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Tag: Cyber Threats Page 1 of 2

How To Stay Protected Against Clop Ransomware?

Clop ransomware is a member of the CryptoMix family known to infect Microsoft Windows operating systems. The Russian word ‘clop’ translates to “a bug” in English. The APT group known as TA505 uses ransomware widely as a final payload to target a system’s whole network, as opposed to a single machine. This virus functions by encrypting a file and appending the extension “.clop.” After successfully encrypting the file, the virus generates “ClopReadMe.txt” and places a copy in each folder. This file also includes the ransom note.

It was recently uncovered that the threat group had stolen 2 million credit card numbers via POS malware and threatened to demand a $20 million ransom from a German business as well.

How can individuals stay protected from Clop Ransomware?

  1. Be cautious when using computers. Lack of information and negligence are the fundamental reasons for computer virus infestations. So be careful when browsing the internet and downloading, installing, and upgrading software.
  2. Always open email attachments with caution. If the sender’s email address appears suspicious or unusual, do not open the attachment.
  3. Only use direct download links from authorized sources, as malicious programs are commonly distributed via third-party downloaders and installers. Updating software packages are required to keep installed software up to date and secure. The most secure method is to use tools or created features provided by the official developer.
  4. Using pirated software with software cracking tools is illegal and should never be done. You essentially steal intellectual property from software developers and do not pay them. Furthermore, because these tools are regularly used to transmit malware, the risk of malware infection is high.
  5. Blocking a C2 (Command and Control) connection in the middle of an infection chain can prevent malware from propagating. To accomplish such activities, use web filters. One of the most important tactics for preventing ransomware from infiltrating a machine or network is to deploy an effective endpoint security solution.
  6. If the machine has already been infected with the Clop ransomware, run a Windows antivirus tool to remove it. Install and run a reliable antivirus and antispyware software regularly; these capabilities can assist you in detecting and eliminating malware before it causes any harm. If Clop is already p in your system, we recommend running a scan with any NGAV (Next-Generation Antivirus) solution to eradicate the malware.

How can businesses stay protected from Clop Ransomware?

  1. Make a list of your resources and data, identify software/hardware that is legitimately necessary for business objectives, and audit incident and event logs.
  2. Manage software and hardware configurations. Allow admin rights and access only when necessary for an employee to accomplish his tasks. Keep a watch on the network’s services, protocols, and ports. Configure the security settings on routers and other network infrastructure devices. Make a software allow list that only allows legitimate and pre-approved programs to run.
  3. Conduct regular vulnerability assessments. Patch operating systems and software both physically and remotely. Install the most recent software and application versions to address zero-day vulnerabilities published by threat actors.
  4. Put measures in place for data recovery, backup, and asset protection. Set up MFA (Multifactor Authentication), ZTNA (Zero Trust Network Access), and PoLP (Principle of Least Privilege).
  5. Stop phishing emails through sandbox analysis. Install the most recent security updates on the system’s email, endpoint, web, and network layers. Also, implement sophisticated detection methods to identify early warning signals of an attack, such as the existence of suspicious tools on the system.
  6. Employees should be subjected to regular security training and review. Perform penetration testing and red-team drills.

Centex Technologies provides cyber security solutions for businesses. For more information about how to stay protected, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 – 4740, Dallas (972) 375 – 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 – 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.

Role Of Threat Intelligence Teams

Cyber threat intelligence refers to information about cyber threats and threat actors that can be used to mitigate cyber attacks. Sources of cyber threat intelligence include open source resources, social media, human and technical intelligence factors, deep or dark web intelligence, etc.

Cyber threat intelligence teams collect cyber threat information, evaluate it in context of its reliability and source. It also analyzes information through rigorous and structured tradecraft. The process of threat intelligence is a cycle because it identifies intelligence gaps and tries to answer unresolved loopholes which lead to the requirement to collect new information which starts new cycle of threat intelligence.

Here are some reasons that make stronger case for the role of cyber threat intelligence teams in organizations:

  • Lowering Cost: In case of a data breach, an organization has to bear data loss and many other costs including post-incident remediation, restoration, fines, lawsuit fees, investigation expenses, and damage to reputation. Cyber threat intelligence helps in lowering overall expenses and save business capital by improving cyber security defenses to mitigate an organization’s risks.
  • Lowering Risks: Cyber criminals keep on looking for improved ways to penetrate organizational networks. Cyber threat intelligence provides insight and proper visibility into emerging security threats to reduce risk of information loss, minimize or block disruption in business operations and maximize regulatory consent.
  • Avoiding Loss Of Data: Cyber threat intelligence system helps in blocking any suspicious IP addresses or domains that may be trying to penetrate an organization’s network to steal sensitive data. It is important to detect and mitigate these intrusions well in time to prevent them from developing into distributed denial of service attacks.
  • In-Depth Cyber Intelligence Analysis: Cyber threat intelligence teams play an important role of helping organizations analyze different techniques used by cyber criminals. This analysis can be used to evaluate the cyber security strategies, protocols and defense systems of an organization to check if they are capable of blocking latest cyber threats.
  • Threat Intelligence Sharing: Threat intelligence teams share information on newly found cyber threats across other networks. This information can help other teams in updating their security systems to prevent hackers from executing such attacks at a larger scale.

When implemented efficiently, cyber threat intelligence teams can ensure an organization stays up to date with overwhelming volume of threats and become proactive about future cyber security threats.

For more information on role of threat intelligence teams, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

Emerging Cyber Security Threats

2020 has witnessed a great change in the work environment of organizations with an increase in number of remote and work from home employees. This change in dynamics has paved way for new cyber security threats along with re-emergence of some old threats.

Here is a list of emerging cyber security threats that organizations should be aware of in order to stay protected:

  • Work-From-Home Attacks: Cyber security attacks on work-from-home or remote employees are not new but the frequency and extent of such attacks has increased many folds with the new work culture. Cyber criminals are targeting multiple and insecure home networks at same time to launch wide spread breach of critical systems and services. AN effective way to solve this problem is to effectively use Identity & Access Management Tools that are capable of analyzing user activity, resource requests, and corporate connectivity behavior.
  • Brute Force Attacks: Brute force attacks have resurfaced as cyber criminals are recognizing the potential of DDOS attacks. Hackers are making use of simple services delivery protocol (SSDP) and simple network management protocol (SNMP) to launch large number of Distributed Denial Of Service attacks. Use of botnet swarms has enable hackers to amplify IP requests to overwhelm organizational networks leading to slower response time. SNMP attacks can cause more damage as the protocol connects and manages common corporate devices, such as modems, printers, routers and servers. Compromised SNMP help attackers in bypassing firewalls which exposes all corporate services to risk.
  • Fileless Frameworks: Fileless malware and ransomware attacks are designed to bypass common detection controls and infiltrating key systems by using legitimate platforms or software tools that already exist within corporate networks. This allows hackers to get past common detection methods that scan for malicious files. Use of existing system tools does away with the need for cyber criminals to design an attack framework which decreases the time required for malware development.
  • Front Line Phishing: One of the biggest news of 2021 is COVID-19 vaccine. People are extensively searching online to know more information about the vaccine such as current state of the disease, when will the vaccine be given out, who has been approved to get the vaccine, etc. Thus, organizations and individuals should be prepared for phishing attacks fabricated around this topic. Cyber criminals are using COVID-19 vaccine information links as phishing baits in their emails or messages to lure users.

For more information on cyber security threats, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

User & Entity Behavior Analytics: Definition & Benefits

User & entity behavior analytics (UEBA) is a type of cyber security process that understands how a user conducts normally. Further, it detects any anomalous behavior or instances, such as deviations from normal conduct. A simple example being, suppose a user downloads 10 MB of files everyday but suddenly downloads gigabytes of files on an instance, the system will detect this anomaly and update the user.

UEBA relies on machine learning, algorithms and statistical analyses to detect the deviations from established user behavior and determine the anomalies that can translate into potential cyber threats. UEBA also takes into consideration the data in system reports, logs, files, flow of data and packet information.

UEBA does not track security events or monitor devices, instead it tracks all the users and entities in the system. The main focus of UEBA is insider threats.

Benefits Of User & Entity Behavior Analytics:

As the cyber threat landscape has become complex, hackers are now able to bypass peripheral security such as firewalls. Thus, it is important to detect the presence of hackers who have entered the system in a timely and efficient manner.

This makes user & entity behavior analytics an important component of IT security. Here are some benefits of user & entity behavior analytics system:

  • Detect Insider Threats: Insider threats such as an employee gone rogue, employees who have been compromised, people who already have access to organization’s systems, etc. can cause a serious threat to an organization’s security by stealing data and information. UEBA can help in detecting data breaches, sabotage, privilege abuse, and policy violations by analyzing a change in normal behavior of an employee.
  • Detect Compromised Accounts: There is a great probability that a user’s account may be compromised; the user may have unknowingly installed a malware on his system or a legitimate account may be spoofed. As soon as a compromised account performs an unusual action, it is detected by UEBA before it can cause major damage.
  • Detect Brute-Force Attacks: Scammers can target cloud-based entities as well as third-party authentication systems to launch an attack. UEBA helps in detecting brute-force attacks allowing the organization to block access to these entities.
  • Detect Changes In Permissions: Sometimes hackers create super user accounts to grant unauthorized permissions to some accounts. UEBA detects such changes in permissions to nip the attack before it is launched.

For more information on user & entity behavior analytics, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

Potential Hurdles Limiting The Internet of Things

There is immense hype surrounding Internet of Things (IoT). However, irrespective of technological advancements and immense benefits offered by IoT, there are some potential challenges that limit the application of IoT. In order to understand these hurdles, it is first important to understand what IoT is and how it works?

IoT is a network of interconnected things, devices, machines, animals or humans that are equipped with sensors, software, network connectivity and necessary electronics which enable them to share, exchange and collect data. The sensors of every connection in the network communicate with a cloud system and send data to it through internet connectivity. Once data is received by cloud, the software processes it to take an action like sending an alert or making adjustments to sensor/device with manual efforts of the user.

Following are the hurdles that limit the use of Internet of Things:

  • Availability Of Internet: Although IoT offers high levels of convenience and technological access to users, but there is a basic internet requirement for IoT to be operational. Undoubtedly, internet access is not considered to be a problem by majority of people, but there are still some areas of world where internet connectivity may be spotty or absent.
  • Expenses: IoT requires placement of sensors on the devices or objects. For implementing this technology to its complete potential, there is a requirement to place sensors on roads, traffic lights, utility grids and buildings. Embedding sensors on all required places is looked upon as a huge expense. Progress has been made to develop cheaper sensors. However, more progress is required before organizations would embrace the technology completely.
  • Privacy & Cyber Security: As the number of cyber security breaches is rising, organizations and individuals are thoroughly concerned about the security related to IoT. If every household item or organizational computer is connected over web, it raises the need for strict cyber security protocols.
  • Data Surge: It is estimated that by 2020, around 26 billion items or objects will be a part of IoT. This will lead to the generation of large amount of data. So, businesses need to invest in new hardware, equipment and data mining techniques for effectively collecting and analyzing data in real time.
  • Consumer Awareness: IoT is a technological buzzword, but still 87% of general public is unaware of the term or its actual meaning. There are chances that people may actually be using the technology in some way and yet be unaware of it. This lack of knowledge may result in loss of interest. However, there has been an increased interest in the use of wearable technology which could act as a gateway for other connected objects.

Irrespective of these hurdles, the number of IoT developers is expected to reach 4.5 million by 2020. This gives a hope for new solutions to these hurdles for facilitating the spread of technology and its applications.

For more information on Internet of Things, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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