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Exposing Cyber Vandalism: The Dark Side Of Cybersecurity

By Tom Seest

What Is Cyber Vandalism In Cybersecurity?

At BestCybersecurityNews, we help entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, young learners, and seniors learn more about cybersecurity.

Cyber vandalism is an act of cyber criminality that involves damaging or destroying a digital device. This could include website defacement, database deletion, and DDoS attacks against websites and online services.
Acts of vandalism are often carried out by groups with a vendetta against an organization or business. Such actions can cause irreparable reputational harm and even affect customer relationships.

What Is Cyber Vandalism In Cybersecurity?

What Is Cyber Vandalism In Cybersecurity?

What Motivates Cyber Vandals to Deface Websites?

Website defacement is the act of malicious parties hacking into a website and changing its content with their own messages. This can be done to spread political or religious propaganda, distribute malware to unwitting visitors, or advertise the presence of an organized hacker group.
These attacks can be devastating and cause extensive destruction. Furthermore, they cause a loss of reputation and trust that takes time to rebuild.
Cyber vandalism is a serious cybersecurity risk, particularly for small businesses and non-profits that use websites to communicate with their customers and the public. These organizations must take measures to safeguard both their business operations as well as their clients’ data.
A clear indicator of a web defacement attack is when your homepage undergoes drastic changes. In extreme cases, hackers may even completely render your site unusable.
In addition to displaying their own messages, attackers may also replace your logo and branding with theirs. This is an effective way for them to promote themselves and gain publicity for their actions, though it could cause significant stress for the victim’s business.
While many attacks are opportunistic, some are targeted and designed with one purpose in mind – disrupting a target’s business or discrediting them. An example of this is Anonymous, which has attacked the websites of numerous organizations with various motives.
Once an attacker gains access to your site, they can use it as a vehicle for spreading malware and ransomware. These attacks typically occur through SQL injection or other forms of hacking that take advantage of security vulnerabilities on the website.
They may also attempt to access passwords through phishing, in which they send out emails or texts with malicious links that direct victims to malicious web pages. Once clicked, these links download malware that steals passwords from people’s computers.
These techniques are relatively easy and inexpensive to execute, making them popular with malicious individuals who seek to break into online systems. Hacktivists may also utilize these tactics in an effort to draw attention away from a specific cause or political campaign.

What Motivates Cyber Vandals to Deface Websites?

What Motivates Cyber Vandals to Deface Websites?

Are Your Systems Vulnerable to SQL Injection Attacks?

SQL Injection is a form of cyber vandalism in which an attacker injects malicious code into an application, enabling it to access databases and manipulate or delete data. It poses a serious risk to organizations that depend on SQL databases for information security and business operations.
Cybercriminals often employ SQL injection to target companies and access sensitive information. Recent targets have included Target, Yahoo, Zappos, Equifax, Epic Games, TalkTalk, and Sony Pictures.
There are several methods to protect against SQL Injection vulnerabilities. One is parameterized database queries with bound, typed parameters. Another approach is avoiding dynamic SQL commands. By restricting variables in incoming SQL commands, developers can guarantee only legitimate, valid commands are executed.
Another technique involves the use of stored SQL statements that are executed at a later time, known as batched SQL injection. Unfortunately, this practice can be hard to detect using automated web application scanners.
The initial line of defense against SQL Injection attacks is user input sanitization. This includes safeguarding input from both external and internal users, as well as applying a strict whitelist of whitelisted terms.
Additionally, you should regularly scan your web applications with a web vulnerability scanner such as Acunetix to protect them from unauthorized attacks. This tool will scan for SQL Injection vulnerabilities and notify you of them.
Finally, ensure all web application software components (libraries, plug-ins, frameworks, and web server software) have the latest security patches from vendors installed. Doing this will shield you against SQL Injection exploits and prevent data breaches from occurring.
Aside from implementing these techniques, it’s essential to hire qualified developers who understand the risks associated with SQL Injection. Doing so will help you avoid sloppy coding and holes in your security measures. Furthermore, regularly conduct audits and refactor your code to minimize vulnerabilities.

Are Your Systems Vulnerable to SQL Injection Attacks?

Are Your Systems Vulnerable to SQL Injection Attacks?

Can Ransomware Attacks Be Prevented in Cybersecurity?

Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts files or prevents users from accessing them unless they pay a ransom. It has become one of the most lucrative criminal business models today and can cause major disruption to businesses.
Ransomware attacks are most often seen on business networks, where computers handle sensitive data and communicate with employees. Once infected, the ransomware program encrypts files, deletes backups to prevent their recovery, and demands payment for a decryption key.
Cybercriminals often employ a range of tactics to gain access to business systems, including phishing emails with malicious attachments and drive-by downloading (when a user visits an infected website, which then installs malware on their computer without consent).
Another popular strategy is to leverage a network of compromised systems as part of an extensive cyberattack. This gives the attackers the ability to spread their malware and gain access to more computers.
Once a system is compromised, ransomware drops and executes a malicious file that searches for files and encrypts them with an algorithm known only to its developers. The attacker then displays a message saying the files have been locked and will only be unlocked if payment is made in exchange for an ransom payment.
Different types of ransomware exist, each with a distinct behavior and encryption method. Some encrypt only text files, while others encrypt images, audio, video, and other non-binary data. Crypto ransomware has become the most widespread type, becoming more sophisticated over time.
When a victim of ransomware receives notification that their data has been encrypted, it’s important to take immediate action in order to identify which variant it is. This will enable them to determine if there are any decryption tools available and whether paying the ransom is the only way to restore their files.
Response to ransomware attacks is paramount, as they can significantly impact critical business functions like revenue and productivity. Thus, prioritizing restoration of critical systems and eliminating the threat from the network must be prioritized. Furthermore, eliminating backdoors and performing root-cause analysis are part of this response plan.

Can Ransomware Attacks Be Prevented in Cybersecurity?

Can Ransomware Attacks Be Prevented in Cybersecurity?

Can You Spot the Manipulation? Understanding Social Engineering in Cybersecurity

Social engineering is a hacking technique that utilizes psychology to gain access to systems or networks. This can be done over the phone or online, sometimes referred to as “human hackers.”
Cybercriminals often employ social engineering tactics to gain access to sensitive information. They may pretend to be representatives of legitimate organizations and convince victims to provide passwords or other sensitive details.
Though the precise nature of attacks varies, they all stem from cognitive biases that influence human decision making. These include our innate curiosity, sense of indebtedness or conditioned responses to authority.
Social engineering is the most frequent form of social engineering. Phishing involves deceiving users into divulging personal information or passwords via emails or phone calls, or it could even get victims to install malware by convincing them to click on links sent by unknown individuals.
Other techniques involve pretexting, baiting, and quid pro quo. In these instances, the social engineer creates a scenario that mirrors an actual event before impersonating it to manipulate victims into divulging information.
These strategies are founded in Robert Cialdini’s theory of influence, which suggests certain circumstances can make people more willing to disclose information or take actions they otherwise wouldn’t. Furthermore, this hypothesis implies people tend to comply with requests they perceive as legitimate.
For instance, if a target believes someone is asking them for payment via check or other form of electronic means, they are more likely to divulge their banking information. A phishing campaign may even employ scare tactics like an email intimating that their bank has been breached.
To prevent social engineering, your organization should implement a security awareness program to educate staff on how to safeguard their systems and networks. They should also make sure there are policies in place that allow employees to contact IT security if they suspect an impending security threat.
When a social engineering attack is suspected, employees should immediately alert the company’s security team. It is essential that they take swift action to contain and reduce the damage caused by this assault.

Can You Spot the Manipulation? Understanding Social Engineering in Cybersecurity

Can You Spot the Manipulation? Understanding Social Engineering in Cybersecurity

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