Category Archives: Wireless Security

Working from home: VPN contracts COVID-19

With the uprise of the COVID-19 pandemic, workers all over the globe have been forced to work from home if they are not deemed essential to the welfare or survival of society. With this increase in employees working from home, they would have to resort to remotely accessing their companies network to access their resources and do their jobs as they were hired to do, and in order to do so, a company enterprise VPN server is needed. Thus the need and reliance on the service that VPNs provide has vastly increased in such a way that they are now ‘paramount to a company’s backbone’ (ZDNET).

According to both ZDNET and TechRadar, both the UK’s and the US’s Cyber Security divisions have found that cybercriminals are now seeking to exploit enterprise VPNs and other remote tools that employees might endeavour to use to access the company of employment’s network. Therefore it is paramount to secure such communications to reduce the risk of allowing privileged access to unprivileged attacker.

There are various methods of protecting one’s self and their enterprise from a variety of attacks ( most of which have not been discovered yet ) of which a few are mentioned below:

  • Log files: Now is the time to delve deeper into the log files for various incoming and outgoing communications using the VPN server and other remote working tools that the company offers. Those full application and network logs, although often disregarded for an oversimplification concocted by another third party application, will contain the details that could expose a loose end or an open hole that must be plugged to ensure data integrity and quality.
  • Strongest Authentication and Encryption method: This period of time does not cater to those that are weak willed, thus amping up the security front in terms of the networks authentication method (possibly RADIUS capable) and its Encryption method (possibly AES-256). Those methods are more likely to protect the system than any other convoluted network tunnelling that could be implemented, simply because even if an attacker does manage to get ahold of the encrypted traffic, their ability to decrypt such data without knowing the various keys used in EAP enabled RADIUS server is severely diminished.
  • Be Selective: Not all employees need direct access to the company network, and not all employees that do need direct access require its entirety. It might be useful to limit the various employees who do have access to the network and its resources with the use of a VPN service.

Whilst the outside world may seem like everything is coming to a halt, the use and need for VPN connection to various networks are blowing ahead at full speed. Clearly it is vital to both the enterprise and their employee’s online safety to have secure communication tools between their devices and the company’s network. Some other tools and tips to continue the securing process may be found in the reference links below:

References:

ZDNET: https://www.zdnet.com/article/covid-19-with-everyone-working-from-home-vpn-security-has-now-become-paramount/

TechRadar: https://www.techradar.com/news/your-vpn-could-be-putting-working-from-home-at-risk

ComputerWorld: https://www.computerworld.com/article/2547058/10-tips-to-secure-client-vpns.html

Written By: Jarryd Brits

Critical Flaws Found in Amazon FreeRTOS IoT Operating System

Link

A researcher has found large flaws in the leading Real-Time Operating System, FreeRTOS. This leaves a large number of Internet of Things devices vulnerable to attack. This affects devices from refrigerators to pacemakers. Last year, Amazon took over project management and upgraded the OS for their own Amazon FreeRTOS IoT operating system. They enhanced the OS for use with their own products in the future.

There are a total of 13 vulnerabilities in FreeRTOS’s TCP/IP stack, which affect the Amazon FreeRTOS as well. These issues let hackers do just about anything they want to the target device, from executing their own code to leaking memory information. The technical details of the flaws have not been revealed to the public in order to protect the development of a fix.

-Max Swank

RIT set to Roll out MFA 10/24/18

    RIT is rolling out Multi Factor Authentication very soon. Multi Factor Authentication is adding an extra factor to validate your credentials. For example, when you log into RIT services you are prompted your username and password; with the new multi factor authentication, you will need to provide an extra form of authentication. These methods include: Using the DUO mobile app, text, phone call, office phone call, and email. RIT has been experiencing more attacks than ever before, and this is their attempt at mitigating the risk of attacks. Last year MFA was put into effect for faculty, staff, and student employees. This was because many Ebiz accounts became compromised. The attackers then changed direct deposit numbers to be routed somewhere else. Luckily no one lost money because controllers saw the change in numbers and knew what was happening because another university was attacked in the same manner.

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Why does this matter to us?

If we do not enroll in MFA by the 24th of October, there will be a hold on your account and you will not be able to enroll for classes next semester.

Possible Problems:

With MFA comes the use of another device to authenticate yourself on RIT services. For example, if you signed up and planned on using the DUO app, DO NOT forget your phone. ITS will have to give you a Bypass until you can get access to your phone, which would be unfortunate if you need to log onto something ASAP. I personally don’t see why the students need MFA, but I have no choice but to enroll into it.

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By: Alejandro Juarez

 

First Internet of Things Security Laws Set for 2020 in California

California Governor Jerry Brown is the first governor to sign a bill to protect against the very prevalent cyber attacks on Internet of Things (IoT) devices. CNET tells:

The law mandates that any maker of an Internet-connected, or “smart,” device ensure the gadget has “reasonable” security features that “protect the device and any information contained therein from unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure.”

Since this bill is the first of its kind, it is expected that many other states will begin to follow California’s example and implement some sort of protection against IoT attacks. Although the bill requires manufacturers to assign a password to each device, many of the stipulations are non-specific, like many cyber laws. It is hard to be specific in a case like this, as attacks could easily find a loophole not covered within the bill. With a vague bill, it in a way could deter an attacker who knows the law could be translated in a number of ways to point to what he or she might have been doing as illegal.

This need of security was demonstrated most by the WannaCry ransomware attacks that hit hospitals across the nation. Hospitals have been increasingly using devices connected to their networks to aid in caring for patients. The attacks locked up devices that were in use, potentially threatening the lives of patients. An attack like this is more alarming than many ransomware attacks, as it takes the attacker’s morals (or in this case, lack of morals) into account more than other attacks.

The lack of security on IoT devices has desperately needed to be addressed, as over 8.4 billion IoT devices are out in the world on networks with little to no security. The law goes into effect at the beginning of 2020. California’s status as the most populated state in the U.S. is part of the reason the bill was signed into effect and is also the hope for cyber security experts to be influential in persuading others to join in the fight against attacks.

-Chevy Bolay

Quantum Computing’s Impact on Cyber Security

With more and more technological advancements every day, our vision of quantum computing is turning more into a reality than a theory. Companies like IBM and Microsoft are accelerating forward and becoming closer than ever to build the first fully functioning quantum computer. Seemingly on the edge of an almost quantum revolution, it’s important to ask questions about how integral parts of our lives like cyber security will be affected by this change.

First, let’s understand what quantum computing is. Comparing it to modern computing, which relies on discrete values of a bit being either a 0 or a 1, quantum computing would allow both of these possibilities to exist simultaneously in something called qubits, and these values only truly form when they are observed. This allows quantum computers to handle operations and equations at speeds that are exponentially higher than what we are used to in modern computers and their energy costs are far less.

How does this effect today’s security? Many of today’s security systems rely on cryptography, this is because normal computers struggle at factoring large numbers. This means that cryptography based on factoring numbers would be a safe bet against our technology today, but with the introduction of quantum computing, these practices would be useless. This isn’t the end of cryptography though because there are some approaches in use today that will be safe against the power of a quantum computer. That doesn’t mean that important companies and governments are using them though, and if quantum computing is to take off faster than anticipated they could run into some trouble. Other security strategies that are used today, like two-factor authentication, will still be just as effective after the introduction of quantum computing, due to multiple steps being taken by the person to log into a system.

Tomorrow’s security will be something almost unfathomable with quantum-based security implementations. Techniques like theoretically unbreakable cryptography, encrypting data to stop working if anyone attempts to uncover them and guaranteeing a safe passage to send data no matter what attacks are being used against it can all be potentially achieved with quantum computing. It’s not all positive though because with the power to develop secure techniques comes the power to exploit older strategies. An almost quantum arms race has begun between intelligence agencies and this is because the first agency to gain access to quantum computing power will have an incredible edge over all other counties.

Although quantum computers may never be a household item, their impact in the world will definitely be historical. While many of their advancements will benefit society and the internet infrastructure as we know it, it is still important to make sure what the world is ready for a step this large.

-Jeremy McGrath

Sources:

How Will Quantum Computing Impact Cyber Security?

https://www.nasdaq.com/article/quantum-computing-what-it-is-and-who-the-major-players-are-cm939998