What You Need to Know About the Rise in Supply Chain Cyberattacks

Any cyberattack is dangerous, but the particularly devastating ones are those on supply chain companies. These can be any supplier – digital or non-digital – of goods and services. 

We’ve seen several attacks on the supply chain occur in 2021 that had wide-reaching consequences. These are “one-to-many” attacks where victims can go far beyond the company that was initially breached. 

Some recent high-profile examples of supply chain attacks include: 

  • Colonial Pipeline: A ransomware attack caused this major gas pipeline to be shut down for nearly a week. 
  • JBS: The world’s largest supplier of beef and pork products was hit with ransomware that caused plants in at least three countries to shut down for several days. 
  • Kaseya: This software company had its code infected with ransomware, which quickly spread to IT businesses that used its products and to roughly 1,500 of their small business customers.  

Why do you need to be worried about supply chain attacks even more so than in the past? Because they’ve been growing and are expected to continue this trajectory. 

Supply chain attacks rose by 42% during the first quarter of 2021. A surprising 97% of companies have been impacted by a breach in their supply chain, and 93% suffered a direct breach as a result of a supply chain security vulnerability. 

If you’re not properly prepared, then you can be impacted by a breach of software you use or have a vital service or goods supplier go down for several days due to a cyberattack.  

As part of any good business continuity and disaster recovery strategy, you should look at supply chain risks in light of the current increase in attacks and formulate a plan. 

HOW CAN YOU MITIGATE YOUR RISK OF LOSSES DUE TO AN ATTACK ON YOUR SUPPLY CHAIN?

IDENTIFY YOUR SUPPLIER RISK

You can’t fix what you don’t know is wrong. So, you need to begin by shedding some light on your risk should one of your vendors get hit with ransomware (the current attack of choice on the supply chain) or another type of breach. 

Make a list of all your vendors and suppliers, both for goods and services. This includes everything from the cloud services you use to the company that supplies your office products or any raw materials you may use in a product you sell. 

Review these vendors to identify their cybersecurity risks. This is something you may need some help with from your IT partner. We can work with you to review vendor security or send them a survey to find out where they stand as to their cybersecurity, and then determine how much that may leave you at risk as one of their customers. 

CREATE MINIMUM SECURITY REQUIREMENTS FOR DIGITAL VENDORS

Come up with some minimum security requirements that you can use as a benchmark with your vendors. One way to make this easier is to use an existing data privacy standard as your requirement.  

For example, if a vendor is GDPR compliant, then you know they’ve adopted several important cybersecurity standards that protect their business, and yours, from an attack. 

DO AN IT SECURITY ASSESSMENT TO LEARN WHERE YOU’RE VULNERABLE 

If the software you use had a vulnerability that was exploited by hackers to take over a system, how much does that leave your systems at risk? Do you have a regular patch application strategy in place to ensure any software updates are applied right away? 

You should have an IT security assessment done if you haven’t done one in over a year. This will help you identify how strong your systems would be at preventing a breach or ransomware infection that was coming from a digital supply chain vendor. 

PUT BACKUP VENDORS IN PLACE WHERE POSSIBLE

If you sell widgets and have a single supplier for one specific part needed for that widget, you’re at a much higher risk of downtime than if you had two suppliers of that part. 

If a key vendor of yours is attacked and can’t fill orders or provide services for a week or more, how will that impact your business? This is what you want to consider when setting up backup vendors. 

For example, most companies would consider themselves down and not able to operate without their internet. Having a backup internet service provider can help you avoid lengthy downtime should your main ISP go down. 

Look at putting this type of safety net in place for all vendors that you can. 

ENSURE ALL DATA KEPT IN CLOUD SERVICES IS BACKED UP IN A 3RD PARTY TOOL 

Microsoft recommends in its Services Agreement that customers back up their cloud data that is kept in its services (such as Microsoft 365). The policy states, “We recommend that you regularly backup Your Content and Data that you store on the Services or store using Third-Party Apps and Services.” 

You should have a backup (in a separate platform) of all data that you store in cloud services, so you’ll be protected in case of a ransomware infection or other data loss or service loss incident. 

SCHEDULE A SUPPLY CHAIN SECURITY ASSESSMENT

Don’t be in the dark about your risk. Schedule a supply chain security assessment to learn where you could be impacted in the case of a cyberattack on a supplier. 

 

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.  

6 Ways to Combat Social Phishing Attacks

Phishing is the number one method of attack delivery for everything from ransomware to credential theft. We are very aware of it coming by email, but other types of phishing have been growing rapidly. 

In recent years, phishing over social media has skyrocketed by 500%. There has also been a 100% increase in fraudulent social media accounts. 

Phishing over social media often tricks the victims because people tend to let their guard down when on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. They’re socializing and not looking for phishing scams. 

 

However, phishing scammers are out there looking for you and will reach out via friend requests and direct messages. Learn several ways you can secure your social media use to avoid these types of covert attacks. 

MAKE YOUR PROFILE PRIVATE ON SOCIAL PLATFORMS

Phishing scammers love public profiles on social media because not only can they gather intel on you to strike up a conversation, but they can also clone your profile and put up a fake page for phishing your connections. 

Criminals do this in order to try to connect with those on your friends or connections list to send social phishing links that those targets will be more likely to click because they believe it’s from someone they know. 

You can limit your risk by going into your profile and making it private to your connections only. This means that only someone that you’ve connected with can see your posts and images, not the general public. 

For sites like LinkedIn where many people network for business, you might still want to keep your profile public, but you can follow the other tips below to reduce your risk. 

HIDE YOUR CONTACTS/FRIENDS LIST

You can keep social phishing scammers from trying to use your social media profile to get to your connections by hiding your friends or connections list. Platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook both give you this privacy option.  

Just be aware that this does not keep scammers from seeing you as a friend or connection on someone else’s profile unless they too have hidden their friends list. 

BE WARY OF LINKS SENT VIA DIRECT MESSAGE & IN POSTS

Links are the preferred way to deliver phishing attacks, especially over social media. Links in social posts are often shortened, making it difficult for someone to know where they are being directed until they get there. This makes it even more dangerous to click links you see on a social media platform. 

A scammer might chat you up on LinkedIn to inquire about your business offerings and give you a link that they say is to their website. Unless you know the source to be legitimate, do not click links sent via direct message or in social media posts. They could be leading to a phishing site that does a drive-by download of malware onto your device. 

Even if one of your connections shares a link, be sure to research where it is coming from. People often share posts in their own feeds because they like a meme or picture on the post, but they never take the time to check whether the source can be trusted. 

DON’T PARTICIPATE IN SOCIAL MEDIA SURVEYS OR QUIZZES 

While it may be fun to know what Marvel superhero or Disney princess you are, stay away from quizzes on social media. They’re often designed as a ploy to gather data on you. Data that could be used for targeted phishing attacks or identity theft. 

The Cambridge Analytica scandal that impacted the personal data of millions of Facebook users did not happen all that long ago. It was found that the company was using surveys and quizzes to collect information on users without their consent. 

While this case was high-profile, they’re by no means the only ones that play loose and fast with user data and take advantage of social media to gather as much as they can. 

It’s best to avoid any types of surveys or quizzes on any social media platform because once your personal data is out there, there is no getting it back. 

AVOID PURCHASING DIRECTLY FROM ADS ON FACEBOOK OR INSTAGRAM

Many companies advertise on social media legitimately, but unfortunately, many scammers use the platforms as well for credit card fraud and identity theft. 

If you see something that catches your eye in a Facebook or Instagram ad, go to the advertiser’s website directly to check it out, do not click through the social ad. 

RESEARCH BEFORE YOU ACCEPT A FRIEND REQUEST

It can be exciting to get a connection request on a social media platform. It could mean a new business connection or connecting with someone from your Alma mater. But this is another way that phishing scammers will look to take advantage of you. They’ll try to connect to you which can be a first step before reaching out direct via DM. 

Do not connect with friend requests without first checking out the person on the site and online using a search engine. If you see that their timeline only has pictures of themself and no posts, that’s a big red flag that you should decline the request. 

CAN YOUR DEVICES HANDLE A PHISHING LINK OR FILE?

It’s important to safeguard your devices with things like DNS filtering, managed antivirus, email filtering, and more. This will help protect you if you happen to click on a phishing link. 

Find out how we can help! 

 

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.  

How to Protect Your Online Accounts from Being Breached

Stolen login credentials are a hot commodity on the Dark Web. There’s a price for every type of account from online banking to social media. For example, hacked social media accounts will go for between $30 to $80 each.

The rise in reliance on cloud services has caused a big increase in breached cloud accounts. Compromised login credentials are now the #1 cause of data breaches globally, according to IBM Security’s latest Cost of a Data Breach Report.

Having either a personal or business cloud account compromised can be very costly. It can lead to a ransomware infection, compliance breach, identity theft, and more.

To make matters more challenging, users are still adopting bad password habits that make it all too easy for criminals. For example:

34% of people admit to sharing passwords with colleagues

44% of people reuse passwords across work and personal accounts

49% of people store passwords in unprotected plain text documents

Cloud accounts are more at risk of a breach than ever, but there are several things you can do to reduce the chance of having your online accounts compromised.

USE MULTI-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION (MFA)

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is the best method there is to protect cloud accounts. While not a failsafe, it is proven to prevent approximately 99.9% of fraudulent sign-in attempts, according to a study cited by Microsoft.

When you add the second requirement to a login, which is generally to input a code that is sent to your phone, you significantly increase account security. In most cases, a hacker is not going to have access to your phone or another device that receives the MFA code, thus they won’t be able to get past this step.

The brief inconvenience of using that additional step when you log into your accounts is more than worth it for the bump in security.

USE A PASSWORD MANAGER FOR SECURE STORAGE

One way that criminals get their hands on user passwords easily is when users store them in unsecured ways. Such as in an unprotected Word or Excel document or the contact application on their PC or phone.

Using a password manager provides you with a convenient place to store all your passwords that is also encrypted and secured. Plus, you only need to remember one strong master password to access all the others.

Password managers can also autofill all your passwords in many different types of browsers, making it a convenient way to access your passwords securely across devices.

REVIEW/ADJUST PRIVACY & SECURITY SETTINGS

Have you taken time to look at the security settings in your cloud tools? One of the common causes of cloud account breaches is misconfiguration. This is when security settings are not properly set to protect an account.

You don’t want to just leave SaaS security settings at defaults, as these may not be protective enough. Review and adjust cloud application security settings to ensure your account is properly safeguarded.

USE LEAKED PASSWORD ALERTS IN YOUR BROWSER

You can have impeccable password security on your end, yet still have your passwords compromised. This can happen when a retailer or cloud service you use has their master database of usernames and passwords exposed and the data stolen.

When this happens, those leaked passwords can quickly end up for sale on the Dark Web without you even knowing it.

Due to this being such a prevalent problem, browsers like Chrome and Edge have had leaked password alert capabilities added. Any passwords that you save in the browser will be monitored, and if found to be leaked, you’ll see an alert when you use it.

Look for this in the password area of your browser, as you may have to enable it. This can help you know as soon as possible about a leaked password, so you can change it.

DON’T ENTER PASSWORDS WHEN ON A PUBLIC WI-FI

Whenever you’re on public Wi-Fi, you should assume that your traffic is being monitored. Hackers like to hang out on public hot spots in airports, restaurants, coffee shops, and other places so they can gather sensitive data, such as login passwords.

You should never enter a password, credit card number, or other sensitive information when you are connected to public Wi-Fi. You should either switch off Wi-Fi and use your phone’s wireless carrier connection or use a virtual private network (VPN) app, which encrypts the connection.

USE GOOD DEVICE SECURITY

If an attacker manages to breach your device using malware, they can often breach your accounts without a password needed. Just think about how many apps on your devices you can open and already be logged in to.

To prevent an online account breach that happens through one of your devices, make sure you have strong device security. Best practices include:

Antivirus/anti-malware

Up-to-date software and OS

Phishing protection (like email filtering and DNS filtering)

LOOKING FOR PASSWORD & CLOUD ACCOUNT SECURITY SOLUTIONS?

Don’t leave your online accounts at risk. We can help you review your current cloud account security and provide helpful recommendations.

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

Signs That Your Computer May Be Infected with Malware

Approximately 34% of businesses take a week or longer to regain access to their data and systems once hit with a malware attack. Malware is an umbrella term that encompasses many different types of malicious code. It can include:

  • Viruses
  • Ransomware
  • Spyware
  • Trojans
  • Adware
  • Key loggers
  • And more

The longer that malware sits on your system unchecked, the more damage it can do. Most forms of malware have a directive built in to spread to as many systems as possible. So, if not caught and removed right away, one computer could end up infecting 10 more on the same network in no time.

Early detection is key so you can disconnect an infected device from your network and have it properly cleaned by a professional.

Keep an eye out for these key warning signs of malware infection so you can jump into action and reduce your risk.

STRANGE POPUPS ON YOUR DESKTOP

Some forms of malware can take on the disguise of being an antivirus app or warranty notice that pops up on your screen. Hackers try to mimic things that users may have seen from a legitimate program, so they’ll be more apt to click without thinking. If you begin to see a strange “renew your antivirus” subscription alert or a warranty renewal that doesn’t quite make sense, these could be signs that your PC has been infected with adware or another type of malware.

NEW SLUGGISH BEHAVIOR

Computers can become sluggish for a number of reasons, including having too many browser tabs open at once or running a memory-intensive program. But you’ll typically know your computer and the types of things that slow it down.

If you notice new sluggish behavior that is out of the ordinary, this could be an infection. One example would be if you don’t have any programs open except notepad or another simple app, and yet you experience freezing.

When malware is running in the background, it can often eat up system resources and cause your system to get sluggish.

APPLICATIONS START CRASHING

Applications should not just crash out of the blue. There is always a reason. Either the software is faulty, there’s been an issue with an update, or something else may be messing with that application’s files.

If you suddenly experience apps crashing, requiring you to restart the app or reboot your system, this is another telltale sign that a virus, trojan, or other malicious code has been introduced.

YOUR BROWSER HOME PAGE IS REDIRECTED

If you open your browser and land on a homepage that is not the one you normally see, have your PC scanned for malware right away. Redirecting a home page is a common ploy of certain types of malware.

The malware will infect your system and change the system setting for your default browser home page. This may lead you to a site filled with popup ads or to another type of phishing site.

Just trying to change your homepage back in your settings won’t fix the situation. It’s important to have the malware removed.

SUDDEN REBOOTS

Another annoying trait of certain types of malicious code is to make your system reboot without warning.

This can cause you to lose the work you’ve just done and can make it difficult to get anything done. This may happen when malware is changing core system files behind the scenes. With files corrupted, your system becomes unstable and can often reboot unexpectedly.

YOU’RE MISSING HARD DRIVE SPACE

If you find that a good deal of your hard drive space that used to be open is now gone, it could be a malware infection taking up your space. Some types of malware may make copies of files or introduce new files into your system.

They will cleverly hide, so don’t expect to see the word “malware” on a file search. Instead, the dangerous activities will usually be masked by a generic-sounding name that you mistake for a normal system file.

YOU RUN ACROSS CORRUPTED FILES

If you open a file and find it corrupted, this could be a red flag that ransomware or another form of malware has infected your system.

While files can occasionally become corrupt for other reasons, this is a serious issue that deserves a thorough malware scan if you see it.

PC “PROCESSING SOUNDS” WHEN THERE SHOULDN’T BE

Most of us are familiar with those “thinking sounds” when our computer is processing something memory intensive. You’ll usually hear a type of whirring that will go away once you finish that activity.

If you begin hearing this processing sound when you’re not doing anything particularly intense on your computer, this could be a sign that malware is running in the background and it should be checked out.

GET EXPERT MALWARE SCANNING & REMOVAL

Free online malware and virus scans aren’t very reliable. Instead, come to a professional that can ensure your entire system is cleaned properly.

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.