Daily Archives: June 13, 2019

Stop Discarding Devices Frequently- It’s Risky for Mother Earth as Well As Your Cybersecurity

Aunty, do you happen to have any waste paper at home? I need them for my Environment Day project,” chirped a bright little thing standing at my door early Sunday morning.

I am sure I have. What is your project this year?”

Oh! I want to emphasize on ‘Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.’ by making durable paper bags that people can pack their gifts in. It will also reduce the use of plastic.”

We need more such efforts on the part of all producers, consumers and recyclers to restore the balance on earth, which we have sadly turned into a dump yard of toxic waste that is polluting our land, water and air. The matter is serious and calls for judicious purchase and use of goods.

This Environment day, why not pledge to reduce e-waste, digital citizens?

What is e-waste?

Electronic waste or e-waste describes discarded electrical or electronic devices. Used electronics which are destined for refurbishment, reuse, resale, salvage, recycling through material recovery, or disposal are also considered e-waste.

Which means all your obsolete devices and electronic goods, that are lying around at home or been thrown away in bins, make up e-waste.

Why is there a rise in e-waste?

The volume of annual e-waste is on the rise, thanks to the desire for latest models fueled by the rise in disposable income, technological progress and cheap data rates. Gone are those thrifty days when we purchased goods to last; now we want only the smartest and latest.

Consider this: The Global E-Waste Monitor, 2017 published by the United Nations University estimated that India generates about 2 million metric tons of e-waste annually, of which almost 82% comprises of personal devices!

Why are we worried about e-waste?

We want the Earth to continue being the clean, green and beautiful planet that it is, right? But the increasing amount of e-waste is a threat to the environment. If not processed properly, it can have negative effects on pollution levels and consequently on the health of all life forms. Toxicity in soil will affect soil fertility, and hence crop production. We have already witnessed the effect of plastics and toxic fumes from incinerators on birds and animal life.

How is e-waste connected to cybersecurity?

Improper disposal of devices can also pose a security risk. If you have not taken the trouble to delete all the content and reset to factory settings, then your data, including photos may fall in wrong hands and could be misused. Before you give or throw away old devices, take care to thoroughly clean content and unsync from other devices.

How to reduce e-waste?

This is your Environment Day Mantra: Reduce. Recycle. Refurbish. Reuse.

Every time you desire to replace an electronic item, ask yourself, ‘Is it really necessary to purchase it now or can it be postponed? Am I doing it to keep up with or ahead of the Joneses? What will I do with the old product?’ Such soul-searching often leads to sane decisions that you will not regret later.

With that in mind, and the following tips handy, you can become a positive contributor to keeping the environment clean.

  1. Keep your devices in top condition: The two most common devices to be found in homes across India are the computer (or laptop) and smartphone. Replace slow batteries and keep them secured. Carry out regular scans and clean-ups and install all software updates.
  2. Protect your phone from damage: Use a screen guard and phone cases to reduce chances of breakage. Your kids can choose trendy cases that will serve two purposes: protect their phones as well as encourage them to use the devices for a longer period
  3. Battery life: Avoid overcharging the battery to extend battery life
  4. Secure your products: Use licensed security tools to remove malware and optimize performance

Some countries offer financial incentives to return old devices at designated collection centres. Perhaps we should start something like this to encourage people to recycle?

Things You Can Do This Environment Day:

Still not found a suitable project for Environment Day? Why not go on a collection drive of gaming devices and mobile phones that your neighbours have lying at home. You can then clean them and get in touch with a reputed NGO to channel these gaming devices to children’s homes, domestic help and others. Think about it.

 

Credit

https://www.greenchildmagazine.com/reduce-ewaste/

https://tcocertified.com/news/global-e-waste-reaches-record-high-says-new-un-report/

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/waste/e-waste-day-82-of-india-s-e-waste-is-personal-devices-61880

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Fifty States, Fifty Laws

The big news lately is that individual states are proposing their own privacy laws. California has the California Consumer Protection Act and now New York and Maine have also proposed laws. There has been discussion of a federal law, however it seems unlikely that any kind of landmark legislation on privacy passes through to be […]

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Small and Mid-size Orgs: Take Notice of this Trend in the 2019 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR).

43% of breaches in 2018 involved small businesses. Hackers know you’re vulnerable and they’re acting on it.

We’re big fans of the DBIR over here, not just because we’re contributing partners and want to see our name in lights. Yes, we’re certainly guilty of initially jumping into the contributor section and searching for our logo, but after that, we devour the data. The report in itself is an easy read, and there is also a DBIR executive summary available for those that want a short overview.

At GRA Quantum, we’re experts at developing tailored security solutions for small organizations facing big threats —and the data in this year’s DBIR show that the threats facing these orgs are only growing. 43% of breaches in 2018 involved small businesses. And that makes sense, when you take the threat actors’ POV into account. Nefarious attackers know that small and mid-size businesses don’t have the cyber hygiene that’s expected of enterprise organizations. Yet, the personally identifiable information (PII) and the intellectual property of smaller organizations is just as valuable.

It’s not all bad news.

As more organizations, especially in the small and mid-size range, move to the cloud, hackers shift their focus to the cloud too. The DBIR showed an increase in hackers’ focus to cloud-based servers. Where’s the good news in this? Much of this hacking stems from stolen credentials AND can be prevented with better education amongst staff, paired with anti-phishing technology and managed security services. All affordable options for companies that don’t have hundreds or thousands of endpoints.

More good news: you can start protecting your small org today by implementing some cybersecurity best practices. We’ve developed a checklist to strengthen your cybersecurity program that can get you started. It’s more straightforward than you may anticipate, and you don’t have to be technical or in a security role to kick-off the initiative. In fact, the list was created for management in Human Resources and Finance departments. Items in the list that are easiest to implement include:

  • Enforcing a policy to require multi-factor authentication (MFA) to access all company systems
  • Creating an onboarding and offboarding policy, integrating HR and IT activities
  • Developing a third-party vendor risk management program
 Start taking this proactive approach to get ahead of the threats and strengthen your security stance today.

 

The post Small and Mid-size Orgs: Take Notice of this Trend in the 2019 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR). appeared first on GRA Quantum.

Leveraging McAfee Endpoint Security to Protect Against Emotet and Other Malware

Customers often ask us how to implement the suggestions provided in our blogs and threat advisories to better protect their environments. The goal of this blog is to do just that.

By showing you how to better use our products, you’ll be able to protect against Emotet and other malware. Emotet is a Trojan downloader spread by malicious spam campaigns using JavaScript, VBScript, and Microsoft Office macro functions. It downloads additional malware and persists on the machine as a service. Emotet has been observed to download ransomware, mass-mailing worms, W32/Pinkslipbot, W32/Expiro, W32/Dridex, and banking Trojans.

NOTE: Always test changes prior to implementing them in your environment.

1. DATs and product updates

One of the most common issues seen while in Support was an outdated DAT.

2. Make sure you have at least one scheduled product update task in McAfee ePO to run daily.

3. On-Access Scan (OAS) configuration for McAfee Endpoint Security and McAfee VirusScan Enterprise

Ensure that On-Access Scan (OAS) is enabled and set to scan on read and write and that entire drives aren’t excluded from being scanned. McAfee Endpoint Security and McAfee VirusScan Enterprise allow you to configure different scan settings based on the process. You can enable “Configure different settings for High-Risk and Low-Risk processes” to improve performance and reduce the need for file/folder exclusions. See KB88205 for more information.

Be sure that Artemis/GTI is enabled and that the first scanner action is “Clean” and the second action is “Delete”.

NOTE: Setting Artemis/GTI to High or Very High should be done gradually and with testing to reduce the risk of false positives. See KB53735 for more information.

4. On-Demand Scan (ODS)

A weekly On-Demand Scan (ODS) is suggested to ensure that your systems don’t have malware or PUPs. Do not run an ODS during peak business hours, as users may complain about system performance.

5. Access Protection (AP)

While the default Access Protection (AP) rules provide decent coverage, both McAfee Endpoint Security and McAfee VirusScan Enterprise allow for the creation of user-defined rules to prevent infection and the spread of worms or viruses. Below are some pre-created ones that should be tested and enabled in your environment to provide additional protection.

Pre-Defined Rule:

  • Disabling Registry Editor and Task Manager — Certain malware may attempt to disable the Task Manager to prevent the user from terminating the malicious process. Enable this AP rule to prevent the Task Manager from being disabled.

6. Access Protection (AP) rules for virus and worm outbreaks

These rules should only be enabled during a virus outbreak and for workstations only. Implementing the last two shown below may cause issues with file servers running McAfee VirusScan Enterprise or McAfee Endpoint Security. Always test these rules before you enable them:

  • Remotely Creating Autorun Files
  • Remotely Creating or Modifying Files or Folders
  • Remotely Accessing Local Files or Folders

NOTE: Only create a separate AP policy for workstations if you wish to continue using the AP rules below. Remotely creating files between workstations is unusual behavior.

7. User-defined AP file/folder patch locations

The user-defined rule below is one common location for malware.

8. Microsoft Office malware

Most threats come through email and are often downloaders for other malware. The AP rule below is intended to prevent Microsoft Office applications from executing PowerShell. You can include CScript.exe and WScript.exe as well.

9. McAfee Endpoint Security firewall

Almost all organizations have a firewall at the perimeter level. Some may opt to disable the built-in firewall on workstations and servers. The McAfee Endpoint Security Firewall is more comprehensive than the Windows firewall and can be used to prevent communication to malicious IPs and domains.

10. Blocking malicious traffic with the firewall

Blocking malicious network traffic prevents new variants from being downloaded and can minimize the impact on the environment. Environments that don’t block malicious traffic as one of the first steps often take longer to clean up.

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Hack Yourself First – The UK Tour by Scott Helme

Hack Yourself First - The UK Tour by Scott Helme

It's the Hack Yourself First UK Tour! I've been tweeting a bit about this over recent times and had meant to write about it earlier, but I've been a little busy of late. Last year, I asked good friend and fellow security person Scott Helme to help me out running my Hack Yourself First workshops. I was overwhelmed with demand and he was getting sensational reviews for the TLS workshops he was already running. Since that time, Scott has run Hack Yourself First all over the world and done an absolutely sensational job of them. So, we decided to do a bunch in the UK and make them accessible to everyone:

  1. Manchester - 27th and 28th June
  2. London - 4th and 5th July
  3. Glasgow - 18th and 19th July

Tickets for the workshops are available at £1,250 + VAT for the 2 days which includes lunch and refreshments throughout. Scott has also arranged hotel packages in each location so if you need to stay over, there's one price you can send the boss that covers everything.

And finally, there's a shiny PDF flyer that includes all the details in one document:

Hack Yourself First - The UK Tour by Scott Helme

If you're in the UK (or can get to the UK), reach out to Scott on training@scotthelme.co.uk and he'd love to get you booked in for a couple of days of Hack Yourself First.