Hacking Of Adobe Provides Security Wake-Up Call

November 8th, 2013

Wake up call sign

About a month ago, software company Adobe announced that hackers had gained access to passwords and log-in information for millions of accounts. Initially, the number of accounts affected was estimated to be around 38-million. As Jim Finkle reports at NBC News, that number is actually significantly higher.

Password security firm, LastPass, discovered the stolen customer data on a website for cyber criminals. In actuality, 152-million user accounts were compromised.

Adobe, which makes popular software like PhotoShop and Acrobat, downplayed the significance of the data breach. They claim many of the accounts who saw their log-in information stolen were inactive. Either the email or password was out of date, or the account was registered under false information in order to take advantage of one-time free use offers. The out of date log-ins total an estimated 43 million accounts. It’s unknown how many accounts were set up with fictitious information.

Still, Adobe has notified 38-million users that their accounts may have been compromised.

Regardless of whether the log-ins were up to date or not, security experts warn that the data stolen is still valuable to criminals. The data stolen can be used in phishing scams with relevant details included to make them more believable. There’s also the concern of Adobe passwords being used for other accounts. As one expert pointed out, a user may have registered with Adobe years ago and since let the account become dormant. However, they may use the same password for other online accounts, which a hacker could now have access to.

Some have suggested that Adobe didn’t do enough to safeguard customer’s data from an attack. While this is an example of what can happen when the proper security isn’t put in place at the business level, there’s also a wake-up call here for users. Regardless of how strong your password is, it’s still vulnerable. Hackers have a variety of ways of breaking into your accounts, and they don’t all involved brute force efforts to guess passwords. Also, failing to use unique passwords for each account leaves you much more vulnerable to hacking.

If you have a business that needs to improve your security to keep your data and your customer’s data safe from attack, or if you’d like to improve the security on your personal devices, call Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335.

The Cost Of Cyber Attacks Continues To Rise

November 7th, 2013

Money on fire

There are many reasons to protect against cyber attacks. You need to protect your data, and your customer’s information, from third party criminals. You also want to avoid downtime, which prevents your customers from accessing your services or your employees from working. There are many issues involved in the fallout of a cyber attack, but the most telling is the monetary cost to your business. Jesmond Darminin, of IT News, reports that the cost associated with cyber attacks has grown for the fourth consecutive year. In addition to the costs, the frequency of attacks and the time it takes to resolve them are also on the rise.

The Ponemon Institute conducted their initial Cost of Cyber Crime Study four years ago. Since then, the cost has increased by 78-percent to an annual cost of more than $11.5 million on average, per company. In the past year alone, the average cost increased 26-percent, or $2.6-million more per attack. The companies involved in the study reported a range of costs between $1.3-million to $58-million. The average cost to overcome a single attack has reached $1-million.

During the same four-year time span, the amount of time it takes to overcome a cyber attack has also increased significantly. It takes nearly 130-percent longer to resolve a cyber attack now than it did in 2009. Companies reported it took an average of 32 days to resolve an attack. During this time, companies suffered a loss of about $33-thousand per day.

These increases can be attributed to more intelligent, sophisticated cyber attacks. More attention to security is needed than ever before and when an attacker finds a vulnerability, they’re able to do more damage and remain undetected for longer.

Companies suffered an average of 122 successful attacks per week, which is skewed by larger enterprises, but still illustrates the severity of the situation. Even though smaller businesses will likely experience fewer cyber attack attempts, once they become successful, they’ll likely begin to experience more.

That’s why a robust and effective security infrastructure is vital for your business. For help keeping your company safe, or for help recovering from a successful attack, call Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335.

Are You Overconfident In Your Company’s Security?

October 31st, 2013

Overconfident businessman

Office Depot recently surveyed 1-thousand small business owners to find out what they thought of their company’s security. As Steve Ragan writes for CSO, the results suggest that most small businesses are confident in their security to a fault.

Of those surveyed, 77-percent claimed their business has never been attacked, while 66-percent were confident that their data was safe from any hacking attempts. Those numbers themselves don’t necessarily suggest a problem. However, half of the participants admitted that they don’t use any internet or email security. 80-percent don’t use any sort of data protection and 91-percent forego endpoint and mobile security. Even worse, 14-percent have failed to implement any security measures at all.

These stats reveal that many small businesses aren’t properly secured. They are, however, targets for cyber attacks. According to this year’s Verizon Business Data Breach Investigations Report, 40-percent of the attacks studied targeted companies with less than 1-thousand employees with the majority of those being in retail or the food industry.

Small businesses hold valuable data. Employee information like social security numbers and bank accounts, as well as customer payment information is all at risk. That’s not the only reason why hackers are targeting smaller businesses, however. Larger businesses also have this type of information and usually more of it. But, larger companies generally have stricter security policies, which make it difficult to hack into their network. Smaller companies are easier to steal data from so hackers target them more.

Attacks on small businesses rarely make the news. But, they are incredibly costly and often doom the business. In order to avoid becoming a victim, you need to put security in place. A one-size-fits-all approach isn’t the best method, however. To truly secure your business, you need a custom security infrastructure that addresses your specific needs and safeguards the areas most likely to be attacked.

For help improving your company’s security, contact Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335.

Security Flaw Discovered In iOS Apps

October 31st, 2013

Smartphone unlocked

There have been relatively few true threats to the security of iPhones compared to the amount of malware being produced for Android. A serious threat has recently emerged, however. Antone Gonsalves, of Network World, reports that a team of security experts uncovered a vulnerability in a large number of iOS apps. The flaw allows for a third party to intercept data and then send their own directly onto a user’s device.

The team is calling it “HTTP Request Hacking” because it allows hackers to intercept HTTP traffic between the app and server. The hacker can then tell the app to retrieve data from a different server, which usually involves putting malicious links on your iPhone and iPad. This method is particularly effective for news apps because the hackers can put fake links in the news stories, which cause malware to be downloaded when clicked.

Once a hacker gains control of the app, they can continue to send whatever data they want until the app is updated to close the security gap, or removed completely.

There is such a large number of affected apps that the security team couldn’t contact all of them directly. Instead, they opted to spread the word through the media. The vulnerability only affects apps using an HTTP connection. Most high quality apps use the more secure HTTPS connection.

There’s code available to fix the problem, but it’s much easier to just remove the app. If it’s using an HTTP connection, you probably shouldn’t be using it anyway.

This particular security flaw was specifically found for iOS and while it hasn’t been tested on Android, security experts note that it’s likely that would affect those users as well.

If you believe you have malware infecting any of your devices, come by or contact Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335. We will fix your phone, tablet or computer and help make sure you’re prepared for the next malware attack.

Router’s Security Flaw Allows Hacking Remotely

October 25th, 2013


Security vulnerabilities for wireless routers are extremely dangerous. For a typical user, it’s difficult to diagnose when your router has been hacked. Making matters worse is that many users don’t know how to update with new security patches, or don’t understand the risk of not having regularly updated firmware.

As Lucian Constantin, of ComputerWorld reports, these problems were clearly illustrated recently when a security researcher uncovered flaws in the security of some Netgear routers. The WNDR3700v4 model of Netgear’s N600 Dual-Band Gigabit Router let’s hackers bypass authentication when using the web based interface. When remote administration is turned on, the router’s settings and the user’s activity can be changed and monitored from anywhere.

There are numerous possibilities for criminals exploiting this security flaw. Traffic running through the router could be re-routed to malicious websites, internal network services could be exposed, and data transmitted through the router can be monitored and stolen.

Netgear faced a similar problem in July when the same vulnerability was discovered in the firmware of another model. They quickly released a patch, but have apparently failed to check other routers for the security flaw. Many users have also failed to take notice as one report notes about 73-percent of users with the vulnerable router have failed to update.

One security expert warns to never voluntarily turn on remote administration for any device. Not only does it expose you to the possibility of attacks, but it often contains bugs.

In order to protect your router, even if you aren’t using this particular Netgear model, is to use WPA2 protection and restrict access with a strong, unique password. Also, stay up to date with updates released by the manufacturer of your router.

For help improving the cyber security for any of your devices, at your home or business, call Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335.

Software’s Vulnerability Leads To Thousands Of Hacked Websites

October 24th, 2013

Weak link

Whether or not you’ve ever heard of vBulletin, you’ve likely visited a site that uses it. The software is designed for internet forums and distributed by Internet Brands Inc. As Brian Krebs reports on his security blog, a recent announcement from Internet Brands warned vBulletin users to the directories “/install” and “/core/install” from sites using the 4.x and 5.x versions of the software. This would close a security flaw. Unfortunately, 35-thousand sites failed to comply and were hacked via this vulnerability.

For sites that failed to remove the directories, hackers were able to easily find vulnerable forums and add malicious administrator accounts. Once they have administrator access to a site, a criminal has a number of harmful options.

A spokesman for vBulletin claims the 4.2.2 version of the software fixes the problem, as does the upcoming 5.1.0 version. However, he recommends always removing the install folder regardless of what version of the software is in use.

For those sites currently running versions 4.x or 5.x, it would be wise to check for two things. First, check to see if you removed the directories that cause the security vulnerability. Then, check on the administrator accounts on your site. Make sure there isn’t an additional account that’s been added maliciously.

Geek Rescue handles security for websites, networks and all kinds of devices. To get rid of existing malware, or to improve security to keep you safe from it, call Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335.

Securing Your Mobile Device For A BYOD World

October 23rd, 2013

Locked Tablet

The Bring Your Own Device trend is unavoidable. Because of the growing trend, cyber criminals are targeting mobile devices more. It’s more important than ever to properly secure smartphones and tablets since they’re now being used to access company data and valuable information.

Limiting the access each employee has is an important step to keeping your business from suffering a catastrophic data breach. As Laird Harrison, of Tech Page One, writes, there are also some device specifications that can be enabled to greatly impact security.

  • Use Passwords

It’s shocking how many tablets and smartphones have no security on their lock screen. Considering how many hacking stories start with a device being lost or stolen, it’s a must to require a password to unlock. The use of Apple’s new biometric recognition is another good step.

  • Allow Time-Out

When your device is dormant for an extended period of time, the screen should turn off and require a password to continue using it. This is called inactive time-out. Not only will it help to improve battery life, but it also makes the device harder to hack since it erases the possibility that a thief could find the device and use it without knowing the password.

  • Remote Access

By adding programs and enabling some options, you’ll be able to remotely view the data stored on a lost device. You’ll even be able to disable some applications and erase data that could be harmful in the wrong hands.

  • Encryption

It’s a good idea to encrypt all data stored on mobile devices, but at the very least, encrypt company related information. There are a number of programs available that will effectively encrypt the most vital data on your device.

These are just a few options mobile users can enable on their device to make them more secure. If you’re using a personal device to store or interact with company data, these are certainly necessary precautions. Even if you’re only using your device for personal use, these are still good ideas.

For help increasing the security on any of your devices, or to recover lost data or fix a device that isn’t working right, call Geek Rescue. If it boots up or turns on, we fix it. Call us at 918-369-4335.

Keys To A More Secure Wireless Network

October 22nd, 2013

WiFi icon

Free public WiFi is a well known danger to your device’s security. These wireless networks are unsecured, which makes it easy for hackers to intercept data being transmitted over them.

Most companies also use a wireless network for their employees, which can be just as dangerous. It’s often overlooked, but, as Sam Narisi of IT Manager Daily reports, there have been a large number of exploits due to wireless routers having backdoors and holes in their security.

Recently, D-Link wireless routers were discovered to have a vulnerability that allows a third party to change the router’s settings without needing the password.

Security firm Independent Security Evaluators released a list of 13 wireless routers that they found to contain security flaws. The routers came from trusted companies like Belkin, Netgear and Linksys and allowed hackers to intercept information, gain access to computers on the network and bypass security.

A technique called “wardriving” has been used to crack wireless networks, as well. By simply driving around and area and searching for wireless signals, hackers are able to then use software to break the network’s encryption.

Internal wireless networks are not inherently secure. There are, however, steps you can take to improve their security. Installing the latest patches and continually updating the router’s firmware is important. Replacing your hardware regularly is also necessary since older devices will stop getting patches and have flaws the newer devices don’t. Use HTTPS for administrator connections. And of course, use a long and strong password on your router.

There are a number of ways a criminal can gain access to valuable data within your company’s network. In order to improve your entire security, call Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335.

How To Better Protect Data From Common Breaches

October 21st, 2013


The security of data is extremely important for any business. The loss of data by any means can mean you’re unable to do business, or you’ve put your customers at risk. Sharon Florentine, of CIO, has a list of some common security risks and how to deal with them.

  • Device Loss or Theft

Smartphones are constantly being left behind in airports, coffee shops and bars. Laptops and tablets are the prime targets for thieves. When these devices have access to vital company data, or store data themselves, it becomes a serious problem. To combat it, back-up everything so you’ll still have access to it when that device disappears. Also, be sure to put protection in place so you can remotely wipe the device of any potentially harmful information.

  • BYOD

Bring Your Own Device refers to employees using personal devices to access the company network and company files. This becomes a security headache because most individual’s fail to put proper security in place on their devices, and the devices might be infected with malware, which can then infect the entire network. Limiting employee access to certain files when on their own device is important. Ensuring that each employee has proper security in place on their devices is as well.

  • Traffic Detours

Without the proper protection in place, traffic from your network, or to your website, could be redirected through someone else’s server. This would allow that third party to collect data. For your most vital files and applications, create lists of authorized users, devices and IP addresses so no one else is able to access them.

There are unfortunately a number of ways to lose valuable data. Whether a device is physically stolen, or digitally compromised, you need to plan ahead for disaster.

Geek Rescue has the tools to help secure your company data, and recover and restore lost data. Call us at 918-369-4335 to improve your company’s cyber security.

Google’s Project To Protect Website’s From DDoS Attacks

October 21st, 2013

Security shield

A lot of attention has been paid to Google’s recent changes. From their Hummingbird update of their search algorithm, and encrypting searches, there’s been no shortage of headlines about the search giant’s actions. Their latest move, however, isn’t about improving their own site. Instead, it’s an attempt to improve security for smaller, at risk sites.

Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, of Mashable, reports that Google has launched ‘Project Shield’, which allows small websites to offer content through Google’s infrastructure to keep them from being taken down by Distributed Denial of Service attacks.

A DDoS attack is a cyber attack that attempts to shut down a website by overloading it with malicious traffic. The traffic is impossible to block because it originates from thousands of individual, compromised machines.

With Project Shield, Google is trying to help individually owned websites that serve a public good in so-called “high risk conflict zones”. These would include Syria, Egypt and any country where the internet is controlled by the government.

In such countries, governments have used DDoS attacks in the past to take down certain websites. One example of this is a Syrian website set up by an activist to track scud missiles. The Syrian government used a DDoS attack to knock the site offline in July.

With it’s own DDoS prevention measures and an offering to serve content through Google’s resources, Project Shield is hoping to protect these types of sites, which are usually operated by small human rights organizations without the means to protect themselves.

Google is currently accepting applications to be “trusted testers” from sites that feel they deserve Project Shield’s protection.

For businesses in the US, Google is not offering such protection, but DDoS attacks and other cyber threats remain a serious concern. To improve your company’s security, contact Geek Rescue. We offer a variety of security solutions to keep you safe from attacks. Call us at 918-369-4335.