Endpoint Security Solutions Challenged by Zero-Day and Fileless Attacks
Posted on by Zuly GonzalezCategories Computer Security, Security, Web SecurityLeave a comment on Endpoint Security Solutions Challenged by Zero-Day and Fileless Attacks

As the world of malware continues to evolve at a relentless pace, IT departments globally are struggling to keep up. Today, fileless attacks and zero-day exploits are appearing more frequently, and traditional AV solutions and detection methods are failing to prevent infections the way they used to.

According to a recent article posted by Help Net Security, the challenges that endpoint security specialists face in this fight are significant. In a survey by the Ponemon Institute and Barkly that polled 660 IT and security professionals, they found that 64 percent of organizations experienced a successful endpoint attack in 2018, which represented a 20 percent increase from the same 12-month period last year. Furthermore, 63 percent of individuals surveyed stated that the frequency of endpoint attacks has increased in the past 12 months. Read the full article here.

Most importantly, respondents estimated that the current AV implementations active on their networks were only capable of blocking 43 percent of incoming attacks.

In response to this problem some organizations have resorted to focusing more on quickly detecting and responding to attacks instead of preventing them. However, the prospects of this solution working are bleak at best, given the results of the 2018 Cost of Data Breach Study by Ponemon, which found that the average time to detect and contain a mega breach was 365 days – almost 100 days longer than a smaller scale breach (266 days).

This begs the question: what potential solutions are out there which can mitigate the threat that zero-day and fileless attacks pose without affecting employee productivity or adding unnecessary burden on the on-site IT staff? Options like Remote Browser Isolation present a secure alternative to traditional antivirus detection methods.

Remote Browser Isolation can help close the gap between post-infection detection techniques, which may not detect all attacks, and the proactive threat hunting approach that may leave the corporate network vulnerable for weeks before the threat is detected and neutralized. By isolating an employee’s browser activity in an external virtual environment that exists outside of your corporate network, any breach attempts that are launched against that user via a web browser, whether they are zero-day, fileless, or run of the mill attacks, can be stopped before they can even enter the corporate network. By implementing Remote Browser Isolation, your IT department can reduce the management overhead while simultaneously making it easier for your users to browse the web safely, securely, and without the limitations that other protection methods might place on their daily browsing habits.

Learn More About Remote Browser Isolation

How to Balance Employee Freedom With the Needs of Corporate Security
Posted on by Zuly GonzalezCategories Computer Security, How To, Web SecurityLeave a comment on How to Balance Employee Freedom With the Needs of Corporate Security
balancing stones on white background

Today’s employees prefer to use a wide range of web apps in the office in order to get the absolute most out of their workday. For example, they manage their calendar with Google Calendar, check their emails through Office 365, chat with fellow employees using Slack, watch videos over YouTube, have conference calls over Zoom or store and share files using Dropbox.

The idea of allowing employees access to various web applications they need to maximize their productivity may sound like a good one at first, but often this level of freedom can create a host of headaches for a company’s security department. The problem is further exacerbated when security teams have to worry about securing access to such web apps over multiple web browsers for every employee on every device.

Web Browsers Are a Necessary Evil

Gartner estimates that 98% of all external information security attacks happen over the public internet, and 80% of those attacks are carried out through end users’ web browsers. With browsers at the center of so much corporate activity, it’s no surprise that browsers are the most likely place for cyber-attacks to happen.

Oftentimes, to keep things simple, the IT department will block entire categories of websites, including many of the essential sites that employees need to do their job effectively. Contrary to popular belief, no good comes out of being so heavy handed with blocking sites. First, the inability to access sites to do their job leads to employee productivity loss, and second, enterprise networks are still vulnerable since blocking sites doesn’t eliminate the threat of web-based malware that can be introduced through typically “safe” sites. To make matters worse, some organizations even take the extreme measure of blocking internet access altogether, which has obvious productivity concerns.

Then what is the best way to mitigate the threat of browser-based attacks while still providing employees with all the flexibility they need to be productive on a daily basis?

Remote Browser Isolation Provides a Solution

The solution to keeping your network safe while allowing unrestricted access to the web and work flexibility is Remote Browser Isolation. Remote isolated web browsing brings the best of both worlds into one seamless, easy to use solution that lets employees browse the web with complete freedom while also protecting your network from any browser-based threats.

Remote Browser Isolation moves your web browsing activity off the corporate network entirely, and into a remote virtual environment. This means that no web content ever enters the corporate network, so if any infected links or files are encountered, they are unable to cause any damage.

Furthermore, Remote Browser Isolation enables truly anonymous browsing capabilities that protect a user’s identity when browsing the web.

Conclusion

Today, the internet is the go-to source for information, productivity tools, commerce, socialization and business communication. The rapid emergence and use of social media, news sites, web apps and other business sites in the workplace, whether for personal or business use, have made the web browser one of the most likely places for cyber-attacks to happen. Every new website that is allowed into the corporate network potentially introduces a whole new range of attack vectors that security teams need to worry about. Remote Browser Isolation alleviates these security concerns while still allowing employees access to a wide range of websites and web applications in the office in order to get the absolute most out of their workday.

Learn More About Remote Browser Isolation

If You Use Your Web Browser’s Incognito Mode We’ve Got Bad News
Posted on by Zuly GonzalezCategories Computer Security, Security, Web SecurityLeave a comment on If You Use Your Web Browser’s Incognito Mode We’ve Got Bad News

We place our trust in simple browser features like Chrome’s ‘incognito browser mode’ with an expectation that it will work as advertised and protect our privacy. Sadly, it doesn’t.

The incognito browsing mode, or the ‘private browsing mode’ as it is also known, has become the go-to method that amateurs rely on to protect their privacy and keep their internet browsing history a secret. But while the private browsing mode is good enough for preventing local cookie tracking or saving of autofill details, it falls short in dozens of other ways that matter most in keeping your information truly private and secure. For example, the private browsing mode cannot prevent browsers from giving away your geographical location, nor can it prevent viruses and malware from infecting your computer.

In an article posted on IFLScience.com, Aliyah Kovner blames the major browser providers for not doing a good job with their disclosures, which makes it difficult for their users to comprehend what these features actually can and cannot do. Read the full article here.

Though the article doesn’t offer a solution, it does bring up two very important points – (1) the majority of users out there want an easy, convenient and reliable way to protect their privacy while browsing the web and (2) even if the major browser providers improve their disclosures, people are not likely to read them, which means that they will likely still not understand the limitations of these features..

This poses a big challenge for companies that not only need to protect their users’ privacy, but also need to ensure that their corporate network is secure from threats like malware and ransomware.

Enterprises need a solution that can address both the privacy concerns of their users and the security concerns of their security teams. What they need is a solution called Remote Browser Isolation (RBI) that can not only enable truly anonymous web browsing, but can also ensure the security of their network against web-based malware threats, and much more.

Learn more about Anonymous Web Browsing with Remote Browser Isolation

Why Ransomware Gangs Love the Healthcare Industry
Posted on by Zuly GonzalezCategories Computer Security, Security, Web SecurityLeave a comment on Why Ransomware Gangs Love the Healthcare Industry

Ransomware Costs Healthcare MillionsRansomware. It’s the latest buzzword, and everyone is talking about it, especially in healthcare.

Ransomware has become increasingly prevalent over the last year because it’s been so successful for the bad guys. According to the FBI, cyber criminals are on pace to collect $1 billion from ransomware payments in 2016. And data breach response insurance provider, Beazley, projects ransomware attacks will grow 670% from 2014 to 2016. That’s insane!

The statistics for the healthcare industry are even grimmer. Healthcare is the most breached industry. It sees 340% more security incidents and attacks than the average industry, and is more than 200% more likely to encounter data theft. Healthcare is 4 times more likely to be impacted by advanced malware than any other industry, and is 4.5 times more likely to be impacted by ransomware. And healthcare is 74% more likely to be impacted by phishing attacks than any other sector.

The Impact of Ransomware on Healthcare

A successful breach on a healthcare organization can mean:

  1. the loss of money,
  2. the loss of brand reputation,
  3. the loss of Protected Health Information (PHI), and sadly
  4. the potential loss of life.

According to the Ponemon Institute’s 2015 Cost of Data Breach Study, the healthcare industry has the highest cost per record stolen of any industry at $363 per stolen record.

Unique to the healthcare industry, the impact of malware isn’t just a matter of losing money. As dramatic as it may sound, people’s lives are at stake. What happens if a hospital’s systems are down because of malware or a ransomware attack, and they can’t provide emergency services to a patient? Could that patient lose their life? Or could the delay in service cause additional health complications for that patient?

As an example, when MedStar was recently locked out of their systems as a result of a ransomware attack, they were unable to provide radiation treatment to cancer patients for several days. This is serious!

What Makes Healthcare a Prime Target

There are 3 main reasons why the healthcare sector is targeted so much by cyber criminals.

  1. Healthcare records contain the most valuable information. The data healthcare organizations store on patients includes personal identities and medical histories, which makes it a very complete data set. This is a goldmine for identity thieves. This is why healthcare records are about 10 times more valuable than credit card details on the black market.
  2. Healthcare data doesn’t change. Unlike other types of data cyber criminals steal, patient data stored by healthcare organizations can’t be easily changed. If your credit card company gets breached, you can easily change your username and password, and get a new credit card number. No big deal. But if your hospital gets breached, you can’t just go get a new social security number. Compromised health information can haunt you for a lifetime.
  3. Healthcare organizations don’t prioritize security. Because the healthcare sector in general hasn’t kept up-to-date with modern security practices like other industries have, attacks on them are more likely to be successful. If you compare healthcare to the financial industry, for example, the financial industry has devoted so many resources to protecting their data that attackers would rather focus on softer targets, like healthcare.

Luckily, Light Point Security’s isolated web browser can protect healthcare organizations from ransomware and other web-based malware. Our Full Isolation technology is the strongest in the industry, and offers the best user experience. Contact us today to learn how we can keep your data safe.

Tech Faceplant: Dropbox Infinite
Posted on by Beau AdkinsCategories Computer Security, Opinion, SecurityLeave a comment on Tech Faceplant: Dropbox Infinite

Dropbox Project InfiniteLast month, Dropbox pulled back the curtains on their next new major feature, titled “Dropbox Infinite”. However, the details about how they were going to implement this feature left the majority of the audience dumbfounded. This is another one of those occasions where tech companies make a decision against the outcries of their customers, and even in the face of that backlash, just chug happily along.

Dropbox Infinite sounds like a pretty cool idea. It would make your Dropbox storage area appear as its own drive in your OS. It’s an idea that few people would complain about. However, when Dropbox revealed that they would implement this with kernel mode extensions, people’s heads started exploding.

By implementing this in the kernel, it puts the user’s system security at much higher risk than if it were implemented in user-mode. When code runs in the kernel, it has complete system access. It can read, write, or delete any file. If malware gets a foothold in your computer’s kernel, then it’s no longer your computer. Any programming mistake in the kernel means the whole system crashes (the infamous Blue Screen of Death). For these reasons, users should be wary of every piece of code they allow to run there. A product like Dropbox, used to manage remote shared file backups, seems like a poor candidate for kernel level code. It would be like Microsoft announcing the next version of Internet Explorer will run primarily in the kernel. It would be the worst idea in the history of computing.

The Dropbox article mentioned an open-source project called FUSE, which could have been used to implement this in user-mode. But they scrapped that idea because it incurred an extra kernel-mode context switch which has performance implications. Like a commenter observed, the performance of a context switch is practically nonexistent compared to the cost of performing network operations with the Dropbox servers.

The article received numerous comments, which were mostly negative. A common theme in those comments was the hope that this feature was optional. Dropbox never clarified if this was mandatory or not. If they make it mandatory, it will be an enormous faceplant. It’s quite obvious that the users are not ready for it. Maybe one day they will be, but not today. Forcing it on users now will only hurt Dropbox.

Sadly, this sort of thing happens all the time. Tech companies come up with an idea that they believe their users will go gaga over. But when they announce it, it is met with vitriol. Instead of just admitting a mistake and scrapping the idea, they double down, and shove it down their users’ throats anyway. Think Windows Metro or Chrome removing support for plugins. Listen to your customers. If you announce a new product change that causes your customers to threaten to leave, its not too late to go back to the drawing board.

Light Point Security CEO Discusses Cybersecurity and Terrorism Prevention
Posted on by Beau AdkinsCategories Computer Security, Opinion, SecurityLeave a comment on Light Point Security CEO Discusses Cybersecurity and Terrorism Prevention

Zuly Gonzalez discusses cybersecurity and terrorismLight Point Security CEO, Zuly Gonzalez, was interviewed on the Emmy Award winning Live TV show Fresh Outlook, which aired on Saturday April 2, 2016 at 2pm ET. Fresh Outlook is a weekly talk show that airs every Saturday Live, and examines a variety of topics and current events.

Zuly discussed Apple vs the FBI, encryption, terrorism, and how to protect yourself from cyber threats, among other topics. For example, she was asked why if less skilled adversaries are able to hack into devices, does the FBI with all of the resources at their disposal have such a hard time getting into the encrypted iPhone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists. Zuly talked about how not all things are equal and that a combination of skill level and protection mechanisms must be taken into account when comparing successful and unsuccessful attacks. She also discussed the importance of the data being protected and how consumers should also value their data. Zuly also touched on the irony of Apple asking the FBI for help in strengthening their protections.

It was an informative segment with several other security experts on the panel. The segment is below for your viewing pleasure.

Two Ways Google Chrome Sacrifices Security in the Name of Speed
Posted on by Beau AdkinsCategories Computer Security, Security, Web SecurityLeave a comment on Two Ways Google Chrome Sacrifices Security in the Name of Speed

Google ChromeGoogle Chrome is now the most popular web browser in the world, with an estimated 45% of all website views. Google claims that security is a top priority, which is why they push frequent, automatic updates and use a sandbox. But an even higher priority for Google is speed.

Sometimes they need to make the choice between speed and security, and this article lists two cases where they chose a minimal speed improvement at the expense of introducing a much larger security risk.

Prerendering

Prerendering is a technology used in Chrome that can make pages appear to load faster. For example, if you browse to http://example1.com and that page includes a link tag like “<link rel=”prerender” href=”http://example2.com”>”, Chrome will automatically and silently load example2.com in the background while you are viewing example1.com. The hope is that the next link you click will be to example2.com, so the browser can display it instantly, making things seem faster.

The most likely place you see this feature in use is on google.com. Based on a user’s search terms, they may decide there is a very high likelihood that they can anticipate which link the user will click next. In that case, they can mark that link to be prerendered, so the page appears to load faster.

Google Chrome itself can also decide to prerender pages. If you start typing “reddit” into the URL bar, there is a decent chance that Chrome will begin prerendering reddit.com in the hopes that is what you were in the process of typing.

What’s so Bad About Prerendering?

  1. Exposure to malware: When a page is prerendered, it has limitations. It can’t initiate downloads, or play audio. But it can execute scripts, and that is all that is needed for a malicious site to infect your computer. Because of prerendering, you can be infected by a site just because a link to it appears in a Google search results page, or you typed something similar to it in the Chrome address bar. You don’t even need to visit the page anymore.
  2. Loss of privacy: When Chrome prerenders a page, it exposes your IP address and browser information to the website. For users performing sensitive online research, this can be a big deal. Some users need to learn about a company or organization without tipping their target off about it. Because of prerendering, just Googling the name of the target will likely expose them.

How to Turn Off Chrome Prerendering

  1. Open the Chrome Settings by clicking the 3 horizontal lines icon in the top-right of Chrome and choose “Settings”.
  2. Scroll to the bottom and click “Show advanced settings”.
  3. Under “Privacy”, uncheck the box labeled “Prefetch resources to load pages more quickly”.

Disable Chrome Prerendering

Automatic Downloads

By default, Google Chrome is configured to automatically download any file that a website decides to push to you. In the interest of speed, instead of asking you if you want to accept a download, it will happily download it immediately, into the “Downloads” folder of your user profile.

The obvious threat here is that malware can get downloaded without your permission. But just downloading a malicious file isn’t actually enough to infect you. You have to execute it somehow.

After the download completes, it will show up in a box in the bottom left corner of Chrome, until the user dismisses it. If the user clicks the box for a download, Chrome will open that file. If this file is malicious, there is a good chance you will be infected.

However, this attack method is weak because it requires the user to decide to click that box. A more sinister approach involves the use of DLL hijacking. When a Windows executable loads, it often also loads a set of DLL files that it requires. These DLLs can be specified with an absolute path (like C:\Windows\System32\user32.dll) or with just a name (like user32.dll). When the DLL is specified with just a name, Windows will search for a DLL with the right name across a few different places. The first place it looks is the same directory as the executable.

An attacker can then create a malicious DLL with the same name as a common Windows DLL, like user32.dll, kernel32.dll, or UxTheme.dll. Chrome will happily automatically download this DLL into the user’s Downloads directory. After that, it’s just a matter of time before the user downloads a legitimate executable (into their Downloads directory) that doesn’t specify an absolute path to the DLL, and when the user executes it, the malicious DLL gets loaded and the user is infected.

How to Turn Off Automatic Downloads

  1. Open the Chrome Settings by clicking the 3 horizontal lines icon in the top-right of Chrome and choose “Settings”.
  2. Scroll to the bottom and click “Show advanced settings”.
  3. Under “Downloads”, check the box labeled “Ask where to save each file before downloading”.

Disable Chrome Automatic Downloads

Light Point Web Protects Against Both of These Threats

Light Point Web protects against these, and other security issues commonly seen in web browsers. Learn how our secure remote browser can protect your home or business.

Light Point Web Integrates With Metascan Online to Protect Against Malicious Downloads
Posted on by Beau AdkinsCategories Computer Security, Light Point Security Update, Light Point Web, Security, Web SecurityLeave a comment on Light Point Web Integrates With Metascan Online to Protect Against Malicious Downloads

OPSWAT LogoWe recently added a new feature to Light Point Web that warrants some extra recognition. We have added a server-side integration with OPSWAT’s Metascan Online service to provide yet another best-in-class layer of security for our users.

Metascan Online is a cloud service that can scan files with over 40 anti-virus engines, and do so in a matter of seconds. The fact that Metascan Online uses so many anti-virus engines is important. Just because one anti-virus engine claims that a file is safe, it doesn’t mean it is. It could be safe… or it could just be that this is a newer virus that has not been identified by that anti-virus vendor yet. It is actually common for new malware to only be identified by a small number of the anti-virus engines. With Metascan Online using so many anti-virus engines, we can get a much greater level of confidence that a safe file is indeed safe.

With our integration with Metascan Online, our users will get an extra level of assurance that every file they download is safe without having to wait around for the results. We offer this service for no extra charge for our cloud users.

How Does It Work?

When a user wants to download a file, Light Point Web will ask for their permission. If they say yes, that file will be downloaded to the Light Point Web server. Light Point Web will then ask Metascan Online to scan that file. If it is safe, the file is streamed to the user’s computer and the user is informed of the scan results.

LPS download no threats detected

If, on the other hand, the file is found to be malicious, the download is blocked and a message informs the user why.

LPS download threat detected

This all happens seamlessly to the user, so no extra work is required by the user to get this additional layer of protection.

Coming soon: If a file is found to be malicious, the dialog will also include a link to the scan results so that you can see further details on the threat detected and which engines detected it.

Enterprise Options

For our enterprise customers, we offer a couple of options: Metascan Online or Metascan on-premises. OPSWAT offers both a cloud version and an on-premise version of Metascan. This gives our enterprise customers the flexibility of choosing the option that works best for them.

If you are interested in learning more about how Light Point Web protects you while browsing the web, contact us, or sign up for a free trial to experience worry free web browsing for yourself.

The Weakest Link in Your Company’s Security
Posted on by Joanie NelsonCategories Computer Security, SecurityLeave a comment on The Weakest Link in Your Company’s Security

Employees are the weakest link in your securityAre your employees creating a security risk in your company? Did you know that employees were the second highest cause for data breaches, after criminal attacks? Here are some common ways well-meaning employees can cause data breaches:

1. E-mail

People are quick to trust banks, universities, and friends, and will instinctively want to open the email and click on the link. Even when the mail filter sends the e-mail to the junk/spam folder, employees have been known to open that email anyway, because the subject line has caught their interest.

Not only are employees targets, but contractors working for companies are targets as well. It was recently noted that the massive Target breach last year was initiated through a phishing e-mail to Target contractors working for an HVAC company. This incident is proof that when employees open emails, not only is your company data at risk, but your customer data is as well.

2. Links

Shortened links can fool anyone, especially when it seems it’s from a trusted source, such as a news source. It’s always a good idea for employees to expand the shortened link to see where it’s taking them, before clicking on the link.

3. Ads

Online advertising is growing every year, and with that growth comes more malware. How easy is it to accidentally click on an ad? It’s very easy! I did this two weeks ago on accident. I have been a Mac user for 6 years and my previous time using Windows had been nearly erased from my memory. I felt clumsy bumping around that operating system. When I went to go download an open source program for a class, I hit download. And then I hit run. As I was watching it load, within 15 seconds I knew this was not the program I needed, but it was too late. I had loaded mysearchdial and it was proud to be on my computer. It didn’t want to leave. Luckily, it was just that and nothing more nefarious.

On my Mac, the ad above the real download link was something unrelated to the page. I could easily tell the difference.

Ad on my Mac. Notice it’s a Google link. An obvious Google link.
Ad on Windows.

On Windows, I was easily fooled. Had I paid more attention, I would have noticed it was an ad. If I had squinted my eyes more I would have seen the word advertisement. Imagine how easy it is for an employee to do this and possibly cause a major issue for their company, not to mention their customers.

What Can a Business Do to Protect Against Employee Missteps?

Security training and awareness for employees can go a long way. Some may not know to leave the junk mail in the junk mail folder. They may not be able to help their curiosity because the subject line or link is just too enticing. If it seems too good to be true, you’re probably right. A simple training meeting could bring the needed security awareness to the company and possibly mitigate employee negligence.

However, while security awareness training is helpful, it’s not enough on its own. The hard truth is that your employees will never care as much about your company’s security as you do. If they receive an especially enticing link, and even if they have been trained to ignore it, they may still feel it’s worth the risk to take a quick peek.

And in a perfect world where all your employees followed all of their training perfectly, they can still be putting your company’s security at risk. For example, earlier I stated that shortened links should be expanded before clicking. What if it points to a well-known, reputable news site? Their training would say it’s safe to click. But even the most well-known, most reputable sites can and have been hacked to spread malware to its visitors. This is a problem that goes way beyond training and trust.

This is the problem that we solve. When employees use Light Point Web, your security no longer depends on training and trust. Light Point Web can allow your employees to browse the web without any sites reaching your computers. So the most dangerous site in the world poses no more threat than the safest site in the world. You can set policies to say what types of files employees can download, from what sources, or stop them from downloading anything at all. Clicking links in email will automatically launch it in Light Point Web, because it integrates seamlessly into your standard browsers.

If you are interested in learning more about how Light Point Web can protect your business, contact us.

As cyber attacks multiply, so do insurance policies that cover damages
Posted on by Zuly GonzalezCategories Computer Security, Light Point Security Update, SecurityLeave a comment on As cyber attacks multiply, so do insurance policies that cover damages

Baltimore Business Journal interviews Zuly GonzalezRyan McDonald, the Digital Producer for the Baltimore Business Journal, recently interviewed me for the publication’s latest cybersecurity story, “As cyber attacks multiply, so do insurance policies that cover damages,” where he discusses the pros and cons of purchasing cybersecurity insurance and how to go about it. I thought it was worth sharing here on our blog in case any of you missed it. Below is an excerpt from the story.

 

In the wake of high-profile security breaches that have affected major companies and universities, a growing number of firms are pushing a relatively new product for businesses: cyber security insurance.

American International Group Inc. is the latest big name to introduce a new offering. AIG this week announced it has started offering cyber security insurance to cover property damage and bodily injury.

“More insurance companies are jumping on that bandwagon and starting to offer cyber insurance,” Zuly Gonzalez, CEO of Baltimore-based cyber firm Light Point Security said.

The question for businesses is whether such policies are worth the money.

While purchasing cyber insurance could help your business alleviate some of the damages associated with a possible security breach, it may not be the right fit for every business owner.

“You have to make a decision on where you fit in terms of your risk profile,” Gonzalez said.

Companies should take the time to research the costs and benefits of cyber insurance, she said

You can read the full story on the Baltimore Business Journal’s website here.

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