From the NREIA website

Common Cybercrime Techniques

By Brad Beckett on May 24, 2016 technology

It seems like everyday we hear about another cyber attack where customer data are stolen and/or a machine gets locked down until a ransom is paid to some unknown hacker, on the other side of the planet.  Recently, IT management site ManageEngine posted an interesting article on their PitStop blog entitled “What you ought to know about the common cybercrime techniques of 2016” that does a great job spelling out the cyber threats we face and how to address them.  The article was written by an Australian, so don’t let the Aussi references throw you off – they’re relevant for us here in the states too.

Keep in mind; ransomware (in particular) is a large and growing issue.  If you think you’ve  been hit by ransomware or even a virus it is best to just power off your PC because the longer it is on the more damage it can do.  Once powered off, call a technician and ask them to take a look.

Listed below are the 4 major cyber threats along with proactive measures companies can take to combat them:

  1. Malware, ransomware, spyware and mobile malware


Malware is typically code or a file that is delivered over the network to specifically infect your device, steal important information, or disrupt the normal functioning of your device. Malware attacks play to the deepest fears of companies and executives as critical company secrets are at the risk of being exposed.

Recently, malware called ZeroAccess infiltrated the payment systems in 60 Pizza Hut stores across Australia, compromising 4,000 devices each day between October and December 2015.

Various types of malware include viruses, trojan horses, spam, worms, rootkits, remote access tools, and spyware that is injected into a system through software that is otherwise safe.


One of the popular forms of malware is ransomware. Ransomware takes control of the administrator access and prevents users from accessing all or some of their systems. Attackers force victims to pay a ransom through various online payment methods, before releasing their vice grip on the victims’ systems.

Charles Lim, a Frost & Sullivan cyber-security analyst, estimates that nearly 50-60% of the global ransomware attacks are regularly detected in Australia.

Some of the popular forms of ransomware include CTB-Locker, CryptoWall, CryptoDefense, CryptorBit, and Cryptolocker. These forms of malware infiltrate operating systems via infected email messages or via fake downloads (for example, rogue video players or fake Flash updates).


Spyware is another common form of malware. Hackers bundle spyware code as a hidden component in freeware or shareware applications that are available for download from the internet.

Spyware can also spread through infected file attachments. The injected spyware code or application can then gather information about e-mail addresses, passwords, and credit card numbers. The hacker gains access to the victim ‘s device through the spyware and monitors the victim’s activity on the internet.

Mobile malware

With more people using smartphones alongside PC’s, hackers are using various techniques to spread malware through mobile apps and SMS text messages.

If you happened to click links from unknown email senders or from an SMS message, you might actually end up downloading malware.

Many sources suggest that one of the most common sources of malware on mobiles is spread by manually downloading software that claims to be a video player from websites other than Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

How to protect against malware, ransomware, spyware and mobile malware:

  • Since a number of operations performed by crypto-ransomware require admin privileges, always keep the user account control settings(UAC) enabled. This can help you prevent unauthorized changes to your computer. UAC triggers notifications about certain changes that are made to your computer that require administrator-level permissions.
  • Ensure to schedule regular backups of your data. Store all your data on cloud or use an external hard drive. Check for all network shares and backup locations. Ensure to allow access or change permissions only by the administrator (and/or the backup service provider).
  • According to CERT many ransomware infections begin with a “.scr” file that is attached as part of a “.zip” or “.cab” email attachment. It is advisable to block “.scr” files at the email gateway and establish control policies for certain applications and device.
  • Implement group policies at computer, domain and domain control levels. These policies can block attackers from installing malware in their favorite directories.Although implementing and managing group policies can be cumbersome at times, this is a necessary step towards proactively preventing any ransomware or spyware attacks.
  • Ultimately be cautious while surfing the internet and avoid suspicious websites, suspicious SMSes and software download options. Remember to install and maintain an updated antivirus program.
  1. Phishing

As one of the most common cybercrime techniques, phishing is an act of sending an email to a user in an attempt to steal private information from them by falsely claiming to be from a well-known, legitimate enterprise. Phishing email directs the user to visit a bogus website and update personal information such as username, password, or credit card details.

In February 2016, Snapchat, a social networking platform of more than 200 million users, was the target of a phishing attack where the payroll information of its employees was revealed.

Typical forms of phishing emails include:

  • Emails that pretend to be from known and popular banks or other payment transaction platforms.
  • Emails that carry links to offer “free” gifts, goods, or services.
  • Work-at-home and other business or investment opportunity emails.

Typical signs of phishing websites include:

  • Suspicious web addresses and misspelled websites of a popular company.
  • Use of “http” in the websites URL instead of “https” (which is used in the URLs of the genuine website).
  • Websites where the pop-up window appears immediately once the user reaches the suspicious website. These pop-up windows tend to record your username, password and other account information.

Below are five tips to protect against phishing attacks:

  • Do not click on the links in emails from unknown senders.
  • Type addresses directly into the browser or use the personal bookmarks.
  • Check the website’s security certificate (SSL) before you enter personal or financial information into a website.
  • Refrain from entering any personal or financial information in unknown pop-up windows.
  • Ensure that the computer OS ,browser and other critical software (such as anti-virus protection software) are updated with the latest security patches.
  • Include advanced sand boxing capabilities in your IT security solution to detect malware in phishing emails.
  1. Denial of service (DoS) and distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS):

DoS and DDoS attacks take advantage of the vulnerabilities in the application protocols and communication protocols. According to a recent CSO article, Australian targets are increasingly hit by shorter, more intense DoS and DDoS attacks and these attacks are, on an average, the largest in the Asia Pacific region.

Unlike other cyber attacks, DoS and DDoS assaults do not attempt to steal sensitive data. These attacks are instead used as a means to render the network, websites, and other online resources unavailable to users. DoS and DDoS attackers are capable of affecting the complete network and server infrastructure of an enterprise.

In DoS attacks, attackers use a single internet connection to exploit software vulnerabilities. They flood the target systems with fake requests to exhaust the server resources such as the RAM and CPU.

In the case of DDoS attacks, attackers tend to flood the systems with multiple requests from multiple connected devices distributed across the network. DDoS assaults tend to target large enterprises and flood their network with huge volumes of traffic. DDoS attacks are generally more devastating and difficult to tackle due to the sheer volume of devices involved.

How to protect against DoS and DDoS attacks:

  1. IoT-based botnets

As technology becomes more accessible, internet of things (IoT)-based bots have become the latest tools for cyber criminals. Various sources predict that by 2017, Chinese and Eastern European hackers are likely to control millions of devices and create a botnet army of these IoT-connected devices. This botnet army can be used for carrying out nefarious activities planned by the hackers.

A conventional botnet is made up of computers that are remotely accessed by the hackers without the owners’ knowledge.An IoT botnet on the other hand (internet of things botnet) is a group of hacked devices, that include computers, smart appliances, and internet-connected devices, co-opted for illicitly transferring data from the victim’s devices.

How to protect against IoT botnets:

  • Update your computer’s antivirus software.
  • Ensure that Microsoft Windows and certain main programs (MsOffice, Adobe products) on your devices have the latest version updates.
  • Configure your software settings to automatically update the security settings on your browser.
  • Never click on attachments from an unverified source.
  • Install a good firewall analyzer to block the network ports used by botnet controllers.
  • Install aggressive identification ,monitoring tools and devices. Preferably install a robust identity management system and validate account credentials at appropriate intervals.

At the end of the day, there is no straightforward or easy way out to prevent cybercrime. All you can do is practice and implement certain robust PC and device security measures, keep up your firewall guard, and have a close eye on the network traffic logs for any unusual activity. Ultimately, the cybercrimes of the past have taught us that investing before a breach is far less expensive than recovering from one.

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AZREIA, Arizona Real Estate Investors Association, is a professional association that exists to serve the needs of independent real estate investors. We provide market information and analysis, education, networking opportunities, implementation guidance, and support to assist our members in achieving success in real estate investing. Since our founding in 2002, we have helped thousands of real estate investors.

  • We believe real estate investing can help anyone achieve their financial goals. Success is a process and real estate investing over the long-term can provide exceptional results. Your results are dependent on your commitment to success and the effort you put forth in addition to market factors both seen and unseen. Not everyone is willing to commit and do what is necessary (legally, ethically and morally) to succeed. We do not believe in “get rich quick”! Please take our FREE Entrepreneurial Self Assessment to better understand your suitability for real estate investing. It takes about 20 minutes.
  • We believe planning is an essential element to reaching your desired outcome. We feel our Launch Pad program for new investors is an exceptional planning process for new real estate investors that will keep you focused, take months off your development cycle and give you a much better opportunity for success. Launch Pad is available to everyone. It is available for AZREIA members at the small price of $30. Non-members may attend on a space available basis but pay a non-refundable $100 fee to attend.
  • We believe strongly in education and offer reasonably priced education both internally and from respected educators outside of AZREIA. We are not mentors or coaches. We do not offer these type of high cost programs.
  • We believe networking is critical to any investor’s success. Networking with a purpose will help you build or improve your team, understand how others are successful, learn different investing techniques, acquire property, find money partner and much more. We believe networking is the second most important aspect to successful investing falling only behind implementing a well thought out plan. In support of this belief, AZREIA offers several networking opportunities every month.
  • We believe an association should bring purchasing power to its members. AZREIA has exceptional benefits that save our members money, increase their profits and simplify their business.
  • We believe and enforce our strong Code of Ethics. (CLICK TO VIEW)

AZREIA is believed to be the largest REIA in the country. We have been the most highly recognized REIA by the National Real Estate Investors Association. No other REIA has earned the REIA of the Year Award as many times as AZREIA. Additionally, National REIA has recognized AZREIA’s education program, community program and Government Affairs program as the best. National REIA has also honored AZREIA as being the Most Innovative. Locally, the Phoenix and Tucson Business Journals have listed AZREIA among the Top 10 Professional Associations.


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Will real estate investing solve my problem?

Most people consider investing in real estate as a way to solve an issue or issues in their life. The good news is real estate investing can work for anyone. So, the quick answer to the question is yes, real estate investing is a good way to solve many financial issues.

The bad news is many times a person will not take the necessary steps to ensure success in real estate investing. So, while real estate investing will work for anyone, it will not work for everyone. If you are committed and take the necessary actions (legally, ethically and morally) your probability of success is very high.

We encourage all new investors to complete AZREIA’s FREE Entrepreneurial Self Assessment. This 20 minute exercise will help you determine if real estate investing is right for you. Also, you will understand the type of investing most suited to your personal situation. [CLICK HERE to take the Entrepreneurial Self Assessment] Based on your results, you may determine to complete Launch Pad.

At AZREIA, we have a path for all people considering real estate investing to follow as a way to get started and determine if real estate investing will work for you. We call it Launch Pad!

Launch Pad is a planning process that when completed provides most new investors with the following:

  1. Your Optimal Investing Path
  2. Your Preferred Property Type
  3. Your Property Acquisition Plan
  4. Your Funding Plan
  5. Your Educational Plan
  6. Your Team Building Plan
  7. Your Networking Plan
  8. Your Beginning Timeline

We’re sure you noticed that each one of the above eight items begins with “Your”. That is because every investor is different. Your needs are unique to you, so your plan needs to be specifically designed to meet those needs. Also, your plan should fit in with your current life situation.

Here’s the kicker…. Going through the Launch Pad process will also determine if real estate investing will work for you at this time in your life. If so, great! You have a plan to implement. If not, isn’t it better to know that up front and save you a lot of time, money and anguish? At that point, you can consider other ways to solve the problems you are facing.

Consider registering for our next Launch Pad session. You will need to set aside about four hours to complete the process. If you are an AZREIA member, there is a small $30 fee for Launch Pad. Non-members may attend on a space-available basis but pay a non-refundable $100 fee to attend.

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New to Real Estate Investing: How AZREIA Membership Helps Me

Congratulations! Just knowing that real estate investing will help you means you’re off to a great start to achieving your financial goals. As an AZREIA member and new to real estate investing we take all of the guesswork out. You start by completing Launch Pad and then the rest of the items listed below. There is a Launch Pad session about every 30 – 45 days. This process will take months off your development time and gets you started doing deals as soon as possible.

1. Register for and complete Launch Pad – Proper planning is the major differentiator between those who succeed and those who don’t. We are so committed to you getting off to a great start that Launch Pad is included for AZREIA members for just $30. This four-hour session provides most new investors the following eight critical items:

  1. Your Optimal Investing Path
  2. Your Preferred Property Type
  3. Your Property Acquisition Plan
  4. Your Funding Plan
  5. Your Educational Plan
  6. Your Team Building Plan
  7. Your Networking Plan
  8. Your Beginning Timeline

We’re sure you noticed that each one of the above eight items begins with “Your”. That is because every investor is different. Your needs are unique to you, so your plan needs to be specifically designed to meet those needs. Also, your plan should fit in with your current life situation.

Register for the next available Launch Pad session: VIEW CALENDAR

2. Start implementing your Launch Pad Plan immediately! Your personal Launch Pad plan tells you what to do and when to do it. So, schedule the education you need. Begin building your team. Attend the networking sessions important to your plan. Implement your Acquisition Plan. Time to get going! It’s all in your Launch Pad plan!

3. Review the latest Market Update in the Member Resources tab in the Member’s Area of this website. As an investor it is important that you stay informed on the market. Creative real estate investing means being able to respond to market conditions in your negotiations, marketing, acquisitions, pricing, etc. It will take you a while to become comfortable with market trends. Attending the Market Update and Market News segments of AZREIA’s monthly meetings will help you understand trends and directions important to your investing.

4. Optional: View the Success Factors video series by CLICKING HERE. This free, one-hour, six-part video covers several important topics for new investors:

  1. What Will Be Covered
    1. Goal Setting
    2. Getting You Started Quickly
    3. Taking Months Off Your Ramp Up Time
    4. Getting You Connected
    5. Reducing Mistakes
  2. Jumping Right In!
    1. Getting in the Right Mindset to Succeed
    2. Top 5 Success Factors
    3. Separating Fact from Myth
    4. Understanding Different Investing Strategies
  3. Education: Spending Your Dollars Wisely
    1. Education You Need Versus Unnecessary Education
    2. Mentors: What You Need to Understand Before Spending Your Money
  4. It’s All for Nothing if You Don’t Do a Deal
    1. Finding Deals
    2. Getting Money for Deals
  5. Tools for Success
    1. Building Your Team
    2. Leveraging the Market Update
  6. Time to Get Started!
    1. Look Out!
    2. Your Next Steps

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Experienced Investors

Congratulations! You are somewhere along the path to achieving your objectives. Maybe you have rehabbed a couple of houses or acquired a few rentals. Possibly you have already achieved your objectives and are fully living the life you dreamed. Regardless of where you are on your path, an AZREIA membership will benefit you by helping you get to your goals faster, increasing the margins on your current investments and simplifying your business.

Seven Ways AZREIA Will Help You

1. Market Information – Market knowledge sets you apart from your competition. How you use the knowledge and information will be unique to you and your needs. Valued market information will help you adjust your investing to current market conditions, so you don’t miss opportunities. The knowledge you gain from this valuable tool will help you communicate as an expert. It will help you raise money from investors. You will justify pricing and offers based on market trend analysis. The Market Update is invaluable and free to members.

2. Controlling Your Cost & Saving Money – AZREIA members have access to exclusive benefits from dozens of our Business Associates and major national companies like The Home Depot where members can qualify for 2% rebate and receive exclusive pricing on paint, cabinets and appliances. AZREIA members on average save over $1000 per year each through our expansive relationships. Experienced members save many thousands of dollars each year.

3. Simplify Your Business – Real Estate investing is constantly changing. New processes, new technology, new creative techniques are always coming along. AZREIA will keep you at the forefront of it all.

4. Networking – The most successful investors realize the tremendous value of networking. AZREIA makes it simple to network with a purpose. From the structured networking of the Phoenix Real Estate Club designed for experienced investors to achieve results to great networking opportunities at all our strategy based subgroups, we have made networking effortless.

5. Improving Your Team – We know you already have a team in place. You wouldn’t be a successful investor without one. Through AZREIA’s Business Associate Program it is very possible you will improve your team with experts in virtually all of the services and products you will need. You know the value of having an experience, expert team. If you need to upgrade your team, AZREIA can help.

6. Education – You’re successful, so you are smart as it relates to investing. AZREIA’s most successful investors continuously invest in their advanced education. AZREIA’s reputation allows us the benefit to be very picky on the national educators we bring to our members. We realize it is important for you to understand the latest techniques and how to integrate them into your current investing.

7. Two Things Successful Experienced Investors Need To Do – We have found that time constraints often prevent or delay experienced investors from doing two thing that will protect their long term success – proper insurance coverage and exceptional asset protection. AZREIA will assist you in understanding your insurance coverage and asset protection. We are not an insurance company or attorneys and will not give you advice. We will help you to understand what you need to know and the questions you must have answers to in both of these critical areas. There is no reason to work a lifetime for success and give it away in a day. Don’t be “one of those investors” with a story. Preventing the loss of success is possible and something every investor should do.

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Help for Non-Members

Naturally we can help you more if you are an AZREIA member, but there are several things you can do as a non-member.

1. Take our FREE Entrepreneurial Self Assessment. This first step of our Launch Pad program helps you better understand your suitability for Real Estate Investing. It takes about 20 minutes to complete. [CLICK HERE to take the Entrepreneurial Self Assessment]

2. View the Success Factors videos. This free one-hour, six-part video series (CLICK HERE to view) covers several important topics for new investors:

    • What Will Be Covered – Goal Setting, Getting You Started Quickly, Taking Months Off Your Ramp Up Time, Getting You Connected, Reducing Mistakes
    • Jumping Right In! – Getting in the Right Mindset to Succeed; Top 5 Success Factors; Separating Fact from Myth; Understanding Different Investing Strategies
    • Education: Spending Your Dollars Wisely – Education You Need Versus Unnecessary Education; Mentors: What You Need to Understand Before Spending Your Money
    • It’s All for Nothing if You Don’t Do a Deal – Finding Deals & Getting Money for Deals
    • Tools for Success – Building Your Team & Leveraging the Market Update
    • Time to Get Started! – Look Out!; Your Next Steps

3. Take a Launch Pad session. This is free for members, but it is available to non-members for a fee on a space available basis. Launch Pad is a planning process when completed provides most new investors with the following:

    • Your Optimal Investing Path
    • Your Preferred Property Type
    • Your Property Acquisition Plan
    • Your Funding Plan
    • Your Educational Plan
    • Your Team Building Plan
    • Your Networking Plan
    • Your Beginning Timeline

I’m sure you noticed that each one of the above eight items begins with “Your”. That is because every investor is different. Your needs are unique to you, so your plan needs to be specifically designed to meet those needs. Also, your plan should fit in with your current life situation.

Register for the next available Launch Pad session: VIEW CALENDAR

4. Attend AZREIA meetings as a guest. There is a reasonable guest fee which is discounted if you register online.

    • The Market Update is presented at our Monthly Meetings, so you are able to receive this valuable information. (Only members may download and use the charts and data.)
    • You may meet AZREIA Business Associates in the Tradeshow during our Monthly Meetings. This will give you access to exceptional product and service providers that successful real estate investors use.
    • Networking at our Monthly Meetings is unsurpassed. As a non-member you may take full advantage of this opportunity.

5. Please enjoy our Blog of interesting articles by industry experts. Access our blog by CLICKING HERE.

6. The best way we can help you is to convince you to become a member. Our benefits are extensive. Our average registered member receives several hundred dollars in rebates and exclusive AZREIA discounts from The Home Depot. Discounts on education and services/products from our Business associates ensure you save big. Every AZREIA member should receive many times their annual dues back just through our rebates and discounts.

Please consider our “Build-Your-Own” membership plan as a cost-efficient way to fully participate in AZREIA. At only $60 a year under our current promotion and low meeting costs it is an ideal way to get started.

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