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10 Tips for a Less Risky Internet Experience

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The Internet can be a dangerous place to operate.  It is increasingly looking like a bad neighborhood when the police are on strike.  Even without the criminal element, there are plenty of risks from sharing information online.  Just ask that school teacher who got fired last year for criticizing her students on Facebook.

Here are 10 tips to make for a less risky experience on the Internet.

  1. Before you post anything, assume the whole world is watching.
    You simply have to assume that anything you post online will be seen by unintended parties and can be used against. Don’t post anything you would not want your boss or parents to see.
  2. Anonymity can’t hurt you. 
    Never use your real name on blogs and social media.
    Don’t use email addresses that reveal personal information such as your name, date of birth, school or business.  You should create an email address to use just online that won’t give anything way in the name.
  3. Read email in text mode.
    Email looks great in HTML mode, but spammers and scammers can use it to hide nefarious links and malicious scripts. They can include tracking active content that can carry malware.  You are much safer in text mode.
  4. Use strong passwords.
    A strong password is one that is difficult for a hacker to crack. Give a hacker a six character password with all lower case letters and he will have it cracked in 30 seconds.A strong password has more than 6 characters, has both alpha and numeric data, has a mixture of upper and lower case letters and includes at least one special character.
  5. Treat all email with suspicion.
    If you don’t open email from unknown sources, that is a good start.
    Unfortunately, hackers are very good at disguising malicious email as from sources you might trust. Before you click on any link in an email, right click and check the actual domain. Is it the one you were expecting? You can do the same on the senders email address.  You may find that it is not really what it pretends to be.
  6. Keep Your Operating System and Internet Software Up to Date.
    Hackers are working hard every day to find holes to exploit in your operating system and important Internet software like the browsers, Java and Adobe flash.  Make sure you always have the latest updates with security fixes.
  7. Never use Peer 2 Peer Filesharing.
    Filesharing networks works are the Typhoid Mary of malware. Unless you want to be infected, don’t use them.
  8. Check for secure sites.
    Before you enter any personal information online, including user names and passwords, stop and review the address bar to see if it is a secured site. It should display a padlock and the address should start with “https://” instead of “http://”.While you are at it, make sure the domain name is the one you are expecting. Scammers will sometime divert you to a fake site and it may include part of the name you were expecting, but not the actual domain name. For example, if you are expecting to be at  example.com they might make their address example.com.scammer.ru
  9. Take advantage of browser privacy protections.
    The most recent versions of the major browsers allow you surf the web anonymously. You can set it so your browser won’t save your surfing history, search queries, cookies, download history or passwords.For the safest and most secure web browsing use  Comodo Dragon browser.The Dragon is Chromium technology-based Browser that offers you all of Chrome’s features PLUS unique security and privacy protection. For example, it will warn you of web sites with low levels of assurance.  All digital certificates provide an encrypted connection, but some certificates offer more security than others. With the Comodo Dragon you always know what the risks are.Unlike other browsers, information about online exploration stays as much as possible within the user’s PC. Comodo Dragon does not transmit information about a browsing session to a remote server. Such a transmission exposes information about where the user has been on the Internet.
  10. Use protection.
    Windows comes with virus protection, but it is very minimal and poorly rated.On the other hand, you can download top rated Comodo Internet Security for free. AV-TEST labs has rated it a perfect 6 out of 6 for protection in its July testing.The free edition of comes with all of the protection of the subscription version, which is ranked number 1 in the Matousec.com Proactive Security challenge.

TEST YOUR EMAIL SECURITY GET YOUR INSTANT SECURITY SCORECARD FOR FREE

Source: https://blog.comodo.com/pc-security/1289/

Cyber Security

Denmark’s News Agency Rejected a Ransom Demand by Hackers to Release Locked Data

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Hackers

Following a hacking attack this week, Denmark’s biggest news agency will remain offline for at least another day and has refused a ransom demand by hackers to open locked records, the wire service said Wednesday.

Ritzau CEO Lars Vesterloekke could not tell how high the demand for ransom was because those behind the “professional assault” left “a file with a message” that was not opened by the department following his advisers’ orders.

Ritzau, which sends text and images to the Danish media, said it had moved its consumer emergency delivery to six “better overview” live blogs.

“If it goes as expected, then on Thursday we can gradually return to normal,” Vesterloekke said, adding that the attack forced the editorial systems to shut down as approximately a quarter of Ritzau’s 100 servers were destroyed.

Ritzau employed an external defence firm that specialises in washing up after hacker attacks, in addition to the agency’s own IT department, and the insurance company helped with specialists.

It was unclear who was behind the assault that began Tuesday.

Ritzau, based in Copenhagen, has distributed information and produced news for the Danish newspapers, organisations and businesses since 1866.

Source: https://cybersguards.com/denmarks-news-rejected-ransom-demand-hackers-release-locked-data/

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Cyber Security

What is Google Scraping Used For – 5 Use Cases

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Google update

Google and web scraping are two rather new technologies that are increasingly being used by large businesses. Put simply, a web scraping tool is a technology solution to extract data from web sites in a quick, efficient, and automated manner, offering data in a more structured and easy to use form. When Google is being scraped, the same process applies, except the data is being extracted from the search engine.

Businesses often use Google scrapers to automate data acquisition processes. Scraped data is used to enhance operations, inform executive decisions all the way down to individual customer service experiences.  Google provides its own Application Programming Interface (API), it chooses which information is more important to users based on its own analysis.  Yet, many businesses choose to build their Google scraper or use third-party services  in order to gather data in a more efficient manner.

Google isn’t too keen on letting other tools acquire data from their search engine. Often they will employ anti-bot measures to prevent automated applications from acquiring data. Quite ironically, they have themselves used exactly the same process to build their search engine. Whether people like it or not, web and Google scraping is here to stay as businesses have already started using it for several reasons.

Table of Contents

Piracy and Counterfeit Protection

Many large companies and well-known brands utilize Google scraping to monitor search engine results for any malicious entities attempting to illegally use their branding. For example, Adidas might use a search engine scraping tool to monitor for any illegitimate websites that attempt to profit off of their brand illegally.

Price Monitoring

Google scraping can be used to analyze the competitor pricing policy, evaluate prices and product policies of competitors which is a great deal of information for sales strategies. Data acquired in this manner can be used to create updated and advanced pricing strategies for brand and sales (for example, dynamic pricing utilizes scraping tools to implement their strategy). Implementing advanced pricing strategies requires having access to a reliable and consistent flow of premium data. Price monitoring using web scraped data gives companies the ability to have well-grounded information of the entire market, facilitating dynamic pricing, revenue optimization, and ensuring they’re always one step ahead of their competitor’s pricing strategies. Having detailed information related to competitor sales strategies helps businesses keep up with the competition and customer demand.

SEO Monitoring

Generating organic traffic on a website is mostly about ranking, location, and keyword combinations. Google scraping can show a company or a business the level at which its website page appears on the Google results page. It can also show the keywords the website uses on a given page and what exactly they rank for. SEO experts have to often use third party SEO tools like Ahrefs, Moz, or others to gain insight into rankings. Unfortunately, these tools update their databases once every few days which is often not enough for extremely volatile search engine result pages. Therefore, SEO experts might use Google scraping tools to acquire data that is otherwise unavailable to gain insight into ranking changes.

Keyword Monitoring and Research

SEO experts rely on several sources of data to create their optimization strategies. The first source is often Google blogs, the search engine liaison, and a few other official sources. Other sources are third party providers that scrape the search engine in order to reverse engineer the algorithms. SEO experts use third party providers and Google scrapers to monitor search engine result pages. By monitoring SERPs, insights can be gleaned from the data such as why certain pages rank higher than others. Finding out why certain pages rank better than others can help SEO experts develop strategies that can help companies beat out the competition.

SEM Surveillance

Nearly everyone nowadays is buying PPC (Pay-Per-Click) ads on search engines nowadays. Businesses even bet on the competitor keywords and brand names in order to attract visitors to their website. Keeping track of what the competition is doing is nearly impossible without utilizing Google scraping as all ads will not be shown to all users.

For SEM surveillance, businesses scrape Google or use a third party provider in order to acquire ads from any location and device without using their own business IP address. This way Google will display ads as if it was any regular user doing a search query.  As Google thinks the query has been sent by a regular internet user, it will often display many more ads without any restrictions. Business can then easily acquire significant amounts of data on their competitor ad campaigns.

Conclusion

Google scraping has proved purposeful, its advantages are so many, businesses have become successful with the use of Google scraping by gathering data and putting it to good use. A Google data extraction tool is an easy way for businesses to gain a competitive edge in nearly any market. With very little development effort, access to nearly infinite amounts of data appears within hands reach.

Source: https://cybersguards.com/what-is-google-scraping-used-for-5-use-cases/

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Cyber Security

Stantinko Observed Using a New Version of a Linux Proxy Trojan

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Linux

Using a new version of a Linux proxy Trojan, a threat community monitored as Stantinko was observed posing as Apache servers to stay undetected.

Stantinko is thought to have been running since at least 2012, initially outlined in 2017, ensnaring compromised networks into a botnet primarily used in large adware schemes, but also for backdoor operations, brute-force attacks, and more.

The Stantinko group was historically primarily known for attacking Windows applications, but recent attacks have revealed that they are now working on evolving their Linux malware, with a new proxy Trojan masquerading as httpd, the Apache Hypertext Transmission Protocol Server that is used on several Linux servers.

“We believe that this malware is part of a broader campaign that uses compromised Linux servers,” say security researchers at Intezer.

Detected on VirusTotal by a single anti-virus engine, the sample is an unstripped 64-bit ELF binary that validates a configuration file upon execution. The malware prevents execution if this file is absent or lacks the expected structure.

The proxy daemonizes itself if the validation completes, in which it generates a socket and a listener that allows it to accept connections. This may be the way contaminated computers deal with each other, according to Intezer.

The new version, which was discovered almost three years after the previous one has a similar function, but reveals a variety of changes, including the command and control (C&C) IP address stored in the configuration file dropped next to the malware, the absence of the new version’s self-updating capability, and the dynamic connection of the new version.

Several feature names within the dataset have been shown to be similar to the previous version, but the current version does not call them statically. In addition, the C&C routes suggest the same group’s previous campaigns, indicating that the current Trojan is still related to Stantinko.

Source: https://cybersguards.com/stantinko-observed-using-a-new-version-of-a-linux-proxy-trojan/

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Cyber Security

GoDaddy Workers in Action Against Cryptocurrency Resources Hackers Trick

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Hackers

After tricking GoDaddy employees into supplying them with keys to client accounts, cybercriminals were able to alter the DNS settings of certain cryptocurrency websites.

The event occurred earlier this month and impacted an undisclosed number of clients of the firm, including at least two websites connected to cryptocurrencies: the Liquid virtual currency exchange portal and the NiceHash crypto-mining operation.

On November 18, after GoDaddy wrongly turned over custody of their accounts, both platforms announced that threatening individuals were able to hack their internal networks.

Liquid CEO Mike Kayamori confirmed that the incident took place on November 13, and that the “ability to change DNS records and in turn, take control of a number of internal email accounts” was given to the threat perpetrator.

The malicious attacker thus damaged the resources of the trading network and also obtained access to record storage. As well as “preventing further intrusions and mitigating risk to customer accounts and assets,” the platform said it took the appropriate measures to contain the attack shortly after detecting it.

We will ensure that consumer funds are accounted for and remain safe and stable by containing the threat, reaffirming domain ownership, and carrying out a thorough review of our infrastructure. Kayamori said that MPC-based and cold storage crypto wallets are safe and have not been hacked.

NiceHash reported that the same GoDaddy problems triggered a service interruption on November 18th, and that the DNS records for the NiceHash.com domain were changed as a result of unauthorised access to the domain settings.”

After ensuring that funds were safe and customers had access to their accounts, the firm promptly froze all wallet operations and resumed its operation. Pending the outcome of an independent investigation into the incident, withdrawals were suspended.

“It looks like no emails, passwords, or any personal information has been accessed at this point in time, but we do suggest resetting your password and activating 2FA security,” the firm said last week.

In looking into the attack, investigative journalist Brian Krebs found that threatening perpetrators used social engineering to manipulate staff of GoDaddy into changing access to their accounts, and that their addresses were changed to privateemail.com for all the targeted accounts.

Cryptocurrency sites that may have been attacked by the same hacker community include Bibox.com, Celsius.network, and Wirex.app, in addition to Liquid and NiceHash.

The event seems to have been recognised by GoDaddy, claiming that only a limited number of clients were harmed, but not providing specifics about how the opponents attacked their staff.

Source: https://cybersguards.com/godaddy-workers-in-action-against-cryptocurrency-resources-hackers-trick/

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