Chili’s Restaurant Reveals Payment Card Breach
In the last week, officials have discovered a data breach that affects an unknown number of the chain’s 1,600 restaurants across the country. It is believed that the breach could affect customers who visited the restaurant between March and April of this year, and likely includes all payment information, though Chili’s doesn’t retain any additional customer data.
StalinLocker Requires Puzzle Code to Stop Deletion
A new screen-locking malware has been spotted that avoids the ransom and moves quickly to locking the entire screen. Once the lock screen is in place, a 10-minute countdown begins, and requests the user enter a specific code or it will begin deleting the contents of every mapped drive on the computer. Along with running a countdown timer, a picture of Joseph Stalin is displayed across the screen and the USSR anthem plays in the background.
Mexican Bank Funds Transferred Illicitly
Within the past month, the Interbank payment systems of the Mexican Central Bank were compromised, leaving millions of dollars unaccounted for. Abusing the interbank payment system allowed the attackers to immediately make the transfers and withdraw in cash. Even though some of the transfers were stopped for being suspicious, the final estimate rests at over $20 million. Fortunately for the bank’s customers, it appears that the stolen funds were from the bank’s accounts, not their clients.
Latest Dharma Ransomware Variant Uses .bip Extension
The most recent variant of the Dharma/Crysis ransomware has made some subtle changes since its previous iteration. Using a compromised RDP service, attackers are able to manually install the Dharma variant, which begins encrypting all files, including mapped and unmapped network drives with a .bip extension. Even though decryption hasn’t yet been made freely available, victims are still encouraged to attempt restoring from an external backup, as this variant will completely remove all shadow copies from the system.
Danish Train Network Hit with DDoS Attack
Thousands of Danish passengers found themselves unable to purchase train tickets from multiple sources after a DDoS attack took down the purchasing system. Some were fortunate enough to be able to purchase tickets directly from train officials, as even their staff was having difficulties communicating both internally and externally regarding the issue. Luckily, the systems were quickly restored to normal operation with no residual problems.
Smartphone apps make life easier, more productive, and more entertaining. But can you trust every app you come across? Malicious mobile apps create easy access to your devices for Android and iOS malware to wreak havoc. And there are many untrusted and potentially dangerous apps lurking around in app stores determined to outsmart your smartphone. With the average user having 35 apps installed on their phone, according to Google, it’s easy to see why smartphones can be such a easy target.
But my iPhone is safe, right?
Both Apple iOS and Android devices are targeted by hackers, and while the latter is a more popular target, both platforms are both susceptible to various types of cyberattacks. After all, Apple’s latest version of iOS 11 was cracked just one day after its release via vulnerabilities in the Safari web browser, according to ZDNet.
Protect yourself from bad apps:
All of this means that unprotected smartphones are soft targets for cybercriminals, with weaknesses that hackers can ultimately exploit to generate revenue. The first defense is knowing that you can’t trust all apps. These tips will also help you stay protected as you search for the good ones:
- Download apps from reputable stores. The major, reliable providers are Galaxy Apps (Samsung), the App Store (iOS), Amazon App Store, and Google Play (Android).
Google Play, for example, scans 50 billion apps daily to detect malware before publishing new ones.
- Disable “Unknown Sources” for Android devices, which prevents installing apps from sources other than the Google Play Store. So, if you use Amazon App Store, you’ll need to enable “Unknown Sources”. In that case, be mindful before allowing any other app or website to install something on your phone. It should also be noted that changes to this functionality are coming with the latest update to Android’s Oreo operating system.
- Keep Android USB debugging off. It can prevent outside malware from accessing your phone through corded connections, such as from a public charging station.
- Don’t jailbreak your iPhone. Allowing access and changes to your phone’s software can allows outsider apps that may not be trustworthy.
- Beware of any website, text, email, or anything asking you to install an app. Search for your own apps at the store and research all apps before installing.
- Beware of granting excessive permissions. Apps that perform basic functions, such as a flashlight, don’t need to access your personal information, for example.
- Read app reviews before installing, and review and report sinister apps. Users working together as a community can help alert unsuspecting victims to phony apps.
- Be cautious about providing your credit card or banking information. Avoid making transactions over apps that are not well known to you or the user community and be careful about hidden charges such as microtransactions.
- Install OS and other software updates. It always recommended to keep your OS and apps updated with the latest patches. It’s also smart to consider phones from vendors that release prompt security patches. Many software updates are designed to defend against malware and other emergent threats.
- Use trusted internet security software. No matter how careful you are, it is wise to employ a reputable layer of online security.
Prevention, prevention, prevention.
Sometimes free mobile apps, including free security software apps from unknown providers, are suspect. The convenience of a quick download and excessive trust are not worth saving a few seconds or cents. Do your research, follow these 10 tips, and protect your well-being on any mobile device.
Crypto Mining Makes the Jump to Excel
SynAck Ransomware Employs Unique Evasion Tactics
A relatively new ransomware variant, known as SynAck, has recently been spotted using an uncommon method for evading security measures. Using a procedure called Process Doppelganging, the malware can create a copy of a legitimate process and inject malicious code to be executed without running anything suspicious. Additionally, the malware is heavily obfuscated and targets numerous programs before encryption to shut down any running processes or tasks that may be necessary to encrypt.
Japanese Security Cameras Defaced
Over the past several weeks, Japanese officials have been dealing with complaints from victims whose security cameras have been hacked. These attacks arose due to negligence on the part of the camera owners, who disregarded proper security practices and failed to update the default passwords on the devices. To make matters worse, the frequency of these attacks has been steadily climbing in the last couple days, and have begun to include government-owned devices on secured networks.
Facebook Exploit Used for Crypto Mining
Researchers have recently discovered a malicious Chrome browser extension that attempts to steal account credentials for any cryptocurrency trading platform it finds on the system. By spreading through Facebook Messenger, FacexWorm can propagate quickly and begin any data gathering or cryptocurrency mining with relative ease. While most of its victims have been located in Southeast Asia, numerous occurrences have been spotted in Western European countries as well, demonstrating the extension’s reach and speed.
Phishing is Still Leading Mobile Infection Rates
In a recent report based on phishing statistics over the past year, officials found that Apple iOS® users had a significantly higher chance of receiving a phishing attempt than downloading malware. With over 4000 new phishing sites being created daily and over half of all internet usage occurring on mobile devices, it’s no surprise that attackers have shifted their focus to this immense group of users, who typically lack security software for their devices and typically don’t consider mobile security necessary.
Fake tech support scams aren’t going anywhere. In fact, recent data shows this type of social engineering attack is on the rise—with phony tech support calls, emails, and pop-ups peddling the digital equivalent of snake oil to unsuspecting internet users around the world.
While many people have grown wise enough to spot the warning signs of the typical tech support scam, a significant percentage fall victim, and exploiting their naivety can prove quite profitable for cybercriminals. A recent report from Microsoft describes a growing global problem: 153,000 reports were received from Microsoft customers involved in tech support scams in 2017, leading to a 24 percent rise in tech scams reported by Microsoft from the previous year. Those who lost money forked over an average of $200 and $400.
“It doesn’t require a great deal of technical knowledge to carry out a support scam, so it’s easy to see why criminals are choosing to jump into this field,” said Marcus Moreno, Supervisor of Threat Research at Webroot. “All that’s is needed is gaining the user’s trust and knowing more than they do about their computer. Whether criminals pay websites to host their fake support banners, or they proactively reach out to you, it doesn’t take much expertise.”
Due to the lucrative nature and relative success rate of these social engineering tactics, tech support fraud continues to propagate. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received around 11,000 cases of tech support scams in 2017, with victims claiming nearly $15 million in losses. That’s a shocking 86 percent increase from 2016!
The IC3 report also noted new variations of the typical tech support scam, with attackers resorting to posing as law enforcement to re-target previous victims by offering phony recovery assistance in exchange for a fee. Tech support scams are also turning to target cryptocurrency users, where the stakes can be higher, netting potentially thousands of dollars from a single victim.
Cold calls? Hold the phone!
The number one thing to keep in mind is that major tech companies—whether that’s Microsoft, your security software provider, or your device manufacturer—will never call you out of the blue. Beyond attempting to dupe a victim out of a fee for fake support services, cybercriminals can also try to gain remote access to your computer to steal personal information and install malware that can carry on the attack after the phone call has ended.
It’s also important to know that tech support scams also appear in the form of malvertising, such as pop-ups that can be found even on legitimate websites. These scam ads try to trick users with various fake system errors or malware infection warnings. Thousands of websites were recently discovered to be infected with malicious ads that lock users’ browsers and display a fake infection warning, according to SC Magazine. Web-based threats like this highlight the importance of keeping your devices updated and secure, as well as practicing safe browsing habits.
Visit our Cybersecurity Education Resources to understand more about common tech support scams and how to avoid falling victim. There you can also find blacklists of URLs and phone numbers known to impersonate Webroot and target our customers.
As the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) edges closer, we’re looking back on the five most significant stories during the lead up to its implementation. Read about GDPR’s impact on data security and find out how to get prepared with five steps to compliance.
What aspect of GDPR will have the biggest impact on you or your business? Let us know in the comments below!
On April 14, 2016, the EU received its final legislative approval for GDPR, making the changes official as of May 25, 2018. Many myths surround the legislation, stirring confusion among those affected. One major myth is that GDPR compliance is focused on a fixed point in time, similar to the Y2K bug. However, GDPR will be an ongoing journey that requires a complete change to many company procedures. The regulation will begin in May 2018, so businesses may not be pleased to discover they are currently in the “grace period,” and there will not be another one after the implementation date.
We discovered in 2017 that many corporations are far too negligent when it comes to securely storing sensitive consumer data. It seemed like hardly a week passed without another major data breach making headlines. The year saw Equifax fall victim to the largest data breach in corporate history, Uber conceal a breach affecting 57 million users for over a year, and more than a million patients’ records stolen from the NHS’s database, to name just a few high profile cases. GDPR will not stop data breaches entirely, but the introduction of fines as high as €20 million, or 4% of annual turnover, for noncompliance should force companies to take their data responsibilities more serious.
Britain’s decision to exit the European Union has added confusion concerning GDPR compliance for companies within the UK. In September, however, the UK updated their data protection legislation, which brings GDPR wholesale into UK law. This confirms that the UK also recognises the importance of data protection and suggests UK companies will need to be at least as careful as their EU peers. Also, any company dealing with EU citizen data (even those located outside of the EU), will be expected to comply with these standards.
Google and the Right to be Forgotten
Google received 2.4 million takedown requests under the EU’s updated ‘right to be forgotten’ laws, which have been in place for search engines since 2014. GDPR will now expand on this right to certain data subjects- giving people more control over deletion of their data once it’s no longer necessary for a company to have. Data subject rights have been enhanced, so companies that process personal data will be expected to have procedures in place to act on requests in the proscribed timeframes.
Facebook have been in the news a lot over data rights, most recently for allegedly allowing Cambridge Analytica to harvest the data of more than 50 million Facebook users. Previously, the ICO had gotten WhatsApp to sign an undertaking in which it committed publicly to not share personal data with its parent company Facebook until the two services could do it in a GDPR-compliant way. GDPR is clearly bearing down on big companies that have been negligent with customer data previously.
How to get prepared
Are you prepared for GDPR? A company can take the following steps to help become GDPR-ready:
- Know the facts: GDPR is coming, so make sure everyone in your company is aware of the important components and are fully trained to comply. Examine what data your company has and who you share it with. Auditing your data will help you to understand how you can meet the terms.
- Privacy Information: Revisit the procedures governing how you inform individuals about personal data your company may be holding. Make amendments to those procedures as necessary to meet GDPR requirements.
- Individuals Rights: Verify your procedures cover the rights of individuals, including your processes for deleting or responding to a subject access request.
- Enforcement and Sanctions: It should be noted that GDPR will simplify enforcement for supervisory authorities and significantly increase fines.
- Consent: Data must be processed lawfully. There are many legitimate bases for processing personal data. However, most companies will use consent, contractual necessity, or legitimate interest as a basis for doing so.
Did You Know?
Webroot Security Awareness Training offers GDPR-specific compliance training modules to help ensure your employees are up to speed with the new regulations, in addition to industry-specific compliance courses. Learn more at webroot.com/awareness.
The Cyber News Rundown brings you the latest happenings in cybersecurity news weekly. Who am I? I’m Connor Madsen, a Webroot Threat Research Analyst and a guy with a passion for all things security. Any questions? Just ask.
Cyberattack Shuts Down Mexico Central Bank
Within the past week, several payment systems associated with Mexico’s central bank were compromised for an unspecified amount of time. The impacted systems led to delays with money transfers and processing of transactions for central bank customers, but officials claim no funds or data were stolen. It is still unclear how the attackers accessed the systems, though the issue has heightened awareness of possible security flaws.
Facebook Implementing History Removal Tool
In the wake of the data mishandling scandal that tarnished Facebook’s privacy standards, the company announced it’s working on a new tool that will allow users to clear browsing history and cookies from within Facebook, along with opting out of allowing Facebook to gather future browsing data. While this tool is still being created, Mark Zuckerberg has said Facebook hopes to give more privacy controls back to the users who trust the site.
Fitbit Adopts Google Healthcare API
Recently, Fitbit announced they will be integrating their current systems to incorporate the Cloud Healthcare API from Google in order to give healthcare providers better access to important data. Fitbit has been working towards this for some time by constantly improving their data analysis and providing better feedback to users and their health professionals. The partnership with Google’s API allows them to use an industry-compliant system, without the trouble of creating one from the ground up.
Northeast School District Pays Hefty Ransom
Following the April 14 cyberattack that encrypted much of a Massachusetts school district’s computer systems, local police recommended the district pay the $10,000 ransom to restore the system. While it paying ransoms is normally suggested only as a last resort, it would appear that the district wasn’t capable to restoring the systems on their own. In the end, it opted to pay the requested amount in hopes the criminals stay true to their word.
DVRs Being Compromised
A researcher recently released a tool that would allow anyone access to several brands of DVRs and illicitly obtain both device credentials and live video recordings. Using Shodan, the researcher was able to identify nearly 55,000 unique, accessible DVR devices that could be exploited with his tool using a previously discovered flaw for DVR devices.
Our most recent release of the DNS Protection agent provided customers with added features and enhancements designed to improve the overall product experience and its capabilities delivered to end users. We revamped the network detection functionality to improve accuracy and speed for roaming and off-site clients who frequently change networks.
We also addressed a variety of small bug fixes and performance improvements, such as SSL certification installation on Firefox Quantum and improvements to the agent update process.
VPN & TCP support
The Webroot DNS Protection agent now supports Juno Pulse Secure v 3.5 and Private Internet Access (client version 7.5) VPN types. This new feature enables roaming clients to access intranet assets and ensure clients benefit from DNS Protection while using a VPN.
Additionally, we added TCP Traffic support filtering. While the majority of DNS traffic is handled via UDP, certain domains and applications only use TCP. This update allows the agent to filter both UDP and TCP traffic.
We have also enhanced policy configuration with more granular policy control. Custom policy configurations can now be applied to groups, sites, individual devices or network IP. We’re also working to improve internet usage visibility, and are excited to make our Top Active Report available for .csv export so it can be easily integrated into other reporting tools in use.
Finally, we’re updating the GSM console to give users the availability to initiate trials and/or purchase products directly within the console.
Text messages are now a common way for people to engage with brands and services, with many now preferring texts over email. But today’s scammers have taken a liking to text messages or smishing, too, and are now targeting victims with text message scams sent via shortcodes instead of traditional email-based phishing attacks.
What do we mean by shortcodes
Businesses typically use shortcodes to send and receive text messages with customers. You’ve probably used them before—for instance, you may have received shipping information from FedEx via the shortcode ‘46339’. Other shortcode uses include airline flight confirmations, identity verification, and routine account alerts. Shortcodes are typically four to six digits in the United States, but different countries have different formats and number designations.
The benefits of shortcodes are fairly obvious. Texts can be more immediate and convenient, making it easier for customers to access links and interact with their favorite brands and services. One major drawback, however, is the potential to be scammed by a SMS-based phishing attack, or ‘Smishing’ attack. (Not surprisingly given the cybersecurity field’s fondness for combining words, smishing is a combination of SMS and phishing.)
All the Dangers of Phishing Attacks, Little of the Awareness
The most obvious example of a smishing attack is a text message containing a link to mobile malware. Mistakenly clicking on this type of link can lead to a malicious app being installed on your smartphone. Once installed, mobile malware can be used to log your keystrokes, steal your identity, or hold your valuable files for ransom. Many of the traditional dangers in opening emails and attachments from unknown senders are the same in smishing attacks, but many people are far less familiar with this type of attack and therefore less likely to be on guard against it.
Text messages from shortcodes can contain links to malware and other dangers.
Smishing for Aid Dollars
Another possible risk in shortcodes is that sending a one-word response can trigger a transaction, allowing a charge to appear on your mobile carrier’s bill. When a natural disaster strikes, it is common for charities to use shortcodes to make it incredibly easy to donate money to support relief efforts. For instance, if you text “PREVENT” to the shortcode 90999, you will donate $10 USD to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.
But this also makes it incredibly easy for a scammer to tell you to text “MONSOON” to a shortcode number while posing as a legitimate organization. These types of smishing scams can lead to costly fraudulent charges on your phone bill, not to mention erode aid agencies ability to solicit legitimate donations from a wary public. A good resource for determining the authenticity of a shortcode in the United States is the U.S. Short Code Directory. This site allows you to look up brands and the shortcodes they use, or vice versa.
Protect yourself from Smishing Attacks
While a trusted mobile security app can help you stay protected from a variety of mobile threats, avoiding smishing attacks demands a healthy dose of cyber awareness. Be skeptical of any text messages you receive from unknown senders and assume messages are risky until you are sure you know the sender or are expecting the message. Context is also very important. If a contact’s phone is lost or stolen, that contact can be impersonated. Make sure the message makes sense coming from that contact.
Two big trends stood out at RSAC 2018. Many organizations that once thought all threat intelligence was created equal have gained appreciation for quality data feeds that deliver real-time information vs. crowdsourced or static lists. Endless alerts and flashy numbers are no longer enough. Companies want to know the “why?” and “what actions they can take?”
“What this tells me is that Webroot is in the right place at the right time with the best solution, and that is a great place to be,” said Michael Neiswender, vice president, embedded security sales.
The subtle messages of small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) and managed service providers (MSPs) demanding a certain focus didn’t fall on deaf ears. The question asked over and over was “how do you get into the SMB space?” There was a clear understanding that it’s a hot market, hard to penetrate, and has specific needs. SMBs require solutions architected from the ground up for multitenancy, high efficiency, and ease of use—customer experience cannot be neglected.
David Dufour, vice president, engineering said, “MSPs are a big business. A lot of people are aware of it, but they don’t know how to attract that market. We’re in a really good position as a company because we understand them.”
As Webroot spoke with industry peers during the four-day cybersecurity conference, the conversations led to a few more themes.
Real Threat Intelligence is King
Security professionals have a desire for real-time, quality threat intelligence. They are looking for insights that draw from multi-geo, -device, and -businesses. How the updates are delivered to the customer is also of importance. The reality is the scale of threats and the associated risks facing organizations is increasing at a rate companies are finding difficult to manage.
Security is Everyone’s Responsibility
The idea of inherent security will become more mainstream. All companies will have to start thinking and acting like security companies, putting user education first. Loosely handling personal data is no longer an option. GDPR will make sure of that. Simple: your weakest link can be your strongest defense if properly trained.
Getting Back to Basics
Fundamental concepts of cybersecurity are as relevant as ever. The basics at their core address security as a requirement for businesses today in our connected environment. To be effective using cybersecurity start by following the basic fundamental concepts of protect, detect, respond, recover, and user training.
Into the Future
Threat intelligence will continue to offer a powerful position for those who choose to listen to the industry. As Webroot prepares for greater growth in the coming months and years, we are uniquely positioned for the future. You can expect more threat intelligence insights via our Annual Threat Report and Quarterly Threat Trends; continued investigation into our partners’ needs; and solutions that will meet partners where they are.
More companies will realize their customers want them to look at them in a new light. They will also begin to ask the right questions to provide solutions that uniquely address the concerns security professionals have when building their own internal security programs.
“There were companies that I could tell had methodically built out platforms to address specific threats,” said Gary Hayslip, chief information security officer. “These vendors differed from their competitors, because they knew what issues to solve and their technologies were uniquely focused on providing value by integrating with broader platforms to manage risk.”
The Cyber News Rundown brings you the latest happenings in cybersecurity news weekly. Who am I? I’m Connor Madsen, a Webroot Threat Research Analyst and a guy with a passion for all things security. Any questions? Just ask.
Amazon IPs Rerouted for Several Hours
Early Tuesday morning attackers compromised an ISP that allowed them to reroute 1,300 IP addresses belonging to Amazon’s Route 53 DNS service. Amazon quickly released a statement on the issue and clarified that it was a specific vendor’s domain that was sharing the traffic across multiple peer networks. In doing so, the attackers were able to masquerade as MyEtherWallet.com, which netted them over $150,000 in cryptocurrency.
Middle East Ride-Hailing App Compromised
In an announcement at the beginning of this week, the ride-hailing app Careem addressed a data breach that occurred in mid-January. The breach could affect nearly 14 million customers, though officials have stated that no payment information was amongst the compromised data, as it is stored off-site. Fortunately, the breach shouldn’t affect anyone who signed up for the app after January 14.
Complaints of Tech Support Scams on the Rise
Over the course of 2017, Microsoft saw a 24% rise in the number of complaints regarding tech support scams their customers fell victim to. This increase is similar to the findings of the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, which saw an 86% change from the previous year. While the tactics used have not varied much, the number of scam calls have gone up significantly and have branched out to include both Mac and Linux users.
City of Atlanta Closing in on $3 Million Mark for Ransomware Recovery
It was recently revealed the City of Atlanta has spent close to $3 million to recover from a ransomware attack nearly a month ago. Though the original ransom was set at $51,000, paying it would not guarantee a swift resolution. Even now, Atlanta is still working on returning its systems to full working order. The delay may have been lengthened by the unknown amount of time the hackers had access to its system.
Malicious Crypto-miner Disables System Security
The newly dubbed PyRoMine, a cryptocurrency miner, which uses the EternalRomance NSA exploit to propagate, has been spotted in the wild over the past month. By disabling any security services it encounters, as well as Windows Updates, the malicious VBScript is able to compromise RDP to allow consistent traffic through port 3389. Even though it hasn’t spread widely, the number of unpatched machines still accessible to malware authors is a goldmine just waiting to be found.
Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day is today, and while your initial reaction may be to make a note to call in sick that day (heck, that was my gut instinct), resist the urge.
It’s one day that is a great reminder for the entire year. We all need to do more to fill the pipeline for STEM careers. That’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
You may be asking, what do you mean by “do more”? You may not work in tech yourself or perhaps your kids aren’t interested in science, or maybe you don’t even have kids.
That’s no excuse.
According to the Pew Research Center, employment in STEM occupations has grown 79 percent since 1990, from 9.7 million to 17.3 million, outpacing overall U.S. job growth. And companies are feeling the pinch. ESG Research conducted a study that found 51 percent of respondents were dealing with a skills shortage. They simply can’t find the talent to fill the roles.
That’s where it gets concerning for everyone, whether they are a parent, a business owner, or a techie. We need bodies to fill the technical roles of today, let alone the future.
Now that I have your attention, here is some advice for what you can do to help create the STEM leaders of tomorrow.
- Realize not everyone is going to want to be an engineer. And that’s okay. You need marketing people, communicators, project managers that like working in the field and can bridge the gap with their soft skills between the true data heads and the rest of the world.
- I’m not pushing for a PhD. There are many paths to a technical career that don’t start with a four-year college degree. But they all do start with curiosity. I know many cybersecurity professionals who came to the field with a networking certification or other technical program background and even more that were self-taught. They watched a lot of YouTube videos, read a lot of blogs, and took apart their computers. There also is a lot of opportunity for those in the military who were trained to handle various programming tasks. Encourage people from all walks of life and backgrounds to tap into STEM fields.
- Take your kids (or the neighbor’s kids) to work with you. Really. Even if you don’t work in tech, try to show the kids what you do every day, then ask if someone in your IT department can chat with them too.
- You didn’t think I’d get through this without mentioning LEGOS, did you? LEGOS are the ultimate toy for sparking interest in STEM fields. Once kids graduate from basic blocks, there are many options like the BOOST line. They have a robot you can build and control via a mobile app. Enough said.
- Snap Circuits. Another awesome toy that makes building electronics fun.
- Programming can be for all ages. Prime younger kids to program with fun tools, like Scratch, Blockly, and Alice. You might even learn something!
This is a small list of ideas. I know there are many more out there. But I challenge everyone to think about what they can do to help create the next generation of STEM professionals. I know Webroot is participating in Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work Day this year and I look forward to chatting with the participants about what I do each day to make the internet a little bit safer.
According to the Identity Theft Research Center, in 2017 alone, nearly 158 million social security numbers were stolen as a result of 1579 data breaches. Once a cybercriminal has access to your personal info, they can open credit cards, take out loans that quickly ruin your credit, or leave you with a giant bill. But that’s not all. Many people don’t realize that, depending on how much information a hacker gets and what their intentions are, you could lose a lot more than money. From sending malware to your contacts from your account to spamming your coworkers with phishing attacks to compromise your employer’s network, the damage a hacker can wreak on your personal and professional life can extend far beyond the monetary bounds.
Additionally, according to Dave Dufour, VP of Engineering and Cybersecurity at Webroot, we’re seeing more evolution in cybercriminal tactics that take advantage of internet users and their trust:
“What’s happening lately is that people are hacking social media accounts. Why would anyone want your social media information? One reason is that, if I have access to one of your social media accounts, I can spread malware to all your followers who trust you. Pretending to be you, I can send out a link, your followers click it, and my malware is now on all of their devices.”
So, what do you do if you’ve been hit with malware, ransomware, phishing, or a social media attack? First, don’t panic. Second, follow these steps to deal with the fallout.
You’ve been hacked. Now what?
Change your passwords
The first step is one you’ve probably already heard: change all your passwords. Yes, all of them. Don’t forget make them strong by using at least 12 characters, changing out at least two or three of the characters to uppercase, using numbers or symbols (e.g., replacing an A with a @ or an S with a 5), avoid using places you’ve lived, acquaintances names, your pets, birthdays, or addresses—and don’t even think about using ABC or 123. If you have trouble keeping track of your passwords, we recommend you use to a secure password manager application that saves your credentials in an encrypted database and automatically fills them in when you log into a site.
Turn on two-factor authentication
Most accounts that house your personal information, such as email or banking, offer two-factor authentication. This provides an additional layer of security that goes beyond your username and password by asking you to confirm your login with an extra step, such as a short-term security code sent via text message or phone call. You can turn on two-factor authentication from the login screen of the account.
Check for updates
One of the best ways to keep your devices protected is to update your operating system regularly and ensure that any applications you use are patched and up to date. If you have questions, you can always call your device provider’s helpline. To make things even easier, most systems and software allow you to set up Automatic Updates, so you don’t have to worry about remembering to check for them manually.
Install antivirus protection and run a scan
Antivirus software is an extremely beneficial tool that doesn’t just help detect and remove malicious software that could be lurking on your computer, it can also stop threats before they infect your device in the first place. But be careful: avoid the temptation to download a free antivirus program, as these often come bundled with malware or potentially unwanted applications. Instead, invest in a reputable option. Once installed, be sure to run a scan and turn on automatic scans and updates.
Delete sensitive data from the compromised account
As soon as you realize you’ve been hacked, go to the compromised account and delete any sensitive data you can. For example, if you know you’ve stored your credit card information, bank statements, social security number etc. in your email or on any retail site, immediately delete them from those locations. This also goes for any personal photos or information you wouldn’t want released. And don’t forget to clear out your folders on any cloud services, such as Dropbox, Google Drive™ or iCloud®.
Monitor bank statements and account activity
One of the top motivations of a cyberattack is to steal your money or identity to go on a shopping spree or use your financial accounts in some way. Be vigilant about monitoring your accounts for recent activity and check to make sure no new shipping addresses, payment methods, or accounts have been added. Also, call your bank and let them know about the incident so they can have their fraud department monitor your accounts.=
Deauthorize apps on Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.
To protect your accounts and remove malicious individuals, check which apps are connected to your social media accounts and deactivate all of them. Did you sign into a site using your Facebook so you could see which historical figure you look like? That’s an example of something you should deactivate. You can find directions on how to do this for each account in its help or settings section or by contacting the associated customer service line.
Tell friends you’ve been hacked, so they don’t become victims, too
Another important step to take after you’ve been hacked is to alert your contacts. Many social media and email attackers will send messages from your account that contain malicious links, attachments, or urgent requests for money. Letting contacts know right away that your account has been compromised, and what to watch out for, can save them from the same fate.
Because technology continues to advance and the number of connected devices is growing exponentially, being the target of a cyberattack or identity theft is becoming more commonplace. But we’re here to help. Learn more about protecting yourself and your family online, and what you can do to stay safe from modern cybercrime.