Author name: wcsec54

How Machine Learning Aids in Creating Secure Systems

How Machine Learning Aids in Creating Secure Systems It may be a surprise for some to know that machine learning is used in cybersecurity, but there are many ways in which Machine Learning in cybersecurity can help create secure systems that can withstand a wide array of attacks. Let’s take a closer look at how machine learning can help cybersecurity. What is Machine Learning? You can define Machine Learning as a branch of Artificial intelligence (AI) that enables software applications to more accurately predict outcomes by using data and algorithms to imitate the way humans learn. An example of Machine Learning is image recognition. Using machine learning, a computer can recognise an object as a digital image, according to the intensity of the pixels in the image. Well, how does Machine Learning work? Machine Learning teaches computers to think the way humans do: by learning from past experiences. Machine Learning algorithms use historical data as input, explore it, and identify patterns in it to give an output that requires almost no human intervention. Nearly any task can be automated with Machine Learning. What are the Advantages of Machine Learning in Cybersecurity? Machine learning enables computers to review large amounts of data and find specific trends and patterns that may possibly be missed by a human. It can be leveraged to understand past cyber-attacks and develop more effective defence strategies and responses. Machine Learning can be used in many domains within cybersecurity to improve security processes, and help security experts quickly identify, prioritise, deal with, and rectify new attacks. As Machine Learning can automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks, it can be used in cybersecurity to automate malware analysis, network log analysis, and even vulnerability assessments. Machine Learning algorithms can also be used in applications to detect attacks by analysing large data sets of security events and identifying patterns that show malicious activity. When similar events are noticed, they can be dealt with automatically by the trained ML model. Malicious emails can be identified with the use of the latest Machine Learning algorithm predictive URL classification models. Traditional phishing detection techniques lack the speed and accuracy that Machine Learning provides. How Can Machine Learning Help Cybersecurity? Having Machine Learning in cybersecurity is a good idea for a number of reasons. Using machine learning, cybersecurity systems can study patterns and use them in the prevention of attacks that are similar and respond to uncertain behaviour. It can aid cybersecurity teams in being proactive when it comes to preventing threats and responding to active attacks as they happen. Machine Learning in cybersecurity helps decrease the time spent performing routine tasks, thus allowing organisations to use their resources in more effective ways. Organisations are forced to regularly track and correlate a vast number of external and internal data points across their infrastructure and users. This volume of information simply cannot be managed with only a small group of people. This is where Machine Learning in cybersecurity can help. It can analyse huge amounts of data and recognise patterns and predict threats, all at machine speed. Some of the ways machine learning helps cybersecurity are listed below: Machine Learning can detect threats on networks by regularly monitoring them and looking for abnormalities. Data in the cloud can be protected using Machine Learning by analysing suspicious cloud login activity, location-based abnormalities, etc. Machine Learning can keep people safe by preventing them from connecting to malicious websites. Machine Learning can provide endpoint malware protection as Machine Learning algorithms can identify new malware that is trying to run on endpoints. By analysing encrypted traffic data elements in network telemetry, Machine learning can detect malware in encrypted traffic. The Future of Cybersecurity with Machine Learning Machine learning can help defend against the increasingly sophisticated attacks that hackers launch against corporate networks. Machine learning can be used in cybersecurity to respond to cyberattacks and defeat bad actors. A report by Capgemini Research Institute states that 61% of organisations say that they would not be able to detect critical threats without AI, whereas 69% believe that AI will be essential to respond to cyberattacks. The market of AI in cybersecurity is expected to grow to $46.3 billion by 2027. Machine learning technologies can help cybersecurity by detecting anomalies, predicting future data breaches, and even responding to them in real time. The uses of Machine Learning in cybersecurity are expected to improve with time. These technologies have already proven to be very useful in many cases like detecting fraud and scoring network risk. They are already being used to rapidly detect intrusions, identify suspicious behaviours, and also to detect malware. Limitations of Machine Learning in Cybersecurity Machine Learning can make cybersecurity simple, proactive, cheap, and much more effective than it is right now. However, these things can only be achieved if the underlying data that the algorithms are trained on provide a full picture of the environment. Machine Learning and AI are completely dependent on the data that is provided to them. Thus, if the data is bad, the security provided by the Machine Learning algorithms will also be bad and ineffective. Machine learning is not risk-free. There may still be instances where security systems that employ machine learning may fail. However, the use of AI and Machine Learning in cybersecurity is expected to get much better with time. Reach out to us at SECUREU & let’s talk about how we can help you!contact-us@secureu.in | Website, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube

How Machine Learning Aids in Creating Secure Systems Read More »

How Machine Learning Aids in Creating Secure Systems It may be a surprise for some to know that machine learning is used in cybersecurity, but there are many ways in which Machine Learning in cybersecurity can help create secure systems that can withstand a wide array of attacks. Let’s take a closer look at how machine learning can help cybersecurity. What is Machine Learning? You can define Machine Learning as a branch of Artificial intelligence (AI) that enables software applications to more accurately predict outcomes by using data and algorithms to imitate the way humans learn. An example of Machine Learning is image recognition. Using machine learning, a computer can recognise an object as a digital image, according to the intensity of the pixels in the image. Well, how does Machine Learning work? Machine Learning teaches computers to think the way humans do: by learning from past experiences. Machine Learning algorithms use historical data as input, explore it, and identify patterns in it to give an output that requires almost no human intervention. Nearly any task can be automated with Machine Learning. What are the Advantages of Machine Learning in Cybersecurity? Machine learning enables computers to review large amounts of data and find specific trends and patterns that may possibly be missed by a human. It can be leveraged to understand past cyber-attacks and develop more effective defence strategies and responses. Machine Learning can be used in many domains within cybersecurity to improve security processes, and help security experts quickly identify, prioritise, deal with, and rectify new attacks. As Machine Learning can automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks, it can be used in cybersecurity to automate malware analysis, network log analysis, and even vulnerability assessments. Machine Learning algorithms can also be used in applications to detect attacks by analysing large data sets of security events and identifying patterns that show malicious activity. When similar events are noticed, they can be dealt with automatically by the trained ML model. Malicious emails can be identified with the use of the latest Machine Learning algorithm predictive URL classification models. Traditional phishing detection techniques lack the speed and accuracy that Machine Learning provides. How Can Machine Learning Help Cybersecurity? Having Machine Learning in cybersecurity is a good idea for a number of reasons. Using machine learning, cybersecurity systems can study patterns and use them in the prevention of attacks that are similar and respond to uncertain behaviour. It can aid cybersecurity teams in being proactive when it comes to preventing threats and responding to active attacks as they happen. Machine Learning in cybersecurity helps decrease the time spent performing routine tasks, thus allowing organisations to use their resources in more effective ways. Organisations are forced to regularly track and correlate a vast number of external and internal data points across their infrastructure and users. This volume of information simply cannot be managed with only a small group of people. This is where Machine Learning in cybersecurity can help. It can analyse huge amounts of data and recognise patterns and predict threats, all at machine speed. Some of the ways machine learning helps cybersecurity are listed below: Machine Learning can detect threats on networks by regularly monitoring them and looking for abnormalities. Data in the cloud can be protected using Machine Learning by analysing suspicious cloud login activity, location-based abnormalities, etc. Machine Learning can keep people safe by preventing them from connecting to malicious websites. Machine Learning can provide endpoint malware protection as Machine Learning algorithms can identify new malware that is trying to run on endpoints. By analysing encrypted traffic data elements in network telemetry, Machine learning can detect malware in encrypted traffic. The Future of Cybersecurity with Machine Learning Machine learning can help defend against the increasingly sophisticated attacks that hackers launch against corporate networks. Machine learning can be used in cybersecurity to respond to cyberattacks and defeat bad actors. A report by Capgemini Research Institute states that 61% of organisations say that they would not be able to detect critical threats without AI, whereas 69% believe that AI will be essential to respond to cyberattacks. The market of AI in cybersecurity is expected to grow to $46.3 billion by 2027. Machine learning technologies can help cybersecurity by detecting anomalies, predicting future data breaches, and even responding to them in real time. The uses of Machine Learning in cybersecurity are expected to improve with time. These technologies have already proven to be very useful in many cases like detecting fraud and scoring network risk. They are already being used to rapidly detect intrusions, identify suspicious behaviours, and also to detect malware. Limitations of Machine Learning in Cybersecurity Machine Learning can make cybersecurity simple, proactive, cheap, and much more effective than it is right now. However, these things can only be achieved if the underlying data that the algorithms are trained on provide a full picture of the environment. Machine Learning and AI are completely dependent on the data that is provided to them. Thus, if the data is bad, the security provided by the Machine Learning algorithms will also be bad and ineffective. Machine learning is not risk-free. There may still be instances where security systems that employ machine learning may fail. However, the use of AI and Machine Learning in cybersecurity is expected to get much better with time. Reach out to us at SECUREU & let’s talk about how we can help you!contact-us@secureu.in | Website, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube

Proven Ways to Secure Your Computer Network

Proven Ways to Secure Your Computer Network Businesses face threats from multiple sources in many ways, and the more users, apps, and devices they add, the more susceptible their network becomes. Let’s take a look at how companies can secure their networks. What is Network Security? Any activity that is designed to protect the integrity and usability of the network and data is called network security. This includes hardware as well as software technologies. Good network security manages access to the network and targets a variety of threats to stop them from entering or spreading on a network. How Does Network Security Work? Network security merges various layers of defenses at the edges of and in a network. Policies and controls are implemented at each network security layer. Malicious actors are prevented from carrying out threats and exploits whereas authorized users are allowed to get access to network resources. How Do You Benefit From Network Security? Each organization needs to protect its network. Our world has changed due to digitization. The way we live, work, and even play has changed. Network security helps businesses protect their private information and thus, protects their reputation. Ways to Protect Your Network It is difficult to know how to secure a network for small and medium-sized businesses that do not have IT staff to take care of system maintenance full-time. Luckily, there are some network security practices that organizations can use to secure their data and hopefully build better defenses against hackers and viruses. Install a Firewall A firewall is a piece of software or hardware that has been designed to prevent unauthorized access to computers and networks. To simplify, it is a set of rules that controls network traffic. Computers and networks that “abide by the rules” are allowed into access points. The ones that don’t follow the rules are stopped from accessing your system. A firewall is an integral part of the defense of your network. If you do not have a firewall in place, you should make sure to set up a firewall as soon as possible. Firewalls can be set up on individual devices and your antivirus software may include firewall protection in it. It is worth noting that firewalls can also be set up as a WAF (Web Application Firewall). Web Application Firewalls protect web apps by monitoring and filtering HTTP traffic between the internet and a web application. A WAF is akin to a shield placed in front of a web application, separating it and the internet. It protects the server from being exposed by making clients pass through the WAF before getting to the server. A WAF is especially important for businesses that sell products online and store customer information. A WAF helps protect this stored data. The latest firewalls are integrated network security platforms that comprise a variety of encryption methods and approaches, all working together to prevent breaches. Advanced Endpoint Detection Advanced endpoint detection and response uses AI to look for signs of compromise and react accordingly to respond to the ever-evolving world of online threats. This technology gathers and analyses information obtained from network devices, endpoint logs and threat intelligence feeds, and using this data it identifies security incidents, fraudulent activity, and other threats. To respond faster, a high degree of automation is employed to allow security teams to quickly identify and respond to threats. Signs of compromised behavior can range from characteristics related to threat actor inclusion to ransomware and malware and general virus-like behavior. Advanced Endpoint Detection is more advanced compared to antivirus software and is a part of a layered, modern, and proactive approach to cybersecurity to help defend against the always-changing attack of hackers. Update Passwords Often Employees must know to avoid default passwords such as “12345”, “password” and their dates of birth. While using good passwords that feature a combination of upper and lowercase letters as well as numbers and symbols, is important, it should be mandatory for employees to regularly change passwords used on systems that have access to business networks. Employees need to be informed that substituting letters with similar-looking characters is not a good idea. For example, choosing “pa$$word” instead of “password” will not work as hackers are aware of this trick. The more often a password is changed, the better. The recommended frequency of password changes is once every quarter as changing passwords too often can cause confusion and lead to employees being unable to remember their user IDs and passwords. It should be noted that many businesses now make use of two-factor authentication to connect to the network. Along with a username and password, users also need to enter a code that they receive through text or email or another such means to connect to a network or system. Creating Virtual Private Networks VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It is a service that protects your privacy and internet connection online. It encrypts your network to ensure online privacy for all users. As it hides your IP address and makes your online activity virtually untraceable, you can safely use public Wi-Fi hotspots. VPNs create a secure connection between remote computers like home networks or computers and other “local” computers and servers. It blocks your data, history, communications, and other information from hackers. VPNs are essentially only accessible to people who can have access to your systems, wireless network, and to equipment that has been authorized in the network settings. VPNs can drastically decrease the probability of hackers being able to find a wireless access point and wrecking your system Encrypting Files The idea of hackers invading your private networks is a cause for alarm. However, if all they find is a bunch of gibberish, is the idea still as alarming? Encryption prevents your data from being read and can protect sensitive data on Windows or macOS by using software designed to mask your IP address. You can find out if a website has been secured with encryption by looking for “HTTPS” in the address bar along

Proven Ways to Secure Your Computer Network Read More »

Proven Ways to Secure Your Computer Network Businesses face threats from multiple sources in many ways, and the more users, apps, and devices they add, the more susceptible their network becomes. Let’s take a look at how companies can secure their networks. What is Network Security? Any activity that is designed to protect the integrity and usability of the network and data is called network security. This includes hardware as well as software technologies. Good network security manages access to the network and targets a variety of threats to stop them from entering or spreading on a network. How Does Network Security Work? Network security merges various layers of defenses at the edges of and in a network. Policies and controls are implemented at each network security layer. Malicious actors are prevented from carrying out threats and exploits whereas authorized users are allowed to get access to network resources. How Do You Benefit From Network Security? Each organization needs to protect its network. Our world has changed due to digitization. The way we live, work, and even play has changed. Network security helps businesses protect their private information and thus, protects their reputation. Ways to Protect Your Network It is difficult to know how to secure a network for small and medium-sized businesses that do not have IT staff to take care of system maintenance full-time. Luckily, there are some network security practices that organizations can use to secure their data and hopefully build better defenses against hackers and viruses. Install a Firewall A firewall is a piece of software or hardware that has been designed to prevent unauthorized access to computers and networks. To simplify, it is a set of rules that controls network traffic. Computers and networks that “abide by the rules” are allowed into access points. The ones that don’t follow the rules are stopped from accessing your system. A firewall is an integral part of the defense of your network. If you do not have a firewall in place, you should make sure to set up a firewall as soon as possible. Firewalls can be set up on individual devices and your antivirus software may include firewall protection in it. It is worth noting that firewalls can also be set up as a WAF (Web Application Firewall). Web Application Firewalls protect web apps by monitoring and filtering HTTP traffic between the internet and a web application. A WAF is akin to a shield placed in front of a web application, separating it and the internet. It protects the server from being exposed by making clients pass through the WAF before getting to the server. A WAF is especially important for businesses that sell products online and store customer information. A WAF helps protect this stored data. The latest firewalls are integrated network security platforms that comprise a variety of encryption methods and approaches, all working together to prevent breaches. Advanced Endpoint Detection Advanced endpoint detection and response uses AI to look for signs of compromise and react accordingly to respond to the ever-evolving world of online threats. This technology gathers and analyses information obtained from network devices, endpoint logs and threat intelligence feeds, and using this data it identifies security incidents, fraudulent activity, and other threats. To respond faster, a high degree of automation is employed to allow security teams to quickly identify and respond to threats. Signs of compromised behavior can range from characteristics related to threat actor inclusion to ransomware and malware and general virus-like behavior. Advanced Endpoint Detection is more advanced compared to antivirus software and is a part of a layered, modern, and proactive approach to cybersecurity to help defend against the always-changing attack of hackers. Update Passwords Often Employees must know to avoid default passwords such as “12345”, “password” and their dates of birth. While using good passwords that feature a combination of upper and lowercase letters as well as numbers and symbols, is important, it should be mandatory for employees to regularly change passwords used on systems that have access to business networks. Employees need to be informed that substituting letters with similar-looking characters is not a good idea. For example, choosing “pa$$word” instead of “password” will not work as hackers are aware of this trick. The more often a password is changed, the better. The recommended frequency of password changes is once every quarter as changing passwords too often can cause confusion and lead to employees being unable to remember their user IDs and passwords. It should be noted that many businesses now make use of two-factor authentication to connect to the network. Along with a username and password, users also need to enter a code that they receive through text or email or another such means to connect to a network or system. Creating Virtual Private Networks VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It is a service that protects your privacy and internet connection online. It encrypts your network to ensure online privacy for all users. As it hides your IP address and makes your online activity virtually untraceable, you can safely use public Wi-Fi hotspots. VPNs create a secure connection between remote computers like home networks or computers and other “local” computers and servers. It blocks your data, history, communications, and other information from hackers. VPNs are essentially only accessible to people who can have access to your systems, wireless network, and to equipment that has been authorized in the network settings. VPNs can drastically decrease the probability of hackers being able to find a wireless access point and wrecking your system Encrypting Files The idea of hackers invading your private networks is a cause for alarm. However, if all they find is a bunch of gibberish, is the idea still as alarming? Encryption prevents your data from being read and can protect sensitive data on Windows or macOS by using software designed to mask your IP address. You can find out if a website has been secured with encryption by looking for “HTTPS” in the address bar along

Securing your Web3 Assets!

Securing your Web3 Assets! Web3.0, Blockchain, Ethereum, Cryptocurrency, NFTs, etc. let me use all the buzzwords to get people over to my blog post. Jokes aside I wanted to focus on Web3.0 assets and related products that I mentioned above because these are the new shiny toys of the technology world. Just like any other shiny toy on the market, everyone is trying to get these for themselves and not everyone is following the legal way to obtain them. Cyber attacks in the Web 3.0 domain have gone rampant and it does not seem that they will be coming to an end any time soon. Previously when the internet age began most of the world was unaware of its implications and the security issues that might arise with it. Luckily after all this time, we have had several learnings from the past and if we generate enough awareness among the people we might not have to encounter as many cyberattacks in the future as we do today. If you are someone who has also invested a ton of money in cryptocurrencies and NFTs or are thinking to do so I think it is extremely important and beneficial for you to give a read ahead. Top Five Attack Vectors There have been several different cyberattacks that have been carried out in the past few years trying to dupe people out of their cryptocurrency and NFTs. The good thing is that most of them can be categorized under the few attack vectors mentioned below. So, if you manage to keep yourself aware and be on the lookout for such attacks against you, you can protect yourself from nearly every malicious hacker out there. Let’s dive in and get a basic understanding of these various attack scenarios and how one can protect themselves. Social Engineering In my previous article a week back I mentioned phishing attacks, why are they so prevalent in this day and age, and how to protect ourselves against them. Web3.0 and related technology are extremely new and so it is pretty obvious that people haven’t totally understood its nuances and attackers utilize that to their own benefit. Cloning crypto wallets is one of the most common attacks right now. As with any normal wallet, crypto wallets consist of the majority of your crypto assets and thus they become an extremely attractive point of attack for attackers. To help customers recover their crypto wallets companies provide them with a set of 12 to 24 words, also known as the “seed phrase”. It acts as a private key and can be utilized to regain access to your wallet in case it is lost or destroyed. The issue is the attackers try to social engineer their victims to obtain their seed phrase and many of these unsuspecting people completely unaware of the importance of these words provide them to these attackers without a second thought. Once these attackers have your keys to the crypto wallets they can extract everything you have in your wallet within seconds and you won’t be able to take any steps to obtain them back. 2. Fake customer agents This is a variation of the social engineering attacks that I just mentioned above but it needs to be stated separately because of how common this specific methodology has become. Attackers have been utilizing these methods to extract the seed phrase from the users by acting as if they are calling from the company whose crypto-wallets their victims own. They ask their victims to tell them the seed phrase as only then they will be able to establish that they are the rightful owner of the crypto-wallet and some of their victims do tell their seed phrase and get hacked. These fake customer agents also utilize the same methodology to obtain the OTPs when hacking people who have multi-factor authentication enabled. They ask the customers for the OTP under the pretext to establish trust with their victims and then utilize the OTP to then hack into their email accounts and initiate resetting passwords of their online crypto accounts and then transferring everything to their accounts. 3. Whales The cyberattacks that take place in this space are completely out of the world. The word “whales” is used to describe those high-net-worth entities which have huge amounts of assets with them, in this particular case crypto-assets. It is estimated that there are nearly 40,000 whales, which combined own nearly 80% of all NFTs out there. This makes these whales extremely attractive to hackers. Also as these entities have a huge amount of assets with them, so malicious hackers are comfortable with spending a ton of money to hack these people or organizations. As the rewards outweigh the cost of the attack multi-folds. The attackers spend a lot of time carefully figuring out the “whales”. People create entire fake projects and run the Discord servers and Twitter accounts associated with it for months sometimes to be able to phish these whales. Whales should be on the lookout for such projects that seems fishy or do not have tons of people backing them or if the code for their smart contract has not been made public. They should make sure to follow the defence-in-depth strategy and utilize several security features to lock down their wallets, with strong passwords and multi-factor authentication being the bare minimum. 4. ENS Domains ENS, Ethereum Name Service domains have gathered loads of popularity as they provide easy-to-remember names to help find other people’s cryptocurrency wallet addresses. This is extremely useful for people regularly transferring cryptocurrencies to each other as it eases the process. The sad news is anyone can buy an ENS domain of whatever name they prefer it to be and then carry out an attack against their victims by tricking them. These ENS domain names can be very similar to that of the person they are trying to impersonate and then convince their victim to transfer their crypto assets on this fake wallet instead of the intended

Securing your Web3 Assets! Read More »

Securing your Web3 Assets! Web3.0, Blockchain, Ethereum, Cryptocurrency, NFTs, etc. let me use all the buzzwords to get people over to my blog post. Jokes aside I wanted to focus on Web3.0 assets and related products that I mentioned above because these are the new shiny toys of the technology world. Just like any other shiny toy on the market, everyone is trying to get these for themselves and not everyone is following the legal way to obtain them. Cyber attacks in the Web 3.0 domain have gone rampant and it does not seem that they will be coming to an end any time soon. Previously when the internet age began most of the world was unaware of its implications and the security issues that might arise with it. Luckily after all this time, we have had several learnings from the past and if we generate enough awareness among the people we might not have to encounter as many cyberattacks in the future as we do today. If you are someone who has also invested a ton of money in cryptocurrencies and NFTs or are thinking to do so I think it is extremely important and beneficial for you to give a read ahead. Top Five Attack Vectors There have been several different cyberattacks that have been carried out in the past few years trying to dupe people out of their cryptocurrency and NFTs. The good thing is that most of them can be categorized under the few attack vectors mentioned below. So, if you manage to keep yourself aware and be on the lookout for such attacks against you, you can protect yourself from nearly every malicious hacker out there. Let’s dive in and get a basic understanding of these various attack scenarios and how one can protect themselves. Social Engineering In my previous article a week back I mentioned phishing attacks, why are they so prevalent in this day and age, and how to protect ourselves against them. Web3.0 and related technology are extremely new and so it is pretty obvious that people haven’t totally understood its nuances and attackers utilize that to their own benefit. Cloning crypto wallets is one of the most common attacks right now. As with any normal wallet, crypto wallets consist of the majority of your crypto assets and thus they become an extremely attractive point of attack for attackers. To help customers recover their crypto wallets companies provide them with a set of 12 to 24 words, also known as the “seed phrase”. It acts as a private key and can be utilized to regain access to your wallet in case it is lost or destroyed. The issue is the attackers try to social engineer their victims to obtain their seed phrase and many of these unsuspecting people completely unaware of the importance of these words provide them to these attackers without a second thought. Once these attackers have your keys to the crypto wallets they can extract everything you have in your wallet within seconds and you won’t be able to take any steps to obtain them back. 2. Fake customer agents This is a variation of the social engineering attacks that I just mentioned above but it needs to be stated separately because of how common this specific methodology has become. Attackers have been utilizing these methods to extract the seed phrase from the users by acting as if they are calling from the company whose crypto-wallets their victims own. They ask their victims to tell them the seed phrase as only then they will be able to establish that they are the rightful owner of the crypto-wallet and some of their victims do tell their seed phrase and get hacked. These fake customer agents also utilize the same methodology to obtain the OTPs when hacking people who have multi-factor authentication enabled. They ask the customers for the OTP under the pretext to establish trust with their victims and then utilize the OTP to then hack into their email accounts and initiate resetting passwords of their online crypto accounts and then transferring everything to their accounts. 3. Whales The cyberattacks that take place in this space are completely out of the world. The word “whales” is used to describe those high-net-worth entities which have huge amounts of assets with them, in this particular case crypto-assets. It is estimated that there are nearly 40,000 whales, which combined own nearly 80% of all NFTs out there. This makes these whales extremely attractive to hackers. Also as these entities have a huge amount of assets with them, so malicious hackers are comfortable with spending a ton of money to hack these people or organizations. As the rewards outweigh the cost of the attack multi-folds. The attackers spend a lot of time carefully figuring out the “whales”. People create entire fake projects and run the Discord servers and Twitter accounts associated with it for months sometimes to be able to phish these whales. Whales should be on the lookout for such projects that seems fishy or do not have tons of people backing them or if the code for their smart contract has not been made public. They should make sure to follow the defence-in-depth strategy and utilize several security features to lock down their wallets, with strong passwords and multi-factor authentication being the bare minimum. 4. ENS Domains ENS, Ethereum Name Service domains have gathered loads of popularity as they provide easy-to-remember names to help find other people’s cryptocurrency wallet addresses. This is extremely useful for people regularly transferring cryptocurrencies to each other as it eases the process. The sad news is anyone can buy an ENS domain of whatever name they prefer it to be and then carry out an attack against their victims by tricking them. These ENS domain names can be very similar to that of the person they are trying to impersonate and then convince their victim to transfer their crypto assets on this fake wallet instead of the intended

Choosing a VPN

Choosing a VPN In today’s age, VPNs are an essential tool for maintaining privacy. But how does one pick a VPN that meets their needs from a multitude of options available in the market? Since there are so many different kinds of VPNs, it is important to take a look at their features and then pick one according to your needs. Let’s take a look at things to keep in mind while selecting a VPN. We rely on VPNs to perform more than one task. It is also important that the VPN itself be protected from being compromised. Here are some of the features that you can expect from an extensive, exhaustive VPN solution: Encrypting Protocols: One of the tasks that a VPN must perform is to stop you from leaving traces, for instance, in the form of your search history, internet history, and cookies. It is especially important to encrypt cookies as doing so can prevent third parties from getting access to private information such as financial data, personal information, and other content on websites. Two-factor Authentication: By using multiple authentication methods, a good VPN can check everyone who tries to log in. For example, you might be asked to enter a password. Once you enter your password, a code is sent to your mobile device. This makes it tough for third parties to access your secure connection. Kill Switch: An interrupted VPN connection means that your secure connection will also be interrupted. A VPN should be able to detect abrupt downtimes and terminate certain selected programs reducing the likelihood of your data being compromised. Encrypting Your IP Address: The main task of VPNs is to hide your IP address from your Internet Service Provider as well as other third parties. This makes it possible for you to send and receive information without the risk of anyone other than you and the VPN provider viewing it. What Are The Different Kinds Of VPNs? There are many different types of VPNs available in the market. Here are the 3 main types that you should know about: Site-to-Site VPN Site-to-site VPNs are private networks designed to hide private intranets and allow their users to access each other’s resources. If you have multiple locations in your company, each with its local area network connected to the wide area network, then site-to-site VPNs are useful. They also come in handy when there are two separate intranets between which you want to send data without users from one intranet accessing the other. As site-to-site VPNs are difficult to implement and are not as flexible as SSL VPNs, they are mainly used in large companies. Despite these problems, they are the most effective way to guarantee communication between large departments. SSL VPN Often, companies may not have enough equipment for their employees. In such cases, employees have to resort to using private devices. In these instances, companies have to rely on SSL VPN solutions which are usually implemented via a hardware box. Usually, an HTML-5 capable browser is used to call up the company’s login page as a prerequisite. HTML-5 capable browsers are available for pretty much any OS. Access is protected with a username and password. Client-to-Server VPN You can imagine connecting through a VPN client as if you are connecting to your home computer to the company using an extension cable. Employees can log into the company network from their home office using a secure connection as if they were present in the office. To do this, a VPN client needs to be installed and configured on the computer. This involves the user not connecting to the internet through their ISP but rather establishing a direct connection through their VPN provider. In essence, this shortens the tunnel phase of the VPN cycle. Rather than using the VPN to create an encryption tunnel to disguise the existing internet connection, the VPN can encrypt the data automatically before it is made available to the user. This is a prevalent type of VPN, that is very useful for providers of insecure public WLAN. It stops third parties from gaining access to and compromising the network connection and encrypts data up to the provider. In addition to this, ISPs are prevented from accessing data that remains unencrypted for whatever reason and sidestep any restrictions on the user’s internet access. This type of VPN is advantageous as it is more efficient and provides universal access to company resources. Installing A VPN On Your Computer There are different implementation methods of VPNs and it is important to know about them before you proceed with installing a VPN: VPN Client: For standalone VPN clients, software that is configured to fulfill the requirements of the endpoint must be installed. The endpoint implements the VPN link and connects to the other endpoint, creating the encryption tunnel when setting up the VPN. Usually, in companies, a password issued by the company or the installation of an appropriate certificate is required. Passwords and certificates allow firewalls to recognize authorized connections. Then, the employee can identify themselves with their credentials. Router VPN: For many devices connected to the same internet connection, it can be easier to implement the VPN on the router itself than to install a separate VPN on each device. Router VPNs come in handy when you want to protect devices that are not easy to configure, like smart TVs. They may even allow you to access geographically restricted content through home entertainment systems. Router VPNs are easy to install, provide privacy and security, and protect your network from being compromised when insecure devices connect to it. It is worth noting, however, that if your router does not have a user interface, the router VPN will be difficult to manage and can lead to incoming connections being blocked. Browser Extensions: You can add VPN extensions to most web browsers. Some browsers such as Opera have their VPN extensions integrated into them. While extensions make it easier and faster for users to switch and configure their

Choosing a VPN Read More »

Choosing a VPN In today’s age, VPNs are an essential tool for maintaining privacy. But how does one pick a VPN that meets their needs from a multitude of options available in the market? Since there are so many different kinds of VPNs, it is important to take a look at their features and then pick one according to your needs. Let’s take a look at things to keep in mind while selecting a VPN. We rely on VPNs to perform more than one task. It is also important that the VPN itself be protected from being compromised. Here are some of the features that you can expect from an extensive, exhaustive VPN solution: Encrypting Protocols: One of the tasks that a VPN must perform is to stop you from leaving traces, for instance, in the form of your search history, internet history, and cookies. It is especially important to encrypt cookies as doing so can prevent third parties from getting access to private information such as financial data, personal information, and other content on websites. Two-factor Authentication: By using multiple authentication methods, a good VPN can check everyone who tries to log in. For example, you might be asked to enter a password. Once you enter your password, a code is sent to your mobile device. This makes it tough for third parties to access your secure connection. Kill Switch: An interrupted VPN connection means that your secure connection will also be interrupted. A VPN should be able to detect abrupt downtimes and terminate certain selected programs reducing the likelihood of your data being compromised. Encrypting Your IP Address: The main task of VPNs is to hide your IP address from your Internet Service Provider as well as other third parties. This makes it possible for you to send and receive information without the risk of anyone other than you and the VPN provider viewing it. What Are The Different Kinds Of VPNs? There are many different types of VPNs available in the market. Here are the 3 main types that you should know about: Site-to-Site VPN Site-to-site VPNs are private networks designed to hide private intranets and allow their users to access each other’s resources. If you have multiple locations in your company, each with its local area network connected to the wide area network, then site-to-site VPNs are useful. They also come in handy when there are two separate intranets between which you want to send data without users from one intranet accessing the other. As site-to-site VPNs are difficult to implement and are not as flexible as SSL VPNs, they are mainly used in large companies. Despite these problems, they are the most effective way to guarantee communication between large departments. SSL VPN Often, companies may not have enough equipment for their employees. In such cases, employees have to resort to using private devices. In these instances, companies have to rely on SSL VPN solutions which are usually implemented via a hardware box. Usually, an HTML-5 capable browser is used to call up the company’s login page as a prerequisite. HTML-5 capable browsers are available for pretty much any OS. Access is protected with a username and password. Client-to-Server VPN You can imagine connecting through a VPN client as if you are connecting to your home computer to the company using an extension cable. Employees can log into the company network from their home office using a secure connection as if they were present in the office. To do this, a VPN client needs to be installed and configured on the computer. This involves the user not connecting to the internet through their ISP but rather establishing a direct connection through their VPN provider. In essence, this shortens the tunnel phase of the VPN cycle. Rather than using the VPN to create an encryption tunnel to disguise the existing internet connection, the VPN can encrypt the data automatically before it is made available to the user. This is a prevalent type of VPN, that is very useful for providers of insecure public WLAN. It stops third parties from gaining access to and compromising the network connection and encrypts data up to the provider. In addition to this, ISPs are prevented from accessing data that remains unencrypted for whatever reason and sidestep any restrictions on the user’s internet access. This type of VPN is advantageous as it is more efficient and provides universal access to company resources. Installing A VPN On Your Computer There are different implementation methods of VPNs and it is important to know about them before you proceed with installing a VPN: VPN Client: For standalone VPN clients, software that is configured to fulfill the requirements of the endpoint must be installed. The endpoint implements the VPN link and connects to the other endpoint, creating the encryption tunnel when setting up the VPN. Usually, in companies, a password issued by the company or the installation of an appropriate certificate is required. Passwords and certificates allow firewalls to recognize authorized connections. Then, the employee can identify themselves with their credentials. Router VPN: For many devices connected to the same internet connection, it can be easier to implement the VPN on the router itself than to install a separate VPN on each device. Router VPNs come in handy when you want to protect devices that are not easy to configure, like smart TVs. They may even allow you to access geographically restricted content through home entertainment systems. Router VPNs are easy to install, provide privacy and security, and protect your network from being compromised when insecure devices connect to it. It is worth noting, however, that if your router does not have a user interface, the router VPN will be difficult to manage and can lead to incoming connections being blocked. Browser Extensions: You can add VPN extensions to most web browsers. Some browsers such as Opera have their VPN extensions integrated into them. While extensions make it easier and faster for users to switch and configure their

Some cybersecurity tips for Startups

Some cybersecurity tips for Startups Often, startups tend to overlook the importance of strengthening protection. This is why they are susceptible to cyberattacks. According to a report by the Cyber Security Breached Survey, medium and small industries struggle the most due to cyber-attacks all over the world. This is precisely why startups need to focus on security right off the bat. It is essential that startups secure themselves against infiltration, as failure to do so can lead to bankruptcy. Large firms may recover from a breach, but the possibility of startups recovering from a breach is truly slim. To prevent themselves from shutting down, startups should follow best security practices to defend their firms and, consequently, build trust among their customers. Here are some tips startups can use at the beginning of their journey to ensure a safe and secure business. Two-Factor Authentication A critical step to safeguarding a startup is to implement two-factor authentication. This simple step can help reduce the likelihood of attacks or unexpected misuse. If startups integrate 2F authentication, they can enable an extra layer of security while still making sure that sensitive information is available to those who need to access it. Usually, it is believed that two-factor authentication is only for financial services. If so, one should remember how Ola was hacked during its initial years. On that account, startups should secure access to information on networks with the help of 2FA or even better, multi-factor authentication. Social Engineering and Educating Employees Social Engineering attempts to psychologically manipulate employees and obtain sensitive information from them without using any code. As it happens, it has proven to be the easiest way to access any network. These social engineering attacks are generally conducted via email or other forms of communication. This is why raising awareness is critical for startups to certify that confidential data cannot be leaked accidentally. It is believed that hackers generally try to attack employees who have low to no technical expertise, as they are the ones who are most likely to fail to recognise the threat. Any opening in the startup’s defence can negatively affect it and decrease its brand value. Holding workshops about cybersecurity for all employees is a good way to raise awareness of threats. A lot of attacks can be prevented if your employees have a bit of a background in cybersecurity and the types of threats that companies face. Protection Against Ransomware Ransomware is a type of malware that is created to deny access to files on a computer. It works by encrypting these files and demanding a ransom to provide access to the files again. Ransomware can also have added functionality such as data theft to incentivize victims to pay the ransom. Ransomware happens to be the most detrimental for businesses, as it extorts a massive amount of money in exchange for access to files. Hospitals and public schools used to be frequent victims of ransomware attacks, but they have now spread to startups as well as personal computers. Ransomware attacks can be deadly even for large corporations, let alone startups. While ransomware attacks can occur due to viruses and loopholes in security, one way to reduce the chances of this attack is to shun all unauthentic software. Testing Your Defences Even if a startup spends a large sum of money on their security system, it won’t matter unless they test it to ensure that it works. Finding chinks in your armour is a vital step toward having a secure system. This is why startups should regularly get their defences appraised through pen-testing and by hiring cybersecurity consultants. This will give them insights into the weaknesses of their security systems as well as give them information on how to protect themselves better. Conclusion Security may not be a top priority for startups, but it is definitely better to be safe than sorry. Often, startups cannot bear the cost that entails a breach. This is why startups must constantly take steps to ensure that they can operate safely and confidently by following best cybersecurity practices and updating their defenses whenever possible. Reach out to us at SECUREU & let’s talk about how we can help you! Website: https://secureu.in | E-mail: contact-us@secureu.in | Contact us: Telegram, Twitter Youtube & LinkedIn

Some cybersecurity tips for Startups Read More »

Some cybersecurity tips for Startups Often, startups tend to overlook the importance of strengthening protection. This is why they are susceptible to cyberattacks. According to a report by the Cyber Security Breached Survey, medium and small industries struggle the most due to cyber-attacks all over the world. This is precisely why startups need to focus on security right off the bat. It is essential that startups secure themselves against infiltration, as failure to do so can lead to bankruptcy. Large firms may recover from a breach, but the possibility of startups recovering from a breach is truly slim. To prevent themselves from shutting down, startups should follow best security practices to defend their firms and, consequently, build trust among their customers. Here are some tips startups can use at the beginning of their journey to ensure a safe and secure business. Two-Factor Authentication A critical step to safeguarding a startup is to implement two-factor authentication. This simple step can help reduce the likelihood of attacks or unexpected misuse. If startups integrate 2F authentication, they can enable an extra layer of security while still making sure that sensitive information is available to those who need to access it. Usually, it is believed that two-factor authentication is only for financial services. If so, one should remember how Ola was hacked during its initial years. On that account, startups should secure access to information on networks with the help of 2FA or even better, multi-factor authentication. Social Engineering and Educating Employees Social Engineering attempts to psychologically manipulate employees and obtain sensitive information from them without using any code. As it happens, it has proven to be the easiest way to access any network. These social engineering attacks are generally conducted via email or other forms of communication. This is why raising awareness is critical for startups to certify that confidential data cannot be leaked accidentally. It is believed that hackers generally try to attack employees who have low to no technical expertise, as they are the ones who are most likely to fail to recognise the threat. Any opening in the startup’s defence can negatively affect it and decrease its brand value. Holding workshops about cybersecurity for all employees is a good way to raise awareness of threats. A lot of attacks can be prevented if your employees have a bit of a background in cybersecurity and the types of threats that companies face. Protection Against Ransomware Ransomware is a type of malware that is created to deny access to files on a computer. It works by encrypting these files and demanding a ransom to provide access to the files again. Ransomware can also have added functionality such as data theft to incentivize victims to pay the ransom. Ransomware happens to be the most detrimental for businesses, as it extorts a massive amount of money in exchange for access to files. Hospitals and public schools used to be frequent victims of ransomware attacks, but they have now spread to startups as well as personal computers. Ransomware attacks can be deadly even for large corporations, let alone startups. While ransomware attacks can occur due to viruses and loopholes in security, one way to reduce the chances of this attack is to shun all unauthentic software. Testing Your Defences Even if a startup spends a large sum of money on their security system, it won’t matter unless they test it to ensure that it works. Finding chinks in your armour is a vital step toward having a secure system. This is why startups should regularly get their defences appraised through pen-testing and by hiring cybersecurity consultants. This will give them insights into the weaknesses of their security systems as well as give them information on how to protect themselves better. Conclusion Security may not be a top priority for startups, but it is definitely better to be safe than sorry. Often, startups cannot bear the cost that entails a breach. This is why startups must constantly take steps to ensure that they can operate safely and confidently by following best cybersecurity practices and updating their defenses whenever possible. Reach out to us at SECUREU & let’s talk about how we can help you! Website: https://secureu.in | E-mail: contact-us@secureu.in | Contact us: Telegram, Twitter Youtube & LinkedIn

The Meaning of VPN

The Meaning of VPN A VPN (Virtual Private Network) describes the opportunity to create a protected network connection when you use a public network. VPNs give you privacy and anonymity online by establishing a private network from a public internet connection. They hide your IP address so that your online activity is virtually untraceable. VPNs create secure and encrypted connections to give you, even more, privacy compared to a secure WiFi hotspot. Virtual private networks are an essential privacy tool that one should use when they are logging onto the internet from a public place like a coffee shop or a hotel lobby, or any other place that provides access to free public WiFi. A VPN creates a kind of tunnel that masks your online activity such as the links you clicked or downloaded files so that hackers, businesses, government agencies, etc., cannot see it. Once your internet traffic has been encrypted and your online activity disguised, third parties will have a tough time tracking your online activities and stealing your data. How Does a VPN Work? A VPN can hide your IP address by making the network redirect it through a specially configured remote server run by a VPN host. If you surf online with a VPN, its server becomes the source of your data. Because of this, your internet service provider and other third parties cannot view the data you send or receive or which websites you visit while online. VPNs work like filters that transform all your data into “gibberish” by encrypting it. So, even if someone were able to access your data, it would be futile. A VPN can extend a corporate network through encrypted connections made over the Internet. As the traffic between the device and the network is encrypted, the traffic remains private as it travels. Due to this, employees working outside the office can still securely connect to the corporate network. Smartphones and tablets can also connect through the use of VPNs. Why Should You Use a VPN? Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may share your browsing history with other parties like advertisers or government agencies. ISPs can also be attacked by cybercriminals. If an ISP gets hacked, your personal and private data can be leaked. If you regularly connect to public WiFi networks, this is especially important. Someone might be monitoring your internet traffic without your knowledge and they may steal your passwords, personal data, payment information, or even your identity. What Are The Benefits Of A VPN Connection? VPN connections disguise your data traffic online and protect it from external unauthorized access. If data is not encrypted, it can be seen by anyone with network access. With VPNs, cybercriminals cannot decipher your data. This is why VPNs are considered important privacy tools. The benefits of VPNs are listed below: Secure Encryption: Without an encryption key, it would take millions of years for a computer to decipher code in case of a brute-force attack. If you use a VPN, your online activity is hidden even on public networks. Access to Regional Content: Some web content may not be accessible in certain regions. Often, services and websites will contain content that is only accessible from certain parts of the world. Standard connections make use of local servers in the country to ascertain your location. This is why you cannot access some international content from home. VPNs have location spoofing due to which you can switch to a server in another country and “change” your location. Hiding Your Location: In essence, VPN servers act as your proxies on the internet. As the demographic location data comes from a server in a different country, your real location cannot be ascertained. Additionally, most VPN servers do not store logs of your online activities. On the other hand, certain internet service providers record your activities but do not hand over this information to third parties. This means that any possible records of your user behavior remain hidden for good. Secure Data Transfer: While working remotely, you might need access to important files on your company’s network. For security purposes, this information requires a secure connection. To acquire access to the network, a VPN connection is required. VPNs connect to private servers and make use of encryption techniques to reduce the risk of data leakage. How To Surf Securely With A VPN VPNs encrypt your surfing activities which cannot be decoded unless one has the key. The key is only known to your computer and the VPN. This means that your ISP cannot determine where you are surfing. Different VPNs use different encryption processes, but they generally work in three steps: As soon as you are online, start your VPN. The VPN will act as a secure tunnel, separating you from the internet. This secure tunnel cannot be detected by third parties and your ISP. Your device will now be on the local network of the VPN, and your IP address is changed to one provided by the VPN server. You can now surf the internet without worry, as the VPN will protect your data. It is a good idea to invest in a good VPN. Many antiviruses these days come with a VPN. You can protect not only your privacy but also your company’s. Reach out to us at SECUREU & let’s talk about how we can help you! Website: https://secureu.in | E-mail: contact-us@secureu.in | Contact us: Telegram, Twitter Youtube & LinkedIn

The Meaning of VPN Read More »

The Meaning of VPN A VPN (Virtual Private Network) describes the opportunity to create a protected network connection when you use a public network. VPNs give you privacy and anonymity online by establishing a private network from a public internet connection. They hide your IP address so that your online activity is virtually untraceable. VPNs create secure and encrypted connections to give you, even more, privacy compared to a secure WiFi hotspot. Virtual private networks are an essential privacy tool that one should use when they are logging onto the internet from a public place like a coffee shop or a hotel lobby, or any other place that provides access to free public WiFi. A VPN creates a kind of tunnel that masks your online activity such as the links you clicked or downloaded files so that hackers, businesses, government agencies, etc., cannot see it. Once your internet traffic has been encrypted and your online activity disguised, third parties will have a tough time tracking your online activities and stealing your data. How Does a VPN Work? A VPN can hide your IP address by making the network redirect it through a specially configured remote server run by a VPN host. If you surf online with a VPN, its server becomes the source of your data. Because of this, your internet service provider and other third parties cannot view the data you send or receive or which websites you visit while online. VPNs work like filters that transform all your data into “gibberish” by encrypting it. So, even if someone were able to access your data, it would be futile. A VPN can extend a corporate network through encrypted connections made over the Internet. As the traffic between the device and the network is encrypted, the traffic remains private as it travels. Due to this, employees working outside the office can still securely connect to the corporate network. Smartphones and tablets can also connect through the use of VPNs. Why Should You Use a VPN? Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may share your browsing history with other parties like advertisers or government agencies. ISPs can also be attacked by cybercriminals. If an ISP gets hacked, your personal and private data can be leaked. If you regularly connect to public WiFi networks, this is especially important. Someone might be monitoring your internet traffic without your knowledge and they may steal your passwords, personal data, payment information, or even your identity. What Are The Benefits Of A VPN Connection? VPN connections disguise your data traffic online and protect it from external unauthorized access. If data is not encrypted, it can be seen by anyone with network access. With VPNs, cybercriminals cannot decipher your data. This is why VPNs are considered important privacy tools. The benefits of VPNs are listed below: Secure Encryption: Without an encryption key, it would take millions of years for a computer to decipher code in case of a brute-force attack. If you use a VPN, your online activity is hidden even on public networks. Access to Regional Content: Some web content may not be accessible in certain regions. Often, services and websites will contain content that is only accessible from certain parts of the world. Standard connections make use of local servers in the country to ascertain your location. This is why you cannot access some international content from home. VPNs have location spoofing due to which you can switch to a server in another country and “change” your location. Hiding Your Location: In essence, VPN servers act as your proxies on the internet. As the demographic location data comes from a server in a different country, your real location cannot be ascertained. Additionally, most VPN servers do not store logs of your online activities. On the other hand, certain internet service providers record your activities but do not hand over this information to third parties. This means that any possible records of your user behavior remain hidden for good. Secure Data Transfer: While working remotely, you might need access to important files on your company’s network. For security purposes, this information requires a secure connection. To acquire access to the network, a VPN connection is required. VPNs connect to private servers and make use of encryption techniques to reduce the risk of data leakage. How To Surf Securely With A VPN VPNs encrypt your surfing activities which cannot be decoded unless one has the key. The key is only known to your computer and the VPN. This means that your ISP cannot determine where you are surfing. Different VPNs use different encryption processes, but they generally work in three steps: As soon as you are online, start your VPN. The VPN will act as a secure tunnel, separating you from the internet. This secure tunnel cannot be detected by third parties and your ISP. Your device will now be on the local network of the VPN, and your IP address is changed to one provided by the VPN server. You can now surf the internet without worry, as the VPN will protect your data. It is a good idea to invest in a good VPN. Many antiviruses these days come with a VPN. You can protect not only your privacy but also your company’s. Reach out to us at SECUREU & let’s talk about how we can help you! Website: https://secureu.in | E-mail: contact-us@secureu.in | Contact us: Telegram, Twitter Youtube & LinkedIn

Why Your Company Needs Penetration Testing?

Why Your Company Needs Penetration Testing? Planning and appraising existing infrastructure can only do so much when it comes to developing cybersecurity strategies. To create an unassailable security plan, you have to take a look at things from a hacker’s perspective. That’s where penetration testing comes in. It is much better to find the vulnerabilities in your systems or software before a hacker can attack and exploit them. When you have spent time working on your company’s defenses, you want to make sure they work. A properly conducted penetration test can reveal insights into the weaknesses of your company’s cyber defenses and can help develop better systems. This is why companies should opt for pen-testing services. What is Penetration Testing? A penetration test, which is also known as ethical hacking, is a real-time cyber attack performed in secure conditions with permission from the company. A pentest aims to breach defences to discover real-time weaknesses or assess a network’s strength to figure out where a hacker might be able to attack from. It can also reveal gaps in the system, applications, and network, test the strength of web application security, and detect loopholes and vulnerabilities that may be exploited. Generally, penetration tests are included in security audits and are a way to gain a real sense of a company’s cyber security defenses. This is why organisations should get themselves pentested. Pentesters use the same techniques as hackers when attempting to breach all or part of the system. They may use attacks like phishing, creating backdoors, etc. Another reason that organisations should get themselves pentested is that it may help identify areas that have been overlooked by security professionals during development and draw attention to vulnerabilities that need a different perspective to be found. External testing, blind testing, targeted testing, internal testing, and double-blind testing are the five main types of penetration testing. Reasons You Need Penetration Testing Pen-tests allow companies to evaluate their IT infrastructure’s security and find out which areas need better security protocols. Successful cyber security attacks cost companies greatly, which is why no company should wait for a real attack to occur before updating its security. Using penetration testing tools can help unveil holes in the security layer of a company and allow security experts and ethical hackers to work on any shortcomings before they become liabilities. Some reasons to invest in penetration testing are as follows: Risk Assessment: Pen-testing allows you to manage risks by putting up measures against vulnerabilities and warding off threats that have the potential to become actual security events. These need to be addressed before cybercriminals have time to exploit the weaknesses of your application. Pen testing is essential especially if you are using third-party applications, cloud-based services, or outsourced services. Penetration testing exposes endpoints in your computer system that are the easiest to target for adversaries. Reputation: A single security incident can cause customers to lose trust in your company, which is why it is necessary to pentest. It will help guard your company’s reputation and hold onto your customer base. Breaches in security can also affect employee morale, especially as these incidents are generally publicly reported and addressed. A company with a tainted reputation loses its customer trust really quickly, but one that has a sound security system, as well as systems strategy in place, can go on to get projects and grow without losing its customer base. Companies that routinely perform penetration tests can also go on to seek cybersecurity accreditations as routine pen-tests are usually a requirement for these accreditations and certifications. Regulations and Compliance: Regulatory standards laid down in GDPR, PCI-DSS, HIPAA, ISO 27001, SOC2, and many others require organisations to do mandatory testing and audits of their security systems from time to time. When an organisation fails to do so, it could be charged with heavy fines as punishment. It is also possible that you may lose your licence to operate or get jail time. As data privacy is a cause for concern, many countries around the world are implementing stringent data privacy laws to protect their citizens. Singapore’s PDPA, the EU’s GDPR, and Indonesia’s PDP bill are examples of data privacy regulations. Though pen-testing does not directly address the issue of data privacy, it does help reduce the risk of data breaches from vulnerabilities in software. Saving Costs: Along with monetary costs, such as remediation and recovery costs, a breach also causes losses from downtime, loss of image and reputation, loyalty, poor network performance, and most importantly, customers. A thorough pen-testing will help the longevity of your company by preventing breaches that damage businesses in the long term. A well-planned, thorough pen test performed by a professional pentester will be hassle-free, smooth, and inexpensive and will ensure the sustainability of your business. The Benefits of Penetration Testing Penetration tests are generally performed by establishments charged with protecting the private information of citizens. Even the top IT departments might not have the equitability required to find flaws in security that could leave an organisation exposed to attacks from hackers. These tasks should be performed by a penetration tester who can conduct white box testing, black-box testing, as well as other security evaluations from the outside. If someone who is not a part of the business conducts intrusion tests, they can provide valuable insights in the following ways: Allows for the determination of the feasibility of security holding up against different types of attacks. Demonstrate how the exploitation of low-risk vulnerabilities could cause great damage at higher levels. Reveal difficult-to-find risks through the use of the automated application and network scans. Evaluate the success of network defences when faced with an attack. Help quell future attacks by executing and authenticating upgraded security controls. Judge and quantify the possible impacts on business and operational functions. Appraise the need for a more substantial investment in security technology and staff. Final Thoughts Penetration testing should not be confined to a one-time effort. It should be a segment of ongoing vigilance

Why Your Company Needs Penetration Testing? Read More »

Why Your Company Needs Penetration Testing? Planning and appraising existing infrastructure can only do so much when it comes to developing cybersecurity strategies. To create an unassailable security plan, you have to take a look at things from a hacker’s perspective. That’s where penetration testing comes in. It is much better to find the vulnerabilities in your systems or software before a hacker can attack and exploit them. When you have spent time working on your company’s defenses, you want to make sure they work. A properly conducted penetration test can reveal insights into the weaknesses of your company’s cyber defenses and can help develop better systems. This is why companies should opt for pen-testing services. What is Penetration Testing? A penetration test, which is also known as ethical hacking, is a real-time cyber attack performed in secure conditions with permission from the company. A pentest aims to breach defences to discover real-time weaknesses or assess a network’s strength to figure out where a hacker might be able to attack from. It can also reveal gaps in the system, applications, and network, test the strength of web application security, and detect loopholes and vulnerabilities that may be exploited. Generally, penetration tests are included in security audits and are a way to gain a real sense of a company’s cyber security defenses. This is why organisations should get themselves pentested. Pentesters use the same techniques as hackers when attempting to breach all or part of the system. They may use attacks like phishing, creating backdoors, etc. Another reason that organisations should get themselves pentested is that it may help identify areas that have been overlooked by security professionals during development and draw attention to vulnerabilities that need a different perspective to be found. External testing, blind testing, targeted testing, internal testing, and double-blind testing are the five main types of penetration testing. Reasons You Need Penetration Testing Pen-tests allow companies to evaluate their IT infrastructure’s security and find out which areas need better security protocols. Successful cyber security attacks cost companies greatly, which is why no company should wait for a real attack to occur before updating its security. Using penetration testing tools can help unveil holes in the security layer of a company and allow security experts and ethical hackers to work on any shortcomings before they become liabilities. Some reasons to invest in penetration testing are as follows: Risk Assessment: Pen-testing allows you to manage risks by putting up measures against vulnerabilities and warding off threats that have the potential to become actual security events. These need to be addressed before cybercriminals have time to exploit the weaknesses of your application. Pen testing is essential especially if you are using third-party applications, cloud-based services, or outsourced services. Penetration testing exposes endpoints in your computer system that are the easiest to target for adversaries. Reputation: A single security incident can cause customers to lose trust in your company, which is why it is necessary to pentest. It will help guard your company’s reputation and hold onto your customer base. Breaches in security can also affect employee morale, especially as these incidents are generally publicly reported and addressed. A company with a tainted reputation loses its customer trust really quickly, but one that has a sound security system, as well as systems strategy in place, can go on to get projects and grow without losing its customer base. Companies that routinely perform penetration tests can also go on to seek cybersecurity accreditations as routine pen-tests are usually a requirement for these accreditations and certifications. Regulations and Compliance: Regulatory standards laid down in GDPR, PCI-DSS, HIPAA, ISO 27001, SOC2, and many others require organisations to do mandatory testing and audits of their security systems from time to time. When an organisation fails to do so, it could be charged with heavy fines as punishment. It is also possible that you may lose your licence to operate or get jail time. As data privacy is a cause for concern, many countries around the world are implementing stringent data privacy laws to protect their citizens. Singapore’s PDPA, the EU’s GDPR, and Indonesia’s PDP bill are examples of data privacy regulations. Though pen-testing does not directly address the issue of data privacy, it does help reduce the risk of data breaches from vulnerabilities in software. Saving Costs: Along with monetary costs, such as remediation and recovery costs, a breach also causes losses from downtime, loss of image and reputation, loyalty, poor network performance, and most importantly, customers. A thorough pen-testing will help the longevity of your company by preventing breaches that damage businesses in the long term. A well-planned, thorough pen test performed by a professional pentester will be hassle-free, smooth, and inexpensive and will ensure the sustainability of your business. The Benefits of Penetration Testing Penetration tests are generally performed by establishments charged with protecting the private information of citizens. Even the top IT departments might not have the equitability required to find flaws in security that could leave an organisation exposed to attacks from hackers. These tasks should be performed by a penetration tester who can conduct white box testing, black-box testing, as well as other security evaluations from the outside. If someone who is not a part of the business conducts intrusion tests, they can provide valuable insights in the following ways: Allows for the determination of the feasibility of security holding up against different types of attacks. Demonstrate how the exploitation of low-risk vulnerabilities could cause great damage at higher levels. Reveal difficult-to-find risks through the use of the automated application and network scans. Evaluate the success of network defences when faced with an attack. Help quell future attacks by executing and authenticating upgraded security controls. Judge and quantify the possible impacts on business and operational functions. Appraise the need for a more substantial investment in security technology and staff. Final Thoughts Penetration testing should not be confined to a one-time effort. It should be a segment of ongoing vigilance

A Quick glance at antivirus

A Quick glance at antivirus Antivirus software, as the name suggests, is a program that has been developed to combat the threats that viruses pose. These programs detect viruses and malicious software in the system and then try to remove them from the affected computer system. Antivirus software work as a type of preventative measure as well. So they not only remove a virus from a system but also attempt to stop viruses from affecting your system in the future. These days antivirus software is essential to having a secure and safe system. Let’s take a closer look at it. Virus and Malicious Software A virus is any type of unwanted program that enters a system without the knowledge of the user. It can self-replicate and spread. Viruses perform unwanted and malicious actions that harm a system by affecting its performance or affecting the user’s data and files. Malicious software, also known as malware, is code that has been created to harm computers and laptops and the data present on them. Devices can get infected with malware by accidentally downloading malware that is attached to an email, hidden on a flash drive, or even just by visiting a sketchy website. Once malware makes its way into your system, it can steal your data, encrypt it and make it inaccessible, or even completely erase it. How Does Antivirus Software Work? Antivirus software is specially designed to recognize and remove viruses and other malware from your system. They work by quarantining and/or deleting malicious code and preventing malware from causing damage to your device. These days, antivirus software updates itself automatically to provide better security against newer viruses and malware. Typically, when you install an antivirus on your system, it runs as a background process and scans computers, servers, and mobile devices to detect and inhibit the spread of malware. Many antiviruses include real-time threat detection and protection along with system scans that monitor device and file systems to look for potential risks or vulnerabilities. Basic Functions of Antivirus Software: Scan specific files and directories for known malicious patterns which indicate the presence of malware or virus. Allow users to schedule automatic scans for the aforementioned purpose. Allow users to start new scans whenever they want. Remove detected malware and virus. Some antivirus software will notify users when an infection is detected and ask them if they want to clean the files while others perform this task automatically in the background. Generally, antivirus software must be given privileged access to the system to thoroughly scan the system. This means that antivirus software itself can often be a preferred target for attackers. Researchers have found that remote code execution and other serious vulnerabilities exist in antivirus software products in recent years. What Can Antivirus Software Protect Against? Antiviruses don’t just block viruses. Good antivirus software can help protect a system in the following ways: Antivirus — As the name states, antivirus software will help protect against viruses or attacks that can cause damage to a computer. Rootkit — Rootkit protection helps prevent rootkits from establishing in a computer. Rootkits are embedded deep inside computer systems to conceal other malware. Worm — According to the definition of a worm, we know that worms attack networks instead of computers. However, worms can carry payloads of malware that can be dumped onto systems to cause damage. Antivirus can prevent these types of attacks and stop computer worms. Spyware — Spyware is software that is meant to collect usage data or steal information, even when the source is reputable and legitimate. Antivirus can determine if a computer has been infected with spyware. Bot — Botnets are groups or normal people’s computers that have been infected so that attacks can be carried out on other entities. Bots are based on botnets. Bot protection alerts users when a hacker is trying to remotely hack a computer to use as a source for spamming and other such crimes. Messaging — Be it emails or instant messages, antiviruses can warn users when these messages contain attachments that are dangerous or defrauding links. Trojan Horses — While antivirus software cannot stop a person from being cheated into thinking that a downloaded file or program is authentic, it can warn them when malware is found within a trojan horse file. It should be noted that antivirus software is not only meant to protect systems from attacks carried out via the internet. Viruses can also spread through the use of portable storage devices. A person can plug one of these devices into a computer somewhere and then later bring it home and plug it into a computer with no online capacities and spread some sort of malware in this manner. Good antivirus software programs should come with recovery tools. No antivirus program is flawless and a recovery system will help users get rid of malware that has bypassed an antivirus program’s defenses. Which Antivirus Should I Use? In operating systems that run Windows and Apple computers, antivirus software is usually included for free. If you ensure that the built-in antivirus is switched on, your computer will immediately be safer. Often, new computers will come with a trial version of some antivirus product installed, such as Norton, or McAfee. You can use those but keep in mind that once the trial version expires, you will have to pay to continue using the antivirus. There are cases when attackers use free anti-virus to breach the system of unsuspecting users, so make sure you use reputed paid anti-virus. With so many products available in the market, you should conduct your research to find a product that best meets your requirements. Should I Use Antivirus Products On My Smartphone Or Tablet? If you only install apps and software from official stores such as Google Play or the Apple App store, you don’t need to install antivirus on your device. You should also set apps and even your device itself to update automatically to immediately get new security patches. Reach out to us at SECUREU & let’s talk about how we can help you! Website: https://secureu.in

A Quick glance at antivirus Read More »

A Quick glance at antivirus Antivirus software, as the name suggests, is a program that has been developed to combat the threats that viruses pose. These programs detect viruses and malicious software in the system and then try to remove them from the affected computer system. Antivirus software work as a type of preventative measure as well. So they not only remove a virus from a system but also attempt to stop viruses from affecting your system in the future. These days antivirus software is essential to having a secure and safe system. Let’s take a closer look at it. Virus and Malicious Software A virus is any type of unwanted program that enters a system without the knowledge of the user. It can self-replicate and spread. Viruses perform unwanted and malicious actions that harm a system by affecting its performance or affecting the user’s data and files. Malicious software, also known as malware, is code that has been created to harm computers and laptops and the data present on them. Devices can get infected with malware by accidentally downloading malware that is attached to an email, hidden on a flash drive, or even just by visiting a sketchy website. Once malware makes its way into your system, it can steal your data, encrypt it and make it inaccessible, or even completely erase it. How Does Antivirus Software Work? Antivirus software is specially designed to recognize and remove viruses and other malware from your system. They work by quarantining and/or deleting malicious code and preventing malware from causing damage to your device. These days, antivirus software updates itself automatically to provide better security against newer viruses and malware. Typically, when you install an antivirus on your system, it runs as a background process and scans computers, servers, and mobile devices to detect and inhibit the spread of malware. Many antiviruses include real-time threat detection and protection along with system scans that monitor device and file systems to look for potential risks or vulnerabilities. Basic Functions of Antivirus Software: Scan specific files and directories for known malicious patterns which indicate the presence of malware or virus. Allow users to schedule automatic scans for the aforementioned purpose. Allow users to start new scans whenever they want. Remove detected malware and virus. Some antivirus software will notify users when an infection is detected and ask them if they want to clean the files while others perform this task automatically in the background. Generally, antivirus software must be given privileged access to the system to thoroughly scan the system. This means that antivirus software itself can often be a preferred target for attackers. Researchers have found that remote code execution and other serious vulnerabilities exist in antivirus software products in recent years. What Can Antivirus Software Protect Against? Antiviruses don’t just block viruses. Good antivirus software can help protect a system in the following ways: Antivirus — As the name states, antivirus software will help protect against viruses or attacks that can cause damage to a computer. Rootkit — Rootkit protection helps prevent rootkits from establishing in a computer. Rootkits are embedded deep inside computer systems to conceal other malware. Worm — According to the definition of a worm, we know that worms attack networks instead of computers. However, worms can carry payloads of malware that can be dumped onto systems to cause damage. Antivirus can prevent these types of attacks and stop computer worms. Spyware — Spyware is software that is meant to collect usage data or steal information, even when the source is reputable and legitimate. Antivirus can determine if a computer has been infected with spyware. Bot — Botnets are groups or normal people’s computers that have been infected so that attacks can be carried out on other entities. Bots are based on botnets. Bot protection alerts users when a hacker is trying to remotely hack a computer to use as a source for spamming and other such crimes. Messaging — Be it emails or instant messages, antiviruses can warn users when these messages contain attachments that are dangerous or defrauding links. Trojan Horses — While antivirus software cannot stop a person from being cheated into thinking that a downloaded file or program is authentic, it can warn them when malware is found within a trojan horse file. It should be noted that antivirus software is not only meant to protect systems from attacks carried out via the internet. Viruses can also spread through the use of portable storage devices. A person can plug one of these devices into a computer somewhere and then later bring it home and plug it into a computer with no online capacities and spread some sort of malware in this manner. Good antivirus software programs should come with recovery tools. No antivirus program is flawless and a recovery system will help users get rid of malware that has bypassed an antivirus program’s defenses. Which Antivirus Should I Use? In operating systems that run Windows and Apple computers, antivirus software is usually included for free. If you ensure that the built-in antivirus is switched on, your computer will immediately be safer. Often, new computers will come with a trial version of some antivirus product installed, such as Norton, or McAfee. You can use those but keep in mind that once the trial version expires, you will have to pay to continue using the antivirus. There are cases when attackers use free anti-virus to breach the system of unsuspecting users, so make sure you use reputed paid anti-virus. With so many products available in the market, you should conduct your research to find a product that best meets your requirements. Should I Use Antivirus Products On My Smartphone Or Tablet? If you only install apps and software from official stores such as Google Play or the Apple App store, you don’t need to install antivirus on your device. You should also set apps and even your device itself to update automatically to immediately get new security patches. Reach out to us at SECUREU & let’s talk about how we can help you! Website: https://secureu.in

A Worm Named Stuxnet

A Worm Named Stuxnet What Exactly Did Stuxnet Do? In December of 2012, a virus named Stuxnet crippled Iranian nuclear facilities. In development since at least 2005, this virus was discovered in 2010 and is a prime example of a virus whose threat extends far beyond the digital space. What is Stuxnet? Stuxnet is a very powerful computer worm that first appeared in 2010 and which also happens to be the biggest and most expensive of this type of malware. It is known to have exploited previously unknown Windows zero-day vulnerabilities to infect a target system and spread to other such systems. Stuxnet primarily attacked the centrifuges of Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities. Since then, it has been modified by cyber attackers, and this mutation has allowed it to spread to other energy-producing and industrial facilities. The original Stuxnet attack was aimed at programmable logic controllers (PLCs) that are used to automate machine processes. Although no country has officially owned up to creating Stuxnet, it is largely believed to have been created by the US and Israel in a joint effort. Stuxnet garnered a lot of media attention after its discovery, as it is the first virus known to cripple hardware and cause physical destruction of devices that have been infected with it. Iran’s nuclear programme was greatly crippled by Stuxnet, and owing to its aggressive nature, this virus accidentally spread beyond Iran’s nuclear facilities. However, it did not do much damage to external devices outside of the actual target locations. How Does Stuxnet Work? Stuxnet is a very complex and intrusive piece of malware. It has been designed to only affect targets that have certain configurations and cause minimal damage to other systems and devices. The targeted nuclear facilities in Iran were isolated and air-gapped from the global network, and so Stuxnet was probably transmitted through USB sticks that were carried into these facilities by agents. Stuxnet has code for a man-in-the-middle attack that can fake sensor signals and prevent a target system from shutting down due to unusual behaviour. Stuxnet is also abnormally large and written in multiple programming languages, and spreads fast. Three systemic layers are targeted by Stuxnet: Windows OS, Siemens PCS 7, WinCC, and STEP7 industrial software apps Siemens S7 PLC Windows systems were infiltrated by Stuxnet by exploiting several zero-day vulnerabilities like remote code execution. It utilised enabled printer sharing or LNK/PIF vulnerability executing the file when it was viewed in Windows Explorer. This malware can gain access at the user level as well as the kernel level. The device drivers in Stuxnet are signed by two public certificates, which enables it to access kernel drivers without the knowledge of the user. Because of this, Stuxnet could remain undiscovered for a long time. Once it has infiltrated Windows systems, Stuxnet proceeds to infect files that belong to Siemens industrial software applications and interrupts their communications. It modifies the code on PLC devices too. Stuxnet instals malware blocks in PLC monitors and repeatedly changes the frequency of the system. It alters the operation of motors by changing the rotational speed. Stuxnet also has a rootkit that helps the worm hide from monitoring systems. What Did Stuxnet Do? Stuxnet is reported to have destroyed several centrifuges in Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility by making them burn out. Since then, Stuxnet has been modified by other malicious groups to make it capable of targeting facilities such as water treatment plants, gas lines, and power plants. Stuxnet is a multi-part worm that is believed to have travelled on USB drives and spread through systems running Windows. This virus scanned every infected computer for signs of Siemens Step 7 software. Siemens Step 7 software is used by industrial computers used as PLCs that automate and monitor electro-mechanical equipment. Once a PLC computer was found, Stuxnet updated its code over the Internet and started sending damaging instructions to the electro-mechanical equipment controlled by the affected system. Simultaneously, it also sent false feedback to the main controller so that anyone monitoring the equipment would not have any idea of an attack being underway until the equipment began to destroy itself. Stuxnet’s History Though it had been in development since 2005, Stuxnet was first identified and reported in 2010. The first known version of Stuxnet is Stuxnet 0.5 [McD13]. In January 2010, the inspectors who visited the Natanz uranium enrichment plant noted that its centrifuges were failing at an unusual rate. They were unable to detect the cause of this failure at the time. Another five months passed and researchers found malicious files in one of the systems. The worm started spreading around March 2010, but its first variant was found in 2009. On July 15, 2010, the worm became widely known because of a DDoS attack on an industrial systems security mailing list. This attack has interrupted a necessary source of information for power plants and factories. Stuxnet spread in two waves. The second wave was more visible and less targeted than the first. It was during the second wave that Stuxnet came to be known to the public, as it was more aggressive and widespread. This worm managed to infiltrate and infect more than 20,000 devices in 14 Iranian nuclear facilities and destroyed around 900 centrifuges. Although Stuxnet didn’t cause a lot of damage outside its target area, it provides an example for later malware that targets various infrastructures. Modified versions of Stuxnet target non-nuclear facilities as well. The Offsprings of Stuxnet Stuxnet had a massive influence on the development of future malware. While the creators of Stuxnet reportedly designed it to expire in June 2012, the legacy of Stuxnet survives in other malware based on the original code. The “offsprings” of Stuxnet are as follows: Duqu (2011): Duqu is a group of computer malware that also exploits zer0-day vulnerabilities in Windows. Based on the Stuxnet code, it was created to log keystrokes and collect data from industrial facilities, possibly to launch an attack later. It is very similar to Stuxnet and also targets Iranian nuclear

A Worm Named Stuxnet Read More »

A Worm Named Stuxnet What Exactly Did Stuxnet Do? In December of 2012, a virus named Stuxnet crippled Iranian nuclear facilities. In development since at least 2005, this virus was discovered in 2010 and is a prime example of a virus whose threat extends far beyond the digital space. What is Stuxnet? Stuxnet is a very powerful computer worm that first appeared in 2010 and which also happens to be the biggest and most expensive of this type of malware. It is known to have exploited previously unknown Windows zero-day vulnerabilities to infect a target system and spread to other such systems. Stuxnet primarily attacked the centrifuges of Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities. Since then, it has been modified by cyber attackers, and this mutation has allowed it to spread to other energy-producing and industrial facilities. The original Stuxnet attack was aimed at programmable logic controllers (PLCs) that are used to automate machine processes. Although no country has officially owned up to creating Stuxnet, it is largely believed to have been created by the US and Israel in a joint effort. Stuxnet garnered a lot of media attention after its discovery, as it is the first virus known to cripple hardware and cause physical destruction of devices that have been infected with it. Iran’s nuclear programme was greatly crippled by Stuxnet, and owing to its aggressive nature, this virus accidentally spread beyond Iran’s nuclear facilities. However, it did not do much damage to external devices outside of the actual target locations. How Does Stuxnet Work? Stuxnet is a very complex and intrusive piece of malware. It has been designed to only affect targets that have certain configurations and cause minimal damage to other systems and devices. The targeted nuclear facilities in Iran were isolated and air-gapped from the global network, and so Stuxnet was probably transmitted through USB sticks that were carried into these facilities by agents. Stuxnet has code for a man-in-the-middle attack that can fake sensor signals and prevent a target system from shutting down due to unusual behaviour. Stuxnet is also abnormally large and written in multiple programming languages, and spreads fast. Three systemic layers are targeted by Stuxnet: Windows OS, Siemens PCS 7, WinCC, and STEP7 industrial software apps Siemens S7 PLC Windows systems were infiltrated by Stuxnet by exploiting several zero-day vulnerabilities like remote code execution. It utilised enabled printer sharing or LNK/PIF vulnerability executing the file when it was viewed in Windows Explorer. This malware can gain access at the user level as well as the kernel level. The device drivers in Stuxnet are signed by two public certificates, which enables it to access kernel drivers without the knowledge of the user. Because of this, Stuxnet could remain undiscovered for a long time. Once it has infiltrated Windows systems, Stuxnet proceeds to infect files that belong to Siemens industrial software applications and interrupts their communications. It modifies the code on PLC devices too. Stuxnet instals malware blocks in PLC monitors and repeatedly changes the frequency of the system. It alters the operation of motors by changing the rotational speed. Stuxnet also has a rootkit that helps the worm hide from monitoring systems. What Did Stuxnet Do? Stuxnet is reported to have destroyed several centrifuges in Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility by making them burn out. Since then, Stuxnet has been modified by other malicious groups to make it capable of targeting facilities such as water treatment plants, gas lines, and power plants. Stuxnet is a multi-part worm that is believed to have travelled on USB drives and spread through systems running Windows. This virus scanned every infected computer for signs of Siemens Step 7 software. Siemens Step 7 software is used by industrial computers used as PLCs that automate and monitor electro-mechanical equipment. Once a PLC computer was found, Stuxnet updated its code over the Internet and started sending damaging instructions to the electro-mechanical equipment controlled by the affected system. Simultaneously, it also sent false feedback to the main controller so that anyone monitoring the equipment would not have any idea of an attack being underway until the equipment began to destroy itself. Stuxnet’s History Though it had been in development since 2005, Stuxnet was first identified and reported in 2010. The first known version of Stuxnet is Stuxnet 0.5 [McD13]. In January 2010, the inspectors who visited the Natanz uranium enrichment plant noted that its centrifuges were failing at an unusual rate. They were unable to detect the cause of this failure at the time. Another five months passed and researchers found malicious files in one of the systems. The worm started spreading around March 2010, but its first variant was found in 2009. On July 15, 2010, the worm became widely known because of a DDoS attack on an industrial systems security mailing list. This attack has interrupted a necessary source of information for power plants and factories. Stuxnet spread in two waves. The second wave was more visible and less targeted than the first. It was during the second wave that Stuxnet came to be known to the public, as it was more aggressive and widespread. This worm managed to infiltrate and infect more than 20,000 devices in 14 Iranian nuclear facilities and destroyed around 900 centrifuges. Although Stuxnet didn’t cause a lot of damage outside its target area, it provides an example for later malware that targets various infrastructures. Modified versions of Stuxnet target non-nuclear facilities as well. The Offsprings of Stuxnet Stuxnet had a massive influence on the development of future malware. While the creators of Stuxnet reportedly designed it to expire in June 2012, the legacy of Stuxnet survives in other malware based on the original code. The “offsprings” of Stuxnet are as follows: Duqu (2011): Duqu is a group of computer malware that also exploits zer0-day vulnerabilities in Windows. Based on the Stuxnet code, it was created to log keystrokes and collect data from industrial facilities, possibly to launch an attack later. It is very similar to Stuxnet and also targets Iranian nuclear

Your Smartphone Might Have Been Compromised?

Your Smartphone Might Have Been Compromised? Smartphones have crept their way into every aspect of our lives. No matter what you need, there is most likely an app available for it. And yet, in spite of our excessive use of smartphones, most of us are unaware of the exact extent of the threats we may face while using these devices. Mobile security threats are growing daily and now account for more than 60% of digital fraud ranging from stolen passwords to phishing attacks. Security is even more essential since we now use our phones to conduct online transactions and banking. Fortunately, mobile phones can still be used safely by keeping yourself informed and taking the necessary precautions. Let us take a look at some threats that smartphone users may face. Unsecured WiFi When wireless hot spots are available nearly everywhere, why would anyone want to use up their cellular data? However, it should be noted that free WiFi networks are generally not secured. When you connect to public WiFi networks that do not require passwords or use encryption, you can allow anyone near you to spy on your online activity. Cybercriminals can create fake WiFi hotspots to trick users into connecting to them and can then steal the user’s data. For instance, these phony networks can direct you to a webpage that looks exactly like your bank’s website and then steal your password when you attempt to log in. Public WiFi networks are not as secure as private ones as there is no way of knowing who set up the network or how it is secured if it is secured at all. There is also no way of knowing who is accessing or monitoring the network. It is best to not connect to just any network that you find. If it is absolutely necessary, ensure that you do not perform any activity (like entering passwords or banking) that may compromise you. Data Leakage Often, mobile apps are the reason behind the unintentional leakage of data. “Riskware” apps pose a real threat to mobile users as they grant them varied permissions without checking the security. Generally, these are the free apps that are found in official app stores. They usually perform as advertised, but also send personal — and even possibly corporate — data to remote servers where it is used by advertisers. If these remote servers are compromised, or if a technical error leaves them prone to attack, the collected data can be used by cybercriminals for fraud. Hostile enterprise-signed mobile apps can also lead to data leakage. Such mobile malware programs use distribution code native to famous mobile OSs like Android to transport valuable data across networks without raising suspicion. To avoid data leakage, one should only give permissions that are absolutely essential for the app to perform its functions. Adjust the security controls on your mobile so that apps only collect limited data and do not install any apps that ask for more permissions than required. A common worry of many mobile users is malware sending data to cybercriminals. However, more than malware that users should be worried about but spyware instead. Often spyware can be installed by spouses, employers, or coworkers to keep track of the victim’s activities and whereabouts. Spyware is also known as stalkerware and these apps are created to be loaded on the victim’s device without their permission or knowledge to survey or collect data. Spyware is most commonly installed on mobile phones when the user clicks on malicious advertisements or through scams that trick users into unintentionally downloading it. Spyware is designed to allow very invasive digital monitoring through smartphones and one should be wary of apps that promise to surveil the activities of your children or loved ones through their mobile devices. These apps can be used by abusers to secretly listen to conversations, take pictures, read texts and emails, and track the phone’s location amongst other things. Less insidious apps can still gather information about what you do on your phone. One should avoid mobile apps that ask for a lot of permissions or permissions that have anything to do with accessibility. Accessibility permissions give apps the power to read the text in other apps or control other apps. Phishing Cybercriminals will often use text messages, voice mails, as well as emails to trick their targets into revealing sensitive information like passwords, clicking on malicious links, or confirming transactions. This practice is called phishing, which happens to be the most successful and hence most often used method that cybercriminals use to attack their victims. As mobiles are always on, they are the most common targets for phishing attacks. As mobile users often check their email in real-time, they are more susceptible to being a target of phishing. Mobile device users are more vulnerable as email applications display less information to adjust to the smaller screen size. Even when opened, an email may only show the sender’s name unless the header information bar is expanded. This is why one should never click on unknown email links. And unless the matter is urgent, it is best to let the response wait until you can access a computer. To avoid becoming a victim of phishing, you should always confirm who is calling you for your personal information. For instance, if the caller claims to be calling from the bank, you can say that you will call back using the bank’s official number. One should also not respond to messages claiming you have won prize money or any other such scenario and delete those messages immediately as they are generally scams. Network Spoofing Hackers may set up fake access points, i.e. connections that look like WiFi networks but are bait, in public locations with high traffic like restaurants, libraries, etc. This is called network spoofing. Cybercriminals also give access points names that encourage users to connect to them such as “Coffeehouse WiFi” or “Free Airport WiFi”. Often, hackers will force users to create “accounts” to be able to

Your Smartphone Might Have Been Compromised? Read More »

Your Smartphone Might Have Been Compromised? Smartphones have crept their way into every aspect of our lives. No matter what you need, there is most likely an app available for it. And yet, in spite of our excessive use of smartphones, most of us are unaware of the exact extent of the threats we may face while using these devices. Mobile security threats are growing daily and now account for more than 60% of digital fraud ranging from stolen passwords to phishing attacks. Security is even more essential since we now use our phones to conduct online transactions and banking. Fortunately, mobile phones can still be used safely by keeping yourself informed and taking the necessary precautions. Let us take a look at some threats that smartphone users may face. Unsecured WiFi When wireless hot spots are available nearly everywhere, why would anyone want to use up their cellular data? However, it should be noted that free WiFi networks are generally not secured. When you connect to public WiFi networks that do not require passwords or use encryption, you can allow anyone near you to spy on your online activity. Cybercriminals can create fake WiFi hotspots to trick users into connecting to them and can then steal the user’s data. For instance, these phony networks can direct you to a webpage that looks exactly like your bank’s website and then steal your password when you attempt to log in. Public WiFi networks are not as secure as private ones as there is no way of knowing who set up the network or how it is secured if it is secured at all. There is also no way of knowing who is accessing or monitoring the network. It is best to not connect to just any network that you find. If it is absolutely necessary, ensure that you do not perform any activity (like entering passwords or banking) that may compromise you. Data Leakage Often, mobile apps are the reason behind the unintentional leakage of data. “Riskware” apps pose a real threat to mobile users as they grant them varied permissions without checking the security. Generally, these are the free apps that are found in official app stores. They usually perform as advertised, but also send personal — and even possibly corporate — data to remote servers where it is used by advertisers. If these remote servers are compromised, or if a technical error leaves them prone to attack, the collected data can be used by cybercriminals for fraud. Hostile enterprise-signed mobile apps can also lead to data leakage. Such mobile malware programs use distribution code native to famous mobile OSs like Android to transport valuable data across networks without raising suspicion. To avoid data leakage, one should only give permissions that are absolutely essential for the app to perform its functions. Adjust the security controls on your mobile so that apps only collect limited data and do not install any apps that ask for more permissions than required. A common worry of many mobile users is malware sending data to cybercriminals. However, more than malware that users should be worried about but spyware instead. Often spyware can be installed by spouses, employers, or coworkers to keep track of the victim’s activities and whereabouts. Spyware is also known as stalkerware and these apps are created to be loaded on the victim’s device without their permission or knowledge to survey or collect data. Spyware is most commonly installed on mobile phones when the user clicks on malicious advertisements or through scams that trick users into unintentionally downloading it. Spyware is designed to allow very invasive digital monitoring through smartphones and one should be wary of apps that promise to surveil the activities of your children or loved ones through their mobile devices. These apps can be used by abusers to secretly listen to conversations, take pictures, read texts and emails, and track the phone’s location amongst other things. Less insidious apps can still gather information about what you do on your phone. One should avoid mobile apps that ask for a lot of permissions or permissions that have anything to do with accessibility. Accessibility permissions give apps the power to read the text in other apps or control other apps. Phishing Cybercriminals will often use text messages, voice mails, as well as emails to trick their targets into revealing sensitive information like passwords, clicking on malicious links, or confirming transactions. This practice is called phishing, which happens to be the most successful and hence most often used method that cybercriminals use to attack their victims. As mobiles are always on, they are the most common targets for phishing attacks. As mobile users often check their email in real-time, they are more susceptible to being a target of phishing. Mobile device users are more vulnerable as email applications display less information to adjust to the smaller screen size. Even when opened, an email may only show the sender’s name unless the header information bar is expanded. This is why one should never click on unknown email links. And unless the matter is urgent, it is best to let the response wait until you can access a computer. To avoid becoming a victim of phishing, you should always confirm who is calling you for your personal information. For instance, if the caller claims to be calling from the bank, you can say that you will call back using the bank’s official number. One should also not respond to messages claiming you have won prize money or any other such scenario and delete those messages immediately as they are generally scams. Network Spoofing Hackers may set up fake access points, i.e. connections that look like WiFi networks but are bait, in public locations with high traffic like restaurants, libraries, etc. This is called network spoofing. Cybercriminals also give access points names that encourage users to connect to them such as “Coffeehouse WiFi” or “Free Airport WiFi”. Often, hackers will force users to create “accounts” to be able to

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