Filing for your taxes can be a nuisance, but the refund you receive is well worth the effort, especially if you have big plans for your tax credit. But how would you feel if your refund check was stolen?
Category: Malware Page 4 of 6
Bad actors have attacked websites since the beginning of the internet. They have many reasons for taking over websites — money, infamy, politics, curiosity — though nothing grabs attention more than the visual defacement of a site. Website defacement occurs when a bad actor gains access to the site files, and replaces the index or home page with their own page. We’ve seen many of these over the last year, but what are the real consequences for the sites that are defaced? We’ll discuss the effects of a defacement on a website, and the reasons why they happen. We will also outline what you should know about defacements and how to secure your site against them.
What Is A Website Defacement?
Why Email Addresses?
When the SiteLock support teams clean malware from websites, it’s not unusual to find email addresses somewhere in the injected code. So the research team decided to dig into some of those malware email addresses to see what we could learn.
With the help of the SECCON (security concierge) and Expert Services teams, we gathered over 1,000 email addresses in short order. We hoped to see potential patterns such as highly used email providers and learn how the addresses were used, with the added benefit of providing a list of strings to detect malware.
Where Malware Email Addresses Can Be Found
The list of 1,012 email addresses consists mostly of phishing repositories, with some shell install and login notifications, ego addresses, and a few spoofed “From” addresses from phishing files. The full list of malware email addresses is found at WSTNPHX’s GitHub page.
The SiteLock support teams are always encountering new types of malware. This week we’ll discuss a recent infection of WordPress theme files, header files specifically, brought to our attention by SiteLock’s Security Concierge, or SECCON, Team.
Where Was This New Malware Discovered?
Hacks are bad. A website compromise is serious, and at SiteLock we see a lot of compromised sites and malicious code. Malicious code is constantly evolving to avoid detection. Adversaries use a large number of strategies to avoid detection, and comedy happens to be one of them.
Since hackers try everything they can think of – pop culture references, internet memes, irony – to disguise malicious code, we’ll dive into the strange and weird to show you how far adversaries will go…
In this week’s post, we take a look at “in-the-wild” phishing attacks and talk about how to counter them. Protecting yourself from phishing and malware attacks is not only important, it’s a fundamental Internet survival skill, made even more essential if you have a web presence you depend on. A compromised workstation could lead to compromised credentials, ultimately leading to complete control of your website by bad actors. We don’t want that.
We’re kicking off a new blog series here at SiteLock, to share some of the insight we gather every day removing malware from websites. This series will be geared toward folks interested in learning more about the web application security landscape. In this space, we’ll cover various topics each week – everything from CMS security to malware, to vulnerabilities and best security practices.
Insights On Malware Campaigns
One of the interesting things about tracking malware campaigns is their changing behavior as the campaigns shift to different targets, employ new tactics to evade detection, and propagate new malware, based on the changing economics of the campaigns.
Below is an example we have seen take shape and evolve over the past few weeks that should give readers an example of how these changes occur and what is going on behind the scenes of a large-scale malware attack campaign.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of improving your website’s ranking among search engines like Google and Bing. Over the past few years, SEO has greatly evolved. Keywords and backlinks (other websites linking back to yours) used to have a huge impact on SEO rankings, but have since been taken over by new and improved algorithms such as Google’s Penguin and Hummingbird, which aim to decrease black-hat (negative) SEO techniques such as link spam.
With cyber attacks on the rise, search engines have been increasingly factoring spam injections, malware infections, and website speed into their SEO algorithms. Properly securing your website can provide a large boost to your SEO rankings. Below are 3 ways you can improve the SEO ranking of your website by securing your website.
1. Moderate comment spam
Malicious links hosted on your website can negatively impact your SEO and, worst case, can flag your website as malware or spam, preventing users access to it.
One of the easiest ways for hackers to place malicious or irrelevant links on your site is through comments on your blog. These links damage your site’s authority and credibility so managing them is critical. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to automate the moderation process of comments:
- If you’re using a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, look into one of their comment system plugins
- Enable CAPTCHAs when possible, as an extra layer of security
- Disable anonymous posting, and only allow registered users to post comments
- If you have an active moderator, require that comments be approved before they are posted on your website
- Enable a web application firewall (similar to our TrueShield WAF) which will block malicious bots from accessing your site to begin with
- If you’re still having trouble with comment spam, you should disallow hyperlinks in comments altogether
2. Regularly scan your website for malware
Often times, malware and malicious links can be injected into the code of your website without notice, negatively affecting your SEO, and potentially harming your visitors. Reversing the whole process is both difficult and time consuming, since injected malware is usually hidden and made to look like regular code, and your hard-won SEO rankings may be lost in the meantime.
A website malware scanning tool can scan your code each day for malware (and suspected malware) and in some cases automatically remove the threats or point you directly to the suspected malware. This means you don’t have to search line-by-line through code in the event that your website is compromised. The SiteLock Website Scanning and Malware Removal product provides automated alerts to help you avoid search engine blacklisting, saving your business’s reputation and SEO positions.
3. Cache website data with a CDN
Malware can dramatically increase the time it takes a website to load, if it allows it to load at all. But even a malware-free website can improve its SEO, performance, and security at the same time. A CDN (Content Delivery Network) is a website optimization infrastructure that works by caching website’s content across data centers around the globe. This results in quicker website load times since content is served locally to visitors. It also improves website security since, as is the case of the SiteLock CDN, data is fully encrypted both in transit, and at rest.
Major search engines like Google factor load times into their SEO algorithms (time to first byte – TTFB), so by using a CDN, your website can experience a boost in SEO while improving security at the same time.
Want to see how your SEO stacks up? Many online tools can scan your website and provide suggestions to improve your SEO. Contact a SiteLock Security Consultant today to learn what solutions are the right fit for your site.
There are over 1 million new strains of malware created every day. One identified infection can get your website blacklisted by Google, who currently blacklists over 10,000 websites each day. Mind you, the malware need not even be on your site.
SMEs (Small to medium-sized enterprises) are unfortunately one of the largest targets of cyber attacks. On average, over 30,000 SME websites are targeted each day, and to make matters worse, nearly 60% of their IT professionals think they aren’t at any real risk of being attacked.
Don’t allow your business to suffer expensive cyber attack damages (which average around $50K per attack) — instead, be proactive in your web security efforts to prevent security threats, protecting you and your customer’s private data. Here are 5 tips to help you protect your website from malware and other cyber threats:
1. Updates and Patches
Is your website running off of a Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress? A CMS can be an easy and cost-effective way to manage your business’ website, but they’re also large targets for cyber attacks.
Why? Many CMS platforms and plugins are often easy targets for hackers and allow backdoor access to your server and data (a recent example of this vulnerability was the SoakSoak attack that occurred last month). Make sure your system, plugins and themes are always up to date, strengthening your web security. Many CMS solutions will even automatically update files for you, if you choose.
2. Website Scanning
Many web viruses and other malware go unnoticed until it’s too late, due to their elusive nature. They can often be implemented with a simple one-line script, injected into the code of your website – made to look like normal code.
Website security scanning software can scan your website for existing malware and other harmful code that doesn’t belong, and notify you immediately of any threats. Our SMART (Secure Malware Alert & Removal Tool) software takes it a step further by automatically removing anything harmful – similar to what a virus removal software does for your PC.
3. Web Application Firewalls
Removing existing website threats is one issue, but keeping them from coming back is another. With over 1 million new malware strains created each week, your business’s website can potentially to be infected by a new virus every day.
Web Application Firewalls (WAF) can help prevent attackers from even visiting your site. How do they work? Let’s take our TrueShield WAF, for instance – it evaluates traffic based on where it’s coming from, how it’s behaving, and what information it’s requesting. Based on these and other criteria, the firewall will allow “legitimate” traffic (e.g. customers and search engines) access while blocking “malicious” traffic (e.g. spam bots and hackers).
Used in conjunction with a website scanning solution, a WAF can help provide around-the-clock, hands-free security for your business’s website.
4. PCI Compliance
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), or PCI for short, is a security standard that businesses must adhere to if they accept major credit cards. This compliance helps ensure that your business and customers are protected from cyber attacks and fraud by providing a documented, baseline security posture for your site. Failure to comply with PCI standards can result in direct financial damages, lawsuits, government fines and ultimately ruin brand reputation in the event of a data breach.
Fortunately, it’s not difficult to become PCI compliant. There are many solutions that walk you through the steps to help create your own customized PCI policy. Our SiteLock® PCI Compliance program takes it even a step further by scanning your site and network, and you can also add on our PCI-certified TrueShield firewall.
5. Strengthen Passwords
Even now the world is still using weak passwords. A strong password is one that contains over 8 characters, no dictionary words, has a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, and includes digits and/or special characters. Unfortunately, many of those boxes aren’t checked – allowing brute-force hacking techniques (repeated attempts to login to your website) to become effective.
It’s extremely important that you create a strong password for your website’s back end, since it can often times be an easy way into your private data. You should also advise your customers who have online accounts to do the same, to help protect them from future attacks. After all, it only takes seconds for a computer to crack a poorly created password.
Want to stay up to date on the latest malware trends and ways to protect against them? Follow SiteLock on Twitter!
As we approach the first anniversary of the massive Target data breach that opened the floodgates for thousands of other attacks, we look at whether security measures are better or worse than last year. Are we better prepared to defend against the malware that took out Target, Home Depot and thousands of smaller firms, or is the malware used in these attacks simply outrunning us?
The news is not encouraging. PandaLabs, the research arm of security firm Panda, has been tracking new malware for years. According to the company, more than 50 million new strains of malware have emerged since the Target attack, and 20 million of those strains were detected in the third quarter of this year alone. Using those numbers, that works out to a stunning 227,000 new strains of malware being introduced to the world every single day for just the last twelve weeks.
The vast majority of new malware strains and infections, more than 75% of them, were Trojans. This malware is not having much trouble finding computers and servers to infect. According to Panda, more than a third of personal computers worldwide are now infected with malware.
These statistics are even more important as we approach the busy holiday season. With more people online, surfing, searching and shopping, the spread of malware will only increase, and much of this could be Point of Sale malware.
Close cousins of the malware that was used in the massive data breaches at Home Depot and Target are now on the march. The Backoff malware, which is widely regarded as undetectable by antivirus software, increased by nearly 30% in September alone according to security firm Damballa.
Businesses are not the only targets. Researchers recently found advanced malware known as Black Energy that has been compromising industrial control systems around the world, undetected, possibly for years. As with many of the most sophisticated attacks, they have often started with a phishing email to an unsuspecting or untrained employee.
Much of this malware lies in wait for its victims. The recently discovered Dark Hotel malware has been infecting hotel Wi-Fi networks around the world. The malware lies in wait for visiting guests to use the network, then tricks them into downloading malware that includes a keylogger and other data stealing components. While all guests are vulnerable, the prime targets are traveling executives who may provide access to sensitive corporate information and networks.
So what can you do to minimize the risk? The answer is in the question. With so much malware now able to evade antivirus software, it’s time to start assuming that risk mitigation is a better and more realistic option than absolute prevention
Your best defense is a “shield’s up” approach. Identify the most common ways malware can enter your business, whether it’s through an unprotected website or a careless employee, and patch the holes in the fence.
If you’re going to assume that you can’t keep all malware out, you can still do many things to reduce the potential damage. User privilege management is one of the best defenses. If you strictly limit the access privileges of your users to just the things they absolutely need access to, you can prevent malware from jumping from the lowest level of access to the highest.
As we approach the first anniversary of the Target breach, it’s worth remembering how the attack started. Target granted almost unlimited access to a lower level employee of a small, outside, service company. Once the hackers had the user’s password, they had undetected access to Target information for months. Make sure that you’re doing everything you can to prevent these types of attacks. Don’t become the next headline. To get started on the path to a secure website, contact SiteLock for a free website security analysis.