Threats and vulnerabilities represent some
of the cyber risks that organizations face daily. While these terms are often used
interchangeably, they actually have distinct meanings. In order to have a
strong understanding on the types of security issues that can affect your
organization, learning how threats and vulnerabilities relate to one another is
The Relationship Between Vulnerabilities and
Vulnerabilities and threats are both used
to determine an organization’s cyber risk. The close relationship between the
two is why these terms are often used interchangeably.
To show the relationship between a threat and a vulnerability, take a phishing attack as an example. Hackers target organizations with phishing emails because they know that employees are often an organization’s weakest link and most common vulnerability. Hackers exploit this vulnerability by sending phishing emails to employee inboxes, making the phishing email a threat. Whether the phishing email actually inflicts damage to the organization depends on whether employees click on the email links. If employees are cyber aware and have undergone cybersecurity training, they most likely won’t fall victim to the attack. On the flipside, an employee who may not be paying close attention to the email or is unaware of phishing as a cyber threat is more likely to click on the link (accidentally or not).
What is a Vulnerability?
Vulnerabilities refer to security
weaknesses that can be taken advantage of by threat actors. They can exist
anywhere in your infrastructure, from your desktop computers to the
applications you use and even your employees. Vulnerabilities aren’t inherently
dangerous per se but can cause a lot of damage if they are exploited. The risk of a vulnerability depends on where
the vulnerability is and the potential impact on a business.
How to Minimize Vulnerabilities
To minimize vulnerabilities, organizations
need to close the security gaps that exist in their infrastructure. Here are
three ways organizations can minimize their vulnerabilities:
Patch regularly: Developers and manufacturers are always updating their products which is why it’s important to install security patches as soon as they’re available. The longer you wait to patch a vulnerability, the more time hackers have to exploit the vulnerability and enter your network.
Conduct an assessment: A vulnerability risk assessment is used to help organizations understand the risks in their infrastructure and identify any vulnerabilities. An assessment will help organizations catch security gaps before they can be exploited and provide actionable suggestions to help improve overall security.
Use a VPN: Many organizations allow employees to work remotely and connect to the corporate network with their own devices. However, remote working can leave organizations vulnerable to being hacked if an employee is using an unsecure network. To safely connect employees to the corporate network, it’s vital they use a VPN. VPNs help encrypt traffic and creates a private connection to the network.
What is a threat?
Threats refer to events that have the
potential to harm an organization. There are several different types of
threats, such as malware, ransomware, trojans, etc. Threats are actioned by
threat actors who try to leverage vulnerabilities to gain access to a system. These
threat actors can be external parties like hackers or insider
threats who already have access to your internal systems.
How to Defend Against Threats
Threats are harder to stop because they’re
out of your control and hackers never stop trying to steal data. In order to
protect yourself from the latest threats, you need to minimize opportunities
for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities. Here are three ways to defend against
Use secure solutions: Implementing advanced security solutions throughout every part of your infrastructure will ensure you are protecting every entry point. Protecting your perimeter with a firewall will help keep actors out while using a SIEM will help detect suspicious behaviour that can indicate a threat. To learn more about our security solutions, contact us today.
Protect Account Credentials: Your organization’s credentials are the keys to your network and data. Having a good password policy that also includes multi-factor authentication will help secure your accounts. Encourage employees to never reuse passwords across workplace accounts and ensure that all passwords require unique characters and symbols.
Backup data: Your organization’s data is the primary target for hackers which is why it’s important to protect it. Furthermore, events like hurricanes, fires or floods can also threaten your data. Backing up your data regularly will ensure that you always have a copy in the event you are unable to access your files. It will also ensure that the latest documents are saved.
A new variant of PsiXBot, malware configured for the theft of information and cryptocurrency, has been spotted in the wild which abuses Google’s DNS over HTTPS service.
PsiXBot is a relatively new strain of malware, having first been discovered in 2017. Written in .NET, the malicious code has undergone an array of changes and evolutions, and according to Proofpoint researchers, the latest upgrade includes some very interesting alterations.
Proper security measures must be in place to defend against PsiXBot Malware and similar threats. Ensure your systems have the latest patches installed. Having proper up-to-date endpoint security provides a cross-generational blend of threat defense techniques to protect systems from malware.
Adobe has released security updates for Adobe Flash Player for Windows, macOS, Linux and Chrome OS. These updates address critical vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash Player. Successful exploitation could lead to arbitrary code execution in the context of the current user.
A new malware with strange associations to the Ryuk Ransomware has been discovered to look for and steal confidential financial, military, and law enforcement files.
While Ryuk Ransomware encrypts a victim’s files and then demands a ransom, it is not known for actually stealing files from an infected computer. A new infection discovered today by MalwareHunterTeam, does exactly that by searching for sensitive files and uploading them to a FTP site under the attacker’s control.
Proper security measures must be in place to defend against Ryuk related malware and similar threats. Ensure your systems have the latest patches installed. Having proper up-to-date endpoint security provides a cross-generational blend of threat defense techniques to protect systems from malware.
Online skimming is currently one of the
biggest persistent threats affecting retailers and service providers. These
attacks infect e-commerce websites with malicious code to steal payment
information. One of the biggest perpetrators of online skimming attacks is
Magecart, a group of bad actors that target payment websites. Magecart hackers
are consistently evolving their techniques. According to research from security
researcher Willem de Groot, one in five Magecart-infected stores are
re-infected within days.
To start stealing information, bad actors
need to find a way to gain access to your website. They can do this by
exploiting vulnerabilities, phishing for your website credentials or through
hacking into a third-party application. The latter is more common as most
websites use third-party applications for functions such as live chat or to
track visitor traffic. Bad actors prefer to target third-party providers
because they can compromise more websites at once. Third-party breaches are
also harder to detect because they don’t compromise the merchant directly. Therefore,
a merchant may not realize their website has fallen victim to online skimming
until its too late.
2. Inject Skimming Code
Once the door is open and the bad actors
online skimming. This code can be customized to target specific websites or
enact specific types of behaviour and can be hidden within normal script.
Common scripts include the following:
is when bad actors swap out legitimate payment forms with fake ones so that any
information that is typed out in checkout is sent to another server.
Keyloggers: Keylogging scripts
are used to record keystrokes to steal information. Bad actors can use
keyloggers to determine credit card numbers or passwords.
Regardless of the type of malicious script,
the goal is always the same: to steal information.
3. Steal the Payment Data
Once the malicious code is injected, it
will lie within the website’s code until it’s triggered by a customer
submitting payment information during checkout. Any information submitted is
either stored locally on the compromised website or sent remotely to a command
server controlled by the bad actors.
Any data harvested by the hackers can be
used in a variety of ways. Some may use stolen credit card information to
commit fraud or identity theft. Others will most likely sell the data on the
How to Protect Your Website
Companies with e-commerce websites and
third-party providers are at most risk to being hit with online skimming
attacks. In order to protect your business, you need to have detection and
prevention best practices in place.
Detection Best Practices
1. Perform a risk assessment: A risk assessment will help detect vulnerabilities by scanning your website for any security gaps.
2. Review code: Taking some time to review your website code for any malicious scripts can help detect them before they compromise your website.
3. Review security logs:SIEM can help detect and monitor your networks for suspicious activity by producing security logs that can be analyzed for review. To learn more about our SIEM, contact us today.
Prevention Best Practices
1. Data encryption: All customer payment information should be securely encrypted to prevent bad actors from reading data.
2. Always patch systems: Staying up-to-date with the security patches for your systems and software will help prevent bad actors from exploiting potential vulnerabilities.
3. Review third-party partners: When deciding to implement third-party apps, you need to do your research. Companies that work with payments need to be PCI compliant and you should monitor for their status. You should also assess the types of third party scripts you’re including in your website and determine whether they are actually necessary. Including unnecessary additional scripts make your website more vulnerable to online skimming attacks.
A new variant of the Glupteba malware dropper is using the Bitcoin blockchain to fetch command and control (C2) server domains from Bitcoin transactions marked with OP_RETURN script opcodes.
The new version has switched to malvertising as the means of distribution and it comes with two more modules besides the newly added Bitcoin blockchain C2 updater, namely an info stealer and an exploit that targets local MikroTik routers.
Proper security measures must be in place to defend against Glupteba Malware and similar threats. Ensure your systems have the latest patches installed. Having proper up-to-date endpoint security provides a cross-generational blend of threat defense techniques to protect systems from malware.
Android has released its monthly security bulletin. The most severe of these issues is a critical security vulnerability in the Media framework component that could enable a remote attacker using a specially crafted file to execute arbitrary code within the context of a privileged process.
Check Android for the latest security patches and update accordingly.
The operators of Nemty ransomware appear to have struck a distribution deal to target systems with outdated technology that can still be infected by exploit kits.
Exploit kits are not as commonly used since they typically thrive on vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer and Flash Player, two products that used to dominate the web a few years ago but are now with one foot out in the grave.
Proper security measures must be in place to defend against Nemty Ransomware and similar threats. Ensure your systems have the latest patches installed. Backing up your data and having proper up-to-date endpoint security provides a cross-generational blend of threat defense techniques to protect systems from malware.
Security presents several challenges to organizations nowadays and it can be difficult for organizations to keep up with the increase in cyber threats. Many organizations turn to security solutions to defend against the latest threats. While it’s important to use technologies to provide a layer automated protection, simply using technology alone isn’t enough. Research from Cisco found that only 26% of security issues can be solved by security products alone. In order to defend against the latest threats, organizations need to integrate security within their corporate culture. This includes having cyber aware staff and explicit security policies that employees need to follow. Creating a cybersecurity strategy will help every aspect of an organization, from its people to its process and technology, uphold a strong cybersecurity front.
3 Essential Things to Include in Your
A cybersecurity strategy is an organization’s first step in having a robust and effective IT infrastructure. There is “no one size fits all” approach as the needs of every business is unique. However, each part of a cybersecurity strategy needs to work together to protect your business. Here are three elements your cybersecurity strategy needs.
1. Clearly Defined Security Priorities
The foundation of your security strategy
must be rooted in your organization’s security goals and objectives. It needs
to go beyond “block hackers and avoid breaches.” Your priorities should be
specific to your organization and focused so that you can develop precise actions
to improve your security. It involves looking at your critical resources and
assessing the security risks and compliance standards that align with your
organization. Once you have established your security priorities and goals, you
can start developing standards and best practices to occupy your security
2. Communication with Executives and Key Stakeholders
Having support from your organization’s
executives and stakeholders is incredibly important for your cybersecurity
strategy because their attitudes shape security priorities and eventually form how
the rest of your organization views security. Security is a business issue and
affects everyone from the top down. Your cybersecurity strategy should be
embedded within your business initiatives and not siloed with the IT team.
Communication between your IT team and executive team is crucial in bridging
the two together. Both teams need to work together to establish best practices
that work for the organization and to invest in technologies that fit within
3. Proactive Threat Management
Many organizations don’t start caring about
security until after they’ve been breached. While it’s never too late to start
implementing a security strategy, many security incidents could have been
prevented if organizations took a proactive approach. Organizations should
always be taking a proactive approach to security. Proactive threat management means
your threat detection and response is always evolving to defend against the
latest threats. It includes implementing the best security solutions, training staff on issues
related to cybersecurity and evaluating and remediating security alerts. It
takes time, experience and expert security skills to ensure your organization
stays one step ahead of threat actors. To learn how Jolera can help defend your
organization, contact us today.
Proper security measures must be in place to defend against Ares botnet and similar threats. Ensure your systems have the latest patches installed. Having proper up-to-date endpoint security provides a cross-generational blend of threat defense techniques to protect systems from malware.
A vulnerability has been discovered in Google Chrome which could result in arbitrary code execution. This vulnerability is a use-after-free vulnerability in Blink that can be exploited if a user visits, or is redirected to, a specially crafted web page.
Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of the browser, obtain sensitive information, bypass security restrictions and perform unauthorized actions, or cause denial-of-service conditions.
A new Trickbot Trojan variant was spotted while focusing on stealing PIN codes from Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, and Sprint users, marking a new step in this malware’s development.
TrickBot (also known as Trickster, TheTrick, and TrickLoader) is a banking Trojan that has been continuously upgraded throughout the years with new modules and capabilities since October 2016 when it was initially observed in the wild.
While in the beginning it only came with banking Trojan capabilities designed to collect and deliver as much sensitive data as possible to its masters, it is now also become a popular malware dropper capable of infecting compromised machines with other malware families.
Proper security measures must be in place to defend against Trickbot Trojan and similar threats. Ensure your systems have the latest patches installed. Backing up your data and having proper up-to-date endpoint security provides a cross-generational blend of threat defense techniques to protect systems from malware.