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MSPs: Your Security Vendor Should Integrate with More Than Just Your RMM and PSA

For many MSPs, integrating their security solution with their remote monitoring and management (RMM) and professional service automation (PSA) platforms is essential for doing business. Together, these platforms help lower the cost of keeping up with each client,...

Top 5 Things SMBs Should Consider When Evaluating a Cybersecurity Strategy

SMBs are overconfident about their cybersecurity posture. A survey of SMBs conducted by 451 Research found that in the preceding 24 months, 71% of respondents experienced a breach or attack that resulted in operational disruption, reputational damage, significant...

What’s Next? Webroot’s 2019 Cybersecurity Predictions

At Webroot, we stay ahead of cybersecurity trends in order to keep our customers up-to-date and secure. As the end of the year approaches, our team of experts has gathered their top cybersecurity predictions for 2019. What threats and changes should you brace for?...

Responding to Risk in an Evolving Threat Landscape

There’s a reason major industry players have been discussing cybersecurity more and more: the stakes are at an all-time high for virtually every business today. Cybersecurity is not a matter businesses can afford to push off or misunderstand—especially small and...

Cyber News Rundown: Ransomware Halts Texas Town

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Texas Town Brought to a Halt by Ransomware

Several days ago the town of Del Rio, Texas, fell victim to a ransomware attack that knocked most of the town’s major systems offline. While the town’s IT department quickly worked to isolate the infection, remaining departments were forced to switch to hand-written transactions in order to not completely shut down. Fortunately, the attack was quickly resolved and all city websites returned to normal within only a couple of days.

Data Vulnerability Affects Booking Systems for 141 Airlines

Researchers recently discovered a vulnerability affecting the Amadeus ticket booking system, which is used by more than a hundred international airlines. By making simple changes to a provided URL link, researchers were able to access passenger records and view related flight information. They were also able to access an Israeli airline’s user portal and make changes to the user account, and even change or cancel flight reservations.

Ryuk Ransomware Surpasses $4 Million in Ransom Payments

The ransomware variant known as Ryuk has pulled in nearly $4 million in Bitcoin payments alone since last August. By remaining dormant on previously infected systems, Ryuk can stay hidden for months or even years while its operators build an understanding of the system. In doing so, the attackers are able to command much higher ransom payments by focusing on victims with the means to pay a larger sum.

Account Vulnerability Plaguing Fortnite Players

A new vulnerability has been found pertaining to user accounts for Fortnite that could allow attackers to take full control of an account. By intercepting game-specific authentication tokens, attackers could access a user’s payment card details and use them to purchase in-game currency, or even gain access to a victim’s in-game conversations. Fortunately, Epic Games reacted swiftly to the announced exploits and quickly resolved the security flaws.

Advertising Hack Pushes Malware on Online Shoppers

The latest MageCart attack has compromised the entire distribution network for Adverline, a French advertising company that conducts a substantial amount of business in Europe. By injecting a malicious JavaScript code into dozens of online stores, the attack has been used to steal payment data from at least 277 unique websites thus far. By starting the attack at the top of the distribution chain, these types of attacks have an increased chance of success as the number of victims rises.

MSPs: Your Security Vendor Should Integrate with More Than Just Your RMM and PSA

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For many MSPs, integrating their security solution with their remote monitoring and management (RMM) and professional service automation (PSA) platforms is essential for doing business. Together, these platforms help lower the cost of keeping up with each client, ensuring profitable margins for a healthy, growing business.

For true providers of IT services—MSPs that sell services rather than licenses and take a holistic approach to client IT health—RMM and PSA integrations are critical for keeping track of hundreds or even thousands of unique endpoints and automating recurring operations for numerous clients.

Like many of the other features of our security solutions, our RMM and PSA integrations are custom-built with the needs of MSPs in mind. They’re designed to help MSPs create the most efficient, well-oiled versions of their businesses possible so that service is prompt, solutions are effective, and profit is preserved.   

Here’s what you should expect from your RMM and PSA security integrations:

  1. Faster rollouts- One of the core benefits of RMM-assisted deployments, expect rollouts to new endpoints to be fast and hassle-free with well-designed integrations. New endpoints should be easy to set up with protection turned on in just a few clicks.
  2. Simplified management- Efficiency is key to profitability. So a centralized dashboard displaying what’s running, what’s broken and how, infection statuses, endpoints requiring attention, and more helps increase the number of endpoints a single technician can manage, boosting efficiency and, ultimately, profitability. 
  3. The data you need- The best RMM and PSA integrations make it possible to get the data you need to run a successful business. Whether it’s per-client data for calculating a client’s cost to you, information on policy settings for sites and endpoints, or additional reporting delivered to clients to promote peace-of-mind, having access to allof your data empowers decision-making. 

Integrations don’t have to end there

Integrating disparate products can be a laborious, time-intensive process. For that reason, many security vendors are reluctant to coordinate too closely with customers to automate functions unique to their businesses. But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

Advanced plugins and tools allow for complete customization of dashboards, reporting, and data tracking. Each can be customized to track the metrics most useful to the organization. Critical processes, like issuing periodic reports, can be fully automated. This can be extremely beneficial when it comes to communicating with customers. Weekly or monthly reports demonstrate that, despite a lack of any major security incidents, it wasn’t for lack of trying on the part of cybercriminals. 

More than simply allowing different business platforms to talk to one another, integration plugins can be used for running commands and performing actions. This includes creating, modifying, or deleting licenses, removing duplicate endpoints, or quickly creating new console sites. 

Insist on better integrations

So when considering which cybersecurity vendor offers the most for your MSP, consider not only whether the solution allows you to communicate with your RMM and PSA platforms, but also how deeply. Does the vendor have a dedicated integrations team? Do they offer tools for the customization of business-specific reporting? Can essential, recurring business processes be automated?

The answers to the questions above will help you determine how much value RMM and PSA integrations add for your business. In a market where margins can be razor thin and built-in efficiencies can make or break the bottom line, the answers may make all the difference.

Cyber News Rundown: Bad Apps Infect Google Play

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Malicious Apps Get Millions of Installs

Google recently removed 85 apps from the Play Store after they were found to contain predatory adware. With over nine million combined downloads, the apps were mostly fake games or utility apps that began pushing a constant stream of full-screen ads to users until the app itself crashed. More worrisome, while nearly all the apps shared similar code, they were mostly uploaded from different developer accounts and used different digital certificates to minimize detection.

Tuition Scam Targets UK College

Several parents of students attending St. Lawrence College in the UK fell victim to an email scam over the holidays that requested early tuition payment at a discounted rate for the upcoming terms. While security measures surrounding parental information have since been improved, at least two separate families confirmed they sent undisclosed amounts of money to the scammers. Though these types of attacks target large audiences, it takes only a small number of successful attempts to make the campaign profitable.

Australian EWN System Hacked

With the help of a strong detection system, a brief hack of the Australian Early Warning Network (EWN) was quickly shutdown. Some of the messages contained warnings about the security of the EWN and listed several links that the user could navigate through. Fortunately, staff were quick to notice the severity of what was occurring and acted to prevent additional customers from being spammed.

Ransomware Uses Children’s Charity as Cover

When CryptoMix first came to light, it included a ransom note masquerading as a request for a “donation” to a children’s charity. It has since returned, but now includes actual information from crowdfunding sites attempting to help sick children and using their stories to guilt victims into paying a ransom. Even worse, as victims navigate the payment process, the ransomware continues to urge them on with promises that the sick child will know their name for the aid they provide.

Exploit Broker Raises Bounties for New Year

Following the New Year, a known exploit broker, Zerodium, announced they would be effectively doubling all bounty payouts for zero-day exploits. While lower-end Windows exploits will net a researcher $80,000, some Android and iOS zero-days will pay out up to $2 million. Unfortunately for many working on the lawful side, nearly all the exploits obtained by Zerodium will be privately sold, rather than used for patching or improving security.

The Must-Have Tech Accessory for Students

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We live in a digital age where internet-connected devices are the norm. Our phones, our televisions, even our light bulbs are tied together in today’s tech ecosystem. For high school and college students, this degree of digital connection is the standard, and when school is in session, tech accessories are a popular way to customize the various connected devices that are now an essential part of students’ lives.

With their focus on specialized accessories, it’s easy for students to overlook the importance of securing their connected devices. What’s the point of an expensive phone case or the perfect PopSocket if you’re leaving yourself, and your data, vulnerable? Hacks, security breaches, and stolen identities are often seen as things that don’t happen to digital natives. But security breaches can happen to anyone—no matter how sophisticated a user may be—and are almost always preventable by practicing safe cyber habits and having the right security is in place. But where do you start?

Back to basics

For students at any level, these best practices may seem eye-rollingly intuitive, but they are the basic tools for staying safe and secure online. Flaws with basic cybersecurity often prove to be the catalyst for a chain reaction of breaches, so by making sure these essential fail-safes are in place, you go a long way toward protecting yourself from cybercrime.

Awareness

Being aware of your surroundings and the connectivity of your devices is the first step towards a digitally secure life. But what does awareness mean from a cybersecurity standpoint? It means turning airdrop, file sharing, and open Bluetooth connectivity off, before you use your device in a public area. It means not leaving your laptop unattended, even if you’re just running to the bathroom at the coffee shop. It means using a free tool, such as haveibeenpwned.com, to see if your data has been breached in the past and taking corrective measures if it has been. Most importantly, it means treating public networks like they are public, and not accessing sensitive information through them unless you take the proper precautions (more on that below).

Two-Factor authentication

Two-factor authentication, where a validation message is sent upon login, is a security feature that verifies that you are the one who is actually attempting to access your account, particularly if the access request is coming from an unrecognized device or location. Two-factor authentication is the best way to stop unauthorized users from logging into your accounts. Most social media services offer two-factor authentication, but if you don’t trust them to be up to the task, use a third party service such as Authy or Google Authenticator. SMS and email two-factor authentication measures are demonstrably weaker than other available two-factor measures, and should be avoided if possible (although it’s better than using only a password alone).

Multiple passwords

No one likes to remember multiple passwords, let alone multiple secure passwords. But never reusing passwords is the best way to prevent third-party breaches from affecting multiple accounts. A good tip for varied passwords you can remember? Choose a phrase (or favorite song lyric) and break it down into sections. For example, the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog, becomes three separate passphrases.

  • the quick brown
  • fox jumps over
  • the lazy dog

This is a handy trick to wean yourself off the same two passwords you’ve been using since middle school, and is better than password redundancy. Make sure you include spaces in your passphrases. In the rare case spaces are not allowed, then a phrase without spaces will suffice.

Digging deeper

If the tips above are the metaphorical security sign in the window of your digital life, the measures outlined below are the actual security system. A small amount of additional effort on your part will help keep you safe during your educational career. 

Antivirus software

Making sure you have trusted antivirus software running on all devices is one of the most effective ways to stay safe from online threats. A cross-device service, such as Webroot SecureAnywhere® solutions, will keep you safe from potentially malicious emails, files, or apps. An important step to never skip? Keeping your antivirus software up to date. This will help prevent newly surfaced viruses and malware from penetrating your systems. Or, chose cloud-based antivirus solutions, like Webroot’s, that do not require updates.

Password managers

Don’t want to bother with remembering passwords at all? Password managers with secure encryption make generating and storing passwords safe and easy. Many password managers are compatible with common browsers such as Chrome and Firefox, making it easy to securely auto-fill passwords and other forms online.

Message encryption

Encryption services use ciphers to convert messages into random symbols, which are only able to be converted back when accessed by the intended recipient, with a special key. Common encryption options are Apple Messages and Signal, as well as WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook. If you prefer an encryption option that isn’t owned by a large corporation, Signal is a part of Open Whisper Systems.

Virtual private networks

If you must access sensitive information through a public network, setting up a virtual private network (VPN) will block and redirect your IP address, preventing outside parties from tracking and storing your information. Your VPN setup will largely depend on both your specific devices and price point, but with a little research and energy you can prevent anyone and anything from accessing your digital vault.

Vigilance is key

These tools are the true must-have tech accessories to support young people today and their digitally enhanced life. It’s easy to be overwhelmed as a student with school, work, and social life, but don’t let your cybersecurity defenses lag. Stay informed and stay updated.

Top 5 Things SMBs Should Consider When Evaluating a Cybersecurity Strategy

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SMBs are overconfident about their cybersecurity posture.

A survey of SMBs conducted by 451 Research found that in the preceding 24 months, 71% of respondents experienced a breach or attack that resulted in operational disruption, reputational damage, significant financial losses or regulatory penalties. At the same time, 49% of the SMBs surveyed said that cybersecurity is a low priority for their business, and 90% believe they have the appropriate security technologies in place. Clearly, SMBs are not correctly evaluating cybersecurity risk.

Many of us can relate – each day we ignore obvious signs that point to a reality that is in direct contrast to our beliefs. For example, as each year passes, most of us get a little slower, muscles ache that never ached before, we get a bit softer around the middle, and we hold our reading material farther away. Yet, we are convinced we could take on an NBA player in a game of one-on-one or complete the American Ninja Warrior obstacle course on the first try. 

While it’s unlikely that most of us can make the improvements needed to compete with elite athletes, the same can’t be said for enterprise cybersecurity. The journey is not an easy one given the security talent vacuum, a lack of domain understanding at the executive level, and the complexity of implementing a long-term, metric-based strategy. But, if you are an SMB struggling to run up and down the proverbial court, here are five things you should consider when building a better security practice:

1.   Experienced staff are valuable, but expensive, assets. 

Although enterprise cybersecurity is a 24/7/365 effort requiring a full roster of experienced professionals, many SMB cybersecurity teams are underequipped to handle the constant deluge of alert notifications, let alone the investigation or remediation processes. In fact, only 23% of survey respondents plan to add staff to their security teams in the coming year. For many SMBs, the security staffing struggles may get worse as 87% reported difficulties in retaining existing security professionals. To fill this gap, SMBs are increasingly turning to MSPs and MSSPs to provide the expertise and resources needed to protect their organizations around the clock.

2.   Executives understand what is at stake, but not what action to take. 

As the threat landscape becomes more treacherous, regulatory requirements multiply, and security incidents become more common, executives at SMBs have become more acutely aware of the business impact of security incidents – most are feeling an urgency to strengthen organizational cybersecurity. However, acknowledging the problem is only the first step of the process. Executives need to interface with their internal security teams, industry experts and MSPs in order to fully understand their organization’s risk portfolio and design a long-term cybersecurity strategy that integrates with business objectives.

3.   Security awareness training (SAT) is low-hanging fruit (if done right). 

According to the 451 Research Voice of the Enterprise: Information Security: Workloads and Key Projects survey, 62% of SMBs said they have a SAT program in place, but 50% are delivering SAT on their own using ‘homegrown’ methods and materials. It should be no surprise that many SMBs described their SAT efforts as ineffective. MSPs are increasingly offering high-quality, comprehensive SAT for a variety of compliance and regulatory frameworks such as PCI-DSS, HIPAA, SOX, ISO, GDPR and GLBA. SMBs looking to strengthen their security posture should look to partner with these MSPs for security awareness training.

4.   Securing now means securing for the future. 

The future of IT architecture will span both private and public clouds. This hybrid- and multi-cloud infrastructure represents a significant challenge for SMBs that require a cybersecurity posture that is both layered and scalable. SMBs need to understand and consider long-term trends when evaluating their current cybersecurity strategy. With this aim in mind, SMBs can turn to MSPs and MSSPs with the experience and toolsets necessary for securing these types of complex environments. 

5.   A metrics-based security approach is needed for true accountability. 

In a rush to shore up organizational security, SMBs might make the all-too-common mistake of equating money spent with security gained. To be clear: spending not backed by strategy and measurement only enhances security posture on the margins, if at all. To get the most bang for each buck, SMBs need to build an accountable security system predicated on quantifiable metrics.Again, this is an area where SMBs can partner with MSPs and MSSPs. This serves as an opportunity to develop cybersecurity strategy with measurable KPIs to ensure security gains are maintained over time. MSPs can help SMBs define the most applicable variables for their IT architectures, whether it be incident response rate, time-to-response or other relevant metrics.

The strategic reevaluation of organizational security is a daunting task for any organization, but given the risks SMBs face and their tendency to be underprepared, it is a necessary challenge. These key points of consideration for SMBs embarking on this critical journey underscore the importance of building an accountable and forward-looking security system and highlight the ways in which SMBs can work alongside MSP or MSSP partners to implement the right cybersecurity system for their organizations. I hope this will be the wake-up call all SMBs need to unleash their inner cybersecurity all-star.

If you’re interested in learning more about how other SMBs are approaching cybersecurity, read my report Security Services Fueling Growth for MSPs.

Cyber News Rundown: Ransomware Hits Tribune Publishing

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American Newspapers Shutdown After Ransomware Attack

Nearly all news publications owned by Tribune Publishing suffered disruptions in printing or distribution after the publisher was hit by a ransomware attack. Many of the papers across the country were delivered incomplete or hours or days late. Even some papers that had been sold off to other publishers in previous years were affected. Fortunately, digital and mobile versions of the newspapers were untouched by the attack, allowing users to view local news as normal online.

‘PewDiePie’ Hacker Turns Focus to Smart Devices

The hacker previously responsible for hacking thousands of printers and directing them to print ads in support of PewDiePie, the world’s largest YouTuber, has now started using unsecured smart devices to continue the campaign. In addition to requesting the “victim” subscribe to PewDiePie, the hacker’s main message is to bring light to the extreme lack of security many of us live with daily. By using the standard ports used by smart TVs to connect to streaming devices, the hacker has even created scripts that will search for these insecure ports and begin connecting to them.

California Alcohol Retailer Faces Data Breach

One of the largest alcohol retailers in California, BevMo, recently announced they’ve fallen victim to a credit card breach on their online store. The breach lasted for nearly two months, during which time customer payment card data for nearly 14,000 customers was illegitimately accessed. While officials are still unclear as to who was behind the breach, it is likely related to the MageCart attacks that appeared across the globe during the latter half of 2018.

Blur Password Manager Leaves Passwords Exposed

An independent security researcher recently discovered a server that was allowing unauthenticated access to sensitive documents for well over two million users. The exposed information included names, email addresses, IP addresses from prior logins, and even their account password, though the company has remained firm that the passwords contained within their accounts are still secure. Since the reveal, Blur’s parent company, Abine, has prompted users to change their main passwords and enable two-factor authentication, if they had not already done so.  

Bitcoin Wallets: Still Major Target for Hackers

Nearly $750,000 worth of Bitcoin was stolen from Electrum wallets in an attack that began only a few days before Christmas. By exploiting a previously documented vulnerability, the hackers were able to inject their own server list into the connections made by the Electrum wallet and successfully rerout their victims to another server, where they were then presented with a fake update screen. By moving forward with the “update,” malware was promptly downloaded to the device and users could then enter their wallet credentials, only for them to be stolen and their accounts drained.

Cyber News Rundown: Amazon User Receives Thousands of Alexa-Recorded Messages

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Amazon User Receives Thousands of Alexa-Recorded Messages

Upon requesting all his user data from Amazon, one user promptly received over 1,700 recorded messages from an Alexa device. Unfortunately, the individual didn’t own such a device. The messages were from a device belonging to complete stranger, and some of them could have easily been used to find the identity of the recorded person. While Amazon did offer the victim a free Prime membership, it’s cold comfort, as these devices are constantly recording and uploading everyday details about millions of users. 

San Diego School District Hacked

In a recent phishing scheme, hackers successfully gained the trust of a San Diego Unified School Districtemployee and obtained credentials to a system that contained student, parent, and staff data from the past decade. The database mostly consisted of personal data for over half a million individuals, but also included student course schedules and even payroll information for the District’s staff. 

Data Breach Affects Hundreds of Coffee Shops

Attackers were able to access payment data for 265 Caribou Coffee shopsacross the United States. The breach could affect any customers who made purchases between the end of August 2018 and the first week of December. The company recommends that any customers who may have visited any of their locations across 11 states engage a credit monitoring service to help avoid possible fraud.

FBI Shuts Down DDoS-for-Hire Sites

At least 15 DDoS-for-Hire siteshave been taken down in a recent sweep by the U.S. Justice Department, and three site operators are currently awaiting charges. Some of the sites had been operating for more than 4 years and were responsible for over 200,000 DDoS attacks across the globe. This is the second in a series of government-led cyberattack shutdowns over the last year. 

Email Scam Offers Brand New BMW for Personal Info

A new email scam is informing victims that they’ve just won a 2018 BMW M240iand over $1 million dollars, which they can easily claim if they provide their name and contact information. Victims who provide their contact details are then contacted directly and asked to give additional information, such as their social security number and credit or bank card details. If you receive this email or one like it, we recommend you delete it immediately, without opening it. 

Cybersecurity Trends to Watch Out for in 2019

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The cybersecurity landscape is in constant flux, keeping our team busy researching the newest threats to keep our customers safe. As the new year approaches, we asked our cybersecurity experts to predict which security trends will have the most impact in 2019 and what consumers should prepare for.

Continued Growth of Cryptojacking

“Cryptojacking will continue to dominate the landscape. Arguably more than a third of all attacks in 2019 will be based off of leveraging hardware in your devices to mine cryptocurrency.” – Tyler Moffitt, Senior Threat Research Analyst 

The largest cyber threat of 2018 will continue its unprecedented growth in 2019. Cryptojacking—a type of hack that targets almost any device with computing power, including mobile devices, company servers, and even cable routers to mine for cryptocurrencies—grew by more than 1,000% in the first half of 2018. Compared to ransomware attacks, cryptojacking is incredibly stealthy, with many systems losing processing power while sitting idle anyway. We are now seeing cryptojacking in more significant systems, as was the case when Nova Scotia’s St. Francis Xavier University struggled for weeks to recover after cryptojacking software led to the school to disable its entire digital infrastructure in order to purge the network. For home internet users, cryptojacking can put undue stress on your computer’s processor, slowing down performance and increasing your electric bill.

But, as with any cybersecurity threat, it’s a constant cat-and-mouse game between criminals and the security industry. As cryptojacking continues to grow, so does criminals’ ability to successfully implement the attack. At the same time, so does our knowledge and ability to defend against it. This type of attack can impact your devices in multiple ways, whether via a file on your computer or a website you visit. We recommend a layered solution that can protect against these different attack vectors, like Webroot SecureAnywhere® solutions.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Influence

“We are going to see a lot more legislation proposed within the US that will be very similar to GDPR, much like California already has. These types of laws will inspire the idea that companies don’t own data that identifies people, and we need to be better stewards of that data. Data, by all accounts, is a commodity. It’s necessary for innovation and to stay competitive, but the data must be good to be of any use.” – Briana Butler, Engineering Data Analyst

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a set of regulations put in place in 2018 that standardize data protection measures within the European Union, marking the beginning of a new era of international data protection. In the United States, California has been on the frontlines of data protection law since 2003 when bill SB1386 was passed, pioneering mandatory data-breach notifications nationwide. California continues to innovate in data privacy law with the recently passed California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA), possibly the toughest data privacy law in the country. Although clearly influenced by GDPR, it differs in many ways—enough that companies who are compliant with GDPR may need to take additional steps to also be compliant under the CCPA. But it’s not just lawmakers who are pushing for data protection regulation, influential tech industry leaders like Tim Cook are also calling for stronger consumer protections on data collection nationwide.

What does this mean for you? Expect another wave of “Privacy Update” emails and cookie collection pop-up notices while browsing, as well as expanded protections regarding the collection and storage of your personal data. Given the rising regularity of third party data breaches—like the one that recently left 500 million Marriott guests exposed—stronger data protection laws can only mean good things for consumers.

Biometrics on the Rise

“We will see continued growth in biometric services. Devices with usernames and passwords will become the legacy choice for authentication.” – Paul Barnes, Sr. Director of Product Strategy

Largely associated with facial and fingerprint recognition, biometrics have been on the rise since at least 2013, when the launch of TouchID placed the technology in every iPhone user’s hands. But the adoption of biometric technologies—particularly facial recognition biometrics—was dampened by cultural and ethical concerns, with some fearing the establishment of a national biometric database. But today we are beginning to see the normalization of facial recognition biometrics, like those utilized by Snapchat and Instagram. Biometrics are also now widely seen used in critical infrastructure applications. Airports use biometrics to facilitate a faster boarding process, and hospitals are adopting biometrics for both patient care and as a HIPAA security precaution.

We predict this regular exposure to biometrics will lead to a larger cultural acceptance and adoption of biometrics as a trusted security standard, leading to the eventual death of usernames and passwords. Why bother with a login when your computer knows the minute details of your iris? But convenience may come as a cost. Corresponding with rising use, biometric data will continue to become a more valuable commodity for cybercriminals to steal.

The Beginning of the End for SSNs

“There will be significant discussion around replacing Social Security numbers for a more secure, universal personal identity option.” – Kristin Miller, Director of Communications

In 2017 the Equifax breach compromised 145.5 million Social Security numbers, forcing us to face an uncomfortable truth: SSNs are a legacy system. First available in 1935 from the newly minted Social Security Administration, they were created to track accounts using Social Security programs. They were never intended to act as the secure database key we expect them to be today.

The conversation has already begun on the federal level. “I think it’s really clear there needs to be a change,” White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Rob Joyce said at the 2017 Cambridge Cyber Summit. “It’s a flawed system. If you think about it, every time we use the Social Security number you put it at risk.”

Although it will be some time until we fully replace Social Security numbers, what should you expect from a replacement? When it comes to personal identifiers that are both unique and secure, the conversations tend to center around two technologies: biometrics and blockchains. Biometrics—particularly behavioral biometrics, which derive their logic from individual’s behavioral patterns, such as the syncopation of types or taps on a screen, or even your unique heart beat—are proving to be an especially intuitive solution.

Certification for the Internet of Things

“We will finally see a consumer IoT/connected goods certification body, similar to the Consumer Electrical Safety Certifications today. This will enforce the notion of Security by Design for a smart goods manufacturer.” – Paul Barnes, Sr. Director of Product Strategy

We love the Internet of Things (IoT). It powers our smart homes, our fitness trackers, and our voice assistants. But IoT devices are notoriously insecure, oftentimes featuring overlooked flaws that can lead to exploitation in unexpected places. A recent Pew Research Center survey looked at how growing security concerns are influencing the spread of IoT connectivity reported only 15% of participants saying security concerns would cause significant numbers of people to disconnect from IoT devices. Alternatively, 85% believe most people will move more deeply into an interconnected life due to the convenience of IoT products. Recently published documents may signal that the time of putting convenience ahead of security is quickly coming to an end.

The United Kingdom’s department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) published the “Code of Practice for Consumer IoT Security.” The code outlines thirteen steps for organizations to follow for the implementation of appropriate security measures in IoT offerings. It also emphasizes the need for a secure-by-design philosophy, a belief that security measures need to be designed into products, not bolted on afterwards. This type of regulatory influence on the industry is sure to make waves across the pond, and we are already seeing this play out with California’s new IoT security law.

Keep these predictions in mind as you make your way through 2019. Staying informed is the best way to keep you and your family safe, so check back here for more cybersecurity trend updates in the future!

Cyber News Rundown: Facebook Bug Exposes User Photos

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Facebook API Bug Reveals Photos from 6.8 Million Users

Facebook announced this week that an API bug had been found that allowed third-party apps to access all user photos, rather than only those posted to their timeline. The vulnerability was only available for 12 days in mid-September, but could still impact up to 6.8 million users who had granted apps access to their photos in that time.

Children’s Charity Falls Victim to Email Scam

Over $1 million was recently diverted from a children’s charity organization after hackers were able to gain access to an internal email account and begin creating false documents and invoices. Due to a lack of additional authentication measures, the funds were promptly transferred to a Japanese bank account, though insurance was able to compensate for most of the loss after the scam was finally discovered.

Email Extortion Scams Now Include Hitmen

The latest in a series of email extortion campaigns promises its victims will be executed by a hitman if a Bitcoin ransom of $4,000 isn’t paid within 38 hours. Given such poorly executed scare tactics, it comes as no surprise that the payment account has still not received any funds after several days. Hopefully, as the threats of violence leads to victims contacting law enforcement rather than paying the scammers, these types of scams will become more rare.

Hackers Force Printers to Spam PewDiePie Message

Nearly 50,000 printers around the world have been spamming out a message suggesting subscribing to PewDiePie on YouTube and recommending the recipient improve their printer security. The group behind the spam has stated they want to raise awareness of the real threat of unsecured devices connected to the internet and how they can be used maliciously. In addition to sending print-outs, attackers could also steal data being printed or modify documents while they are being printed.

Cybersecurity Audit Shows Major Vulnerabilities in U.S. Missile Systems

A recent report showed that U.S. ballistic missile defense systems have consistently failed security audits for the past five years. Some of the major flaws included a lack of encryption for data stored on removable devices, patches reported in previous years that remained untouched, and the regular use of single-factor authentication for entire facilities. Physical security issues that could leave highly-sensitive data exposed to anyone willing to simply try to access it were also detailed in the report.

Cyber News Rundown: Android Trojan Steals Credentials

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Clemson Supercomputer Susceptible to Cryptojacking

IT staff at Clemson University have been working to remove the recent introduction of a cryptominer on its supercomputer, known as Palmetto. As they compromised the system for the mining of Monero, the attackers’ ploy was only spotted due to spikes in computing power and rising operating costs for the supercomputer, since manually monitoring the entire system is nearly impossible. It’s still unknown who was responsible for the mining, but Clemson staff have already begun increasing security measures to discourage copy-cat crimes. 

Cyberattack Strikes Italian Oil Company

Italian oil and gas company Saipemfell victim to a cyber-attack earlier this week that knocked several critical servers offline. The attack appears to have focused specifically on servers located in Middle Eastern countries in which the company operates. It’s presently believed the attackers were also involved in prior cyberattacks on Saudi Aramco, for whom Saipem is a supplier. 

Data Breach Affects Topeka Residents

A data breach that could expose the personal details of nearly 10,000 residents of Topeka, Kansas was recently discovered. The breach could affect anyone who made online payments to the Topeka Utilities Department between October 31 and December 7. Officials are still working to determine the cause of the breach. The city’s utility department is in the process of contacting all 10,000 potential victims.

Google+ Reaches End of Life Sooner than Expected 

While the consumer version of Google+was destined to be shut down in mid-2019, a new bug will hasten its end to April. This final vulnerability had the potential to expose entire user profiles to any applications searching for data, even if the account was set to private. This vulnerability left over 52 million accounts accessible to any number of app developers during the six days it was left exposed.  

Android-based Trojan Steals Credentials

A new Trojan has been spotted on the Android OS that uses screen overlays for popular applications to trick users into entering credentials for apps like PayPal, Google Play, and even several banking apps. By displaying the overlay in the lock foreground screen, users are unable to close the pop-ups with normal methods, and can only do so by completing a form requesting login information. Additionally, the malware can identify if a legitimate app is currently installed and prompt the user to open it and log in, thereby removing a step in gaining access to the victim’s funds.

What Separates Webroot WiFi Security from Other VPNs?

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Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are quickly becoming a fundamental necessity for staying safe online. From large corporations to family households, people are turning to VPNs to ensure their data is encrypted end to end. But as with any emerging technology, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with new and untested VPN options. So, how does Webroot® WiFi Security distinguish itself from other VPNs?

Whether or not you can trust your VPN provider should be the first thing to consider when selecting a VPN. A recent analysis of nearly 300 mobile VPN services on the Google Play store found that, unlike Webroot WiFi Security, almost one in five didn’t encrypt data as it was transmitted through their private network, a core tenant of VPN protection. At Webroot we have decades of cybersecurity experience. We’ve built confidence with every customer, from the world’s leading IT security vendors to families just like yours. Security and privacy are what we do best, and Webroot WiFi Security was purpose-built to always encrypt your data without screening, storing, or selling your private information.

“New products from unknown companies can be risky—what data are they capturing, what are they doing with the data, and how are they protecting that information?” notes Andy Mallinger, Webroot director of product. “Webroot has been in the security business for more than 20 years, and has built machine learning-based security systems for more than a decade. We designed our products to evolve with the ever-changing threat landscape. Adding VPN protection with Webroot WiFi Security, is a perfect next step in our continued evolution.”

Best-in-class security

Webroot WiFi Security was built to provide best-in-class security, while still being easy to use. A one-click setup automatically enables security features without any confusion or missed steps. For extra security, Android®, Mac®, and Windows® users can enable Webroot WiFi Security’s unique “killswitch” feature. If your VPN connection is lost, the kill switch prevents the transmission of your data over an unsecure network until you are reconnected to the VPN.

“Webroot WiFi Security also helps protect your privacy by obscuring your location,” says Randy Abrams, senior security analyst at Webroot. “Websites are able to precisely pinpoint your location and use that information to track your browsing habits. With Webroot WiFi Security, you can be in Broomfield, Colorado, but your VPN IP address can make it look like you are in any one of the more than 30 countries where our VPN servers are located.”

Privacy plus security

Webroot WiFi Security also offers Web Filtering powered by BrightCloud® Threat Intelligence*. This feature provides an extra layer of protection that keeps your financial information, passwords, and personal files from being exploited. Webroot goes a step above other VPNs by safeguarding users from visiting malicious or risky websites known to be associated with malware, phishing, key logging spyware, and botnets. Web Filtering is a feature that the user can choose to enable or disable.

The combination of consumer trust and the power of best-in-class threat intelligence makes Webroot WiFi Security one of the most unique and secure VPN offerings on the market. Webroot has a deep history of protecting its customers’ privacy, and we are excited to showcase this dedication in the VPN market.

Ready to make the switch to Webroot WiFi Security? Learn more after the jump.

*The BrightCloud Web Filtering feature is only available on Windows®, Mac®, and Android® systems.

Cyber News Rundown: WeChat Ransomware

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Touch ID Used to Scam Apple Users

Two apps were recently removed from the Apple App Store after several users reported being charged large sums of money after installing the app and scanning their fingerprint. Both apps were fitness-related and had users scan their fingerprint immediately so they could monitor calories or track fitness progress. But the apps launched a payment confirmation pop-up with the user’s finger still on the device to charge any card on file for the account. Luckily, the apps were only available for a brief period before being removed and refunds issued.

Signet Jewelers Expose Customer Order Data

Signet Jewelers, the parent company for Kay and Jared jewelers, was informed last month by an independent researcher of a critical flaw in their online sites. By simply altering the hyperlink for an order confirmation email, the researcher was able to view another individual’s order, including personal payment and shipping information. While Signet resolved the issue for future orders, it took additional weeks to remedy the flaw for past orders.

WeChat Ransomware Hits over 100k Chinese Computers

In the five days since December began, a new ransomware variant dubbed WeChat Ransom has been spreading quickly across China. With over 100,000 computers currently infected and thousands more succumbing each day, WeChat has made a significant mark. Though it demands a ransom of only roughly $16 USD, the variant quickly begins encrypting the local environment and attempts to steal login credentials for several China-based online services. Fortunately, Tencent banned the QR code being used to send ransom payments and disabled the account tied to it.

Nearly 100 Million Users Compromised in Quora Breach

Servers containing sensitive information for nearly 100 million Quora.comusers were recently compromised by unknown hackers. In addition to personal information about users, any posts or messages sent over the service were also breached. While informing affected users of the leak, Quora stated that all password data they store was fully encrypted using bcrypt, which makes it considerably more expensive and time-consuming for the hackers to break the algorithms and obtain the data. 

Marriott Hotels Breach Leaves Half a Billion Users Vulnerable

In one of the largest data breaches to date, Marriott International is under fire for exposing the personal data of nearly 500 million individuals. A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the hotel chain. For many victims, their names, home addresses, and even passport information was available on an unsecured server for nearly four years after the company merged with Starwood, whose reservation systems were already compromised.

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