Archive for Atlas VPN

Guest Post: Atlas VPN Says FBI’s Internet Crime Center Registers Over 2,000 Complaints Daily

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 15, 2021 by itnerd

Internet crime has been steadily increasing over the years as more people use the internet and hackers find new ways to attack vulnerable systems. 

According to the recent Atlas VPN analysis, the FBI’s Internet Crime Center (IC3) registers about 2,331 complaints daily. The number of daily complaints was calculated by dividing a million by the number of days it took for cybercrimes to increase from 5 million to 6 million. 

It took IC3 seven years to reach their first million complaints. However, the last million cybercrimes were recorded in only 429 days

Of course, the increase in this number is not only because internet crime has become more common. Another reason is that people have become more aware of how and where to report such attacks. 

Cybersecurity writer and researcher at Atlas VPN William Sword shares his thoughts on internet crime: 

“Similar or even more vicious cyberattacks will likely continue as many people, and companies still ignore the rising threats. Examples of internet crime throughout the past years have shown that it is worth investing time and resources to counter threat actors and reduce cyber risks.”

Cybersecurity trends in 2021 

The first half of 2021 has shown that cybercrime continues to evolve. Many ransomware attacks targeted huge companies, as this type of attack is a low-risk endeavor for hackers and an easy way to make some quick money. 

One ransomware attack that stood out this year was the widely covered Colonial Pipelineattack in late April. Cybercriminals demanded a $4.4 million ransom in Bitcoin. 

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, phishing attacks were also prevalent among hackers. Threat actors sent out fake emails about stimulus checks or offered other financial help to people that suffered from the pandemic. 

Now that vaccines have rolled out, many criminals see another opportunity to trick people into providing sensitive information. Criminals pretend to be government officials and offer to vaccinate residents sooner if they fill out documents with their personal data. 

To read the full article, head over to: https://atlasvpn.com/blog/fbi%E2%80%99s-internet-crime-center-registers-over-2-000-complaints-daily

Guest Post: Atlas VPN Says That In 2020 The Number Of Vulnerabilities In Microsoft Products Exceeded 1,000 For the first time

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 10, 2021 by itnerd

Microsoft products are used by billions of people worldwide. Historically, however, they are known to have many vulnerabilities that pose security risks to users of the software. 

According to data presented by the Atlas VPN team, the total number of vulnerabilities in Microsoft products reached 1,268 in 2020 — an increase of 181% in five years. 

Windows was the most vulnerability-ridden Microsoft product. It had a total of 907 issues, of which 132 were critical. However, Windows Server had the largest number of critical issues. In 2020, 902 vulnerabilities were detected in Windows Server, of which 138 were critical. 

Issues were also found in other Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer. Together, these browsers had 92 vulnerabilities in 2020. In total, 61 or even 66% of these vulnerabilities were of critical level. Meanwhile, Microsoft Office had 79 vulnerabilities, 5 of which were critical. 

Ruth Cizynski, the cybersecurity researcher and author at Atlas VPN, shares her thoughts on the situation : 

“These numbers are a massive problem because every Microsoft product has millions of users. Therefore, it is important that consumers update their software applications on time. Software updates can include security patches that can fix vulnerabilities and save users from getting hacked.”

Elevation of privilege is the most common Microsoft vulnerability

A wide range of vulnerabilities was discovered in various Microsoft products last year.  However, some types of vulnerabilities were more common than others.  

Elevation of privilege was the most frequently detected issue in Microsoft products. It was discovered 559 times and made up 44% of all Microsoft vulnerabilities in 2020. 

Next up is remote code execution. In total, 345 such vulnerabilities were found last year, putting it in second place on the list. Remote code execution accounted for 27% of the total number of Microsoft vulnerabilities in 2020.  

Information disclosure occupies the third spot on the list. There were 179 such issues discovered in 2020. Together, they made up 14% of all Microsoft vulnerabilities that year. 

To read the full article, head over to: https://atlasvpn.com/bloghttps://atlasvpn.com/blog/in-2020-number-of-vulnerabilities-in-microsoft-products-exceeded-1-000-for-the-first-time

Guest Post: Atlas VPN Says That Cyberattacks Surge By 33% In A Year

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 9, 2021 by itnerd

Over the recent years, we hear about cyberattacks much more due to the constant increase in internet users and technology growth. 

According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, cyberattacks have increased by 33% since last year. The total amount of malicious attacks in Q1 rose from 538 in 2020 to 713 in 2021. 

In January 2020, there were a total of 160 cyberattacks. Meanwhile, January 2021 saw 183  malicious attacks — 14% more than the same month last year. 

Looking at February’s numbers, we can see a tremendous increase in cyberattacks in 2021 compared to 2020. Malicious attacks jumped by 33% from 191 in 2020 to 254 in 2021. 

In March 2021, cyberattacks grew more than 50% compared to March2 020. The total number of attacks went up from 187 to 276

Cybersecurity writer and researcher at Atlas VPN William Sword shares his thoughts on the increase of cyberattacks: 

“A significant increase in cyberattacks has shown that many companies or government administrations are not prepared to handle cybersecurity threats. With more and more people becoming victims of hackers, responsible institutions should step up their efforts in the cybersecurity field.”

Most used cyberattack techniques 

Cybercriminals employ various techniques to penetrate vulnerable systems. 

Malware continues to be one of the most used techniques for cyberattacks. In Q1 2021 it was employed in 32% of all cyberattack cases. Hackers use malware to trick a victim into providing personal data for identity theft. 

Unknown attacks were the second most-used in the first quarter of this year at 22%. The unknown threat is classified as such when a security product cannot recognize its code, which is why it is tough to stop such attacks. 

Next up is account takeover (ATO). This type of cyberattack technique was used in 14% of all cyberattacks in Q1 2021. 

To read the full article, head over to: https://atlasvpn.com/blog/cyberattacks-surge-by-33-in-a-year

Atlas VPN Releases A New Security Tool For Monitoring Data Breaches

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 8, 2021 by itnerd

This month virtual network service provider Atlas VPN released a new security feature called Data Breach Monitor. The new feature, currently available on iOS and Android platforms, helps its users check if their personal information has been leaked online. 

First, users are prompted to scan their email addresses with Data Breach Monitor. The tool then searches through leaked databases to check whether the data there matches the user’s information. 

If matching information is found, the user is presented with a list of past and current security breaches associated with their online accounts. In addition, the list includes information about when and where the breach occurred and what type of information was leaked. 

The leaked data can include anything from credentials such as email address, username, and password to social security numbers or other types of personal information. 

The tool also notifies users of new leaks affecting their personal data so they can take immediate action and stop malicious actors from exploiting their online accounts.

While all Atlas VPN users can take advantage of the Data Breach monitor to boost their online security, Premium users get full access to the feature. It means they can connect multiple email addresses to the tool to safeguard all their online accounts.

Guest Post Atlas VPN Study Reveals That Consumer Threats Jumped By 83% In 2020

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 2, 2021 by itnerd

According to an Atlas VPN analysis, consumer threats jumped by 82.84% in 2020. The most concerning fact is that a few extremely dangerous and multi-purpose malware types sky-rocketed to never-before-seen heights.  For example, malicious software detections called Dridex soared by 1,890%. It is a form of malware that specializes in stealing bank credentials via macros from Microsoft Word.   

Cybersecurity researcher and publisher at Atlas VPN, Edward Garb, shares his thoughts on the consumer threat landscape: “It is essential to stay up-to-date on what is happening in the cybercrime landscape. If you know what threats are currently booming, then you know what to watch out for. As many people started to WFH, they opened up many new pathways for fraudsters, so cybersecurity knowledge has never been as important as today.

Screenlockers grew in popularity by 312%, from 210 thousand detections in 2019 to 867 thousand in 2020.  Here, users either encounter a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) or a warning that they have been using illegal software and need to enter a registration key to unlock their computer.  

Somewhere on the screen, the victims see a phone number or a link that they can follow to contact the support team that will supposedly help them solve the problem. In fact, they usually solve the issue, but they hide the fact that their malware caused the problem. Of course, the solution is paid and overpriced. 

Next up is Glupteba, a malware type first detected in 2019, which exploded in popularity from 406 detections in 2019 to 840,754 in 2020, amounting to a 206,982% increase. Glupteba is one of those dangerous, multi-purpose malware families that we mentioned earlier. In short, Glupteba is a software bot that can be controlled from afar by the hackers who wrote it.  

To read the full article, head over to: https://atlasvpn.com/blog/consumer-threats-jumped-by-83-in-2020-recent-findings-reveal

Guest Post: Americans Projected To Lose Over $5 Billion To Internet Crime In 2021 Says Atlas VPN

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 27, 2021 by itnerd

Cybercriminals in America are getting richer. According to the Atlas VPN team’s analysis, Americans are estimated to lose $5.6 billion to internet crime by the end of 2021. 

Cybercrime losses are expected to grow by nearly a third (32%) in 2021 from 4.2 billion in 2020. Compared to 2012, when cybercrime losses were 525.4 million, they are predicted to grow tenfold and reach record levels.  By the end of this year, Americans will have lost 22.1 billion to cybercriminals since 2012. 

The average growth rate of losses to internet crime in the US was estimated based on historical data from 2012 to 2020 provided by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. 

Why losses to internet crime are rising

One of the main reasons behind the rise in cybercrime losses is the growing number of internet users in the United States. The more people spend their time online, the more potential targets cybercriminals have.

In 2020, there were 284.05 million internet users in the US, which is about 86% of the country’s population. Based on Statista’s estimates, the number of internet users in the US will increase by over 1% to 286.98 million in 2021. Therefore, a higher number of potential victims is expected. 

According to Ruth Cizynski, a cybersecurity researcher and author at Atlas VPN, “Ever-evolving cyber threats, the emergence of schemes that exploit the Covid-19 pandemic, and smaller cybersecurity budgets are just a few more factors contributing to the rise in monetary losses due to cybercrime in 2021.”

To read the full article, head over to: https://atlasvpn.com/blog/americans-projected-to-lose-over-5-billion-to-internet-crime-in-2021

Guest Post: Atlas VPN Says That More Than 3 Billion Internet Users Now Use The Google Chrome Browser

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 26, 2021 by itnerd

Choosing what browser to utilize is something that every internet user has to do. There are plenty of options to pick from.

According to the recent Atlas VPN team findings, nearly 3,3 billion internet users (or 41% of the population) use the Google Chrome browser. By far the most popular browser.

The second most popular browser is Safari, with a total of 944,576,100 internet users. iPhone or Mac device users mostly work with the Safari browser as Apple developed it.

Third on the list is the Firefox browser, with 181,435,430 people actively using it. Unlike other browsers, Firefox has placed a huge emphasis on user privacy.

Microsoft Edge browser ranks fourth with 171,327,607 internet users. Edge is the only browser to natively support Windows Information Protection (WIP), which protects corporate data to help prevent accidental leaks by users on Windows 10 devices.

In fifth and sixth place goes the Samsung Internet and Opera browsers. They have 166,779,086 and 112,196,840 active users respectively.

Cybersecurity writer and researcher at Atlas VPN Anton Petrov shares his advice on how to keep your browsers secure and private: 

“Browsers collect cookies, cache, and store your passwords, which could put your data in danger if the browser gets hacked. To avoid that, clear your browsing history and cache from time to time, and use software such as VPNs or password managers for an added layer of security”

Browser security concerns

At this time, when cybercrime is more active than ever, safety should be one of the priorities when choosing a browser.

Even though Chrome is the most popular browser globally, it has a history of security and privacy issues. Last year in March, hackers found a backdoor in a Google Chrome update and took advantage of it by releasing a fake Chrome update with malware

VPNs, antivirus, and other similar applications have become essential tools when it comes to online security. 

To read the full article, head over to: https://atlasvpn.com/blog/more-than-3-billion-internet-users-now-use-the-google-chrome-browser

Guest Post: Atlas VPN Provides An Analysis Of The Top 10 Most Cybercrime-Ridden States

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 18, 2021 by itnerd

According to Atlas VPN analysis, the top 10 US states by losses to cybercrime are California, New York, Texas, Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Colorado. 

Last year, citizens in these states lost $2.39 billion to various types of internet crime. In the earliest reporting period – 2013, losses reached $327.89 million. Meaning, accumulated monetary damages in these states jumped by 629% over an eight-year period. 

The data is compiled from the last eight annual Internet Crime Reports published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI shares data provided by victims from all over the country to alert US citizens to the ever-increasing rates of internet crime. 

To no surprise, California experienced the largest damages in 2020. Californians lost over $621 million in 2020 and a staggering $2.55 billion since 2013. 

The average annual loss growth (AAGR) of cybercrime damages reaches 33% in sunny California. On a similar note, financial losses jumped by 491% when comparing 2013 to 2020. 

The second place goes to the largest city in the US – New York. Here, people lost nearly $416 million in 2020. The total losses from cybercrime amount to $1.15 billion, counting from 2013.

The average annual growth rate of losses to cybercrime exceeds that of California and stands at 50%. In 2013, New Yorkers lost $38 million to internet crime, which means that in the eight-year span, damages grew by 993%.

Texas takes third place, with close to $314 million in capital loss last year. Through the last eight years, fraudsters swindled over $1.01 billion from unsuspecting citizens. 

Texans lost $56 million in 2013. Meaning, cybercrime damages in Texas jumped by 455% from 2013 to 2020. Here, AAGR stands at 30%, which is the lowest of the top 10 states. 

Fourth is Florida, with $295 million in losses to various types of internet crime. From 2013 until 2020, citizens in Florida lost a whopping $1.16 billion of their hard-earned money. 

To read the full article, head over to: https://atlasvpn.com/blog/an-analysis-of-the-top-10-most-cybercrime-ridden-states

Atlas VPN Completes Independent Security Audit

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 17, 2021 by itnerd

Cybersecurity service provider Atlas VPN completed its first independent cybersecurity audit in April this year. The security test was conducted by an acknowledged US-based cybersecurity consulting firm VerSprite.

Despite careful examination by cybersecurity researchers, no significant vulnerabilities were found that could have been exploited to affect Atlas VPN users. 

The blackbox analysis during the Application Penetration Test of the Atlas VPN iOS client and its public backend components highlighted just a few Medium-to-Low risk issues, which proved fruitless to compromise the privacy of the users, says the Head of Offensive Security at VerSprite.  I commend Atlas VPN for their transparency in sharing their findings with their customers.

Auditors conducted an Application Penetration Test on the Atlas VPN iOS app, which was the focus of the audit. By simulating real-world cyber attack scenarios, they looked for any threats that could put data privacy, authenticity, integrity, and overall business reputation at risk.

The Atlas VPN team has already begun fixing the vulnerabilities discovered in the audit, however, decided to publish the test results immediately after ensuring that the identified vulnerabilities posed risks that would be managed and mitigated. 

While few major VPN service providers are known to have undergone independent security testing, they are few and far between. By completing an independent security audit, Atlas VPN believes it can bring more transparency to the VPN market and encourage other providers to follow suit.

Guest Post: Millennials & Gen Zers Are Most Likely To Fall For Phishing Emails Atlas VPN Study Finds

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 13, 2021 by itnerd

There is a common misconception that older people, who tend to have less experience with new technologies, are easier to scam online. However, recent data findings suggest that just the opposite is true.

According to data analyzed by the Atlas VPN team, Millennials and Gen Zers in the United States are more likely to fall for phishing emails than their older counterparts. In total, more than one-fifth (23%) of people from Gen Z and the Millennial generation have been tricked by phishing emails in the past.

Gen Zers and Millennials are followed by Generation X. A total of 19% of Gen Xers have been fooled by email phishing scams. Baby Boomers, on the other hand, are the least likely to fall for phishing attacks. Only 9% of them have done so in the past.

In addition to phishing scams, Gen Z and Millennials are also most vulnerable to other types of cybersecurity threats. More than half (52%) of people from these generations have had a password stolen or at least know someone to whom this has happened, while 48% have also had a social media account hacked or hijacked.

“While younger generations are more tech-savvy, they are also very accustomed to doing everything online — from communicating with friends to shopping or conducting financial transactions,” says Ruth Cizynski, cybersecurity researcher and author at Atlas VPN. “This daily use of the Internet from a young age makes them less cautious about engaging online or giving out their personal information.”

Americans feel safer online at work than at home

Having experienced cyberattacks in the past, many Americans now worry about their online privacy and data security. Surprisingly, they feel safer while using the internet at work than at home.

Only 32% of adults in the country fret about their data and security when using the internet at work. Privacy is a concern for 36% of adults. The number of worried Americans nearly doubles when it comes to using the internet at home. 

Overall, 64% of American adults said they are uncomfortable browsing the web at home, while 62% are worried about their data and security.

Of all environments, however, the majority of Americans worry about their data and privacy when using a public WiFi. Privacy on a public WiFi is a concern for 70% of Americans, and data security is a concern for 69% of Americans.

To read the full article, go to: https://atlasvpn.com/blog/millennials-and-gen-zers-are-most-likely-to-fall-for-phishing-emails-study-finds