Tag Archives: security

What’s the future of cyber security?

People ask us all the time: what will the future of cyber security bring?

The truth is, I have no clue. I’m not an oracle, I can’t predict the future. Nobody does, nobody knows what will happen.

What we can do instead is focus on the fundamentals.

Here’s what will never change:

  • It’s wise to have multiple layers of cyber security. Just like a fortress, you need to protect the valuable core with as many walls as possible. In case one of them falls, you’ll have others standing in place.
  • Always expect the best but prepare for the worst. Have backups. Yes, backups, in plural. This way, even if something bad happens, you won’t lose any important data.

Five things to know about ransomware

The fight against ransomware is getting tougher. Here are five basics everyone should know about it.

 

  • What is ransomware? Ransomware is a type of malicious software, or malware, that denies access to files and data until a ransom is paid. There are two distinct types of ransomware. The most common is crypto ransomware, which encrypts sensitive data and files until a ransom is paid. The other type, locker ransomware, locks a device, completely preventing the victim from using it. In most cases, ransomware encrypts personal files, blocking users from accessing them. Victims are given instructions on how to pay the requested ransom, and only after doing so, are they given a decryption tool that will unlock the files.
  • How does ransomware encryption work? A well-designed ransomware strain will typically use an asymmetric encryption algorithm, which leverages a pair of keys – one public and one private. The data that is encrypted with the public key can only be unlocked by this matching private key and vice versa.
  • How do victims pay cyber ransoms? Ransoms are typically paid in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin due to its anonymity and difficulty to trace.
  • How much is a typical ransom? Requested ransom amounts can vary wildly. In the WannaCry attacks, victims were asked to pay between $300 to $600 via BitCoin to have their files unlocked. This may not seem like much, but it’s important to consider the other, more severe, costs resulting from such attacks due to downtime caused by lack of access to systems. Shockingly, it was recently reported that South Korean web hosting provider paid $1 million in bitcoins to hackers after a Linux ransomware infected its servers and encrypted the websites data hosted on them.  A big jump from the amount the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center reportedly paid last year.
  • How do I mitigate risk? Ransomware prevention measures can seem particularly daunting as administrator rights are not always required for some of today’s advanced strains of malware to compromise an end users’ machine and infect the endpoint. This means that while privilege management can play a role in mitigating risks, many strains of ransomware can encrypt data using standard user rights. So even if an organization has removed local administrator rights, this doesn’t necessarily mitigate the risk.

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Safety Tips for Your Mobile Devices

That smartphone in your pocket – or your tablet or laptop – contains significant information about you and your friends and family – contact numbers, photos, location and more. Your mobile devices need to be protected. Take the following security precautions and enjoy the conveniences of technology with peace of mind while you are on the go.

Keep a Clean Machine
  • Keep security software current on all devices that connect to the Internet: Having the most up-to-date mobile security software, web browser, operating system and apps is the best defense against viruses, malware and other online threats.
  • Delete when done: Many of us download apps for specific purposes, such as planning a vacation, and no longer need them afterwards, or we may have previously downloaded apps that are longer useful or interesting to us. It’s a good security practice to delete all apps you no longer use.
Protect Your Personal Information
  • Secure your devices: Use strong passwords, passcodes or other features such as touch identification to lock your devices. Securing your device can help protect your information if your device is lost or stolen and keep prying eyes out.
  • Personal information is like money – Value it. Protect it.: Information about you, such as the games you like to play, what you search for online and where you shop and live, has value ‒ just like money. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and how it’s collected through apps and websites.
  • Own your online presence: Use security and privacy settings on websites and apps to manage what is shared about you and who sees it.
  • Now you see me, now you don’t: Some stores and other locations look for devices with WiFi or Bluetooth turned on to track your movements while you are within range. Disable WiFi and Bluetooth when not in use.

Connect with Care

  • Get savvy about WiFi hotspots: Public wireless networks and hotspots are not secure, which means that anyone could potentially see what you are doing on your laptop or smartphone while you are connected to them. Limit what you do on public WiFi, and avoid logging in to key accounts like email and financial services. Consider using a virtual private network (VPN) or a personal/mobile hotspot if you need a more secure connection.
  • When in doubt, don’t respond: Fraudulent text messages, calls and voicemails are on the rise. Just as with email, mobile requests for personal data or immediate action are almost always scams.

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