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GUEST ESSAY: A full checklist on how to spot pharming attacks — and avoid becoming a victim

By Peter Baltazar

Cybercriminals use various techniques for conducting cyberattacks. One such popular way to infiltrate a system is Pharming. It is an online scam attack quite similar to Phishing.

Related: Credential stuffing explained

The term Pharming is a combination of two words Phishing and Farming. It is a type of social engineering cyberattack in which the website’s traffic is manipulated to steal confidential credentials from the users. Cybercriminals design a fake website, basically the clone of an official one, and use various means to redirect users to the phony webpage when visiting any other legit site.

Primarily the Pharming attack is planned to gain sensitive data like login credentials, personally identifiable information (PII), social security numbers, bank details, and more. The attackers can also use it for installing malware programs on the victim’s system.

Pharming vs phishing

Though Pharming and Phishing share almost similar goals, the approach to conduct Pharming is entirely different from Phishing. Unlike Phishing, Pharming is more focused on sabotaging the system rather than manipulating the victims. However, we will later know how Phishing plays a vital role in conducting Pharming.

The Pharming attacks are carried out by modifying the settings on the victim’s system or compromising the DNS server. Manipulating the Domain Name Service (DNS) protocol and rerouting the victim from its intended web address to the fake web address can be done in the following two ways:

•Changing the Local Host file. In this method of manipulating DNS, the attackers infiltrate the victim’s device and change the local host file. A local host file is a directory of IP addresses. The modified local host file would redirect users to the fake website whenever they try to open the legit site the next time. The phony website is designed similar to the one victims intended to visit so that the users are not alarmed.

To modify the local host file, the attacker primarily uses the Phishing technique so … more

GUEST ESSAY: 3 sure steps to replace legacy network security systems — in a measured way

By Jackson Shaw

Keeping up with the pace of technology, information, and the evolving threat landscape is a challenge for all enterprises.

Related: DHS launches 60-day cybersecurity sprints

To make matters more difficult, implementing new security software and processes to address these issues is another big hurdle, often causing disruption—and not the good kind. But with mounting pressure to replace legacy, perimeter-centric defenses with cloud- and hybrid-cloud protection, many organizations are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

It goes without saying that phasing out a legacy system and putting something modern in its place is a substantial undertaking. IT teams are stretched thin as they install the new system while supporting the old one.

Simultaneously, end-users with years of expertise on the old system must suddenly learn a new one. Between potential downtime and retraining an entire organization on new workflows, processes, and user interface, productivity is at risk, and with it, the bottom line.

Take identity management—arguably one of the most important defenses against cyber threats—for example. Companies make significant investments in identity governance and administration (IGA) or identity access management (IAM), only to realize that these siloed, on-premises systems can’t meet the needs of a modern, flexible, cloud-centric, and digital enterprise.

GUEST ESSAY: ‘Identity Management Day’ highlights the importance of securing digital IDs

By Jerome Becquart

The second Tuesday of April has been christened “Identity Management Day” by the Identity Defined Security Alliance, a trade group that provides free, vendor-neutral cybersecurity resources to businesses.

Related: The role of facial recognition

Today, indeed, is a good a time as any to raise awareness about cyber exposures that can result from casually or improperly managing and securing digital identities. Here are five tips for securely managing identities across the new, hybrid work environment:

•Think granularly. The first mistake a lot of organizations make when planning their identity management strategy is not considering every identity on their network. Sure, a lot think about their users and what types of credentials they’ll need for their various systems. But what about the numerous machines on a company’s network, like mobile devices, servers, applications, and IoT devices?

Machines are dramatically increasing, and require a solution that will identify these identities, authenticate them, and then secure their interactions across the network.  IT leaders need to consider PKI-based solutions for managing their machine identities, so their IT teams can issue certificates to their machines, track what is on their network, and encrypt the communication between the devices. This will prevent falsified entities from entering the network and putting data at risk.

•Verify email. In the face of phishing threats, many companies focus their investments on anti-malware software or new technology to prevent threats from getting through. Unfortunately, some of these emails will inevitably slip through the cracks.

GUEST ESSAY: The missing puzzle piece in DevSecOps — seamless source code protection

By Rui Ribeiro

We live in a time where technology is advancing rapidly, and digital acceleration is propelling development teams to create web applications at an increasingly faster rhythm. The DevOps workflow has been accompanying the market shift and becoming more efficient every day – but despite those efforts, there was still something being overlooked: application security.

Related: ‘Fileless’ attacks on the rise

The awareness that the typical approach to DevOps was downplaying the role of security led to an evolution of this workflow, which today has come to be known as DevSecOps. This new mindset puts application security at the foundation of DevOps, rather than it being an afterthought.

In the ideal DevSecOps implementation, security controls are fully integrated into the continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) pipelines and development teams possess the necessary skills to handle and automate several security processes.

Plain sight gaps

As companies grew into the concept of DevSecOps, they typically focused on technologies like SAST or DAST to provide an extra layer of security at the earlier development stages. These technologies help check the source code for vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers in a production environment. However, finding and fixing those vulnerabilities is still not enough to guarantee end-to-end protection of the source code – there is still one key missing piece.

GUEST ESSAY: Remote workforce exposures exacerbate cybersecurity challenges in 2021

By Nick Campbell

The start of 2021 brings forth a cyber security crossroads. Many people are in the process of shifting back into office operations while balancing the potential risks and benefits of remote work.

Related: Breaches spike during pandemic

For some malicious hackers and IT experts, this could represent an opening. From the known compromise vectors to the most recent threats, hackers are constantly on the lookout for new strategies to bypass IT notice, out maneuver defense setups, and take advantage of new weaknesses.

Targeting remote workers

One of the most concerning cybersecurity trends this year is closely connected to 2020. Many IT experts are warning that it won’t be long before hackers compromise several unprotected home networks simultaneously to manufacture a forceful and large-scale breach of vital services and systems.

Many employees don’t have a wide range of security protections. They’ll most likely use broadband connections for their work and for personal reasons. This increases the corporate attack surface to dangerous levels.

To minimize the chances of attack, enterprises need to double down on IAM with devices that can effectively monitor user activities, corporate connective behaviors, and resource requests in a bid to streamline sign-in. Additional authentication is also needed in case potential complications are indicated.

Ransomware and fileless malware breaches will rapidly continue to destabilize businesses in 2021. These kinds of attacks are configured to evade most detection control measures and compromise critical systems by taking advantage of the approved software and platform tools found within the corporate network.

GUEST ESSAY: ‘Cybersecurity specialist’ tops list of work-from-home IT jobs that need filling

By Scott Orr

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic turned many office workers into work-from-home (WFH) experts, the trend toward working without having to commute was clear.

Related: Mock attacks help SMBs harden defenses

As internet bandwidth has become more available, with homes having access to gigabit download speeds, a whole new world of career paths has opened for those who want to control their work hours and conditions. Maybe you want better pay, to be home near your kids or you just like the idea of avoiding the daily drive to an office. Whatever the reason, you can likely find work online.

One of the hottest fields right now on the WFH radar is the information technology (IT) sector. But you’ll first need to learn the specifics to get to work. Fortunately, there are online classes you can take to get that knowledge – and best of all, you can take them for free.  Let’s look at what’s available and how you might jumpstart a new career.

Most IT jobs require you to have some sort of experience before you can start charging enough to make them viable as full-time employment. And some are more like a side hustle or temp job.

Having said that, here are some examples of IT careers you can learn online through free courses:

Security specialist

The more we do online, the more criminals want to take advantage of us. That makes fighting cybercrime a definite growth industry. A wide range of companies, in just about every field, are adding computer security specialists. In fact, these jobs are expected to increase a whopping 31% by 2029. This job involves planning and implementing security measures for large and small companies that rely on computer networks. You will need to develop the ability to anticipate techniques used in future cyberattacks so they can be prevented.

GUEST ESSAY: How and why ‘pen testing’ will continue to play a key role in cybersecurity

By Dakota Staples

When we look at society today, we can see that we are moving further and further ahead with technology. Numerous advancements are being made at an extremely fast pace with no sign of slowing down. In fact, there is evidence that technology grows exponentially fast. Since we are quickly putting out large technologies, security risks always come with this.

Related: Integrating ‘pen tests’ into firewalls

Even large companies are not immune to this. Microsoft has had several security vulnerabilities including Zero Logon. Penetration tests are one way of mitigating the security risks that arise and make sure that we are not endangering users, their data, and the trust they inherently place in technology.

Penetration tests can be defined as the testing of a system to find security flaws in it. There are three main types of penetrations-black box, grey box, and white box which infosec institute defines. Each have various different goals and tasks.

Pen test types

Black box testing is taking the stance of an outside hacker who has prior or inside knowledge of the system. This type of test determines what is exploitable from outside the system and if the attacker is able to gain access to the system being tested.

Grey box testing is the next level of knowledge of a system. They would have access to the internal mechanisms of a system and maybe some privileges. This allows for testing of internal structures while still simulating an outsider threat who obtained internal access.