Category Archives: data leakage

SECURITY ALERT: New Norwegian Campaign of Scam Phone Calls (Impersonating Microsoft)

A new Norwegian campaign of scam phone calls has been spotted, along with a rise in malicious phone calls from hackers claiming to be Microsoft support representatives. The usual scheme of such phone calls is simple: the would-be hackers call you from a legitimate-looking number (not hidden or concealed in any way) and afterward attempt […]

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Best Security Practices to Protect your Web Application from Future Threats

Almost all businesses nowadays use web applications for their targeted growth, but these apps’ security is mostly compromised if proper steps are not taken. During the web application development, all other features are given time and preference, but very few pay attention to the web application security they deserve. The vulnerabilities in your web application can be easily exploited by cybercriminals who always remain in search of sites with lower security protection.

Here are one of the most important security practices that you should implement to secure your web application from the most common threats:

Install SSL Certificates

One of the most effective measures to secure your web applications from cyberattacks is through encoding all the information shared on it. SSL certificates use SSL (Secure Socket Layers) or TLS (Transport Layer Security) security protocols to protect the data from the reach of cybercriminals through encryption.

If you do not activate SSL certificates on your web applications, hackers can easily read the shared information if they somehow get access to it. SSL certificates use cryptographic keys to make it impossible for the attackers to read the data.

https://lwstatic-a.akamaihd.net/kb/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/ssl-security-plan.png

The certificate authorities ensure that data transfer is encrypted throughout the communication process. Before buying an SSL certificate for your web app make sure you are purchasing it from a trustworthy SSL Authority like a ClickSSL that provides some of the most popular SSL certificates in very reasonable price.

Manage User Permissions

Wisely managing user’s permissions makes your web applications more secure than before. There would be numerous employees working in your company, and you know that not every worker needs full access to the system to perform his/her job. So, it would be best to implement the “Principle of least privilege” to limit every user’s access.

If you have granted full access permissions to everyone working in your organization, it will take a single cyber-attack by the scammers to access your entire system. So, to avoid any data breaches, you should strictly implement the least privilege principle in your firm. This may be a time-consuming process, but it will save your web app from many potential threats and malicious workers too.

Train your Employees

If you are running an organization, you should never expect that most of your employees will have a decent knowledge of current cyber security threats. Most of your staff members would have the necessary information about these scams. This may put you and your company in hot waters, as your employees with no sound knowledge of cyberattacks can quickly become the victim of hackers.

So, to protect your web application, you need to conduct proper cybersecurity training sessions for your employees. You must hire a web application security master to train all your staff about your web app and operating environment’s potential threats.

This cyber security training will help your employees independently identify and save themselves and your business from all security threats.

Hire Professional Hackers

Ethical hackers use the same tricks and techniques applied by cybercriminals to exploit your web application’s vulnerabilities. But they do this for your benefits to understand the security risks in your web app. Professional white hackers use the following techniques to test your web app’s security:

Cross-site scripting (XSS)

Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks

Broken authentication

Distributed Denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks

Sensitive data exposure

SQL injection

Phishing

White hat hacking

After your web app’s penetration test (Pen-testing), you would become familiar with your website’s security weaknesses that will help you improve your web application’s security.

Secure Web App during Development

This is one of the essential security steps in protecting your web apps from the reach of hackers. This technique is all about preventing your software from security issues that occur during the development lifecycle. For this, you need to hire developers who have full knowledge of all the prevalent security problems and prevent malicious code in the actual program of the web application.

And if they find any malicious activity during the development lifecycle, they should identify and eliminate that issue.

Regular Updates

With multiple network security threats, it is essential to release regular updates for your web apps security. Outdated software lacks recent security features and can easily be manipulated by malicious hackers. Depending on your web app’s infrastructure, you need to update your web app’s components. Keeping your web application up to date will protect it from the known attacks by hackers.

update key

Keep Monitoring your App Regularly

To stay on the safe side, you should regularly keep looking for security vulnerabilities in your web app. It would help if you used different techniques for testing your mobile app security level. You can use dynamic and static application security testing tools to monitor your web app’s performance and security level. Regular testing of your system will help you know the vulnerabilities and implement new protection schemes to protect your web application.

Backup all Data

With an increase in the number of cyberattacks in today’s world, your web app data remains under threat every time. Hackers may get full access to your web app data that will put you in serious trouble. To avoid such a situation, you need to store all your web app data at another location. It may be a good idea to replicate the archives of all your information in multiple places to protect you from heavy losses in case your primary backup location is damaged or compromised.

The 3-2-1 backup rule diagram

Employ Security Experts

You need to invest more in security services to protect your web application from cybercriminals. Hiring security experts is a wise step towards improving your web app security. A security specialist or security service company uses specialized tools to monitor the security level of your website. The scanning results show the vulnerabilities present in your site. They then help you implement new security techniques to protect your web applications.

Before hiring anyone for security improvements, do complete research and check the individual’s reputation or the firm to validate their competence and authenticity.

Conclusion

Cybercriminals are finding new ways to take advantage of the weaknesses in your web applications. They always remain searching for websites that have poor web application security to launch an attack on them. To protect your web applications, you need to stay updated about all the known security threats. For organizations, dealing with malicious attacks is dependent on all employees. If any of your workers make a mistake in handling the potential cyberattack, it can put all your firm’s data in danger.

Cybersecurity protection starts with training your employees and implementing the right security techniques to secure your web applications. Implementing the above-listed best security practices will keep your web applications safe from all types of cyberattacks.

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Cybersecurity 101: How to Protect Yourself from Hackers

The internet has changed a lot of things; some for the better and others for the worst. Everything that we use in our homes, from mobile devices to the Internet of Thing (IoT) products, rely on the internet. The extensive use of these products have the potential to erode our privacy. When it comes to privacy, it is under attack from all sides. Whether we realize it or not, hackers are always trying to gain information about us so that they can control our lives. In order to make your devices, online identity, and everything that you do online more secure, you have to follow a few things. In this article, I am going to highlight five cybersecurity tips that you need to know.

Install an Antivirus

The first thing you have to do is make use of an antivirus that will protect you against malicious programs. With so many different kinds of viruses and malware, you need to ensure that you prevent these attacks. Once you have installed antivirus, update it regularly so that its security patch is fool-proof. However, installing an antivirus doesn’t mean that you can browse any site you want to. You will still have to be very careful as hackers can still find ways to get into your system.

Use Unique Passwords for Login

One of the easiest and most prevalent ways hackers get access to your information is by getting hold of your passwords. You must use a unique password for different platforms so that even if one account gets hacked, the hacker can’t access the rest of your accounts. Moreover, you should use a strong password for every account that contains a combination of numbers, upper-case and lower-case letters, special signs, etc. Every little thing that you do to make your password more secure goes a long way.

Get a VPN and Use It

You might have heard about using a VPN when browsing the internet, but most people don’t fully understand what a VPN does. Say that you go to a coffee shop and want to connect to its Wi-Fi. You can never be sure that the network you are using is secure. Whether you are using your home network or a public network, someone can easily steal data from your computer if he bypasses your network security. The best way to prevent that is by using a VPN as it encrypts all your data. Here are some best value VPNs that you can use to secure your computer files.

Use Two Factor Authentication

While I agree that using two-factor authentication can take a lot of time, but let me tell you that it is worth it. Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security in case someone bypasses the first one. For example, even if the hacker gets access to your password, he will never be able to access your account without bypassing the second level of authentication.

Protect Your Social Media Privacy

Last but not least, you have to pay some attention to how you use social media. Social media scams are at the peak nowadays as hackers fish for information through these platforms. You have to be extremely careful when using platforms like Facebook as you voluntarily give out your information and present it publically. Make sure that you have configured every social media platform and think twice before revealing any personal information. Once you give out your personal information yourself, you can blame it on anyone but you. After all, regardless of how many security protocols we put into place, the weakest link in the security chain is humans themselves.

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5 Reasons Why You Should Avoid Free VPNs

Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a technology that offers total security for all your digital activities. It serves as a barrier against third-party groups, hackers, cyber threats, malware, and sensitive data leakage. 

More than ever, we need to invest with high-end protection to ensure our privacy is never compromised. VPNs are of high demand due to the current condition where most people stay at home and work remotely. With increased online activity, it’s high time to protect your privacy. 

Free VPNs are enticing and offer ‘great’ security without extra cost. Their services are too-good-to-be-true, which you need to doubt and stay away from it. 

Are There Alternatives To Top-Rated VPN Providers? 

The threat of using free VPN is high as it does not offer robust encryption compared to paid services. It is better to pay for a cheap VPN service than to compromise your security. Affordable VPN services offer powerful data encryptions for people with limited budgets. They provide standard encryption technology to ensure your privacy is protected and your digital activities are secured. 

There are a few reliable and trusted VPN solutions that offer affordable VPN instead of using free services that threaten your security. These are great alternatives that won’t hurt your wallet but will surely be of great help, especially if you’re a constant internet explorer. 

5 Facts Why Free VPNs Are A No-No

Free VPN software keeps records of your digital activities and sells them to third parties. They offer encryptions that don’t ‘really’ mask your activities nor protect your identity. Free VPN services log all your sensitive data which is already a threat to your privacy. Aside from that, here are five things you need to remember: Free VPNs are a no-no. 

  1. Monitor And Sell All Collected Data

VPNs act as your protective barrier against digital threats while you’re online. It secures all your data, online activities, and private information against prying eyes, government surveillance, etc. VPNs blocked hackers and your ISP from collecting or selling data to gain profit. 

Free VPN shifts the message, and you become their milking cow to fund the service they offer in exchange for the data they collected from you. These sensitive data are then sold to third parties, and prose threats not just to your information, but your privacy is at stake. 

  1. Leaks IP Addresses

Robust VPN solutions offer total security and encryption on all your digital activities and traffic. It serves as your secret portal in the world wide web against cyber threats, hackers, and prying eyes. 

Using free VPN is like a tunnel with tons of holes that can leak your data or IP address. Hackers can track your activity, prying eyes can monitor you, and worse can expose you to tons of privacy threats. 

  1. They Are Not Safe

Free VPN solutions are risky. They are a dangerous threat to your security and privacy. Running a VPN service is pricey and offering it for free to users is fishy. That means your data are the menu served for other people to devour. 

  1. Aggressive Ads

Free VPNs practice aggressive ads that can go over a hit where you land into a hazardous site. It can expose you to tons of threats and hackers that can instantly access your information and files. High volume ads can also weigh your system down and affect browsing experience aside from privacy threats. 

  1. Malware Exposure 

Free VPN solutions contain malware that can damage not just your privacy but your devices. You have higher chances to get exposed with these nasty bugs when you download such software. Mobile ransomware and malware can steal your sensitive information like social security details and bank login details. 

Conclusion

Free VPNs are enticing and offer ‘robust security’ without the need to pay for hundreds of dollars a year. However, your security is at stake, together with your sensitive data, and information. 

Though it can help you stream region-restricted websites, you need to reconsider options and potential threats. Free VPNs are not safe; if you want to secure your digital presence, you can opt for an affordable VPN solution that offers high-end encryption to ensure your privacy and data is protected against potential hacks.

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The Top 4 Tips for Keeping Your Digital Marketing Company Safe From Cyber Crime

As the Digital Age flourishes, more and more people are switching to working online and having businesses that revolve around all things digital and technological. A well-known example of this is the marketing industry. In recent years the marketing industry has converted to being almost entirely digital; thus creating the genre of marketing: digital marketing. Almost every company has or has the ability to reap the benefits of digital marketing, making this industry a lucrative and important one.

As more people are beginning or expanding their careers in digital marketing, there are some things that they should know; most notably, how to keep their digital marketing company safe from cybercrime. Cybercrime can impact and ruin people’s lives as hackers can steal, exploit, and tamper with personal information and accounts. And for a business that exists only digitally, it’s important to take the necessary precautions in order to keep the business safe.

What You Need to Know to Keep Your Company Safe

Whether you own a digital marketing business, or you work for one, it’s imperative that you take cybercrime seriously. An expert from a company that is a digital forensics investigator pointed out that cybercrime is becoming a common threat for internet users. He added that hackers are becoming more skilled as people’s dependence on technology increases. With that being said, here are 4 ways that you can protect your digital marketing business or your digital marketing job from cybercrimes.

1.    Be Sure to Keep All of Your Software Up to Date

This is perhaps one of the easiest ways that you can make sure that your digital marketing business is safe from cybercrime. One of the most common ways that hackers get into accounts and documents is by finding code defects in the software. When it comes to the software designers’ attention that there is a code defect, an update will come out that will fix this error. However, when people don’t update their software, hackers can see this and will enter the account, document, etc., through this code defect. Because hackers can see what software has been updated and what software hasn’t, it will be worth your while to keep all of your software up to date.

2.    Think About Email Marketing Security

To protect your marketing content and all of your clients’ personal information, you will have to make sure that your email marketing system is secure. Hackers are aware that email is one of the most essential tools in digital marketing, so will try to gain access to these accounts. 

Email marketing systems often hold crucial, yet sensitive information belonging to clients; therefore, you should utilize email marketing tools that feature security measures that will store sensitive information using encryption, and lock down access. To further ensure that your marketing email is secure, make it a point to train all employees on how to keep these systems secure and avoid data breaches.

3.    Encrypt and Back-Up Sensitive Data

Encrypting and backing up data is the best way to avoid a security breach and to prevent hackers from stealing all of your data in the event of cybercrime. Data encryption means to translate data into another code that only people with access to a decryption key/password can read it. Similarly, backing up data simply means to make copies of the data and store it on another device or in a cloud storage provider.

4.    Set Up Strict Limitations

It will be in digital marketing agencies’ best interest to set up strict limitations that will not allow employees to install unauthorized software or open files that contain viruses. Setting up strict digital limitations could potentially save you from a catastrophic event. By being proactive and setting up strict limitations will prevent malware from infecting your company’s computer and network.

Keep Your Digital Marketing Content Secure

Digital marketing companies are a common target when it comes to internet crime, so it’s necessary you do all that you can to avoid being hacked or exploited. To keep yourself, your employees, your clients, and your overall business safe and secure keep these 4 digital marketing security tips in mind.  Turning these tips into actions will significantly lower your chances of becoming a victim of cybercrime.

About the Author

Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey

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Security settings nobody cares to check when installing new software and why it’s dangerous

We live in the age of cyberspace, and every day each of us is faced with the need to use information technology. The human online presence is boundless, starting from posting personal data on social networks, making online payments, and downloading new software. Thus, our smartphones and PCs contain a lot of information about us. And we become much more vulnerable to attackers online than in real life. Cybersecurity is one of the key aspects of life in the information era. All electronic information, services, and devices require protection and compliance with certain security rules. But users rarely use reliable anti-virus software or specialized solutions to protect against DDoS attacks and ignore security settings. What can be the outcome and how to avoid potential hazards?

What Is Cyber Threat?

Everyone must have met this term on social media. But what exactly does it mean? It is a malicious act that is aimed at data damaging and stealing or disrupting the smooth functioning of digital devices. One of the first known computer viruses was Elk Cloner spread in the wild in the early 1980s. But cyber threats do not remain static and become more sophisticated. Malware is often hidden in software that you install on your devices. And the likelihood of this risk increases if you download it not from a trusted source, but from the net. When installing new programs, it is important to be alerted by various warnings, especially if they want to access your personal data.

Types of Cyber Security Threats

Today there is a great variety of malicious programs that may unnoticeably pop in your computer and gadgets. The most common are the following ones:

Viruses are malware that joins another program and when it is launched (which usually happens through the user’s negligence), it begins to reproduce itself and modify other applications on the computer by implementing elements of its malicious code into them.

Worms are programs very similar to a virus. It is capable of self-replication and can lead to irreversible consequences for your system. However, the worms do not need to infect other files to reproduce.  They crawl into a computer and send their copies to all your contacts.

Trojans, also known as Trojan horses, are one of the most dangerous hazards. They usually try to trick you by disguising as useful programs. After entering the system, attackers gain free access to the infected computer. Trojans pave the way for other malicious objects, such as viruses and ransomware.

Ransomware is a program that blocks your device and encrypts your files. It demands a ransom to get the system restored. Ransomware is considered a weapon of choice for cybercriminals because it enables them to make significant profits in cryptocurrencies that are difficult to trace. The ransomware code can be easily obtained from the black market, and it is never easy to defend against it.

Adware is a code that is included in the software to display advertisements without the user’s knowledge. Often such programs collect and forward personal information about the user to their developer, change various browser settings, and create uncontrolled traffic by the user. All of this can lead to both security policy violations and direct financial losses.

Spyware collects information about an individual user or organization without their knowledge. This malware records which keys users press getting personal data such as usernames, passwords, or credit card details.

Rootkits are able to hide hazards from anti-virus programs. They give attackers access to administration of the infected computer. They usually go unnoticed by the user, other programs, and the operating system itself.

Cryptojacking is a type of malware that is becoming more widespread. These objects are used for hidden cryptocurrency mining and are usually installed using a Trojan program. As a result, intruders can use the resources of your computer to mine cryptocurrencies.

Main Mistakes That Cause Data Leakage

Sometimes users themselves create fertile ground for cyber threats. We ignore and neglect to implement many basic security measures. The risk of catching malware increases in the following cases:

·        A download of free software. Buy legal programs and register them. Free software often asks to install additional programs on your PC that may carry a serious threat.

·        Untimely software updates. Make sure your software is up to date. Take time to install automatic updates for your system as they reduce the vulnerability of your system. It should be downloaded from trusted software vendors.

·        Occasional downloads. Block pop-ups to prevent unwanted programs. The web browser you are using should be locked. This prevents potentially dangerous ads from being displayed on the screen. Google Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge have built-in blockers. Viruses often use the extensions .vbs, .shs, .exe, .scr, .chm, .bat. If the system asks to download or open such a file, cancel your previous actions.

·        Opening potentially unsafe attachments and links. Do not click on links or open attachments received from unknown e-mail addresses. One of the most important sources of malware is emails from scammers. It can initiate fishing even from the Spam folder. Remove unwanted emails from strangers or companies, no matter how friendly they may look. Immediately close sites that open on your computer without your consent. Never follow any links as a single click can lead to malicious software being downloaded to your computer.

·        Ignoring recommended security settings. There are some basic safety practices to follow to boost your device protection. Users often neglect them opening the way to attackers.

Steps on Protecting Your PC

Everybody can  And there is a whole list of such solutions that will optimize the security level of your devices.

1.      Create strong passwords

This is one of the key rules of cybersecurity. The password must consist of a complex combination of characters. Use a different password for each service and site and never share your passwords with anyone, keep them on paper, or enter them on third-party sites. Use other protection means where.  For Windows, for example, you can activate Windows Hello technology which uses the face recognition method to log in. You can also use password managers such as KeePass.

2.      Back up your system

This process ensures that all data is copied and stored in a separate place to avoid loss of information. If the original document is damaged, you can restore it from a copy stored in a safe place. OS developers give clear-cut instruction on how to do it:

 You can also use special cloud storage.

3.      Enable two-factor authentication

Most reputable online services support two-factor authentication. Enable it with a software token (available on Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.) or with a one-time password with SMS delivery.

4.      Use VPN

Use a VPN to protect your network data from being stolen. Experts consider public Wi-Fi networks unsafe. When working with them, you should not enter access to passwords, logins, personal data. Use such an Internet connection only via a VPN.

5.      Install antivirus software

Reputable antivirus programs will allow you to more carefully select and examine any software for its potential danger. Besides, the antivirus software will additionally ask for confirmation of the download decision and make comments on the security of file installation.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to entirely eliminate the risk. But implementing good safety practices helps significantly reduce it. It is not difficult and often free of charge to boost your security. Timely actions can prevent a lot of potential hazards. It would be the best approach to create a safety checklist covering the above-mentioned tips and check its compliance regularly.

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Great Ways to Improve Mac’s Performance and Security

You are bound to run into Macbook performance problems. And when that time comes, the computer becomes more prone to cybersecurity threats on top of performance issues, such as stuttering and crashing.

It is important to ensure that your Mac is in the best possible shape for as long as possible. You need to create a maintenance routine and stick to it. Doing so would help to avoid potential risks. After all, even a very small problem can evolve into something you will not be able to manage.

The ways you can take better care of the Macbook are mentioned below. Implement them in your strategy and stick to that maintenance routine.

Way #1 – Pay Attention to Activity Monitor

App management might not seem like that big of a deal, but if you have been using a Mac for a while, some stuff is bound to be nothing but a hindrance. 

Launch Activity Monitor and sort the processes by relevant metrics. CPU or memory usage is the best to determine which applications require the most resources. 

Applications that you can remove should be removed. Also, it is worth mentioning that looking for alternatives might also be a good course of action. And not just for those that are not so resource-hungry. Mackeeper is a good example. It is not the best antivirus in terms of features and performance. Not to mention all the shady stuff that surrounds the software.

You can uninstall mackeeper and look for better antiviruses that will provide security as well as performance improvements. And this is just one of the examples of how you can change things by taking better care of app management.

Way #2 – Disable Visual Effects

Visual effects should be off the list regardless. They offer nothing of considerable value and are only consuming battery life as well as the resources of the computer. Look at your settings and see which of these effects can be disabled. 

Way #3 – Scan for Potential Viruses

A sudden drop in the computer’s performance out of nowhere could mean that you are dealing with viruses and malware. Cybersecurity threats can attack you even if the computer is for personal use only. 

A reliable antivirus does not guarantee that the system is protected. You also need to be more wary of the links you click on. Enabling the firewall and taking other precautions, like auto-login feature or VPN when browsing, could also be of use.

Way #4 – Update the System

System updates should be one of your priorities. While most of these happen automatically, you should still look now and then to make sure that there OS is using the latest version.

Even if small, an update will still introduce new features and improvements to stability, security, and overall performance. In case an update takes a while to finish installing, let it take all the time it needs. These things should not be rushed.

Way #5 – Free up Disk Space

Lack of disk space happens to be one of the biggest problems for Mac users, especially when they switch the OS for the first time. It is no secret that it will take time to get used to how little drive storage is available. 

However, if you are not careful with how you approach things, you will end up with only a few gigabytes left. When that happens, expect a Macbook to cause you quite a headache.

So what are the possible solutions to eliminate the issue? Well, there are a few things you can do.

For one, getting rid of useless applications and junk files like caches, old backups, and extensions will help. Removing files like language packs, old email attachments, as well as downloads ought to do the work, too.

Finally, you can look to transfer some data to clouds or external storage devices. Lastly, there is a way around keeping large media files on the computer, including music tracks. There are a lot of streaming platforms, such as Netflix or Spotify, that will make everything a lot easier.

Way #6 – Stop Memory Leaks

Memory leaks can run out of control if you are not careful. The distribution of memory is not something you can solve that easily. The simplest solution would be to restart the computer regularly. Every few hours should do the trick just fine.

Way #7 – Optimize Internet Browser

Internet browsers could cause the most problems, and if you do a lot of work with them, or cannot enjoy the time you spend surfing the web, it will be an issue. 

Changing to another browser is the easiest path to take, but if you have a lot of information, such as bookmarks, stored on your current browser, you will need to find another way out.

Removing excessive extensions and add-ons certainly helps. Keeping the number of open browser tabs will also make a difference. 

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