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Cyber threats: Don’t panic!

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Building and running your own website can be a daunting task, especially with the cyber crime that you are exposed to. But, says MYRON SALANT of Webafrica, there is no need to panic as there are various services to keep you safe.

The cyber-world can be a dark and daunting place, especially if you are building and running your own websites or have an online business. Cyber-crime in the form of hacking could result in your website being blacklisted by Google, equating to a drop in search rankings, a damaged reputation, and a loss of revenue as you try to get your site back up.

“But there is no need to panic,” says Myron Salant, web services product manager at Webafrica. “Many website owners only think about security after their site gets hacked, but knowledge is power: if you know what the threats are you can arm yourself appropriately and get one step ahead of the hackers.”

Myron has identified the top 10 threats to your website that you should be aware of:

Injection

Injection happens when hostile data is sent to an interpreter as part of a query or command. This data tricks the interpreter, resulting in unintended commands and corrupt data. It’s a common problem in web applications, particularly with SQL injection.

Cross-site scripting

When an application sends user-supplied data to a web browser without first validating or encoding it, cross-site scripting (XSS) can occur. This lets hackers execute scripts in the victim’s browser that hijack user sessions or vandalize websites.

Insecure direct object references

Web applications don’t always verify that the user is authorized for the target object. Without an access control check or similar protection, supposedly secure data can be accessed and stolen by attackers.

Cross-site request forgery

CSRF tricks a victim into submitting fake HTTP requests via cross-site scripting or image tags. It’s an issue for web applications that inadvertently allows hackers to predict the details of a transaction – for example, automatically-generated session cookies. Attackers create hostile web pages which generate forged requests indistinguishable from real ones.

Insecure cryptographic storage

It’s hard to believe but many web applications still do not properly protect sensitive data such as credit card numbers and personal details. Attackers can easily access poorly encrypted data and use it to commit credit card fraud, identity theft and other data-related crimes.

Failure to restrict URL access

An application may protect sensitive functionality only by not displaying relevant URLs to unauthorized users. By accessing those ULRs directly, attackers can exploit this weakness to perform unauthorized operations.

Invalidated re-directs & forwards

Web applications may re-direct and forward visitors to other pages and websites without proper validation. Attackers can then re-direct victims to phishing or malware sites or use forwards to access unauthorized pages.

Broken authentication & session management

Account credentials and session tokens are sometimes not properly protected. Attackers simply use stolen passwords, keys and authentication tokens to steal other users’ identities and commit crimes.

Security misconfiguration

Attackers exploit security configuration weaknesses at any level whether it’s the platform, web server, application server, framework or custom code. These flaws give attackers unauthorized access to default accounts, unused pages, un-patched flaws, unprotected files and system data.

Insufficient transport layer protection

When applications fail to authenticate, encrypt and protect sensitive network traffic, they may support weak algorithms, use expired or invalid certificates, or execute commands incorrectly.

“The above threats can simply be avoided by implementing an online security system, such as SiteLock, for example,” says Myron. “If you are unsure about the right security solution for your website, speak to your web developer – as the cliché goes, prevention is better than cure!”

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Samsung unfolds the future

At the #Unpacked launch, Samsung delivered the world’s first foldable phone from a major brand. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK tried it out.

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Everything that could be known about the new Samsung Galaxy S10 range, launched on Wednesday in San Francisco, seems to have been known before the event.

Most predictions were spot-on, including those in Gadget (see our preview here), thanks to a series of leaks so large, they competed with the hole an iceberg made in the Titanic.

The big surprise was that there was a big surprise. While it was widely expected that Samsung would announce a foldable phone, few predicted what would emerge from that announcement. About the only thing that was guessed right was the name: Galaxy Fold.

The real surprise was the versatility of the foldable phone, and the fact that units were available at the launch. During the Johannesburg event, at which the San Francisco launch was streamed live, small groups of media took turns to enter a private Fold viewing area where photos were banned, personal phones had to be handed in, and the Fold could be tried out under close supervision.

The first impression is of a compact smartphone with a relatively small screen on the front – it measures 4.6-inches – and a second layer of phone at the back. With a click of a button, the phone folds out to reveal a 7.3-inch inside screen – the equivalent of a mini tablet.

The fold itself is based on a sophisticated hinge design that probably took more engineering than the foldable display. The result is a large screen with no visible seam.

The device introduces the concept of “app continuity”, which means an app can be opened on the front and, in mid-use, if the handset is folded open, continue on the inside from where the user left off on the front. The difference is that the app will the have far more space for viewing or other activity.

Click here to read about the app experience on the inside of the Fold.

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Password managers don’t protect you from hackers

Using a password manager to protect yourself online? Research reveals serious weaknesses…

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Top password manager products have fundamental flaws that expose the data they are designed to protect, rendering them no more secure than saving passwords in a text file, according to a new study by researchers at Independent Security Evaluators (ISE).

“100 percent of the products that ISE analyzed failed to provide the security to safeguard a user’s passwords as advertised,” says ISE CEO Stephen Bono. “Although password managers provide some utility for storing login/passwords and limit password reuse, these applications are a vulnerable target for the mass collection of this data through malicious hacking campaigns.”

In the new report titled “Under the Hood of Secrets Management,” ISE researchers revealed serious weaknesses with top password managers: 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass and LastPass.  ISE examined the underlying functionality of these products on Windows 10 to understand how users’ secrets are stored even when the password manager is locked. More than 60 million individuals 93,000 businesses worldwide rely on password managers. Click here for a copy of the report.

Password managers are marketed as a solution to eliminate the security risks of storing passwords or secrets for applications and browsers in plain text documents. Having previously examined these and other password managers, ISE researchers expected an improved level of security standards preventing malicious credential extraction. Instead ISE found just the opposite. 

Click here to read the findings from the report.

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