Some ransomware viruses are strategically designed to cause as much damage as possible while producing large profits for cybercriminals. And the ransom demands for these Advanced Ransomware Threats (ARTs) far exceed those for a typical ransomware attack. ARTs hold your most valuable assets for ransom and ensure that copies of the data are not available for restoration. There are typically six phases of an ART attack, including: Reconnaissance This process begins with reconnaissance. The attacker reviews information on the company and may even make a list of employees mentioned on the company…

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Linux is an open source operating system that is very versatile due to the large group of volunteers that maintain and update the popular open source operating system. There is a broad range of Linux distributions aimed at different purposes and preferences. Some are built for specific tasks such as privacy protection or perimeter defense and a host of options are available for both desktop and server operating systems. Linux has been around for decades, yet it only claims 2.36% of the desktop operating system market share. Linux is much more popular…

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Cybersecurity challenges companies, countries, and individuals to continually improve protections against an enemy that wants our secrets, money, and identify.  Over the last few decades, the industry has moved from an explorative infancy to an integral and vital corporate function. I had the opportunity earlier this month to discuss the evolution of cybersecurity with Dr. Alissa Johnson, CISO at Xerox.  Her perspective on this journey was interesting to me because Alissa Johnson, also known as “Dr. J”, has served in both the public and private sectors.  She has been involved in…

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For decades, the printer has been the intermediary between the digital and physical worlds.  Through it, our creations become tangible and yet; this intermediary has become so pervasive and such a mainstay of our technological world that it was assumed somewhat unchallengeable.  However, while the basic functions of printing, scanning, copying and faxing have stayed the same, the modern printer is a far different creature from the monoliths of the past or even the printers of last year. Today’s printers exchange data with users not only on the local network…

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There are a variety of different ransomware variants that encrypt your data with no intention of ever decrypting it. There are also ransomware distributors who are happy to collect ransom payments but have no interest in returning anyone’s data. Innocent victims often fall prey to ransomware hoaxes or find problems with ransomware decryptors. They all end up in the same place they started, without their valuable data. Some of the groups behind the most prevalent ransomware viruses are working to build up confidence that victims will receive their data if…

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I recently did an interview with Karen Marcus for Careers in Cybersecurity on education, career development, and career success.  The transcript is provided below and is divided into a section for those just starting out in cybersecurity, those mid-career and those late into their career.  Enjoy the read and please let me know your thoughts in your comments. For someone just starting out in cybersecurity: What degrees should they pursue? Any advice for landing that first job? There are a variety of degrees from associates to Ph.D. that concentrate on…

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Bring your own device (BYOD) policies are commonplace in many organizations today. Employees bring in their personal cell phones, laptops, tablets and other mobile devices and use them to content to corporate networks. Additionally, employees regularly use personal computers and other devices not owned by the organization to work at home or on the road. Unfortunately, BYOD can be risky for organizations that do not implement adequate security controls.  Personal devices that aren’t properly managed by the company often have inconsistent security controls implemented on them. For example, one device…

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Ransomware is infecting the computers of unsuspecting victims at an astronomical rate. The various methods that cybercriminals use to take over a machine and encrypt its digital files are called the attack vectors, and there are quite a few. In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 ransomware attack vectors. The first five exploit human weaknesses through social engineering attacks. In other words, they use carefully crafted messages to entice victims into clicking a link, downloading software, opening a file or entering credentials. The second five spread ransomware computer to…

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The insider is still one of the most vulnerable elements of cybersecurity and it was the discussion of the recent Modern Workplace webcast on cyber intelligence and the human element.  Insiders are those who are authorized to work on company systems or in company facilities and they include trusted employees and contractors.  Whether it is through human error, social engineering, or intentional action, insiders are the cause of a significant portion of malware infections, data breaches, information theft, and privacy violations. There are some key strategies you can use to…

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Cybercriminals extorted about one billion dollars from ransomware victims last year, according to the FBI. And nearly all of those perpetrators went unprosecuted because of the innovative methods they use to protect their identities and hide their funds. They go to great lengths to keep authorities from seizing or freezing their money. By and large, their efforts have paid off. Here’s how they do it: Hidden identities, disposable email Extortionists protect their identities whenever interacting with victims. This generally occurs when they distribute ransomware, and when they collect ransom payments…

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