Muhammad Faheem Khan
Muhammad Faheem Khan
Bachelor’s thesis
Spring 2013
Degree Programme in
Business Information Technology
Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Oulu University of Applied Sciences
Degree Program: Business Information Technology
Author(s): Muhammad Faheem Khan
Title of Bachelor’s thesis: End user awareness of cybersecurity challenges
Supervisor(s): Teppo Räisänen
Term and year of completion: Spring 2013
Number of pages: 43+1
The purpose of this Bachelor’s thesis was to explore the challenges and threats intend to
affect Cyber World. The ever increasing use of internet around the world has without
doubt increased the usage of internet based services, easier ways of communication and
information sharing. Such drastic increase in usage of network based systems has made
the current cybersecurity systems old dated as the hackers and attackers of networked
systems is on the rise with new and modern attack methodologies.
The objective of the thesis is to find out the countermeasures of the threats formed by
cyber criminals. The use of a computer as an instrument to illegal ends, such as
committing fraud, stealing identities, or violating privacy. Another objective of the
thesis is awareness of the end user of computer and internet about cybercrimes and
threats imposed to the user while using internet.
To find fact and figures about cyber threats, different printed and electronic media were
used. An interview was conducted with a network administrator of a university to get
real life scenario of the topic and to analyze the preventive measures adopted by the
organizations to protect the network from internal and external threats.
As a result, it is important to adopt safety measures against cybercrimes and protect the
organization network by installing hardware devices. It is also important to train the
computer user about cyber threats and educate them that how to use the computer and
peripherals in school and office.
Keywords: cybercrime, cybersecurity, end user awareness
Table of Contents
Computer Platforms
Computer Virus
Cybercrime via Social Media
Cybercrime via Mobile/Smartphone
Network Sniffers
Email Bomb
Monitor Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)
Password Crackers
4.5.1. Types of Botnet
4.5.2. Botnet Attacks
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
Malicious Code
Removable Meida
Summary of the interview
Update software
Installation of security software to computers
Use strong password
Limited use of privileged accounts
Make backups of important files and folders
Secure physical environment
Always use secure wireless
Understanding peer to peer technology and social networking
Secure messaging
The theme of thesis is to research that how much cybersecurity is beneficial for internet
users and how it affects users in real life. Cybersecurity is the body of technologies,
processes and practices designed to protect networks, computers, programs and data
from attack, damage or unauthorized access. In a computing context, the term security
implies cybersecurity. According to a December 2010 analysis of U.S. spending plans,
the federal government has allotted over $13 billion annually to cybersecurity over the
next five years.
It can also be defined as the process of preventing and detecting unauthorized use of
your computer. Prevention measures help you to stop unauthorized users (also known as
"intruders") from accessing any part of your computer system. Detection helps you to
determine whether or not someone attempted to break into your system, if they were
successful, and what they may have done.
Ensuring cybersecurity requires coordinated efforts throughout an information system.
Elements of cybersecurity include:
Application security
Information security
Network security
Disaster recovery / business continuity planning
Application security is the use of software, hardware, and procedural methods to protect
applications from external threats. Security measures built into applications and a sound
application security routine minimize the likelihood that hackers will be able to
manipulate applications and access, steal, modify, or delete sensitive data. (B., 2012)
Information security means protecting information and information systems from
unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, perusal, inspection,
recording or destruction.
In 2002, Donn Parker presented an alternative model for the classic CIA term
(Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability) that he called the six atomic elements of
information. The elements are confidentiality, possession, integrity, authenticity,
availability and utility.
A specialized field in computer networking that involves securing a computer network
infrastructure. Network security is typically handled by a network administrator or
system administrator who implements the security policy, network software and
hardware needed to protect a network and the resources accessed through the network
from unauthorized access and also ensure that employees have adequate access to the
network and resources to work.
A disaster recovery plan (DRP) - sometimes referred to as a business continuity plan
(BCP) or business process contingency plan (BPCP) - describes how an organization
manages potential disasters. Typically, disaster recovery planning involves an analysis
of business processes and continuity needs; it may also include a significant focus on
disaster prevention. Disaster recovery is becoming an increasingly important aspect of
enterprise computing. As devices, systems, and networks become ever more complex,
there are simply more things that can go wrong. As a consequence, recovery plans have
also become more complex. (c5franey, 2011)
A network is a collection of computers and devices connected to each other. The
network allows computers to communicate with each other and share resources and
information. In other words networking can be defined as inter-connection of two or
more computers for sharing the resources (hardware and software).
Computer networks can be classified into two types of communication media:
Wired Technologies: It is known as transmission of data over a wire-based
communication technology. For example; telephone networks, cable television,
internet access and fiber optic communication.
electromagnetic waves which are used for communication purpose. It can be used
for different purposes. For example; Cellular phones, Wireless computer
peripherals and Global positioning system (GPS).
Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)
All communication, whether face-to-face or over a network is governed by
predetermined rules called protocols. Successful communication between hosts on a
network requires the interaction of many different protocols. A group of inter-related
protocols that are necessary to perform a communication function is called a protocol
Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is the transport protocol that manages the
individual conversations between web servers and web clients. TCP divides the HTTP
messages into smaller pieces, called segments, to be sent to the destination client. It is
also responsible for controlling the size and rate at which messages are exchanged
between the server and the client. (Anonymous, 1998)
The most common internetwork protocol is Internet Protocol (IP). IP is responsible for
taking the formatted segments from TCP, encapsulating them into packets, assigning the
appropriate addresses, and selecting the best path to the destination host.
Computer Platforms
In personal computing, a platform is the basic hardware (computer) and software
(operating system) on which software applications can be run. Computers use specific
Central Processing Units (CPUs) that are designed to run specific machine language
code. In order for the computer to run software applications, the applications must be in
that CPU’s binary-coded machine language. Thus, historically, application programs
written for one platform would not work on a different platform.
There are different types of platforms, for example; Microsoft Windows, Mac OS,
Linux, Solaris etc. (Viega, 2009)
Computer Virus
A computer virus is a program or piece of code that is loaded onto your computer
without your knowledge and runs against your wishes. Viruses can also replicate
themselves. All computer viruses are man-made. A simple virus that can make a copy of
itself over and over again is relatively easy to produce. Even such a simple virus is
dangerous because it will quickly use all available memory and bring the system to a
halt. An even more dangerous type of virus is one capable of transmitting itself
across networks and bypassing security systems.
Viruses have the capability of infecting any file; however, will infect executable files or
data files, such as word or excel documents that are opened frequently and allow the
virus to try infecting other files more often.
There are different types of virus; most popular and common viruses are Trojan Horse,
Worms, Boot sector Virus, Macro Virus and Memory Resident Virus.
Cybercrime is a term for any criminal act dealing with computers and networks (called
hacking). Additionally, cyber crime also includes traditional crimes conducted through
the Internet. These include attacks against computer data and systems, identity theft,
internet auction fraud, the penetration of online financial services, as well as the
deployment of viruses, Botnets, and various email scams.
Cybercrime via Social Media
Cyber criminals are enjoying greater degrees of success on social networks because they
are easier to target and users are more likely to fall for scams. Social networking sites
are becoming more and more prone to online attacks as users continue to grow by the
day. The growing commercialization of social media through links to online trading
such ''buy, swap and sell'' sites means cyber crooks now have a strong motivation to
hack people's account details. These included vicious ''form-grabbing malware'' that can
steal large amounts of personal data, as well as complacency about the security of
mobile devices, which most people do not protect with anti-virus software, even while
using their phones to do banking. Attackers go where the people go. Facebook is the
social networking website. One of the most insidious threats is Koobface, a virus that
takes over PCs when users click on links in spam messages. The virus turned up on
MySpace about a year ago, but the unknown authors now focus on spreading it through
Facebook. Many people have to pay the price after being the victim of cyber crime at
different social media platforms. Many people even terminate and deactivate their social
media account after such bad experiences.
Security attacks through social networks are becoming more prevalent.
In the US the number of social networkers who experienced Koobface infections
and other social network attacks climbed from 8% in 2009 to 13% in 2010 to 18% in
In the United Kingdom the number of social networkers who experienced attacks on
social networks jumped from 6% in 2009 to 12% in 2010 to 15% in 2011.
Friend in distress scams jumped from 2% in 2009 to 14% in 2011 in the US; in the
UK these scams increased from 6% in 2009 to 11% in 2011.
Maintain current anti-virus software that is obtained from a reputable source and is
regularly updated.
Make sure operating system is updated to ensure any security vulnerabilities are
Use strong passwords to protect personal information.
Passwords should also be kept secret and changed regularly.
Limit the amount of personal information placed on the internet.
Do not provide financial or other personal information to unknown people.
Never click on links contained within spam or unexpected emails.
Cybercrime via Mobile/Smartphones
Cyber criminals who are experts at hijacking computers with viruses and malware are
looking elsewhere for their next efforts. They see major potential with smartphone.
Addiction to smartphones has led to a spike in the number of people falling victim to
cybercrime. Around 5.4 million people were targeted by online criminals over the past
12 months, according to Norton's annual Cybercrime report. Smartphone applications
have inherent vulnerabilities allowing it to be compromised by hackers and security
threats. For instance a mere popular game which is known to many appears to be
harmless but once it is downloaded it activates the phone’s GPS and then relays the
information of the activities on the phone to a cyber criminal.
Survey says that forty percent (40%) of mobiles sold in the year 2012 were
Smartphones. It has already become a gateway for cyber criminals but once a person
has access to computer, e-mails, and social media by only a touch it is probably
impossible to switch down to an older version of phone. Though the cybersecurity has
warned that the world will be facing a wave of cybercrime with the usage of
Smartphones, people can never overcome their addiction to latest gadgets.
Mobile applications are the new frontier for cybercrimes. The demand for mobile
applications increases with the growth in mobile device usage. Mobile applications, or
mobile apps, are software created for smartphones and tablets. Due to the growing
usage of mobile devices worldwide, web threats are no longer limited to conventional
PCs. App stores now serve as the sites for software download, while mobile apps serve
as programs we download onto our mobile devices. It's a shift in platform but with the
same threat scenario. Users who download from app stores may end up downloading
malware instead. Because of this, mobile apps have become the new frontier for threats.
Malware, short for malicious software, has become the latest attacking tool of cyber
Many people do not realize that there are still some security risks despite downloading
apps from their official sites.
The Android platform has become the target of continuous cyber attacks due to its app
distribution model that makes it open to any developing parties. But this does not mean
that other mobile platform users should take security issues lightly.
There are also third-party sites that provide alternative apps for users. However,
downloading from these unofficial channels can be as risky as downloading programs
from unverified and peer-to-peer sites. While third-party app stores are not malicious in
nature, they do not have the resources to adequately curate app submissions. As a result,
malicious, repackaged, and pirated applications may be found in these independent app
stores. Thus, it is important to know the business model that these app stores use to
understand the possible risks and threats when downloading mobile apps.
There are different online app stores for mobile users, for example: iTunes app store,
Android market, Blackberry app world and Nokia’s Ovi store etc. (ll, 2011)
The techniques and payload for targeting Android OS can be categorized in different
ways. See Table 1:
Table 1. Types and Techniques to target Android OS (New Frontier for Cybercrime,
User Suggestion
Data Stealer
Steals information stored in the Stolen information may be
mobile device and sends it to a used for malicious purposes
remote user
Service Subscribes the infected phone to Unnecessary
premium services without user services not authorized by
Click Fraudster
Mobile devices are abused via Cybercriminals
clicking online ads without users' from these clicks
knowledge (pay-per-click)
Downloads other malicious files Mobile device is vulnerable
and apps
Spying Tools
to more infection
via Cybercriminals track down
monitoring GPS data and sends location of users
this to third party
Gains complete control of the Users' mobile devices are
phone, including their functions
exposed to more threats
The countermeasures against cybercrime via smartphone are presented in Table 2.
Table 2. Countermeasures against cybercrime via smartphone
Maximize the security
features installed on your
mobile devices
Users should properly configure their smartphones
location and security settings. For additional protection,
use the PIN (numeric) and password lock features of
your smartphones. Other devices have fingerprint lock,
which is also a great option, as it ensures that you are the
only one who can access your smartphone. Don’t leave
your phone unattended at work or at play. Keep your
smartphone locked if not in use, keep it where you can
see it or safely put it away from prying eyes. Always log
out of mobile apps or mobile websites and do not store
mobile app passwords for easy log in.
Think before you download
Consider downloading exclusively from official app
stores like the Android Market. Not all the apps are
guaranteed as secure but the Android Market is still your
best bet, security-wise. Before downloading a mobile
app learn about who created it.
Scrutinize permissions
asked by apps
It is noticed that malicious apps ask for access to a long
list of information stored in your device. Be careful in
accepting requests for personal or device information.
Treat your mobile device Today’s smartphones act like mini-PCs. They are
like your PC
designed to handle multiple tasks, like web browsing.
Just the same, they are also open to the same threats.
Computer hackers are unauthorized users who break into computer systems in order to
steal, change or destroy information, often by installing dangerous malware without
user knowledge or consent. Their clever tactics and detailed technical knowledge help
them access information.
A hacker commonly known as “White hat” is a person intensely interested in the arcane
and obscure workings of any computer operating system. Hackers are most often
programmers. As such, hackers obtain advanced knowledge of operating systems and
programming languages. They might discover holes within systems and the reasons for
such holes. Hackers constantly seek further knowledge; freely share what they have
discovered, and never intentionally damage data.
Dennis Ritchie, Ken Thompson, Linus Torvalds, Paul Baran and Brian Kernighan are
well known hackers. (Anonymous, 1998)
A cracker is one who breaks into or otherwise violates the system integrity of remote
machines with malicious intent. Having gained unauthorized access, crackers destroy
vital data, deny legitimate users service, or cause problems for their targets. Crackers
can easily be identified because their actions are malicious.
Crackers known as “Black hat” is
someone who breaks computer security without
authorization or uses technology (usually a computer, phone system or network) for
vandalism, credit card fraud, identity theft, piracy, or other types of illegal activity.
A common method used by crackers for harming networks or stealing important
information, such as passwords or credit card numbers, is through a Trojan horse. A
Trojan horse is able to recognize and record every keystroke that a user makes. Another
method is password cracking, which is the process of gaining passwords from data,
which has been stored in a computer system. There are three types of password
cracking, which are commonly used; these include Dictionary, Hybrid, and Brute Force.
Crackers can also refer to those who reverse engineer software and modify it for their
own amusement. The most common way crackers gain access to networks or systems is
through social engineering, whereby the cracker contacts employees at a company and
tricks them into divulging passwords and other information that allows a cracker to gain
Indicators for being hacked
Inbox contains mailing errors or mailer-daemon messages for email didn't send.
People you know are getting emails from you that you didn't send.
There are outgoing messages in your Sent, Drafts or Outbox folder that you didn't
create or send.
Account folders (Sent, Deleted, Spam, Inbox, etc.) have been emptied or deleted.
Address Book contacts have been erased.
During sign-in or when sending a message, you're asked to pass an image challenge.
Emails try to send are suddenly getting refused and returned to you.
There are contacts in Address Book you didn't add.
Keep getting bumped offline when you're signed into your account.
Email signature suddenly has a link you didn't put there.
Stop getting new mail.
Create a strong password: For the most up-to-date recommendations for making a
strong password, Note that passwords should be at least six characters long and include
at least one number, letter (combination of upper and lower cases) and special character
($, *, &, !, etc.). Make sure your new password is different from any other passwords
you have used. Also, if you use the same password for other online accounts such as
social media and financial services, change those passwords as well. It is strongly
advised that you use different passwords for different social media accounts.
Make sure you have antivirus software installed and updated: Virus scans search
for any spyware, viruses or other malware that may have found their way onto your
computer. Run scans frequently to make sure your computer is free of all malware.
Don't download attachments (e.g., pictures, games, electronic greetings) unless it's
from someone you know.
Network Sniffers
Network sniffer is a program or device that monitors data traveling over a network.
Packet sniffers or protocol analyzers are tools that are commonly used by network
technicians to diagnose network-related problems. Packet sniffers can also be used by
hackers for less than noble purposes such as spying on network user traffic and
collecting passwords. Sniffers can be used both for legitimate network management
functions and for stealing information off a network. Unauthorized sniffers can be
extremely dangerous to a network's security because they are virtually impossible to
detect and can be inserted almost anywhere. This makes them a favorite weapon in
the hacker's arsenal.
On TCP/IP networks, where they sniff packets, they're often called packet sniffers.
Strategy for Network Sniffing
Network/Packet sniffers perform by intercepting and logging network traffic that they
can see via the wired or wireless network interface that the packet sniffing software has
access to on its host computer.
On a wired network, what can be captured depends on the structure of the network. A
packet sniffer might be able to see traffic on an entire network or only a certain segment
of it, depending on how the network switches are configured, placed, etc. On wireless
networks, packet sniffers can usually only capture one channel at a time unless the host
computer has multiple wireless interfaces that allow for multichannel capture.
Once the raw packet data is captured, the packet sniffing software must analyze it and
present it in human-readable form so that the person using the packet sniffing software
can make sense of it. The person analyzing the data can view details of the conversation
happening between two or more nodes on the network. (Whitman & Mattord, 2009)
Hackers can use sniffers to unencrypted data in the packets to see what information is
being exchanged between two parties. They can also capture information such as
passwords and authentication tokens (if they are sent in the clear). “Wireshark”, open
source software is commonly used for network sniffing purpose.
Email Bomb
Email bombing is the process of sending large number of mails into someone's mailbox,
with intention to affect the operating system of a computer or a network. It is also
termed as email flooding, as the targeted mailbox is flooded with a barrage of mails.
When your mailbox is flooded with unwanted and junk emails, your mailbox capacity
will get exhausted and you won't be able to receive any mails further. This action
prevents you from reading the legitimate mails. It can even be used to completely
overload any company's mail server. It is done intentionally with intent to affect the
DOS (Disk Operating System) of a computer. (Sukumar, 2011)
The intensity of email bombing can also result in crashing of the operating system and
the mail servers. It has the capacity to consume the whole system. By limiting the user
quota to a certain capacity, it can help to restrict its overflow. The hacker aims to shut
down the website of a victim, by sending email bombs. The first known incident of
email bombing was done by Tamil guerrilla groups against the Sri Lankan government.
Tamil guerrillas swamped the system of Sri Lankan embassies with an email containing
the message "We are the Internet Black Tigers and we're doing this to disrupt your
The following indications occur during the process:
Overloading of the network connection
Loss of connectivity
Denial of service
Consumption of all system resources
Syslog entries
If the email bombs are incoming from many IP addresses, it's difficult to spam and filter
each and every mail from those addresses. In this case, employing proxy servers will
help to minimize the problem. The computers in a particular network will be connected
to a proxy server, which is another computer. The client computers request for
information and resources of other computers, to the proxy server.
The proxy server addresses the request and sends the information, after filtering the
messages which is done according to the filtering rules of the proxy. It checks for
malware content and filters the messages from suspicious IP addresses and protocols
before transmitting it to its clients. In this way, proxy servers, protect the network and
also take on the complexity of the computer networks.
Monitor Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is a method of authenticating the exchange of
messages that are transmitted or received across the Internet protocols. The clients in the
network use Post Office Protocol (POP) or the Internet Message Access Protocol
(IMAP), of their system to access their mailbox. The Mail Submission Agent sends a
mail or transfers any information to the Mail Transfer Agent (MTA), through SMTP.
The MTA connects to the SMTP and then analyzes the mail exchange record and the IP
address of the sender, and then only accepts the message. Security mechanisms such as
authentication and negotiation are processed during the exchange of data. Internet
Engineering Task Force (IRTF), is working on the authentication process and finding
ways to strengthen this system, as the complexity of the system is growing rapidly.
Use Mail Filter Applications Filter packages are exclusionary schemes that are used to
filter the mails according to the source addresses. For windows and Mac OS computers,
I have listed some filter package tools below.
Mail Siphon (Mac OS)
Musashi (Mac OS)
Email Chomper (Windows 95/85/NT)
Spam Buster (Windows 9x/ ME/ NT/ XP/ 2000)
SpamKiller (Windows 9x/ ME/ NT/ XP/ 2000)
Spam is unsolicited e-mail on the Internet. It is a form of bulk mail, often sent to a list
obtained from a spambot or to a list obtained by companies that specialize in creating email distribution lists. To the receiver, it usually seems like junk e-mail. It refers to
sending email to hundreds or thousands of users (or to lists that expand to that many
users). Email spamming can be made worse if recipients reply to the email, causing all
the original addressees to receive the reply. It may also occur innocently, as a result of
sending a message to mailing lists and not realizing that the list explodes to thousands
of users, or as a result of a responder message that is setup incorrectly.
Unwanted commercial email – also known as "spam" – can be annoying. Worse, it can
include bogus offers that could cost you time and money.
Spam is roughly equivalent to unsolicited telephone marketing calls except that the user
pays for part of the message since everyone shares the cost of maintaining the Internet.
Spammers typically send a piece of e-mail to a distribution list in the millions,
expecting that only a tiny number of readers will respond to their offer. It has become a
major problem for all Internet users. (Goodman, 2004)
There are several ways to block spam from your e-mail inbox. They say prevention is
the best medicine, so avoid giving out your e-mail address to unfamiliar or unknown
recipients. This has become very difficult to do, however. Spammers can use software
programs that troll the Internet looking for e-mail addresses, much like throwing a net in
the ocean and seeing what gets caught in it. Nowadays it's almost impossible to shop
online without providing a valid e-mail address. Offline stores are even asking for email addresses in exchange for discounts or free merchandise. Realize that what they are
doing is potentially opening the door for a flood of unsolicited e-mails. These
organizations will most likely turn around and sell their list to someone else looking for
valid e-mails. In these cases, it might be wise to have more than one e-mail address, one
for friends, family and colleagues and another for unfamiliar sources. There are many
free e-mail services in cyberspace to choose from.
However, also know that even trustworthy sources may be unwittingly shelling out your
e-mail address. Ever receive an e-mail greeting card? The sender has given your e-mail
to an organization that may very well be compiling e-mail lists to sell to spammers.
A second way to stop spam is to use your e-mail application's filtering features. Most
e-mail applications allow you to block specific messages. When an offending e-mail
comes in, set the filter to block further incoming mails from that sender.
A more aggressive approach to ridding unwanted e-mail is to report the e-mailer to the
spammer's ISP. This is not always an easy task. First you must determine the spam's
origins. Many of the bigger and more commercial ISPs forbid spammers from using
their services and, once discovered, will actively ban the offending parties from using
their services. But there are plenty of smaller ones that do not. To find the spam's
origins, instruct your e-mail program to display all of the e-mail's header information.
View the "Received" lines, and working from top to bottom you can often pinpoint the
origin of spam.
Spammers don't typically just send e-mails from their ISP to yours; that'd be too easy
and apparent. Instead, they channel the e-mails through one or more ISPs in order to
obfuscate the origin, but each computer that handles the e-mail will attach a "Received"
line to the header. There are numerous Internet resources available for help in tracking
down the source of spam.
Password Crackers
A password cracker is an application program that is used to identify an unknown or
forgotten password to a computer or network resources. It can also be used to help a
humancracker obtain unauthorized access to resources. The easier way to understand
how password crackers work is to understand how encrypted passwords are created.
Password generators use cryptography, the practice of writing in codes.
Password crackers use two primary methods to identify correct passwords: brute-force
and dictionary searches. When a password cracker uses brute-force, it runs through
combinations of characters within a predetermined length until it finds the combination
accepted by the computer system. When conducting a dictionary search, a password
cracker searches each word in the dictionary for the correct password. Password
dictionaries exist for a variety of topics and combinations of topics, including politics,
movies, and music groups.
Some password cracker programs search for hybrids of dictionary entries and numbers.
For example, a password cracker may search for ants01; ants02; ants03, etc. This can be
helpful where users have been advised to include a number in their password.
A password cracker may also be able to identify encrypted passwords. After retrieving
the password from the computer's memory, the program may be able to decrypt it. Or,
by using the same algorithm as the system program, the password cracker creates an
encrypted version of the password that matches the original. (Anonymous, 1998)
There are a few things that can be done on a windows system to prevent your password
from being cracked.
Use Complex and Changing Passwords
The most logical way to prevent people from cracking your password is to make it
incredibly complex. If password contains lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers,
special symbols, and is fairly long, it won’t be able to be cracked in any reasonable
amount of time. In order to given things an added degree of complexity, changing your
password frequently means that when an attacker cracks password it will have already
been changed. There is no single greater defense than using a strong password that is
changed frequently.
SYSKEY is a Windows feature which can be implemented to add an extra 128 bits of
encryption to the SAM file. SYSKEY works by the use of a user created key which is
used to encrypt the SAM file. Once enabled, SYSKEY cannot be disabled.
It’s important to keep in mind that SYSKEY only protects the SAM file (Security
Accounts Manager) itself, securing it against being copied. SYSKEY does NOT protect
against tools which extract hashes from running memory, such as Cain.
A Bot is an abbreviation for a software robot that can be used for malicious or beneficial
purposes. Botnet or Drone-Army, also known as Zombie-Army as well, is an
abbreviation for a RobotNetwork. Botnet is a network of compromised computers that
can be remotely controlled by an attacker, called the BotMaster or BotHerder and each
infected computer by a bot can be referred as a Zombie or as a Drone. Bots are remotely
controlled through commands sent via the internet by the Botmaster using the C&C
server, which stands for Command and Control server (C&C) a remote control &
communication channels, for sending and receiving commands between the Botherder
and the Zombies. Common botnet actions are Email Spamming, DDoS Attacks and
Financial Breach etc. (Rouse, 2012)
Botnets are created when the bot-herder sends the bot from his command and control
servers to an unknowing recipient using file sharing, email, or social media application
protocols or other bots as an intermediary. Once the recipient opens the malicious file
on his computer, the bot reports back to command and control where the bot-herder can
dictate commands to infected computers.
As one of the most sophisticated types of modern malware, botnets are an immense
cybersecurity concern to governments, enterprises, and individuals. Whereas earlier
malware were a swarm of independent agents that simply infected and replicated
themselves, botnets are centrally coordinated, networked applications that leverage
networks to gain power and resilience. Since infected computers are under the control of
the remote bot-herder, a botnet is like having a malicious hacker inside your network as
opposed to just a malicious executable program.
Types of Botnet
This is probably the best known bot. Currently, the AV vendor Sophos lists more than
500 known different versions of Agobot (Sophos virus analyses) and this number is
steadily increasing. The bot itself is written in C++ with cross-platform capabilities and
the source code is put under the GPL. Agobot was written by Ago alias Wonk, a young
German man who was arrested in May 2004 for computer crime. The latest available
versions of Agobot are written in tidy C++ and show a really high abstract design. The
bot is structured in a very modular way, and it is very easy to add commands or
scanners for other vulnerabilities: Simply extend the CCommand Handler or CScanner
class and add your feature. Agobot uses libpcap (a packet sniffing library) and Perl
Compatible Regular Expressions (PCRE) to sniff and sort traffic. Agobot can use NTFS
Alternate Data Stream (ADS) and offers Rootkit capabilities like file and process hiding
to hide it's own presence on a compromised host. Furthermore, reverse engineering this
SoftICEandOllyDbg) and virtual machines (e.g. VMWare and Virtual PC). In addition,
Agobot is the only bot that utilized a control protocol other than IRC. A fork using the
distributed organized WASTE chat network is available. Furthermore, the Linux version
is able to detect the Linux distribution used on the compromised host and sets up a
correct initscript. Summarizing: "The code reads like a charm, it's like dating the devil."
This family of malware is at the moment the most active one: Sophos lists currently
seven derivatives on the "Latest 10 virus alerts". SDBot is written in very poor C and
also published under the GPL. It is the father of RBot, RxBot, UrBot, UrXBot, JrBot,
and probably many more. The source code of this bot is not very well designed or
written. Nevertheless, attackers like it, and it is very often used in the wild. It offers
similar features to Agobot, although the command set is not as large, nor the
implementation as sophisticated.
mIRC-based Bots - GT-Bots
We subsume all mIRC-based bots as GT-bots, since there are so many different versions
of them that it is hard to get an overview of all forks. mIRC itself is a popular IRC client
for Windows. GT is an abbreviation for Global Threat and this is the common name
used for all mIRC-scripted bots. These bots launch an instance of the mIRC chat-client
with a set of scripts and other binaries. One binary you will never miss is
a HideWindow executable used to make the mIRC instance unseen by the user. The
other binaries are mainly Dynamic Link Libraries (DLLs) linked to mIRC that add some
new features the mIRC scripts can use. The mIRC-scripts, often having the extension
".mrc", are used to control the bot. They can access the scanners in the DLLs and take
care of further spreading. GT-Bots spread by exploiting weaknesses on remote
computers and uploading themselves to compromised hosts (filesize> 1 MB).
Besides these three types of bots which we find on a nearly daily basis, there are also
other bots that we see more seldom. Some of these bots offer "nice" features and are
worth mentioning here:
The Dataspy Network X (DSNX) bot is written in C++ and has a convenient plugin
interface. An attacker can easily write scanners and spreaders as plugins and extend the
bot's features. Again, the code is published under the GPL. This bot has one major
disadvantage: the default version does not come with any spreaders. But plugins are
available to overcome this gap. Furthermore, plugins that offer services like DDoSattacks, portscan-interface or hidden HTTP-server are available.
Q8 Bots
Q8bot is a very small bot, consisting of only 926 lines of C-code and it has one
additional noteworthiness. It is written for Unix/Linux systems. It implements all
common features of a bot: Dynamic updating via HTTP-downloads, various DDoSattacks (e.g. SYN-flood and UDP-flood), execution of arbitrary commands, and many
more. In the version we have captured, spreaders are missing. But presumably versions
of this bot exist which also include spreaders.
This bot lacks a spreader too, and is also written for Unix/Linux systems. The weak user
authentication makes it very easy to hijack a botnet running with kaiten. The bot itself
consists of just one file. Thus it is very easy to fetch the source code using wget, and
compile it on a vulnerable box using a script. Kaiten offers an easy remote shell, so
checking for further vulnerabilities to gain privileged access can be done via IRC.
Perl-based bots
There are many different version of very simple based on the programming
language Perl. These bots are very small and contain in most cases only a few hundred
lines of code. They offer only a rudimentary set of commands (most often DDoSattacks) and are used on Unix-based systems.
Botnet Attacks
WordPress Attacked by Botnet
Many WordPress sites are under attack by a botnet using brute-force methods to obtain
their passwords. The attacks seem limited to only users who kept the default “Admin”
username for their websites, however, these attacks are only the beginning. Analysts
and companies fear that the attackers are attempting to build a massive botnet that is
much more powerful than any botnet seen before.
Currently, there are over 90,000 IP addresses being used to launch these brute-force
attacks. These IP addresses are using thousands of passwords to hack into the
WordPress sites. Right now, the botnet is limited to just using home PCs, however, the
attackers could soon use the powerful servers that run these WordPress sites to launch a
much stronger Botnet. (Stilgherrian, 2013)
Countermeasures regarding prevention measure can be seen in Table 3.
Table 3. Prevention measures against Botnet Attacks
Use up-to-date anti-virus Look for software that removes viruses and updates
and anti-spyware software
itself automatically on a daily basis. Be careful of ads
on the Internet offering spyware software, as this
might be a plot to get you to download malicious
Set your operating system The security patches released monthly by Microsoft
software to download and help fix any flaws companies find in their operating
patches system which in turn helps to give your computer the
latest protection.
Insure that your firewall is Firewalls are designed to prevent hackers from
accessing your computer. They help to block
turned on
incoming communications from unauthorized sources.
Many operating systems like Windows and Mac OS
have built-in firewalls however you may need to
verify if it is enabled. Routers have hardware
firewalls. It is especially important to have your
firewall enabled if you have a broadband connection.
Be cautious about opening Even if the email is from a friend or co-worker, be
or careful about what you choose to open since their
downloading any files from computer could be compromised. While sending an
email attachment, explain in the email what the
emails you receive
attachment is.
you Only visit trusted sites. It is recommended that you
download from the Web
use a web browser that has security features or use a
program like SiteAdvisor that checks the status of
websites to insure that they are safe to visit and use.
Turn off your computer If you are disconnected from the Internet, hackers
when you aren’t using it
can’t get to you.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
Figure 1. Distributed Denial of Service (cisco, 2013, Retrieved 15.04.2013)
DDoS, Distributed Denial of Service is a type of DoS attack where multiple
compromised systems, which are usually infected with a Trojan, used to target a single
system causing a Denial of Service (DoS) attack. As shown in figure 1, Victims of a
DDoS attack consist of both the end targeted system and all systems maliciously used
and controlled by the hacker in the distributed attack. The flood of incoming messages
to the target system essentially forces it to shut down, thereby denying service to the
system to legitimate users. See figure 1, typical DDoS attack has been shown.
In a typical DDoS attack, a hacker or cracker begins by exploiting vulnerability in one
computer system and making it the DDoS master. It is from the master system that the
intruder identifies and communicates with other systems that can be compromised. The
intruder loads cracking tools available on the Internet on multiple, sometimes thousands
of -- compromised systems. With a single command, the intruder instructs the controlled
machines to launch one of many flood attacks against a specified target. The inundation
of packets to the target causes a denial of service. (Douligeris & Serpanos, 2007)
There are many victims in a DDoS attack, the final target and as well the systems
controlled by the intruder. Although the owners of co-opted computers are typically
unaware that their computers have been compromised, they are nevertheless likely to
suffer degradation of service and malfunction. Both owners and users of targeted sites
are affected by a denial of service. Yahoo, Buy.com, RIAA and the United States
Copyright Office are among the victims of DDoS attacks. DDoS attacks can also create
more widespread disruption. In October 2010, for example, a massive DDoS attack took
the entire Myanmar offline.
There are a number of DDoS mitigation techniques that organizations can implement to
minimize the possibility of an attack. Network security infrastructure should include
DDoS detection tools that can identify and block both exploits and tools that attackers
use to launch an attack. Additionally, network administrators can create profiles to
observe and control specific floods of traffic (i.e. SYN floods, UDP, and ICMP floods).
Through looking at all traffic in aggregate, thresholds can be set to monitor and cut
behaviors that indicate a possible DDoS attack.
E-mail spoofing is the imitation of an e-mail header so that the message appears to have
originated from someone or somewhere other than the actual source. Distributors
of spam often use spoofing in an attempt to get recipients to open, and possibly even
respond to, their solicitations. It can be used legitimately. However, spoofing anyone
other than yourself is illegal in some jurisdictions. (Anonymous, 1998)
Phishing is a high-tech scam that uses e-mail to deceive you into disclosing personal
information. It puts your personal information and your organization’s information at
risk. Spear phishing is a type of targeted phishing that appears to be directed towards a
specific individual or group of individuals.
The suspicious indicators related to phishing and spear phishing are by using e-mails,
which include bad grammar, misspellings, and/or generic greetings, maliciously-crafted
attachments with varying file extension or links to a malicious website, appear to be
from a position of authority or legitimate company, ask you to update or validate
information or click on a link.
The user can follow different countermeasures to guard against phishing and spear
phishing, for example: watch out for phishing and spear phishing, delete suspicious emails, contact system security point of contact with any questions, report any potential
incidents, look for digital signatures, configure Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) to
block malicious domains / IP addresses and finally ensure anti-virus software are up to
Malicious Code
Malicious code is software that does damage and/or creates unwanted behaviors.
Malicious code includes: Viruses, Trojan horses, Worms, Keyloggers, Spyware,
Rootkits and Backdoors.
The suspicious indicators related to malicious code are: e-mail attachments, instruction
to download files, visiting an infected website and Removable media.
The effects include, but are not limited to corrupt files and destroyed or modified
information, compromise and loss of information and hacker access and sabotaged
In respect of countermeasures, a user can take different steps while creating a password,
e.g, combine letters, numbers, special characters, do not use personal information, do
not use common phrases or words, do not write down your password, memorize it,
change password according to your organization’s policy, enforce account lockout for
end-user accounts after a set number of retry attempts, do not save your passwords or
login credentials in your browser and NEVER share your password. (Whitman &
Mattord, 2009)
Removable Media
Removable media is any type of data storage device that can be added to and removed
from a computer while the system is running. Hackers may use removable media to gain
access to your system. Examples of removable media include:
Thumb drives
Flash drives
External hard drives
The indicators which cause problems to user, e.g, leave removable media, such as
thumb drives, at locations for personnel to pick up and to send removable media to
personnel under the guise of a prize or free product trial
The countermeasures against removable media vulnerabilities are: e.g, contractors:
follow your organization’s removable media policy, DoD personnel: do not use flash
media unless operationally necessary and government-owned, do not use any personally
owned/non-Government removable flash media on DoD systems, do not use
Government removable flash media on non-DoD/personal systems, encrypt all data
stored on removable media, encrypt in accordance with the data's classification or
sensitivity level, use only removable media approved by your organization, store in
GSA approved storage containers at the appropriate level of classification
A qualitative research has been done for Bachelor´s Thesis in which an interview is
conducted with Head of Network Services of Oulu based university. A questionnaire is
designed keeping in mind the network and security issues. The questionnaire contains
multiple questions related to some basic information about university IT infrastructure
and security measures implemented to protect the university network from external and
internal threats.
Based on answers received from IT department of university, an analysis has been done
regarding security issues for the users. After the analysis, the conclusion is drawnfor
some further observations of how cybersecurity is affective in any organization and how
the utilization could be taken even further.
Following are the questions and answers received from IT department of the university:
Summary of the Interview
Questions can be found at Appendix-I.
An interview was conducted with the Head of Network Services (Internetworking
Expert) at an Oulu based university. His area of responsibilities is Management of
background systems like active directory, forefront identity manager, Microsoft
Exchange, Microsoft Lync-environments etc. As well as to manage all Linux-,
Windows- and Solaris servers, making backups and monitoring of network. The
university has around 7500 computers and 300 servers. The university mainly using
servers like, MySQL, Oracle, Apache/Apache tomcat, Linux servers, Windows servers
(Sharepoint, FIM, Exchange, SQL, UAG, TMG, PKI, Hyper-v, Direct access, Active
directory, Lync, Remote desktop services and IIS), Solaris servers. The operating
systems for end users in the university are Windows Servers 2003 – 2012, Linux
Servers (Debian, Ubuntu and Red hat), Solaris servers, Windows XP, Windows 7 and
Windows 8.
In response to question about cybersecurity, he told that cybersecurity deals with
defending the whole society than one single organization. Cybersecurity can be defined
as securing systems security and making sure that systems are functioning in all
situations and it is really helpful for the protection of network. The university protects
network from threats by using external and internal firewalls (firewalls contain different
programs like IDS (Intrusion Detection System). Computers and servers are equipped
with antivirus programs. Different kinds of devices are used for the cybersecurity e.g,
Layer ¾ - Switches work as Internal Firewalls and Linux-based operating systems are
used as External Firewall.
He also told that they face cybersecurity threats almost every day. Every case is little bit
different and they have been taking care of security threats by different methods.
Firewalls are really effective and helpful for protection of network from internal and
external security threats. To protect the university network from computer viruses, they
use anti-virus software to detect or remove malware such as: computer viruses,
hijackers, ransomware, keyloggers, backdoors, rootkits, trojan horses, worms, dialers,
adware and spyware. But on the other antivirus software might slow the performance of
systems. They also cause wrong alarms and malfunctions etc.
In response to the expenditure for protection of network, he mentioned that security
systems purchased once during the establishment of computer labs and it costs a lot
more than expected. The university allocates funds to update the systems and anti-virus
According to him, it is not easy to get rid of spam email. Some spammers find always a
way to bypass spam blocking software. Spammers are more active and smarter than
spam blocking software developers.
In response to junk emails, he replied that if a user receives junk email, it means that his
account has been hijacked or sender spoofed. If account is hijacked, user can change
password if it is possible or contact the help desk. To send email by wrong name or
other person´s name is quite easy. Individual users cannot influence sender spoofing,
this is service provider´s job. The user can prevent hijacker using his account by
defining new, longer and more complex password (for example at least 11 characters).
A number of measures to address spoofing have been proposed, including: SPF, Sender
ID, and DKIM, and these are widely implemented. Password managers play vital role
against password hijacking. If password is long and complex it is harder to hack.
In response to emails regarding lottery winnings, he told that these kind of winning are
rarely or never informed by email In Finland. People should use common sense in cases
like this. There are many ways to explore if message is really a spam. The user should
see the sender address, if the message comes from a respected company or well
established website, it will not have an email address like [email protected] email service
provider.com or .net etc and also look at the message contents: email asking for
personal information, grammatical and spelling errors within the email message etc. The
message headers contain tracking information for an individual email, detailing the path
a message took as it crossed mail servers and mail servers IP-addresses. The user can
check the authenticity of email through Ripe Network Coordination Centre website
(http://www.ripe.net) to whom IP-address belongs to.
The level of threats in universities is Medium. Most of the universities are equipped
with firewalls and anti-virus software. IT staff in universities keep guard on the campus
network. Over preparation and making too tight security policies may complicates
normal use of the systems. A network manager can prevent cybersecurity threat by
monitoring, controlling and keeping system´s security updated.
If a user wants real computer security, he needs to adopt safe computing practices rather
than rely totally on security products to protect him. No security product or combination
of products can or ever will provide perfect system security just like no car can provide
perfect road safety. With both cars and systems, user needs to be careful in own
Based on the data received from university, the university is well equipped with 7500
computers and 300 servers. The university installed the most advanced operating
systems in server side and end user side. They protect university intranet and internet by
installing different kinds of internal, external firewalls and antivirus software.
According to System Administrator, they face security threats almost every day. He
mentioned that antivirus softwares are quite helpful in detecting and removal of
malwares but these softwares also affect the performance of the computers. He also
mentioned that it is difficult to stop receiving spam because some spammers are clever
to bypass the security barriers. According to him, user must select the strong password
which can help user to protect their accounts and prevent receiving junk emails.
In response to promotional emails, system administrator recommends that end user must
be educated regarding respond to fake emails. A user can check the authenticity of the
email by verifying sender’s email address and the content of email.
A network can be protected by regular monitoring, controlling and keeping the security
softwares updated.
While using a computer connected to the Internet through cable or wireless network,
computer is a primary target for cyber criminals. Hackers are mostly looking for credit
card numbers, bank account information and any other information they can use for
their own gain. It is not just money-related information they are after; once they invade
a computer, intruders can use the hard disk, processor and Internet connection to attack
other computers.
Many personal computers are especially vulnerable because in general the average
computer user does not realize the risks of being on a network and the protections that
are available to guard against these threats. All users need to educate or train themselves
and understand the threats in order to more effectively protect their personal information
and computer systems.
According to reliable sources, approximately 1.9 billion people are now connected to
the internet. Most of these individuals are conducting business, sending emails,
researching and staying in touch with other people. But there are also those with evil
Cybersecurity is similar to home security. Because possible security risks can occur at a
variety of levels, it is needed to set up measures that provide multiple layers of defense
against these threats. Therefore, your best defense is a thoughtful and proactive offense.
By using a layered approach which ensures that an attacker who penetrates one layer of
defense, will be stopped by another following layer. (DAMICO, 2009)
Following measures can be adopted to protect computer from external threats:
Update Software
Just like clothing can get weak, especially the garments we wear the most – software
can also develop vulnerabilities. The software we use the most (our operating systems,
internet browsers and word-processing programs, for example) become vulnerable
because hackers are aware these are the applications most commonly used by computer
users. Therefore, a hacker gets the most advantage by finding and exploiting
vulnerabilities in software.
Application developers will send out updates for their applications. But it is not enough
for the updates to be sent; computer users should download and install these updates.
Installation of Security Software to Computers
Computer viruses are applications intentionally designed to interfere with the condition
of computer. Just like human viruses vary in severity from the flu to the Ebola virus,
computer viruses range from the mildly infuriating to the absolute destructive, and come
in new and different forms.
While the term spyware implies software that secretly monitors the user's behavior, the
functions of spyware extend well beyond simple monitoring. Spyware applications can
collect personal information, as well as intervene with the proper functioning of your
By using endpoint security software such as antivirus and anti-spyware and keeping
them updated with security patches provide one more necessary and important layer of
defense for end user’s computer.
Use Strong Password
Passwords are an important feature of computer security. They are the leading edge of
protection for user accounts. A strong password that is kept private is a critical layer of
cybersecurity. The computer and data are only as safe as the password is used to access
them. If someone authenticates as you, they are then authorized to do anything you
could do on your computer or account.
The number of computers and data illegally accessed are growing every year because of
weak passwords. For convenience, most users choose passwords that are easy to
remember. Unfortunately, the easier the password is, the easier it is for a hacker to crack
it. One of the first things a hacker will do against a system is run an application that will
attempt to guess the correct password of the target machine. These applications contain
entire dictionaries from several different languages. Besides words found in
dictionaries, these applications often contain names, words from popular culture such as
movies, songs, application default passwords and novels, list of the most common
passwords used (i.e. password1, password2) and common character sequences such as
"123456" or "abcdef". This is why it is so important to use strong passwords, and not
share them.
Limited Use of Privileged Accounts
Many computer users login to their computers as administrator for all their assignments
and work related activities. Unfortunately, many email and Web-based attacks take
advantage of this by hijacking the security context of the logged-in user which let
malicious code in to be executed when the user clicks on something they should not do.
This is why logging in and running computer as an administrator makes computer
vulnerable to security risks and exploits, such as Trojan horses and other forms of
malicious activities.
Common tasks such as checking emails, web browsing, and instant messaging do not
require administrative rights. To get more secure, users should log on with a Limited
User Account (LUA), and use important privileges only for specific tasks that require
them such as downloading or upgrading software.
Make Backups of Important Files and Folders
Mostly people divide their personal belongings into two broad categories: those items
they can replace and those they can’t. For the items they can’t replace, they have
probably stored them in a safe place, either somewhere in their living space or in a
lockbox at a bank. In either case, they have probably bought insurance that provides the
funds they would need to buy replacements.
For example, the files containing financial records, that assignment you’ve been writing
for the past few months, and pictures you took last summer with your digital camera.
What happens if your computer malfunctions or is destroyed by an intruder? Are these
files gone forever? Do you have a way to continue working on important computer files
when you have a malfunction or an intruder attack?
Most users know that intruders try to break into their home computer to gain access to
files and computer’s resources. Another way to gain access to the same information is
by stealing backups. It is more difficult, since a thief must physically be where backups
are, whereas an intruder can access home computer from any network connection in the
world. The key is to know where the media is that contains your backed up files.
Just like important papers stored in a safe place at your house, you also need to be
careful about your backups being destroyed if your living space is destroyed or
Secure Physical Environment
Every high-tech security tip can be followed, but if the physical environment is
insecure, information is insecure. Being attentive of surroundings and implementing
preventative measures against threats and attacks in place are part of everyday life.
The amount of laptops is increasing for both business and personal use. The portability
of laptops makes them more convenient. However, users must also be aware of the
security risks from the loss or theft of laptops, and take proper measures. The potential
loss is dual; the loss of the laptop itself and any personal or sensitive data that it may
Attach the laptop with a security cable to something fixed or to a heavy piece of
furniture when it is unattended. User should secure laptop with a strong password, but
don’t keep the password in the laptop case or on a piece of paper stick to the laptop.
Always Use Secure Wireless
Wireless networks commonly known as WiFi, allow user to connect to the internet
without relying on cables. If a home, office, airport, or even coffee shop has a wireless
connection, it can be accessed from anywhere that is within that wireless area.
Wireless networks rely on radio waves rather than cables to connect computers to the
internet. A transmitter, known as a wireless access point, is wired into an internet
connection. This provides a "hotspot" that transmits the connectivity over radio waves.
Since wireless networks do not require a cable between a computer and the internet
connection, it is possible for attackers who are within range to hijack or intercept
vulnerable connection.
A practice known as wardriving involves individuals equipped with a computer, a
wireless card, and a GPS device driving through areas in search of wireless networks
and identifying the specific coordinates of a network location. This information is
usually posted online. Some individuals who participate in wardriving have malicious
intention and can use this information to hijack home wireless network or intercept the
connection between your computer and a particular hotspot.
By changing default passwords makes it harder for hijackers to take control of the
device. Only allow authorized users to access the network. Each piece of hardware
connected to a network has a MAC (media access control) address. You can restrict or
allow access to your network by filtering MAC addresses.
It is a good security practice to install a firewall on network. It can also be installed
directly on wireless devices (a host-based firewall). Attackers who can directly tap into
wireless network may be able to dodge network firewall.
Understanding Peer to Peer Technology and Social Networking
Peer-to-Peer (or P2P) file-sharing is a technology that allows user to share files online
through an informal network. P2P gives access to a large amount of information, but
due to other computers on the network being able to search for files on one's own
computer, exposure to viruses, spyware and malicious code is potential.
Social Networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn became popular
on the internet, but can also be places that identity thieves use to capture personal
information they can use against users. Phishers, account thieves, and malware pushers
frequently try to access your account through gaming application scams, malicious
script scams, and click-jacking. Their goal is to get access to user personal information
so they can exploit it. So think before you click, because you are the first line of
Secure Messaging
Instant messaging and email are new phenomena which have made communication easy
and instantaneous and a soft target for hackers and identity thieves. Spam and phishing
attempts hit a mailbox possibly hundreds of times a day. So how can one know that the
attachment just received in email is free of malware?
A user can protect his account by implementing following measures:
Never respond to emails that request personal financial information
Visit banks' websites by typing the URL into the address bar
Keep a regular check on your accounts
Check the website you are visiting is secure
Be cautious with emails and personal data
Always report suspicious activity
The purpose of thesis is to find out the cybersecurity threats caused by cyber criminals
and elaborate them with quality research methods. Cyberspace has evolved into a highly
interdependent and technologically dynamic environment. The vulnerability of
networks around the world presents challenges to securing the organizations, schools
and government agencies from cyber attacks.
The only hope for securing classified and highly sensitive information, and the safety of
the public and the country, is through public and private sector partnerships. The
complexity of maintaining secure networks, systems, and offices, makes it virtually
impossible for one sector to achieve success without the support of the others. By
working together, the government and the private sector can influence the fundamental
skills, expertise, and assets that each provides to reduce cyber risk.
While cyber attacks will continue to increase, government organizations can achieve
tighter security by working with experienced communications and network providers to
prevent cyber crime before it happens and defend against cyber attacks when they
As a result, computer and information security continue to grow in importance. The gap
between attackers’ capabilities and ability to defend against them is widening.
Neglecting security is the worst thing we can do. Always weigh costs versus benefits
when considering security measures. It must be noted that law is always seven steps
behind the technology. This is so because we have a tendency to make laws when the
problem reaches at its zenith. The enforcement of rights requires a “qualitative effort”
and not a “quantitative effort”.
Capacity of human mind is unfathomable. It is not possible to eliminate cyber crime
from the cyber space. It is quite possible to check them. The history of this society is the
witness that no legislation has succeeded in totally eliminating crime from the globe.
The only possible measure is to make people aware of their rights and duties (to report
crime as a collective duty towards the society) and further making the application of the
laws more strict to check crime.
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How many computers do you have in your school network?
Which server technology are you using inside the office?
Which operating systems are in use in the school?
How do you define cybersecurity?
Does the Cybersecurity really help to protect the network or is it just a myth?
How do you protect school’s network?
What kind of devices you use for the cybersecurity?
How many times you faced security threats (internally and externally) and how
did you manage it?
Do you think firewalls really help to protect the network?
Do you think anti-virus software can protect from internet threats, if yes than
Is there any disadvantage of antivirus software?
How much money school spends per year for cybersecurity?
Do you think it is easy to get rid of spam emails?
How can junk emails be blocked?
Can we prevent the attack from reoccurring?
Are password managers effective and safe?
Is it easy to steal or hack someone’s password?
You received an email promotion stating that you won a new car how can you
prove or disprove the legitimacy of this promotion?
How big a threat is for cybersecurity in schools or universities?
What are the biggest mistakes schools do regarding cybersecurity?
What strategies should a network manager follow to prevent the threats?
Any suggestion for new users?
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