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How VPN helps IoT devices from malware?

VPN helps IoT devices

Your network and computer might be safe from cybercriminals, all thanks to your robust security and mighty strong passwords. But what about your IoT passwords? Most of the time, people don’t bother changing the password of these devices, which makes them susceptible to miscreants.

Beyond that, no other measures are taken to protect the information. In a study conducted, only 33% of the people changed the password of their IoT devices. This means two-thirds of the population is actually at risk when it comes to cyber-crimes.

Many people still use “12345” or ”admin” as their password, as these are mostly the password set by the manufacturer themselves. These can be the weakest link in your network, which leaves your computer at risk of malware and cyberattacks.

On top of that, the survey also revealed that only 36% of the people changed the password on the internet routers. To add more to your worries, only 20% added VPN to their routers. The public remains largely ignorant about these things and only 20% of the people considered the security aspect of their IoT while buying them.

Cybercriminals have been taking advantage of these fail points and it is the common people that are the first victims. IP addresses being leaked and sensitive information is available on the internet are just some of the things that are happening daily now. The Carna Botnet targeted people with default passwords on their IoT devices and was able to gather a large number of IPv4 addresses.

Here are a few ways one can protect themselves from such attacks

Change the passwords

If you have never changed the password of your IoT devices, you should change them as soon as possible. Change the password to a strong one and use either a password generator or one of the many password managers available online.

Update the Devices

In most cases, your IoT devices will get automatic updates over the internet, but if that is not the case, update them to the latest firmware. Software updates take care of problems that might have been plaguing the system earlier on. They are vital for a foolproof plan against cybercriminals.

VPN

It essentially encrypts your data so that no one can have access to it. Many IoT devices have very poor encryption themselves, but a VPN takes care of the problem and also buffs up the security.

What is a VPN?

VPN not only makes your cyber security beefier than ever, but it encrypts your data so that it is not easily available to anyone. This means it acts like a protector between the traffic and the man in the middle attacks by cybercriminals.

You can also use a VPN to access content that might not be available in your country. For example, many people use VPN to change the location of their Netflix accounts to access international content. It is a safe and easy way to view what you want.

A few things to consider when getting a VPN service

Server Spread

You should have access to a few thousand servers to select from, to say the least. If the VPN service does not have enough servers, then you can run into problems like not being able to secure your IoT devices.

Privacy Features

VPN is a great way of securing yourself, but it should also have features like an Internet kill switch, multi-logins, and a dedicated IP address for you. On top of this, it should also have things like split tunneling, no-logging policy, double VPN, and IP leak protection.

This way you can make sure that your network is safe and secure to use, no matter what the case may be. This is a step that everyone should take seriously. You can save yourself a lot of trouble in the future with just a few simple steps.

Compatibility

Your VPN should be compatible with the network and environment you are using. It should be cross-platform and must be available on major platforms like Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, gaming consoles, and others.

A VPN that is compatible with most platforms will safeguard all your devices straight away and you won’t have to depend on different VPNs.

Whether you use mobile phones, laptops, PCs, gaming consoles or any other device that can be connected to the Internet is necessary to take care of security issues. VPN is like umbrella security that buffs up the security of the weak spots so that you are safe, even if you are targeted.

Your Wi-Fi router could leak your location details. Here’s how to deal with the issue

wifi router

We now live in a digitally connected global society. The Internet has become one of the best inventions in the modern world, and it is almost impossible to imagine life without the Internet. Wi-Fi ensures a convenient way to connect to the Internet and access information. But how many of us know how secure a Wi-Fi connection is? Is your information and location as anonymous as you think?

Problems caused by an insecure Wi-Fi connection

To access the Internet, users need to register with the ISPs and obtain a Wi-Fi router as part of the contract. The router provided has a unique identification of the hardware, and hackers can easily access this information. The hardware ID number contains all the customer’s information-their postal addresses, registered plans, etc. There are many tools available on the Internet that make it easier for people to find IP addresses. If one of your neighbors has such a connection, it may also jeopardize your privacy. 

How to deal with this problem 

Even if you do not know about your neighbor’s Wi-Fi security, here are some tips on how you can check your connection and security. 

1. Check your connection: The first step in the process is to check if your router and modem are two separate devices. If you have two, then you do not need to worry. If it is one unit, then you have a bit of work to do.

2. ISP provider unit: If you get a unit from your ISP provider, call them and find out if the IPv6 is disabled. Get help with how to do it if it is not.

3. Buy a unit yourself: Buying a unit from a store can cut down on security issues. Check the unit’s manual and follow the steps to disable the IPv6 feature. 

If you decide to buy a router to ensure your safety, make sure to talk to your provider and get a unit that they recommend. 

Things to know about the Internet 

Most users are familiar with Internet-related terms but do not know how they work together. Here is information on the different terms.

IP addresses: IP addresses are a way for computers and sites to connect on the Internet and route information. Many of these IP addresses are not permanent and can be changed if necessary. There are two types of IP addresses – IPv4, introduced in 1981. The new version IPv6, introduced in 1998 is more secure. All IP addresses were to be upgraded to IPv6 and this has not happened. Currently, available devices are configured to support both protocols and yours may be one of these.

MAC addresses: These are permanent and unique. Every networked device has an interface for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and even Ethernet. Each address has 48 bits. This address indicates the hardware manufacturer and the specific device. You can find out how to change this information to a 64-bit address.

SSID: This is your Wi-Fi network’s name and is accessed by your phone or computer to connect to the Internet. You can change this easily.

BSSID: This number identifies a specific point for Wi-Fi access. For home Wi-Fi networks, this number and the router number are the same. Larger networks use multiple access points and broadcast to local devices, even if the devices are not connected to the Internet.

Keep in mind that BSSIDs cannot be changed, unlike the SSID. Millions of networks across the globe have been mapped and logged in databases. When your Wi-Fi network’s signal is picked up by someone driving by, it is easy enough to find out more information. Even though this system is secure and quite private, there is a loophole in the system. This makes it easy for motivated people to find the information they want, whether it is the BSSID or Mac address

A tool like IPvSeeYou does not always work efficiently because home routers issued by providers ensure that they generate IPv6 more securely. The MAC address is not used so it becomes hard to geolocate a user. One solution for this problem is with hardware manufacturers. If they do not use the EUI 64 method to generate IPv6 addresses, it takes care of exposure issues. This will not help millions of devices that cannot or will not be upgraded with updates. A lot of research is still being done to find out how to ensure that Wi-Fi security can be enhanced.

Colossal cyber attack: More than $600 million stolen from Poly Networks

cyber attack

More than 200 businesses in the United States became the recent victims of a huge ransomware attack.  Kaseya, an IT solutions provider is one of the latest victims.

Kaseya develops IT solutions for enterprises and managed service providers or MSPs. On July 2nd, 2021, the IT firm was hit by a ransomware attack. The ransomware leveraged a weakness in the firm’s VSA software against several MSPs and customers.

Fred Voccola, CEO at Kaseya stated that 0.1% of their customers were caught in the data breach. Since their client roster also contains MSPs, small businesses were also trapped in the attack.  Current estimates indicate that up to 1500 small and medium-sized businesses get targeted by ransomware via their MSP. The latest attack is similar to the SolarWinds security breach. The attackers were able to break through the software and publish malicious updates to many customers.

More about Kaseya…

Kaseya is an international company with locations in ten countries. Its main headquarters is located in Dublin, Ireland. Kaseya has another head office located in Miami, Florida. Kaseya offers many types of IT solutions such as:

·        A combined remote-monitoring and management software that handles multiple endpoints and networks (VSA)

·        Compliance systems

·        Automation platform

·        Service desks.

Kaseya’s software caters to MSPs and enterprises. According to the company, more than 40,000 companies around the world use Kaseya’s software tools. Since it provides tech to MSPs that work with other companies, Kaseya’s role is critical in the large software supply network.

The Attack

According to Huntress Labs, the cyberattack targeted Kaseya before proliferating via corporate networks that rely on its software. Huntress Labs further stated that the attack originated from the REvil- a Russian ransomware gang. They are also called Sodinokibi. It is one of the leading cyber-criminal gangs in the world. It was the gang responsible for the cyberattack in May that paused key operations at the world’s largest meat wholesaler, JBS. The organization threatens victims to comply with their demands. If the victim fails to do so, they attempt to post stolen information on their website. In 2019, REvil was also responsible for the coordinated attack on more than twelve local government offices in Texas.

The United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency declared that it was taking strict actions to deal with the attack.  This colossal cyberattack hit Kaseya on Friday afternoon. At this time, most American companies were getting ready to take a break for the long-awaited Independence Day holiday.

Supply chain attacks and ransomware hacks keep cyber-security staff awake all night. The latest attack was a combination of two nightmares rolled into a big problem. It ruined a major holiday for hundreds of people in the IT departments across the country.

Ransomware is a massive issue with repercussions on a global scale.  These are planned attacks by organized virtual criminal gangs. They are constantly trying to gain access to networks around the world and hold them for ransom. These attacks are ongoing but it takes a lot of effort and time to completely hijack a network.

The latest ransomware attack demonstrated that by targeting a software supplier that offers services to multiple other organizations, they can target thousands of other victims in a single attempt. Although there have been multiple supply chain attacks before, the latest one is the largest one to date. It demonstrates the creativity of these ransomware gangs and the extent of damage they cause.

According to Kaseya, some of its applications that operate on network devices, corporate servers, and desktop PCs were compromised. The company requested its customers who were using VSA tools to shut their systems immediately.

In their official statement, Kaseya reported that only a few companies were affected by the latest ransomware attack. However, Huntress Labs found the number to be greater than 200. The exact figure is still unclear.

At the Geneva Summit, American President Joe Biden urged Russian President Putin to tighten the reins on these cyber attacks. He offered Mr. Putin a list containing names of infrastructure sectors that were vulnerable to such hacking attacks. The list includes various sectors such as energy and water.

Hackers Breached Colonial Pipeline: Investigators suspect hackers got the password from a dark web leak

One of the largest cybersecurity attacks in recent times, this hack took down the biggest fuel pipeline in the U.S.A which led to shortages on the East Coast. Preliminary police work suggests that the whole operation could take place because of a single compromised password.

The hackers got access to Colonial Pipeline Co.’s internal networks on the 29th of April through a private account. These accounts let the employees of the company have access to the company’s computer network while they are not on site.

Security Lapse

Cyber Security expert and vice president of Mandiant, Charles Carmakal says this was how the hackers gained access to the pipeline’s network. The account that was used was not active for some time but still had all the security clearances.

On further research, it was noted that the password was a part of a batch of passwords that were leaked on the dark web. This means that Colonial’s employees must have used the same password that must have been hacked in the past. This is just a theory as to how the hackers might have got the password. But it is not possible to ascertain how they got it or how the credential was procured by them.

The deactivated VPN account did not use multi-factor authentication, which should be a must in today’s world. This gave the hackers access to breach the network and gain control just through a username and an old password. 

The Ransom Note

Early in the morning on the 7th of May, an employee saw the ransom note which demanded payment in the form of cryptocurrency. The employee informed the operations supervisor who then immediately shut down the pipeline. Joseph Blount, CEO of Colonial told the media that the pipeline had been completely shut down by 6:10 am.

In the 57 years that Colonial Pipeline Co. has existed, this is the first time that they had to shut down their gasoline pipeline system. Their CEO says this was done because they had no choice. They had no idea who was attacking them or what was the reason behind the attack. To minimize the damage they shut off the pipeline itself. 

Mandiant’sCarmakal and Joseph Blunt will be questioned by Congressional committees in a few week’s time. They are expected to provide a detailed account of the incident and what all had to be compromised to save the pipeline. They will also be questioned on the company’s decision to pay off the ransom to their attackers. The USA has a very strict policy on ransoms and this was against what the country suggests. 

That pipeline transports 2.5 million barrels worth of fuel on a daily basis from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast. Due to the pipeline being shut down there were hordes of people trying to fill up their tanks at the gas stations. This also led to the price of fuel being hiked to counteract the fall in supply. Colonial restored the pipeline’s services on the 12th of May.

Finding the Culprit

Mandiant has been working tirelessly since the attack to bring the perpetrators to justice. They have been employing countermeasures to prevent any such incident in the future. 

They also traced the hackers and how far they were able to reach inside the Colonial Pipeline’s infrastructure. Mandiant claims that while the hackers gained access to a lot of stuff, operational technology systems remained unharmed.  

Foreign attack?

Only after Mandiant declared that the attack had been contained did the company resume operations on May 12. Colonial paid the Russia-linked cybercrime group “DarkSide” $4.4 million in ransom. A 100GB of data was also stolen from the company’s database and were threatened that if the ransom is not paid it will be leaked. 


Joseph Blount has urged the Government to go after the hackers as they as a private company do not have the political influence. 

5 Frequently Asked Questions about VPN

A virtual private network creates a bubble of security between you and any third party while using a public network. It masks the user’s internet protocol (IP) address and hides their online traffic. VPNs let a user be anonymous on the internet and protect against breach of their private data.

Companies advertise VPNs as the one-stop solution for all security and privacy woes on the internet. It is crucial to check the efficacy of such extravagant claims before actually subscribing to a VPN service.

Here are some frequently asked questions about VPN that will help gain clarity on what to expect from VPNs.

1)Can I use a VPN to watch content from other countries?

A lot of streaming platforms curate different content for different countries. A VPN may enable a user to bypass the geographical block as it hides their IP address. VPN service providers use this as an incentive to attract customers interested in accessing content from other countries.

This is theoretically possible given the way VPNs function. It is imperative to note that while it is a possibility, it will not work 100% of the time. Streaming companies put a lot of checking mechanisms in place to ensure compliance with all terms.

Using a VPN to stream shows from other countries is not illegal but against the streaming platform’s policy.

For instance, Netflix is known for aggressively blocking the use of VPNs.

2)Will a VPN slow down my internet connection?

The speed of your internet connection primarily depends on:

Your existing connection type with the internet service provider.

The speed and data limits of the current plan.

VPNs tend to slightly slow down your internet speed. The speed of the internet connection is dependent on several other variables. The encryption type of the VPN, the distance between the user and the server also have a bearing on the speed. Companies are now designing VPNs in a way that limits the fall in speed. So most of the time the decrease in the speed because of VPNs is negligible.

3)Will a VPN make wi-fi networks more secure?

A VPN makes a public wi-fi network very secure. A public network is open and prone to privacy compromise. A VPN will add a layer of encryption and protect the user from all security threats.

VPN companies also claim to make home wifi networks more secure which is slightly misleading. A private wi-fi network is usually equipped with a decent password and security mechanism. The chance of people not using password-protected wi-fi at home is also remote. A VPN for a private network may not be worth buying for the sole purpose of security.

4)Can a VPN keep my data safe?

VPNs are effective at protecting the user from data surveillance, phishing attacks, identity thefts and tracking by making the user anonymous on the internet. A virtual private network will ensure that no data is compromised while using the internet. However, VPNs cannot safeguard all the user data, Any data that the user has shared with platforms, websites and businesses are beyond VPN protection. User data can still be breached by hacking third party websites.

There have been instances in the past of VPN companies selling user data. A trustworthy and reputable VPN service provider is also essential to maintain data privacy.

5)Can VPN companies be trusted?

Internet users are flocking to set up VPNs to protect private data from hackers and internet service providers. It is crucial to choose a company that you trust and has a history of fair operations. Users need to use their judgement to trust a company with their data.

Users need to remember that VPNs are not the ultimate solutions to threats. They still need to be alert and responsible on the internet.

Bandito VPN is a premium VPN service that has a proven record to provide security to the user on the internet and protect online tracking, passwords and location history.

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