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Top Cyber Threats for 2014

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As we look forward to new and improved technologies in 2014, we must also raise awareness on the new cyber threats that will come with these advancements. McAfee’s 2014 Top Cyber Threats gives us a good indication of what to expect for the New Year.

Antivirus Software Spotlight10

Check for Heartbleed Vulnerabilites with Chromebleed

Wednesday April 16, 2014

ChromebleedThere are multiple scanners available that you can use to protect yourself from the Heartbleed bug. These scanners require you to manually enter the websites you want to inspect. If you're looking for a more intuitive approach, I recommend using Google Chrome's extension called Chromebleed.

When installed, Chromebleed notifies you if a website is currently vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug. Evidently, Chromebleed is only compatible with Google's Chrome browser and can't be used with other popular Internet browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Opera.

To install Chromebleed, open your Google Chrome Internet browser.  Then, perform the following steps:

  1. Click the bar on the top right corner with three black horizontal bars on it.  From there, click on "Settings."
  2. On the upper left corner of the Settings page, click on "Extensions."
  3. Click on "Get more extensions."
  4. On the Search box, type Chromebleed and press enter.
  5. Click the blue "+ Free" button to install Chromebleed, and then click "Add" on the confirmation box.

Chromebleed will run in the background when using Google Chrome.  You will notice a Chromebleed icon (bleeding heart) directly to the left of the "Settings" button.  Right-click on the Chromebleed icon and click on "Options." Ensure you have the "Notifications Activated" and "Show All Notifications" boxes checked. With these options enabled, Chromebleed will notify you if the site you're visiting is protected from the Heartbleed bug.

Companies Asking Customers to Change Passwords Due to Heartbleed Bug

Monday April 14, 2014

Heartbleed BugThe Heartbleed vulnerability has been around for two years and it's uncertain if cybercriminals have exploited it during this time frame. Now that the news is out, it's very likely that malicious actors have attempted to harvest your personal information.

Consequently, companies are advising their customers to change their passwords in case their accounts have been access by cybercriminals. If you still don't know what Heartbleed is, well, it's a vulnerability in OpenSSL that can be exploited by an attacker by sending malicious "heartbeat" requests to obtain information on the targeted server. If successful, the leaked information can contain encryption keys, usernames, passwords, etc.

"This might be a good day to call in sick and take some time to change your passwords everywhere - especially your high-security services like email, file storage, and banking, which may have been compromised by this bug," stated a representative from Tumblr.

On April 8, 2014, a list of the vulnerable top 10,000 Alexa websites was published on GitHub. However, many of them listed may have resolved the issue.

Windows Trojan Downloads Ransomware Cribit

Monday March 31, 2014

Cribit RansomwareWindows users infected with a particular Trojan downloads ransomware that encrypts computer files and demands Bitcoin payment to decode the data. According to Trend Micro, the Windows Trojan called Fareit is an information stealer that downloads other malware, such as Zeus. Recently, it has been determined that Fareit also downloads "Cribit."

One of the Cribit variants uses an English message for ransom, and another variant delivers a multilingual ransom note which includes 10 different languages. In the ransom note, users are directed to a Deep Web website accessible only through Tor. The malware demands $240 worth of Bitcoins. To avoid being infected, avoid clicking on embedded links in emails and keep your software updated on a regular basis.

Image ©Danielle Walker

Two Ukrainians and One American Charged for Cybercrime Operation

Monday March 24, 2014

Identity TheftThree men, believed to be part of an international cybercrime operation, were charged with conspiracy to commit identity theft, access device fraud, and wire fraud.  The group targeted financial institutions and major organizations in the United States.

They attempted to steal at least $15 million from US customers and organizations by hacking into bank accounts, brokerage firms, and government agencies.  Targeted organizations include:

  • Ameritrade
  • Aon Hewitt
  • Automatic Data Processing
  • Citibank
  • Electronic Payments
  • E-Trade
  • Fundtech Holdings
  • iPayment
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Nordstrom Bank
  • PayPal
  • TIAA-CREF
  • US Department of Defense Finance and Accounting Services
  • USAA
  • Veracity Payment Solutions

The cybercriminals transferred money from hacked accounts to pre-paid debit cards.  The money was then withdrawn from ATMs and/or funds were used to make fraudulent purchases.  Furthermore, the stolen identity information to file fraudulent tax returns with the IRS.

The three individuals charged with these counts are Sharapka, Yanovitsky, and Gunderson. The indictment identifies Sharapka as the criminal leader of an enterprise called the "Sharapka Cash Out Organization."  Each suspect faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 5 years for access device fraud and identity theft, and two years for aggravated identity theft.

Image ©Jeff Hughes

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