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CISOs Prep For COVID-19 Exposure Notification in the Workplace

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Cyber Security

Data Encryption: What It Is, How It Works, and The Crucial Role It Plays In Information Security

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Data Encryption What It Is, How It Works

Many advocate the merits and importance of data encryption but few truly understand how it works. Without cryptographic processes, consumer and business data would be constantly at risk. Understanding encryption helps keep systems safe.

By knowing what encryption is, how it works, and the crucial role it plays in information security, business leaders and average consumers alike can make better decisions for their data safety.

Here’s what you need to know.

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What is Encryption?

Think of encryption as a lock and your keys are your passwords. This is the system that operates behind the scenes of many of our day-to-day processes, our mobile banking, and our digital storage.

Encryption is the process of securing information behind a cipher. It makes sensitive data unreadable to anyone without the necessary authorization. There are a wide variety of ways to encrypt data, but they all involve cryptographic functions that secure the plain text of data behind a code.

The security of this code depends on the complexity of the cryptographic key. The most powerful cryptographic encryptions make it all but impossible for would-be hackers to crack them.

The process of encryption is one of the most important protective measures for society as a whole. Not only does it keep private financial information safe from criminals, it serves as a check for government powers in the ability to seize and examine personal information. This helps guarantee democratic processes and protects our freedom and privacy.

But how does the average person go about understanding the complexity of cryptographic processes? And how can you make encryption work for you?

How Encryption Works?

Encryption doesn’t have to be as complicated as it may seem.

It all starts with an algorithm that converts the plain text data into something unreadable without the decryption key, which simply reverses that algorithm to re-translate the information back into plain text.

There are two primary ways encryption algorithms work: symmetric and asymmetric.

Symmetric encryption entails the use of a single key used for both encryption and decryption. The key converts a message into an unreadable state, then converts it back if applied by a user with the same key. This is a foundational method of ensuring data safety for all, and is common in the following processes:

    • Mobile payments
    • Multi-factor authentication
    • Hash functions

Asymmetric encryption, on the other hand, uses two different keys. The encryption key is shared publicly, which is why this encryption method is also known as public key encryption. The other key, used for decryption, is kept private. This is the encryption technology that has made possible Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), both essential in maintaining internet security and privacy.

Asymmetric encryption methods are common in systems like:

    • HTTPS internet security
    • Email encryption
    • Cryptocurrency transactions

The combination of both symmetric and asymmetric cryptography is also a feature of many highly secure systems, as it complicates encryption to best deter hackers. Decryption keys are mathematically linked and communicate when authorized parties apply the right processes.

But most people don’t need a highly complicated encryption system to protect their day-to-day data. Encrypting your passwords can be as simple as using strong passwords that are not easily guessed. However, a symmetrical authentication system is highly recommended.

Without these encryption methods, chaos would reign in the world of data.

The Role of Encryption in Information Security

It is estimated that there is 40 times more data stored than there are stars in the observable universe. Without the people and processes that keep this information safe, it would be a free-for-all for your most personal information. Luckily, however, we have information security analysts and database administrators acting constantly to retain the security of cryptographic functions.

These roles are vital in the ongoing efforts to secure data privacy, which is consistently under siege by both cybercriminals and governments across the world. Efforts have been made to force tech companies to insert backdoors into encrypted applications. This would allow law enforcement access without the necessary user decryption keys.

While law enforcement has the right to tap your phone under the right circumstances, backdoor and decryption remain more highly protected functions of our private information. Government actors need special permission and warrants to break into an encrypted system, providing a system of checks on our data freedoms and privacy.

Without encryption in information security, our data would be open to anyone with the knowledge and drive to access it. And who would want to live in such a world?

Bottom Line

Data encryption is the process of securing information behind a coded algorithm. This means only the authorized user with the decryption keys—in essence, your passwords—can access the secured data. Encryption, then, acts as a line of defense for our freedoms and privacy of information in the digital world.

While there are different types of encryption—some more secure than others—average users need only to follow best practices like using multi-factor authentication systems to retain high levels of security. As a result, the world of information security can function as it should, with our data kept private and safe.

Source: https://cybersguards.com/data-encryption-what-it-is-how-it-works/

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Cyber Security

COVID-19 Vaccine Documents Stolen from its Servers by Hackers: EU Regulator

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Hack

The drug authority of the European Union said Friday that COVID-19 vaccine records stolen by hackers from its servers were not only leaked to the internet but “manipulated.”

The European Medicines Agency announced that an ongoing investigation found that, as of November, hackers had stolen emails and records pertaining to the assessment of new coronavirus vaccines. As part of its vaccine approval process, the organisation, which oversees drugs and medicines across the 27-member EU, had troves of sensitive COVID-19 info.

“Prior to publication, some of the correspondence was manipulated by the perpetrators in a manner that could undermine confidence in vaccines,” the Netherlands-based organisation said.

“We have seen that some of the correspondence has not been published in its original integrity and form and, or with, the perpetrators’ comments or additions.”

The department did not clarify precisely what information was changed, but experts in cybersecurity believe such activities are indicative of government-launched misinformation operations.

“The Italian cybersecurity company Yarix said that the 33-megabyte leak was discovered on a well-known underground forum with the title “Amazing scam! Wicked Pfffizer! Falsified vaccinations! Apparently, it was first released on Dec. 30 and later appeared on other pages, including the dark web, the firm said on its website.

Yarix said “the intention of cybercriminals behind the leak is certain: to cause significant damage to EMA and Pfizer’s reputation and credibility.”

Lukasz Olejnik, a cybersecurity expert, said he thought the aim was much broader.

I am afraid that this release has a major potential to sow scepticism in the EMA mechanism, vaccines and vaccinations in general in Europe,” he said.” “While it is unclear who is behind this operation, it is obvious that someone has allocated resources to it.”

“This is an unprecedented operation aimed at the validation of pharmaceutical materials, with a potentially wide-ranging negative impact on the health of Europeans if confidence in the vaccine is undermined,” said Olejnik.

In reaction to the hack, the EMA said law enforcement officials are taking “necessary action” and a criminal investigation is pending.

It noted that, following the catastrophic toll of the pandemic, there was a “urgent need for public health to make vaccines available as soon as possible to EU citizens.” Amid this urgency, the EMA maintained that its decisions to prescribe green lighting for vaccines were focused “on the strength of scientific evidence on the safety, quality and efficacy of a vaccine, and nothing else.”

The Amsterdam-based EMA was strongly criticised in December by Germany and other EU member countries for not authorising vaccines against the virus more rapidly. The agency released its first advisory in Britain, the United States, Canada and elsewhere for the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines weeks after the shot was accepted.

A second vaccine, made by Moderna, was approved by the EMA for use earlier this month. The agency is now considering a third shot made by AstraZeneca and Oxford.

Source: https://cybersguards.com/covid-19-vaccine-documents-stolen-from-its-servers-by-hackers-eu-regulator/

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Cyber Security

Canadian Data Security Startup Qohash Announced it Raised CAD 8 million in Series A funding

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Data Security

This week, Canadian data protection company Qohash revealed it had raised CAD 8 million in Series A funding (approximately USD $6.3 million). FINTOP Capital led the funding.

The Quebec-based company was founded in 2018 and provides clients with applications focusing on data exploration and classification, helping businesses track data through their ecosystems. In addition, it provides security of transparency to help secure data and business processes.

Qohash sells the Qostodian SAAS platform to keep track of data flows and real-time detection of high-risk circumstances for organisations. The organisation also includes the on-site Qohash Recon platform, which aims to identify and categorise confidential data on network drives and servers.

The data protection firm says it is looking to extend its activities across North America.

Customers want the security of knowledge that will change and address new demands. The technologies from Qohash are quick to implement and protect both on-premise and cloud-based outlets. Qohash has helped them accomplish their targets quicker and with greater versatility, partnering with security-conscious, industry-leading companies,” Qohash CEO Jean Le Bouthillier said in a statement.

Source: https://cybersguards.com/canadian-data-security-startup-qohash-announced-it-raised-cad-8-million-in-series-a-funding/

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What is a VPN and how does it work?

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What is a VPN and how does it work

VPN stands for ‘Virtual Private Network’ which defines the possibility, by using public networks, to create a secure network link. VPNs encrypt your traffic on the internet and mask your name online. This makes monitoring the actions online and stealing data more complicated for third parties. In real time, the encryption takes place.

Table of Contents

How does a VPN function?

By making the network route it into a specially built remote server operated by a VPN host, a VPN masks your IP address. This suggests that the VPN server becomes the root of your data whenever you browse online using a VPN. This suggests that the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and other third parties are unable to see which websites you are accessing or what details you are transmitting and receiving online. “A VPN functions like a filter that turns “gibberish” on all your results. It would be pointless even if anyone were to get their hands on your records, too.

What advantages would a VPN connection have?

A VPN link disguises the online data traffic and defends it from external access. Everyone who has network connectivity and wants to see it will see unencrypted info. Hackers and cyber criminals can’t decode this knowledge with a VPN.

    • Safe encryption: You need an encryption key to read the details . Without one, in the case of a brute force attack, it will take millions of years for a machine to decode the message . With the aid of a VPN, also on public networks, the online behaviors are covered.
    • Disguising your whereabouts: On the Internet, VPN servers practically operate as your proxies. Although the data for the demographic location comes from a server in another world, it is not possible to determine the exact location. Furthermore, most VPN providers do not store logs of your operations. Some providers, on the other hand, monitor your actions, but do not pass this information on to third parties. This ensures that every future trace of the actions of your customer stays forever concealed.
    • Links to regional content: It is not always easy to access regional web content from anywhere. There is also content on services and websites that can only be viewed from some areas of the world. In order to decide your location, standard connections use local servers in the region. This ensures that, when driving, you can not access content at home, and you can not access foreign content from home. With VPN location spoofing, you can move to another nation on a server and change your location efficiently.
    • Safe data transfer: You can need to view sensitive files on your company’s network if you operate remotely. This sort of information involves a safe link for security purposes. A VPN connection is also necessary to obtain access to the network. To reduce the chance of data loss, VPN services link to private servers and use encryption methods.

Why can a VPN link be used?

When you connect to the internet, your ISP normally sets up your links. Via an IP address, it watches you. Your network traffic is routed through the servers of your ISP, which can monitor and view everything you do online.

Your ISP may seem trustworthy, but with advertisers, the police or government, and/or other third parties, it might share your browsing history. ISPs will also become prey to cyber hackers’ attacks: the personal and private data can be stolen if they are hacked.

This is highly relevant if you connect to public Wi-Fi networks daily. You never know who, like passwords, personal records, payment information, or even your entire identity, might be watching your internet traffic and what they might take from you.

What is a good VPN intended to do?

To perform one or more functions, you can focus on your VPN. The VPN itself should be safeguarded from compromise as well. Based on our research, a recent trending VPNSurfers do a better job in terms of security.

These are the characteristics of a robust VPN solution that you can expect:

    • Your IP address encryption: Protecting your IP address from your ISP and other third parties is the primary activity of a VPN. This helps you to send and receive online information without the possibility of seeing it from anyone but you and the VPN provider.
    • Protocol encryption: A VPN can also prohibit you from leaving traces in the form of internet history, search history and cookies, for example. Cookie security is highly important because it prohibits third parties from having access to sensitive information on websites, such as personal data, financial information and other material.
    • Kill switch: Your stable link will also be broken if your VPN connection is abruptly disrupted. This abrupt downtime can be observed and preselected programs can be terminated by a successful VPN, minimizing the risk that data is damaged.
    • Two-factor authentication: A powerful VPN tests anyone who wants to log in by using a number of authentication methods. You can be asked to enter a password, for instance, in which a code is sent to your mobile device. This makes access to your safe link impossible for uninvited third parties.

About the past of VPNs

There has been a campaign to protect and encrypt internet browser data since humans have been using the internet. Back in the 1960s, the US Department of Defense was still interested in programs focusing on encrypting Internet correspondence data.

The VPN Ancestors

Their activities led to the formation of the packet switching network ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), which in turn led to the creation of the Transport Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP).

There were four layers for the TCP/IP: connection, internet, transportation and application. Local networks and computers could be interconnected to the universal network at the internet level, and this was where the possibility of exposure became apparent. A team from Columbia University and AT&T Bell Labs ultimately succeeded in developing a kind of first version of the current VPN in 1993, known as swIPe: IP encryption protocol program.

In the following year, Wei Xu created the IPSec network, a protocol for internet protection that authenticates and encrypts online shared knowledge packets. A Microsoft worker called Gurdeep Singh-Pall developed a peer-to-peer tunneling protocol in 1996. (PPTP).

Early VPNs Over

The internet rose in popularity alongside Singh-creation Pall’s of PPTP, and the need for consumer-ready, advanced security systems arose. Anti-virus systems were also successful at the time in stopping a computer device from being compromised with ransomware and spyware. However, individuals and enterprises have since begun to demand encryption tools that could mask their internet browsing background.

Therefore, the first VPNs began in the early 2000s, but were almost solely used by businesses. The user demand for VPNs, however, began to pick up after a flood of security breaches, especially in the early 2010s.

VPNs and the current use of them

The number of VPN users worldwide grew more than fourfold between 2016 and 2018, according to the Global WebIndex. One in five internet users uses a VPN in countries like Thailand, Indonesia and China, where internet access is limited and censored. The proportion of VPN users in the USA, Great Britain and Germany is around 5 percent smaller, but it is rising.

The rising market for content with regional connectivity constraints has become one of the greatest drivers for VPN adoption in recent years. Video subscription sites such as Netflix or YouTube, for instance, allow those content only accessible in certain countries. You can encrypt your IP address with contemporary VPNs so that you seem to be browsing from another country, allowing you to access this content from anywhere.

Here’s how to surf with a VPN safely.

Your surfing activity is encrypted by a VPN that can only be decoded with the aid of a key. This key is known only to your machine and the VPN, so your ISP does not remember where you are surfing. Different VPNs use different processes of encryption, but usually operate in three steps:

Start your VPN until you are online. The VPN works between you and the internet as a safe tunnel. This tunnel can’t be seen by the ISP and other third parties.

Your computer is now on the VPN’s local network, and you can update your IP address to the IP address given by the VPN server.

As the VPN preserves all your personal info, you can now browse the internet at will.

What kind of VPNs are available?

There are several different kinds of VPNs, but the three key forms should surely be familiar to you:

VPN SSL

Not all company staff also have access to a corporate machine that they can use to operate from home. During the Spring 2020 corona crisis, many enterprises faced the issue of not providing adequate equipment for their workers. The use of a private computer (PC, desktop, smartphone, cell phone) is also seen in such situations. Companies fell back on an SSL-VPN approach in this situation, which is typically deployed via the required hardware package.

Typically, the requirement is an HTML-5-capable browser which is used to pull up the login page of the business. For practically any operating system, HTML-5 capable browsers are available. Control is protected with a password and username.

VPN Site-to-site

In essence, a site-to-site VPN is a private network built to mask private intranets and allow users of these protected networks to access services from each other.

If you have several sites in your enterprise, each with its own local area network (LAN) connecting to the WAN, a site-to-site VPN is beneficial (Wide Area Network). Site-to-site VPNs are also handy if you have two different intranets between which you want to send files without directly accessing the other from one intranet without users.

In large businesses, site-to-site VPNs are primarily used. They are difficult to implement and do not have the same functionality as VPNs for SSL. However, inside and between large departments, they are the most reliable way to maintain coordination.

VPN Client-to-Server

It is easy to envision connecting with a VPN client as if you were connecting your home PC to the enterprise via an extension cable. Via the safe link, workers can dial into the company network from their home office and behave as if they were seated in the office. A VPN client, however, must be installed and setup on the machine first.

This includes the user being not wired by his own ISP to the internet, but establishing a direct link via his/her VPN provider. This effectively shortens the VPN journey’s tunnel period. The VPN will automatically encrypt the data until it is made available to the user, instead of using the VPN to create an encryption tunnel to mask the actual Internet link.

This is an increasingly prevalent mode of VPN, which is especially beneficial for vulnerable public WLAN providers. It protects the network link from being hacked and compromised by third parties and encrypts data all the way to the provider. It also prohibits ISPs from accessing data that stays unencrypted for any reason and bypasses all limitations on internet connectivity by the consumer (for instance, if the government of that country restricts internet access).

Greater reliability and universal access to business services is the value of this form of VPN access. For example, if an adequate telephone system is available, the employee will connect to the system with a headset and behave as if he or she is at the office of their business. For starters, the company’s clients can not even say if the worker is in the company or in their home office at work.

How can I use my computer to mount a VPN?

It is important to be familiar with the various deployment methods prior to installing a VPN:

User VPNs

For standalone VPN clients, applications must be installed. This package is designed to satisfy the endpoint specifications. The endpoint executes the VPN connection while setting up the VPN and links to the other endpoint, forming the encryption tunnel. In businesses, this move normally includes entering a password provided by the company or downloading a suitable certificate. The firewall will understand that this is an acceptable link with the use of a password or certificate. The worker then, by way of qualifications known to him/her, distinguishes him/herself.

Extensions of Browsers

For most web browsers, such as Google Chrome and Firefox, VPN plugins may be added. Some browsers also have their own embedded VPN extensions, like Opera. Extensions make it easy for users when browsing the internet to easily turn and customize their VPN. The VPN link, however, is only true for the information exchanged by this browser. The VPN cannot encrypt the use of other browsers and other internet uses beyond the browser (e.g. video games).

Although browser extensions are not as robust as VPN clients, for occasional internet users who want an extra layer of internet security, they can be an acceptable alternative. They have proved to be more vulnerable to offences, though. As data harvesters can try to use fake VPN extensions, users are also recommended to choose a reputable extension. The processing of personal data, such as what marketing strategists use to build a personal profile of you, is data collection. Advertising content is then targeted to you individually.

VPN for Router

If the same internet link is attached to several computers, it could be better to implement the VPN directly on the router than to add a different VPN on each device. When you want to secure devices with an internet link that are not simple to install, such as smart TVs, a router VPN is particularly helpful. Via your home entertainment systems, they can also help you access geographically limited content.

A router VPN is simple to install, still provides protection and privacy, and protects the network from being hacked when vulnerable devices log in. However, if your router doesn’t have its own user interface, it might be more difficult to handle. This will contribute to the blockage of incoming connections.

VPN to Business

A VPN for a business is a tailored solution that needs customized configuration and technical support. The VPN is typically created by the IT team of the organization for you. As a customer, the VPN itself has no managerial control and your operations and data transfers are logged by your organization. This helps the enterprise to reduce the possible risk of data leakage. A fully protected access to the company’s intranet and server is the biggest benefit of a corporate VPN, even for workers who work outside the company on their own Internet connection.

Can I even use a VPN my smartphone or PC?

Yeah, smartphones and other Internet-connected devices have a range of VPN options. When you use it to store payment information or other personal details or even simply to browse the internet, a VPN may be important for your mobile computer.

Really, is a VPN so safe?

It is important to remember that VPNs are not like robust anti-virus software that works. Although they secure your IP and encrypt your internet history, your machine is not shielded from outside access by a VPN link. Since it would not protect you from Trojans, worms, bots or other malware by running a VPN on its own.

Once the malware has made its way into your computer, whether you are running a VPN or not, it will steal or destroy your data. Therefore, to ensure optimal security, it is critical that you use a VPN along with a robust anti-virus software.

Choosing a reliable VPN provider

It is also important for you to select a VPN provider you can trust. Although your internet traffic can not be seen by your ISP, your VPN provider can. If you’re compromised by your VPN service, so are you. For this purpose, to ensure both the concealment of your internet activities and ensure the highest degree of protection, it is important that you select a trustworthy VPN provider.

How to install VPN connection?

There are also VPN connections for Android smartphones and iPhones, as already stated. Fortunately, VPN services for smartphones are simple to use and usually include the following:

    • Generally, the installation phase installs only one app from the iOS App Store or Google Play Store. While free VPN providers exist, when it comes to protection, it’s prudent to select a skilled provider.
    • The configuration is incredibly user-friendly, since the default settings are already configured more for the average smartphone user. Only log in to your account. Most applications will then direct you through the VPN services’ main functions.
    • For certain VPN applications, flipping on the VPN practically acts like a light switch. The choice would possibly be found directly on the home screen.
    • If you want to fake your location, server switching is normally performed manually. From the bid, simply select the desired country.
    • For users needing a greater degree of data security, advanced configuration is available. You can also pick other protocols for your form of encryption, based on your VPN. In your smartphone, diagnostics and other functionality may also be available. To choose the best VPN for your needs, read about these features before you subscribe.
    • All you have to do is first enable the VPN connection via the app, in order to browse the internet securely from now on.

But keep the following in mind: A VPN is just as secure as the provider’s data use and storage policies. Note that your data is transferred to their servers through the VPN provider and these servers communicate on your behalf over the internet. Make sure that it is transparent for what reason these records are stored whether they store data logs.

Note that it encrypts only internet info. There will be no delivery over the internet of something that does not use a cellular or Wi-Fi service. As a consequence, your VPN can not encrypt your regular voice calls or emails.

Source: https://cybersguards.com/what-is-a-vpn-and-how-does-it-work/

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