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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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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Tip of the Week: Hide Your Files in Windows 10

hidden files

No matter what you use your computer for, there are many reasons why you may need to hide your files on your Windows 10 desktop. You could want to hide important files to keep them hidden on a shared computer, or maybe you want to try to prevent anyone from accidentally deleting important files. Or you can hide them to clear the distracting clutter on your desktop. The files you keep on your computer may be essential for you to keep, but if you want to find a better way to organize them, you need to make some changes so they aren’t in the open all the time. 

Windows 10 has built-in functionality that allows you to hide specific folders from view. You can hide your files from view but easily be able to access them all while keeping an organized desktop. If you’re looking to optimize security, you will need to take a little more in-depth path to ensure your files are securely hidden from prying eyes. You can work with IT professionals at 4 Corner IT to learn about file security. 

Hiding a File from View in Windows 10

Hiding a file from view is more about keeping an organized desktop than security. It’s a personal preference setting that allows you to clean up your desktop and any other folders as you see fit. The setting is easily reversible, so when you need to quickly regain access to those files you’ve hidden on your desktop, it’s a simple task that anyone with any knowledge of folder settings can manage. 

You first need to open your File Explorer and find the File you want to hide to hide your folders. Once you have located your File, right-click on it and select Properties. The Documents Properties window will open on the General tab, where you can review the file settings. If you look towards the bottom of the window, you will see a checkbox next to the word Hidden. When you check the box, it will hide your files from view. This setting does not secure the File. It makes it so that you will not be able to see the File on your desktop any longer.

When you are ready to access any of your hidden files or remove them from the hidden view, open your File Explorer and select the View menu at the top of the window. In the menu items beneath the tab, there is a checkbox next to the word Hidden. When you check this box, you will be able to see all of your hidden items. You can use the above steps to remove your files from the hidden view.  

For more comprehensive security measures and tips, we recommend contacting the technicians at 4 Corner IT. With us on your side, you’ll have nothing to fear from hackers or other cybercriminals stealing your data. To learn more, reach out to us at (954) 474-2204.

Differences Between Hollywood Hackers and the Real Deal

hackers

In many television shows and movies today, hackers and cybercriminals take the form of evil villains or mischievous antiheroes. While this characterization is undoubtedly fun to watch, they don’t quite get the facts right. Most of the computing constructs demonstrated in entertainment don’t actually exist in real life. This week, let’s discuss what real-life hackers are like, and how they’re different from your favorite computer genius characters.

Hacking Isn’t So Up Tempo

In entertainment, hacking is often portrayed as a fast-paced exercise. Typically, the hacker completes their job in minutes, if not seconds, while exciting music races in the background. The actual work that the, always handsome, hacker is doing consists of typing about 20 lines of code with no mistakes, having a quick revelation as the music swells, and finishing with a flourish of key pressing that results in the victim’s computer crashing or, even more ludicrous, spontaneously combusting. 

While not all television and movie representations are this dramatic, they’re usually still much faster than actual hacking.

Real hacking takes hours, if not more, and isn’t nearly as easy as entertainment makes it seem. Hackers are sometimes sitting in front of their computers for long periods of time reading hundreds of lines of code to try and find some vulnerability. 

Real Hacking Wouldn’t be Fun to Watch

The reason most entertainment platforms depict hacking this way is that the real stuff is…actually pretty boring. This characterization of the insanely smart and good-looking techy hacker that can make technology do anything they want it to is far from the truth. Hackers are usually just average people, or sometimes loners, that often work in a boring office setting to find cracks in networks so they can extract data. 

Real hackers often use automated tools to send out phishing emails, crack passwords, or create scams that fool users into giving them access to their information. None of which would be enjoyable to watch on television. 

Also, a hacker’s goal is usually to collect sensitive information or, at most, install malware on your device. The idea that with a few clicks a hacker could crash your computer or make it explode is absolutely preposterous. 

Why It’s Important to Know the Difference

You may be thinking, “but it’s just entertainment! Why do we care what real hackers do?”. Well, let’s face it, these acts are illegal, and glorifying them the way so many movies and television shows can make it seem like hacking is an acceptable or even cool thing to do. It’s not. Hacking is a crime and these unrealistic characterizations of hackers could give people the wrong impression about the reality of cybercriminals. 

So, should Hollywood change how they portray hackers in entertainment? Not necessarily. It’s true that these depictions of hackers are much more interesting to watch. However, it’s important to know that Hollywood hackers aren’t real and shouldn’t be taken seriously. If anything, view them as comic relief for how ridiculous they are.

What are your thoughts on hackers in movies and television? Do you have a favorite Hollywood hacker? Leave your comments below and check back soon for more great technology content!

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