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Cyber Security

Warning! Your Headphones may be Functioning as a Microphone!

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MicrophoneReading Time: 2 minutes

A new kind of malware can turn speakers to microphones. Dubbed “SPEAKE(a)R” it can also make computers eavesdrop on the surroundings. That’s not all – it can listen even without being connected to a microphone!

The capabilities of this malware was demonstrated by Researchers at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). The ability to convert a speaker into a microphone could be considered as a technical advance; however, in the hands of cyber criminals/hackers and spy masters this facility could be exploited as a powerful spying device.

Microphone

Prof. Yuval Elovici, director of the BGU Cyber Security Research Center (CSRC) stated that, “The fact that headphones, earphones and speakers are physically built like microphones and that an audio port’s role in the PC can be reprogrammed from output to input creates a vulnerability that can be abused by hackers,” says.

Adding to this fact, Mordechai Guri, a lead researcher and head of Research and Development at the CSRC, states that, “This is the reason people like Facebook Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg tape up their mic and webcam,” says. “You might tape the mic, but would be unlikely to tape the headphones or speakers.”

It is no easy joke that the Facebook CEO puts tapes over his laptop’s camera and microphone. While Facebook tries to obtain all possible data about its users, it is very important to note the camera taping by Zuckerberg. They must have suspected that webcams and microphones can be hacked and used for malicious spying activities.

However, this malware makes any PC or laptop vulnerable. Workstations and PCs have audio jacks that contain line-in and line-out ports. Line-in is for audio input, while line-out is for audio output. In some latest audio chipsets the functionality of the audio ports can be changed (remapped). Audio input can be turned into audio output and vice versa. In this demonstration BGU researchers used RealTek audio codec chips – which are widely used in many computers. The researchers add that they have not tested whether this vulnerability exists in other audio codec chips.

The BGU researchers have released a demonstration of this vulnerability in a video. Using this malware, cyber criminals can stealthily convert the headphone jack into a microphone jack. Now, whenever a headphone is attached to headphone jack it will start eavesdropping. And even if the microphone is not attached the chip will still eavesdrop. Hence, protection has to be ensured at chip-level.

Dr. Yosef Solewicz, an acoustic researcher at the BGU CSRC, reports: “We demonstrated is possible to acquire intelligible audio through earphones up to several meters away.”

Precautions to protect against SPEAKE(a)R malware

  • System alerts when microphones are being accessed by unintended apps
  • Prevention of remapping facility or securing remapping facility with a password
  • HIPS – host intrusion prevention system that detects and blocks speaker-to-mic remapping
  • Effective Anti-malware system that supports the HIPS system

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TEST YOUR EMAIL SECURITY GET YOUR INSTANT SECURITY SCORECARD FOR FREE Source: https://blog.comodo.com/cybersecurity/warning-headphones-may-functioning-microphone/

Cyber Security

Simple Steps To Protect Your Business Data Across Mobile Devices

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Data security is always the top priority for businesses of all sizes, and there is never a moment you should go slack with it. However, this gets challenging as businesses generate massive volumes and a variety of data every day. Another fact that adds to the challenge is that this data comes from and goes to mobile devices as well. Every mobile device in the corporate infrastructure is like a weak point that hackers can compromise and steal the data on it. So it makes sense to go the extra mile with the right security measures to protect the corporate data across mobile devices.

It sounds challenging, considering BYOD is a norm for most organizations today, and there may be hundreds of mobile devices in the ecosystem at any point. Managing them all can be a big task for your IT security team. However, the right tools coupled with a proper mindset can help you secure sensitive data on mobile devices without much work. Let us explain some simple steps for mobile data security every business should have in place.

 

Have a BYOD policy in place

When it comes to protecting business data in the current landscape, nothing is more important than having a formal BYOD policy in place. After all, you need to make sure that there are no unintentional and malicious threats at the hands of employees bringing their personal devices into the corporate ecosystem. The critical elements of this policy include password norms, installation of remote wiping software, protocols for reporting loss or theft of devices, and use of protective security software for device-level security. Education and training for your employees are vital because they should know how to safeguard company data while accessing it from their own mobile phones.

 

Maintain access control to mobile devices and data

Maintaining access control policies is vital to prevent unauthorized users from accessing your mobile devices and data. Mobile device management (MDM) solutions are a critical investment for enterprises as they enable access management. These solutions create identity and authentication protocols for devices by installing an MDM agent on them and monitoring access requests. With this, you can make sure that nobody outside the business can access the devices. The security protocols cover the data stored on these devices as well. It ensures data encryption while uploading or downloading from a device. Further, data is secured with access regulations that permit only authorized users and applications to use it.

 

Ensure that devices are updated at all times

Your business data is only as secure as the devices that house them, which means that you should go the extra mile with device security. The latest software updates are critical for mobile devices because they include patches for various security vulnerabilities. These holes can expose the device and data to malware and other security threats. As a security best practice, ensure that all employees install the updates at the earliest. Apart from software updates, they should also cover their devices with reliable antivirus software. At the same time, make the users aware of the suspicious sites and apps that could bring malware to their devices, so that they can steer clear of them.

 

Discourage the use of public Wi-Fi networks

Public WiFi networks are perhaps the biggest threat to corporate mobile device security strategy. A device connecting to a public Wi-Fi network becomes an easy target for any hacker or malware looking to compromise hardware and data. This is perhaps the simplest way they can break into your network and cause havoc, so you need to make sure that it never happens. Enterprises need to enforce strict rules that discourage users from accessing these networks because they can pose a serious risk to sensitive business data. Training your employees and educating them about the perils of using public Wi-Fi is also important.

 

Have native device and OS security tools in place

When you implement a BYOD policy for your organization, it is likely that there will be multiple device types and diverse operating systems in your ecosystem. These devices and OS usually include built-in security tools, but best-in-market mobile device management solutions always give you an additional layer of safety. Have a close look at the available security tools and assess whether they are good enough from the enterprise device security practices. Sometimes, they may not be enough to protect a device fully, so you cannot rely solely on them.

 

Back up mobile data regularly

Even if you take all the steps to secure your devices and data, disasters can still happen. If corporate data is compromised, you may have to delete it, or it may not be accessible anymore. It makes sense to back up the data on BYOD devices regularly and maintain it as a routine for all the employees using such devices. Do not consider it as a one-and-done deal; rather, enforce it as a rule that the entire organization has to follow strictly and without any exceptions.

 

Evaluate your MDM strategy periodically

Although you may take all the steps required to create a robust MDM strategy for your business, there isn’t a guarantee that it will always work. One of the tools may not be good enough, or an employee may not be adhering to the BYOD policies properly. There is always a chance of a new threat surfacing in the evolving cybersecurity landscape. Evaluating your data security plan periodically helps you find holes that need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Also, it keeps you prepared to deal with security threats that may arise anytime in the future.

 

🔥👉 Allowing personal mobile devices in the corporate ecosystem is fraught with risks, but not doing so can compromise with the flexibility and mobility of your business. The best thing to do is to keep tight security controls over your business data and devices so that you can get the best benefits while minimizing the risks. A reliable mobile device management solution has you covered, so implementing one is worth the effort.

source: Plato

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Cyber Security

Quelques conseils pour améliorer la sécurité informatique afin de ne pas perdre des données personnelles

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On n’arrive souvent pas à y croire, mais il est quasi-impossible de vivre sans informatique dans notre vie quotidienne. Tout se fait avec un ordinateur ou un smartphone, depuis la simple réservation d’une table au restaurant, à l’organisation d’un voyage à l’autre bout du monde.

Même les billets de train ou d’avion ont presque disparu au profit des billets électroniques à QR Code. On vous souhaite une bonne chance d’essayer de vivre dans notre société actuelle sans un outil informatique dans la poche. En réalité, c’est juste impossible.

C’est indéniable que cela apporte un lot de facilitations dans la vie quotidienne, étant donné qu’on peut tout faire depuis un smartphone ou un ordinateur. Cependant, cela apporte également un lot de risques qui sont liés aux données personnelles.

Aujourd’hui, nous allons voir quelques conseils qui permettent d’améliorer la sécurité de nos données personnelles. On y va ! 👇

 

Qu’est-ce que la sécurité des données personnelles ?

La sécurité des données personnes est tous les systèmes, mécanismes, protocoles, actions, etc. utilisés afin de s’assurer que nos données personnelles (comptes bancaires, informations personnelles, comptes professionnels et privés, etc.) restent en sécurité et intouchables par des personnes malveillantes. C’est peu de dire que c’est une chose très importante quand on sait que pratiquement toutes les données de nos vies sont gérées par plusieurs systèmes informatiques.

 

Comment assurer la sécurité de nos données personnelles ?

Pour commencer, aucun système au monde est infaillible. Cela est dû au fait que ces systèmes ont été et sont créés par des hommes, qui sont eux-mêmes imparfaits.

Cependant, les ingénieurs et développeurs sont quand même très intelligents pour créer des mécanismes de protections, et nous, en tant qu’utilisateurs, on doit également faire attention et prendre certaines mesures.

Voici quelques conseils pour assurer au mieux la sécurité de vos données personnelles.

 

Ne jamais utiliser un ordinateur public

Le premier conseil est de ne jamais, au grand jamais, utiliser un ordinateur public pour consulter les mails, les comptes bancaires, les commandes en lignes, les réseaux sociaux, etc. et tout ce qui touche de près ou de loin à votre vie personnelle. « Mais pourquoi ? » diriez-vous. Tout simplement parce que sur un ordinateur public, dieu seul sait ce qu’il y a dedans. Il doit sûrement y avoir virus, trojan, spyware, malware, key-logger, etc. et toute une autre panoplie de programmes malveillants qui se feront un plaisir de voler vos données personnelles. Donc, en gros, évitez à tout prix ces ordinateurs. A la limite, vous pouvez les utiliser pour faire des recherches sur Internet. Aussi, évitez de brancher des clés USB ou des supports amovibles sur ces ordinateurs car vous allez transporter les menaces vers votre ordinateur personnel.

Toujours vérifier la provenance des mails. Ces derniers temps, on voit que les pirates reviennent en force avec le phishing. Le phishing consiste à tromper les personnes avec un faux site web pour que celles-ci y entrent leurs informations personnelles. Du coup, quand vous recevez un mail de votre banque par exemple vous invitant à cliquer sur un lien pour mettre à jour vos informations personnelles, c’est sûrement du phishing, surtout quand les informations demandées sont le nom et le prénom, date de naissance, numéro de carte, etc. Dans le doute, vérifiez la provenance de l’email car ce genre de messages ne proviennent jamais d’institutions légitimes. Et si vous n’arrivez pas à déterminer l’adresse mail de l’expéditeur, cliquez sur le lien et vérifier l’adresse du site web. Dans tous les cas de phishing, le site web du lien n’a rien à voir avec le vrai site, sauf pour le design.

Faire attention sur les réseaux Wi-Fi non sécurisé. Plusieurs espaces publics proposent des connexions Internet gratuites pour tout le monde à l’aide de Wi-Fi non sécurisé, étant donné que c’est plus facile à mettre en place et à gérer. Mais, ce qui n’est pas dit, c’est que les réseaux Wi-Fi non sécurisé sont des espaces où toutes les données ne sont pas cryptées. Il suffit à une personne malintentionnée qui se trouve sur le même réseau pour capter toutes les données transmises sur le réseau assez facilement. Donc, si vous devez utiliser ce genre de réseau pour une raison ou une autre, évitez à tout prix de faire des achats, de consulter vos mails et vos réseaux sociaux, de consulter votre 

banque, etc. et tout ce qui touche aux données sensibles. Vous pouvez faire de simples recherches sur ces réseaux, ou regarder des vidéos dessus sur YouTube ou autre plateforme de streaming gratuite (pas de Netflix ou Prime Video).

Utiliser un bon antivirus. L’antivirus permet de garder sûr vos appareils (PC, smartphone, tablette, etc.) contre les menaces informatiques. En utilisant un bon antivirus, vous aurez la certitude d’avoir le meilleur outil pour faire un excellent travail, et de plus, vous pouvez avoir ici des promotions très intéressantes sur une large gamme d’antivirus. Autre chose, laissez l’antivirus faire son travail sans interférer, car ils sont maintenant très performants et peuvent fonctionner tout seul.

Utiliser un mot de passe complexe. Pour tous vos comptes en ligne (PayPal, banque, etc.), il est plus que conseillé d’utiliser un mot de passe complexe, avec des lettres, des chiffres, des caractères spéciaux et des majuscules/minuscules. Pourquoi ? Parce qu’un mot de passe simple est facile à craquer en utilisant la force brute. Par contre, un complexe ne le sera pas, ce qui augmentera la sécurité de vos données personnelles. Aussi, si vous avez la possibilité d’utiliser un gestionnaire de mot de passe, faites-le car ils sont pratiques et performants.

 

👉  Voilà quelques conseils qui permettront de rendre vos données personnelles encore plus sûres dans notre monde numérique. C’est des conseils faciles à mettre en place et qui vous sauveront la vie à coup sûr.

N’hésitez surtout pas à vérifier et revérifier tout ce que vous recevez dans votre boîte mail, car les personnes malveillantes sont de plus en plus ingénieuses pour voler vos données personnelles. Faites attention et tout se passera bien.    

 

Source: Plato

 

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Cyber Security

Payment Card Records Stolen from US-Based Restaurant Dickey’s Barbecue Pit

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payment card

On the Dark Web marketplace, Gemini Advisory says, a data collection of millions of payment card documents allegedly stolen from US-based restaurant chain Dickey’s Barbecue Pit has surfaced.

The details, posted on the underground marketplace of the Joker’s Stash, appears to have been obtained from over a hundred compromised locations. The data seems to come from 35 US states and some European and Asian nations.

The BLAZINGSUN data collection reportedly comprises 3 million payment documents, with an estimated price of $17 per card.

There are 469 outlets operated under the Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise in 42 states, each of which has approval to use the type of point-of – sale (POS) system they want, as well as their chosen processors.

The details that appeared on Joker’s Stash, according to Gemini Advisory, indicates that 156 Dickey locations in 30 states might have been hacked. Between July 2019 and August 2020, the data was allegedly harvested.

Dickey’s runs under a franchise model that also requires each location to decide the type of system and processors they use for point-of-sale (POS). However, the damage could be attributed to a violation of the single central processor, which was leveraged by over a quarter of all Dickey’s places, considering the widespread existence of the breach,’ says Gemini Advisory.

The security company also reports that the exposure by location does not exactly correspond with the spread of the restaurant across states, but the exposure is roughly representative of the overall spread, with the exception of Texas, which hosts 123 restaurant locations but only three compromised locations.

Gemini also notes that payment transfers were conducted using the magstripe system in this infringement, which is obsolete and vulnerable to attacks. It’s unknown, though, whether the affected restaurants used redundant or misconfigured terminals.

“The documents from Dickey’s will likely continue to be applied to this marketplace for several months, based on past big breaches of Joker’s Stash,” the security company says.

The restaurant chain confirms it is mindful of a potential breach of data and an investigation has been initiated.

We received a warning stating that there may have been a security breach involving a payment card. We took this breach very seriously and our action plan was launched promptly and an investigation is ongoing. We are now focusing on identifying the affected sites and time periods involved. We use the expertise of third parties who have assisted other restaurants to resolve similar concerns.

Source: https://cybersguards.com/payment-card-records-stolen-us-based-restaurant/

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