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Internet Security

Internet Security

Three major issues with encryption (and how to deal)

Three major issues with encryption (and how to deal)

Imagine being told you need a part for your car. There’s no way around it, sooner or later you’re going to have to get it. It’s no big deal though because this part is truly beneficial, it’s good for your car, good for your passengers, and good for traffic. Sure, it slows your car down and makes it a magnet for hurled objects but really, truly, the good outweighs the bad.

This is essentially what website owners are dealing with when it comes to encryption. You have to have it. If users are inputting any kind of data on your sites you can’t go without it. It’s the best way of securing communications between browsers and your web server. If you don’t have it, Google has already started broadcasting to visitors that your site is Not Secure. This is bad for business. Just like successful man in the middle attacks would be if your users get their personal info stolen. No matter how beneficial and necessary encryption is, though, it doesn’t erase those major issues that come along with it.

Here’s what they are, and how to deal with them.

Services denied

A distributed denial of service attack is one that goes to work with the express intent of causing downtime. Many of them do this by making a target out of the victim website’s server, exhausting resources with the goal of leaving none for actual users trying to connect. This is made much easier by a server already being stressed from its normal operations.

When a user connects to an unencrypted website it’s a simple process: browser says let’s do a thing, server says sounds good, browser says cool, we’re connected. This is the paraphrased version of the standard TCP handshake. Throw encryption into the mix and not only do you need TCP’s three steps but the browser and server also need to agree on how they’re going to encrypt their communications. Then there’s a verification process, and then they need to trade the keys that are going to be used to encode and decode all data exchanged over the course of the connection.

This is a lot more work. It’s a lot more strain on the server. It doesn’t take much for a DDoS attacker to take advantage of this and nudge a target server over the edge. Attackers are a clever bunch so this has not gone unnoticed by them. That “s” on the end of your https:// has made the bullseye on your back a little bit bigger. Luckily, dealing with the DDoS problem is easy. Leave it to the professionals. With leading cloud-based mitigation you could be laughing at the many DDoS attempts that bounce off your site’s defenses, except that you won’t even know about them because your site will go unaffected.

Performance l-a-a-a-a-g

If you know anything about internet users, it’s that when they want something now, they want it NOW. That’s why you want your website to load as fast as absolutely possible, which is not a speed that’s inherently attainable with encryption.

You read about the difference between a standard TCP handshake and the encrypted connection handshake above. Where the standard TCP handshake takes one round trip from browser to server, the encrypted handshake requires three. This means the encrypted handshake takes roughly three times as long to accomplish, which also means impatient internet users have three times as long to get annoyed.

The trade-off of secured communications is well worth it but try telling that to a bunch of millennials. Instead of wasting your breath, get a Content Delivery Network or CDN instead. A CDN redirects users to the cache server closest to them so the time it takes for connections to be made and pages and content to be loaded is cut way down. There are plenty of other benefits to a CDN, like built-in load balancing and content optimization, but increased page load time is the main one when it comes to encryption, and the potential for included DDoS protection is the second-biggest. Choose your provider wisely.

Hidden intentions

The good news is that you’re done hearing about how encryption can take a toll on your web server. The bad news is that you’re about to get the low-down on how it’s making life harder for your security solutions.

Cybercriminals are encrypting attack traffic to hide it amongst legitimate encrypted traffic, and because encrypted traffic is just as encrypted to security solutions as it is to anyone who might be trying to eavesdrop on communications between browsers and servers, it’s very easy for encrypted attack traffic to slip past your defenses and do its dirty work.

That said, we’re back to good news: you know that cloud-based DDoS mitigation you need to get to protect your hard-working server? Leading providers should be able to provide you with granular traffic analysis that decrypts and then re-encrypts all traffic to filter malicious activity. When speaking with a potential provider, ask if they offer this. While you’re at it, ask if they have a time to mitigation under 10 seconds.

Benefiting from benefits

There’s no denying that encryption is a bit of a hassle. However, you’re one or two steps away from having all the benefits of encryption, all the benefits of leading DDoS protection, and all the benefits of a CDN. Altogether this represents a major website upgrade, one your users will appreciate, and Google will give you a bump in the rankings for. Not sure what you can do about your car, though.

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Internet Security

MysteryBot: A New Threat to Your Banking Apps

MysteryBot: A New Threat to Your Banking Apps

MysteryBot is the new Android malware designed to target banking apps

Android users just can’t have enough peace with their mobile devices. A new Android malware has been discovered by the security experts who essentially combines the worst features of a number of malwares and brings the most dangerous threat ever seen in the Android world. This malware goes by the name MysteryBot which is an amalgamation of the malwares, key loggers and Trojan into one which isn’t a good combination at all. This malware is very mush similar to the LokiBot which created a massive havoc last year by turning into a notorious ransomware whenever someone tried to remove it.

MysteryBot is your worst nightmare

One ofthe security expert has carefully diagnosed the MysteryBot and came to this conclusion. Just like the LokiBot this malware is also running on the same C&C server. In other words MysteryBot is sharing the same command and control server which eventually helps in forming a strong link between the two. It is been speculated that both of these malwares has been designed by the same developer.

MysteryBot is a better and more potent version of malware as it has the ability to take control right over the user’s phone. It comes loaded with a number of the Android banking Trojan functionalities which enables to make use of the overlay, keylogging and ransomware functions at the same time. In seems like MysteryBot is designed to serve not one purpose but many and all the same time to make Android user’s life miserable.

Modus Operandi of MysteryBot

It has been found that the MysteryBot is capable taking control of the infected device, read the messages even steal some of the sensitive emails and work towards collecting the contact information. Most of the Android malwares focus on targeting the older Android OS but MysteryBot can even target the recent Android OS like Nougat and Oreo. The worst thing about this app is that bring over an overlay screen of fake login pages to the unsuspecting users. These overlays will appear on the legitimate banking apps present on the Android OS thereby offering best and simple way for the cyber criminals to get away with the sensitive user credentials with ease and simplicity.

Keylogging and encryption at its best

Security expert has further revealed that MysteryBot has been successful in taking control of the infected mobile by exploiting the service permission called “Package Usage Stats”.  Manipulating this MysteryBot is able to abuse the permissions on the smartphone without the need of getting user’s consent. It comes loaded with a keyloggers which makes use of a new technology wherein malware effectively calculates the location of each row and then goes about placing a view on that key.

The encryption utilized by the MysteryBot is quite complex wherein each file is made into a single ZIP archive and it is kept password protected. Only good thing here is that all the ZIP archives tend to have the password. Once the encryption process is completed on the smartphone device then the users are usually greeted with a dialogue making them aware that they had watched pornographic material on their device.

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Internet Security

How to Secure Your Smart Home

How to Secure Your Smart Home

Homes are getting smarter. The internet of things is making life much easier and one can today have a number of smart devices in the house which can make so many of our daily tasks easier. Therefore it is important that you protect your smart home. One will have to make use of smart home network security solutions for this purpose. Here are some tips to help you secure your home and devices:

Update your devices

One of the reasons that the security of the smart devices is at risk is that they are not updated. Make sure that you update all your gadgets at regular intervals. You can make use of smartphone apps or the website of the manufacturer for the purpose of updating the gadgets.

Keep your settings under check

You have done all that is needed to ensure that the smart gadgets at home control the lights and the air conditioner. But make it a habit to check the settings at regular intervals as well. In case the gadgets are password protected, then do not use the same password for all the devices. Also make sure that you change the password on a regular basis. If there is no need of web connection for a gadget then make sure that you remove the connection.

Good Wi-Fi security is a must

Keep in mind that it is very easy for hackers to hack all your data and gadgets in your smart home. So make sure that you have a secure Wi-Fi network. Devices will have a default password. Make sure that you change this default password.

Protect your router

For getting online your router holds the key. So make sure that your router is locked. Change the username and the password on a regular basis. Keep in mind that you must connect your smart home gear to the web only if it is really very important. Make sure that you double check any online request that you get to bypass the router configuration or to change the default connection of the router. If these requests are from unknown sources it is better to ignore these requests.

Make use of a smart security solution:

In order to keep your smart home safe and secure you will have to take all the precautions. But it is always better to have more layers of security. It is always a good thing to opt for a smart security solution like Bitdefender. This will help you in protecting all the smart devices in the home. Most of these security solution providers offer an app which you can manage all the devices in your home network on. They also provide parental control to check the online activities of the kids and to manage the screen time. Opt for a solution that is compatible with your home network and one which has a maximum internet speed.

These are some of the measures that one can take in order to keep all the smart devices in their smart home secure.

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Internet Security

HoneyBot: Robot Designed to Defend Factories Against Cyberthreats

HoneyBot: Robot Designed to Defend Factories Against Cyberthreats

HoneyBot: A New Tool in the Fight against Cyber threats

Meet HoneyBot, the new tool when it comes to the fight against cyber threats. HoneyBot is meant to protect large factories and sites from getting hacked online. Many factory sites today are using large robots not only on the assembly line but also as stand- alone machines, this opens up the possibility for hackers to take control of such robots and cause damage to not only products and facilities in their vicinity but also to humans, they could also potentially cause death to the people working at such sites.

This brings us to HoneyBot a robot designed to take care of such threats.The robot that is small enough to fit inside a shoebox has got a big mission- to keep factories and other sites safe from bad actors or cyber threats.

What is HoneyBot?

Taking cue from “Honeypot” which is an internet system that lures attackers and then gains vital information from them, HoneyBot works much the same way except in this case it takes the form of a robot.

HoneyBot, tricks hackers into thinking that they have gained valuable control over a robot in the factory place and that they can now issue commands to the robot. But in reality HoneyBot is actually fooling such people into thinking that they have gained control when in reality the bot is actually gaining important information about the hacker.

Hackers leave behind valuable information and this allows factory owners to get important data as to how to better secure their systems from future cyber attacks.

What makes HoneyBot so Effective?

When it comes to hackers online there is a shield of anonymity afforded to them, this protects them from discovery and potential suits. That is why there are many cases of hacking over the internet. Without the fear of punishment, hackers are free to do what they want.

But in the case of HoneyBot, the hackers themselves are tricked into thinking that they have gained control over valuable machinery when in fact all they have managed to do is play with a shoe sized remote control toy in the factory. While for the factory owners, they get valuable information from the hacker like the technique they are employing to gain control and even the possible location of such a bad actor.

For those hackers out there who look out for such decoys, HoneBot is even geared up into fooling the hacker into thinking that it is one of the many stand-alone machinery in the workplace. When Honey Bot is hacked, it shows hackers that it has the capability to perform tasks that an ordinary stand-alone machine would.

What Happens when HoneyBot is hacked?

In a normal factory setting HoneyBot remains inert in one corner when it is not being hacked. As soon as someone tries to hack it, Honey Bot comes alive and moves harmlessly around the factory setting.

While hackers think that they have now control over the robot and can make it do a lot of harm, the reality is that the robot is moving around the factory without causing any trouble and the hackers are none the wiser.

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Internet Security

Cybersecurity Awareness 101

Cybersecurity Awareness 101

Mark Twain once observed that if a cat jumps onto a hot stove, it will quickly jump off and will subsequently use that experience to avoid jumping onto stoves again. This observation suggests two further conclusions. First, if that cat had known that the stove was hot, it likely would not have jumped onto it in the first instance. Second, the cat may well avoid all stoves after its first experience, regardless of whether those stoves are hot.

Analogously, an employee in an organization might click on a malicious link in an email or take some other action that exposes the organization to a cyberattack. Perhaps the employee did not know or appreciate the risks of clicking on that link. Thereafter, the employee might refrain from clicking on any link as overcompensation for the initial misstep. Lack of training and awareness of cybersecurity risks creates an atmosphere of responses that are either inadequate or that exaggerate those risks.

The inadequacy of cybersecurity awareness is made apparent by employee failures to follow good cybersecurity practices. This is widely acknowledged by  information security experts and overwhelming data on the topic.

This is all too easy to imagine: A worker clicks on malicious links in email messages from unknown senders. They share passwords to corporate networks and log into those networks from public Wi-Fi locations. They disclose personal and confidential information about an organization’s employees in response to queries from hackers posing as company executives and insiders. It happens all the time. And that’s the problem!

Data breaches may not be completely preventable, but incidents of successful cyberattacks can be substantially reduced by improving awareness of cybersecurity risks.

Raising Awareness

Cybersecurity experts suggest a number of methods to accomplish great cybersecurity awareness. For example, organization can conduct a “phishing” test in which an anonymous email is sent to all employees with instructions to click on an embedded link. The test will reveal which employees are susceptible to phishing messages. These folks can be given additional training to help them overcome their click-happy habits. It will also raise awareness of what a typical phishing email looks like for the workers than avoid bad clicks.

Cybersecurity audits that start with top-level management will also impress the importance of cybersecurity awareness on employees. Management should review the results of the audit to determine where improvements might be needed. These audits should be regular events, with management impressing the importance of cybersecurity awareness on all employees after the results of each audit are publicized.

Management should also seek other custom methods for regularly engaging employees in the administration and maintenance of cyber security within an organization. An employee that is burned one time with a ‘hot stove’ cyberattack will avoid the specific pattern of that attack going forward. Still, they may not be aware of new methods and techniques that hackers are employing to breach an organization’s data networks. Hacking techniques that challenge a cyber security environment change frequently. For this reason, one-time cyber security awareness training will not be an adequate and sufficient response to new techniques.

Organizations that are at a loss regarding how to increase cybersecurity awareness can generally get additional tips from cyber insurance providers. These services offer coverage for losses and third-party liabilities associated with a successful data breach.

In addition to offering this coverage, those providers consult with their clients to help them reduce the cyberattack risks that they face every day. They understand not only global data breach risks that apply to businesses in all industry sectors. They alsolook at specific forms of attacks that are common to certain industries, such as healthcare or accounting.

Even with greater cybersecurity awareness, organizations can still fall prey to a cyberattack. This results in lost customer confidence. That’s why it is so important to emphasize cybersecurity awareness in your workplace. Stay cyber smart to stay cyber safe!

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