Category Archive: Cybercrime

Lots of phishing going on: Stop, think, click

How do you stop phishers? Look for these clues. Click to enlarge.

How do you stop phishers? Look for these clues. Click to enlarge.

OK, you’ve heard it over and over…don’t click on unknown links. Well, people, even smart people, don’t listen. You get an email from someone that you know, click on what is said to be a “secure” link and your adventure begins.

googledocs - Secure Login

Here’s the bait. It looks official. People click and type in their password, giving their email account and contacts to hackers.

Now the phisher has you lured in. You’re asked to sign in. A nasty bot takes control of your computer, steals your contact list and sends everyone on your list an invitation to become infected.

Recommendations:

    • Look at the illustration at the top of this email. Be aware.
    • Do not follow unsolicited web links in email messages or submit any email account or password information to unknown webpages in links.
    • Use caution when opening email attachments. Refer to Using Caution with Email Attachments for more information on safely handling email attachments.
    • Maintain up-to-date anti-virus software.
    • Perform regular backups of all systems to limit the impact of data and/or system loss.
    • Apply changes to your Intrusion Detection/Prevention Systems and Firewalls to detect any known malicious activity.
    • Secure open-share drives by only allowing connections from authorized users.
    • Keep your operating system and software up-to-date with the latest patches.
    • Refer to the Recognizing and Avoiding Email Scams (pdf) document for more information on avoiding email scams.
    • Refer to the Security Tip Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more information on social engineering attacks.

US-CERT and DHS encourage users and administrators experiencing a ransomware infection NOT to respond to extortion attempts by attempting payment and instead to report the incident to the FBI at the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

Here are some free resources to see if your computer is infected (from STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™  the global cybersecurity awareness campaign to help all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online. – See more at: http://www.stopthinkconnect.org/)

For more tips about cybersecurity, check out the following non-technical publications:

New cyberthreats (including CryptoLocker Ransomware)

Stop. Think. Connect.

Click on the icon to download a set of posters to help you create a culture of cybersecurity.

The FBI and the National Cybersecurity and Communications have identified new computer malware threats and recommend that, “organizations should increase vigilance and evaluate their capabilities encompassing planning, preparation, detection, and response for such an event.” Destructive malware is a direct threat to your daily operations. Because of the increasing sophistication of malware, anyone (employee, client, volunteer, student) who  is on your network could trigger an infection affecting everyone. Organizations should work to develop a culture of safe computing.

  1. The publication, Planning and Recommended Guidance: Destructive Malware is technical, but it is a good guide for techies. Please pass it on to your IT departments and/0r consultants to assist them to protect you, your data, your credit and your reputation.
  2. The National Cyber Awareness System reports outbreak of “ransomware” that restricts access to infected computers and demands a payment to to decrypt and recover your files (see CryptoLocker Ransomware Infections for more information and how to undo the damage). The latest means of infection appears to be phishing emails designed to mimic the look of legitimate businesses and through phony FedEx and UPS tracking notices. Some victims saw the malware appear following after a previous infection from existing botnets lurking on infected computers.

Recommendations:

    • Do not follow unsolicited web links in email messages or submit any information to webpages in links.
    • Use caution when opening email attachments. Refer to Using Caution with Email Attachments for more information on safely handling email attachments.
    • Maintain up-to-date anti-virus software.
    • Perform regular backups of all systems to limit the impact of data and/or system loss.
    • Apply changes to your Intrusion Detection/Prevention Systems and Firewalls to detect any known malicious activity.
    • Secure open-share drives by only allowing connections from authorized users.
    • Keep your operating system and software up-to-date with the latest patches.
    • Refer to the Recognizing and Avoiding Email Scams (pdf) document for more information on avoiding email scams.
    • Refer to the Security Tip Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more information on social engineering attacks.

US-CERT and DHS encourage users and administrators experiencing a ransomware infection NOT to respond to extortion attempts by attempting payment and instead to report the incident to the FBI at the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

Related information:

For more tips about cybersecurity, check out the following non-technical publications:

Protecting your cyberlives

Posted on July 31, 2013

DHS has an excellent resource: the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT). Their website has information ranging from Computer Security 101 to advanced information for IT professionals.

Remember: Scams, bots and viruses continue to proliferate. Use caution when opening email messages and take the following preventive measures to protect themselves from phishing scams and malware campaigns.

  • Do not click on or submit any information to webpages.
  • Do not follow unsolicited web links in email messages.
  • Use caution when opening email attachments. Refer to the Security Tip Using Caution with Email Attachments for more information on safely handling email attachments.
  • Maintain up-to-date antivirus software.
  • Users who are infected should change all passwords AFTER removing the malware from their system.
  • Refer to the Recognizing and Avoiding Email Scams (pdf) document for more information on avoiding email scams.
  • Refer to the Security Tip Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more information on social engineering attacks.

Other great information for non-techies from the US-CERT website.

Top 10 Ways to Improve the Security of a New Computer

  • Top 10 Ways to Improve the Security of a New Computer Because our computers have such critical roles in our lives and we trust them with so much personal information, it’s important to improve their security so we can continue to rely on them and keep our information safe.Virus Basics
  • Virus Basics Learn about viruses, what they can do to your systems, and how to avoid them and lessen their impact.
  • Home Network SecurityHome Network Security Your home network is susceptible to intrusion and attack. Learn more about the security risks and how to guard against them.
  • Staying Safe on Social Networking Sites The popularity of social networking sites continues to increase. The nature of these sites introduces security risks, so you should take certain precautions.

Considerations for digital & online security at Jewish institutions

The hackings of 82 synagogue websites during Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense by the “Moroccan Ghosts” brought appropriate responses from law enforcement agencies. The intrusions should remind us that cybersecurity is in our own hands. The following recommendations from the ADL make sense.

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New hack attack on websites

Posted on August 19, 2012

For those of you with websites.

The problem

There is a relatively new attack on websites hitting MySQL. If you don’t understand this, check with your techie or your ISP to confirm if your website is vulnerable.

How do you know that you’ve been compromised? Google is ever alert and will mark your site as “dangerous”. Websites/web hosting companies subscribe to “blacklists” of such sites. Firefox and Chrome check the blacklists before going to a site and will tell a user, Warning – visiting this website may harm your computer!”.

Once your site is hacked it must be “cleaned”. After doing so, you can notify Google, request that it be removed from the blacklist and 3 to 24 hours later the site will be unblacklisted.

Best practices

  1. Make regular backups of your website. Even if your ISP takes care of this it couldn’t  hurt to have another.
  2. Your website probably has all kinds of access passwords (FTP, SQL administration, etc.). Make sure that you have strong passwords at every option. This usually includes multiple words, mixing capital and lower case letters and using numbers and symbols. See this Consumer Reports article for more explanations and tips.