Tag: Target

Prepare for Trends in Website Malware Growth

As we approach the first anniversary of the massive Target data breach that opened the floodgates for thousands of other attacks, we look at whether security measures are better or worse than last year. Are we better prepared to defend against the malware that took out Target, Home Depot and thousands of smaller firms, or is the malware used in these attacks simply outrunning us?

The news is not encouraging. PandaLabs, the research arm of security firm Panda, has been tracking new malware for years. According to the company, more than 50 million new strains of malware have emerged since the Target attack, and 20 million of those strains were detected in the third quarter of this year alone. Using those numbers, that works out to a stunning 227,000 new strains of malware being introduced to the world every single day for just the last twelve weeks.

The vast majority of new malware strains and infections, more than 75% of them, were Trojans. This malware is not having much trouble finding computers and servers to infect. According to Panda, more than a third of personal computers worldwide are now infected with malware.

These statistics are even more important as we approach the busy holiday season. With more people online, surfing, searching and shopping, the spread of malware will only increase, and much of this could be Point of Sale malware.

Close cousins of the malware that was used in the massive data breaches at Home Depot and Target are now on the march. The Backoff malware, which is widely regarded as undetectable by antivirus software, increased by nearly 30% in September alone according to security firm Damballa.

Businesses are not the only targets. Researchers recently found advanced malware known as Black Energy that has been compromising industrial control systems around the world, undetected, possibly for years. As with many of the most sophisticated attacks, they have often started with a phishing email to an unsuspecting or untrained employee.

Much of this malware lies in wait for its victims. The recently discovered Dark Hotel malware has been infecting hotel Wi-Fi networks around the world. The malware lies in wait for visiting guests to use the network, then tricks them into downloading malware that includes a keylogger and other data stealing components. While all guests are vulnerable, the prime targets are traveling executives who may provide access to sensitive corporate information and networks.

So what can you do to minimize the risk? The answer is in the question. With so much malware now able to evade antivirus software, it’s time to start assuming that risk mitigation is a better and more realistic option than absolute prevention

Your best defense is a “shield’s up” approach. Identify the most common ways malware can enter your business, whether it’s through an unprotected website or a careless employee, and patch the holes in the fence.

If you’re going to assume that you can’t keep all malware out, you can still do many things to reduce the potential damage. User privilege management is one of the best defenses. If you strictly limit the access privileges of your users to just the things they absolutely need access to, you can prevent malware from jumping from the lowest level of access to the highest.

As we approach the first anniversary of the Target breach, it’s worth remembering how the attack started. Target granted almost unlimited access to a lower level employee of a small, outside, service company. Once the hackers had the user’s password, they had undetected access to Target information for months. Make sure that you’re doing everything you can to prevent these types of attacks. Don’t become the next headline. To get started on the path to a secure website, contact SiteLock for a free website security analysis.

Why the eBay Data Breach Didn’t Get The Same Attention As Target

eBay data breachIt seems a no-brainer that the recent massive eBay data breach should be a much bigger story than the Target breach. After all, the Target breach “only” affected 110 million customers where the eBay breach impacted closer to 150 million customers.

Read More

Anatomy Of A Security Breach: Target

Target security breach 2013It’s not often we get a chance to attend a security breach postmortem — a step-by-step, hack-by-hack, mistake-by-mistake account of what went so horribly wrong. The U.S. Commerce Department recently presented their report into all the mistakes Target made, and which could have avoided, in its recent massive data breach.

The report provides what’s referred to as an “intrusion kill chain” that highlights all the places Target had a chance to spot the breach and stop it. But missed. For example:

  • The hackers were able to identify a potential Target vendor or supplier to exploit because Target made such a list publicly available. That was the starting point for the hackers.
  • The vendor targeted had very little security in place. The only malware defense they appeared to have used to protect their business was free software meant for personal and not business use.
  • The vendor’s employees had received little if any security awareness training, and especially on how to spot a phishing email. So the hackers used a phishing email to trick at least one of those employees into letting them in the back door.
  • Once in the vendor’s systems, the hackers were able to use stolen passwords without the need for authentication because Target did not require two-factor authentication for low-level vendors.
  • The hackers are suspected of gaining further access from the vendor by using a default password in the billing software the vendor used. If the default password had been changed, the attack might have stopped right there.
  • There were few controls in place to limit access the vendor had on the Target network. Once the vendor had been compromised, Target’s entire networks were exposed.
  • When the hackers installed their Point of Sale malware on Target’s networks and began testing the malware, that activity was detected by Target’s security systems but the alarms were simply ignored.
  • When the hackers created an escape route and began moving the stolen data off Target’s networks, that activity triggered alarms too but once again, the alarms were ignored.
  • Some of the data was moved to a server in Russia, an obvious red flag for Target security which once again was missed.
  • The login credentials of the vendor were used throughout the attack, yet Target’s security system wasn’t able to detect that those credentials were being used to perform tasks they weren’t approved for.

We keep saying that every business large and small has important lessons to learn from Target. Don’t waste the opportunity. Double-check your own security and see if there are any obvious gaps you haven’t spotted but need to be sealed. Need help? Give SiteLock a call any time, 24/7/365, at 855.378.6200.

Google Author: Neal O’Farrell

Protecting Customer Data

Customer DataIdentity theft is the number one crime in America, a crime that claims an average of more than a million new victims every 30 days. And many of those victims are as a result of businesses that leak their customer information, usually by accident, and often through their website.

Read More

POS Malware

Big Brands Defenseless Against POS Malware

2014 could go down as one of the most significant years in the world of cybersecurity, and malware in particular. It wasn’t just the small window that revealed data breaches at Target, Neiman Marcus, Michaels Craft Stores and potentially dozens of other retailers. Nor was it the fact that this explosion in data breaches could all be the work of a seventeen-year-old.

Read More

Was 2013’s Target Security Breach Really Just The Work Of A Teenager?

grounded_for_lifeWhat’s worse than being recognized as the biggest data breach in history? How about finding out that the culprit responsible for a major hit on your brand and reputation that will eventually cost you billions of dollars was a teenager?

That’s exactly the news Target is dealing with, as security researchers suggest that at least one of the hackers behind the malware used to attack Target is barely 17 years old. Yet this teen was apparently able to develop a pretty sophisticated piece of malware, known as BlackPoS, that was used to infiltrate Target’s systems undetected. And in spite of his young age he’s reported to have already earned a reputation for developing lots of advanced malware. It’s not believed that the teenager is personally responsible for the attacks on Target, but instead sold his malware to dozens and possibly even hundreds of hackers and criminal groups. And one of those groups was behind the Target breach.

Read More

POS Malware Hits Target in Data Breach

Data breachIt’s been less than a month since mega retailer Target announced that a little more than 40 million customer debit and credit cards had been stolen by hackers. Not long after that, we saw the first of those cards being sold a few hundred thousand at a time, in a variety of underground hacker forums. Although not that underground, since I was able to register on the most notorious hacker sites and see for myself how easy it was to buy an identity.

Read More

2013 Target Breach Exposes Much More Than Data

target data breachAs we continue to dissect the massive data breach at Target, we’re going to learn lots of lessons. But probably the biggest lesson you can take away from it is that if it can happen to Target, it can certainly happen to you. Even if it’s on a much smaller scale, it could still be big enough to matter to you.

Read More

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén