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The Top 8 Web Security Falsehoods and Blunders

These days, many web security experts say that there are only two types of businesses left in America: those that have experienced a breach and those that don’t know they have. The same can be said for most individuals in the United States. With hacking becoming practically commonplace, most people are unaware of how insecure their web presence is, both at home and on the job.

Over the past year there have been numerous web security blunders, especially when it comes to the personal data held by companies. In 2013, an annual Verizon report counted over 600 data breaches, with more than 40,000 security incidents. The 2014 annual report found that 92 percent of the incidents analyzed by Verizon were found to use only nine attack patterns, leaving the experts to wonder what businesses and individuals are doing wrong to continue to miss the signs of a breach.

Falsehood: Nobody Wants to Hack Your Company

Most people and business owners want to assume that they are immune to cybercrime, especially if they run a relatively unknown company or feel as though they are an anonymous presence online. In an ideal world, everyone would be able to use the internet without fear of a security attack. However, today there are hackers busy at work all of the time, making it essential to protect your – and your customers – personal data. If your website holds any personal information, you need to equip your server with a reputable web security service. The anti-hacking companies that release regular updated versions of their software are the most trustworthy.

Blunder: Target’s Credit Card Fiasco

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Last November, retail giant Target was the target of hackers. An in-store scam resulted in over 40 million credit and debit card numbers being stolen from customers. Six months prior to the attack, Target executives had ordered the installation of a $1.6 million tool for malware detection that is used by other huge companies, including the Pentagon and the CIA. With a team of web security specialists on the job 24/7 to monitor Target’s web security operations, many wonder what they missed. The hackers uploaded malware and were able to extract the credit card information, as well as 70 million phone numbers, addresses and other important pieces of data. Apparently, the heavy-duty anti-hacking protection set up by Target that noticed the breach was not enough to stop the hackers before customers’ information was gone.

Falsehood: Firewalls Offer Enough Protection

Installing a firewall may be a good way to offer a little bit of protection, but hackers can make external attacks fairly easily by compromising the safeguard. There are several ways that cybercriminals can get through a firewall, including the following:

  • DoS attack
  • SQL injection
  • Man-in-the-middle attack
  • Cross-site scripting
  • Trojan horse
  • Brute force

Your system could be vulnerable to these types of attacks if you don’t use strong enough security software to keep hackers from injecting their own controls and getting ahold of your information that needs to be secured. Online businesses are extremely prone to hacker attacks, since hackers can use a LAN connection or an imitation wireless hotspot to obtain data. A firewall may sound secure, but alone it is not enough.

Blunder: Adobe’s Password Debacle

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As one of the biggest producers of computer software, many people would assume that Adobe would be safe from a web security breach. However, last October the company was attacked and lost information that affected 38 million customers. The hackers were able to obtain Adobe IDs, encrypted passwords, credit card numbers and expiration dates for the company’s active users. Additionally, the company admitted that another incident led to the theft of numerous source codes for Adobe products – such as Acrobat, ColdFusion and Photoshop – that could have been related to the personal information attack.

Falsehood: Your Passwords Are Secure

As a result of the Adobe security breach, experts were made aware of how weak many online consumers’ passwords really are. Some of the most popular among Adobe users included password, photoshop and 1234. It is assumed by many that their passwords are secure, and they don’t need to be changed if there hasn’t been a problem. In reality, hackers can install malicious software that exposes login details. If companies and individuals change their passwords regularly, using passwords that are not similar each time, attackers are not able to see a password pattern, which makes hacking more difficult. All it takes is one hacker getting hold of the one password used for all accounts to have personal information stolen.

Blunder: The Syrian Electronic Army’s Twitter Takeover

In 2013, hacking went beyond stealing data from corporations and became a global statement for groups interested in online warfare. The Syrian Electronic Army, which started in 2012, targeted the social media accounts of media companies the group believed were publishing stories that supported Syrian rebels. The group was able to hack into the Twitter feeds of several major media outlets, including:

  • The New York Times
  • The Guardian
  • The Financial Times
  • The BBC
  • The Onion
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Some of the Twitter takeovers resulted in plummeting stocks in the United States, showing just how much control the SEA could gain by posting false new stories on the sites of highly-reputable media sources.

Falsehood: Using File Backups Will Keep Your Site Secure

Unfortunately, file backups are not a prevention against hackers. While they are a valuable tool for keeping a copy of important data backed up in the case of a security breach, they do not keep hackers from attacking a server. Additionally, a hacker can use was is called data debase to change on-site and backup files, so companies and home internet users should implement other methods of protection if they don’t want to be the victim of a cybercrime.

Blunder: Chinese Hackers

Over several months, government-backed hackers in China were able to get into the New York Times, allegedly in search of details about the sources used to write a story about China’s prime minister, Wen Jiabao. Security researchers were able to uncover the group’s involvement in the theft of data from over 140 organizations across the globe. If anything, the past year has proven that no one is completely safe against online attacks. The best people and companies can do is make it as difficult as possible for hackers to gain access to their information with high-quality web security software.

Top image ©GL Stock Images

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