Hacking websites? Here are the six most popular ways.

Hacking websites? Here are the six most popular ways. Hackers can hack a website or system or network, which would ultimately lead to the data theft, shutting down of the website, businesses experiencing big losses and so many other serious issues arising due to Hacking websites. Hackers can carry out their attacks in numerous ways to hack all sorts of websites, which is why we need to use all sorts of security systems in order to secure our websites .

Hacking Websites

Have a look at those six popular ways of hacking websites:

The DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) Attack

By far this one is the most favourite practices that is popularly used by hackers. This one is all about denying services which means that a server’s or machine’s amenities are made inaccessible to its operators. Once the system is offline, hackers would compromise the entire website or specific functions of the website and take advantage of the same.

Hackers mostly carry out DDoS attacks by sending tons of URL requests to a website or webpage, all in a small span of time. Thus, there happens a bottlenecking for the server and the CPU would run out of resources.

The RCE (Remote Code Execution) Attack

Hackers exploit vulnerabilities to carry out attacks and execute malicious code remotely to take complete control of an affected system or website. Hackers could target vulnerable components of a website, including libraries, remote directories on a server which aren’t being monitored, frameworks, software modules etc and attack through scripts, malware, small command lines that extract information etc.

The Injection Attack

Injections attacks happen when hackers exploit security flaws that exist in the SQL Database, SQL libraries, or even the operating system itself. Users may unknowingly open files that seem to be credible and which would contain hidden commands (or “injections”) and thereby allow hackers gain unauthorized access to private data- credit card data, social security numbers, other financial data etc.

The XSS (Cross Site Scripting) Attack

A hacker sends an application, URL “get request” or file packet to the web browser window bypassing the validation processes and thereby triggers an XXS script, which makes the website users believe that the webpage which they are viewing is legitimate even though in reality it’s compromised. Thus, they would be made to enter personal details- credit card info or other sensitive personal info, which the hacker would steal and misuse.

DNS Cache Poisoning
Also known as DNS spoofing, DNS Cache Poisoning happens when attackers identify vulnerabilities in a DNS (Domain Name System) and exploit the same to divert traffic from the legit servers to a fake website and/or server. This kind of an attack involves old cache data which is “toxic” and which you think doesn’t exist any longer on your system. Such attacks can also spread and replicate themselves from DNS to DNS, thereby “poisoning” everything that comes in its path.

The Social Engineering Attack

Social engineering attacks are very common these days; using different methods hackers would trick users into divulging confidential information and then they would use the same to attack a website (or organization) or to cause harm to the person himself. The hacker could make use of common online interactions- emails, chats, calls, social media site interactions etc- to carry out such attacks.

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What is Zero Net and why one should use it?

What is Zero Net?

Zero Net is a network of peer-to-peer users. It is based on the idea of Decentralized Computing. In the modern times, our desktop PCs and other computers have become so advanced that their full potential far exceeds than what is needed. As a matter of case, it remains ‘idle’ most of the time. A decentralized system uses the potential of all these systems to increase efficiency.

Zero Net

What is Peer-to-Peer Web Hosting?

Peer-to-Peer web hosting is a model where peer-to-peer networking is used to host web pages. Unlike the usual client-server model of Web Hosting, where data is transferred between a client and a server, peer-to-peer networking uses peers or other similar users to deliver web content. In case of a P2P model, web content can be delivered by mainly delivered web caches and content delivery networks. The web caches store the content from single web pages and distribute them to other users during peak traffic.

Advantages of using Peer-to-Peer web hosting.

P2P web hosting takes comparatively less time to set up. The cost of setting a p2p connection is comparatively less than a client-server model because in a p2p connection, there is no need of a main central server. Each computer on each node act as a server and a receiver at the same time.

Disadvantages of using a P2P network.

The security vulnerabilities of a p2p network is more than that of a client-server connection. In a p2p network, a computer can be accessed anytime and all the time. In case of security events, patches will have to be applied to each computer separately. Due to lack of a centralized server, data will be unrestricted and uncontrolled. Since there is no central moderator, there backup, restore and availability of files will be unrestricted.

Why use Zero Net?

Zero Net uses the P2P networking model to share and render files and webpages. Since it does not have a centralized server, content from your computer is transferred to another user directly. The P2P concept of network sharing, allows Zero Net to be uncensored, like the website says, ‘It’s nowhere because it’s everywhere’. When we access a website on the Zero Net, we are simultaneously hosting it too. That removes the need of a central server, and thus removes the cost of hosting. The websites are always accessible since it isn’t served by a central server. Also, Zero Net uses bitcoin cryptography to store passwords.

The Zero Net is built in Python and is fully open source. Instead of IP Addresses sites are identified by a public key, the private key allows the user to sign and modify and make changes which spreads through the network.

Final Note:

Although Zero Net provides us the advantages of a decentralized network, it also has its disadvantages too. If one computer is the network isn’t fully patched and updated, it can lead to compromise of security. In a client-server model, although the server is able to monitor and manage content availability, it makes the content more stable. In a P2P network, it is required for at least one computer to be seeding the content for the content to be available. This leads to unreliability.

The concept of a decentralized internet is great when for a small group of people. In such a case, each user is responsible for the security and web content availability. Although Zero Net provides us with the option of an anonymous internet where web content won’t be moderated by a central server, but at the same time it is prone to illegal content, and restricted content being spread and also increases chances of security attacks.

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Cybersecurity Audits of companies? Here is what you need to know

Cybersecurity Audits? Well! unfortunately, most companies believe that their computer systems are secure. But one of the only ways to determine whether this is actually true is by performing a thorough audit of computer systems. Here is why your company should make a point of auditing its security on a regular basis, not only this but also check out some of the particular challenges you may encounter.

Cybersecurity Audits

In less than a decade, Internet security has evolved from an almost obscure topic to become one of the more important facets of modern computing. And yet it’s a rarity to find companies that actually consider information security to be an important job function for all workers—and not just the IT department’s problem.

Unfortunately, it’s the general opinion of most companies, particularly at the management level, that their computer systems are secure. However, one of the only ways to determine whether this is actually true is by performing a thorough audit of computer systems. But most companies don’t make it a habit of performing regular Cybersecurity Audits if they perform them at all.

In my experience, many companies base their Internet and information security strategy entirely on assumptions. And we’re all familiar with that old saying about making assumptions.

But I don’t entirely blame companies for failing to conduct periodic cybersecurity audits. Frankly, the complexity and variability of administering and interpreting a comprehensive computer systems audit are equal to the complexity and variability of the systems used in corporations.

Several dozen popular commercial network and computer security auditing programs are currently available. While I’ve used several myself, I’ve honestly found no favorites. These tools produce mountains of useful information, but understanding what to do with the data is no simple job.

Most computer network and system security audits begin the same way. An automated program gathers information about hosts on the corporate network, identifying the type of network device. If applicable, it also scans the TCP and UDP services that are present and “listening” on the host, and it might even determine the versions of the software supplying an Internet service.

In most cases, the process involves at least two automated scans—one of internal networks, which are generally behind a firewall, and one of the Internet subnet used by the corporation. If a security audit doesn’t include both an interior and exterior scan, then you’re not getting a complete picture of what hosts are on your organization’s network.

In addition, I also recommend that companies perform their own auditing whenever possible. If not, it’s vital that you select an Internet security vendor you don’t currently do business with.

Security audits produce a huge amount of data, and you need to be prepared to review this information in order to truly benefit from the audit. It’s also important to understand that a computer security audit may report potential problems where no real issue exists.

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Identity data turning toxic for big companies. Wait but how?

Identity data turning toxic for big companies. Wait but how? Google might be in trouble for collecting the personal data of its users, but many companies have a growing incentive to rid their hands of the data that users entrust them with. This is because of growing costs of holding onto it.

Identity data

A major cause is the rising number of cyber-attacks where hackers steal the identity data held by companies, often to sell them on to various black markets. Take the recent example of US giant Equifax, one of the top three companies in the consumer credit reporting industry. It chalked up other 2.5m identity-theft casualties to its existing toll of 143m in October 2017. The firm has suffered a steady stream of identity data

loss following a cyber-attack that took place in May this year, where hackers capitalized on weaknesses in its software.

The security breach – as a primary cause – resulted in around US$4.8 billion being wiped off Equifax’s market value from May to September 2017. It also tarnished its image and cost the firm’s longstanding CEO his job.

The Equifax data breach is just the tip of the iceberg. The latest Breach Level Index (BLI) published by digital security company Gemalto shows a mounting figure of around 9.2 billion data-record losses since 2013. The BLI also reports that only a meager 368m out of the 9.2 billion stolen records were concealed from potential hackers through the use of data-encoding technology.

The rate at which valuable identity data is flying out of the control of firms is alarming – more than 3,500 records per minute. Around 23% of the top data-breaches over the past five years contained consumers’ identity data – like names, dates-of-birth, addresses and account passwords. Corporate victims include big names such as Yahoo, eBay, and JP Morgan Chase.

The volume and sophistication of these cyber-assaults will make top-level executives of firms that hold sensitive identity data anxious about its safe-keeping.

Growing cost of regulation

As well as cyber-attacks, companies are having to contend with growing levels of regulation. As well as the regulations of the jurisdiction they are based in, when firms are spread across nations, they must also abide by international standards.

The costs of this compliance in the banking sector are increasing at an alarming rate. One report has found that banks spent nearly US$100 billion on compliance in 2016 and the global spending on meeting the regulatory requirements increased from 15% to 25% over the previous four years. This skyrocketing spend on compliance leaves little room for product development.

It has now become imperative for companies holding information on EU citizens to implement control mechanisms to protect personal data in accordance with the EU’s strict General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) guidelines. GDPR, in essence, is about enhancing existing privacy protection. It will be enforced from May 25, 2018.

Non-compliance with GDPR may lead to fines to the tune of €20m or 4% of a firm’s global annual sales figure – whichever is greater. Already, implementing the necessary steps to adhere to the new regulation is proving to be expensive for organizations – especially firms with diverse and intertwined business portfolios.

Some estimates predict that purchasing the technology to adhere to the GDPR standards and avoid paying the exorbitant fines will cost Fortune 500 companies on average US$1m each. Add to this the costs of permanent staffing and legal advice for this compliance, you get the picture of overall spending required for one set of regulatory standards. Clearly, the price of such compliance will compel large organizations to explore the burgeoning market of cost-effective and innovative regulatory technology.

A logical solution?

At the point where the cost of protecting identity assets outweighs the benefit of storing it, it becomes toxic to the organization. As with any risk, companies must act to mitigate or remove it – in this case, breach of identity data. When similar risks emerged around the processes for securing payment card processing, solutions focused on tokenization of card information within an organization to minimize handling of clear text credit card numbers. It is hard to see how a similar approach could be applied to a multifaceted entity such as identity.

However, there is a potential in the application of decentralized technologies that have emerged from the development of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. In these model’s people could choose whether a centralized entity – such as a bank, for example – would manage their identity or whether they could manage it themselves. Models for a decentralized identity are emerging with parallel developments in the creation of a decentralized web.

There are a number of challenges for both private individuals and the traditional identity provider to overcome for this move to become a reality – including wider adoption of peer-to-peer trust models. But it seems increasingly possible that the cost of cyber-attacks, together with regulatory compliance, could be the nudge that drives organizations to surrender their control over vast pools of identity data.

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Communication is key when responding to a cyber security incident

Communication is key when responding to a cybersecurity incident. There’s an old joke that goes something like this: “To err is human, but to really screw things up you’ll need a computer.”

Communication is key

Of course, it’s funny, but as we all know computers just do what they’re told (or programmed) to do.  They’ll do it to the letter, time and time again, without thinking.

And if someone hasn’t had the foresight to predict every situation that a computer program may encounter (unexpected end of a file, divide by zero, too much data to fit into the space allotted for it) then things might go wrong.

In short, it’s probably fairer to say:

“To err is human, but to really screw up you’ll need a human to program a computer.”

which is when an effective communication takes place. The point is that even the most carefully thought through systems and processes might contain bugs and unexpected wrinkles which only come to light when something disastrous happens.

Earlier this month something bad happened in Hawaii.  A mistake by a human operator saw a computer system send a terrifying message to residents of Hawaii, warning that a missile was about to strike:

“Ballistic missile threat inbounds to Hawaii.  Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”

Thankfully, the message turned out to be a false alarm.  But it took a full 38 minutes for the follow-up “Don’t panic” message to be sent to citizens who had been scurrying to find shelter or reach loved ones.

There has been much said about how it was possible for an incorrect missile warning message to be sent, but I’m actually more interested in why it took so long to communicate the truth to a petrified public. which is why Communication is key when responding to a cybersecurity incident.

One issue seems to have been that although there were processes in place for sending out missile warnings, there weren’t such smoothly-run systems for releasing corrections rapidly.

Furthermore, the office of Hawaii’s governor David Ige knew that it was a false alarm just two minutes after the alert had been sent state-wide to mobile phones.  And yet it took Ige 17 minutes to send a tweet saying there was no missile threat.

The reason? The Governor of Hawaii had a simple explanation. He forgot how to log into Twitter:

“I have to confess that I don’t know my Twitter account log-on and the passwords, so certainly that’s one of the changes that I’ve made. I’ve been putting that on my phone so that we can access the social media directly.”

Clearly, he wasn’t following the example set by some of the staff at Hawaii’s missile alert agency, who were keeping their passwords on Post-it notes.

On reflection, it’s clear that human error, compounded by poor user interface design, caused the bogus missile alert to be sent out.  Such things shouldn’t happen, but – unfortunately – sometimes they do happen.

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Healthcare industry getting affected by cyber

Healthcare industry getting affected by cyber. The Healthcare industry has featured in the top 5 industries attacked by cyber criminals for a number of years now. The WannaCry ransomware attack earlier this year that affected many health trusts across England and Scotland brought the health impact of the cyber threat to the forefront of media and political debate in the run up to the 2017 General Election. So why would anyone want to attack healthcare and what are the threats?

Healthcare Industry

2016 was a very difficult year for healthcare industry when it came to cyber-attacks and developing cyber threats.  According to the TrapX Security 2016 Healthcare Cyber Breach Research report, “the nature of the threat continues to diversify into a greater variety of complex attacks promoted by sophisticated and persistent human attackers. These attacks against hospitals and medical organisations are still driven by the lucrative economic rewards for organised crime. Medical records are among the most complete set of records available and, hence, are in demand for a variety of reasons.”

In October 2016, Ben Gummer, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General warned that the NHS was at risk of cyber-attacks, saying that “hacking is “no longer the stuff of spy thrillers and action movies” but a clear and present threat and large quantities of sensitive data held by the NHS and the Government is being targeted by hackers.”

In January 2017 Barts Health Trust warn its staff that the trust’s four hospitals in East London: The Royal London, St Bartholomew’s, Whipps Cross and Newham were experiencing a “ransomware virus attack.”  This came after similar attacks on Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Foundation trust in the previous October.

A report on the Deep Web black market for electronic health records (EHRs) by researchers affiliated with the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology pointed out that “healthcare systems are relentlessly and incessantly attacked by different types of attackers.”

One of the reasons that healthcare industry remain vulnerable is that many legacy systems and devices lack the ability to be updated and patched, yet are connected to networks.  Or the updating of systems, often via patches provided free from operating system vendors, is not seen as a priority by senior managers and something “IT are responsible for”. It therefore doesn’t matter if the newer devices are completely up to date as the organisation’s “Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)” becomes vulnerable to its weakest link.

Medical records, especially but not exclusively in the USA, by dint of their comprehensive nature, sell for hundreds of dollars on the Dark Web and there is no shortage of them.  According to the IB Times last year, a hacker claimed to have broken into multiple healthcare databases across America and listed a fresh trove of 9.2m records on a Dark Web based marketplace for 750 bitcoins (£368,000). The vendor, using the pseudonym ‘The Dark Overlord’, claims the plaintext 2GB database includes names, addresses, emails, phone numbers, date of births and Social Security Numbers (SSNs) belonging to 9,278,352 Americans.

However, for those compromised, many don’t realise that their records can be sold repeatedly by the criminal networks operating in the Dark Web and that this could cause long term problems.  Information that is contained in medical records can be used for many different types of identity fraud and phishing attacks and because of its comprehensive nature, the threat from these can persist for many years.

In the UK, the attack vector seems to be different to the USA and attacks are mainly via ransomware. Trying to extort money from vulnerable hospital trusts rather than individuals.   NHS hospital trusts in England reported 55 cyber-attacks in 2016, according to data obtained by the BBC from NHS Digital, who oversees cyber security.

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Skygofree android spyware discovered

Skygofree (one of the most powerful strains of Android spyware) has been discovered. Security researchers from Kaspersky have found one of the most powerful strains of Android spyware that enable attackers to take full control over the infected devices remotely.

Skygofree

The new spyware has been called Skygofree, it has been created for targeted surveillance. The researchers traced down indication of Skygofree’s activity back to 2014, but they said the spyware was most active in 2016. They also said that the spyware’s source code included many strings and comments written in the Italian language, which suggests the spyware was intentionally created to target Italian users only.

The malware could record audio through the microphone when an infected device was in a specified location and could make the device to connect to Wi-Fi networks managed by the hacker.

According to researchers: “Given the many artifacts we discovered in the malware code, as well as infrastructure analysis, we are pretty confident that the developer of the Skygofree implants is an Italian IT company that works on surveillance solutions, just like HackingTeam.”

Skygofree has been spread through fake web pages that are simulating leading mobile network operators, most of which have been registered by the cybercriminals since 2015.

Once installed, it shows a fake welcome notification to the victim:
“Dear Customer, we’re updating your configuration and it will be ready as soon as possible.”

At the same moment, it hides an icon and starts background services to hide further operations from the victim.

Users are recommended to download apps only from the official stores.

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Blackberry hacked to mine cryptocurrency

Blackberry hacked to mine cryptocurrency. As cryptocurrency spread its roots globally, the ways of illegally earning or ‘mining’ it is also becoming advanced and much more sophisticated.

Blackberry hacked

Blackberry mobile’s website recently became a victim when hackers used it to illegally mine cryptocurrency.

With Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies gaining popularity, hackers are finding newer ways to mine. They have now started to hack websites and use servers to mine digital currency.

How the Mining Works

The processing powers of computers are utilized by cryptocurrency miners to solve compound and complex mathematical problems and calculations.

Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies are provided as payment to the miners for ‘their’ calculations.

Mining requires CPU memory, which is limited, so hackers find victims and hack into their computers to use their memory to mine.

This time the Blackberry website was being used to mine Monero, a digital currency that is quickly growing.

The hacker hacked into visitor’s computers to mine Monero by using CoinHive codes, the Monero mining script service that was found embedded in the code of the website.

This Blackberry hack issue was discovered by a Reddit user Rundvleeskroket.

CoinHive later apologetically explained on Reddit that a vulnerability in the Magneto webshop software was used to hack the Blackberry website by one of their users, whose account, after the discovery, was terminated for violating the terms of service.

Blackberry hacked to mine cryptocurrency. According to CoinHive, a number of different websites were also hacked due to the vulnerability in the Magneto webshop software.

Later in the same month, the technique spread to Android apps, and it seems that the list of victims is constantly growing.

A cybersecurity researcher discovered 291 Android apps that included the mining codes.

While Blackberry has removed the code and the site is now safe to use, it is unclear how many visitors had to face the burn due to this Blackberry hack incident.

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DuckDuckGo, Brave Improving online privacy

DuckDuckGo Brave Improving online privacy. The feature is accessible today via the new Brave browser desktop release 0.19.116 and will be combined in Brave Android and iOS apps in the first quarter of 2018.

DuckDuckGo Brave

Here’s how DuckDuckGo Brave are increasing online privacy together. Users that open a new private tab in Brave will be offered with an option to select DuckDuckGo as their default search engine. Other search engines track users even when they are employed inside of private browsing modes. DuckDuckGo does not ever accumulate or share users’ personal information. With over 16 billion cumulative anonymous searches as of 2017, DuckDuckGo is growing to be the world’s most trusted search engine.

Many popular sites can host as many as 70 trackers, following users around the web and compile information about their site visits. Brave, by default, stops ads and trackers that violate users’ privacy. Users get an even higher level of privacy by opening a private tab, available from the browser File menu. These tabs are not logged in History or in browsing data and are not included in Brave Payments calculations. Both Brave private tabs and their cookies disappear when the browser is closed.

In a recent study, DuckDuckGo found that isolation is now a mainstream concern in the U.S. with 24% of adults caring enough about their online privacy to take meaningful action to protect it. 65% of people would be excited to switch search engines if they knew a new search engine did not collect personal data about searches. In a January 2017 report, 84% of Americans said they would consider trying another primary web browser if it offered more features to help protect their privacy.

“A lot of people think their searches aren’t tracked in private browsing mode. Sadly, that’s not true unless you’re using a private search engine like DuckDuckGo. We are excited to partner with Brave to give people the search privacy they expect and deserve,” said Gabriel Weinberg, Founder & CEO, DuckDuckGo.

“With Brave and DuckDuckGo, users can rest ensured that we don’t see the sites they browse, that personal data is not stored, and that they are protected from trackers,” said Brendan Eich, CEO, and co-founder of Brave Software. “Users have submitted long enough from the current broken online ecosystem, and with the right tools, they can improve their privacy and take a stand against the agents that exploit their personal data.”

DuckDuckGo Brave together will prove to be a very effective team to provide its end user a seamless and smooth experience.

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Wi-Fi Alliance WPA3 with new security features

Wi-Fi Alliance WPA3 with new security features. The Wi-Fi Alliance has finally announced the long-awaited next generation of the wireless security protocol—Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA3).

Wi-Fi Alliance WPA3

Wi-Fi Alliance WPA3 will replace the existing WPA2—the network security protocol that has been around for at least 15 years and widely used by billions of wireless devices every day, including smartphones, laptops, and the Internet of things.

However, WPA2 has long been considered to be insecure due to its common security issue that is “unencrypted” open Wi-Fi networks, which allows anyone on the same WiFi network to intercept connections on other devices.

Most importantly, WPA2 has also recently been found vulnerable to KRACK (Key Reinstallation Attack) that makes it possible for attackers to intercept and decrypt Wi-Fi traffic passing between computers and access points.

The new standard of Wi-Fi security, which will be available for both personal and enterprise wireless devices later this year, offers improved security and privacy.

  • WPA3 protocol strengthens user privacy in open networks through individualized data encryption.
  • WPA3 protocol will also protect against brute-force dictionary attacks, preventing hackers from making multiple login attempts by using commonly used passwords.
  • WPA3 protocol also offers simplified security for devices that often have no display for configuring security settings, i.e. IoT devices.
  • Finally, there will be a 192-bit security suite for protecting WiFi users’ networks with higher security requirements, such as government, defense, and industrial organizations.

“Wi-Fi security technologies may live for decades, so it’s important they are continually updated to ensure they meet the needs of the Wi-Fi industry,” said Joe Hoffman, SAR Insight & Consulting. “Wi-Fi is evolving to maintain it’s high-level of security as industry demands increase.”

Since hardware must get certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance to use WPA3 security protocol, the new security standard won’t arrive overnight.

It could take months for device manufacturers to support the new wireless security standard, but the first WPA3-certified devices are expected to ship later this year. More details about WPA3 have yet to be released.

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