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ContiLeaks: Ransomware gang suffers data breach

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By Varonis

Conti, one of the most infamous, prolific and successful big game ransomware threats, has suffered yet another embarrassing leak with a treasure trove of both internal chat transcripts and source code being shared by a reported Ukrainian member.

Having previously had their internal manuals and tools exposed by a disgruntled affiliate in August 2021, these latest leaks appear to be in response to the group “officially announcing a full support of Russian government” [sic] and that they would respond to any attack, cyber or otherwise, against Russia with “all possible resources to strike back at the critical infrastructures of an enemy”.

Given that members of the group may themselves be Ukrainian or have close ties to the country, this warning likely inflamed tempers leading to both the warning being updated and these subsequent leaks.

Much as the previous leak allowed their toolsets to be analyzed and revealed common indicators of compromise (IOC), analysis of these recent data leaks and chat logs provides insights into how Conti, and likely other similar ransomware groups, coordinate and conduct their operations.

The outcome of these leaks remains to be seen; Conti and its members may be forced to disband or, as is often the case with ransomware groups, lay low for a period before rebranding and relaunching their operation.

Click here to finish reading the full blog post or visit the Varonis website here.

Ransomware Year in Review 2021

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By Varonis

In 2021, attacks became highly effective and impactful. At the same time, high-volume indiscriminate ransomware threats remained omnipresent throughout the year.

In this post, the Varonis Threat Labs team shares what they observed in the wild while working on ransomware investigations.

Overall, the team identified these five ransomware trends that shaped 2021:

  1. Ransomware-as-a-Service became the go-to model for attackers. 2021 saw a shift toward the Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) business model, where groups recruit affiliates or partners to conduct specific parts of their operation.
  2. Attackers crafted bespoke ransomware. In 2021, threat actors bullied targeted organizations with victim-specific ransomware designed to avoid detection and ensure the efficacy of the attack within the victim’s environment.
  3. Attackers went “big game hunting.” Sophisticated ‘big game hunter’ ransomware groups, both old and new, honed their ability to access victims’ networks worldwide. Cybercriminal groups adopted the now widespread ‘double extortion’ tactic to steal—and threaten to leak—sensitive data.
  4. Ransomware sent shockwaves through the software supply chain. Numerous high-profile incidents targeting high-worth organizations via software supply chains during 2021 demonstrate the impact that ransomware can have on an organization—and, in some cases, led to ‘real-world’ outcomes sending shockwaves across the broader economy.
  5. Attackers bought and sold off-the-shelf commodity malware. Commodity malware continued to be widely adopted by threat actors of varying sophistication—from organized cybercriminal gangs delivering payloads to gain initial access to high-value targets to script kiddies using simple off-the-shelf threats to steal credentials for resale on the dark web.

Click here to read the full blog post to delve into each of the five ransomware trends or you can visit the Varonis website here.

Salesforce security: 5 ways your data could be exposed

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By Varonis

Salesforce is the lifeblood of many organizations. One of its most valuable assets-the data inside-is also its most vulnerable. With countless permission and configuration possibilities, it’s easy to leave valuable data exposed.

That, coupled with the fact that most security organizations aren’t very familiar or involved with Salesforce’s administration, opens organizations up to massive risk.

Here are five things every security team should know about their Salesforce security practices to effectively gauge and reduce risk to data. 

5 Questions You Should Ask:

  1. How many profiles have “export” permissions enabled? 

Exporting data from Salesforce makes it a lot easier for someone to steal information like leads or customer lists. To protect against insider threats and data leaks, export capabilities should be limited to only the users who require it.

  1. How many apps are connected to Salesforce via API? 

Connected apps can bring added efficiency to Salesforce, but they can also introduce added risk to your Salesforce security.

If a third-party app is compromised, it could expose internal Salesforce data. You should know exactly what’s connected to your Salesforce instance and how to ensure that connection doesn’t expose valuable information.

  1. How many external users have access to Salesforce? 

External users, like contractors, are often granted access to Salesforce. Surprisingly, 3 out of 4 cloud identities that belong to external contractors remain active after they leave the organization.

Salesforce security teams should ensure all contractors are properly offboarded from all SaaS apps to prevent data from being exposed.

  1. How many privileged users do you have? 

Privileged users have a lot of power within Salesforce. They can make configuration changes that have dramatic effects on how information can be accessed and shared.

Salesforce security teams need the ability to audit privileged users, be notified when changes are made, and understand exactly what changed to assess risk.

  1. Are your Salesforce Communities exposing internal data publicly? 

Misconfigurations are one of the easiest ways to unintentionally expose sensitive data. For security teams that aren’t intimately familiar with every configuration within Salesforce (of which there are many!), it’s easy to miss critical gaps.

Check to see if settings for Salesforce Communities, meant to share information with customers, are inadvertently making data accessible to anyone on the internet.

Improve your Salesforce security with DatAdvantage Cloud

With Varonis DatAdvantage Cloud, it’s easy to answer these and other critical security questions about Salesforce and other SaaS apps in your environment, like Google Drive and Box.

DatAdvantage Cloud keeps valuable data in Salesforce secure by monitoring access and activity, alerting on suspicious behavior, and identifying security posture issues or misconfiguration.

Click here to view the full article and visit the Varonis website.

Cloud applications put your data at risk — Here’s how to regain control

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By Yaki Faitelson, Co-Founder and CEO of Varonis

Cloud applications boost productivity and ease collaboration. But when it comes to keeping your organisation safe from cyberattacks, they’re also a big, growing risk.

Your data is in more places than ever before. It lives in sanctioned data stores on premises and in the cloud, in online collaboration platforms like Microsoft 365 and in software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications like Salesforce.

This digital transformation means traditional security focused on shoring up perimeter defenses and protecting endpoints (e.g., phones and laptops) can leave your company dangerously exposed. When you have hundreds or thousands of endpoints accessing enterprise data virtually anywhere, your perimeter is difficult to define and harder to watch. If a cyberattack hits your company, an attacker could use just one endpoint as a gateway to access vast amounts of enterprise data.

Businesses rely on dozens of SaaS applications — and these apps can house some of your organisation’s most valuable data. Unfortunately, gaining visibility into these applications can be challenging. As a result, we see several types of risk accumulating more quickly than executives often realise.

Three SaaS Security Risks To Discuss With Your IT Team Right Now

Unprotected sensitive data. SaaS applications make collaboration faster and easier by giving more power to end users. They can share data with other employees and external business partners without IT’s help. With productivity gains, we, unfortunately, see added risk and complexity.

On average, employees can access millions of files (even sensitive ones) that aren’t relevant to their jobs. The damage that an attacker could do using just one person’s compromised credentials — without doing anything sophisticated — is tremendous.

With cloud apps and services, the application’s infrastructure is secured by the provider, but data protection is up to you. Most organisations can’t tell you where their sensitive data lives, who has access to it or who is using it, and SaaS applications are becoming a problematic blind spot for CISOs.

Let’s look at an example. Salesforce holds critical data — from customer lists to pricing information and sales opportunities. It’s a goldmine for attackers. Salesforce does a lot to secure its software, but ultimately, it’s the customer’s responsibility to secure the data housed inside it. Most companies wouldn’t know if someone accessed an abnormal number of account records before leaving to work for a competitor.

Cloud misconfigurations. SaaS application providers add new functionality to their applications all the time. With so much new functionality, administrators have a lot to keep up with and many settings to learn about. If your configurations aren’t perfect, however, you can open your applications — and data — to risk. And not just to anyone in your organisation but to anyone on the internet.

It only takes one misconfiguration to expose sensitive data. As the CEO of a company that has helped businesses identify misconfigured Salesforce Communities (websites that allow Salesforce customers to connect with and collaborate with their partners and customers), I’ve seen firsthand how, if not set up correctly, these Communities can also let malicious actors access customer lists, support cases, employee email addresses and more sensitive information.

App interconnectivity risk. SaaS applications are more valuable when they’re interconnected. For example, many organisations connect Salesforce to their email and calendaring system to automatically log customer communication and meetings. Application program interfaces (APIs) allow SaaS apps to connect and access each other’s information.

While APIs help companies get more value from their SaaS applications, they also increase risk. If an attacker gains access to one service, they can use these APIs to move laterally and access other cloud services.

Balancing Productivity And Security In The Cloud

When it comes to cloud applications and services, you must balance the tension between productivity and security. Think of it as a broad, interconnected attack surface that can be compromised in new ways. The perimeter we used to defend has disappeared. Endpoints are access points.

Now consider what you’re up against. Cybercrime — whether it’s malicious insiders or external actors — is omnipresent. If you store sensitive data, someone wants to steal it. Tactics created by state actors have spilled over into the criminal realm, and cryptocurrency continues to motivate attackers to hold data for ransom.

Defending against attacks on your data in the cloud demands a different approach. It’s time for cybersecurity to focus relentlessly on protecting data.

Data protection starts with understanding your digital assets and knowing what’s important. I’ve met with large companies that guess between 5-10% of their data is critical. When ransomware hits, however, somehow all of it becomes critical, and many times they end up paying.

Next, you must understand and reduce your SaaS blast radius — what an attacker can access with a compromised account or system.

An attacker’s job is much easier if they only need to compromise one account to get access to your sensitive data. Do everything you can to limit access to important and sensitive data so that employees can only access what they need to do their jobs. This is one of the best defenses, if not the best defense against data-related attacks like ransomware.

Once you’ve locked down critical data, monitor and profile usage so you can alert on abuse and investigate quickly. Attackers are more likely to trigger alarms if they have to jump through more hoops to access sensitive data.

If you can’t visualize your cloud data risk or know when an attack could be underway, you’re flying blind.

If you can find and lock down important data in cloud applications, monitor how it’s used and detect abuse, you can solve the lion’s share of the problem.

This is the essence of zero trust— restrict and monitor access, because no account or device should be implicitly trusted, no matter where they are or who they say they are. This makes even more sense in the cloud, where users and devices — each one a gateway to your critical information — are everywhere.

This article first appeared on Forbes.

YAKI FAITELSON

Co-Founder and CEO of Varonis, responsible for leading the management, strategic direction, and execution of the company.

Varonis Systems

WEBINAR: Keeping critical national infrastructure secure

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Cyber-attacks are now arguably the biggest threat to the UK’s national infrastructure. In recent months we have seen ransomware on food production and fuel transportation wreak havoc in the United States. So how are we keeping the UK safe?

Join Varonis Field CTO, Brian Vecci, as we host a panel session with senior experts from Sellafield Ltd, Royal BAM, The National Cyber Security Centre and more on Friday 10th September at 2pm.

We will discuss the threat landscape, responding to breaches and how to implement controls and provide visibility across expansive and complex IT estates.

Our panelists and IT experts will also dive into;

  • Real life war stories of APT attacks and more
  • The actual cost of a breach and how to recover
  • Understanding and implementing NIS directives
  • Common entry points for attackers
  • Supply chain attacks

Register here for your exclusive Zoom invite link to the session.

More than half of companies have over 1,000 exposed sensitive files

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By Matt Lock (pictured), Director of Sales Engineers UK, Varonis

All an attacker needs to steal your valuable data is access.

Unfortunately, many companies unknowingly give attackers access to their critical data. Personal identifying information on employees and customers, intellectual property, and more can easily make their way from secured systems to unprotected files and emails. 

To make matters worse, companies don’t have time to update global access groups, fail to archive old data, and skip monitoring who has access to what information. Once attackers slip through the cracks, they — and corrupt insiders alike — have the access they need to steal your data.

To shed light on the state of overexposed data, we analysed a random sample of 785 Data Risk Assessments, including more than 54 billion files. The results, available in the report Data Gets Personal: 2019 Global Data Risk Report from the Varonis Data Lab reveal that companies are failing to shore up their sensitive data. 

Some key findings from the report include:

  • Every employee, on average, can access 17 million files.
  • More than half (53%)of companies had at least 1,000 sensitive files open to all employees. 
  • Over one in five (22%) of all folders were accessible, on average, to every employee. 
  • 38% of users had passwords that never expire, up from 10% last year. 
  • Six in 10 companies had over 1,000 enabled, but stale, “ghost” users — accounts belonging to former employees that can still access your network.
  • Financial services firms had the most exposed sensitive files, with an average of 3,791 exposed, sensitive files per TB.
  • Retail organisations had the lowest number of exposed sensitive files, with an average of 858 exposed, sensitive files per TB.

Despitedire warnings of heavy fines under the GDPR and the steady stream of breaches and attacks in the news, companies are not prioritising their data. Take action with a data-centric security approach to ensure you are not giving malicious insiders and external attackers an all-access pass to your data. 

GUEST BLOG: 60 must-know cybersecurity statistics for 2018

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By Varonis

Cybersecurity issues are becoming a day-to-day struggle for businesses. Trends show a huge increase in hacked and breached data from sources that are increasingly common in the workplace, like mobile and IoT devices.

Additionally, recent research suggests that most companies have unprotected data and poor cybersecurity practices in place, making them vulnerable to data lass.

We’ve compiled 60 cybersecurity statistics to give you a better idea of the current state of overall security, and paint a picture of how potentially dire leaving your company unsecure can be.

Click here to read the full article.

GUEST BLOG: The anatomy of a phishing email

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By Varonis

Phishing scams are one of the most common ways hackers gain access to sensitive or confidential information.

In fact, according to the Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report, phishing is involved in 70 percent of breaches that feature a social engineering component.

What is Phishing?

At the most basic level, a phishing scam involves sending fraudulent emails that appear to be from a reputable company, with the goal of deceiving recipients into either clicking on a malicious link or downloading an infected attachment, usually to steal financial or confidential information.

If your employees don’t know the signs of a phishing email, your company is at risk. According to Verizon, the average time it took for the first victim of a large-scale phishing campaign to click on a malicious email was 16 minutes; however, it took twice as long — 33 minutes — for a user to report the phishing campaign to IT.

Given that 49 percent of malware is installed via email, these 17 minutes could spell disaster for your company…

Click here to continue reading.

INFOGRAPHIC: Is your biggest security threat already inside your organization?

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The person in the cubicle next to you could be your company’s biggest security threat.

The large-scale attacks we’re accustomed to seeing in the news — Yahoo, Equifax, WannaCry ransomware — are massive data breaches caused by cyber criminals, state-sponsored entities or hacktivists. They dominate the news cycle with splashy headlines that tell an all-too recognizable story: one of name-brand corporations vs. anonymous cyber villains.

We focus in outsider threats because they’re both terrifying and thrilling, and because they’re familiar. They often have a clear-cut storyline, one that we’ve seen before. But the hyper-focus on cyberattacks caused by outside parties can lead organizations to ignore a major cybersecurity threat: insiders already in the organization.

We’ve seen these threats before too: attacks of dramatic espionage from Snowden, Reality Winner and Gregory Chung — but insider threats aren’t always so obvious, and they pose a risk for organizations that don’t operate in the national security space. In fact, research suggests that insider threats account for anywhere from 60 to 75 percent of data breaches.

They’re dangerous for a number of reasons, including because of how much they vary: from rogue employees bent on personal gain or professional revenge to careless staffers without proper cybersecurity training, insider threats can come from almost anyone, making them a prime concern for businesses. Check out our full infographic to learn more about the motives and methods behind these types of threats.

To view the Infographic, click here.

NEW REPORT: 58% of organizations have more than 100,000 folders open to all employees

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By Varonis

Like a wardrobe malfunction during a live broadcast, no one wants to be overexposed – especially when it comes to your data.

The surprising truth: most companies go about their business blithely unaware that some of their most sensitive data is wide open. And by “some” we mean a lot. In fact, our latest research shows that 41% of organizations had at least 1,000 sensitive files open to all employees.

As we know, it only takes one leaked file to cause a headline-making data breach. We’ve seen how one unpatched server can lead to a disaster; a single “unpatched” folder filled with sensitive files can be just as disastrous — and it doesn’t take an expert or sophisticated code to exploit it.

That’s where Varonis Data Risk Assessments come in. Every year, Varonis conducts thousands of risk assessments for companies around the globe. Using the Varonis Data Security Platform (DSP), we identify where sensitive and regulated data resides, show what’s overexposed and vulnerable, and provide actionable recommendations to increase your data security posture.

Think of a Data Risk Assessment as a reality check on your data – that friend who tells you you’ve got a button undone. And they’re free (but more on that later).

Click here to continue reading…

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