With more companies embracing work-from-home or hybrid work environments, there’s been an increase in attacks targeting virtual private networks (VPN).
Cybersecurity is becoming an important point of discussion for everyone in today’s climate. Employees need to ensure their individual safety while businesses ensure the safety of the group. Not to mention government agencies, who oversee the safety of everyone under their jurisdiction.
Due to the profitability of cybercrime, threat actors have taken the opportunity to exploit any and all cracks in critical infrastructure. Although there’s been more high-profile data breaches and ransomware attacks in the news within the last year, there’s still many groups who are slow to update their cybersecurity framework.
Because so many people are working from home, it’s harder for organizations to keep track of an individual’s security risk. The increase in remote work has led to information technology groups to desperately try to keep pace with the increasing demands.
If you’re someone who utilizes a VPN server, you should know that for the first quarter of 2021, there was a huge increase in VPN attacks. According to a threat report by Nuspire and Recorded Future, there was a 1,916% increase in attacks against Fortinet’s SSL-VPN and a 1,579% increase in attacks against Pulse Connect Secure VPN.
Once a hacker is able to gain access to your network through a VPN service, they can steal your sensitive information and execute ransomware. Although there’s been an increase in VPN and RDP vulnerabilities, the report notes that malware, botnet and exploitation attempts are actually down compared to Q4 2020.
The Emotet bonet takedown, which included international law enforcement, is the likely reason for the reduction in malware activity. This malware deployed ransomware and targeted victims in an attempt to steal their data, but an operation by Europol disrupted infrastructure enough to create a huge reduction in activity.
If you have a VPN and are looking to make your connection more secure, consider following some steps below:
- Use A Kill Switch: This feature drops the internet connection on your smartphone or computer if your VPN fails to connect. If your VPN doesn’t connect, it’s possible for your IP address to become visible and reveal your location or identity. The kill switch protects you by disabling the internet completely if there’s an issue.
- Prevent DNS Leaks: Your default DNS server may show up when you’re online, potentially leaking your real DNS instead of the one from your VPN provider. You can use this test and if your VPN DNS shows up, you’re in the clear. Otherwise, you may need to contact your provider.
- Prevent IPv6 Leaks: IPv6 is a version of the Internet Protocol that operates outside of the territory of VPNs. Some providers automatically disable IPv6 in favor of IPv4, but not all do. To see if you have an IPv6 leak, click here. You can manually disable it if there is a leak.
While utilizing a private network is a great step towards proactive cybersecurity, it’s imperative that as an internet user, you stay up-to-date on security best practices.