Category: Cybersecurity

Data Breach at LastPass

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Data Breach at LastPass, How Safe is Your Information?

On December 22nd, 2022, while millions of people were preparing to celebrate and ring in the new year, cybercriminals were hard at work laying plans to breach the popular password manager, LastPass’s cloud server leaving all of their users exposed.

Due to a prior breach back in August of 2022, LastPass first sent word to its users about a limited security incident within their development environment. At first, it seemed as though there wasn’t too much cause for concern as the hackers had compromised a single developer account and “took portions of source code and some proprietary LastPass technical information.”

However, this past month, LastPass learned that though no customer data was accessed in the prior incident, there were certain source codes and technical information that was taken and used to dupe a LastPass employee into providing the hacker with credentials and keys to access and decrypt particular storage spaces within their cloud. LastPass’s CEO Karim Toubba has done his best to assure users that so long as they have followed their password guidelines, as restated in their statement above, they should be safe. But how safe is their customers’ information completely?

Let’s break it down.

What is LastPass?

For those who don’t know, LastPass is a popular password management software that allows users to store all of their important data, specifically, passwords. Whether it’s an individual’s banking info, logins to a frequented website, or even saved credit cards, insurance cards, memberships, etc. LastPass secures all of it for you, keeping it safe within their cloud software…at least it did, at one point.

Data-Breach-at-LastPass-How-Safe-is-Your-Information-middle-imageHow Safe is My Information Now?

The truth is, we can’t speak on behalf of LastPass, but it’s important to note that there are never any sure-fire ways to keep your most important data safe from the ever-advancing cyber-criminals. There are only so many measures companies can take themselves in order to promise your security. Now, this isn’t to say that password management software’s such as LastPass can’t ever be trusted. For example, LastPass went so far as to instill quite a few security measures including their zero-knowledge policy, but it’s important to take the extra precautions yourself to ensure your own safety.

Aside from following the guidelines set forth for password protection from LastPass or any other website, we recommend for individuals to do the following:

  • Instill 2-Factor Authorization (2-FA): We understand the ease of being able to just click sign in/login on a screen and having the website right at our fingertips. However, not instilling a 2-FA can cause you more harm than good in the long run. With 2-FA there are many different versions websites tend to use in order to keep your data safe whether that’s by sending a unique code to your phone or email, asking you security questions, and so on. We recommend whenever a user is signing up for any website to always enable 2FA for that extra boost of security.
  • Change Your Passwords Often: Let’s be honest, we all have that one favorite password that we’ve been using for years on multiple sites because it’s the easiest thing to remember. That one password however can result in our immediate downfall if it’s exposed in a breach. We recommend updating your passwords and following the specifications provided by the websites you are signing up for to prevent any potential exposure.
  • Store Your Passwords on Your Own Cloud: Just because LastPass experienced a data breach through their cloud doesn’t mean that all cloud servers can’t be trusted. The safest cloud option that you have available to you, is your own. Whether your passwords are stored on your own personal device in a folder, on your phone, or on your iCloud/Google Cloud, you are the gatekeeper of your passwords as you set the security measures.
  • Don’t Login on Public Computers or Servers: Though this seems obvious, we have to reiterate the importance of staying off of your most important websites when you are out in public. You never know who is around and who is waiting for you to login in order for them to gain access to your most personal files. Always login on a private, personal computer or a private network.

Final Words

Data breaches at this stage in the game of today’s ever-evolving world are inevitable. A security breach on a source like LastPass was something that was unfortunately bound to happen as every single person, including hackers, has their one lucky day. The only thing that internet users can do in order to prevent their information from being spread is to take their own private security measures.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re an average consumer or a company using password managers like LastPass; you need to be sure your data is always safe and take the proper security precautions.

Nervous about how secure your company’s files are after reading about this breach? Contact us today for a Free IT Audit and put your fears at ease.

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How to Avoid a Cyberattack in This Week’s Cybersecurity Minute

The Cybersecurity Minute: How to Prevent a Cyber-attack

As technology becomes increasingly intertwined with our lives, the need for cybersecurity becomes ever more essential. Cyber-attacks are becoming increasingly common, with hackers and other malicious actors looking to exploit any vulnerability. It’s important to take the steps necessary to protect your data and ensure that your business or organization remains safe and secure.

Welcome to another video in The Cybersecurity Minute series. Today in Uptime with Richard Luna, we’ll discuss the various cybersecurity threats and the steps you can take to prevent a cyber-attack.

Cybersecurity Threats

When it comes to cybersecurity, it’s essential to understand the various threats. These threats come in many forms, from malicious software to phishing attacks and unauthorized data access.

Data breaches are also a significant concern. A data breach is when unauthorized actors access sensitive data, such as personal or financial information. These breaches can result in data loss and severe repercussions for an organization or individual.

 

Steps to Secure Your Data

Now that we’ve discussed the various threats let’s look at some of the steps you can take to protect your data.

  1. Establish a firewall- A firewall is a security system that prevents unauthorized access to a system. It can filter out malicious traffic and block access to certain websites or services. The firewall should be set up correctly and regularly monitored to ensure it works effectively.
  2. Isolated backups- Backups are a great way to protect your data in case of a breach or other disaster. By isolating the backups, you can ensure they are not accessible to unauthorized users. This will help to protect your data in the event of a breach.
  3. Enable multi-factor authentication- MFA adds an extra layer of security to a system. It requires users to enter a code sent to their mobile phone or another device in addition to their username and password. This helps to ensure that only authorized users are accessing the system.
  4. Monitor user access- It’s important to track who is accessing the system and what they are doing. This can help identify any suspicious activity and alert you to potential security threats.

 

Conclusion

Securing your data is essential for effective cybersecurity. It’s important to understand the various threats and take the necessary steps to protect your data. Establishing a firewall, creating isolated backups, enabling multi-factor authentication, and monitoring user access are all essential steps for effective cybersecurity.

Protected Harbor offers comprehensive data protection and security solutions to protect your critical data and systems from cyber threats. Partner with us to enjoy round-the-clock security monitoring, advanced threat detection, and automated alerts to resolve any issues quickly. With our help, your organization can focus on its core mission without worrying about data breaches or cyber-attacks.

Keep watching the video and other resources to stay safe. Contact us today for a free cybersecurity assessment.

Why Cyber-attacks Are So Damaging

Why Cyber-attacks Are So Damaging

The digital world has made life easier for humans and opened up new avenues for exploitation and crime. Cyber-attacks have become increasingly common, and their damaging effects are felt everywhere.

We welcome you to another episode of Uptime with Richard Luna. In the cybersecurity minute today, we will discuss why cyber-attacks are so damaging, the cost, and how small businesses can protect themselves from cyber threats.

 

Why are Cyber-attacks So Damaging

Cyber-attacks are so damaging because they can do immense harm to businesses, governments, and individuals. Cyber threats can cause tremendous economic losses and compromise the security of sensitive information.

Businesses may lose sensitive customer information or confidential corporate data and bear the cost of replacing or restoring it. In some cases, they may even be fined by regulatory agencies for failing to protect their data. Cybercriminals can also steal money from businesses by hacking into their systems, leading to significant losses.

 

The Cost of Cyber-attacks

The cost of cyber-attacks can be immense in terms of money and reputation. Businesses that are targeted by cybercriminals can suffer significant financial losses due to theft, fraud, and other malicious activities. They may also be subject to fines and other penalties imposed by regulatory agencies.

In addition to financial losses, businesses can suffer reputational damage due to cyber-attacks. Customers may lose trust in the company and take their business elsewhere. This can lead to a decline in sales and profits, and it may take a long time for the industry to recover.

Another cost of cyber-attacks is the time and effort spent restoring systems and data. Businesses will have to invest in new security measures to protect their systems from future attacks, and they will also have to spend time and resources recovering from the attack. This can be a lengthy and costly process, and it can disrupt the business’s operations.

 

Cybersecurity for Small Businesses

Small businesses are especially vulnerable to cyber threats, as they usually lack the resources and expertise to protect themselves. Fortunately, there are several steps that small businesses can take to protect themselves from cyber-attacks.

The first step is to invest in robust cybersecurity tools and technologies. These tools can help to protect the business from various threats, such as malware, phishing, and ransomware. It is also essential to ensure that the business’s systems are regularly updated to protect against the latest threats.

Small businesses should also develop an incident response plan to prepare for cyber-attacks. This plan should include steps for identifying, responding to, and recovering from a cyber-attack. Training employees on cyber security best practices, such as avoiding suspicious links and emails and using strong passwords, is also essential.

Finally, small businesses should consider working with a cybersecurity partner to ensure that their systems are secure. A cybersecurity partner can provide enterprise-grade protection and help the company respond quickly and effectively to any threats.

 

Conclusion

Cyber-attacks can have severe and far-reaching consequences, and businesses of all sizes need to take steps to protect themselves. Small businesses should invest in robust cybersecurity tools and technologies, develop a comprehensive incident response plan, and work with a cybersecurity partner to ensure their systems are secure. With the proper protections in place, businesses can reduce cyber-attack risk and minimize its damaging effects.

At Protected Harbor, we provide enterprise-grade cybersecurity to businesses of all sizes. Contact us today for a free cybersecurity assessment and get the peace of mind that comes with knowing your business is secure. Keep watching the video and other resources to stay safe.

The Most Common Businesses That Cyber Attacks Target

Uncovering The Most Common Businesses That Cyber Attacks Target

Cyber-attacks are an ongoing challenge for businesses of all sizes. They can come from anywhere and potentially cause severe damage to the affected company. While all businesses are at risk of cyber-attacks, specific industries are more vulnerable than others. Understanding which enterprises are the most common targets of cyber-attacks is essential for companies to prevent and protect their data. This article will uncover the most common businesses that cyber-attacks target so that companies can be better prepared and protected.

Here’s the third installment in the series The Cybersecurity Minute: Uptime with Richard Luna. Today we’ll uncover what businesses cyber-attacks target. We will also discuss what steps companies can take to protect themselves from cyber-attacks and how to respond if they do happen. With this information, companies can take proactive measures to keep their data safe and secure.

 

Most common businesses targeted by cyber-attacks:

There are various types of businesses that are commonly targeted by cyber-attacks. Some of these are financial institutions; healthcare providers; transportation providers; educational institutions; and government organizations.

1. Financial Institutions

Financial institutions are a common target for cyber-attacks. These types of businesses typically store a large amount of customer data in day-to-day operations, such as loans or mortgages. However, customers may not know that this data is being held, making it easier for cybercriminals to target and steal. Financial institutions also often have a large amount of employee data. This data may include social security numbers, addresses, and more, which can be used for identity theft. Cyber-attackers often target financial institutions because they hold a significant amount of data that can be used for fraudulent activity.

 

2. Healthcare

Healthcare providers are another common target for cyber-attacks because they typically hold sensitive information, such as health records (EHR) and PHI. Healthcare providers also often use computer systems that are connected to the internet. This increases the risk of infection because a cyber-attack can easily access these systems and infect them with malware. Healthcare providers may also store sensitive data on outdated computers, making it easier for cybercriminals to infiltrate the system.

 

3. Transportation

These businesses often deal with many people and sensitive data, such as shipment and passenger details. They may also store important information such as addresses and driver’s license details. Transportation providers often have a high data volume, making it harder to manage and protect. This can make the business more susceptible to a cyber-attack, as it is more challenging to keep track of everything.

 

What to do if a business experiences a cyber-attack

If a company experiences a cyber-attack, there are a few steps it can take to ensure that its data is protected and that it doesn’t get hacked again. Small business cybersecurity plan should use isolated backup and recovery plans to execute. Companies should also take steps to track the infection and understand how it got into the system in the first place.

Businesses should also take steps to secure their data. This is important even if an attack isn’t occurring at the moment. To do this, companies should encrypt their sensitive data and back it up in a secure location. This way, if there is ever a cyber-attack, the data is still safe and can’t be accessed by hackers.

 

Conclusion

Investing in safe cyber practices is very important, as a small mistake can cause a big disaster. As a business owner, you must equip your team with cybersecurity knowledge. Hiring a cybersecurity for small business partner like Protected Harbor will be a good decision with the growing number of cyber-attacks and data breaches. At Protected Harbor, we take your data security very seriously and have implemented the latest security protocols to keep your data safe. Our team of experts monitors your network 24/7 to prevent data breaches and maintain a secure network.

At Protected Harbor, we make it our mission to keep your business data safe. Contact us today for a free cybersecurity assessment.

Top Phishing Email Attacks to Watch For

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Top Phishing Email Attacks to Watch For

Attacks, including phishing, have increased over the past few years. However, since Covid-19 forced many businesses to adopt remote working, phishing assaults have sharply increased.

IRONSCALES’ most recent study indicates that since March 2020, email phishing assaults have increased in frequency for 81% of enterprises worldwide.

Even though phishing is a genuine issue for businesses today, just about 1 in 5 organizations provide their staff with phishing awareness training once a year. Financial institutions targeted 23.6% of all phishing attacks during the first quarter of 2022.

Additionally, webmail and web-based software services accounted for 20.5% of attacks, making them the two most often targeted sectors for phishing during the investigated quarter.

There is proof that most people are aware that phishing attacks exist. Many businesses offer training and simulations to teach staff members how to recognize phishing emails and messages.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is an email scam where the sender spoofs their identity and tries to obtain sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details. Phishing can be either a social engineering attack or an information technology (IT) compromise.

These attacks are carried out by sending emails with URLs that look like they come from legitimate sites, but they lead to fake versions of those sites instead. Phishers aim to trick recipients into providing personal information or clicking on links that will infect their computers with malware.

Phishers often use websites that look like they belong to well-known companies but are not the real deal. The phishers use a technique known as domain spoofing to hide their identity and make it seem as if they are asking for personal information from other people on the Internet.

Why is Phishing Successful?

Phishing is a tactic used by criminals to obtain personal and financial information from victims.

It has become so popular and successful because of a combination of factors:

Users are the Weakest Link

Phishing is a popular and successful method of cyber-attack because users are the weakest link in the chain. They are the easiest targets for cybercriminals, who are often unaware that their personal information has been compromised.

Phishing attacks are often powered by bots that send thousands of emails or spam messages simultaneously so that victims may receive several notifications from different sources. This means it is harder to spot an attack, especially if you have received a phishing message from a trusted source like your bank or email provider.

Lack of Awareness

The lack of awareness among users is also one of the most significant factors contributing to phishing attacks becoming more popular in recent years. Phishing messages are sent to unsuspecting victims via legitimate websites and social media platforms, which makes them look real at first glance. People tend to trust these websites more than they should because they think they are using them legitimately.

Phishing Tools are Low-cost and Widespread

Countless websites provide free phishing kits – including fake websites that look exactly like the real thing – with step-by-step guides explaining how to create phishing sites. These kits make it easy for even amateurs with no experience in web development or IT security at all to develop convincing-looking phishing sites that get past most security checks.

Phishing-Email-Attacks-to-Watch-For middleTop Phishing Email Attacks to Watch For

Don’t let the sweet names given to these attacks mislead you. They can be devastating for victims and are serious. The following are the most typical methods used by cybercriminals:

1.    Email Phishing

Email phishing is a type of scam that involves sending an email to trick the recipient into entering their personal information into a fake website.

Email phishing primarily aims to obtain your username, password, and other confidential information. Once you enter this information, it can be used to access your account or steal money from your bank account.

2.    Smishing

One of the most common phishing attacks is the smishing attack, which exploits a vulnerability in a smartphone or tablet to fool the user into giving up their login credentials or other personal information. The attacker sends a message to the user’s mobile device pretending to be an official source of information, asking the user to click on a link to see more details. Smishing attacks can target all devices, including desktop computers and smartphones.

3.    Vishing

A vishing attack is a call-forwarding scheme where a caller posing as a legitimate person at an organization calls a victim and claims to be from the organization. The caller then offers up some product or service for sale and asks the victim to provide their personal information. The caller may also ask for sensitive payment information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, or PINs.

4.    Spear Phishing

Spear phishing is a more targeted form of phishing that targets specific individuals at an organization by sending emails that appear to come from legitimate employees. These emails include a link or attachment that the attackers can use to steal valuable information or perform other malicious actions on behalf of the victim.

5.    Whaling

Whaling is another form of targeted spear phishing where attackers attempt to obtain personal information from high-value individuals within an organization. This attack often occurs on company websites, such as those owned by major corporations.

6.    Fake Websites

A fake website is another phishing attack that uses deceptive URLs, images, and logos to trick users into entering their data. These sites look legitimate and mimic popular websites like Facebook, Twitter, and PayPal.

They often ask users for sensitive data such as passwords or credit card numbers. Spammers often use fake websites to spread malware or links to malicious files.

Conclusion

Phishing attacks are a constant risk for businesses. Even if you can’t completely protect yourself from phishing assaults, you can generally prevent their success. The possibility that any phishing may harm your firm can be significantly decreased with a mix of defensive technologies to defend your systems and training to help your personnel recognize fraud.

Protected Harbor protects your company’s brand and reputation from phishing scams by allowing users to report phishing emails and block them from ever reaching your inbox. With the ability to deliver messages to your inbox based on rules, you can segment and prioritize essential emails.

With us, you can rest assured that your business communications are protected. You get advanced anti-spam and email filtering, anti-phishing and malware protection, and 24/7 support.

We are here to help with your every need, from risk assessments to network maintenance. Contact us today to get started.

How to Recognize Malware

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How to Recognize Malware?

Due to rapid advancement in technology and the use of digital devices, the risks of cyber attacks on individuals, organizations, government, and private sectors are increasing. A cyber attack attempts to access a computer system, a group of computers, or a network infrastructure to cause harm. Electrical blackouts, military equipment failures, and national security secrets leaks are possible outcomes of cyber strikes. They can lead to the theft of valuable and sensitive information, such as medical records. They can paralyze or interrupt phone and computer networks.

Cyber risks include computer viruses, data breaches, and DoS attacks. Malware is an example of an escalating cyber threat. Malware has been used to cause disruptions, make money, conduct cyber warfare methods and much more since the early 1970s.

  • Last year, 34% of firms had malware-related security issues.
  • Following March 2020, Google found roughly 600-800 malware-infected sites weekly, compared to around 3000 infected sites between January and March.

People have a habit of using loose security terms. However, it’s critical to understand your malware categories. Understanding how different types of malware spread is essential to containing and eradicating them. This article will help you know how to recognize malware.

 

What is Malware?

Malware or malicious software disrupts computer operations, gathers sensitive information, or accesses private computer systems. Malicious software, or malware, is designed to damage or disrupt computers and computer networks.

Malware comes in various forms and often varies in sophistication, but some things are common to most types of malware. They’re usually small programs that trick people into installing them on their computers. Once the computer has been infected with malware, it may be slowed down, destroyed, or made vulnerable to malicious attacks from other sources.

It includes computer viruses, keyloggers, and other malicious programs that damage or disrupt computers and networks. Malware attacks can range from simple annoyances such as pop-up messages to extremely damaging programs that cause financial loss or identity theft.

To protect your systems from malware, it’s important to invest in reliable malware protection solutions such as Malwarebytes. Malware protection for PC  can help protect your data from malicious attacks and keep your systems running smoothly. Investing in the right malware protection for Mac can give peace of mind to Mac users that their data is secure and protected.

 

 

How-to-Recognize-Malware-middleWays to Tell if You’re Infected with Malware

The best way to tell if your computer has been infected with malware is to look for specific symptoms. Here are some tips on how you can tell if your device has been affected by malicious software:

  • Slow performance: If you notice that your device is performing slower than usual, there might be a problem with malware. When malicious programs run on your PC, they can affect its performance and make everything take longer than usual. For example, opening files or programs might take longer, and web pages may not load properly.
  • Unexpected behavior changes: If anything that generally happens on your PC starts happening when it shouldn’t — or doesn’t happen when it should — then this could be a sign of malware infection. For example, if your browser opens new tabs without permission or downloads files without asking permission, these could be malware infection signs.

If you have malware on your computer, it can lead to various problems. Some malware displays pop-ups and advertisements, some steal personal information stored on your computer, and some even try to access your bank account. If you believe your system contains malware, you must use an effective anti-malware program to remove the threat.

If you experience these symptoms, you may have malware on your computer. You are in danger when the virus starts to harm your system. You need to know how to know if you have malware or if malware will keep affecting your system.

 

How Malware Gets on Your Device

Malware can get onto your device in many ways. Here are some of them.

 

1.    Malicious Websites

Hackers often create malicious websites that trick you into downloading software onto your device by appearing as legitimate sites. For example, they may create fake social media pages for popular websites like Facebook or LinkedIn, containing malware links embedded in the website code.

2.    Email Attachments

Malware is delivered by email in 94% of cases. Phishing assaults are becoming more common. To steal personally identifiable information, cyber hackers imitate trustworthy institutions. These attachments often appear as files you need to open to view their contents (such as an invoice or document). A typical example of this type of attachment is a PDF document containing an executable file hidden inside it. It automatically downloads and installs malware on your computer without knowing when you open it.

3.    Downloading Apps from Unknown Sources

If you’re downloading a file from the Internet, you must be careful where you get it from and what kind of content it contains. Ensure you only download files from reputable sources — such as official developer websites or other trusted sources — and avoid peer-to-peer file-sharing networks.

4.    Not Updating Your Apps Regularly

While updating your apps on Android isn’t easy — you need to ensure that every app is compatible with the latest version of Android before doing so. It’s still important to keep up with updates to protect against new malware threats. Suppose you’re unwilling or unable to update your apps regularly. In that case, the best thing you can do is scan your device for malware once in a while using anti-virus software.

 

Effects Of Malware

Malware protection has become important in today’s business landscape. The bad guys are getting more innovative and creative as they develop new ways of getting into your systems. Malware can cause many problems that affect your company’s daily operation and long-term security. They could steal passwords and credit card numbers or make your computer inoperable by deleting files. In addition to these apparent problems, malware can cause company data to be lost or corrupted.

The following are some common symptoms of a malware infection:

  • Unexpected pop-ups in your browser or other applications. These are usually advertisements but can also be attempted by malicious software to trick you into installing more malware.
  • The presence of suspicious files on your computer. These may include executable files (.exe), dynamic link libraries (.dll), or scripts (.vbs). If you find any of these on your computer, it’s good to delete them immediately.
  • There are frequent crashes, program freezes, blue screens (BSODs), or other system errors. In some cases, these issues might be caused by a hardware problem, but they could also result from malware that has taken over part or all of the operating system (OS).

Conclusion

In this digital era, corporate device and network malware attacks are rising. Cybercriminals are spreading advanced variants of robust malware to infect endpoints. Not only have these attacks increased, but the level of sophistication has also improved.

Protected Harbor offers extensive malware protection from viruses, ransomware, spyware, and other malicious software. It also includes a firewall to prevent outside threats from compromising your computer. One of the most helpful features of this program is its real-time cloud scanning which keeps your computer safe even if you download a malicious program. In addition, you can schedule scans to make sure that your computer is always protected. With Protected Harbor, you get access to helpful 24/7 support as well. An ideal solution for such scenarios with complete protection against malware attacks. What are you waiting for? Get protected from malware today with a free IT audit.

Understanding Cyber Attacks in The Cloud

Understanding Cyber Attacks in The Cloud

In today’s world of rapidly advancing technology, the need for understanding cyber-attacks in the cloud is paramount. Cloud computing has revolutionized how we store and access data, allowing faster and more efficient workflows and collaborations. However, it has also created a new avenue for cybercriminals, who can target cloud-based systems with sophisticated attacks. As such, organizations need to understand the various types of cyber-attacks that can occur in the cloud and develop strategies to protect against them.

Welcome to another episode of Uptime with Richard Luna! We are thrilled to have you with us. We explain best practices, highlight critical issues like cybersecurity in the cloud in the current threat landscape, and provide guidance on keeping safe and secure online. This blog will overview the different types of cyber-attacks in the cloud and discuss what organizations can do to safeguard their data and systems.

 

Types of Cyber Attacks in the Cloud

There are several types of cyber-attacks in the cloud, including Denial of Service (DoS), Data breaches, Digital extortion, Viral infections, Theft of data, and Access control attacks. Let’s take a closer look at each attack to understand better the risks involved.

  • DoS attacks occur when a hacker floods a website with so many requests that the site cannot keep up with the load and goes offline. A hacker who wants to take down a website may use a DoS attack. This type of attack can be launched against websites that are hosted in the cloud, as well as on-premise systems.
  • Data breaches occur when a hacker is able to gain access to sensitive data stored on cloud systems. A data breach can occur through various attack vectors, such as malicious code, malicious insiders, and improperly configured security systems.
  • Digital extortion involves hackers obtaining access to sensitive data and threatening to publish it on the internet or sell it to others if a ransom is not paid. While this type of attack can occur on-premise and in the cloud, it is more common in cloud environments due to the lower barriers to entry.
  • Viral infections occur when a hacker uploads malicious code to a cloud service, such as a file storage system, and others unknowingly download and distribute the code. This attack can spread quickly as others download and upload the infected files, creating a viral infection.
  • Thieves can steal data from a cloud system by hacking into the system or by tricking users into downloading malicious code or applications that steal data.
  • Access control attacks often work around or bypass access control measures to steal data or user credentials. Malicious actors can easily bypass access control by logging in as authorized users and using their resources after obtaining the latter.

 

How to Prevent Cloud Attacks

Given the evolving landscape of cloud cyber attacks 2023, organizations must adopt a comprehensive security strategy to safeguard their sensitive data. Recognizing that no single security measure is foolproof, a multi-layered approach involving a combination of security tools and processes is crucial. Here are essential strategies for cybersecurity in the cloud:

  • Strong Passwords: Strong passwords are essential to any security strategy, particularly in cloud environments where accounts are shared across different organizations and individuals.
    • Best Practices: Implement and enforce strong password policies for all cloud accounts. Utilize a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
    • Regular Updates: Encourage users to update their passwords regularly to reduce the risk of unauthorized access.

 

  • Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Two-factor authentication is another critical part of any security strategy. This feature requires users to enter a password and perform an additional verification step, such as entering a PIN or scanning a unique barcode with a smartphone. Two-factor authentication provides a significant additional layer of security against cyber-attacks by requiring two forms of authentication.
    • Additional Layer: Enforce 2FA for all cloud accounts, requiring users to provide a second verification form alongside their password.
    • Biometric Authentication: Explore options for biometric authentication to enhance security further.

 

  • Firewalls: Firewalls provide an important layer of security between an organization’s network and the internet. This centralized system can be configured to block or allow specific data packets based on their destinations and types.
    • Network Security: Deploy robust firewalls to create a secure barrier between the organization’s network and the internet.
    • Configuration Control: Configure firewalls to block or allow specific data packets based on destination and type, minimizing the attack surface.

 

  • Encryption: Organizations should use encryption for all sensitive data to prevent hackers from accessing it and can breach a system. SSL/TLS certificates are a common form of encryption cloud computing providers use to secure data between a user’s computer and a website.
    • Data Protection: Utilize encryption for all sensitive data to prevent unauthorized access. Cloud providers often use SSL/TLS certificates to secure data in transit.
    • End-to-end Encryption: Implement end-to-end encryption to protect data throughout its entire lifecycle, both at rest and in transit.

 

  • Data Audits: Data audits are essential to any security strategy, particularly in cloud environments where users’ data is stored and shared across different organizations and individuals. Conduct regular data audits to identify potential security risks and find ways to mitigate them.
    • Regular Assessment: Conduct data audits to identify and assess potential security risks within cloud environments.
    • Mitigation Strategies: Develop mitigation strategies based on audit findings to address vulnerabilities promptly.

 

  • Incident Response Plan:
    • Preparation: Develop and regularly update an incident response plan specific to cloud environments.
    • Training: Train relevant personnel to follow the incident response plan effectively during a cyber attack.

 

  • Continuous Monitoring:
    • Real-time Visibility: Implement continuous monitoring tools to provide real-time visibility into cloud infrastructure and detect suspicious activities promptly.
    • Anomaly Detection: Utilize anomaly detection mechanisms to identify deviations from normal behavior, signaling potential security threats.

 

  • Regular Security Training:
    • User Awareness: Conduct regular cybersecurity awareness training to educate users on how to prevent cyber attacks 2023 and about the latest cyber threats and best practices.
    • Phishing Awareness: Place a strong emphasis on phishing awareness to prevent users from falling victim to social engineering attacks.

By adopting these comprehensive strategies, organizations can significantly enhance their cybersecurity posture in the cloud and proactively prevent cyber-attacks. Regularly reassess and update these measures to align with emerging cyber threats and industry best practices.

 

Securely Store Your Data with Access Control

Access control systems are an essential part of any infrastructure, be it a private cloud solution, a hybrid cloud, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), or Software as a Service (SaaS). These systems provide layers of security, preventing unauthorized access to sensitive data, credit card information, and other valuable assets. Different types of access control exist, such as role-based, mandatory, or discretionary, each with its specific purpose. However, even with access control systems in place, cyber-attacks can still happen. Malware attacks, SQL injection attacks, DDoS attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks, and other malicious software can exploit weaknesses in an operating system or other parts of the infrastructure, ultimately leading to data breaches. Therefore, it is crucial to choose access control systems carefully and implement additional measures to secure your infrastructure.

 

Final Words

In conclusion, cyber-attacks in the cloud are a significant threat that organizations must be prepared to defend against. By following the above best practices, organizations can better protect against cyber-attacks in the cloud and keep sensitive data safe.

Protected Harbor offers enterprise-grade hosting, 24/7 monitoring, and high availability to keep your business online. Our data centers are U.S.-based SOC 2 certified to meet the strictest data security requirements. Our expert engineers work around the clock to keep your data safe. Our private clouds are designed to provide secure, reliable hosting of virtualized corporate data and applications. Private cloud hosting is scalable and offers high availability. It also enables data backup and recovery, as well as system redundancy.

Protected Harbor’s mission is to make hosting your business online as simple and secure as possible. Sign up now to try our services risk-free.

Third-party Vulnerabilities: Stay Protected from Software Supply Chain Security

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Third-party Vulnerabilities: Stay Protected from Software Supply Chain Security

The global economy is becoming more interconnected, making it easier for hostile actors to carry out these assaults, which take advantage of the trust businesses and their partners have in one another. Supply chain cyber-attacks are on the rise.

In the past 12 months, 45% of respondents to the 2021 Global Security Attitude Survey by cybersecurity company CrowdStrike experienced a supply chain assault. This increased from 32% of respondents in 2018, indicating that hackers are becoming more comfortable using this sophisticated cyberattack.

Attacks on the supply chain increased by 42% in the first quarter of 2021. Surprisingly, 97% of businesses have had a supply chain breach, with 93% experiencing a direct violation due to a supply chain security weakness.

If you are well-prepared, you could be positively affected by a software breach you use or have an essential service or supplier of goods fall offline for several days due to a cyberattack.

Let’s take a closer look at software supply chain security.

 

What is a Supply Chain Attack?

A supply chain attack is a type of cyberattack in which malicious actors attack a company’s supply chain, which can be as simple as stealing money from an e-commerce site or as complex as stealing intellectual property.

In some cases, hackers wait for a company to make a purchase and then try to steal information about that transaction. In other cases, hackers might try to steal money directly from the company’s bank account.

The goal of a supply chain attack is to disrupt the flow of goods from the factory to the store shelf. This can allow attackers to take advantage of the lack of visibility into their supply chains and move more quickly than companies would otherwise be able to do on their own.

 

How Do Supply Chain Attacks Work?

Supply chain attacks are not just about stealing intellectual property like trade secrets or confidential data; they also involve stealing physical assets such as manufacturing equipment or companies.

Supply chain attacks work by taking advantage of vulnerabilities within the supply chain itself. These vulnerabilities could be in the form of human error or poor security practices for the companies involved in making and shipping products.

 

Different Forms of Supply Chain AttackThird-party Vulnerabilities & Software Supply Chain Security middle

Supply chain attacks can take many forms, including firmware, hardware, and software attacks.

 

Supply Chain Attack on Software

One compromised application or piece of software is all needed for a software supply chain assault to spread malware throughout the whole network. Attackers frequently aim for the source code of an application to introduce malicious code into a reliable program or computer system.

Supply Chain Attack on Hardware

Similar to the USB keylogger we previously stated, hardware attacks rely on actual physical objects. To maximize their impact and harm, attackers will aim for a device that travels through the entire supply chain.

Supply Chain Attack on Firmware

An attack that introduces malware into a computer’s booting code can be launched instantly. The malware starts to run as soon as a computer starts up, endangering the entire system. Attacks on firmware are swift, frequently unnoticed if you’re not looking for them, and very destructive.

 

Best Practices to Counter Supply Chain Attacks

Companies can implement various strategies to combat supply chain assaults, from fixing problems with their overall cybersecurity infrastructure to ensuring endpoints are protected against intrusion.

Attacks on the supply chain can be challenging to identify and prevent because they take advantage of organizations’ confidence in their suppliers. Fortunately, there are still methods companies may take to prevent or lessen the effects of a supply chain attack.

 

Install Backup Vendors

You run a considerably more significant chance of downtime if you sell widgets and only have one supplier for a particular component needed for that widget than if you had two vendors.

For instance, most businesses would view themselves as inoperable and unable to function without their internet. If your primary ISP goes down, having a backup provider will help prevent extended downtime.

Use a Model of Zero Trust

Businesses should request that their IT department use a zero-trust approach whenever possible. This restricts the kinds of activities carried out within a network because it presumes that no user or application should be trusted by default.

Implement Security Tools

Firewalls and antivirus software are security solutions that can only sometimes stop supply chain attacks. They might be able to let you know if an attack is happening. For instance, firewalls may be able to identify and halt significant volumes of data from leaving a network, which would indicate a breach. Still, antivirus software can identify malware, such as ransomware.

Include Third-party Threats in Your Threat Intelligence Program

Vendors, suppliers, service providers, resellers, agents, channels, joint venture partners, and intermediaries like payment processors, utilities, nonprofits, subscription services, contractors, affiliates, rating agencies, governmental organizations, and trade associations are all your supply chain.

In the supply chain, businesses and applications work together to deliver products. Security measures in software or physical form could be used to achieve this. On the other hand, more high-risk endpoints result from each additional link. Make careful to double-check all integrations and risks. After all, you cannot defend that which you do not comprehend.

Impose Stringent Shadow IT Regulations

All IT equipment that a company’s security staff has not vetted is called “shadow IT.” As a result of the recent widespread acceptance of a remote-working paradigm, many employees are setting up their home offices with their own personal IT equipment.

All IT equipment should be registered, and there should be clear rules regarding what can and cannot be linked, according to IT security agencies. To identify DDoS assaults conducted through the supply chain, all authorized devices (particularly IoT devices) should be monitored.

 

Conclusion

Although attacks on the software supply chain have increased recently, they have been around for almost a decade. Software developers must follow the best practices to safeguard their build, deployment, and delivery systems.

When protecting the software supply chain, you need to be proactive. For most organizations, security isn’t something they do but rather something they have. They’re likely not setting up or implementing the right solutions and need to address security concerns in their software supply chain. And when the issues arise and are exploited, they’re forced to deal with them later.

You require a well-organized and experienced third-party risk management staff like Protected Harbor to handle supply chain vulnerabilities. The team should frequently and early involve essential suppliers. And to secure the entire supply chain, your technology team should consider blockchain and hyper ledger technologies.

To ensure that your developers and vendors always provide certain products, the best defense is one you build yourself. To delve further into this topic or for more information about software security, contact us today!

How Does the Dobbs Ruling Affect Healthcare IT and Patient Record Security

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How Does the Dobbs Ruling Affect Healthcare IT and Patient Record Security?

The apex court of the US recently overturned Roe v. Wade(1973) and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey(1992) in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org (2022). The court returned the responsibility for controlling abortion to the individual states after concluding that the US Constitution does not provide a right to abortion.

For healthcare organizations countrywide, the seismic Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision by the Supreme Court has caused upheaval and confusion regarding patient privacy issues and providers’ obligations for data protection.

If you are a healthcare provider, the Dobbs ruling will not impact your ability to use electronic health records or to communicate and share that information with other providers. This ruling only applies to patient information, not in an “active clinical setting,” Any documents transmitted outside of these settings must still be protected health information under HIPAA.

 

Question of Vulnerability of Reproductive Health after the Decision

In addition to the decision’s clear systemic ramifications, Dobbs has presented several difficulties for pharmacies and prompted concerns about adhering to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy regulations.

Many reproductive health proponents of HHC have expressed concerns about protecting reproductive health information after last month’s decision. This includes information saved in period tracking apps, text messages, web search history, and other places.

Modern Healthcare fears using the information to prosecute those who seek an abortion or even medical attention after a miscarriage and those who help them. Right now, HIPAA only protects the privacy of health information gathered by covered entities, such as health plans, clearinghouses for health information, and healthcare providers. Data collected by electronic devices and outside apps or organizations are not covered.

How Does the Dobbs Ruling Affect Healthcare IT middleResponse of Organizations

In the wake of the decision, several companies have taken steps to preserve and prevent using their users’ health data, particularly those about reproductive care. For example, Google announced that it would remove the location information if its search engine determined that a user visited an abortion clinic or another medical facility.

According to Planned Parenthood, a breach of protected health information has not occurred. It deleted marketing trackers from its search sites for abortions that shared data with third-party companies out of caution. It also mentioned that it offers a different appointment scheduling and confirmation tool that is, according to it, HIPAA-compliant.

Similarly, Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital civil liberties organization, advised users to pay attention to privacy settings on their services, switch off location services on apps that don’t need them, and utilize encrypted messaging services to protect their electronic health data.

Some applications for tracking periods have also made efforts to reassure their users that their health information is safe and secure. As an illustration, Flo said it is creating an “anonymous mode” that will let users delete their names, email addresses, and other unique identifiers from their profiles.

 

Response of the Government

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) published guidance on June 29, 2022, outlining how HIPAA constricts disclosures by covered entities and business associates to law enforcement agencies without a court order or other legal mandate.

In light of new state laws forbidding abortion, the guideline offers valuable insight into how OCR may employ HIPAA enforcement to prevent illegal disclosures of protected health information (PHI) to law enforcement personnel.

OCR makes it plain that it wants to protect the privacy of people getting abortions and other reproductive health care. According to OCR, regulations that forbid specific conduct do not authorize the sharing of Personal Health Information(PHI) concerning an individual and such prohibited behavior. Instead, all other requirements in the HIPAA Privacy Rule must be followed, and the law must expressly require such disclosure or disclosure following a legally recognized process. The guidance states that disclosure is only allowed without causing a HIPAA breach.

However, depending on the state, laws that permit criminal or civil action against

  • Someone who seeks an abortion
  • Someone who performs an abortion,
  • Someone who provides the means for an abortion may be used as the justification for revealing PHI for law enforcement purposes, and in states where relevant laws are in force, disclosures may be allowed.

Therefore, HIPAA may not offer the amount of protection against disclosure of PHI that may be inferred based on OCR’s recommendations in light of new state laws that forbid particular conduct by third parties.

To avoid unauthorized disclosure of PHI and HIPAA violations, healthcare organizations should caution their employees and providers not to conflate mandatory reporting laws with state laws that forbid abortion. They should also remind them that legal counsel should review any mandatory reporting. Otherwise, there is a chance of breaking federal or state laws requiring secrecy.

In a nutshell, OCR’s guidance reminds consumers that HIPAA protections do not apply to apps used on personal devices like smartphones that are not directly offered by a Covered Entity or its Business Associate. This covers the numerous applications that provide healthcare-related services but are not offered by Covered Entities, such as period trackers.

However, disclosures needed by law or for law enforcement purposes may apply to Covered Entities and their Business Associates. Additionally, HIPAA does not apply to cell phone service providers, and HIPAA generally does not protect communications made using a mobile device, including calls, messages, and emails. Due to these factors, it will be crucial for people to decide whether and how to communicate with providers electronically for tasks like scheduling appointments.

If privacy is an issue, people should also limit the amount of personal information shared through mobile devices, including apps that might offer health-related services but are not provided through Covered Entities.

 

Final Words

Regulations concerning data privacy will continue to change in the wake of the Dobbs ruling. Legal counsel should be consulted before pharmaceutical shops or businesses disclose PHI to stay current on the legal climate and guidelines. Reproductive health information will remain a significant concern for patients and application users.

The healthcare industry and application developers should consider updating their online privacy policies to address potential patient and user privacy concerns. Law enforcement agencies should not overstate the protections provided under HIPAA and other state privacy laws against disclosing health information.

With a vision to make the world a healthier place, Protected Harbor’s products are designed to secure and protect the health information of patients and providers in the hospital and clinical environments.

We offer tailored solutions to protect healthcare organizations against current and future cyber threats. Our offerings include network security, endpoint protection, remote monitoring and management, and other cybersecurity services. We have a team of certified engineers who are experts in their fields. A continuous learning and improvement culture helps us stay updated with evolving technological trends and best practices. We are focused on improving the health and wellness of our customers and their customers, which we accomplish by building trust, reliability, and transparency in every aspect of our service.

We are working to protect millions of Americans’ health information and critical data. Contact us today for a free security risk assessment.

How can Schools Increase Security to Protect Private Student Records

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How can Schools Increase Security to Protect Private Student Records?

Schools handle numerous sensitive pieces of information about students and their families. Administrators must actively secure the data from unlawful disclosure by following laws, regulations, and ethical commitments.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which gives kids control over their educational data, is one of the statutes that the U.S. Department of Education is dedicated to upholding to protect students’ privacy. Schools, faculty, and employees must follow regulations governing internet safety and the protection of student data.

Data on students can easily be accessed thanks to technology. All student data must be strictly confidential to safeguard students’ rights, security, and dignity. Federal and state laws and regulations may have requirements governing the kinds of security measures that must be implemented concerning this data, but they might not list specific actions.

Unluckily, not all school districts might offer a more thorough analysis of those rules and regulations. As a result, particular precautions must be taken when protecting student data.

 

What is Student Data Privacy?

Student Data Privacy is a term used to describe the protection of student data, which can be anything from academic records to health information.

It aims to ensure that only authorized parties have access to student data and that it is used for the purpose for which it was collected.

State and federal governments enforce Student Data Privacy laws. The U.S. Department of Education has policies regarding student data privacy, and each state has its regulations.

 

Why is Student Privacy Important for Schools?

A school’s policy on student privacy should include information about what can and cannot be recorded, how often cameras will be used, and how long data will be stored. Schools should also provide students with clear information about exercising their rights under the law when school officials or third parties violate their privacy.

Students who feel their privacy has been violated should have an avenue for recourse available to them through their school’s disciplinary process.

Because there are ethical and legal limitations on the acquisition, use, distribution, and treatment of student data, protecting student privacy is crucial. Press the Tab to write more…

  • Make tailored adverts or email scam contact lists.
  • Find the emails and other contact details of your family members.
  • Grade adjustment for a student
  • View private information that should be kept confidential, including prescription medicines and learning and physical problems

Therefore, protecting student privacy is essential to averting issues like these.

 

Security Practices to Protect Private Student Records Middle7 Security Practices to Protect Private Student Records

Let’s look at some strategies schools can do to safeguard students’ privacy better.

 

1.    Purge Unnecessary Student Records

Purge unnecessary student records from your system so hackers cannot access these accounts. This is important because if hackers manage to break into your network and steal data from student accounts, there is no way for you to know who accessed it or for what purpose.

 

2.    Establish Transparency with Laws and Guidelines

Another thing that schools can do is establish transparency with laws and guidelines. These rules vary from state to state but often include policies for how long students’ records can be kept and what they can be used for after graduating high school or moving away from their home state.

This type of transparency will help ensure that students’ rights are being protected and help clarify terminology when discussing matters with parents or teachers.

 

3.    Choose Who can Access the Data

Yes, in daily life, your data must be protected, but what would happen if you had an electrical problem, perhaps in the thick of an emergency? Do you have access to the files and registers of every student?

You can purchase an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) unit, allowing you to continue working or accessing your files while on the premises. Alternatively, you might want to think about how to go outside the building to access your records.

 

4.    Encrypt Data

Likely, schools will still need to keep some sensitive information about children and their parents after completing minimization and cleansing efforts. Careful security should be maintained for those records using a combination of technical and administrative safeguards.

Adopting robust encryption technology to safeguard the information that is either at rest saved on a server or device or in transit, being transferred over a network, is the most significant technical control schools can apply to information. Schools should recognize equipment that houses sensitive data and implement encryption at the file and disc levels.

 

5.    Train Your Staff

Accessing student data comes with much responsibility. A school system cannot rely on the fact that staff workers always know how to handle this information in specific ways. Employees must understand how to access information safely, how to use a breach reporting system, and what to do in the event of a breach.

 

6.    Carefully Manage Data

You ought to be aware of the information that each individual or company has access to. If you handle the data correctly, you can ensure that it is treated correctly. Publishers of textbooks, for instance, do not require student addresses or phone numbers.

The precise forms of data that are required must be synchronized. Automated bi-directional data sharing is necessary for many contemporary learning management systems and can give you finer control over the data you send.

 

7.    Create a Student Data Policy

Make a plan to regularly assess the organization’s data privacy requirements since data privacy is a never-ending process. Make sure the schedule is consistently updated. Learn the fundamentals of the data gathering, storage, and sharing procedures used by your company first.

Create procedures for handling any data produced by the Internet of Things gadgets. There are more gadgets, which means there are more online targets. Preventive actions can be helpful, such as limiting bandwidth access and ensuring that devices are correctly patched and segmented.

 

Conclusion

Schools must use discretion and prudence to prevent inappropriate use of student and family information. Several basic security procedures can help educational institutions maintain public trust.

As such, a college or university must follow specific federal and state laws when handling student information. However, these laws can be tricky, especially when sensitively handling student information. For instance, a school may be required to follow specific privacy laws like the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) when handling student information. However, there are particular ways you can work with a school to help ensure that their student information is dealt with in a manner that complies with FERPA laws. One way to do this is to work with a cybersecurity provider expert to protect student records.

Employing a professional IT solution, such as Protected Harbor, is the best way to handle your data digitally, monitor it, and safeguard student privacy. Rated by Goodfirms as the top cybersecurity and cloud service providers in the US, we have been protecting data for all industries, including schools, for the last two decades.

From anti-malware protection, ransomware protection, and identity and access management to threat detection and response, we have you covered. Our 24×7 tech team and proactive monitoring redefine security. Contact us today to get a free cybersecurity audit.