Security

Cyber Attack Update

One of my favorite sites to follow is Hackmageddon.com. They keep trends on the cyber threat landscape. If you have been to one of our security seminars, you would see some screen clippings from their site. Here is a brief update on the cyber threats from April.

Motivation behind attacks:

  • 82% Cyber Crime
  • 14% Cyber Espionage
  • 3% Cyber Warfare
  • 1% Hacktivism

Attack Vectors, The Top 3 (These are tools being used for the attack)

  • 32.3% Malware (drops to 32.3% from 41.1%)
  • 20.6% Account Hijacking (Phishing Attacks push account hijackings to 20.6% from 14.2%)
  • 14% Targeted Attacks

Target Distribution, Top 4

Weighting in at number one is the Individual. The individual is targeted because they have become the lowest hanging fruit not believing that it will happen to them. Individuals are also the number #1 cause of corporate account takeover and business email compromise.

  • Individuals 17%
  • Multiple Industries 16% (small and medium sized businesses)
  • Public Admin 13%
  • Human Health etc. 10% (Hospitals, Medical practices, other health care)

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Posted by Jack Gerbs in Recent Posts

FEMA Shared too Much Information

On March 15th, Homeland Security’s Inspector General released their findings titled, “Management Alert FEMA Did Not Safeguard Disaster Survivors’ Sensitive Personally Identifiable Information (REDACTED)”. 2.3 million individuals are affected by this incident.

FEMA released personally identifiable information (PII) from survivors of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria as well as the California wildfires of 2017 disasters. The information was released to contractors who provide services for the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (“TSA”) program.

There are two classifications of PII. The first classification is commonly known information about an individual and it is labeled PII. The second classification is defined as sensitive PII (SPII). SPII is information that is not commonly known and when put together with other data elements, it can identify an individual.

The report states:

“FEMA provided and continues to provide (redacted) with more than 20 unnecessary data fields for survivors participating in the TSA program. Of the 20 unnecessary data fields, FEMA does not safeguard and improperly releases 6 that include SPII:

  • Applicant Street Address
  • Applicant City Name
  • Applicant Zip Code
  • Applicant’s Financial Institution Name
  • Applicant’s Electronic Funds Transfer Number
  • Applicant’s Bank Transit Number

The lesson from this report is based on the security principle of “Least Privilege”. Many small and medium sized businesses overshare company and client information that is likely considered protected or SPII. The “Least Privilege” principle states that users should only have access to the information they need to perform their job function. The oversharing of information needlessly puts the organization at risk.

Click here to view the original report.

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Posted by Jack Gerbs in Recent Posts

Cyber-Threats Continue to Rise

Criminals are getting more and more sophisticated with their attacks methods.  The number one-way criminals are being successful is still through social engineering.   Social engineering is getting someone to do something they would not normally do.  Two new terms in the cybersecurity world are, corporate account takeover and business email compromise.

Many business owners believe that their staff understands how to recognize spear phishing attacks.  In reality, we are seeing successful spear phishing attacks against key employees.   In the last six months we have seen successful attacks against small financial institutions, food processing and distribution service companies, trade-show associations and more.  It is imperative that security needs to be taken seriously by everyone.

While there is no full proof way to prevent a successful attack there are several key things that must be done to minimize the risk of a successful attack.  Today’s best practice calls for a layered approach, at Quanexus we call this our Q-Stack.  The basics of a security stack include:

  • Policies/procedures
  • Firewall
  • Security awareness training for employees, and management
  • A managed antivirus solution
  • A patch management solution
  • A backup solution

Quanexus has just published a white paper with specific details on how the criminals have been successful and you must do to minimize the chance of your organization becoming a victim.  Include details on how to download the whitepaper.  This should require them to enter their email address.

If you would like more information, contact us here or call 937.885.7272.

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Posted by Jack Gerbs in Recent Posts

Windows 7, Windows Server 2008R2 and Office 2010 are Reaching End of Extended Support

The time is quickly approaching when Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and 2008R2 will no longer be supported. Technically these products are reaching the end of their extended support. Microsoft gradually ends support on their products. There is an official date for end of main stream support and another date for end of extended support. Extended support ends on January 13th, 2020 for Windows 7 and Server 2008. Extended support will end on October 13th, 2020 for Office 2010.

End of main stream support means that there will be no feature enhancements added to the product. Microsoft will continue to release patches that fix stability and vulnerability issues as they are found. End of extended support is defined as Microsoft will not issue stability or vulnerability updates.

Running software that is no longer supported represents a great risk to organizations and the end user. When criminals know that security patches will no longer be developed, they begin to work very hard at finding new vulnerabilities and will continue to do so. The new exploits that are discovered, near the end of support date, won’t likely be released immediately. The criminals will release them after the end of support date, because the vendor will no longer be supporting the product. These new exploits will be used to target Windows 7 systems, fully knowing that the systems are vulnerable.

Businesses, if you must run Windows 7 or Server 2008 after the end of extended support, there are a few things you can do to keep these older systems protected.  If you already have a good security stack installed, like our Q-Stack, the likelihood of a successful attack is reduced, but that is still not good enough. An additional firewall will need to be installed to separate the Windows 7 and Server 2008 devices. This firewall will require very tight rules that limit the device’s access to the internal network and the Internet. Depending on the type of firewall you have, it may be possible to create a virtual firewall on your existing device to create this additional layer of protection.

If you would like more information, contact us here or call 937.885.7272.

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Posted by Jack Gerbs in Recent Posts