Credential Stuffing

I know that you must get quite tired of hearing about your password. We tell you to keep it strong, use multi-factor authentication, blah blah blah…

We often hear the same kinds of responses back, but it is just my email… I have nothing of interest in there. Yes, we know… and we sympathize. In the end we are just trying to help you. I have had other posts about the significance of strong passwords, I have talked about password lockers/services.

Lets talk about a different direction. Credential stuffing. Now, I am going to admit that the phrase was one that I had seen, but never looked into. As you can imagine, in my role, I encounter a ton of new terms and phrases and often do not have to time to keep up on them all. I will try to do a better job of selecting one and sharing it with you so that you can get nuggets of skills along the way with me.

When we have talked about passwords in the past, I have mentioned that when companies have their networks get breached and data is stolen, sometimes that data is our personal data, but sometimes it is our username and passwords.

Since we on the whole (myself included but I am getting it fixed) are horrible for password reuse, this makes credential stuffing a danger.

So Mr. Blackhat gets their hands on a data dump, they then build a spreadsheet with your email address(es) and the password(s) that you have been known to use. Since the majority of the United States banks at one of a few national banks, they start testing to see if they can log in. if they can… great!

Fortunately banks are getting smarter and are pushing us all to more secure login methods. If you bank is behind the times, AND you use one password all over the internet, you may well become a victim.

I wish I could tell you how many times I have seen “my [social media account] got hacked”. They were probably not hacked at all. they likely either fell for a credential harvester scan, or… were reusing their social media account password on other services that were compromised.

This brings us back to the common pleas of the cybersecurity professionals. Please, PLEASE, use strong and unique passwords and when you are able to, enable multi-factor logins. Yes, it is that important, unless you feel that donating your funds to who knows what country is a suitable form of charity work, one that you cannot even deduct form your taxes.

Why is it dangerous to click on a random QR code?

Scanning a QR code itself is not inherently dangerous. QR codes are widely used for various purposes, such as providing information, accessing websites, making payments, and more. However, there are certain risks associated with scanning QR codes that can make them potentially dangerous if caution is not exercised. Here are a few reasons why scanning a QR code can be risky:

Malicious codes: QR codes can be designed to contain malicious content, such as links to phishing websites, malware, or other harmful exploits. Scanning such a QR code can lead to your device being compromised, personal data being stolen, or unauthorized access to your accounts.

Fake QR codes: In some cases, attackers can create counterfeit QR codes and place them in public spaces, on advertisements, or even on legitimate products. These fake QR codes can be used to redirect users to malicious websites or trick them into providing sensitive information.

URL masking: QR codes can hide the actual destination URL of a website or an application. Scammers can exploit this by creating QR codes that appear to be harmless but actually lead to malicious websites. This can be used for phishing attacks, where users are tricked into entering their login credentials or other personal information on a fake website.

Malware-infected apps: Scanning a QR code might prompt you to download a mobile application. It is essential to be cautious about the source of the app, as it could potentially be infected with malware or have malicious intentions. Unauthorized app downloads can compromise your device’s security and privacy.

To protect yourself while scanning QR codes, consider the following precautions:

Verify the source: Ensure that you trust the source of the QR code before scanning it. Be cautious with codes in public places and advertisements.

Use a reputable scanner: Install a reliable QR code scanner from a trusted source. These scanners often have built-in security features that can detect and warn about potentially malicious codes.

Examine the URL: Before scanning, take a close look at the URL displayed after scanning the code. If it seems suspicious or different from what you expected, it’s better to avoid visiting the website.

Be wary of requests for personal information: Avoid entering personal or sensitive information on websites or applications accessed via QR codes unless you are certain about their authenticity and security.

By being vigilant and exercising caution, you can minimize the risks associated with scanning QR codes.

Regenerate response

Cybersecurity Policy

What is a cybersecurity policy for?

A cybersecurity policy is crucial for small businesses due to the following reasons:

  1. Protecting Sensitive Data: Small businesses often handle sensitive customer information, such as personal and financial data. A cybersecurity policy helps establish guidelines and procedures to protect this information from unauthorized access, breaches, or theft.
  2. Preventing Data Loss: Data loss can occur due to various reasons, including hardware failure, natural disasters, or human error. A cybersecurity policy can include backup and recovery protocols to ensure critical data is regularly backed up and can be restored in case of a data loss incident.
  3. Mitigating Cyber Attacks: Small businesses are increasingly targeted by cybercriminals due to their potential vulnerabilities. A cybersecurity policy provides a framework to identify and address security risks, implement preventive measures, and respond effectively to cyber attacks, minimizing the potential impact on the business.
  4. Building Customer Trust: Demonstrating a commitment to cybersecurity through a well-defined policy helps build trust with customers. When customers perceive that their data is handled securely, they are more likely to engage in transactions and share sensitive information with the business.
  5. Compliance with Regulations: Depending on the industry and location, small businesses may be subject to various data protection and privacy regulations. A cybersecurity policy helps ensure compliance with these regulations, avoiding legal repercussions and potential fines.
  6. Employee Awareness and Training: A cybersecurity policy educates employees about their roles and responsibilities in maintaining a secure work environment. It outlines best practices, such as strong password management, email security, and safe browsing habits. Regular training and awareness programs can significantly reduce the risk of human error and inadvertent security breaches.
  7. Safeguarding Business Continuity: A cybersecurity incident can disrupt business operations, leading to financial loss and reputational damage. A well-designed policy includes disaster recovery and incident response plans to minimize downtime, recover from disruptions efficiently, and restore normal operations as quickly as possible.
  8. Vendor and Third-Party Risk Management: Small businesses often collaborate with vendors and third-party service providers, introducing additional security risks. A cybersecurity policy establishes criteria for evaluating the security posture of vendors and outlines expectations for protecting shared data, ensuring that external partners maintain adequate security measures.

Overall, a cybersecurity policy acts as a proactive measure to mitigate risks, protect sensitive information, and ensure the long-term sustainability and growth of a small business in today’s digital landscape.

SANS Security Policy Templates

For those in the cybersecurity industry, we all know the name SANS. They provide excellent (but quite spendy) training. I have been fortunate enough to attend one of their courses and will take more in the future due to my day job.

SANS is a great resource, for today’s subject, we are talking about security policy.

A collection of free use documents that SANS makes available for organizations. Look at the collection and see if any may help you build the strength of your organization. They have a robust community and the information that they provide is worthwhile.

General Policy Files:

https://www.sans.org/information-security-policy/

Acceptable Use Policy:

https://assets.contentstack.io/v3/assets/blt36c2e63521272fdc/blt207beda4b7c14d22/636f1a30e3836b0c88e8f0a8/Acceptable_Use_Policy.pdf

Password Policy:

https://assets.contentstack.io/v3/assets/blt36c2e63521272fdc/blt12766e4f951b7c37/636f1a30cfdbc24307bfdf58/Password_Construction_Guidelines.pdf

Password Protection Policy:

https://assets.contentstack.io/v3/assets/blt36c2e63521272fdc/bltf5d5757503e36442/636f1a316bafb12e165da155/Password_Protection_Policy.pdf

Email Policy:

https://assets.contentstack.io/v3/assets/blt36c2e63521272fdc/blt415f915b2568ef8c/5e9ddd2ecb84e463e2ebda15/email_policy.pdf

Ethics Policy: (this one is retired but has worthy sections to review and possibly implement)

https://assets.contentstack.io/v3/assets/blt36c2e63521272fdc/blt1f2c50b2ba1b1a50/5e9ddda145a2a97194a1da4d/ethics_policy.pdf

Depending on the input I get on this post, it may continue to evolve.

What is malware?

Malware, short for malicious software, is any type of software designed to harm, disrupt, or damage computer systems, networks, or devices. Malware can be created for a variety of purposes, such as stealing sensitive information, gaining unauthorized access to systems, or damaging or destroying data.

Some common types of malware include viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, and adware. Each type of malware has its own specific characteristics and methods of infection.

Viruses are programs that infect other files on a computer and can spread to other computers via networks, email attachments, or infected websites. Worms are similar to viruses but can spread independently, without the need for a host file.

Trojan horses are programs that appear to be legitimate but contain hidden malicious code. Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts the victim’s files and demands a ransom in exchange for the decryption key.

Spyware is a type of malware that is designed to spy on the victim’s activities, such as monitoring their keystrokes or stealing sensitive information. Adware is a type of malware that displays unwanted advertisements on the victim’s computer.

To protect yourself from malware, it’s important to use antivirus software, keep your software and operating system up to date, and be cautious when downloading or installing software from the internet. Additionally, avoid clicking on suspicious links or opening suspicious attachments in emails or messages.

What are red flags when it comes to phishing?

There are several red flags that can help you identify a phishing email. Here are some common ones:

  1. Sender’s email address: Check the sender’s email address carefully. Scammers often use fake or spoofed email addresses that may look similar to a legitimate email address but contain spelling mistakes or extra characters. Also, be cautious of emails that appear to be sent from well-known organizations but are sent from free email services such as Gmail or Yahoo.
  2. Urgent or threatening language: Phishing emails often use urgent or threatening language to create a sense of panic or fear in the recipient. They may claim that your account is at risk or that there has been suspicious activity and ask you to take immediate action.
  3. Suspicious links or attachments: Be cautious of links or attachments in emails, especially if they are from unknown or suspicious sources. Hover over the link to see the URL it is directing you to, and check for misspellings or unusual characters. Do not click on any links or download any attachments that seem suspicious or unfamiliar.
  4. Request for personal information: Phishing emails often ask for personal information such as passwords, credit card numbers, or social security numbers. Legitimate organizations usually do not ask for this information via email, so be cautious of any requests for personal information.
  5. Poor spelling and grammar: Phishing emails may contain poor spelling and grammar, as scammers often operate from non-English speaking countries.

If you notice any of these red flags in an email, it’s best to delete the email and not click on any links or provide any personal information. It’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to suspicious emails.

Password strength is important

Password strength is important because weak passwords can be easily guessed or cracked by attackers, which can lead to unauthorized access to your accounts, identity theft, financial fraud, and other malicious activities.

A strong password is one that is difficult for attackers to guess or crack, even with automated tools. It typically consists of a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols, and is at least 8-12 characters long (or longer). Using a passphrase made up of multiple words can also be a good way to create a strong password.

A weak password, on the other hand, is one that is easily guessable or can be found through brute force methods such as dictionary attacks or password cracking tools. Weak passwords often consist of common words, names, or easily guessable sequences like “1234” or “password.”

Using a strong password is important because it can help to protect your personal and sensitive information from being accessed by unauthorized users. Additionally, using unique and complex passwords for each account can help to prevent a single compromised password from leading to multiple account breaches.

To ensure password strength, it’s recommended to use a password manager that can generate and store complex passwords for you, enable two-factor authentication whenever possible, and regularly update your passwords to ensure maximum security.

What is smishing?

Smishing is a type of cyber attack where an attacker uses text messages, also known as SMS (Short Message Service), to trick a victim into giving away sensitive information such as credit card numbers, passwords, or other personal data.

In a smishing attack, the attacker usually poses as a representative from a legitimate organization, such as a bank or government agency, and uses social engineering techniques to gain the victim’s trust. They may claim that there is a problem with the victim’s account or that there has been suspicious activity, and ask for sensitive information to resolve the issue.

Smishing attacks can be especially effective because text messages are often perceived as more trustworthy than emails and can create a sense of urgency or fear in the victim. They may also use links or attachments in the text message to download malware onto the victim’s device.

To protect yourself from smishing attacks, it’s important to be cautious when receiving unsolicited text messages and never give out sensitive information through a text message unless you are sure of the sender’s identity. You can also verify the legitimacy of the message by contacting the organization directly through a trusted channel, such as the phone number listed on their official website. Additionally, enabling anti-phishing and anti-malware features on your phone can help to prevent smishing attacks.

What is vishing?

Vishing, also known as voice phishing, is a type of cyber attack where an attacker uses a phone call to trick a victim into giving away sensitive information such as credit card numbers, passwords, or other personal data.

In a vishing attack, the attacker usually poses as a representative from a legitimate organization, such as a bank or government agency, and uses social engineering techniques to gain the victim’s trust. They may claim that there is a problem with the victim’s account or that there has been suspicious activity, and ask for sensitive information to resolve the issue.

Vishing attacks can be especially effective because the attacker can use voice manipulation techniques to sound convincing and create a sense of urgency or fear in the victim. They may also use spoofing to make it appear as if the call is coming from a legitimate source.

To protect yourself from vishing attacks, it’s important to be cautious when receiving unsolicited phone calls and never give out sensitive information over the phone unless you are sure of the caller’s identity. You can also verify the legitimacy of the call by contacting the organization directly through a trusted channel, such as the phone number listed on their official website. Additionally, enabling call-blocking and anti-spoofing features on your phone can help to prevent vishing attacks.

What is phishing?

Phishing is a type of cyber attack in which an attacker tries to trick a victim into giving away sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, or other personal data. Phishing attacks typically occur through fraudulent emails, text messages, or websites that appear to be legitimate but are actually designed to deceive the victim.

The attackers often use social engineering techniques to make the message or website seem convincing, such as creating a sense of urgency or fear, or impersonating a trusted entity like a bank, a government agency, or a popular online service. They may also use fake links or attachments to download malware onto the victim’s device.

Once the victim is tricked into providing their sensitive information, the attackers can use it for identity theft, financial fraud, or other malicious purposes.

To protect yourself from phishing attacks, it’s important to be vigilant and skeptical of unsolicited messages or websites that ask for your personal information. Always verify the legitimacy of the message or website by checking the sender’s email address, the website URL, or contacting the organization directly through a trusted channel. Additionally, enabling two-factor authentication and using anti-phishing software can add an extra layer of protection to your online accounts.

Why is password re-use a bad thing?

Using the same password across multiple accounts is generally not a good idea for the following reasons:

Security Breaches: If one account gets hacked, the hacker will be able to access all other accounts using the same password.

Lack of Complexity: It is difficult to create a complex password that is unique for each account. Using the same password may mean using a less complex password that is easier for hackers to guess or crack.

Phishing Attacks: Phishing attacks can trick users into revealing their login credentials. If the same password is used across multiple accounts, the hacker can use the stolen credentials to access all the other accounts.

Personal Information: If a password is compromised, a hacker could use personal information from one account to guess the passwords for other accounts.

Compromised Devices: If a device is lost or stolen, a hacker may be able to access all accounts that use the same password.

Overall, using the same password is risky and could lead to a significant compromise of your online security. It’s always recommended to use unique, complex passwords for each account and enable two-factor authentication whenever possible.