Cyber crime is only likely to increase, despite the best efforts of government agencies and cyber security experts. Its growth is being driven by the expanding number of services available online and the increasing sophistication of cyber criminals who are engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with security experts. With the right level of preparation and specialist external assistance, it is possible to control damages, and recover from a cyber breach and its consequences
A hacker tied to the November 2016 penetration of the US Election Assistance Commission and subsequent database sale has successfully targeted 60+ government agencies and universities by leveraging the same attack method: SQL injection.
The march of the infamous Mirai botnet continues, with Kaspersky having found the first Windows-based spreader for the malware. You probably remember Mirai from last year – it was the source of a huge number of infections which powered some massive DDoS attacks. Well, now the code (which was made openly available online in 2016) has been crafted to make a Windows botnet, likely by a Chinese speaking malware author according to the security firm (going by language clues in the coding, and similar signposts).
A simple one-digit typo within the source code of a cryptocurrency called Zcoin has allowed a hacker to make a profit of over $400,000 worth of cryptocurrency. In a blog post, published on 17 February (Friday), Zcoin’s community manager Reuben Yap said: “A typographical error on a single additional character in code allowed an attacker to create Zerocoin spend transactions without a corresponding mint.” The exploit has been blamed solely on the coding error and the firm has stressed there is no weakness in the cryptography of its virtual money. Essentially, it gave the attacker the ability to siphon Zcoins multiple times out of single transactions for “several weeks.”
Be wary of Android connected car apps. As cool as it can be to have an app that makes your smartphone a remote control for your car or truck, the same app could be hacked to let thieves enter your car. That’s the message from researchers at Kaspersky, a Russian security company, according to a report by Wired.
Protecting yourself from Botnets
Botnet is a term derived from the idea of bot networks. In its most basic form, a bot is simply an automated computer program, or robot. In the context of botnets, bots refer to computers that are able to be controlled by one, or many, outside sources. An attacker usually gains control by infecting the computers with a virus or other malicious code that gives the attacker access. Your computer may be part of a botnet even though it appears to be operating normally. Botnets are often used to conduct a range of activities, from distributing spam and viruses to conducting denial-of-service attacks .
Why are they considered threats?
The main problem with both rootkits and botnets is that they are hidden. Although botnets are not hidden the same way rootkits are, they may be undetected unless you are specifically looking for certain activity. If a rootkit has been installed, you may not be aware that your computer has been compromised, and traditional anti-virus software may not be able to detect the malicious programs. Attackers are also creating more sophisticated programs that update themselves so that they are even harder to detect.
Attackers can use rootkits and botnets to access and modify personal information, attack other computers, and commit other crimes, all while remaining undetected. By using multiple computers, attackers increase the range and impact of their crimes. Because each computer in a botnet can be programmed to execute the same command, an attacker can have each of them scanning multiple computers for vulnerabilities, monitoring online activity, or collecting the information entered in online forms.
What can you do to protect yourself?
If you practice good security habits, you may reduce the risk that your computer will be compromised:
- Use and maintain anti-virus software – Anti-virus software recognizes and protects your computer against most known viruses, so you may be able to detect and remove the virus before it can do any damage. Because attackers are continually writing new viruses, it is important to keep your definitions up to date. Some anti-virus vendors also offer anti-rootkit software.
- Install a firewall – Firewalls may be able to prevent some types of infection by blocking malicious traffic before it can enter your computer and limiting the traffic you send. Some operating systems actually include a firewall, but you need to make sure it is enabled.
- Use good passwords – Select passwords that will be difficult for attackers to guess, and use different passwords for different programs and devices. Do not choose options that allow your computer to remember your passwords.
- Keep software up to date – Install software patches so that attackers can’t take advantage of known problems or vulnerabilities. Many operating systems offer automatic updates. If this option is available, you should enable it.
- Follow good security practices – Take appropriate precautions when using email and web browsers to reduce the risk that your actions will trigger an infection.
Intrusions happen, threats emerge and your security operation needs to be at its peak efficiency. Anglo African solutions can quickly intercept threats and thus help in avoiding data breaches. For more information about cyber security kindly contact Anglo African on 2331636 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org