UpGuard Blog

Top Retailers Who Should Know Better


There's no arguing that internet retailers have it tough these days: web server vulnerabilities, expiring SSL certificates, PCI DSS compliance, and a host of other issues keep the most vigilant of etailers on their toes—all this, mind you, against a harsh backdrop of increasing cyber threats.

Even still, a handful manage to slip up when it comes to the most basic security measures, putting both their infrastructures and the data security of customers at risk. The following is a list of 11 online retailers who should know better.

Filed under: cyber security, retail

Flash is Trash

When it comes to Flash, the only thing you hear more about than its ubiquity are its problems. Despite denunciations from some of technology’s biggest names, Adobe’s Flash player still seems to be everywhere. For almost ten years now, people have been dealing with the security warnings, critical updates and browser incompatibilities for which Flash is infamous. Yet even now, 0-day exploits of Flash’s seemingly unending vulnerabilities threaten users as third-party Flash ads on otherwise trusted websites are used to breach security.

Filed under: cyber security, vulnerabilities, Flash,

Write Once, Infect Anywhere, or: The Rise of Cross-platform Malware

Cyber attackers are, above all else, opportunists—malware and viruses require time and resources to develop and are therefore created with the greatest returns in mind. In terms of operating systems, Windows typically gets a bad rap for security—the price of popularity, as it were. But as other OS platforms have whittled down Windows' market share in recent years, cyber attackers have had an increasingly broad playing field for exploitation. 

Filed under: malware, cyber security

The Amex Partner Data Breach and Downstream Liability

If you're one of its 140 million cardholders around the globe, American Express wants you to know that your data is safe. The data breach recently announced by the U.S.' second largest credit card network reportedly involved a partner merchant and not Amex itself. However, if you're one of the customers whose credit card and personal information was stolen, the difference is negligible.

Filed under: cyber security, data breaches

Revisiting the Perils of Wifi on Planes

Fortune recently published an article listing the airlines with the best in-flight wifi service. Coming in at the top of the list with the most onboard wifi connections globally were 3 American carriers: Delta, United, and American Airlines, respectively. But what defines best? Security is clearly not part of the equation, as one journalist famously discovered last week on a domestic American Airlines flight. But then again, if we're talking about wifi and commercial aircraft, all airlines get a failing grade.

Filed under: cyber security, cyber risk

UpGuard And Retrospective Security

We've all heard the saying: hindsight is 20/20. This applies to many scenarios but is seldom the case when it comes to IT security: most organizations develop shortsightedness when it comes to data breaches—even those that may be happening right under their noses. Like a vehicle's side and rearview mirrors, retrospective security improves visibility by eliminating blind spots using past trends and historical data.

Filed under: cyber security, upguard, cyber risk

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

When we think of protecting our information online, it’s usually in the context of traditionally sensitive data-- credit card numbers, addresses, SSNs, and so on. But as anyone who has taken a picture of themselves wearing nothing but a smile can tell you, the information exchanged during online dating can be just as personal. I haven’t done that, though. Ever. I have never done it.

Filed under: cyber security, upguard, cyber risk, webscan

The Need for Complete Risk Assessment

As the digital economy has matured, so has the recognition that cyber risk cannot be eliminated; it must be managed. Insurance is the mechanism by which we distribute risk so that rare but catastrophic events don't ruin the unfortunate person (or company) that they happen to. Accurately pricing cyber insurance, however, is still in its infancy. Comparing the methods for assessing cyber risk to those used in property and casualty insurance points the way forward for better methodologies.

Filed under: cyber security, insurance, cyber risk

Why Companies Will Keep Getting Breached In 2016 And Beyond

The answer is simple: because it's highly profitable. Credit card numbers are still the best we've got for transacting digitally and health records are 10 times more valuable on the black market. And despite efforts from the infosec community at large, cybercrime continues to increase in frequency and severity. The more important and difficult question is not why, but howthat is, how can companies not just survive, but thrive in a landscape of digital threats?

Filed under: cyber security, insurance, cyber risk, data breaches

How CSTAR Works

With the rate of data breaches increasing along with the complexity of modern IT infrastructures, the cyber insurance industry has been experiencing significant growing pains. Cyber risk determination had historically been done with employee surveys or contextual information about industries at larger. Without reliable data on an organization’s actual working state, many insurers came to realize there was no way to formulate a fair and accurate cyber insurance policy, especially for more complex and ever-changing IT environments.

Filed under: security, cyber security, CSTAR, cyber risk

Understanding Risk in the 21st Century

For as much as "cyber risk" sounds like a 1990's board game involving robots, cyber risk is actually serious business—in fact, it is continually becoming more important as organizations old and new find themselves relying on a variety of connected technologies and services. And as we enter 2016, the risk of data breaches in particular threatens to hamper business innovation.

So what is cyber risk, and what can be done about it? 

Third party risk is your risk

Filed under: cyber security, CSTAR, cyber risk

Casino Data Breaches And Doubling Down On Digital Resilience

In what is being described as a landmark case, Nevada-based casino operator Affinity Gaming is suing cybersecurity firm Trustwave for inadequately investigating and containing a 2014 data breach. The lawsuit not only marks the first time a security firm is sued over post-breach remediation efforts—it also highlights the complexities around managing cyber risk for high risk organizations in today's threat landscape. 

Filed under: cyber security, cyber risk, data breaches, digital resilience

Bringing Digital Resilience Back to the Digital Economy: ScriptRock Becomes UpGuard

As the saying goes, there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. As we all look ahead to 2016, it’s clear that a third certainty has entered the mix: breaches. 

Filed under: cyber security, upguard, cyber risk, digital resilience

7 Hackable IoT Devices To Watch Out For At CES 2016

Yes, it's that time of the year again. Time for global electronics vendors and eager enthusiasts from far and wide to converge at the world's largest annual consumer electronics/technology tradeshow. CES 2016 is in full swing, and IoT innovations have unsurprisingly taken center stage once again. Of course, who can forget the debut of Samsung "Smart" Fridge at last year's show, followed by the publicized hacking of the device soon thereafter. Judging by this year's exhibitor turnout, consumers can expect to see more hacked IoT devices making headlines in 2016. The following are the top 7 hackable IoT devices to watch out for at CES this year.

Filed under: cyber security, cyber risk, hacked

The Mysterious Case Of The Leaked Voter Database

The election year is officially underway, but for non-voters and the apatheticanother reason not to register to vote has surfaced: on December 20th, 2015, a security researcher discovered a publicly exposed database of 191 million voter registrant records—names, addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers, party affiliations, state voter IDs, and more—posted online and freely accessible.

Filed under: cyber security, cyber risk, data breaches, hack, cyber attack

Top 10 Data Breaches Of 2015—A New Year's Day Retrospective

2015 may have come and gone, but the effects of last year's data breaches are far-reaching—for both millions of consumers and internet users as well as the companies and organizations whose systems were breached. Such events are no less devastating in terms of brand damage, and 2016 will undoubtedly bring forth a heightened collective security awareness in both organizations as well as consumers.

Filed under: cyber security, cyber risk, data breaches, hack

The OPM Data Breach And Threat Of Compromised Nuclear Data

The figures are staggering: 21.5 million records containing social security numbers, names, places of birth, addresses, fingerprints, and other highly sensitive personal data—stolen by cyber attackers.

Filed under: cyber security, cyber risk, data breaches, cyber attack

Sanrio's Data Leak And The New Data Privacy Normal For Minors

It's been barely a month since the VTech data breach resulted in the theft of over 6.4 million children's records, and yet another massive compromise affecting kids' data privacy is upon us—this time involving venerable children's toy and accessory brand Sanrio (of Hello Kitty fame). The data leak resulted in the exposure of details from more than 3 million user accounts: first/last names, birth dates, genders, countries, and email addresses, all openly available to the public. With children becoming prime targets for cyber criminals seeking low hanging fruit, companies that deal with and manage minors' data are increasingly under pressure to bolster their security controls and practices.

Filed under: cyber security, data breaches, hacked, cyber attack

The VTech Data Breach And Exploding Teddy Bears

What's the difference? The former offers no legal recourse, at least for now. Just in case you've been de-sensitized by the recent ongoing barrage of security compromises, the latest data breach involving electronics and educational toy manufacturer VTech is sure to instill new fear in the hearts of parental consumers, putting at stake the one thing they arguably hold nearest and dearest: the safety of their children.

Filed under: cyber security, cyber risk, data breaches, hack

Four Winds Casino Data Breach Is Not The First—Or The Last—Of Its Kind

There's a classic line (one out of many) in the movie Casino by DeNiro's character Ace Rothstein:

"Since the players are looking to beat the casino, the dealers are watching the players. The box men are watching the dealers. The floor men are watching the box men. The pit bosses are watching the floor men. The shift bosses are watching the pit bosses. The casino manager is watching the shift bosses. I'm watching the casino manager. And the eye-in-the-sky is watching us all.”

Filed under: cyber security, cyber risk, data breaches, hack, cyber attack

Everything’s Amazing And Nobody’s Secure

Frequent fliers and international travelers are well familiar with these seatback devices (i.e., in-flight entertainment consoles) that serve as the only connection to the outside world while cruising at 30,000 feet. Soon, however, wifi on commercial flights will be generally available, rendering these devices obsolete—at least to the average laptop-toting flyer. This raises a series of concerns around their future obsolescence and resulting security gaps, as well as the potentially grave consequences of compromised wifi networks on planes.

Filed under: cyber security, cyber risk

Systema Systems' Data Exposure and Cloud Security For The Insurance Industry

The insurance industry has been consistently targeted for cyber attacks as of late, for good reason: sensitive data is at the heart of every process—from handling health insurance claims to archiving medical histories. And because medical records are worth ten times more than credit card information on the black market, firms handling said data are required to take extra precautions in bolstering information security. However, every once in a while hackers are granted freebies—as was the case recently with Systema Software, a small insurance claims management solution provider.

Filed under: cyber security, IT security

The Lucrative Rewards of Hacking Higher Education

In a news flash buried beneath a slew of other notable security news items, UCLA Health revealed last week it was the victim of a massive data breach that left 4.5 million patient records compromised. Like previous attacks on Anthem and Premera Blue Cross, the intrusion gave hackers access to highly sensitive information: patient names, addresses, date of births, social security numbers, medical conditions, and more. And while matters around healthcare IT have taken center stage as of late, the ineffective security at leading institutions of higher education and research is equally distressing.

Filed under: cyber security, data breaches, cyber attack

Your Secret's Safe With No One: Lessons Learned From The Ashley Madison Hack

For those of you harboring secrets behind a website paywall, a word of warning: your skeletons are now easy targets for cyber criminals and nefarious 3rd parties around the globe. The recent data breach and compromise of 3.5 million Ashley Madison user accounts may turn out to be largest case of broad-scale extortion the world has ever seen, but for many—the outcome is hardly surprising.

Filed under: cyber security, data breaches

Congrats Golden State Warriors, You’ve Just Become Cybercrime Target #1

Sports is big business, and where money and competition collidelaws will be broken. This aptly describes the latest hack involving the St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros, though admittedlyit sounds more like a teaser for a Hollywood blockbuster. Corporate espionage in sports has largely been a nascent phenomenon but will soon become commonplace as intrusion methods grow in sophistication and data moves into the cloud.

Filed under: cyber security, cyber risk

How Effective Is Your Security Against $50 Million Dollar Malware?

The short answer: it’s not. This was certainly the case for Kaspersky Labs, who announced yesterday that its corporate networks were hacked using a sophisticated advanced persistent threat (APT) dubbed Duqu 2.0. Though the word “sophisticated” is used rather liberally these days when describing data breaches, this new threat is by all accounts the most advanced of its kind.

Filed under: cyber security, cyber risk

Insights from Verizon's 2015 Data Breach Investigations Report

Every year, Verizon compiles data from a list of prominent contributors for its annual report highlighting trends and statistics around data breaches and intrusions from the past year. The 70-page Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) covers a myriad of data points related to victim demographics, breach trends, attack types, and more. Reviewing these shifting security trends can give indications as to how well-postured one’s organization is against future threats. And just in case you’ve got your hands full patching server vulnerabilities, we’ve done the legwork of expanding on a few critical key points from the report.

Filed under: cyber security, cyber risk, data breaches, cyber attack

Lenovo and Security Lessons Learned

Technology giant Lenovo has come under heavy criticism again for subjecting users to undue security risks– this time in the form of three vulnerabilities discovered by researchers at security firm IOActive. Flaws in Lenovo's System Update service– a feature that enables users to download updated drivers, software, and security patches from Lenovo-- enables hackers to surreptitiously slip malware onto user’s laptops and systems through a man-in-the-middle attack. Lenovo has since issued a patch for these vulnerabilities, but it’s doubtful the PC giant will regain consumer credibility any time soon.

Filed under: security, cyber security, IT security

The Ongoing Perils of Wifi on Planes

In a widely publicized report released last week titled "FAA Needs a More Comprehensive Approach to Address Cybersecurity As Agency Transitions to NextGen," the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) details the potential vulnerabilities and dangers of offering in-flight wifi services during air transit. By essentially granting customers IP networking capabilities for their devices, airlines may be opening up their avionics systems for attacks:

Filed under: cyber security, cyber risk