Top 5 Cybersecurity Threats From Onepath

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Top 5 Cybersecurity Threats

Courtesy of Onepath.


Retail

3 out of 5 Retailers Blame Cybersecurity Fears for Delay in Digital Transformation

CIO.co

A Frost & Sullivan study comissioned by Microsoft reveals that fear of cyberattacks has forced 60% of retailers to put their digital transformation programs on hold.


This Is How YouTube Influencer Scam Artists Are OperatingYouTube

ZDNet.com

A scam striking the followers of YouTube influencers which offers free gifts from their favorite star has been in operation for longer than first thought.


HeadphonesApple Disables Group FaceTime Following Major Privacy Glitch

Threatpost

The bug allows iPhone users to FaceTime other iOS users and eavesdrop on their conversations—even if the other person doesn’t pick up.


Q4 2018 Top-clicked Phishing Email Subject LinesLaptop

KnowBe4

Watch out for phishing emails that use these common subject lines.


SunsetWhy Sunsetting Windows 7 and Server 2008 Is a Good Thing 

1path.com

Still using Microsoft Windows 7 and Server 2008? You’ve probably heard that support ends January 2020 but let us tell you why this is a good thing.

Data Privacy Day is TODAY!

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Data Privacy Day is an international effort to empower individuals and business to respect privacy, safeguard data and enable trust.  It takes place annually and helps to drive awareness and participation.

2019DPDBusiness

The 5 Ways to Help Employees be #PrivacyAware tip sheet has excellent ideas for promoting awareness about the importance of respecting privacy, safeguarding data and enabling trust throughout the workplace.

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In today’s world, everyone is digitally connected and must think about safety and security both online and offline. These privacy tips can help you, your family and friends be privacy-savvy and stay safer online.

There is also a live streaming event today at 2 PM PST, 5 PM EST.  Don’t miss top privacy experts from Amazon Web Services, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Verizon, Visa and more for discussions on artificial intelligence and other breakthrough technologies, GDPR, the California Privacy Act and how your business can emerge as a leader in privacy.

Click Here to Watch

 

CISA-A Force For Good

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Following up on my posts from the last two days, DHS Emergency Directive For DNS Management and More Information on DNS Hijacking Campaign, I want to share a great blog post from the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

CISA has come on the scene as a force for good in the Chris-Krebs-Official-Bio-Photocybersecurity space.  Director Christopher Krebs released a blog today that explains his agency and why he took the step of issuing its first ever Emergency Directive.  It also talks about the importance of Team Internet and the private/public collaboration that will be critical to keeping our cyber infrastructure safe.

You may read Director Krebs blog here.

 

More Information on DNS Hijacking Campaign

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I just received the following broadcase from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team and wanted to share as a follow-up to my post DHS Emergency Directive For DNS Management from yesterday.  There are additional details and recommendations worth noting in this document.

US-CERT

National Cyber Awareness System:

AA19-024A: DNS Infrastructure Hijacking Campaign

01/24/2019 03:01 PM EST

Original release date: January 24, 2019

Summary

The National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), part of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), is aware of a global Domain Name System (DNS) infrastructure hijacking campaign. Using compromised credentials, an attacker can modify the location to which an organization’s domain name resources resolve. This enables the attacker to redirect user traffic to attacker-controlled infrastructure and obtain valid encryption certificates for an organization’s domain names, enabling man-in-the-middle attacks.

See the following links for downloadable copies of open-source indicators of compromise (IOCs) from the sources listed in the References section below:

These files will be updated as information becomes available.

Technical Details

Using the following techniques, attackers have redirected and intercepted web and mail traffic, and could do so for other networked services.

  1. The attacker begins by compromising user credentials, or obtaining them through alternate means, of an account that can make changes to DNS records.
  2. Next, the attacker alters DNS records, like Address (A), Mail Exchanger (MX), or Name Server (NS) records, replacing the legitimate address of a service with an address the attacker controls. This enables them to direct user traffic to their own infrastructure for manipulation or inspection before passing it on to the legitimate service, should they choose. This creates a risk that persists beyond the period of traffic redirection.
  3. Because the attacker can set DNS record values, they can also obtain valid encryption certificates for an organization’s domain names. This allows the redirected traffic to be decrypted, exposing any user-submitted data. Since the certificate is valid for the domain, end users receive no error warnings.

Mitigations

NCCIC recommends the following best practices to help safeguard networks against this threat:

  • Update the passwords for all accounts that can change organizations’ DNS records.
  • Implement multifactor authentication on domain registrar accounts, or on other systems used to modify DNS records.
  • Audit public DNS records to verify they are resolving to the intended location.
  • Search for encryption certificates related to domains and revoke any fraudulently requested certificates.

References

Revisions

  • January 24, 2019: Initial version

DHS Emergency Directive For DNS Management

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DHS-CISAThe Department of Homeland Security has issued an emergency directive regarding the management of DNS files in response to what is believed to be aggressive hacking originating in Iran.

Malicious actors tracked to that country have been aggressively targeting DNS management sites, obtaining user credentials and then editing DNS records to point unsuspecting web site visitors to a malicious web site.  Here is what takes place:

  • Hackers gain access to the site that manages a company’s DNS records.  These are the records that translate IP addresses to more common text.  For example, www.company.com correlates to an IP address on the Internet where that web site lives.  The hackers repoint www to another IP address, where they are hosting a malicous site that looks like the original site.  This allows the hackers to steal your identity or other information, depending what details you enter in to that site.
  • Once the hackers have done their work, the revert the DNS record back to the original web site and move on.  It’s possible you may not even know this has taken place.

The DHS emergency directive recommends putting two factor authentication (2FA) in front of the account through which you manage your DNS records.  2FA requires an additional step, in addition to entering your username and password to login to the site.  Most will offer a few options, the most common being a text message with a one time code that you need to enter, or the use of an authenticator app like Google Authenticator or Microsoft Authenticator, which generate random codes you have to enter to complete the login process.  Both of these are available in your app store.

As an example, GoDaddy is a very popular company that hosts DNS records for their customers.  GoDaddy allows 2FA to be enabled on your login that you use to manage DNS if you host it with them.  If you do, you should enable this immediately as it is the best defense against this threat.  Other popular organizations that host DNS are companies like Network Solutions, Rackspace, Web.com and more.  You should enable 2FA where ever your DNS is hosted and if the company you host with does not support 2FA, you should move your domain to company that does.

If you would like to read the emergency directive, click here for a PDF of the directive or click here for the online directive.

The Clock Starts Ticking Today

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As I posted a few days ago, Windows 7/Server 2008 End of Support happens one year from today on January 14, 2020.

2020EOLDon’t sit back and relax, thinking you’ve got a year.  You don’t.  If you are like many companies, you may still have a substantial number of computers running Windows 7 and some servers running Server 2008 and 2008R2.  It takes time to plan for widescale replacements like this and if you don’t start planning now, you will be in a pinch come this time next year, scrambling to get your replacements done.  Don’t be that company.

Start planning now and make a plan to methodically replace the necessary systems throughout 2019 so come this time next year, your users will be well settled in with the new operating systems.  Most importantly, you will be safe from the hackers who will be waiting at the gates to exploit any organization who has not completed these necessary upgrades.

What 2019 May Hold For Tech

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The following was published in today’s Foster’s and Seacoast Sunday.

2019TechIn my last column, I wrote about how technology evolved and influenced our lives in 2018. Now that we are in the New Year, it’s time to look forward to what 2019 may have in store for us.

Cybersecurity will remain one of, if not the most active area of technology in 2019. Some are predicting a distinct increase in cyberattacks. There is no question cyberattacks are happening more frequently than ever and penetrating further than they ever have. The rise of state-sponsored attacks is alarming, as is the number of groups attributed to attacks being funded by governments.

As we move deeper in to 2019 and the 2020 election draws closer, concerns about cyberattacks on campaigns, voting and social media platforms are expected to reach unprecedented levels. The development and deployment of proactive defenses against these anticipated attacks will be closely watched to insure the integrity of this election cycle.

Come January 2020, both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 will be out of support, meaning they will no longer receive security updates and become vulnerable to hackers. Many businesses are still running both operating systems extensively and the time to plan for replacement is now. Before you know it, we will be deep into the New Year and there will not be sufficient time to plan for and implement necessary upgrades or replacements to be sure these are not in place at this time next year. Hackers will be ready to attack systems still in place. If you are not already planning to replace all systems running these versions, you are putting yourself at unnecessary risk.

Artificial intelligence, AI, will continue to evolve and become more ubiquitous this year. From monitoring financial networks to combating cyberthreats, AI will become an important aspect of how we leverage technology for good. As an example, most security operations centers, the mission control like centers that monitor massive amounts of security logs for threats, can’t function without AI. AI allows security analysts to sift through massive amounts of data to identity patters of activity that could represent a real-time risk to a network. Once identified, the risk can be clearly communicated to appropriate resources for response. AI represents perhaps the only way we can effectively develop cyberdefenses to keep ourselves safely connected.

Smarthome technology will become even more pervasive in 2019. Walk in to any electronics or home improvement store and you will see ever larger displays of smarthome technology. From video doorbells, to garage door control to temperature sensors, alarm systems, lighting control and more the connected home is here. As is voice control. Alexa is everywhere and Google and others are nipping at her heels. The ability to talk to your home and have it intelligently respond is here. There are a lot of privacy concerns around this technology, but the benefits have so far outweighed the risk.

Speaking of privacy, privacy will remain a hot topic due to the amount of personal and sensitive information that lives within our technical infrastructures. From legislation, to technical controls to auditing capabilities to monitor the flow of data in real time, concerns about privacy will remain front and center in 2019.

Personal health technology will also become more prevalent this year. As an example, the latest version of the Apple Watch allows you to take on demand ECG’s and detect heart anomalies. While this is innovative and potential transformation, it’s not without concern. Some medical professionals have expressed concern that people will place too much faith in personal health technology and put themselves at unnecessary risk. The concern is that someone may not seek out professional medical assistance and instead rely on technology to self-diagnose and treat.

Technology is a wonderful enabler of our human evolution. Like any significant progress throughout history, it’s not without risk and tradeoffs. Being in the business, I obviously favor the positive over the negative, but not without proper understanding and respect for the concerns. It’s up to all of us to use technology wisely and for good. Really not much different from any other aspects of our lives. Happy New Year.

Windows 7/Server 2008 End of Support

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Are you still running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 in your business?  If so, are you aware that support is coming to an end is just 12 months?

End of Support

On January 14, 2020 Microsoft will stop supporting these desktop and server operating systems.  No further security updates will be released and any organizations still running these versions after this date are at serious risk.  You can be sure that hackers will have plenty of offensive weapons ready to exploit any computer running these Windows versions once security updates and support expire.  There are ample examples of this happening with prior versions, be it Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 to name just two.

Don’t wait and think that a year is plenty of time to plan.  The time will fly by faster than you realize.  How many times do you find yourself saying, how did we get to 2019 so quickly?  I can’t believe it’s already April?  It goes on and on.  Take action now!

Make a plan, set a budget and establish a timeline to be sure that come New Year’s 2020, you no longer have any computers running Windows 7 or servers running Windows Server 2008 or 2008R2.  Be sure you are on current operating systems like Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019.

Talk with your internal IT or outsourced IT partner and start working on your plan now.  Have things in place by the end of the first quarter, to ensure that by the end of 2019, you are all set and running on the most stable and secure platforms available.  You’ll be glad you did!

What is HCM Technology?

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Simply put, it’s Human Capital Management Technology.  This is the technology used by employers to plan their workforce strategy, including attracting, hiring and managing the best talent possible.

Progressive and innovative companies leverage HCM Technology to give them a competitive advantage in a tight labor market.  It allows HR professionals and the executive teams that work with them to craft effective business and personnel strategy to reach their corporate goals.

HCM Technology is a hot and rapidly evolving field.  The technology itself continues to mature as do the product offerings available to organizations of all sizes.

HCM-3If HCM Technology is an area of interest for you, I recommend subscribing to the HCM Technology Report.  The HCM Technology Report is rapidly becoming the defacto standard in the HR industry as a comprehensive resource hub to help you keep up with news, products, technology, white papers and more.  I hope you find this a valuable resource.  I do.

Ohio’s Data Protection Act Sets A Practical Standard

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The question is, will other States and even the Federal government follow?  I hope so.

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The Ohio Data Protection Act, which became law in November of 2018, establishes a cybersecurity safe harbor for companies that adopt an applicable cybersecurity framework.

In simple terms, here is what this means.  If a business has shown good faith in putting appropriate cybersecurity defenses and protections in place, it may not be able to be held liable for any damages should they experience a data breach.  The Act does not create a standard that companies must comply with, rather it references several established cybersecurity frameworks that are compliant in the eyes of the law.  These frameworks are:

Further, this law allows business to determine which framework applies to them.  Companies are allowed to consider their size, type of information that needs to be protected and other factors in making this determination.

For small business, this is good news as this may represent the first cybersecurity law that a small business can actually comply with.  While large enterprises are complying with laws that impact them, this has been a challenge for small business.  The scope of compliance requirements, the costs of complying and the uncertainty of whether they can properly protect themselves have kept many from even trying.

By offering a safe harbor, to protect the busines as long as it can show compliance with one of the listed frameworks, this law may actually encourage businesses of all sizes to do the right thing.  This would be a great development and I’m hoping all other states follow Ohio’s lead.  We will all be safer if they do.