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Privasec’s Consultant, Sajeeb Lohani has been invited to speak at the OWASP Conference in Auckland, New Zealand on 22nd February. OWASP New Zealand conference provides a great platform for security professionals, developers and software testers to discuss development techniques for building more secure applications. Sajeeb will be addressing core threat modelling concepts to identify edge cases in software, prior to releasing them publicly. Come and say hello if you are attending the conference. Check out the event details here:

In March 2018, a non-profit cybersecurity organization in Switzerland launched project URLhaus with the aim of detecting, collating and sharing URLs that contain malware. In the 10 months since its inception, over 265 security researchers helped takedown nearly 100,000 websites which were distributing malware.

The URLhaus project has been a massive success and is assisting network administrators and security analysts with protecting their environment. Averaging 300 new detections per day, this feed is freely available to anyone via their API, feeds or can be downloaded and imported into non-programmatic protection systems. The URLhaus detections are also being distributed to prevalent blacklisting services such as Google Safe Browsing, Spamhaus DBL and SURBL.

There are some interesting trends that can be identified from analysis of their published statistics. The notable standout from the list of detected malware is Emotet, a banking trojan derived from an earlier banking trojan Feodo. Discovered in June 2014, Emotet has become one of the most costly financial malware infections and, as can be seen from the URLhaus data, is still rampant today.

Almost every week, an ever-growing list of data breaches occurs around the world. In a lot of cases, attackers gain access to sensitive information such as a hashed password database. An alarming observation of recent attacks is how credentials are stored.

Many of the recent breaches (small and large), are using old, outdated and insecure methods for today’s standards such as MD5, unsalted SHA variations and even plain-text passwords. These methods can be trivial for an attacker to retrieve the plain-text passwords through brute-force attacks.

The ISM and NIST provide guidance and recommendations of storing passwords. As a summary:

• ISM: As per control 1252, agencies must store credentials in a hashed format using a strong hashing algorithm that is uniquely salted. For example, a hashing algorithm from at least the SHA2 family.

• NIST: Passwords must be hashed (SHA1-3) and salted with at least 32-bits of data.

It’s recommended to ensure best-practices and hardening guides are followed to protect such sensitive information. In addition, layering security controls such as implementing MFA provides an extra level of protection. The goal here is to ensure that if a breach occurs, brute-force type attacks would prove impractical.

Author: David Roccasalva

How are you stroing your passwords


A critical bug has just been discovered in the new iOS allowing eavesdropping via FaceTime. A fix is expected later this week, but in the meantime, it is highly recommended to turn off FaceTime.

An organisation can lose its data due to many reasons: cyber-attacks, corrupt storage media, rogue employees or human error. A simple yet effective solution to backup your data is the 3-2-1 strategy. The strategy consists of three steps:

• STEP 1: Create three copies of your data including one primary copy and two other backup copies.
• STEP 2: Store the two backup copies on two different media such as hard disks or cloud.
• STEP 3: Always keep one of these copies at an offsite location. 

Daily backups are bread and butter for any IT department. Yet many companies fail to formulate a backup and recovery plan for their data. Start by implementing the 3-2-1 backup strategy. Check out the following article by one of our experience consultants, David Roccasalva, about considerations that need to be taken before making a data backup strategy.