Author Archives: Justine Kurtz

10 Ways a Commercial DNS Filtering Service Improves Your Cyber Resilience

Reading Time: ~ 3 min.

If you’ve landed on this blog, then there’s a good chance you’re already aware that DNS is undergoing a major overhaul. DNS 2.0—aka encrypted DNS, DNS over HTTPS, or DoH—is a method for encrypting DNS requests with the same HTTPS standard used by numerous websites, such as online banking, to protect your privacy when dealing with sensitive information display.

While there’s no doubt that DoH offers incredible privacy benefits, it also has the potential to be a major security risk for businesses. That’s because DoH effectively wraps DNS requests in encryption protocols, which prevent traditional DNS or web filtering security solutions from being able to filter requests to malicious, risky, or otherwise unacceptable or inappropriate websites.

Although some DNS filtering solutions are now making moves to modernize, many of them simply provide the option to either allow or block all DoH requests, rather than offering any sort of nuanced control.

“That’s really where Webroot® DNS Protection differs from the competition,” says George Anderson, product marketing director at Webroot, an OpenText company. “Ours is currently the only DNS security product that lets businesses fully leverage DoH and its privacy benefits. Our solution encrypts data using HTTPS to route DNS requests through secure Webroot resolvers to prevent eavesdropping, manipulation, or exploitation of data.”

How a Commercial DNS Filtering Service is a Game Changer

According to George, the cyber resilience benefits of using a private, commercial DNS security service that fully supports DoH are numerous. When we asked him to narrow down to his top 10, here’s what he had to say.

  1. First, it provides a very secure, reliable, multi-point of presence connection to the internet with high availability.
  2. Second, trusted DNS resolvers process ALL of your internet requests—we are talking any user, server, or application using the internet with a single, tamperproof choke point for admin and policy request controls.
  3. Third is confidentiality. It keeps your organization’s internet requests private and invisible to malicious actors, your ISP, and so-called “free” DNS resolvers—all of whom can abuse this data.
  4. It then gives your organization full visibility and log access to all of your internet traffic requests, allowing for security analysis and management through reports or ingestion via a SIM/SIEM.
  5. With Webroot, you also get transparent security policy filtering of both encrypted (DoH) and clear text (DNS) requests.
  6. Webroot BrightCloud® threat intelligence data automatically applies the latest and most accurate internet domain security in real time to every outbound request, regardless of source, meaning we stop the majority of malicious and suspicious request responses that could have led to a breach.
  7. A commercial service also provides the flexibility to manage internet access for guest/public WiFi networks, IP address ranges, user groups down to individual user, and lets you filter using a wide range of domain categories.
  8. In the context of WFH, if the user is connected to the internet via VPN or a local DNS agent on their device, then a DNS filtering solution protects them no matter where they connect.
  9. Also, from a WFH perspective, you need your DNS security service to integrate with the majority of VPNs and work easily with your other security and network technologies.
  10. Lastly, and definitely key your organization, a commercial DNS security service can offer great visibility into internet usage with scheduled executive reporting that lets you oversee internet use, assist with HR initiatives, and help ensure compliance.

As DoH continues to grow in adoption, George advises all businesses to be proactive about their cyber resilience strategies. Particularly as more work is conducted outside of more traditional office settings, it’s critical to understand and embrace the value that a flexible cloud gateway—whose protection is not confined to a physical network—can offer.

“Ultimately, in a world where many companies continue to support remote workers, businesses really can’t afford not to use a filtering solution that provides both privacy and security control.”

– George Anderson, product marketing director at Webroot, an OpenText company

Learn more about Webroot’s answer to DNS filtering or take a free trial of Webroot DNS Protection here.

The post 10 Ways a Commercial DNS Filtering Service Improves Your Cyber Resilience appeared first on Webroot Blog.

Cybersecurity and Back to (Virtual) School 2020: What You Need to Know

Reading Time: ~ 4 min.

Even though the 2020 Back to School season may look very different from those in years past, there are a few things that will remain the same. First, since Back to School is often when parents and caregivers stock up on new clothes, tech, and school supplies for students, it’s also when lots of stores (especially online retailers) run huge sales.

Second, there will be the customary spike in cyberattacks. In fact, the attacks on the Education sector are already up. The latest data from Microsoft shows that the Education sector has recently suffered more encounters with malware (over 5,000,000 in the last 30 days) than any other industry!

Since a lot of children and teens will be attending school virtually, either part-time or full-time, they’ll be spending even more time on the internet than they currently do. The more time they spend online, the higher the risk they face.

Here are the top threats to watch out for, as well as tips for how to help keep young learners safe during Back to (Virtual) School.

Phishing

According to Tyler Moffitt, security analyst at Webroot, “phishing isn’t going to go away any time soon. As tactics go, it’s an oldie, but goodie. Times of year when people do more shopping, like Back to School or Christmas, are a big draw for cybercriminals. We always see a spike in phishing during those times. And with more people shopping and streaming online during COVID-19, I’m betting we’ll see even more activity this year than we would normally expect.”

To underscore Tyler’s point, the latest intelligence from the Webroot BrightCloud® Real-Time Anti-Phishing service shows that phishing URLs targeting global streaming services have increased significantly. In March 2020 alone, we saw the following increases in phishing URLs, broken out by service:

  • Netflix – 525% increase
  • YouTube – 3,064% increase
  • Twitch – 337% increase
  • HBO – 525% increase

Not only should you and your young learner keep an eye out for email scams, but also bear in mind that phishing can happen through a variety of channels. Because many students will end up communicating mostly via online chat, text message (SMS), or social media, it’s important for us all to be extra vigilant about what we click, what we download, and what information we transmit.

Zoom-bombing

The rise in the use of Zoom and other videoconferencing platforms has also paved the way for malicious actors to cause trouble. While it’s named after Zoom, zoom-bombing as a term refers to the act of intruding on a video conference on any platform and creating a disruption, such as spreading hate speech, displaying pornography, and more.

Additionally, Webroot threat researchers have seen videoconference executable files (i.e. the file you run to launch the program) either faked or manipulated so that unwitting victims end up downloading malware.

Fake Websites and Spoofing

Webroot researchers have seen huge jumps in the number of fake websites out there, particularly those with “COVID” and related terms in their domain names. Tyler also warns us to be on our guard for website spoofing, which is when malicious actors create a fake version of a website that looks like the real thing.

“A lot of people will have to access specific websites and online systems for school and related activities,” he says. “Criminals will effectively set traps, so that a mistyped URL or a fake search result could land you on a fake page that looks completely real, only to steal your info or install malware on your system.”

How to Keep Yourself and Your Family Safe

Here are Tyler’s top tips for staying safe online through Back to School and beyond.

  1. Use internet security software.
    If you haven’t already, install internet security with antivirus on all your devices, especially those that will be used for schoolwork. Don’t forget about using a VPN to protect kids’ internet activity from prying eyes.
  2. Update videoconferencing software.
    Make sure children and teens are always using the most up-to-date versions of Zoom (or any other videoconferencing software) to ensure they have the latest patches to prevent malware distribution and disruptions.
  3. Watch out for phishing in all its forms.
    Talk to kids about phishing. Make sure you all know to look before you click. And remember, phishing scams can look just like a text message from a best friend, classmate, or teacher, so always be wary of messages that ask you to click a link or download a file. Use a secondary means of communication, like a phone call, to verify that these are legitimate.
  4. Use your bookmarks.
    Bookmark all required distance learning pages. Criminals may try to spoof these for phishing, especially if there is a popular portal that many schools use. Using a bookmark, instead of Googling and clicking a search result, will help ensure that your kids are on the right page.
  5. Just say ‘no’ to macros.
    If you or your kids download a document and it asks you to enable macros or enable content, DO NOT DO IT. This is very likely to be a malicious file that will infect your computer.
  6. Use a secure backup.
    When we’re all so reliant on our computers and other internet-connected devices to work and study, it’s extra important to make sure they’re backed up. Nobody wants to lose a term paper or other important documents to a malware infection, hardware failure, damage, loss, or theft. Save yourself the hassle and heartache by investing in backup software.

This Back to School season, it’s especially vital that we all do what we can to ensure children and teens have the skills, awareness, and security protocols to stay safe. By following these tips, you can help make sure they stay safe today, tomorrow, and beyond.

The post Cybersecurity and Back to (Virtual) School 2020: What You Need to Know appeared first on Webroot Blog.