Protecting Your Organization from Insider Threats

Most organizations know that they need cyber security to protect from outside threats, but what they don't account for is the growing number of insider threats. Insider threats come from trusted employees, which is something most employers don't consider. It's hard to imagine that a trusted employee could be the one to cost you millions in stolen data, but it's a rising threat for organizations that store sensitive data and don't have proper security.

The Typical Insider Threat

One goal of an attacker is shielding his identity. For someone who already has access to your network, this means phishing for another employee's information. It's suspicious for one employee to ask another for their credentials, so many times the employee waits for a user to walk away from their machine. The attacker then goes to the physical machine and quickly sends data using the logged in employee's information. This gives the attacker free reign to network data, and it shields them from being logged as the person who stole your data.

Most organizations have some kind of "lock" policy in place. When a user leaves their desktop, they should lock the computer so that any other user can't access the desktop without credentials. The policy works if everyone remembers to lock their computer. But in reality many employees forget to lock their desktop and leave it wide open to an attacker.

Not only does an unlocked computer leave your network open to insider threats, but you also risk allowing outside attackers access to the machine. "Piggybacking" or "tailgating" is common when attackers want to gain access to your premises. They follow an employee through a secure door with the employee's official badge. The employee thinks they are being polite, but in reality they allow an attacker access to physical machines.

What You Can Do to Protect Desktops and Ultimately Your Data

Before you think this is a rare attack, Tripwire reports that insider threats are the biggest cyber-security concern in 2017. It comes after Google filed suit against a former engineer who allegedly stole 14,000 files from Google and took them directly to his new employer Uber. This is just one example of a large-scale insider threat, but it can happen to a business of any size. The main hurdle is that most employers must allow their employees enough access to be productive while still limiting access to only files and applications necessary to do their job.

You can either rely on users to lock their desktops or take a proactive approach that doesn't interfere with their work. IT admins will place a lockout policy on the machines, but usually it's at least 10 minutes before the desktop locks, which leaves plenty of time for someone to access the physical machine and transfer files from the user account.

The alternative is to have a device that auto-locks the desktop when the user walks away, and then unlocks when the user is close. The automotive already uses this technology to auto-lock cars when the owner walks away, and you can do the same with your office computers.

Use an Access Management Solution like GateKeeper

Gatekeeper provides you with a way to auto-lock the desktop. With our new hardware version - the Halberd, the user has a wireless key that they can attach to their keychain or anything else that they carry on their person. When they walk away, the desktop locks, and when they move in range, Gatekeeper technology automatically unlocks it. You can set the range, so the user must be anywhere from inches in proximity to the machine to 30 feet away.

This technology protects you from outsider threats from tailgating and any malicious attacker who can access the physical machine. Your IT admins can still set auto-lockouts on the computers, but Gatekeeper accounts for human error, which can cause immeasurable damage.

With Gatekeeper, you don't interfere with user productivity because they can access their desktop whenever they are in close proximity. You still need other security logs and procedures in place, but Gatekeeper stops the threat of unauthorized data theft based on someone accessing an unsupervised machine.


The Eastern Threat

From the US presidential election to Kaspersky, there is nary a day that goes by that doesn’t contain at least one reference to nefarious cybersecurity acts sponsored by Russia and Russian-aligned entities. The Baltic NATO members have felt that threat and in even in nations like the Ukraine, competing factions vie for influence with the government in Kiev and the Russian sponsors of their eastern breakaway regions.

The cause for this stems in the resurgence of Russian nationalism under the aggressive regime of Vladimir Putin. Intent on restoring some semblance of lost Soviet glory, Putin himself a former KGB officer, seeks to control by soft power what Soviet troops held for forty years.

Now sitting in your Starbucks, this may seem like a faraway issue. But the implications can get very personal very quickly.

When Eastern hackers, possibly working with state security services, seek to undermine American and European power, they strike at soft targets because, well, it's easier and obvious. As the veteran bank robber Willie Sutton answered when asked why he robbed banks, "That's where the money is."

Public confidence in infrastructure, to include cybersecurity, is at the basis of national perception in the 21st century.

A nation that can't protect and defend the data and personal details of its citizens from a foreign source risks not only damage at the polls but compromise of such a nature that the consequences can be catastrophic to prestige and power.

However, the threat is not limited to abroad. Personnel with axes to grind or agendas to pursue can wreak havoc within their own office, from the desk next to you.

Think not?

Ask Chelsea Manning.

As a former member of the intelligence community myself, in the prehistoric days of paper files, compromise could have been easy if you had a plan. Sadly traitors, moles, and defectors like the Walkers, Philby, and Snowden had more than a plan. They had a mission.

But that involved numerous passing over to case officers of tons of paper or at least film. These days, many times that amount can be downloaded in a thrice and on the way to bad players before anybody knows it is gone.

And it can happen from the chair right next door to yours.

That's where we come in.

GateKeeper and its latest version, Halberd, can stop the threat where it could begin. It can make sure the most basic danger to data security is strangled in its evil cradle before it can grow up and cost you money, time, effort and, most vitally, credibility.

Okay, maybe the demon baby reference is a tad over the top.

But look around you right now. Yeah now, where you're sitting if you're in a public space.

See that guy on your right.

Probably a nice normal guy, huh? Has no designs on your data for any reason, right?

Are you sure?

And that woman at the counter. When you get up from your seat for any reason she'll be back at her seat. Your back will be to her. No problem, right?

Are you sure?

And if you're not 100% ask yourself why. It's likely because you're an intelligent person and you read the news and thus are aware of how many bad guys want your data to enrich themselves and fill your life with hassles or worse.

One product, one purchase, one move can change that.

Remember our pal Willie Sutton? Think he would have gone to the hard to rob banks or the easier heists?

Same mentality with the people who want your data. They want it easy. They're not going to draw attention to themselves by trying to access a computer that guards against it. They're lazy that way.

And you'll be safe, with Halberd, that way.


One Hard Lesson From the Breach of Breaches

Spoiler alert: we’re talking about Equifax.

It seems like once a week there's a new hacking making headlines. The one at the top of our list lately that we're reading obsessively about—Equifax. In the wake of the Equifax breach, businesses, lawmakers, and individuals (including all of us over here) are putting the protection of our personal information at the top of our lists.

When companies like Target and Chipotle make the news for stolen data, we change our passwords, and maybe start shopping somewhere else for steak burritos and underwear.

When a company like Equifax has a breach though, we really start paying attention. Aren’t the credit agencies supposed to be the most secure of all? After all, we trust them with such a mind-boggling amount of personally identifiable information (PII) and they just potentially left 143 million people standing out in the middle of a snowstorm without a shirt. If you're one of these consumers, this could destroy many areas of your life. And not just in a week from now, it could haunt you 10 years down the road.

It's not about the volume of data.

If you're thinking, "What's the worst that can happen?" The Equifax breach is a big deal because of the sensitivity and combination of data-full names, birthdates, addresses, Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers, and other personal information—more than enough to swipe your identity.

Here's why you need to give a damn if your data gets into the wrong hands:

  • Identity thieves can impersonate you and open bank accounts, credit cards, lines of credit, and even a new driver's license in your name
  • With a driver's license, they can give you the unwanted gift of speeding tickets
  • Say goodbye to your tax refund—thieves can steal this too
  • What Social Security check? They can also take this, keeping you from getting essential prescription drugs.
  • If a thief steals your identity, it can take months or years for you to clean up the mess

The Equifax breach is being called one of the worst breaches ever. The hackers found a weak spot in the website software, and this breach is going to cost a lot of money—between the affected individuals, investors, and the business itself from class action lawsuits, and remediation. It could cost Equifax in the hundreds of millions. According to this 2017 study, the average total cost of a data breach is $7.35 million in the US. If you look at the per individual basis, the average is around $225 per person in lost revenue, services like complimentary credit monitoring, and lawsuits. Ouch.

While we're over here freezing our credit with all three agencies and locking down our personal information, there's one thing you need to start thinking about as an IT administrator when it comes to data breaches if you’re not already.

It has nothing to do with hardware, software, firewalls, forensics, or online security.

It has to do with your people.

Yes, people.

People are your first and last line of defense in protecting your company's systems and information. These are the users of your organization's equipment, the folks who have access to your company and stored data, and the same people who could leave your company information at risk.

If you don't want this to happen to your organization, you need to add a layer of military-grade protection between employee and computer.

This is why we made GateKeeper. When you add security between users and your systems (and not in the form of passwords), here's what happens, or rather, doesn't:

  • No private info can be sniffed since credentials are never transmitted over the air
  • When you have multiple sensors to figure out the location of the GateKeeper Key relative to the computer, there's no need for constant password changes
  • A Wireless key, kept with the user becomes the authenticator, meaning less chance for a physical breach
  • Authentication based on a user's proximity to your company's—When the GateKeeper Key is in range, the GateKeeper software authenticates a user and logs them on
  • When the Key moves out of range, the GateKeeper software automatically locks the computer

When the thought of becoming the next Equifax keeps you awake at 3:15 am, taking a step to minimize your company's risk is kind of a no-brainer.

Let's chat about your organization's security needs. Get in touch.


Medical Security

GateKeeper is a localized wireless tracking solution that allows for constant real-time monitoring of personnel in a pre-determined and well-defined location. Personnel only carry a small wireless Smart Key with them, and their presence and absence in the trauma center will automatically be monitored. This system does not require any action from the care provider, and therefore is ideally suited for areas such as the trauma center where every second not spent in providing urgent care to the patient is a second wasted.

Everyone (doctors, nurses, etc.) who works in the trauma center is provided with a GateKeeper Key. This device can be attached to their identification badges, or carried anywhere on their person. The Keys are being detected and tracked while in the trauma center, and their presence or absence will be reported to the GateKeeper server in real-time. Computers in the trauma bay are equipped with USB dongles that serve as wireless locator nodes. These computers have an application running on them that will monitor all GateKeeper Keys that are nearby. It also displays all the trauma center personnel present at any given time in the room.

Each of the trauma bays report the presence of every physician attending a patient in real-time. Whenever a patient is admitted to any room in the trauma center, his/her identification number is scanned into the GateKeeper Identify system. This initiates the system to start recording the presence of every medical professional attending to the patient. Whenever a physician or nurse comes close to the patient, the GateKeeper Identify system displays the professional’s name and time of arrival on the monitor near the patient’s bed, and reports this data to the server.

Each patient is uniquely identified by a code that is scanned at the bedside. This code is time-stamped with the patient’s arrival time and synchronized with the GateKeeper Identify server. Reports can be generated on the server application for each patient, which contains information about the patient’s arrival, the trauma bay room he/she was treated in, and the name and time of arrival of every medical professional attending the patient.

Statistics regarding the quality of care can also be generated by looking at historical data about the time it took for a physician to treat a patient after he/she is scanned into the trauma bay. This data can also be broken down for individual healthcare providers to help them improve their response times and thereby enhance the quality of care they provide.


Washington Post - A Washington area computer security business looks for more customers close to home

This week, a computer security firm looks for more customers in the greater Washington metropolitan area. –Dan Beyers

Check out the article about Untethered Labs and GateKeeper at the link here.


How to Find and Ban IPs of Hackers

Dealing with the hackers and malicious visitors is becoming tough day by day. The ease of changing IP addresses and names is giving them freedom to attack different online store and eCommerce websites. They can anonymously access websites for their monetary gains, theft of data and leak personal details of the users. For any reputable organization or a business, the privacy of their corporate documents, employee records, customers' data and financial details are of utmost importance. It becomes mandatory for them to take drastic measures for improving the security of their online presence and ensures no access for the intruders. Hackers are devising new tools and procedures for breaking passwords and firewalls to penetrate into your secure server and get what they want. It is the reason that every security company needs to keep their security check abreast with the latest challenges. Leaving any path unattended may lead them to surprisingly uncalculated damages either in finances or a deteriorating reputation. To help you cope up with the issue, here are some of the recommended tools and procedures to find and ban hackers by their IP addresses.

Installing security plugin is a possible solution

The security measures start with the type of platform you select for an online store and extends to the installation of additional plugins. The recently developed software are vulnerable to security threats as the developers have to go through several checks to ensure the end product is hacking resistant. In this regards, PrestaShop and Magento are reliable for setting up a secure place for selling products and services online. Keeping the platform version up to date is one side of the store, whereas you need to install a module like PrestaShop Block Hackers IP addresses to recognize and restrict an intruder right away from your website. In most of the attempts, web developers ban a complete region to prevent hacking, whereas hackers are now found around the globe. And, you could be attacked by anyone from anywhere else that’s why banning them by their IP addresses is one of the effective solutions. You can have such an application to enrich your website with auto recognition of the hackers’ geographical locations by their IP addresses and banning them before they do any harm. Such applications are backed with an ultimate database of the countries and IP addresses which are actively involved in malicious activities around the globe. The security agencies keep an eye on the hackers to keep their databases updated and effective.

How about banning a region or country?

Banning a region or country in pursuit of security threat can be devastating for your business. It can be an alternate, but not an ultimate solution. All the users coming to your website are not hackers. There are innocent users who may become your loyal customers. If you completely ban a territory, you may lose potential sales as well. Firstly, to prevent such a loss, you need to opt for detecting fraudulent activities and banning them by their IP addresses. Secondly, if you are comfortable with banning a region, there are IP exception boxes in the configuration options of above mentioned module. You can add IP addresses of the users who may not pose a threat to your website, and they will never be banned from viewing products and proceeding with to the checkout pages. In other words, you are white listing those IPs from that banned country.

Create a dedicated page for reporting

The security plugins and extensions are quite helpful in keeping the hackers at a distance, whereas you can create a dedicated page to allow users to report any unauthorized access to their accounts. Most of the users fall victim of the data loss but are unable to communicate properly, or their email gets piled up in hundreds of queries to the customer's support group. In result, your website remains exposed to severe threats. A dedicated page will help you figure out the weakness and improve the security checks. Most of the notable organizations like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and PayPal have developed separate pages to let their valuable consumers report any attack. A report can help you trace down any intrusion and close down the back door the hackers use to enter your official website and violate the rules. It can also help you update the security definition and alter the restriction rules for your websites’ visitors. Besides this, you can get a web application firewall which serves as a nail in the coffin of banning hackers. It serves as an intermediary to read every bit of the data between your website server and the users. Thus, blocking any unauthorized access and hacking attempts. It can also help you get rid of spam traffic that is manipulating the statistics and nullifying the conversion optimization.


Online security is an online war between the good and bad of the cyber world. Just like for every virus, we have to have an update definition, for hacking, we also need to be equipped with all the latest plugins and modules. The web developers and ethical hackers are finding different ways to restrict the access of intruders to your online presence. We hope the above tools and tips will help you to ensure the safety and security of your online venture, and help you provide a trustworthy shopping experience to your target audience.

About the author

Alastair Brian is a professional blogger with a sound grip on addressing eCommerce problems with their possible solutions. He is working with FMEModules, which specializes in developing interactive modules for varying needs of the merchants. One of the top performing modules is PrestaShop Redirect. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn.


Virtual Security in Rio

The Rio Olympic games are over, but they have not been without their share of issues. Reports of pickpocketing, muggings, robberies and violence have besieged Olympians and tourists alike. Security was of one the main causes of concern, yet one of the largest threats remained unseen; hackers competed to steal as much personal data from the visitors of the games.

Hackers Go For Gold

The Olympic games are no strangers to cyber attacks. During the 2014 Sochi winter games, visitors were warned that their devices could be hacked within minutes of connecting to the WiFi. Similarly, the 2014 World Cup, which was also hosted in Brazil, was a target of numerous hacking attacks.

This time in Rio, hackers used high traffic areas such as shopping malls and coffee spots to set up fake WiFi networks to swipe personal data. Mobile security firm, Skycure, reported that Rio Galeão Airport, where most tourists first gain entrance to the country, hosts numerous networks with SSL decryption capabilities. In addition to non-secure or fake WiFi spots, hackers also created malicious apps designed to steal information from various electronic devices.

Hot Spot for Cyber Crime at the Games

Brazil is no stranger to cyber-crime, ranking as one of the most active cyber-crime countries in the world. With large communities of hackers and cyber-criminals ready to hijack personal data, tourists needed to be aware of the dangers they face by leaving their data exposed. Skycure issued a Rio Travel advisory warning tourists to be wary of these hazards, and listed ways to avoid getting hacked. The advisory suggested that while some companies may be able to track and shut down malicious software, preventative measures should be the first of line defence.

Although threats of cyberattacks are prevalent, there are ways to prevent hackers from stealing personal data. Upgrading to the latest operating system and firewalls can prevent malicious software from breaching your device. Utilization of the cloud will offer more security than physical servers. Facebook and Twitter are among the websites that offer two-factor authentication services to add an extra layer of security. In addition to built-in website security, companies such as Untethered Labs specialize in preventative security, utilizing a physical two-factor authentication system – GateKeeper - that automatically logs the user in and out of their computer. If these options are not enough, travellers can follow company policies that require their employees to bring “clean” laptops overseas in order to avoid sensitive data to be stolen.

Be Vigilant. Keep Your Data Safe.


Is there life after passwords?

Mark Burnett (IT security analyst and author) talks about an interesting experiment he did to understand password usage in daily life. And he enlisted the support of his family! Find out how every member in Mark's family uses passwords, and the tools he created for them to reduce their dependence on passwords, or failing to do so, increase the security of their passwords. Great experiment Mark. GateKeeper is one solution for computer security that would reduce the dependence on passwords. Maybe have us included in the next article!



The Password Game

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon's CyLab, recently did a survey that showed that users' perceptions of password security do not always match reality.

View their findings here.

Find out how knowledgeable you are about the quality of passwords by playing The Password Game.


Principles to ensure good enterprise system security architecture

“Employees will be company’s biggest threat” according to Experian. Data can be breached and companies can lose massive amounts of information in a matter of minutes. A good security system for your site can stop or limit the amount of damage hackers can do. Do not wait until your system is hacked, be proactive and setup your security system now. The following are a few principles to follow that will ensure your site will be better protected.

Secure the Weakest Area

Start with the weak spot in your system because if there is a weak point, hackers will find it. Even if it is not a security function or features, hackers will still go after this part because it is a weak area and it still links to your system. Once hackers are in, it only takes a few manoeuvres until they get the information they want.

Redundancies Redundancies

UK police forces had 2,315 data breaches in 5 years, Do not use just one security or detection system, such as a firewall. Use a combination of a few, such as the firewall combined with an intrusion detection system. If one layer fails, the next layer will prevent your system from being breached. Just recently, the file containing the information of 112,000 French police officers and their families, did not use strong protection – just a simple password.

Give as Little Permission as Possible

According to Cisco “44 percent of employees share work devices with others without supervision”. There are times when you have to give other people permission to use something, whether it is a process or an application. When giving permission to someone else, make sure it is as little as possible, such as just enough to get their job done. For example, if they need access to your Outlook contacts, give them access but don’t allow them to edit these contacts.

Assume Nothing is Safe

A hacker will find out as much as possible about your system as they can, especially if secrets are stored in your code. The attacker may use everything from decompilers to disassemblers to analysis tools. Be prepared for this and use the necessary tools in your system to stop these attempts. The largest healthcare cyber breach in history, Anthem’s 80 million names, had been unencrypted internally.

Security Should be Usable

If your security system is too complicated or users can’t figure it out, they are going to find a way around it. Make sure your system is as secure as it needs to be, but not too complicated. Furthermore, make sure the system is still user friendly.

Keep Privacy in Mind

Privacy is on the forefront of everyone’s concerns nowadays, so keep this in mind when you have a security system. Users want their information private. If you do collect and store information, is it secure? Can it easily be hacked? What is the reason for collecting the information? It is a good idea to think about these things beforehand so you know the answers if and when questions arise.

Follow these principles to ensure a good security system in your enterprise. By having multiple layers and protecting your information as much as possible, hackers will be less likely to breach your data and gain access to important documents. Furthermore, keep your privacy as well as the privacy of your employees in mind so they are protected as well.

Wilson is a Tech Guru and Security Specialist at The PC Doctor – Australia’s Number 1 Computer Support company.

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