Lessons to Learn in Light of Twitter’s API Breaches

twitter api attack

Back in December 2021, an API attack on Twitter took place, leaving 5.4 million users with leaked data the following July. The data was put on sale via the black market and it was once again put up for sale recently, showing just how disruptive these phishing attacks can be. Today we’re going to discover what an API attack is and why you need to be aware of this advanced type of social engineering that could put your data at risk in the future.

What is an API?

API stands for application programming interface, which is what allows a program to communicate with another one in a standardized manner. APIs can be used to send money through a single shared application or to control a smart appliance in your home via an app. APIs work in this way:

  1. A command is sent to an application with your mobile device. 
  2. The application will then connect to the Internet and share the command and the data associated with it. 
  3. A server will then receive the data and interpret it to carry out the requested actions.
  4. The device receives the data and shows it to the user.

APIs are generally standardized, which means they should usually remain secure as they only send the needed information. However, a phishing attack like this terrible Twitter hack could result in vulnerabilities in the system.

The Twitter API Hack

When one of Twitter’s APIs was exploited, it allowed the hackers who carried out the attack to identify who owned individual Twitter accounts. It used the API to submit phone numbers and email addresses, and the issue didn’t get fully resolved until January 2022. Millions of users were the victims of this attack, leaving their personal information out in the open and lowering trust in this popular social media site.

How Serious Are API Attacks?

While you might not think you need to worry about API attacks if you run a smaller website or system, they are something that everyone should be taking seriously. Twitter is not the only company to become a victim of data theft, as so many businesses use API functionality. APIs are built in a way that can build trust with the systems they connect to, allowing hackers full access to your company’s data if they perform an API attack. This can then be used for further social engineering attacks, causing havoc and disruption for your business and clients.

How Can You Prevent an API Attack?

The first step to preventing an API attack is to educate your team about them as much as you can. You should minimize access to sensitive accounts, protecting your passwords and account access with password management tools and two-factor authentication where possible. Try to teach your team about phishing attacks and the complex methods that scammers now use, so they can recognize the signs of these in the future.

Let Us Help You

Our team is here to help support you and reduce the chance of API attacks in the future. Contact us today to discover your options or to discuss any questions you have on this topic.

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Antivirus: Why, Exactly, is it So Important?

antivirus importance

Business security is something that both personal and business users need to educate themselves on in order to keep their systems protected from viruses and hackers. Today, let’s take a look at why antivirus is so important and something that we believe every business should put in place this year.

What is Antivirus?

Any device that you use with your business has antivirus software installed. Laptops, desktop workstations, and mobile devices all have some form of business cybersecurity in place, but how effective it will be will depend on the software installed. They work to identify and remove malware, such as trojan horses, worms, and spyware.

Your computer network is constantly being threatened by breach attempts, which could result in disaster for your workplace. With a whopping 50,000 new malware strains coming into the world every single day, you need to do all you can to offer centralized protections for your business with antivirus software.

What Does Antivirus Do for Your System?

Any of this software will work in the same way to scan your files and directories for signs of malware or malicious code. It can then identify issues and work to remove or quarantine the threat or code. Most software will allow you to either schedule this to take place on a regular basis or allows you to do this manually whenever needed. Your business security will remain up to date when this is used properly to protect your workplace.

Business Antivirus vs. Personal Antivirus

Business antivirus and peroneal software options offer similar benefits, however, the scale of business software means it offers additional coverage for more devices. Personal antivirus is designed just to be used on the device you install it on, whereas your business antivirus works on all of the endpoints of the network once it’s installed at the server level.

Protect Your Business with Antivirus

Every business owner needs to be aware of the benefits in order to stop malware from entering their network infrastructure. The more you protect yourself, the less likely you will be to be the victim of a cybersecurity incident in the future.

Our team is here to help support you in improving your network security this year. Contact us today for more information or to discuss any questions about any software.

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Received a Random Link? DO NOT CLICK ON IT!

bad link

If you ever receive random texts or emails from PayPal (or any other business, for that matter) telling you they suspended your account and now require you to authenticate your identity with an unknown link, then you should definitely think twice before clicking on that link. This is a common method that hackers use to break into accounts, especially those account holders that fall for this phishing scam. There is a better alternative to investigate this issue to see where it leads. It is important to access your account the way you normally would instead of clicking on that link.

If you were in this position, what would you do?

It is pretty safe to say that no one wants to fall for a phishing scam; but, at the same time, it can be very tempting to trust the message to make sure there is nothing wrong with your account.

The best approach is simple, but definitely not one that we would intuitively think to do.

Instead of clicking on the link provided in the text or email, open up a new web browser tab and login to the website, the same way you normally would in order to access your account. It does not matter the type of account you are trying to log into, whether it be your bank, your favorite online retailer, or any website that you have an account with. The practice of logging into the site directly, rather than using the link given, is simple and easy to do. It will also help keep you from being a victim of a phishing attack.

Let Us Help Your Team and Keep Them Safe

4 Corner IT can help you and your company choose the best tools and resources to keep everyone safe from security and phishing attacks. Our professionals can help build your business’ defenses and offer training to all members of your team, including how to identify potential threats and the best practices to keep safe from these attacks. For more information or to get started today, contact us at 954.474.2204. 

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How Secure are Security Questions?

security questions

What was the name of your first childhood friend? What was the city where your father was born? What is your favorite TV show? What was your mother’s maiden name? What was the name of your first pet? Here is the real question: what makes users think these types of security questions are going to assist in securing your important accounts?

Unfortunately, the truth is that the security questions heavily relied upon by businesses, websites, and other vital accounts, may have significant security issues. Continue reading to learn what these issues are and what other alternatives can be used instead.

What is so bad about security questions? 

In reality, security questions are just ineffective in today’s advancement of technology. Cybercriminals can quickly obtain necessary information from victims through phishing scams. More than likely, hackers will attempt to break into bank accounts. By successfully phishing a victim, the cyber attacker can obtain account information from the victim’s bank or financial institution, and possibly even the victim’s access credentials such as a username. With login information, such as a username, cybercriminals can quickly obtain their victim’s password. By clicking “Forgot Password?”, cyber attackers can see the possible security questions that the victim may have selected. Often, hackers can find these answers via social media accounts through the victim’s social media or even the social media of family and friends.

Many people are unaware that their online presence can tell complete strangers a lot about themselves. This is part of the danger that comes with posting personal information on social media. Privacy is also entrusted to the platforms that are used and the websites that are commonly used which can also fall victim to cyber criminals.

It gets worse…

A study by Google in 2015 revealed that answers to these security questions are easily predictable. 

For example, the study found that with one guess and the knowledge that the user speaks English, there was a 19.7% chance of correctly answering the security question, “What is your favorite food?”. There was a 24% chance of correctly answering the question, “What was your first teacher’s name?” with ten opportunities to answer and the knowledge that the user speaks Arabic. With ten guesses and the understanding that the user speaks Korean, there was a 43% chance of correctly answering the security question, “What is your favorite food?”. 

Some technical skill and luck are required on the hacker’s part but some of the answers to security questions can easily be found online. It is important to remember not to overshare personal information online. 

What can be used instead of security questions?

There are better alternatives to help keep businesses and accounts secure. Some companies utilize multi-factor authentication and/or biometrics. These options can make it easier for you to access your accounts while making it difficult for hackers. 

We, at WheelHouse IT, are here to help you keep your business secure from hackers and cyber attacks by implementing the best cybersecurity measures. To learn more, contact us at 954.474.2004. 

Caution Must Be Taken to Avoid Online Payment Fraud

payment fraud

Cyberthreats are already difficult as is when cyber criminals aren’t trying to steal your hard-earned money. With increasingly advanced technology on the rise, hackers are now using data from online payments to steal valuable information during a security breach. Online payments make up about 41.8% of all payments done worldwide. You can be sure that there are many opportunities for fraud to occur during this type of payment. Continue reading to learn how you can make sure your credit or debit cards are protected from hackers when making online payments.

Digital Payments are Twice as Common as Payments Made by Card

With today’s technology, many people utilize digital wallets due to its convenience and ease of use. Digital wallets are used almost twice as much as the rate of card payments. Many retail stores and restaurants are switching to a more digital format of payment and are accepting digital walletss. Unfortunately, the system has its flaws; thus, making it easier to exploit by hackers. 

Lately, because of the advancement in technology, digital payments have been known to compromise personal and sensitive data, such as full names, social security numbers, dates of birth, and other similar information including addresses, medical histories, and drivers’ licenses. 

Cybercrime Threats Are Becoming Ever So Common

With some exceptions, the majority of the cyberattacks and vulnerabilities have either stayed consistent or decreased over time. The exceptions to this include phishing scams, ransomware, and malware. Over the last few years, from 2019 to 2021, the largest increase in attacks came from those three mentioned earlier: phishing scams, ransomware, and malware. On the other hand, the Identity Theft Resource Center reported that most, but not all, cyberattacks or vulnerabilities have either decreased or stayed constant during this same time period.

There’s a statistic that could potentially be the most worrisome for your clients. The most commonly stolen information in 2021 included victims’ full names which were involved in 1,803 breaches, full social security numbers that were found in 1,136 breaches, and date of birth which were involved in 688 breaches. This statistic can be quite concerning for most people since recent data proves that hackers can obtain really personal information from people and attempt to steal their identities or use their personal information for other means.

Protect You and Your Clients’ Personal Data and Information Today

You should not have to worry about whether or not your, your employees, or your clients’ personal and sensitive information is being misused by hackers or cyber criminals as a result of a security breach. At 4 Corner IT, you can help your company as well as your clients in preventing security breaches and protecting personal information by using our IT services to assist in properly securing your IT infrastructure. To learn more or for any additional questions, reach out to us today at 954.474.2204.

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