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Google Simplifies 2-Factor Authentication Setup (It's More Important Than Ever)

Google Simplifies 2-Factor Authentication Setup (It's More Important Than Ever)
May 07, 2024 Online Security / Data Breach
Google on Monday announced that it's simplifying the process of enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) for users with personal and Workspace accounts. Also called 2-Step Verification ( 2SV ), it aims to add an extra layer of security to users' accounts to prevent takeover attacks in case the passwords are stolen. The new change entails adding a second step method, such as an authenticator app or a hardware security key, before turning on 2FA, thus eliminating the need for using the less secure SMS-based authentication. "This is particularly helpful for organizations using Google Authenticator (or other equivalent time-based one-time password (TOTP) apps)," the company  said . "Previously, users had to enable 2SV with a phone number before being able to add Authenticator." Users with hardware security keys have two options to add them to their accounts, including by registering a FIDO1 credential on the hardware key or by assigning a passkey (i.e., a F

Key Lesson from Microsoft's Password Spray Hack: Secure Every Account

Key Lesson from Microsoft’s Password Spray Hack: Secure Every Account
Mar 25, 2024 Data Breach / Password Security
In January 2024, Microsoft discovered they'd been the  victim of a hack  orchestrated by Russian-state hackers Midnight Blizzard (sometimes known as Nobelium). The concerning detail about this case is how easy it was to breach the software giant. It wasn't a highly technical hack that exploited a zero-day vulnerability – the hackers used a simple password spray attack to take control of an old, inactive account. This serves as a stark reminder of the importance of password security and why organizations need to protect every user account.  Password spraying: A simple yet effective attack The hackers gained entry by using a  password spray attack in November 2023 , Password spraying is a relatively simple brute force technique that involves trying the same password against multiple accounts. By bombarding user accounts with known weak and compromised passwords, the attackers were able to gain access to a legacy non-production test account within the Microsoft system which provided th

4 Ways Hackers use Social Engineering to Bypass MFA

4 Ways Hackers use Social Engineering to Bypass MFA
Feb 12, 2024 Cyber Threat / Password Security
When it comes to access security, one recommendation stands out above the rest: multi-factor authentication (MFA). With passwords alone being simple work for hackers, MFA provides an essential layer of protection against breaches. However, it's important to remember that MFA isn't foolproof. It can be bypassed, and it often is.  If a password is compromised, there are several options available to hackers looking to circumvent the added protection of MFA. We'll explore four social engineering tactics hackers successfully use to breach MFA and emphasize the importance of having a strong password as part of a layered defense.  1. Adversary-in-the-middle (AITM) attacks AITM attacks involve deceiving users into believing they're logging into a genuine network, application, or website. But really, they're giving up their information to a fraudulent lookalike. This lets hackers intercept passwords and manipulate security measures, including MFA prompts. For instance, a spear-phish

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SHQ Response Platform and Risk Centre to Enable Management and Analysts Alike

SHQ Response Platform and Risk Centre to Enable Management and Analysts Alike
May 13, 2024Threat Detection / SoC / SIEM
In the last decade, there has been a growing disconnect between front-line analysts and senior management in IT and Cybersecurity. Well-documented challenges facing modern analysts revolve around a high volume of alerts, false positives, poor visibility of technical environments, and analysts spending too much time on manual tasks. The Impact of Alert Fatigue and False Positives  Analysts are overwhelmed with alerts. The knock-on effect of this is that fatigued analysts are at risk of missing key details in incidents, and often conduct time-consuming triaging tasks manually only to end up copying and pasting a generic closing comment into a false positive alert.  It is likely that there will always be false positives. And many would argue that a false positive is better than a false negative. But for proactive actions to be made, we must move closer to the heart of an incident. That requires diving into how analysts conduct the triage and investigation process. SHQ Response Platfo

NoaBot: Latest Mirai-Based Botnet Targeting SSH Servers for Crypto Mining

NoaBot: Latest Mirai-Based Botnet Targeting SSH Servers for Crypto Mining
Jan 10, 2024 Server Security / Cryptocurrency
A new Mirai-based botnet called  NoaBot  is being used by threat actors as part of a crypto mining campaign since the beginning of 2023. "The capabilities of the new botnet, NoaBot, include a wormable self-spreader and an SSH key backdoor to download and execute additional binaries or spread itself to new victims," Akamai security researcher Stiv Kupchik said in a report shared with The Hacker News. Mirai , which had its source code leaked in 2016, has been the progenitor of a number of botnets, the most recent being  InfectedSlurs , which is capable of mounting distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. There are indications that NoaBot could be linked to another botnet campaign involving a Rust-based malware family known as  P2PInfect , which recently received an update to target routers and IoT devices. This is based on the fact that threat actors have also experimented with dropping P2PInfect in place of NoaBot in recent attacks targeting SSH servers, indicating likely at

Microsoft Warns as Scattered Spider Expands from SIM Swaps to Ransomware

Microsoft Warns as Scattered Spider Expands from SIM Swaps to Ransomware
Oct 26, 2023 Cyber Threat / Social Engineering
The prolific threat actor known as  Scattered Spider  has been observed impersonating newly hired employees in targeted firms as a ploy to blend into normal on-hire processes and takeover accounts and breach organizations across the world. Microsoft, which disclosed the activities of the financially motivated hacking crew, described the adversary as "one of the most dangerous financial criminal groups," calling out its operational fluidity and its ability to incorporate SMS phishing, SIM swapping, and help desk fraud into its attack model. "Octo Tempest is a financially motivated collective of native English-speaking threat actors known for launching wide-ranging campaigns that prominently feature adversary-in-the-middle ( AiTM ) techniques, social engineering, and SIM swapping capabilities," the company  said . It's worth noting that the activity represented by  Octo Tempest  is tracked by other cybersecurity companies under various monikers, including 0kta

Take an Offensive Approach to Password Security by Continuously Monitoring for Breached Passwords

Take an Offensive Approach to Password Security by Continuously Monitoring for Breached Passwords
Oct 11, 2023 Password Security / Data Safety
Passwords are at the core of securing access to an organization's data. However, they also come with security vulnerabilities that stem from their inconvenience. With a growing list of credentials to keep track of, the average end-user can default to shortcuts. Instead of creating a strong and unique password for each account, they resort to easy-to-remember passwords, or use the same password for every account and application.  Password reuse is both common and risky.  65% of users  admit to reusing their credentials across multiple sites. Another analysis of identity exposures among employees of Fortune 1000 companies found a  64% password reuse rate  for exposed credentials. Pair these findings with the fact that a vast majority  (80%) of all data breaches  are sourced from lost or stolen passwords, and we have a serious problem. In short, a breached password from one system can be used to compromise another. So, what does this all mean for your organization?  The real risk o

Google Adopts Passkeys as Default Sign-in Method for All Users

Google Adopts Passkeys as Default Sign-in Method for All Users
Oct 10, 2023 Password Security / Technology
Google on Tuesday announced the ability for all users to set up passkeys by default, five months after it  rolled out support  for the FIDO Alliance-backed passwordless standard for Google Accounts on all platforms. "This means the next time you sign in to your account, you'll start seeing prompts to create and use passkeys, simplifying your future sign-ins," Google's Sriram Karra and Christiaan Brand  said . "It also means you'll see the ' skip password when possible ' option toggled on in your Google Account settings." Passkeys are a new form of authentication that entirely eliminate the need for usernames and passwords, or even provide any additional authentication factor. In other words, it's a passwordless login mechanism that leverages public-key cryptography to authenticate users' access to websites and apps, with the private key saved securely in the device and the public key stored in the server. Each passkey is unique and

Are You Willing to Pay the High Cost of Compromised Credentials?

Are You Willing to Pay the High Cost of Compromised Credentials?
Sep 25, 2023 Password Security / Cybersecurity
Weak password policies leave organizations vulnerable to attacks. But are the standard password complexity requirements enough to secure them?  83% of compromised passwords  would satisfy the password complexity and length requirements of compliance standards. That's because bad actors already have access to billions of stolen credentials that can be used to compromise additional accounts by reusing those same credentials. To strengthen password security, organizations need to look beyond complexity requirements and block the use of compromised credentials. Need stolen credentials? There's a market for that Every time an organization gets breached or a subset of customers' credentials is stolen, there's a high possibility all those passwords end up for sale on the dark web. Remember the  Dropbox and LinkedIn hack  that resulted in 71 million and 117 million stolen passwords? There is an underground market that sells those credentials to hackers which they can then use in cre

Key Cybersecurity Tools That Can Mitigate the Cost of a Breach

Key Cybersecurity Tools That Can Mitigate the Cost of a Breach
Sep 05, 2023 Data Breach / Password Security
IBM's 2023 installment of their annual " Cost of a Breach " report has thrown up some interesting trends. Of course, breaches being costly is no longer news at this stage! What's interesting is the difference in how organizations respond to threats and which technologies are helping reduce the costs associated with every IT team's nightmare scenario.  The average cost of a breach rose once again to $4.45 million, increasing 15% over the last three years. Costs associated with escalation and detection have rocketed up 42% during the same period. With that in mind, I was surprised to learn that only 51% of the breached entities surveyed by IBM decided to bolster their security investments, despite the rising financial consequences of dealing with a breach. Headline stats around breach costs are interesting – but can digging into these trends actually help you save money? Organizations want to know where to invest their security budget and which technologies offer the bes

It's a Zero-day? It's Malware? No! It's Username and Password

It's a Zero-day? It's Malware? No! It's Username and Password
Sep 01, 2023 Unified Identity Protection
As cyber threats continue to evolve, adversaries are deploying a range of tools to breach security defenses and compromise sensitive data. Surprisingly, one of the most potent weapons in their arsenal is not malicious code but simply stolen or weak usernames and passwords. This article explores the seriousness of compromised credentials, the challenges they present to security solutions, and the importance of implementing robust measures to protect Active Directory (AD) environments. Additionally, we introduce Silverfort Unified Identity Protection , a comprehensive solution that offers enhanced security for AD environments against the misuse of compromised credentials. The Power of Stolen Credentials: Full Access to Any Resource  In the world of cyberattacks, stolen usernames and passwords are a highly effective means of gaining unauthorized access to networks and systems. They grant adversaries an entry point, allowing them subsequent access to sensitive on-prem and cloud resource

What's the State of Credential theft in 2023?

What's the State of Credential theft in 2023?
Aug 16, 2023
At a little overt halfway through 2023, credential theft is still a major thorn in the side of IT teams. The heart of the problem is the value of data to cybercriminals and the evolution of the techniques they use to get hold of it. The  2023 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)  revealed that 83% of breaches involved external actors, with almost all attacks being financially motivated. Of these breaches by external actors, 49% involved the use of stolen credentials.  We'll explore why credential theft is still such an attractive (and successful) attack route, and look at how IT security teams can fight back in the second half of 2023 and beyond. Users are still often the weak link The hallmarks of many successful cyberattacks are the determination, inventiveness, and patience threat actors show. Though a user may spot some attacks through security and awareness training, it only takes one well-crafted attack to catch them. Sometimes all it takes is for a user to be

Google Introduces First Quantum Resilient FIDO2 Security Key Implementation

Google Introduces First Quantum Resilient FIDO2 Security Key Implementation
Aug 16, 2023 Password Security / Encryption
Google on Tuesday announced the first quantum resilient FIDO2 security key implementation as part of its OpenSK security keys initiative. "This open-source hardware optimized implementation uses a novel ECC/Dilithium hybrid signature schema that benefits from the security of ECC against standard attacks and Dilithium's resilience against quantum attacks," Elie Bursztein and Fabian Kaczmarczyck  said . OpenSK  is an open-source implementation for security keys written in Rust that supports both FIDO U2F and FIDO2 standards. The development comes less than a week after the tech giant  said  it plans to add support for quantum-resistant encryption algorithms in Chrome 116 to set up symmetric keys in TLS connections. It's also part of broader efforts to switch to cryptographic algorithms that can withstand quantum attacks in the future, necessitating the need to incorporate such technologies early on to facilitate a gradual rollout. "Fortunately, with the rece

Local Governments Targeted for Ransomware – How to Prevent Falling Victim

Local Governments Targeted for Ransomware – How to Prevent Falling Victim
Jul 21, 2023 Password Security / Cybersecurity
Regardless of the country, local government is essential in most citizens' lives. It provides many day-to-day services and handles various issues. Therefore, their effects can be far-reaching and deeply felt when security failures occur. In early 2023, Oakland, California,  fell victim to a ransomware attack . Although city officials have not disclosed how the attack occurred, experts suspect a phishing email is the most likely cause. As a result, city officials brought down their servers to contain the attack. Governments have been the target to many ransomware attacks  and breaches. As most local governments maintain a small IT staff, there is potential for shared passwords, reused credentials, and a lack of multi-factor authentication security, exposing vulnerabilities for a breach.  Oakland is Breached It was first noticed on a Wednesday evening in early February; when Oakland, California city officials quickly took most services' backend servers offline and posted a m

Microsoft Warns of Widescale Credential Stealing Attacks by Russian Hackers

Microsoft Warns of Widescale Credential Stealing Attacks by Russian Hackers
Jun 26, 2023 Cyber Threat / Password Security
Microsoft has disclosed that it's detected a spike in credential-stealing attacks conducted by the Russian state-affiliated hacker group known as Midnight Blizzard. The intrusions, which make use of residential proxy services to obfuscate the source IP address of the attacks, target governments, IT service providers, NGOs, defense, and critical manufacturing sectors, the tech giant's threat intelligence team said. Midnight Blizzard, formerly known as Nobelium , is also tracked under the monikers APT29, Cozy Bear, Iron Hemlock, and The Dukes. The  group , which drew worldwide attention for the SolarWinds supply chain compromise in December 2020, has  continued  to rely on  unseen tooling  in its targeted attacks aimed at foreign ministries and diplomatic entities. It's a sign of how determined they are to keep their operations up and running despite being exposed, which makes them a particularly formidable actor in the espionage area. "These credential attacks us
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