current trends and previously observed activity to take all this very seriously indeed.” What Does Experian Think? Chip & Pin won’t stop payment card breaches (only 53% of IT Security Executives believe EMV cards will decrease the risk of a breach) Whilst we may have expected there to be some pessimism to the claims that Chip & Pin would represent an end to Credit Card theft. Interestingly 47% predict no discernable improvement at all– never mind any sort of total prevention Attacks on Healthcare Institutionswill increase (Healthcare Records worth 10 times that of CC details) Healthcare records are worth 10 times more than that of credit card data. Healthcare providers have notoriously poor defenses – FBI warnings following a bout of breaches including one leading provider who had 4.5 million records compromised Healthcare records are being used to fabricate insurance claims, purchase drugs and generate fake ID’s. The lack of prevailing security and the rich source of personal data available, makes this a very attractive target for cyber criminals Cyber conflicts between Enemy Nations will increasingly affect civilians between Enemy Nations may include public facilities such as Airports, Hospitals and Government Facilities Perhaps this should come as no surprise as we have already seen examples of this right back to Stuxnet (originally designed to attack Iranian Nuclear Facilities) and the more recent disabling of Ukrainian Cel Networks by Russian intelligence Hacktivism will make a comeback Hacktivism- both corporate shaming and ‘Cause-Based’ will increase – considered the ultimate leveler From Ashley Madison to threats on ISIS. The apparent success of some of these initiatives is fueling a renewed vigor for those purporting to represent a cause – however justified What Does Trend Micro Think? 2016 will see an increase in online extortion We’ve already seen examples such as the LA Presbyterian Med Center settlement. The fact that this was a relatively quick and easy ‘Hack for Cash’ is driving another predicted trend, which we will touch on later. The LA Hack speaks to both the targeting of Healthcare as well as the increase in Ransomware At least one consumer grade smart device will cause fatalities From Drones circling our no fly zones to Medical Smart Devices used to transmit emergency care information. All of these are targets and all occupy worryingly close links to human lives China will drive mobile malware growth to 20M by the end of 2016 Growth in MobileMalware is already accelerating way faster than traditional computer based Malware. Since we started tracking PC Based malware in 1984 it took 20 years to grow to 20m instances. In contrast, we have seen Mobile Malware grow to these levels within 6 years (Source: Trend Micro) Hacktivism will increase Trend agrees with Experian! Little or no change in priority or investment at a corporate level Despite all if this, less than 50% of organizations will have dedicated IT protection specialists Cybercrime legislation will become a Global Movement United Nations will inevitably combine forces to improve both Cyber Protection as well as their ability to fight back What Does Gartner Think? The attack surface is changing all the time Contemporary threat environment is broadening with the advance of Shadow and Bimodal IT Means of enabling IT is changing. The Marketing Department may well have their own IT assets beyond the IT teams reach Mapping visibility The better you understand what you havethe better able to protect and monitor it you will be Don’t focus too much on Zero Day Threats! 99% of exploits are based on vulnerabilities known for at least a year, and this trend will continue through 2020! Last year’s most prevalent malware ‘Conficker’ based on a 7 year old vulnerability within windows Emphasis should be more on prevention than detection Focus on the fundamentals of cyber protection rather than investing in emerging technologies Known vulnerabilities will be sold on the black market more Where new vulnerabilities and new exploit techniques are discovered, the value of these is now better understood with an established market available NNT Summary of 2016 Cyber Security Threat Predictions The field of attack is broadening as new lucrative and disruptive targets are identified, and those with a cause to promote seek to enter the arena Organized crime will join the cyber-crime movement as it ceases to be the sole domain of the specialist hacker. $17k quick and easy‘Hack for Cash’ at LA Presbyterian Medical Center combined with the prevalence of Malware on the Black-market makes cyber-crime suddenly accessible and attractive to common-all-garden crooks Apathy (it won’t happen to us) and cost will remain the two major blocks to Corporate and Government Cyber Security The litigators are circling! The stakes are going to be raised as more lawsuits are brought for damages relating to the loss of personal identifiable information The Typical Mistakes Made by Most IT Teams and Why Corporate Cyber Security fails So we all get sold on the need for Cyber Security defense measures and there is plenty of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) used to amplify the urgency and acuteness of the need. The difficulty when determining the right Cyber Security strategy for your organization and in turn which technologies and products to use is not too dissimilar to assessing the market choices for keeping your body fit and healthy. Many vendors try to say that they candeal with all known threats to the enterprise when actually, just like your personal health, it just isn’t as simple as that. Cyber Security takes many forms and the range and nature of threat is so varied that there just isn’t any getting away from the fact that it will require a multi-faceted solution. But – it’s easy to be tempted by the pitch! A sexy looking security appliance with a slick GUI is very tempting. And if it really can capture and defeat APTs, stop Phishing attacks and malware, block and alert on insider threats, hacktivism and rogue employees, while also protecting your IT from ransomware and government-sponsored/ blue chip espionage, then all your problems would be solved. Likewise, if you really could lose weight, build a six pack and get marathon-beating stamina from drinking a kale and Persian cucumber milkshake, we would all do it. And of course, an anti-oxidant rich cocktail of vitamins and nutrients probably will help in some way, but it isn’t going to geteveryone losing weight and getting fit. In fact, most would give it up and go back to bad habits. Which brings us back to Cyber Security – it’s also a 24/7 discipline and requires a combination of technology measures, procedures and working practices to maintain solid defenses. It’s precisely for this reason that organizations get breached and will continue to get breached unless Cyber Security mind-set becomes second nature for all employees. So, in the meantime, what should you be focusing on? Here’s a quick summary – there are more comprehensive security policies, standards and guidelines out there – see the PCI DSS (Version 3.2 is almost here) or any of the other standards I showed earlier like NERC CIP, NIST 800-53 etc. There are also generic policies, like the SANS Top 20 or the CIS Security Policy that are freely available. Top Ten Cyber Security Tips Mitigate Vulnerabilities Firewall or better, IPS AV EMET AppLocker System Integrity Monitoring Change Control – augmented withThreat Intelligence Promote and enforce an IT Security Policy BitLocker Finally – Don’t be too thrown off course by the latest ‘must-haves’ Top Ten Cyber Security Tip: Mitigate Vulnerabilities Easier said than done and most security policies duck out of providing specific prescriptive guidance, partly because this is a fluid area and the latest intelligence is always needed, but also because vulnerabilities need to be balanced against risk and operational requirements. In other words, most security professionals will tell you to minimize open ports and remove any unnecessary services, in particular FTP and Web Servers, so a typical hardening exercise involves removing these. But if you actually need these for your application then you will need to provide security via other means. The latest Microsoft Security Policy covers literally thousands of settings that control functional operation and in turn security of a host, so deriving the best balanced build standard can be a painstakingtask. The Center for Internet Security Benchmarks provide secure configuration guidance drawn from manufacturers like Microsoft and RedHat, combined with academic and security researcher input. They are available free of charge and provide full details for auditing for and remediating vulnerabilities from a comprehensive range of platforms. This is an area where automated tools are definitely an essential. Firewall or better, IPS AV EMET AppLocker The best understood elements of any Cyber Security kitbag are the firewall and AV. They are fallible as we all know – zero day threats easily evade AV even while the AV is gobbling up system resources and more often than not, getting in the way. Likewise for the firewall or IPS – there are numerous ways to leapfrog the Firewall using phishing attacks, APT technology or just plain old Inside Help. However, as we said earlier, there isn’t going to be a quick fix, single course of action of technology that will keep us secure, and these legacysecurity components still play an essential role. Less well understood are some of the complementary technologies available that can be used to plug further weak spots. The market is awash with good ideas and exciting sounding technology, I would say to look at what is available to you right now, but is probably not being used. Namely EMET and AppLocker – both are Microsoft offerings, free to use, but require a little bit of know-how and experimentation to implement. EMET works to head off a number of malware techniques, especially ‘file-less’ malware that tries to use process hijacking, memory exploits, browser vulnerabilities and man in the middle attacks. AppLocker provides the means to whitelist/blacklist program and dll operation to really lockdown PC and Server operation. There are many commercial offerings covering similar areas of course, but neither of these, nor Windows Defender, should be overlooked. System Integrity Monitoring Change Control – augmented with ThreatIntelligence Three main reasons why change control and system integrity monitoring are vital to maintaining Cyber Security: Firstly, once our Vulnerability Mitigation and secure configuration work has been implemented, we now need that to remain in effect for ever more. So we need a means of assessing when changes are made to systems, and to understand what they are and if they weaken security. Secondly, any change or update could impact functional operation, so it is vital we have visibility of any changes made. And finally, if we can get visibility of changes as they happen – and especially if we have a means of reconciling these with details of known expected planned changes – then we have a highly sensitive breach detection mechanism to spot suspicious action when it happens All leading Cyber Security policies/standards call for change control and system integrity monitoring for all these reasons – it is key. Promote and enforce an IT Security Police Encryption (BitLocker) CyberSecurity isn’t just the responsibility of the IT team and their security kit, but must be an organization-wide competence. Children grow-up being taught about food hygiene, it isn’t just the remit of professional chefs. Unfortunately, it takes generations for this kind of knowledge to become universally assimilated, so until Cyber Security hygiene itself becomes a basic life skill for all, it will be down to the workplace to educate. To this end, in case you don’t already have flyers/posters for Cyber Security education there are plenty of resources available, again the SANS Institute provide a bunch of these that are free to use and very good. Separate but related is the subject of data encryption – it slows everything down and gets in the way on a daily basis BUT it can prove a lifesaver if there is a breach that results in data theft. Loss of a company laptop is a pain, but the loss of confidential data could result in anything from acute embarrassment to fines and lawsuits. Again,plenty of commercial options exists and there is also a free of charge MS option for this too in BitLocker. You can use it to encrypt all drives or just data on local and removable drives. In an enterprise environment this is controlled via Group Policy and as such, can also be audited automatically in the same way that vulnerabilities can be assessed. Used correctly, this same audit report can not only provide the recommended settings to use when first implementing BitLocker, but it will also highlight any drift from your preferred corporate build standard, along with all the other security settings needed to protect systems. Finally – Don’t be too thrown off course by the latest ‘must-haves’ The final piece of advice really is to focus on getting the fundamentals right and not chase the latest, niche or point products. If the maxim of ‘there is no such thing as 100%’ security is accepted then how are you going to achieve Cyber Security? The only answer is that it will need to bemanaged as a layered and 360 degree discipline, comprising technology and processes to first instigate and then maintain security. Vulnerability Management, System Hardening, Change Control and Breach Detection are some of the absolutely essential components needed – the good news is that this can all be automated and just the ‘need to know’ exceptions reported for investigation. Final words: Get your technology right for the general, everyday security before investing too much time and money into the latest ‘hot’ product. About New Net Technologies is a global provider of data security and compliance solutions. Clients include NBC Universal, HP, RyanAir, Arvato and the US Army. NNT Change Tracker Gen 7™ provides continuous protection against known and emerging Cyber Security threats in an easy to use solution. Unlike traditional scanning solutions, Change Tracker Gen 7™ uses automated File Integrity Monitoring agents to provide continuous real-time detection of vulnerabilities. And ifthe unthinkable happens, immediate notification is provided when malware is introduced to a system or when any other breach activity is detected. Operating at a forensic level within the IT infrastructure, Change Tracker™ works across all popular platforms.
March 10, 2016 Following the publication of the second draft of the Investigatory Powers Bill, has pulled together a summary of the changes that have been made. These relate to recommendations made by the three committees that scrutinised the bill. Privacy Committee recommendations: The Intelligence & Security Committee called for an entire section of the Bill dedicated to addressing privacy safeguards, clearly setting out the universal privacy protections which apply across all the investigatory powers. Key changes: Part 1 now contains a short overview of the safeguards throughout the Bill. This doesn’t go as far as the ISC’s recommendation that protections should form the backbone of the deal. The Home Office has instead simply added the word “privacy” to the subheading and provided a summary of privacy protections rather than an overarching statement recognising the supremacy of privacy. Encryption Committee recommendations: Reports called for further clarity and reassurance on theface of the Bill or within the Codes of Practice that end-to-end encrypted services and products would not be affected by Section 189 notices in the Bill. Key changes: The language on encryption has been amended, section 189 proposing that obligations be placed on CSPs – “relating to the removal of electronic protection applied by a relevant operator to any communications or data” – has been changed. Obligations now apply “to the removal by a relevant operator of electronic protection applied by or on behalf of that operator to any communications or data”. Definitions Committee recommendations: Highlighted the concerns within industry as to the overly broad and confusing definitions of terms such as “data”, “internet connection records” (ICRs) and “related communications data”. Key changes: The definition of the term “data” has been changed in line with the Joint Committee’s recommendation. The new definition makes clear that the term “data” in the revised Bill includes “data which isnot electronic data and any information (whether or not electronic)”. Extraterritoriality Committee recommendations: The bill must complement rather than conflict with the aim of creating an international legal framework for the lawful acquisition of data by government agencies. The Bill should be viewed as an international piece of legislation, with global implications. Key changes: Little has changed, although there are greater and more consistent safeguards on proportionality and conflicts of law for overseas providers, extraterritorial provisions that undermine long term objectives still remain. Internet Connection Records Committee recommendations: Reports expressed concerns about the definitions and technical feasibility of retaining ICRs. The draft Bill contained inconsistent definitions of ICRs that created uncertainty within industry as to their technical feasibility. Key changes: The Bill now has a single definition of ICRs that remains consistent throughout the course of theBill, with references to internet connection records appearing in both the and retention sections of the Bill. About techUK represents the companies and technologies that are defining today the world that we will live in tomorrow. More than 850 companies are members of techUK. Collectively they employ approximately 700,000 people, about half of all tech sector jobs in the UK. These companies range from leading FTSE 100 companies to new innovative start-ups. The majority of our members are small and medium sized businesses.
March 10, 2016 A flaw in the Oracle database listener, if not mitigated, could allow an attacker to take complete control of an Oracle database through an attack known as TNS Poison Attack. This vulnerability is remotely exploitable without authentication credentials. This classic man-in-the-middle (MITM) vulnerability has been published as security alert CVE 2012-1675 and received a CVSS base score of 7.5. It impacts confidentiality, integrity and availability of the database. Joxean Koret discovered this vulnerability in 2008 and publicly disclosed in 2012. TNS Poison Attack vulnerability exploits Oracle listener’s database service registration functionality. Oracle database users connect to the database services through Oracle TNS Listener which acts as a traffic cop. A malicious attacker, residing on the same network as the database, registers a malicious service with the database listener with the same service name as legitimate database service. No credentials are required toregister a database service with the listener. An attacker can use Oracle database software or easily available other tools to register a malicious database service. After completion of the malicious database service registration with the same name as legitimate service name, Oracle listener has two services to choose from – a legitimate service and a malicious service. With two database services available, Oracle listener switches to the load balancing traffic cop mode, directing users alternatively to the legitimate service and the malicious service. At least, 50% of the user sessions are directed to the malicious service. Database user sessions, which are now communicating through the malicious service, can be hijacked by the attacker. An attacker is in the middle. All communication from the users to the database is now passing through the malicious attacker. Attack post stablished. Attacker has full purview of what users are communicating with the database. At a minimum, theattacker can view and steal the data. Additional SQL commands may be injected to broaden the scope or carry out additional attacks. If a database user communicating with the database happens to be a privileged user with the DBA role, then the attacker has complete control of the database. Database compromised. Mission accomplished. TNS Poison Attack is mitigated through Valid Node Checking Registration (VNCR) setting which permits service registration from only known nodes or IPs. Specific mitigation steps depend on the version of the database that you are running as shown below: Oracle Database Releases 12.1 or above: If you are running Oracle database 12.1 or above, then you don’t need to further read this article unless you are just curious. The default Oracle listener configuration in Oracle 12c would protect you against this vulnerability. Although you don’t need to specify VALID_NODE_CHECKING_REGISTRATION_<listener_name> parameter to LOCAL in listener.ora, I would suggest thatyou explicitly do so just to make sure, as shown below: LISTENER_DB = (DESCRIPTION_LIST = (DESCRIPTION = (ADDRESS=(PROTOCOL=TCP)(HOST=192.168.100.100)(PORT=1521)) ) ) VALID_NODE_CHECKING_REGISTRATION_LISTENER_DB=LOCAL This parameter ensures that databases that are on the same server as the listener are permitted to register services with the listener. No remote registration of the services is permitted. If a malicious attacker attempts to register a service with the listener from a remote server, you will see the following error message in the listener log: Listener(VNCR option 1) rejected Registration request from destination 192.168.200.131 12-NOV-2015 17:35:42 * service_register_NSGR * 1182 Oracle clustering solution, Oracle RAC, requires remote registration of services. In order to protect Oracle RAC from TNS poison Attack, you also need to set REGISTRATION_INVITED_NODES_<listener name> to specify IP addresses of the nodes from which remote registration is required.Oracle Database Release 126.96.36.199: If you are running Oracle database 11g R2 188.8.131.52, then you must mitigate this risk through listener configuration. As illustrated above, you need to set VALID_NODE_CHECKING_REGISTRATION_<listener_name> to LOCAL. Alternate values for this parameter are ON or 1 and accomplishes the same objective. The default value for this parameter is OFF, leaving the door open to an attack. As mentioned above, if you are running RAC, then you also need to set REGISTRATION_INVITED_NODES_<listener name> to allow instance registration from trusted/valid nodes. Oracle Database Release 184.108.40.206 or older releases: Before I describe the mitigation for older releases, let me mention that you should not be running Oracle databases 220.127.116.11 or older. Oracle has already de-supported older releases. No security patches are available for older database releases. You should upgrade as soon as possible. Oracle, however, does provide a workaround for older releases through Class ofSecure Transport (COST) parameters. There are three parameters SECURE_PROTOCOL_<listener_name>, SECURE_REGISTER_<listener_name> and SECURE_REGISTER_<listener_name> that can be configured to control registration of services from valid nodes only. Please refer to Oracle documentation for more information. Please note that COST parameters can also be used for Oracle database releases 18.104.22.168 or newer to protect against TNS Poison Attack, but the procedure is more complex and requires additional configuration. What makes this vulnerability still relevant, even after its full disclosure 3 years ago, is that there are many many organizations running various flavors of Oracle database 11g R2 releases such as 22.214.171.124, 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52, etc. haven’t yet mitigated this flaw. If you haven’t, you should as soon as possible. About Jay Mehta Jay Mehta currently works as an Information Technology Director at CTIS, Inc. Rockville MD. He has over 25+ years of progressive experience in projectmanagement, security implementation and Oracle database architecture/administration. He specializes in Oracle database security, disaster/recovery and performance tuning. He has led and managed numerous infrastructure projects including the data center move. He holds a master’s degree in Computer Science from Stevens Institute of Technology. His blogs can be found .
March 9, 2016 Building Online Communities: Deeplearning4j We asked Adam & Chris, the founders of — first commercial-grade, open-source, distributed neural net library written for Java and Scala, with one of the most active communities on Gitter — to share their thoughts, experiences and lessons learned on open source community building. Find out what they say and check out the deeplearning4j channel on Gitter. Tell us about a little bit about yourself and the Deeplearning4j community. How did it all begin? We started building Deeplearning4j in late 2013. Adam had been involved with machine learning for about four years, at that time, and deep artificial neural networks were looking more and more promising. The first network in Deeplearning4j was a restricted Boltzmann machine, since that was the net that Geoff Hinton had come up with back in 2006, which was the turning point in the field. I was working for another startup doing PR and recruiting, and had previously worked as ajournalist, so I took care of the documentation (and still do), since we believed that proper communication was key to making open-source code valuable. What are they main issues discussed in the deeplearning4j channel? The main issues used to be installation. Engineers in the community taught us a lot about how to write clearer instructions, and how to make the code and experience better. If we hadn’t had that feedback loop, Deeplearning4j would be worse. Open source communities are an amazing for quality control! The sooner you fix an issue, the less demands you get from the community about that issue. It’s a great incentive to move quickly. Now the main issue is loading data and neural net tuning. We are working on communicating better about that, and about making the framework better, so that ETL and tuning get easier. Finally, there are a lot of basic questions about machine- and deep-learning. Many software engineers have figured out that deep learning and machine learning arereally powerful tools, so they’re trying to grasp new ideas. We’ve written a lot of introductory material, and we point them to various web pages where those ideas are explained. What common goals do you have as a community? The community is centered around Deeplearning4j and our scientific computing library, ND4J, which powers the neural nets. So we answer questions about how to use the libs, and in the process, we help people understand more about deep learning in general. It’s not a deep learning hotline, unfortunately, so there are some questions we don’t tend to answer. But we do help engineers in the DL4J community build apps and understand how neural nets work. The common goal is to learn about deep learning, and to build cool shit. We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of what deep learning can do. So far, we’ve seen huge advances in image recognition, machine translation, machine transcription and time series predictions. By many metrics, machine perception nowequals or surpasses human perception, and that will change society in ways that are hard to imagine. Those changes just haven’t been implemented yet. So the secondary goal of the community is to bring this narrow form of AI into the world, so that it can make a difference. What are the most important factors that you have taken into account while creating and maintaining the community? What factors contribute to the success of your community? Creating and maintaining a community is a huge commitment of time and effort. You have to be available, and you have to try to understand where other people are coming from. They don’t always know the jargon to ask precise questions, so you have to have the patience to figure out together with them what they’re trying to ask, or where they’re stuck. We’re not always as patient as we should be. Being available, making that effort, and offering support for powerful tools like this are a good way to build a community. When the makers of a big projectare available to answer esoteric questions about how it works, that creates a lot of trust, because people know that you speak with authority and that if something is really broken, it’s going to get fixed. There’s a tight feedback loop between the community and the project creators. What are the key challenges that you encounter while managing the community? One of the challenges is: What questions do we care about, and what questions do people need to answer for themselves? If someone has really basic questions about Java, an IDE like IntelliJ, or a build tool like Maven, most of the time they need to figure that out for themselves. Our Gitter channel isn’t the right place to hash through that, although we do help in special cases, because sometimes you need to expand your heap space for neural nets to work. You also have to find a balance between building the community and building the product. Ideally, you’d have a big team with full-time support engineers and the rest of the teamworking on the code base. But most open-source projects have very small teams. There are just a handful of people capable of support, and they’re the ones who also should be fixing bugs and adding features. How do you encourage participants’ commitment and contribution to the community? You create a smart, friendly environment in the community. You remind them you appreciate contributions, and you show them, as best you can, what needs to be worked on. We created top-level files recognizing our contributors, and laying down the rules of the community. We also wrote a , and we now label all issues as bug, enhancement or documentation, so that people can scan the quickly and explore where they can add something. Tell us a little bit about the time commitment required to set up and establish the community. How much community maintenance is required on an ongoing basis? is a distributed team, with engineers in Australia, Europe and the US, and Deeplearning4j community members in almostevery time zone. There’s a Skymind engineer watching the Gitter queue probably 12–16 hours out of any weekday. This is a pretty serious commitment, because there are less than 10 of us. It’s not their full-time job, but maybe they’ll be running unit tests and answering questions on Gitter in their downtime. Based on your experience, do you feel that the open source communities have changed and evolved over the past years? If so, how? Open-source is winning the enterprise stack, so it’s a lot more important than it used to be. The biggest organizations in the world are running on open-source software. Linux won the operating system, Hadoop won big data storage. And open-source won because when you do it right, you get better code. More eyeballs mean more uptime. So the size of the OSS community, and the quality of attention that software engineers bring to open-source projects, have both increased over the years. What advice would you give to someone who wants to start an online opensource community from scratch? First, build something neat, something you care about. Focus on building one thing that works. Then, share it with people. They will help you improve it, and they may help you think about what to build next. Don’t do too much big upfront development. Try to scope it so that you can ship in a reasonable amount of time. A few weeks, say. Open-source is valuable because it’s a conversation, and the conversation leads you places, so that you and project evolve in ways you can’t anticipate. Also, by open-source early, you’re increasing your exposure and therefore your chances of getting help. We’ve had amazing developers join the community and the Skymind team. What digital tools do you use to help manage and grow your community? The code lives on , the conversation lives on . There are about 1360 devs on the Gitter channel now, so it’s probably one of the more lively neural net conversations on the planet. Our website is hosted on Github, so the content livesthere, too. We generate a lot of automatic documentation with Javadoc (always a WIP…). We ask people to use Maven as their automated build tool. One of the biggest problems with any software is the install, and Maven helps make that a little easier. You need to constantly try to clear away obstacles, so that people can just use your code and not worry about other stuff. Can you share a success story of a community member that happened thanks to their participation in your channel? For most of the stories, you just had to be there. But in general, a lot of data scientists and come, and they just build something for their companies that works. They’ll come back later and say: “We saw a 200% increase in ad coverage when we made DL4J part of the recommender system.” Another guy built an app with DL4J and then an investor saw it and he raised funds. So that’s all pretty cool. With open source, you’re throwing a rock out into the ocean, and you don’t always hear it hit the water. You can’teven see the ripples. So it’s encouraging when people come back and say “thanks” and tell us how it helped them. That makes it more meaningful. About Gitter is extremely popular among the developer community with over 300,000 regularly active users, popular software communities using Gitter include .Net, Node.js and Meteor.
March 9, 2016 Today’s modern CRM systems are vital to your business’ success. CRM data now holds every aspect of your business’ proprietary information from corporate intelligence to sales data; as well as your customers’, from buying patterns to PII. A data breach to your CRM could be devastating to your organization resulting in lawsuits or irreparable harm to your brand’s reputation and customer trust. With so much at stake, here is what you need to know to protect your CRM. The Value of CRM Data Today’s modern CRM systems contain data that is invaluable. These systems hold significant information about corporate intelligence, financial information, sales data, patient health information, credit card information, banking wiring instructions, and every possible detail about a company’s customer. In fact, a single CRM customer instance can store vast amounts of regulated, confidential and proprietary information. If not properly protected, internal and external bad actors can exploitthis data in a number of ways, including: ID Theft/Medical ID Theft Fraud Nation-state espionage Corporate/competitive espionage False billings Selling data to a third-party We have all heard about the escalating data breaches over the last few years, and we all know that the cost and related consequences of such breaches are quite severe. As per the Ponemon Institute’s recent global study (sponsored by IBM), the average consolidated total cost of a data breach has increased by 23 percent since 2013. “Based on our field research, we identified three major reasons why the cost keeps climbing. First, cyber-attacks are increasing both in frequency and the cost it requires to resolve these security incidents. Second, the financial consequences of losing customers in the aftermath of a breach are having a greater impact on the cost. Third, more companies are incurring higher costs in their forensic and investigative activities, assessments and crisis team management.” (Dr. Larry Ponemon,chairman and founder, Ponemon Institute) When a data breach affects a company, the first area that they tend to check is whether the hackers have been able to get the customer’s financial/ payment details. Companies almost seem to rejoice when they find that these details are safe, and then almost proudly announce to the press that though intruders did manage to sneak into their systems, “however no details were stolen,” almost undermining the value of other data which the hackers may have obtained, including important CRM data. While many data breaches happen from external bad actors, it’s not just hackers, malware writers, nation state attacks or organized crime rings who are looking to steal proprietary CRM data. Hundreds or even thousands of insiders (employees, contractors or other business partner) can have authorized access to a company’s CRM. According to a recent , internal actors were responsible for 43% of data loss, half of which is intentional, half accidental. Customerand employee information were the top two content categories, according to the report. Data Under Attack With access to customer CRM data, cyber criminals can contact customers and build trust with them (through sharing back the customer data that the hackers have obtained). Once the customer is convinced that he /she is interacting with a (perceived) genuine entity, hackers are only too eager to obtain additional data from these customers. This information can then be sold by hackers to interested parties who can then use it for identity theft. When the crime comes to light and customers are finally able to trace the crime to the hacking incident, companies tend to lose the one aspect that customers actually go to companies for in the first place- trust. Apart from identity theft, malware can penetrate an organization through phishing schemes which are sent with infected attachments or links which upon opening can lead to problems. Through or targeted “spear” phishing criminals getaccess to email addresses, company hierarchy information, etc. These criminals then masquerade as upper management executives and send an email to junior employees asking them for a wire fund transfer. (The email may at times ask for a wire transfer to be made to a vendor, with bank details provided not of the vendor, but that of criminal entities). Or they can obtain an authorized user’s credentials to access the CRM and steal the data. According to the 2015 Identity Fraud Study conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research, 12.7 million U.S. consumers were victimized in identity theft with fraud losses amounting to $16 billion in 2014. As per the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), identity theft costs Americans far more than all other property crimes. In case hackers already have access to the user’s credit card information, they may use the customer payment history which they have obtained through the CRM data hack to conduct fraudulent transactions. The transactions are done in such away (withdrawal of small amounts) that the customer is unable to make out if something is wrong until a number of transactions have already taken place. As per the 2014 Javelin Strategy & Research report, the cost of credit and debit card fraud rose to $11bn in 2013. As per BI Intelligence report, the U.S. accounted for 51% of all global payment card frauds in 2013. The company’s CRM data can also contain strategic information of the company, including sales forecasts, prospective customer details, etc. Bad actors, either internal or external, can download customer lists as they are leaving the company or sell the information to ill-intentioned competitors who are more than happy to get sensitive competitor information. Corporate espionage is a growing business today and hackers can command hefty premiums for such information. Data theft trends by internal users continues to increase in damage and studies suggest that more than ever, employees who work on intellectual property projectsbelieve they are entitled to take it. Additionally, departing employees, disgruntled employees, or an employee whose credentials have been compromised by a third-party, can access and download CRM data on their way out and often without detection. In 60% of 150 data theft cases studied in the Recover Report, internal perpetrators stole proprietary information in order to secure a new position with a competitor. In 30% of those cases studied the internal motivation was to use the stolen information to create new business. Annual losses to corporate espionage are estimated to cost 300 billion annually in the US. As per the Brookings Institute: 65+ percent of the companies value, sources of revenue, sustainability and growth lie in information assets, intellectual property (IP) and proprietary competitive advantages. Further, there has never been more regulatory enforcement of privacy and security standards by industry and across the globe. Countermeasures Some basics steps that can helpprotect customer data are the following: In possession of sensitive customer information and records, companies can install sound alarm systems which can detect data breaches and take immediate counter measures, including those which can help in shutting down the breach immediately Companies can use efficient encryption systems, as well as identity and access management systems which grant access rights strictly on need basis. The employees who no longer have a need for access rights can be ejected from the system on a regular basis. Additional user authentication layers can be used to protect the data Cloud-based CRM systems with IP address range restrictions can be used Enabling the audit log function of your CRM. The lack of automated audit logs makes monitoring impossible and a forensic investigation time-consuming and expensive. The lack of audit logs also leaves a void in all security, certifications and regulatory requirements that relate to audit controls. Continuous monitoringwith alerts and filtering: User activity monitoring and alerts provides some peace-of-mind, as well as visibility into user behaviors that are suspicious. Highlighting the importance of data protection can be done regularly in internal company forums and can be made as an important part of the company’s internal briefing. As per surveys, people/employees who use CRM applications internal systems account for more than 75 percent of the breaches which occur. About Avani Desai Avani Desai is a Principal and Executive Vice President at , with over 13 years of technology and privacy experience. About Kurt Long Kurt Long is the Founder and CEO of ®, a leading global provider of solutions which expand trust in mission critical applications such as Salesforce, Electronic Health Records and cloud-based applications.
March 9, 2016 There are a lot of security myths about cloud security needed to be clarified. One is that a lot of people think that as soon as they give something to the cloud, they do not have to worry about compliance with security. That is absolutely not correct. If you are a business, your clients are looking at you for security. Whether you go to the cloud or you do it internally using your private infrastructure, that doesn’t change your responsibility in terms of who owns compliance to security. There needs to be a very clear demarcation line. The second myth has to do with black and white, that either cloud is insecure by default or cloud is secure by default. None of that is correct. It really depends on the controls. You’re not reinventing or eliminating any controls. You’re just moving where the controls reside and changing who owns the controls. Cloud by default is neither insecure nor secure, end of the day it’s how everything is implemented and how the data flows. Thethird myth states that data is encrypted all the time. It really depends, and that’s a big myth. Some cloud service providers encrypt your data; some do not. You need to find and understand how your data is handled. Does your service providers have the key or does not. It all depends on the model of the cloud. Whether you are at box.com or Dropbox or Salesforce, it all depends on various processes that they’re doing on your data and whether your data is really or not. The next myth: “It’s my data, I’ll get it back when I need it.” It’s not necessarily, it depends on where typically the data has been residing. And there are country specific laws that you need to know and understand how to get your data back. There are a lot of other myths about cloud, and I will touch upon some of them bellow. There are plenty of cloud models and services: IaaS, PaaS, SaaS. There are even the different layers of services that cloud service providers offer. And then you have the modules: private cloud,public cloud, hybrid cloud. One needs to take a decision whether the data stays completely in a public cloud or in the datacenter, or it’s a hybrid model. One needs to understand and manage the risks around going into the cloud in terms of planning, management. considerations, whether it is compliance, identity and access management, service integrity, endpoint integrity, information protection, IP specific protection, all needs to be taken into consideration no matter how you are using cloud and for what reasons. There are various use cases for the cloud: website hosting, disaster recovery, test and development, seasonal capacity, eCommerce, etc. So again at the end of the day, you need to do a proper assessment, whether it’s a vendor assessment, what model to select, how vendors deploy various architecture, what are the security ramifications of going to the cloud and last but not least, the financial analysis. One needs to go through the full cycle. And do not follow blindly, ifyour competitor has gone to the cloud, should I go to cloud. Maybe, maybe not, your and your competitors may differ. Cloud is just an enabler. It really depends on what are you trying to provide to your clients, to your organizations. Are you using the cloud for apps, for transportation, for advertising? All these various scenarios depend on whether you are doing a cloud or not. The final takeaways: cloud can be a great enabler, but at the end of the day, one needs to understand that s security breach in an environment, especially a cloud environment, can have a huge negative impact on your reputation and finances. Cloud is not one-size-fits-all. One really needs to understand the details picking a specific cloud model. You do not start with: “I want to do cloud.” You have to start with: “What do I want to achieve, what’s my end goal, is cloud the right model for me.” About David Balaban David Balaban is a computer security researcher with over 10 years of experience in malwareanalysis and antivirus software evaluation. David runs the project which presents expert opinions on the contemporary information security matters, including social engineering, penetration testing, threat intelligence, online privacy and white hat hacking. As part of his work at Privacy-PC, Mr. Balaban has interviewed such security celebrities as Dave Kennedy, Jay Jacobs and Robert David Steele to get firsthand perspectives on hot InfoSec issues. David has a strong malware troubleshooting background, with the recent focus on ransomware countermeasures.
March 9, 2016 When most people are asked to think of a wall of fire, they might think of the pyrotechnic scene on any first-rate metal band stage, but unfortunately, firewall protection services aren’t quite like all that. That’s not to imply, though, that they aren’t terribly important or that meltdowns caused by failing to ensure proper firewall protections can’t be as damaging as a direct blast of a flame thrower. Firewalls adopt their name and function directly from physical structures that stand between danger, often fire, and fragile stuff, like your face. Computer firewalls do bear some similarity to their real-life counterparts. They work to protect users and their information, not from thermal energy, but instead from the scum and villainy, which occupy the wretched hives of the open Internet. Generally speaking, there are two layers of firewall protection, which operate in conjunction with both hardware and software, to carry out a given set of rules. Hardware firewallsolutions are automatically built into the routers that most of us are using today. These work by tagging all outgoing traffic from a private network, like the one in our home, with a particular network ID that is then also attached to any corresponding incoming traffic. This allows the router to determine the origin of incoming packets, blocking any transfers, which weren’t initiated from behind the firewall. It also prevents files from being downloaded without a user’s knowledge. It can stop first-step intrusions known as port scan attacks, letting us feel safe that the update for our favorite new game is what it says and not some piece of spyware that will constantly spam us with adverts for pills that improve performance Software-based protections function by monitoring the integrity of flowing traffic processes through variables such as incoming and destination IP addresses, transfer times or download sizes, and killing connections that don’t need expectations. These areadvantageous because they monitor outgoing traffic as well as incoming, blocking programs such as IP-spoofing ones, from attacking individual machines once they’ve infiltrated a network. These are what allow us to transfer files between our friends without worrying that a third-party has attached something along the way or feel safe when continually transferring packets during things such as an online gaming session, knowing that the firewall will detect any un-approved packets. Often the large-scale data thefts we hear about come as a result of some entity which has gone and painted a giant target on their back by not implementing strong enough active , allowing unwanted information transfers to remain disguised as authentic ones. While in theory, firewall protections work as seamlessly as their physical predecessors, in practice, these types of solutions can require a little bit more attention than your average wall made of bricks Pretty well anyone who has ever installed a new gameor component has run into that annoying Windows prompt. The one that is asking them if you’re really sure you wish to connect and update the software. While they’re not all good news, no matter how arbitrary a warning might seem or how annoying its accompanying beep is, these grievances are nothing compared to the sound your customers and partners will make when all of their credit cards and other information has been stolen. About David Balaban David Balaban is a computer security researcher with over 10 years of experience in malware analysis and antivirus software evaluation. David runs the project which presents expert opinions on the contemporary information security matters, including social engineering, penetration testing, threat intelligence, online privacy and white hat hacking. As part of his work at Privacy-PC, Mr. Balaban has interviewed such security celebrities as Dave Kennedy, Jay Jacobs and Robert David Steele to get firsthand perspectives on hot InfoSec issues. Davidhas a strong malware troubleshooting background, with the recent focus on ransomware countermeasures.
March 8, 2016 Kaspersky Lab experts have detected Triada, a new Trojan targeting Android devices that can be compared to Window-based malware in terms of its complexity. It is stealthy, modular, persistent and written by very professional cybercriminals. Devices running the 4.4.4. and earlier versions of the Android OS are at the greatest risk. According to the recent Kaspersky Lab research on , nearly half of the top 20 Trojans in 2015 were malicious programs with the ability to gain super-user access rights. Super-user privileges give cybercriminals the rights to install applications on the phone without the user’s knowledge. This type of malware propagates through applications that users download/install from untrusted sources. These apps can sometimes be found in the official Google Play app store, masquerading as a game or entertainment application. They can also be installed during an update of existing popular applications and are occasionally pre-installed on the mobile device.Those at greatest risk include devices running 4.4.4. and earlier versions of the Android OS. There are eleven known mobile Trojan families that use root privileges. Three of them – Ztorg, Gorpo and Leech – act in cooperation with each other. Devices infected with these Trojans usually organise themselves into a network, creating a sort of advertising botnet that threat actors can use to install different kinds of adware. But that’s not all… Shortly after rooting on the device, the above-mentioned Trojans download and install a backdoor. This then downloads and activates two modules that have the ability to download, install and launch applications. The application loader and its installation modules refer to different types of Trojans, but all of them have been added to our antivirus databases under a common name – Triada. Getting into the parental Android process A distinguishing feature of this malware is the use of Zygote – the parent of the application process on an Androiddevice – that contains system libraries and frameworks used by every application installed on the device. In other words, it’s a demon whose purpose is to launch Android applications. This is a standard app process that works for every newly installed application. It means that as soon as the Trojan gets into the system, it becomes part of the app process and will be pre-installed into any application launching on the device and can even change the logic of the application’s operations. This is the first time technology like this has been seen in the wild. Prior to this, a using Zygote was only known of as a proof-of-concept. The stealth capabilities of this malware are very advanced. After getting into the user’s device Triada implements in nearly every working process and continues to exist in the short-term memory. This makes it almost impossible to detect and delete using antimalware solutions. Triada operates silently, meaning that all malicious activities are hidden, both fromthe user and from other applications. The complexity of the Triada Trojan’s functionality proves the fact that very professional cybercriminals, with a deep understanding of the targeted mobile platform, are behind the creation of this malware. Triada’s business model The Triada Trojan can modify outgoing SMS messages sent by other applications. This is now a major functionality of the malware. When a user is making in-app purchases via SMS for Android games, fraudsters are likely to modify the outgoing SMS so that they receive the money instead of the game developers. “The Triada of Ztrog, Gorpo and Leech marks a new stage in the evolution of Android-based threats. They are the first widespread malware with the potential to escalate their privileges on most devices. The majority of users attacked by the Trojans were located in Russia, India and Ukraine, as well as APAC countries. It is hard to underestimate the threat of a malicious application gaining root access to a device. Theirmain threat, as the example of Triada shows, is in the fact that they provide access to the device for much more advanced and dangerous malicious applications. They also have a well-thought-out architecture developed by who have a deep knowledge of the target mobile platform,” said Nikita Buchka, Junior Malware Analyst, Kaspersky Lab. As it is nearly impossible to uninstall this malware from a device, users face two options to get rid of it. The first is to “root” their device and delete the malicious applications manually. The second option is to jailbreak the Android system on the device. Kaspersky Lab products detect Triada Trojan components as: Trojan-Downloader.AndroidOS.Triada.a; Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.Triada.a; Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Triada.a; Backdoor.AndroidOS.Triada. About Kaspersky Lab is one of the world’s fastest-growing cybersecurity companies and the largest that is privately-owned. The company is ranked among the world’s top four vendors of security solutions forendpoint users (IDC, 2014). Since 1997 Kaspersky Lab has been an innovator in cybersecurity and provides effective digital security solutions and threat intelligence for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers. Kaspersky Lab is an international company, operating in almost 200 countries and territories across the globe, providing protection for over 400 million users worldwide.
March 8, 2016 Tenth annual survey also explores evolution of internal auditing over the past decade According to Arriving at Internal Audit’s Tipping Point Amid Business Transformation, released by global consulting firm Protiviti, organisations are more likely than ever to evaluate cybersecurity risk as part of their annual audit plans. Nearly three out of four organisations (73 percent) now include cybersecurity risk in their internal audits, a 20 percent increase year-over-year. While there is a clear need among most internal audit groups to strengthen their ability to address cybersecurity risk, the survey found that these capabilities are much stronger for top-performing organisations, particularly those in which the board of directors has a high level of engagement in information security risks. “The rapidly evolving sophistication of is one of the hottest topics of today’s digital age ,” said Mark Peters, managing director, internal audit, Protiviti. “Our survey found that whenit comes to assessing cybersecurity measures and the auditing processes, the highest performing organisations have audit committees and boards who actively engage with the internal audit function during the discovery and assessment of these risks. It’s still apparent, however, that further work is essential to build out these internal audit capabilities in order to focus on the right areas. Companies must take stronger action to set these imperatives into place.” More than 1,300 internal audit professionals, including more than 150 chief audit executives (CAEs), participated in Protiviti’s 10th annual survey to assess the top priorities for internal audit functions in the coming year. Cybersecurity Risk Capabilities and Best Practices During the past decade, the importance of cybersecurity in internal audit functions has evolved from a simple IT risk to a serious strategic business risk, an issue that now must be addressed regularly by executive management and the board of directors.In fact, 57 percent of companies surveyed have received inquiries from customers, clients and/or insurance providers about the organisation’s state of cybersecurity. Protiviti’s survey found that there are two critical success factors when establishing and maintaining an effective cybersecurity plan: A high level of engagement by the board of directors in information security risks; and Including the evaluation of cybersecurity risk in the current audit plan. Companies with at least one of these success factors in place have a stronger risk posture to combat cyber threats. For example, 92 percent of organisations with a high level of board engagement in information security risks have a cybersecurity risk strategy in place, compared to 77 percent of other organisations. Similarly, 83 percent of companies that include cybersecurity risk in the annual audit plan have a cybersecurity risk policy, versus 53 percent that do not include cybersecurity risk in their audit plans. Ten Years ofInternal Audit Over the past ten years, internal audit professionals have assessed their competency in more than thirty areas of audit process knowledge and general technical knowledge in Protiviti’s survey. Areas that continue to surface as top priorities year-over-year include: ISO 27000, data analysis technologies, various areas of auditing IT, technology-enabled auditing and fraud risk management. As for 2016, technology issues dominated the priority list for internal auditors. The top 10 priorities for internal audit are: ISO 2700 (information security) Mobile applications NIST Cybersecurity Framework GTAG 16 – Data Analysis Technologies Internet of Things Agile Risk and Compliance ISO 14000 (environmental management) Data Analysis Tools – Statistical Analysis Country-Specific ERM Framework Big Data/Business Intelligence “With most of the top priorities identified relating to IT risks, it’s clear that auditing IT remains important to internal audit functions and to the state of anorganisation’s overall risk profile,” added Peters. Companies are trying to ensure business-as-usual systems are secure and effective as well as working to drive change through the introduction of new technologies, greater digitisation and mobilisation of internal and customer-facing systems. These factors, coupled with the increasing are driving internal audit to increase its IT audit capabilities each year and raising technology issues up the priority list for internal audit. It is essential for internal audit functions to act now in order keep pace with this change’’ About Protiviti is a global consulting firm that helps companies solve problems in finance, technology, operations, governance, risk and internal audit, and has served more than 60 percent of Fortune 1000 ® and 35 percent of Fortune Global 500 ® companies. Protiviti and its independently owned Member Firms serve clients through a network of more than 70 locations in over 20 countries. The firm also works withsmaller, growing companies, including those looking to go public, as well as with government agencies.
March 7, 2016 It was way back in 2011 when I spoke of the key security challenges on the CISO’s radar in the basic forms of: Malware The Insider Threat’s & Spam Complimented of course by other generic security challenges which appear on a daily basis. Way back in 2011 I did acknowledge that whilst these were nevertheless important in the overall scheme of the Security Mission, wondered if they did consume far too much interactive intervention and security bandwidth with responding to the manifestation of active compromise and security breaches – with much focus on the reactive, rather than the proactive. At that time I was also questioned the value of, what were [are] at times the association of those innate Security Dashboards and Balance Score-Card’s which represent the anticipated snap-shot of real-time and real-life exposure mitigation and ‘management’ to be presented to the executive [tick-box-security], and I wondered if something was being missed at the lower level of thesecurity challenge. However, now four and a bit years on, with the benefit of hindsight, I am realising that the manifestations of the unknown unknowns of insecurity seem to have been allowed to evolve, and to gain ground in the adverse landscape of Cyber Crime, and the all thigs offensive mission strands for. In my experience since the 2011 observations, I can again fully attest with proof that whilst the aforementioned areas of security management are a common find’s, they have sadly been updated by manifestations of newly-grown insecurities, and the landscape of adversity is now still outstripping the balanced approach of acceptance of compliance/governance which is being driven out of tower like security missions which still seems to be missing the point – which has not evolved the required level of Poacher/Gamekeeper imaginative mind-set – allowing real-time threats to expose the business, clients, and assets alike. In the wake of the known threats which have been encountered todate, some of the unknown unknowns have now been promoted to the known unknown status. These being complimented by the advent of extreme levels of successful attacks in the form of high-consumption attacks, multiples of successful Ransomware incursions, Cyber Attacks, and Hacking against high gain, prominent targets who spend what may been considered a fortune on their failing defences – and yet they are still exposed! The problem may well be created out of the low level of imaginative direction which comes from those who are the incumbent of the organisations security strategy – playing by the rules of engagement behind the shield of Governance/Compliance, and the good old ISO/IEC 27001 as the bible to fight off all Cyber Ill’s – a little like David being given a pencil and clipboard to go fight Goliath! It is time to start to apply enhanced levels of imaginative hostile and offensive thinking, where imagination represents the most valuable armament in the armoury of the securityprofessional, and hopefully the CISO. Levels of imagination which will manifest in offensive thinking which seeks to understand the unknown unknown areas of subliminal and invisible threats. Such as the exposure presented by the much-tolerated OSINT capabilities, metadata leakage, and other such hidden forms which so often allow the would be attacker to gain a valuable insight into the belly of the organisation. For example take the high profile bank who are so exfiltration enabled, they knowingly publish, and make available high value objects of intelligence on a daily basis, making the job of any hacker, or other such cyber-miscreant a much easier task to effect. However, sadly this high profile organisation are not alone in this space, with many others following on their cyber-tails, with their logical-ass hanging out of the open window. And on the subject of poor security, let us not forget that even in this day of BWYW [Bring Whatever You Want] to work, where there are still manyorganisations who simply do not understand, and still support the introduction of the known threat of that little thumb drive. But then when you look to some organisations in the Oil and Gas Industry who have been aware such introduced devices are carrying Hacking Tools, and the occasional form of low-grade [acceptable] Malware which are actually ignored, one may well start to feel the onslaught of professional frustrations creep in! Not a case of ‘Who Dares Wins’, but more a circumstance of ‘Who Care’s who loses’. The fundamental bottom line is still the bad guys are winning with the tool of evolved imagination – and they are entering battle ground with many security management types are, on occasions completely devoid of what amounts to the ability to demonstrate Cyber Defensive thinking – allowing risks to populate, manifest, and take their bite out of the soft posteriors of the company there are incumbent to protect – and before you start to shout at me with a ‘how dare he’ evensuggest such a thing’ – may I pre-empt the fury and state, ‘he dares, because he has seen on an all to regular occasions’. 2016 is the year in which we should recognise that Cyber is starting to look like a dirty word. It is a word which is associated with the world of insecurity, rather than that of security, and it is a word which has entered the vocabulary of the public with an adversarial slant. It is in the year of 2016 in which we must recognise that it is the responsibility of those in the Profession of Digital Security that we are potentially the group holders of the keys to global stability – and ‘if’ we are going to do it, we ‘must’ assure we do not cut corners and do it ‘right’. If not, there is simply no point to even trying! About John Walker Visiting Professor at the School of Science and Technology at Nottingham Trent University (NTU), Visiting Professor/Lecturer at the University of Slavonia [to 2015], Independent Consultant, Practicing Expert Witness, ENISA CEI ListedExpert, Editorial Member of the Cyber Security Research Institute (CRSI), Fellow of the British Computer Society (BCS), Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (RSA), Board Advisor to the Digital Trust, Writer for SC Magazine UK, Originator of DarkWeb Threat Intelligence, CSIRT, Attack Remediation and Cyber Training Service/Platform, Accreditation Assessor and Academic Practitioner and Accredited Advisor to the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences in the area of Digital/Cyber Forensics. Twitter
March 7, 2016 There is no such thing as static security – all security products become vulnerable over time as the threat landscape evolves. Any ‘deploy once, update infrequently or never’ security solution is inherently flawed. Which is why every switched on organisation routinely updates its anti-virus and anti-malware solutions, hardens its infrastructure and updates its policies. So why is SIP security still based upon a one off implementation of a Session Border Controller (SBC)? From denial of service attacks to toll fraud, SIP trunking is inherently vulnerable. And in an era of near continuous security breaches, that vulnerability continues to change and escalate. No technology or communications environment is static – and SIP security should be treated with the same urgency as anti-virus and infrastructure hardening. Paul German, CEO, , insists it is time to think differently about SIP security – before it is too late. The breaches go on Another day, another security breach. The theft of 15 million T-Mobile customers’ data from credit checking firm Experian, the exposure of the personal data of US based Uber drivers, the hack of Samsung Pay, the denial of service (DoS) attack on HSBC – all of these events have occurred within very recent history. The scale of hacking and data theft is unprecedented and new are continually being found and compromised. Today’s threat levels are high and, given the constant publicity and public scrutiny, only the most foolhardy organisations would ignore the need to safeguard infrastructure. Yet in what is a continually changing and evolving threat landscape, inconsistencies in security policies and practices are creating new vulnerabilities. Why, for example, are organisations totally committed to continuously updating anti-virus (AV) and solutions yet will happily install a Session Border Controller (SBC) to protect VoIP calls and never consider it again? If there is one thing that every security expert will confirm, it isthe continuously changing nature of the threat landscape – and a security product’s ability to safeguard a company declines from day one. In an era of near ubiquitous VoIP calls, when companies are routinely falling prey to toll fraud and denial of service attacks, it is time to ask why network providers and security vendors continue to downplay the vulnerability of SIP. Static Fallacy The deploy once, update many times model adopted by AV, web security and email security over the past two decades is well established and organisations recognise the clear vulnerabilities associated with failing to update routinely. Companies understand the importance of buying not just a security product but a vendor’s continuous research into emerging threats and a commitment not only to routine updates but also emergency patches in response to new hacking vulnerabilities. In effect, when it comes to a continuously changing security situation, organisations recognise the need to buy products andsolutions that utilise research, existing users and community to stay ahead of the hacker. So why are other aspects of the communications network and infrastructure, including routers and switches, still subject to the static – implement once, update never – approach? Does this mean these areas are impregnable once protected? While some vendors may like to imply this is the case – it is not. Toll fraud and denial of service cost businesses ￡25.5 billion every year globally – ￡1.2 billion in the UK alone¹, and, again, the threats continually evolve. For example, hackers are routinely undertaking port scanning in the hope of finding a way in – any organisation that has left SIP ports open is likely to be found out, and compromised, very quickly. The scale of attack may surprise UK businesses: security consultancy Nettitude’s recent report revealed that attacks on VoIP servers represented 67% of all attacks it recorded against UK-based services – in contrast, SQL was the second mostattacked service, accounting for just 4% of the overall traffic. With 84% of UK businesses considered to be unsafe from hacking according to NEC, the implications are significant and extend far beyond the obvious financial costs of huge phone bills or the increasingly common Telephone Denial of Service threats, also known as ransom events used to extort money. From eavesdropping sensitive communications with malicious intent such as harassment or extortion to misrepresenting identity, authority, rights and content – such as modifying billing records – or gaining access to private company and customer contacts, hackers are increasingly looking for more than basic call jacking. Ahead of the Game The cyber security market is set to be worth $170.21 billion by 2020² – with a strong bias towards securing email, desktops and web services. Yet while the adoption of VoIP is now at record levels, SIP security investment remains low. When hackers are looking for the easiest way in – this lackof protection is an open invitation. The reality is that SBCs provide an entry level of security – but, like any other security product, they need to evolve. And that means SBC providers need to be making a continuous investment in security research and providing routine updates in order to deliver a reactive, real time and intelligent level of security to protect against these new world threats. Organisations – and providers – need a change of attitude to SIP security. In a constantly evolving threat landscape no one knows what is coming and the onus is on both vendors and businesses to ensure they are in the best possible position to both safeguard data and protect against expensive toll fraud attacks. The constant change process has become a fundamental aspect of successful security – and that needs to be applied across the board, not just to AV. Static security does not work; it is time for the SIP security industry to face up to its responsibilities and embrace a process ofcontinual update that will truly safeguard organisations tomorrow – not just today. About VoipSec was founded with the mission to simplify the complicated and costly area of VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) security. VoIP is a key tool for businesses in today’s environment, yet due to the cost of traditional VoIP security, many organisations are leaving their networks open to risks such as Voicemail Hacking, Toll Fraud and Telephony Denial of Service (DoS). VoipSec’s products have been designed to run in virtualised environments, eliminating the need for bulky and expensive hardware and rapidly decreasing the time it takes to deploy security solutions for an organisation’s voice calls. VoipSec’s EasySBC is the first module in the VoipSec Security Platform, which provides features such as remote working facilities, quality monitoring tools, as well as advanced security capabilities. Using VoipSec’s EasySBC, businesses can take the first step to ensure the security of theircommunications infrastructure whilst being able to leverage the benefits of VoIP for voice, unified communications, and customer experience. EasySBC can be downloaded and deployed on a virtual server rapidly with a relatively low set up charge. The company is based in Milton Keynes and was founded by Paul German, an expert in bringing new technologies to market along with small and medium sized businesses.
March 7, 2016 Nearly were released every day in 2014, with no signs of slowing down, according to Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report. Malware, worms and other viruses can spread through a company’s network like wildfire. Getting your system and network back up and running only scratches the surface of expenses. Malware can cause data breaches and compromise customers’ security and hold you liable for damages. According to the 2015 Cost of Data Breach Study’s global analysis, the average total cost of a data breach for participating companies in the study increased 23 percent to $3.79 million. The idea of data isolation isn’t a new, but it has expanded beyond simple and separate servers and networks into a more sophisticated medium. Take a look at what data isolation is all about and why it matters. Isolate your security zones Ask yourself how many of your workstations and servers need to be connected. Isolating your data as much as possible can keep malware from spreading andcontain it to one unit. Think about how SaaS platforms like Salesforce work. Their customers other than their own. Creating sub-accounts can also help isolate data. For example, when a customer uses your billing portal, they are essentially as everyone else, but it exists separately from the rest of the network. Research your cloud provider Whether you’re using a SaaS platform for complex marketing or a cloud provider to store files and data, you need to ask questions. Ask about their safety protocols, how data breaches are handled and what percentage of their team is dedicated to security. Find out how your data is isolated and separated and who else has access to your information. Automatic computer backup and DIY cloud storage has become increasingly popular over the years. But do you know what’s going on with your data? Find out how your files are encrypted and stored, and don’t be afraid to ask for credentials. For example, completed a SSAE 16 Type 2 audit and has ISO 27001certification. Ask about air gapping Air gapping is a simple technique just about anyone can do to ensure an extra layer of manual security. Government and military installations as well as big businesses use the method to further lock down their security. The concept is simple. Either turn off an unused server altogether or leave it on but without being connected to the Internet. That server can be part of your overall network, but will need manual manipulation to get any malware on it. Restrict access Manually restrict what devices and computers can connect to your network and access information. BYOD is an acronym for “Bring Your Own Device,” but some refer to it as “Breach Your Own Data”. Allowing an influx of personal devices to enter your network requires additional security protocols and greater access restriction. Another issue is taking company-issued devices home and using them to surf the Web or make online purchases. That activity can further expose your network to risks.If you’re going to employ a BYOD policy, and set up permissions for what personal devices can access. Consider requiring employees to leave devices in the office or restrict what activities can be done on those devices when using them from home.
March 4, 2016 The White House is looking to hire its first-ever chief information security officer (CISO). There’s little doubt that appointing a Federal CISO is a long overdue response to a recurring problem: the inability to properly secure government systems and sensitive data. The list of government agencies experiencing security failures is lengthy, from the Office of Personnel Management attacks in 2013 and 2014, to the State Department email system in 2014, to the latest attack on Department of Justice and Homeland Security computer systems. According to the job posting for the newly created position, the Federal CISO will be in charge of federal “cybersecurity policy and strategy,” and have “oversight of relevant agency cybersecurity practices and implementation across federal information technology systems.” It’s encouraging to see so much emphasis placed on the critical role of security policy. Effective, agency-wide IT security policies serve as the backbone to anysuccessful security program, as they provide a framework and support mechanism for managing technologies, maintaining order and achieving organizational goals. They also help minimize threats, prevent security breaches and can assist employees in effectively managing risks. But filling this role will be no easy task, especially considering the current IT security skills gap facing the industry. A CISO must take a holistic approach to managing a security team, creating an atmosphere that challenges and recognizes the security team while taking stock of the skills and the tools they have at their disposal. What would my advice be to the person who ultimately lands this job? Here are five things to consider: Be a technologist. A CISO should be a person who can come up with real-world, reliable ways to protect networks, because he or she knows exactly how hackers break in. That requires a deep understanding of the motivations, skill level and methodology of hackers. Recognize that thehacker’s most common internal target isn’t the CEO – most likely, it’s someone within the IT organization, or someone who is the gatekeeper of the most sensitive information, such as human resources. In many cases, cybercriminals go after the weakest link in the organization, which means the CISO must build a policy that protects the most vulnerable stakeholders on the network. Defining the personas of the network’s enemies should inform a CISO’s security policies and strategies. Be a futurist. One thing is certain with each new governmental data breach: doing things the way they’ve always been done isn’t the answer. We’re at a point in time where we’re seeing profound changes in the way business and IT are operating. As we ride this digital disruption wave, technologies like cloud and software-defined networking are forcing organizations to look at cybersecurity, risk and compliance in a new way. The incoming Federal CISO must understand that these are not small, incremental changes.They will require a fundamental transformation in some of the core foundations of . Be a realist. Clearly, outsider threats at the federal level are a huge concern, with nation state attacks from China, Russia, North Korea and the Middle East escalating by the week. But realists know that a large amount of blame for cybersecurity failures can be placed directly on the network’s own users and managers. The Edward Snowden incident illustrates this with painful clarity. The ultimate insider threat, Snowden exploited the government’s poorly created and enforced security policies, inadequate system structures and visibility, haphazard oversight, and minimal education on best security practices. This made it easy for him to gain unfettered access. The incoming CISO must assume that a breach has already occurred — and that poor user behavior and poorly maintained systems are likely to blame. Be vigilant. While many CISOs spent a majority of their time worrying about preventing the nextzero-day attack, Gartner’s research shows that 99 percent of cyberattacks are based on known vulnerabilities in vendor software or hardware. In other words, cybercriminals don’t need to re-invent the wheel to get results. That’s why attack vectors such as spear phishing are still being used – they work. The Federal CISO must resist overemphasizing zero-day defenses, and instead build out a comprehensive security policy focused on vulnerability management and patching, as well as an agency-wide policy on network segmentation, regulatory compliance, and cloud security. Be humble. CISOs need to admit that they don’t have all the answers. This means evaluating and accepting the areas in which they aren’t delivering, and then make the right improvements. Be honest and ask the hard questions, such as, “Is is our technology truly solving a challenge, or is it causing more problems?” They also need to accept feedback and recommendations from their teams about the best approach and tools tofill in the gaps where things aren’t working well. There’s no question that the incoming Federal CISO will have a huge workload. The role will obviously require a lengthy resume of security and IT experience. But it also calls for someone who is a visionary, with an eye to the future of technology. Most of all, a good CISO must marry this experience and spirit of innovation with the business goals of the organization. It’s essential for CISOs to lead the charge, driving innovation as needed, while reducing complexity wherever possible. About Ofer Or As Vice President of Products, Ofer Or is responsible for leading product strategy. With over 20 years of experience in high-tech and network security, Ofer has an extensive background in developing innovative products which have had a profound market impact. Previously, Ofer served as Director of Research & Strategy at Tufin. Prior to Tufin, Ofer was Senior Product Line Manager at Check Point Software Technologies (CHKP) where he led CheckPoint Security Management products and Check Point Security Appliances. Ofer held marketing and technical positions at Check Point (CHKP), Microsoft (MSFT), Amdocs (DOX), and served in an elite computer unit in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Ofer holds a BA in Political Science and Sociology from Bar-Ilan University, an MBA from INSEAD University, and an MA in Law from Bar Ilan University.
March 4, 2016 Over the years, cloud applications have become more of the norm at organizations rather than the exception. The cloud is no longer the little sibling of on-premises applications. According to a report by Allied Market Research, there has been a huge growth in adoption with still more than a 30 percent growth predicted in the next four years. There are many reasons for this growth, including employees more frequently working from home or on the go and needing applications that they can access from anywhere at any time. As the cloud market continues to evolve and grow, there needs to be methods in place to protect these cloud applications and ensure security of the organizations network. While cloud applications are convenient for access from anywhere, the organization needs to ensure that only the correct people can gain access to the appropriate systems. There also needs to be methods in place that stay in the forefront of any attacks by hackers to steal secureinformation, whether it be from outside intruders or from employees within the organization. What are the potential security risks? The most common issue is when an organization begins to use numerous cloud applications it becomes difficult to ensure that employees have the correct access to cloud applications and data. Users may have access to systems and applications that they shouldn’t, leaving the company’s data non-secure. For example, the most common access mistakes are when an employee starts at an organization and is given too many rights, or when the wrong people give them access over time. Then there is the issue of password management, especially since it is very common for users of cloud applications to be working outside of the company’s network from home or while traveling. For example, think of an employee who is on the go and in a hurry. They need to log into an application on their smartphone while traveling and find themselves struggling with remembering and enteringall of their passwords for each application. So, what does the employee do? They either keep their password in notes on their phone or they write it down and keep it with them, neither of which is secure at all. Cloud Identity and Access Management Growth As with cloud applications, cloud identity and access management solutions have grown greatly over the years. This only makes sense, since there needs to be solutions in place to manage these expanding applications. Cloud IAM solutions allow the organization to ensure security and easily manage the applications. How? Just as with in-house applications, those hosted in the cloud need to be managed properly so that, as mentioned, only the correct people have access. Many solutions are available for access management for in-house applications, but as the cloud has grown many of these have evolved to work seamlessly with cloud applications as well. This allows the organization to ensure correct access for in-house and cloud applicationsfrom one source. The first issue a cloud IAM solution assists with is setting up correct access from the beginning. Since provisioning employee accounts in all applications, including cloud applications, is time consuming, often a template account is used for the new employee, copied from someone in a similar position. This then leads to the employee often accumulating rights, which they should not have. Basing rights on the different roles within the organization, specific access profiles can be set with an IAM solution. When the employee is added to the source system, depending on their role, their access rights and accounts in each application are automatically generated and set up for them. An email can then be sent to their manager with all of their access rights and accounts. If for any reason this is incorrect the manager can then easily edit the employees account. Another access issue with cloud applications is that employees often wrongly obtain access rights over time. Eitherthey request access from someone who does not have the authorization to give it or they borrow someone’s credentials. This situation can be prevented with an IAM workflow. A workflow can be set up by the organization so that only the correct authorized managers can give access to secure applications. For example, if an employee needs access to a certain secure application for a project, they can easily make the request through a portal. The request is then sent to the appropriate manager, who can either accept or deny the request. If needed, there can also be several levels of approval required. This ensures that only the correct authorized people are giving access rights. Passwords for cloud applications also need to be protected without interfering with convenience, one of the main benefits of cloud applications. One way this can be achieved is with web single sign-on solutions. These types of solutions allow users on the go to login with one single password to access a portal of allof their cloud applications. This not only improves security, since it eliminates the need of end users to write down their passwords, it all ensures efficiency. Cloud solutions allow users to work from anywhere, so any solution that works with them should complement this benefit. Overall, as the growth of has continued to expand, so have cloud IAM solutions. This is because one does not work fully without the other. Both cloud applications and cloud IAM solutions work seamlessly together to benefit the organization. Dean Wiech, Managing Director at Tools4ever US Dean Wiech is managing director at . Tools4ever supplies a variety of software products and integrated consultancy services involving identity management, such as user provisioning, role-based access control, password management, single sign on and access management solutions.
March 4, 2016 Researchers at are helping businesses fight back against malware authors by reverse engineering the algorithms used by the Locky . Ransom demands are now getting into the tens of thousands of dollars, making this a key issue for businesses. But Forcepoint has analysed the Locky ransomware and published one month’s worth of domains generated by this version of the Domain Generation Algorithm, so businesses can check their logs, pre-populate alerts or set up blocking within their existing security solutions. Carl Leonard, principal security analyst at , said: “Malware authors regularly change their tactics to try and stay one step ahead of their target victims. But by reverse engineering the Domain Generation Algorithm, we now know which domains Locky will use in the future and have shared this knowledge publicly to help all businesses fight back. “New strains of encrypting ransomware are now showing up every week, so businesses have to remain vigilant and ensure theysupplement strong security defences with security best practices. It is vital to back up and archive critical data, only open email attachments from trusted or verified senders and disable Microsoft Office macros by default, only to be enabled when absolutely necessary.” Following on from its sharing of the original DGA , Forcepoint Security Labs has monitored for changes in the algorithm and released the final version. More information and the full list of Locky domains is available on the . About Forcepoint™ was created to empower organizations to drive their business forward by safely embracing transformative technologies – cloud, mobility, Internet of Things (IoT), and others – through a unified, cloud-centric platform that safeguards users, networks and data while eliminating the inefficiencies involved in managing a collection of point security products
March 4, 2016 Our increasing reliance on data is causing it to evolve into a progressively valuable asset that needs effective protection. Unfortunately we are seeing a few stories in the news about data being , or worse, stolen, meaning the need for exceptional protection is on the rise. To protect data assets you need to provide robust regulation, standards and governance as well as a superior technological infrastructure. So how are we doing that exactly? A lot of our work in the Isle of Man is data driven so we’re investing in enhancement of our services and leading the way in data protection. Though we are not part of the EU, we have adopted legislation that is modelled on the EU Data Protection Directive. This means the EU Commission has deemed that the Island’s law ensures an adequate level of protection for data – the so called “Adequacy Finding”- and this both permits and aids the transfer of data in and out of the island from the EU. Reforms to the above Directive announcedDecember 2015 (GDPR, the General Data Protection Regulations) will usher in new rules that will make the Isle of Man even more attractive as a place to hold data as the reforms give rights that provide: easier access to data data portability and transference rights to have data deleted (so called “right to be forgotten”) The single biggest advantage emerging from the reforms mean the Isle of Man may position itself as a unique platform for non EU based companies seeking data access to the EU marketplace (with a population of some 600 million). In addition the Island offers world class telecoms interconnectivity, masses of bandwidth and six Tier 3 data centres. These communications networks are powered by electricity we generate from supplies of natural gas. Any surplus electricity we sell to the UK national grid. This makes the Isle of Man an excellent place to continuously receive and host commercial volumes of data delivered at high velocity. Further, the Island is now ideally suitedto performing data analytics on an industrial scale. By placing data analyst staff members in the Island to analyse data a multi-national client, for example, may add huge value (booked profit) to the data set. This development has the potential to usher in a new Isle of Man era of accelerated economic and jobs growth in this lucrative sector of the ICT industry. Data, like all quality assets will always flow to where it’s best understood, treated and protected and that’s increasingly the Isle of Man. About Brian Donegan Brian Donegan is director of foreign direct investment at Finance on creating Bitcoin Island. He has been instrumental in bringing Bitcoin and cryptocurrency businesses to the Isle of Man.
March 3, 2016 Network security is currently high on everyone’s agenda, and with good reason. 2015 saw a deluge of high profile breaches, which reminded companies and the general public alike of what is at stake. Nearly 300 million records and $1 billion were stolen last year alone through cyber-attacks. The impact such an attack can have on the reputation of a company can be substantial, with a stigma of mistrust prevailing for many months – even years – after an incident. This, in turn, also profoundly affects a company’s bottom line. Some recent attacks have lost organisations hundreds of thousands of customers, millions of pounds and seen shares fall dramatically. The need to protect data is made all-the-more apparent by looking at the kind of information that criminals usually target. Attackers are particularly keen to steal online identities, sensitive medical records or even classified military documents and sell them on for profit. On top of this, governments across the worldare now looking to encourage companies to adopt some form of data encryption. In the UK, the Information Commissioner’s Office has criticised businesses for failing to protect the information they hold and the Government has set up a ‘Cyber Street Wise’ campaign to raise awareness amongst individuals and businesses. Other European nations have implemented penalties against cyber-attacks. For example, if a company does not adopt encryption and suffers a breach in the Netherlands, the Dutch Data Breach Notification Law means companies can be fined 10 per cent of their net annual turnover. With this in mind, protecting data ‘at rest’, has become a top priority for organisations. Companies are now keen to make sure devices and servers are properly protected from the threat posed by . Yet, despite increasing awareness, encryption of data as it moves across the network (in-flight) is often overlooked. In-flight data is most vulnerable to criminals that have the ability to tap into fibreconnections; security measures for data in storage come to nothing if in-flight data is not properly protected as well. Not only does in-flight encryption camouflage data traffic so it cannot be interpreted or altered, it can also result in efficiencies for a business overall. By encrypting at the lowest level, the optical transport layer, companies ensure all data is safe-guarded without the need for multiple application-specific solutions, which are time-consuming, add service latency and increase the overall risk of some data leaving the premises un-protected. This allows service providers to offer an all-encompassing service, which means customers can, in-turn, benefit from state-of-the-art encryption solutions with no impact to their highly valued end-user experience. Furthermore, in-flight encryption that is integrated into hardware can result in a lower latency solution that can actually improve the service provider’s overall performance, as the optical chipsets which arealready present can now serve dual functions – supporting both encryption and the conversion of the now encrypted data from the electrical to the optical domain. For large, content-based companies, this improvement in latency can have a dramatic effect on the bottom line. Amazon, for example, found that 100ms of latency can cost the company one per cent in overall sales revenue. With the data being generated by the world’s population set to grow 10-fold by 2020, companies can no longer close their eyes to the risks cyber-attacks can have on their business. It is time for organisations to take action and adopt a more holistic approach – that of protecting their solutions. A comprehensive approach, which includes protection and encryption of data both at rest and in-flight will go a long way in helping to reduce the number of business-critical breaches in the years to come. About Ciena (NYSE: CIEN) is the network specialist. We collaborate with customers worldwide to unlock the strategicpotential of their networks and fundamentally change the way they perform and compete. Ciena leverages its deep expertise in packet and optical networking and distributed software automation to deliver solutions in alignment with its OP n architecture for next-generation networks. We enable a high-scale, programmable infrastructure that can be controlled and adapted by network-level applications, and provide open interfaces to coordinate computing, storage and network resources in a unified, virtualized environment.
March 3, 2016 According to the from Kaspersky Lab, 41 per cent of consumers are uncomfortable with websites tracking their location and online activities, yet do nothing about it. The findings demonstrate a concerning lack of cyber-savviness amongst consumers about how to protect their privacy online. Our habitual online activities like shopping, chatting and travelling are all recorded and stored by different services. Online merchants, for example, use consumer browsing data to tailor their ads to suit user preferences. Access counters, web analytics tools and social networks also all constantly watch Internet users; track what they do online and where they are when they do it. Even if they have nothing to hide, consumers are disturbed by the thought that large volumes of information about them could be stored, sold to third parties, or even accidentally leaked to the wider – and potentially malicious – online community. The majority of users (79 per cent) do not like being tracked,yet 41 per cent do nothing to protect themselves. When questioned, a concerning one-in-ten (nine per cent) were even unaware that tracking took place at all. David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab says, “Consumers are uncomfortable with the fact that their online activities are being tracked. And who can blame them? With tracking data, it’s possible for advertisers, or even malicious third parties, to peer into the life of a person – from where they go, to the sites they browse. However, the crux of the problem is that many users simply aren’t cyber-savvy enough when it comes to protecting themselves from online tracking. They may be concerned, but do nothing about it. Even worse, they may not understand that they are putting their privacy at risk at all.” With just a quarter (27 per cent) of consumers using a privacy mode in their browser and eleven per cent using a special plugin for privacy, there is more work to be done before all consumers have their privacyprotected. There are several steps cyber-savvy consumers can take to ensure their privacy online: Firstly, change some browser settings – e.g., disable automatic add-on installation, block suspicious web sites and pop-ups, make SSL certificate checks compulsory and block third party cookies. When installing new free software, untick the boxes that let the software install additional toolbars, plugins and extensions. Otherwise these can – absolutely legally – be used to collect consumer data. Use HTTPS sites wherever possible. HTTPS means that the traffic is encrypted. Avoid using mail providers, social networks or ecommerce sites without an HTTPS connection. Use two different browsers – one for primary online services (social networks, web mail, productivity tools, ecommerce), and one for web surfing, so that online activity cannot be matched to an individual user’s identity. Use VPN traffic . Finally, use special private features such as the Private Browsing feature in KasperskyInternet Security or Kaspersky Total Security, which removes user information from the Internet traffic, allowing users to browse in privacy. About Kaspersky Lab is one of the world’s fastest-growing cybersecurity companies and the largest that is privately-owned. The company is ranked among the world’s top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users (IDC, 2014). Since 1997 Kaspersky Lab has been an innovator in cybersecurity and provides effective digital security solutions and threat intelligence for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers. Kaspersky Lab is an international company, operating in almost 200 countries and territories across the globe, providing protection for over 400 million users worldwide.
March 3, 2016 Smart cities will provide businesses with unprecedented economic opportunities. However, cyber threat actors will be presented with an unprecedented attack surface in smart cities because of the significant increase in the number of interconnected devices. Securing these cities needs to be a joint project involving the local administrations and the private sector organisations with an immediate stake in the continuation of the city’s stable function. Ensuring that these cities are cyber secure will require the identification and prioritisation of critical assets, behaviour-based security – establishing a benchmark of normal operation of critical assets and continuously ensuring that all parts of the city adhere to said benchmark, rapid component replacement – in the event of compromise or failure – and the secure segmentation of critical private assets from the city network. Faced with rapid urbanisation, city planners are turning to technology to solve a wide range ofproblems associated with modern cities. Smart cities are the outcome of this deepening integration of technology with new or existing urban landscapes. They are set to change how we experience and what we come to expect from the cities around us. In practical terms, these transformative effects will arise from the combination of three pieces of technology: inexpensive logic controllers, millions of sensors connected to devices dispersed across a city and a network that connects all of these nodes together and enables real-time communication. Such connectivity will enable a better and more efficient provision of urban services. Amsterdam, Barcelona, Santa Cruz and Stockholm have begun the process of incorporating elements of a “smart grid” – or a network of interconnected sensors within the city – across many of their urban domains such as energy provisions, transport systems and telecommunications infrastructure. The inhabitants of these cities have already begun to feel the benefits.However, increased connectivity carries with it potentially severe cyber security risks that have yet to be fully revealed and, in many cases, mitigated. How smart is smart? The concept of smart cities relies on three fundamental ideas: Physical infrastructure can be used more efficiently as data analytics and artificial intelligence progress. Engagement of the urban population with the city administration can be achieved through e-participation – or the carrying out of civic duties through the internet. As technology continues to progress, computer systems will learn and adapt to challenges autonomously. The benefits of and opportunities presented by smart cities – for both citizens and businesses – are broad-ranging. With proper implementation, smart cities will provide tremendous economic, social and cultural advantages for their inhabitants. For instance, a city’s electricity infrastructure could be significantly improved with the introduction of technologies such as ‘smart meters’– electric or gas meters that provide real-time data, via an internet connection, to the consumer and the electricity company regarding each user’s consumption. This allows better management of electricity supplies by tailoring them to the live demand, thereby reducing overall cost as well as the impact and incidence of power outages. Indeed, smart cities are dependent on machine-to-machine (M2M) interactions and decision-making. This is, in part, a product of the sheer number of inputs and the frequency and speed with which associated calculations need to be completed. In the case of the energy grid, it would be impossible for a human operator to process all the data necessary to make decisions at the speed required by the system. However, while M2M decision-making (M2MD) is an unavoidable and beneficial feature of smart cities, it is also one of the greatest risks. New city, new risk M2MD is a highly promising means of ensuring efficient automation across smart cities. However, giventhe absence of human operators, the risk of a cascading error is significant. A cascading error refers to the potential for a small, unchecked mistake to spread through a system and become a systemic risk. For instance, if a minor computing error caused a smart electricity reader to transmit inaccurate data readings to its control centre for a period of time this could lead to an automated, and mistaken, assessment that a particular private organisation’s premises required an increased amount of electricity. This would necessitate rerouting some of the existing energy supply to this facility which, in turn, could culminate in increased costs for the affected business, as well as for the city, and a reduced pool of electricity for other companies and citizens. Although minimal at this scale, the consequences of such errors when they affect a larger area – an entire block or an industrial zone for example – could be far more substantial. Smart cities and Beyond the potential for human orcomputer error, smart cities will provide cyber threat actors with a large attack surface to target and potentially exploit and incorporate into broader campaigns: Cybercriminals As we have described above, smart cities will be composed of thousands – if not millions – of interconnected devices. Such a structure is a boon to criminal actors able to create or purchase and subsequently deploy self-propagating malware, variants of which have been known to proliferate across multiple connected networks. These ‘worms’ could be used to acquire easily commoditised information such as healthcare information, social security numbers and banking credentials, or even to take control of a significant number of systems. Were attackers able to successfully hijack these systems they could then be used for extremely powerful distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks or to hold an entire city for ransom in extortion attacks. Ransomware variants could be designed to encrypt and cripple an entirecity’s grid, with ransom demands likely to be considerable in such a scenario. These tactics could be highly profitable for cybercriminals and represent a natural evolution of trends that we have observed in the current cybercriminal community. Incident response will become increasingly difficult in the case of city-wide compromise. Private sector organisations and municipal authorities will share ownership of systems and the responsibility for their security. Beyond adding legal and financial costs for the private sector, this will create the need for highly complex pre-planned incident response schemes involving multiple parties. Cyber activists As cyber activist groups grow increasingly capable and in some cases, more radical, smart cities will provide them with an attack surface enabling a broad range of attacks from those akin to nuisances such as defacements of a city’s billboards, to the more extreme targeting of a smart city’s energy grid with the aim of physical destruction.In addition, many cyber activist groups are supporting physical protesters by launching . This practice in a smart city environment could allow cyber activists to take a leading role in coercing governments and private sector organisations in meeting their demands. The potential destructiveness of a cyber attack on smart cities is such that even the threat of compromise of the city’s system is likely to be treated by governments and businesses as an existential one. When threat actors such as cyber activists, who arguably lack the self-control of other groups, have the possibility of causing serious physical damages, the security of smart cities becomes essential to the cities’ survival. Nation states As the underlying network of smart cities will encompass most aspects of life within the city, if that network were to be compromised by an attacker, it would grant them unfettered access to a target individual or organisation. For instance, state-owned competitors could compromise asmart city’s infrastructure to gather intelligence on a large number of rival private sector firms. This information could include movements of their executives within the city, private and commercial communications grabbed from the ubiquitous presence of ‘free Wi-Fi hotspots’ managed by the city, and many more. Moreover, organisations operating within the city are likely to have their networks overlap to some extent with the city’s own network, or at the very least, have frequent data transfers from their networks to that of the city. This would enable highly advanced threat actors such as nation states to exploit weaknesses within a city’s infrastructure to reach a target organisation and compromise the confidentiality of its network. Beyond traditional espionage operations, the large-scale destruction or disruption of physical infrastructure via computer systems could become a technical reality with the advent of smart cities. The interconnectedness of systems within smart citieswill lead to the reliance of components on the availability of the entire system to function properly. As such, an advanced cyber attack seeking to destroy parts of the system could have catastrophic cascading effects onto the wider network. This would enable a determined nation state actor to cause large-scale physical destruction throughout an entire city. Although indirect, a belligerent nation state actor could abruptly interrupt the traffic light system of an entire city to cause significant damages and potentially the loss of human lives. Similar scenarios are conceivable for the interruption of energy supplies or water networks. Whilst such events will become more plausible with the increase in smart cities, the actual likelihood of them being undertaken is low because of the possibility that such an attack would provide a potentially justifiable basis – legally and ethically – for military retaliation, something which the perpetrator would presumably appreciate. Securing theimplementation of smart cities for the private sector Although the exact form that smart cities will eventually take remains uncertain, organisations and city planners can take a number of precautions to ensure a smoother implementation process and, ultimately, more secure infrastructure. Prioritise the security of critical assets: Contemporary networks are already impossible to protect in their entirety, a problem which will apply equally to smart cities. Some components of the system will have to be made more secure than others. Public and private sector organisations will need to work together to identify the city’s critical assets and oversee the institution of appropriate security measures. Behaviour based security: Auditing millions of separate devices for signs of malware is simply not feasible. A more workable approach would be to evaluate the behaviour of smart city components and systems against an established baseline of normal functionality or network behaviour. Anysignificant derivation from the norm – above a determined threshold – would trigger an investigation into the possible presence of malware on the subcomponents. Rapid component replacement: Given the potential for component failure or attacks compromising these components, an automated replacement system will enhance the security of the whole system. Although difficult to apply to critical components without full redundancy, such measures would be suitable for low-level, relatively isolated components. Segment critical assets of private organisations from the city’s network: Paramount to the security of organisations in the smart city environment is the segmentation of their critical assets from the city’s network. Although costly and potentially reducing the effectiveness of the organisations, this policy will enable organisations to contain and mitigate any threat actors exploiting vulnerabilities in the smart city network to reach their assets. About Brunswick is an advisory firmspecializing in critical issues and corporate relations: a global partnership with 23 offices in 14 countries. Founded in 1987, Brunswick has grown organically, operating as a single profit center – allowing us to respond seamlessly to our clients’ needs, wherever they are in the world.
March 2, 2016 Get buy-in from the C-suite about training employees on cyber security issues.Training everyone on what to look for when it comes to phishing, spear phishing, and whaling schemes. Doing so will go a long way toward cutting off, or at least reducing, at least one attack vector. Since approximately ninety-five percent of breaches start with email, having the C-suite training alongside the rank and file will stress how important this issue is. Audit your devices and make sure all firmware has been updated. We usually remember to update software on a regular basis thanks to Microsoft and programs like Secunia, which will remind you or update automatically. (You do practice patch management, right?) But firmware tends to be forgotten because many device firmware is not automatically updated, or, when a new device is installed onto a production environment, firmware checks may not have been made yet. Are you finding BYOD is becoming a major part of your network infrastructure?It may be time to re-evaluate your network bandwidth. The more devices you have, the less bandwidth you have for your existing devices. Perhaps it is also time to invest in a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution. Keep the company data away from employee personal data. Make it easier to check BYOD devices for recent updates and sufficient anti-virus/malware protection. Cloud service providers are everywhere. In the past, all you had to worry about was moving files from your computer or server and putting it on someone else’s server someplace else. Now you have software providers, storage providers, infrastructure providers, platform providers and even Disaster Recovery as a Service Providers (DRaaS). What do you want to do? What do you want to pay? How much control do you want to give up and what Return on Investment (ROI) are you looking for. These are just a few questions you need to ask. All of these pose security implications, with the possible exceptions of ROI and what you wantto pay. So maybe it is time to look into a cloud service. Just remember, research what you are getting into and know what you want to get out of cloud service. Also look at the human side. Are you replacing employees with the cloud service, or are you enhancing employee productivity? There is an old saying (anything older than one year in technology is considered an old saying): There are those who know they’ve been breached and those who’ve been breached but just don’t know it yet. It is along the same vein as: It isn’t if you lose your data, but when. Are you in an industry that requires a breach notification to the public, because compliance compels you to, or will you do it as a public service? I have a friend who is a psychologist who had her email hacked. An email went out to all of her clients and friends. Because she had less than 500 contacts in total, was a private practitioner, and HIPAA compliance didn’t have teeth yet, she didn’t have to notify her clients about thebreach. So she didn’t. If your company is in a compliance situation (Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), PCI-DSS, etc.), will you have the proper notification protocols in place to let your customers/clients know? Look over your notification protocols, and develop them if you don’t have them. In today’s world, breaches are almost an everyday occurrence. Coming clean to your customer base immediately will save the goodwill your company has developed over the years – and may prevent a lawsuit if you come forward. It may also create more trust from your customers since you have the strength of character to own it and take care of it immediately. The only time this may not be wise is if law enforcement tells you not to. In those cases, you can point to law enforcement for not letting you tell the public and your customers immediately. 2016 is going to be a bad year. Each year is going to get worse as newer and faster computers come online and more sophisticated forms of malware take shape. Inthis industry, we are only one step ahead of the bad actors. And even then that one step is tenuous. We win some, we lose some, and then we fight back and win some of the ground we lost. Cyber war is here to stay. We just have to try and keep our heads above water. Start with educating your staff, managers, and executives. Your worst enemy is not what is outside, but what lurks inside your company. Employees cause the most damage to networks, whether intentional or accidental. Training, though, can give your company a little bit of hope. Allan Pratt Company: Los Angeles City College & Consultant Position: Adjunct Faculty & InfoSecurity Strategist Twitter: Bio: Allan Pratt, an infosec strategist, represents the alignment of technology, marketing, and management. With an MBA Degree and four CompTIA certs in computers, networks, servers, and security, Allan translates tech issues into everyday language that is easily understandable by all business units. His expertise includes theinstallation and maintenance of all aspects of the PC and peripheral lifecycle and the planning and integration of end-to-end security solutions. Allan also teaches both the CompTIA A+ and the CompTIA Security+ certification courses, and has been quoted in industry publications. Follow Allan on . Allan is on our expert panel list. To find out more about our panel members, please visit the page Comments are closed
March 2, 2016 Email phishing and malware attacks are issues that plague today’s organisations, regardless of size, revenue, location or industry. Such attacks can cripple even the most well-established and high-grossing businesses, and even result in their downfall. Fraudulent cyber attacks are detrimental to revenue, to customers’ and employees’ safety, and to a brand’s reputation as a trusted organisation. To solve this issue for businesses, , a subsidiary of , has recently launched a new real-time, data-driven, cyber threat detection platform called Zero. The launch of Zero means that users now have unrivalled protection from email phishing and malware. The platform offers a level of protection not previously available, almost entirely eliminating the possibility of fraudsters imitating a company via email, and putting customer trust and loyalty at risk. Zero requires no complex integration with existing IT systems and perhaps most importantly, no engagement from consumers, allowingfor slick and easy adoption. How does it work? Using specially designed software, Zero analyses millions of emails sent to and from the major ISPs around the globe, identifying phishing attacks in real-time, and crucially before they can cause any damage. Once an illegitimate email has been identified, Zero uses the DMARC standard to quarantine the message, preventing fraudulent emails from reaching the recipient’s inbox. Zero’s advanced forensic platform then quickly displays the information required to interrogate mail sources, gather evidence, and take immediate follow up action . Alongside the prevention of phishing attacks at source, one of the most powerful functions of the Zero platform is its ability to provide users with the information necessary to trace, pinpoint and ultimately neutralise cyber criminals that threaten their business, regardless of their global location. Detailed forensic reports enable users to view scam emails and fake sites as they would appear tocustomers, allowing them to take the necessary action. By providing an understanding of the data that hackers are trying to harvest, Zero also equips companies with the information needed to implement additional security measures. While much of the focus on prevention is aimed at consumer education, we firmly believe that the onus must be on businesses to prevent phishing attacks on their customers. With the technology now available in the war on hackers and fraudsters, telling consumers not to click on an email is as ineffective a weapon as throwing a stone at a tank. About Cyber Security Partners (CSP) is a trading group of Marketing Source Ltd; a multi-award-winning integrated marketing services company and UK leader in its field. CSP is a cyber security expert which has developed ‘Zero’, a real-time, data-driven cyber threat detection platform that combines expertise in cyber security and phishing with technology to offer companies absolute protection from the threats of emailphishing and malware.
March 2, 2016 Following Google’s launch of Project Shield to protect against DDoS attacks, David Emm principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab have the following comments on it. David Emm, Principal Security Researcher : Google’s launch of to protect against DDoS attacks highlights the capability for businesses to guard against such attacks, or risk financial loss, severe reputational damage, and possibly the loss of valuable customers. DDoS attacks are nothing new; they’ve been a threat for many years and are one of the most popular weapons in a ’ arsenal. However, we’ve noticed attacks have become persistent and sometimes against the same organisations. In fact, Kaspersky Lab found that in 2015, one in six (16%) companies worldwide suffered a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, with the attack rate rising to one in four (24%) for enterprises. The problem is that today DDoS attacks can be set up cheaply and easily, from almost anyone, whether that be a competitor, adismissed employee, socio-political protesters or just a lone wolf with a grudge. In fact, although the cost to businesses from this kind of attack is on average around , the simplest DDoS attack can be acquired for only £32.30 and ordered anonymously. As a result, the volume of attacks has rapidly increased in recent years, so it’s imperative that businesses find an effective way to safeguard themselves from such attacks in 2016. Companies can do this by partnering an internal specialist with an internet provider, to actively filter and weed out these types of crude attacks, and decrease the cost of customer protection, as well as reduce the risk of loss to the company. About Kaspersky Lab is one of the world’s fastest-growing cybersecurity companies and the largest that is privately-owned. The company is ranked among the world’s top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users (IDC, 2014). Since 1997 Kaspersky Lab has been an innovator in cybersecurity and provides effectivedigital security solutions and threat intelligence for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers. Kaspersky Lab is an international company, operating in almost 200 countries and territories across the globe, providing protection for over 400 million users worldwide.
March 2, 2016 Research by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International shows that businesses don’t need to have external interfaces such as public websites, customer portals and transactional systems to be affected by a DDoS attack. Internal web services, operations and connectivity are just as vulnerable – manufacturing companies especially. In 2015, one in six (16%) companies worldwide suffered a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, with the attack rate rising to one in four (24%) for enterprises. For most, these attacks focused on external activities. Just under half of those affected said their public websites had been hit, while around a third said that customer portals and logins (38 per cent) and communications services (37 per cent) had been impacted. A quarter found that a DDoS attack had affected transactional systems. However, some companies discovered that a DDoS attack had affected their internal web services. A quarter said that their file servers had been affected and 15per cent said their operational systems had been hit. Another 15 per cent said a DDoS attack impacted overall ISP network connectivity. In terms of the business sector, manufacturing was particularly susceptible to the internal impact of a DDoS attack, with a quarter saying their operational systems had been affected and over a third noticing an impact on file servers; while up to one in five telecoms, transportation, IT and government organisations noticed that their network connectivity had suffered. “It’s important to take a seriously. It’s a relatively easy crime to perpetrate, but the effect on business continuity can be far-reaching. Our study found that alongside the well-publicised impact of an attack, such as website downtime, reputational damage and unhappy customers, DDoS hits can reach deep into a company’s internal systems. It doesn’t matter how small the company is, or whether or not it has a website; if you’re online, you’re a potential target. Unprotected operationalsystems are just as vulnerable to a DDoS attack as the external website, and any disruption can stop a business in its tracks,” said Evgeny Vigovsky, Head of Kaspersky DDoS Protection, Kaspersky Lab. combines Kaspersky Lab’s extensive experience in combating cyber-threats with the company’s in-house software development expertise. The solution protects against all types of DDoS attacks, regardless of their complexity, power and duration. Unlike many competitor products, Kaspersky Lab’s solution protects any online service that could come under attack, including business applications, services, databases and more. Further information about the solution is available . About Kaspersky Lab is one of the world’s fastest-growing cybersecurity companies and the largest that is privately-owned. The company is ranked among the world’s top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users (IDC, 2014). Since 1997 Kaspersky Lab has been an innovator in cybersecurity and provides effectivedigital security solutions and threat intelligence for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers. Kaspersky Lab is an international company, operating in almost 200 countries and territories across the globe, providing protection for over 400 million users worldwide.
March 2, 2016 Cybersecurity Ventures announces the , a global compilation of the leading companies who provide cybersecurity solutions and services. The ten companies sit atop the , which is published quarterly by Cybersecurity Ventures. The Cybersecurity industry is growing from $75 Billion in 2015 to $170+ Billion in 2020, according to consolidated estimates by IT research firms and analysts. There are many new entrants as well as M&A, investment and IPO activity, that is constantly changing the vendor and service provider landscape. The Cybersecurity 500 creates awareness and recognition for the most innovative cybersecurity companies – ranging from the largest and most recognizable brands, to VC backed start-ups and emerging players, to small firms with potentially game-changing technologies, to solution providers poised for growth around productized or vertically focused services. root9B Tops the List The No. 1 position is reserved for an emerging young pure play cyber firm whopersonifies the battle against cyber threats and adversaries. , a root9B Technologies Company (OTCQB: RTNB), is a cybersecurity consulting and operational support firm with corporate headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., and regional offices in San Antonio, Texas, New York City, N.Y., and Charlotte, N.C., plus local cyber staff in other U.S. and international regions. “We are honored to be recognized as the Cybersecurity 500’s top cyber firm” says Eric Hipkins, CEO at root9B. “This shift of pure play cyber companies clearly documents the requirement for innovative, security-for-a-service companies.” RSA Selected as Most Trustworthy Brand The No. 2 selection goes to the most trustworthy cybersecurity brand. , founded in 1982 and now a division of EMC Corp., is an information security pioneer and one of the longest standing companies in our industry. More than 30,000 customers use RSA products for security operations, governance, risk and compliance (GRC), identity and accessmanagement (IAM), fraud prevention, and cybersecurity framework. One of the biggest and most loyal partner networks resells and implements RSA security solutions globally. RSA organizes the annual RSA Conference, which is the world’s largest and most respected info security event. IBM Security is the Fastest Growing Business No. 3 on the Cyber Top 10 list is the fastest growing company. generated $2 billion in revenues for 2015, up 12 percent over the previous year. Big Blue’s security unit was organized four years ago and provides the most comprehensive portfolio of services and products covering security operations and intelligence, cloud, mobile, IAM, network, endpoint, mainframe, application, and data security, and fraud protection. IBM has built up an impressive business and technology framework for sustained growth and strategic acquisitions. Dell SecureWorks Leads the MSSP Market The No. 4 company is the Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) market leader. , founded in 1999and acquired by Dell in 2011, was an early mover who helped define the managed security services market. Today the company provides its services to more than 4,100 clients in 61 countries. With a single minded focus on outsourced cloud and managed security services, SecureWorks is on track to continue trailblazing in the 24x7x365 cloud security space. Dell SecureWorks is planning an initial public offering (IPO) in 2016 and the company said it would trade on NASDAQ under the stock symbol SCWX. Palo Alto Networks is the Most Innovative NGFW Player The most innovative next generation firewall (NGFW) company gets the nod for No. 5. has built up a business that is approaching $1 billion in annual revenues – on the strength of its NGFW and related products and services. The fast growing company has more than 28,000 customers in over 160 countries who rely on Palo Alto firewalls and network security solutions to protect against cyber threats. The financial markets have rewarded Palo AltoNetworks for its innovation and growth – and the company is consistently one of the top stock picks by investors and analysts who cover the cybersecurity industry. Cisco is the Top Network Security Company The top end to end network security company is No. 6 on the Cyber Top 10. provides the widest and deepest suite of network security solutions with its access control and policy, advanced malware, email security, NGFW, intrusion prevention, router and switch security, security management, VPN security, and web security products. The Cisco security unit is a $1.75 billion business that is trending up and appears to have no limits in a cybersecurity market that will see approximately $100 billion in new spending over the next five years. Fortinet Leads the Way in Security Appliances No. 7 is the leading network security appliances vendor. is a billion dollar plus worldwide provider of turnkey security appliances for cloud providers and MSSPs, mobile carriers, small businesses, largecorporations, and government entities globally. Fortinet’s physical and virtual appliance products provide a broad array of security and networking functions, including firewall, VPN, antivirus, intrusion prevention, Web filtering, anti-spam, and WAN acceleration. With one platform and one operating system for IoT, mobile, and cloud security — spanning email, web, endpoint, sandbox, and NGFW — Fortinet should continue leading in the appliances sector for the foreseeable future. BT Security Paves New Ground in Situational Awareness The No. 8 spot is for the top situational awareness innovator. , a division of British Telecommunications Plc (BT), a subsidiary of BT Group, broke new ground in the situational awareness market in 2015 with the launch of its BT Assure Cyber service. The platform combines cutting edge risk analysis and cyber threat detection and prevention tools with BT’s security experts, its partners who add their own services, and a managed services model for corporationsand government agencies globally. The cost of data breaches are expected to quadruple and reach $2 trillion by 2019, according to Juniper Research. BT’s Cyber Assure alongside its other security products and services positions BT Security as the top listed international (non-U.S) company on the Cyber Top 10. FireEye is the Most Comprehensive Cyber Defense Provider No. 9 on the list is designated for the most comprehensive provider of cyber defense services. provides a full suite of emergency and assessment services which have been designed around detecting and protecting against data breaches, and responding to them. FireEye’s Mandiant consulting unit also helps corporations build their own computer incident response team (CIRT) or security operations center (SOC) to better manage their security process and resolve future cyber threats. “Cyber defense has never been more critical than it is today, and the Cybersecurity 500 recognizes the ‘companies to watch’ on the front lines of thisbattle” said Dave DeWalt, Chairman and CEO at FireEye, when the company was listed at No. 1 on the Cybersecurity 500 last year. “FireEye is committed to changing the way the world combats today’s advanced , and the Cybersecurity 500 spotlights the evolution taking place by raising awareness of the most innovative companies in the security industry.” Herjavec Group is the Leading International IT Security Consulting Firm The No. 10 position is the leading IT security consulting and services firm growing across international regions. , headquartered in Toronto, Canada, started up in 2003 as an information security consulting firm providing its services and selling products to Canadian corporations. The firm went on to open multiple offices in the U.S. and became a well respected player in the North American market. After that, Herjavec Group expanded into Europe, and most recently Australia. The firm operates its own 7x24x365 security operations centers (SOCs) in the markets they serve.Herjavec Group has acquired and rolled up several small IT security consultancies and MSSPs, an excellent growth strategy in a industry where talent is so difficult to come by. Robert Herjavec’s namesake company is a well oiled IT security consultancy that is executing on its strategy of identifying and entering new regions with high growth market opportunities. Cyber Top 10 Selection Criteria The selection criteria for the Cyber Top 10 and Cybersecurity 500 is subjective and includes some or all of the following when evaluating each company: Cybersecurity Sector (market category) Problem(s) Solved Customer Base Feedback from CISOs and Decision Makers Feedback from IT Security Evaluators & Recommenders Feedback from VARs, SIs and Consultants VC Funding Company Growth Published Product Reviews Demos and Presentations at Conferences Corporate Marketing and Branding Media Coverage Notable Implementations Founder and Management Pedigree Interviews with Senior Management The Cyber Top 10 isnot a ‘pay-to-play’ list (none of the companies have paid to be listed in the top 10), and each company has been evaluated and selected based exclusively on merit. About Steve Morgan Steve Morgan is founder and CEO at and editor-in-chief of the Cybersecurity Market Report and the list of the world’s hottest and most innovative cybersecurity companies. Steve is a contributor writer for Information Security Buzz, IDG’s CSO, Homeland Security Today, SandHill.com, and other business, technology, and cybersecurity media properties.
March 2, 2016 The tech industry changes with every passing week, let alone a single year. We saw huge innovation and changes happening within IT in 2015 and 2016 promises to do the same. In this ‘blink and you miss it’ industry, trying to keep afloat of new changes can be extremely difficult. Ideally, you should try to get ahead of emerging trends so that you can prepare your systems for when they are in full effect. To make things easier for you, here’s what we predict will happen in 2016: Bots While software application ‘bots’ aren’t a new concept, they’re going to be much more widely used in a range of creative, everyday applications. Instead of being something that just ticks away in the background, you’re likely to be able to programme these bots yourself to help supercharge productivity and track what others are doing. There are lots of potential uses for bots – they will almost definitely come in this year, but there’s no idea about their full abilities or limitations as yet.Wearables and other wearable technology may have come in last year, but the real impact will hit this year. There’s huge business to be made on these devices and they’re likely to become much more popular in 2016. Unfortunately, this may bring on compatibility issues with your existing programmes so it’s a good idea to check out your systems early on this year in preparation. Quantum Computing Some things are too complicated for a normal computer and that’s where quantum computers come in. These machines are able to operate in the quantum universe, seeing those 1 and 0 bytes in two states at once – i.e. 00, 01, 10, 11. This means that they are far more powerful than any system currently being used, but they can also use special algorithms capable of doing things never previously considered. Quantum computing may have been talked about over 10 years ago, but 2016 may well be the year that everything springs to life. Last year, D-Wave Systems claimed that it broke the 1,000 qubit barrierand now IBM, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Google are all trying to find ways to make this technology commercially available. Cloud Adoption If you haven’t already set your cloud computing up and have it running full steam ahead, then 2016 is the year that this is all going to happen. With so many different types of cloud software out there, choosing the right one for your needs could be a little bit tricky. However, the cloud is a movement that’s happening whether you like it or not so it really is time to get on board. Organise your business’s data and make sure that everything is safely backed up to a secure cloud system as soon as possible. Not only is this the future, but there are a huge amount of benefits to your company through using the cloud – including increased productivity and better remote working abilities. Even Easier Payments Contactless payment have become the norm in 2015 and payments are set to be made even easier this year. This is going to mean that it’s easierthan ever for customers to transfer money, which is great for them but it does mean that you need to ensure that you have good security in place. [ under CC 3.0] Expect to see Apple Pay, Google Pay and myriad of other mobile payments flooding the markets this year and becoming one of the most popular methods of customer payment. Make sure that you have the systems in place to deal with this type of payment on a regular basis in 2016. Security is Policed You wouldn’t leave the front door to your business open when you’re shut, but thousands of businesses neglect security when it comes to customer data. All this is bound to change in 2016, with much greater control on the use of secure file transfer, cloud service providers and storage of customer data. While there are already plenty of governance around these issues, expect to see this being clamped down on much more in 2016. Security concerns are one of the biggest technology trends to have been emerging over the last few years andthey’ve now reached a critical mass. That means that you can expect lots of closed loopholes, crack downs on companies neglecting proper security and enhanced forms of encryption being used to send and store data. If you’re worried about your current then talk to Maytech today. As an industry leader, we stay ahead of the trends to ensure that our products are not just fit for purpose, but are futureproof with security that goes above and beyond regulations. Why with our free trial? About John Lynch is the CEO of Maytech, a global platform for , and has taken the company from strength to strength in recent years. Finance Monthly named John as the winner of for his hard work and dedication at Maytech. An expert in strategy and execution, John Lynch knows what it takes to grow and launch brands and businesses to help them reach their full potential.
March 1, 2016 Keeping your enterprise safe in this changing cyber world is a bit of challenging task; has become a focal point for most security professionals. Every day we face novel & challenging threats and software vulnerabilities, which have no boundaries and become serious issue between small and large enterprises. As small business generally does lack of proper security management hence, they seem ripe fruits for attackers. To overcome this issue, Unified Threat Management is an ideal choice for any business. Why Unified Threat Management is needed? Managing multiple security platforms is a daunting task for any business. Instead of managing multiple security systems (antivirus, spam filtering, content filtering, etc.), business, or enterprise can employ a single solution that performs all functionality into a single network appliance. To overcome this issue, (UTM) can be helpful approach. What does UTM Consist of? Now looking into UTM concept, it bestows effective singlesecurity management that allows IT supervisor to observe and handle various security applications and infrastructure components. UTM can be bought as cloud service, spam filtering, , etc. in a single package that follows easy installation and update. When an enterprise needs a complex security management that offers higher-level support as well helps in driving business objectives with effective security solution, at that point UTM (Unified Threat Management) plays vital role. What UTM can do for you? If we look at some advantages of UTM, then a single UTM appliance can replace multilayer software and hardware. Even a centralized configuration helps to observe all security solutions along with greater control over distributed networks. UTM is simple management, no need of multiple software and hardware installation; lessen technical training need, web-based GUI. UTM is also bound to comply with regulatory compliances like , , and CIPA. Unified Threat Management offers simplicity,single centralized security solution, and reduced technical requirements. UTM removes the hurdles of traditional security solutions like deployment, update and management; it also offers a unified solution of security, management and productivity. Below are few tasks that Unified Threat Management can do effectively. Stops Attacks at the Network Gateway: To keep your business going on, UTM averts threats at the Network gateway and business files and applications remain safe. Thus, malicious codes could not infect desktop or server as UTM stops inbound (script virus, worms, Trojans, port scanning) and outbound threats (spyware, adware, Trojan propagation, and phishing attack). Easy set up: UTM removes the complexity of multiple security system installation and provides a handy and single security set up. It is also difficult to implement protection and different security policy compliance for each system. Besides, log information related to different systems is stored in differentformats and location so it will make security event analysis difficult. Cost effective solution: Instead of purchasing security solution, the enterprise can go with a single security that can save huge cost being spent after individual . UTM Security Capabilities Gateway Antivirus: This service identifies and blocks worms, spyware; Trojans appeared in email attachments that avert threats from executing on the network. Gateway Antivirus works fine with multiple security layers in Internet layered security and offers greater efficiency and granular control. Gateway antivirus is compatible with different compression methods as well Gateway antivirus reduces the number of files scan task by working on only unblocked files by internet layered security pattern. Intrusion Prevention: The Intrusion Prevention capability allows protection for attacks, which comply with protocol standards, but brings malicious content. This feature blocks cross-site scripting, SQL injections. It can protectinstant messenger threats, which can exploit and control the instant messenger client. This service can block peer-to-peer applications like Bit Torrent, Kazaa. Moreover, it can block spyware communication done on malicious hosts. Anti-Spam: Anti-Spam provides real time protection to stop spam attacks by analyzing internet traffic. The advanced algorithms can differentiate legitimate emails from spam mails. It nearly protects networks by detecting more than 97% unwanted emails. URL Filtering: URL Filtering allows systematizing web access rights, type of web access, categories of web pages and web page access time. It uses database and engine of URL filtering service providers to deliver accurate categories. It allows blocking a particular category like adult content from entering into your network. Spyware Protection: Protection helps network by blocking spyware downloads and drive-by installation. It can block URLs that holds spyware as well detect and stop outgoing spywarecommunication taking place on malicious hosts. About Gunjan Tripathi With proven & extensive experience in DIGITAL MARKETING, Gunjan Tripathi has been responsible for the online presence of . Due to involvement in Security Company, Gunjan has vast knowledge of Cyber Security, threats, malware, etc. along with Digital Marketing, Social Media Optimization, and ORM (Online Reputation Management). He is able to optimize business by applying digital marketing techniques and thereby helps organization to improve its online presence.
March 1, 2016 Backdoors into security solutions, specifically encrypted communications, have been a major topic in some huge debates lately. While this discussion has certainly taken place in the past, it recently has shaken the tech industry to its core after Apple CEO Tim Cook released a letter stating that the company will fight the FBI’s court order to provide a backdoor into an encrypted iPhone. Cook asserted that if Apple creates a way to circumvent the device’s security features, the organisation is compromising the fundamental aspect of digital security. While the backdoor could only be used once, Cook argued that it wouldn’t, since a backdoor of that magnitude would effectively nullify its attempts to protect private information – anyone, “good” or “bad”, could gain access to that backdoor and use it to steal data and further compromise systems. Now, Google CEO Sundar Pichai joined the conversation, tweeting that by creating a backdoor into a piece of secure technology,whoever does so is essentially “hacking” end users’ computers and “compromising” privacy. This point of contention has a solid answer, however. A recently published report from Harvard University’s Bruce Schneier and his peers Kathleen Siedel and Saranya Vijayakumar detailed the analysis of encryption products around the world, and these researchers wrote that a national law requiring backdoors into cryptography tools would have an “overwhelming” impact on end users with respect to data protection and privacy. Simply put, any infrastructure component could be compromised if a backdoor exists. It provides access for all those that exploit it, while giving hackers a definite way to infiltrate corporate networks and consumer devices. That said, the only truly secure approach is to use software-defined security that is decoupled from the infrastructure as a part of a holistic “no trust” policy, in which organisations trust nothing, including the infrastructure itself. With securitydecoupled from the , end-to-end encryption and role-based access control solutions can protect sensitive applications even if a backdoor exists in another product along the communications path. About Certes Networks protects data in motion with market-leading software-defined security solutions. The company’s award-winning CryptoFlow ® Solutions safeguard application traffic in physical, virtual and Cloud environments, enabling secure connectivity over any infrastructure without compromising network device or application performance. Companies around the world rely on security solutions from Certes Networks to protect access, accelerate application deployment, simplify network projects, reduce compliance costs, and improve the return on investment in IT infrastructure.
March 1, 2016 Raising kids in the internet era? Five years of age is the turning point. Parental control tools popular among Brits, not so much with Germans, but all agree – kids go digital too early. Nowadays, the internet and technology have become so important for business, travel and many other everyday tasks that they practically surround us all the time. This is true for the younger generation as well, including even the smallest children, but online surveys by ESET show that a majority of parents in Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States are not at all happy about this. The polls show that an overwhelming 96.6% of Russian respondents agree (26%) or strongly agree (70.6%) with the claim that “children today are using technology and the internet at too young an age”. Only 3.4% say they think the opposite is true. On the other hand, Germans seem to be more enthusiastic about the role modern technologies play in the lives of their children, with less than twothirds agreeing (31.8%) or agreeing strongly (33.5%) with the same statement. Americans are slightly more conservative. More than two in three (67.8%) Americans thought that the were present too early in the lives of kids today, with the rest being more positive about these influences. With 40.5% agreeing and 23.9% strongly agreeing with the statement, British parents are marginally less reserved when it comes to the role of modern devices and online resources in the lives of the younger generation. Interestingly, the British appear to be the strongest adopters of parental control tools for Android among the four surveyed countries. As many as 73% of them stated that they use such a solution to monitor their children, leaving about one-quarter with no protection. This contrasts with the situation in Germany, where ESET’s survey reveals that 56% opt for non-technological means to keep an eye on their offspring. This means that only 44% of German parents currently use . In the sameonline survey, 38% of parents in the United States said they don’t use any , followed by Russia on 44%. The Internet surveys used to gather these statistics were carried out in January 2016. A thousand respondents participated in each national survey, which targeted British, American, German and Russian participants. UK, US and German data were provided by Google Consumer Surveys, and the Russian data by Merku. The full story is available on . About ESET Since 1987, has been developing security software that now helps over 100 million users to Enjoy Safer Technology. Its broad security product portfolio covers all popular platforms and provides businesses and consumers around the world with the perfect balance of performance and proactive protection. The company has a global sales network covering 180 countries, and regional offices in Bratislava, San Diego, Singapore and Buenos Aires.
February 29, 2016 , which looks at the latest cyber security issues in email, social media and mobile apps. One of the most significant findings from the study is that in 2015 people were the targets: from email and web to social media and mobile apps, rather than relying on expensive exploit kits, attackers relied on human frailty to carry out their dirty work. Essentially, 2015 was the year Machine Exploits were replaced by . Rather than purchasing expensive technical exploit kits, attackers opted for high volume attachment-based campaigns and relied on social engineering to trick users into running malicious macros in word and excel on their machines. The bottom line is everyone clicks, and the bad news is you can’t patch people, so as hackers continue to reap the rewards, this trend is likely to continue. analyses trends across the top vectors for targeting people – email, mobile apps, and social media – and some of the key findings include: People are replacing automated exploitsas attackers’ preferred entry tactic In 2015 attackers overwhelmingly infected computers by tricking people into doing it themselves instead of using automated exploits. 99.7% of documents used in attachment-based campaigns relied on social engineering and macros, rather than automated exploits. 98% of URLs in malicious messages link to hosted malware, either as an executable or an executable inside an archive. Hosted malicious archive and executables files require tricking the user into infecting themselves by double-clicking on the malware. Phishing is 10 times more common than malware in social media posts The ease of creating fraudulent social media accounts for known brands drives a clear preference for phishing in social media-based attacks. Distinguishing fraudulent social media accounts from legitimate ones is difficult: we found that 40% of Facebook accounts and 20% of Twitter accounts claiming to represent a Global 100 brand are unauthorized, and for Global 100 companiesunauthorized accounts on both Facebook and Twitter make up 55% and 25% of accounts, respectively. It’s no wonder then that we have seen the rise of fraudulent customer service account phishing, which uses social engineering to trick users to divulge personal information and logins. Dangerous mobile apps from rogue marketplaces affect two out of five enterprises Our researchers identified rogue app stores from which users could download malicious apps onto iOS devices – even those not “jailbroken,” or configured to run apps not offered through Apple’s iTunes store. Lured in by “free” clones of popular games and banned apps, users who download apps from rogue marketplaces – and bypass multiple security warnings in the process – are four times more likely to download an app that is malicious. These apps will steal personal information, passwords or data. 40% of large enterprises sampled by Proofpoint TAP Mobile Defense researchers had malicious apps from DarkSideLoader marketplaces – thatis, rogue app stores – on them. People willingly downloaded more than 2 billion mobile apps that steal their personal data Attackers used social media threats and mobile apps, not just email, to trick users into infecting their own systems. Proofpoint analysis of authorized Android app stores discovered more than 12,000 malicious mobile apps – apps capable of stealing information, creating backdoors, and other functions – accounting for more than 2 billion downloads. Banking Trojans were the most popular type of malicious document attachment payload In 2015 Banking Trojans were the most popular type of malicious document attachment payload. They accounted for 74% of all payloads, and Dridex message volume was almost 10 times greater than the next most-used payload in attacks that used malicious document attachments. The documents themselves used malicious macros extensively and relied on social engineering to trick the user into running the malicious code to infect their computer.Hackers served phish for breakfast and social media spam for lunch In 2015 Attackers timed email and social media campaigns to align with the times that people are most distracted by other legitimate uses of those vectors. For example, malicious email messages are delivered at the start of the business day (9-10 am) while social media spam posting times mirror the peak usage times for legitimate social media activity. About Proofpoint (NASDAQ:PFPT) is a leading security-as-a-service provider that focuses on cloud-based solutions for threat protection, compliance, archiving & governance, and secure communications. Organizations around the world depend on Proofpoint’s expertise, patented technologies and on-demand delivery system to protect against phishing, malware and spam, safeguard privacy, encrypt sensitive information, and archive and govern messages and critical enterprise information.
February 29, 2016 Cyber Essentials eases path to cyber insurance for UK’s SMEs is critical to helping businesses view their cyber security defences holistically, but remains a missing piece of the puzzle for too many businesses, has warned. By achieving the UK Government’s Cyber Essentials, businesses automatically qualify for cyber insurance policies, providing a safety net in case they are affected and helping them recoup their losses. Cyber Essentials is a checklist of the fundamentals that an organisation needs to get right, before it can be considered adequately protected against possible cyber threats. By certifying against Cyber Essentials with APMG, an organisation is providing an excess of the information required by a typical cyber insurance policy in a low-risk industry. Richard Pharro, CEO of APMG, commented: “Plainly, prevention is better than cure, but the reality of the situation is that however well protected your business is, it will likely suffer a cyber-relatedbreach at least once in its lifetime. The events of the past year in particular have shown how large-scale breaches can have had a marked impact on a company’s reputation, on their balance sheet, and on general operations thereafter. “Fundamentally, a good risk management strategy incorporates the identification of risk, mitigation, management and the transfer of residual risk to insurers. Simply going through the process of looking at cyber insurance raises awareness throughout the organisation of how a breach would impact it – and what the organisation needs to do to protect itself. Cyber insurance can therefore help address threats but it is the missing piece of the puzzle for many businesses’ cyber defence strategies,” Pharro continued. Cyber insurance is one of the fastest growing types of insurance globally: reported a 50 per cent increase in insurance submissions during the first quarter of 2015, versus 2014. Additionally, a government-backed found that 11 per cent oforganisations currently have a cyber insurance policy, but 39 per cent were planning on obtaining one in 2016. The paper also recommended that the best way to distribute cyber insurance to the SME market was to couple it with Cyber Essentials. Simon Gilbert, Managing Director at , added: “Cyber insurance has been around for over a decade but it’s only relatively recently that it has started to be valued among organisations of all sizes and from all sectors. Businesses are fast waking up to the necessity of mitigating the impact of cyber attacks, driving demand for cyber insurance. At the same time, cyber insurers have realised that they need to be commercially minded and have subsequently streamlined their underwriting processes to help business understand the cover. What was an intrusive, time-consuming and expensive process has been simplified with the help of schemes like Cyber Essentials. “If a business has a Cyber Essentials certificate then insurers recognise that its securityawareness is actually better and therefore the risk profile is improved. This means the business automatically qualifies for a cyber insurance policy – and one that is easily accessible for SMEs in the UK,” he continued. About APMG International is a global examination institute specialising in professional certifications. Our portfolio includes the prestigious CESG Certified Professional (CCP) and Certified Training (CCT) schemes, CDCAT® – the unique Cyber Defence Capability Assessment Tool and a host of industry recognised certifications; ISO/IEC 20000, ISO/IEC 27001, COBIT®5, IAITAM®, OBASHI®, RESILIA™ and many more.
February 29, 2016 Cybersecurity is growing too dangerous and powerful to ignore and a head-in-the-sand attitude to this once nascent, now pervasive threat is no longer an option, according to a new study by IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) and ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). The joint study, “Cybersecurity – Fighting Crime’s Enfant Terrible,” is an assessment of the cyber-threat landscape across the globe, tracks current and future cybersecurity trends and highlights particular areas that are likely to have a direct impact on the future of the accountancy profession. “Exploitation of the myriad weaknesses within Cybersecurity is now being perpetrated by a rogues gallery of hostile nation states, digitally enabled terrorists, conniving competitors, organized crime syndicates, hacktivists and even the odd disgruntled employee,” said Faye Chua, ACCA’s head of business insights. “From health records to credit cards, individual pieces of confidential data arefetching up to $45 per unit on the black market. With databases holding millions of records now commonplace the consequences of a breach have become too serious to ignore.” Raef Lawson, Vice President of Research and Policy at IMA added: “When establishing a plan it is important to be realistic about the resources at your disposal so you can deploy them appropriately. To be effective, implement a ‘layered’ approach to cyber security that establishes priorities for your most valuable digital resources.” Amid escalating cybercrime episodes across the globe, the criminal enterprise is presenting a number of threats for the finance profession – and the theft of financial assets through cyber-intrusions is the second largest source of direct loss from cybercrime, according to one study noted in the report. Accountants and finance professionals can, and should, play a leading role in defining key areas of a strategic approach to mitigating cybercrime risks. These include: Creating reasonableestimates of financial impact that different types of cybersecurity breaches will cause, so that a business can be realistic about its ability to respond to an attack and/or recover from it; Defining risk management strategy; Helping businesses to establish priorities for their most valuable digital resources, in order to implement a “layered” approach to cybersecurity; and, Closely following the work of government and various regulators, in order to have clear, up-to-date information on adequate legislation and on requirements for adequate disclosure and prompt investigation of cybersecurity breaches. “Predicting the potential implications of a breach is crucial to enabling a swift recovery should the unthinkable occur. Putting a ‘plan for failure’ in place might feel like an admission of weakness, but it is the best way to accelerate the process of repair after an incident,” Faye Chua said. “Professional accountants possess both industry knowledge and a strategic understanding of theoverarching strategy of the organisation. In addition, they boast a well-deserved reputation for being fiercely analytical of potential risks to the safety of their clients and employers.” Ultimately, said Raef Lawson, it is up to finance professionals to keep a watchful eye when it comes to cybercrime. “Above all, professional accountants tend to be cautious in dealing with innovations that have a potential to put safety at risk. These traits make them perfectly placed to hold vigil over potential threats to the cybersecurity of the organisation,” he said. The study found that accountants and other finance professionals clearly understand the importance of the issue. 85% of respondents said that management at their respective companies was concerned about risks. About ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambitionaround the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. We support our 178,000 members and 455,000 students in 181 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. We work through a network of 92 offices and centres and more than 7,110 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through our public interest remit, we promote appropriate regulation of accounting and conduct relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence. About IMA® , the association of accountants and financial professionals in business, is one of the largest and most respected associations focused exclusively on advancing the management accounting profession. Globally, IMA supports the profession through research, the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) program, continuing education, networking and advocacy of the highest ethicalbusiness practices. IMA has a global network of more than 80,000 members in 140 countries and 300 professional and student chapters. Headquartered in Montvale, N.J., USA, IMA provides localized services through its four global regions: The Americas, Asia/Pacific, Europe, and Middle East/Africa.
February 25, 2016 Technology adoption is bringing about massive change in major cities around the world from smart traffic lights to knowing exactly what time transportation will arrive and paying for public services with the touch of a credit card or personal device. The Smart London initiative embraces technology that improves the lives of residents, businesses and visitors by allowing them to experience the city in a more seamless and immersive way. With the capital’s population predicted to grow by over a million between 2011 and 2021, new technologies will undoubtedly play a big role in the way we see and experience London. But with the rise of malicious targeted threats, how can smart cities secure their IT initiatives from possible attack? Navigant Research forecasts that the smart city technology market will represent over $20 billion in 2020. In line with this explosive growth, investment in more complex technologies will be significant, but as always, with increasedtechnology comes greater vulnerability. One of the major security concerns facing smart cities is an “APT” (Advanced Persistent Threat). These are targeted attacks (such as malware) executed by a hacker or group of hackers, motivated not by financial gain, but instead by political gain or “hacktivism.” As a city’s framework and infrastructure becomes increasingly technology-depended, IT security must work hard in the frontlines looking out for suspicious activities and abnormal behaviour. Measures are especially needed to protect the weakest link in the city’s IT infrastructure – the endpoints and end-user devices, to ensure compliance enforcement of security policies and standards. What are the worst possible scenarios for attacks on the infrastructure of the smart city? In smart cities, everything is connected, from local government, utilities, financial and transactional services to transport and emergency services. For example, in a city the size of London with a populationexceeding 8.5 million, having a critical service that has been attacked and doesn’t respond can have a devastating effect. The attack can create a domino effect, where many of the operations dependent on that service would malfunction or simply shut down. For hackers, knowing which services are essential to the functioning of the city, can form the basis of a targeted attack. Such attacks can work in hidden mode and take down the most crucial components of the city’s infrastructure, placing the entire city at risk of complete standstill or worst. Such an instance of multiple city services malfunctioning simultaneously would at the very least result in a failure of the economic infrastructure for 48 hours or more. It is hard to imagine the consequences, with the loss of every economic transaction and the time needed to replace the damaged infrastructure, while trying to maintain law and order. The costs and impact would be huge and not only in financial terms, but also in the long-termloss of confidence; the image of the smart city would suffer making the same level of future adoption hard to recoup. Securing the IT infrastructure behind the city’s smart services To ensure optimal security of the city’s IT , it would need to be monitored from end-to-end, including end-user devices where it is most vulnerable. Solutions that can provide visibility of the entire IT infrastructure and endpoints in real-time and are able to process this information coming from multiple sources and technologies using IT analytics, can play a crucial role in the security of a smart city. According to the analyst firm Gartner, in 2009, there were 2.5 billion connected devices, mostly mobile phones, PCs and tablets. In 2020, they predict there will be over 30 billion devices connected, of much greater variety. () With end-users accessing an increasing amount of smart services with their devices, they make easy targets for malware and hacktivists whose ultimate goals are to reach the heartof the infrastructure of a smart city where they can cause the most damage. Smart cities need solutions to monitor their IT infrastructure and especially their end-user endpoints, as that is the weakest link in the IT security chain and therefore the area where they are most vulnerable. End-user devices can be used as the entry point to an attack on the IT infrastructure so standard technologies, solutions and processes already used to protect against suspicious activity or threats need to be bolstered. Real-time IT analytics provide an additional layer of protection for smart city infrastructure and endpoints against these potential vulnerabilities. Being able to detect an attack at a very early stage would enable the city’s authorities to react quickly and stop an attack from spreading. IT analytics solutions provide alerts on suspicious activities and behaviour, acting as pre-warnings on these types of attacks. This means greater proactivity by detecting abnormal activities andenforcing security compliance standards at all times with real-time and accurate information, which could halt or prevent an incident before the damage is too great. About Poul Nielsen Poul has responsibility for corporate, product, partner and field marketing worldwide. His mission is to develop and communicate brand and to lead marketing operations in support of the company’s goals. Poul works closely with product marketing to align strategy and with sales for lead generation activities. Poul has over 20 years of executive management experience at TriActive, Altiris, Computing Edge, Computer Associates, and Digital with strong background in routes-to-market strategy for hyper-growth.
February 25, 2016 The past year has been tumultuous in the world of IT security. Though IT security is always host to a changing landscape, it seems that last year, more than ever, hackers and other technology villains have been top news. From hacktivists to cloud leaks and buggy code, it seems each week there is a new headline about IT security. What are some of the security solutions we will see in the near future that may turn the headlines from grim to optimistic? What are some of the current, emerging IT threats enterprises are facing? Targeted cyber-attacks are in the headlines almost every day, and it seems that no one is immune – even large companies like Adobe, eBay and JP Morgan have been victims. The common feature of these targeted is that they have been discovered months after launching! It is clear that prevention measures are not enough today. These cases reported in the news show that it is easier than we think for a hacker to take control of internal IT systems. Onceinside an organisation they sit silently, sometimes for months, searching and exfiltrating information that can eventually be exposed on the Internet, end up in competitors’ hands, or used for other malicious purposes. Such situations always lead to major financial, reputational and legal impacts that are costly to recover from. What solutions are we looking forward to in the coming year? Organisations must focus on the detection of threats and damage mitigation, rather than solely relying on defences that are supposed to prevent them from happening in the first place. It’s important to concentrate on the signs of the first steps of an intrusion and have the visibility and means of immediately responding to any suspicious activity from the earliest stage. By leveraging IT analytics solutions that can document and generate alerts for any abnormal activity, organisations would be able to prevent the spread and damage of attacks that are simply invisible to their eyes today. Will attackson infrastructure and organisations become more numerous, or do security solutions stand a chance? The methods of attack are not only increasing, but also becoming more sophisticated, specific and targeted. Once determined to launch a targeted attack, your opponent can and will create a customized method of attack to compromise your environment, and will eventually succeed! Unfortunately in most cases, when traces of their presence are detected they are in fact already gone with the information and it is too late. What can organisations do to protect their data? In today’s world of custom targeted attacks, traditional security solutions are ineffective because they do not discover unusual activities and usages that should be detected as such. The scenarios we read in the news highlight the need for robust solutions that can detect security violations and breaches and provide a new line of defines against modern and sophisticated targeted attacks. Organisations need real-time visibilityinto their IT environments, with supporting and intelligent IT analytics to reveal risk factors and exposure, indicators of compromise and data exfiltration activities in real-time. What are some trends that will affect IT security in the next year? Organisations need to recognize that it is not possible to provide a 100 percent secured environment. Perimeters and firewalls are no longer enough. Once organisations acknowledge this, they can begin to apply more-sophisticated risk assessment and mitigation tools. solutions can help organisations detect potential security breaches in progress by providing early alerting on any abnormal activities, unauthorized access or unknown software. About Poul Nielsen Poul has responsibility for corporate, product, partner and field marketing worldwide. His mission is to develop and communicate brand and to lead marketing operations in support of the company’s goals. Poul works closely with product marketing to align strategy and with sales for leadgeneration activities. Poul has over 20 years of executive management experience at TriActive, Altiris, Computing Edge, Computer Associates, and Digital with strong background in routes-to-market strategy for hyper-growth.
February 24, 2016 In almost every instance of a reported cybersecurity breach the organization had a security system that detected and reported the breach. It was lost in the noise of thousands of other notifications that were false positives so it is easy to see why it might get missed. In many instances, the hackers could have been detected early if somebody was looking at the data to identify anomalous behavior and doing it every day for every alert. This may sound simple, but in reality, the work required is comparable to looking for a needle in a haystack every day—without knowing whether there is actually a needle there. Why do companies fail to look at their log data consistently? Cybersecurity is a human problem as much it is a technology problem. Like many things, when the outcome of a process requires human involvement, the result is not always rational. Dieting, eating healthy, and exercise are great examples where we know the right thing to do but are unable to do it.Hackers have changed their methods to take advantage of this. In the past, cyberattacks were similar to bank robberies. The bad guys broke in, stole what was valuable and left as soon as they could. Today, hackers gain an entry through any weakness in the security chain. They then start exploring and looking for a valuable asset to steal. While they do this, they are doing their best to hide from standard security detection methods and even covering their tracks. Once they find something, they slowly steal it over time, especially large information databases. To combat the new cyber attack methods, companies need to invest in a security operations center (SOC). A SOC is a team of people whose sole mission is to review alerts and analyze logs and is critical to ensuring that a company has a comprehensive view of cybersecurity. A proper SOC can answer the question, “Am I safe?” It ensures that all your security systems are operating at peak performance. When a company does get breached,which his inevitable, the SOC can identify the breach, help remediate, and ensure that the breach is confirmed as fixed. No organization that cares about it’s IT infrastructure should be without a SOC. The SOC should be staffed with security experts who are using products and tools with SIEM capabilities whose job is to stick to the ‘cybersecurity diet’ every day. But for smaller companies, setting up an enterprise class SOC is cost prohibitive. The initial set up cost for a basic SOC is estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Professional services for SIEM expertise alone will cost thousands per day, with typical engagement lasting four to 12 weeks. There are alternatives to the do it yourself approach. You can hire a managed security service provider (MSSP) to manage a SIEM for you, but all you have done is moved the work and effort of DIY to a third party who does not know your business. All the same challenges remain. Most MSSPs require a significant up-front freeor a long-term commitment because the start-up costs are the same as DIY. SOC-as-a-service is a better option than an MSSP. A SOC, staffed with security experts, includes automation technologies, forensic tools and robust processes to detect, identify and respond to cyber threats. With the many options out in the market today, the following service features are what differentiates a best in class service. Dedicated security engineer Cybersecurity is a serious function, and most MSSPs offer services with alerts that are basic, requiring the customer to perform their own triage, analysis and incident response. A SOC service should provide actionable security intelligence with clear incident remediation support, and this can only be achieved with a dedicated security engineer who gets to know a company’s security and operational requirements. Fast deployments without significant resource requirements The whole point of using a SOC-as-a-service is to get up and running quickly. TypicalMSSPs require companies to purchase a set of software and hardware products and deploy them as part of the service. In many cases, this can take up to three months. Leading SOC service companies provide simplified set up with set up times that are measured in minutes and not months. Vigilant is more important than ever. The mistake most companies make is to think that cybersecurity can be improved by purchasing more products. The reality is that cybersecurity is a people problem, and the most effective way to improve it is with a SOC. SOC services can vary in service levels and internal resource requirements. What is important to keep in mind is that the purpose of a SOC service is to simplify the security operations in a company while improving cybersecurity. Keeping this overall objective in the forefront will help ensure a company’s cybersecurity projects are effective and achieve the desired results. About Brian NeSmith Brian brings more than 30 years of experience to Networks. Inhis previous position as CEO of Blue Coat Systems, he led the company’s growth from $5M to over $500M per year as the industry’s leading web proxy platform. Prior to that, Brian was the CEO of Ipsilon Networks (acquired by Nokia) which became the leading appliance platform for Check Point firewalls. His early career includes product management, marketing, and general management at Newbridge Networks. He was also a consultant for Network Strategies, Inc. Brian holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
February 24, 2016 In the UK and across the English speaking world, credit card payments remain prominent, totalling alone. Despite new innovative payment methods on the horizon, the popularity of credit cards as an online payment method shows no signs of diminishing and renewed efforts to fight fraud are not making much of a dent. For those operating across international online borders, getting to grips with and fighting card fraud can be even more difficult. For example, in Germany, credit card usage for online payments and “card not present” transactions is low, with invoice and SEPA direct debit leading as the more popular options. In the Netherlands, almost two thirds of shoppers use iDEAL which prevents the misuse of sensitive data by putting the onus on the shopper to initiate the payment meaning merchants don’t collect it in the first place. In the US, credit card use is prevalent but they are only just undergoing migration from magnetic strip to chip–and-pin so the nature offraud in this territory will change from cloned cards to “card not present” transactions in the near future. Varying credit card penetration and usage across different territories can make a global response difficult. But with e-commerce an easy target for and at best, attempts by the industry to stay one step ahead are still a few years behind, risks of credit card fraud still remain no matter who you are and where in the world you operate. Assessing the risks The use of credit cards to make a purchase can be a double edged sword for both merchants and consumers alike. For merchants, credit card payments will increase conversion rates in those territories where usage is high but with that, the likelihood of fraud also increases which could lead to both monetary and reputational consequences. High profile cases of Sony Playstation, Xbox and Amazon user accounts being hacked and credit card numbers and expiry dates being published, are increasing in occurrence alongside the more common,daily risk of chargebacks. This shows just how vulnerable and valuable customer data is to a fraudster and how companies which rely on credit card payments to seal the deal, could also be opening themselves up to financial and reputational damage. For larger companies, being able to deal with fraudulent transactions and data theft might not have a significant impact on their bottom line or long-term reputation, but for smaller ones, a fraudulent transaction or data breach could cost them dearly. The right response? We have already discussed security measures and the attempts to minimise fraudulent online transactions, but what steps can merchants realistically take to minimise the impact whilst still ensuring consumers can use credit cards safely and securely? As a rule, these types of “pull” payments – i.e. those initiated by merchants – are less secure and appropriate for online purchases, with the merchant storing customer data and becoming an easy target for data theft. To try andcounteract this risk, the credit card industry has introduced measures including 3D Secure to authenticate online payments which prompts the card holder to provide a password associated with that card, making them more of a “push” experience. These efforts have however had a largely detrimental effect on transaction rates and as such adoption among merchants is still low. On top of this, merchants can incur the additional risk of chargebacks. Originally designed to provide security for dissatisfied customers, by enabling them to dispute charges and receive their money back, this concept has established itself as a playground for swindlers. In “friendly fraud”, customers simply maintain that they did not place a particular order, or that they never received their items. In such cases, merchants are almost always left holding the baby. Credit cards are an integral part of online shopping, but a “healthy mix” is recommended. Online merchants should always offer “push” payment methods aswell as including invoicing, prepayment and real-time bank transfer systems and schemes such as giropay and SOFORT banking in Germany, iDEAL in the Netherlands, Przelewy24 in Poland or Boleto Bancario in Brazil, all of which prevent misuse of sensitive data by not collecting it in the first place. These consumer initiated payments mean the shopper needs the merchant’s details but their details remain secure. With push payments fraud is reduced, but there is a trade-off between convenience and a more robust, secure option. For merchants, push methods mean less work, they don’t have to adhere to the strict PCI (payment card industry data security standards) rules and the shopper has no chargeback right as they would with a credit card payment. The onus is therefore very much on the consumer to initiate the payment which can require more administration and effort. As a result, push payments could be perceived as an inconvenience for those used to the ease of paying by credit card orone-click ordering. In addition to considering alternative methods of payment it is important for merchants to know how to reduce the risks associated with credit card payments so they can continue to offer it alongside additional options. In our experience, there are a number of key steps that merchants can take to minimise the risk of fraudulent card transactions: Understand your customers – for smaller merchants in particular, knowing your customers’ buying habits and patterns will help identify any unusual behaviour. Be vigilant – be suspicious of unusual behaviour as it could be a fraudulent transaction made using a stolen card. If in doubt, contact the customer to confirm the order. It might set alarm bells ringing and enable the merchants to halt the transaction if they feel it could be fraudulent. Work with a PSP. Merchants don’t need to go it alone. Whereas some of the bigger merchants might have their own risk models and the financial and reputational repercussions of afraudulent transaction or data breach can be minimised and easily managed, for smaller players it could have devastating, long-lasting consequences. Working with an expert to help understand the options available could help put in place other payment methods which will minimise risk to merchants’ businesses. This is box title The , ‘The Payment Professionals’, enables integrated electronic payment processing on a global scale spanning the entire payments value chain from acquiring through to issuing and processing. A financial institution certified within the EU with an e-money license issued by the UK financial regulatory body FCA, PPRO is also a PCI-certified principal member of MasterCard and Visa. Payment service provider and software platform partners enter a single agreement with PPRO to benefit from access to a full range of international payment schemes. PPRO offers regulated merchants acquiring and payment services as well as PCI DSS certified technical processing solutionsvia a single integration. PPRO has developed a fully integrated interactive platform supporting a multitude of national and international payment schemes throughout more than 190 countries, giving payment service providers and software platform partners a single, fast, easy-to-use and customisable interface to the payment methods in PPRO’s portfolio. An FCA authorised e-money institution, PPRO also offers a full range of issuing services for debit and prepaid cards. Under its own brand name VIABUY, PPRO issues Visa and MasterCard prepaid cards to consumer and corporate based customers. PPRO also offers comprehensive programmes enabling B2B prepaid solutions either under its own CROSSCARD brand or on a cobrand basis. These cards can be issued both physically and as virtual cards (e.g. vouchers) or NFC devices (e.g. stickers). As part of its e-fulfilment services, PPRO leverages an extensive partner network to distribute and resell products for commercial third parties in the form ofsoftware, mobile phone top-up cards and online vouchers.
February 23, 2016 has been a key topic at this week’s in San Francisco. However, according to Tripwire cyber security and software development experts, many software development organizations haven’t fully integrated security into their development process. To aid software development organizations, Tripwire compiled the top three mistakes made during secure software development. According to Bob Loihl, senior software engineer and secure software development expert for Tripwire, most development teams make the following key errors when they try to incorporate security into their development process: Bolting security on at the end of a project. Have a security plan from the beginning, because this enables a secure architectural and design approach and makes it easier to safeguard all aspects of the code as it is created. This is particularly important in today’s threat environment as software users expect developers to provide secure offerings. “When you defer crosscutting securitywork on a subsystem of your project, you will end up reworking and retesting a large part of the system later,” said Loihl. “You can definitely put off something like logging because it is a concern across the codebase, but if you put off implementing access controls in the system because it’s hard and expensive, it’s an indicator that you have missed or downplayed important project requirements.” Failing to take advantage of secure software development tools and expertise. Resist the temptation to “roll your own” security in software, particularly when it comes to authentication models, encryption and other complex functions. Leverage the work of others who have developed proven, validated secure code and processes to increase your confidence in the security of your project. “With so many resources available today – from static code analysis to pen testing – there’s no excuse for not understanding the security profile of a product before it ships,” said Loihl. “In addition, there aregood organizations out there like OWASP, SAFECode, BSIMM and others that can help you understand how to build out a security program.” Inheriting other developers’ security mistakes by using faulty library components. Make sure you know the origin of the libraries you use as well as the code you incorporate from other sources. Do your research to determine what security validation, threat modeling and other assurances have been applied to any third-party code you leverage in your products. “Bringing in third-party libraries and frameworks is a risky operation in terms of security and defect exposure,” noted Loihl. “Outsourcing development does not absolve you from due diligence or testing the code you are using. The recentissues with Java RMI deserialization and Apache Commons Collections are good examples of this — having the library on the class path exposed an issue, even if the class that had the issue had never been used.” Ultimately, Tripwire’s experts believe developers shouldnot rely on “security through obscurity.” Some developers either hide their implementations of security or believe that a very complex implementation will help make their products more secure. In fact, the opposite is true: Effective security implementations will stand up to peer review and outside scrutiny when they are built on proven security approaches. Peer review is a cornerstone of good security; it increases the likelihood you can discover and address security weaknesses before you ship your software. “Unfortunately, many software development teams are still trying to address security at the end of their process,” said Dwayne Melancon, chief technology officer and vice president of research and development for Tripwire. “This approach doesn’t work. To be effective, security needs to be baked into the entire process, from planning through deployment to usage.” Loihl added: “Anyone who has lived through a breach or received surprising results from penetration tests right before aproduct is scheduled to ship knows how painful it is to add security in at the end of the development cycle. Today, developers face increased pressure to understand security issues and how they apply in their environments because of Internet of Things devices and pervasive computing environments. This can seem like a big investment, but the costs of doing it right the first time are much lower than responding to crises.” About Tripwire is a leading provider of advanced threat, security and compliance solutions that enable enterprises, service providers and government agencies to confidently detect, prevent and respond to cybersecurity threats. Tripwire solutions are based on high-fidelity asset visibility and deep endpoint intelligence combined with business-context and enable security automation through enterprise integration. Tripwire’s portfolio of enterprise-class security solutions includes configuration and policy management, file integrity monitoring , vulnerability managementand log intelligence.
February 23, 2016 Why is Identity and Access Management (IAM) important as a business ? These days, companies are securing more users who are accessing more applications from more places through more devices than ever before, and all this diversity is putting increasing pressure on identity and access management (IAM) systems. At the same time, security has never been more paramount—or difficult to ensure, given today’s outdated and overly complex legacy identity systems. Add to that the fact that consumers expect rapid authentication and easy access to all of their accounts and information. Today’s identity infrastructures face the traditional challenge of multiple links to multiple sources and targets. This creates an unmanageable “n-squared” problem, where there are too many custom links, each one extremely expensive to manage. This n-squared problem is fueling the rapid adoption of federation standards, such as Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), OAuth, and OpenIDConnect—and that’s good news for large enterprises looking to achieve Single Sign-On (SSO) across web and cloud applications. As many companies are discovering, however, deploying federation requires more than the acquisition of a federation security component. To make this solution operational often requires some level of identity data integration. That’s why federating the identity layer—not just the access layer—is essential for empowering today’s fragmented IAM infrastructures and driving business in a cloud and mobile world. A federated identity service based on virtualization shields your applications, WAM solution or portal from the complexity of disparate data sources and possible changes in data structure by federating identity from across the disparate backends into a single logical access point. Enterprises can then leverage existing identity stores for centralized authentication and fine-grained authorization. With a federated identity service, you can provide fastauthentication, extend authentication across web applications, enable SSO, increase security, speed deployments, and develop more personalized services for your users. What are some of the key market drivers that are driving the need for IAM as it relates to information security, i.e. hackers, increase in identity profiles due to IoT, etc? One of the most important market drivers in the IAM security space right now is the emergence of consumer IAM (cIAM). Security practices can now be used to engage with customers, providing a more convenient and better user experience, while also collecting data on the user’s preferences to provide a complete digital experience. New vendors are leveraging the registration process to collect data to do this, making security the starting point to serve better customer knowledge, tailored digital experiences, and the entire marketing and sales lifecycle. But enrichment of the digital experience through data gathered at registration must be delivered intandem with the most rigorous levels of security. This presents a key challenge for the identity infrastructure—integrating customer information across different data silos, translating that data into the appropriate format or protocol for consuming applications, and delivering data at high speeds to enable the most forward-looking security practices and the most fluid user experiences. Radiant Logic’s RadiantOne identity and context technology provides a highly scalable, model-driven data integration service that works with new cIAM tools to enable enterprises to fully build and leverage rich profiles for their customers, ensuring smarter security, along with better marketing and more customized digital experiences. And RadiantOne’s Big Data Directory, HDAP, provides the storage capacity to handle all the user data collected through this process. What are the benefits of integrating IAM with cloud? Most large enterprises have complex infrastructures with identities spread across manyheterogeneous sources—multiple AD domains and forests, other directories, databases, web services—along with a multitude of legacy applications that rely on those sources. A move from on-premises identity to cloud-based identity would be extremely disruptive and might pose security risks as well. Enterprises have long used RadiantOne to build a normalized, integrated image of their identity infrastructure, then create customized views of identity to meet the needs of each application. Since the rise of the cloud, they’ve also been able to push that tailored image to their IdP to secure cloud and SaaS applications. RadiantOne 7.2’s cloud provisioning capabilities allows customers to use that rationalized image of identity to populate cloud applications such as Azure AD and Salesforce, as well as Google Directory and PingOne Directory. RadiantOne delivers a single access point for all applications, whether they’re in the enterprise, on the web–or in the cloud. Such an on-premisesidentity service allows users to authenticate as close to the authoritative sources as possible—and keeps identity information more secure, since identities don’t have to travel across the firewall every time user accounts are synchronized. RadiantOne simplifies the move to cloud apps by: Creating a single logical place to authenticate users and retrieve a global view of attributes and group information Utilizing a global reference image to provision to Saving time by simplifying the management of users and groups Which industries do you see adopting IAM the fastest and why? Which industries do you think could benefit more from IAM from a security perspective? We are seeing the highest growth in the insurance, banking, healthcare and manufacturing sectors where a legacy identity infrastructure and scattered identity silos present difficulties in creating a single complete profile. The ability to combine identity and data integration together to create a complete profile allows theenterprise to deliver a better, more secure digital experience. Healthcare presents a great example of the challenge to today’s large enterprises. The changing nature of the healthcare industry has made it increasingly difficult to provide secure access to mission-critical applications, whether they’re in the enterprise, on the web, or in the cloud. As consolidations, mergers, and acquisitions become the new normal in the healthcare sector, and healthcare organizations face considerable diversity in their IT infrastructures, a solution that can leverage identity across all local systems, for global initiatives, is necessary. In such complex, hybrid environments, identity must be carefully managed as regulatory compliance is critical. By turning disparate, fragmented identity infrastructures into one logical identity provider, RadiantOne helps enterprises build a secure, federated infrastructure, offering single sign on and a common access management point that connects all internalidentity and authentication sources for a fully integrated view of identity. Do you have any customer examples or use cases that highlight the benefits of IAM integration with cloud? What benefits did they see from a security perspective? Yes. Healthcare presents a great example of the challenge of cloud security. The changing nature of the healthcare industry has made it increasingly difficult to provide secure access to mission-critical applications, whether they’re in the enterprise, on the web, or in the cloud. And maintaining security is of paramount importance in this industry in particular. As consolidations, mergers, and acquisitions become the new normal in the healthcare sector, and healthcare organizations face considerable diversity in their IT infrastructures, a solution that can leverage identity across all local systems, for global initiatives, is necessary. In such complex, hybrid environments, identity must be carefully managed as regulatory compliance is critical.RadiantOne simplifies the process of federation and single sign-on for cloud applications by providing one logical identity hub. With RadiantOne, enterprises can build a secure federated infrastructure, offering single sign on and a common access management point that connects all internal identity and authentication sources to the growing world of cloud and federated web applications. “RadiantOne is the key engine used by many organizations in the Healthcare space to consolidate and federate their identity and provide a common service for accessing cloud and web applications,”. “It provides SSO to cloud and federated applications when users are stored in the widest range of repositories from AD to Oracle/SUN directories or SQL databases. And it can extend access to applications such as Office 365 or those supported on Microsoft Azure to make it easier for organizations who have identities in a variety of locations to manage those identities globally.” About Michel Prompt MichelPrompt, founder and CEO at , the market-leading provider of federated identity solutions based on virtualization, and delivers simple, logical, and standards-based access to all identities within an organization.
February 22, 2016 Imagine a world where your body was part of your connected home security solution and you could automatically scan your surroundings for . Or where your body could sense other, more human threats in the vicinity, based on an intelligent, computational analysis of behavioural and emotional markers that your conscious mind might miss. Would you feel stronger and safer? The human computer At a time when many people are focused on the implications of making machines more ‘human’; smarter, more adaptive and able to read and respond to emotions, it is worth thinking about the journey that is taking place in the opposite direction: the introduction of technology into the human body. In this case, tiny connected bio-chips, the size of grain of rice. A little, silicon-encased microprocessor that has the potential to become your very own, internal superhero; but also to become your greatest enemy if the industry gets the security wrong. The world today Early in 2015, KasperskyLab got together with a company called BioNyfiken to consider the security of embedded wireless bio-chips. Currently, bio-chips have no power source and this means the data cannot be encrypted and is therefore insecure. Combined with the fact that currently chips can only hold about a business card’s worth of data and communicate it externally over very short distances, it quickly becomes clear that current applications – and therefore levels of risk – are limited. However, this is set to change – and once the first big hurdle, that of an appropriate power supply is overcome everything will suddenly start to happen very quickly. By then it may be too late to do the essential ground work on security. Security needs to be built in from the very start, not bolted-on at the end. The job starts now, which is why we at Kaspersky Lab have put our experts onto it. My role is to consider the future. What is the potential of this amazing technology and what might the associated security risksbe that we need to consider and address? Empowering bio-chips Let’s start with the importance of a power source. Power is critical because it will enable , keeping information secure as it is stored and communicated. Batteries are not ideal, since they run out and no-body really wants to keep opening their body up to replace them or have to connect themselves to an external charger. This leads us to the option of an internal power source, such as body heat, exercise or even excess calories. Once the chip has power it will also become possible to use a more advanced microprocessor, one capable of handling and communicating more data – and over a larger distance. This will be the springboard for more sophisticated applications. Connected bodies 2.0 A secured, powered chip could, for example be integrated into other connected systems, such as an advanced cyber-security solution, or a connected home, becoming an integral part of the user’s protective environment. But the real fun beginswhen you start to add artificial intelligence capability to the chip. Now the possibilities are almost endless. For example, imagine if your bio-chip had the capability to detect and analyse the physiological and behavioural signs of tiredness, anger, unease or distress, such as increased heart rate or body temperature, body language or eye contact – both internally in the user and externally in their immediate surroundings. This could act as an effective early warning system for an external threat, particularly at night. Or it could trigger the user’s car to be disabled so they can’t endanger themselves, or others by driving when too tired. Such applications are not as far away as they might seem. In computer terms, such capability, known as ‘affective computing’ is already in use in customer service environments, mainly to detect and prioritise the most irate callers, or to spot micro-expressions for advertising and marketing purposes. A UK police force is trialling the technology infitness bands to detect whether officers are under stress and in need of back up. It is not a huge step from here to embedding such capability within the human body. Protection vs privacy Where technology goes, the cybercriminals are rarely far behind. The data generated by such applications is highly sensitive, personal and confidential and therefore of immense appeal to cyberattackers. Understanding the potential security risks and addressing them with comprehensive security solutions that include robust encryption and authentication, for example should be a top priority for the security industry and product and service providers. This needs to be complemented by consumer education and communication. We recently undertook research across Europe to explore how ordinary consumers view the risk and potential of connected bio-chip implants. We found that, as is often the case with emerging technologies, fear of the unknown can be overwhelming, with two-thirds concerned that an implantedchip might malfunction and harm them (63%) or enable someone with malicious intent to take over their body or data (60%). The truth is that without the right security in place, these are all possible. At the same time, many were open to the benefits the technology could bring. So we shouldn’t let fear paralyse progress when there is action we can and should take. Implanted, connected bio-chips can make our lives richer, easier and safer. Let’s focus our energy on making sure they do so safely. About Marco Preuss Marco was appointed Director of Europe for the company’s Global Research & Analysis Team in March 2013. Prior to becoming Director of Europe, Marco served as the Head of Global Research & Analysis Team in Germany. Marco brings more than 13 years of IT security experience to his role and is responsible for managing the threat landscape in Europe while specializing in web and social networking threats and Apple OS security. Apart from research, Marco is responsible formaintaining close contact with independent testers and security partners. Marco began his career with Kaspersky Lab back in 2004 as a Technical Consultant, providing expert knowledge on Linux and Unix-based systems. He has also been involved in corporate sales management, before moving on to become the technical contact for the OEM department, supporting customized solutions. Marco has participated in the development of web-based services and systems for the Marketing and Retail Sales departments and has worked extensively with the Company’s product design teams. Marco joined the research team as a Virus Analyst in 2009.
February 22, 2016 shows exactly why app development and maintenance fall far short of the sophisticated threats they are posed with. That’s according to Jan Vidar Krey, Head of Development at Norwegian app security firm , who found the most alarming part of the malware was not its ability to penetrate and compromise an Android device, but that the existence of this strain was not protected against since it was first identified on the Dark Web several months ago. “Android’s recent history has been marked by its inability to withstand malware attacks so this single attack does not come as a surprise, even if the Trojan’s ability to stealthily fly under the radar of most Android antivirus software may come as a shock. In reality, external antivirus software is ineffective as it is able to understand only a matrix of existing threats and overlooks targeted, sophisticated threats.” The malware is packaged in hyperlinked text messages, which if followed could install TOR software andintroduce man-in-the-middle attacks by sending information back to a proxy server. All device operations can then be monitored, messages can be sent to premium rate numbers and two-factor authentication codes can be accessed and used to circumvent online banking protection. Krey commented: “With the ability to connect to different networks, access different platforms and download apps from different developers, Android devices are extremely flexible in what they can do. However, they are porous to external intrusions as a result of this ease-of-access. Once has cracked the device’s root, it can perform a frightening number of actions. “Unfortunately, Android security developers have failed to keep up with the threat of Android malware’s growing mutations, which, by becoming increasingly complex, have outgrown traditional means of protection: antivirus and patching. These methods serve as poorly timed reactions to a specific vulnerability, rather than a proactive step to protect theintegrity of the device as a whole. Dealing with threats as they occur is crucial to ensuring adequate security for your mobile device.” Krey advised: “While methods such as two-factor authentication can help to an extent, if the malware has been designed to target banking applications – as it is suspected MazarBOT has – there’s no second line of defence. Instead of using crutches such as antivirus or two-factor, it is vital that security is developed at the level of the application itself. “As it stands, the responsibility for applications has been diffusely passed between Android developers, app developers and, finally, the end user. Time and again, this dynamic has been proven ineffective and a rethink of traditional means of protecting Android applications is long, long overdue,” Krey concluded. About Promon Traditional security systems such as antivirus, antispam and antimalware are outdated and no longer able to protect companies and users against security threats andcyber-crime. provides full protection for applications against existing and new malware threats. Promon’s patented method for detecting and blocking security threats against applications enables self-protected apps allowing users risk-free utilisation of a potentially unprotected computer, tablet or mobile telephone. Promon is a Norwegian company with its head office in Oslo.
February 22, 2016 The busiest season of the year for many businesses is without a doubt, the festive period. Retailers and couriers across the UK have just endured another record breaking year for sales, both in-store and online. With this in mind, organisations across the nation would have had to frantically prepare not only their stock and festive deals, but also employ a handful of temporary seasonal workers to help day-to-day staff with the rapid influx of consumers flocking to buy the year’s must have item. Not only would HR have had the nightmare task in the leading months of interviewing and hiring suitable candidates, but the IT department was also have been faced with ensuring that staff are ready to work efficiently and securely straight away. Businesses now need to start considering how can they best prepare for this uptake in staff during this year’s peak seasons, ensuring they remain both efficient and secure when the festive period is upon us yet again. Rally the troopsThe rapid on-boarding of these temporary workers can have both the HR and the IT department in chaos. In 2014, Royal Mail recruited over 19,000 festive workers to assist with the Christmas rush and Amazon brought in 17,000 to its warehouse to help cope with the rise in festive orders. Whilst it is important for organisations to ensure they have the right number of troops on the ground to cope and effectively manage the customers, it is just as vital that they are prepared to manage the potential issues that come with employing so many new staff members. Not only must HR ensure that each new employee is adequately trained, but the IT department needs to make sure each individual is able to access the appropriate systems to start effectively from day one. Both HR and IT must be safe in the knowledge that a temporary workforce moving on in January cannot do so with valuable corporate data (whether it’s customer records or intellectual property). If the correct provisions are not taken toensure each individual employee has access to the correct information and apps to do their job, nothing more nothing less, the consequences could be catastrophic. This is why it is always better to be proactive rather than reactive, as all too often hindsight is a business’s only solace. Streamline on-boarding and off-boarding In order to manage the rapid influx of employees, the first place organisations must start is with a streamlined on-boarding and off-boarding process which ensures individuals are effectively added to the organisation’s IT system and are removed just as simply once they leave the organisation. During the on-boarding process it is imperative that an employee is incorporated onto an identity management platform through a browser-first strategy. Not only does this limit exactly what sensitive information the individual user can access but security risks associated with weak passwords are eliminated. And with the ever increasing popularity of within the workplace,controls over external devices brought into organisations are strengthened. Additionally, it also makes the necessary applications easy to access for a workforce who may not be so tech savvy. Often security relies on ease of use just as much as it does on controls over user access. To accompany the browser-first strategy many organisations gain control by embracing solutions such as IDaaS, multi-factor authentication and user provisioning. In turn, this allows them to keep the benefits of a temporary workforce but minimise the potential security risks and damage to brand reputation from preventable data breaches. Practise ‘safe data’ Often the new temporary workforce hold few loyalties to the organisation they are now working for, meaning security risks are inevitably more likely, particularly when all departments are under increased pressure. All employees – even seasonal ones – should be taught the importance of practising ‘safe data’ to help reduce exposure to the business and alsoknow what to do should a data breach occur. An organisation must provision new users, control on-premise versus off-premise access and implement a streamlined on-boarding and off-boarding in process, in a short space of time before an employee’s start date and on their last day. If carried out correctly a business can be safe in the knowledge that the utmost is being done to protect confidential data from a workforce that is here today and very likely to be gone tomorrow – and it’s certainly not too early to start thinking ahead. About David Meyer David Meyer is a VP for product at . David has built groundbreaking enterprise and consumer software for over 15 years. One of the first employees at Plumtree Software, he drove collaboration and social software into the Fortune 500 until Plumtree was acquired by BEA. David continued running and expanding the business at BEA until the Oracle acquisition. At SAP David led teams that pioneered bringing cloud software to the most demandingcompanies in the world. Most recently David co-founded and co-ran the education company UniversityNow, Inc.
February 19, 2016 With $4.45 billion spent during a major online shopping weekend in November 2015 alone (), it’s clear that the need for retailers to safeguard credit card data, consumer data, transactions and other sensitive data is becoming ever more pressing. Such a large volume of critical data is passed between various points every second, making it essential for the infrastructure to be protected from end to end. To overcome this, Paul German, VP EMEA, gives five essential Do’s and Don’ts for retailers to keep in mind when putting strategies in place to keep customer data protected from the hackers. Don’t: Assume your system is safe Do: Accept a breach is going to happen Breaches are happening all the time. It’s an unfortunate fact, but one that retailers must come to terms with: data breaches are inevitable. The amount of data breaches hitting the hacking headlines this year alone shows that retailers need to accept that will get in, and instead should focus on usingcrypto-segmentation strategies to limit what the hackers can access. Don’t: Rely on breach detection and protection policies alone Do: Focus on breach containment to keep the hackers at bay With the acceptance that breaches are going to occur must come the recognition that breach protection and detection policies are no longer enough to keep the hackers out. Instead, retailers must open up to the world of breach containment, a strategy that focuses on limiting the scope of a breach by containing it to a single segment of the network, instead of leaving the hackers to move laterally throughout the system at their leisure. Don’t: Define your software strategy by the network Do: Make security application and user specific Long gone are the days where it’s acceptable for an effective security strategy to focus purely on the network. Instead, modern, software-defined security positions the security policies and protection functions around applications and users, which, in a retailenvironment, means only giving access to customer data to those that need it. For example, a sales transaction and the accompanying payment card and consumer data should be accessible to only the authorised sales person conducting the transaction. The company logistics managers, corporate managers, HVAC contractors and others do not need access to the transaction data. Yet the primary security model used by retailers has no effective isolation of the payment card application. In breach after breach, hackers have compromised a user unrelated to the payment card systems, then moved laterally to get to the payment card information. Don’t: Focus security on individual silos Do: Manage security end to end across all silos The enterprise IT environment is fragmented across many silos, including LAN, WAN, Internet, mobile, Wi-Fi, cloud, data centre, remote facilities, disaster recovery and backup and others. Each of these silos has its own method of application protection and accesscontrols, and is commonly managed by separate teams in the enterprise. What’s more, enforcing consistent policies and protection from end to end across all these zones is enormously difficult given the fragmented nature of the technologies and teams. To combat this, a strategy is needed that enforces protection and policies horizontally across all silos, requiring no changes to the network or applications, and putting all control in the hands of the security manager. Don’t: Allow any network to be trusted Do: Put in place segmentation and isolation to protect applications on all networks The multiple hacks of 2015 show retailers must adopt a “No Trust” security model, which assumes that there is no such thing as a trusted network or IT environment. Instead, every user, device, network and application must be treated as untrusted, and all enterprise systems should be considered already compromised. Additionally, applications must be segmented, which simply means that an isolation methodsuch as encryption is used to isolate the application flow and prevent access by unauthorised users. However, the most effective approach is to isolate the sensitive data with strong cryptography and tightly control access to it based on user roles. This segmentation should then be applied consistently across all silos, for all users in the enterprise. An effective cybersecurity strategy needn’t be complicated; however, it’s about knowing which strategies are effective and which approaches to take in order to protect valuable customer data and avoid the PR catastrophes faced by many retailers in the ongoing wave of headline-grabbing . About Paul German Paul is responsible for growing the business in the European, Middle Eastern and African regions. Paul brings more than 18 years of experience to Certes and was most recently VP/GM EMEA for Sipera Systems , a worldwide leader in IT security solutions sold to Avaya in 2011. In addition, Paul has broad experience having held key roles withCisco, Siemens Network Systems and Lehman Brothers. His main success has been in helping companies achieve forecasted goals by structuring sales, operational processes, and coaching sales teams to deliver multi-year, multimillion-dollar contracts. Paul holds a Bachelor of Science honours degree from Brunel University, London.
February 18, 2016 Businesses are and increasingly will be, in the firing line of big cyber threats. Kaspersky Lab has announced the end of the Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) as we know it in 2016. Specifically, we believe that attackers will swap ‘Advanced’ and ‘Persistent’ malware for off-the-shelf code that allows them to maximize ROI and stealth techniques (such as ‘fileless’, in-memory only code) to avoid detection. So no ends to attacks, which means that on no account can businesses become lax in their security. Take the string of large scale data breaches last year, such as TalkTalk and Ashley Madison. It’s clear that there will always be someone out there trying to get their hands on valuable business data. With the introduction of new EU data legislation this year and the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), businesses need to be prepared to make changes to cyber-security policies and become aware of the challenges they may face in 2016 and beyond. From being moretransparent about data breaches to ensuring that all employees understand cyber-risks, businesses must do a lot more to ensure customer data is safe, and as with most things – prevention is better than cure. The requirement to declare data breaches Forthcoming changes to EU data legislation mean that businesses will have to put more stringent security measures in place and notify serious incidents to the relevant national authority. In other words, businesses will need to be completely transparent when a breach does occur. Better still, of course, if they prevent an attack, or at least prevent the theft of data. The cost implications of this will vary from company to company depending on the measures already in place such as reporting, staffing and how well developed an organisation’s cyber-security strategy already is. If businesses don’t comply, the financial penalties will be severe, possibly as much as three per cent of their global turnover, so there is a strong incentive to putsecurity safeguards in place to prevent attacks and, if the worst happens, to report incidents. In the long run however, businesses could see these changes save them both time and money in 2016, as security precautions will help mitigate enormous cyber-security risks, including interruption of digital services and even physical damage to critical infrastructure. The need for digital skills in business There’s no doubt that people are becoming increasingly connected and cybercriminals more sophisticated. One of the biggest threats to a business’s online security is often human error. Cybercriminals try to find weak points in a corporation’s IT infrastructure and employ the tools necessary to launch an attack. As businesses often see protection against as a “technical” issue, the human factor of corporate security is often ignored or overlooked. To ensure that this potential for a digital skills gap is resolved, it’s important that in 2016 a security awareness programme is implemented aspart of every business’s security strategy. Ultimately, protecting against corporate attacks comes down to having a security strategy which covers every angle. In terms of employee awareness, this means going further than just telling people what they should and should not do when it comes to using technology in the office or when working remotely, but demonstrating the various everyday scenarios, such as suspicious looking e-mails or passwords written on office sticky notes, that could put the company at risk. Underlying this, it means fostering a security mindset that staff will apply to any situation they may encounter. Employees should feel a sense of responsibility and ownership for their own and the company’s data. To do this, businesses can use quizzes, cartoons, posters or competitions to help educate staff and reinforce the key message that actions they take could put both themselves and their employer at risk. The use of the Internet of Things One thing to keep in mind in2016 is that although devices are getting smarter, it does not necessarily mean they are more secure. For example, if I work from home, on the same network as an insecure IoT device, there’s a danger that I become the weak link in the security chain of my employer, i.e. my work device is compromised via my home network and I bring the vulnerability into the work place. Already, organisations have had to face a huge challenge with BYOD. In the early days, for example, devices were typically purchased on an ad hoc basis, rather than being part of an IT-managed process, so IT departments often had to retro-fit security and management of mobile devices. However, having gone through the process of managing mobile devices, many businesses will be better placed for the year ahead to deal with the management of wearable technology within the workplace. It’s important that they review their business and security strategy in light of Wear Your Own Device (WYOD), rather than letting it creep intothe company. They need to assess the benefits it might bring, determine the risks and put in place a strategy to manage it. Wherever devices are used, whatever the technology they’re based on, all mobile endpoints that can connect to your network need to be fully secured. In order to provide this protection, IT managers need to put together mobile security policies that not only overcome complexity and protect against malware, but also allow for simple human error, loss and theft. The growth of ransomware Ransomware attacks have been extremely profitable for cybercriminals over the past few years and are still growing – we think they may even out-pace banking Trojans as a way for cybercriminals to make money. These days, the cryptography implemented by ransomware programs that encrypt the victim’s data is extremely secure, meaning there’s little hope of recovering files through a brute-force attack on the encryption itself. To avoid succumbing to a ransomware attack in 2016, companiesshould follow strict security policies which include Internet security protection, applying security updates as soon as they become available, user restrictions to prevent them running unknown applications and, perhaps most importantly, employee education. It’s also vital that individuals and businesses backup their data regularly, so that if they do fall victim to a ransomware infection, they don’t lose data. Backups should be made to offline storage, since the data on any storage device connected to the computer at the time of infection will also be encrypted. Sabotage, extortion and shame From an array of celebrity nudes to the Sony and Ashley Madison hacks and the HackingTeam dump, the last year has seen an undeniable increase in Doxing, public shaming, and extortion. Hacktivists, criminals, and state-sponsored attackers alike have embraced the strategic dumping of private pictures, information, customer lists, and code to shame their targets. While some of these attacks arestrategically targeted, some are also the product of opportunism, taking advantage of poor cybersecurity to feign hacker prowess. We can only expect this practice to increase exponentially, which is why companies that hold this confidential information should have a solid cyber-security strategy in place to guard against these risks. It became clear in 2015 that any kind of organisation has valuable data or information and so is vulnerable to cyber-attack – be that small, medium or even very large corporations. To prepare for this year’s inevitable cyber-threats, businesses need to create and deploy a complete security strategy. This will include everything from assessing the possible dangers to the prevention of ongoing threats, all supported by effective detection and an efficient response. By doing so, they give themselves the best possibility of deploying the greatest defense against future attacks. About Kaspersky Lab is one of the world’s fastest-growing cybersecurity companiesand the largest that is privately-owned. The company is ranked among the world’s top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users (IDC, 2014). Since 1997 Kaspersky Lab has been an innovator in cybersecurity and provides effective digital security solutions and threat intelligence for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers. Kaspersky Lab is an international company, operating in almost 200 countries and territories across the globe, providing protection for over 400 million users worldwide.
February 18, 2016 Owing to the fact that cloud computing offers you superb flexibility and scalability, impenetrable security against , greater collaboration among employees, and a number of cost-saving benefits, there are few reasons why you shouldn’t upgrade to virtual solutions like . However, this doesn’t mean to say that cloud services and the devices you access them on will be optimised from the get-go. You may need to make a few changes and tweaks before you can fully utilise the power and potential that cloud computing can afford. So, with this in mind, here is how to get the most from your devices using the cloud. Enable offline viewing Even though one of the benefits of utilising the cloud is that you can access important files and folders in any location with an Internet connection, there could be occasions when offline viewing is required. Thankfully, several cloud services will enable you to save documents or data locally. For example, anything you add to your ‘Favourites’folder on Dropbox will be made available offline. But remember to delete local files when you no longer need them, otherwise you will waste much-needed space. Turn on automatic backups Automating daily duties such as processing payroll or publishing social media updates is becoming increasingly essential for businesses that don’t have the time or resources to hand these responsibilities over to an actual employee. However, you should also be automatically backing up to the cloud as well. Just one instance of human error and you might end up losing sensitive or confidential information forever, . Take advantage of apps and add-ons As everyone’s cloud computing requirements will be different, there is a strong chance your provider’s out-of-the-box solution won’t have some of the features or capabilities you desperately require. Thankfully, developers are constantly creating various apps and add-ons for you to take advantage of. For example, on Google Drive you can add extra functionalitywith apps like PicMonkey, a free photo editor. Add-ons can be found in the top bar of any drive document you are editing, while apps are located on the Chrome webstore. Be careful with collaboration While cloud computing enables you to collaborate with colleagues and ensures online offenders can’t access valuable data, you shouldn’t ignore the possibility that internal threats also exist. Therefore, it is vital you exercise extreme caution when it comes to access. With certain cloud providers, you can add password protection for specific links to increase data security. Choose two-step verification If your cloud provider does not offer , you should probably look elsewhere for your server and storage requirements. This security feature prevents anyone from accessing or using your account even if they know your password by sending a verification code to a trusted device. With the hugely popular iCloud for iOS devices, you can activate two-step verification by signing in to your Apple IDin your browser, clicking Password and Security, and then following the on-screen instructions.
February 17, 2016 The , an open-source, community-driven, collaborative, non-profit foundation supporting the next gen connected devices industry, has announced availability of a new document entitled that lays out its revolutionary vision for a secure Internet of Things. It describes a fresh hardware-led approach that is easy to implement, scalable and interoperable. The prpl Foundation’s guidance aims to improve security for devices in a rapidly expanding connected world where failure to do so can result in significant harm to individuals, businesses and to nations. “The Internet of Things is connecting our world in ways not anticipated even a decade ago. This connectivity finds its way into everything from light bulbs and home appliances to critical systems including cars, airlines and even hospitals,” said Art Swift, president of the prpl Foundation. “, despite its huge and increasing importance, has so far been addressed in piecemeal and often proprietary ways. “Given ubiquitousconnectivity and the rapid emergence of IoT, the need for a well-designed, structured and comprehensive security architecture has never been greater,” he continued. Embedded systems and connected devices are already deeply woven into the fabric of our lives, and the footprint is expanding at a staggering rate. Gartner estimates that 4.9 billion connected things were in use by the end of 2015, a 30% increase from 2014. This will rise to 25 billion by 2020 as consumer-facing applications drive volume growth, while enterprise sales account for the majority of revenue. Security is a core need for manufacturers, developers, service providers and others who produce and use connected devices. Most of these – especially those used on the “Internet of Things” – rely on a complex web of embedded systems. Securing these systems is a major challenge, yet failure to do so can result in catastrophic consequences. “Under the prpl Foundation, chip, system and service providers can come together on acommon platform, architecture, APIs and standards, and benefit from a common and more secure open source approach,” added Cesare Garlati, prpl’s chief security strategist. The new Security Guidance Document lays out a vision for a new hardware-led approach based on open source and interoperable standards. It proposes to engineer security into connected and embedded devices from the ground up, using three general areas of guidance. These are not the only areas that require attention, but they will help to establish a base of action as developers begin deal with security in earnest. These areas include: Addressing fundamental controls for securing devices. The core requirement, according to the document, is a trusted operating environment enabled via a secure boot process that is impervious to attack. This requires a root of trust forged in hardware, which establishes a chain of trust for all subsystems. Using a Security by Separation approach. Security by Separation is a classic,time-tested approach to protecting computer systems and the data contained therein. The document focuses on embedded systems that can retain their security attributes even when connected to open networks. It is based on the use of logical separation created by hardware-enforced virtualization, and also supports technologies such as para-virtualization, hybrid virtualization and other methods. Enforcing secure development and testing. Developers must provide an infrastructure that enables secure debug during product development and testing. Rather than allowing users to see an entire system while conducting hardware debug, the document proposes a secure system to maintain the separation of assets. By embracing these initial areas of focus, stakeholders can take action to create secure operating environments in embedded devices by means of secure application programming interfaces (APIs). The APIs will create the glue to enable secure inter-process communications between disparatesystem-on-chip processors, software and applications. Open, secure APIs thus are at the centre of securing newer multi-tenant devices. In the document, the prpl Foundation offers guidance defining a framework for creating secure APIs to implement hardware-based security for embedded devices. About prpl Foundation (pronounced “Purple”), is an open-source, community-driven, collaborative, non-profit foundation targeting and supporting the MIPS architecture – and open to others – with a focus on enabling next-generation datacenter-to-device portable software and virtualized architectures. prpl represents leaders in the technology industry investing in innovation in efficiency, portability and compatibility for the good of a broad community of developers, businesses and consumers. Initial domains targeted by prpl include datacenter, networking & storage, connected consumer and embedded/IoT.
February 17, 2016 No company is immune to the risk of and the resulting loss of customer information. Network security solutions can reduce the risk of attack, but these solutions face an unexpected adversary: SSL encryption. While SSL encryption improves privacy and integrity, it also creates a blind spot in corporate defences. Today, roughly half of all Internet traffic is encrypted, and this figure is expected to reach 67 per cent by 2016. Attacks hiding in SSL traffic are on the rise. Since Edward Snowden’s revelation in 2013, SSL encryption has become all the rage for both application owners and hackers. For good reason, given encryption improves security by providing data confidentiality and integrity. It’s also led to the rise of movements like “Let’s Encrypt,” the free, automated and open certificate authority (CA) provided by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG). Unfortunately, encryption also allows hackers to conceal their exploits to sneak past security devices likefirewalls, intrusion prevention systems and data loss prevention platforms. Some of these products cannot decrypt SSL traffic without degrading performance, while others simply cannot decrypt SSL traffic at all because of their location in the network. As a result, hackers are taking advantage of movements like Let’s Encrypt to generate SSL certificates to sign malicious code or to host malicious HTTPS sites. One way to counter the threat is for organisations to decrypt and inspect inbound and outbound traffic. A dedicated SSL inspection platform will enable third-party security devices to eliminate the blind spot in corporate defences. But first, we need to understand the three common ways that malware developers use encryption to escape detection. Escape the encryption labyrinth Zeus Trojan: Since its discovery in 2007, Zeus Trojan continues to be one of the most prevalent and dangerous financial malware around. The Zeus attack toolkit is widely used by criminal groups to developvariants that are even more sophisticated. Between 2012 and 2014, the number of infections and its variants . One of the deadliest variety is the peer-to-peer botnet Gameover Zeus, which leverages encryption for both malware distribution and command and control (C&C) communications. Command and control updates from social media sites: Our growing obsession of social sharing has no doubt attracted the attention of hackers too. New malware strains use social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, and web-based email for command and control communications. For instance, malware can receive C&C commands from malicious Twitter accounts or comments on Pinterest, which encrypt all communications. To detect these botnet threats, organisations need to decrypt and inspect SSL traffic, otherwise security analysts might unwittingly view access to client machines through social media sites as harmless. Remote Access Trojan (RAT): Online email accounts such as Gmail and Yahoo! Mail have latelybecome incubators for a remote access Trojan (RAT) that receives C&C commands. The malware works by attempting to evade detection by not quite sending emails. With both Gmail and Yahoo! Mail encrypting traffic, malware developers use this to evade detection. The onus therefore is on organisations to decrypt and inspect their own traffic to these email sites, or malware will pass them by. Stay ahead of the game Encryption today accounts for roughly one-third of all Internet traffic, and it’s expected to reach two-thirds of all traffic next year when Internet powerhouses like Netflix transition to SSL. As a result, encrypted traffic will become the “go-to” way of distributing malware and executing cyber attacks. Whether sharing a malicious file on a social networking site or attaching malware to an email or instant message, cyber criminals are hiding their attacks using SSL traffic to circumvent existing security controls. It is imperative that CIOs and IT managers familiarise themselveswith solutions that uncover hidden threats in encrypted traffic, and invest in data protection that decrypts and inspects all SSL traffic. About A10 Networks is a leader in application delivery networking, providing a range of high-performance application networking solutions that help organisations ensure that their data centre applications and networks remain highly available, accelerated and secure. Founded in 2004, A10 Networks is based in San Jose, Calif., and serves customers globally with offices worldwide.
February 17, 2016 Corporate espionage rates were constantly growing, during last few years. Number of corporate secret cases in US courts was doubled around three times, since the eighties, and it is projected to double one more time until 2017. With that in mind it sounds almost amazing how Coca Cola is successfully keeping their formula, which is also the most valued corporate secret in the world. This formula is not protected with patents, unlike the name Coca Cola and a nickname ‘Coke’, which are both registered trade-marks. Successful trade secret protection is another important business segment entrepreneurs need to master. are protected by state law, but to get this kind of legal protection this information needs to satisfy four key rules: It needs to be a real secret– information that entrepreneur is trying to protect as a trade secret shouldn’t be known to the public; Use of warning labels– all documents, both digital and on paper that are containing trade secrets need to belabeled with warning signs (like ‘classified information’ labels); Restricted access– access to this information should be restricted to general public, as well as the biggest part of company’s employees; Confidential agreements– if trade secret is shared with third-party individuals, those people should sign confidentiality agreement; Trade secrets in digital age Digital age represents a great challenge for all trade secret keepers. Coca Cola still successfully keeps its formula, but at the same time companies like US Steel and Westinghouse Electric, of massive data breaches. These incidents revealed some of their trade secrets to hackers, and later public hype caused massive impact on company’s reputation. Experts say that this is not the worst case scenario in case of data breaches and trade secret theft. Financial impact that follows these incidents can be devastating, and depending on the particular secret that was stolen it can cause from $160 billion to $480 billion worth ofdamage. Other risks of unsecured corporate networks Many companies that sell their goods or services online, collect their customers’ personal and credit card data. In the same way medical companies are storing (and guarding) thousands of medical records that contain information which can be used for wide variety of fraudulent activities. If get their hands on customers’ credit card data they can use it for future credit card frauds, and medical data can be used for various types of blackmailing. Recently we were also witnesses of huge data breach from company called , Canada based online dating service that targets individuals that are married or in a relationship. This data breach caused huge turbulence among members of this network, which is slowly falling to obscurity as a result of this vicious hack. Security measures that should be implemented With large growth of cyber crime and corporate espionage rates, companies need to have an adequate response to these trends and implementsecurity measures that will keep hackers away from their data. These are some of the measures that turn out to be very effective in most companies: Data encryption– sensitive data needs to be encrypted. This can be done with various encryption apps, or if companies are planning to store this data in the cloud they can choose cloud providers who offer encryption features. Most cloud services comes with great encryption features, while some of the cloud storage providers such as . Security training- all company staff needs to pass security training that will explain them how to use their gadgets wisely and how to react in emergency situations. Security policies- companies need to have elaborate security policies that should cover the use of different gadgets and computers, the ways sensitive information gets transferred and contain precise orders that should be followed in case of data breach.. Regular patches and updates– companies should regularly patch up their system and update theirsecurity software. There’s never been so much crime in corporate world, which is why we are all obliged to secure our data and closely follow digital security trends. In digital world prevention is always better than cure, since it saves company funds and relieves its employees from pressure. About Nate Vickery Nate Vickery is business consultant and editor-in-chief at . He is mostly engaged in finding best IT solutions for small business. Lately he have been occupied with researching cyber security and big data trends. You can follow Nate on Twitter at @NateMVickery.
February 15, 2016 Snapchat, eBay, JP Morgan, Sony Pictures and even the White House. The widespread data breaches over the past few years confirms the fact that even large multinational companies and government organisations with huge security budgets are unable to completely defend themselves against the latest threats and smartest cyber criminals. Offenders can obtain data they are looking for by targeting their attacks and increasingly, it seems they are targeting the weakest link of the chain: the user. In most cases this can be stolen credentials, an un-patched desktop or just a careless employee. And once successfully acquire that, they are easily able to exploit the opportunity and steal valuable company data. But how can this happen when companies spend millions of dollars on cyber security? According to the from the Ponemon Institute, deployment of security intelligence systems makes all the difference. Findings in the study suggest companies using security intelligencetechnologies were more efficient in detecting and containing cyber attacks. As a result, these companies enjoyed an average cost savings of $1.9 million in 2015 when compared to companies not deploying security intelligence technologies and experienced a substantially higher ROI (at 23 percent) than all other technology categories presented. With these statistics in mind, we would presume that companies would focus on these kind of IT security solutions. But the Ponemon report suggests otherwise; in fact, according to the report, activities relating to IT security in the network layer receive the highest budget allocation. Companies tend to stick to the traditional approach of IT security and defend their perimeter with the most effective control-based solutions. However, this old, dictatorial approach is not efficient anymore in securing the corporate environment and it is now crucial to include users within this perimeter. Malicious insiders and external attackers who acquired validuser credentials hold an advantage over a company’s primary security tools, because these tools are designed to protect against external threats, not against trusted employees. But what can companies do if they really want to fight against the latest threats? Firstly, they must create a balance between controlling and monitoring IT security solutions. Traditional control-based solutions are unable to prevent all data breaches, as these are mainly designed against known threats. Since more and more “unknown unknown” threats menaces companies, they must create a balance by introducing machine learning based monitoring security solutions. High quality monitoring tools, such as user behaviour analytics or network forensics solutions are able to detect unknown threats and alert the security team to initiate an immediate action. Secondly, they must properly analyse the data generated in the monitoring process. The analysis of this data would have required serious resources even several yearsago but since then, the arrival of machine learning algorithms in various big data security analytics tools has simplified the process significantly. Machine learning solutions are able to reveal the trends and patterns behind the data with a good approximation, saving a lot of time for security analysts, who are continuously searching for signs of potential data breaches. Thirdly, it is crucial to find the ideal balance between the use of automated responses and experienced security specialists – both of them have a real value in the IT security infrastructure. One of the main reasons for using security analytics solutions is to relieve the heavily overloaded security experts. There are a lot of tasks which can be easily automated, such as the analysis of simple network and user data, e.g. login-logout times or location. But when machine learning algorithms find an anomaly or deviation, the well-trained security experts are also needed. They must analyse simple security alerts toidentify actual attacks to determine the root cause of problems and to start the required counter measures such as disabling the user account. Building you own security analytics solution or even implementing an off-the-shelf product takes a lot of time, preparation and research. But there is one thing that companies can start with: to shape up their analytics mindset. They can assess the available data sources, examine which of these are interesting and meaningful enough to analyse and find relevant questions that can be answered with this data. Having this process, they will be able to produce much better results after the implementation of the selected security analytics solution and find the “unknown unknown” threats presented by internal and external attackers. About BalaBit – headquartered in Luxembourg – is a leading provider of contextual security technologies with the mission of preventing data breaches without constraining business. Balabit operates globally through anetwork of local offices across the United States and Europe together with partners. Balabit’s Contextual Security Intelligence™ Suite protects organizations in real-time from threats posed by the misuse of high risk and privileged accounts. Solutions include reliable system and application Log Management with context enriched data ingestion, Privileged User Monitoring and User Behaviour Analytics. Together they can identify unusual user activities and provide deep visibility into potential threats. Working in conjunction with existing control-based strategies Balabit enables a flexible and people-centric approach to improve security without adding additional barriers to business practices. Founded in 2000 Balabit has a proven track record including 23 Fortune 100 customers amongst over 1,000,000 corporate users worldwide.
February 15, 2016 The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is intended to help organisations ensure the safe handling of sensitive payment card data. But it can also present significant (and potentially expensive) regulatory hurdles. Matthew Bryars, CEO of Aeriandi explains what PCI DSS means to businesses and the various ways in which compliance can be achieved, without breaking the bank in the process. PCI DSS was originally conceived by the world’s major payment card brands (Visa, Mastercard, American Express) as a way to standardise security practices across all organisations that take, process and store sensitive payment card data. It has come a long way since its first appearance in late 2004 and the latest version – PCI DSS 3.0 – sets out that all relevant organisations must adhere to in order to be deemed PCI compliant. Perhaps unsurprisingly, PCI DSS is often met with mixed reactions. Many see it as an unnecessary bureaucratic exercise or an annual check boxtask. However, these organisations are missing the point entirely. PCI DSS is not about bureaucracy, it is about the safety of highly sensitive customer data. Irrespective of PCI DSS, if organisations aren’t doing their utmost to keep this data safe, they need to take a good hard look at themselves. Whilst heavy fines can be levied against organisations who suffer data breaches and are found to be non-compliant, the monetary loss usually pales into insignificance compared to the reputational damage sustained as the result of a high profile breach. As such, PCI DSS compliance should be considered a by-product, rather than a primary driver, of securing customer data within an organisation. PCI DSS covers all forms of payment collection, processing and storage. For many businesses, the telephone remains one of the primary channels for taking customer payments, usually via dedicated customer contact centres. But they can be noisy and chaotic places, where data security often slips downthe list of priorities. So how can PCI compliance be achieved (and importantly, maintained) in this kind of environment? Choosing the path that’s right for your business The good news is that there are a number of different paths to compliance, offering something for nearly every scenario. Some organisations choose to receive, process and store sensitive card data in-house. This can be a good option for those that have already made significant internal security investments. However, for those that haven’t already got the necessary infrastructure in place, dealing with it in-house can be a costly exercise, carrying a great deal of ongoing (and unnecessary) risk to the organisation. An alternative way to achieve PCI compliance is to utilise specialist technology to ensure the sensitive data never enters the contact centre environment in the first place. If it’s never there, it can’t be breached or stolen, meaning any risk to the security of the data is immediately minimised. Taking thecontact centre out of scope for PCI-DSS In this scenario, when a customer comes to make a phone payment, rather than divulge the card details directly to a contact centre agent, they are routed through an external secure payment platform. The customer then enters their payment details via the telephone keypad to complete the transaction. The contact centre agent can see the transaction taking place and can still engage with the customer if required, but they have no visibility of the sensitive card data at any stage. This further reduces overall risk to data by removing the agents themselves from the security equation. Furthermore, when there’s no payment data on site, the contact centre’s obligations with regard to PCI-DSS are significantly reduced, leaving just one of in scope; Requirement 12 – ‘Maintain a policy that addresses information security’. Achieving and maintaining PCI compliance can be painful at times, but organisations should focus less on the pain points, and more onthe bigger picture, which is keeping customer data (and company reputation) safe. For an industry so reliant on phone payments, securing this channel should be a top priority for all collections agencies. Furthermore, there are a host of third party experts out there who can all but remove the stress of PCI compliance, and boost the quality of collections services offered to customers. So what are you waiting for? About Matthew Bryars Matthew Bryars, CEO at , Shortly after completing a Masters degree in physics from University College London, Matthew was one of the first to see the potential for highly secure, cloud-based business services – and promptly co-founded Aeriandi. Matthew quickly applied his problem solving skills to the business world and has been responsible for building the company from a start-up to a well renowned business – running services for some of the world’s largest banks and contact centres. Although the business has grown substantially, Matthew still takes ahands-on approach and remains actively involved in the development process, getting most fulfilment from delivery of high quality, relevant solutions based on the company’s hosted multi-channel platform.
February 15, 2016 Many children these days play games online and as harmless as this may seem, they are probably unaware that they are potential targets for cybercriminals. This is all thanks to the lure of online accounts full of parent’s credit card details and other less obvious information which can be monetized. Although your son or daughter may be using secured gaming platforms like Steam marketplace, this is not enough. They can still be duped by scams such as infected screensaver files or “cheats” poisoned by malware. This applies to gaming forums as well. It is highly likely that your child is turning to more experience players for gaming advice but unfortunately, some of the threads can be full of trick advice, and in-game chat channels play host to predators waiting for that click on a ‘bad’ link which infects your child’s device. Luckily for parents everywhere, we have compiled nine tips on how to keep your little gamers safe. A security solution Install a reliable securitysolution onto your child’s gaming device and make sure it’s always updated. never sleep, the same goes for the defenses protecting your kids. Be aware that your child may be turning it off for a tiny bit of extra speed or ignoring the pop-ups pointing to potential risks. Toughen up the browser Many of the scams targeting gamers rely on people offering ‘bargain’ items in chat – either in-game or as a service such as Steam – and are then redirecting visitors to fraudulent sites. Make sure that the browser is up-to-date and the phishing warnings are enabled. Credentials are valuable Teach your children the importance of their credentials advising them to provide their credentials only to reliable websites and online services and be there to provide advice if they are unsure if a page is safe or not. In cases the child is unsure if the page is safe, be there for advice. Don’t trade game code online Trading game code via forums, or even auction sites, is asking for trouble as there arenumerous scams to avoid. The best place to get game codes is from gaming companies, buying the code for a new game online might end up costing you tens of euros for fake codes. On the other hand, if you try to sell some old games your child is not playing anymore, scammers may claim that your code was bogus, asking for a refund and leaving you out of pocket. Public gaming Teach your child how to act when connecting to public Wi-Fi, it’s key that kids are aware they are playing on a public network and particularly of all the risks it entails. If your children are going to a gaming event or even a social gaming event, they should change their usual password for a temporary one while there, then back to the usual one when back home, this protects them from scammers who might intercept their data and use it to steal their account – or against someone looking over their shoulder to nick their password. Help them pick the right username Having a name that gives away that someone is young,can attract unwanted attention. Choose a tag, in-game name or forum alias that gives away absolutely no personal information – game accounts are high-value targets for cybercriminals. Cheats and hacks are even worse than you think Using cheats might not only mean risking a lifetime ban from a game your little player loves − it also endangers his or her account. An estimated 90% of the commonly-traded cheats are infected with malware, they’re called ‘hacks’ for a reason. Don’t befriend people on Facebook to get game ‘freebies’ Facebook games which rely on topping up energy or trading with friends can be an easy lure for children. Fan sites are full of people offering to befriend anybody for just that purpose. Although this can speed up the game experience, it leaves children with “friends” who might well be criminals, able to see their information. People on fora are not your friends Gamer forums and in-game chat channels are pretty savage, hostile places at best – and when it comes toscams, add-ons, mods or anything out there, they are an unsavory place for a child to find advice. Your children probably know not to trust strangers on the street, teach them to apply this to the online world too. About ESET Since 1987, has been developing security software that now helps over 100 million users to Enjoy Safer Technology. Its broad security product portfolio covers all popular platforms and provides businesses and consumers around the world with the perfect balance of performance and proactive protection. The company has a global sales network covering 180 countries, and regional offices in Bratislava, San Diego, Singapore and Buenos Aires.
February 12, 2016 You walk through the door locked with a badge reader, and there at the front of the room are a bank of TV screens: a news channel, the Weather Channel, one showing a of the world with intermittent lines bouncing back and forth, a few with graphical information, and maybe even one monitoring a CCTV or camera. In front of this, row upon row of analysts sitting at computer terminals working intently. It sounds like something you would see in a NASA control center, but this scene is becoming normal at many companies around the world. Companies are beginning to see the need for a and how they are critical to protecting and saving their organization, its data, and its customers from the ever growing threat of cyber-attack. What is a Security Operations Center (SOC)? How Critical Is It? How Much Is It Going to Cost? In short, a SOC is a location, or hopefully locations to account for backup and failover, where all of the security information for your company is collected,sorted, saved, analyzed, and if need be acted upon. We have all heard in recent years about major retail breaches that expose millions of customer’s payment card data and personal information. We have heard about financial institutions that have been breached, that we still don’t know the full impact of. The SOC is the group/team/organization that is in place to keep you safe. That being said, we want to populate the SOC with highly trained personnel that know a lot about the technologies that they are supporting and using on a daily basis. They need to understand Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems, loggers, physical security infrastructure, protocol analyzers, Intrusion Detection System, vulnerability scanners, and much more. There are many different ways and places to collect this information, directly from your computers, servers, routers, firewalls, and software that you run on any of these devices, just to name a couple. The personnel that you have in yourSOC need to know these sources, how to collect the information from these sources, what to do with that information, and how to fix any problems or threats that they find. As you can see above, there is a lot of information and experience that is needed in a SOC. Why not just leave it all up to that poor security engineer that is sitting in a corner somewhere mumbling to him/herself? Yes, that person may say some strange things sometimes like: breach, botnets, , data loss prevention, clickjacking, and compliance. While it sounds like that person might be going a little loopy, these are all things that companies need to be aware of and know how to implement or protect against. There is so much information and so many changing ways to expose, access, and utilize that information that it becomes highly improbably for one person alone to be able to interpret and protect it all. Enter the SOC, a team of highly trained, and trainable, people that are helping that poor security engineer lookout for the network, to keep the perimeter safe, and to help get the bad guys out when they do get in, and they will get in. Do a Google search for “Information security not if but when”, and you get article upon article that will tell you that many companies are now operating under the assumption that they have already been breached. Even the NSA operates under the assumption that it has been compromised and builds its systems on the assumption that adversaries will get in. This is why the SOC is critical, more eyes looking at critical points of information and technology, the knowledge and background to deal with breaches, and of course to keep that poor security engineer from going mad having to do this all by themselves. Now the important part, how much is this going to cost. There are a couple of ways to look at this. First, is the cost alone of brining on all of the technologies that you need, the people to run all of it, and the facilities to house the people and information?To counter that, how much would it cost if your company did not meet compliance with HIPPA, PCI-DSS, or any other regulatory requirement around your data. Even worse, what would the cost be if you had a breach like Target, JP Morgan, or any of the dozens of other big corporate breaches that we have heard about in the last couple of years? The problem with Information Security is that you can calculate easily the cost of implementation, maintenance, and improving your security, but the end result is nebulous. In fact, if your SOC is doing their job well, you should never have a significant breach or loss of data and how do you put a dollar amount on that? There are multiple ways to implement a SOC, full internal – the company owns the technology, hires the people, and maintains the facilities: Managed Security Service Providers – where you ship all or part of your information to a 3rd party for them to interpret and send you reports on where possible threats could be that your team willneed to fix; or a Co-Managed approach – where you have your internal SOC team and technologies that are supplemented by a 3rd party that act as an extension of your team and all of your data remains in house, to help increase awareness, expand the knowledge base, and reduce incident detection and response time. So what does this all mean, the simple fact is that eventually every organization is going to need a SOC, a team of intelligent professionals that can help secure your company, and its data, from an ever growing and changing threat. The axiom says “it’s not if, but when”, don’t you want the best team available to help make that “when” as small as possible? About Michael White Michael White joined in March 2013 as an IT Security Engineer. Born and raised on and around military bases around the world, he joined the Marine Corps at 17. There he worked network and communications functions for the military for a total of 15 years on active duty and reserve status. He has worked fordifferent technology companies to include U.S. Cellular, EDS, and Verizon over a 16 year period. In 2007 he graduated from North Carolina Wesleyan University with two degrees, one in Business Administration and the other in Computer Information Systems. Michael currently has his CCNP R&S, and is working on his CCNP Security.
February 12, 2016 2016 Security Pressures Report Delves into the Pressures IT Security Professionals Face from Data Breaches to the Boardroom Trustwave® released the 2016 , based on a survey of 1,414 in-house information security professionals, which shows a rise in both the current and expected pressures in the career field and offers ways for security professionals globally to mitigate the increasing tensions. In addition to providing year-over-year comparisons of 2014 and 2015, the third-annual report adds previously unmeasured insight related to pressures including new data and regional viewpoints. In addition to respondents from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, the 2016 report features 398 Asia Pacific respondents – from Australia and Singapore – and adds new questions that address the timing of increased pressure, job security, and specific security threats that pose the greatest challenges to security practitioners. Key findings from the include: Under pressure:63% of information security professionals felt more pressure to secure their organisations in 2015 compared to the previous 12 months, and 65% expect to feel additional pressure this year. Those numbers grew 9% and 8%, respectively, compared to last year. Skills gap: Shortage of security expertise has climbed from the eighth-biggest operational pressure facing security pros to the third-biggest, behind advanced security threats and adoption of emerging technologies. Board burden: 40% of respondents feel the most pressure in relation to their security program either directly before or after a company board meeting – 1% higher than how they feel after a major data breach hits the headlines. Detection trumps prevention: The largest security responsibilities facing 54% respondents are related to detection of vulnerabilities, malware and compromised systems. Moved to managed: The number of respondents who either already partner or plan to partner with managed security services providers hasclimbed from 78% to 86%. Not ready for prime time: 77% of respondents (nearly four in five) are pressured to unveil IT projects that aren’t security ready. Empty promises: Pressure to select security technologies containing all of the latest features has jumped from 67% to 74% among respondents, but having the proper resources to put them to use has fallen from 71% to 69%. Connectivity breeds contempt: Internet of Things (IoT) is the emerging technology respondents feel the second-most pressure to adopt/deploy, behind the cloud. Respondents rate it the second riskiest emerging technology, also behind the cloud. Data and DDoS gloom: Customer data theft and intellectual property theft remain the top two worrying outcomes following an attack or data breach, but a disabled corporate website is the biggest riser (from 7% to 13%). Demand outpacing supply: Respondents wishing to quadruple their staff from its current size has risen from 24% to 29%. Early termination: Job loss remains as thethird-highest post-breach repercussion fear, but has grown from 8% to 11%. It sits behind reputation damage and financial damage to one’s company, respectively. “Security professionals live in a unique and stressful environment, defined by conflict with faceless attackers as well as internal threats,” said Steve Kelley, Chief Marketing Officer at Trustwave. “Businesses rely on information security more than ever before and the pressure to show measurable success is taking a toll on security practitioners. The widening gulf between the expected outcomes and the struggle to maintain adequate solutions and staff is driving businesses, now as many as 86% of them, to partner with a managed security services provider to relax the pressures and help them achieve their cybersecurity goals.” About Trustwave helps businesses fight cybercrime, protect data and reduce security risk. With cloud and managed security services, integrated technologies and a team of security experts, ethical hackersand researchers, Trustwave enables businesses to transform the way they manage their information security and compliance programs. More than three million businesses are enrolled in the Trustwave TrustKeeper® cloud platform, through which Trustwave delivers automated, efficient and cost-effective threat, vulnerability and compliance management. Trustwave is headquartered in Chicago, with customers in 96 countries.
February 11, 2016 During the Autumn Statement back in November Chancellor George Osborne placed significant importance upon the investment in the use of technology within the justice system, including the digitalisation of courtrooms and the moving of paper-based systems online. Whilst the plans for digitalising the justice system has been in the pipeline for several years, we are now beginning to see these come into force and are witnessing the knock on effect for law firms. In recent years, the digital landscape has had a revolutionary impact not only in terms of the way employees can now work, but also where they can work. Lawyers have been increasingly liberated from their desks and are accessing documents not only from their office desktop, but also their laptops, phones and tablets. The office is now, in essence, wherever they are. A report released earlier this year, which looked at technology trends in the legal industry, has backed up this trend and highlighted how legalfirms are increasingly using web-based software in their law practices, with 72 per cent saying that online document storage was now available in their law offices. The main driving factors were convenience and affordability, with 78 per cent citing easy access to data from anywhere as one of the greatest benefits of using web-based software in their law firms and 67 per cent adding that a key benefit was 24/7 availability to access their documents remotely. The movement of legal processes onto the web has been a real step-change for a traditionally paper-based industry. The move online, however, has led to the increased importance of data security. Security software and assessments was ranked as one of the top ten technology purchases this year and fifth among planned purchases for next in a recent survey undertaken by the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA). Indeed, security management was named as the biggest challenge facing legal IT departments, replacing emailmanagement for the first time in eight years. Related to this was the need for information governance and risk management/compliance. Whilst this is of concern to all, improving has thus far been considered more of a priority among large law firms than medium-sized or small law firms, however the research suggests that times are changing. One of the key trends affecting modern day law firms is that of bring your own device (). However, over a quarter (28 per cent) of respondents said their firms do not currently have a policy, viewed by many as a key security measure. The dramatic cultural shift in digitalisation has shaken the core of the legal sector and has directly transformed the culture within each individual law firm, through the increased viewing and sharing of documents online. However, whilst this may mean a new found freedom for lawyers who find themselves no longer captive within their offices, it has led to a need for the industry to implement strong multipleauthentication factors and user provisioning, which will allow them to keep the benefits but eliminate the risk. It is imperative that each and every individual law firm, regardless of size, ensure priority is placed on protecting sensitive data that is being accessed remotely on a daily basis. Not only will this help them remain compliant with changing regulations, by preventing unauthorised users from accessing sensitive data with passwords alone, but it will help to avoid any potential damage to brand reputation caused by sensitive data being accidentally shared with the wrong people or a misunderstanding of processes. About David Meyer David Meyer is a VP for product at . David has built groundbreaking enterprise and consumer software for over 15 years. One of the first employees at Plumtree Software, he drove collaboration and social software into the Fortune 500 until Plumtree was acquired by BEA. David continued running and expanding the business at BEA until the Oracleacquisition. At SAP David led teams that pioneered bringing cloud software to the most demanding companies in the world. Most recently David co-founded and co-ran the education company UniversityNow, Inc.
February 11, 2016 Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research and Analysis Team has published extensive research on the Adwind RAT, a cross-platform, multifunctional malware program also known as AlienSpy, Frutas, Unrecom, Sockrat, JSocket and jRat, which is distributed through a single Malware-as-a-Service Platform. According to the results of the investigation, conducted between 2013 and 2016, different versions of the Adwind malware have been used in attacks against at least 443,000 private users, commercial and non-commercial organisations around the world. The platform and the malware are still active. At the end of 2015, Kaspersky Lab researchers became aware of an unusual malware program that had been discovered during an attempted targeted attack against a bank in Singapore. A malicious JAR file was attached to a spear-phishing email received by a targeted employee at the bank. The malware’s rich capabilities, including its ability to run on multiple platforms as well as the fact that itwas not detected by any antivirus solution, immediately captured the attention of the researchers. The Adwind RAT It turned out that the organisation had been attacked with the Adwind RAT, a backdoor available for purchase and written entirely in Java, which makes it cross-platform. It can run on Windows, OS X, Linux and Android platforms providing capabilities for remote desktop control, data gathering, data exfiltration etc. If the targeted user opens the attached JAR file the malware self-installs and attempts to communicate with the command and control server. The malware’s list of functions includes the ability to: collect keystrokes steal cached passwords and grab data from web forms take screenshots take pictures and record video from the webcam record sound from the microphone transfer files collect general system and user information steal keys for cryptocurrency wallets manage SMS (for Android) steal VPN certificates While it is used mainly by opportunistic attackers anddistributed in massive spam campaigns, there are cases where Adwind was used in targeted attacks. In August 2015 Adwind popped up in the related to cyber-espionage against an Argentinian prosecutor who had been found dead in January 2015. The incident against the Singaporean bank was another example of a targeted attack. A deeper look into events related to the usage of the Adwind RAT showed that these targeted attacks were not the only ones. Targets of interest During their investigation the Kaspersky Lab researchers were able to analyse nearly 200 examples of spear-phishing attacks organised by unknown criminals to spread the Adwind malware, and were able to identify the industries most of the targets worked in: Manufacturing Finance Engineering Design Retail Government Shipping Telecom Software Education Food production Healthcare Media Energy Based on information from Kaspersky Security Network, the 200 examples of spear-phishing attacks observed in the six months between August2015 and January 2016 resulted in Adwind RAT malware samples being encountered by more than 68,0000 users. The geographical distribution of attacked users registered by KSN during this period shows that almost half of them (49 per cent) were living in the following 10 countries: United Arab Emirates, Germany, India, the USA, Italy, Russia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Turkey and Taiwan. Based on the profiles of identified targets, Kaspersky Lab researchers believe that the clients of the Adwind platform fall into the following categories: scammers that want to move to the next level (using malware for more advanced fraud), unfair competitors, cyber-mercenaries (spies for hire), and private individuals that want to spy on people they know. Threat-as-a-Service One of the main features that distinguishes the Adwind RAT from other commercial malware is that it is distributed openly in the form of a paid service, where the “customer” pays a fee in return for use of the malicious program. Based onan investigation of users’ activity on the internal message board and some other observations, Kaspersky Lab researchers estimate that there were around 1,800 users in the system by the end of 2015. This makes it one of the biggest malware platforms in existence today. “The Adwind platform in its current state lowers significantly the minimum amount of professional knowledge required by a potential criminal looking to enter the area of . What we can say based on our investigation of the attack against the Singaporean bank is that the criminal behind it was far from being a professional hacker, and we think that most of the Adwind platform’s “clients” have that level of computer education. That is a worrisome trend,” said Aleksandr Gostev, Chief Security Expert at Kaspersky Lab. “Despite multiple reports about different generations of this tool, published by security vendors in recent years, the platform is still active and inhabited with criminals of all kinds. We’ve conducted thisresearch in order to attract the attention of the security community and law enforcement agencies and to make the necessary steps in order to disrupt it completely,” said Vitaly Kamluk, Director of Global Research and Analysis Team in APAC at Kaspersky Lab. About Kaspersky Lab is a global cybersecurity company founded in 1997. Kaspersky Lab’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise is constantly transforming into security solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and consumers around the globe. The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection and a number of specialized security solutions and services to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky Lab technologies and we help 270,000 corporate clients protect what matters most to them.
February 10, 2016 F-Secure’s security advisors warn parents to become more aware of the risks posed by new Internet of Things toys designed for children this Safer Internet Day. Today is Safer Internet Day and parents still face challenges in helping their children stay safe while using the Internet. But in addition to helping children learn to use mobile devices responsibly, stay safe on social media and manage, parents have to contend with a new challenge posed by the Internet of Things (IoT) – smart toys. Smart toys are essentially toys that connect to the Internet and are set to become a large product category for IoT devices. A 2015 study projected total revenues from smart toys to reach 2.8 billion USD before the end of last year. However, last year’s well-known VTech hack saw data theft of 6.4 million children causing a moral panic about the security and privacy risks of children’s personal data. “The thing that parents need to know about smart toys is that they’re new terrainfor parents and children, but also manufacturers,” said Sean Sullivan, F-Secure’s security advisor. “Smart toys and IoT devices in general are a competitive market and we’ve already seen numerous examples where security is treated as an afterthought. Companies are more interested in growing their customer base than securing customer data, so we’ll probably continue to see these cracks in smart toy security.” Parenting still key for protecting children using IoT, mobile devices Whether parents are concerned about , mobile phones or other Internet safety issues, the best approach for protecting children is for parents to become involved in how their child learns to use devices or online services. Data from a recent F-Secure survey indicates that there’s a lot more space for parents to do this. Only 30 per cent of survey respondents said they check what their children are doing online or use parental controls more than once a week. While 38 per cent said they explain to their children howto use the Internet safely more than once a week. According to F-Secure researcher Mikael Albrecht, this is problematic given how quickly technology (and how children use it) is evolving. “Parents have resources they can use to protect their children on traditional PCs, but mobile devices and the IoT are a different story. They do not recognise children as a user group with distinctive needs and this leaves parents with poor tools to manage their child’s online safety. So while you have things like age restrictions, they’re so basic that children can figure out how to get around them before parents know what’s happening.” Sullivan and Albrecht agree that the best solution is for parents to engage with their children and help them learn to use technology in a healthy, positive ways. There are a few practical ways parents can approach helping their child learn to use the Internet safely: Teach your children and let them teach you – “The world children are growing up in is new, alwayschanging and difficult for parents to understand,” said Albrecht. “Parents need to accept this rather than fight it. Learning should work both ways and be done together – parents can learn about issues the children are facing and children can learn things parents understand, like the dangers of interacting with strangers.” Pay attention to what services they use – Parents should understand enough about the products and services children are using to decide whether they are good or bad. “Educational apps typically strike a good balance between asking for information to help them improve their service and respecting privacy,” said Sullivan. “They’ll ask for a year of birth to tailor content to the correct age group, but they won’t ask for the exact birthdate or the child’s full name. If you’re being asked to disclose exact birthdates, full names or other things about your child you’d rather keep private, move on to a better product.” Be present, but not overbearing – Children need somedegree of privacy, especially as they grow older. “I think it’s okay for parents to use technical solutions to keep an eye on what children are doing online, but parents should be open about this and prepared to ease off as children get older,” said Albrecht. “Chances are children will figure out these technical controls anyway, so trying to hide it is likely to backfire and cause the child to see their parents as big brother type figures.” About F-Secure has been defending tens of millions of people around the globe from digital threats for over 25 years. Our award-winning products protect people and companies against everything from crimeware to corporate cyberattacks, and are available from over 6000 resellers and 200 operators in more than 40 countries. We are on a mission to help people connect safely with the world around them, so join the movement and switch on freedom! Founded in 1988, F-Secure is listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki Ltd.
February 10, 2016 Security providers need to rethink basic security functions of IoT-enabled applications before they are put to market Innocuous devices recently found to be vulnerable to include a teddy bear able to remotely send voice messages and a doorbell with a video monitor that can be remotely accessed by a phone. Unchanged default passwords and poor app configuration were discovered as the most prominent flaws affecting these devices. Tom Lysemose Hansen, founder and CTO of Norwegian app security firm , commented on the importance of comprehensively protecting apps that could present a portal for hackers to intrude into the wider lives of their owners: “Introducing a single object into a wireless network that is inadequately protected is a straightforward way of exposing personal data to an intruder. Fortunately, according to the security analyst that identified the threat, no external user exploited the attack vectors. This, however, is beside the point: it is typical that asuccessful attack vector could remain open to exploit data for some time before it is identified and patched.” Hansen continued: “Part of the vulnerability is due to the ease with which consumer goods can be cracked. If the default passwords are not changed – and I suspect with childrens’ toys this is the case – bypassing them is relatively simple. A patch can be introduced retroactively, but until then, the device could be a single entry point into an entire private network, enabling hackers to uncover sensitive data or relay false information. The model of using default passwords must be put to bed if IoT is to become an integral feature of domestic life, otherwise its associated dangers will overwhelm any perceived benefits.” , by 2020 a black market worth more than $5billion will exist to sell sensor and video data extracted from IoT devices. This data will allow criminals to access privately held consumer information through man-in-the middle attacks, where attackers can draindata from customers’ accounts through an approved external request. Hansen said: “The developers of applications are all too eager to crack the simplest and least demanding way of controlling a device remotely, but – in order to maintain IoT’s pace of growth without muddying its image – adequate security must be developed in tandem.” Hansen continued: “The security of the IoT hinges on the apps used to access, monitor and control the device – whether it’s a mobile app used to control a doorbell or a teddy bear. It is crucial this app is able to self-protect, otherwise sensitive data, such as passwords, may be leaked and misused. Ideally, the device should verify that it’s being accessed from a trusted app, and this verification process should not rely on single static factors, like default passwords, but multiple factor authentication to ensure the integrity of the private network. “While the implications of a hacked banking application are widely recognised, wireless consumer goodsnow pose an uncertain threat. How app developers and manufacturers handle these threats will determine the success and legality of their entry into the consumer IoT market. It’s important that these early incursions on unsafe networks are nipped in the bud with effective security measures, namely the replacement of ineffective or unavailable anti-malware software with perennial in-app security and a more individualised, user-friendly password system.” Hansen concluded. About Promon Traditional security systems such as antivirus, antispam and antimalware are outdated and no longer able to protect companies and users against security threats and cyber-crime. provides full protection for applications against existing and new malware threats. Promon’s patented method for detecting and blocking security threats against applications enables self-protected apps allowing users risk-free utilisation of a potentially unprotected computer, tablet or mobile telephone. Promon is a Norwegian companywith its head office in Oslo.
February 9, 2016 Kaspersky Lab urges parents to question their teen’s online habits ahead of Safer Internet Day 2016 Research by Kaspersky Lab to mark reveals that one in ten (12 per cent) of 16 to 19 year olds in the UK know someone who has engaged in a cyber- activity that could be deemed illegal. The poll found a third (35 per cent) would be impressed if a friend hacked a bank’s website and replaced the homepage with a cartoon, and a deeply worrying one in ten would be impressed if a friend hacked the air traffic control systems of a local airport. Public awareness and understanding of the online behaviour of young people is vital, especially in light of the NCA’s recent finding that the average age of a cyber-criminal is now just 17 years old. There’s nothing new in teenagers being rebellious and pushing boundaries, what is new is how they are unwittingly involving themselves in the far more serious threats and dangers that lurk in the world of cybercrime. “Rebellion, curiosity andan urge to demonstrate their independence are natural characteristics of the 16 to 19 age-group. As the first truly digital native generation, rebelling has simply become another aspect of their lives that can go digital. Cyber-crimes have become glamorised in society and represent an attack on the ‘system’ and allow individuals to express their teenage angst, in which they struggle to identify their place within society, and to achieve the kind of social validation and attention that many teenagers seek,” comments Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos, Consumer and Business Psychologist at University College London. “It’s frighteningly easy for teenagers to find their way into the dark corners of the internet today. Specialist browsers required to gain access are freely available online and discussion groups used by cybercriminals are often open to outsiders. Young people exploring, experimenting or taking their first steps towards making some easy money online can all too easily end up here insearch of tools and advice. Once in, they are vulnerable to exploitation for more complex schemes, perhaps being drawn into a fraudulent activity by playing the role of a money mule, or being asked to create a malicious program. It’s far harder to get out than it is to get in,” comments David Emm, principal security researcher, Kaspersky Lab. Kaspersky Lab urges parents to create an environment for their children where discussions are open and where both parties can agree on what constitutes safe and ethical behaviour online, and to understand the consequences of negative behaviour. The National Crime Agency recently launched a specifically aimed at preventing young people from becoming involved in . It is vital that parents and teachers are aware and understand what to look out for in teenagers and also find ways to use cyber skills positively. About Kaspersky Lab is one of the world’s fastest-growing cybersecurity companies and the largest that is privately-owned. The company isranked among the world’s top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users (IDC, 2014). Since 1997 Kaspersky Lab has been an innovator in cybersecurity and provides effective digital security solutions and threat intelligence for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers. Kaspersky Lab is an international company, operating in almost 200 countries and territories across the globe, providing protection for over 400 million users worldwide.
February 9, 2016 Increasingly, businesses large and small, rely on mobile devices to run their operations and deliver more flexible customer service. Many businesses also invite their employees to use personal devices for work, be it at home, a client’s site or local café at lunchtime: wherever there’s a connection. When we talk about mobile devices, we immediately think of smartphones. But any device which fits in your pocket, briefcase or shoulder bag is mobile. USB sticks, tablets, laptops, DVD drives and external hard drives – they’re all mobile – and millions are lost every year. Where they end up and what happens to the data they hold sometimes remains a mystery. Having a mobile device or data stolen as a result of a hacker breaking through your defenses is one thing, losing it through absent mindedness or poorly thought out security is something else entirely. It’s strange. We know how important our mobile devices are to our work and personal lives. The data stored on them, orthe access to it, is in many cases vastly more important and valuable than the devices themselves. We know the consequences and precautions needed to protect them but they still go missing. There are plenty of data breaches each year to remind us we should take security seriously. Knowledge and warnings aren’t in short supply. Something else is at play, the question is what? Is security being designed out? The websites, browsers and apps we use – especially on smartphones – encourage us to never log out. “Remember me” Dropbox says, “Stay signed in” Google invites, “Keep me logged in” Facebook offers. These are known in the marketing industry as , a concept in behavioral science which suggests that framing questions or choices in a way that is more likely to lead to positive outcomes, or non-forced compliance, can be as effective as direct instruction, legislation, or enforcement. These pre-ticked boxes certainly deliver convenience but they design security out because they are wordedto encourage us to stick with the status quo: a that is hard to overcome. Once logged in, the design and functions of the apps themselves may be making it harder to implement security as well. An employee may be legitimately downloading emails on their phone via their personal email app, but doing so means they could mix up the To or Reply As email addresses. They could accidentally send company or customer data to a friend. Similarly, if an employee is managing the company social media accounts from their phone – replying to customer questions out of hours for example – they might be accessing the company accounts via their personal accounts, instead of logging in directly to the company account. Again, if they forget to choose the right account, they could easily publish work-related information to their personal profile by mistake, or worse, post a personal picture on a company profile which your customers might not appreciate. The design of visual interfaces could be blurring thelines too. Apps which allow multiple accounts to be imported, and switched between, don’t necessarily give each account a unique look and feel. This lack of visual differentiation, even if not intended by the app’s developers, might be making it harder to realize which account is being used. It goes deeper We feel safe always being “logged in” because there is no downside that we can easily feel or perceive. Clicking a suspicious link in an email doesn’t feel any different to clicking a legitimate one. Hackers are anonymous and out of sight, not standing over an employee’s shoulder. is invisible. Key logging spyware is silent. Being logged out has become an inconvenience because it interrupts the flow of work and enjoyment of our device. And while losing a smartphone or tablet is incredibly inconvenient, many service providers can deactivate them remotely or allow the owner to. Insurance will probably cover the cost of a replacement. Unless the loss or breach becomes public and causesserious harm or disruption to the business or people involved, there is little incentive to change our behavior. Ads for Google’s Chromebook promote a “no need to worry” approach to data security. They don’t offer protection against but if aliens do steal it, no problem, your data isn’t on your laptop, it’s in the cloud. It’s this sort of messaging which can undermine the need to protect your data and devices. Designing security back in So what can businesses and employees do to avoid being nudged in the wrong direction? , Senior Security Evangelist for , a provider of online security solutions to businesses worldwide, says, “It’s important for small businesses to use the latest hardware, install the latest software patches and keep their antivirus and security software updated. Implementing security policies for the use of firewalls, encryption through a Virtual Private Network, strong passwords and multi-factor authentication are essential to maintain a basic security level.” Buttechnology is not enough “Processes and policies need to cater for the mobile way in which people now work but without leaving the business at risk. When employees use their own devices at work, they should log in directly to business accounts, not via their own personal accounts, and untick those nudge options like “Remember me”. Employees also need to set their phones not to auto-connect to free WiFi networks they may have used in public places or on client sites. Small changes like that can help prevent accidental sharing or publishing of business data.” continues Anscombe. Stop believing it can’t happen to your business Anscombe concludes, “Some businesses might think they’re too small for a hacker to notice, but that’s a myth. A was hacked last year and had their business held to ransom. You don’t have to be a corporate giant to be a target. A may even target your small business to gain access to a larger business that’s your customer. Good security means having the right toolsand the right mindset. You have to understand the value of your data and want to protect it.” About Lee Carnihan Having lived and worked for SMEs and multi-national corporations in the UK, Saudi Arabia, Finland and the Czech Republic, Lee’s experience allows him to deliver a broad and deep perspective on a variety of business issues including information security, management strategy and sales and marketing.
February 9, 2016 Iron Mountain advises on the key areas to address At the end of last year, the European Parliament and Council reached agreement on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) proposed by the European Commission. The new rules, which will come into force in early 2018, represent the greatest change to data protection legislation since the dawn of the Internet. They will affect any organisation across the world that handles data of European origin. According to information management and storage company Iron Mountain (NYSE: IRM), the reforms, which aim to reflect the changing needs of the digital economy and champion the data privacy rights of the individual, could prove difficult to apply to paper-based information. To help companies ensure their paper records don’t fall foul of the regulations, Iron Mountain has prepared the following guidance on some of the key components of the GDPR: Make sure you can find the information you need. Before you can de-identify ordelete information you need to be able to find it. The reforms will enshrine the consumer’s ‘right to be forgotten’ in European law and businesses will need to respond to requests to delete personal information. Unfortunately, while it may be easy to remove digital data from a record or database, hard copies are far more difficult to amend. Iron Mountain research shows that close to a quarter (22 per cent) of companies have no policy regarding paper filing and allow employees to decide what to do for themselves. As a result, in many organisations, no single person or defined team has complete oversight of what information is stored where. Even when the information can be located, there are the practical challenges of having to partially edit documents, often by hand. Iron Mountain advises organisations to identify the departments and functional areas most likely to create and store records containing personally identifiable information (PII) and to prioritise scanning and secureoffsite storage for those records. Organisations should also implement and enforce a clear filing and identification system for all paper records, with tags and metadata marked on box files and cartons, with clearly defined access rights and accountabilities. Be aware that paper often leads a double or triple life. Clearly defined processes for managing information from creation to secure destruction may not be enough on their own. Paper can slip through the cracks of the strictest information classification and storage policies, simply by being copied or printed and left lying around, carelessly disposed of, or even removed from a secure building. The 2015 Privacy and Security Enforcement tracker report from PwC reveals that many European data security incidents that result in a penalty stem from human error in the handling of paper documents. Consequently, despite the best intentions of an organisation to comply with a data deletion request, employees may be keeping the data alive ina desk drawer or home office environment. Iron Mountain advises companies to complement their information management policies and processes with regular employee training and communication that show staff how to manage information securely and support a business-wide culture of information responsibility. Every employee should understand what constitutes private or confidential data and how to handle it. Build privacy into your processes. The GDPR want privacy to be a forethought in how information is produced, managed and disposed of. For paper this will all be about information handling processes. Iron Mountain advises that organisations should make it difficult, if not impossible, for unauthorised people to access or make copies of documents that carry personally identifiable information. Information storage, retention and destruction processes should all be reviewed with privacy requirements in mind – and adapted where necessary. Accept that some rules simply won’t apply. Elementsof the GDPR, such as data portability will be difficult to apply to information stored only on paper. In some cases this lack of applicability is an advantage. For example, demands for robust measures do not apply to paper, because it can’t be hacked. “There is a wealth of business advice available on how to prepare for the new legislation, but it’s almost all focused on electronic data and IT security – ignore paper at your peril,” advises Gavin Siggers, Director of Professional Services from Iron Mountain. ”Organisations continue to create and process paper documents carrying personal information. Many have accumulated vast paper archives, stretching back decades. This legacy will present problems for any organisations no longer sure what information they hold in the archive. It is now more important than ever to know what you have, know where it is and know how to get to it when you need it. ” About Iron Mountain (NYSE: IRM) is a leading provider of storage and informationmanagement solutions. The company’s real estate network of 64 million square feet across more than 1,000 facilities in 36 countries allows it to serve customers around the world. And its solutions for records management, data backup and recovery, document management and secure shredding help organisations to lower storage costs, comply with regulations, recover from disaster, and better use their information for business advantage. Founded in 1951, Iron Mountain stores and protects billions of information assets, including business documents, backup tapes, electronic files and medical data.
February 8, 2016 Another 18% of IT pros say the topic of compliance “strikes fear into their hearts,” showing scale of regulatory challenge ahead for businesses , the leading cloud access security broker, announced that only one in five companies are confident that they will comply with the upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). According to the findings of the Netskope-commissioned YouGov research, which surveyed over 500 businesses, only 21% of IT professionals in medium and large businesses felt sure they would comply with upcoming regulations, including the GDPR – which is set to be finalised in Spring 2016 and enforced from 2018. A further 21% of respondents assumed that their cloud providers would handle compliance obligations on their behalf, which is explicitly not the case, according to the wording of the GDPR. A further 18% of those surveyed admitted that the topic of compliance and regulation surrounding cloud apps “strikes fear into their hearts,”highlighting the extent of confusion and concern in light of the coming changes to the regulatory landscape. Asked specifically about cloud app use, 29% of IT pros said that they were aware employees use ‘some’ or ‘many’ unauthorised cloud apps within the business. A tiny 7% of respondents from medium and large organisations said they had a solution in place to deal with the use of unsanctioned apps within the workplace. Cloud apps pose a particular challenge to GDPR compliance because they often create unstructured data – which are covered by the legislation, but are typically much harder for organisations to manage because of how the data are created and stored. Data are typically created by users of cloud apps such as productivity or collaboration applications, often meaning that data are stored on mobile devices and shared with others through unsanctioned applications and cloud storage. All of these data are outside the organisation’s direct control, and therefore pose a seriousrisk to compliance with the GDPR. The latest found that the average number of cloud apps in use per enterprise in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region was 608, a 26% increase from the previous report. This demonstrates the huge potential for the creation of unstructured data, the management of which poses significant regulatory risk. To add to this uncertainty, 89.8% of these apps were found to be not enterprise-ready, lacking key functionalities such as security, audit and certification, service-level agreement, legal, privacy, financial viability and vulnerability remediation. “The GDPR will have far-reaching consequences for both cloud-consuming organisations and cloud vendors,” said Eduard Meelhuysen, VP EMEA, Netskope. “With the ratification of this piece of legislation imminent, the race is on for IT and security teams who now have two years to comply. Although that might sound like a lengthy timeframe to complete preparations, the significant scope of these reformsmeans that businesses have their work cut out to ensure compliance in time for the EU’s deadline.” Under the GDPR, organisations must be sure that personal data are processed in ways consistent with the regulation. This means that businesses must take organisational and technical measures, beyond traditional security measures that are aimed at confidentiality, integrity and availability of the data, in order to ensure compliance with the GDPR. “The key is to start preparations as soon as possible. The technical challenges are made even more significant by the myriad complications presented by the cloud and shadow IT, which make personal data even harder to track and control,” said Meelhuysen. “As a starting point for GDPR compliance, organisations need to conduct an audit to ensure they understand what are in use – both sanctioned and unsanctioned – and what data are in those cloud apps.” About Netskope is the leading cloud access security broker (CASB). Only the Netskope ActivePlatform TM provides discovery, deep visibility, and granular control of sanctioned and unsanctioned cloud apps. With Netskope, IT can direct usage, protect sensitive data, and ensure compliance in real-time, on any device, including native apps on mobile devices and whether on-premises or remote, and with the broadest range of deployment options in the market. With Netskope, businesses can move fast, with confidence. Serving a broad customer base including leading healthcare, financial services, high technology, and retail enterprises, Netskope has been named to CIO Magazine’s top 10 cloud security startups and featured in such business media as CBS News, Wall Street Journal, and Forbes. Netskope is headquartered in Los Altos, California.
February 8, 2016 At the end of last year, the European Parliament and Council reached agreement on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) proposed by the European Commission. The new rules, which will come into force in early 2018, represent the greatest change to data protection legislation since the dawn of the Internet. They will affect any organisation across the world that handles data of European origin. The reforms, which aim to reflect the changing needs of the digital economy and champion the data privacy rights of the individual, may be difficult to apply to paper-based information, not to mention the employees printing off and using that paper. In an increasingly connected and digital business environment, organisations can underestimate the extent of this challenge. Firstly, they may be unaware of just how much paper is created and used by their employees every single day. According to the information management industry association, , 40 per cent of office workersstill prefer to file their most important information in paper form. Further, while 40 per cent of organisations say that more than half of their invoices are now delivered electronically – 35 per cent admit that most of these still get printed off. Secondly, while many companies have robust information management processes in place, not all of them check whether these processes are effective. we discovered that 79 per cent of mid-size companies in Europe and North America claim to have a detailed inventory of what information they hold and where it is held – but around half of them don’t check whether this is accurate. Human behaviour does not always fit neatly with process. People forget, ignore or work around guidelines they find too complex or restrictive; and handle paper documents in ways that can undermine the best intentions of the information governance team. Among companies that don’t have processes in place the risks can be even higher. Iron Mountain research shows thatclose to a quarter (22 per cent) of companies have no policy regarding paper filing and employees are allowed to decide for themselves what they do. In such an environment it is likely that no single person or defined team has complete oversight of what information is stored where, and whether the storage is secure. Added to this is the fact that paper can lead a double or even treble life. It can be copied and printed multiple times by different people and easily removed from the workplace. Often this is done by diligent employees taking work home with them – or by new or temporary employees unaware of what constitutes confidential or sensitive information. It can also reflect over-stretched staff not having the time to manage information properly; and sometimes the mismanagement of information results from a lack of common sense or consideration. If their employers try to implement the requirements of the new GDPR, such as the ‘right to be forgotten’, they may discover that evenafter digital records have been amended, employees could be keeping the information alive on paper in a desk drawer or in their home office. The combined vulnerability of paper and employee behaviour has resulted in a number of damaging data breach incidents. The penalties for breaches are set to increase significantly with the GDPR reforms. The annual Privacy and Security Enforcement tracker report from PwC provides a fascinating insight into the ways in which employees can put paper-based data at risk. Incidents in 2014, the latest year for which data is available, included a box containing information on murder and child abuse cases left behind at the former police station after an office move; a social worker losing a paper file with sensitive client information after leaving it on a car roof before driving off; an estate agent disposing of customer passport and tax records in a transparent rubbish bag on the pavement; and a psychiatric consultant losing a bag containing sensitivepersonal data while cycling home from work. We therefore advise companies to ensure that their formal information management policies and processes are accompanied by relevant and regular training and communication programmes for employees. These should show staff how to manage information securely and how to support a business-wide culture of information responsibility. For data protection measures to succeed, every employee must understand what constitutes private or confidential data and how to handle it. Companies need to make sure that only authorised people can access or make copies of paper documents that carry personally identifiable information. Further, paper storage, retention and destruction processes should all be reviewed with privacy requirements in mind – and adapted where necessary. Many businesses have accumulated vast paper archives, stretching back decades. This will include personal information the company is entitled to hold on to – but may well containinformation that could, and perhaps should, have already been disposed of. With the GDPR on every business’ doorstep it is more important than ever to know what you have, where it is and with whom, how to get to it when you need it, and when to delete it defensibly – that means disposing of it permanently and completely, wherever it may reside. About Gavin Siggers Gavin Siggers is an information governance and records management expert with over twenty years’ experience as both a practitioner and consultant. As the Director for Professional Services at , he leads the information governance advisory practice for Europe. He is a board member for the UK Chapter of ARMA International and was previously the European Region Director. In addition, he is a mentor for the Information and Records Management Society. Siggers specializes in leading clients through the development of information management strategies and a usable governance framework for their information assets that takes accountof business, legal and regulatory requirement. He has worked across industry verticals throughout Europe and the USA, delivering strategic business side consultancy in information governance and system design, implementation and training.
February 8, 2016 Mobile has changed how businesses must approach security and protect not only their information but the information of their customers as well. Telecommuting and BYOD add to the mix of security issues that modern businesses must concern themselves with.Here we take a closer look at these issues. Mobile Payment Security Issues Mobile payment technology isn’t as safe as many people think. While companies such as Apple and Google are working to ensure users that their data is completely safe, consumers are not convinced. Even so, it is not all bad news for mobile developers in 2016. According to recent Forbes article, some features of mobile payment process are secure. Near Field Communication (NFC), for example, does not require physical credit cards. However, there are many other ways for hackers to get their hands on user data; it all depends on the security of the mobile payment product. Though companies are making an effort to authenticate, tokenize and encrypt userinformation before letting transactions proceed, no system is perfect. While most vendors and consumers like the idea of leaving credit cards at home and go mobile, it is still not clear whether this is a sure thing. Attackers still see the opportunity to attack this growing platform. Communication Interception WI-FI enabled mobile devices are prone to the same attacks that affect other WI-FI enable devices. The knowledge and tools to hack into wireless networks are readily available online. This makes WI-FI hacking easy to carry out. In addition, hackers can intercept and encrypt cellular data transmission. User sessions for online services can also be hijacked. For businesses with employees who use free Wi-Fi hotspot services, they are more vulnerable to attacks as hackers may get access to the entire business database. Mobile Browser Hacking Researchers have identified major security and privacy issues in popular mobile browsers. This year, users should expect some online securityflaws with their mobile browsers. And it should be noted that the vulnerability is not limited to any single mobile browser. This will be a bit of problem, not only for users, but for site owners as well. Hacking via a mobile browser will enable the hacker to compromise the entire device. a browser vulnerability can let the hacker bypass its several system security measures. And mobile browsers are more prone to web vulnerabilities as malicious messages come from many sources. These sources include but are not limited to social messengers, instant messages, emails, QR Codes, in-app redirects and even SMS. Attacking The Cloud Users should expect an explosion of attacks on the cloud. There will be malware specifically designed to bypass system-level security measures of these cloud-based systems. And because mobile apps rely on the cloud, mobile devices running malicious applications will make these attacks even more fruitful for hackers. Cyber-criminals will be able to attack privatecloud systems and access business networks. However, this does not mean that such problem cannot be prevented. Users can ensure critical exposures are mitigated and that the risks are minimal. Downloading Malicious Apps While third party app stores are a major risk; malicious mobile apps are also finding their way to official app stores like Play Store and iTunes App Store. The majority of mobile security breaches through 2016 will be the result of installing malicious apps. These apps are capable of auto-synchronize data with personal cloud services. These apps can easily leak personal data to hackers. Moreover, a growing number of mobile applications request permission to gather data that they do not need. Many of the free apps contain adware that captures information like contacts, information, device ID and so forth. This adware can trigger accidental web requests and even leak personal or business data to a third party. So users need to watch out when downloading apps from the appstores. Users might want to install an anti-virus protection plan that can detect malicious apps. And unless you trust the source, you shouldn’t download the app. Also, if you jailbreak or root your mobile device, you are also weakening your device’s security. This will disable security features and put you at higher risk of being exploited by security vulnerabilities. Internal Attacks If you think hackers are the biggest mobile security threat to your business, you cannot be more wrong. Internal attacks are the biggest threats, as it is quite easy for individual who already have access to sensitive information to abuse it. Less than happy employees can also steal devices and physical data. To minimize your risk of insider attacks from discontented employees, make sure as soon as you let an employee gothat they no longer have access to your system. This should be done before termination if at all possible. What do mobile security threats mean for businesses? Mobile security threatscontinue to be an escalating problem, new research shows. The problem is that there is a lack of visibility into the mobile security threats that businesses are experiencing. In other words, some of these threats are already happening in the business world but often unbeknown to the companies affected. Businesses must not wait until their security is breached to take action. There are a few security solutions that can proactively tackle mobile security threats. Businesses should educate employees about ways to avoid putting company data at risk through phishing emails, use of public WI-FI and not updating apps on a frequent basis. In order to minimize risk and manage information security in workplace, businesses should: Create preventive controls to ensure that uninterested parties cannot access their network. Determine authentication and encryption measures to protect against hackers. Assess apps to determine potential risks so that only approved apps are downloaded to devices. Ensurethat cloud and data service providers offer proper security measures. Final Thoughts Mobile security threats will continue to advance in 2016 as hackers are using every means available to break into users’ devices. These threats are increasing and lead to , data loss and regulatory compliance violations. Businesses therefore must take steps to minimize this problem in order to stay safe in today’s mobile-first environment. About Kimber Johnson Kimber Johnson is the co-founder of , which is a sister company of and . He has worked within the web development, graphics design, mobile application development, marketing and advertising fields for over 17 years.
February 5, 2016 February 8th is Clean Out Your Computer Day. It might seem odd to have a day dedicated to such a thing but it can be pretty important to help keep your computer running smoothly, and if we can have days dedicated to static electricity, ice cream sandwiches and square dancing then we can have one for cleaning out a computer. Matt Powell, from independent broadband comparison site , stopped by to give us his top computer cleaning tips! Bust that dust The original intention of Clean Out Your Computer Day was to get people to physically clean out their computers. The static generated by case fans and other parts attracts dust, and if this gets bad enough it can cause overheating. A regular dusting is a good idea to help your hardware run at its best. It’s common for PC chassis to have filters over the fans but unless your case is living in a hermetically sealed room there will still be gunk that builds up over time. You don’t need any specialist equipment to do this,though a can of compressed air, a clean cloth and some rubbing alcohol is definitely helpful. Please don’t use a vacuum cleaner inside your computer, the static generated can damage components! First step is to unplug everything. Remove all cables, and anything else that’s attached. Take your PC outside, because there’s no point blowing the dust around your home so it can settle back inside the PC later. If your case has dust filters over the fans, remove these and brush off any dust then give it a blast with the compressed air. For the internals you should first clean up as much dust as possible by hand, blowing it with compressed air may only redistribute the mess. Once the worst of it has been wiped up (using a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a cloth can help) then the can of air can help dislodge anything hidden in tight spots. Be careful when using compressed air on case, CPU and graphics cards fans. It can make them spin too fast and cause damage, so hold them in place with apen before you go nuts with the air blasting. Software maintenance As well as clearing out dust you should consider the well being of your software. Unneeded files and programs left on your hard drive can impact performance, particularly if they’re applications which load automatically when it boots. To begin, go through all installed applications and remove anything that’s no longer needed. Also empty out the Recycling Bin (Trash on Apple Mac OS) as this can hold quite a large amount of data. If you tend to store downloads and other files in particular folders these should also be given a ruthless clean out. There will likely still be lots of other data left in less obvious places, so it can help to use a drive space analysis tool such as SpaceSniffer (Windows) or Daisy Disk (Apple). These will examine the contents of a hard drive and provide a graphical representation, making it easy to pinpoint folders which contain very large amounts of data. Another handy utility to keep on handis a general disk cleaner. CCleaner for Windows and Mac is an excellent free tool for wiping unnecessary data which examines common folders for junk data. By default it will not wipe anything which could be important, though there are some advanced options if you want to use it to clear out other system folders. Of course, you can go for the nuclear option and completely start again. Provided you’ve got a backup of all important files then reinstalling your OS for a fresh start will make it feel like a new computer. About Broadband Genie Broadband Genie is an independent switching site providing consumers and businesses with practical help, advice and price comparison for home broadband, mobile broadband, phones, TV services and mobile accessories.
February 4, 2016 Securing Smart Cities, a not-for-profit global initiative that aims to solve the existing and future problems of smart cities, has contributed to two studies of The European Union Agency for Network and Information Security on the cybersecurity of public transport in a smart city. The first study, entitled: “Cyber Security and Resilience of Intelligent Public Transport. Good Practices and Recommendations,” focuses on the protection of assets critical to Intelligent Public Transport (IPT) in the context of smart cities. The assets in the study contribute to the normal operation of local public transport networks including metro, buses, light rail and other modes of mass public transport found in smart cities and can be considered as “internal” assets to IPT operators in such locations. The study identifies these critical assets from a business and societal point of view and highlights good security practices against cyber-threats in order to enhance the resilience ofIPT. The second study: “Architecture Model of the Transport Sector in Smart Cities,” models the architecture of the transport sector in smart cities and reports on good cybersecurity practices, providing practical, hands-on guidance for IPT operators. A well-developed and smart public transport system is a must-have for any modern and comfortable city; it is one of the corner stones of the smart city concept. However, a smart public transportation system relies heavily on network communications and IT, potentially rendering the system and the city vulnerable to cyber intrusions. It is therefore vital that cybersecurity is an important part of all smart transport projects. “The Smart Cities study demonstrates a completely interconnected modern city. However, it is impossible to protect public transport from cyber-threats effectively if you don’t account for how it interacts with city energy, telecommunication and public safety systems. A single weakness in any of these systems couldbecome a stepping stone for an attacker looking to exploit other systems. The attacker could then create an avalanche of events; negatively impacting every part of city life and bringing remarkable economic and social damage. It was a great honour for us to share our cybersecurity expertise in public transport and railways with ENISA and the working group. We believe that cooperation between regulators, hardware and software vendors, transport operators and security organisations is the only way to create a truly reliable and protected environment for modern city transport systems,” said Sergey Gordeychik Head of Security Services, Deputy CTO at Kaspersky Lab and Securing Smart Cities contributor. About Kaspersky Lab is one of the world’s fastest-growing cybersecurity companies and the largest that is privately-owned. The company is ranked among the world’s top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users (IDC, 2014). Since 1997 Kaspersky Lab has been an innovator incybersecurity and provides effective digital security solutions and threat intelligence for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers. Kaspersky Lab is an international company, operating in almost 200 countries and territories across the globe, providing protection for over 400 million users worldwide.