Protect your business from ransomware attacks with these 5 steps

The rise of ransomware attacks has financially damaged thousands of organizations and individuals worldwide in the last couple of years and it will only get worse. Herjavec Group stated in one of its reports that the cost of ransomware attack could reach up to $1 billion this year.

In the Hackerpocalypse: A Cybercrime Revelation report it is estimated that last year cyber-crime victims pay out $24 million to ransomware attackers. However, this year in just the first three months they pay out $209 million and it is estimated that the total cost will reach up to $1 billion by the end of 2016. In 2015 the overall annual cost of global cyber-crime was estimated to be $3 trillion but in 2016, as according to overall situation, it is estimated to double.

Having in mind that the cost of the ransomware attack could reach this much makes us overthink our actions. Many experts believe that organizations and individuals who think that there is no other option but to pay the ransom, have led to the massive popularity of ransomware attack among cyber-criminals.

Since ransomware itself has a profitable nature, cyber-criminals will not only continue deploying ransomware but they will also start attacking bigger and bigger targets in order to get more money. On the other hand, the safe net of the bitcoin has led to a safe and easy demand of money so the question that arises here is: Why would they stop?!

Well they won’t and because of that you have to plan your best defense strategies.

For a business getting attacked by a ransomware means losing sensitive data, money, time, reputation, productivity, corporate or personal finances, sensitive employee data, and other valuable content.
However, the good news is that there is a lot of practices a business can do to protect their data, their employees and their customers. Below you can find few of them:

SHARE THE WORD ON CYBER SECURITY IMPORTANTCE IN YOUR ORGANIZATION

While many organizations think it is needles to talk about the cyber risks an organization faces and analyze the consequences of taking the risk, we on the other hand cannot overstate the importance of this practice.

Here we are not talking only about ransomware attack but also about a growing number of advanced threats which are lurking around your business. By simply believing that the ransomware attack will not happen to your organization doesn’t help much.

The management of a company must understand the risk they are dealing with and come up with concrete ways how to overcome it.
Cybercrime is not a joke and people behind it are serious experts with a pretty much defined target list and goals.

DEVELOP BUSINESS SECURITY POLICIES AND FOLLOW THEM

Since many organizations have not yet developed and published detailed cyber security policies we strongly recommend that while you share the awareness on cyber security importance in your organization you should also focus on development of detailed and thorough policies.
These policies should cover every tool (social media accounts, web, emails, mobile and PC devices and etc.) that your IT department has deployed or that is used within your internal infrastructure.

They should include legal obligations to encrypt emails and other tools that contain sensitive data, to control any device that is connected to the organization’s system and to constantly check and monitor communications within organizations networks for a possible hidden malware.

Established policies will not 100% protect you from ransomware or any other cyber-attack but they will certainly be useful in limiting the number of tools that employees use when accessing organizations resources and they will also be useful in reducing the number of malware attempts which can access your network.

ALWAYS KEEP EVERYTHING UP-TO DATE

Every application, system and software that is used in your organization should be checked regularly for vulnerabilities and brought up-to-date using the latest patches from vendors since open system vulnerabilities can allow cyber-criminals to successfully intrude corporate loss defense system.

BACK UP, BACK UP, AND ONE MORE TIME BACK UP

The most common and best advice you can get is to back up and don’t just knock with your head after your read this. Do it!

Regular up-to-date backups are the most reliable method for recovering lost or infected data. In order to be more effective, Gary Warner advises that a backup must be “serialized”, with older versions of files available in case newer versions have been corrupted or encrypted.

Ransomware tries mostly to encrypt data on a connected network therefore the best would be to store the backed up data in an offline environment far away from ransomware attacker’s eyes.

DEPLOY PROACTIVE RANSOMWARE PROTECTION

Cyber criminals will easily find a way to attack an organization that doesn’t do regular backups and failed to invest in need-to-have anti-ransomware solutions. It is always wiser to choose ransomware protection over expensive pay outs to hackers. Every organization should implement a cyber security solution with a specific emphasis on the ransomware protection capabilities.

Follow the above mentioned steps and you will never get in the situation to pay to cyber criminals. Remember to install a proactive ransomware protection that is always up-to-date and continue doing your business worry-free without worrying that any minute your data can be stolen.

Do an analysis of various ransomware solutions. Here you can find a report on best ransomware solutions that can help you out in making your decision.

One of the largest DDoS attacks recorded: Twitter and PayPal shut down

Hundreds of thousands of devices such as web cameras and other digital recording devices were infected on Friday with one of the largest DDoS attacks recorded in order to affect loading of some of the most visited websites in the world.

The attackers had an obvious goal – to block or slow down global sites using everyday devices. Among the affected sites to find are Twitter, Paypal and Spotify, and all three are belong to Dyn from the United States, which plays the role of switchboard for Internet traffic, according to Guardian.

The attack took place first in the eastern part of United States, then began to spread to the rest of the country, while the effects are registered in some of European countries as well.

In addition to these pages, users have had problems with access to portals such as: Mashable, CNN, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Yelp, including several pages owned by Amazon.

Hackers attack used by the web cameras and DVRs infecting them with botnet that can be described as an assistant in the creation of DDoS attacks. This type of attack, busy with certain internet service artificial traffic which impedes access to “normal” users.

Dyn has issued a statement in which he confirmed that the DDoS attacks came from millions of sources, which is classified as the one of the largest carried on the attack so far.

After the first wave of DDoS attacks was followed by a second and then a third that was recorded Friday night. The problem lasted for several hours.

Arm your Android device with an anti-keylogger

 
Checking your Android device, from time to time, for a secret keylogger that is able to record whatever you do, will certainly not harm you. But doing nothing and letting an app do everything for you sounds even better. Did you ever hear about android anti-keylogger? 
 
Secret spy in your device
 
Having your data stolen is definitely not your dream scenario. If we go back in the near past, we can localize few keylogger attacks on Android devices that made the security alerts for Android users go high up! 
 
The scene with Flash Keyboard was definitely among them. The app was actually among the most popular apps on Google Play Store if we look at the download rate, until cyber security companies revealed that the app was stealing users’ data without their permission and then sending the info (GPS location, email address and etc.) to various servers located in China, United States and the Netherlands. Once found out Google removed the app from the store. 
Another keylogger attack scenario happened with the perfect legitimate Android Keyboard application – SwiftKey that was infected with a Trojan that turned the app into a keylogger.

 

Anti-keylogger – let’s keep private as private
Having in mind the above scenarios, which are not the only examples of keylogging attacks, and the fact that more and more advanced versions of keyloggers are coming to the surface – a security shield is highly needed.
Anti-keylogger feature for Android devices keeps your private data as private and besides a usual malware scanner and real-time protection that most of the security apps have, the anti-keylogger is an additional layer of protection which is specifically designed to detect and block the keylogger that may be lurking around in your device.
It detects malicious keyboard applications, password managers and SMS applications that track everything you type, even legitimate keyboard applications which are modified by hackers.
Wolf in sheep’s clothing
Downloading a security app is the first step in securing your device but what is even more important is the human factor which in many cases leads to these attacks. Advanced version of keyloggers have the ability to trick users worldwide, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, in order to get what they want. Simply by putting a nice mask, something that we are familiar with, they are covering their real malicious face. It is always good to download an app from reliable sources and to always review what is the app asking us to do. By simply clicking next, next, next and agree can lead to many unwanted situations.
Scan the below code to download the app:

Zemana Mobile Antivirus protects you from malicious SMS applications

Developers of Zemana Mobile Antivirus made certain improvements on the anti-keylogger feature. Now, the app protects you from malicious SMS applications.

What are malicious SMS applications?

Nowadays, almost all Android devices are vulnerable to any kind of attack that could allow hackers to access the vulnerable device without the owners being aware of it.

Malicious SMS applications look like a totally legitimate SMS application but it actually works on a spying manner. The attacker can easily install the malicious app directly into your device whereby they get your consent to monitor your messages. Once the software is installed into your device to be monitored, it logs activity such as SMS messages.

These malicious SMS applications are able to retrieve users’ new text messages but it will also extract old and deleted text messages as well. It does this by scouring the memory of the mobile device and extracting all available old and deleted text messages that haven’t been overwritten.

 

Image: Zemana Mobile Antivirus detected SMS malware

Trust what you type in your short messages

With the ever accelerating presence of malicious SMS, developers of Zemana Mobile Antivirus decided to improve its anti-keylogger protection feature and to enhance it with a special layer of protection from, above mentioned malicious SMS applications.

Stay safe and install Zemana Mobile Antivirus.

Healthcare breaches: easy profit plus+lack of security protection

2015 was “the year of the healthcare breaches”-according to IBM, 2016 Cyber Security Index.

During the last year, 47% of the United states population experienced a personal healthcare data breach.

Out of the 16 critical infrastructure sectors, the Healthcare industry suffered from the most recent data healthcare breaches, an estimated ~21% – according to Gemalto’s report Data Breach Index for the first half of 2015.

Scary statistics speaks for itself, but what makes healthcare industry so attractive to cyber-criminals?

Simple answer. Easy opportunity for profit plus + lack of security protection.

Medical profiles are worth much higher on the black market than simple credit card numbers, since they contain: patients’ social security number, home address, phone number, emergency contacts, email address and etc.

According to Elliott Franz who is a CEO at Virtue Security “it’s easier than ever to gain access inside a hospital’s network and compromise a device,”

In February this year, the computers at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Centre have been down for more than a week as the Southern California hospital tried to recover from a Ransomware attack. In order not to lose all its patient medical records, the hospital paid $17,000 to restore the hijacked files.

2015, was the year of healthcare breaches, but for now 2016 hasn’t shown a different face.

What measures to undertake?

Hackers will use many kind of advanced attack techniques to achieve their final goal.

For all businesses, as well as for healthcare organizations, it is very important to implement layered security approach and to use variety of other tools to block hackers out! A comprehensive security solution is number one move that each business has to undertake.

Having a security solution that is always up to date and that is able to defeat ransomware, keyloggers, financial malware, SSL injectors and other threats is a must have for every organization.

Besides, it is very important to include other techniques such as segregating networks so in case a hacker manages to gain access to one network area doesn’t automatically have access to all the data stored throughout the organization.

Since more and more organizations rely on wireless routers, one more technique that healthcare organizations should apply is to keep that their routers and other parts up to date. Beside having their routers safe having their network passwords secure and changed frequently is an additional level of security that hackers will find hard to pass.

Without proper education we are lost. Same goes for this situation. Many healthcare data breaches were caused by employees itself without themselves being even aware of it. Healthcare organizations should educate their staff members on how to avoid a phishing scam, on social engineering tactics and other attacks that target employees, and very importantly advice on choosing secure passwords.

Hackers very often misuse the existing software that your organization is using if it is not up to date all the time. Healthcare organizations should always keep the software patched and up to date to lessen possible security vulnerabilities.

It is very important to think about your organizations safety and to implement security techniques and tools that will keep you safe as best as possible. Remember a data breach always costs more than securing your organization.

So, what is better?!

Free tips how to keep kids safe online

Do you worry how to keep your kids safe online?

Do you worry that your kids will receive some harassing messages or become a victim of ever accelerating cyber-criminal?

Most probably you do.

Internet is very important for kids nowadays. They use it for experiencing new staff, educational purposes and many other great benefits. However, as much as good things it can bring the bad part doesn’t fall behind. That is where parent’s worry starts.

The Internet hides many kinds of cyber dangers and kids always like to try new staff and click on almost everything. Therefore, the parent may worry that a hacker can misuse this very easily.  It is very important to teach kids about the cyber space from start and to get engaged in their online lives so you can see their behavior and advise them accordingly.

The Internet can bring many kind of risks: hidden online predators, illegal online activities, privacy loss, harmful sites and etc. Parent should explain their kids that not everything on the Internet is true and what harm it can bring to them if they believe in everything they see or read.

Below we have highlighted some key tips you should follow to ensure your kid is safe so you can sleep well.

1. Cyber-crime awareness – the first and most important tip is talking to your kids about cyber-crime and how to avoid it. Let them stay aware on the tactics hackers use to trick end users, teach them how a suspicious download button looks like and let them always be open and not scared to come to you if they have downloaded a virus by mistake. A good proactive security solution may be the best fit for this situation since it will block anything before it runs.

2. Passwords – make sure that your home network is secured with a strong password. Moreover, make sure to educate your child that password sharing is not a safe practice and that creating a strong password and keeping it for itself it’s the best way to say safe.

3. Cyber-bullying – this practice has become, unfortunately, very common in the virtual world especially among young generations. In case your child is being cyber-bullied, teach them to never respond to harassing messages and to report these activities to respective government bodies.

4. Privacy – unfortunately, online privacy is a myth. Everyone can just simply “google” you and get all the information they need about you. But let the found information be safe enough. Teach them to carefully reveal information about themselves, to hide their location tags, and to think twice before posting something on social networks since nowadays everything can be misused.

5. Parental control filtering – there are many options to implement; web filtering, block access to websites you find harmful or inappropriate, configuring parental controls on your router. However, this may work for younger children but for older kids it may not be that successful since they will probably find ways around the filtering you have implemented.

6. Online sites – it is more than important to educate your kids on the importance of safe browsing. Let them stay aware to only interact with secured websites (https protocol) or that are secured by some of the security software vendors. Also, whenever they register and reveal some of their info to any website, legitimat
e or not, let them inform you so you can double check. It is very important to reduce the risk of online identity theft therefore the less information they reveal the safer they are. A good anti-keylogger software would remove the worries since it camouflages all the keystrokes you enter so no one can track what you type.

7. Security solution – To not worry all the time if your kid has downloaded a virus, ransomware or even a keylogger and with that make the whole family harm the best would be to install a comprehensive security solution that will block automatically the downloaded virus and will always inform you if your device is at threat.

It is definitely not easy to educate your kids on the importance of staying safe online since most probably they don’t want to listen, therefore find the best possible way to reach out to them with the message. Till than install a parental control filtering and a security software and reduce the risk as much as possible.

What are the most recent ransomware variants?

In the period between 2015 and 2016 there is been an increase in the total number of users who encountered ransomware variants. It rose by 17.7% compared to previous year and, as it seems, it doesn’t show any signs of stopping.

Owners of small businesses are experiencing a great hip of ransomware attacks since they present a great attacking point to cyber criminals. As a matter of fact, a security report states, that 54% of UK companies were hit by ransomware in the last year. The problem that arises here, as National Cyber Security Alliace states, is that 60% of small businesses hit by cyber attacks end up going out of business.

Everyone is a target; therefore we all should take needed precautions and most importantly always
stay informed on the latest variants and ransomware discoveries. CBR listed the latest versions:

El Gato

This one is for Android users. Cat-themed ransomware displays cute cat images once users’ device has been infected and locked. It has the ability to steal users SMS Messages, encrypt their files and also has botnet capabilities. It is not an advanced variant since it is find to be easily decrypted.

Hitler

Here, most probably the name of the ransomware should tell a lot. However, it has been discovered by a Jakub Kroustek, malware analyst who stated that this ransomware was developed by less-skilled hackers that for the attack method used file detection. Once you become a victim it will display a picture of Hitler. It doesn’t even encrypt files, so what it does is that it removes the extension for all the files under different directories. The ransom that the victim had to pay was 25 Euro Vodafone Card. However, if the victim refused to pay, the ransomware would crash victims’ computer and delete all files. So, here a good offline back up would be a good prevention.

Cerber v2

This ransomware variant was more advanced in a sense that it was capable to escape general antivirus checkers due to the fact that it was updating its hash all the time. So general antivirus product were not able to detect it since they were left without the malware signature. Soon, Trend Micro released a free decryptor tool to crash the malware so Cerber presence didn’t last long.

These are only few version that were present, there are many other that are uncovered and many more that still hide it the dark part of the cyber world. Back up your files regularly and install a ransomware protection that is capable to defeat all ransomware variants. Isn’t it better to pay a little for a security protection than huge amounts in ransom?!

At the end it’s your choice. Ransomware analyst at Zemana devoted their time to spare you guys all the headache ransomware can cause. They developed a product that is capable to defeat known and unknown ransomware variants as stated by MRG Effitas. See report here.

Simply, install ransomware protection and stay worry free.