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101

Hacker Horror Stories to Frighten Dev Teams This Halloween

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Halloween is a time for ghosts, ghouls, and other frightening things. But ask any cybersecurity professional if they’re more scared of hockey masks and chainsaws or hackers and malware, and most will take their chances with the slashers. Truly, few things are more terrifying than when data security is compromised. 

Customer information, reputation, credibility, the outlook for the future — all of those things come into question when hackers and attackers infiltrate. It’s the thing of nightmares and, unfortunately, it happens more often than you think.

In fact, some estimates place the total at 109 million accounts that were breached in the third quarter of 2022 alone. That’s a 70% jump over the previous quarter. Yikes! And while no breach is minor, sometimes the magnitude of the breach, who it affects, and the costs and outcomes are especially jaw-dropping.

So to finish out Cybersecurity Awareness Month, let’s look at a few especially terrifying hacker horror stories that are sure to spook you!

 

Hackers Breach the Red Cross

It’s bad enough when hackers target businesses, but something about going after the charitable organizations that help people seems especially egregious. That happened in January of this year when hackers attacked servers operated by the Red Cross, which contained data about Restoring Family Links services, which works to reconnect people separated by war, migration, and violence. The personal information of a half million people was exposed.

 

 

Disgruntled Employee Goes After Cash App

It’s one thing when hacks and attacks come from the outside – those are to be expected. But when a person within an organization betrays their position to compromise security? That type of inside job is hard to protect against. Cash App found out the hard way in April this year when a former employee breached data containing customer names, stock information, account numbers, and portfolio information, along with a lot of other sensitive financial information. Eight million customers had to be notified about the occurrence!

Russia’s Warfare Has Cyber Element

Few things are more horrific than war. And the conflict that’s on everyone’s mind is what’s going on in Ukraine. The violence on the ground is bad enough, but Russian hackers have also taken to launching cyber attacks against the power grid in Ukraine, nuclear facilities, and a lot more.

 

Personal Health Information Leaked

Australia has had an especially difficult 2022 when it comes to cyber attacks, and many organizations have found themselves in compromising situations. Among the worst was when the personal health information of almost a quarter million people was leaked. In this case, not only were clients put at risk, but the company itself, Australian Clinical Labs Ltd., saw its share price fall as a result.

Hackers Hit the Bar

Having a glass of wine (in moderation) is a commonly practiced way to temporarily forget about problems like data breaches and security leaks. Well, not for customers of iDealwine. The online wine merchant just recently reported that they’d been the victim of a data breach that has potentially exposed the information of every single one of their customers.

Former Uber Exec Covered Up Data Breach

Imagine facing nearly a decade in federal prison for a hack you didn’t even commit. That’s what happened when former Uber Chief Security Officer Joseph Sullivan was found guilty in federal court of not disclosing a 2016 breach of customer and driver records to regulators and attempting to cover up the incident. He is looking at a possible maximum of five years in prison for the obstruction charge, and a maximum of three years for the other charge. It doesn’t get much worse than that.

 


PreEmptive Protects Applications From Hackers

 

Maintaining data security in today’s world requires a comprehensive approach and constant vigilance. No single habit does it all, nor is sometimes often enough. Whether it’s simply regularly changing your passwords and practicing good password hygiene, or implementing a full-fledged, enterprise-level security program.

When it comes to helping software developers create secure products, PreEmptive is a trusted global leader of protection tools for Desktop, Mobile, Cloud, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. We help organizations make their applications more resistant and resilient to hacking and tampering so that protecting intellectual property, sensitive data, and revenue is achievable.

Want to learn more about our products and if they’re right for you? Contact us for a complimentary security consultation.

 


 

Categories
Risk Management

Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Changing Your Passwords

Reading Time: 4 minutes

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a month-long effort to raise awareness about the importance of practicing good habits to keep ourselves and our data safe. This year’s theme is “See Yourself in Cyber,” which is intended to communicate that cybersecurity isn’t complex; it’s all about people. And one of the most important things people can do to stay safe online is to practice good password hygiene. And what better time to start than by updating your passwords for Cybersecurity Awareness month.

 

Why You Should Practice Good Password Hygiene

Passwords are how we verify our identity. Whether it’s online banking, email, applications, or the countless other things in our daily lives that require a password, using sound practices to manage them is a must to keep your data safe and secure from prying eyes. Hackers look for situations with weak passwords; unfortunately, many people make it easy.

When was the last time you changed your email and social media passwords? What about your bank and household accounts? Experts say you should do it at least every three months. Do you use the same passwords for any accounts? If you’re shy about sharing your answers, you’re not alone. Many organizations have poor behavior around password management, and weak passwords cause at least 30% of security breaches. 

The 2021 Verizon Breach Investigations Report found that 80% of hacking-related breaches involved stolen or brute-forced credentials. But such aggressive approaches usually aren’t even required. For example, did you know that “Password” is the second most-used password in the United States? We can do a lot better than that.

How to Change & Manage Your Passwords for Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Each of us has over 80 passwords, and there are better ways to manage them than saving them in browsers, writing them on post-it notes, or reusing them for multiple accounts. In honor of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we’re encouraging everyone to update their credentials. Below are strategies and habits that can ensure your passwords are secure.

Use a Password Manager

A password manager like LastPass or KeePass eliminates the need to memorize credentials or store them in a browser. With just one password you can can create and save passwords for all your accounts.

 

Create a Strong Password

Creating a strong password is a critical step to protecting yourself online. Using long, complex passwords is one of the easiest ways to defend yourself from data breaches and hacks.

 

Get Goofy

If you must create your passwords instead of using randomly generated examples, get creative. Phonetic replacements (“kc” instead of “k”), deliberate misspellings, and substituting letters with numbers and punctuation marks or symbols (such as @ instead of the letter “A”) can maintain security while allowing you to remember your password more easily.

 

Make It Hard to Guess

The National Institute of Standards and Technology provides several suggestions to promote password security, including not using personal information in your passwords. Kids’ names? Pets names? Address? Forget it. All of that information is easy for criminals to guess.

 

Don’t Tell Anyone Your Passwords

Never tell anyone your passwords. If someone calls you on the phone or emails you and says they’re with a service provider and need your passwords, hang up — it’s a scam. Additionally, do not keep written passwords out in plain sight.

 

Each Account Gets Its Own Password

 

Using the same password across multiple accounts is like giving attackers a master key that unlocks every door in your life. Do you really want to do that? Mix things up and use a distinctly unique password for each account. Password managers — which you should use — make it easy.

 

Double Your Protection With Two-Factor or Multi-Factor Authentication

 

Whenever an application allows you to use multi-factor authentication (MFA), do it. It’s another way to ensure that the only person with access to your account is you.

 

Other Strategies to Stay Safe Online

 

Practicing good password hygiene all the time is something every one of us needs to do. But it’s also just one component of cybersecurity. You can arm yourself with multiple layers of protection by following these other practices promoted during Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

 

  • Think before you click. If a link looks off, don’t click. It could be an attempt to steal information or install malware. 
  • Update your software. Got a software update notification? Install it immediately. Even better, turn on automatic updates.
  • Get more information. Want to see everything you can do? Get all the tips about cybersecurity at the official website.

PreEmptive Is Security

PreEmptive helps organizations make applications more resistant and resilient to hacking and tampering. We are a global leader in obfuscation tools for Desktop, Mobile, Cloud, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Our products balance ease of use, strength of protection, quality of output, ROI, and security.

Learn more about our products.

 


 

Categories
Risk Management

Friendly Reminder Why Source Control Matters

Reading Time: 4 minutes

All work — physical or digital — requires a specialized toolset to master the task at hand. One of the most helpful tools for program developers is source control management software. Now that the end of the year is approaching, projects will be coming to a close. However, many programmers forsake the implementation of source control management because they don’t understand the benefits of establishing standout coding practices and habits.

Whether the work is an individual project or a large team effort, source control helps track, manage, protect, and improve code in order to meet those end-of-year deadlines. Read further as we define it, highlight the challenges and emphasize the importance of Source Control. 

What Is Source Control?

In essence, source control is the process of storing and tracking changes and edits to a coding project from start to finish. To accomplish this, programmers often use source management systems, services designed to help coders save a detailed log of backups for each iteration of code. They also allow multiple DevOps team members to work and edit within a single version and make changes without getting in the way of others’ progress.

Selecting a source control management system isn’t easy. An abundance of tools are available, making it crucial for developers to research which ones best fit their needs.

Source Control Challenges

Remember: The absence of source control is an approach to source control. It’s also the worst approach. Failing to conduct source control methodically with the proper tools can be disastrous.

For example, trying to conduct a project without a systematized backup of previous versions makes it incredibly difficult to backtrack and identify errors. Additionally, without a proper source code management system, different coders won’t be able to work simultaneously within the codebase. This lack of collaboration increases the chances of miscommunication, errors, and frustration throughout each project. 

Although getting an entire team initiated with a new process and management system is often labor-intensive, it’s worth the commitment. Finding the right source control management system for a team’s work style is vital to long-term success. 

Reasons to Implement Source Control

From a birds-eye view, implementing a source control strategy is vital to a functioning and productive coding organization. Not only does it increase productivity, but it also increases safety and fosters collaboration. 

Increase Code Security

All DevOps teams know that the source code requires as much protection as possible. Therefore, instituting proper source control is crucial because it boosts security measures. 

All data is stored in a repository through the source control management system. The repository, which can be either a public or a private server, keeps each version in a safe and centralized cloud-based system.

Additionally, many systems also come with encryption protocols and application hardening. 

Track Changes and Defects

With source code construction, keeping an eye on every change is absolutely necessary for a project’s success. Management tools provide developers with dynamic ways to track and monitor all tweaks and edits. 

Many source control management solutions automatically alert users to a code’s detected vulnerabilities and defects. Because of this, coding teams prefer these systems — such as PreEmptive’s source control solution — because they analyze and identify issues throughout each version.

Foster Collaborative Code Building

Especially in team environments, synchronizing all collaborators within one version is an immense step to success. Source code management allows developers to work within one codebase and merge all of their changes in one central repository instead of pulling together multiple versions.

Working on the shared code allows the whole team to review, edit, and leave comments in the same place. The improved collaboration accelerates the code-building process and keeps everyone in the loop on the team’s progress. 

Store Backup Code

Source control management is also sometimes referred to as “version control.” This alternative title highlights the ability for programmers to go back and look at previous versions. 

This ability to store every version and go back in time is critical to productivity, as it can save hours, days, and even weeks of work when someone is trying to track down errors. 

Best Practices for Source Control Management

When a company is figuring out which source control management system best serves its needs, there are a handful of habits it can get the team into early to ensure a more successful transition. 

Find a System That Suits the Project’s Needs

Not all source control systems offer the same features. Because of this, it’s worthwhile to put in extra effort up front and nitpick over which solution best fits the necessities of the project. 

It’s important to investigate the competing security features, different access controls, and storage methods. 

Knowing the fine details up front helps avoid stress later on. Check out PreEmptive’s source control solutions to see whether the wide range of features can meet all of the project’s source management needs.

Maintain the Latest Version

Every code revision ensures the new code is pulled and stored within the system. Keeping versions of each code iteration may seem tedious, but tracking even the slightest changes can be extremely helpful. 

It’s recommended to save commits as often as possible, as storing many versions eliminates the need to second-guess the timing of changes and edits. 

Keep a Detailed Note Log

When saving and creating new versions of code, it’s wise to note every change — large or small. There’s nothing too insignificant to be tallied; promoting an organized source control process saves teams time when issues arise. 

Review All Changes

Every time a new code version is committed, the team should run a detailed review of all changes. Doing so reduces the likelihood of building on faulty code. 

If the source control management system offers automatic error detection, the team should address any issues that arise immediately. Quick action saves incorrect code from slipping through the cracks. 

Implement Source Control as Soon as Possible

There’s little reason any programming team should be without a sound system for managing its coding projects. As is evident, implementing the best source control management service brings immense benefits to the team’s productivity and the safety of the source code. 

Happy Coding everybody!

 


 

Categories
Support Corner

Protecting C# Applications That Use Friend Assemblies

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The internal keyword in C# restricts access of types and members to callers in the same assembly. The InternalsVisibleTo attribute is a special way to grant internals access to a “Friend” assembly. Friend assemblies are used when unit testing, as internal members must be directly invoked by a test DLL. So it is quite common to have several friend assemblies in our project.

 

Dotfuscator takes friend assemblies into consideration when applying protection settings. It follows a specific process to preserve runtime behavior while performing as much obfuscation as possible. It also notifies us of any potential issues with friend assemblies during the build.

 

Please consider the following example, a DLL has InternalsVisibleTo an EXE file:

 

 

The EXE file directly references an internal class, made possible only by adding the InternalsVisibleTo attribute in the DLL: 

When obfuscating only the DLL, one of the following warnings would be shown, depending on the Dotfuscator configuration:

 

WARNING: MyAssembly has non-input Friend Assemblies and is in Library Mode; internal members will not be renamed or pruned. Consider adding Friend Assemblies as input for increased obfuscation.

OR 

WARNING: MyAssembly has non-input Friend Assemblies and is not in Library Mode; internal members may be renamed or pruned. References from non-input Friend Assemblies to the internal members of MyAssembly may no longer be valid.

 

The first message occurs when Dotfuscator is run in Library Mode. In Library Mode, Dotfuscator will not rename public and protected members for reusability of obfuscated components (as with APIs). Because of the InternalsVisibleTo attribute, Dotfuscator will also skip the renaming of internals. This will result in less Rename obfuscation than we may have anticipated, but it also will not break any runtime behavior. 

 

The second message warns that Dotfuscator may rename internals in a way that could break calls from the friend assembly.  If the friend assembly is deployed with this obfuscated DLL, this could cause a runtime error. If the friend assembly is not deployed (as with a unit testing DLL) then this warning will have no runtime impact and can be disregarded.

 

In general, obfuscation works best when more parts of the application are obfuscated together. The above warnings will completely disappear if the friend assembly is included as Dotfuscator input. If this is not feasible, we can still process the assemblies in Library mode but with less obfuscation.

 

The full example can be downloaded here.


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