The RSocks Botnet Highlights the Security Risks for IoT Devices

rsocks

There are a lot of ways hackers and cybercriminals can attack personal, business, and government networks and servers. A botnet is one way hackers can lead massive hacking campaigns by infiltrating connected devices worldwide and operated by a single person. These attacks are used to disrupt services, steal crucial information, and gain access to critical systems. A botnet’s strength is in its numbers. Recently, a Russian Botnet known as RSocks consisting of millions of Internet of Things or IoT devices was thwarted by a combined effort of the United States Department of Justice, United Kingdom, Netherlands, and Germany. The attack targeted IoT devices, raising awareness of the vulnerability of such devices. 

The Take Down of RSocks

The RSocks botnet hacked into millions of devices worldwide since 2016, when the RSocks Botnet was first detected. The botnet targeted IoT devices such as industrial control systems, routers, smart appliances, audio or video streaming devices, and more. Computers and Android devices soon fell to the botnet as RSocks grew larger. 

The botnet was advertised as a proxy service that specialized in residential nodes. Instead of selling legitimate IP addresses through an internet service provider, RSocks sold IP addresses of the devices that had been hacked. Because the IP addresses were residential, it made it difficult for authorities to track the hackers’ location. 

The investigation into RSocks began in 2017 with the FBI mapping the infrastructure by purchasing many proxies. The United States Department of Justice reported that the cost for accessing RSocks proxy pools ranged from $30 a day for 2,000 proxies to $200 a day for 90,000 proxies. 

Investigators found 325,000 compromised devices, many of which were located within the United States. With the consent of three major botnet victims, the FBI replaced compromised devices with government-controlled computers allowing them to thoroughly map out and shut down the botnet. 

How to Protect Your IoT Devices from Botnets

While RSocks has been seized and is no longer in operation, cybercriminals are still building botnets around the globe. Understanding the security shortcomings of IoT devices is essential to protect your devices from malicious attacks. IoT devices are becoming a more common device chosen in hacker attacks as they are often unsecured and are easy targets. 

If your business uses IoT devices, you must implement basic security measures to prevent your devices from being used for malicious activities. Recommended security measures include:

  • Disconnecting IoT devices when not in use
  • Changing default configuration settings such as renaming the hardware
  • Choose a strong password
  • Keep software and firmware updated
  • Set up an alternative network specifically for IoT devices

Protecting your business’s IoT devices might seem complex, but experts are available to help you with your security needs. 4 Corner IT can create a strong security network allowing you to have peace of mind and focus on other business needs. To learn more, call us at 954.474.2204.

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Cloud Computing Can Optimize Business Operations

cloud migration

The cloud is used for a wide variety of use cases by businesses of all types, sizes, and industries. Cloud computing is an on-demand resource that allows you to access technology services without buying and maintaining physical data centers and servers. The technology possible within cloud providers includes application development and testing, analytics, data storage and backups, and more as an innovative and flexible way to run your business’s infrastructure. 

Benefits of Cloud Computing

Adopting cloud solutions and investing in cloud computing can improve operations and provide several benefits. With the flexibility to invest in only what your business needs, the cost alone is incentive enough to migrate data and solutions to a cloud computing infrastructure. The benefits include: 

  • Higher Speeds – Enjoy quicker deployments of software development that improve business operations.
  • Increase collaboration – Cloud computing allows for more efficient team communication by sharing information easily and securely across the cloud. 
  • Scalability – Cloud-based solutions are an ideal way to focus on growth and the ability to pivot quickly when demands change or increase.
  • Enhanced Data Security – The cloud offers robust security features that guarantee the safe storage and handling of data within the cloud. 
  • Storage and Recovery – Data can be stored within the cloud without constraints, allowing for secure backups and quick recovery if data is lost or damaged.

Types of Cloud Services

There are several different models of cloud computing to evaluate to determine which model is best first for your business. Cloud computing services include Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

The digital infrastructure is cloud computing services’ most essential and basic function. Infrastructure as a Service is a pay as you go option for an underlying IT infrastructure that includes servers, storage, networks, and operating systems from a provider. This is great for small and medium-sized operations looking for a cost-effective solution to support business growth. 

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

The Platform as a Service or PaaS offers an on-demand environment for developing, testing, and managing software applications. The environment is meant to make it easy for developers to create web or mobile apps quickly and efficiently without having to worry about the performance of a server or storage or network limitations. The server is robust and flexible to support web applications and is ideal for scalability.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software as a Service (SaaS) is developed to deliver services and applications over the cloud through the internet for on-demand needs. The software is run and managed by a service provider who performs regular maintenance such as upgrades and security patches. Users access this software through a web browser on their computer, tablet, or phone without downloads or installations. 

The cloud is a versatile and viable option for businesses to make the best of their infrastructure. We provide services to help you optimize your cloud adoption that best fits your business’s needs. To learn more about cloud solutions and how we can help, contact us at 954.474.2204.

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Tips on How to Create a Secure Password 

create a password

Trying to create secure password can be a challenge. Even more so when it’s recommended you have a unique password for every account and website you visit. Many people settle for using the same password across multiple accounts but using the same password can put you at risk of exposing all of your personal information. 

Every year, criminals find new and unique ways to gain access to hack your account and get a hold of your personal information. You need to know how to create strong passwords that will reduce your risk and protect you from becoming a victim of cybercrime. Following these tips, you can create a secure password to keep your information safe. 

Tips For Creating a Secure Password

Many people store valuable information online. While it is easy to access and convenient, without a strong password, your information is at risk of being stolen by hackers. To keep your accounts and information safe, you need to know how to create a strong password. These tips will help you create a secure password. 

  • Use a Long Password – When you prioritize the length of the password, it is harder to guess. Passwords of at least 16 characters long reduce the risk of hackers gaining access to your account.
  • Combine letters, numbers, and symbols – Your password should consist of letters, numbers, and special characters to increase the complexity of your password. 
  • Use Different Passwords – Using the same password for all your accounts increases your risk of hackers gaining access to all of your accounts through credential stuffing. 
  • Never Use Personal Information – Avoid using information such as birthdays, addresses, names, and phone numbers. 
  • Try Passphrases Over Passwords – It’s hard to remember a long password. Using a passphrase can be easier to remember while keeping your password complex. 

The goal is to create a long, complex password that is easy for you to remember but hard to guess. There is a lot to remember when you create your passwords, and companies require you to change them quarterly or annually. 

Additional Security Measures to Protect Yourself

Passwords are just one level of security to ensure your accounts are safe. Implementing multi-factor authentication and password management solutions can help provide additional layers of security that make it difficult for hackers to gain access. 

Multi-factor authentication uses multiple ways to ensure an account is accessed by someone authorized. They will consist of using a password paired with additional authentication through your smartphone or email by sending a code for you to verify. It can also use biometrics such as a finger scan to confirm your identity. These factors make it difficult for anyone to gain access. 

Password management tools can help you manage your passwords efficiently and easily. They use an encrypted database secured by a master password that allows you to store your passwords when you need access to additional accounts. These tools make it easier for you to create complex passwords without having to remember each individual one. Many of these password managers can create complex passwords for you to take the challenge of having to think of a new password every time you need to make an update. 

4 Corner IT can help you implement all of the best technology solutions for your business. To learn more, contact us at 954.474.2204.

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What is The Threat Landscape and How to Navigate It

threat landscape

Cybersecurity threats have become a regular part of business, and navigating the threat landscape can be challenging. Cybercrime and breaches are a significant problem on the rise for companies and an even more serious problem for businesses without security measures to protect them. 

As a business, you can’t afford to leave your data unprotected. Cybercrimes can cause operational issues, financial losses, and the loss of sensitive customer data resulting in fines and damages to your business’ reputation. What is the threat landscape, and what can you do to navigate it?

What is the Threat Landscape?

The threat landscape is a scope of potential and recognized security threats that can affect organizations and industries. It encompasses the malware, groups of attackers, vulnerabilities, and the techniques used to infiltrate systems and networks to obtain information that may be valuable to attackers. 

The threat landscape changes over time as attackers and systems evolve, and events can help transform the landscape. New cyber threats emerge daily, and the landscape evolves, meaning businesses and their security measures need to be ready to evolve with the threat landscape to stay protected. 

Common Threats in the Threat Landscape

There are countless ways attackers try to gain access to your data, disrupt operations, or damage information. It’s essential to know the common threats you can encounter in the threat landscape to protect your business better. 

Phishing – Phishing is a common tactic where attackers send a message through email, social media, text messages, or phone calls to trick people into following the instructions and providing sensitive information. Many attacks begin with phishing, and while they have signs of corruption, they have become harder to spot and have made their way through network security systems. 

Ransomware – Ransomware locks down files on your system and doesn’t allow you to have access until you agree to pay a ransom. Attackers will often threaten to release the information, which can cause damage to the business’s reputation and major financial losses. 

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attack – A DDoS attack takes down websites by flooding a computer or network with a botnet that halts operations and prevents the business from responding to requests. Botnets use millions of malware-infected systems operated by hackers, can be in different geological locations, and are difficult to trace.

 

How to Navigate The Threat Landscape

With the threat landscape continuously evolving and changing with attackers becoming more creative in obtaining and infiltrating systems, you need to be able to protect your business from common attacks and potential threats in the future. Here are a few tips you can implement to protect your business data and network.  

  • Educate Employees on Cyber Threats – You want your employees to understand the risks of cyber threats in the threat landscape so they can do their part in protecting your business. Provide regular training to make your employees aware of what to look for, the importance of secure passwords, and avoiding unfamiliar links and attachments.
  • Keep Systems and Software Updated – Hackers will try to find vulnerabilities in your software and operating systems to carry out their attacks. Having your systems consistently updated removes vulnerabilities and ensures you have the best defense against cyber threats.
  • Backup Files and Data – When you lose data to cybercrimes, it can be catastrophic to your business. To avoid big losses, ensure you regularly back up your data using cloud storage and a designated server location.
  • Test Your Network Security Regularly – The threat landscape continuously evolves. To ensure your security systems are ready to take on security threats, you want to have professional testing to see the vulnerabilities in your systems you may not have been aware of. You can get a full report and be able to implement security measures to protect you further. 

 

Understanding the threat landscape is essential to identifying any potential security problems your company may face. Call 4 Corner IT today at 954.474.2204 to learn more about how to best secure your network.  

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Tips to Help Boost Smartphone Productivity

smartphone productivity

Smartphones have become a significant part of people’s everyday lives. One smartphone can have everything a person may need to get themselves through the day, from maps to planners. Over the years, smartphones have become tools to help boost productivity for people in their personal lives and while they are in the workplace.

Companies have begun to realize the potential of integrating smartphones as a tool to help translate productivity into profitability in their business. Using smartphones can work against your business if you don’t implement the right policies to get your employee’s smartphone usage to work for you and minimize distractions. Here are some tips you can use in your business to effectively use smartphones to boost productivity and reduce distractions.

Increase Collaboration and Communication

Smartphones are an effective business tool when you can utilize cloud-based applications to help employees complete tasks and communicate quickly from wherever they work. With smartphones, employees can work better with their teams by improving communication and collaboration. Employees can have email, productivity apps, and communication tools installed on their devices to increase productivity and easily connect with customers and colleagues. 

Limit Notifications

One of the drawbacks of allowing smartphone usage within your business is they have the potential to be incredibly distracting. To optimize productivity, controlling notifications by limiting them when possible means there will be few distractions to take you or your employees away from their tasks. Encourage or require your team to disable notifications from unnecessary apps to minimize the number of disruptions during hours when they need to focus the most.

Reduce Digital Clutter on Smartphones

A smartphone designated for work should have limited applications that can potentially waste time and not be directly used for work purposes. This more applies to smartphones that are company-owned devices given out to employees. Many companies implement a mobile device manager or MDM to limit the ability to download apps on devices and ensures enough space is available on the device for essential functions. 

Use a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policy

Issuing company-owned devices can be a major cost and allowing your employees to use their personal smartphones for work purposes. Employees are likely comfortable using their personal devices and are likely to be more productive using them for work tasks. Allowing employees to bring their own devices for work purposes will require clear policies to ensure employees know how to use their devices when on the clock correctly. 

Smartphones have come a long way and, when used with the right tools, can help boost workplace productivity. Your business can be the most productive by using an MDM to ensure your employee’s usage of smartphones is working for you to help your organization. 

To learn more about how we can help you get started with mobile device management and smartphone productivity, reach out to 4 Corner IT at 954.474.2204.