7 Types of Cyber-attacks to Watch Out for in 2023

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7 Types of Cyber-attacks to Watch Out for in 2023

The world is ever-evolving, and so is the cyber threat landscape. As technology advances, so do the methods of cybercriminals. As we enter the new year, it’s crucial to plan for it, especially for your resilience in any cyber security attacks. The importance of cyber security has never been greater, and the frequency of assaults and breaches has recently increased. This blog post will look at the 7 types of cyber-attacks to watch out for in 2023.

 

Introduction to Cybersecurity

As we move closer to the future, the need for cybersecurity becomes ever more critical. Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting networks, systems, and programs from digital attacks. It is also the practice of ensuring data privacy and integrity. Cybersecurity is essential for businesses, organizations, governments, and individuals.

 

Types of Cyber-attacks

There are many different types of cyber-attacks. These include phishing attacks, malware attacks, man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks, denial of service (DoS) attacks, SQL injection attacks, password attacks, and insider threats.

 

1. Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks are one of the most common types of cyber-attacks. In a phishing attack, the attacker sends an email that appears to be from a legitimate source, such as a company or a bank. The email contains a link that, when clicked, takes the user to a malicious website. The website then asks the user to enter personal information, such as username and password.

It is important to be aware of phishing attacks and to be wary of any suspicious emails. It is also essential to ensure that the website being visited is secure and is from a legitimate source.

2. Malware Attacks

Malware is short for malicious software. It is malicious code or software designed to damage or disrupt systems and networks. Malware can be viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, ransomware, and adware.

Malware can be spread through emails, downloads, and websites. One has to be aware of the signs of malware attacks, such as slow computer performance, pop-up ads, and sudden changes in settings. It is also vital to update your anti-virus software regularly and to use a reputable anti-virus program.

3. Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) Attacks

Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks are a type of cyber-attack in which the attacker intercepts communication between two parties. The attacker can eavesdrop on the communication and, in some cases, even alter the communication.

MITM attacks can be carried out on various networks and systems, including wireless networks, VoIP networks, and email systems. It becomes necessary to use secure networks and encryption when sending sensitive data.

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4. Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks

A Denial-of-Service Attack poses a severe risk to businesses. Attackers target systems, servers, or networks, in this case, and bombard them with traffic to drain their bandwidth and resources. The attacker attempts to make a server or network resource unavailable. The attacker does this by flooding the server or network with requests, causing the system to become overwhelmed and unable to respond to legitimate requests.

DoS attacks can be prevented by using secure networks, limiting access to servers and networks, and using firewalls. It is also essential to be aware of the signs of DoS attacks and to respond quickly if any suspicious activity is detected.

5. SQL Injection Attacks

In an SQL injection attack, the attacker attempts to gain access to a database by injecting malicious code into a vulnerable input field. The malicious code is then executed, allowing the attacker to access the database.

SQL injection attacks can be prevented using secure coding practices, properly validating user input, and secure authentication methods. It is also important to regularly update the database and to use intrusion detection systems.

6. Password Attacks

Password attacks are a type of attack in which the attacker attempts to gain access to a system or network by guessing or cracking a user’s password. To decipher your password, the attacker can use a computer program or password-cracking tools like Aircrack, Cain, Abel, John the Ripper, Hashcat, etc.

It is crucial to use strong passwords and to change them regularly. It is also essential to enable two-factor authentication and to use a password manager to store passwords securely.

7. Insider Threat

An insider threat, as the name implies, involves an insider rather than a third party. In this situation, it can be someone who works for the company and is familiar with its operations. The potential damage from insider threats is enormous.

Small organizations are particularly vulnerable to insider threats because their employees frequently have access to sensitive data. There are several causes for this kind of attack, including avarice, malice, and even negligence. Insider threats are tricky because they are difficult to predict.

 

Cybersecurity Statistics and Trends

In 2020, the global cybersecurity market was valued at over $170 billion, expected to grow in the coming years. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the global cybersecurity market will be worth over $300 billion by 2024.

In addition to the growth in the cybersecurity market, there has been an increase in cyber-attacks. In 2022, the number of cyber-attacks increased by over 40% compared to 2021.

 

Cybersecurity Solutions

To protect against cyber-attacks, it is crucial to have a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy in place. This strategy should include employee training, secure networks, regular security updates, and intrusion detection systems.

Partnering with a reliable cybersecurity provider, such as Protected Harbor, is also important. Protected Harbor provides a range of cybersecurity services, including security assessments, vulnerability management, and incident response.

 

Conclusion

You have learned everything there is to know about cyberattacks from this essay on their several types. You studied the definition of a cyber-attack, the top 7 types, and the techniques to avoid one. It is wise to be knowledgeable about cyberattacks and network security, given the rise in cybercrimes today. Watch this video about cybersecurity threats to learn more about this subject.

If you’re looking for a reliable cybersecurity partner, look no further than Protected Harbor. With their range of cybersecurity services, from penetration testing, cloud security, ransomware protection, and email filtering to threat detection and response, we’ve you covered. Whether you’re an SMB or a large enterprise, we have a solution that works for you.

Have you got any inquiries for us about “Cyber Attacks”? Please get in touch with our security specialist. You’ll hear from one of our experts as soon as they can!

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.

The Most Common SMB Cybersecurity Threats

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The Most Common SMB Cybersecurity Threats And How to Protect Your Business

Even though cyberattacks on small and medium-sized enterprises don’t always make news, they pose a real threat to many professionals’ lives, their jobs, and the clients they represent. Because small and medium-sized businesses may lack the backup and mitigation capabilities of some of the more prominent players, SMB cyberattacks frequently impact them.

A new report from the National Small Business Association (NSBA) finds that small businesses are the most likely to be targeted by cybercriminals. The study, which was conducted in partnership with Norton by Symantec, found that small businesses make up 99% of all companies and are responsible for nearly half of all jobs in the United States.

 

Common SMB Cybersecurity Threats and Their Prevention

The research revealed that the most common SMB cybersecurity threats include social engineering, physical access to networks and data, malware (DDOS), phishing, ransomware, etc. Let’s discuss this in detail!

 

DDOS

A distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack overwhelms your network’s capacity. The United States targeted about 35% of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in 2021. With slightly under 20% of attacks, the United Kingdom came in second and China third. The most common target is the computer and internet sector.

Using numerous compromised computer systems as sources of attack traffic, DDoS attacks are practical. Computers and other networked resources, like IoT devices, can be exploited by machines.

When viewed from a distance, a DDoS assault resembles unexpected traffic congestion that blocks the roadway and keeps ordinary traffic from reaching its destination.

How to Prevent DDOS

It is not enough to choose a good hosting provider; you also need to ensure that your website is configured correctly so that it will not be susceptible to a DDoS attack. You should use an effective Content Delivery Network (CDN) if possible because CDNs can help reduce the load on servers operated by your website and thus reduce the stress placed on them during an attack.

 

Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks can also come through social engineering because they use spam messages that look authentic but contain links or attachments that look like something else. Financial institutions targeted 23.6% of all phishing attacks during the first quarter of 2022.

These attacks can be hazardous for small businesses because their employees may not know how to recognize fake emails from their bosses or co-workers.

How to Prevent Phishing Attacks?

The simplest way to protect yourself from phishing attacks is to educate your people on how to respond if they encounter one. Here are some tips:

  • Don’t click on links in emails that aren’t from someone you know.
  • Never enter personal information into forms in emails
  • Don’t open attachments unless they come from someone you know and trust.

Malware

Malware is malicious software that can infiltrate a network, damage files, steal sensitive information, and encrypt data. It can spread through email attachments or links in social media posts. The professional sector was the first worldwide industry affected by malware assaults between November 2020 and October 2021. There were 1,234 malware incidences in the industry throughout the measurement period. With 775 such events, the information sector was in second place.

How to Prevent Malware?

  • The good news is that there are several ways to protect yourself against malware attacks.
  • Use antivirus software
  • Keep your operating system up-to-date
  • Use antivirus software with real-time protection
  • Perform regular backups

 

Ransomware

In ransomware, data on a victim’s computer or mobile device is encrypted, and the victim is demanded to pay to have it decrypted. Ransomware affected 68.5% of businesses in 2021. This was the highest figure reported thus far and increased from the prior three years. Each year, more than half of all survey respondents said their employer had fallen victim to ransomware.

To release the data, cybercriminals demand ransom money from their victims. A vigilant eye and security software are advised to guard against ransomware infection. Following an illness, malware victims have three options: either they can pay the ransom, attempt to delete the software, or restart the device. Extortion Trojans use the Remote Desktop Protocol, phishing emails, and software flaws as attack vectors.

How to Prevent Ransomware?

A ransomware infection can’t be removed by turning off one computer and switching to another due to encryption. Getting your data back requires either recovering from a backup or paying the attackers. A malware infection can take anywhere from days (if it’s relatively simple) to weeks (if it’s more complicated).

 

Viruses

A security breach or loophole allows viruses to enter the equipment. Viruses come in various forms and are designed to damage your electronics. Computer viruses can impede computer performance, destroy or eliminate files, and impair programs. A virus can be acquired in several ways, including file sharing, corrupt emails, visiting malicious websites, and downloading destructive software. An increase in pop-up windows, unauthorized password changes to your account, destroyed files, and a slowdown in your network speed indicates that you have a virus on your computer.

How to Prevent Common Viruses?

There are many ways to protect from viruses attacks, but here are some of the most important ones:

  • Don’t open attachments from unknown sources.
  • Use antivirus software regularly. Antivirus software protects computers from viruses.

The Most Common SMB Cybersecurity Threats And How to Protect Your Business middleSQL injection

Relational databases can be accessed using the standard language known as SQL or Structured Query Language. Databases are used to store user information like usernames and passwords in apps and other forms of programming. Additionally, databases are frequently the most efficient and safe way to store various types of data, such as private bank account information and public blog postings and comments.

SQL queries frequently employ parameters to send data from users into a secure database or the other way around. Attackers can leverage the points where your app talks with a database using a SQL argument to access private data and other secured locations if the values in those user-supplied SQL arguments aren’t protected by sanitizing or prepared statements.

How to Prevent SQL Injection?

To prevent SQL injections, Use parameterized queries. Parameterized queries allow you to specify what parameters will be used in the question and what values will be permitted for each parameter. This prevents hackers from entering malicious data into your application.

 

Conclusion

Unfortunately, you can’t avoid cyber threats. But you can protect your business from them by investing in cybersecurity solutions.

Even though small businesses don’t have the same resources as larger enterprises, they can still protect themselves from cyber threats. You can start with basic security measures, such as installing antivirus software, updating your computer’s operating system, and using strong passwords. Additionally, you should consider investing in a cybersecurity solution.

Choosing the right cybersecurity service provider is just as important as the other steps your company takes to protect its data.

Unfortunately, many small businesses don’t have the resources to hire a full-time staff to manage their cybersecurity. That’s where a managed service provider like Protected Harbor comes in. Protected Harbor protects your data against cyber threats, including malware, ransomware, and data leaks. In addition, you have a team of experts at your side.

Our main focus is on risk reduction and breach prevention, so you can expect a lot of attention to detail regarding accounting monitoring and protection against malware, viruses, phishing scams, and other threats. The service also strongly focuses on data privacy, a highly sought-after feature among customers who work with sensitive data.

Get a free cybersecurity assessment, network penetration testing and secure your business today. Contact us today.

How Social Media Angler Phishing Attacks Target Businesses

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How Social Media Angler Phishing Attacks Target Businesses

Cybercriminals develop new methods every day for committing online fraud. This also applies to Angler Phishing, a recent type of cybercrime. This threat targets its victims via social media. The criminal gathers private information by posting false messages on a bogus social network account.

Social media is an effective tool for phishing attacks. The key to social media phishing is using personal information, such as a username and password, to trick users into revealing sensitive information about themselves. Most attacks are carried out via fake email messages, but there has also been an increase in phishing websites and malicious links.

In this blog, we’ll explain how Angler Phishing operates, how to spot it, and how to safeguard yourself against the potential loss of your data and possibly even your money.

 

What is Angler Phishing?

Angler phishing is a form of email fraud that uses fake websites to trick you into clicking on a link. This scam aims to steal your login credentials and use them to gain access to your bank account or other personal information.

The act of pretending to be a customer care account on social media to contact an irate customer is known as angler phishing. In these attacks, victims were lured into providing access to their personal information or account credentials in almost 55% of cases last year that targeted clients of financial institutions.

These scams are often spread by emails that appear to be from banks, authorities, or other reliable companies. The emails contain links or embedded images that can direct you to fake websites that appear legitimate. Once there, you’ll be asked to enter your account information — including login credentials for your bank accounts and email addresses for various social media platforms.

The goal is to steal your login credentials and use them to gain access to your bank account or other personal information.

 

How do Angler Phishing Attacks work?

Angler phishing attacks are simple but effective because they exploit a vulnerability in business-related social media accounts. In most cases, the attacker will create a web page with an identical URL address as the legitimate page they are trying to access.

When a BEC attack targets a business through social media, companies must take precautions against these cyberattacks.

 

How-Social-Media-Angler-Phishing-Attacks-Target-Businesses-middle-imageImpact Of Angler Phishing Attacks on Business

If you run a company or have a presence on social media, you should be aware of the impact of an angler phishing attack on your brand’s reputation:

 

1.   Business Disruption

A business may suffer a substantial loss due to a cyberattack, mainly if malware infestation is involved. A complete reversal of operations may be necessary to address the hack. The virus may require the company to operate on a skeleton crew or suspend operation altogether until the malware has been removed.

An interruption of business services can cause significant economic disruptions if the economy is already fragile. A cyberattack could also increase crime rates, making the situation worse.

Business disruption can result from both natural disasters and manufactured events like cyberattacks. The latter category includes everything from information theft to destructive viruses that target specific industries or sectors of society.

 

2.   Revenue Loss

Loss of revenue can have a huge impact, especially for businesses that rely on the internet and e-commerce. The costs of fraud, cyber security breaches, and other types of attacks can be very high, so it is essential to prevent them from happening in the first place.

The first step is creating an active cyber security policy that clearly outlines what the organization expects from its employees, what it will do if a breach happens and how it will respond to such an event.

Secondly, training employees about the importance of validating incoming data before acting on it is essential. Employees should also be made aware that no information should be shared with anyone outside their team without prior authorization.

 

3.   Intellectual Property Loss

Even if businesses are not protected under a ransomware attack, they risk losing user data, trade secrets, research, and blueprints. Regulatory companies, tech companies, pharmaceutical and defense providers are often hit the hardest. A company losing a patented invention for millions of dollars would no longer be able to afford to undertake the kinds of research and development that precede it.

Attempting to struggle directly with financial setbacks is simpler than you might think, but it’s far more challenging to do well without handling sensitive company info appropriately.

Trade Secrets Theft also has severe implications for manufacturers and suppliers who rely on customer relationship management (CRM) systems to track sales trends and contact lists. Suppose a hacker could access these systems and steal trade secret information such as product formulas or pricing strategies. In that case, this could seriously impair their ability to compete against other companies that have not been victimized by cybercrime.

 

4.   Reputation Effect

While the damage to reputation is the most significant consequence of a data breach, it’s not the only one. The costs involved in mitigating a breach can be substantial.

Although many companies have experienced data breaches, few have suffered the consequences. However, even though there are many benefits to having your own data breach preparedness plans, you still need to consider some risks before implementing one.

 

Conclusion

While many types of attacks from botnets or DDoS attacks use malvertising to gain access to sensitive business data, Angler phishing can potentially allow for the same. As a result, businesses need to be aware that such attacks exist and how they work to prevent them from occurring in the first place.

Another tip is to be wary of links in emails. Most email links don’t go anywhere and are just there for decoration.

Many companies are likely unaware of such attacks against their networks, trying to mitigate them once they occur. The best way to avoid these attacks is to be skeptical of any links or offers you see on social media. Protected Harbor is your partner in safeguarding your business against cyber threats. With our risk-based approach to security and our experience with thousands of customers, we can create a solution that works for you. Our team of experts will assess your organization’s security posture and recommend how to improve it. We will also develop a detailed action plan to help you stay secure from phishing emails, ransomware, and threat detection and response.

We offer a free cybersecurity audit to all businesses, regardless of size or industry. Contact one of our cybersecurity experts today.

The Emerging Way Around 2FA

The Emerging Way Around 2FA

 

The Emerging Way Around 2FA

With individuals and companies understanding that security and phishing risks are rising, the implementation of 2FA (2 Factor Authentication) has become increasingly more prevalent. 2FA allows users to add a level of security by adding another “factor” besides their usernames and passwords that they must enter correctly to gain access to their account. Typically, 2FA is enabled as a security feature on more high-risk accounts such as finance applications or email, but as the threat increases, it’s becoming utilized on more sites and apps.

As technology progresses, the social engineering capability does as well. Instead of a standard phishing attack where you receive an email or text message on a phone number with a dummy link, click the dummy link, then enter your (very real) banking information. The hacker then takes that information, tries it on the real banking site, and gains access to your bank account. You can read more about how phishing works here.

As 2 Factor Authentication becomes more prominent, the depth of these phishing-style attacks also increases. Attacks are now being sent through text messages making it more difficult to sense their legitimacy. See a Chase website scam example below:

2FA

The way these attacks are conducted is as follows:

Step 1: You’ll receive a text message like the one above from a “trusted” institution like Chase or Bank of America, explaining some reason why you need to access your online banking account or credit card.

Step 2: You click the link leading you to a dummy online banking page that looks identical to a Chase or Bank of America Website.

Step 3: The website asks you to “reset” your password asking you to enter your old username and passwords and then your new one.

Step 4: Within 15-30 seconds, that information is plugged into the actual Chase of BOA website, but you have 2FA enabled.

Step 5: You get a real text from the financial institution asking you to input a code on their site (the one the hackers are currently logging into); however, the dummy site also asks for the code.

Step 6: You input the 2 Factor Authentication code into the dummy site, and hackers now have your passwords and 2FA code and have gained full access to your account.

Once a hacker gains access via 2FA, it’s pretty much over for any information behind that wall, they can use the same technology that got them in there to keep you out. Typically, by the time you’re able to allow the company to grant you access to the page, they’ve already done what they needed to do.

How to spot a potential 2FA phishing attempt?

There are key factors when it comes to spotting a fraudulent message, much like emails or text messages. If a text contains the following: Misspellings, links that don’t seem consistent with the brand that’s reaching out, broken English, and sometimes improper wording.

These are effective because you could easily miss the aforementioned criteria if you’re not paying close attention. A text message differs from an email because no name, signature, font options, colors, etc., can tell you different things about an email. With text messaging, you have a single font and color, so all they have to do is get the wording and verbiage correct.

These attacks are so widespread that throughout the summer of 2021, the number of phishing URLs designed to impersonate Chase’s website jumped by 300%, says security firm Cyren. That speaks to not only the shift in types of phishing but the effectiveness overall.

What to do to avoid falling victim?

Overall, these campaigns are meant to deceive; attackers know how to trick us. Attackers consider dozens of factors to make us believe the message we have received is legitimate. Here are a few ways you can help yourself not become a victim:

Links – Never click links or dial phone numbers in emails or text messages. When possible, go to a company’s website or mobile app to ensure you’re accessing the right information and not getting targeted for a phishing attack.

Second Opinion – A second opinion thwarts more attacks than you’d expect. The second set of eyes on a questionable message or email is a proven way to make sure that someone else can see the same potential inaccuracies that you are. Often times others have been approached with similar phishing style messages so it’s good to show a friend or family member if you receive something you think is suspicious.

Slow Down – This is a large part of the attacker’s advantage, we’re all so engaged in our lives that sometimes move too fast and don’t ask simple questions like “why is this website link different?” or “why doesn’t this email address have the proper suffix?”. Attackers prey on our ability to trust bigger, very reputable corporations and follow instructions given to us because of their proven trustworthiness. In the end, just slow down and look into anything you receive that regards a high priority account before inputting username and passwords.

Overall, we have to be vigilant and use several security feature when it comes to unfamiliar texts or emails we receive. It’s especially important to help older friends and family members who may not be technologically savvy because they make up a large part of the victims of scams like this one among many others. If something doesn’t look or feel right about a text or email, odds are, it probably isn’t.

Take the help of a partner to enable 2FA and enhance cybersecurity.

Top 10 Ransomware Attacks 2021

Top 10 Ransomware Attacks 2021

 

Top 10 Ransomware Attacks

 

Ransomware Definition

Ransomware is a type of malware (malicious software) that threatens to publish or prevent access to data or a computer system, typically by encrypting it. The victim is faced with the ultimatum of either paying a ransom or risking the publication or permanent loss of their data or access to their system. The ransom demand usually involves a deadline. If the victim doesn’t pay on time, the data is permanently lost, or the ransom is increased.

Attacks using ransomware are all too frequent these days. It has affected both large firms in North America and Europe. Cybercriminals will target any customer or company, and victims come from every sector of the economy.

The FBI and other government agencies, as does the No More Ransom Project, advise against paying the ransom to prevent the ransomware cycle because it doesn’t ensure retrieval of the encrypted data. If the ransomware is not removed from the system, 50% of the victims who pay the ransom will likely experience further attacks.

 

History and Future of Ransomware

According to Becker’s Hospital Review, the first known ransomware attack occurred in 1989 and targeted the healthcare industry. 28 years later, the healthcare industry remains a top target for ransomware attacks.

The first known attack was initiated in 1989 by Joseph Popp, Ph.D., an AIDS researcher, who attacked by distributing 20,000 floppy disks to AIDS researchers spanning more than 90 countries, claiming that the disks contained a program that analyzed an individual’s risk of acquiring AIDS through the use of a questionnaire.

However, the disk also contained a malware program that initially remained dormant in computers, only activating after a computer was powered on 90 times. After the 90-start threshold was reached, the malware displayed a message demanding a payment of $189 and another $378 for a software lease. This ransomware attack became known as the AIDS Trojan or the PC Cyborg.

There will be no end to ransomware anytime soon. Ransomware as a service raas attacks have skyrocketed in 2021 and will continue to rise. About 304.7 million ransomware attacks were attempted in the first half of 2021, and many attacks went unreported as per Ransomware statistics 2021.

A recent report by Tripwire supported the fact that ransomware will keep growing, and the post-ransomware costs will keep climbing significantly. There’s no denying the fact that Ransomware is being used as a weapon, and how ransomware spreads is no longer a mystery.

Modern-day attacks target operational technology, operating system, medical and healthcare services, third-party software, and IoT devices. Fortunately, organizations don’t have to be sitting ducks; they can minimize the risk of attacks by being proactive and having a reliable ransomware data recovery infrastructure.

Top Ransomware Attacks

 

1. Kia Motors

Kia Motors America (KMA) was hit by a ransomware attack in February that hit both internal and customer-facing systems, including mobile apps, payment services, phone services, and dealership systems. The hack also impacted customers’ IT systems that were required to deliver new vehicles.

DoppelPaymer was thought to be the ransomware family that hit Kia, and the threat actors claimed to have also targeted Kia’s parent business, Hyundai Motors America. Similar system failures were also experienced by Hyundai.

On the other hand, Kia and Hyundai denied being assaulted, a frequent approach victims use to protect their reputation and customer loyalty.

2. CD Projekt Red

In February 2021, a ransomware attack hit CD Projekt Red, a video game studio located in Poland, causing significant delays in developing their highly anticipated next release, Cyberpunk 2077. The threat actors apparently stole source codes for numerous of the company’s video games, including Cyberpunk 2077, Gwent, The Witcher 3, and an unpublished version of The Witcher 3.

According to CD Projekt Red, the unlawfully obtained material is currently being distributed online. Following the incident, the company installed many security measures, including new firewalls with anti-malware protection, a new remote-access solution, and a redesign of critical IT infrastructure, according to the company.

3. Acer

Acer, a Taiwanese computer manufacturer, was hit by the REvil ransomware outbreak in March. This attack was notable because it demanded a ransom of $50,000,000, the greatest known ransom to date.

According to Advanced Intelligence, the REvil gang targeted a Microsoft Exchange server on Acer’s domain before the attack, implying that the Microsoft Exchange vulnerability was weaponized.

4. DC Police Department

The Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., was hit by ransomware from the Babuk gang, a Russian ransomware syndicate. The police department refused to pay the $4 million demanded by the group in exchange for not exposing the agency’s information and encrypted data.

Internal material, including police officer disciplinary files and intelligence reports, was massively leaked due to the attack, resulting in a 250GB data breach. Experts said it was the worst ransomware attack on a police agency in the United States.

5. Colonial Pipeline

The Colonial Pipeline ransomware assault in 2021 was likely the most high-profile of the year. The Colonial Pipeline transports roughly half of the fuel on the East Coast. The ransomware attack was the most significant hack on oil infrastructure in US history.

On May 7, the DarkSide group infected the organization’s computerized pipeline management equipment with ransomware. DarkSide’s attack vector, according to Colonial Pipeline’s CEO, was a single hacked password for an active VPN account that was no longer in use. Because Colonial Pipeline did not use multi-factor authentication, attackers could access the company’s IT network and data more quickly.

6. Brenntag

In May, Brenntag, a German chemical distribution company, was also struck by a DarkSide ransomware attack around the same time as Colonial Pipeline. According to DarkSide, the hack targeted the company’s North American business and resulted in the theft of 150 GB of critical data.

They got access by buying stolen credentials, according to DarkSide affiliates. Threat actors frequently buy stolen credentials — such as Remote Desktop credentials — on the dark web, which is why multi-factor authentication and detecting unsafe RDP connections are critical.

The first demand from DarkSide was 133.65 Bitcoin, or nearly $7.5 million, which would have been the highest payment ever made. Brenntag reduced the ransom to $4.4 million through discussions, which they paid.

7. Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE)

In May 2021, a variation of Conti ransomware infected Ireland’s HSE, which provides healthcare and social services. The organization shut down all of its IT systems after the incident. Many health services in Ireland were impacted, including the processing of blood tests and diagnoses.

The firm refused to pay the $20 million ransom in Bitcoin because the Conti ransomware group provided the software decryption key for free. However, the Irish health service was still subjected to months of substantial disruption as it worked to repair 2,000 IT systems that had been infected by ransomware.

8. JBS

Also, in May 2021, JBS, the world’s largest meat processing plant, was hit by a ransomware attack that forced the company to stop the operation of all its beef plants in the U.S. and slow the production of pork and poultry. The cyberattack significantly impacted the food supply chain and highlighted the manufacturing and agricultural sectors’ vulnerability to disruptions of this nature.

The FBI identified the threat actors as the REvil ransomware-as-a-service operation. According to JBS, the threat actors targeted servers supporting North American and Australian IT systems. The company ultimately paid a ransom of $11 million to the Russian-based ransomware gang to prevent further disruption.

9. Kaseya

Kaseya, an IT services company for MSP and enterprise clients, was another victim of REvil ransomware — this time during the July 4th holiday weekend. Although only 1% of Kaseya’s customers were breached, an estimated 800 to 1500 small to mid-sized businesses were affected through their MSP. One of those businesses included 800 Coop stores, a Sweden-based supermarket chain that was forced to temporarily close due to an inability to open their cash registers.

The attackers identified a chain of vulnerabilities — ranging from improper authentication validation to SQL injection — in Kaseya’s on-premises VSA software, which organizations typically run in their DMZs. REvil then used MSP’s Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) tools to push out the attack to all connected agents.

10. Accenture

The ransomware gang LockBit hit Accenture, the global tech consultancy, with an attack in August that resulted in a leak of over 2,000 stolen files. The slow leak suggests that Accenture did not pay the $50 million ransom.

According to CyberScoop, Accenture knew about the attack on July 30 but did not confirm the breach until August 11, after a CNBC reporter tweeted about it. CRN criticized the firm for its lack of transparency about the attack, saying that the incident was a “missed opportunity by an IT heavyweight” to help spread awareness about ransomware.

 

Bonus: CNA Financial (2021)

CNA Financial, the seventh largest commercial insurer in the United States, announced on March 23, 2021, that it had “experienced a sophisticated cybersecurity attack.” Phoenix Locker ransomware was used in the attack, which was carried out by a group called Phoenix.

CNA Financial paid $40 million in May 2021 to regain access to the data. While CNA has been tight-lipped about the specifics of the negotiation and sale, it claims that all of its systems have been fully restored since then.

 

Types of ransomware:

There are two main types of ransomware:

  1. Crypto Ransomware

    Crypto ransomware encrypts files on a computer so the user cannot access them.

  2. Locker Ransomware

    Does not encrypt files. Rather, it locks the victim out of their device, preventing them from using it. Once they are locked out, cybercriminals carrying out locker ransomware attack demands a ransom to unlock the device.

Now you understand what ransomware is and the two main types of ransomware that exist. Let’s explore 10 types of ransomware attacks to help you understand how different and dangerous each type can be.

  • Locky

    Locky is a type of ransomware that was first released in a 2016 attack by an organized group of hackers. With the ability to encrypt over 160 file types, Locky spreads by tricking victims to install it via fake emails with infected attachments. This method of transmission is called phishing, a form of social engineering. Locky targets a range of file types that are often used by designers, developers, engineers, and testers.

  • WannaCry

    WannaCry is a ransomware attack that spread across 150 countries in 2017. Designed to exploit a vulnerability in Windows, it was allegedly created by the United States National Security Agency and leaked by the Shadow Brokers group. WannaCry affected 230,000 computers globally. The attack hit a third of hospital trusts in the UK, costing the NHS an estimated £92 million. Users were locked out and a ransom was demanded in the form of Bitcoin. The attack highlighted the problematic use of outdated systems, leaving the vital health service vulnerable to attack. The global financial impact of WannaCry was substantial -the cybercrime caused an estimated $4 billion in financial losses worldwide.

  • Bad Rabbit

    Bad Rabbit is a 2017 ransomware attack that spread using a method called a ‘drive-by’ attack, where insecure websites are targeted and used to carry out an attack. During a drive-by ransomware attack, a user visits a legitimate website, not knowing that they have been compromised by a hacker. Drive-by attacks often require no action from the victim, beyond browsing the compromised page. However, in this case, they are infected when they click to install something that is malware in disguise. This element is known as a malware dropper. Bad Rabbit used a fake request to install Adobe Flash as a malware dropper to spread its infection.

  • Ryuk

    Its a ransomware, which spread in August 2018, disabled the Windows System Restore option, making it impossible to restore encrypted files without a backup. Ryuk also encrypted network drives. The effects were crippling, and many organizations targeted in the US paid the demanded ransoms. August 2018 reports estimated funds raised from the attack were over $640,000.

  • Troldesh

    The Troldesh ransomware attack happened in 2015 and was spread via spam emails with infected links or attachments. Interestingly, the Troldesh attackers communicated with victims directly over email to demand ransoms. The cybercriminals even negotiated discounts for victims with who they built a rapport with — a rare occurrence indeed. This tale is the exception, not the rule. It is never a good idea to negotiate with cybercriminals. Avoid paying the demanded ransom at all costs as doing so only encourages this form of cybercrime.

  • Jigsaw

    Jigsaw is a ransomware attack that started in 2016. This attack got its name as it featured an image of the puppet from the Saw film franchise. Jigsaw gradually deleted more of the victim’s files each hour that the ransom demand was left unpaid. The use of horror movie imagery in this attack caused victims additional distress.

  • CryptoLocker

    CryptoLocker is ransomware that was first seen in 2007 and spread through infected email attachments. Once on your computer, it searched for valuable files to encrypt and hold to ransom. Thought to have affected around 500,000 computers, law enforcement, and security companies eventually managed to seize a worldwide network of hijacked home computers that were being used to spread Cryptolocker. This allowed them to control part of the criminal network and grab the data as it was being sent, without the criminals knowing. This action later led to the development of an online portal where victims could get a key to unlock and release their data for free without paying the criminals.

  • Petya

    Petya (not to be confused with ExPetr) is a ransomware attack that first hit in 2016 and resurged in 2017 as GoldenEye. Rather than encrypting specific files, this vicious ransomware encrypts the victim’s entire hard drive. It does this by encrypting the primary file table, making accessing files on the disk impossible. Petya spread through HR departments via a fake job application email with an infected Dropbox link.

  • GoldenEye

    The resurgence of Petya, known as GoldenEye, led to a global ransomware attack that happened in 2017. Dubbed WannaCry’s ‘deadly sibling,’ GoldenEye hit over 2,000 targets, including prominent oil producers in Russia and several banks. Frighteningly, GoldenEye even forced workers at the Chernobyl nuclear plant to check radiation levels manually as they had been locked out of their Windows PCs.

  • GandCrab

    GandCrab is a rather unsavory famous ransomware attack that threatened to reveal the victim’s porn-watching habits. Claiming to have a high-jacked user’s webcam, GandCrab cybercriminals demanded a ransom, or otherwise, they would make the embarrassing footage public. After having first hit in January 2018, GandCrab evolved into multiple versions. As part of the No More Ransom Initiative, internet security providers and the police collaborated to develop a ransomware decryptor to rescue victims’ sensitive data from GandCrab.

How to Spot a Ransomware Email

You now know about the various types of ransomware attacks that have been perpetrated against individuals and businesses in recent years. Many of the victims of the ransomware attacks we’ve mentioned became infected after clicking on links in spam or phishing emails or opening malicious attachments.

So, how can you avoid being a victim of a ransomware assault if you receive a ransomware email? Checking the sender is the easiest approach to recognizing a ransomware email. Is it from a reliable source? Always be cautious if you receive an email from someone or a firm you don’t recognize.

Never open email attachments from senders you don’t trust, and never click on links in emails from untrustworthy sources. If the attachment asks you to activate macros, proceed with caution. This is a popular method of ransomware distribution.

 

Using a Ransomware Decryptor

Do not pay a ransom if you are the victim of a ransomware assault. Paying the ransom demanded by cybercriminals does not guarantee that your data will be returned. After all, these are crooks. It also strengthens the ransomware industry, increasing the likelihood of future assaults. You will be able to restore the data that is being held to ransom if it is backed up outside or in cloud storage.

 

Types of Ransomware Extensions

The ransomware includes a particular file extension, you can point it out with some of the extensions defined below

.ecc, .ezz, .exx, .zzz, .xyz, .aaa, .abc, .ccc, .vvv, .xxx, .ttt, .micro, .encrypted, .locked, .crypto, _crypt, .crinf, .r5a, .XRNT, .XTBL, .crypt, .R16M01D05, .pzdc, .good, .LOL!, .OMG!, .RDM, .RRK, .encryptedRSA, .crjoker, .EnCiPhErEd, .LeChiffre, .keybtc@inbox_com, .0x0, .bleep, .1999, .vault, .HA3, .toxcrypt, .magic, .SUPERCRYPT, .CTBL, .CTB2, .locky or 6-7 length extension consisting of random characters

Go Phishing

Go Phishing

With COVID-19 changing the way many businesses are forced to work, phishing attacks have increased significantly while becoming more complex. Hackers often look at crises as opportunities and COVID-19 is no different. Attackers are using names of coworkers and companies to fool people into thinking they’re legitimate emails. With many employees working from home and logging in, there is an increased reliance on remote system tools, and phishing scams have evolved to mimic them.

Stressful times are upon us and there is no letup in sight. As a result, IT staff are finding themselves overwhelmed as they address a multitude of system issues, software problems, and new problems stemming from employees working remotely. Many employees are using personal devices, which are more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. To be truly prepared for remote work and sophisticated threats, businesses need to analyze their weaknesses and implement proper cybersecurity approaches.

At PROTECTED HARBOR, we provide custom solutions to cyber-attacks, ransomware and other debilitating infrastructure issues. Our team of IT professionals ensures your infrastructure is secure through the creation and implementation of security policies. We analyze and remediate risks to keep you safe. On average, we save our clients up to 30% on IT costs while increasing their security, productivity, durability and sustainability. We are an extension of many IT departments, freeing them up to concentrate on daily work while we do the heavy infrastructure lifting.

Contact us today to find out more, www.protectedharbor.com

How to Protect your data from Phishing Sites

How to Protect Your Data from Phishing Sites

How to Protect Your Data from Phishing Sites

Here’s How Phishing Works

In today’s digital landscape, understanding how phishing works is essential for safeguarding your data and maintaining secure communication channels. Phishing, a form of cyber attack, typically involves fraudulent emails or messages disguised as legitimate entities to deceive recipients into revealing sensitive information. These attacks aim to compromise data protection measures and exploit vulnerabilities in secure email systems.

There are various types of phishing tactics employed by cybercriminals, including deceptive emails, spear phishing targeting specific individuals or organizations, and pharming redirecting users to malicious websites. Ensuring robust email security protocols and practicing secure browsing habits are paramount in mitigating phishing risks.

To fortify defenses against phishing attempts, prioritize implementing secure email solutions and employ encryption methods to safeguard sensitive information. Additionally, educate users on recognizing phishing red flags, such as suspicious sender addresses or unsolicited requests for personal data.

By understanding the mechanisms of phishing attacks and bolstering email security measures, individuals and organizations can proactively defend against data breaches and uphold robust data protection standards. Stay vigilant, stay informed, and stay secure in the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats.

How to Protect Your Data from Phishing Sites

Please follow these steps to help protect your data from phishing sites:-

Follow these steps to stay Protected as in Protected Harbor!
  1. Never enter password and ID on a web site opened from an email
    With the exception of when you forget a password and you requested the link, never ever enter your password and ID on a web site opened from an email. If a web site needs to be opened, then open the website in your browser, not by clicking on the link.
  2. Never log in to a secure server or site from a public computer
    Never log in to a secure server or secure site (HTTPS) from a public computer. Cookies can be left that will contain enough information for your account to be compromised, use your cell phone instead.
  3. Do not use public WiFi
    Do not use public WiFi. Criminals are always scanning public WiFi systems looking for users to connect so that they can capture the ID and password.