As we continue to dissect the massive data breach at Target, we’re going to learn lots of lessons. But probably the biggest lesson you can take away from it is that if it can happen to Target, it can certainly happen to you. Even if it’s on a much smaller scale, it could still be big enough to matter to you.
Author: Lauren Papagalos Page 13 of 17
When news broke last week that security researchers had found more than 2 million stolen passwords hidden on a hacker’s website, it didn’t take long for media around the world to get on the case. It appears the passwords were stolen over many months, and from users of Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn and many other sites.
The story that seemed to get the most attention from the media and from security experts was what these 2 million passwords told us about the password habits of users. That they were awful. Not that that’s really news, but still, once again we discovered that the most common passwords included in the haul were 123456, 111111, and perhaps worst of all, password.
However, we noticed something else, something that other security experts seemed to miss completely. The initial suspect in the heist was a keylogger, a tiny piece of malware that will infect computers, steal things like logins and passwords, and pass them back to the hackers.
On the very same day the media frenzy started, we noticed that a security firm OPSWAT revealed some very scary test results. When they planted a basic keylogger on one of their test computers, and ran scans with more than 40 of the most popular consumer and business antivirus products over two weeks, only one product caught the keylogger. Which probably means most consumers and even small businesses probably won’t be able to detect it either.
While the better antivirus brands are generally good at catching the most common malware, a study by the University of Alabama found that those same products only catch around 25% of the more advanced malware. And that’s the stuff that can do the most harm.
Keyloggers are typically in search of logins and passwords, but they don’t just log what you type. They can also capture screenshots of what’s on your computer, screenshots of the websites you visit and the folders you open, and even what you search for. And software isn’t the only variety. There’s a growing trend towards hardware keyloggers – keyloggers designed to look identical to a plug or connector you’d expect to find at the back of a computer or even a cash register. One such hardware keylogger was recently found plugged into the back of a cash register at a Nordstrom store in Florida.
If keyloggers make their way on to computers in your business, the hackers may be able to steal logins and passwords to your website or bank account. They might also be able to steal payroll and customer information. They might even be able to hop from your computers to your website, and from there infect visitors to your site. Which could end up with your business being blacklisted by the search engines until you solve the problem.
So what can you do cripple this menace?
- Start by talking to your employees, explain what a keylogger is, how it can threaten your workplace, and how you can all work together to protect against them.
- Require all your employees to use anti-keylogger software, like Key Scrambler (free). They won’t protect your business against every type of keylogging but are a good defense against the more common software based. Some work by instantly encrypting or scrambling all your keystrokes so that they’re unusable to hackers.
- Make sure you and your employees use one of the many safe surfing tools or plugins, like Web of Trust (WoT). As users become more wary of malware hidden in email attachments, hackers are turning to websites instead. Known as watering holes, hackers will find vulnerable websites, load them with keylogging malware, and simply lie in wait for visitors to those sites. SiteLock is finding as many as 5,000 small business web sites every single day already compromised and requiring malware removal. Safe surfing tools will help alert you of suspicious or dangerous websites before you click on them.
- Always have good antivirus software on every computer and device you use in your business and at home. And encourage your employees to do the same. Some of the best is free, including for your smartphone and tablet. And scan often — at least once a week is recommended.
- All employees should change their passwords often and think about passphrases instead.
- Be careful what you allow employees to download and install. Poor security habits and hygiene are a leading contributor to malware infections. Slow down, guard up, verify first, and only download if you’re really sure and you really need to.
For more information on protecting your business from cybersecurity threats call SiteLock at 855.378.6200.
At SiteLock, we see the biggest shopping season of the year as one of the biggest risk seasons too — at least for online threats. Let’s face it – most of us shop (and many of us sell) online to avoid the long lines and hustle of the crowds, and to make it easy for our customers.
In sticking with the theme of online shopping (and keeping your business and customers safe while doing so), being protected from hackers, and even hearing the website’s story in its letter to Santa practically begging for some attention, we are introducing a fun and informative video about some very real risks that website owners face, and what they mean for their online business. At a time when they can least afford to be exposed.
The content in this custom rendition of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” video is created entirely for educational purposes, taking the approach that even in risky times, awareness is the best form of prevention. A little fun never hurt (so we use that too), but what you don’t know can hurt you, so please be safe!
Enjoy the video! And caring is sharing – so tell your friends!
To protect your website this holiday season, call our SiteLock security experts at 855-378-6200 and ask for a free risk assessment.
No one likes talking or even thinking about bad things around the holiday season. It goes against the holiday spirit! But you may not have any choice. Bad things can happen to your business at any moment, and may even be happening as you’re reading this. Every day, millions of small business websites are being prodded and probed by automated hacker tools looking for unsecured websites they can hijack. It’s almost like a thief walking along a row of cars and nearly invisibly checking each door handle to see which ones are unlocked. Except hackers have an additional layer of secrecy. They don’t have to leave their homes to check websites, and they can see many of them – all at once.
Happy Cyber Monday! If your website has survived the Thanksgiving rush, let’s hope it doesn’t suffer from a post-Thanksgiving malware hangover. Because in the usual run up to Christmas, the only people busier than elves are hackers. And their favorite tool this year appears to be malware. What’s a website to do without trusted malware removal?
We took a look at many of the top security stories to hit the headlines in just the last couple of weeks, and it’s not surprising that most of them were about malware.
Security firm Symantec says that hackers have recently been very successful in delivering a nasty gift of malware to unsuspecting users by blasting out emails pretending to be antivirus software updates. What makes the emails so convincing, according to Symantec, is that they look very authentic and incorporate logos from most of the popular antivirus products – probably even those that you use. Because most users are likely to be familiar with the brands and use at least one of them, it makes the email appear more personal and genuine. And therefore more likely to be opened. And clicked – which is what causes the most damage.
Security firm Trusteer also announced that it discovered some of the most advanced financial malware yet, malware that not only has more features than any previous malware, but also creates a private and secure communications channel back to the hackers behind it. According to Trusteer, the malware can steal information entered into web forms as well as steal log-in credentials from dozens of the most popular FTP clients.
And this is especially dangerous to small businesses in the U.S. If this malware is able to steal the login and password for your business bank account, it will very quickly empty that account. And small business accounts are not protected by zero liability. So if the thieves steal every last dime you have in the bank account, you’re out of luck. And maybe even out of business.
To add to the misery, Trend Micro also reported that it discovered more than 200,000 different types of malware targeted at online banking in just the third quarter of this year, with at least 25% of them targeted at U.S. banks.
One of the most dangerous pieces of malware in circulation right now is Cryptolocker. This is ransomware. Once it infects your computer, it will encrypt or lock your files and then demand a ransom to unlock them so you can use them again. The ransom can vary, from $300 to more than $3,000. And even if you pay the ransom, chances are you still won’t get your data back. And thousands of users have fallen victim. Even one police department admitted that Cryptolocker had managed to kidnap their data.
And not to be left out, researchers have discovered that even the NSA has turned to malware to do their job, infecting at least 50,000 with a botnet that will allow them to spy on those computers.
To add website malware scanning and defense to your holiday to-do list call SiteLock at 855.378.6200.
This is my first ever Christmas letter to you. I don’t like to ask for much, but I’m desperate. I’ve been a website for, gosh, going on three years now. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. My owner’s great, new people visit me every day from all around the world, and my graphics are to die for. There’s never a dull moment, even when my owner is sleeping. Which of course, I never do.
But there’s a problem. My owner is so busy building the business, managing cash flow, and getting orders out the door, that she has little time for things like website security. Besides, she says she doesn’t have a technical background and know much about cybersecurity.
And that has left me feeling, well, vulnerable. Which is not a good thing on the Internet when I’m completely exposed to so many strangers. But my owner really needs the website to showcase her work and generate online orders. And being blacklisted by the search engines would make her very upset. But I worry about what might happen if she doesn’t put everything else aside, just for a moment, and think about website security.
With that in mind, here are just a few things that I would absolutely love this year. Not really for me, but for my owner. I’m doing all this for her, which I think is a very unselfish act. So I hope you’ll do your best to get me as many things on my list as you can.
- First, I’d love someone to watch over me. I know where my weaknesses are, but my owner doesn’t, and she doesn’t have the time to guard me every second of the day. So a website security or monitoring service would be just great. Everyone can sleep easier and I’ll feel much less naked and vulnerable.
- A new password would be great. Would it be asking too much to ask for a new website password say, every three months? Maybe one with a number or two, or heaven forbid a special character!? That could significantly reduce the chances that hackers will guess or crack my password and have access to who knows what. And a strong, random, and well-protected password would be ideal. I mean, what good is a password if it doesn’t do its job very well. Not complaining or criticizing, just saying.
- This might be asking too much, but any chance you could help me get rid of this stuff I’m not using anymore. I feel so bogged down lately with all this old, outdated code and images that no one even uses. It takes every bit of my energy to just load a simple page. I know I could be so much faster and lighter with just a bit of a clean-up – I’ll be a whole new website, you’ll see!
- I don’t want to sound selfish, but could I ask for a little something else for myself? Nothing fancy, but I’ve worked so hard all year I think it would help my spirits and confidence as we get ready for yet another year. Patches. I’d like some patches, or updates. I am up to my gills in all kinds of third-party programs that the web designer thought would be so very cool to burden me with. But he’s easily distracted and he’s forgotten about most of them. Now at least half of them have serious and known vulnerabilities that have never been patched or updated.
Anyway, I hope I didn’t take up too much of your valuable time. And I hope you’ll see that what I’m asking for is not for me. I even know of a company that can help you with this. To make things easy, I’ll provide you with the number to SiteLock website security. It’s 855-378-6200. They’re available 24/7/365 to help!
As Thanksgiving weekend approaches, your customers may be gearing up to make some big purchases. And how safe and secure they feel about your website could determine how much of their hard-earned cash will end up in your pocket.
Website security is one of those things that needs to be addressed (the horror stories of hacked websites are everywhere), but it tends to get put off for many reasons. Some of us underestimate the importance of securing our website, some are afraid it will be expensive, and some think it will be too hard to manage without an IT person on staff. The truth is, website security is critical to your business, but also very easy to implement.
We’ve listed three easy ways to improve your website security:
1. Ensure safe online shopping for your eCommerce customers
As an eCommerce website, you can maximize your sales opportunity by displaying a trust seal. Most website scanning services provide a trust seal to publish on the website’s homepage to show visitors that the website has been scanned and is free of malware and viruses. Trust seals are also used to boost customer confidence.
2. Update your plugins
This is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your website, and also one of the most important. Using outdated versions is the single most common way for a hacker to gain entry to your website, and all your information, and often that of your customers. So make a list of all the plugins and third-party software on your site, peruse it, and purge (uninstall) anything you no longer use. For the ones you do use and want to keep, make sure you have the latest versions and updates installed.
3. Educate your employees about phishing emails
If you are someone who is extremely cautious about opening emails from unknown or large company senders, it may be hard to believe anyone still opens phishing emails or (gasp!) downloads the enclosed attachments. But the reality is that not everyone is aware. And even those who are careful are often so busy and inundated with emails that a few might slip through the cracks. Plus, hackers are getting scary good at impersonating legitimate business emails – PayPal, FedEx, Apple, to name just a few – and luring victims to click on links in order to update account information, track a package, download an important update, etc. All you need is one employee to click on one of these fraudulent download links, and you could be handing over your entire business to a criminal. Financial data for you and your customers – stolen, and your reputation – ruined, in a matter of seconds.
Follow these three easy ways to improve your website security. If you need help with any of the items listed above, give the SiteLock experts a call 855.378.6200. We are available 24/7/365 to help.
As National Cyber Security Awareness Month wraps up for yet another year, have you learned anything? More important, have you done anything, at least to improve your security? In case the answer to one or both is no, I thought I’d share the experiences of just a couple of small businesses (one which I worked with personally) that learned about security the hard way.
In the first case, the victim was a small but thriving electronics business based in Nevada. Their problems began when they started getting phone calls from angry suppliers wanting to know why some big bills hadn’t been paid. After some investigating, the business owners figured out that the bills had not been paid because they had never actually placed the orders.
Data has always been a currency for crooks but, now more than ever, personal data has become a hot commodity for everyone from petty identity thieves to major organized crime. And one of the easiest ways to get this kind of information is from websites just like yours.