Connect with us

Expert Speak

Top Tips for Security and Privacy This Holiday Season



Written by Phil Muncaster, guest writer at ESET

Thanks to a decade or more of big-name data breaches, global privacy scandals, and consumer rights legislation like the GDPR, we’re all more aware of cybersecurity and privacy issues today. And now that many of us are working more from home and our personal and work lives have begun to blur, the stakes have raised somewhat. No one wants to end up in front of HR because their reused passwords were stolen and used to hack a corporate database, for example.

Our personal data is of great value not just to advertisers and data brokers, but even more worryingly, to cyber criminals. Unfortunately, there are many ways for nefarious individuals to get hold of it. They could use phishing attacks to target us directly. They may hide info-stealing malware in mobile apps, gaming torrents, or other legitimate-looking software. Or they might use previously breached data to obtain our credentials and hijack our accounts. When it comes to advertisers and data brokers, much of the data slurping and selling is done silently in the background, often thanks to third-party cookies for better ad targeting or user experience.

Understandably, many of us want to mitigate the impact of these threats. So why not give the gift of better security and privacy and help your loved ones make some practical steps towards better protecting their personal information online? But let’s first mention something that is a must these days and surely you have it covered already: comprehensive security software. You know by now that you and your family should use a security solution from a reputable provider on all your devices.

Smartphones and tablets – which have been among the most popular holiday tech gifts for a while now – also need comprehensive protection from the device-, network-, web- and app-based threats. If a device is connected to the internet, then there’s a possible risk malware could find its way onto it. And once on there, the malware could be used to steal your data, lock down your machine for extortion, or for other nefarious ends.

Now onto a few less obvious ideas for gifts for your relatives – or even for yourself! Admittedly, not all of the below will be the ideal fodder for a traditional Christmas list – not least because some are free to use or difficult to buy or gift-wrap for others – but each is worthy of your attention. Or perhaps just think of it as a list of things to add to your cyber-hygiene practices, on top of these bad security and privacy habits you could consider shedding in the new year?

  • Secure Wi-Fi router: All of us have a wireless router in our homes, but we’re probably using one provided by our ISP. Many of these leave a lot to be desired when it comes to security, for example, not accepting long and strong passwords, failing to notify when critical updates are available, or having ‘things’ like UPnP or WPS enabled. A better option would be to choose a small business router designed for security and if possible, consider setting up a virtual private network on it and so avoid installing a VPN on each device. This brings us to the next point…
  • Virtual private network (VPN): These handy tools reroute your traffic via a secure encrypted tunnel so that the site you visit can’t identify you. A VPN is useful for enhancing privacy and security – blocking ISPs, government spooks, hackers, and advertisers from spying on you – and is particularly important if you’re out and about using public Wi-Fi networks. However, not all VPNs are created equal. Free services may sell your data to make money, while those with servers located in specific countries may pressure the provider to hand over data. Independent research is required to find the right choice.
  • Password manager subscription: Many of us have so many accounts and apps online today that we need to use easy-to-remember passwords, and often share the same credentials across multiple accounts. The problem is that if just one of these ends up in the hands of hackers, it may imperil all of them, as the bad guys can use automated “credential stuffing” tools to try and unlock your other accounts protected with the same password. With a password manager, you can easily create and store unique and strong passwords or passphrases for each site. The manager will remember them for you, whereas all you need to remember is a single password called “master password”.
  • 2FA hardware-based key: Two-factor or multi-factor authentication (2FA/MFA) offers protection from password-stealing threats by providing another layer of user authentication. Although dedicated MFA apps can also do this, another option is a physical hardware key. After enrolling it in each site you want to use, simply insert the key (usually into a USB port) to log in subsequently. If a criminal doesn’t have your key, they won’t be able to impersonate you.
  • Laptop privacy screen: Hybrid working means more of us will be travelling to the office again. That means more opportunities for shoulder surfers to see what we’re typing on our way to work. A privacy screen is an obvious solution, only letting light filter out from the display at narrow angles, thus reducing the chances of in-person snooping.
  • Webcam cover: Webcam hacking, also known as camfecting, isn’t unheard of. Cybercriminals or ‘just’ peeping Toms can hijack other people’s front-facing cameras through various means, including Remote Access Trojans (RATs) or vulnerability exploits. They could then use the stolen material or recordings for fraud or extortion, among other crimes. A sliding webcam cover can, therefore, come in handy. Other simple countermeasures involve placing a piece of tape over the lens when the camera is not in use, or unplugging the camera if it’s an external one.
  • Privacy-enhancing email: Email was not originally built with security in mind. And now there’s a secondary risk: that the providers themselves are snooping on your data to sell to advertisers or share with government agencies. Once again, numerous alternatives to the main players have sprung up in recent years with a focus on security and privacy. That not only means messages are encrypted by default, but the providers make money from premium subscriptions rather than advertising and are located in a country unlikely to share information with the US authorities if that’s a concern for you.
  • Secure messaging apps: These are unlikely to be on many of our Christmas lists, given that the apps are usually free to use and difficult to gift wrap. But it’s worth checking the one you’re using is optimized for security and privacy and provides end-to-end encryption. That means even if government or law enforcers ordered a provider to turn over customer data, they could not. Ensure the feature is turned on, as it may not always be by default. While you’re at it, consider tweaking the app’s settings further for even better privacy and security.
  • Anti-tracking software: As privacy concerns have grown among the populace, the market has responded with ad and tracking blockers. As the name suggests, they’re designed to protect your browsing activity from unwanted monitoring by ensuring any invasive or potentially malicious ads don’t appear on your screen.
  • Pro-privacy search engine: Major search engine makers generate their profits by selling advertisers access to your search history so that they can target ads. Many users will be fine with this level of intrusion if it means more relevant ads. For those who aren’t, there are plenty of alternatives now on the market – and they’re free and can, of course, be used from your regular web browser – or even from, for example, the Tor browser if you want to up the ante further.

Let this holiday season be also a time of security and privacy awareness. By taking small steps like those above, we can keep our information safer and make life harder for opportunistic fraudsters.

Cyber Security

Cybersecurity on a Budget: Affordable Cybersecurity Strategies for Small Businesses



According to a survey by Statista, typically, global enterprises dedicate a minimum of 12% of their IT expenditure to information security measures. While larger companies can afford to spend a lot on building a robust cybersecurity strategy, smaller businesses cannot. So, let’s explore some affordable cybersecurity strategies for small businesses that may cost less but have a greater impact.

Train your employees
An article from Forbes found that, annually, 34% of businesses worldwide encounter incidents involving insider attacks. Whether intentional or unintentional, employees tend to be the reason for most data breaches. Per the same article, phishing emails account for 67% of accidental insider attacks.

Phishing attacks mostly instil a sense of urgency in the victim, making it harder for them to think clearly before making a decision. For example, employees may click an email announcement about a bonus that actually came from a malicious outsider impersonating your company’s CEO.

To avoid such mistakes, it’s imperative to train employees on the types of phishing attacks and the ways to identify them. Even going as far as sending a mock phishing email occasionally to test their instincts and educate them can go a long way.

Assess your vulnerabilities
One of the most important cybersecurity strategies is to assess all your risk points by periodically reviewing all your business processes. Pay more attention to teams that deal with a lot of customer data. For instance, sales and marketing teams may handle customer data on a day-to-day basis, so they are at high risk of leaking or mishandling data. Assess their daily activities, create a record of all the risk points, and find ways to mitigate them.

Encrypt your data
Encrypting your data can be an effective method to protect it in case of data leaks. Let’s say a hacker gets hold of your company’s data, but it’s encrypted. Unless the hacker gets the encryption key from you, they cannot access your company’s data. This adds another layer of protection in addition to the everyday cybersecurity best practices that you should be following in your company. So make it a point to encrypt all your data, especially sensitive and critical data.

Limit access to critical data
Not everyone requires access to all data. Try to limit access to critical and sensitive data to fewer employees by basing access on work duties or requiring approval for access, making it a multi-step process to access it. Additionally, periodically review who has access to what data to ensure there aren’t any misallocations of access.

Secure your Wi-Fi
A secure network will reduce the chances of a hack or unauthorized access to your sensitive data. So switch your Wi-Fi to WPA2 or later, as it offers more security. Your business might already be using it, but it’s best to be sure. Additionally, change the name of your SSID and have a strong pre-shared key to keep your Wi-Fi safe from hackers.

Prevent physical theft
Through April 2023, there were 3,785 robberies in London, and 1,765 were of mobile phones. This highlights how important it is to secure your physical assets, as they might contain critical and sensitive information about your organization.

Here are some ways to protect your physical assets, such as PCs, laptops, scanners, and printers:

  1. Restrict unauthorized access to assets.
  2. Install a physical tracker on all devices to track down lost items.
  3. Enable remote wiping of data to erase information if a device is lost.

Cybersecurity strategies are seldom drafted with affordability in mind. However, it is crucial to consider them from a financial perspective, as small businesses are also increasingly susceptible to cyberattacks. These tips can help you take the first step toward creating a secure IT environment. Learn more about cybersecurity solutions for your business.

Continue Reading

Cyber Security

Managed Security Service: Right Choice for Your Company?



Written by Lev Matveev, SearchInform Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors

75% of information security experts consider insider threats more dangerous than hacker attacks. This is proven by the SearchInform survey conducted annually. Insider threats include data loss, fraud, theft, kickbacks, business on the side, etc. These are serious risks for any business, resulting in major financial losses, reputational damage and fines from law enforcement agencies. Nevertheless, many companies still do not ensure reliable protection against insider threats.

The reasons are the following:

  • Hardware and software for data protection are costly
  • The market lacks data security experts
  • SMEs cannot compete with large enterprises to engage professionals.

According to our 2022 survey, one-third of companies recognize an acute shortage of information security experts and cannot ensure protection in-house. Therefore, in 2019 we decided to launch a managed security service based on our protection solutions, which gives the opportunity to use them without hiring security specialists.

The SearchInform service provides protection against data breaches, internal fraud, document forgery and other violations by employees. It solves the tasks of monitoring employee working hours, compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, and many more.

We take on all tasks that are usually handled by in-house security staff. Our experts install and maintain security software, customize security policies for effective control, constantly monitor the situation in the company, detect incidents and investigate them. The client receives detailed and visual reports, as well as emergency alerts if it is required to take urgent measures and prevent an incident.

Availing the service, the client does not need to hire a security expert and therefore does not need to spend on social benefits, vacations or sick leaves. The client’s business remains protected if a security employee resigns or takes an unpaid leave. At the same time, our analyst has diverse work experience, knows the solutions well and has all the necessary competencies to work with them.  Since we are unacquainted with the client’s employees, our expert will be impartial and will not take anyone’s side. All this allows the clients to save time and money.

When do companies really need MSS?
According to our observations, the service is the best choice for companies with 30-500 employees and without an in-house IS department.  When the staff number increases, top managers can no longer control everything and face a high risk of incidents.

Here are a few common situations when you should choose managed security service.

  1. A company does not have internal security officers or lacks the budget to form a security department. Our service was originated to make data security more affordable. It significantly reduces the company’s costs, as there is no need to purchase software licenses, hardware, or hire a full-time information security officer. 
  2. Full-scale protection is required immediately. Companies often turn to managed security services after an incident has already occurred. It becomes clear that to prevent this in future, it is necessary to implement special security software, purchase additional equipment, and hire a data security officer. These steps will take a lot of time. The service will start protecting your business within 1-2 days.
  3. A company is not sure that the purchase of security systems will pay off eventually. Our service is an opportunity to test them in real conditions and assess whether they are worth purchasing in each specific case. One first month of the service is free.
  4. A company wants to conduct a security audit and get a complete picture of the corporate security. The service allows you to quickly find out what data is stored, where exactly it is stored and whether there are access rights violations. As far as the first month, our expert detects cases of corporate fraud, document forgery and other violations, as well as cases of idleness, business on the side or work for competitors. 
  5. For compliance with regulatory requirements. More and more regulations are being adopted or waiting to be adopted. SAMA, GDPR, and DCC incentivize companies to take measures to ensure data security. Some regulations, such as the UAE Information Security Regulation issued by the United Arab Emirates Telecommunications and Digital Technology Authority, even stipulate the use of DLP as a means of preventing data loss. To avoid the risk of hefty fines or lawsuits for non-compliance, you can use our managed security service.

I believe that outsourced data security should soon become as widespread as outsourced accounting or IT services. It is just a matter of time.

SearchInform offers a free trial version for one month! 

During this month, clients can assess whether the service really meets their needs. According to our experience, 100% of companies discover some kind of problems during the trial, ranging from the idleness of their employees to corporate fraud and confidential data leakage. 70% of companies that request a free trial continue to work with us.

Request a free trial of the service for one month!

Contact us for more information:
Office Address: 10C-15, I-Rise Tower, Hessa Street, Barsha Heights, Dubai, UAE.

– Sponsored Content

Continue Reading

Expert Speak

Five Tips to Stay Out of the Phishing Trap



Written by Bashar Bashaireh, Managing Director, Middle East & Turkey, Cloudflare

Email is the most exploited business application. It is the primary initial attack vector for cybersecurity incidents and contains vast amounts of trade secrets, PII, financial data, and other sensitive matters of value to attackers.

On top of that, email is one of the hardest applications to secure. If it were simple, there would be fewer headlines about business email compromise (BEC) losses topping $50 billion, and fewer breaches resulting from someone falling for a phish. Once an attacker has infiltrated one email account, they can move laterally and impact a wide range of internal systems. Phishing is as common in the public sector as it is in the private sector and besides the obvious financial implications, there is also the issue of damage to the reputation of the enterprise.

Cloudflare recently published its 2023 Phishing Threats Report. The three key takeaways are:

  • Attackers use links as the #1 phishing tactic— and are evolving how they get you to click and when they weaponize the link.
  • Identity deception takes multiple forms and can easily bypass email authentication standards.
  • Attackers may pretend to be hundreds of different organizations, but they primarily impersonate the entities we trust (and need to get work done).

Below are some recommendations that will help organizations stay out of the Phishing trap:

  • Secure email with a Zero Trust approach – Despite email’s pervasiveness, many organizations still follow a “castle-and-moat” security model that trusts messages from certain individuals and systems by default. With a Zero Trust security model, you trust no one and nothing. No user or device has completely unfettered, trusted access to all apps — including email — or network resources. This mindset shift is especially critical if you have multi-cloud environments and a remote or hybrid workforce. Don’t trust emails just because they have email authentication set up, are from reputable domains, or “from” someone with whom you have a prior communication history. Choose a cloud email security solution rooted in the Zero Trust model and make it more difficult for attackers to exploit existing trust in “known” senders.
  • Augment cloud email with multiple anti-phishing controls – A multi-layered defence can preemptively address high-risk areas for email exposure, including:
    • Blocking never-before-seen attacks in real-time, without needing to “tune” a SEG or wait for policy updates
    • Exposing malware-less financial fraud such as VEC and supply chain phishing
    • Automatically isolating suspicious links or attachments in email
    • Identifying and stopping data exfiltration, particularly via cloud-based email and collaboration tools
    • Discovering compromised accounts and domains attackers use to launch campaigns

More organizations are choosing a layered approach to phishing protection. As noted in The Forrester Wave: Enterprise Email Security, Q2 2023, “The email security vendors you work with should demonstrate an ability to connect and share data with each other and with key tools in your security tech stack.

  • Adopt phishing-resistant multi-factor authentication – Any form of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is better than none, but not all MFAs provide the same level of security. Hardware security keys are among the most secure authentication methods for preventing successful phishing attacks; they can protect networks even if attackers gain access to usernames and passwords. Consider replacing MFA methods like SMS or time-based OTP with more proven methods like FIDO-2 compliant MFA implementations.Applying the principle of least privilege can also ensure hackers who make it past MFA controls can access only a limited set of apps, and partitioning the network with micro-segmentation can prevent lateral movement and contain any breaches early.
  • Make it harder for humans to make mistakes – The larger your organization, the more each of your teams will want to use their own preferred tools and software. Meet employees and teams where they are by making the tools they already use more secure and preventing them from making mistakes.For example, email link isolation, which integrates email security with remote browser isolation (RBI) technology, can automatically block and isolate domains that host phishing links, instead of relying on users to stop themselves from clicking.
  • Establish a paranoid, blame-free culture– Encouraging an open, transparent “see something, say something approach” to collaborating with your IT and security incident response teams 24/7 helps get everyone on “team cyber.”Minutes matter during attacks. Establishing a paranoid but blame-free culture that reports suspicious activity — as well as genuine mistakes — early and often helps ensure incidents (no matter how rare) are reported as soon as possible.
Continue Reading

Follow Us


Copyright © 2021 Security Review Magazine. Rysha Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.