Author Archives: Panda Security

Panda Security Sweden: A Great Place to Work

The Great Place to Work Institution has ranked Panda Security Sweden 6th on the 2018 version of its annual list of the best workplaces in Sweden.

Great Place to Work is a global authority on workplace culture, and annually makes the world’s largest and most respected study of workplace excellence. Its rigorous, objective methodology sets the standard for defining great workplaces all around the world. Their studies provide an unparalleled insight into workplace culture, and go beyond just rankings and lists to provide practical knowledge and tools to transform workplaces.

Other companies considered “Great Places to Work” include Salesforce, EY, and Adobe.

Panda Security Sweden began the process to be included on the list of Swedish companies in December 2016. In the first half of 2017, the company worked in teams to define the areas where their work culture stands out and goes beyond simple hygiene factors such as salary and policies:

  • Recruitment, Welcoming, and Onboarding
  • Inspiration
  • Informing
  • Listening, Problem Solving, and Involving
  • Appreciation
  • Development
  • Caring, Balance, and Support
  • Celebration
  • Sharing and CSR

The Great Place to Work Institution then carried out an audit in order to assess the company in these areas. The work on providing information was led by Julia Hallström (Finance Manager), with the support of Karin Angerind (Marketing and Sales Process Manager).

The next step was a survey which is sent out to all companies in the running for the award. Its 64 questions must be answered individually by each employee to see how well aligned they are with what is described in the audit. The twenty employees of Panda Sweden completed this survey in September.

One month after completing the audit and the survey, Panda Sweden received the news that they had been awarded the Great Place to Work certification, which automatically qualified the company for inclusion in the Swedish competition.

Some of the factors that made Panda Sweden stand out were its friendly atmosphere and caring environment, its opportunities for individual development, and the employee pride of the work and the company.

One of the team members in Sweden commented that “We have a great atmosphere with nice colleagues and supporting managers. I am proud of our products and our office, and I am happy to recommend it to others.”

When the result was announced, Patrik Kocon, Country Manager for Sweden, Finland, and Denmark congratulated the team in a post on LinkedIn:

“Sometimes it is hard to describe the pride you feel of the team you are part of! This is one of those moments. Thank you all fantastic co-workers for making our office a joy to come to, instead of a must! I am happy this now reaches everyone since we just got awarded the Great Place to Work certification!”

At the Swedish awards ceremony held in March 2018, Panda Security Sweden was ranked 6th out of the 60 companies in the category of companies with less than 50 employees. In the whole country, there are over 1 million companies of this size.

On June 14 2018, at the annual European event in Athens, the results for the Great Place to Work awards for the whole of Europe were announced. Over 2,800 organizations with more than 1.6 million employees were competing. Panda Security Sweden was ranked as the 13th best work place in Europe (in the category of less than 50 employees).

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Two-Factor Authentication Isn’t Foolproof

Since two-factor authentication (2FA) came into our lives, many heads of cybersecurity in large companies have managed to breathe a sigh of relief: finally, here was a security measure that was available to every employee in the company, one that could face up to hackers.

However, we shouldn’t see it as a silver bullet: having employees access online services using not only a password but also a message or code received via SMS is a great breakthrough for security, but by no means does it mean that our job here is done and we can now put our feet up.

Here’s how two-factor authentication can be bypassed

The bad news was brought to light not long ago by Kevin Mitnick, Chief Hacking Officer (CHO) at KnowBe4. The security consultant and former hacker found that if an attacker wants to bypass the cybersecurity of an employee who isn’t an expert in these matters, in fact, it isn’t so hard. A little social engineering to show the employee some fake credentials was enough to get their data.

Mitnick showed that, using a link to a real looking domain spelled slightly wrong (faceboook.com, Linkedln – with ‘L’ instead of capital ‘i’– and so on), he could show a fake login page and steal the person in question’s sensitive data. With this data, getting around two-factor authentication is pretty much child’s play.

To prove this, Mitnick tested it out on a TechCrunch writer, to whom he sent an email containing a fake link. With this link, he managed to get hold of the writer’s data.

This may seem like a one-off, but it is far from being an isolated case. Tools like Evilginx make this task much, much simpler, which brings us to an obvious conclusion: two-factor authentication is undeniably a step in the right direction for corporate cybersecurity, but it is far from being foolproof.

How to keep this from happening in your company

If you’re worried that part of your company could fall for this type of phishing scam, there are several thing you can do about it, as well as several tips that every member of staff can follow.

1.- Don’t rely on an SMS

Most of the time, two-factor authentication tends to rely on an SMS being sent to a user so that they can sign in. But in this case, thieves could gain access to this SMS. To combat this, you could opt for other two-factor authentication methods, so that the second alert has to appear on the user’s physical device or their operating system. An example of this is verification via Google Authenticator.

2.-  Dynamic or one time passwords

Remembering a password can be pretty tedious for your employees, but at the same time, never changing passwords can become a real cybersecurity problem for the whole company. In these cases we can fall back on One-time password algorithm technology, which gives us a password that is valid for just one login. What’s more, it’s not a static password, but a dynamic one. This means that a one-off breach won’t jeopardize login cybersecurity forever.

3.- Be suspicious and ask questions

This advice may seem obvious, but it’s also the most important for your company’s employees: they have to be extremely wary when it comes to entering their login details anywhere. If they have any doubts or suspicions, they should get in touch with someone in charge of cybersecurity straight away. Better safe than sorry.

4.- Communication protocol

The TechCrunch writer had his two-factor authentication broken because he got an email telling him about a typo. It’s always going to be complicated to anticipate threats of this type, but some protocols can help avoid them.  For example, if your company makes it a rule that no one in top management can ask an employee for certain confidential information over a simple email, you’ll be able to avoid future upsets like the famous CEO scam.

On the rare occasion that these measures aren’t enough to stop an attacker from breaching the two-factor authentication system, it’s important to have advanced cybersecurity solutions such as Panda Adaptive Defense, which allows continuous and immediate response to cybercriminals.

 

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The European Parliament calls for reinforced cyberdefense in Europe

In the last 24 hours, the European Parliament has adopted a resolution that calls the Member States to strengthen their defenses against cyberattacks from state and non-state actors.

Motion A8-0189/2018, which passed with 476 votes in favor, 151 against, and 36 abstentions, deals with cyberdefense in the European Union, and states that “the EU and the Member States face an unprecedented threat in the form of politically motivated, state-sponsored cyber-attacks as well as cyber-crime and terrorism”.

This is why in the section dedicated to public-private partnerships, point 76, the motion, approved in a plenary session of the European Parliament, asks the following of the European Union:

“Calls on the EU to perform a comprehensive review of software, IT and communications equipment and infrastructure used in the institutions in order to exclude potentially dangerous programmes and devices, and to ban the ones that have been confirmed as malicious…”


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Cyberwar

Although the petition is not binding, it does call upon all Member States to take measures, and sets a precedent to act together against cybercrime. We are witnessing a new type of warfare, and we can see how cyberwar is most likely to be the quickest way of transferring wealth from one state to another

“States will play a crucial role in the near future when it comes to security. It is not by chance that in the United States, China or Russia there are technology companies that cover all layers of our digital activity, since these make up the backbone of today’s economy.  In this scenario, Europe is lagging behind,” stated Panda Security President, José Sancho.

Reliable solutions, aligned with European legislation, and responsible with data

In a context where digital transformation means the use of more and more software and data, the attack surface has also undergone an exponential growth. At almost the same speed, the diligence surrounding information that they are handling has forced both public and private institutions to strengthen their systems, looking for reliable solutions and services that are aligned with new legislature and are responsible with data.

In this light, Panda Security has emerged as the leading European vendor for EDR systems.  European technology, shareholders, and headquarters that have all validated Panda before the most demanding organizations.  All of this, together with a visionary concept of the cybersecurity model, have acted as credentials for Panda to obtain the Common Criteria EAL2 certification, published in the BOE (Official State Bulletin) for May, and “Qualified IT Security Product” certification by the Centro Criptológico Nacional (National Cryptology Center). Making Panda Adaptive Defense the only EDR solution with these certifications.

Panda Security is set as the leading European EDR vendor: with fully European shareholders, headquarters, technology and cloud platform.

Certifications to work with the European Public Administrations

Panda Adaptive Defense is the only solution with the “Common Criterial EAL-2” certification, the “Qualified IT Security Product” certification, and the “High-ENS” classification, therefore absolutely aligned with the proposals voted yesterday in the European Parliament.

Panda Adaptive Defense 360 is the only advanced cybersecurity model that incorporates Endpoint Protection and Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solutions with 100% Attestation, and Threat Hunting and Investigation services, all equipped in a unique lightweight agent.

The combination of these solutions and services provides a detailed overview of all activities on every endpoint, total control of running processes, and reduction of the attack surface.  Eliminating the risk of incidents from any kind of malware, and discovering new malwareless attacks carried out by hacers, or internal and external attackers.


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What happens when I decline an app’s permission request?

When opening a new app on your phone for the first time, you will often be asked a series of questions; “XYZ app would like permission to access your photos” or similar. Depending on the app, you may be asked to give permission for accessing location, address book, messages, camera or even other apps.

But what happens if you click Cancel on one of these messages?

Some things won’t work

Consider the Snapchat social media messaging app. Once installed, it requests access to your camera. If you click Cancel the app cannot use the camera, so you won’t be able to share your own snaps.

The rest of the app should continue to work though – so you will be able to receive messages, and to view other users’ stories.

Some things won’t work at all

The Pokemon Go game is slightly different. When started for the first time you will be asked to share your location. Pokemon Go uses maps as part of the game, and the GPS built into your phone shows your position on those maps.

If you prevent access to your location, the game will not work at all.

Some apps need to know where you are to ensure they comply with local law. It is perfectly legal to view old news stories from the Second World War in the UK – but strict laws about nationalist imagery in Germany make those films illegal; the YouTube app checks your location to ensure that banned movies are blocked appropriately.

Don’t ignore these requests

When an app asks for permission to access a resource, you should carefully consider each message. These requests are intended to protect you from malicious apps that may steal sensitive information. Each time you must ask yourself, what is this app for and why does it need that permission?

If an app is designed to stream video, it will definitely need access to your camera. But does it really need you to share your health data too?

Pay attention to your address book

You should also be very careful about sharing your address book. Some apps abuse that privilege, sending spam-like messages to your friends and family. Others may reuse those contact details for building advertising profiles, or possibly even selling them on to third parties.

Apple has recently announced plans to ban apps that “abuse” your address book, but it may take some time before we see these changes come into force.

If in doubt, deny permission

Unless the app gives a very good reason for accessing your phone’s data or hardware you should deny the request. If you cannot find the information you need, you can always email the developer direct – their contact details will be listed in the app store.

And like any IT security question, if you are unsure, just say no. In this way you can avoid the kind of mistake that cybercriminals use to steal your data and compromise your privacy.

Finally, ensure that your smartphone has a robust, reliable anti-malware scanner installed. Panda Antivirus Protection for Android will help you identify apps that may be compromising your privacy, so you can delete them before further damage is done. Click here to learn more.

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How to use a USB without the risk of data leaks

It seems that in the past few months, data security and data leaks have been in the headlines every other day. Between Facebook’s problematic leaking of millions of users’ private data, and the new GDPR, designed to protect this kind of sensitive information, data security is a must. As recently as June 6, a major recruitment website that handles millions of job applications around the world has made the news after a suspected data breach, which, if confirmed, would be one of the first such incidents since the GDPR came into force.

In an attempt to avoid the dreaded repercussions that can stem from infringing GDPR, tech giant IBM has introduced a measure for their employees to try to reduce the risk of their data being stolen or lost. As of the end of May, the company has banned its staff from using all removable storage devices, such as USB sticks, SD cards, and flash drives. Instead, IMB workers will now be obliged to move data over the company’s internal network.

With this measure, the company hopes to eliminate the financial and reputational damage which could occur in the case of misuse or exfiltration of this sensitive information. The company has cited the ease with which such devices can be lost or stolen as justification for this move.

Some people have praised the decision, pointing out that USB drives do present a serious risk to data security, as they provide a quick, easy way to extract data. It can also be difficult to trace USB usage, meaning that it can be hard to provide accountability for data stolen this way. Others have been more critical, calling the measure “a quick fix for a huge problem” such as data security, and highlighting that an outright ban such as this could lead to employees to find workarounds and create shadow IT.

How can I keep my company’s data safe?

Most companies don’t need to go as far as a blanket ban on one particular technology in order to keep data safe. Following a few simple pieces of advice will be enough for your business to be able to keep this sensitive information secure, as well as comply with new regulations:

1.- Make everybody aware of the risks

With stories about data being so commonplace these days, you may think that everyone in your company will know exactly what the risks associated with data protection are. However, you can never have too much of a good thing. Making sure everyone knows the dangers of being careless with this kind of information can keep your company from experiencing some serious problems.

2.- Encryp all devices

Encrypting any devices on which you carry personal or sensitive information provides an extra step in the security of this data. What is encryption? Simply put, it is a way of transforming data via an algorithm so that no one unauthorized can access it. Generally speaking, this process usually involves using a password to encrypt and decrypt files and devices, meaning that only authorized people can access them.

3.- Be aware of all devices connected to your network

How can you control what you don’t know is there? By drawing up a full inventory of laptops, desktop computers, handheld devices and so on that are on your network, you’re one step closer to having more control over how the data that you handle is processed.

With an ever increasing emphasis on data security, now is the time to make sure you know where it is, and who has access to it. With Panda Data Control, the personal data security module of Panda Adaptive defense that helps you to comply with GDPR, you can know if anyone tries to copy or move personal information, be it via email, FTP, or USB devices. Not only that, but it also monitors all PII (personally identifiable information) on your system, so that you can know what you have and where you have it.

 

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How Much Does Social Media Know About You

Does Cambridge Analytica sound familiar? We’ll give you a hint, it has a little something to do with data mining and Facebook profiles.

Cambridge Analytica, a London-based elections consultancy, has recently been scrutinized for using data mined from Facebook through the “thisisyourdigitallife” app to target users during recent elections.

How could Facebook let them do this? Well, applications have their own privacy policies. When you agree to them, you may be allowing the apps to view and use your data. Since apps are third parties, they are able to take advantage of this data in ways you may not be comfortable with.

Similarly, social media sites’ privacy policies are difficult to understand, which is why it’s important to make sure you update your privacy settings. Some countries like the UK are even making stricter laws like the recent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to assure that personal information is protected.

While many users think they are harmlessly adding information to their profiles, this information can be used for targeted ads, sold to marketers, or worse, sold into the black market. Facebook has even admitted to using 98 different data points to target advertisements.

Assure that you and your data are safe on social media like Facebook and Twitter by using this guide.

t’s important to follow these tips and be wary of what it is we are sharing with our online communities. Keep passwords up-to-date and understand privacy policies, making sure that you have an idea on what’s being shared and to whom.

Keep your social media secure and browse the web anonymously with a VPN. VPNs can ensure that your online sessions are private all the time. Use this visual to be mindful of the data you share on your accounts, and be sure to occasionally read through privacy policies, and update your privacy settings accordingly.

Sources:
Recode | USC Annenberg | Best Computer Science Schools | LinkedIn | Trusted Reviews | Time | Texas Wesleyan | Pure Moderation | CNBC | Facebook | Instagram | ico. | Twitter

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María Campos, new VP of Sales Worldwide, Key Account, MSSP and Telecommunications of Panda Security

 

-Panda Security has entrusted María Campos with the pre-sales department in the more than 50 countries in which the Spanish multinational operates.-With a track record of over 18 years in the sector, Campos will be in charge of boosting Panda’s new leading cybersecurity solutions for the corporate segment.

-With a track record of over 18 years in the sector, Campos will be in charge of boosting Panda’s new leading cybersecurity solutions for the corporate segment.

-“I’m very enthusiastic about taking on this challenge, and fully committed to reinforcing Panda’s position in the key accounts segment. In fact, my decision is based on Panda’s strategic course and backed up by the growth that the company has experienced. For all these reasons, I have every confidence that this decision will bring great success to the company,” stated María.

María Campos has been appointed as Panda Security’s new VP of Sales Worldwide, Key Account, Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) and Telecommunications. Campos will take on the responsibility of leading the key account segment business unit at a global level, after over 18 years in the IT sector where she has achieved considerable success.

Before joining Panda Security, María Campos was part of the Intel Security team in 2014, after its acquisition of Stonesoft, the company where she had been country manager since 2004. At Stonesoft, her achievements included overseeing Stonesoft Spain and Portugal becoming one of the company’s top three subsidiaries at an international level.  From the beginning of her time on the Intel Security team, she was in charge of running the middle market in Spain and Portugal, along with the rest of southern Europe.

María Campos, VP of Sales Worldwide, Key Account, MSSP and Telecommunications of Panda Security

Campos joins Panda Security after having occupied the position of Regional Director Iberia of McAfee for the last three years. She will take on the key account (KA) sales department in over 50 countries, and report directly to Juan Santamaría, the company’s CEO. One of her main responsibilities will be to reinforce the sales team for this segment at a global level, and boost Panda’s new advanced cybersecurity solutions on the corporate market.

“A professional like María joining the company reinforces Panda’s strategy and its definitive commitment to firmly establishing itself in the large companies segment.  Her main contribution will be to coordinate KA sales worldwide, consolidating and strengthening our strategy in that segment,” commented Juan Santamaría.

In fact, the corporate business line already represents 75% of the company’s total billings, and boats disruptive, cutting edge technology. It includes services like 100% Attestation and Threat Hunting as part of its Panda Adaptive Defense platform.  These services eliminate the risk of incidents from any kind of malware, and discover new malwareless attacks carried out by hackers, and internal and external attackers.

“The chance to be a part of this project, right at the moment when Panda is demonstrating such disruptive, advanced, and distinctive technology, means that this is an attractive challenge with global scope,” states Campos.

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Tech support scams are still going strong

When we think of online scams, for most of us, several images come to mind: Nigerian Princes who need us to make a transfer so that we can become millionaires, websites offering gifts for being their millionth visitor, and so on.

However, things have become so much more sophisticated. Not just because the methods used to con people are more complex in terms of how they can be detected, but also because thieves have learnt a vital lesson: their largest source of wealth isn’t isolated users, but the companies in which these users work. This is why the workplace has become their ideal target.

Types of social engineering attacks

These days, the trick doesn’t necessarily lie in getting a virus onto someone else’s computer. Instead, the aim is to get the users themselves to do the dirty work. This is what’s known as social engineering, a method by which a criminal will use us to carry out an action which will severely compromise our company’s IT security.

Broadly speaking, there are several types:

1.- Tech support. This has been one of the more frequent scams in recent years. Whether it’s via an email, a suspicious website, or even a phone call, we’ll receive a warning that something in our software or operating system has gone wrong, and that we need to get in touch with tech support ASAP. Time is the key element in this scam: if the criminal pulls it off well, they’ll manage to convince you that the longer it takes you to apply the solution, the worse it’ll be for your company. Once you contact them, there will be a vast array of possible cons: installing malicious software, providing credit card details, sharing confidential information about the company, to name but a few. If the employee complies, the scam will have begun.

This is a big deal. According to a study by Microsoft, tech support scams are the most frequent and most dangerous type of scam. In fact, in 2017, Microsoft received complaints from 153,000 users reporting this type of scam, 24% more than the previous year. What’s more, these complaints came from 183 different countries, which paints a dangerous picture of a scam which is happening at a global level.

2.- Software update. This is similar to the tech support scam, but in this case it almost always comes from a website. We’ll come across a banner telling us about a problem with our browser or operating system: a virus has been detected, you need to download the latest version of flash, and so on. If we click on these banners, we’ll end up installing malicious software on our computer.

3.- Identity theft. This one is especially common via email: we get an email which is supposedly from someone in the office (a boss, a workmate…) or someone high up in the company who we really shouldn’t ignore. If we fall into their trap, we’ll be tricked into installing software or giving out personal, financial or corporate information.

 What to do to avoid this.

The worst thing about these attacks is that they don’t affect just the user: if these attacks are carried out in the workplace, the cybersecurity of the whole company will be in serious trouble. This is why it’s a good idea to take measures to avoid possible vulnerabilities.

1.- Employee awareness. Many employees tend to think that any possible scams will target the very core of the company. However, it’s precisely the lowest links in a company which are the weakest. Every company must make sure their employees are aware that they too are vulnerable.

2.- Some keys. If an employee gets an email that seems to be from the company’s corporate email address, are they sure that it really is? If the company’s name contains the letter ‘l’, have they checked that it hasn’t been swapped for a capital ’i’ to throw them off? If the warning is coming from a website, have they wondered why something like this would pop up in their browser? If they get a phone call, why would they get this call on their personal mobile? These kinds of tips won’t keep us completely secure, but they can be useful.

3.- It’s better to be suspicious. If in doubt, it’s better to be suspicious of everything, rather than putting a company’s cybersecurity at risk. If an employee has any kind of doubts, the best thing to do is to reach out to someone in charge to check the information before doing anything.

4.- Threat detection technology. With the human side of the problem solved, the technological problem also needs to be solved. To do so, companies need EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) technologies, which will identify and predict possible threats, acting on them in the case of any danger. It’s what Panda Adaptive Defense 360 does, which, when faced with any threat, blocks every kind of danger or malicious software before it can be installed as a consequence of this type of scam.

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Amazon Echo – the security risk you invite into your home?

When an Amazon Echo “secretly” recorded a woman’s private conversation and emailed it to one of her friends, the issue of smart speakers and security was finally brought to the public’s attention. Although harmless enough, the woman had not knowingly instructed her speaker to record her conversation, let alone email it to anyone.

After investigating the issue, Amazon’s engineers revealed that this was not a hacking, but a weird combination of events and keywords that the speaker had interpreted as an instruction. In effect, the always-on Alexa smart assistant built into the speaker had “heard” registered four different commands that had been spoken during a general conversation in the same room.

Amazon was keen to point out that the exact sequence of events was very rare – but that similar situations could easily occur again in the future.
So how can you protect yourself against a similar situation with your own Amazon Echo speaker?

Avoiding a similar incident with your own Amazon Echo speaker

The way that Alexa works is by constantly recording and monitoring nearby conversations, waiting for the trigger words that tell it to expect an instruction – usually just saying “Alexa”. This means that the only way to ensure your private conversations and personal data are not collected is to get rid of the speaker entirely.

If this is not an option, there are ways to use your Amazon Echo more safely.

1. Don’t share your address book

When you first set-up Alexa, you will be invited to share the address book from your mobile phone. You can then dictate messages and emails to your friends using Alexa.

If you don’t share your address book, Alexa cannot “accidentally” send private recordings to your contacts. If you have already shared your address book, you will need to contact Amazon directly to have that data deleted.

2. Turn the volume up

When Alexa detects its “wake” word, it will usually tell you what it is doing. Ask Alexa to play a particular song for instance, and it will announce “Now playing…”. If you set the volume too low, you will not hear these clues that tell you what the speaker is doing. Make sure you keep the sound at a level where you can hear these prompts.

3. Mute when not in use

The only way to stop Alexa eavesdropping is to mute the speaker using the button on the side – this will turn the built-in microphones off and the light ring on the top of the unit will turn red. Annoyingly, you will have to remember to unmute your Echo next time you want to issue a command.

4. Change your wake word

The Echo is continuously listening for its wake word – “Alexa” by default. If your find the speaker is being triggered by accident, consider changing the wake word. Choose something that cannot be easily mistaken, like “Amazon”, “Echo” or “Puffinstuff”.

5. Choose your words carefully

Amazon Echo is very similar to a surveillance device, collecting potentially sensitive personal data whether you want it to or not. It may be that you need to be very careful what you say when near your speaker – or other smart devices – if you don’t want your secrets collected by third parties.

Unfortunately, until technology companies start taking privacy and personal data collection more seriously, there is a very real risk that we will see many more of these incidents in the future.

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Online Genealogy Platform MyHeritage Has Been Hacked

A cyber leak involving the details of tens of millions of people was reported earlier this week. The sensitive data has been stolen from the servers of Israeli online genealogy platform called MyHeritage. The leak includes emails and hashed passwords of more than 92 million people. Announcing the news in a blog post, MyHeritage spokesperson claimed family trees and DNA data had not been affected by the leak.

The stolen data contains details of all MyHeritage users

MyHeritage was not aware of the cyber incident up until 1 p.m. EST on June 4, 2018, when the security consultant, who found the stolen data on a third party server located out of state, decided to get in touch with the DNA testing service provider. The stolen data contains details of all MyHeritage users who signed up for the service up until October 26th, 2017. There is an ongoing investigation, but it is still unclear how the hackers managed to steal the information from the company known to offer users the ability to create family trees, upload and browse through photos, and search billions of global historical records.

Leak confirmed

The company known to have 35 million family trees on its website performed an internal investigation that confirmed the leak is real and announced plans on collaborating with a cybersecurity firm to help it get to the bottom of the cyber incident. The company also announced plans to implement a two-factor authentication feature sooner than later. The good news is that the stolen passwords have been scrambled to random characters, meaning that it is not an easy task for the hackers to decode them.

However, you have to keep in mind that the cybercriminal who managed to steal the data have had more than half a year to exploit the stolen information. According to the affected company, credit card information is safe as it is always processed by third parties such as PayPal, and the DNA data of its nearly 100 million user database is stored on servers separate from the one affected by the leak.

Even though that as of this moment the DNA testing service provider does not have information confirming that the leaked data has been misused by the hackers, the Israeli company started approaching its nearly 100 million users encouraging them to change their passwords immediately.

If you’ve ever signed up for a DNA test on MyHeritage, now it may be a good time to change your password. If you happened to have used the same password on other websites, we strongly suggest you change it there too and always have fully updated antivirus software on all your smart devices. If you are a MyHeritage subscriber, keep an eye on the 2-factor authentication option too, and opt in as soon as it rolls out.

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Emergency Room Patients Targeted by Personal Injury Law Firms

Patients waiting for their turn in urgent care facilities and emergency rooms will be targeted with ads sponsored by law firms in Philadelphia. Injury attorneys from the city of brotherly love have found a way to deploy geofencing and geotracking marketing campaigns aimed at patients visiting hospitals, pain clinics, and chiropractor offices. Once people with mobile devices have entered the facilities, they would be automatically included in law firm’s marketing target lists and have all their smart devices bombarded with ads sponsored by personal injury attorneys for up to a month. Surprisingly, such practices appear not to violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a medical privacy law known as HIPAA.

Such methods have been used by retailers over the last few years but this is now entering hospitals, and some people might say that this might be an intrusion of people’s private health and medical status. This might not be a Philadelphia thing, personal injury specialists from California and Tennessee are also known to currently explore such marketing practices.

What is geofencing?

Through geofencing techniques marketers are now able to identify mobile device IDs that have been within a tight location radius. Digital marketing specialists are now able to draw a polygon around a location and retarget these users with ads anywhere they are now. They can also create a household extension by matching those IDs with other devices that it lives with. Then they can pull lookback reports up to one year for all of the smart devices in a given address, or across multiple locations.

This form of targeting has been gaining speed over the last few years. It’s proven to be a useful targeting option to capture an interest-based audience and provide a way to competitor conquest. For example, if you are working with a fast-food brand that competes with Burger King, marketers can capture device IDs of any person that has visited the fast-food chain within a specific location, and during a particular time frame, and they can serve that group the ads for your restaurant. Geofencing can also include foot-traffic data if brick-and-mortar locations are relevant.

How to avoid being targeted?

The stories surrounding the ethical issues that accompany cellphone tracking marketing are just about to surface. Injury lawyers might not be the only ones crossing the line. Pharmaceutical companies might be targeting vulnerable people who are visiting hospitals; religious organizations might be targeting places of worship to try to convert them; employers might know the whereabouts of their employees, and companies with questionable moral practices might be praying on students and the elderly by geofencing schools and retirement homes. Funeral homes might suddenly start targeting hospitals with high mortality rates. Sadly, preying on the weak is possible as currently there are not enough regulations concerning geofencing and geotracking practices.

How geofencing works

But before you know how to avoid being targeted, you have to understand how geofencing works – your cellphone shares its location every time you open an app or a web browser. These practices give up your position. Both smartphones and PC/Macs can be geofenced and geotracked. Currently, the most popular solution for avoiding being targeted with ads is if you use quality VPN. Using such service allows you to hide your location, so no one knows where your mobile device is at any given moment.

Bear in mind that even though achieving full online privacy is almost impossible, there are user-friendly tools that allow you to stay away from the herd. You can use them until governments find a way to regulate such practices. However, be patient as building a cyber-fence around places known to be visited by vulnerable people is not an easy task.

Download Panda FREE VPN

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How to make your company cyber-resilient

The first Panda Security Summit (#PASS2018), which brought the CIOs and CISOs of European companies to Madrid on May 18, served to underscore the concept of cyber-resilience as a key trend in the current cybersecurity environment. But what do we mean when we talk about how important it is for a company to be cyber resilient?


Download the report here

 Being resilient is a must

A cyber-resilient company is one that can prevent, detect, contain, and recover from a cyberattack, minimizing exposure time and the impact of countless serious threats against data, applications and IT infrastructure. This is how the latest Panda Security report, presented at #PASS2018, defines it: Cyber-resilience: the key to business security.

Until recently, financial companies and governments were the main targets of cyberattacks. Nowadays, companies of every size and sector depend to a greater or lesser extent on the Internet to carry out their business and, as a consequence, the threat has become universal. As these dangers increase, the current approaches to maintaining cyber-resilience are no longer enough. Cybersecurity management needs an in-depth review with new security models.

To do this, companies must adopt a new, comprehensive, strategic, and persistent stance, with a new approach to their security program that can provide protection without imposing undue restrictions on their business.  This new stance must be based on strengthening preventative defenses, accepting that these defenses can be overcome by the attackers, or that the attackers may already be present within the organization. In fact, malware concealment and new technologies to penetrate defenses are allowing threats to stay on corporate networks for long periods without being detected.

How to adopt a cyber-resilient stance in your company

Cybersecurity must be treated as a corporate risk management problem, and not as a purely IT based problem. To manage this, companies need to carry out tasks like prioritizing the most valuable assets in the organization, finding out the most relevant threats and adversaries, adopting an ongoing crisis stance, or continually implementing initiatives to minimize risks.

The organization’s processes, technologies, tools, and security services must be reviewed and adjusted as threats evolve, as part of a continuous improvement process based on wariness. Being resilient means that this adaptation needs to be carried out as fast as possible, or even in real time.  It’s also necessary to create a full register of all assets, from data to applications, and monitor all actions that are carried out with them.

Cyber-resilient companies also have to assume that, sooner or later, they will be compromised by a cyberattack. To correctly manage their cybersecurity, organizations need to understand and adopt the ‘cycle of resilience’, whose key phases are:

  • In the pre-incident phase, they will have to do so through the ability to better prevent and resist threats, making use of advanced cybersecurity technologies that can detect known and unknown, or zero-day malware.
  • During the incident, the resilient attitude is implemented by quickly reacting to sudden threats with detection, containment, and response. For this, it’s necessary to make the most of the new paradigms that are arising as a result of the monitoring and visibility capabilities that Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solutions provide.
  • The post-incident phase is developed by absorbing impacts while strategic security objectives are still met and the operative environment is reconstructed, in such a way that future sources of threats are eliminated.

When it comes to minimizing the impact on business, the time that passes between a breach and its discovery, is the decisive factor in the overall cost of the incident In this sense, monitoring, visibility of what happens on endpoints, and technologies that allow the detection and investigation process to be automated, such as Panda Adaptive Defense, drastically reduce this time.

Longer response times for more severe incidents

The report also reflects the fact that the increase in the volume and severity of cybersecurity incidents detected by a majority of companies –64% and 65% respectively–, has meant an increase in detection and response times in 57% of cases.

What’s more, it identifies as highly cyber-resilient companies that have robust cyberattack prevention (72%), detection (68%), containment (61%) and response (67%) systems.  Another distinctive feature of these companies is that they have in place a Computer Security Incident Response Plan (CSIRP), with professionals specialized in its application (91%), and are led by managers who understand that high cyber-resilience is directly related to economic growth (63%) and the company’s reputation (69%).

The growing number of threats, and the more sophisticated nature of attacks pose a challenge for companies’ cybersecurity, compelling them to review their cybersecurity program to make their organization cyber-resilient.  At Panda Security, we have at our disposal the latest technology as well as the most highly skilled team of experts to help your company to achieve this goal, with a new security model that has all the answers.


Download the report here

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The FBI advises users to reset their routers to stop VPNFilter

Routers in Europe and Asia have been the clear goal for cybercriminals in the past weeks. The expansion of the malware Roaming Mantis, which attacks routers using a domain name system (DNS) hijacking technique, has expanded its capabilities to include cryptomining.

In the last few hours, another cyber nightmare has added its name to the list of threats: the malware VPNFilter, which has affected over 500,000 routers in 54 countries, resulting in a global threat. Some particular features of this botnet are the potential to carry out a massive coordinated attack using the affected routers, sharing data, and rendering devices useless via a kill switch. Some of the code it uses has already been seen in previous Russian cyberattacks, and in similar attacks on European countries such as Ukraine, where the country’s power grids were attacked by malware like this.

Now, the FBI  seems to have hit on the key to stop VPNFilter. A vital step in getting the malware under control was a court ruling which allowed the FBBI to seize a domain called ToKnowAll.com that was going to be used to coordinate the affected routers.

Although the malware mainly affects several makes of routers, the FBI has recommended that all users of small or home office routers take precautionary measures, such as rebooting the routers, updating to the latest version of the firmware, and turning off remote management settings. The Bureau also suggests strengthening passwords and encryption settings.

According to the Department of Justice, it is likely that a group known as “Sofacy” and “Fancy Bear” among other names, which answers to the Russian government, is behind the malware. This isn’t the first time the group has made the headlines; it has also been blamed for the attack on the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 US presidential campaign.

 

How can you protect your company from a malware attack?

  • Regularly update your operating system; this will apply critical security fixes to your software.
  • Make a hardware and software inventory for your company. It’s important that you know what there is and where it is, in case there are any indicators of an attack. How fast you can respond to an attack will largely depend on how long it takes you to find devices and systems which could be affected.
  • Partition your company’s network, or, to put it another way, divide it into areas with different access profiles. Apply internal rules that define what communication can be established between these groups, as well as the permissions and privileges that each one has when carrying out certain actions, to avoid fast infection and bigger problems.
  • Create strong passwords, avoiding obvious combinations, and obvious substitutions such as “$” for “S”. The length of the password is also important: the longer the better!
  • Back up your data regularly, both on physical and cloud-based drives. This takes away cybercriminals’ profit incentive to hold your data ransom.
  • It’s not just the corporate network that needs to be secure: each and every device (computers, tablets, mobiles…) used by employees in the organization must be protected, as they are both entry point and the first line of defense against any kind on infection.
  • Get a good security solution for your company

 

With cyberattacks like this making the news almost daily, the only way to protect against them is with an endpoint security solution that incorporates prevention, detection, containment and cleanup with forensic analysis tools, in a lightweight agent and cloud infrastructure like Panda Adaptive Defense 360. Discover all the business protection solutions that Panda Security has to offer.

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Panda Adaptive Defense, security certified by Common Criteria

The advanced cybersecurity solution Panda Adaptive Defense is the only EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) protection to achieve the EAL2+ certification in its evaluation for the Common Criteria standard published in the BOE (Official State Bulletin) for May.

The Common Criteria for Information Technology Security Evaluation (CC) is a set of evaluation criteria agreed to by the United States’ National Security Agency/National Institute of Standards and Technologies and equivalent bodies in 24 other countries. It was designed to resolve the technical and conceptual differences among existing standards for the evaluation of security systems and products. Certification to the Common Criteria requires in-depth analysis of product design and development methodology, backed by extensive testing. Common Criteria is currently recognized by the following countries: United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, The Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, The Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

The Common Criteria represents the outcome of efforts to develop criteria for evaluation of IT security that are widely accepted within the international community. Further information is available at http://www.commoncriteriaportal.org.

“This certification further validates the ability of Panda Security and Panda Adaptive Defense to protect any organization with the guarantee of complying with the maximum security standards defined and verified by the Common Criteria organization. This certification is directly applicable in the 28 countries members of the Common Criteria Recognition Arrangement all around the world: USA, Europe, Asia and Oceania,” said Iratxe Vázquez, Project Marketing Manager at Panda.” The Common Criteria is a minimum requirement for many Government departments, with this certification Panda Security is well positioned to continue providing to customers in government departments with endpoint protection technology that complies with strict EAL2 + level of said certification”

Why get an IT product certified under the Common Criteria?

The Common Criteria certifications are recognized globally, and across multiple sectors. A Common Criteria certified product has a key element which makes it stand out in the area of security, since it has been evaluated by an independent third party, following a sound, well defined methodology.

In many cases, the Common Criteria is a final user demand. Government regulations in the USA (NSTISSP No. 11 – NIAP PCL List) or Europe (Spanish ENS, European eIDAS or Tachograph regulations) require that public agency purchases include third party assurance certificates (with Common Criteria being the most frequent one).

In some industries Common Criteria may be a market entry requirement (IC or ePassport) or a specific security assurance requirement in tenders (banks, mobile network operators).

Depending on the level, evaluation requirements can include:

  • Product evaluation: focused on mitigating risk vulnerabilities.
  • Evaluation of developer’s design: focused on assuring reliability of development process.
  • Development center audit: focused on assuring integrity and confidentiality of supply chain.

Common Criteria is a suitable option to demonstrate the level of trust in an IT product, and is a market hallmark for products such as commercial software, SaaS, cloud computing platforms, and hardware security modules.

Protection endorsed at a national level

Likewise, the Centro Criptológico Nacional (National Cryptology Center) has awarded Panda Adaptive Defense the “Qualified IT Security Product” stamp, joining the list of organizations that have recognized Panda’s IT security system with a high ENS (National Security Framework) classification. Secretary of State Director of the National Cryptology Center, Félix Sanz Roldán, has signed this certification in the category Security in use.

About Panda Adaptive Defense

Panda Adaptive Defense 360 is an endpoint security solution that incorporates prevention, detection, containment and cleanup with forensic analysis tools, in a lightweight agent and cloud infrastructure. In a unique product, it brings together EPP (protection) and EDR (detection and response) capabilities, monitoring endpoint activity for hundreds of parameters.

What’s more, unlike other solutions, it includes two managed services, the 100% attestation service, and the Threat Hunting service. These services eliminate the risk of incidents coming from any type of malware, and discover new malwareless attacks carried out by hackers, as well as internal and external attackers. This distinction is the reason that it is the only EDR protection solution certified by Common Criteria.

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How to clean your PC inside and out

Like every appliance, if you look after you PC, the longer it will last. And believe it or not, computers can get incredibly dirty – so you really should clean yours every now and then.

This is a very quick run down on how to clean your PC inside and out. But first you need the following equipment:

  • A dry cloth (a microfibre duster is ideal)
  • A soft, damp cloth (NOT wet)
  • Compressed air blower
  • A Philips screwdriver
  • A soft paintbrush (optional)
  • A vacuum cleaner (optional)

Cleaning keyboard and case

For laptops and desktop PCs, most of the grime will be just dust. Wipe the case gently with your damp cloth and allow to dry. Do not try and scratch dirt or grime with a sharp object – instead you will have to scrub patiently with your cloth.

When it comes to cleaning your keyboard, you must first get rid of us much collected junk as possible. Pick it up, turn upside down, and give it a really good shake to dislodge crumbs, dust and other muck that collects between the keys. Use a paintbrush to gently brush any more debris from under the keys, then give the whole thing a good wipe with your damp cloth.

DO NOT use bleach or any other industrial cleaner as you could damage the metal/plastic finish of your computer.

Cleaning your screen

Start by giving the screen a quick wipe with your dry cloth to remove most of the dust. Then repeat the process with your damp cloth, paying particular attention to fingerprints and other grime that collects on the glass.

Don’t forget to clean the rear of your desktop monitor/iMac too. A lot of dust collects behind the screen, so you may need to use your vacuum cleaner to collect it all.

Cleaning internals

PC users should also clean the inside of their computers periodically. The fans used to cool the processor and graphics chips also suck dust into the case where it becomes trapped.

Unplug the computer and use your screwdriver to undo the retaining screws on the cover. Use a vacuum cleaner to suck collected dust out of the case. DO NOT blow the dust with your mouth – the water vapour in your breath could damage the delicate internal components. Instead, use a can of compressed air to blow stubborn dust out of the way.

Make sure you replace the case before plugging the computer back in.

Cleaning the hard drive

With the physical machine cleaned up, it’s time to turn your attentions to the software installed on your computer. First, complete a full system scan using Panda Dome to check for malware and viruses that may have infected your computer.

Next run the Panda Cleanup module to help optimise the performance of your computer. This suite of tools will help to get rid of the junk that taking up space on your hard drive automatically – temporary files, old browser cache files and unwanted cookies. It will even defragment the hard drive, to free up space and make your computer run faster.

You should also use the Boot Manager and Registry Cleaner tools bundled in Panda Cleanup to get rid of the trash you can’t usually see. Boot Manager will show you the programs and services that launch every time you start your computer; switch off the ones you don’t need and the computer will start-up much faster. The Registry Cleaner will help to optimise your Windows operating system, helping to avoid the errors that cause your computer to crash or hang.

Now is a good time to start

Cleaning your computer may take a few hours, but the time is well spent. Not only will the machine look better, but it will also run better too.

To learn more about Panda Cleanup and how to speed up your PC, download a free trial today.

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Canadian banks hacked, 90000 customers’ data stolen

Sensitive banking information of nearly 100,000 people stolen from major Canadian banks

Earlier this week more than 90,000 people have been affected by recent cyber-attacks aimed at two of the largest banks in Canada – Bank of Montreal (BMO) and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s Simplii Financial (CIBC). Both banks confirmed in separate statements that foreign state hackers might have managed to access the information of nearly 100,000 of their customers. Bank representatives confirmed that they believe the attacks came from fraudsters that are based out of state.

On Sunday both banks were approached by foreign hackers who claimed to have access to the personal information of a considerable portion of their customers.

BMO immediately went out with a statement claiming cyber criminals contacted them stating that they managed to obtain personal and financial information. CIBC did not wait with the announcement too – Michael Martin, Senior Vice-President at Simplii Financial, said they are taking the claim seriously and have taken action to enhance their monitoring and security procedures further. In a statement, he said he feels that it is essential to inform clients so that they can also take additional steps to safeguard their information.

Both BMO and CIBC confirmed that after they received the claims, they immediately started taking steps to close off the vulnerabilities that caused the incidents. The banks are collaborating with the authorities and will be reimbursing their clients should they experience money lose because of the breach. According to spokespeople of BMO and CIBC, they are confident that the identified exposures related to customer data have been closed off. Both banks are currently getting in touch with the affected customers offering them support and guiding them how to monitor their bank accounts for suspicious activity. Simplii even approached all its customers advising them to use a complex password and PIN as well as to keep an eye on their accounts for suspicious activity.

Currently, the exact type of the information that has been stolen is unknown.

Luckily, the other major banks in Canada – Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia or Toronto-Dominion Bank – are not amongst the affected by the breach. No US banks are known to have been affected either. The office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has been notified about the incidents.
Now the only question is why the banks did not manage to detect the breach themselves? The claims came after the banks have been approached by the hackers. It is currently unknown for how long BMO and CIBC systems have been vulnerable.

Panda Security reminds of the need always to be adequately protected against malicious software. Practicing common sense and making sure all your apps and operating systems are updated, makes you a hard target for the cybercriminals.

Download your Antivirus

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Panda Data Control, the security module adapted to GDPR

-Panda Security presents Panda Data Control, the data security module adapted to the new General Data Protection Regulation which has been in force since May 25.

-Companies such as Facebook and Google have already been accused of breaching the new European data protection regulation, which carries fines of up to €20 million or 4% of annual turnover.

-Panda Data Control assists organizations in complying with GDPR by identifying unstructured personal information on endpoints, and detects cases of exfiltration of this data

As of May 2018, it is mandatory to comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  Every company, with no exceptions, must strengthen the security of the personally identifiable information (PII) that they store and/or process – especially that which is held on, is used on and travels on employees’ and collaborators’ devices and laptops.

Breaching the provisions of GDPR carries hefty fines of up to €20 million or 4% of annual turnover. Companies must also be ready to avoid the damage to their reputation caused by a data leak, and its negative effects on the confidence of employees as well as current and potential customers

Just a few hours after it came into force, US companies temporarily shut down their services in Europe, unable to find an appropriate way to obtain user consent. Multinationals such as Facebook, Google, Instagram, and WhatsApp have already been reported by the Austrian NGO noyb.eu.

With the aim of complying with regulations, protecting and improving the visibility of personal data, both in real-time and throughout its lifecycle on endpoints and servers, Panda Security is launching its data security module, Panda Data Control.

The problem of personal data

 Integrated into the Panda Adaptive Defense platform, Panda Data Control discovers, audits and monitors unstructured[1] personal data on endpoints: from data at rest, to data in use and data in motion

Organizations protected by Panda Adaptive Defense can rest assured that their endpoints and servers won’t be compromised by malicious programs coming from external sources, and therefore won’t fall victim to external data exfiltration attacks. The Data Control module’s goal is to safeguard unstructured personal data found and used on endpoints.

The key benefits of the data security module are:

  • Discover and Audit: Identify files with personal data (PII) as well as users, employees, collaborators, endpoints and servers in your organization that are accessing this personally identifiable information.
  • Monitor and detect: Reports and real-time alerts offered by Panda Data Control on unauthorized and suspicious use, transmission and exfiltration of personal data files, help implement proactive access and operation measures related to these reports.
  • Simplify Management: The Panda Data Control module is native in Panda Adaptive Defense and Panda Adaptive Defense 360. It doesn’t require organizations to deploy anything other than the standard protection, and can be easily and immediately activated without cumbersome configurations. Once activated, the module is enabled and managed from the cloud platform.
  • Demonstrate to senior management, the DPO and all other employees in your organization the strict security measures in place to protect PII at rest, in use and in transit between endpoints and servers.


Download datasheet

*Detailed information regarding the processing of your personal data is available in https://www.pandasecurity.com/homeusers/media/gdpr/

[1] Unstructured data refers to data that does not reside in a database or any other data structure.  Unstructured data can be textual or non-textual. Panda Data Control focuses on the textual unstructured data held on endpoints and servers

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Cybersecurity Lessons from Pop Culture

We have all seen the classic Hollywood hacking. It usually involves a man in a basement dressed in all black. He can be seen typing at an unrealistic rate instantly hacking into a person or organization’s files. The reality? Hacking is not immediate. And hackers can look like ordinary people, roaming the streets, even hacking next to you at a cafe or restaurant. The hacking scenes in film usually involve a line of code scrolling down the computer screen. Realistically, hacking takes time and there is research that must take place before a hacker can just begin stealing information.

Because cybercrime has become a frequent topic of conversation in the past 50 years, and even more so in the last decade, Hollywood is capitalizing on the popularity. Many television shows and movies are incorporating hacking into their plot lines. Sometimes the way they depict it is educational and sometimes it’s just plain silly.

We have put together a guide on the possible and impossible hacking techniques from pop culture and what they can teach us about cyber security.

As you learned above, there are a plethora of cybersecurity instances in pop culture. Some are fairly accurate, while others are a ridiculously Hollywood. Because cybercrime is all over the news, the entertainment industry is jumping on the bandwagon of scary cyber attacks. Shows like Mr. Robot and Blackhat do a decent job of teaching the public the dangers of hacking, while Jurassic Park and NCIS present a false narrative into the world of cybercrime.

Many hacking instances on screen mirror real-life news, like House of Cards touching on a vehemence towards snitching. Orsat explains in the show that he “aint no snitch,” which relates to the story of a real-life hacker who became an informant and ratted out many hackers to the United States government. Takedown, an early 2000’s flick is based on the story of the capture of the computer hacker “Kevin Mitnick.”

While pop culture may overexaggerate hacking and cybercrime, it can also educate us. Ferris Bueller taught us to keep school files private and secure to ensure accurate student records. Ex Machina taught us that we have to be mindful of what we decide to download and the permissions we allow apps to have. These and other pop culture instances are great reminders to stay safe online. Remember to download an antivirus software and make sure you keep it updated. Use a password manager and two-step authentication before entering credentials on any site or application.

Sources:
Youtube | Entertainment Weekly | Geek Wire | The Atlantic | CSO Online | CBS News | Android Gadget | Hacks | Medium | Wired | Tech Republic | Infosecurity Magazine |

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How to get your company ready for a security audit

These days, everything and everyone is connected, which means that security has become a real headache for most companies. And more so since last Friday, when it became mandatory to comply with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – especially since infringing it can spell real trouble for companies that haven’t taken it into account

There’s no doubt that the proliferation of new threats, together with the complexity of the latest attacks, is driving companies to push security towards the top of their list of priorities. This in turn leads to greater investment in cybersecurity by companies. According to data supplied by Gartner, we’re talking about an 8% increase in cybersecurity spending for this year, or to put it another way, a total of $96.3 billion dollars.

Even though companies are strengthening the implementation of protection strategies for their systems, cybercriminals are also stepping up their efforts to exploit new weaknesses. All of this means that maximizing company security is now more than ever an absolute must for any organization.

Evaluate your company’s security

Given this current context, it becomes abundantly clear that companies must make sure the defense strategies they have in place for threats are performing to their full potential. To this end, carrying out a security audit can be a good way to find out the state of your company’s protection systems. This way, the analysis you carry out will provide an insight into the main risks your company is exposed to, its strengths, as well as where it can improve. Then, from here, the security teams can use the results as a starting point to design and implement a cybersecurity strategy which suits your company’s needs. But how can we get ready for this security audit?

Guidelines for drawing up a security plan

One of the very first steps in any security audit is to create an inventory of all devices. It’s absolutely essential to classify each and every device that is connected to the network (desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, multipurpose devices, and security systems integrated into the network) to have an accurate idea of what it is that needs protecting. It’s also important to keep this inventory up to date so that, when devices are added or removed, there are no surprises in the activity log.

As well as classifying every kind of device that needs to be protected, it’s also vital to carry out a periodic evaluation of the software used by the company. This means that companies must classify the software and firmware applications that are being run on each device on their network, and determine what software they need to run so that they can perform their tasks within the company.

Apart from this, it’s crucial to implement secure settings. That means any operating system, browser, and even printer, must be configured with security in mind. At the same time, in order to stop security breaches and make applications more secure, it is of utmost importance to apply patches or updates that will keep the system secure.

Finally, controlling shadow IT (IT systems and solutions built and used inside companies that have never been explicitly approved by the organization) is of vital importance to ensure an environment which is 100% secure.

What happens if there is a security breach in a company?

The effects of a cyberattack on an organization can be devastating, and even if we have a prevention protocol in place alongside a great security team, breaches happen. Therefore, it’s crucial to have a Security Incident Response Plan (SIRP) to face up to these threats. Planning an incident response strategy includes setting up a way to evaluate the situation, identify the kind and severity of the attack (the nature of the attack, where it came from, the possible intent, and the systems and files at risk) and a way to notify, document, and review these incidents and the possible damages suffered by the company.

Although carrying out a security audit is a task that requires a great deal of time and commitment, it is something that is simply unavoidable. It is the only way we can effectively draw up a plan to strengthen the company’s protection against cyberattacks and security breaches. The key is to have a detailed insight of everything that is happening on the company’s devices and networks in order to drastically reduce the attack surface.

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Panda Security: 100% detection rate in corporate endpoint protection according to AV-Comparatives

The independent laboratory AV-Comparatives has awarded Panda Security the maximum possible score for detection in its first test of corporate solutions.

In March and April, the independent laboratory AV-Comparatives carried out an analysis of 16 products from leading brands with business security solutions for Windows workstations and servers. The AV-Comparatives experts put different vendors to the test against real-world threats.

In-company protection

To measure the effective protection against real threats, AV-Comparatives launched 620 real cases (such as malicious URLs). Panda Endpoint Protection Plus detected and blocked 100% of the samples it was put up against, earning its place at the top of the table.

The following bar chart shows the results of the real-world malware detection test:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Business Security Test March-April 2018 – Factsheet


Download the report

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How to Get Rid of a Virus

Finding out that your computer or laptop is infected with a virus is a scary feeling. You may have important files on the hard drive, irreplaceable photos, or an in-progress project that you forgot to save. Viruses and malware can be a significant threat to your data and your personal information and can impact the way your computer performs.

While there are a variety of reasons your computer can be running slowly, it’s best to rule out malware first if your computer is acting up. Since viruses are tricky to get rid of, we put together a step-by-step guide on how to get rid of a virus from start to finish.

Virus Detection

Before you go knee deep in cleaning out your computer, it’s important to make sure to detect that you have a virus. A few telltale signs that your computer is infected are:

  • Pop up messages are appearing often. These are constantly popping up every time you are on your computer, and they are hard to x out of or get rid of. Never click on a suspicious pop up even if it says a virus has been detected as this could be a fake antivirus system.
  • Your computer is running slowly. Make sure that all of your applications and systems are up to date. If it’s still slow, it’s probably a virus that is hijacking your browser using advertising or phishing sites.
  • Your hard drive is making noise. If your hard disk is making continuous noises or spins with minimal to no computer activity, your PC could be infected.
  • Programs are continually crashing. If programs are starting and closing automatically, or your system randomly shuts down or freezes, your computer could be experiencing a virus.
  • You have missing files. If you are missing files that you know were not deleted, this may be due to malware. Some malware creates issues by deleting files and moving them around or encrypting files so you cannot open them.
  • High network activity. If your wifi or internet activity is very active even when you are not using it, a virus could be infiltrating your internet to send information back and forth.

Method 1: Scanning

Before beginning the virus removal process, be sure that all of your important data is backed up. This will ensure any valuable files will be safe before you clean your computer. A good thing to do is scan all your personal data before copying to an external hard drive. There are many programs for spyware/virus removal and many are free. Panda Security has two free scanning tools to disinfect your PC in a few easy steps. The Panda Cloud Cleaner and the Panda Cloud Cleaner rescue USB drive which we will discuss in the next section.

If you haven’t already, make sure to have an antivirus program installed. Install an antivirus system that also protects against ransomware as well, as programs with both can pick up things that an antivirus program alone does not recognize. You’ll then want to reboot your computer to Safe Mode. A virus can only access your computer when it’s running. Some viruses run by attaching themselves to the startup program when Windows loads. When placed in Safe Mode, your computer will only load the essential files, which can stop all viruses from starting. You can then identify them and remove them.

Once all of your scanning is complete, you will receive a summary of the malware found. Review the detection list and avoid accidental removal of legitimate programs and be sure to clean the malware. Then, reboot your computer or restart and test your computer’s performance. Try a web browser or whatever program that was causing your trouble to begin with. If your computer appears to be running smoothly, it is probably safe from viruses.

Method 2: Rescue Disk/USB Drive

If your computer cannot start because of the virus, you may have to use a rescue USB drive or rescue disk. A rescue USB drive allows you to scan the computer without the need to start the computer. Using another computer, download an ISO image file from your anti-virus company and burn it onto a disk or USB drive.

Then boot to this disc or USB drive instead of the normal Windows install and run your anti-virus software from there. Since your computer is not running, the infection should not be able to interfere and you’ll have a better opportunity to rid the virus. Most computers can be booted up from a rescue USB. Click here for more detailed information on Panda Security’s Cloud Cleaner rescue USB.

Method 3: Removing a Virus Manually

Some viruses need to be removed manually. Make sure you are only tackling this if you know Windows well and know how to view and delete program files. If you feel comfortable, download an Autorun that allows you to see exactly what it is that is operating on your computer and how to get rid of it. After you download Autoruns, make sure it is in a convenient folder or access spot to be retrieved later on.

Run the program and be mindful that there are a lot of areas of that may be unfamiliar. Make it easier on yourself and disable reporting of certain signed Microsoft services, and programs that you know are not a malware. Filter your options to verify code signatures, include empty locations and hide the Microsoft entries.

Then, reboot into Safe Mode with networking. This will allow you to use the internet to look up these suspicious programs that are starting with your computer. Start the Autoruns program and begin searching for suspicious entries.

Next, begin searching for suspicious entries. This can be overwhelming, but it’s important to take your time when searching for viruses. Looking at both the entry name and file location, determine the legitimacy of the name by searching it on a process identifier online that can tell you exactly what the process is and if it’s a potential risk. Read the Logon and Services tabs which will provide filtered information for you. Also, in order to be thorough, take your time when going through these processes.

If you can, record the file location and any other relevant information before you delete it. Right-click on a malware and click delete. Delete all associated files, and delete each entry one at a time to be safe. Once you delete the malware and files, be sure to empty your trash bin on your desktop and restarting your computer.

Method 4: Clean Install

This is probably the most tedious of the bunch, but it is almost a guaranteed way to rid your computer of viruses and malware. A clean install deletes everything on your hard drive, so this is one where you will also want to transfer your photos and text documents to an external hard drive. Be sure to scan and make sure these have not been infected as well. You will have to reinstall all programs, but it can save your computer from further infiltration and destruction due to viruses.

With the newest version of Windows (Windows 8.1 and 10), there are a few ways to clean install depending on what you have on your computer. You can clean install from a DVD/USB drive, using reset, or perform a clean install within a running version. With a DVD or USB drive, you will need a product key to run a clean install.

With a running version, you want to choose “keep nothing” when it comes to what the drive should keep after the clean install. This is necessary if the other methods have not worked and you need to wipe the hard drive. Read here to learn how to build in the Reset function to clean install.

Removing a Virus from a Mac

While many people believe they cannot get viruses or malware on Macs, these devices can also be infected. There are common names posing as Mac antiviruses such as MacDefender and MacSecurity that are malicious and designed to trap Mac users into entering their Apple ID accounts and submitting their credit cards. If you receive a message while browsing the internet that involves something wrong with your Mac, or “download here to keep your Mac safe”, ignore these messages and quit the browser you are on.

Make sure there are no downloads installed or downloading, and immediately put these in the trash. If it seems the malware is already installed on your Mac, quit whatever app or program you think could be infected and launch your Activity Monitor. Once you’ve located the app in quetesed, search the common Mac malware terms we’ve listed above. If you identify malware, click Quite Process and quit the Activity Monitor. Delete the application from your device entirely. Make sure your software and applications are always up to date and download a Mac antivirus system in order to browse the internet safely on your Mac.

In order to prevent a virus, be sure to download a secure antivirus system on your computer if you haven’t already. Update your software as often as you can, since viruses are constantly changing and updating in order to outsmart your system. Also, backup your data regularly to ensure you will not lose previous files if ever infected with a virus. Be wary of the emails you receive and don’t open any suspicious looking files or links.

Removing a Virus from an Android Phone

If you believe your Android phone has been compromised with a virus, the same rules apply when determining if your phone has a virus. If there is a surge in data usage, unexplained charges, unwanted apps or sudden pop ups, you could be under a hack. If you start to detect drastic reductions in battery life with your phone, it could also be infected with a virus. There are a few steps to removing a virus from an android phone.

You can remove a virus by putting your phone or tablet into Safe Mode. This will prevent any third-party apps from running, including malware. Press the power button to access the power off options, then click restart in Safe Mode. Once in Safe Mode, you can open your Settings and choose Apps or Application Manager.

Take a look at the list of apps and make sure there isn’t anything odd or unfamiliar. Make sure you are looking at the Downloaded tab to see what’s installed on your Android. You’ll also want to clear your app’s data cache by selecting “Clear Cache” before deleting. Then delete the app’s data choosing “Clear Data”. Click uninstall to fully remove the app.

Usually this should remove the virus. However, in some cases you might find that the Uninstall button is greyed out and inaccessible. This is because the virus has given itself Device Administrator access. You’ll need to exit the Apps menu and tap on Settings>Security>Device Administrators. This is where you’ll find a list of apps on your device with administrator status. Untick the box for the app you’d like to remove and then tap Deactivate.

You should now be able to return to the original apps menu and remove that app. Now that the virus is removed, restart your device and turn off Safe mode. Once your virus is removed be sure to back up any important information you have on your device, and install an Android antivirus to avoid future breaches.

Usually this should remove the virus. However, in some cases you might find that the Uninstall button is greyed out and inaccessible. This is because the virus has given itself Device Administrator access. You’ll need to exit the Apps menu and tap on Settings>Security>Device Administrators. This is where you’ll find a list of apps on your device with administrator status. Untick the box for the app you’d like to remove and then tap Deactivate.

You should now be able to return to the original apps menu and remove that app. Now that the virus is removed, restart your device and turn off Safe mode. Once your virus is removed be sure to back up any important information you have on your device, and install an Android antivirus to avoid future breaches.

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GDPR: the crimes you could commit without knowing it.

The risks of sharing the information of others on the Internet

After seven years of debate and effort, Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) finally enters into force, implying radical changes across all sectors, from technology to advertising, medicine or banking.

The new regulation will also have an impact on the behavior of Internet users, by reinforcing the protection of personal information and redefining the actions that may constitute crimes on the Internet. In this regard, the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) has presented a manual that details the conditions under which the dissemination of information on the Internet could be a crime.

Sharing personal information

Posting information, photographs, videos or audio files of other people without permission, whether on social networks, through instant messaging services or email, could be subject to civil or criminal penalties. Specifically, such crimes could be punishable with prison sentences ranging from one to five years, according to article 197.3 of the Spanish Penal Code. The most severe sentences are aimed at those who, in addition to distributing the data, have also taken part in illegally obtaining it.

Spying

Unauthorized access to other people’s information implies a breach of privacy and would represent crimes of “discovery and disclosure of secrets” and “violation of moral integrity.” These include the installation of apps on mobile devices of relatives or partners in order to monitor their communications or their location, or access messages or emails. In fact, after the last reform to the Spanish Penal Code, it is a crime to possess software designed to commit fraud such as forging contracts or ID documents.

This section also includes the privacy of minors, which is protected by the Organic Law 1/1996 of the Legal Protection of Minors, stipulating that “minors have the right to honor, personal and family privacy and to their own image. This right also covers the inviolability of the family home and correspondence, as well as the secrecy of communications.”

Sexting and revenge porn

Unauthorized publication of intimate images sent or taken in a private environment is a serious crime. This includes those who publish or share such material via messaging or social networks, even if they do not know the people who appear in the images or videos. Anyone participating in the publication or sharing of this type of material may be fined or imprisoned for between three to twelve months (article 197.1 of the Spanish Penal Code).

The law also makes reference to ‘revenge porn’, i.e, the publication of intimate images or videos of a former partner. The AEPD is very clear on this point: “To threaten or blackmail someone with the publication of intimate recordings (photographs, videos or audio files) of that person, without their consent, may constitute a crime of gender-based violence.” It should also be noted, that it is a crime to erase or damage computers, programs or files of your ex-partner or company after the break-up of a relationship or dismissal from work.

Stalking

Despite the seemingly anonymous nature of the Web, the authorities insist that when slander and insults are made via the Internet the penalties are stiffer. The crime of cyber-bullying or stalking, for example, has been contemplated by the Spanish Penal Code since 2015 and is committed when somebody continuously monitors or follows a person, contacts them through any means of communication, uses their data to get goods or services or in order that other people contact the person. This crime carries a penalty of three months to two years in prison or fines.

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Cyber resilience was the star of the Panda Security Summit 2018

Last Friday, we held our first advanced cybersecurity conference, Panda Security Summit 2018, where cyber-resilience was the focal point. Among the audience of over 400 attendees were CISOs and CIOs of large Spanish and European companies. Silva Barrera hosted the event, which served as a framework to look at the latest cybersecurity trends – attacks, and how to protect against them all along the security chain, as well as the overall state of the sector – from the point of view of analysts, public institutions, and private companies.

Cyber-resilience, key in advanced cybersecurity

All of the conferences and workshops enabled attendees to get a clear vision of the cornerstones needed to reach the highest level of security within organizations. The importance of being resilient as far as security is concerned was widely recognised as being a key feature. It is also the leitmotif of Panda Security’s latest report, which was presented at #PASS2018. All of the speakers shared their ideas and experiences of how to prevent attacks, how to get back to the original state after an attack, and how to mitigate the effects of an attack using a good response strategy. The common theme running through all of the strategies analysed was prevention, detection, containment, and response.

The conference was opened by José Sancho, president of Panda Security, who underlined that this wasn’t just another cybersecurity conference. He emphasized that: “We believe we can give a clear, objective view of this complex, hard to understand landscape, with its multitude of technologies, its varied interests, and its messages which aren’t always objective.”

The first speaker of #PASS2018 was Ian McShane, Research Director of Gartner. In his speech, he explained that the challenge for 2019 is to reinforce prevention, especially in endpoint protection strategy. “The endpoint needs something more than an antivirus; endpoint detection and response (EDR) technologies are the key, as they offer a traceability which is indispensable for analysis and prevention. But these technologies aren’t going to replace humans; we still need analysts,” he explained.

Javier Candau, head of the National Cryptologic Centre (CNN-CERT) focused on the challenge of cybersecurity in Spain. He indicated that one of the main challenges facing the country in this area is the need to strengthen the National Security Framework (Esquema Nacional de Seguridad – ENS) certifications, which are mandatory for all mid to high level information systems. “Our incident management tool is registering more and more cases: businesses and institutions are becoming less and less reluctant to report cases,” added Candau.

Nikolaos Tsouroulas, Head of Cybersecurity Product Management at ElevenPaths in Telefónica explained that “technology is necessary, but people are even more important. Security professionals are the most valuable investment in this area.” Tsouroulas also stated that today’s threats mutate, evolve, and multiply extremely quickly. This means that managed detection and response (MDR) must opt for factors such as prioritizing endpoints and networks, data exchange, and real-time performance.

The conference continued with the participation of Nicola Esposito, Director of Deloitte’s CyberSOC EMEA Center, who explained that protection against advanced cyberthreats is a key factor for the company. “Nevertheless,” he went on to say, “It’s vital for companies to have a strategy so that they can be resilient in case something happens.” Esposito also highlighted factors such as the application of threat intelligence platforms, the creation of threat detection controls, and perimeter monitoring with automated alerts, but always with a fundamental role played by humans.

Finally, the director of the laboratory PandaLabs, Pedro Uría, put forth the keys for business security, protection and resilience, now that malware is no longer the problem. Instead, hackers are the future challenge of cybersecurity, as they use more complex methods. “New attacks, like those that don’t use malware, are the target of threat hunting services, such as those offered by the Panda Adaptive Defense platform,” explained Uría.

Panda Security Report: cyber-resilience and companies

The report ‘Cyber-resilience: the key to business security’ conveys the fact that the increase in the volume and severity of cyber-incidents detected by the majority of companies (64% and 65% respectively) has meant an increase in detection and response times in 57% of cases.

In light of this complex situation, Panda explains that cybersecurity must be understood as a corporate risk management problem. This means that companies must continually review and adjust their security organization, processes, technologies, tools, and services, in order to adapt to the evolution of threats in a process based on distrust.

The report from the advanced cybersecurity company also identifies companies that can count on robust cyberattack prevention (72%), detection (68%), containment (61%), and response (67%) systems as highly cyber-resilient. Likewise, companies that have set up a Computer Security Incident Response Plan (CSIRP) have experts who are specialised in their application (91%), and are led by directors who understand that a high level of cyber-resilience is directly related to economic growth (63%) and the company’s reputation (69%).

Do you want your company to be cyber-resilient? At Panda Security we have at our disposal the latest technology as well as the most highly skilled team of experts to help your company to prevent cyberattacks and to adapt after any kind of security incident.

 

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How will I protect my company in 2020?

Fast-forward to the year 2020: what cyberthreats is your company up against? In order to get a head start on the future of cybercrime, companies, government organizations, and citizens need to gear up for the challenges of a world which is ever more connected thanks to new advances in technology. The best way to avoid harm is to get ready for when it comes. The Information Security Forum, a non-profit association which analyses and researches the sector, has presented ‘Threat Horizon 2020’, a report which breaks the threats of tomorrow down into three main themes.

 Large scale conflicts are looming

As the ISF points out, we are facing an uncertain future: nations, along with terrorist groups, organized criminals, hacktivists, and hackers, will be on the list of possible assailants putting security at risk. Protecting critical infrastructure will be key in 2020: with new possibilities of attacking energy, communications, and logistics systems, all kinds of organizations could lose the basic tools they need in their day-to-day operation.

With a combination of traditional military forces and new technologies which can be used in attacks, the cybercriminals of the near future will be able to create high impact situations which will put companies and nations at risk. In the wars of the future, as well as armies and missiles, digital attackers will also play a part. National cybersecurity departments are already preparing for possible unauthorized access to their infrastructure and their election systems. And this is a matter of when, not if it happens. In light of the possibility of these extreme consequences, the ISF recommends having in place an up-to-date incident response plan, as well as training and educating employees so that, if worst comes to worst, they know how to react at the outbreak of cyberwarfare.

The danger of the IoT: access points increase in number

As technology advances and becomes more democratized, more and more opportunities are created for organizations. But these progress scenarios are a double-edged sword for our security and our privacy. The increase in the number of IoT devices in business environments means an increase in the number of attack vectors. This in turn makes cybercriminals’ jobs a lot easier, as was the case in the recent DDoS attack on the financial sector, when televisions and webcams were hacked. Likewise, fridges, dishwashers, and smart coffee makers could be attacked in order to create power surges which could put electrical networks of whole regions at risk. As we’ve seen with attacks similar to Mirai, any IoT device is susceptible to remote hacking.

To cope with these assaults, the ISF recommends making sure that IoT devices connected to corporate networks can’t be used to attack the company. It’s worth remembering that neglecting such apparently harmless devices as printers can be dangerous.

More regulatory pressure, greater transparency

The last section of the report discusses the relationship between the new regulations and the growing burden that adapting to this new climate means for employees. The need for transparency will multiply information storage points and, by giving access to administrators who aren’t part of the organization, the likelihood of a security breach will also increase. At the same time, the strict privacy regulations will increase the financial repercussions of any attacks, via the imposition of significant fines.

With just a few hours left on the countdown to GDPR, the regulation that aims to protect the privacy of EU citizens’ personal data and control how companies can use this data, this point of view makes even more sense. Given these difficulties, the ISF recommends balancing the management of regulatory requirements with the business risks. It’s also vital to have tools which will simplify compliance with the different regulations for the protection of employees’ and clients’ data.

Companies such as Instagram already got a head-start on the May 25 deadline, with their new ‘Data Download’ function, which allows users to download a file containing all the photos, comments, and personal data from their profile. In this way, if a user wants to delete their account right away, they will be able to take all their information with them.

The world will be completely different in 2020, and there’s no one way to combat national attacks, reduce the risks associated with technological advances, or to comply with new legislation. Nevertheless, in the cybersecurity world, tools such as Panda Adaptive Defense 360 can ease the transition to new, ever smarter environments, with tools of the future for threats of the future. Don’t wait until 2020!

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GDPR Is Here: What Now?

Two years have flown by. The new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) came into effect on the 25th of May 2016, and it will be mandatory to comply with it from the same date in 2018. If your company still hasn’t adapted to the changes, it had better start to do so ASAP.

This isn’t just any old procedure, and nor is it simply an additional provision. It’s a vital issue as far as the security, privacy, and processing of information is concerned. But there is some truly worrying data: according to Crowd Research Partners, 30% of companies aren’t ready to adapt to the new regulation.

GDPR is going to affect the immediate present for companies at a European level, and those that don’t insert the new regulation into their legal framework will face two possible dangers: the legal and financial consequences, and the associated cybersecurity risks.

The consequences of breaching GDPR

1.- For your company’s accounts

Breaching GDPR has four levels of sanctions: a warning, a reprimand, the suspension of data processing, and a fine. This last case has two levels: Level 1, a payment of €10 million or 2% of annual global turnover (whichever figure is higher); at Level 2, a payment of €20 million, or 4% of annual global turnover (again, the higher figure).

If we add to all this (which is already a lot) any claims made by users affected by your infraction or possible complaints from any corporate or economic operator, believe us: flouting the regulation will end up affecting you more than you could ever imagine. And, make no mistake: it won’t be worth it.

2.- For the credibility of your business

Not complying with GDPR can also put the viability of your business and the future of your company at serious risk. Do you really want to be the only one who doesn’t comply with a regulation which is mandatory in the whole European Union? If you do, you’d better get ready for your company to be known for it.

This is no small thing: GDPR obliges you, among other things, to officially notify of possible leaks of users’ private data. If you’d rather breach the regulation, your company’s image will be associated with this infringement, both in public opinion and within your industry. And next time you want to secure commercial agreements of any kind, this will be one of the key reasons you’ll be given no for an answer.

The real battle: cybersecurity

But it doesn’t stop there. If 2017 and 2018 are, so far, the quintessential years of cybersecurity attacks, GDPR is yet another ingredient in the juicy recipe already being prepared by cybercriminals all over the world in order to commit this kind of crime.

If you think that it’s no big deal, why don’t you mull over the two possible situations that can occur if someone should want to infringe on your cybersecurity using GDPR as a starting block:

1.- Economic extortion

Picture this: even though you have to comply with the new EU regulation, it turns out that you didn’t. Someone finds a security breach in your company, makes use of it, gets access to some data and… Bingo! They discover your non-compliance. The cybercriminal knows full well that you could face fines of up to €20 million, so, what if they ask for a financial ‘reward’ in exchange for keeping their mouth shut?

The fact is that any compensation demanded will be much lower than the possible fine, but, apart from the fact that you’ll be breaking the new regulation, you’ll also be risking the possibility that the extortion won’t stop there.

2.- Blackmail

With, among other cases, the elections in the United States, it was made quite clear: cyberattacks don’t necessarily have to have a financial element, rather they can also have political, ideological, social, or corporate ends. If someone discovers vulnerabilities in your cybersecurity, they could try to force you to take actions that you don’t want to take.

It goes without saying that, in order to avoid either of the two situations outlined above, you must take the utmost care of your company’s cybersecurity. This is of course something that must be ever present in the day to day of your company, but even more so in this context.


Discover Panda Data Control

We hope we’ve managed to convince you. If your company still hasn’t got to work on GDPR, or has done so but still has some work to do on it, take a look at our guide on how to adapt to the new regulation as soon as possible. And if you want to equip yourself in terms of technology and cybersecurity, Panda Adaptive Defense, with its Data Control Module can help you not only when it comes to preventing any attacks, but can also help you to defend yourself if the attack has already happened.

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Panda Security to Attend Africa’s Largest Security Summit

The ITWeb Security Summit is ‘not-to-be-missed’ event covering all aspects of information security, takes place in Johannesburg from the 22nd of May, and in Cape Town from the 29th of May.

The complexity of today’s business environment – heavily influenced by cyber threats, data privacy regulations and the changing nature of business, make securing organisations a challenging but crucial task. The ITWeb Security Summit 2018 – Africa’s largest information security event – aims to address the challenges of an ever-changing threat landscape. The event which takes place this month in South Africa, includes an expo, workshops and a conference hosted by local and international industry experts.

Panda Security will be at the event showcasing Panda’s next-generation solutions. Jeremy Matthews – Regional Manager is also a speaker at the conference and will be sharing insights into Advanced Threat Hunting in his talk entitled – ‘Catch the Intruder in his Tracks’.  The Panda Security Africa team will have a stand at the exhibition.

During Matthews’ presentation, delegates will learn about the anatomy of a cyber-attack – the cyber-kill chain, as well as how metadata can be used to establish indicators of compromise. The talk will cover EDR based threat hunting and investigation, referencing real-world attack stories including internal employee threats, lateral movements, and malware-less attacks. Finally, a view of the tools and techniques that can be used to “catch an intruder in their tracks”.

“We are pleased to be a part of this event – bringing industry experts and business leaders together to share knowledge and insights, and ultimately reduce the risk associated with cybersecurity incidents”, says Matthews.

 

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New Data Leak Exposes 3M Facebook Users

Newly Discovered Data Leak Exposed Intimate Details of 3 Million Facebook Users

Facebook’s data privacy problems and reputation troubles have been snowballing over the last few months. A report recently released by New Scientist claims that sensitive information of more than three million Facebook users gathered by a quiz-app has been readily available online for the last four years. The news comes months after Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg was grilled before Congress for letting consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica improperly handle data for political purposes.

myPersonality

Developed by Cambridge University researchers, myPersonality was a Facebook app that allowed users to take psychometric tests and obtain instant results. The app was active between 2007 and 2012 and more than 6 million people participated in the project. All quiz answers were recorded, and roughly half of participants opted in to share the data from their Facebook profiles with the researchers. All of the data gathered by the app was stored in a database making it one of the most extensive social science research databases in history. The data was anonymized and then shared with academics around the world.

The database contained highly sensitive and revealing information of millions of Facebook users and even though the academics at the University of Cambridge never charged for access to the database and wanted to be used only for academic purposes, the login details giving access to the database were easily reachable online. Anyone interested in peeking into the personal lives of millions of Facebook users had to merely search for username and password on GitHub – the largest host of source code in the world.

While the data was anonymized and no names are known to have been exposed every single Facebook profile have been assigned with an ID that has been connected with their age, gender location, status updates, etc. With so much information attached to one ID, finding out the real identity of the person behind the profile would have been an easy task, and it might have been easily automated.

Currently, there isn’t a conclusive answer to the number of people who’ve had access to the database over the years, and for the ways, they might have used it. The report released by New Scientist suggests that Facebook has been aware of the quiz since 2011 but did not act up until last month.

Facebook suspended the app on April 7th. The app is one of 200 other banned apps that might have collected data in the same manner. The official website of myPersonality is currently offline too.

The news comes only days after Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that he will be facing MEPs in Brussels and will be meeting with French President Macron.

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Identity Theft Statistics

Identity theft is a large issue across the globe. Even if you personally haven’t been victimized, hearing the data and statistics on identity theft may make you think, am I next? It’s important to educate oneself on identity theft and how at risk you are.

Identity theft affects millions of people each year. According to a Harris Poll, nearly 60 million Americans have been affected by identity theft in 2017. However, what is even more shocking is only three in five adults who took the survey said they have ever looked at their credit report. Monitoring your credit report can help protect your finances from theft. Read on to learn the types of identity theft, identity theft statistics, and how to stay safe.

How Has Identity Theft Increased Substantially?

It is evident that the risk of identity theft is quite high and it is safe to save it will not be dropping anytime soon. This is mainly due to data breaches. Data breaches involve a company or other organization’s customer’s information including but not limited to Social Security numbers, addresses, credit card numbers, bank information and other personal information being accessed illegally.

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), there were 1,579 data breaches in 2017, exposing nearly 179 million records. That equates to a 44 percent increase in the number of breaches in just one calendar year. Of the five industry sectors the ITRC tracks, the business category had the most total breaches in 2017 for the third year in a row.

The most recognized data breach of last year involved Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting agencies. With 147.9 million victims, the amount of personal data hacked was substantial. Information included names, birth dates, addresses and Social Security numbers.

Another quite harmful data breach in the past few years was 2016’s Uber hack. Hackers stole data from 57 million Uber customers, and the company paid $100,000 to cover up the theft. The breach wasn’t made public until November 2017, after being revealed by Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. The two hackers broke into the company and stole personal data including phone numbers, email addresses and names of 57 million users. What’s worse, the hackers also stole 600,000 driver’s license numbers of drivers for the company.

Who Are More Likely to Be Victims of Identity Theft?

According to War on Identity Theft, Americans are significantly more likely to be victims of identity theft than anyone other country in the world 143 million Americans faced an increased risk of identity theft after the Equifax hack stole a plethora of users’ private information. This was just one breach, with the total amount of identities stolen at 791 million in the U.S. in 2016 alone. France was the next largest amount of identities stolen, at 85 million identities total.

Another large market for identity theft is social media. Active social media users have a 30 percent higher risk of becoming victims because of their information reaching increased exposure. Specifically Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat users face a 46 percent higher risk of account takeover than those who do not have these social accounts.

E-commerce shoppers are consistently exposing their financial information and have a higher risk of credit card fraud. 62 percent of these e-commerce shoppers made an online purchase within the past week. While they can be likely victims of identity theft, e-commerce shoppers are also quick to catch fraudulent activity, minimizing the damage. 78 percent of fraud victims within the e-commerce community detected fraud within one week.

Types of Identity Theft

There are several types of identity theft. Some may drain your bank account while others may get a job by stealing your name. Familiarizing yourself with the different types of identity theft can help prevent you from oversharing information and help keep you safe.

Financial Identity Theft: When most people think of the term “identity theft” they think of credit reports and bank accounts being corrupted. This is financial identity theft, and it has caused many people trouble over the years. Target’s hacking scandal is maybe the most recognizable financial breach in decades. The hackers got a hold of 40 million customers’ credit and debit card information and over 65 million customers had their information stolen including but not limited to credit/debit card information, names, addresses, and phone numbers.

Medical Identity Theft: This is probably the most difficult identity theft to fix, as it involves someone stealing your health insurance to get medical care. Once an identity thief uses your health insurance, doctors could update your records with the imposter’s medical information. This can lead to false treatment and medical bills you’ll have to pay for. In 2016 alone, there were nine times more medical than financial records breached at 27 million. That’s 10 percent of the population! What’s even more frightening, the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance reported that 20 percent of victims received the wrong diagnosis or treatment due to identity theft.

Employment Identity Theft: It’s important to be wary of which companies you give your SS number out to. Employment identity theft involves a scammer who cannot get a job because of a criminal record or poor credit, who steals your Social Security number to get a job in your name. Then when it comes to taxes, they will be filing your information and the IRS will want taxes from you on income they made in your name. In 2016, 34 percent of all identity theft fraud was related to employment or tax-related fraud.

A new strand of identity theft is known as synthetic identity theft, which involves fraudsters combining fabricated and real data to create a fake identity. It is often used to take out loans or to sign up for credit cards. Synthetic identity theft accounts for the most credit card fraud losses in the united states. In fact, in 2016, synthetic identity fraud cost banks six billion dollars. The total is actually greater when considering store credit cards along with other products like auto loans. It becomes increasingly harmful to consumers when someone opens an account with a user’s social security number with a fake name and address, it might not show up on their credit report.

Children are actually a large target for identity theft. While adults consistently check their credit reports, kids have Social Security numbers that scammers can steal and open accounts, take out loans and more. A child could be unaware of their identity fraud lance until it is time to take out a loan or apply for college. Thieves can steal information from accounts where you have input your child’s data, such as a toy store or a school database. According to a 30-year law enforcement veteran and child identity theft author, Robert Chappell Jr., about 1.3 million kids are affected by child identity theft annually.

Identity Theft Protection

There are several ways to protect yourself against identity theft. We have compiled six useful tips you can use to help protect yourself against identity theft before it’s too late.

  • Create a strong password. Make sure to create a long password (minimum 12 characters) with a variety of numbers, letters, and characters.
  • Plan a security freeze. If you are not planning on opening new accounts in the near future, putting a freeze report on your account can prevent anyone from opening on in your name.
  • Check credit report. It is suggested to request a credit report three times a year to check for fraudulent or suspicious activity.
  • Be smart on social media. Review your social media settings to make sure your profile is only viewable by your friends and family and keep personal information to a minimum.
  • Sign up for account alerts. Sign up for alerts for your bank account and credit reports to alert you of unusual activity or large payments to unknown receivers.
  • Check bills regularly. Make sure to read all bills in you and your child’s name. If anything seems suspicious or out of sorts, call your bank immediately.

Sources:

Detroit Free Press | Business Insider | Insurance Information Institute | Consumer Reports | Dark Reading | Javelin Strategy | ITRC | War on ID Theft | CNN | The Washington Post | Comparitech | Forbes |

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The MEW DNS hijack hack – and how to protect yourself

Users of the popular MyEtherWallet (MEW) cryptocurrency wallet service were warned recently that they have been scammed. According to MEW, hackers were able to disrupt access to users’ wallets, stealing between $152,000 and $365,000 worth of Ether coins.

Unfortunately for MEW users, there is almost nothing that can be done. The crime can be reported to the police, but there is little chance of the money being recovered.

So how did the attack happen – and how can you protect yourself?

How the hack happened – DNS hijacking

You probably already know that every computer connected to the Internet has am IP address – a unique number to ensure that data is sent and received to the right computer. The Internet relies on a service called the Domain Name Service (DNS) which allows computers to “look up” those addresses when sending information.

DNS is like a huge digital phone book which every computer on the Internet refers to when communicating.

In the MEW attack, hackers were able to break into the DNS service at an ISP and change some of the addresses. When a user tried to access the MEW website, they were redirected to a phishing website. This fake website looked exactly like MEW’s, but when the user logged in nothing happened.

Behind the scenes, the website was recording users’ account details so that hackers could use them to log into the real MEW website and steal Ether coins from their victims.

The DNS hijack lasted just over 2 hours before normal service was restored.

Protecting against DNS hijacking

Unlike most cyberattacks, DNS hijacking does not touch your computer at all. Because the attack is directed at your ISP there is no tell-tale malware installed on your PC for instance. But there are ways to detect a problem.

Don’t ignore SSL certificate warnings

When MEW users first accessed the fake website, their browser would have raised a warning telling them that the site was insecure. MEW uses an SSL security to confirm that their site is genuine, and to encrypt customer data to stop it being intercepted by hackers.

The fake MEW site did not have this protection and users would have been warned before they logged in. Unfortunately many decided to ignore the message that would have saved them.

Use a VPN service to protect your web traffic

Usually we think of virtual private networking (VPN) as a way to connect to the network at work securely. The same technologies can be used to protect your home computer too however.

Using a VPN – like that included with a Panda Dome Premium subscription – have built in protection against DNS hijacking. Not only is all your web traffic encrypted to prevent theft, but the VPN uses a trusted DNS server so hackers cannot re-route your web traffic to fake websites.

For victims of the MEW hijacking, there is almost no chance that they will get their money back. But by using these tips, they can better protect themselves in future.

Upgrade your Internet protections today – download a free trial of Panda Dome Advanced here.

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How to decrease the data usage on your phone?

If you are one of the lucky ones who recently switched to a new smartphone, you might have noticed that your cell data usage has increased without any significant changes in your habits. The truth is that the more advanced cellphones get, the more data they require to operate. Newer devices come with improved cameras that capture fantastic quality content that not only take more space on your device but also drains your data when you upload it to social media. The bigger screens and higher resolutions often used in new smartphone models also negatively impact the data usage.

Using too much data could end up being costly too as mobile carriers here in the US do not make your life easier. They want you to use more data, Verizon Wireless even created an app called go90 so they can encourage users to use more data. Even though mobile carriers claim that they offer unlimited data plans, those plans are never genuinely unlimited. In most cases, there is a cutoff limit which varies depending on the wireless carrier of your choice and when you reach it – you get to experience something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy – the modern day nightmare of 3G internet speeds.

Whatever the reason – avoiding high bills or slow internet – our suggestions will help you decrease the data usage on your smartphone.

How to decrease the data usage on your smartphone

Perform app updates only when connected to a Wi-Fi network

One of the best ways to decrease your data usage is to make sure that you always download updates for apps when you are connected to a Wi-Fi. On average, people tend to have about 30 apps on their smartphone. App updates are issued more often than we want and quite regularly updates end up more than 100mb.

If every app receives an update once a month, and the update is about 100mb, you will end up using nearly 3GB of data to simply keep your phone running. Go to settings and switch off the app updating when not connected to a Wi-Fi, spare yourself those 3GB for something more refreshing such as watching a few episodes on The Big Bang Theory on your way to work.

Turn Off Wi-Fi Assist or Smart Network Switch

Both iOS’ Wi-Fi Assist and Android’s Smart Network Switch were put in place for people who cannot afford to have a lousy internet connection on their smartphones. However, both have proven to be controversial as sometimes those functions may overuse your cellphone data while you think you are connected to a Wi-Fi network.

Avoid disappointment by switching them off. Unless you need them all the time, the best option would be to keep the functions turned off and take advantage of them only when a stable connection is necessary.

Stop autoplay

This is starting to be one of the biggest reasons for the increase in data consumption. More and more apps are bombarding us with oddly satisfying video content. While apps such as FOX Sports and Comedy are in place to entertain us and autoplay is generally expected there, non-video apps are integrating this feature starting the videos as soon as you scroll over them.

Once the video has begun the chances of you continuing to watch are increasing hand in hand with your chances of getting a data overage on your next monthly cell phone bill. To be on the safe side, go ahead and turn off autoplay on every app.

Terminate all unneeded background processes

Those are the little pieces of software that continuously transmit data to their mothership – you need to find a way to stop them from doing so. And as we all know, sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming to have to dig in settings and terminate processes manually.

This is why there are user-friendly task killers that can do the job for you. With a task killer app, you are only a few clicks away from terminating all these background processes that drain your data usage and battery life.

Most reputable antivirus software solutions include such features in their flagship mobile internet security products.

Download Google Maps

If you’ve been looking for a reason to ditch Waze or Apple Maps, this might be a good one for you. We are getting more and more dependent on our mobile devices, especially on their GPS functions. Sadly, even though GPS usage is not one of the main reasons for generating a significant increase in data usage, it is indeed worth mentioning that Google Maps have the option to use the maps offline.

Open Google Maps, go up in the menu and then hit the offline ‘maps button’ and download the area you need. Make sure you are connected to a Wi-Fi! This is how you can save on GPS data usage, and you will have the much-needed piece of mind that you will be able always to find your way back home when you’ve used all your data, and your carrier has switched you to an unusable 3G connection.

We are confident that you now have what is needed to switch to a lower tier data plan and decrease your monthly cell phone bill, or to avoid reaching the cutoff limit wireless carriers impose on you. Whatever your goal is, make sure your precious connected device is protected with antivirus software – this is the one task you cannot afford to kill.

Download Panda Mobile Security

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Javier Candau: “Cooperation between the public and private sectors is essential to combat cyberthreats”

javier-candau-pass

On May 18, Panda Security will be holding the Panda Security Summit (#PASS2018). The aim of this event is to offer a clear and objective perspective of the current security environment, focusing on the main dimensions on which the sector is now based. Among the speakers taking part is the head of Spain’s National Cryptologic Center (CCN-CERT), Javier Candau, who will be offering his view of the cybersecurity challenge in Spain.

All security dimensions are important for a company, according to Candau, but the confidentiality of certain issues and processes is particularly relevant. According to him, management has to understand that a business is sustained by its systems and the information it generates, so this is a strategic decision, as are vigilance and auditing.

As the head of the CCN-CERT, Javier Candau knows what the keys are for a government in the fight against cyberthreats. These include the implementation of improvements in areas such as detection capabilities, considering cybersecurity as a horizontal service; collaboration between the public and private sectors; the response, which has to be rapid and round-the-clock across all points of the corporate network; and deterrence.

So far, sectors such as the aeronautical industry, the general public, and the defense or energy sectors have been the main targets of complex attacks. In order to face these types of incidents, the CCN-CERT is looking to advance awareness among government authorities and business management, and improve the capacity to detect complex attacks with anomaly detection tools such as CARMEN, which must integrate with tools for correlating the logs of organizations and, essentially, with endpoint tools.

Candau also highlights the work being done to improve the cybersecurity structures of organizations, aiming for some services to be provided horizontally and for technical staff to be adequately qualified through training programs and the provision of technical information on technologies and configurations.

Cooperation with the private sector and challenges in 2018

Large companies are working with the Government to be able to deal with cyberattacks, but for this, it is first necessary to ensure they have confidence, explains Candau, and later, they need to complement and reinforce the security services that the private sector provides them. In this way, the head of the CCN-CERT hopes that companies will at some point share information about the attacks they suffer and their cybersecurity concerns.

The essential cybersecurity challenge for the government this year is to provide much more proactive horizontal services, with the setting up of the Security Operations Center of the Spanish Central Administration. In addition, Candau explains that the Center is working on improving exchange platforms, detection capabilities, auditing capabilities, and training platforms and content.

CCN-CERT’s approach to combating cybercrime against the state culminates with the identification of the origin of the attacker. To this end, and in line with current regulations, the government organization operates in terms of risk/impact and speed of response.

Javier Candau admits that cybercrime has very different complexities. These range from botnets, which are generally easy to detect and disinfect, to organized crime attacks that look for direct financial benefit or the theft of information, passing through complex ransomware of difficult cryptologic analysis.

The head of the CCN-CERT also underlines that the targets set are sufficient to protect the country’s critical infrastructure against cyberattacks, but these systems do not undertake the challenge of protecting operational networks. Candau recognizes that it is no longer acceptable for these not to be interconnected, as businesses need this information, so he advocates coherent security policies and thorough vigilance of interconnections as well as traffic and anomalies in industrial protocols. Security must therefore be applied in all dimensions: physical, cyber and human.

For more information about national cybersecurity, the role played by the CCN-CERT in the major attacks of 2017 and Javier Candau’s view of the challenges for the coming years, come to the Panda Security Summit, where Europe comes together for cybersecurity.


Register #PASS2018

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Xavier Mertens: “Cryptojacking is one of the most brilliant attacks I’ve seen”

The aim of a hacker used to be to steal or destroy information, yet today what they try to do above all is profit financially in exchange for information. We can see how attacks are becoming more professional and businesses are being built around them. Some years ago, it wasn’t so easy to buy ransomware or rent a bot to launch attacks. Xavier Mertens, an independent cybersecurity consultant and renowned IT security blogger, insists on the importance of traditional security to combat these highly effective new threats. Mertens’ voluntary participation in the SANS Internet Storm Center, the global cooperative system for warning against cyberthreats, gives him a great insight into the very latest attacks.  

PS: How can IT security professionals adapt to these new needs?  

XM: The usual protection measures are still important. If employees can stick to following typical security measures: implementing appropriate network segmentation, using secure passwords, configuring devices correctly and not exposing sensitive information or tools on the Web, I believe they could be protected against any modern threat.

Most security problems occur because people need to carry out everyday tasks, and are unaware of the basic measures required to protect them. Recently I tried to scan a document and, after checking the login credentials and firewall and ensuring that the printer worked correctly, I realized that it wouldn’t work because the Server Message Block version 1 (SMBv1) protocol was configured, something that has already been widely disapproved of. As such, it is something you need to decide whether or not to enable. Users normally enable the default settings as they don’t know how to change them or they simply don’t have time to do so and just want to get on with their day-to-day routine. But it is not so complicated, as industry experts, to resolve these basic problems and protect the security of tools that are as common in companies as printers.

Xavier Mertens

PS: What is the Internet Storm Center? What is your role as an ISC Handler?

XM: The Internet Storm Center is an organization whose aim is to monitor the Internet and ensure it operates properly. Using automated tools, we collect information for professionals in the sector, generate useful content in the form of a cybersecurity journal and try to increase awareness of the problem. For example, with the dshield’ project, people can send their firewall records to build up our database and create a detection system based on repetition. We were able to detect the Mirai botnet because we have tools that showed activity peaks on specific ports. We are the ‘Internet’s firemen’.

PS: How can we avoid recent attacks such as those that are aimed at mining crypto-currencies?

XM: The protection remains the same as for other types of malware, because crypto-currency mining is carried out with malicious code that runs on your computer. The standard advice still stands: have a cybersecurity solution that protects you completely and don’t click or download unknown files. Nevertheless, I think that crypto-jacking is one of the most brilliant attacks I’ve seen. Criminals are moving from ransomware to mining because it is much less intrusive and you don’t need so many resources to evade detection. With ransomware, you don’t know if victims will pay the ransom because they may have backed up their files. With crypto-currency mining however, you are sure to recover your investment, and it is much less invasive. You can run mining on any type of device, unlike ransomware which is restricted to Windows, Mac or Linux, and the victim’s system will still operate despite the attack.

A colleague at the ISC analyzed the power of his computer while mining crypto-currencies. The fans and the CPU of the computer were always busy and running at full strength. So imagine the consequences that mining could have in a company with numerous computers: energy consumption increases, it has a significant impact on data center traffic and can even increase the office temperature.

PS: You have GIAC certification in reverse engineering malware. Should companies be investing in this type of analysis?

XM: I don’t think you should invest in reverse engineering unless you have a big budget and a lot of time. The aim of companies is not to understand the behavior of malware, but to resume normal activity as soon as possible. When analyzing malicious files, we want to know why they behave as they do in order to generate a list of ‘Indicators of Compromise’ to share with other researchers in the sector and provide this intelligence to customers.

PS: How do you draw up an effective incident response plan?

XM: Incident response plans are not easy to address, particularly if they are for companies that don’t have the resources or the right personnel. In my opinion, you can always start with the small things. The first step is to be prepared, increase awareness and involve all employees, and this is something that can be done by any company.

PS: As the deadline draws closer, how can companies prepare themselves for GDPR compliance?

XM: The GDPR is designed to protect the privacy of users. So bearing this in mind, if you have implemented a comprehensive security strategy, if you know where the data is and how it is protected, and if you only have collected the information that is strictly necessary for your business, the GDPR should not represent a problem for you. This regulation takes us back to basics, to some simple guidelines: encrypt your information, don’t store passwords in public files, make sure databases are not exposed on the Internet, etc. Possibly the biggest challenge will be for small companies that don’t have an inventory of all the information they possess, not just internal data, but also what they share with suppliers and users. Companies are now in the process of reviewing all the information they possess and we hope that they are taking the necessary measures to adapt to the GDPR.

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Nicola Esposito: “The key to resilience is having a mature strategy and a good partner”

Our first cybersecurity summit, the Panda Security Summit (#PASS2018), is approaching fast, and will feature talks from key figures in the sector, such as Nicola Esposito, Director of Deloitte’s CyberSOC EMEA Center. In his lecture, “Keys for a more attentive, safer and resilient organization in the face of advanced cyberthreats“, Esposito will explain how Deloitte, from its Cyber ​​Risk area, helps organizations to strengthen their risk and security management program. In advance of the summit, we asked this expert about resilience in the corporate cybersecurity environment.

What are the most significant advanced threats facing companies today?

Advanced threats combine numerous tools, techniques and targeting methods. Malware is currently one of the major threats due to its capacity to spread rapidly across an organization and even around the world.

Which aspect of resilience would you say is most important for the security of companies?  

You can’t single out one aspect. All of them (prevention, detection, containment, response and continuous improvement) have to be taken into account to adopt a serious approach to IT security. In line with this approach, and in order to offer its customers an end-to-end solution, Deloitte has developed its Common Storefront based on the four areas of Strategy, Security, Vigilance and Resilience.

How can the creation of an integrated and connected ecosystem contribute to improving corporate security infrastructure?

The creation of this ecosystem can help make companies more secure and become part of a chain of security. This is one of the reasons why Deloitte promotes the Threat Intelligence network, so as to share indicators of compromise (IoCs) and increase the detection capacity of customers. Such networks allow these IoCs to be shared practically in real time, and consequently reduce the time of exposure to the corresponding malware.

What risks do non-resilient companies face?

Non-resilient companies are probably not taking cybersecurity risks seriously. This is the biggest challenge. Once a company’s management recognizes the threat, it needs a trusted partner to set up a robust security program. So the second challenge is to find a partner able to guide you along a potentially complicated path.

What are the keys to creating resilient companies?

The key to resilience is having a mature strategy and a good partner. With a mature strategy you can address risks in the proper way, starting with business risks and not focusing on them directly from the technological perspective. This strategy should include the values ​​mentioned earlier: Security, Vigilance and Resilience. It is also important to have partners with a global vision, who understand the scope of current threats, and have end-to-end capabilities to understand business risks, advise customers accordingly, and implement and operate the technologies to make their business resilient.

What is the risk of ignoring resilience?

The greatest risk is the likelihood of being hit by a cyberattack and the inability to recover from it. It is not just that critical systems are compromised, there is also the potential damage to brand reputation, which in some cases may take years to restore. There are also risks associated with regulatory compliance, which are related to the security controls implemented in every company.

To what aspect of cyber-resilience should we pay most attention?

The aspect of resilience that is often ignored, or not adequately considered, is detection. Mainly because detection means having visibility, and to have this, you have to understand where and how to pay due attention to all the other sections that comprise cyber-resilience.

At Panda we know that detection and the response to attacks is essential to business cybersecurity. That’s why tools such as Panda Adaptive Defense guarantee the protection of aspects that could sometimes be overlooked. To bolster cyber-resilience, Nicola Esposito will be taking part in the Panda Security Summit on May 18 in Madrid. Don’t miss it?

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Webstresser.org has been seized

Police take down a major cybercrime resource

A recent global raid conducted by police in the UK, US and the Netherlands has helped to take down a major cybercrime resource called WebStresser. The WebStresser website allowed anyone with a credit card to “buy” a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on another website of their choice.

What are DDoS attacks?

A DDoS attack uses a network of bots to flood a target website with traffic. Each bot attempts to access the website hundreds of times each minute; eventually there are too many access attempts for the website to handle and it crashes.

It can take many hours for a website to recover from a DDoS attack. Ecommerce sites could lose thousands of dollars during that time because genuine buyers cannot make purchases.

The DDoS attack technique is reliant on thousands of bots to generate the necessary traffic to overload a website. Normally hackers need to infect thousands of computers with malware to create the bot network – a process that can take days or weeks to complete, and which could cost thousands of dollars to set up.

The WebStresser difference

But when using the WebStresser service, anyone could access a network of preconfigured bots instantly. Even more concerning for website owners was the cost of using WebStresser – DDoS attacks could be bought for as little as $15.

This low entry price meant that anyone with a grudge could attack a website – even if they had no technical skills, or experience of hacking. The police believe that thousands of websites were targeted using the WebStresser service before it was taken offline.

A temporary win

Although WebStresser has gone, it is only a matter of time before a copycat service launches. Now that cybercriminals know they can make money from running a DDoS botnet, it is only a matter of time before we see similar hack-for-cash services pop-up elsewhere.

You can play your part

Home users are very unlikely to find themselves the target of a distributed denial of service attack – but that’s not to say you will never be part of one. The WebStresser service uses a network of compromised PCs just like your own as part of the attack.

Unprotected computers are infected with malware that sits dormant until required. When the DDoS attack is launched, these infected computers are then called into action, to target a specific website. Chances are that you will never even know that your computer has become part of a zombie network until an attack begins and your computer slows down.

To avoid becoming an unwitting accomplice, you must ensure that your PC is regularly updated, and that you have a comprehensive antimalware system installed. These combination will help to prevent malware from infecting your PC.

Play your part in making the web a safer place (and stop your PC slowing down too) by downloading a free Panda Dome trial today.

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Silvia Barrera: “Cybersecurity never costs more than the damage that can be inflicted”

The Panda Security Summit (#PASS2018), our advanced cybersecurity summit, is now less than two weeks away. This event will bring together CISOs and CIOs from all over Europe to discuss the latest trends in protection and threats, as well as the global cybersecurity panorama. So as the day draws closer, we bring you the second part of our interview with Silvia Barrera, writer, expert in cybersecurity, and master of ceremonies at the PASS.

 

In this second part of the interview, Silvia describes what security challenges she expects institutions and companies will face over the next few years, as well as what can be done to make businesses and organizations resilient in terms of cybersecurity.

[If you missed the first part of our interview with Silvia, you can read it here].

What do you feel is the greatest problem today regarding the security of companies and institutions? 

First the human factor and then the technical side. In technical aspects, the problem can be avoided by properly evaluating risks and using internal and external checks and controls. You can’t just think about the employee; organizations and companies need to integrate and align cybersecurity as a strategic objective of the business and as such assume the costs of IT security. There will be difficult times ahead in terms of security risks and data protection, and there will be stiff penalties and consequences, particularly in terms of corporate reputation, as illustrated by the recent cases of Facebook and Tesla.

What challenges do you think businesses and organizations will face with respect to IT security in the next two years? 

The change in consumer mentality. We have to try to be as preventive as possible, acting at every point of the process to mitigate the cost of cybercrime for users, but we cannot truthfully tell users or customers that they will never be the victim of an attack. They will be, and consequently they must be prepared.

The more concerned you are about your cybersecurity, the more secure you will be, and this goes for your business, reputation, etc. Cybe-security never costs more than the damage that can be inflicted. The Internet offers an infinite array of tools and features that can make life easier, but it can also ruin it.

What does it mean for you that a company or institution is resilient from the point of view of cybersecurity? 

Resilience is the best factor for gauging the strength of a company or institution. It tests how you manage communications, data, security and IT infrastructure. The capacity to recover from a possible attack is also a factor to evaluate your readiness and how you can improve it. Ultimately, it shows who can successfully adapt to technological changes and demands. And with regard to external customers, how you take care of this within your organization will also reflect how you take care of your customers’ information. Your reputation and their trust is at stake.

In your view, what aspect of resilience is the most important to keep companies and institutions secure?

All of them. From prevention, avoiding the vast majority of attacks and incidents, to detection and response. Although there is no 100 percent security, as we know, almost 99 percent of attacks can be avoided. How? By taking into account all factors of resilience. It is important to be aware that cybersecurity is like taking care of your own security and personal health. You might not get a tangible return from it, but it guarantees a long life, full of satisfaction and success. That is resilience.

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Browsing in incognito mode is not private at all

Currently, most modern web browsers offer some type of private browsing. Such privacy shields are gaining popularity amongst internet users from all backgrounds, ages, and occupations. Web surfers are starting to realize the real value of their online privacy amid events such as the foreign state interference in the 2016 US presidential elections and Brexit.

Did companies such as the recently shut down Cambridge Analytica completely changed the course of the 2016 presidential election and the Brexit referendum? No one knows for sure, but they certainly had an impact, and sadly, privacy incidents happen more often than they should. Internet users are starting to take matters into their own hands by using tools that somehow mislead them into thinking they browse anonymously.

According to a study published by researchers from the University of Chicago, USA and Leibniz University Hannover, Germany, there is a common misconception that makes users sometimes believe that browsing in incognito mode gives them online anonymity and protects them from malicious software. Incognito mode helps but is not a cure-for-all should you want to stay entirely anonymous while online. And you definitely need antivirus software if you want to surf safely.

How to achieve online anonymity

Private browsing offered by modern web browsers is undoubtedly a good step towards achieving online anonymity, but it isn’t all you need to be anonymous. Surfing the internet with a browser in incognito mode might prevent your browser from storing your browsing history, cookies and site data, and information entered in forms but does not keep your online anonymity intact.

While no one, including your parents or spouse, would be able to determine the sites you’ve visited by looking at your browsing history, your online activities are not a secret to your internet service provider, your employer, and your school. Even though there is no any trace left on the computer, your employer can see the destination of the traffic that goes in and out of your connected device. Private mode browsing does not make you anonymous to the websites that you visit too. So briefly, everyone but your spouse and parents know your browsing habits.

How can you stop them from monitoring your traffic?

VPN Service

The only way to prevent your system administrator and internet service provider from knowing more about the sites you visit is to use a VPN service. When someone, such as your employer or ISP, gets curious about the websites that you tend to visit, all they will see will be the traffic coming in and out of one single place – your VPN service provider. Unless they get a court order, reputable VPN service providers would never share with third parties any details involving your browsing history.

Even if we blindly believe tech companies keep our data secure, things sometimes go sideways. Twitter just advised its userbase to change their passwords, Equifax got hacked leaving hundreds of millions of US citizens vulnerable, and Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg was grilled before Congress where he admitted Facebook ‘didn’t do enough’ to protect users. Using incognito mode is indeed a good start, but having a quality VPN service provider is a must should you want to be a step closer towards achieving online anonymity.

Download Panda FREE VPN

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Five things to remember on your next visit to the cell phone store

Since the smartphones became a thing, visiting the wireless carrier store haven’t been the most pleasant experience for many. You either have to let the rep sell you things you may not want nor need and spend an arm and a leg, or you have to keep saying no to everything they say and spend a few exhausting hours at the store. Sometimes, dealing with wireless service providers could be considered as stressful as going to a used-car dealership – the salesman is telling you that you are getting a deal but deep inside you know that you are not getting the most for the money.

Before we dig in into why going to the cell shop may not be the best way to spend your afternoon you need to know why sales reps tend to make your life a living nightmare should you decide to not spend a lot of money with them. Well, they work on commission, and the biggest mobile wireless carriers in the US invest millions of dollars training their sales force “best practices.”

You might have noticed the fact that when you go for troubleshooting the retail sales reps are not as excited to see you as they usually are when you are there to make a purchase. Retail workers are pressured to meet aggressive sales targets every month, so sometimes what they recommend you is not what you really need, but what they have in stock in the store and what would help them maximize their commission infused monthly salaries.

So here are the top five ways for you to avoid getting slammed on your next visit.

Don’t give too much information about you

One of the biggest mistakes people do when going to a cell phone store is disclosing information about their life to the sales reps. Wireless carrier service providers train their sales force to profile their customers and discover things about people’s personal life – things that they may use to upsell you. So if you are a person in your mid-40s and you’ve mentioned you have two children aged 10 and 13 and you shared your parents live out of state – you most likely will be offered three tablets and a new phone “bundled” with a case, tempered glass, and a charger.

Buying all these might end up miraculously decreasing your bill! If you follow the instructions given by the retail worker, even though you’ve entered the store only to buy a phone, you may end up spending thousands of dollars for overpriced stuff you most likely won’t need. At the end of the day, you will realize none of these have been free.

Don’t fall for the “it will save you money” offer

If a sales rep offers you to save you money if you agree to purchase something, the rep is most likely not being genuine with you but just trying to upsell you. In most cases, if you do some research, you will realize that you will be able to decrease your bill without the need to purchase a whole bunch of overpriced accessories. Remember that if buying something can save you money according to a salesperson, you most likely will be able to decrease your bill without the need for additional purchases.

Keep a record of the numbers

If you are adjusting your plan, ask the sales rep to write the numbers down on a piece of paper that you can keep. Ask them for their business card too. They will most likely tell you that you will receive emails with the adjustments that they’ve performed, but those emails could be very misleading. Instead, ask them to write down all a full breakdown on a piece of paper, so it is clear what changes are being performed and what are the charges on your bill now. Do not leave the store until you fully understand every part of your bill. Sometimes you may be told that you qualify for a free tablet – well it is not free – look again, and you will see that there is a separate monthly charge for it on your bill. In most cases, you could save on your monthly fee and decrease your bill even more by just not accepting the ‘free tablet.’ Remember, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Don’t buy the accessories

Most of the times you can find the accessories for half the price online. The reps might want to convince you that the products you buy online might not be genuine or that they may get lost in the mail. This is them trying to make a commission – even they know that most of the accessories they sell could be purchased for a fraction of the cost online. Sometimes you are being told that it is not a good idea to leave the store without protection on your phone and you can damage your phone while you wait for the accessories you ordered online. They might be right, so if you do not feel confident handling your device without a cover until you receive your order, you can buy the accessories, keep the packaging and the receipt and then return them for a full refund when you receive the parcel with regularly priced accessories.

Be prepared

Research the type of phone you want to purchase or get a recommendation from a friend, then go and buy it – don’t let the salesperson distract you. The reason the retail workers sometimes want to set you in another direction on your buying journey is not that they want you to make a better decision, but most likely because they get more commission on selling certain types of phones. Or simply, they do not have the device you want in stock and don’t want to lose the sale.
Lastly, if you end up not being happy with the transaction give them the feedback they deserve when you receive an experience survey. Your comments will make it up in the hierarchy – company directors won’t know about the shady practices used in stores unless people like you voice their opinion.

Good luck and remember always to have antivirus software on your phone. Retail sales reps are not the only ones wanting your money!

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How To Protect Your Password and Keep Hackers Away

Passwords are the most common way to prove we are who we say we are when it comes to using websites, social media accounts, email, and even the computer itself. Passwords also give us and others access into mobile phones, bank applications, work log-ins, and confidential files. For many online systems, a password is the only thing keeping a hacker from stealing our personal data. Read on to learn how cyber criminals can hack passwords and password protection techniques.

Why It’s Easy for Hackers to Hack

While creating a password may seem like a safe bet, large, reliable companies such as eBay, LinkedIn and most recently Facebook have all been breached, compromising passwords for many of their users. According to the chief executive of specialist insurer Hiscox, in 2016 cyber crime cost the global economy more than $450 billion and over two billion records were stolen. Why is it so easy for hackers to access accounts and obtain secure passwords?

First and foremost, we reuse our passwords. Over 60 percent of the population use the same password across multiple sites. And since 39 percent have a hard time keeping track of passwords, we become incredibly susceptible to hackers when we keep passwords for years or even decades.

People are also incredibly predictable. We tend to use passwords that are personalized in some form to our lives, because they are easier to remember. Because of our visual memory capacity, it is easier to remember images and information that we are already familiar with and have some meaning to us. This is why we often create easy to remember, predictable passwords based on things like family members, pets, or birthdays.

The average user also has about 26 password-protected accounts, but only has five different passwords across these accounts. That makes us more susceptible to hacks, especially brute force attacks. With more than 85 percent of Americans keeping track of online passwords by memorizing them in their heads, it’s nearly impossible to memorize up to 26 passwords. And with a plethora of passwords, it’s important to install a password management program. However, a shocking low 12 percent of Americans actually have one installed.

The standard rule of thumb used to be to change passwords every 90 days. However, in recent years this method has been defined as ineffective by the FTC Chief Technologist and Carnegie Mellon computer science professor, Lorrie Cranor. She found that when people are forced to change their passwords on the regular, they put less mental effort into it. This is another way that hackers can take advantage of people’s lack of effort or desire to change or diversify their passwords.

How Long it Takes Cyber Criminals to Determine Your Password

If you have a password as simple as “password” or “abcdefg”, it would only take a hacker 0.29 milliseconds to crack it according to BetterBuys’ password-cracking times. Even more surprising? The password 123456789 is cracked 431 times during the blink of an eye. Even more complicated passwords are being hacked faster. What used to take hackers three years to crack is now taking under two months.

Hackers first go after the easiest and most common worst passwords, then move on to passwords with the least amount of characters. While a password with seven characters may take only 0.29 milliseconds to crack, one with 12 characters can take up to two centuries. The longer that passwords are, the longer it will take for the hackers to get the right combination.

How Cyber Criminals Hack Passwords

So how do hackers actually do their dirty work? First off, it’s important to understand that this is their job. For most modern, successful hackers, this is what they put their time and effort into on a daily basis. The most common ways that hackers can access your accounts through your credentials are:

  • keylogger attacks
  • brute force attacks
  • dictionary attacks
  • phishing attacks

Keylogger Attacks

A keylogger is a type of surveillance technology used to record and monitor each keystroke typed on a specific device’s keyboard. Cyber criminals use keyloggers as a spyware tool to seal personal information, login information, and sensitive enterprise data.

How to Protect Yourself:

Use a firewall to prevent a keylogger from transmitting information to a third party. You can also install a password manager, which will autofill your passwords and prevent keyloggers from accessing your credentials. Make sure to also keep your software updated, as keyloggers can take advantage of software vulnerabilities to inject themselves into your system.

Brute Force Attacks

We use passwords that are simple, relevant and can be guessed within a few tries. When using the brute force method, hackers use software that repeatedly tries several password combinations. This is a reliable way to steal your information, as many users use passwords as easy as “abcd”. Some of the most common password stealing softwares include Brutus, Wfuzz, and RainbowCrack.

How to Protect Yourself:

There are a number of ways to prevent brute force attacks. First, you can implement an account lockout policy, so after a few failed login attempts, the account is locked until an administrator unlocks it. You can also implement progressive delays, which lock out user accounts for a set period of time after failed attempts, increasing the lock out time after each failed attempt.

Another solution is using a challenge-response test to prevent an automated submission to the login page. Systems such as reCAPTCHA can require a word or math problem to make sure a person is entering credentials rather than a hacking system.

Dictionary Attacks

In 2012, more than 6 million passwords were hacked on LinkedIn due to a dictionary attack. A dictionary attack works by systematically entering every word in a dictionary as a password. Dictionary attacks seem to succeed because people have a tendency to choose short, common passwords.

How to Protect Yourself:

Choose a password that is at least 8 characters. Avoid any words in the dictionary, or common predictable variations on words. Use SSH keys to connect to a remote server to store your password. You should also only allow SSH connections for certain hosts or IP addresses so you know what computers are connecting to your server.

Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks involve hackers using fake emails and websites to steal your credentials. They are most commonly emails that disguise as legitimate companies, asking you to download a file or click on a link. Most commonly, phishing attacks can involve a hacker masking as your bank provider, which can be especially detrimental.

How to Protect Yourself

Be cautious of emails that come from unrecognized senders, are not personalized, ask you to confirm personal or financial information, or are urging you to act quickly with threatening information. Do not click on links, download files, or open attachments from unknown senders. Never email personal or financial information to even those you trust, as your email can still be breached.

Creating a Fool-Proof Password

Cyber criminals have become experts in determining passwords. 50 percent of small to midsize organizations suffered at least one cyberattack in 2017. That’s half of all small businesses, not to mention the large corporations such as T-Mobile, JP Morgan, and eBay who have suffered massive cyber attacks affecting hundreds of millions of customers. That’s not even the scariest part.

According to this WordPress’ UnMasked study, even high-level executives like the senior engineer at PayPal or the program manager at Microsoft have faulty, predictable passwords. This could seriously impacted their businesses. When creating a password, there are a few tips that can significantly help you keep your accounts safe and hackers out.

A password that is at least 14 characters is ideal. Eight characters is the shortest that a password should be. Make sure to use a variety of characters, numbers, and letters that have seamlessly no correlation or direct link to you or your hobbies.

Avoid predictable patterns in letter capitalization like at the beginning or end of your password, or for proper nouns. Also, try to use your entire keyboard, and not just characters you use on a daily basis, as hackers know this and will target the common characters.

Password Protection: Keeping Your Passwords Safe

In order to keep your passwords locked and secure, it’s important to create quality passwords and use security measures when creating new accounts. While many studies used to say to change your password every 90 days, the newest guidelines actually suggest changing your passwords when necessary, as changing too often can actually hurt you rather than help you.

Also, make new password hints as these are easy ways for hackers to receive a “recovery email” with your account information. Try to use uncommon answers such as obscure teacher names, or even create random answers and write these down to remember. Another technique is to create a sentence or acronym that only applies to you but is random enough to fool hackers.

Use a password manager such as Dashlane, LastPass, or Sticky Password. These tools generate and store complex passwords for you. The password managers live in your browser and can fill in your login information whenever on a site.

Lastly, install antivirus software for password protection across the internet. Install your antivirus on all devices, in order to keep tabs on suspicious activity and keep unknown downloads from installing on your computer.

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Twitter advised its 330 million user base to change passwords immediately

Weeks after Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg got grilled before Congress and admitted Facebook didn’t do enough’ to protect its users Twitter has managed to steal the spotlight. The social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as “tweets” has asked its 330 million user base to change their passwords after an internal bug was discovered. The glitch is known to have internally exposed users’ passwords in plaintext. The company hiccup occurred because passwords were written to an internal registry without completing the ‘hashing’ process, a method by which the text written by the user when creating their password is replaced by a series of numbers and letters.

The recommendation was posted yesterday, May 3rd, on the company’s blog, although both the blog post and a tweet published by Jack Dorsey, the company’s CEO, confirmed that Twitter has resolved the problem and that there is no immediate indication of “non-compliance or misuse by anyone.”

As a precaution, Twitter asks you to consider changing the password on all services where you’ve used this password. They also highlighted the importance of using strong passwords and taking advantage of the two-step verification. Twitter also recommends the use of password managers such as the one included in many Panda Security products.

Here’s how to change your Twitter password:

1. Click the Password tab.
2. Enter your current password.
3. Choose your new password.
4. Save your changes by clicking ‘Save changes.’

It is currently unclear what is the amount of the affected users and why Twitter experienced the bug. Twitter regrets the error and is committed to continue working to ensure the safety of its users.

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5 bad tech habits you need to break now

Computer manufacturers have worked hard to make devices like smartphones as easy to use as possible – you don’t really need training to understand how an iPhone works. But this ease of use means that many of us have developed bad habits that could place us in danger of falling victim to cybercriminals.

Here are five habits we really need to change as soon as possible.

1. Reusing passwords

According to a recent survey, the average American has 150 online accounts that are protected by a password. In an ideal world, every account would have a different password – but we cannot remember so many combinations easily.

As a result, many users choose to reuse the same passwords. This is convenient for us – and hackers. Once they crack one password, they can then use the same password to break into all your other accounts.

The answer is to use a password manager, like the one included in Panda Dome Complete, that can generate strong, unique passwords for all your accounts – and remember them for you.

2. Not backing up

Computers, tablets and smartphones are incredibly reliable – but things do still go wrong occasionally. If your computer broke down, could you get your personal data back?

Every device makes it very simple to backup data, either to another device, or into a secure Cloud service like iCloud or Google Drive. This year you must set up and use a backup service to protect your data.

3. Insufficient privacy protection

The Cambridge Analytica scandal has finally brought the issue of data privacy into the public arena. Many of the apps and services you use every day – Facebook, Google, Twitter etc – collect huge amounts of very sensitive personal data. The sort of data that you wouldn’t want complete strangers reading.

This year you should regain some control of that information by applying the privacy controls included in these apps. At the very least, these changes should help reduce the amount of information being sold on to third parties. You can find the privacy control pages here:

4. Leaving apps signed in

Most smartphone apps allow you to stay logged in so you don’t have to re-enter your password every time it starts up. This is hugely convenient – but also quite risky.

If your phone is stolen, criminals can access all your sensitive personal information without needing the passwords. In future you should always log out of the app; this may seem inconvenient, but having your identity stolen, or bank account emptied, will be even more inconvenient.

A password manager will help to make the process of logging into the app each time slightly more efficient.

5. Hoping everything will be ok

We all assume that nothing bad will happen to our computers, that we are clever enough to block malware before it can spread. But the reality is that we’re not. According to Pew Research Centre, more than half of people surveyed (64%) had personally experienced a major data breach.

Many of these problems are because we don’t protect our devices properly. Instead of installing anti-malware tools that will block viruses, we simply hope that everything will be OK.

This year, make sure you install a comprehensive anti-malware tool like Panda Dome on all of your devices to help better protect yourself against cybercrime.

Get started now by downloading a free trial of Panda Dome and see for yourself just how easy it is to break these bad habits.

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