Dec 01

Ten measures to protect small and middle business data security(1)

Ensure recoverability of data

To do backup of existing data has been one of the key tasks of every business organization, only stupid administrators will take this kind of things as something superfluous. However, according to our experience, many enterprises don’t adopt extra measures to regularly check backup content.

Data disaster prevention mechanism

One reason why small and middle enterprises always suffer loss is the lack of forward-looking. Most of small and middle enterprises never make up adequate precautions for fires, floods and other natural disasters. Here what I must emphasize is that it’s necessary for all enterprises to store backup data in separate locations that is far from infrastructure.

Judge enterprise tolerance to data loss

Although in theory, it’s certainly more scientific to do full backup for all data. However, from the actual operations, all the information is often not necessary to be strictly protected. Companies should first determine themselves what type of data or which level of data loss can be tolerable. After a thorough understanding of their situation, we can begin modifying the backup system, letting data that is not needed disappears from backup list.

Estimate how long the daily data persists after losing data support

How long does your business persist when the enterprise doesn’t access specific data? Making sure this point can help enterprise determine how to make up restore time object (RTO). At the same time, it can help you easier establish suitable data maintenance system and hardware architectures。

Ensure that the backup system is secure and complies with regulations

The backup copy should be placed in specific location, the entire process must strictly follow relevant management system. Under possible circumstances, try to use data encryption technology to protect enterprise business information.

Nov 10

Three methods of data backup

Every company now highly emphasize on data security, for example, company establish information management department to better manage company internal data security.

To protect data, one of key factors you need to consider is data backup. Backup can be divided into three levels:

Hardware-level backup: hardware-level backup refers to using hardware redundancy to protect system’s continuous operations, for example, disk mirror and Dual Fault-Tolerant. If the main hardware gets damaged, backup hardware can immediately take over the work, this approach can effectively prevent hardware failure.

But this solution also has flaws; it can’t prevent data logical corruption. When logical corruption occurs, hardware backup will copy the error again, it can’t really protect data. The goal of hardware backup is actually to ensure system continue running when failure occurs, which is more likely hardware fault tolerance.

Software-level backup: software-level backup refers to saving system data in other software, so that when error occurs you can restore system to backup status. Since this backup solution should be fulfilled with software, it’s called software-level backup.

But this solution takes much time on backup and restore. This solution can prevent logical corruption, because backup media is separate from computer system, error won’t be rewrote in backup media, which means it will help restore data as long as it can save enough history data. But this is not suitable to companies that need to quickly restore data.

Manual backup: Manual backup is the most initial but also the most simple and effective method.

But if you use manual mode to restore data, it will spend more time than using software-level backup.

When choosing backup solution, you need to consider the importance level of the data first. For more important data, choose multiple solutions to back up. In addition, use data protection software to encrypt important data.

Oct 27

JPMorgan confirmed releasing 8.3 million users information, hackers want data rather than money

In early September, the JPMorgan data leak even was found; FBI and NSA were both involved in the investigation. At that time, according to Bloomberg reports, data leak occurred in early August, hacker used 0day vulnerability in bank website to launch attacks, FBI considered this is an attack launched by a national hacker organization according to the complexity of the attack.

CISO is a “temporary” worker

In HomeDepot event, we noted that HomeDepot hired a security manager with criminal record; and in this JPMorgan data leak event, the “temporary worker” – its chief information security officer (CISO) is deeply associated with this event.

When hacker invaded the network of JPMorgan, the CISO of JPMorgan – Greg Rattray just took office, he even wasn’t familiar with his parking space; before coming to JPMorgan Rattray assumed the Air Force Information Warfare commander, and before Rattray taking office, JPMorgan former CSIO Anthony Belfiore had resigned earlier this year, during the period, Anish Bhimani served concurrently as CSIO.

Data is more valuable than money

It’s reported that hackers found vulnerabilities in JPMorgan bank computer software and exploited them, attacking over 90 servers, but the survey showed that hackers are more interested in personal information than money. Although bank account password and other crucial information didn’t leak, but just like the impacts caused by other large-scale personal information leak events, users of JPMorgan now are facing the threats of spear phishing and social engineering attacks, for hackers mastered detailed private data of a enormous number of users.

Chief Technology Officer of RedSeal Ph.D. Mik Lioyd believes that in JPMorgan data leak event, hackers were busy stealing users’ information and even had no time to steal money, which indicates that today’s cybercrime group fancy the value of users’ data (user data exchange market and underground processing industry chain have been matured). Just like the army commander is more emphasized on Battlefield intelligence than weaponry.

Difficult to remedy

Relevant officials involved in the investigation said JP Morgan need to take at least several months to ferret out thousands of software applications and confer with technology providers about authorization contract. New York pointed out that this would give hackers a long time window through which they can further attack JPMorgan internal system undetected vulnerabilities.

JPMorgan data leak event also sent by far the most serious security warning to global enterprises: although the most high-edged security response technology and processes are inadequate to deal with automatic coordinated attacks. Enterprises need to do automatic analysis on entire end to end network access path and use security tools to timely detect any wrong configuration and anomalies caused by network complexity.

JPMorgan said they would continue to focus on detection and financial fraud events related to this data leak event, and if customers could timely detect and inform account unauthorized transaction, JPMorgan would bear the loss of customers.

You can’t stop focusing on the security of your account information and other private information stored in your service providers as well as on your own computer. Information and data leak issues occur in anytime anywhere, timely and comprehensive data and file protection is necessary and imperative.

Sep 09

Strife openly and secretly behind data encryption

In the information age, the U.S. National Security Council (NSA) almost becomes popular in the whole Internet. Not because they are credited with maintaining American security but because they rip off information, which makes them become enemy of users who strike to maintain network and freedom of network information security.

NSA has the world’s leading IT and personnel, meanwhile they are supported by U.S. government, which make them unscrupulous in the information world and the Internet.

According to “New York Times” online edition reports, a few years ago, the United States National Security Agency (hereinafter referred to as” NSA “) had implanted back door system into a International encryption technology that allows the United States federal to breach any data that was protected by this encryption technology.

There were reports that in 2006 the National Bureau of Standards and Technology helped develop an international encryption technology to assist countries and all walks of life to prevent their computer systems were hacked. But another United States federal agency — NSA—had stealthily implanted a backdoor system into the technology without many users knowing it, so that federal agents can decipher any data encrypted by this technology.

According to the documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, NSA has attempted to infiltrate each set of encryption systems, and often try to use the easiest means to achieve this goal. As modern encryption technology is extremely difficult to decipher, even with powerful supercomputers of the institution, it often failed to decipher. Therefore, NSA prefers to cooperate with major software developers and encryption technology licensors to secretly gain access permission to the system.

According to the news from “New York Times”, “The Guardian” and news site ProPublica, NSA can now access the code that’s originally used to protect commercial banking system, trade secrets, medical records and e-mail and Internet chat. Sometimes, NSA has forced some companies to give them access permissions.

These backdoors and particular access permissions are another evidence of the United States intelligence community’s ultra vires. Today, more and more businesses and individuals store most secret data on the cloud storage service, hence they need to be assured that their data is secure, but this relationship is mostly based on trust. Once users know the encryption system is sabotage, they will shake their confidence in these systems, which may have adverse impact on business activities.

People were originally thought that individuals, businesses and government agencies’ privacy in the general communications will be protected, but the fact that NSA implanted backdoor backdoor system might make such illusions shattered.

NSA tends to assure the U.S. government that they would decipher the communication or data that is suspected of illegal individuals or businesses. But weakening citizens’ ability of using encryption technology is obvious a practice of ultra vires.

New Jersey Democratic Congressman Rush Holt has proposed a bill, banning the government requiring software developers to implant backdoor in encryption software system. Outsiders believe that the bill should receive the unanimous support of the U.S. Congress. At the same time, a number of Internet companies including Google and Facebook are developing a new encryption system that is difficult for NSA to penetrate. These companies attempt to show an attitude that they are not secret partner of intelligence agency.

Aug 11

Top 10 Security Issues Revealed in 2014 Blackhat Conference(1)

Hackers always present their amazing skills to the public, from invading aircraft code to monitoring surveillance cameras, and then to using any USB device as attacking tool.

Even though some of the security issues are sensational in theory, but they are pioneers that uncover security risks in Internet world.

1. Quietly deadly BadUSB

A researcher in Berlin “Security Research Laboratory” claimed that they had developed conceptual tools to attack USB device firmware. When the infected USB device is plugged into the computer, it will disguise as keyboard to download malicious software.

Since most USB device manufacturers haven’t taken any measures to protect the firmware, and anti-malicious software won’t scan firmware malicious behaviors. So theoretically this vulnerability can spread malicious software owing to hard to find and difficult to prevent, and imagine how many USB devices are interacting with computers over the world, we know how terrible this vulnerability is. Fortunately, in reality we have not found attacks based on this vulnerability.

2. Invade aircraft

The consequence of another conceptual attack is more terrible. A researcher in the field of human-computer interaction, Ruben Santamarta claimed that hackers can invade aircraft satellite communication system via Wi-Fi and entertainment systems, thereby allowing the attacker to affect aircraft navigation and safety systems.

The satellite communication system manufacturer said in an interview with Reuters, the possibility of such attack and harm caused by the attack are very small, but they also said they had begun to fix loopholes.

3. Being monitored surveillance cameras

Are your surveillance cameras monitored by other people?

Two security researchers opened a $ 200 Dropcam camera, wanting to see how it works internally. It turned out that there are many vulnerabilities that hackers can make use of them to not only browse the video camera in the store but also upload to third-party video and forge to be taken by other machine. In short, hackers can hijack and take over the camera’s video stream.

Fortunately, there’s a significant adverse condition to implement this terrible security vulnerability: an attacker need physically access to your Dropcam camera. In other words, if an attacker can strut into your room and access to your camera, the security issue on your company or your room is more serious than that of surveillance camera.

4. Tor crisis

Tor provides anonymous access between the source node to the destination node for the user. However, a researcher Alexander Volynkin at Carnegie Mellon University said that with minimal cost to break the anonymity of Tor network is very possible. However, the specific implementation details hadn’t been announced yet.

However, urged on by Carnegie Mellon University, Volynkin abruptly canceled his speech at the hackers conference. Meanwhile, recently Tor’s operators also discovered a set of unidentified malicious relay node, Tor tries to decrypt the user’s identity. (Reference: peeled onion skin, deep Inside the Tor network)

5. Symantec Endpoint Protection loophole

Renowned security expert Mati Aharoni discovered three vulnerabilities in Symantec Endpoint Protection tool. These vulnerabilities could allow an attacker to launch high-level access to the victim’s computer. In other words, hackers can invade your computer through security software. Would not it be a very ironic thing?

Of course, Symantec has started repairing the vulnerabilities!

The last five vulnerabilities will be revealed in next blog post, please stay tuned!

If you want to know information about personal or enterprise file protection solutions, please visit: http://www.kakasoft.com.

Jul 28

Use Heartbeat as Password – a New Encryption Method Appears

Since now many people don’t trust the traditional passwords, some technology companies began to explore other ways to ensure people’s online account safety. Some companies invented to use brain waves or fingerprints as passwords. Now there’s a new encryption method in the world.

A wristband called Nymi can detect user’s heart rate through ECG sensor, and allows user to use own heartbeat to decrypt device. This product can be used with iPad or even cars. This product manufacturer is Bionym from Toronto, the company’s developers said using human heartbeat to unlock the device is safer than using fingerprints, facial recognition and other external means to do that.

When first time getting the device, users simply need to use finger to press on the sensor of the wristband, the sensor will automatically monitor and store the user’s heart rate. The whole process takes about two minutes, after saving the user’s heartbeat, the device will only recognize the user’s heartbeat. Ordinarily, the sizes of people’s hearts are completely different, so produced electrocardiogram is unique.

Daily use of the device is also very simple, you need to press and hold the sensor with your finger, after a few seconds, the sensor will be able to identify the user’s heart rate, and use Bluetooth technology to connected with the device that need to be controlled to unlock the device. When wristband leaves outside of the scope of Bluetooth, the device automatically locks.

Nymi even works with the gesture control feature, for example, when a user is in the car, waving can open the drive side door or rotating the wrist to open the front passenger side door. In addition, the product also has a secure payment feature, at highway toll stations users can use it to scan the device charges, and the fees will be automatically deducted from the user’s account. The wristbands can also remind users of receiving a mail or social network message by vibration, while the device vibrates, the screen will also display.

This encryption method is limited used to protect devices. We now still use traditional password most. For example, we use traditional password to protect files/folders on computer or external hard drive.

Jun 30

Best Defense is Equal to Attack

Speaking of BYOD, the best defense is attack, namely, making strategies in advance to achieve your desired results and to avoid potential risks.

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has stirred all walks of business processes. Some companies are fully enjoying the convenience brought by BYOD, yet some companies shy away from them. On the bright side, BYOD can potentially help companies save operating costs, help employees maintain a happy mood and improve office efficiency. But on the other hand, BYOD may also bring a series of problems and pitfalls in the various aspects of security, compatibility and so on. But through some planning and education, most of these problems and pitfalls can be avoided. We can have a look at the troubles brought by BYOD and corresponding resolutions to these problems.

Data leakage: Companies sensitive data leakage is always one of most concerned problems for companies. Employees bringing their own devices to company makes enterprise more worried. Employees may lose their smart phone or tablet; for these devices can easily be eyeing by thief. When the devices containing companies’ sensitive data get lost, the data may fall into wrong hands. One way to avoid this situation is to use file password protection program to lock sensitive data with password, and the other way is to use a remote deletion policy, namely when the employee’s mobile device is stolen, company can remotely delete the sensitive data on the remote device.

Password Leak: just like we usually carry several keys, employees’ mobile devices will store various passwords that are used to log in company’s network and applications. These passwords may exist in mobile applications, or may also be stored directly in the mobile device’s memory. Enterprises must establish a strategy to ensure that companies’ passwords won’t be stored in cache or any application in mobile device. An alternative strategy is that if employees want to save the password on the mobile device business (even login information), they need to use information/password saving application to properly encrypt them.

Productivity decline: When employees start BYOD, they will spend a lot of time on social network, chatting with friends or do other things unrelated to work. How to solve this problem? Since many devices are connected to operator’s mobile communication network, in which case the employees feel that their equipment is not bound by corporate policy. In order to avoid this situation, you should require employees’ mobile devices switch into WiFi network provided by the enterprise when entering company. 

Insufficient bandwidth: Many companies have been concerned about this problem. Most companies believe that the enterprise network bandwidth demands will be dropped after the use of BYOD, which is a big mistake. One of the advantages of BYOD is that employees also can use the mobile operator’s network networking to work when going out, but when they returned to the office, they are likely to connect desktop and their mobile devices to the corporate network, thereby increasing the burden on the enterprise network access bandwidth. Therefore, companies need to ensure that their network access bandwidth has sufficient load-bearing capacity.

Device Management: Many companies are asking how to manage a large number of mobile devices. Because of the many types of equipment, as well as different operators, companies is difficult to centrally manage all mobile devices. But what companies can do is to establish a set of network access control mechanism (NAC), and to control these devices via MAC address for each mobile device.

Over Autonomy: Once a company implemented a BYOD strategy, which’s equivalent to tell employees and users that businesses gives them a very high autonomy. Of course, this autonomy is likely to be abused by employees or network users. Therefore, even if the enterprises implement BYOD, they should let employees know that it doesn’t mean that they can use their own equipment in any activity. If necessary, you can also require employees to sign BYOD agreement confirming that they understand their mobile devices use behaviors in the enterprise are limited.

Jun 16

It’s time for you to abandon TrueCrypt

A series of aftermath of WindowXP end of support is gradually revealing. Currently open source TrueCrypt warn users of the tool’s security vulnerability on SourceForge official site; meanwhile, TrueCrypt also announced the termination of TrueCrypt development.

TrueCrypt warned on the official page with striking red font:

“WARNING: Using TrueCrypt is not secure as it may contain unfixed security issues

This page exists only to help migrate existing data encrypted by TrueCrypt.

The development of TrueCrypt was ended in 5/2014 after Microsoft terminated support of Windows XP. Windows 8/7/Vista and later offer integrated support for encrypted disks and virtual disk images. Such integrated support is also available on other platforms (click here for more information). You should migrate any data encrypted by TrueCrypt to encrypted disks or virtual disk images supported on your platform.”

TrueCrypt’s warning and development suspension caused uproar on social media, since in the past decade, TrueCrypt had always been a very popular cross-platform open-source encryption program, so it’d been first choice for users who had needs of data encryption.

For a long time, TrueCrypt are famous for excellent encryption performance and good safety record, TrueCrypt could create a virtual disk on your hard drive without needing to generate any file, the user can access in accordance with the drive, all files on virtual disk are automatically encrypted, which need password to be accessed. TrueCrypt offers a variety of encryption algorithms, including: AES-256, Blowfish (448-bit key), CAST5, Serpent, Triple DES, and Twofish, other features support FAT32 and NTFS partitions, hide labels, hot start and so on.

In 2009, the Brazilian Federal Police confiscated five hard drives in banker Daniel Dantas’s Rio de Janeiro apartment in the Satyagraha action launched in July 2008. These drives used two types of encryption programs, one of which is TrueCrypt, the other is unknown 256 AES encryption software. After the expert failed to crack the password, the Brazilian government asked the U.S. for help in the beginning of 2009, however, the United States federal police also failed to crack the encryption after one-year attempt, and returned the hard drive. This incident makes TrueCrypt famous.

In 2013, Snowden exposure NSA can decrypt most Internet encryption technology; TrueCrypt supporters raised a lot of money to audit TrueCrypt security. From the first phase of audit results, there has not been found security backdoors.

Johns Hopkins University professor Matthew Green participated in the TrueCrypt security audit, he said TrueCrypt official warning looks really, unlike the hacker’s prank, and he also contacted the TrueCrypt secret private developers, trying to get more details.

Whatever the truth, TrueCrypt users should enhance viligance, TrueCrypt is no longer the indestructible who should begin vigilant, TrueCrypt encryption is no longer the indestructible encryption software. And it’s time for you to consider using other file encryption software as an alternative. There’re many file encryption solutions on Google, you can try and choose most suitable one. If you need file/folder encryption solution for Windows computer, you can try Folder Protector.

May 19

Nine mistakes enterprise often commits after data leakage

In the recent International Association of Privacy Professional (IAPP), a data and privacy protection expert from Data Breach Resolution – Michael Bruemmer lists top nine common mistakes that enterprises commit after data leakage.

When the enterprise leak their data owing to being attacked , if the enterprise fails to handle the problem, the situation will become deteriorate, which may result in secondary attack on enterprise brand and performance and even involve the enterprise into legal troubles.

1. There is no external safety management services company to assist

When the severity of data leakage exceeds the company’s processing ability, it’s better for the enterprise to have the assistance of external security services team, which is called the incident response team, such as Verizon Business, Trustwave or IBM all can provide similar service. This kind of service should be considered when making out business continuity / incident response plan.

2. There’s no external legal counsel

Currently laws and regulations are unable to effectively cover all types of sensitive personal information, hence when serious data leak incidents happen, it’s necessary to commission an external data leak related experienced lawyer unless your company’s legal department well knows all data and privacy related laws.

3. There’s no sole decision maker

Data leakage often involves multiple departments in company, and every department has its head, which always leads to low efficiency in execution. Enterprise must assign a similar CISO position, which can play a planning and coordination role in promoting the overall issue response.

4. A lack of transparent communication mechanism

A lack of transparent communication mechanism will lead to troubles, and wrong communication message will cause wrong actions, which will delay the processing speed of the entire incident and make new confusion.

After the incident response team was established, every staff in this team should be definite and provide a complete contact list for external consultants.

5. There is no communication plan

Another problem in enterprise is a lack of communication plan to communicate with the p[ublick or the media.

Enterprise should prepare a detailed and feasible media communication plan for a data leak incident. Rapid and effective media communication can avoid spreading false reports.

6. Think and plan before things happen

Data leakage incident often needs you to make decision when holding incomplete information or information is changing fast, which is somewhat similar to a hospital emergency room. Enterprise must launch contingency processing flow while data leak incident happens. Waiting to grasp the full information and then taking action will miss the best opportunity.

7. A lack of rehabilitation and correction plan after the event happens

After handling the data leakage incident, enterprise should make out a rehabilitation and correction pan to maintain good communication with consumers and stakeholders, while avoiding this kind of events from happening again. It’s helpful for rebuilding the brand and retrieve trust of customers by sharing your investment in information security technology and services with your customers and investors.

8. Provide customers with no remedy

Consumers should always be the core of intrusion response, which means that companies should notify consumers through channels such as call center to take proper measures to protect personal privacy data after the data leakage incidents happen.

9. There’s no plan to execute

Incident response plan must be constantly updated and corrected, and its implementation needs a complete team to continue to advance.

For more information about data security, you can visit: www.kakasoft.com

May 05

The troubles from BYOD and corresponding solutions

When talking about BYOD, the best defense is attack, that is, through setting stratagem in advance to achieve the expected results and to avoid the potential risks. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has stirred all walks of business processes. Some enterprises are fully enjoying the convenience brought about by BYOD, while some enterprises are staying away from it. On the bright side, BYOD can potentially help companies save operating cost, help employees maintain happy moods and improve office efficiency. But on the other side, BYOD may also result in a series of problems and pitfalls in security and compatibility and other aspects. However, through education and planning, most of these problems and pitfalls will be avoided. Now let me show you the troubles result from BYOD and the corresponding solutions to the problems.

Data leakage: company’s sensitive data leakage is always one of the most concerned problems for companies. Employees bring their own devices into the company, which makes the concern of data leakage more serious. Employees may lose their smart phones or tablets, what’s more, these devices easily become targets of thieves. Once the mobile devices with company sensitive data get lost, the data may well fall into wrong hands. To avoid this situation, admin of the business should urge employees to encrypt all files relate to company with password, so the files are still under protection even if the device are stolen or missing.

Password leakage: just like we usually carry several keys, there will be several passwords that can be used to logon enterprise network or service applications on employees mobile devices. These passwords may be stored on mobile applications or directly on the memory of the mobile devices. Enterprise must establish a strategy to ensure the password won’t be stored on cache or applications on the mobile devices. An alternative strategy is to use special password storing application to properly store passwords if employees hope to save enterprise passwords on mobile devices.

Productivity decline: when employees begin bringing their own devices, they will spend much working time on the social networks, chatting with friends or behaving other things unrelated to work. How to solve this problem? In order to avoid this situation, all employees’ mobile devices should be connected to WiFi network provided by the enterprise. If employees are aware of the network they are connected now is within the enterprise, they will more beware of the online behaviors and don’t spend too much time on things unrelated to work.

Compatibility issues: BYOD will bring a lot of problems about devices and platforms. You hope company’s IT system and business process will support Android, IOS, OS X, Blackberry, Linux, Windows 8 and other mobile systems; while companies wish to support only one or two kinds of platforms, for the limited platform make the support from company to mobile devices easier.

Device Management: many companies are wondering how to manage a large number of mobile devices. Because of various types of devices and different operators, enterprise can hardly centrally manage all mobile devices. But companies can at least establish a set of network access control mechanism (NAC), such as PacketFence, and to control these devices via MAC address for each mobile device. Of course, this requires that employees agreed the enterprise to record the MAC address of their mobile device. But companies need to realize that it takes much time to manage all devices and activities of these devices.

Virus infection: compared with desktop, the risk of virus infection of mobile phone platforms is relatively less. Therefore, users of mobile devices must install anti-virus software for their devices. The enterprise should designate antivirus products for employees, and regularly remind staffs to upgrade software and virus database.

Compare all devices to human beings, the mobile device is like people in adolescence, and there always be many problems. Enterprise makes use of mobile devices to assist the business; it must face various potential problems. The best solution is to prepare in advance and then resolve the problems quickly and timely when they arise.