Do You Know What it Feels Like to Get Hacked?

Do You Know What It Feels Like To Get Hacked? | Social Media Today

Hopefully your answers is “no”, and the intention of this blog is to keep you cyber safe in 2017.

Remember the hack of the Ashley Madison site? The top 3 passwords used on that site were “123456”, “12345” and “password”.

While there are no guarantees that malicious actors won’t get to your information, the following tips will decrease the probability of having your personal information hacked.

Let’s do some cyber maintenance. In addition to changing your passwords, learn other ways to make your cyber presence safer.

1. Have Complicated, Unique, Difficult-To-Crack Passwords

Hate changing your passwords for your social media, online banking, Amazon.com and other online accounts? So do I. But having someone invade your privacy, social channels, or even financial information is a lot worse.

A good solution to create strong passwords (and track them at the same time) is to sign up for a password storage tool. 1Password carries a yearly fee, and I’ve also heard good things about a free tool called LastPass.

All you need to do, once you have such a tool, is to create one really complex password and remember it. Then you can let the tool auto-generate all your other long and tricky passwords, which you won’t need to remember.

2. Never Reuse a Password

Don’t use the same password or slightly modify it to use it on multiple accounts.

Make each password unique, with a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, special characters – at least 9 characters, ideally more.

3. Update Your Passwords Regularly

Change your passwords periodically (at least every 6-12 months). While having a really difficult password is the number one way to protect your accounts, changing your password can’t hurt.

4. Prevent “Dictionary Attacks”

Don’t use dictionary words, your pet’s name, your college or any other words that have an obvious correlation to you as a person. These are easy to find, even just via Google, and so-called “dictionary attacks” – which are extremely common and simple – can crack those passwords in no time.

NOTE: Personally, I also discourage publishing your birthday on LinkedIn or Facebook as this date is a crucial detail to cracking and taking over your (online) identity; especially in the USA where birth date and social security number ARE your identity.

5. Keep Your Security and Privacy Settings Current

Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media channels occasionally change their privacy options, which is easy to miss (or dismiss) as such updates are not particularly interesting.

For a safe 2017, visit your social channels and review your privacy and notification settings. While you’re there, disconnect access for apps you no longer use.

6. Enable Two-Factor-Authentication

Something often dismissed as too complicated is two-step-verification.

Most social platforms, banks and other accounts now provide this as an option – here’s how it works:

  • In addition to your password, every time you sign in, you get a text message or app notification with a code that you need to enter before you get access to your account.
  • You’ll be asked to specify your trusted device(s) to receive the code, e.g. your iPhone or iPad, so only you have access.

7. Don’t Store Passwords in Your Browser

I know, it seems convenient but hackers feel the same way.

Browser attacks are very common – here’s some more information on common threats by Kaspersky.

8. Have a Security Program Installed

You need a virus protection program at a minimum, and many of these now come with privacy packages to help you in case you do get hacked.

Here’s a suggestion for 10 virus protection programs. Also consider a service that alerts you to invasions into your personal information, like changes in your credit report. One option is Lifelock.

9. Install Software Updates

Don’t dally when it comes to installing updates to your applications, operating system or website. While I admit that I sometimes wait a few days when a new OS update comes out so that the main bugs can be fixed first, I never wait for more than a week.

10. Be Suspicious of URLs Before You Click

Phishing is generally an attempt to get users to click on a malicious URL that will upload a virus if you do.

Never click on a URL sent by your bank, PayPal or other account that requires you to sign in.

Often, malicious actors will steal your password that way, or upload a virus. Instead, go to the site directly and log-in from there to check on any message.

Also, be suspicious about the senders of any message you receive via email or social media. Sometimes when I see a shortened link, I ask the sender to give me the URL to look it up myself or I pass.

 

 

[Source:- Socialmediatoday]

Popular Linux distro hit by hacked version on official site over the weekend

Popular Linux distro hit by hacked version on official site over the weekend

When you download an operating system, you certainly don’t expect to be installing an altered version with a backdoor in place, but sadly this is what happened to some folks who downloaded a popular version of Linux over the weekend.

To be precise, we are talking about Linux Mint – specifically the 17.3 Cinnamon edition. As the makers of Mint announced in a blog post, what actually happened was a malicious party made a modified version of said OS (containing a backdoor) and hacked the official website to point to this compromised download.

The maliciously modified version was available for a time on Saturday (February 20) before the issue was discovered, so if you downloaded and installed Mint from the official site on that day, then you’ve got a problem (and if this was a machine with business data on, a potentially even bigger problem).

If you grabbed another version aside from Mint 17.3 Cinnamon edition, then you’re fine, and equally if you downloaded from elsewhere other than the official website (say via torrents) then you’re also okay.

If you’re unsure about whether you’re safe or not, as Clement Lefebvre, who is in charge of Linux Mint, advises, you can check the MD5 signature “with the command md5sum yourfile.iso (where yourfile.iso is the name of the ISO).”

The list of valid signatures is provided in Clem’s blog post, and further advice is given on what action to take if you did install this backdoor-laden OS (take the PC offline, reinstall the OS or format the partition, and change any passwords you may have used on the machine).

Apparently the compromised ISO was loaded with Tsunami botnet malware.

Forum compromised

At the time the attack was discovered, Lefebvre said that it was traced to Bulgaria, but the motivation wasn’t known. However, ZDNet later spoke to a lone hacker from Europe by the handle of ‘Peace’ who claimed to be responsible, and said they had successfully compromised a few hundred machines running Mint.

The hacker also claimed to have stolen a complete copy of the Mint website’s forum on two occasions, containing personal information of users including birthdates, email addresses and passwords (although the latter were encrypted).

However, the passwords are in the process of being cracked by all accounts (simple passwords will be particularly susceptible to being brute-forced), so if you’re a forum member, you should take action on that front too and change your password (and other instances of that password if you’ve used it elsewhere – of course, it goes without saying that’s very bad security practice).

The Mint team was quick to respond to this whole incident, and transparent in dealing with it, although the fallout from the compromise is likely to be considerable in the short-term.

 

[Source:- Techradar]

US: Sophisticated Attackers Hacked Ukrainian Electric Grid

US: Sophisticated Attackers Hacked Ukrainian Electric Grid

A US investigation found that a December hack on the Ukrainian power grid was coordinated and highly sophisticated.

The report released Thursday offers a detailed look at one of the first cyber-attacks to succeed in taking down part of a national power grid. The well-planned strike, which blacked out more than 225,000 people, hit three regional electronic power distribution companies within 30 minutes of each other on December 23.

An attack such as this one has long been a nightmare scenario for top US officials. National Security Agency and US Cyber Command chief Adm. Michael Rogers has previously warned that it’s not a matter of if, but when attackers will also target US power systems.

The impacted sites continue to “run under constrained operations” more than two months later. In addition, the report states that three other organizations, some involved with unspecified Ukrainian “critical infrastructure,” also appear to have been hacked – but didn’t suffer overt impacts to their operations.

The US sent a team of cyber officials including from the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Energy, and FBI to Ukraine to work with the government and learn lessons to prevent such future attacks.

The group didn’t independently review technical evidence from the Dec. 23 cyber-attack, although it conducted interviews and did other spadework to piece together what appears to be a highly targeted and advanced hack.

The hackers appeared to conduct “extensive reconnaissance of the victim networks,” possibly by first using malware introduced via phony “phishing” emails to snag usernames and passwords to access the facility remotely and hit their circuit breakers.

The networks were compromised at least six months before the outage, by sending emails that included the downloader for the virus BlackEnergy to company employees whose emails were found publicly online, said Anna Dudka, a spokeswoman for the Ukrainian Energy Ministry.

All the affected companies reported infections with malware known as “BlackEnergy,” although US investigators said they are still evaluating whether that specific malware played a role in the attacks.

At the end of the attack, hackers wiped targeted files on some of the systems at the three electrical companies using malware called “KillDisk,” which also rendered the system inoperable.

The hackers also did their best to interfere with power-restoration efforts. For instance, they aimed to keep important servers inoperative by remotely disconnecting their “uninterruptable power supplies,” which would normally keep the computers running even in a blackout. The attackers managed that by accessing an internal management program for those power supplies.

Among several preventative measures, the report suggests that companies isolate systems used to run critical infrastructure from the Internet and that they limit the ability to remotely access these systems.

 

[Source:- Gadget.Ndtv]