Category: Security

Everything You Need To Know About Cybersecurity

Introduction

Cyber Security is one of the most talked about topics in 2022. The reason is simple – cyber-attacks are becoming more frequent and bigger in scale. And not just from mega-corporations like Equifax and Facebook, home users also face a risk of being hacked. This guide on cybersecurity seeks to equip users with the knowledge and motivation to take steps for protecting their personal information online.

This blog post covers the following information:

What is Cybersecurity?

The Cyberthreat Scale

Expected Spending on Cybersecurity in 2022

Cybersecurity From Business Point of View

Types of Cyber Security Modules

  • Critical Infrastructure Security
  • Application Security
  • Network Security
  • Cloud Security
  • Internet of Things (IoT) Security

Understanding The 3 C’s of Cybersecurity

Components Required to Create a Complete Security Posture

  • People
  • Processes
  • Technology

Types of Cybersecurity Threats

  • Malware
  • SQL Injection
  • Phishing
  • Man-in-the-Middle
  • Denial-of-Service (DoS)

Latest Cyber Threats in 2022

  • Cryptojacking
  • Romance Scams
  • Dridex
  • Cybersecurity Metrics Every Business Should Know
  • Monitoring Employees
  • Time to Detection (TTD)
  • Time to Remediation (TTR)
  • Incident Management & Reporting
  • Cost Per Incident
  • Average Time to Patch

Best Cyber Safety Tips in 2022

Conclusion

 

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is the protection of computers, networks, programs, and data from theft or damage to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the same.

Cybersecurity specialists spend their days doing a variety of different things: analyzing data to identify threats, creating new security software for companies to protect their information, training employees about how to avoid cyberattacks, and working with law enforcement to investigate cybercrimes.

The Cyberthreat Scale

It’s a wild world out there. And it’s only getting wilder.

In 2019, the number of records exposed in data breaches is already more than double what it was in 2018. And almost the same surge applies to 2020 and 2021.

The medical field has seen an increase in cyber threats and data breaches, but so have retail locations and public entities.

Cybercriminals are still primarily interested in financial and medical records, which are then sold to other criminal organizations for further exploitation.

The threat of cybercrime is evolving at a rapid pace, and the number of records exposed in data breaches has increased significantly in this year alone. In the first 8 months of 2019, there have been 7.9 billion data records exposed due to data breaches, which is 112% more than the number of records exposed during the same period in 2018.

The most affected industries within the past year were medical services, retailers, and public entities. Medical services alone accounted for 2.7 billion records exposed or 40% of all data breach exposures to date. Retailers had 1.8 billion records exposed (26%), and government agencies accounted for 1.3 billion records exposed (20%).

According to a report compiled by security firm Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., most cybercriminals collect financial and medical data. Cybercrime is a lucrative business: financial information can be sold on the black market for tens of dollars per record; while medical information can fetch up to $300 per record.

Expected Spending on Cybersecurity in 2022

In 2022, the worldwide spending on cyber-security solutions will reach a massive $133.7 billion, the International Data Corporation predicts. This number is a full $17 billion increase from 2021’s predicted spending amount of $116.7 billion.

The report’s findings are based on a survey of more than 1,500 business and IT leaders in 10 countries and 29 industries and regions, who were asked about their planned spending over the next five years. The report also includes opinions from 500 security professionals from around the world.

International Data Corporation notes that this predicted increase is due in part to the fact that there is more money available for purchasing solutions, but also because businesses are requiring more complex defense mechanisms to protect their data and assets.

IDC believes that companies should be looking at solutions that not only provide strong protection against current threats, but also surveillance software that can catch up with emerging attacks and prevent them before they happen.

However, even with these advancements and investments, nothing can be assured about a company’s security, and there is always room for improvement when it comes to cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity From Business Point of View

Many businesspeople will describe cybersecurity as a combination of technology and risk management, but some take it one step further: they classify it as a business risk, whereas others call it a technology risk. 72% of board members classified cybersecurity as a business risk, compared to 88% who classified it as a technology risk and 12% who classified it as both a business and a technology risk.

A recent survey shows that the majority of board members feel that cybersecurity is more of a business risk than anything else. And most importantly, your chief information security officer (CISO) is held accountable for cybersecurity at 85% of organizations.

Cyber-risk incidents can have disastrous effects on businesses. Just look at Yahoo! when they were hacked in 2013, Target in 2014, or Equifax in 2017—when cyber-attacks happen, there are almost always serious consequences for the businesses involved. Organizations need to up their cybersecurity game if they want to avoid things like this from happening to them.

Types of Cyber Security Modules

There are different types of cybersecurity modules. Each type offers a way to keep data safe and should be considered when formulating a security plan. These cybersecurity modules are continuously evolving as cybercrime continues to develop as well.

Critical Infrastructure Security:

Critical infrastructure security is a broad term that refers to systems that are critical to the health and wellbeing of a community and/or country. These systems often have a huge impact on the daily lives of people and are fundamental to the functioning of a society as a whole. For example, water and power systems keep people alive, transportation systems allow people to get around, and communications systems allow for the flow of information. Critical infrastructure security is essential to keep these systems safe from deliberate or unintended harm.

Application Security:

Application security focuses on securing applications that are used by an organization and its employees. Applications are in use every day, throughout an organization, and even on employee devices. This application-based approach to cybersecurity means that it needs to be a top priority for any employer.

Application security, just like other forms of cybersecurity, is focused on the protection of applications from various threats. These threats can be from individuals or from malicious software (malware), both of which can infiltrate an organization and cause devastating damage to the company or its employees.

This type of security focuses on securing access to applications, securing data within those applications, ensuring integrity within those applications, and ensuring that the application does not have any manipulation issues (i.e., using application proxies). The main purpose of application security is to ensure that what you are seeing in your application matches what is actually in storage behind the scenes.

Network Security:

Network security is a broad category that can be broken down into subcategories. First, network security deals with protecting computers, networks, and the data transmitted across networks. It also encompasses firewalls, routers, and other devices used to regulate the flow of information from one place to another. Finally, network security covers internet-based threats like malware, viruses, Trojans, and ransomware.

Network security has two main components: network attack and network defense.

Network attack is all about accessing a company’s data and systems by breaking into them. It also includes penetration testing (also called ethical hacking). A penetration test is a simulated attack on a network’s security that allows an organization to find out how well its defenses are working. Penetration tests are performed both by outside companies using special software and by the organization itself using in-house employees.

Network defense is all about preventing unauthorized access to a company’s data and systems. Network defense includes preventing the spread of viruses and other malicious programs, protecting networks against denial-of-service attacks, and designing employee policies to prevent social engineering.

Cloud Security:

Cloud security is one of the most rapidly growing types of cybersecurity. Cloud computing is a method of storing data, software, and running applications in a hosted environment instead of on one’s own computer or property. This allows users to collaborate and share information in real-time, while the cloud hosting service takes care of the maintenance and security of the system.

Cloud security is generally managed by a third party that offers certain perks to users for their business. These services generally include secure storage and access management, customized reporting, and maybe even an SLA (Service Level Agreement).

Internet of Things (IoT) Security:

The Internet of Things (IoT) is an umbrella term for the network of physical objects connected to the internet, which can communicate with each other and with their users. The IoT includes all sorts of devices: smart thermostats, appliances, wearables, smart refrigerators, and many more.

The IoT has been a catalyst for the development of new cybersecurity challenges because these devices are often very low priced and lack standardization in design as well as security mechanisms. Some IoT devices are nothing more than a simple microprocessor connected to the internet, while others may contain memory storage and battery or solar power. The potential attack surface is huge and attackers can use a variety of methods to exploit these devices.

Understanding The 3 C’s of Cybersecurity

Cybercrime, cyberattack, and cyberterrorism are attacks on a network. When we hear the phrase, “cyberattack,” it makes us think of an attack on our computer. But, some attacks are against a network. A cyberthreat is an attack via a traditional Trojan virus or spam. Cybercrime and cyberterrorism target individuals and groups as well. So, what is the difference between these cyberattacks?

Cybercrime means illegal activity through the internet—such as stealing money from bank accounts, operating illegal gambling sites, or sharing pornography.

Cyberattack involves an individual or organization tampering with the system of another individual or organization through the internet. This can include threatening to publish information about someone or something if they don’t pay a ransom.

Cyberterrorism involves an attack by a group or nation-state against an organization for political reasons. This could include threatening to publish information about a company if they don’t pay a ransom, which is similar to a cyberattack except it is done by a group rather than an individual.

Components Required to Create a Complete Security Posture

“The old saying, ‘All you need is antivirus software’ has been propagated for so long that it seems to be commonly accepted as the Holy Grail of securing your network. The network security posture should be a defense-in-depth strategy consisting of multiple layers and segments.”

Until this day, the discipline of information security has many challenges, and failures continue to happen. One of these challenges is the failure of organizations to securely protect their operations and assets. This concern is what drives information security professionals to create more effective strategies, alongside with development and implementation of different ways in securing the organization’s data from threats coming from any direction.

People:

Many companies believe that cybersecurity is only a technical issue, but this is not true. Cybersecurity is a people problem. People are the most important component in a cybersecurity posture. The reason for this is simple: people, who understand the technology and know what they’re doing, can affect the entire environment’s security posture.

These three steps are necessary to properly secure your company’s network:

1). Hire employees who understand the importance of cybersecurity and have experience working with technology. These people will be able to help with your security issues before they become dangerous.

2). Make sure your employees are trained on the proper way to use technology in your office, like computers or smartphones. You don’t want them accidentally deleting important files or sending sensitive information to the wrong place.

3). Encourage employees to make cybersecurity a priority in their daily lives, both at work and outside of work (at home or when out with friends). The best way to do this is by setting an example for them and ensuring that everyone understands how important cyber security is for everyone’s safety and privacy, not just the company’s protection from outside hackers and attackers.

Processes:

Cyber threats are a serious business, and they’ve been on the rise. Organizations need to ensure that they have the right processes in place to manage risk on an ongoing basis.

The success of a cybersecurity program depends on how well it can adapt to changes in the environment, including new threats and technologies. This can be done through effective processes for monitoring the organization’s cybersecurity posture and adapting to changes. “Monitoring” means determining whether or not the organization is achieving its goals for its cybersecurity program, including improving cybersecurity measures over time and ensuring business objectives are met. “Adapting” refers to making changes in response to events or conditions that affect or may affect the organization’s cybersecurity posture.

In addition, processes should exist to help ensure compliance with applicable laws, regulations, standards, and policies; identify gaps in security coverage; prioritize funding and resources; continuously develop security expertise; assign roles and responsibilities; address staff turnover; monitor and assess risks; determine appropriate controls; evaluate effectiveness.

We reached out to a cybersecurity expert with MpireSolutions, and asked him if he could share any advice for other companies looking to stay safe.

“Cybersecurity,” said the agent, “starts with people.” He noted that many cybersecurity professionals focus too much on technology while not giving enough attention to people and processes. Management should make sure that employees understand how breaches happen and the role they play in preventing them. This can be done through training programs and regular meetings with managers.

The second thing management should do is create clear lines of responsibility. This means that each employee knows what their organization’s policies are for dealing with cybersecurity threats, as well as how to report breaches or attempted breaches. The human element can’t be ignored when it comes to security.”

Technology:

When it comes to cybersecurity, there is no silver bullet. But according to a study, technology plays an active role in any successful security posture and can provide distinct advantages for an organization looking to ward off cyber threats.

A modern enterprise is only as strong as its weakest link, which may explain why most breaches start with a simple phishing email. Even in the face of constant attacks, experts agree that technology is the key to mitigating damage.

Businesses that are not fully aware of their IT vulnerabilities are at high risk of getting breached; this becomes especially true if they don’t have a strategy in place to be able to recover quickly.

Cybersecurity has become a top priority for companies worldwide, and it’s not going away anytime soon. Organizations must continue to invest in their defense mechanisms so that they can take advantage of new technologies before attackers do.

Types of Cybersecurity Threats

Cybersecurity threats are something we hear and read about all the time. New reports come out daily that detail the latest cyber intrusion, data breach, or hack that resulted in a company losing their sensitive personal information or suffering some sort of loss because of a security vulnerability. Cybersecurity threats can take many forms and we won’t attempt to cover them all here. However, there are 5 basic types of cybersecurity threats you need to be aware of:

Malware

Malware is short for “malicious software,” and it refers to any type of software that is intended to cause harm to computer systems or the data stored on them. Malware can be used for a number of different purposes, including:

  • Intentional destruction of data
  • Hijacking a user’s computer to steal his or her account login information
  • Controlling the user’s computer for use in launching attacks against other systems

Malware is often installed by tricking users into downloading and executing it, but some forms of malware are capable of infecting computers even when they’re not downloaded onto them.

SQL Injection

SQL injection is a type of attack that exploits a security weakness in an application that uses Structured Query Language (SQL) databases. SQL injections are possible because an application does not validate input from the user before using it in an SQL query. The attacker takes advantage of this by inserting code into the SQL query to be executed on the database server, which can then be used to reveal information from the database or even take control of the server itself.

Phishing

Phishing is the practice of sending fraudulent emails in an attempt to collect sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes indirectly stealing money from a victim’s bank account). The term is a neologism created as a homophone of fishing due to the similarity of using bait in an attempt to catch a victim. Phishing is usually carried out by email spoofing or instant messaging, and it often directs users to enter details at a fake website whose look and feel are almost identical to the legitimate one. Phishing emails may contain links to websites that are infected with malware (which will infect the user’s computer), or sites where users are asked to supply personal information, such as passwords.

Man-in-the-Middle

A man-in-the-middle attack is a method used by cybercriminals and malicious hackers to obtain sensitive information from their victims. It involves an attacker placing themselves between two separate parties in a conversation, pretending to be both participants. This is done by intercepting data sent between the two parties and duplicating it before sending it to each party. The attacker can monitor the responses of each of the parties to replicate the correct responses.

To prevent being a victim of this type of attack, users should verify that the address bar on their web browser begins with “HTTPS://” instead of HTTP://”. This indicates that the website is using a secure connection. If this is not present, then it’s possible that the user is being connected to a fake site controlled by the attacker.

Denial-of-Service (DoS)

A denial-of-service attack (DoS attack for short) is a type of cyberattack that is used to deny users access to resources or systems. It is considered one of the most primitive types of attacks, though it can prove just as effective as more advanced methods. A successful DoS attack shuts down a system or server by overloading it with massive amounts of traffic, preventing legitimate traffic from accessing the resource.

DoS attacks are commonly performed using one or more computers that have been compromised via malware such as a Trojan horse, worms, or viruses. The compromised computer or computers then send requests to the target website to overload its servers and either shut it down completely or significantly slow it down until normal operations cease. The attacker can use their own computer or enlist their friends and family’s computers, which is why some DoS attacks are also called distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

Latest Cyber Threats in 2022

Cyber attacks in the coming year will be more sophisticated, more damaging, and much harder to predict than ever before. Our lives are now almost completely dependent on various types of information and communication technology, which makes us vulnerable targets.

The world threat level is not going down. It’s rising. There are a number of cyber threats that you need to be aware of. Let’s take a closer look at just a few of the various threats that are likely to pop up on your radar moving forward.

Cryptojacking

Crypto Jacking is the practice of using someone else’s computer without their permission to mine cryptocurrency coins, often for someone else’s financial gain.

Cryptojacking comes in several forms, but what they all have in common is that the victim does not give consent for an application to use their computing power to mine cryptocurrency. Some cryptojacking software is installed by an individual on a device they own. Other times, cryptojacking software is installed by cybercriminals who target vulnerable computers and devices. Devices that can be targeted for cryptojacking include computers, phones, tablets, smart TVs, and even smart fridges!

Cryptojacking can be done in the background while users continue to work on their infected devices. Although it doesn’t change any settings or affect the performance of a device and can be difficult to detect, it can slow down a device since mining requires a lot of processing power.

Cryptojackers may use other malicious software that also secretly uses the victim’s computer and network resources, including crypto-miners or ransomware programs. Therefore, it is important to keep your operating systems up-to-date and make sure you are protected with security software.

Romance Scams

Romance scams are fake online relationships used to swindle people out of money and items. Scammers prey on lonely people looking for companionship, taking advantage of their loneliness, loneliness, and optimism. These scammers create fake profiles on dating sites, social media platforms, chat rooms, and more. They pretend they’re a potential partner, eventually asking the victim to send money or other items. They often claim they need money to help them come to visit the victim. If they’re successful in scamming someone out of money/items, they move on to a new victim as quickly as possible. Romance scams are especially hard to identify because many real people use these sites as well and it’s hard to tell when someone is pretending to be someone they aren’t.

Dridex

Dridex is a type of malware that was first discovered in 2014. But has become widespread in 2022. It’s a Trojan horse, meaning once it infects your computer, it steals information from you and sends it to cybercriminals. It enables criminals to steal passwords and banking information and then use it to access your bank accounts. The main goal behind the creation of Dridex was to make money, which makes it an example of economic espionage rather than traditional state-sponsored hacking.

Cybersecurity Metrics Every Business Should Know

 

One of the biggest security risks your business may be facing are the ones you didn’t even know about — and for that, it’s important to regularly review your security metrics.

Did you know that over 1.33 million cyber attacks are blocked by different cybersecurity firms every month? That’s the equivalent of over 6,200 attacks every hour. It is essential to empower your business to move away from the default settings and enable necessary tools to achieve greater visibility and better control over your data, devices, and applications.

Monitoring Employees

Monitoring employee behavior is an important metric for an organization to track so that its cybersecurity can be evaluated. Monitoring employee behavior allows an organization to assess its employee’s ability to identify and report security incidents, as well as their understanding of how to report a data breach effectively.

When it comes to cybersecurity, many companies focus either on the technology or processes being used by the business but fail to consider whether their employees are even aware of these processes and technology. This can cause issues if employees lack the knowledge necessary to prevent cyberattacks, or if they don’t know the right steps to take in a data breach situation.

Monitoring employee behavior includes:

– Assessing the employee’s level of awareness of organizational policies

– Examining the employee’s ability to identify cybersecurity risks

– Evaluating an employee’s response time when identifying cybersecurity risks or breaches

Time to Detection (TTD)

Time to detection (TTD) is an important cybersecurity metric for a business; it measures how long it takes a business to detect cyber threats. The TTD metric is calculated by dividing the time between the first and the last cyber threat attack against a business into the total number of attacks that occur over a given time period. The metric allows businesses to measure their cybersecurity preparedness.

Time to Remediation (TTR)

Time to remediation is an important cybersecurity metric for business. It is a measure of how long it takes to remediate a threat or incident from the point it is detected and reported. Although the time it takes to perform a public disclosure after detecting a threat or incident is also important, Time to Remediation focuses on the time between threat detection and an operational solution being put into place.

Incident Management & Reporting

Incident management and reporting are important components of a strong cybersecurity strategy. Incident management can help determine the scope and impact of an attack, while incident reporting must be accurate and comply with regulatory requirements. Incident reporting and data analysis can also help identify trends in attack patterns to allow for timely responses to new threats. Accurate incident reporting helps businesses to maintain compliance with industry regulations, as well as legal obligations to their customers and partners.

Cost Per Incident

Although the importance of cybersecurity metrics is clear, it can be difficult to determine which metrics are most important. Many metrics exist, and understanding how they relate to one another is a crucial part of evaluating security practices. One important metric is Cost per Incident, which calculates the cost of an incident in relation to the organization’s revenue. This metric can help determine whether the organization has sufficient resources in place to protect data and assets.

This metric can be derived by dividing total costs by the number of incidents recorded and viewing the result as a percentage. For example, if a business has 50 incidents over a given period and spends $10,000 on related expenses, it’s [Cost per incident] would equal $200.

Average Time to Patch

The average time to patch is an important Cybersecurity Metric for a business. A company’s data is the most valuable asset it has, and protecting that data from cyber-attacks is vital to its success. The longer it takes to patch a vulnerability in a computer program, the greater the risk that someone will exploit that vulnerability. The more frequently a company patches its vulnerabilities, the lower the risk of cyber-attack.

Best Cyber Safety Tips in 2022

With the rise of technology, our lives have changed in many ways. One of the most important is what we do online. The internet is a powerful tool that can connect people across the world, but it also comes with risks. In recent years, cybercrime has increased dramatically. You can protect yourself and your loved ones from cyber attacks by following some simple steps:

Update your software and operating system security patches regularly. Make sure you are not running old software versions or out-of-date operating systems that might be vulnerable to hacking attacks.

Use anti-virus software on your devices to help protect them from malware and viruses. Make sure that you keep this software up to date and fully functional on all your computers and mobile devices.

Use strong passwords for all of your accounts and change them frequently. Change default passwords for any installed software. Password managers like 1Password and LastPass are great resources for creating unique, complex passwords for all of your accounts, though they do require some initial setup time to use effectively.

Do not open email attachments from unknown senders or download files from unfamiliar websites. Cybercriminals often send out emails or host links to infected files embedded in websites designed to steal personal information or infect devices with malware when you click on the link inside the email.

Avoid public WiFi. Hackers are often using WiFi networks in public places to hack into private accounts. To protect yourself and your information, it is a good idea to only use secure WiFi networks.

Conclusion

One of the biggest challenges for organizations today is understanding the scale and scope of cybersecurity vulnerabilities, as well as identifying and prioritizing cybersecurity threats. In addition, with an increasingly complex attack environment, it is more important than ever to have a centralized view of both your digital assets and your exposure to cybersecurity threats.

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Quantum Computing vs. Bitcoin Algorithm: Who Succeeds?

Introduction

Quantum Computing represents a paradigm shift in technology that underpins finance as we know it. On the other side, Blockchain is a bit like the invention of double-entry bookkeeping. It transforms trust and confidence between parties and makes it possible for money to move around the world quickly, securely, and freely.

But what happens if someone invents a supercomputer that can solve problems even faster than our best computers today? That would undermine Blockchain’s security and call into question Bitcoin’s viability as a method of payment.

This blog post will cover the following information:

Quantum Computing: A Threat for Bitcoins?

Quantum Computing & its Impact on the Cryptocurrency Market

Can any Quantum Computer crack into Bitcoin’s Algorithm?

Headed for Quantum Apocalypse, Researchers Warn!

How Quantum Computing will infiltrate Cryptocurrency Markets?

Which types of Encryption will remain safe in the Quantum Era?

Conclusion

 

Quantum Computing: A Threat for Bitcoins?

Quantum Computing will amount to the death knell for Bitcoin, the notable digital currency that most large firms in the present day swear by.

One of the great attributes of Blockchain technology is that its encrypted data exists on thousands of computers worldwide, with no centralized server. This means there’s no single point of failure, making it truly secure. Any attempt to hack the system would require enough computing power to break through several blocks simultaneously.

It’s a puzzle that would be virtually impossible to solve without having to crack every block within tens of thousands of years.

But a new generation of technology, the dawn of Quantum Computing, is generating speculation with many hands asking: Will Quantum Computing crack the Bitcoin algorithm?

Quantum Computing is an exciting field of technology. It can potentially change what we know about computing, with the ability to increase processing speeds vastly. However, there’s also a considerable concern shown by the information security professionals.

Quantum Computing can potentially break high-level encryption, allowing attackers to access and decrypt information that was assumed secure today. Among those encrypted things are Bitcoin wallets.

Quantum Computing & its Impact on the Cryptocurrency Market

The Bitcoin Algorithm may soon be under attack by Quantum Computing. This technology could threaten Cryptocurrency if it becomes a mainstream platform.

Could Quantum Computing be the downfall of Bitcoin? It’s been years since Bitcoin was launched, with its underlying Blockchain technology providing a digital alternative to traditional ways of carrying out financial transactions. Since then, we have seen it become even more popular in 2017, especially for foreign exchange trading. In fact, many people accept Cryptocurrencies as payment methods these days.

But will this trend last forever? Perhaps not.

Guided by the principles of Blockchain, cryptography, and computer science, Bitcoin and other crypto coins are slowly taking over the financial world with the underlying strength of a decentralized system and open-source code.

In recent months, there has been much talk about ‘Bitcoin’s weakness,’ partly due to encryption and hash function concerns on SHA256 and double SHA256.

People who worry about this issue all speak with a tone of concern; they are concerned that today’s supercomputers in the near future (post-quantum era) will be able to crack the Bitcoin wallet password through Quantum Computing power easily – once this happens one day, all Bitcoins can be immediately stolen!

Can Any Quantum Computer Crack Into Bitcoin’s Algorithm?

The way Bitcoin works is by using an encryption algorithm that is so incredibly complex that today’s computing power can’t break it. But how long will that last?

A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Sussex has sought to answer that question in a particular way: How big does a quantum computer need to be to accomplish something useful?

Two of their research teams examined the significant ways in which qubits (or quantum bits) are engineered and then calculated precisely how many qubits would be needed to crack the Bitcoin encryption key. Their results were published in a recent Nature Communications report.

One method involved using stacked qubits or columns of qubits to process information. The second method involved using ions trapped in an electromagnetic field or ions trapped inside high-powered magnetic traps.

One of the most popular ways of engineering qubits involves superconductors, which are materials at extremely low temperatures that maintain an electrical current for long periods. The other approach involves trapping ions, or charged atoms, inside magnetic traps. When these two approaches are combined, they create the most efficient type of quantum computer engineers have yet devised—and a powerful one at that.

In order to break the encryption, a quantum computer needs to process a tremendous number of calculations using a staggering 317 million qubits. This would take an hour, give or take. To process each individual ten-minute hack, the quantum computer would need to employ 1.9 billion qubits.

Interestingly enough, they also discovered that IBM had developed a 127-qubit machine known as IBM Eagle. This device is considered as the most powerful of its kind on Earth right now, but it’s not strong enough to break through digital currency encryption. It’s possible that this could change with time, but for now, Quantum Computing is still far away from cracking Bitcoin’s algorithm.

Headed for Quantum Apocalypse, Researchers Warn!

Quantum computers could bring about the end of encryption as we know it. Within the next few years, they could allow hackers to steal virtually anything, including your money and your secrets.

Quantum Computing is making a huge splash in the tech industry right now. It’s the next big thing, and some of the biggest names in technology are racing to bring it to market first.

But experts warn that Quantum Computing has a dark side: a “quantum apocalypse.” When quantum computers achieve maximum processing power, they could wreak havoc on our digital world by doing things like cracking encryption in mere seconds, which would make all our passwords vulnerable to hackers. So we need solutions now before we’re out of time.

Quantum Computing is still in its infancy, and these quantum computers aren’t even fully functional yet—but when they are, they’ll be able to do things like break the Bitcoin algorithm and decrypt any data that currently rely on public-key encryption.

How Quantum Computing Will Infiltrate Cryptocurrency Markets?

It seems like a long way off, but it’s happening. Quantum Computing will break into Cryptocurrency. The question is: how?

Quantum Computing relies on subatomic particles called qubits. A qubit can be in any superposition of states to represent 0 and 1 at the same time. This means a quantum computer could theoretically tackle a problem with more variables than atoms in the known universe.

The regular computers we use daily function by manipulating binary code made up of 1s and 0s. A quantum computer would rely on qubits encoded with multiple numbers or symbols at once, each one representing an algorithm capable of solving specific problems. Each algorithm would solve its own unique set of equations, which would then be combined into one successfully completed whole.

That allows them to perform operations at a far greater speed than conventional computers, and some believe that this could lead to an explosion of innovation in all kinds of fields – from science and engineering to cryptography. But at the same, experts see this revolution as a hot new threat on the block.

“When that leap does eventually come, it’s going to be staggeringly huge and will upend our entire digital lives. It’s been called “the biggest tech revolution since the internet,” and while most people don’t think about it much now, they might start very soon.” says an expert.

“The only thing holding back Quantum Computing from radically changing cybersecurity as we know it is the physical construction of the machines themselves. We’re already making strides on that front. However, it’s still going to take another 10-15 years before Quantum Computing becomes widespread enough to disrupt modern encryption methods such as RSA and ECC.”

Which Types of Encryption Will Remain Safe In The Quantum Era?

In a world that is on the precipice of building computers that can efficiently perform tasks impossible for classical computers, we need to be prepared to protect our data in new ways. 

With this in mind, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been running a competition since 2016 to develop new quantum-proof standards for cryptography. These standards will keep our data safe from computationally advanced threats for as long as possible.

Lattice Approaches

Lattice approaches are popular methods of addressing quantum supremacy in the near term. These methods use techniques based on mathematics’ “lattice theory,” which involves looking at points in space that form a pattern similar to a checkerboard and using the relationship between those points to create codes that are difficult to hack.

One way to make these codes more secure is by using what’s called “fully homomorphic encryption”—encryption where implementations can be used as black boxes that perform operations on encrypted data (such as adding or multiplying numbers). This would allow companies to perform secure calculations on sensitive data without decrypting it first.

Code-Based Encryption

As early as 1978, scientists had begun to research the feasibility of using a code-based encryption method for long-term data storage. This type of algorithm was created by cryptographer Robert J. McEliece, who devised a plan for storing information in packets deciphered through an error-correcting code

The original idea is simple: encoding messages in a way that permits them to be transmitted over a network while reducing the risk that they will be altered or intercepted by unauthorized parties.

One way to do this is to convert each letter into a number, then translate each number into another number using a mathematical process called a linear transformation. This new version of each letter is then combined with random junk data (or “noise”) and then converted back into letters. 

If a third party intercepts and tries to decode the message without knowing the mathematical function used, this process will only produce garbage—and thus, the term “error-correcting code” applies.

These modifications make it challenging for unauthorized parties to decrypt the information, making code-based encryption a solid security practice that will likely persist as quantum Computing technology advances.

But these are just short-term solutions…

As it stands now, current encryption methods are seemingly impossible to crack, even with the most advanced computers. However, this is not guaranteed to be true when Quantum Computing advances (which experts say is only a matter of time). When Quantum Computing becomes a reality, all encryption will be crackable, and your Bitcoin wallet will be as vulnerable as any other encrypted data.

The current state of quantum Computing is one that’s limited to just a few million qubits. But it won’t be long until companies can harness the power of these quantum computers, which have the capacity of millions of qubits.

That’s because as quantum computers grow more powerful, they will become capable of solving specific problems much more efficiently than conventional computers. In fact, according to experts who study cryptography and computational complexity theory, when “quantum computers processing billions of qubits come into being,” then these computers will easily break into Bitcoin.

Clearly then, the transition from a few million to billions is the only thing standing in the way of these machines cracking Bitcoin.

Conclusion

The future of Bitcoin is uncertain. While many analysts agree that Cryptocurrency was a one-hit-wonder, others claim that it has staying power as a significant player in the financial industry. However, no matter which side they take, most experts seem to agree that a quantum computer could crack Bitcoin’s current security system.

In short, a quantum computer is computer-based on the principles of quantum mechanics instead of classical physics. Quantum computers are still in their infancy and cannot be used for practical purposes yet. However, even if they were available right now, many experts believe that they would crack or break encryption systems like RSA and ECC, which are currently used by Bitcoin and many other online security systems.

Nevertheless, it may not be all doom and gloom for Bitcoin users. Experts believe that preventive measures can be taken to ensure that this new technology won’t jeopardize Bitcoin. Still, if these precautions aren’t taken (and, likely, they won’t be), there may soon come a day when Bitcoin’s reign as the world’s leading Cryptocurrency comes to an end.

The computing world is a fast progressing and complicated world that is branching out in several domains with the passage of time. If you have a technology project and looking for a consultation, reach out to Mpire Solutions for a FREE Consultation.

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Log4j Zero Day Vulnerability: Everything You Need to Know

Introduction

The IT industry is facing a kind of pandemic threat in terms of security. It is believed that international hackers are already at work targeting the security flaws. The authorities have issued a serious warning, encouraging regulatory officials to address the problem as soon as possible because it’s so vulnerable to hacking — and advising those with general populace networks to install firewalls if they’re not sure.

The software that is impacted is minor and often goes unreported. The vulnerability, which was discovered as the widely used application Log4j, allows internet-based attackers to quickly take control of things ranging from different web control systems and other consumer tech appliances.

Cyber security researchers have found a new vulnerability in the popular logging library Log4j. The vulnerability, which has been dubbed Log4j zero-day, can be exploited to gain remote code execution on any system that uses the vulnerable version of the library. The CVE-2016-0734 vulnerability can be exploited remotely to execute arbitrary code with the permissions of the user running the application.

This blog post discusses everything you need to know about this zero-day vulnerability and how it impacts your business or organization.

  1. What is Log4j zero-day vulnerability?
  2. Where is Log4j used?
  3. How does it work?
  4. What impact does it have?
  5. How to identify a Log4j attack?
  6. What should I do if I am affected?
  7. How to protect your business?
  8. Who is vulnerable to this exploit?
  9. What can you do?
  10. Conclusion

What is Log4j zero-day Vulnerability?

The zero-day vulnerability in Log4j is a security flaw that was discovered in the popular Java logging library logj. The vulnerability allows the attackers to gain remote code execution on any system that uses the vulnerable version of the library.

Where is Log4j Used?

The Log4j zero-day vulnerability affects any system that uses the vulnerable version of logj. This includes both commercial and open source applications. Some of the most popular applications that are affected by this vulnerability include Apache Tomcat, Jetty, Microsoft IIS, Nginx, Oracle WebLogic Server, and Red Hat JBoss Application Server.

How Does it Work?

The Log4j zero-day vulnerability takes advantage of a weakness in the way that logj handles Diffie-Hellman key exchange. By exploiting this weakness, an attacker can force the logj library to use a weak encryption key. This allows the attacker to decrypt and inject malicious code into any log file that is generated by the vulnerable system.

What Impact Does it Have?

The Log4j zero-day vulnerability can be used to gain remote code execution on any system that uses the vulnerable version of logj. This includes both servers and desktops systems. Additionally, any applications that use logj for logging may also be vulnerable.

How to Identify a Log4j Attack?

Log4j zero-day vulnerability attack will usually start with an attacker injecting code into a log file. This can be identified by looking for common signs of injection, including:

  • Base64 encoded text in the logs.
  • Repeated time stamps or other unusual timestamps.
  • If you have disabled the use of Diffie-Hellman key exchange in logj, there will be no mention of it in the logs.
  • A successful Logjam attack will leave behind a trail of encoded text in the logs.
  • Repeated time stamps or other unusual timestamps are a common sign of injection.

If you notice any of these symptoms within your application logs, it is likely that you have been targeted by a Log4j zero-day vulnerability attack.

What Should I Do If I Am Affected?

If you are affected by the Log4j zero-day vulnerability, you should immediately upgrade to a newer version of logj that is not affected by the flaw. If you are unable to upgrade, you can disable the use of Diffie-Hellman key exchange in logj. This entire process of upgrading can be effective to successfully avoid the vulnerability from being exploited.

How to Protect Your Business?

Businesses that are affected by the Log4j zero-day vulnerability should upgrade their version of Java and/or application using a vulnerable version of logj as soon as possible. If you are unable to do this, it is also highly recommended to disable the use of Diffie-Hellman key exchange in logj. This entire process will surely help you to avoid exploited vulnerability.

Who Is Vulnerable To This Exploit?

Any system that uses the vulnerable version of logj is vulnerable to this exploit. This includes both servers and desktops systems, as well as any applications that use logj for logging. Additionally, any system that uses a Java Runtime Environment (JRE) prior to version Java SE-2015-001 is also at risk. The latest JRE, Java SE-2015-001, fixes the vulnerability.

What Can You Do?

There are several steps that you can take to protect your business from the Log4j zero-day vulnerability:

  • Upgrade to a newer version of logj that is not susceptible to this attack.
  • Disable the use of Diffie-Hellman key exchange in logj.
  • Use a tool such as Fiddler or Wireshark to decode and inspect logs for signs of an attack.
  • Use a SIEM solution to detect and investigate any infection with malware or suspicious activity within your network.

By implementing these strategies, you can help protect your company against the Log4j zero-day vulnerability and ensure that attackers cannot use it to compromise your system.

Conclusion

The Log4j zero-day vulnerability is a serious exploit that could allow attackers to decrypt sensitive data within your organization. Because of this, it is important for business owners and IT professionals to take steps now in order to protect their companies from attack. By implementing these strategies, you can help ensure that any attempts by hackers to use the Log4j zero-day vulnerability are unsuccessful.

We recommend upgrading or disabling Diffie-Hellman key exchanges immediately on all systems even if you are not vulnerable. Please see the “What Can You Do?” section for more solutions.

Please contact us at https://mpiresolutions.com/contact-us/ if you have any questions or concerns about this issue. We value your safety and security and will continue to provide updates as they become available.

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Ransomware Mitigation: Here’s How

Ransomware attacks have been on the rise, and they’re not going away anytime soon.

What is Ransomware, and what does it look like?

  • Ransomware is a type of malware that infects computers or other devices with an unbreakable encryption code until the user pays ransom to decrypt it; once infected, your data can no longer be accessed because all files are encrypted by a powerful algorithm – even if you know what password was used to encrypt them in the first place.
  • Ransomware typically appears as spam links or attachments disguised as email messages from people you may know (i.e., “jane@companyname.com”). You might also get ransomware through fake websites/apps which use familiar logos or names of trusted organizations like banks or government agencies to trick users into thinking they’re legitimate.
  • Ransomware can also be transmitted via infected downloads, which are often fake versions of popular programs like Adobe Flash Player or Microsoft Office that have been altered to include the ransomware code.

How to prevent ransomware attacks?

The best way to avoid being trapped by this cybercrime phenomenon is to keep up with good cybersecurity habits:

  • Use antivirus software on your devices and desktop computers (keep these updated for when new threats appear). You should enable Windows Defender on your computer(s) as well.
  • Render your sensitive data and files using a secure cloud storage service.
  • Train employees to avoid clicking on links in emails or opening attachments from unknown sources.
  • Encrypt all devices, not just computers – smartphones and tablets should be encrypted as well!
  • Consider investing in cyber liability insurance (for those at risk of being targeted by ransomware attacks.)
  • Routinely check for suspicious events with log monitoring software that alerts companies of unauthorized activity through logs generated by computers’ operating systems and applications.
  • Regularly back up data, files, and system configurations.
  • Keep backups offline on disconnected networks (i.e., external hard drives), if possible, to prevent ransomware infection from propagating across both the production network and backup media.

Ransomware attacks are rising!

In the last few months, we’ve seen a major U.S. oil pipeline shut down due to an attack, and also one of the world’s largest meat processing companies whose data was taken hostage in a collective hacking incident that demands “ransom” to regain access to their internal systems.

In his recent talks with the Russian President, Joe Biden urged Vladimir Putin to take more decisive action against ransomware campaigns to avoid “unnecessary” conflicts.

Cybercriminals usually target large businesses and governments, hoping they’ll pay a bounty for files to be released or perhaps avoid public relations disaster. But even regular computer users are often targeted for extortion if the opportunity arises.

Ransomware can be very disruptive and costly for companies of all sizes – from individual users who have their personal data stolen and held hostage by hackers demanding payment for its release to large corporations with thousands or tens of thousands of employees whose networks are crippled when they encounter ransomware on the corporate network.

What can you do about it?

On September 30, 2020, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Multi-State Information Sharing & Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) released a joint report on ransomware prevention.

The report includes a guide along with a checklist to reduce the risk of being hacked and prevent damages if your company becomes infected with malware from an external source.

We believe that the ransomware response checklist is an invaluable addition to organizations’ incident response plans.

With more and more organizations hit by ransomware attacks, crippling their day-to-day operations, cybersecurity has become an absolute priority.

Ransomware Response Check-list

So, let’s take a look at the checklist step-by-step, focusing specifically on the very first things you should do:

  1. Determine which systems have been impacted and isolate them as quickly as possible.

When multiple systems or subnets appear to be impacted, take the network offline at the switch level. Disconnecting systems individually during an incident usually isn’t as effective as network take-downs at the switch level. When it comes to ransomware, it’s always better to nip the problem in the bud.

If you can’t take the network offline immediately, find any cables that may be plugged into a device to which the malware is spreading and unplug them or remove those devices from Wi-Fi.

If the ransomware has infected just one or two computers, you may be able to disconnect these PCs and deal with them individually. However, keep in mind that time is of the essence, and your response must be swift and precise to mitigate the damage effectively.

Determining how serious a problem is as soon as possible can help you strategize your way to a solution more quickly and efficiently.

It’s also important to recognize that malicious actors may monitor an organization’s activity or communications after their initial compromise to see if they were detected. But do not let them know that you are aware, and avoid using traditional electronic communication channels that could tip them off to your mitigation actions.

In some cases, organizations use personally-held email accounts or instant messaging services like WhatsApp to communicate if they fear attackers are monitoring corporate communications systems.

Response teams should carefully verify the legitimacy of out-of-band communications they receive to identify whether or not it is coming from a fellow worker.

Not doing so could enable malicious actors to move laterally, ensuring the preservation of their access before network take-downs.

But what can you do if your organization cannot afford to shut down the network?

In such a case, the response guide offers the following advice:

  1. If you cannot disconnect the affected devices from your network, immediately turn them off instead to prevent the ransomware infection from spreading.

Doing this, however, may also result in losing any potential evidence about the attack that would be helpful to law enforcement.

In addition to collecting identifying information and evidence, law enforcement agencies and CISA will want other relevant data. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

Relevant Information for Law Enforcement

  • Recovered executable file
  • Copies of any readme file (Do not remove these as they often assist in decryption)
  • Live memory (RAM) capture from systems with additional signs of compromise (use of exploit toolkits, RDP activity, additional files found locally)
  • Images of infected systems with additional signs of compromise (use of exploit toolkits, RDP activity, additional files found locally)
  • Malware samples
  • Names of any other malware identified on systems
  • Encrypted file samples
  • Log files (Windows Event Logs from compromised systems, Firewall logs, etc.)
  • Any PowerShell scripts found having been executed on the systems.
  • Any user accounts created in the Active Directory or machines added to the network during the exploitation.
  • Email addresses used by the attackers and any associated phishing emails
  • A copy of the ransom note itself
  • Ransom amount
  • Whether or not you’ve paid the ransom
  • Bitcoin wallets used by the attackers
  • Bitcoin wallets used to pay the ransom (if applicable)
  • Copies of any communications with attackers

Although the probability of identifying and catching an attacker is very low, sharing details like those shown above with other companies could help them avoid being the next victim of ransomware.

The guide recommends that victims only attempt to restore critical systems after the first two steps.

  1. Triage impacted systems for restoration and recovery.

Determine which essential systems need to be restored after the ransomware attack, and determine the nature of the data on those systems.

Prioritize data restoration and recovery based on a predefined critical asset list. Priority should be given to those assets that are needed for health and safety, revenue generation, or other critical services, as well as any systems they depend upon.

Track the systems and devices that are not perceived to be impacted so they can be deprioritized for recovery and restoration. This will enable your organization to get back up to speed more quickly and efficiently.

It’s important to consider the aforementioned steps in order, but additional work can be done in parallel.

  1. After an initial analysis, consult with your team to determine what took place and put it in a document.

Update this document as you discover more details of the attack, including the type of ransomware, the systems that have been compromised, and the nature of the data stored on affected systems. This document may also include the information relevant for Law Enforcement and any other details regarding the data breach.

  1. Engage with stakeholders and internal and external teams to get a better perspective on your situation and better mitigate, respond to, and recover from the incident.

The guide provides contact information for CISA, the MS-ISAC, the FBI, and the US Secret Service. These organizations can help provide valuable insights into your situation and help guide you throughout the mitigation and recovery process.

Keep management, and senior leaders informed of any updates to the situation as it develops. Relevant stakeholders include IT departments, managed security service providers, cyber insurance companies, and departmental or elected leaders.

The guide also mentions the “Public Power Cyber Incident Response Playbook.” This playbook is targeted at power utilities, but it applies to any organization that needs step-by-step guidance on engaging teams and coordinating messaging.

The complete MS-ISAC Ransomware Guide is much more comprehensive, so we urge all individuals on the front lines of data protection to read it.

Conclusion

Ransomware attacks are on the rise, and it pays to be proactive. We’ve already provided you with a quick checklist for ransomware response along with a more comprehensive guide. Still, you should also have an emergency strategy in place before this type of cyberattack happens to your business.

What does your company do when they’re dealing with an attack? What steps have you taken to protect against these types of threats? Your company does have a cyber incident response plan, right? If not, feel free to contact us, and we’ll help you formulate a comprehensive cybersecurity plan for your business.

At Mpire Solutions, we offer services that can make handling any kind of data breach easier for businesses like yours. Talk to us today about how we can help!

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