Tag - CyberSecMonth

7 quick questions about password managers

The use of password managers is increasing. No surprise, as they simplify password security and are user friendly. Why do you need one and what are the benefits? We asked Stefano Zanero, Associate Professor at the Politecnico di Milano University. Stefano, what exactly is a password manager? A password manager is a tool that stores in a secure way all your logins and passwords. In addition to this, most modern password managers can automatically fill the login fields, to automatically keep...

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Managing passwords

To be effective, passwords need to be long, complicated and unique. It’s also a good idea to have a separate password for every account. But don’t worry, that’s doesn’t mean learning multiple passwords because there’s simple tech available to help with that. But how can you possibly remember them all? Don’t make it easy for criminals Your passwords are the key to access your data, your online identity, your bank account, etc. People with bad intentions are out to unlock or get hold of your...

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Uncovering Android Ransomware with Explainable AI

By Michele Scalas, Davide Maiorca and Giorgio Giacinto, University of Cagliari Ransomware represents a serious threat that acts by locking the compromised device and encrypting its data (along with exfiltrating private information), forcing the device owner to pay a ransom to restore the device functionality or to avoid that the stolen data is publicly available. Attackers typically develop such dangerous apps so that normally legitimate functionalities (e.g. encryption) perform malicious...

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We got ransomware! Where is the backup?

By Leonardo Lanzi, coordinator of the GARR CERT Once upon a time… In March 2016, I had the chance to be near enough a ransomware infection to be able to examine how it functions and its effects and, as I was not being the real target, I was able to keep calm and give some help to colleagues, who were almost overwhelmed with fear. It was a variant of a crypto-ransomware, today considered a classic, in the shape of an attached file of a supposedly official email. By being open it encrypted...

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Immune to ransomware? With a collaborative approach, you can

By Francesco Palmieri, professor of Computer Science at the University of Salerno Ransomware, considered today an important emergency from the cyber security point of view, is from malware agents who limit access to a device or to the data stored on it, typically using robust cryptographic techniques, and offer the possibility of unlocking only after the payment of a ransom. This type of threat began to acquire notoriety in 2013, following the massive spread of the Cryptolocker worm, associated...

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Interview: How the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) prevented a ransomware attack

In May 2019, the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) was able to prevent a ransomware attack just in time. For the Cyber Security Month 2020 initiative, GÉANT contacted Marius Mertens, CISO of UDE, to learn how the university managed to prevent such attack and talk about the main challenges in the area of cyber security. Marius, what are the crown jewels of UDE? The answer depends on the person who’s asked to answer this question. Our IT infrastructure is highly decentralised and our...

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Case study: What Maastricht University (UM) learned from the ransomware attack (part 2)

On 23 December last year, Maastricht University (UM) was hit by a major ransomware attack. The hackers executed a command installing ‘Clop’ ransomware on 267 servers of the Windows domain. As a result, almost all of UM’s operational processes were disrupted. Several online backup servers were encrypted as well. In part 2 of the interview with Bart van den Heuvel you will read more about the crisis management during this incident. Read Part 1 here. Bart Van den Heuvel:...

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Case study: What Maastricht University (UM) learned from the ransomware attack (part 1)

On 23 December last year, Maastricht University (UM), which is connected to the Dutch education and research network SURFnet, was hit by a major ransomware attack. After thorough investigation and serious consideration, the institution decided to pay the requested ransom. GÉANT spoke with Bart van den Heuvel, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at UM. ‘A cyber attack is going to happen to you anyway. It is a matter of preparing yourself as well as possible and limiting the impact...

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Ransomware and beyond

By Pier Luca Montessoro, University of Udine One day, one very bad day, you open your laptop and a red screen informs you that all your files have been encrypted and you have to pay a ransom in bitcoin to get them back. And what is worse, you know (or you should know) that maybe your data has been stolen too, and maybe you will never receive the key to decrypt it, even after the payment. Ransomware is a sad reality, currently the most prominent malware threat, and every user, from large...

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Advanced Ransomware Attacks

SI-CERT, the national CSIRT of Slovenia has been handling reports of ransomware attacks on a regular basis since April 2012. Until 2019, attack victims were selected randomly as part of a mass-volume campaign aiming to spread the virus. However, since 2019 the attacks have been more targeted. In most cases, the vector of infection is either a malicious email that contains a malicious attachment or link, or an attack via an inadequately secured Remote Desktop Protocol. Nonetheless, cyber...

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