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Major Global Crackdown on Email Compromise Schemes

Some cybercriminals operate a fraudulent scheme that is called a Business Email Compromise (BEC). In this crime, funds are stolen by convincing a person to send a bank wire to a dummy bank account for what the criminals claim is a legitimate transaction. Businesses that conduct operations that frequently make use of bank wires are the main targets for these criminals. Senior citizens and individuals may be targeted as well, especially if they are involved in a real estate transaction.

Under a program called “Operation Wire Wire,” federal law enforcement, with the cooperation of international authorities, were able to make a total of 74 arrests of alleged criminals. 42 were arrested in America, 29 arrests were made in Nigeria, and one arrest was made in each of the countries of Poland, Mauritius, and Canada. The law enforcement efforts in the United States were a coordinated investigation by the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, the Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Postal Inspector’s Office.

The investigation lasted six months. In addition to making the arrests, the investigation captured $2.4 million of stolen funds and authorities also blocked the illegal transfers of $14 million.

How does a business email compromise scheme work?

The BEC scheme is financial cybercrime. It is a sophisticated fraud that attacks employees with the authority to transfer company funds by bank wire. Businesses that work with foreign suppliers and those that regularly send bank wires are especially vulnerable. This fraud is usually achieved by obtaining the email account of a senior level employee for a company and impersonating this person to direct other employees to send a bank wire to the criminal’s account. Besides stealing money, the criminals may also try to obtain confidential information such as the employee tax records.

This fraud began in Nigeria. Now, through the involvement of transnational criminal groups, it spread across the globe. The use of Americans increased the success of this fraudulent scheme in the United States.

Conclusion

Companies continue to lose millions of dollars each year due to this scam. Consult with the security experts at Sentree Systems Corp. in Indianapolis, serving central Indiana and the surrounding cities of Avon, Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, and Plainfield. They will help implement a more secure approval process for bank wire transfers, improve email security, and can create an ongoing employee education program to help employees spot criminal business email compromise attempts.

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Device Security Risks for the Internet of Things

For many industrial and commercial purposes, there are tremendous benefits, in terms of system management, for increased connectivity with the technological innovations of the Internet of Things (IoT). This also brings many new security issues to consider. A new level of security risk comes from the expansion of the IoT to connect devices. These risks come from connected devices that are communicating in less-than-secure ways. Every piece of equipment that is connected through the IoT may create a security breach.

Risks Caused by Medical Devices

An example of this new type of risk is experienced by healthcare organizations that are becoming aware of the cyber vulnerabilities of medical devices. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued six alerts since April 2018 advising major healthcare organizations about the security risk of medical imaging equipment and patient monitoring devices. The DHS has a special Industrial Control System Emergency Response Team that is tasked with the goal of discovering vulnerabilities in all types of equipment.

Recent security alerts from DHS include notices about devices with these problems:

  • Improper authentication procedures
  • Personal information exposure
  • Missing encryption
  • Memory read/write vulnerability
  • Denial of service potentials

These risks can cause harm to patients if they are exploited.

Risk Mitigation

Healthcare companies now are encouraged to conduct security audits that include an evaluation of connected medical devices. These organizations must also track and record any security risks found in their operations caused by devices and the remediation steps taken to remove the risk.

The challenges include finding things with vulnerabilities that the organization can update with software security patches, checking for proper configurations, and adding system architecture controls. Other things may need to be fixed by the vendors. There should be an ongoing effort to identify vulnerable devices. Taking them offline to fix them or relocate them may cause operational problems. There is a balance between managing the devices to improve security and understanding the effect on operations when the equipment is not available for clinical procedures.

Conclusion

Companies, especially those in the healthcare industry, need to be aware of the risks caused by devices used in their operations. Contact Sentree Systems Corp. for a security review and to get advice about how to manage security risk caused by devices that are connected to the IoT. Sentree serves Indianapolis, Avon, Plainfield, Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, and the surrounding areas in Indiana.

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The Impact of the New European GDPR Security Regulations on American Companies

New privacy and data security rules are now in effect for any company that has some of its operations in Europe or has some customers from there. The European Union (EU) passed a law called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that requires businesses to give EU customers more control over how their personal data is collected, what permissions are required for a company to use it, and what can be done with the information. This law went into effect on May 25, 2018.

Any American company that has customers from the EU needs to be in compliance with the GDPR regulations. It is likely that over the next few years similar regulations will be imposed by the U.S. government on companies in the USA as well.

GDPR is in Response to Data Breaches

The GDPR law is in response to the continuing problem of data breaches being experienced by many companies including large online retailers and companies that are tech giants. Facebook got into serious trouble over the Cambridge Analytica data hack of its system.

Under the GDPR rules, any company that has any data on any person from the EU must notify regulators within 72 hours of the discovery of a major data breach. This means that even U.S.-based companies need to be in compliance if they have an office in the EU, share data with a company there, or have online customers from the EU.

Another new GDPR rule requires companies to make it very easy to opt-in and opt-out of data collection. Companies who fail to do this correctly face a fine of up to 4% of their annual level of global sales or about $23.5 million, whichever is a greater amount.

Conclusion

The new GDPR rules are considered the best practices. Many American companies are taking the proactive stance to be in compliance with GDPR regulations even if they are not required to follow the GDPR rules by law. Work with the experts at Sentree Systems Corp. to find out how to change information collection, storage, and usage procedures to be in compliance with the new GDPR rules.

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Data Breaches in the USA – Is your business next?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains a database that tracks every data breach of medical records where more than 500 records have been compromised. SafeticaUSA reports that, during 2016, the data breaches were caused by improper disposal of memory storage (2.3%), loss (5.4%), theft (19%), hacking (31.8%), and unauthorized access/disclosure of information (41.5%) by employees, which happens sometimes by accident.

Misuse of this information obtained by a data breach is rampant. Criminals can use this personal data in many nefarious ways including blackmail and identity theft. Businesses that do not protect personal and private data are liable for its misuse. They can face fines and civil lawsuits in the multiple millions of dollars.

The SafeticaUSA study noted that the average cost for a single data breach is $7 million and that 100% of businesses share business data in ways that are not safe. When employees leave a company, 87% of them take company data with them increasing risk exposure.

Indiana’s Data Security Record

In the SafeticaUSA study of medical record data breaches, which reviewed the occurrences in 2016, California was the state with the largest number of incidents, followed by Florida, Texas, and New York. Indiana came in fifth place by having 12 major data breach incidences during 2016. In terms of the number of compromised private records, the state of Indiana, with 257,174 records breached, was in tenth place on the list of states with the highest number of data breaches.

Conclusion

Data breaches are a serious problem that puts every business at risk. Personal medical records are very vulnerable and the dangers are increasing. Proactive strategies to reduce this risk include conducting a data security audit, implementing a data loss prevention solution, and advocating that the best practices are used for data security by affiliates, contractors, and business partners.

Contact Sentree Systems for a Cyber Risk Analysis to improve security and reduce the chance of a serious data breach.

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Best Practices for Risk Management

Data Security is improved by taking a data-driven approach that addresses security issues that are uncovered by a review of security risk data. For example, allowing employees to continue to use software that has known vulnerabilities, which has not had the most recent security patch applied, is a risk that is unnecessary.

Here are a few tips to improve Data Security by using a data-driven approach:

Conduct a Security Assessment and Implement Its Recommendations

It is surprising when an organization goes to the trouble to conduct a security Assessment, which should be done on a regular basis and then does not implement the recommendations. Executives may think that since the security Assessment was done, the security is improved. A security Assessment demonstrates an Impact vs. Likelihood that your organization will have a compromise in the near future, but does not actually stop a breach from happening. It is important to take the next steps of implementing security upgrades as well.

Monitor Data Security News Alerts

By setting up Google alerts and keeping an eye on the latest Data Security News, helps increase awareness about security issues. An example of a Google alert is using the name of the software or IT service combined with the phrase “security flaw.” Moreover, there are industry security news systems that can be regularly checked for alerts such as the Security News notifications in the Security Education Companion.

Organizations that do not have sufficient internal staff for these Data Security issues do well by contracting with an outsourced IT data security company to monitor them on behalf of the organization.

Be Proactive About Advanced Persistent Threats

Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) are socially-engineered attacks that are occurring on a continual basis. Examples of APT attacks included phishing where websites are faked to get people to enter private information, email campaigns that cause people to download attachments that are malware, or websites that load malware when a person visits them.

Sentree Systems Corp. is a highly-qualified data security consulting company that works with small businesses in Indiana, serving Indianapolis and the surrounding areas including Avon, Carmel, Fishers, Plainfield, and Noblesville. Every business should assume they have either been attacked, are being attacked, or will be attacked. Fast detection and swift response are the small business owner’s only defense. Contact us today to learn more about these strategies at www.sentreesystems.com

 

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ALERT: Death Threat Scams

What do email scams, death threats and bitcoin have in common? Together they are being used by scammers to steal money from innocent victims. This is by no means a new threat (it’s been around since 2006) but it’s one that’s getting some new recognition. The FBI recently issued a warning about the uptick in these scams and we know if the FBI is talking about it, it’s a big deal.

Threat: Death Threat Scams

Do You Need to Worry: Yup! Everyone is at risk. The scam goes a little something like this: recipient receives a threat via email and is ordered to pay in virtual currency (like bitcoin) or prepaid cards otherwise they or their family will be harmed. Keep in mind that this scam could also come in the form of a text message and they might be after more than just money – they may try to obtain your personal information, account numbers, etc.  

What Can You Do About It: Contact the police immediately and follow their advice. You should also file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3.GOV).

 

 

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Scam Of The Week: Massive Netflix Phishing Campaign

There is a massive scam campaign going on, this time a very well executed Netflix phishing attack.

The scam targets subscribers telling them that their account is about to be canceled. The well-designed, individualized fake email convinces customers to update their account information to avoid suspension. This results in stolen personal and credit card information.

The email has the subject line “Your suspension notification” and includes a link where the subscriber is taken to a fake Netflix page which requires their log-in information as well as credit card number.

The scam was detected Sunday and it targeted nearly 110 million Netflix subscribers. As mentioned, the fake site includes Netflix’s logo as well as popular Netflix shows like “The Crown” and “House of Cards” to make it seem legitimate.

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High Performance Risk Management

High Performance Risk Management

LOS ANGELES—Risk managers, whose job once focused on a basic “bucket of risks,” and making decisions about which risks are transferable and which ones the company should retain, have been “migrating along an evolutionary path which is allowing us to be more strategic,” Chris Mandel, senior vice president of strategic solutions at Sedgwick, said at the RIMS ERM Conference 2017 here.

He noted during the session, “The Trouble with ERM,” that risk managers now need to alter their focus. “The question for risk managers now is, how do we get our organizations to focus on long-term success and recognize the link between strategy and risk?” he said.

Erin Sedor, president at Black Fox Strategy, said that she found through personal experience the importance of connecting with the CEO and aligning with the company’s strategy when setting up a program. “You need to know what they are talking about and understand strategy,” she said.

Unable to find a satisfactory definition of strategy for ERM, Sedor came up with her own: “A strategic business discipline that allows an organization to manage risks and seize opportunities related to the achievement of its objectives.” She added that, unfortunately, enterprise risk is not a term that resonates with the c-suite, but strategy is.

She identified three major problems with ERM that can dampen its prospects:

  1. A limited view of the organization’s mission, growth and survival.
  2. Silos. Breaking through them is a nonstop process, no matter how a company tries to improve the situation—especially in the areas of risk management, continuity planning and strategy, which typically happen in very different parts of the company.

“It is important to link risk management and continuity planning in the strategic planning process, because that will get some attention and get the program where it needs to be,” she said.

  1. Size. Because ERM programs are notoriously huge, “The thought is that ERM will cost too much money, take too many resources and take too long to implement. And that by the time it’s finished, everything will have changed anyway,” she said.

Starting the process by “saying you’re going to focus on mission-critical,” however, can help get the conversation moving. “Because as you focus on that, the lines between risk management, continuity planning and strategic planning begin to blur,” she said.

Sedor described mission-critical as any activity, asset, resource, service or system that materially impacts (positively or negatively) the organization’s ability to successfully achieve its strategic goals and objectives.

She said to find out what mission-critical means to the organization, what is the company’s appetite and tolerance for mission-critical, and the impacts of mission-critical exposures on the organization. “Risk managers will often ask this question first, but you have to come to grips with the fact that not every risk is a mission-critical risk,” she said. “And not everything in a risk management program is mission-critical.” Using that context helps in gaining perspective, she added.

When viewing risk management, continuity planning and strategic planning from a traditional perspective, strategic planning is about capturing opportunity and mitigating threats; risk management is the identification, assessment and mitigation of risk; and business continuity planning is about planning for and mitigating catastrophic threats.

Looking at them from a different vantage, however, strategic planning is planning for growth; risk management allows you to eliminate weaknesses that will impede growth, which is why it’s important; and continuity planning will identify and mitigate the threats that impact sustainability. “That is how they work together,” she said, adding, “You are also looking at weaknesses that when coupled with a threat, will take you out. Those are your high-priority weaknesses. Using a mission-critical context makes it all manageable.”

At this point, if a risk manager can gain enough leverage to talk to executives throughout the organization about what mission-critical means to the company, its impact, and then about tolerances and creating a more integrated program, “all of a sudden you’ve talked about ERM and they didn’t even know it. They thought you were talking about strategy,” she said.

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New worldwide Ransomware outbreak “Bad Rabbit”

Organizations in Russia, Ukraine and the U.S. are under siege from Bad Rabbit, a new strain of Ransomware with similarities to NotPetya the last horrible outbreak.

The outbreak started Tuesday and froze computer systems in several European countries, and began spreading to the U.S., the latest in a series of attacks.bigstock-Manager-Pushing-Ransomware-Ons-116826572-

Department of Homeland Security’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team issued an alert saying it had received “multiple reports” of infections.
Russia’s Interfax news agency reported on Twitter that the outbreak shut down some of its servers, forcing Interfax to rely on its Facebook account to deliver news.

Bad Rabbit Starts With Social Engineering

The outbreak appears to have started via files on hacked Russian media websites, using the popular social engineering trick of pretending to be an Adobe Flash installer. The ransomware demands a payment of 0.05 bitcoin, or about $275, from its victim, though it isn’t clear whether paying the ransom unlocks a computer’s files. You have just 40 hours to pay.

Bad Rabbit shares some of the same code as the Petya virus that caused major disruptions to global corporations in June this year, said Liam O’Murchu, a researcher with the antivirus vendor Symantec Corp.

Based on analysis by ESET, Emsisoft, and Fox-IT, Bad Rabbit uses Mimikatz to extract credentials from the local computer’s memory, and along with a list of hard-coded credentials, it tries to access servers and workstations on the same network via SMB and WebDAV.

The hardcoded credentials are hidden inside the code and include predictable usernames such as root, guest and administrator, and passwords straight out of a worst passwords list. (Note To Self: all user passwords need to be strong, guide all employees through a strong password training module ASAP.)

As for Bad Rabbit, the ransomware is a so-called disk coder, similar to Petya and NotPetya. Bad Rabbit first encrypts files on the user’s computer and then replaces the MBR (Master Boot Record).

Ouch, that basically bricks the workstation!!!

Learn how to FIGHT Ransomware and stop being a victim!!!

 

 

 

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[ALERT] Don’t fall for the Equifax Scam

When news broke that the credit reporting agency Equifax had suffered a data breach, consumers around the country began to question the safety of their personal information.

After all, credit reporting agencies have access to most of your personal identifiable information (PII): name, address, birth date, Social Security number, and more.Finding out that the PII for more than 143 million US consumers had been stolen was upsetting, to say the least.

Now, consumers are being cautioned about what can happen with that information, and what steps they can take to protect themselves.

1. Beware of phishing attempts in “news” articles:

Immediately after the announcement of the data breach, articles began circulating that contained a link that lets you find out if your data was stolen. While Equifax has a dedicated web page that lets you enter your information and see if you’ve been exposed, it takes no work at all for scammers to create their own link, request your information for “verification” purposes, and then steal your data. Before clicking any links or entering any personal data, make sure you’re using a verified link that was issued by the correct source.

2. Emailed phishing attacks have already been reported:

There are already scam emails in circulation that suggest you check your credit report by using their handy link. The easiest way to verify an email’s sender is to hover your mouse over the sender’s name. The actual address used will appear in a small box. To be on the safe side, don’t click through from any emails you receive; if you’re told to check your credit report, use a verified request service or form instead of the emailed link.

3. Be on the lookout:

Because genuine information was stolen, be extra diligent about monitoring your account statements, looking for unauthorized charges, tracking and reporting any suspicious activity, and keeping a close eye on your credit reports. Never provide your sensitive information for verification purposes; if you receive a warning or alert, contact your financial institution directly using an approved contact method.

To visit Equifax’s verified link to discover if your information was stolen, go directly to Equifax’s website and follow the steps they suggest. If you do experience any strange activity on your accounts, report it immediately, no matter how minor it might seem at first. Be sure your antivirus software is up-to-date to block any malicious threats from fraudulent emails or messages, and consider placing fraud alerts and security/credit freezes on your credit report with the three reporting agencies if your information was accessed.

 

Read More Here @ITRC

 

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