Ask.com is one of the internet’s oldest properties. It is not as well-known as the titans of the web (Google, Yahoo, etc.) but almost everyone who has spent any time at all on the internet is familiar with the brand, and its popular browser-based toolbar, distributed by the APN (Ask Partner Network) is used by millions.
Recently, two different security firms, Carbon Black and Red Canary, spotted a serious problem.
Hackers infiltrated the Ask.com network to the point that they were using legitimate certificates from APN to authenticate malware that was disguised as routine software updates.
Fortunately, in both instances, the problem was caught before any actual damage was done, but this underscores an important point for business owners and the IT staff that supports them.
The more products you use, whether they’re toolbars like Ask’s or something else, the greater your risk of exposure.
Even if your digital security system is as bullet-proof as you can possibly make it, systems like these create a backdoor into your network that can be exploited, almost completely circumventing the various security measures you’ve put in place.
As ever, the lesson here is strict controls over what software is allowed on your company network, and what rights that software has. But unfortunately, in an ecosystem increasingly dominated by privately owned devices, that’s increasingly difficult to do well.
Modern business networks are much more porous than they were in years past, and it is that extreme porosity that opens the door to relatively easy infiltration, regardless of the often elaborate security measures they may have in place.
Companies are increasingly outsourcing digital security for this reason, and if your IT staff is overwhelmed by the demands of keeping your network secure, contact us today and speak with one of our knowledgeable team members.
We can assess your current situation and help chart a course toward greater digital security in this rapidly changing landscape, which will mean fewer headaches for you and your team.