Posts tagged with "VPN"

Graph via BeyondTrust.com for Atlas VPN for use by 360 Magazine

In 2020 Number of Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Products Exceeded 1,000 for the First Time

Microsoft products are used by billions of people worldwide. Historically, however, they are known to have many vulnerabilities that pose security risks to users of the software.

According to data presented by the Atlas VPN team, the total number of vulnerabilities in Microsoft products reached 1,268 in 2020—an increase of 181% in five years. Windows was the most vulnerability-ridden Microsoft product. It had a total of 907 issues, of which 132 were critical. However, Windows Server had the largest number of critical issues. In 2020, 902 vulnerabilities were detected in Windows Server, of which 138 were critical.

Issues were also found in other Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer. Together, these browsers had 92 vulnerabilities in 2020. In total, 61 or even 66% of these vulnerabilities were of critical level. Meanwhile, Microsoft Office had 79 vulnerabilities, 5 of which were critical. 

Ruth Cizynski, the cybersecurity researcher and author at Atlas VPN, shares her thoughts on the situation :

 “These numbers are a massive problem because every Microsoft product has millions of users. Therefore, it is important that consumers update their software applications on time. Software updates can include security patches that can fix vulnerabilities and save users from getting hacked.”

Elevation of privilege is the most common Microsoft vulnerability

A wide range of vulnerabilities was discovered in various Microsoft products last year.  However, some types of vulnerabilities were more common than others. Elevation of privilege was the most frequently detected issue in Microsoft products. It was discovered 559 times and made up 44% of all Microsoft vulnerabilities in 2020.

Next up is remote code execution. In total, 345 such vulnerabilities were found last year, putting it in second place on the list. Remote code execution accounted for 27% of the total number of Microsoft vulnerabilities in 2020.

Information disclosure occupies the third spot on the list. There were 179 such issues discovered in 2020. Together, they made up 14% of all Microsoft vulnerabilities that year.

To learn more, click HERE.

Art by Mina Tocalini of 360 Magazine for use by 360 Magazine

Atlas VPN Finds Most Popular Browsers

More than 3 billion internet users now use the Google Chrome browser

Choosing what browser to use is something that every internet user has to do. There are plenty of options to pick from. When choosing, it is essential to make sure your browser has the proper security and privacy settings.

According to the recent Atlas VPN team findings, 3,258,256,887 internet users (or 41% of the population) use Google Chrome browser, making it by far the most popular browser in the world. The key reason for such browser popularity is the fact that it has been created by the tech giant Google. In addition, many people praise it for various customizable options and speed compared to other browsers.

The statistics are based on the GlobalStats browser market share percentage, which was then converted into numbers using the InternetWorldStats internet user metric to retrieve the exact numbers.

The second most popular browser is Safari, with a total of 944,576,100 internet users. iPhone or Mac device users mostly work with the Safari browser as Apple developed it. This browser offers several security features such as security indicators and malware protection.

Third on the list is the Firefox browser, with 181,435,430 people actively using it. Unlike other browsers, Firefox has placed a huge emphasis on user privacy. In March 2021, Firefox launched SmartBlock in version 87 to offer protection against cross-site tracking without breaking the websites users visit.

Microsoft Edge browser ranks fourth with 171,327,607 internet users. Edge is the only browser to natively support Windows Information Protection (WIP), which protects corporate data to help prevent accidental leaks by users on Windows 10 devices.

In fifth and sixth place goes the Samsung Internet and Opera browsers. They have 166,779,086 and 112,196,840 active users respectively.

Google Chrome seems to be the most popular browser based on user interface and ease of customization. Users can install VPNs and AdBlockers directly to the web browser. Another reason for the significant increase in popularity of Google Chrome could be the growth in popularity for Google devices such as the Chromebook, which has Google Chrome installed natively. 

Browser security concerns

At this time, when cybercrime is more active than ever, safety should be one of the priorities when choosing a browser. There are a few additional tools that will help you stay secure to accompany a good browser.

Even though Chrome is the most popular browser globally, it has a history of security and privacy issues. Last year in March, hackers found a backdoor in a Google Chrome update and took advantage of it by releasing a fake Chrome update with malware. It infected more than 3000 users worldwide.

More common browser security concerns are that hackers could access your saved passwords and other information. In addition, cookies and browser cache could also be used to obtain your sensitive data.

Using software such as VPNs, antivirus, firewalls, or password managers can help you to protect your identity online and avoid malicious attacks. These applications have become essential tools when it comes to online security.

To see the data and graphs relevant to Atlas VPN’s report visit their website here.

Graph via Sophos for Atlas VPN for use by 360 Magazine

India, Austria, and US Most Hit with Ransomware

Ransomware attacks are one of the leading cyber threats that organizations have to face.

According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, organizations in India, Austria, and the United States are among the most hit with ransomware attacks. To compare, more than 50% of companies in the mentioned countries experienced such attacks in the past year, while the global average is 37%.

Out of 300 interviewees from India, 68% suffered from a ransomware attack. At the same time, 57 out of 100 respondents from Austria experienced a ransomware attack in the last year. Next up, in the United States, 51% of participants, out of 500 questioned, reported that they were hit with a ransomware attack.

Retail and Education Sectors Suffer the Most Ransomware Attacks

Some organizations in specific sectors are more susceptible to hacker attacks due to their lower security levels or valuable data. However, cybercriminals do not shy away from attacking even the biggest companies or government administrations.

Out of 435 respondents in the retail industry, 44% were hit with a ransomware attack last year. Hackers strike retailers when it could hurt them the most, for example, on Black Friday or Christmas seasons.

Retailers share first place with education organizations—out of 499 education interviewees 44% experienced such malicious attacks. Cybercriminals usually deploy ransomware attacks at the start of a school year to cause maximum disruption.

The business and professional services industry suffered the third most ransomware attacks, with a total of 42% out of 361 respondents stating they experienced a ransomware attack in the past year. Companies in this industry are usually smaller with less staff, meaning they might not have a dedicated person to ensure security. Out of 117 participants in the Central government and non-departmental public body (NDPB) sector, 40% reported being attacked with ransomware in the last year.

Conclusion

Cybersecurity writer and researcher at Atlas VPN Anton Petrov shares his advice on how to protect your organization against ransomware attacks.

“Prepare a plan in case you… get hacked. Always have a backup of your data so you don’t have to pay a ransom. Investing in cybersecurity will cost you less than having to deal with the aftermath of a ransomware attack.”

Like with everything else, there’s a way to protect your data in order to make sure hackers don’t get to it and cause serious financial damage.

360 MAGAZINE, illustration

What is VPN and how does it offer online freedom? 

The abbreviation VPN refers to Virtual Private Network. As the name suggests, it furnishes clients with a virtual system that is private so they can surf the web in a manner that is safe. Basically, a definitive objective of a VPN is to keep your data confidential. According to a survey, since 2013 almost 25% of global internet users have accessed the web through a VPN each month

How does a VPN work? 

A VPN works by directing your gadget’s internet access through your picked VPN’s private server as opposed to your internet service provider (ISP) with the goal that when your information is transmitted to the web, it originates from the VPN instead of your PC. The VPN goes about as a delegate of sorts as you surf the web, concealing your IP address – the series of numbers your ISP gives to your device – and securing your identification. Besides, if your information is in one way or another caught, it will be ambiguous until it arrives at its end goal. A VPN makes a confidential “channel” from your device to the web and conceals your essential information through something that is known as encryption. 

Without a VPN, your connection is completely open, and your ISP, the WiFi router, any server en route, or an individual with the correct devices look at your information. Utilizing a VPN takes care of a considerable lot of those issues by encoding your transmission and causing it to show up as though it’s simply the server that is making the connection and not you. 

In extremely straightforward terms, a VPN interfaces your PC, cell phone, or tablet to another PC (called a server) someplace on the internet, and permits you to peruse the web utilizing that PC’s internet access. So if that server is in another country, it will show up as though you are originating from that country, and you can possibly get to things that you usually could not. 

VPN offers online freedom 

A VPN can offer you more opportunities on the internet. Numerous individuals nowadays are utilizing a VPN for torrenting or bypassing geographic limitations to watch content in a different country. It permits you to link with servers everywhere throughout the world. At the point when you associate with a VPN server in a specific country, you will have the option to get to the web as though you were truly in that country. This is helpful, in light of the fact that the internet is not freely available all over. A few countries control some portion of the internet or force limitations via social media sites or online streaming services. On the off chance that you are on vacation or have relocated, you may be not able to see your typical streams. A VPN will empower you to link with the web by means of servers in your country of origin. This typically empowers you to watch your preferred show or access your preferred site once more. For example, if you cannot access Australian TV in the US, visit http://privacyspark.com/vpn/streaming/australian-tv/ for more information about how you can watch it with the help of VPN. 

360 MAGAZINE, illustration

High-Performance Managed Website Services

With the advent of high-speed internet technology becoming available to a wide range of users. Websites have become an essential tool or platform for businesses to survive and thrive in a global marketplace. Merely having a website does not guarantee the success of your enterprise, so you should start with a small business website builder to see how it will be running because you don’t want to lose your budget at the very beginning. It should also be fine-tuned to quickly and clearly convey the importance of your product or service to any visitors to your website. 

High-Performance Websites

The internet has become a major source of information for most people. Because of this, a great number of businesses have websites announcing their products or services to whoever should find this online address. For a website to be easily found amidst the multitude of online platforms, it should be connected to Managed Website Services that will increase its online traffic. Internet users have become very picky so if your website is not managed very well then it will be relegated to the sidelines of the virtual landscape.

High-performance websites should be elegant and efficient, reflecting an appealing aesthetic while also clearly conveying important information to visitors. They provide customers and clients with a unique experience from the first moment that they connect to the website. Keep in mind that laptops and personal computers are not the only ways to connect to the web anymore, mobile phones and tablets have become the most widespread means of connecting to the internet in the last few years.

One quality that can make or break a website’s online traffic is the speed in which it can load and share information with the user. This means that a high-performance website has speed-focused coding and image optimization integrated into its systems. Many internet users now do not have much patience and want the websites they visit to load very quickly, that is why speed is of the essence.

Website Security

A website must be secure both for the sake of the clients and for the business owner. Sensitive information is necessary for business especially when it comes to account details used for paying online transactions. Passwords and other personal information should be protected. Today, hackers or identity thieves are everywhere, this is the most complicated but must priority first. These kinds of information must be well protected in order to keep visitors to the website safe. If not, customers are not going to trust the website anymore. However, this can translate to a website having encryption on a virtual private server. 

The virtual private server should be backed-up regularly so that information will not be lost. A private server means that the resources of a server are dedicated to the website. It also means that it is protected by a firewall as well as having systems in place to protect the website from brute force attacks or hacking methods of stealing data.

The virtual landscape is not so different from the real one in the sense that dangers and opportunities exist within them. High-performance website management ensures that your online platform is not only well-protected but also much visited. For those who have a website or are thinking of starting one, become aware of high-performance options so that your virtual presence is a strong one.

Hackers Covet Your Identity; 5 Ways To Thwart Their Efforts

Each day people take a virtual trip through the internet to do their banking, make hotel reservations, shop for a new car, or engage in a myriad of other activities important to them.

It’s so routine that it’s easy to forget that you need to be just as careful about protecting yourself on those virtual journeys as you would on an actual one. “Hackers are creative about dreaming up new ideas for stealing your identity, so it’s important that you stay vigilant even if you already have taken action to guard yourself and your data,” says Chris Hoose, an IT consultant who works with small businesses.

Hoose says a few steps you can take to protect your identity include:

Use a password manager. One problem with passwords is that people often use simple ones that are easy to remember, but also easy to hack. A password manager  provides an encrypted database where you can store unique, long, complex passwords for each of your online accounts, and access them when you need them. “With a password manager, you can have better passwords that are harder to hack, and you don’t have to memorize them,” Hoose says.

Do your online activities with a VPN. Worried that your online browsing will lead identity thieves right back to you? One solution, Hoose says, is a virtual private network (VPN), which lends you a temporary IP address and hides your true IP address from every website or email you connect with. “It also prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location,” he says. “You just need to remember to connect to it when you want to use it.” A VPN usually costs about $40 to $50 a year, he says.

Be wary on social media. Most people check in on social media routinely to catch up on family news, connect with college buddies, or perhaps to share photos of a new puppy. Unfortunately, cyber thieves lurk in the background. “They know that social media platforms are an excellent source for personal information and information about your contacts, which makes identity theft that much easier for them,” Hoose says. To stay safe on social media, he suggests you check to see if you have already been compromised; avoid password reuse; update your security settings regularly; and limit your connections because the more you have, the more potential for a fraudulent or compromised account to send you a malicious link.

Keep tabs on your credit report. One way to make sure no one has taken on debt in your name, and damaged your credit in the process, is to request a full credit report from any of the three major agencies: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. You can get a free copy from any of them through the site. Also, it might be time to get off the mailing list for all those credit offers you receive that say you are pre-approved. “Those offers are a gold mine for identity thieves,” Hoose says. You can opt out of pre-approved credit offers by visiting.

Be sure to install anti-virus/malware software. Your first and best line of defense against identity theft on your computer remains anti-virus software and anti-malware software, Hoose says. When choosing one, he suggests making use of the trial period most companies offer. “That way you can try them out and decide which one works best for you,” he says.

“The more people try to foil identity thieves, the more sophisticated those thieves seem to get in their methods,” Hoose says. “But by being watchful and attentive, you can stay safe and enjoy your time online.”

About Chris Hoose

Chris Hoose  s the president of Choose Networks, an IT consulting firm for small businesses. Hoose started the company in 2001 to give large-scale solutions and support to businesses that can’t afford their own in-house IT department. He earned a Master of Information Systems Management from Friends University.

CapitalOne breach: how to protect yourself

A massive data breach hit Capital One. Digital privacy expert Daniel Markuson shares the most essential steps consumers can take to keep themselves safer.

On Monday, it was announced that a data breach of Capital One compromised the personal information of approximately 100 million consumers in the United States and 6 million consumers in Canada. It is said to be one of the top 10 largest data breaches ever.

The bank announced that in addition to the credit card application data, portions of credit card customer data were also obtained, including credit scores, limits, balances, payment history, transaction data, and contact information. Stolen data also included 140,000 Social Security numbers, 80,000 linked bank account numbers.

What to do if your account gets compromised

NordVPN’s digital privacy expert Daniel Markuson shares the most essential steps consumers can take to keep themselves safer.

Get back into your account

The first important step is to log into your online account and change the password immediately. Go through the privacy settings and check if you can make your account more secure. Invoke all recommended security settings.

It is as well advised to sign up for email or text alerts about your monetary transactions.

Freeze your credit

The best way to protect yourself is to freeze your credit. This makes it very difficult to open new accounts in your name, even if someone is using your stolen financial information. It is important to note, that credit freeze doesn’t influence your score.

With credit freeze invoked – most creditors will decline to open a new account as they will not be able to check your credit history.

Place a fraud alert and check credit reports

If freezing your credit is not an option for you – contact one of the credit bureauses and invoke a fraud alert. Fraud alerts flag creditors and they verify your identity before issuing new credit in your name. Such alerts usually last for a year but can be renewed.

Capital One said that they “will make free credit monitoring and identity protection available to everyone affected.” Check for credit inquiries, balances, and new accounts that you haven’t opened or applied for.

Check credit card statements

It is very important to regularly check your credit card statements online, even if you think that your data hasn’t been affected by the breach. If you see any strange activities on your balance – try to recall whether you authorized the charge. If you can’t recall it, inform your bank and the merchant immediately.

Make sure to keep all your documentation, such as order confirmation numbers or receipts.

Beware of phishing scams

Since hackers may have detailed information on more than 100 million individuals, there might be a spike in more personalized phishing scams. Such scams are usually very effective as criminals use a piece of real information, for example, your name and address.

Personalized phishing messages are designed to look as if they are coming from a legitimate bank or other familiar organization. Be vigilant and contact the organization before clicking on any links, filling in forms or transferring funds. For additional safety, use a VPN, like NordVPN, when browsing.

Report unusual activities

And finally, if you notice something unusual – report the incident to the authorities. Raising the alarm can help not only you, but others affected by the breach as well.

ABOUT NORDVPN

NordVPN is the world’s most advanced VPN service provider that is more security oriented than most VPN services. It offers double VPN encryption, malware blocking & Onion Over VPN. The product is very user-friendly, offers one of the best prices on the market, has over 5,000 servers worldwide and is P2P-friendly. One of the key features of NordVPN is zero log policy. For more information: nordvpn.com.