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How Cybercriminals Hack, Infiltrate & Breach Web Data Content

Hacking does not necessarily count as a cybercrime; as such, not all hackers are Cybercriminals. Cybercriminals hack and infiltrate computer systems with malicious intent. While Hackers only seek to find new and innovative ways to use a system, be it for good or bad. Cybercriminals also differ greatly from threat actors in various ways, the first of which is intent.

Threat Actors are individuals who conduct targeted attacks, which actively pursue and compromise a target entity’s infrastructure. Cybercriminals are unlikely to focus on a single entity. But, they conduct operations on broad masses of victims. Defined only by similar platform types, online behavior, or programs used, thus they differ in skills.

Threat actors follow a six-step process, which includes researching targets and moving laterally inside a network. Cybercriminals, on the other hand, are unlikely to follow defined steps to get what they want from their victims. Note, however, that cybercriminals have also been known to adopt targeted attack methodologies in their operations.

Who Are Cybercriminals?

Cybercriminals are individuals or teams of people who use technology to commit malicious activities on digital systems or networks. Eventually, with the intention of stealing sensitive company information or personal data and generating profit.

Cybercriminals are known to access the cybercriminal underground markets found on the deep web to trade malicious goods and services. Such as hacking tools and stolen data. Cybercriminal underground markets are known to specialize in certain products or services.

Laws related to cybercrime continue to evolve across various countries worldwide. Law enforcement agencies are also continually challenged when it comes to finding, arresting, charging, and proving cybercrimes.

Political hackers, or ‘hacktivists’ – such as the loose grouping known as Anonymous – put their skills to work exposing or attacking establishment bodies such as governments, financial institutions, and other entities they see as corrupt.

What Are The Cybercriminals Real Deal?

While perpetrators and their activities are secretive, we do know that their motivations vary. Most bad guys want to steal your money, and they use a number of approaches to get it, including those at the bottom of this page.

From social engineering threats to ransomware, money is often the main aim. This may include access to a number of types of data, from credit card information and contact information to IP addresses, usernames, and passwords.

Cybercriminals want a number of different things like:
  • Money (extorting or transferring money from accounts)
  • Power/influence
  • Financial information or Corporate data
  • Personal profiling data (passwords, etc)
  • Information relating to new product research and development
  • Access to systems (to create ‘zombies’)
  • To place software on your machine (adware, spyware.)
  • Sensitive information (government institutions, personal data from public/private companies)

Another aim of many cybercriminals is corporate espionage: stealing information, data, or ideas. It may be that the data itself is valuable or that the breach damages a business’s reputation. Sometimes what the bad actor initially wants – passwords, personal data, customer information, etc – is just part of a grander scheme.

Cybercriminals Recap: Snatch & Zeppelin Ransomware

Researchers at SophosLabs found that the ransomware operators use a Windows registry key to schedule a Windows service called SuperBackupMan, which can run in Safe Mode and cannot be stopped or paused. The malware even goes further by deleting all volume shadow copies on the system, thus preventing the forensic recovery of encrypted files.

Two ransomware families – Snatch and Zeppelin – with noteworthy features were spotted this week. Snatch ransomware is capable of forcing Windows machines to reboot into Safe Mode. Zeppelin ransomware, on the other hand, was responsible for infecting healthcare and IT organizations across Europe and the U.S.

So, how do Snatch Ransomware attacks happen? Well, snatch reboots infected machines into Safe Mode to bypass security software and encrypt files without being detected. It was designed to do this because security software often does not run in Windows Safe Mode since it’s meant for debugging and recovering a corrupt operating system (OS).

Snatch ransomware, first discovered back in 2018, does not target home users or use mass distribution methods such as spam campaigns or browser-based exploits. Instead, the malware operators go after a small list of targets that include companies and government organizations. The operators were also found recruiting hackers on hacking forums and stealing information from target organizations.

Zeppelin Ransomware Targets

Zeppelin, which is a new variant of the VegaLocker/Buran ransomware, was spotted with compilation timestamps no earlier than November 6, 2019. Infecting companies located in Europe and the U.S. through targeted installs.

As reported by BlackBerry Cylance, the Zeppelin ransomware, also a ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) family, was found to be used to infect certain healthcare and IT companies. Zeppelin ransomware appears to be highly configurable and can be deployed as a .dll or .exe file, or wrapped in a PowerShell loader.

Read Also: Christmas-Themed Shopping, Game, and Chat Apps Found Malicious Lure Users with Deals

Aside from encrypting files, it also terminates various processes, including those associated with the backup, database, and mail servers. Zeppelin executables were found wrapped in three layers of obfuscation. Its ransom notes range from generic messages to elaborate notes tailored to specific organizations.

Notably, it appears Zeppelin ransomware is not being widely distributed — or at least not yet. The researchers believe that Zeppelin, similar to Sodinokibi ransomware, is being spread through managed service providers (MSPs) to further affect customers. Moreover, the ransomware can also be distributed through malvertising operations and watering hole attacks.

How To Protect Yourself Against Ransomware

Aside from maintaining an up-to-date operating system to address exploitable vulnerabilities, users should adopt the standard best practice of backing up data via the 3-2-1 rule.

Users can also consider deploying comprehensive, multi-layered security solutions that will protect against ransomware attacks coming from different entry points. Below are other measures that users and organizations can implement to prevent ransomware attacks.

Consider the following:
  • Secure ports and services that are exposed to the internet
  • Enable multi-factor authentication to protect admin accounts from potential brute-force attacks
  • Secure remote access tools as they can be used as entry points
  • Employ the principle of least privilege and regularly monitor your network for threats
  • Perform regular password audits for stronger access control

Trend Micro solutions such as the Smart Protection Suites and Worry-Free Business Security solutions, which have behavior monitoring capabilities, can protect users and businesses from these types of threats. Especially, by detecting malicious files, scripts, and messages as well as blocking all related malicious URLs.

Trend Micro XGen security provides a cross-generational blend of threat defense techniques against a full range of threats for data centerscloud environmentsnetworks, and endpoints. It infuses high-fidelity machine learning with other detection technologies and global threat intelligence for comprehensive protection against advanced malware.

The Topmost Website Security Guidelines (WordPress Webmasters)

In order for your WordPress website to be somewhat safer, you should try and start monitoring its security with toolkits such as Sucuri, Wordfence, other WordPress inbuilt security features, etc. Additionally, you should also consider securing your overall web hosting account. But, it all starts with the right host like Bluehost, Kenya Web Experts, Hostinger, Truehost, etc.

By the same token, you should also consider protecting your web users against any target-based attacks. Whilst, observing the importance of restricting permissions, by setting up certain password restrictions, as well as logging out any idle website users. Equally important, there’s also the need of protecting both you and site users against Third-Party utilities and services.

You can start by validating all third-party plug-ins, avoiding malicious third-party services, identifying potentially harmful plugins or themes, and only installing the most basic plugins that you need, or otherwise, only those plugins that WordPress recommends for your website. The best thing is also to check what others have to say about them too. Below are more options.

Configure Website Installation Files Well

  • Change Your Administrative Username
  • How to Change Your Administrative Username
  • Installing Two-Factor Authentication With Google Authenticator
  • Install a CAPTCHA Solution and Get Spam Protection for Your Comments
  • Installing the Akismet WordPress Plug-In
  • Remove Your WordPress Version Number
  • Disable the WordPress API, Disable XML-RPC, etc.

Consider Passwords and Password Hygiene

  • Crafting a Strong and Memorable Password
  • Practicing Good Password Hygiene
  • Making Sure Your Password Can’t Be Reset
  • Locking Out Multiple Sign-On Attempts
  • Installing WP Limit Login Attempts

Your Web Hosting Data And Account Security

  • Adding External Monitoring Systems
  • Setup an SSL Certificate and Configure WordPress
  • Add an SSL Certificate and migrate from HTTP to HTTPS
  • Update your existing File Permissions
  • Turn Off PHP Error Reporting
  • Keeping Your WordPress Site Current
  • Abandoning Out-of-Date Plug-Ins
  • Keeping Your Site Clean Always

At all costs, make sure that you are able to protect your website pages and blogs against all other physical intrusions — both internally and externally. Safeguard yourself by logging in through only those computers that you are sure about, connecting to an internet service that you can trust, and doing more research on the Internet of Things (IoT) to gather more security tips.

Takeaway,

Larger corporations have more financial resources to invest in defense. Malicious attackers are well aware of this. So, alongside attacks on enterprises, they also logically target more vulnerable links in the chain: small businesses.

The data that these small businesses process is often extremely valuable, both to the SMB and to the client they are supplying or partnering with. Cybercriminals know this too.

Anonymously, and from international bases, perpetrators produce programs and software designed to scour the web, hunting for those weak links, wherever they may be. Often, people play as big a role in cybersecurity as antivirus software like AVG Business. That’s why, in the battle to defend your business against cybercriminals, it’s essential to consider a few other things.

Such considerations are as follows:
  • Invest in cybersecurity software for your business to immediately and comprehensively protect your business from a range of security threats
  • Train your employees to stop bad actors from gaining access to social security data, online accounts, bank accounts, or other sensitive data so that they don’t put your business at risk of attack.

In nutshell, even a slight data breach could cripple your small business, costing you thousands or millions of dollars in lost sales and/or damages. But, with this in mind, I hope you have gathered enough information in regard to the above-revised topic. You can also learn more about protecting your small business from cybercriminals in detail.

Related Topics:
  1. The New Path to the C-Suite
  2. How do I get a Ransomware Attack?
  3. Petya ransomware and NotPetya malware
  4. VaultPress Plugin | For WordPress Sites Backup & Security
  5. WannaCry Ransomware: What you need to know

For your information, the jmexclusives agency has the tools necessary to ensure you have the proper coverage. Protecting your company against losses from cyber attacks. If you’ll require our Services Solutions, or rather have additional information, contributions, or even suggestions, please feel free to Consult Us and let us know.

You can also share some or more of your thoughts in our comments section below this post. Not forgetting, you can also Donate to support what we do or even motivate our content creators. All in all, we wish you all the best as you secure yourself from Cybercriminals and their Cyber Security Threats or Attacks.


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