On Thursday, October 11 our hard work and sustained efforts along the years were rewarded on the stage of Computing Security Awards 2018.
We are thrilled to announce that we won the Anti-Malware Solution of the Year for Thor Enterprise, our security product uniquely focused on threat prevention, not just mitigation of cyber attacks.
Organized by Computing Security, one of the most influential and widely read cybersecurity publications, Computing Security Awards 2018 saw 12 products nominated for Anti-Malware Solution of the Year. Out of them, Thor Enterprise rose to the number 1 spot and we are extremely thankful for the recognition awarded to us.
The unique, proactive and reactive approach provided by Thor Enterprise is at the forefront of innovation, offering a modular solution that can fit into any environment, is compatible with existing solutions and provides unparalleled compliance with regulatory bodies worldwide.
The embedded VectorN DetectionTM is a unique threat communication filtering algorithm. It uses behavioral analysis of incoming and outgoing traffic to prevent attacks that cannot be detected by signature-based, reactive solutions like Antivirus.
Through the proprietary and complementary DarkLayer GUARDTM, organizations protected by Thor can map out critical endpoints in their environment. This way, they obtain valuable IOAs and IOCs necessary for true endpoint detection and response (EDR).
The acclaimed X-Ploit Resilience module in Thor Enterprise allows organizations to automatically patch security-critical 3rd-party software across the board, with no location or scheduling restraints, eliminating vulnerabilities and extraneous costs all in one go.
To provide our customers with true next-gen, multi-layered security, Thor Enterprise also includes a market-leading Antivirus module for impeccable detection and threat mitigation.
We are extremely happy to have received this award for Anti-Malware Solution of the Year. Thor Enterprise represents our sustained efforts into providing exceptional security for our business partners in more than 5000 organizations across the globe and for the hundreds of thousands of consumers who rely on us to keep their digital life safe.
We’d like to thank you for your support. We also promise you, once again, that our quest for impeccable, proactive security continues so that you and your projects are safe from cybercriminal interference.
Here at Heimdal Security, we spread our time between providing security tools to prevent serious attacks like ransomware or next-gen malware and providing the education necessary to keep personal data safe across various platforms and devices.
Sometimes, it becomes obvious that tools and education alone won’t keep users truly safe online, nor will they enforce their privacy. Sometimes, ubiquitous, extremely popular services release some features that truly boggle the mind. Skype for Business is one.
This week, we discovered a serious security risk and privacy breach with the Skype for Business app. It was not related to hacking and other cyber-attacks but a pure “feature”, whose purpose and value we haven’t yet been able to decipher.
If you do a Skype for Business call with “screen-sharing” turned on, be prepared to share more than what you wanted.
Once the person who started screen-sharing hangs up, the desktop-sharing function will continue. The people at the other end of the line will still see what’s happening there.
If the person who had hosted the session does not notice the tiny warning at the top, they will continue sharing whatever they’re doing on the screen. Spreadsheets with sensitive financial data, inbox contents, private messages on Facebook, all of them will be seen by the other person.
Had a cybercriminal participated in a conversation like this, they would have had a field day with the info obtained. In some areas, a competitor could do seriously damage with how much information they are able to see.
We thought that we had stumbled upon a serious security flaw. Imagine our surprise when, after a few seconds of Googling the issue and thinking about contacting Microsoft, we came across this thread. No, screen sharing after ending a call is a “feature, not a bug”. Never mind the fact that a regular Skype user first calls someone to start a meeting, then opens a presentation, then closes the call and assumes that the entire interaction ended.
Why would someone possibly want for their screen to still be visible to the other person, even though the dialogue ended? Even if, by chance, that was the case, the tiny ribbon that lets you know screen-sharing has such an unobtrusive design, a regular user will definitely miss it. For such a security-sensitive feature, you’d think neon colors were in order. Certainly, a pleasant design should not be the only priority for Skype for Business.
After all, the people using it do have plenty of sensitive information that should not leak.
Here is what the caller who initiated screen-sharing can see once he/she hangs up.
Here is what’s visible to the ones that just left that call. Spoiler: it’s everything the initial caller is currently doing.
And, finally, this is the placement of the ribbon that was designed to let the user know their screen is still being broadcast. It’s almost black, on top of a browser bar of the same color. If someone had a secondary display and they were to continue working on the screen with the Skype for Business window, it would have been almost impossible to spot that message.
What’s worse is that this is something that’s been signaled plenty of times.
Microsoft’s response? “It’s an expected behavior,” said a customer representative. He followed that an invitation to “vote for this feedback” at another link. And a recommendation to “close the Skype for Business chat window to end Skype call and screen sharing at the same time.”
Yes, the official suggestion is to close the entire window, not press the button that’s for ending the call.
Give it a bit more time, and instead of customer support signaling a bad UI design (user interface) and the developers fixing it, someone will tell you to put a sticker on your webcam if you want to stop broadcasting. This is not to mention what a huge GDPR infringement this Skype for Business bug is. Some experts point out that even sharing usernames in unencrypted communications or on screens can be against the General Data Protection Regulation.
Microsoft is not alone in this and could probably pin this one on miscommunication, not bad intentions.
What users have to do is to secure their device with the essential security layers and remain updated with current news, so they can act swiftly and protect themselves and their valuable data.
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Adobe has a Patch Tuesday event dedicated especially to updating their apps and eliminating vulnerabilities but this time the company had to issue another critical update, outside of the usual event.
Vulnerability CVE-2018-12848 is the most critical on the list of the seven Adobe software vulnerabilities found in the following list and earlier versions:
Acrobat DC (Continuous)
Acrobat Reader DC (Continuous)
Acrobat 2017 (Classic 2017)
Acrobat Reader 2017 (Classic 2017)
Acrobat DC (Classic 2015)
Acrobat Reader DC (Classic 2015)
If you use any software from this list, update to version 2018.011.20063 as soon as possible, as the vulnerabilities could lead to arbitrary code execution.
Fortunately, no current exploits for these vulnerabilities have been deployed yet, so updating swiftly will be sufficient for now
To ensure your PC and valuable data is safe from the exploits targeting software vulnerabilities, follow these steps:
Always apply the latest update, especially this patch designed to eliminate the CVE-2018-12848 vulnerability.
Don’t rely on Antivirus alone, as its reactive nature makes it unequipped to deal with the latest threat – use proactive security software that can intercept threats before they reach your PC.
To stay on top of so many updates released daily, use a software that applies patches automatically and securely, without interrupting you with notifications.
All users who have Thor Foresight or Thor Free have already received this critical patch, so there is no need to take further action.
For more details on why Adobe products receive so many security-critical updates, we have an overview of the situation here.
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*This article features cyber intelligence provided by CSIS Security Group researchers.
You lost almost $150 billion for Facebook. If you know the value of privacy, care about what happens to your data and the legality of the companies you support, if you own a business that relies on social platforms or is adjacent to them, you’re probably responsible for what happened in the past 48 hours at Facebook.
If you read this blog and followed our protection guides, then you’re probably doubly aware of your responsibility. What are you responsible for? For turning the tide.
On Thursday, the social media giant released its quarterly earnings report and, while the numbers did not look scary on the surface, the market was actually hit by a tsunami.
After the Cambridge Analytica breach, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) put in place earlier this year, Facebook’s rise finally stopped and even reversed, just like the tide.
With the report out, shares price fell down by 19%. In actual money, that dip translates to between $120 to $150 billion lost in Facebook’s market cap. As CNBC pointed out, no company in U.S. history managed to actually lose more than $100 billion in just one day. Intel came close, at the end of the dot-com bubble that was essentially a reset button for the whole of the Internet. In third place is Microsoft, whose stock went down 14%, or around $80 billion, on April 3rd, 2000.
Why? A judge’s hammer came down and decided that Microsoft Corp. violated antitrust laws and used its power to stifle competition. Is it not a coincidence that two out of the three biggest market earthquakes happened because a tech giant was walking at the edge of the law, trying to find a way to use it to drown competition while also undermining the landscape in which it was established.
Facebook does not want to provide a good experience to you, inasmuch as it wants to sell you things. It wants to keep you engaged, not happy, on its platform, in order to turn around and sell your attention to the highest bidder. Facebook Ads Manager, even with no previous experience of the platform, lets you play around like this.
(For practice’s sake, the following ad is being set up by the owner of a small coffee shop who wants to draw in commuters from Moira to Belfast. He/she also hopes that those commuters will not only stop for an iced coffee but they’ll also be inclined to post on social media the delicious drink. He excluded people who have a paleo diet because he doesn’t think they’d be interested. He also offers vegan options, so he left that one open.)
These settings are what is available now to advertisers, though you should know they were even more granular before the Cambridge Analytica incident, Facebook’s own Watergate. As you can see in the screenshot above, there is a notice that a lot of these options will no longer be available in the near future.
The poker-faced reason for why these ad targeting settings exist is that users freely share their personal info with Facebook and other social media giants. It’s meaningless little streams of information for the individual, which can indeed provide much better ads, but for Facebook and other giants is the actual revenue stream and the temptation to bend the rules.
As recent events revealed, the companies holding that data themselves are vulnerable to speculators like Cambridge Analytica.
You see, the online advertising ecosystem thrives under very specific conditions: it has to know exactly what Facebook users are doing and thinking at the moment so that they can serve up the best ad. And Facebook does have a history of questionable privacy practices and security incidents.
It’s easy to cast blame on one company alone but it would be unfairly singling them out since the practices of handling large amounts of data have not always fallen into the “fair” category and have always carried the “risky” label.
Google was slammed with a $2.8 billion fine for antitrust violations this summer, for almost the same tricks that brought the hammer down on Microsoft almost 2 decades ago.
“Today, mobile internet makes up more than half of global internet traffic. It has changed the lives of millions of Europeans. Our case is about three types of restrictions that Google has imposed on Android device manufacturers and network operators to ensure that traffic on Android devices goes to the Google search engine. In this way, Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine. These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits. They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules,” said Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.
Coming back to the past few months and the events of the last 48 hours, Facebook lost the trial in the public court and now it’s losing ground with investors too.
For privacy and security-oriented individuals, this is good news, though it doesn’t come from a good place.
Like the investment firm who is now calling for Mark Zuckerberg to step down from his position said, “this lack of independent board Chair and oversight has contributed to Facebook missing, or mishandling, a number of severe controversies, increasing risk exposure and costs to shareholders.”
You could agree fully with the statement and sentiment. You could sigh and say “capitalism”. However, we’re here to look at it from the perspective of privacy and security. In this context, it’s a signal to you is that you have to be even more vigilant than usual.
Right now, more than ever, investors are pushing companies to the limit of legality, in the name of profits. They’re not saying “be careful with users’ data and their wellbeing, they’re saying “be careful the users don’t realize what you’re doing with their data” and “make sure you assuage their fears.”
“Looking ahead, we will continue to invest heavily in security and privacy because we have a responsibility to keep people safe,” he said.
It sounds nice but we are sure you know better by now. You need to invest in your own security and privacy because your and your business’s valuable data should not be at the mercy of giants.
Where to go from here
If you’re a home user, use one of our privacy guides to start protecting your digital life, they’re quite easy to follow and will ensure that you’re safe not just from cybercriminals, but also from those companies that sit at the edge of the law.
If you’re approaching this from an organization’s perspective, reach out to us for the best tools to protect your and your customers’ interests. For a healthy digital economy in which all parties are satisfied, security and compliance are essential.
Disclosure: This post probably ended up after we spent a very small sum to buy advertising space on a social platform. The only criteria we used to “target” you was the fact you speak English and value both privacy and security. We know that’s what you also look for when you come to us for cybersecurity expertise.