Security

A Detailed Guide to the Different Types of Cyber Security Threats

Cyber security threats come in all shapes and sizes – from viruses and malware to phishing scams and ransomware. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the different types of cyber security threats out there so that you can be better prepared to protect yourself against them.

Types of Cyber Security Threats

Phishing

Phishing is a type of cyberattack where attackers pose as a trustworthy entity to trick victims into giving up sensitive information. This can be done via email, social media, or even text message. Once the attacker has the victim’s information, they can use it for identity theft, financial fraud, or other malicious activities.

Malware

Cyber security threats come in all shapes and sizes, but one of the most common and dangerous types is malware. Malware is short for malicious software, and it refers to any program or file that is designed to harm your computer or steal your data. There are many different types of malware, but some of the most common include viruses, worms, Trojans, and spyware.

Viruses are one of the oldest and most well-known types of malware. A virus is a piece of code that replicates itself and spreads from one computer to another. Once a virus infects a computer, it can cause all sorts of problems, from deleting files to crashing the entire system. Worms are similar to viruses, but they don’t need to attach themselves to files to spread. Instead, they can spread directly from one computer to another over a network connection.

Trojans are another type of malware that gets its name from the Greek story of the Trojan Horse. Like a Trojan Horse, a Trojan appears to be something harmless, but it’s hiding something dangerous. Trojans can be used to steal information or give attackers access to your computer.

Social Engineering

Social engineering is a type of cyber-attack that relies on human interaction to trick users into revealing confidential information or performing an action that will compromise their security. Cyber-attackers use psychological techniques to exploit victims’ trust, manipulate their emotions, or take advantage of their natural curiosity. They may do this by spoofing the email address or website of a legitimate company, or by creating a fake social media profile that looks like a real person. Once the attacker has established trust, they will try to get the victim to click on a malicious link, download a trojan horse program, or provide confidential information such as passwords or credit card numbers.

While social engineering can be used to carry out a variety of attacks, some of the most common include phishing and spear phishing, vishing (voice phishing), smishing (SMS phishing), and baiting.

SQL Injection

SQL injection is one of the most common types of cyber security threats. It occurs when malicious SQL code is injected into a database, resulting in data being compromised or deleted. SQL injection can be used to steal confidential information, delete data, or even take control of a database server.

Hackers

There are many different types of cyber security threats, but one of the most common is hackers. Hackers are individuals who use their technical skills to gain unauthorized access to computer systems or networks. They may do this for malicious purposes, such as stealing sensitive information or causing damage to the system. Hackers can be highly skilled and experienced, and they may use sophisticated methods to exploit vulnerabilities in systems. Some hackers work alone, while others are part of organized groups. Cyber security professionals must be vigilant in identifying and protecting against hacker attacks.

Password Guessing

One of the most common types of cyber security threats is password guessing. This is when someone tries to guess your password to gain access to your account or system. They may try to use common passwords, or they may try to brute force their way in by trying every possible combination of characters. Either way, it’s important to have a strong password that is not easy to guess.

Data Breaches

A data breach is a security incident in which information is accessed without authorization. This can result in the loss or theft of sensitive data, including personal information like names, addresses, and Social Security numbers. Data breaches can occur when hackers gain access to a database or network, or when an organization’s employees accidentally expose information.

Denial of Service Attacks

A denial of service attack (DoS attack) is a cyber-attack in which the attacker seeks to make a particular computer or network resource unavailable to users. This can be done by flooding the target with traffic, consuming its resources so that it can no longer provide services, or by disrupting connections between the target and other systems.

DoS attacks are usually launched by botnets, networks of computers infected with malware that can be controlled remotely by the attacker. However, a single attacker can also launch a DoS attack using multiple devices, such as through a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.

DoS attacks can be very disruptive and cause significant financial losses for businesses and organizations. They can also be used to target individuals, such as through revenge attacks or attacks designed to silence dissent.

There are many different types of DoS attacks, and new variants are constantly being developed. Some of the most common include:

• Ping floods: The attacker sends a large number of Ping requests to the target, overwhelming it with traffic and causing it to become unresponsive.

• SYN floods: The attacker sends a large number of SYN packets to the target, overwhelming it and preventing legitimate connections from being established.

Botnets

What are botnets?

A botnet is a network of computers infected with malware that allows an attacker to remotely control them. This gives the attacker the ability to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, send spam, and commit other types of fraud and cybercrime.

How do you get infected with botnet malware?

There are many ways that botnet malware can spread. It can be installed when you visit a malicious website, or it can be delivered as a payload in an email attachment or via a drive-by download. Once your computer is infected, the attacker can then use it to add to their botnet.

How do you know if you’re part of a botnet?

If you notice your computer behaving strangely—for example, if it’s suddenly very slow or unresponsive—it may be a sign that your machine has been recruited into a botnet. You might also see unusual network activity, such as sudden spikes in outgoing traffic.

Cross-Site Scripting

Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of computer security vulnerability typically found in web applications. XSS enables attackers to inject malicious code into web pages viewed by other users. When a user views a page, the malicious code is executed by their browser, resulting in the unauthorized access or modification of data.

XSS attacks can be used to steal sensitive information like passwords and credit card numbers or to hijack user accounts. In some cases, attackers have used XSS to launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

Conclusion

Cyber security threats are becoming more and more common, and it’s important to be aware of the different types that exist. This guide has provided an overview of some of the most common types of cyber security threats, as well as some tips on how to protect yourself from them. Remember to stay vigilant and keep your computer security up-to-date to help mitigate the risk of becoming a victim of a cyber-attack.

How Often Do Ransomware Attacks Happen?

A ransomware attack is a type of malware that infects your computer and locks you out of your files. It then uses powerful encryption to keep those files away from you until you pay the perpetrator a ransom. Did you know that these types of attacks happen so often, and have been happening more in recent years? In this article, I’ll share some information on just how prevalent they are, what can happen with these types of viruses embedded in your system, and what it could mean for the future of computing technology.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a victim’s files and demands a ransom to decrypt them. It’s a growing threat to businesses and individuals alike, as it can be used to target anyone with an Internet connection. Ransomware attacks are becoming more common, and they can be devastating to the victims. Businesses are particularly vulnerable to ransomware attacks, as they often have more valuable data that criminals can exploit. If you’re a business owner, it’s important to be aware of the risks of ransomware and take steps to protect your data.

Which organizations are commonly targeted with ransomware?

Small businesses are the most common target for ransomware attacks. This is because they often don’t have the same level of security as larger businesses and can be more easily targeted. Hospitals, government agencies, and other critical infrastructure organizations are also common targets because these types of organizations often have sensitive information that criminals can exploit for financial gain.

Why are ransomware attacks becoming more common?

There are several reasons why ransomware attacks are becoming more common. First, cybercriminals can make money by exploiting vulnerabilities in software and attacking businesses and individuals. Second, many people don’t have effective cybersecurity measures in place, which makes them susceptible to ransomware attacks. And finally, business executives and individuals have become more reliant on technology, which makes them vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Pros and cons of paying off a ransom demand

There’s no question that ransomware attacks are on the rise. But what should you do if you’re hit with a demand for payment? Some experts say it’s best to pay up, while others argue that it’s a dangerous precedent to set. Here, we explore the pros and cons of paying off ransomware demand.

On the pro side, paying the ransom may be the quickest and easiest way to get your data back. And it’s worth considering if the data is mission-critical and you don’t have a recent backup.

However, there are several risks to consider before paying off a ransomware demand. First, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get your data back after paying. Second, you’re effectively giving into extortion and encouraging future attacks. And finally, by paying the ransom, you could be inadvertently funding other criminal activities.

Ultimately, whether or not to pay a ransomware demand is a decision that must be made on a case-by-case basis. But it’s important to weigh all the risks and potential consequences before making a decision.

Following are some famous ransomware attacks:

WannaCry

It’s still one of the most talked-about cybersecurity threats out there because it was so widespread and because it hit so many big names. WannaCry infected more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries, and it encrypts your files unless you pay a ransom. The attack caused billions of dollars in damage, and it showed just how vulnerable we all are to ransomware.

Bad Rabbit is one of the most popular forms of ransomware right now. It first emerged in late 2016 and has since been used in attacks against major organizations like hospitals, media outlets, and even government agencies.

One of the things that make Bad Rabbit so dangerous is that it uses “drive-by” attacks to infect victims. This means that all you have to do is visit an infected website and your computer will automatically get infected. And once your computer is infected, the ransomware will start encrypting your files right away.

NotPetya

On June 27, 2017, a major ransomware attack known as NotPetya began spreading rapidly throughout Ukraine and quickly spread to other countries. The attack caused widespread damage, with many organizations losing critical data and systems. Despite the damage caused, the number of ransomware attacks has been declining in recent years.

Locky

According to a recent report from Symantec, the Locky ransomware attack happened an average of 4,000 times per day in 2016. That’s a staggering increase from the mere 400 attacks that occurred daily in 2015. And it’s not just businesses that are at risk – individuals are also being targeted by these sophisticated cyber criminals

Sodinokibi (REvil)

According to a recent blog post by cybersecurity firm Symantec, the Sodinokibi (also known as REvil) ransomware has been on the rise as of late, with a significant uptick in attacks being observed in the past few months. The blog post notes that this particular strain of ransomware has been targeting both individual users and businesses to extort money from its victims. In many cases, the attackers behind Sodinokibi are reportedly using sophisticated social engineering techniques to trick victims into clicking on malicious links or opening malicious attachments, which can then lead to the ransomware being installed on the victim’s system.

Once installed, Sodinokibi will begin encrypting files on the infected system and will also attempt to gain access to any connected network shares. The attackers will then demand a ransom from the victim in exchange for decrypting their files. The blog post notes that the average ransom demanded by Sodinokibi attackers is currently around $12,000, although some victims have reportedly been asked to pay much more.

While Symantec’s blog post doesn’t provide any specific numbers on how often Sodinokibi attacks are happening, it’s clear that this particular strain of ransomware is becoming increasingly prevalent.

CryptoLocker

CryptoLocker is a type of ransomware that encrypts files on your computer, making them impossible to open unless you pay a ransom. This malware is usually spread through email attachments or fake websites that look legitimate. Once your computer is infected, you have a limited time to pay the ransom before your files are permanently encrypted.

SamSam

According to a report from Symantec, the SamSam ransomware attack occurred an average of once every 24 hours in 2018. That’s up from an average of once every two hours in 2017. In total, there were more than 5,000 SamSam attacks in 2018, which is a 250% increase from the year before.

One of the best ways to protect against a SamSam attack is to have good backups in place. This way, if your organization is hit by this ransomware, you will be able to restore your data from a backup and avoid having to pay the ransom.

Ryuk ransomware

According to a recent study, ransomware attacks are happening more and more often. They’ve become so common that one type of ransomware, called Ryuk, has even been given its nickname: “The Apocalypse Ransomware.”

Ransomware attacks are becoming increasingly common, with Ryuk ransomware being one of the most prevalent strains. According to a recent report, Ryuk ransomware was responsible for nearly $150 million in damages in the first half of 2019 alone. While businesses of all sizes are at risk of a ransomware attack, smaller businesses are often the most vulnerable. This is because they typically lack the resources and expertise to effectively defend against these types of attacks.

Conclusion

As we continue to move across the internet, more and more organizations are being targeted by ransomware. This type of attack encrypts all the data on a victim’s computer, then demands payment for the attacker to release the encryption key. If your organization is unlucky enough to be targeted by ransomware, you must take steps to protect yourself and your data.

Is Office 365 Safe from Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that locks users’ computer files and demands a payment from the user to release them. Recently, ransomware has become more common, with multiple high-profile attacks hitting victims across the globe. While most people are familiar with the idea of ransomware, many may not know that office 365 is also susceptible to this type of attack.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts your data and then demands a ransom payment from you to decrypt it.

Ransomware encrypts your data using strong encryption methods. Once it has encrypted your data, the ransomware will typically demand a ransom payment from you to decrypt it.

Security threats that businesses must be aware of

One of the most common office security threats is ransomware. This is a type of malware that encrypts files on a computer and then demands payment from the victim to release the files. In recent years, ransomware has become increasingly common, as it is an effective way to steal money from businesses.

Another common office security threat is hacking. Businesses must constantly monitor their computer systems for signs of hacking, as this can lead to theft of confidential information or even loss of data. Hackers may also use hacking to gain access to corporate servers, which could give them access to sensitive information.

Businesses must also be aware of scammers trying to steal their money. Scammers may call businesses claiming to be from the IRS or another government agency, and demand payment to avoid prosecution. They may also try to sell fraudulent goods or services to businesses.

By taking precautions against these various office security threats, businesses can protect their data and finances from harm.

How to prevent ransomware from affecting your business?

There are several ways that ransomware can infect your computer. One way is through a malicious email attachment. Another way is by clicking on a malicious link in an online message.

Once ransomware is installed on your computer, it will start encrypting your files. This means that the malware will change the file’s encryption code so that only the ransomware program can read it.

The easiest way to protect yourself from ransomware is to make sure that you have up-to-date antivirus software and firewall protection. You should also avoid opening suspicious emails or links, and always keep your computer clean and free of viruses.

One of the most common ways that ransomware affects businesses is by encrypting data on the computer. To prevent this from happening, you can protect your business against ransomware by using a good security strategy. You can also protect your business against ransomware by keeping up with the latest threats and updates.

Don’t open suspicious attachments or links. Even if you know you should always trust email from your friends and family, don’t let yourself be fooled by thieves. Always be suspicious of anything that comes your way, and don’t open any attachment or link unless you know for sure it’s safe.

Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 is a cloud-based office suite that provides users with a variety of features, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, email, collaboration, file sharing, and video conferencing. It is available on several devices, including desktop PCs, tablets, phones, and even TVs. Office 365 is subscription-based and offers a variety of plans to suit everyone’s needs.

Benefits of Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 provides many benefits, including the protection of your data from ransomware.

Microsoft Office 365 offers several security features that can help to protect your data from ransomware attacks. These features include Windows Defender Antivirus, Enhanced Protection for Business (EPB), and Advanced Threat Protection (ATP).

Microsoft Office 365 has several features that make it a great choice for businesses. First, it is highly secure. Microsoft office 365 uses encryption to protect your data from unauthorized access. Additionally, it has anti-spy features that help to keep your data safe from third-party snooping.

Microsoft Office 365 also offers several other benefits that make it a great choice for businesses. For example, it offers global collaboration capabilities so you can work with colleagues across the globe. It also has mobile app support so you can access your documents from anywhere.

If you are looking for a secure way to store your data and protect it from ransomware, then Microsoft Office 365 is a great option.

Disadvantages of Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 is a popular office suite that is available as a subscription service. However, there are some disadvantages to using this software.

One disadvantage of Microsoft Office 365 is that it is vulnerable to ransomware. This means that hackers can infect your computer with a virus that encrypts your data and demands payment to release it.

If you are using Microsoft Office 365, be sure to keep up to date on security patches and antivirus software. Additionally, make sure that you do not store any important files on your computer that are not backed up.

How can a cybercriminal possibly infect your computer with ransomware using Office 365?

Cybercriminals are constantly looking for new ways to infect computers with ransomware. One way that they may do this is by using infected documents that are created using popular office programs, such as Microsoft Word or Excel.

When you open an infected document, the cybercriminal will be able to install ransomware on your computer. Ransomware is a type of malware that can encrypt files on your computer and demand money from you to decrypt them.

If you are using Office 365, make sure that you are using the latest security updates and antivirus software. You can also try to install security software such as the Windows Defender Antivirus.

If you have been impacted by ransomware, do not panic. There are many steps that you can take to restore your computer to its normal state. Above all, avoid paying the ransom request!

How does Microsoft Office 365 help in preventing ransomware attacks?

Microsoft Office 365 provides users with a variety of security features that can help to protect them from ransomware attacks. One of the most important features of Office 365 is the ability to encrypt files before they are stored on the server. This helps to prevent attackers from being able to access the files if they are infected with ransomware.

Another important feature of Office 365 is the ability to create secure passwords. This helps to ensure that users are not vulnerable to password theft if their computer is hacked.

Finally, Office 365 provides users with security updates and alert notifications. This ensures that they are always aware of any new threats that may be affecting their computers.

Conclusion

It’s no secret that ransomware is on the rise, and it seems to be hitting businesses harder than ever before. That’s because ransomware is a very effective way to make money. It works by encrypting data on a computer, then demanding a ransom (in bitcoin, of course) for the information.

Of course, office 365 is not immune to ransomware attacks. They’re one of the most common targets. But there are some things you can do to protect yourself from this type of attack. First and foremost, always keep up-to-date with security patches and software updates. Second, create strong passwords for all your accounts and use different passwords for different accounts. Third, back up your data regularly (and store it offline if possible). And finally, contact your IT team immediately if you notice any unusual activity on your network or computers – ransomware can spread quickly through networks if left unchecked.

How to Create Your Own Ransomware Password

There is no worse feeling as an owner of a computer than knowing that that all of your personal data and financial information have been stolen, whether it’s by some random hacker, or even by yourself. For this reason, ransomware passwords became a big trend for many years now, yet who can remember those complicated passwords right?

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is malware that locks down your computer and asks for a ransom, in the form of either payment either in currency or in Bitcoin, in order to release the user. Victims can have their files deleted if they do not pay within a certain time frame. It’s important to be aware of this type of malware because it is becoming increasingly popular, and because it often targets people who are unfamiliar with security settings and file protection.

Encrypting ransomware encrypts all the data on the victim’s computer, making it unreadable unless they pay the ransom. Decryption ransomware asks the victim to pay a ransom in order to have their data decrypted. The difference between the two types of ransomware is that encrypting ransomware destroys data if the victim doesn’t pay the ransom, while decryption ransomware only asks for money and leave the data intact.

Why do people get ransomware?

There are a few reasons why someone might get ransomware: they may have inadvertently downloaded malicious software; their device may have been hacked; or their computer may simply be vulnerable to attacks by bad actors.

If you have recently been affected by ransomware, there are a few things you can do to make sure you are safe.

First, make sure that your computer is properly backed up and that you have a recovery plan in place.

Second, be vigilant when opening unexpected emails and files. If you think you might have been infected, don’t open the attachment or file – instead, contact your IT department or antivirus software vendor to determine if your computer has been affected and how to clean it.

How to create your own ransomware password?

When it comes to personal information and internet security, it is always important to take precautions. However, even with the most careful password management practices, it is possible for hackers to steal your login credentials and use them to access your personal information or resources online. Here are five ways that hackers can steal your login credentials:

1. Hacking into your account: If someone has access to your computer or account, they can easily steal your login credentials and use them to access your account. Make sure you are using a secure password and never leave your login information exposed on public webpages or in text messages.

2. Snooping through email: If thieves can gain access to your email account, they can see any passwords or login information you have stored in the email account’s message content.

3. Poking around in social media accounts: Many people store their login information for various social media accounts inside their profiles on those platforms. If an attacker obtains access to your social media profile, they could potentially extract your login information and use it to gain access to those accounts.

4. Phishing: In this type of attack , the perpetrators attempt to trick innocent users into performing an unauthorized action by impersonating a legitimate website, sending you what appears to be a legitimate message from them (such as a request for your login information), or claiming that they have obtained your personal information and are unlawfully using it. Don’t rely on sites or emails asking you to reveal sensitive information – don’t reveal such information. Keep your systems and procedures secure.

Why do people need ransomware password?

Ransomware password is a password that encrypts files on the computer if it is not entered correctly 10 times in a row. This means that once someone has your ransomware password, they can access all of your files even if you have a secure lock on them.

If your computer crashes or gets robbed, you’ll want to be sure to keep your ransom password safe. Ransomware passwords are specially designed to protect your files from being encrypted if you don’t input it correctly ten times in a row. In other words, even if someone steals or hacks your computer, they won’t be able to decrypt your files unless they know your ransom password.

Simply make sure that the password is at least six characters long and includes at least one number and one letter.

You might need ransomware password if:

-Your computer’s operating system is not up to date and you don’t have an ISO image or disc handy to restore your installation

-You misplaced your original Windows installation media and don’t have a backup

-You accidentally deleted your personal data files without backing them up

-You misconfigured your system without backing up

Those of you who have been downloading files through sites like torrent are likely to fall victim to ransomware. Most of the times, the user on those websites is unaware that what he’s doing and at the same time has no way to contact law enforcement authorities in case some issues arise.

So here’s what to do:

Back up all your computer files before anything else! If a system partition, turn off any security software or drive locks altogether and back-up THOSE BACKUP FILES as well. Restore them in a sheltered location to prevent these malicious items from getting installed or deleting important files or pictures.

The process of creating a new ransomware password

Password management tools make it easy to create strong but simple passwords for all of your personal accounts. And there’s no need to remember anything as long as you use the same password for all of your services. However, if you want to create a different ransomware password for each of your important files, that’s perfectly okay too.

If you’re ever a victim of ransomware, the first thing you’ll want to do is create a new password. This is essential in order to prevent the virus from gaining access to your computer files. Follow these simple steps to create your new ransomware password:

1. Create a unique password for each account you use on your computer. This includes not only your email and online banking passwords, but also your ransomware password.

2. Store your new ransomware password in a safe place. You never know when it might come in handy!

Tips and tricks when creating a ransomware password

Most people create passwords using easily guessed words or cumbersome combinations of letters and numbers. To make sure your ransomware password is safe-

Create a memorable password – make it easy for you to remember, but difficult for others to guess. Don’t use easily guessed words like “password” or easy-to-guess personal information like your birthdate. Instead, come up with a creative combination of letters, numbers and symbols that represent something significant to you (a favorite movie quote, your dog’s name, etc.).

Conclusion

If you’re like most computer users, you probably rely on passwords to protect your information. But what if you need to delete or change your password, and don’t have the original handy? Or what if you accidentally pick a weak password that’s easy to guess?

Ransomware has become an increasing problem in the past few years, with cybercriminals commonly using it to hold machines’ of users hostage until they pay a ransom.

Once you’ve created the perfect ransom password, be sure to store it securely so that even if your computer is stolen or infected with ransomware, your data will still be safe.

THE COMPLETE CHECKLIST OF CLOUD SECURITY BEST PRACTICES

Cloud computing has become a popular choice for organizations of all sizes and industries, with many benefits to offer. But not all the risks are immediately visible, and it can take some time to discover that they’ve been compromised. In this blog post, you will find best practices for ensuring cloud security so that your organization can avoid these risks and maintain maximum uptime. In this post, we’ll take a look at the most important cloud security practices. These are things that you should think about before taking your business into the cloud or updating your current security practices with new ones. Let’s dive in!

Why is it important to protect your data?

It is important to protect your data because otherwise it may be lost or stolen. The most common ways that data is stolen or lost include hacking (especially if the company doesn’t use strong passwords), wiping (data is deleted on a hard drive or in the cloud), and intercepting network traffic. There are many best practices to help prevent this, such as using strong passwords, keeping devices updated, and encrypting communications.

What are common threats to cloud computing?

One of the most common threats to cloud computing is hackers. To protect against this, you should always use strong passwords and update them regularly. You’ll also want to make sure to change your password if you happen to get hacked. Another common threat is malware. It’s important to scan your computer before connecting it to any public network, especially a public Wi-Fi network at an airport or coffee shop. You should also avoid websites that might have viruses or malicious software and don’t download anything from unknown sources.

A virtual private network (VPN) can help keep you safe. VPNs encrypt all of the data that you transmit, even though it will be transmitted across a public network. This means that your information is safe from hackers while you’re using public networks like Wi-Fi hotspots from places like Starbucks or airports. Finally, it’s important to back up your data regularly so nothing gets lost in case something happens with the cloud system for some reason and there’s been no recent backup.

What should I look for in a provider of cloud storage?

One of the most important parts of selecting a cloud storage provider is looking at the level of encryption that they offer. You want to choose a provider that has either AES 256-bit or AES 128-bit encryption. This ensures that your data is safe and protected. Another important part of selecting a cloud storage provider is looking at their security record. You want to find someone with a long history of protecting data, not breaching it. This will give you peace of mind knowing that your information is secure in their hands.

What are the best cloud security practices?

There are many different best practices for the security of a cloud. One such practice is to be selective about what data you store in the cloud. If you have sensitive data that isn’t necessary to store in the cloud, then this shouldn’t be done. The reason for this is because there’s no encryption with some public clouds and it can be accessed by anyone who finds it. Storing all of your info on a public cloud will give hackers access to everything and anything they want; so it’s best to leave out sensitive information that doesn’t need to be stored there.

Following is a checklist to practice to ensure cloud security:

First: Know your data

Many factors come into play when setting up a cloud. The first step is to know your data. You should be able to recognize what types of files you’re storing and what their purpose is. If you want to understand the data better, it’s best to ensure that you can restore everything in the event of a disaster. It’s also important to make sure that your backup strategy is comprehensive and in place.

  1. Identify data – it is important to know which data is important or sensitive and which are regulated data. Since it is data that is at risk of being stolen, it is necessary to know how data are stored.
  2. Tracking data – see, how are your data transferred or shared, who has access to them, and most importantly know where your data is being shared.

Second: Know your cloud network

A cloud network is a shared resource that all employees use. The issue with this type of resource is that it could be accessed and modified by many people at once, which makes it vulnerable to attacks. To mitigate this risk, your company should have a complete checklist of best practices for securing the cloud network.

  1. Check for unknown cloud users – check for the cloud services that are being used without your knowledge. Sometimes employees convert files online which can be risky.
  2. Be thorough with your IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) – several critical settings can create a weakness for your company if misconfigured. Change the settings according to your preference or opt for a customized cloud service.
  3. Prevent data to be shared with unknown and unmanaged devices – one way, is to block downloads for a personal phone which will prevent a blind spot in your security posture.

Third: Know your employees

When it comes to securing your company’s data, there are a few things you should know about your employees. What kind of devices do they use? What kinds of passwords are they given? Do they have access to any systems that would compromise your business? If you don’t know these things, you should start asking them questions before the next big cyber-attack hits. Basic employee checks can help you identify threats before they become a problem.

  1. Look for malicious behavior – cyberattacks can be created by both your employees and cyber-hackers.
  2. Limit sharing of data – control how data should be shared once it enters the cloud. To start, set users or groups to viewer or editor and what data can be accessed by them.

Fourth: Train employees

Companies should provide their employees with a checklist of cloud security best practices that they should follow for the company to be compliant. This will allow employees to know what steps need to be taken and what risks they may face when using cloud services. If a company has its servers, then it needs to ensure that all passwords are changed regularly, and records of passwords are stored securely. It is also important for companies to implement strong authentication methods on their cloud systems for them to know if an employee is accessing the system legitimately.

For an employee who is storing data in the cloud, it’s important to understand that there are many security risks involved. For example, malware attacks can occur if employees use public or untrusted Wi-Fi networks to connect their devices to the internet. Gaining access to company information is also possible. To solve these problems, companies should train their staff on how to secure cloud storage and communicate those procedures throughout the organization.

Fifth: You should be trained to secure cloud storage

The important thing to keep in mind is that managing your security is just as important as securing your company’s data. You should always train yourself to secure cloud storage and make sure that you have a good password for all of the online sites where you store or download data. You should be trained to understand and notice any changes in your data. This will also help you to make quick decisions in an emergency.

Sixth: Take precautions to secure your cloud storage

  1. Apply to data protection policies – policies will help in governing the different types of data. This will erase data, move data depending on the type of data, and if required coach users if a policy is broken.
  • Encrypting data – it will prevent outsiders to have access to the data except for cloud services providers who still have the encryption keys. This way, you will get full control access.
  • Have advanced malware protection – you are responsible for securing your OS, applications, and network traffic in an IaaS environment. That is why having malware protection is necessary to protect your infrastructure.
  • Remove malware – it is possible to have malware through shared folders that sync automatically with cloud storage services. That is why regular checks for malware and other viruses.
  • Add another layer of verification to sensitive data – it will only be known to authorized personnel.
  • Updating policies and security software – outdated software will provide less protection to your data compared to your advanced software.

Conclusion

The conclusion is to review the checklist for best practices and then have a conversation with your IT team about your cloud security structure. Many benefits of cloud computing make it worth considering.

 But also, as with any new technology, think through your security concerns before you go and make sure you’re not exposing yourself.

DO I NEED TO KEEP STORAGE FOR MY HOME SECURITY SYSTEM?

What is a Security System?

A security system is a group of devices, including a window, door, and environmental sensors. It is connected to a central keypad or hub (usually your phone). The purpose of these systems is to protect your home from intruders. Most systems require you to keep storage for the equipment, which can be an inconvenience for some people.

A security system for your home typically includes a burglar alarm, which warns you about environmental dangers such as fire, carbon monoxide, and flooding. However, there are major differences between a burglar alarm and a home security system.

A burglar alarm is triggered by an unauthorized entry into your house, while a home security system can be armed or disarmed depending on your needs.

Types of Security System

There are many types of security systems that can be installed to protect property and/or people from intruders. There is a wide variety of systems available, some with more features than others. Some of the more common types of systems are alarms, cameras, and locks.

A CCTV system is a type of security system that uses video cameras to capture footage of the area being protected. This footage can then be used as evidence in the event of a crime or other incident. CCTV systems are typically less expensive than traditional security systems, which rely on alarm triggers to notify law enforcement or security personnel. However, CCTV systems are reactive, meaning that they only record footage after an incident has occurred.

A CCTV system is more suited for a business or other public area where people are constantly coming and going. A security system with storage is important because it records all activity that happens in its vicinity, which can be used as evidence if something goes wrong.

If you’re looking for a way to protect your property, you might be wondering if you need to keep storage for your home security system. The answer is: it depends. If you have a CCTV system, the video recordings can serve as an unbiased source of truth in the event of an incident on your property. However, if you don’t have a CCTV system, then you’ll need to keep storage for your security system in order footage from past events.

Benefits of Having Security Cameras

There are several benefits to having security cameras in your home. Security cameras can be used for a variety of purposes, including home security and monitoring, catching criminals, deterring crime, and more. Home security systems with surveillance cameras can provide peace of mind and may help reduce insurance premiums.

It is important to consider your specific needs when choosing security camera equipment. For example, if you have a large home, you will need more storage space for footage than someone who lives in a small apartment. Additionally, if you have valuable possessions that you want to protect, then having security cameras may be a wise investment.

Protect your home when you’re away!

It’s important to protect your home while you’re away, even if no one is living in it. You should hire a home security company to monitor your house and install an alarm system, as well as keep all the windows and doors locked.

One way to protect your belongings while you’re away is by installing an asset protection device. This type of device can help you know if someone has tampered with your belongings, even if there is no physical evidence.

Which security camera storage option should I choose?

When it comes to security cameras, one of the main decisions you will have to make is which storage option to choose.

There are two main options: cloud storage and local storage.

With cloud storage, your footage is stored on a remote server, meaning you don’t need to have an internet connection to access it.

With local storage, your footage is stored on a physical device like a hard drive or SD card, meaning you will need to be connected to the internet in tow it.

Local Storage

Advantages of local storage for security system storage

There are several pros to using local storage for your home security system. First, having a local storage device means that you don’t have to rely on the cloud or an internet connection to store your footage. This can be important if you’re concerned about privacy or if you’re dealing with sensitive data. Additionally, local storage is often cheaper and faster than cloud storage, and it can be more reliable since it’s not dependent on external factors.

Disadvantages of local storage for security system storage

On the downside, local storage for home security systems comes with some risks. For example, if a thief breaks into your house and steals your security system, you will not be able to access any of the footage without that specific device. Furthermore, if there is an internet outage or your power goes out, you will not be able to access your footage from anywhere.

Cloud Storage

Advantages of cloud storage for security system storage

Cloud storage is a convenient way to store information remotely. This means that the data is not stored on your device but remote server. This offers several advantages, including, but not limited to, accessibility from any device with an internet connection, automatic backup and syncing across devices, and the ability to share files with others.

Disadvantages of cloud storage for security system storage

However, there are also some disadvantages to using cloud storage, including potential security risks and the fact that you are relying on a third party to store your data.

The main disadvantages of cloud storage are that it can be vulnerable to data loss, and it is difficult to access files when you need them. For example, if your computer crashes or you lose your internet connection, you may not be able to access your files in the cloud.

How do wireless security cameras work?

Wireless security cameras use radio waves to send pictures and video to a monitoring station. This means that the cameras do not need to be plugged into an electrical outlet, which gives you more flexibility in terms of where you can place them. The images are transmitted using a frequency between 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz, which is why you may need to change the channel on your wireless router if you are experiencing interference.

What happens with old security footage?

When an SD card or hard drive reaches capacity, the newest footage will be saved and the older footage will be deleted. This is done in the room for new footage.

Generally speaking, any footage that is saved to a camera will be overwritten as new footage is recorded. However, if the video surveillance is being recorded to an external recorder, older footage can be stored on the external recorder itself or deleted completely depending on the settings chosen. This gives businesses and homeowners peace of mind knowing that their security footage will not be lost due to a lack of storage space.

How to keep your footage?

If you are like most people, you probably have a home security system. And if you have a home security system, then you likely have footage of your property that you would like to keep. The problem is that most home security systems store footage on the company’s server. This can be a problem because the company could go out of business or decide to delete old footage for any number of reasons.

The amount of storage you need for your home security system footage will depend on a few factors. The type and amount of home surveillance in place, the number of outdoor or indoor surveillance cameras, and whether the footage is in color or black & white are all important considerations.

SolarWinds Orion: The Biggest Hack of the Year

Federal agencies faced one of their worst nightmares this past week when they were informed of a massive compromise by foreign hackers within their network management software. An emergency directive from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) instructed all agencies using SolarWinds products to review their networks and disconnect or power down the company’s Orion software. 

Orion has been used by the government for years and the software operates at the heart of some crucial federal systems. SolarWinds has been supplying agencies for some-time as well, developing tools to understand how their servers were operating, and later branching into network and infrastructure monitoring. Orion is the structure binding all of those things together. According to a preliminary search of the Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation (FPDS-NG), at least 32 federal agencies bought SolarWinds Orion software since 2006.

Listed below are some of the agencies and departments within the government that contracts for SolarWinds Orion products have been awarded to. Even though all them bought SolarWinds Orion products, that doesn’t mean they were using them between March and June, when the vulnerability was introduced during updates. Agencies that have ongoing contracts for SolarWinds Orion products include the Army, DOE, FLETC, ICE, IRS, and VA. SolarWinds estimates that less than 18,000 users installed products with the vulnerability during that time.

  • Bureaus of Land Management, Ocean Energy Management, and Safety and Environmental Enforcement, as well as the National Park Service and Office of Policy, Budget, and Administration within the Department of the Interior
  • Air Force, Army, Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and Navy within the Department of Defense
  • Department of Energy
  • Departmental Administration and Farm Service Agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Federal Acquisition Service within the General Services Administration
  • FBI within the Department of Justice
  • Federal Highway Administration and Immediate Office of the Secretary within the Department of Transportation
  • Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Transportation Security Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Office of Procurement Operations within the Department of Homeland Security
  • Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health, and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services
  • IRS and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency within the Department of the Treasury
  • NASA
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration within the Department of Commerce
  • National Science Foundation
  • Peace Corps
  • State Department
  • Department of Veterans Affairs

YOU CAN READ THE JOINT STATEMENT BY THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (FBI), THE CYBERSECURITY AND INFRASTRUCTURE SECURITY AGENCY (CISA), AND THE OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE (ODNI) HERE.

How the Attack was Discovered

When Cyber security firm FireEye Inc. discovered that it was the victim of a malicious cyber-attack, the company’s investigators began trying to figure out exactly how attackers got past its secured defenses. They quickly found out,  they were not the only victims of the attack. Investigators uncovered a weakness in a product made by one of its software providers, SolarWinds Corp. After looking through 50,000 lines of source code, they were able to conclude there was a backdoor within SolarWinds. FireEye contacted SolarWinds and law enforcement immediately after the backdoor vulnerability was found.

Hackers, believed to be part of an elite Russian group, took advantage of the vulnerability to insert malware, which found its way into the systems of SolarWinds customers with software updates. So far, as many as 18,000 entities may have downloaded the malware. The hackers who attacked FireEye stole sensitive tools that the company uses to find vulnerabilities in clients’ computer networks. The investigation by FireEye discovered that the hack on itself was part of a global campaign by a highly complex attacker that also targeted government, consulting, technology, telecom and extractive entities in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

The hackers that implemented the attack were sophisticated unlike any seen before. They took innovative steps to conceal their actions, operating from servers based in the same city as an employee they were pretending to be. The hackers were able to breach U.S. government entities by first attacking the SolarWinds IT provider. By compromising the software used by government entities and corporations to monitor their network, hackers were able to gain a position into their network and dig deeper all while appearing as legitimate traffic.

Read how Microsoft and US Cyber Command joined forces to stop a vicious malware attack earlier this year.

How Can the Attack Be Stopped?

Technology firms are stopping some of the hackers’ key infrastructure as the U.S. government works to control a hacking campaign that relies on software in technology from SolarWinds. FireEye is working with Microsoft and the domain registrar GoDaddy to take over one of the domains that attackers had used to send malicious code to its victims. The move is not a cure-all for stopping the cyber-attack, but it should help stem the surge of victims, which includes the departments of Treasury and Homeland Security.

 

According to FireEye, the seized domain, known as a “killswitch,” will affect new and previous infections of the malicious code coming from that particular domain. Depending on the IP address returned under certain conditions, the malware would terminate itself and prevent further execution. The “killswitch” will make it harder for the attackers to use the malware that they have already deployed. Although, FireEye warned that hackers still have other ways of keeping access to networks. With the sample of invasions FireEye has seen, the hacker moved quickly to establish additional persistent mechanisms to access to victim networks.

 

The FBI is investigating the compromise of SolarWinds’ software updates, which was linked with a Russian intelligence service. SolarWinds’ software is used throughout Fortune 500 companies, and in critical sectors such as electricity. The “killswitch” action highlights the power that major technology companies have to throw up roadblocks to well-resourced hackers. This is very similar to Microsoft teaming up with the US Cyber Command to disrupt a powerful Trickbot botnet in October.

US Cyber Command & Microsoft launch attack on TrickBot Malware

With one of the biggest, most impactful elections in United States history just hours away, there is growing concern over voter fraud, rigged election results, and involvement from third parties influencing the results. Sadly, one of these has become reality as the Trickbot malware botnet was caught. Recently, an alliance of major tech companies organized an effort to take down the backend infrastructure of the TrickBot.

Companies fighting the good war against this bot include Microsoft’s Defender team, FS-ISAC, ESET, Lumen’s Black Lotus Labs, NTT, and Broadcom’s cyber-security division Symantec. Even the U.S. government cyber security teams got in on the takedown. Prior to the attempted takedown the companies launched investigations into TrickBot’s backend infrastructure of servers and malware modules. 

 

Over a period of months, the team of tech corporations collected more than 125,000 TrickBot malware samples, analyzed the content, and extracted mapping information about the malware’s inner workings, including all the servers the botnet used to control infected computers. With evident to back their claims, Microsoft went to court asking for legal rights to counterattack and for control over TrickBot servers. 

 

Read Microsoft’s legal documents  

 

However, even with some of the most advanced tech giants in the world firing a counterattack against the malware bot, it still hasn’t gone away. The TrickBot botnet has survived a takedown attempt. TrickBot command and control servers and domains have been taken and substituted with a new infrastructure. The Trickbot takedown has been described as temporary and limited but gives its current victims time to breathe until a more permanent solution can be implemented. 

 

Even from the early planning phases, the tech companies anticipated TrickBot making a revival, and actually planned ahead for it. But why not kill it off all at once instead of just taking it out slowly. This multi-phased method to dismantling TrickBot is a result of the botnet’s complex infrastructure, much of which runs on bulletproof hosting systems, which are unresponsive or slow to react to takedown attempts.

Microsoft’s Victory in Court

Unbeknownst to many, the attempted take down of TrickBot played another role, one that could have ramifications long down the road. The court case that paved the way for the takedown also helped Microsoft set a new legal standard. In court, the tech giant argued that TrickBot’s malware abused Windows code for malicious purposes, against the terms of service of the standard Windows software development kit, on which all Windows apps are used.

Microsoft successfully argued that TrickBot was infringing on Microsoft’s copyright of its own code by copying and using its SDKs for unethical purposes.

Some have applauded Microsoft for this strategic legal maneuver. In the past, Microsoft had to present evidence to prove that the malware was causing financial damages to victims, which resulted in the long and laborious task of identifying and contacting victims. The new legal tactic Microsoft used in court focused on the misuse of its Windows SDK code. This method was easier to prove and argue, giving Microsoft’s legal team a more agile approach to going after malware groups. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Microsoft or other tech companies use the same approach in the future. 

Microsoft and Cyber Command Working to Save the US Election 

Microsoft was largely concerned that the masterminds behind Trickbot would use the botnet to upset the US election through ransomware. Attackers could lock down systems keeping voter rolls or reporting on election night results. When Microsoft began their investigations into the malware bot, it wasn’t expected to coincide with the US government’s own investigation. United States Cyber Command, the relative of the National Security Agency, had already started hacking TrickBot’s command and control servers around the world back in September. Microsoft only discovered this effort while launching its own.

In both investigations, the anti-TrickBot plans were meant to disrupt any possible Russian attacks during the next few critical days. However, it’s still not clear whether Russia intended to use Trickbot for a malware campaign, but this takes the option away before the vote on November 3rd.

The collaborative efforts of both Microsoft and government agency fast-tracked cyberconflict resolutions in the final days before the elections. Cyber Command, following a model it created in the 2018 midterm elections, kicked off a series of covert pre-emptive strikes on the Russian-speaking hackers it believes could interrupt the casting, counting and certifying of ballots on election day.

Trickbot and Malware as a Service (MaaS) 

So now that we’ve gotten to the bottom of how the malware botnet was discovered and potentially thwarted enough to find by time to find a permanent solution, we can dive deeper into how the Trickbot operates. 

The dual anti-threat efforts weren’t only dedicated to taking down TrickBot servers, which they knew would only be temporary, but also adding extra costs to TrickBot authors and delaying current malware operations. Additionally, security researchers also aimed to damage TrickBot’s reputation in cybercrime circles.

TrickBot is currently ranked as one of the Top 3 most successful Malware-as-a-Service (MaaS) operations in the cybercrime industry. The innovative bot uses email spam campaigns to infect computers, downloads its malware, and then steals data from infected hosts that it later resells for profit. Even more impressive is Trickbot’s ability to rent access to infected computers to other criminal groups, which makes a substantial amount of its revenues. The customers that rent this unauthorized access include infostealer trojans, BEC fraud groups, ransomware operators, and nation-state hacking groups.

A network bot like Trickbot that has potential to be disrupted risks revealing the operations of customers, most of which would prefer not to be exposed to law enforcement tracking. If Trickbot can be disrupted it would prove unreliable businesswise, especially for regular customers who are paying substantial fees to have access to infected systems at specific times.

Emotet, a Trickbot Malware, is kept alive in server spots like this one.

NCSAM Week 2 ; Securing Devices at Home and Work

Securing Devices at Home and Work

 

According to a 2018 study by CNBC, there were over 70% of employees around the world working remotely at least one day per week. With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations have had to make full-time remote work an option just to stay in business. As full-time remote workers are progressively more common, there still aren’t many resources that focus on the cybersecurity risk created by working remotely.

With the latest surge in working from home (WFH) employees, businesses are forced to rely on business continuity planning. This means that organizations must find ways to protect their customer’s sensitive data simultaneously granting workplace flexibility. Provided the current conditions we are all facing and in celebration of Cyber Security Awareness Month (CSAM), we thought we should share a few tips to help your business increase its cybersecurity.

Security tips for the home, office and working from a home office

Secure your working area

The first and easiest piece of security advice would be to physically secure your workspace. Working remotely should be treated the same as working in the office, o you need to lock up when you leave. There have been way too many instances when laptops with sensitive data on them have been stolen from living rooms, home offices, and even in public settings such as coffee shops. Never leave your devices unattended and lock doors when you leave.

See why laptop and home office security is so important. 

Secure your router

Cybercriminals take advantage of default passwords on home routers because it is not often changed, leaving any home network vulnerable. Change the router’s password from the default to something unique. You can also make sure firmware updates are installed so known vulnerabilities aren’t exploitable. 

Use separate devices for work and personal

It’s important to set separate restrictions between your work devices and home devices. At first it may seem like an unnecessary burden to constantly switch between devices throughout the day, but you never know if one has been compromised. Doing the same for your mobile devices, can decrease the amount of sensitive data exposed if your personal device or work device has been attacked.

Encrypt the device you are using

Encryption is the process of encoding information so only authorized parties can access it. If your organization hasn’t already encrypted its devices, it should. Encrypting the devices prevents strangers from accessing the contents of your device without the password, PIN, or biometrics. 

Below is a way to encrypt devices with the following operating systems:

  • Windows: Turn on BitLocker.
  • macOS: Turn on FileVault.
  • Linux: Use dm-crypt or similar.
  • Android: Enabled by default since Android 6.
  • iOS: Enabled by default since iOS 8.

Check that your operating system is supported and up to date.

Usually, operating system developers only support the last few major versions, as supporting all versions is costly and the majority of users upgrade when told to do so. Unsupported operating systems no longer receive security patches, making your device and sensitive data at risk. If your device does not support the latest operating system, it may be time to look into updating the device.

Here’s how to check if your operating system is still supported:

  • Windows: Check the Windows lifecycle fact sheet
  • macOS: Apple has no official policy for macOS. That said, Apple consistently supports the last three versions of macOS. So assuming Apple releases a new version of macOS each year, each release of macOS should be supported for roughly three years.
  • Linux: Most active distributions are well supported.
  • Android: Security updates target the current and last two major versions, but you may need to check that your manufacturer/carrier is sending the security patches to your device. 
  • iOS: Like macOS, Apple has no official policy for iOS but security updates generally target the most recent major version and the three prior. 

Read more about Android security here

Create a strong PIN/password only YOU know

Everything mentioned prior to this won’t matter if you don’t use a strong password. A common tip for creating a strong password is to avoid using repeating numbers (000000), sequences (123456), or common passwords such as the word password itself.

More tips on creating a strong password include:

  • Avoid using anything that is related to you
  • Avoid using your date of birth
  • Avoid using your license plate
  • Avoid using your home address
  • Avoid using any family members or pets’ names.

 

 A good pin/password should appear arbitrary to everyone except you. Consider investing in a password manager. A good password manager can help you create strong passwords and remember them, as well as share them with family members, employees, or friends securely. 

Learn more about how to create a strong password

 Install antivirus software

An antivirus software is a program that detects or recognizes a harmful computer virus and works on removing it from the computer system. Antivirus software operates as a preventive system so that it not only removes a virus but also counteracts any potential virus from infecting the device in the future.

Authorize two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication is an authentication method where access is granted only after successfully presenting two pieces of evidence to an authentication mechanism.  This method has been proven to reduce the risk of successful phishing emails and malware infections. Even if the cybercriminal is able to get your password, they are unable to login because they do not have the second piece of evidence.

The first and most common evidence is a password. The second takes many forms but is typically a one-time code or push notification. There are several applications that can be used for two factor authentication such as Google Authenticator. 

Erase data from any devices you plan to sell

This should be the number one rule on any cybersecurity list. It is only a matter of time until your devices are obsolete, and it is time to upgrade. The one thing you don’t want is to have a data leak because you failed to properly erase the data from your device before selling or disposing of it. Returning the device to factory setting may not always be enough, as some hackers know how to retrieve the data that has been “erased”. Before doing anything, always remember to back up your data to multiple devices before clicking that “delete” button. 

Consult with your operating system to see how to properly reset your device to factory settings. If you are certain you do not want the data on your device to be accessed ever again, we can help with that. Here is a list of data destruction services we provide:

Security tips for employers handling a remote workforce

Train employees on cybersecurity awareness

As cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to bypass security controls to gain access to sensitive information, cybersecurity isn’t something that can just be taught once. It must be a continual learning and retention. Here are a few things that a business can teach their staff in order to help thwart a cyberattack:

  • Avoid malicious email attachments and other email-based scams
  • Identify domain hijacking
  • Use operations security on their social media accounts and public profiles 
  • Only install software if they need to 
  • Avoid installing browser plugins that come from unknown or unidentified developers

Use a virtual private network (VPN)

A virtual private network (VPN) extends a private network across a public network, enabling you to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if you are directly connected to the private network. They do this by establishing a secure and encrypted connection to the network over the internet and routing your traffic through that. This keeps you secure on public hotspots and allows for remote access to secure computing assets. 

Celebrating National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Celebrating National Cyber Security Awareness Month

 

Every October since 2004, National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) is observed in the United States. Started by the National Cyber Security Division within the Department of Homeland Security and the nonprofit National Cyber Security Alliance, the NCSAM aims to spread awareness about the importance of cybersecurity. The National Cyber Security Alliance launched NCSAM as a large effort to improve online safety and security. Since 2009, the month has included an overall theme, for 2020 we celebrate “Do Your Part, #BeCyberSmart”. Weekly themes throughout the month were introduced in 2011. This year, our weekly themes will be as follows:

  • Week of October 5 (Week 1): If You Connect It, Protect It
  • Week of October 12 (Week 2): Securing Devices at Home and Work
  • Week of October 19 (Week 3): Securing Internet-Connected Devices in Healthcare
  • Week of October 26 (Week 4): The Future of Connected Devices

If You Connect IT. Protect IT.

 

October 1, 2020, marked the 17th annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), reminding everyone of the role we all play in online safety and security at home and in the workplace. Brought forth by both the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), NCSAM is a joint effort between government and industry to make sure every American has the resources they need to stay safe and secure online. 

To kick off National Cyber Security Awareness Month, here are some tips to stay say online:

Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA). This ensures that the only person who has access to your account is you. Use MFA for email, banking, social media and any other service that requires logging in.

Use the longest password allowed. Get creative and customize your standard password for different sites, which can prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to these accounts and protect you in the event of a breach. Use password managers to generate and remember different, complex passphrase for each of your accounts.

Protect what you connect. Whether it’s your computer, smartphone, game device or other network devices, the best defense against viruses and malware is to update to the latest security software, web browser and operating systems. 

Limit what information you post on social media.  Cyber criminals look for everything, from personal addresses to your pet’s names. What many people don’t realize is that these seemingly random details are all cybercriminals need to know to target you, your loved ones, and your physical belongings. Keep Social Security numbers, account numbers and passphrases private, as well as specific information about yourself, such as your full name, address, birthday and even vacation plans. Disable location services that allow anyone to see where you are.

Stay protected on public networks. Before you connect to any public Wi-Fi be sure to confirm the name of the network and exact login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. Your personal hotspot is a safer alternative to free Wi-Fi. Also, only use sites that begin with “https://” when shopping or banking online.

Introducing CISA, the Federal Governments Protection Against Cyber-Attacks

 

On November 16, 2018, the United States Congress formed the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to detect threats, quickly communicate the information and aid in defense of the nation’s critical infrastructure. The new federal agency was created through the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act of 2018, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump. That legislature made the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) the new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, reassigning all resources and responsibilities within. Before the bill was passed, the NPPD handled all of DHS’s cybersecurity-related affairs.

 

Why the CISA was Formed

In April 2015, IT workers at the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the agency that manages the government’s civilian workforce, discovered that some of its personnel files had been hacked. Sensitive personal data on 22 million current and former federal employees was stolen by suspected Chinese hackers. Among the sensitive data that was stolen, were millions of SF-86 forms, which contain extremely personal information collected in background checks for people requesting government security clearances, along with records of millions of people’s fingerprints. 

In the wake of the massive data breach, it became even more evident that the Department of Homeland Security was not effectively positioned to respond to the growing threat of cyber-attacks, both foreign and domestic.  As more foreign invasions into U.S. IT infrastructure and other forms of cybersecurity attacks increased, industry experts demanded the creation of a new agency that would be more aligned to handle the issue of cyber security.

DHS’s cybersecurity strategy, made public in May 2018, offered a strategic framework to carry out the government’s cybersecurity responsibilities during the following five years. The strategy highlighted a unified approach to managing risk and lending greater authority to the creation of a separate cybersecurity agency. Besides the need for a new approach to the nation’s cybersecurity threats, CISA was created to solve what security professionals and government officials frequently referred to as a “branding” problem DHS faced with NPPD. CISA would be a clear and focused federal agency.

Learn more about the 2015 OPM Attack

What Does CISA Do?

 

In a nutshell, CISA is in charge of protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure from physical and cyber-attacks. The agency’s mission is to build the national capacity to defend against cyber-attacks and to work with the federal government to provide cybersecurity tools, incident response services and assessment capabilities to safeguard the .gov networks that support the essential operations of partner departments and agencies. Below is a list of other responsibilities the CISA has undertaken as a newly formed federal agency:

  • Coordinate security and resilience efforts using trusted partnerships across the private and public sector
  • Deliver technical assistance and assessments to federal stakeholders as well as to infrastructure owners and operators nationwide
  • Enhance public safety interoperable communications at all levels of government 
  • Help partners across the country develop their emergency communications capabilities
  • Conducts extensive, nationwide outreach to support and promote the ability of emergency response providers and relevant government officials to continue to communicate in the event of a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster

Visit the CISA official government page

Who Leads the CISA?

 

The CISA is made up of two core operations that are vital to the agency’s success. First, is the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), which delivers 24×7 cyber-situational awareness, analysis, incident response and cyber-defense capabilities to the federal government. The NCCIC operates on state, local, tribal, and territorial government levels; within the private sector; and with international partners. The second is the National Risk Management Center (NRMC), which is a planning, analysis and collaboration center working to identify and address the most significant risks to the nation’s critical infrastructure.

The CISA is led by a team of eight highly respected and experienced team of individuals.

  • Director, Cybersecurity, and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Christopher C. Krebs 
  • Deputy Director, Matthew Travis 
  • Assistant Director for Cybersecurity, Bryan Ware 
  • Assistant Director (Acting) for Infrastructure Security, Steve Harris
  • Assistant Director, National Risk Management Center, Bob Kolasky 
  • Assistant Director (Acting) for Emergency Communications, Vincent DeLaurentis 
  • Assistant Director for Integrated Operations, John Felker
  • Assistant Director (Acting) for Stakeholder Engagement, Bradford Willke

You can learn more about the CISA leadership team and their structure here.

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