Incident Response Planning Podcast

Podcast Episode 1 – Incident Response Planning

On this inaugural episode of the Quanexus Podcast we go in depth on Incident Response Planning. This is a topic on the top of our minds with many businesses making changes to accommodate the pandemic, and a new wave of ransomware against large US corporations.

Quanexus IT Support Services for Dayton and Cincinnati

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Posted by Charles Wright in Cybersecurity, Information Security, Small Business

FBI Warning Vishing Attacks

Vishing AttacksFBI Warn of Increased Vishing Attacks

There is a new form of phishing being used against corporations, and it has gained the attention of the FBI. Vishing is a form of phishing using a phone call or Voice over IP (VoIP). This technique is yet another way hackers are taking advantage of employees working from home during the pandemic.

The increase in vishing attacks began in mid-July. Criminals registered domain names of companies they were interested in targeting. From there, they built fake VPN sites that looked similar to the target company’s own VPN login site. Hackers were also able to spoof phone numbers, so the number they were calling from appeared to come from within the corporation. The next step was to find an employee to target. Hackers went looking for information on social media sites and were able to find names and email addresses for employees of target companies.

Krebs on Security reported hackers would typically target new employees, and even create fake LinkedIn pages to gain their trust. Many of the attackers would pose as in-house IT helpdesk employees, convince a user they needed to use a different site for VPN access, and then ask for two-factor authentication (2FA) or one-time passwords (OTP) in order to help the new employee with a technical issue. Once the criminals gained access to the internal systems, they could basically move about freely. Hackers could collect customer data to be released later or encrypt data to be ransomed back to the company.

The FBI Cybersecurity Advisory does not list individual companies targeted, but many believe this is the method used in the recent Twitter hack. The FBI recommended some tips for companies including restricting VPN connections to managed devices only, and employing the principle of least privileged, where employees only have access to the data they need to do their job.

For employees the FBI report recommends checking web links carefully for misspellings. Bookmarking the correct VPN page, and do not deviate from that page. And being suspicious of unsolicited calls or emails asking for login credentials. Unfortunately new employees are likely not familiar with internal IT practices and norms.

Download the entire FBI report here.

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

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Posted by Charles Wright in Cybersecurity, Information Security, Recent Posts, Small Business, Telephone Systems

Amazon Alexa Vulnerabilities

Amazon Alexa Vulnerabilities Patched

Amazon leads the marketplace with its smart speakers powered by Alexa. In 2019, they controlled 70% of the marketplace with their virtual assistant. Homeowners are using Amazon smart speakers to connect to lights, thermostats, and security cameras at an exponential rate. It’s no surprise then why hackers would want to take advantage of this growing market.

Last week, the IT research firm Check Point released details of vulnerabilities they found in the Alexa software. Alexa has the ability to install “skills,” basically third party applications to enable features the smart speaker does not perform natively. Check Point found these skills applications could be used maliciously to view user’s voice history and personal information.

“Smart speakers and virtual assistants are so commonplace that it’s easy to overlook just how much personal data they hold, and their role in controlling other smart devices in our homes. But hackers see them as entry points into peoples’ lives, giving them the opportunity to access data, eavesdrop on conversations or conduct other malicious actions without the owner being aware,” said Oded Vanunu, Head of Products Vulnerabilities Research at Check Point.

Amazon is very interested in getting these smart speakers into consumers’ homes. For a period of time they were offering an Echo Dot for 99 cents with the purchase of one month of Amazon music. They have also offered free smart speakers with the purchase of Ring cameras, and other smart home devices. The vulnerability was pointed out to Amazon earlier in the summer, and they say it was patched in June. Check Point only released the details late last week. It sounds like this research has prompted Amazon to pay more attention to securing these devices, but any new piece of third party software introduces a vulnerability. We have seen issues recently with Chrome browser extensions. Any avenue a hacker can use to install an add-on, or a third party extension, they will use it take advantage of consumers.

Quanexus IT Support Services for Dayton and Cincinnati

Request your free network assessment today. There is no hassle, or obligation.

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

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Posted by Charles Wright in Recent Posts

Password Management

Back to Basics – Password Management

Passwords are a necessary evil of modern life. Today on Back-to-Basics we will cover some best practices of password selection and management. Quanexus recommends a 25 character password that does not contain words found in dictionaries. We also don’t use names, birthdays, or anniversary dates, because these can be easily found on social media. On top of these parameters, passwords should not be used for more than one service.

We understand this is cumbersome, and studies have shown that extreme password policies reduce productivity in business. So where is the middle ground between an absolutely uncrackable password for each individual login, and reality?

  1. Password Mangers:

    There are tools on the market that create long and complex passwords for each individual login, and then manage these passwords for you. LastPass, and 1Password are two trusted services, and both provide browser and mobile services. The issue with these, of course, is if the hacker social engineers, or guesses your password to get into the password manager, then they have access to all of your passwords. However, with a strong password to log into the service, this is a very secure option.

  1. Password Reuse:

    At the very least a user should not use the same passwords for personal logins that they do for business logins. Of course, the business has no way of checking this, but it should be outlined strongly in the orientation material, as well as the annual security awareness training. As we always say, your users can be your biggest asset or your biggest liability. Password reuse is a point that needs continual emphasis.

  1. Stolen Passwords:

    The dark web knows what your MySpace password was at this point. Find out what passwords you use have been compromised and stop using them. Google Password Checkup is a trusted resource. Financial companies are starting to send users known compromised passwords as well. We know many people are not going to come up with a stelar 25 character password for that jogging site they’re checking out, but be aware of what passwords are compromised, and don’t use them at work.

  1. Multi-Factor Authentication:

    Many more critical services like financial or system logins now offer Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) or Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We did a whole blog post on this topic you can read Here, but the long and the short of it is, if the service is available, use it. SMS authentication is not without flaws, but it’s still better than a simple password. Services like Google Authenticator are better but have not been incorporated into all businesses yet.

Passwords are not perfect, but they are also not going away. Password security involves making users aware of the risks that are out there and continuing to stress best practices. Continued education, and annual security awareness training is the best defense against password compromise.

Quanexus IT Support Services for Dayton and Cincinnati

Request your free network assessment today. There is no hassle, or obligation.

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

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn and stay up to date on by subscribing to our email list.

Posted by Charles Wright in Recent Posts