Cisco Warns of Internet Dangers That Are Easily Preventable

By Sean Michael Kerner  |  Posted 2013-11-25 Print this article Print

Even if a device is infected with Cryptolocker, there is at least one easy fix: Users can reimage their PCs and then reload data from backups performed before the device was infected, Williams said.

"Due to the effective use of encryption, decryption is computationally prohibitive," Williams told eWEEK. "The best defense against Cryptolocker is to perform regular backups."

To prevent infection from Cryptolocker in the first place, use up-to-date antivirus software, as Williams said that among Cisco's active security customers, he is unaware of any infections.

Another type of attack that has recently been active is a DNS (Domain Name System) takeover, performed by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA). In a DNS attack, the hacker gets access to the records that identify where a given domain name is supposed to go and then redirects that to a different Internet address. The SEA has successfully executed DNS attacks against The New York Times and Twitter, among other organizations.

In the SEA attacks, organizations were exploited and tricked into giving up their DNS log-in credentials. Again, Williams stressed that there are a number of basic best practices that organizations can and should undertake to protect their domain name information.

Williams suggests that organizations lock down their domains with their domain registrar to prevent unauthorized transfers. He also advocates for improved email security as well as the use of two-factor authentication mechanisms. With two-factor authentication, users need more than just a username and a password to gain access to a site or service.

Overall, Williams stressed that the best security comes with defense in depth. As such, it's critically important for organizations to keep up-to-date with patches, avoid phishing scams, use two-factor authentication and lock down domain registration settings.

"It is very similar to using the 'Club' on your car's steering wheel—you raise the bar so that a successful attack is less likely," Williams said. "However, users must remain vigilant because complete security can never be guaranteed."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.


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