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Navigating the Internet can be a troublesome journey. Bad actors constantly hide behind emails, websites and social media invitations with the intention of exploiting uninformed users. Even your Wi-Fi router and the now-ubiquitous QR code are danger points. Add to that, the never-ending virus and malware threats.

Computer and mobile device users are often unaware of the danger zone. However, the Internet does not require a continuous journey through the Badlands. To stay safe online, it’s important to know what to avoid and how to protect yourself.

Here are five things you have under your control to help keep your digital activity safe.

1. QR Codes, Easy But Potentially Harmful

QR code for TechNewsWorld.com
A secure QR code for TechNewsWorld.com

These postage-sized image links can be convenient for websites. Simply point your smartphone’s camera at it and instantly visit a website, tech support location, discount offer on purchases, or restaurant menu.

However, QR codes can also take you to a nefarious place where malware or worse is waiting. QR codes can be programmed to link to anything, putting your privacy and security at great risk.

Think before scanning the QR code. If the code is displayed on a website or printed document that you trust, it is probably a safe one. If not, or you’re unsure, check it out.

You can download reputed QR reader apps that will do security checks at the endpoint of destination of the QR code. One such security tool I use is the Trend Micro QR Scanner app, which is available for Android and iOS.

2. Avoid ‘Unsubscribe’ Email Scams

This is a popular ongoing scam that has a high success rate for hackers. Potential victims receive an email asking for a product offer or other business invitation. The opt-out action move is enticing, looks familiar, and feels appropriate. “Don’t want to receive our emails? Click here to unsubscribe,” it prompts.

Sometimes annoying repetitive emails asking if you want to unsubscribe from future emails. Some even provide a link for you to unsubscribe.

Do not select any option. Clicking on the link or replying confirms your active address.

Never enter your email address in the “Unsubscribe me” field. More senders will follow.

A better way to remove unwanted email, especially from an unknown sender, is to mark it as spam. This moves it to the spam folder. You can add that sender to your email program’s block list, or set a filter to automatically remove it before it reaches your inbox.

Finally, check out the free service Unroll.me. There you can unsubscribe from unwanted emails, keep others, or receive the rest in the Daily Digest.

3. Lockout Facebook Hackers

Other villains try to usurp Facebook accounts. Hackers can change your password, email address, phone number and even add a security code to lock you out of a pirated account. Before trouble strikes, be proactive to prevent these situations. Facebook provides the following security settings that you need to enable.

Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) to require your login approval on a different device.

To do so, log into your Facebook account on a desktop computer and navigate to Settings & Privacy. Next, select Security and login. Then scroll down and edit the Two-Factor Authentication option.

Facebook Two-Factor Authentication Settings

You will need to enter your Facebook password to complete this step.


Activate these two additional features to block Facebook hackers:

  • Enable the code generator feature in the Facebook mobile app
  • Set up login alerts in your email

First, open the Facebook mobile app and tap on the magnifying glass, enter the word “code generator” and tap the search icon. Tap on the Result Code Generator to navigate to the next screen, then tap the “Turn on Code Generator” button to receive a 6 digit code that changes every 30 seconds. You will need to enter this code within that short amount of time to login to your account on another device.

Next, set an alert about unfamiliar logins. You can do this from a computer or mobile device.

  • Computer: Go to Settings & Privacy > Settings > Security & Login > Receive alerts about unrecognized logins (see screenshot above).
  • mobile application: Tap Menu > Settings & privacy gear icon > Settings. Then tap Password & Security. Next, scroll down to Set up additional security > Receive alerts about unfamiliar logins > Tap to select your preferred notification methods.

If you’re having trouble logging in, visit facebook.com/login/identify to have the problem fixed. If you are unable to log in there, go to this Facebook help page instead and fill out the request form for Facebook to review your account. You will need to answer a few security questions to prove your identity. This may include providing proof of ID, like a picture of a driver’s license.

4. Secure Your Wi-Fi Router

The influx of people working remotely since Covid has put home Wi-Fi routers among the target sites of hackers. As a result, malware attacks on home Wi-Fi networks are on the rise because residential setups often lack the level of security and protection found on enterprise networks.

One nasty attack tool, called ZuoRAT, is a remote access Trojan designed to hack into small office/home office routers. It can affect macOS, Windows, and Linux computers.

With it, hackers can collect your data and hijack any site you visit on your network. One of the worst factors of ZuroRAT is that once your router is infected, it can infect other routers to spread the hackers’ reach.

Follow these steps to better secure your home/office Wi-Fi network:

  • Be sure to enable WPA2 or WPA3 encryption on your router. The default factory setting is often the old WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) security protocol, or is set to none. See the user manual or the router manufacturer’s website for instructions.
  • Change your router’s SSID (Service Set Identifier) ​​and password. It is critical. Typically, the factory setting shows the make or model of the router and has a universal password such as 0000 or 1234. Change the name of the SSID to not identify you easily. Avoid names that include all or part of your name or address. Make sure the password is very strong.
  • For added security, change the router’s password regularly. Yes, this is a major inconvenience as you will also have to update the password on all your devices that use that Wi-Fi network. But considering that it will keep hackers away, it is well worth the trouble.
  • Keep the router’s firmware up to date. Refer to the user manual and/or the manufacturer’s website for steps on how to download the latest update.

general question
How do I create a password that is hard to hack?

The strongest passwords have all these characteristics:

  • Long – the more characters, the better
  • mix of upper-case and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters
  • No jargon words or anything related to personal information

Pro Tip: When using a password generator, always replace at least a few characters from the random result to create your final credential.

5. Beware of the phony tech support plans

Some fraudsters call you on the phone to tell you they are a tech support department working for a well-known computer or software company. The caller claims to have detected a virus on your device or made a call in response to an alert from your computer of malware. The scammer offers to fix it if you only provide your credit card number.

Keep phone. Your computer is not infected.

A modified version of this tech support scam is a text or email claiming the same details. do not respond. Just delete the message and move on.

You can also browse the web when a pop-up message crashes on your screen. I have received too loud Audio alerts warn me that my computer is in danger and should not be turned off without responding for help.

In all these cases, scammers want to scare you into following their instructions. The action they seek to fix the alleged problem will damage your bank account and possibly let them transmit the actual infection.

Follow these best practices to protect yourself from tech support fraud:

  • never Allow a scammer to trick you into visiting a website or clicking on a link.
  • never Agree to a remote connection by the so called technical support agent who initiated contact with you.
  • never Provide payment information for technical support you haven’t started. Legitimate tech companies will not call you and ask for payment to fix a problem detected on your device.

If you suspect that your computer has a virus or malware problem, contact a self-repair center. You probably already have a support plan or active warranty from where you bought the computer. If you have not contacted a technical support company, the call or message you have received is illegitimate.

A recent gathering of global cybersecurity professionals has unearthed the latest attack scenarios that hackers use to infiltrate corporate networks. But contrary to the hopes of misguided potential victims, no silver bullet or software guarantee will completely protect them.

RSA Conference (RSAC) presenters focused on increasing demand for implementing the zero-trust philosophy. Presenters urged network managers to educate their employees about digital identity proofing. This includes securing the data points needed to practically spread digital ID proofing solutions.

Another major cause of network breaches is organizations integrating their on-premises environments into their cloud environments. This makes the cloud prone to various on-premise generated attacks.

“The RSA Conference plays a vital role in bringing the cyber security industry closer together. As cyber attacks grow in frequency and sophistication, it is imperative that public and private sector practitioners and experts are able to address today’s greatest challenges. Be called upon to hear unique perspectives to help,” commented RSA Conference Vice President Linda Gray Martin.

RSAC provides a year-round platform for the community to engage with, learn from and access cyber security content. That process is available online and at in-person events.

According to the RSAC, better cyber security will come only with a greater focus on threat hunting activities along with authentication, identity and access management.

head in charge

RSA Federal President Kevin Orr oversees the deployment of security, specifically identity access management tools, for federal and commercial customers. His company has its roots in the early days of cybersecurity security.

At this year’s RSA conference and related Public Sector Day, he had the opportunity to speak with leaders in the government and enterprise cybersecurity sector. He discussed his comments on the state of cyber security with TechNewsWorld.

RSA Federal is an identity and access management (IAM) solutions firm that began as a cybersecurity section within Dell Computer Company. Today, it has contracts with some of the most security-sensitive organizations in the world.

Important among the tech firm now known as RSA Federal LLC and the name of one of the leading encryption technology algorithms. RSA provides security services and solutions to customers throughout the federal public sector ecosystem.

RSA is a public-key encryption technology developed by RSA Data Security, which was founded in 1982 to commercialize the technology. The acronym Rivest stands for Shamir and Edelman, the three MIT cryptographers who developed RSA public key cryptography.

long-standing convention roots

A series of RSA company sales have positioned it to capitalize on a growing need for cybersecurity specialists. Security Dynamics bought the company in 1982. Dell later acquired RSA from EMC in 2006. A consortium of private equity investors led by Symphony Technology Group bought RSA from Dell in 2020.

The sales reflected both RSA’s and Dell’s corporate strategies. This allowed RSA to focus on security-first organizations, while Dell pursued its product strategy, according to Orr.

The annual RSAC event is an important gathering for the computer security community. It is considered the world’s leading information security conference and exhibition. Originally scheduled for February 7–10, world events led to it being rescheduled for June 6–9 at The Moscone Center in San Francisco.

RSA Federal is not a conference sponsor. However, its representatives participate in panels, showcases and speeches throughout the event.

This year’s 31st annual conference was the first to be held as a standalone, independent business since the investment from Crosspoint Capital Partners in March. The event was attended by over 26,000 attendees, including over 26,000 speakers, 400 exhibitors and over 400 members of the media.

notable takeaway

According to Orr, the biggest takeaways for cybersecurity were placed in key addresses. Security was impacted by a rapid digital transformation.

This change happened rapidly due to the pandemic. This forced it to accelerate partnerships with people working away from home.

The disruption of change in the physical world is now creating a digital ripple across the entire supply chain. Better supply chain security is needed to prevent tampering within its technology.

“Another major theme was the role played by massive propaganda. We are in a hyper-connected world. The propaganda blurs how people separate fact from fiction,” Orr said. This continues to influence the use of technology.

Perhaps one of the most damaging effects is a lack of deteriorating talent. He said that not enough people are skilled to deal with cyber security threats and what needs to be done within the cyber security domain.

Attacks are on the rise now with many different factors. In a previous world, we were all sitting behind a firewall in a corporation, Orr noted. Security teams can keep tabs on the good guys and the bad guys, except maybe insiders.

“The firewalls disappeared as soon as we went mobile from the pandemic. Your personal limit of security has disappeared. Some of that boundary needs to be built around identity,” he urged.

Identity border protection

From Orr’s catbird seat in the world of cybersecurity, he sees how preventing identity breaches is now necessary. Organizations must know who is connecting to their network. Security teams need to know what the detection does, where they are in the network, and what access they should have to see. In this globalized world, those derailments really changed things.

“The attack vectors also became realised. The attack vectors have really changed,” Orr said.

Network managers must now look at the danger areas and figure out how and where to spend the money. They also need to learn the techniques available and more importantly know that the attack surface is large.

“That means they need additional sets of people or different sets of skills to come across these open issues and address them,” Orr said.

Those decisions also include ROI factors. He further added that what is really driving the security question is that generally a corporate expense should have a return on investment.

Ransomware Gone Rogue

The rise of ransomware attacks sucks money from businesses. Initially the strategy was not to pay the ransom demand. From Orr’s point of view the better strategy now depends on the circumstances.

Either way, the victims of the ransom pay and hope for the best. Or they refuse to pay and still hope for the best. There must be a plan for the worst in the game.

“I think it is a personal decision depending on the situation. Now one size does not fit all. You have to see what the bad guys have and what they value. The big question is how to stop it from happening all the time,” he said.

lack of software options

The cyber security industry is not only facing a shortage of talent. Advanced equipment may be lacking.

“I think there’s a lot of basic technologies. I’ll start with the stuff first. Take a look at the truth. For some types of organizations cybersecurity products aren’t really something you can buy. First Step Click on Phishing Attempts Have to learn not to do,” Orr advised.

The solution starts with education. Then it continues with placing some parameters. Determine what your most valuable data is. Next research how to keep it safe. How do you monitor it?

“Cyber ​​security is really a layered approach,” Orr warned.

never trust, always challenge

That was a big topic of the security conference, he continued. Part of the big change is not being able to trust network visitors.

“It was the kind of thing that has really changed now, not to be trusted. There is always the essential approach to verify. Now you are looking at things differently,” he observed.

We are making good progress. The difference is that we are now preparing for a cyberattack, he concluded.

Government organizations and educational institutions, in particular, are increasingly in the crosshairs of hackers as serious web vulnerabilities continue to rise upwards.

Remote code execution (RCE), cross-site scripting (XSS), and SQL injection (SQLi) are all top software offenders. All three keep rising or hovering around the same alarming numbers year after year.

RCE, often the end target of a malicious attacker, was the main cause of the IT scam in the wake of the Log4Shell exploit. This vulnerability has seen a steady increase since 2018.

Enterprise security firm Invicti last month released its Spring 2022 AppSec Indicator report, which revealed Web vulnerabilities from more than 939 of its customers worldwide. The findings come from an analysis of the Invicti AppSec platform’s largest dataset — which has more than 23 billion customer application scans and 282,000 direct-impact vulnerabilities discovered.

Research from Invicti shows that one-third of both educational institutions and government organizations experienced at least one incident of SQLi in the past year. Data from 23.6 billion security checks underscores the need for a comprehensive application security approach, with governments and education organizations still at risk of SQL injection this year.

Data shows that many common and well-understood vulnerabilities in web applications are on the rise. It also shows that the current presence of these vulnerabilities presents a serious risk to organizations in every industry.

According to Mark Rawls, President and COO of Invicty, even well-known vulnerabilities are still prevalent in web applications. To ensure that security is part of the DNA of an organization’s culture, processes and tooling, organizations must gain command of their security posture so that innovation and security work together.

“We’ve seen the most serious web vulnerabilities continue to grow, either stable or increasing in frequency, over the past four years,” Ralls told TechNewsWorld.

key takeaways

Rawls said the most surprising aspect of the research was the rapid rise in incidence of SQL injections among government and education organizations.

Particularly troubling is SQLi, which has increased frequency by five percent over the past four years. This type of web vulnerability allows malicious actors to modify or change the queries an application sends to its database. This is of particular concern to public sector organizations, which often store highly sensitive personal data and information.

RCE is the crown jewel for any cyber attacker and is the driver behind last year’s Log4Shell program. This is also an increase of five percent since 2018. XSS saw a six percent increase in frequency.

“These trends were echoed throughout the report’s findings, revealing a worrying situation for cybersecurity,” Rawls said.

Skill gap, lack of talent included

Another big surprise for researchers is the increase in the number of vulnerabilities reported from organizations that scan their assets. There can be many reasons. But the lack of software trained in cyber security is a major culprit.

“Developers, in particular, may need more education to avoid these errors. We have noticed that vulnerabilities are not being discovered during scanning, even in the early stages of development,” Rawls explained.

When developers don’t address vulnerabilities, they put their organizations at risk. He said automation and integration tools can help developers address these vulnerabilities more quickly and reduce potential costs to the organization.

Don’t Blame Web Apps Alone

Web apps aren’t getting any less secure per sec. It’s a matter of developers being tired, overworked and often not having enough experience.

Often, organizations hire developers who lack the necessary cyber security background and training. According to Rawls, with the continuing effort towards digital transformation, businesses and organizations are digitizing and developing apps for more aspects of their operations.

“In addition, the number of new web applications entering the market every day means that every additional app is a potential vulnerability,” he said. For example, if a company has ten applications, it is less likely to have one SQLi than if the company has 1,000 applications.

apply treatment

Business teams – whether developing or using software – require both the right paradigm and the right technologies. This involves prioritizing a secure design model covering all base and baking security in the pre-code processes behind the application architecture.

“Break up the silos between teams,” Rawls advised. “Particularly between security and development – ​​and make sure organization-wide norms and standards are in place and created universally.”

With regard to investing in AppSec tools to stem the rising tide of faulty software, Ralls recommends using robust tools:

  • Automate as much as possible;
  • Integrate seamlessly into existing workflows;
  • Provide analysis and reporting to show evidence of success and where more work needs to be done.

Don’t overlook the importance of accuracy. “Tools with low false-positive rates and clear, actionable guidance for developers are essential. Otherwise, you waste time, your team won’t embrace the technology, and your security posture won’t improve,” he concluded.

partially blind spot on play

Rall said critical breaches and dangerous vulnerabilities continue to expose the organizations’ blind spots. For proof, see Log4Shell’s tornado effects.

Businesses around the world scrambled to test whether they were susceptible to RCE attacks in the widely used Log4j library. Some of these risks are increasing in frequency when they should go away for good. It comes down to a disconnect between the reality of risk and the strategic mandate for innovation.

“It is not always easy to get everyone on board with security, especially when it appears that security is holding individuals back from project completion or would be too costly to set up,” Rawls said.

An increasing number of effective cyber security strategies and scanning technologies can reduce persistent threats and make it easier to bridge the gap between security and innovation.

The director of cyber security at the National Security Agency inspired some smiles among cyber professionals last week when he told Bloomberg that the new encryption standards his agency is working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will have no back doors. . ,

In cyber security parlance, a backdoor is an intentional flaw in a system or software that can be secretly exploited by an attacker. In 2014, it was rumored that an encryption standard developed by the NSA included backdoors, resulting in the algorithm being dropped as a federal standard.

“Backdoors can aid law enforcement and national security, but they also introduce vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers and are subject to potential abuse by the agencies they are intended to assist,” John Gunn, CEO of Rochester, NY-based Token, maker of a biometric-based wearable authentication ring, told TechNewsWorld.

“Any backdoor into encryption can and will be discovered by others,” said principle threat hunter John Bumbank of Netenrich, an IT and digital security operations company in San Jose, Calif.

“You can trust the American intelligence community,” he told TechNewsWorld. “But will you trust the Chinese and the Russians when they get to the back door?”

trust but verify

Lawrence Gasman, president and founder of Inside Quantum Technology of Crozet, Va., said the public has good reason to be skeptical about NSA officials’ comments. “The intelligence community is not known for telling the absolute truth,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Mike Parkin, an engineer at Vulcan Cyber, said, “The NSA has some of the best cryptographers in the world, and well-founded rumors have circulated for years about their efforts to put backdoors into encryption software, operating systems, and hardware. ” SaaS provider for enterprise cyber-risk treatment in Tel Aviv, Israel.

He told TechNewsWorld, “Similar things can be said of software and firmware sourced from other countries, which have their own agencies with a vested interest in seeing that a network has What’s in the crossing traffic.”

“Whether it’s in the name of law enforcement or national security, officials have a long-standing disdain for encryption,” he said.

When it comes to encryption and security there should be a trust but verified approach, advised Dave Kundiff, CISO at Cyvatar, creator of an automated cybersecurity management platform in Irvine, Calif.

“Organizations may have the best of intentions, but fail to fully see those intentions,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Government entities are bound by law, but do not guarantee that they will not knowingly or unintentionally introduce backdoors.”

“It is imperative for the community at large to test and verify any of these mechanisms to verify that they cannot be compromised,” he said.

taming prime numbers

One of the drivers behind the new encryption standards is the threat of quantum computing, which has the potential to break the commonly used encryption schemes used today.

“As quantum computers become mainstream, this will make modern public-key encryption algorithms obsolete and insufficient security, as demonstrated in Shor’s algorithms,” said Jasmine Henry, JupiterOne’s director of field security, Morrisville, cyber asset management. K’s North Carolina-based provider explained. and governance solutions.

Shor’s algorithm is a quantum computer algorithm for computing the prime factors of integers. Prime numbers are the foundation of the encryption used today.

“The encryption depends on how hard it is to work with really large prime numbers,” Parkin explained. “Quantum computing has the ability to find prime numbers that rely on encryption trivial. What used to take generations to compute on a traditional computer is now revealed in a matter of moments.”

This is a major threat to today’s public key encryption technology. “This is the reason why public-key cryptography is often used to supersede ‘symmetric’ key encryption. These keys are used for the transmission of sensitive data,” explained Andrew Barratt, at Coalfire The leading, Westminster, Colorado-based provider of cyber security advisory services for solutions and investigations.

“This has important implications for almost all encryption transmissions, but also for anything else that requires digital signatures such as the blockchain technologies that support cryptocurrencies like bitcoin,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Quantum Resistor Algorithm

Gunn said that most people misunderstand what quantum computing is and how it differs from today’s classic computing.

“Quantum computing will never be in your tablet, phone or wristwatch, but for tasks like searching and factoring large prime numbers using special algorithms for specific applications,” he said. “Performance improvements are in the millions.”

“Using Shor’s algorithm and the quantum computer of the future, AES-256, the encryption standard that protects everything on the web and all of our online financial transactions, will be breakable in a short period of time,” he said.

Barratt stressed that once quantum computing becomes available for mainstream use, crypto will need to move from prime-number-based mathematics to elliptic curve cryptography-based (ECC) systems. “However,” he continued, “it is only a matter of time before the underlying algorithms that support ECC become vulnerable on the scale of quantum computing, especially by designing quantum systems to break them.”

NIST is developing quantum-resistant algorithms with the help of the NSA. “The requirements for quantum-resistant algorithms may include very large signatures, loads of processing, or massive amounts of keys that can present challenges for implementation,” Henry told TechNewsWorld.

“Organizations will face new challenges to implement quantum-resistant protocols without running into performance issues,” she said.

time of arrival?

It is unclear when a working quantum computer will be available.

“It doesn’t appear that we’ve hit the inflection point in practical application, yet haven’t been able to say with any certainty what the timeline is,” Kundiff said.

“However, that inflection point may be tomorrow, allowing us to say that quantum computing will be widely available in three years,” he told TechNewsWorld, “but until there is some point to move beyond the theoretical and practical.” No, even then it is possible a decade away.”

Gassman said he thinks the world will soon see quantum computers. “Quantum computer companies say this will happen in 10 years to 30 years,” he observed. “I think it will be before 10 years, but not before five years.”

Moore’s law – which predicts that computing power doubles every two years – does not apply to quantum computing, Gassmann maintained. “We already know that quantum evolution is proceeding at a rapid pace,” he said.

“I’m saying we’ll have a quantum computer sooner than 10 years later,” he continued. “You won’t find many people agreeing with me, but I think we should be concerned about it right now – not only because of the NSA, but because there are worse people than the NSA who want to take advantage of this technology. “