data security

Half of the third party softwares are outdated

June 13th, 2017

Synopsys conducted a study of 128,782 software applications which shows that almost fifty percent are old.

“Over time, vulnerabilities in third-party components are discovered and disclosed, leaving a previously secure software package open to exploits,” Synopsys Software Integrity Group general manager Andreas Kuehlmann said in a statement. “The message to the software industry should not be whether to use open source software, but whether you are vigilant about keeping it updated to prevent attacks.”

The survey also showed that some of the vulnerability dates back to 1999.

“Coming on the heels of last month’s WannaCry outbreak, the insights in the report serve as a wake-up call that not everyone is using the most secure version of the available software,” Synopsys security strategist Robert Vamosi said. “The update process does not end at the time of software release, and an ongoing pattern of software updates must be implemented throughout the product lifecycle.”

“As new CVEs are disclosed against open source software components, developers need to know whether their products are affected, and organizations need to prevent the exploit of vulnerabilities with the latest versions when they become available,” Vamosi added.

Vanson Bourne survey mentioned that companies are not up to date considering patches and new versions. Half of the user mentioned that they have to bring a team for patches or to deal with a security issue.

“We can see with the recent WannaCry outbreak — where an emergency patch was issued to stop the spread of the worm — that enterprises are still having to paper over the cracks in order to secure their systems,” Bromium CTO and co-founder Simon Crosby said in a statement. “The fact that these patches have to be issued right away can be hugely disruptive to security teams, and often very costly to businesses, but not doing so can have dire consequences.”

“WannaCry has certainly shined a spotlight on a problem that has plagued enterprises for years,” Crosby added. “It is simply impractical to expect enterprise organizations to continually upgrade — even when they have licenses, the actual deployment creates huge disruption, or in some instances would require an entire hardware refresh and result in huge upfront capital costs.”

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Alertsec helps you comply with HIPAA, PCI and SOX requirements. 

Huge Gap in Demand and Supply for CyberSecurity Workforce

June 11th, 2017

The 2017 Global Information Workforce Study (GISWS) conducted a survey which showed that cybersecurity workforce gap will rise to 1.8 million by 2022. Another study conducted by Frost & Sullivan for (ISC)2’s Center for Cyber Safety and Education also mentioned that there is scarcity of skilled CyberSecurity workforce.

Average information security worker in North America get $120,000 per year.

The survey shows that the main reason behind the shortage are –

Forty-nine percent  – Difficult to find qualified personnel

Forty-two percent – Leadership fails to understand requirements

Thirty-one percent – Difficult to retain talent

Thirty-one percent – There is no clear security expert career path

Due to above, seventy percent of companies plan to increase the size of the security team. Operations & Security Management is the most sought after positions.

“It is clear, as evidenced by the growing number of professionals who feel that there are too few workers in their field, that traditional recruitment channels are not meeting the demand for cybersecurity workers around the world,” the report states. “Hiring managers must therefore begin to explore new recruitment channels and find unconventional strategies and techniques to fill the worker gap.”

Herjavec Group survey shows that there will be even greater workforce gap.

“Unfortunately, the pipeline of security talent isn’t where it needs to be top help curb the cybercrime epidemic,” Herjavec Group founder and CEO Robert Herjavec said. “Until we can rectify the quality of education and training that our new cyber experts receive, we will continue to be outpaced by the black hats.”

“There is a zero-percent unemployment rate in cyber security, and the opportunities in this field are endless,” Herjavec added. “Gone are the days of siloed IT and security teams. All IT professionals need to know security — full stop.”

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Alertsec helps you comply with HIPAA, PCI and SOX requirements. The implemented encryption is powered by Check Point and has the highest security certifications: FIPS 140-2, Common Criteria EAL4 and BITS.

Healthcare Industry Most Affected by Data Breach

June 2nd, 2017

As per reports, healthcare industry was frequently attacked by cyber hackers. Vectra Networks survey suggests that 164 threats were detected per 1,000 host devices. The education industry has 145 threat detections per 1,000 host devices.

“The data shows that healthcare and education are consistently targeted and attackers can easily evade perimeter defences,” the report mentions.

There is a rise of 265 percent in the average number of reconnaissance, lateral movement and exfiltration detections. Also, 333 percent rise was recorded for reconnaissance detections. Finance and technology received below-average threat detection rates mainly due to stronger policies and good response. Media companies has highest rates of exfiltration.

Healthcare industry now has a significant number of IoT.

“These unsecured devices are easy targets for cybercriminals,” the report mentions.

As per Synopsys survey, sixty percent of manufacturers and 49 percent of HDOs said that usage of mobile devices in hospitals and other healthcare organizations increase data risk. But only 17 percent are employing steps to prevent attacks.

“The security of medical devices is truly a life or death issue for both device manufacturers and healthcare delivery organizations,” Ponemon Institute chairman and founder Dr Larry Ponemon said in a statement. “According to the findings of the research, attacks on devices are likely and can put patients at risk. Consequently, it is urgent that the medical device industry makes the security of its devices a high priority.”

Medical devices are difficult to secure as per the eighty percent of respondents.

“These findings underscore the cyber security gaps that the healthcare industry desperately needs to address to safeguard the wellbeing of patients in an increasingly connected and software-driven world,” Synopsys global director of critical systems security Mike Ahmadi said in a statement.

“The industry needs to undergo a fundamental shift, building security into the software development lifecycle and across the software supply chain to ensure medical devices are not only safe but also secure,” Ahmadi added.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Alertsec’s cloud-based information security service provides an easy and convenient way to protect information on your organization’s laptops and computers.

Security Patch at Twitter

May 24th, 2017

One can send message to anyone using ‘@‘ from any given account in Twitter platform. But this arrangement is challenged by a security bug. Security researcher who goes by alias ‘Kedrisch’ reported this bug to the twitter through Twitter’s bug bounty program run by Hackerone.

“The reporter discovered a flaw in the handling of Twitter Ads Studio requests which allowed an attacker to tweet as any user,” the Hackerone bug report states. “By sharing media with a victim user and then modifying the post request with the victim’s account ID, the media in question would be posted from the victim’s account.”

Kedrisch also provided detailed writeup on the flaw and the steps to discover the vulnerability. The process involves intercepting the owner_id and user_id parameters and using it as a part of the GET and POST actions.

The bug allowed hackers to publish post through any user. Twitter mentioned that the vulnerability was not exploited.

“As former appsec tech lead for twitter, I’ll just say I’m not shocked this was in code from the ads team,” security researcher Charlie Miller wrote in a Twitter message.

Miller has won the famous Pwn2own hacking competition. He is also one who hacked iPhone first time.

Miller responded to one of his team mate, “if a team is responsible for the vast majority of security issues, maybe they should feel not awesome?”

Twitter awarded Kedrisch with $7,560 for the disclosure of the bug. Kedrisch has also disclosed the bug in the twitter platform in December 2016. He got $1,120 for a low severity bug. The ethical hacker also got $1,260 in Oct 2016 for reporting disclosure flaw in the publish.twitter.com. This particular bug was rated as medium security issue.

Kedrisch received three other bounties totaling $1,540 which was not publicly disclosed.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

The Alertsec service protects everything stored on the computer such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, Gmail, Photos, Credit Card data files etc.

Data Breach at Zomato

May 20th, 2017

Zomato is the restaurant search portal which has more than 120 million users per month. The team of the company recently found that approximately 17 million user IDs, names, user names, email addresses and hashed passwords were unauthorizedly accessed.

”We hash passwords with a one-way hashing algorithm, with multiple hashing iterations and individual salt per password,” the company stated. “This means your password cannot be easily converted back to plain text. We however strongly advise you to change your pasword for any other services where you are using the same password.”

Zomato mentioned that the passwords of the affected accounts have been reset. Also, the database which contained payment information was not affected. It also mentioned that the hacker has agreed to stop sale of the data.

“The marketplace link which was being used to sell the data on the dark Web is no longer available,” the company said.

Hacker wanted company to start bug bounty program which got positive response. Hacker also gave information the way of hacking a present Zomato database. It will be made public when loopholes are closed.

“Having said that, we are going to be cautious and paranoid, as this is a sensitive matter,” the company added. “6.6 million users had password hashed in the ‘leaked’ data, which can be theoretically decrypted using brute force algorithms. We will be reaching out to these users to get them to update their password on all services where they might have used the same password.”

Breach harms the brands

Ponemon Institute study recently conducted survey on the brand impact of a data breach. It shows that breach causes decline in stock value.

The survey sponsored by Centrify mentioned that 31 percent of users stop using the services and products provided by company who gets affected by data breach. Sixty five percent said that they lost trust in company. Eight one percent mentioned that organizations should take reasonable steps to secure personal data.

Forty five percent of IT practitioners present in the survey mentioned that they don’t believe brand protection is taken seriously in the C-suite.

“It is no longer just an IT problem — it must be elevated to the C-suite and boardroom because it requires a holistic and strategic approach to protecting the whole organization,” Centrify CEO Tom Kemp said.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Alertsec’s cloud-based information security service provides an easy and convenient way to protect information on your organizations laptops and computers.

Cyber Security Professional Salaries

May 16th, 2017

Salaries of information security personnel of U.S. government agencies should increase approximately $7,000 to match the annual salaries of their private sector counterparts.

As per the recent survey sponsored by (ISC)2, Booz Allen Hamilton and Alta Associates, eighty seven percent believe that hiring and retaining qualified information security professionals is important for organization’s infrastructure.

“It’s crystal clear that the government must enhance its benefits offering to attract future hires and retain existing personnel given its fierce competition with the private sector for skilled workers and the unprecedented demand; unfortunately, the layers of complexity involved in fulfilling that goal are significant,” (ISC)2 managing director Dan Waddell mentioned in a statement.

As per the respondents, effectiveness of the security can be achieved by –

Increase in training programs (62 percent)

Monetary package for professional cyber security certifications (62 percent)

Improving salary packages (57 percent)

Flexible work schedules (56 percent)

“In today’s environment where cyber talent is scarce, organizations must recruit and train untapped talent pools, focusing on women, minorities, veterans and older workers,” Booz Allen Hamilton senior executive advisor Ron Sanders said.

“And while it can be difficult for government agencies to compete on salary alone when vying for these cyber warriors, they can appeal to a recruit’s sense of mission and purpose, tout the cutting-edge work being done and highlight opportunities for advancement,” Sanders added.

Challenges in Security

“The U.S. federal government is racing to boost data security against odds not generally faced in the private sector today,” 451 Research principal analyst Garrett Bekker said in a statement. “A major challenge in securing the far-flung systems in the U.S. federal government is the plethora of aging legacy systems still in place, with one example being a 53-year-old Strategic Automated Command and Control System at the Department of Defense that coordinates U.S. nuclear forces and uses 8-inch floppy disks.”

“In short, this ‘perfect storm’ of very old systems, tight budgets and being a prime cybercrime target has created a stressful environment,” Bekker added.

Accenture conducted survey of 3500 US citizens. It found out that seventy four percent do not have much confidence in government considering data security.

“While government agencies face many cyber security challenges, the research found strong citizen support for government organizations to take steps to increase data security and protect citizen information,” Accenture public service strategy lead Peter Hutchinson said in a statement.

“Government agencies that take a comprehensive end-to-end security approach by integrating cyber security deep into their organizations will not only secure their data, but also win the trust and confidence of the citizens they serve,” Hutchinson added.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Alertsec’s cloud-based information security service provides an easy and convenient way to protect information on your organization’s laptops and computers.

Privacy and Security for Americans

May 12th, 2017

A Recent survey conducted by AnchorFree shows that more than eighty percent of Americans are worried about online privacy and security as compared to previous year.

The bill is passed which allowed companies to collect personal data without permission through ISPs. Ninety-five percent of respondents are concerned about this bill. More than fifty percent people are looking to increase their security for personal data.

The survey also shows that more than 70 percent are employing more ways to protect their data as compared to previous year.

“Our survey finds that the majority of consumers are concerned in the aftermath of the Federal Communications Commission’s rollback of Internet privacy protections,” AnchorFree founder and CEO David Gorodyansky said in a statement.

“As more connected devices emerge and threats to Internet freedom persist, it’s imperative for Americans to learn about online privacy protection options and take personal responsibility for safeguarding their health, wealth and family,” Gorodyansky added. “They otherwise risk the misuse of this data by hackers and third party companies.”

Another survey by TeleSign survey shows that thirty-one percent of consumers have their online life worth of $100,000 or more. Fifty percent believe that businesses are primarily responsible for security.

“Companies make plenty of money with the time and money we invest in them and they should do the same to protect our accounts and personal identity,” one survey respondent said.

A survey conducted by Lawless Research shows that 51 percent faced data breach in the previous year. Forty-two percent suffered financial loss. One-third of the respondents stopped doing business with that companies.

Almost 61 percent changed their password after it was compromised. Seventy percent said that they use reused passwords.

Another survey conducted by EyeVerify mentioned that eighty-six percent believes that biometrics makes logging in apps easier. Also, seventy percent believe mobile apps are more secure with biometrics authentication.

“Most people use some form of biometrics every day, but they want more opportunities to use it to make their lives easier and more secure,” EyeVerify CEO and founder Toby Rush said in a statement.

 ___________________________________________________________________________________

Alertsec helps you comply with HIPAA, PCI and SOX requirements. The implemented encryption is powered by CheckPoint and has the highest security certifications: FIPS 140-2, Common Criteria EAL4 and BITS.

Verizon Survey

May 5th, 2017

Verizon mentioned that increase in the propriety research, prototypes, and amounts of confidential personal data is the major factor for the rise in the phishing attack. It also mentioned that there is an increase in 50 percent in the attacks last year.

Almost 95% of the attacks include the phishing technique of software installation on the user device. There is also rise in getting the information by pretending someone else. These are called pretexting attacks. Eighty-eight percent of pretexting attacks originated from emails.

Many smaller organizations also suffered a data breach. Sixty-one percent of breach occurred at the companies having less than 1000 employees.

“Cyber-attacks targeting the human factor are still a major issue,” Verizon Enterprise Solutions Global Security Services Executive Director Bryan Sartin said in a statement. “Cybercriminals concentrate on four key drivers of human behaviour to encourage individuals to disclose information: eagerness, distraction, curiosity and uncertainty. And as our report shows, it is working, with a significant increase in both phishing and pretexting this year.”

Verizon mentioned that three quarters of the breaches was caused by outsider. Almost 51% involves criminal groups.

Finance sector was the major area where attacker focused. Almost 24% attacks counted for this sector. Healthcare involves 15% of data breaches.

“The cybercrime data for each industry varies dramatically,” Sartin explained. “It is only by understanding the fundamental workings of each vertical that you can appreciate the cyber security challenges they face and recommend appropriate actions.”

Survey also found out that 73% percent of the attacks are financially motivated.

“Social engineering is a common means for cybercriminals to establish a foothold,” report authors warned. “And employees are making this easy by using easy-to-guess passwords. Users, and even IT departments are even often guilty of not changing the default passwords that devices come with, and can easily be looked up online.”

The report author at Verizon mentioned that encryption and two-factor authentication also help to limit the damage.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Alertsec helps you comply with HIPAA, PCI and SOX requirements. The implemented encryption is powered by CheckPoint and has the highest security certifications: FIPS 140-2, Common Criteria EAL4 and BITS.

Stolen laptop leads to data breach

May 2nd, 2017

Lifespan Corporation recently suffered a possible data breach due to stolen laptop. The device belongs to Lifespan employee. An individual broke into employee’s car and stole laptop along with other items. The employee immediately reported the incident to law enforcement & Lifespan.

As per the website, “Lifespan, Rhode Island’s first health system, was founded in 1994 by Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital. A comprehensive, integrated, academic health system affiliated with The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Lifespan’s present partners also include Rhode Island Hospital’s paediatric division, Hasbro Children’s Hospital; Bradley Hospital; Newport Hospital; and Gateway Healthcare. “

To reduce unauthorized access to the laptop, Rhode Island health organization changed the login credentials for accessing Lifespan system information. Facility found out the stolen MacBook was not encrypted. Password protection was also not present on the system.

The laptop included information of 20,431 patients. Affected information included emails containing patient names, medical record numbers, and demographic information. Lifespan has started notifying the affected patients. Call centre is also established to answer the queries.

Facility mentioned that there is no suggestion or information of data misuse. Also, patient medical records or Social Security numbers were not included in the breach.

Facility is retraining the employees to avoid such incidents in future.

“Lifespan is committed to protecting the security and confidentiality of our patients’ information, and we deeply regret this incident occurred.”

How can you protect data when the laptop is stolen?

Encryption

 Encryption can play a major role in securing your data in case of stolen laptop.

Authentication

Biometrics and two-factor authentication (2FA) increases the security level of your device.

Email security

Your email contains a lot of sensitive information. Emails are auto-opened in the system due to stored password. Remember password or use alternative methods to open email accounts.
Find My Device

Activate Find My Device software on your laptop. It will help you to track the laptop.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Alertsec’s cloud-based information security service provides an easy and convenient way to protect information on your organization’s laptops and computers.

Companies planning to implement security-as-a-service model

April 29th, 2017

OPAQ Networks sponsored the recent survey of 301 US-based IT professionals. It shows that 87 percent of participants are planning to use security-as-a-service model. Survey also mentioned that 40 percent of companies manage security through part-time employees, contractors and Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs).

According to eight two percent participants, the in-house staff spends 20 to 60 hours a week for procuring, implementing and managing a variety of security products.

“The security challenge for mid-tier businesses is multi-dimensional,” 451 Research analyst Daniel Cummins mentioned in a statement. “For these businesses, everything seems to be increasing — attack frequency, compliance requirements, complexity, costs, and the number of security products that need to be managed.”

Three-fourth of participants said that they dedicate between three to five full-time employees to security. The total cost incurred is $178,000 a year. Forty percent believe that the security spending is going to increase by 10 to 20 percent within one year. Seventy-two percent prefer security as service.

“We thought there would be a preference for the ease and simplicity of security-as-a-service solutions, but we were genuinely surprised by both the degree and urgency of the market demand,” OPAQ chief strategy and technology officer Ken Ammon mentioned in a statement.

“MSSPs are and will continue to play an important role in advising and supporting incident response, but this study reveals that MSSPs should look to leverage cloud-based solutions in order to deliver what the market is demanding,” Ammon added.

Survey participants mentioned that they seek cloud-based security functionality which includes data loss prevention, network access control and encryption.

Other survey conducted by Spiceworks and undertaken by Carbonite shows that only  11 percent of IT pros’ time is utilized on IT planning and strategy while 13 percent is utilized on modernizing technology.

“In a time when data threats are more prevalent than ever, it’s important IT teams have the capacity to focus on mission-critical tasks as well as proactively preparing for threats and strategizing ways to innovate their existing technology in order to facilitate a safe and secure organization,” Carbonite chief evangelist Norman Guadagno said in a statement.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Alertsec helps you comply with HIPAA, PCI and SOX requirements. The implemented encryption is powered by CheckPoint and has the highest security certifications: FIPS 140-2, Common Criteria EAL4 and BITS.