Tag Archives: caution

Ashampoo Database Hacked – What You Need To Know

I could spend all day, every day, reporting on nothing more than the latest cyber criminal targeted intrusions into enterprise IT systems.  Two reports from my today’s Tech Net News column illustrate that we are barely scratching the surface of this significant, continuous, and rapidly expanding problem:

European Space Agency website and FTP servers hacked

Dramatic increase in cyber attacks on critical infrastructure

If you’re an everyday reader here, then you may recall that I regularly recommend that you take advantage of the German software developer Ashampoo’s, occasionally offered free application multipacks.

The downside (for some) is, you must register and provide an email address. Additional benefits can be gained by registering as an  Ashampoo member, which includes creating a password.

Unfortunately, Ashampoo has become a victim of a cyber criminal targeted intrusion aimed at their customer database. According to the company:

“Hackers gained access to one of our servers. We discovered the break-in and interrupted it instantly. The security gap through which the hackers gained access was closed immediately.

The stolen pieces of information are data of addresses such as name and e-mail address. Billing information (e.g. credit card information or banking information) is definitely not affected … it is not stored on our system.”

If you have taken advantage of Ashampoo’s offers, then it’s important that you exercise extreme caution with any future emails sent by the company and, any unsolicited email sent by any company, for that matter.

As well, if you have registered as an Ashampoo member, it’s important that you change your account password. Additionally, if you have used the same password elsewhere (you’d be surprised how often this occurs), it’s imperative that you change these passwords immediately.

My thanks to my buddy John B. (a great Scot!), for bringing this unfortunate incident to my attention this morning.

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Filed under Cyber Crime, Cyber Criminals, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Email, Malware Advisories, Phishing, Tech Net News, Windows Tips and Tools

Super Bowl Sunday – A Super Opportunity For Cybercriminals

Unfortunately, exposure to cybercrime is one of the hidden costs associated with the use of the Internet. It’s not fair – but that’s the way it is.

imageExperienced computer users are aware that if an event is newsworthy, cybercriminals will exploit it to their own advantage. A reminder, from time to time however, is in all our interest.

Cybercriminals have jumped (as expected), on Super Sunday, and are already exploiting this annual event. It’s hardly surprising then, that security experts are predicting record-breaking numbers of Super Sunday related online threats, and cyber attacks.

Cybercriminals are experts at exploiting our curiosity surrounding current events through social engineering , and according to PC Tools, Stephanie Edwards, “Whenever there is a major event, like Super Sunday, we see this kind of increased activity.”

Given the frequency of cybercriminal activity on social networking sites, (designed, in part, to drop malicious code on computers), users need to be aware that the use of social media sites demands an extra degree of caution.

From the Web:

Ad Age predicts that advertisers will use social media at record levels to fan the flames of their ads. Increased numbers of fake ads targeting young males will appear in popular forums and sites. These ads featuring attractive women or cheerleaders encourage people to click on the links which may take them to suspicious or malicious websites.

A “drive-by attack” can occur when a link is inserted onto popular video sharing websites that promise users access to Super Sunday commercials. If a user clicks on the link, they may be redirected to ads not related to Super Sunday or in more extreme cases, users’ personal information may be taken unknowingly through malicious system exploits.

In addition to attacking users, hackers are increasingly targeting legitimate fan and sports websites through redirected links or ads. A football fan scanning the latest sports updates may unknowingly have malware downloading through interactive animations on the page.

Internet users are not entirely at the mercy of cybercriminals, and can take relatively effective steps to protect themselves  from being victimized. You may want to review the following actions you can take to protect your Internet connected computer system:

  • When surfing the web – Stop. Think. Click
  • Install an Internet Browser security add-on such as WOT , which provides detailed test results on a site’s safety; protecting you from security threats including spyware, adware, spam, viruses, browser exploits, and online scams.
  • Don’t open unknown email attachments
  • Don’t run programs of unknown origin
  • Disable hidden filename extensions
  • Keep all applications (including your operating system) patched
  • Turn off your computer or disconnect from the network when not in use
  • Disable Java, JavaScript, and ActiveX if possible
  • Disable scripting features in email programs
  • Make regular backups of critical data
  • Make a boot disk in case your computer is damaged or compromised
  • Turn off file and printer sharing on your computer.
  • Install a personal firewall on your computer.
  • Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software and ensure it is configured to automatically update when you are connected to the Internet.
  • Ensure the anti-virus software scans all e-mail attachments.
  • Consider running your system in a “virtual environment. You can search this site with the keywords “virtual environment” which will produce a listing of articles covering both free, and commercial, virtual applications and add-ons.

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Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Interconnectivity, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Advisories, Online Safety, social networking, Windows Tips and Tools