Category: Cyber Attacks Page 7 of 8

Data Privacy and the Cybercrime Economy

data-privacySpeaking in a recent interview on CBS’ 60 Minutes, Tim Sparapani, a former privacy lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, commented “Most retailers are finding out that they have a secondary source of income, which is that the data about their customers is probably just about as valuable, maybe even more so, than the actual product or service that they’re selling to the individual.”

It was a chilling admission that the world has changed in ways most of us never expected, and that there may be more value in private data about people than in selling goods and services to those people. Or stealing from them.

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11 Things You Should Know About the Heartbleed Bug

heartbleed bugIt won’t actually make your heart bleed and you can’t catch it. But it has caused a lot of heartburn since it was announced and probably caused lots of websites to bleed valuable data. Here is a list of eleven things you should know about the Heartbleed bug.

  1. It’s an exploit in OpenSSL, a type of security that protects a user’s communications with a website (the s in https) and around half a million secure web servers may have been affected.
  2. “Open” means it’s open source and free for anyone to use. It also means all the code is freely available and has been since Open SSL was first introduced more than 15 years ago.
  3. It’s a very big deal. According to Bloomberg “Heartbleed appears to be one of the biggest flaws in the Internet’s history, affecting the basic security of as many as two-thirds of the world’s websites.”
  4. It was discovered just recently by a security firm. But it’s apparently been known to the criminal community for a couple of years, and they may have been quietly exploiting it all that time.
  5. Heartbleed is not actually a virus or malware or a hack but simply a mistake in software coding made, probably innocently, by one of the many contributors to the Open SSL project.
  6. It can steal user passwords and credit card numbers – things that are most often protected by SSL.
  7. Some of the biggest sites on the web have been affected, from Gmail and Yahoo, to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google, Amazon, Netflix, and YouTube. However, it’s unlikely your bank’s website has been affected because few banks actually use Open SSL.
  8. A number of news outlets say that criminal weren’t the only ones who knew about Heartbleed and were quietly exploiting it. Some are accusing the NSA of knowing about Heartbleed for nearly two years and using the flaw as a spying tool.
  9. If in doubt, change passwords for all your important websites, then change them again in a few weeks. Some websites are slow to fix the flaw, so it might be safer to change passwords more than once.
  10. If you want to check whether or not a website is still unpatched and vulnerable to Heartbleed, there are plenty of places to do so. Try https://filippo.io/Heartbleed/.
  11. If you host a website, make sure you apply the security update. You can get more information at http://www.openssl.org/.

To help keep your website protected, all SiteLock plans SecureSpeed and higher include daily vulnerability scanning that detect Heartbleed and similar issues. To learn more call 855-378-6200.

Was 2013’s Target Security Breach Really Just The Work Of A Teenager?

grounded_for_lifeWhat’s worse than being recognized as the biggest data breach in history? How about finding out that the culprit responsible for a major hit on your brand and reputation that will eventually cost you billions of dollars was a teenager?

That’s exactly the news Target is dealing with, as security researchers suggest that at least one of the hackers behind the malware used to attack Target is barely 17 years old. Yet this teen was apparently able to develop a pretty sophisticated piece of malware, known as BlackPoS, that was used to infiltrate Target’s systems undetected. And in spite of his young age he’s reported to have already earned a reputation for developing lots of advanced malware. It’s not believed that the teenager is personally responsible for the attacks on Target, but instead sold his malware to dozens and possibly even hundreds of hackers and criminal groups. And one of those groups was behind the Target breach.

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POS Malware Hits Target in Data Breach

Data breachIt’s been less than a month since mega retailer Target announced that a little more than 40 million customer debit and credit cards had been stolen by hackers. Not long after that, we saw the first of those cards being sold a few hundred thousand at a time, in a variety of underground hacker forums. Although not that underground, since I was able to register on the most notorious hacker sites and see for myself how easy it was to buy an identity.

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Cybercrime Year in Review: 2013

cybercrimeOh, what a year it was for insecurity, and especially for the small business. It wasn’t as though we didn’t already know – that small businesses were firmly in the crosshairs of hackers. But early in the year Verizon put the final stamp on it. In its annual Data Breach Investigations Report, published at the beginning of 2013, Verizon revealed that businesses with fewer than 100 employees made up the single largest group of victims of data breaches. That conclusion was supported by other security studies around the same time that found small businesses suffered the most cyber attacks.

Perhaps the single biggest and most dangerous change in threats came in the world of malware delivery. For years, hackers and malware authors had used the same ways to deliver and spread their malware. Email and spam were by far the most popular. It was easy to buy hundreds of millions of email addresses, pack them with phishing messages, and attach a nasty malware payload.

And even if most users didn’t fall for the scam, even a small percentage of hundreds of millions was enough to make the attacks very lucrative for criminals. But as more users got the message, and began to grow more reluctant to open email attachments they weren’t expecting, many thought the malware industry was on its last legs. After all, how else could you get the goods to market?

So hackers had to choose a new way to deliver and spread malware. And they found it in small business websites. Every month, thousands of poorly protected websites are hijacked by hackers who use vulnerabilities in these sites to install malware. That malware is then spread to visitors to those websites, as well as attack other websites, and so continue the spread of malware.

And if you think that simply relying on antivirus software will get you through safely, there’s some more bad news. Some reports have suggested that today’s antivirus software can detect very few of the most dangerous types of malware – the stuff you really want to avoid. And the New York Times can testify to that. Early in 2013, Chinese hackers were easily able to breach the extensive defenses the Times had in place. Out of 45 different types of malware the Chinese used to attack the newspaper, the Times’ own security and virus protection detected only one.

But Chinese hackers weren’t just targeting big businesses like the New York Times. In September, the Huffington Post reported that Chinese hackers were actively targeting small businesses in the U.S., from pizza restaurants to medical clinics.

According to the Huffington Post, “The hackers find computer systems to take over by using tools that scan the web for Internet-connected PCs with software vulnerabilities they can exploit. Small businesses are popular targets because they often have lax security.”

And the year didn’t end too well either. When security researchers discovered more than 2 million stolen passwords on a hacker server in December, a piece of malware called a keylogger was suspected. That very same week, other security researchers found that out of 44 popular antivirus products tested, only one was able to detect a keylogger.

Which probably explains why an estimated $5 billion was siphoned from U.S. bank accounts in 2012 by cybercrooks using malware like keyloggers. And if any of those were business accounts, the business owners were probably on the hook for all the losses.

So safe to say (no pun intended) that 2013 was not a good year for business security, and especially for small business security. And we don’t predict much improvement over the next twelve months. It’s now clear that small businesses are the favorite target for the worst kinds of hackers. Whether it’s to steal your personal and customer information, break into your bank account, or use your website to host a variety of very dangerous malware, your small business may be getting all the wrong attention from all the wrong visitors.

So let’s make 2014 the year you take back your security and peace of mind. Security isn’t hard, no matter how sophisticated hackers and their tools have become. There are plenty of ways you can protect your business and your website, and make it just hard enough for hackers to decide that you’re just not worth the effort and that they should move on to small businesses that are doing little about security. It’s like locking your car and closing the windows while being parked next to a convertible with the top down. The easy target gets attacked first, and you’re at least lower on the radar by showing your security awareness.

If you make just one security choice this year, make it your website. Securing your website is simple and affordable, and yet it’s the single best way to protect your business, your customers, and any visitors to your site. And you’ll also help slow the spread of malware to other users and sites, which is one in the eye for the bad guys.

And remember that as a SiteLock customer you get more than prevention. SiteLock will work with you to address any website security issues that crop up, including malware removal, if any is detected on your site. And as always, our security advice – the best in the business – is always free, and we are here around the clock whenever you need support.

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, then you’ll know that our expertise and advice goes far beyond just protecting your website. All good security has to be holistic, which is why we offer no-nonsense advice on a variety of security topics that can impact your business, from security policies and planning, to employee education, malware prevention, data privacy and security, and much more.

Our goal for 2014 is to be the best security partner for online businesses. We hope that, even if SiteLock is not your chosen security provider, website security is on your list of goals for 2014 as well. To get started on meeting this goal call SiteLock at 855.378.6200.

Google Author: Neal O’Farrell

SiteLock Website Security

SiteLock’s Rendition of the The Twelve Days of Christmas [Video]

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!

12days

 

 

 

 

To protect your website this holiday season, call our SiteLock security experts at 855-378-6200 and ask for a free risk assessment.

Happy Cybercrime Monday!

cybercrimeHappy 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.

PC vs. Website Malware removal

When you purchase a new PC, you wouldn’t dream of connecting to the Internet without having an antivirus tool in place. Because it’s fairly common knowledge that the pace of growth and infection of viruses and attacks that affect personal computers is increasing rapidly and they can do serious damage. PC viruses and malware are often looking for personal information, like credit card data, that can be used for criminal and fraudulent activities.

malwareTo counteract the PC infection and theft that viruses and malware can cause, anti-virus tools have a sophisticated knowledge base of active threats. And they continuously look out for computers that have out-of-date antivirus software so they can update it automatically to protect PC owners and their computers from new threats as they are discovered.

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How a Web Application Firewall Benefits Your Website

web application firewallDoes your website have a bouncer, and if not, why not? Think about it. Websites are being probed by hackers millions of times every day, using sophisticated and automated hacking tools looking for any vulnerabilities they can exploit. It’s like having a store on Main Street that’s swarmed with visitors every single day, only you can’t tell which customers are going to pay you and which ones are going to shoplift.

A web application firewall, or WAF, is like a bouncer for your website. It stands between you and the street and determines based on a variety of criteria who gets in and who’s kicked out. It acts as a filter to make sure the visitors to your online store don’t mean you any harm.

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To WAF or Not to WAF? Part 3: Types of Website Traffic

Who is visiting my website?

There are two basic categories of traffic that visit your website – humans and bots. An invaluable benefit of the TrueShield web application firewall is being able to differentiate, not only between these two basic groups, but also to separate the good bots from the bad. Bots get a bad rap, since most people associate them with cyber attacks. But if it weren’t for the search engines using bots to index your website, your site would never appear in a search and all your SEO efforts would be wasted. These are the good bots, and if your website application firewall is blocking them you could be hurting your online business instead of protecting it. SiteLock ensures that these bots are able to access your site and do their job for you. Knowing more about your visitors also enables you to spend smarter when it comes to marketing dollars, and to provide your advertisers with the most accurate numbers.  When it comes to your website traffic (and, well, pretty much everything else in life), knowledge is power.

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