How to Protect Your Bank Accounts from Dridex Malware
Hackers have stolen more than $40 million from U.S. and U.K. victims using a new strain of Dridex. Here is how you can protect your business from this malware.
A new spin on an old hacker favorite might be lurking in your email inbox. Hackers released a new strain of the Dridex malware as part of a large phishing campaign that was discovered in October 2015. The phishing emails try to lure you into opening an attached file. If you do, the malware-laden file will attempt to infect your computer if it is running Microsoft Windows. Once infected, hackers will try to get your banking credentials so that they can steal money from your bank accounts. Hackers have already stolen more than $40 million from U.S. and U.K. victims using this new Dridex strain, according to Tripwire.
A successor to the Cridex banking malware, Dridex was first discovered in July 2014. Dridex creates HTML fields that ask you to enter additional personal information when you log into an online bank account. The July 2014 version usually hid the malicious code that creates these fields in executable (EXE) files. In fall 2014, hackers started hiding the malicious code in macros in Microsoft Word files. Hackers made even more changes to the malware in fall 2015, making it harder for anti-virus software to catch it.
Once a computer is infected with Dridex, hackers can use it for more than just obtaining banking credentials. They can also use the computer to send spam or partake in attacks designed to shut down websites or web services. If you suspect your computer is infected, you should use an anti-malware tool to try to remove it. There are many free tools that identify and remove malware, such as Trend Micro’s HouseCall and Microsoft’s Safety Scanner. You should also change your passwords, including your banking credentials.
To help prevent a Dridex infection, you can take several measures:
- Disable Word macros. Since Dridex uses Word macros to deliver its malicious code, disabling them can help defend against it. If these macros are disabled and you open a Dridex-ridden Word file, Word will display a message telling you that they must be enabled to open the file. The malicious code cannot run until you do so. If Word macros are enabled and you open a Dridex-ridden Word file, the malicious code will run without any notification from Word. In most versions of Word, macros are disabled by default.
- Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date. Anti-virus software providers constantly update their software to thwart threats like Dridex. Thus, you need to make sure that your anti-virus software is always up-to-date.
- Keep your applications and operating system software up-to-date. It is important to install application and operating system patches. That way, hackers cannot take advantage of known problems and vulnerabilities.
For more advice on how to prevent Dridex and other types of malware infections, talk to your IT service provider.
<![CDATA[Simple Email Mistakes That Can Cause Serious Data Security Breaches]]>
Tue, 24 Nov 2015 07:31:35 -0500 <![CDATA[When it comes to email, a careless mistake can cause a company to lose a huge amount of time and money. Learn how to avoid these expensive lapses in judgment. ]]>
<![CDATA[ Careless human error is one of the main causes of IT problems. Many companies know how disastrous these mistakes can be. As the Ponemon Institute's 2014 Cost of Data Breach Study pointed out, nearly one-third of all data breaches were caused by careless human error. Email mistakes in particular stand out as significant causes of data breaches. While these mistakes are understandable in many cases, they are still very costly.
Major Examples of Email MistakesOne notable example of an email mistake that caused a data breach involved the Goldman Sachs investment management firm. In June 2014, a Goldman Sachs contractor accidentally sent a message to a gmail.com email address instead of the corresponding gs.com email address. The latter email address is connected to the company’s in-house email network. The email contained a confidential document, and the mistake sent Goldman Sachs scrambling for a solution. To prevent the gmail.com recipient from opening the message, Goldman Sachs took Google to the New York State Supreme Court. In its petition, the investment management firm said that the message contained "highly confidential brokerage account information" and asked Google to help it prevent a "needless and massive" data breach. The case was unprecedented, in that Goldman Sachs argued that email senders should have the right to "unsend" an email if it was sent by mistake. In the end, however, the court did not have to rule on the case, since Google voluntarily blocked the recipient’s access to the email. Another noteworthy email mistake occurred in April 2014. An employee at the risk advisor and insurance brokerage firm Willis North America accidentally sent a spreadsheet to a group of employees enrolled in the company medical plan’s Healthy Rewards Program. The spreadsheet contained confidential information, including employees’ names, email addresses, birthdates, Social Security numbers, employee ID numbers, office locations, and the details of their medical insurance plans. Willis North America agreed to pay for 2 years of identity theft protection for the 4,830 people affected by the breach. Although the leaked information did not include details about the victims’ health conditions or the health information of their dependents, Willis North America was still cited for violating the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
The Costs of Email MistakesAccording to the Ponemon Institute, data breaches caused by careless human error cost companies on average $117 per compromised record. If an email mistake affected thousands of people, as was the case for Willis North America, then it could result in sizable losses. Several issues can cause these high costs. As the Cisco case showed, losses in productivity can cost a company a significant amount of time and money. Another cost stems from paying for identity theft protection for the victims. Additionally, if the email mistake led to a data breach, then the company could find itself facing lawsuits or punitive fines. Data breaches like these could also reveal sensitive company information to the general public. Email mistakes, especially those that cause data breaches, can also tarnish a company’s reputation, which can lead to lost business opportunities. As one example, Goldman Sachs faced substantial damage to its reputation after its email-related data breach in 2014.
Avoiding Careless MistakesTo prevent any mistakes, create clear-cut policies and procedures about sending emails, especially those with sensitive information. You’ll also need to educate your staff members about the problems caused by carelessly sending emails. Employees are more likely to think twice about sending a message when they know just how costly a mistake can be. By the same token, you should develop a workplace environment in which employees feel comfortable talking about their IT concerns. By making your staff members feel comfortable about discussing these issues, you can improve the odds that one of them will ask a question that could avert a mistake. Data loss prevention (DLP) software can also help in this regard. This software can stop employees from sending confidential information intentionally or by accident. Look to your IT staff or service provider for help when searching for a DLP solution that matches your individual needs. ]]>
<![CDATA[How to Connect to Your Computers Using Windows Remote Desktop]]>
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 11:40:11 -0400 <![CDATA[Windows Remote Desktop lets you manage your Windows computers in a home or office network environment without sitting in front of them. Learn how to set up Remote Desktop and take advantage of this convenient tool. ]]>
Since Windows XP, the Windows operating system has included an application known as Remote Desktop. Remote Desktop lets you remotely control Windows computers through a local area network or the Internet. With Remote Desktop you can run programs, access files, and even manage network resources on any Windows computer.
To get started, you’ll need to set up the computers you want to remotely control. Remote Desktop requires your user account to have a password, so you’ll want to do that first. Click the Windows “Start” button and select “Control Panel.” Click the “User Accounts” option and then click “Change your password.” Enter a password for your account. From this point on, your computer will prompt you for a username and password at login time, whether the computer is accessed locally or remotely through Remote Desktop.
Next, you’ll need to enable access for Remote Desktop. Click the Windows “Start” button and right-click “Computer.” A drop-down menu appears. Click the “Properties” option. In the window that opens, click “Remote Settings.”
You’ll probably want to check the box labeled “Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop.” This option is convenient if you have multiple versions of Windows running in your home or office, as each version of Windows is slightly different in handling Remote Desktop connections.
Finally, you need to choose which users you’ll allow to connect via Remote Desktop. Administrative users automatically have access to Remote Desktop. If you want to give other users access, click the “Select Users” button, select the users in the following window and then click “OK.”
After you’ve set up Remote Desktop on your computers, you can connect to them from anywhere in your home or office.
Click the Windows “Start” button and type “remote desktop” in the search text box. Type the name or IP address of the remote computer and click “Connect.” Your computer will connect to the Remote Desktop computer, and you’ll be prompted for the appropriate username and password. Correctly entering the username and password will give you access to control the computer.
Connecting to your Remote Desktop computer through the Internet is also possible, but extra settings are needed on your router. You’ll want to Google specific instructions for your router in order to get things working, but it’s usually a straightforward process.