Cyber Security & Universities: Where’s the Disconnect?

A few years ago my university’s security was compromised by a student burglar who stole several computers, including some used by the faculty. Immediately, the campus police launched an offline and cyber security investigation, found and charged the culprit who is now serving his jail sentence.

cyber securityA spokesperson said that the burglar’s motives might have been academic, meaning he wanted to cheat on a test. Most of us may have daydreamed about doing something similarly ignoble to change our GPA to something more ennobling if we ever had access to do so.

But the university burglary motivated me think about the security of such delicate and personal information. Because of the troves of personal and financial information, universities are prime targets for online hackers – even those without access to the school’s computers.

Despite full-frontal attacks on information, an article by Alfred Ng for CNET.com shared this method of hacking that students should be aware of: malware or hacking platforms disguised as apps.

“Though most of the blacklisted apps are poorly made games [such as the ransomware programs impersonating Pokemon Go at the app’s apogee], others pretend to help you be a better student,” Ng wrote.

Risk IQ, a cybersecurity company, has been on the lookout for university connected vulnerabilities. In Ng’s article, the company gives suggestions on how students can avoid these costly tricks:

“Other warning signs to watch out for when it comes to sketchy apps are poorly written reviews and developers using public domain emails for contacts, Risk IQ said. For any educational apps, like Blackboard Learn, you should always check the sources and look for the official versions.”

With my another semester starting soon, the last thing I want to worry about, or any student to worry about, is cybersecurity. Be smart and be safe. Check to see if your school is protecting its website from online hackers with vulnerability scanning software – like that offered through Trust Guard. Otherwise, you might want to consider not sharing your personal information on the school’s website.

Major Cyber Attacks Blamed on North Korea

According to PC Pit Stop, North Korea is responsible for two major cyber attacks.  Cyber security analysts believe that North Korea has been stealing crypto-currency, bitcoins, and other digital currency by executing advanced persistent threats (APTs). Since the beginning of the internet, hackers have been gaining unauthorized access to networks to steal identities, perform credit card fraud, and cause havoc for e-commerce businesses and individuals. Only by hacking a site and server from an honest third-party vendor, otherwise known as vulnerability scanning, have business owners been able to limit the number and extent of cyber crime. Even at that, more than 30,000 websites get hacked into every single day.

Considering the value and international popularity of bitcoins have almost doubled over the last couple weeks, it’s not shocking to learn that cyber criminals are now targeting digital wallets.  However, North Korea is taking this to a new level by targeting bitcoin exchange sites and financial institutions.

North Korea Cyber Crime
Beyond stealing digital currencies, the U.S. also released a statement on December 18th claiming North Korea was responsible for the first global ransom ware attack, WannaCry.  WannaCry was a ransom ware campaign that impacted approximately 150 countries around the globe.  Collectively the attack created millions, if not billions, of dollars’ worth of damage.  When cyber crime happens, online business owners have to account for costs associated with downtime, third-party investigations, loss of productivity, design, marketing dollars, data, and reputation damage.

The U.S. government plans to establish a plan to mitigate the risk of future attacks taking place.

MSN reported,

“…the Trump administration will be calling on “all responsible states” to counter North Korea’s ability to conduct cyberattacks and to implement all “relevant” United Nations Security Council sanctions, according to a U.S. official familiar with the matter.” No definitive plans, beyond the above statement, have been disclosed to legitimately address the issue.  Therefore, it is unclear what measures the U.S. plans to take to counter North Korea’s ability to execute these cyber attacks.  For now, no serious online business owner should be without security scanning to catch their websites’ vulnerabilities before hackers do.


 

View original article here: https://techtalk.pcpitstop.com/2017/12/19/north-korea-blamed-major-cyber-attacks/?northkorea=&ad_id=505347&share-ad-id=1

Cyber Security: Good, Better, Best

With some products you buy, the brand name really doesn’t matter. Socks, for example. Does anyone really care what brand of socks you wear? The answer is no – especially if you’re wearing jeans and no one can even see them. The same is true with pillow cases, in most cases, and pencils. You get the idea.

Cyber SecurityBut when you’re talking about cyber security—that’s a different story. You don’t want to experience first-hand the chaos that hackers can unleash if they’re given half a chance. If they can bring “the most technologically advanced system of government in the world” to its knees, like Russian hackers did to Estonia ten years ago, what chance does your online business have if hackers decide to target it? Only one: Trust Guard.

With such crazy cyber security threats floating around out there, might I suggest that you consider a trusted partner to do the dirty work of protecting your business while increasing your trustworthiness to online shoppers. Perhaps it would help to see an example of how Trust Guard’s Security Scanned outdoes the equivalent service of a competitor, Security Metrics.

Both of these services scan for vulnerabilities, but Trust Guard scans for more vulnerabilities and security holes and is more user-friendly than Security Metrics. Trust Guard also provides a proven security seal for your website—a small image that makes it clear to the online customer that your site has passed its security scan.

This in turn engenders trust among shoppers, which leads to more conversions. Because of the innovative methods of Trust Guard Security Scanned trust seals and scanning service, you get to enjoy an average of 15% more sales than you would without them.

Plus, Trust Guard has the best satisfaction guarantee in the industry: a 60-day double-your-money-back guarantee. How can you go wrong? So buy whatever socks or pencils float your boat. Just remember that the company that you choose to protect the your online assets needs to be not good, not better, but the best; it needs to be Trust Guard.

 

What Victims of Identity Theft Can Do

If you haven’t heard, Equifax, one of the three big credit reporting agencies in the United States, announced that it suffered a massive data breach. More than 143,000,000 records were compromised, including email addresses, names, social security cards and credit card numbers.

If you believe you were the victim of identity theft, here’s what you can do:

  1. Close the accounts that you believe may have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Use the government’s Identity Theft Report, which can be found at www.identitytheft.govIdentity Theft
  2. File a police report and get a copy to submit to your creditors and others who may require proof of the crime. If you have proof of identity theft, be sure to take that proof with you when you go to file your police report.
  3. File your complaint with the FTC at www.consumer.ftc.gov. The FTC maintains an identity theft database that law enforcement agencies use for investigations. Filing a complaint also helps the FTC better assist you, as the commission learns more about online theft of identities and the problems it creates.

If you are a business owner with an SSL certificate but without protection from hackers, contact Trust Guard, the leader in website security to protect you and your online visitors from hackers.

More Hackers Are Doing More Damage

If you’re concerned about cyber security these days—and you should be—reading the headlines isn’t exactly going to give you any peace of mind. Sometimes it seems that hackers just have the upper hand.

Equifax_LogoOne such headline from TheRegister.co.uk tells us that “Energy sector biz hackers are back and badder than ever before.” Cyber security firm Symantec believes that a resurgent group of hackers dubbed “Dragonfly 2.0” poses more of a threat than ever. They were apparently behind a massive attack on the Ukraine’s electrical grid, which affected hundreds of thousands of people. The group now poses a threat to the electrical grids of Western nations.

Newsweek reports that the recent attack on HBO caused the loss of seven times more data than the Sony cyber attack, which back in 2014 gizmodo.com called possibly “the worst corporate hack in history.” The losses of data include things like employee medical records, Social Security numbers and TV show scripts.

And then there is the Equifax hack that lost personal data of 143 million people—yes, that’s a million. And the list goes on and on.

It would seem a good time to take cyber security seriously by using Trust Guard. If they’re on your side, they will scan for the more than 75,500 known vulnerabilities so any hacker-inviting weakness in your computer system can be fixed before the hackers can put you in a fix.

The name of the game is staying ahead of the bad guys, and you almost certainly can’t do that on your own. Trust Guard will also provide you with a Trust Seal for your web site so visitors can see that their personal data will be protected if they make a purchase on your site.

Don’t let your business make it on the hacking headlines; let Trust Guard worry about warding off hackers so you can focus on your business.  


Sources:
http://gizmodo.com/the-sony-pictures-hack-exposed-budgets-layoffs-and-3-1665739357/1666122168
http://www.newsweek.com/hbo-cyberattack-sony-hack-leak-game-thrones-645450
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/09/06/energy_sector_attacks
https://us.norton.com/internetsecurity-emerging-threats-143-million-people-exposed-in-equifax-data-breach.html?om_em_cid=hho_email_US_BLST_ACT_2017_09_databreach_Equifax

 

What You Should Know about the Equifax Breach

What: Data collected by Equifax, one of the three credit report giants, was hacked. “This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do. I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes,” said Richard F. Smith, Equifax CEO, in a statement. 

When: In early August, Mandiant (a cybersecurity firm) was approached by Equifax to figure out what was going on, according to CNN News. Mandiant aided in the investigation and determined from May 13 through July 30 a spate of hacks occurred.

Who: 143 million Equifax customers have been affected. Their information, including social security numbers, addresses and birth dates were accessible by hackers.

Soon after the breach was announced to the public, Susan Mauldin, former chief security officer and Dave Webb, former chief information officer, retired.

How: Like many of these cases, the how is still a mystery. But Apache Struts, a tool used for Equifax’s online dispute portal, has become the scapegoat, being blamed for vulnerabilities, making the breach easier for hackers.

Apache Struts released this statement:

“We as the Apache Struts PMC want to make clear that the development team puts enormous efforts in securing and hardening the software we produce, and fixing problems whenever they come to our attention. In alignment with the Apache security policies, once we get notified of a possible security issue, we privately work with the reporting entity to reproduce and fix the problem…”

What you can do: If you believe you might have been impacted, visit Equifax’s Cybersecurity Incident & Important Consumer Information page: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/.

Vulnerability Scanned Websites

vulnerabilityTo me, shopping on the Internet is the best thing to have ever happened to mankind since the invention of the internet itself.

According to a recent study, 51% of Americans prefer to shop online than in stores and 96% of American adults, at some point in their lives, have made an online purchase.

Impressive numbers don’t you think? That is why e-commerce is estimated to be growing at a rate of 23% every year.

The problem of website vulnerability has been a major concern for e-commerce websites.

Hackers are more and more prevalent – as seen this week in the huge Equifax data breach that saw the identity theft of 143 million people in the US, Canada and United Kingdom.

Vulnerability scanning involves the use of computer programs designed to assess computers, websites, networks or applications for weaknesses that can be exploited by hackers and identity thieves. These scans are used to discover the weak points or loopholes in website designs. Currently, Trust Guard scans for more than 75,575 of these security holes.  Unsafe websites is a very big problem for e-commerce owners because they require their customers to submit sensitive information to make their purchases. Imagine how useful this information would be in the hands of  identity thieves. From credit card information to mailing addresses, phone numbers, account details and photographs, it’s like giving these thieves the key to your home, bank account and your office.

Your customers worry about the safety of their personal information when they visit your website.

They worry about the vulnerability of your website. Ask yourself this, why should I save my money in a bank that has a massive hole on the side of its vault through which anyone can have free access? Your customers need to feel as safe using your website as they do at their bank. Look at things from the perspective of your customers. Why would they give their personal information to a website that isn’t safe?

As an online shopper, you should only shop on websites that have been thoroughly scanned for vulnerabilities by a reputable website protection company. Website protection companies like Trust Guard are able to completely uncover a website’s vulnerabilities and instruct the website owner how to fix them. How can you identify e-commerce websites that are free from vulnerabilities? Quite simple. You can check websites for security trust seals. Security scanned trust seals are an indication that the website you’re shopping on is safe.

We know that everything on the internet is hackable. However, it will take expertise and focus for hackers to attack a vulnerability-free website.


 

Identity TheftThis article was written by Emmanuel Ozigi, a biochemist in the making from Nigeria. In my spare time, I’m a science, health, and fitness blogger. I also specialize in graphic design and photo editing. I also have this insatiable hunger for information and the desire to learn new things. Visit my blog at http://sciencehealth24.com.

 

What is Vulnerability Scanning?

There are different types of vulnerability scanning as well as different software for each. But what is it exactly?

A vulnerability scanner is a software or an application developed to scan computers, networks, and even websites for possible security threats. It is responsible for the analysis of how strong or weak a computer’s or a server’s defenses are. By scanning, the users and technicians will know, or at least have an overview of, what threats or issues they are dealing with in terms of the security of a network, website, computer, or server.

Vulnerability ScanningIf you are to choose the right vulnerability scanner, then you first need to know the main kinds to understand your options better. There are at least two main categories I’d like to talk about.

Network Vulnerability Scanners

These scanners are often installed into one machine and are configured to access and scan multiple computers and networks. These are programmed to detect vulnerabilities of the devices, alerting the user or an IT person if there are mis-configured settings or if the treat is coming from either a pre-installed application or a user-installed application. The network vulnerability scanner works on anything that has to do with firewalls, networks, web servers, and system administration. They deal with high-profile information but not individual files since they are not installed directly onto the host.

Hosted Vulnerability Scanners

These scanners are installed on the host (the computer or system being scanned). These types of scanners take care of the low-profile information such as passwords, operating systems of the computers they were installed in, suspicious files downloaded, and file system checks.

Despite having technology to do all the job for the security of your computer, network, servers, and everything in the cloud, it is also crucial that you understand their limitations.

Vulnerability scanners are coded software that, at some point in time, may fail to do what you expect them to do. They are programmed to take snapshots of your system’s security status at a given time. It is highly recommended that users regularly scan their devices to get the most updated (if not the exact) security status of the systems and files therein. Trust Guard currently scans for 75,575 security holes. 


JonnaArticle written by Jonna Lindawan

Jonna is a startup VA business owner who loves helping her clients grow their businesses through her skills in writing, customer service, research, data entry, transcription, social media management, and admin support. Visit her website here.