Latest News and Views

5-2-17 Cyber attacks hit half of UK businesses in 2016

Only half? My guess it’s much more. Many businesses, especially those hit with ransomware attacks, do not report hacks because it makes their businesses look bad. The report claims that:

“The most common type of attack identified in the report was fraudulent emails, which affected 72pc of companies that experienced a problem. One large wholesale business reportedly receiving 340,000 such emails in a year.

Other incidents involved viruses and malicious software being downloaded onto companies’ computer systems, and employees’ identities being stolen and used in emails or online. The outcome of such attacks for businesses included the temporary loss of files or network access, and systems breaking. ”

Yes, it’s the same time-tested vector; get control of an endpoint connected to a company network and leverage it to get into the company network to do whatever you want. One piece of advice: Workplay Technology.

5-2-17 Could North Korean nuclear test lead to volcanic eruption?

As someone who holds a degree in geology, I’d have to say that this is kind of a stretch. I won’t go so far as call it fake news, just hyped news. I suppose, in principal, a huge explosion next to the magma chamber could produce a fissure which would release the pressure, and magma, inside the chamber, but whether the resulting explosion would cause the death of tens of thousands of people is pure speculation. CNN would be best to covering the news it does best…sports.

2-24-17 Kaspersky: Windows Mirai bot traced to China

This is a problem you will have to keep your eye on. Last year, the Mirai bot brought down major sites around the world. If this Windows version gets organized, it could do far more damage. The last Mirai attack brought down the internet by using the Internet of Things (IoT) and this one will do the same, only it will have more Windows-based devices at its disposal. As the article correctly states, “the fear in the security community is that with the release of the Mirai source code, the rabbit has been let out of the hat; things are going to get worse before they get better.” Just remember that I told you so when you can’t reach your favorite site some day.

2-16-17 Operation BugDrop: CyberX Discovers Large-Scale Cyber-Reconnaissance Operation Targeting Ukrainian Organizations

This is serious stuff. It looks like the infrastructure of Ukraine is being targeted by a nation-state that doesn’t like it. Hmm, who could that be? This is as close to cyber war as we have seen as this Stuxnet-related malware could launch a devastating attack.

According to the firm that is investigating the attack, CyberX, “Operation BugDrop infects its victims using targeted email phishing attacks and malicious macros embedded in Microsoft Office attachments. It also uses clever social engineering to trick users into enabling macros if they aren’t already enabled.”

For now, it looks like the attackers are positioning themselves within the infrastructure and will wait until they are commanded to begin their operations. It could be a way to thwart advances by the Kiev government into eastern Ukraine.

If this story develops, I will write a more detail post on it’s operations.

1-28-17 Trump’s unsecure Android phone highlights common security dilemma

As Chris Perry, chief operating officer for Secured Communications correctly points out,”the weakest link in any communication is the end user. You can have all kinds of end-to-end encryption, but in the end, if you aren’t using that piece of equipment and related tools, you are very vulnerable. That’s true in any environment, in government or the private sector.”

If Trump’s Android phone was, indeed, unsecured, it compromised everyone he is connected to and any government agency that these people work for.

If only he and the rest of the government invested in WorkPlay Technology, a poorly secured endpoint would never be a problem again…sad.

 

1-11-17 LA college caves in, pays $28,000 ransomware demand

Hmm, this seems to be part of a new pattern in which ransomware targets small businesses and organizations which will quickly pay the ransom. Other targets include hospitals and small businesses. It looks like infrastructure could be next. Why? How long can they exist without having access to their network? Luckily for the school, this hacker used the traditional ransomware model in which they really do get the decryption key they pay for. Maybe next time they won’t be so lucky, and, yes, they’ve set themselves up for future hacks by paying the ransom.

1-3-17 The Great Hacking of Vermont’s Electrical Grid That Never Happened

Anyone who’s investigated this issue knows that almost every electrical plant in the U.S. experiences attacks on a daily basis. Most attacks are summarily blocked but others have installed malware on parts of the networks. It’s not even news. So why has this one breach (or non-breach) making the headlines? Politics. The Obama administration wants to prove to the average American that Russia is a cyber menace. Well, they may be, and sometimes are, but this is no way to prove that. As Burlington Electric Department General Manager Neale F. Lunderville  asserts, “There is no indication that either our electric grid or customer information has been compromised. Media reports stating that Burlington Electric was hacked or that the electric grid was breached are false.” (See my post on Russians in the U.S. power grid for more details.)

12-30-16 Lawyers and accountants are prime targets for cyber attacks

I’ve been pointing out the lack of cyber security awareness in lawyers and law firms for years. So it was no surprise to me when I learned that Chinese hackers had compromised two big law firms and taken data which allowed them to make $4 million on insider trading. As the article states, “accounting firms that provide tax advice on mergers, boutique advisory firms, and consultants who weigh in on synergies and downsizing plans are almost certainly on the criminals’ hit list.” Lawyer-client confidentiality soon may be a thing of the past.

10-5-16 Clinton Foundation refutes new claim that hacker stole files

If these documents are valid, this is devastating news. What it means is that the government bailed out the banks with taxpayer money which the banks then channeled into the pockets of certain democrats and the DNC. If the fix was in, it means that the democratic administration used taxpayer money to support itself.  The amount of the bailout alone is stunning.

9-7-16 Nancy Pelosi Urges Paul Ryan to Ban Republicans From Using Hacked Documents

This is what is called a pre-emptive strike, and this one smacks of desperation. It’s as if the DNC knows what documents may be leaked and are doing whatever it takes to stop them from impacting the election. The ploy here is to make using the release akin to treason. That is, if the Republicans use this information to advance their cause, it is the same as working for Putin. Good luck pursuing that angle. Pelosi had previously said that she couldn’t have been hacked because she had no PC at the DNC, showing how little she understands cybersecurity.

8-19-16 Wikileak Poll Gives Trump Strong Lead Questioning Validity of Interview Polling

With only  a few hours to go, Trump is leading Clinton in Wikileaks’ poll by a whopping 60 to 16 percent. How is this possible? Well, there has been some question as to whether people will admit to being Trump supporters because of the social stigma that may be attached to this. The greater anonymity associated with online, non-interview polls may make some voters feel freer to express their true opinions.  Admittedly, WikiLeaks is no friend to Clinton, however, the social stigma question deserves some exploration. I will be doing just that in my next post.

7-22-16 ‘Republican source’ leaks Trump speech to Dems

This is disturbing for a  number of reasons. First of all, Guccifer2’s leaks from his DNC hack showed that the Democrats were preparing counter attacks for every speaker. It seemed suspicious to me that they connected Melania Trump’s speech to Michelle Obama’s speech so quickly. It was as if they had access to her speech in advance. Now, it seems that maybe they did. No details are given here but my guess is someone has been hacked and the hackers have access to certain RNC document databases. Yes, this is serious as it would mean that the dems would know all the RNC’s strategies. The RNC needs to call in a good cybersecurity team and consider using hardware separated security, which would prevent this.

7-18-16 Shadi.com is the latest victim of the hacking spree against Muslim dating and matrimonial websites!

The fact that this hack was announced by LeakedSource means it’s probably an old hacked database that’s been revitalized. (see my recent post). There is no anti-Muslim conspiracy as the title seems to indicate. What’s probably happening is that people are members on a number of Muslim dating sites and use the same password on each. It’s good advertising for LeakedSource as they can have you pay for details about the hacked data that they bought, probably in the deep web.

6-8-16 It Appears Every Celebrity Twitter Account Is Being Hacked Right Now

At least that’s what it seems like. Either Twitter has a flaw that’s being exploited or people are using passwords released on the recent Myspace and LinkedIn hacks. That being the case, it means people tend to use the same passwords, or logical variations on them, for all of their sites. That’s what recently happened to Zuckerberg. But if Twitter has a flaw, I would guess it could be in their password retrieval policy. I have no concrete information on this but I know hackers routinely exploit this angle on social media sites. It recently happened to Facebook.

5-30-16 Iran’s Police: Recent cyber-attack against government website traced back to Saudi Arabia

There’s more to this story than is in the headline. Apparently, Iran has traced a recent cyber attack on the Statistics Center of Iran to IP addresses in Saudi Arabia. A country’s statistics center seems like a good place to hack for all of the information it must contain, but tracing an IP address is not so easy. It could be that someone else is hiding behind the Saudi addresses. However, what the title doesn’t tell you is that Iran had recently hacked Saudi sites. Now, Iran plans to have a cyber war games exercise. Sure. What we may be seeing is the beginning of a more extensive cyber war. Keep an eye on this angle.

5-17-16 Apple Removes New Anti-Hacking Diagnostic App Over Claims Of Privacy Concerns

Here’s the basic story. Why would we (Apple) approve an app that says we have bad security? Our security is perfect, therefore, the app is useless. I would question the app from another standpoint. Couldn’t it be used to penetrate a device? Could it be used or disabled to make someone believe they were safe when they were not?

4-26-16 More than a million users hit by ‘Beautiful People’ dating site data hack

They could have added the word, ‘again’, to the title of this article. I’ve written about this site being hacked in a previous post. Any site that purports to represent only people it deems ‘beautiful’ is opening itself up for attack; especially since it is filled with so many fake female profiles.

4-1-16  NSA Chief Refuses ‘To Get Into’ Whether Hillary’s Email Server Was Hacked

Well, he can refuse to talk about it, I suppose, but that doesn’t stop anyone else from doing so. Okay, there may be some doubts about whether the server was hacked in the 2011 RSA hack, but there is no doubt that Hillary’s email was penetrated. See my recent blog post on this for details.

4-1-16 Cyber criminals ‘hacked law firms’

Law firms have a bad reputation when it comes to cyber security. Whatever you want to say about lawyers, they lack IT savvy. This weakness has been repeatedly exploited but this is the first time that they have been used as a way to get insider trading tips. Apparently, the attacks begin with phishing emails.

“We’ve seen examples of emails [at client law firms] that purport to come from a managing partner to a more junior lawyer directing them to make payments to an account or to send certain information to an address,” Stephen Tester, a partner at CMS (a London law office), told the BBC.

“They can look very much like a regular message.”

Law firms had even reported breaches of their video-conferencing systems, commented Mr Tester.

“There are ways in which people can go into video-based conferencing facilities and literally listen in on meetings,” he said.

I’ll be writing a post on hacking law firms in the near future.

1-13-16 BlackBerry suffers security blow, emails hacked by Dutch police

Well, this is embarrassing. BlackBerry used to be famous because it was so secure. So what happened? According to the article, Dutch police were able to break its encryption. “It is believed that the tests – conducted by The Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) – were carried out on PGP BlackBerrys, a device advertised as being specifically aimed at keeping data secure.” Looks like time for an all new approach to security if BlackBerry has any hopes to survive.

1-13-16 Intelligence Chief James Clapper’s Online Personal Accounts Hacked

Why am I not surprised? Here is someone who wants to do away with encryption (or at least make it a law to give the government all the encryption keys) as well as having companies put backdoors on all of their smart devices. Had he used encryption, he may have avoided this mess. In any event, those behind the hack are the same as those who hacked the head of the CIA, John Brennan. They probably used the same methods and will, therefore, probably release some of what they found soon.

12-22-15 American Power Grid Has Been Hacked

It appears that Iranian hackers have set up a way into the US power grid. Researchers in California recently discovered “drawings so specific that experts say attackers could use them to knock out electricity to millions of homes.” I already made a post on Russian hackers in the grid who could exploit a hack at a moment’s notice. The Iranian angle is something new. I suppose the Chinese may also be there but they are better at hiding their antics.

12-1-15 New Pentagon Website Can Tell If You Were Hacked by China

This is interesting because it’s connected to the Office of Personnel Management which exposed 21.5 million user’s credentials to Chinese hackers. Anyone who thinks they may have been compromised can check that out on this new site. The catch? “Users must enter their home address, email address, Social Security number, date of birth and certain other personal details.” Yeah, no worries there. All of this is interesting considering the new revelations from a recent audit of the department which claims a new breach is imminent. See my last post for details.

11-26-15 New Wi-Fi-Enabled Barbie Can Be Hacked, Researchers Say
Well, any product connected to WiFi and the Cloud is vulnerable to hacking. I can imagine that, in the wrong hands, a talking and listening Barbie could be a nuisance or a serious problem. Taken to the extreme, the talking Barbie could be used by attackers to exploit the home’s network and smartphones connected to it. Attackers could use this breach to take full administrative control of a smartphone that may have permissions to use a corporate or government network. I’m looking forward to the headline, ‘Barbie Hacks into White House Computers’.

11-26-15 ISIS website on the dark web is hacked and replaced with an advert for Viagra and prozac and a message telling its supporters to ‘calm down’

Here’s an amusing hacking twist. I can see where the Prozac might help but Viagra? I’ll leave that up to your imagination.

11-26-15 FBI has lead in probe of 1.2 billion stolen Web credentials: documents

If true, then virtually everyone reading this post has had their credentials stolen. That’s more people than the population of the US and Europe combined. This stemmed from a hack on Hold Securities last year and only now has it been learned that this all can be traced back to Russia. My only question is, why isn’t this a bigger story in the media?

11-16-15 Websites brace for cyber attacks

According to this article, France and other countries can expect more ISIS-based cyber attacks after the recent Paris terrorist attack. This is what apparently followed the Charlie Hebdo attack. Also keep your eyes open for scams asking for contributions to help the victims. These are often disguised as email pleas with a link that can infect your computer.

11-3-15  Somebody Just Claimed a $1 Million Bounty for Hacking the iPhone

This is more of a story than it might appear to be. It’s not Apple that’s paying for this bug bounty but a private firm that can sell the exploit on to whomever they want. As the writer correctly states, “somebody claimed the $1 million bounty set by the new startup Zerodium, according to its founder Chaouki Bekrar, a notorious merchant of unknown, or zero-day, vulnerabilities. ” Notorious is the operative word here.

The company can get more for this exploit from the right buyers, and the only buyers who have such money are nation-states. I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination for now, but look for a post on this in the future.

10-17-15 Fed employee, service member IDs hacked, given to ISIS

Ardit Ferizi, a Kosovo citizen living in Malaysia allegedly stole personal information on more than 1,000 U.S. service members and federal employees and gave it to Islamic State militants. This enabled ISIS sympathizers living in the US to target these individuals.

Ferizi hacked into “an unnamed U.S. company and stole information on 100,000 people, including 1,351 service members and federal employees”.

Had the company been adequately protected with good hardware-separated security architecture, they would not have put these employees in danger. I wonder if they could be implicated if any of these individuals is killed or injured?

Authorities in Malaysia have detained

10-1-15  Scammer tries to hack cybersecurity firm, gets hacked back

Here’s a story that can warm the hearts of those in the security business. It also shows the value of training employees to recognize phishing exploits. Basically, they sent the attacker a phishing email to get information on him. He fell for it and clicked on a link in the phishing email, actually logging into his aol account and giving the company more information on him. The FBI is now on the case.

10-1-15 Trump hotels hacked, credit card data at risk

Hotels are a growing target so this story is not all that surprising. The thing about hotels is that you usually get wealthy guests, so when you steal their credit card data, it’s a good harvest. This was a purely financial hack, not like the Darkhotel malware that mainly looks for information.

7-28-15  Survey: Nearly 1 in 4 IT firms suffered security breach

Look at this title again. These aren’t just regular companies we’re talking about. These are tech companies – companies that should be pretty aware of cyber security. What does this say about normal companies?

7-28-15  Major Flaw In Android Phones Would Let Hackers In With Just A Text

The title says it all. The truth is that the text message introduces a video that has been sent you. It’s actually the video that injects the malware behind the scenes. All the attacker really needs to know, therefore, is your phone number. You never even have to look at the video. Google says it has patched the vulnerability but it may take a while for all vendors to install it. The good news is that the discovery was made by security experts at Zimperium and is not being used by hackers…we think.

5-16-15 Penn State Engineering School Cuts Off Internet After Hacking Attacks

Those wacky Chinese hackers are at it again. This time, they’ve infiltrated Penn State’s Engineering school. In a somewhat desperate attempt to shut down the attack, the school opted to cut off all internet access. Before doing so, however, they watched the attackers operate for a while to learn more about their methods. Unfortunately, what they learned is that the attack might have begun back in 2012. Why would Chinese hackers want to attack an engineering school? Well, it’s not just the school. It’s who they are connected to. They, like most universities, have a lot of contracts with the US government and, especially, the Department of Defense. With that target in the sites, the school is a perfect launching platform.

Russian hackers linked to the Kremlin accessed Obama’s unclassified emails in security breach that was ‘much worse’ than previously acknowledged, report says

I always suspected that more was compromised than we are being told. I would also doubt that no classified information was compromised. “White House officials said that there is no evidence that the president’s email account itself was hacked.” Really? I’m good enough to read your emails but I haven’t hacked your account? How is that possible? Even if this is a man-in-the-middle attack, I probably have your password. Look for more details to slowly emerge on this story.

3-9-15 Indiana website hacked by someone claiming to be ISIS

Hackers claiming to be with ISIS have taken over the Indianapolis Downtown Artist and Dealers Association website.

IDADA is a local art nonprofit. When someone visits its website, the ISIS logo and Arabic writing appear at the top of the page and then music begins playing. The website also has a message in English that says “Hacked by the Islamic State (ISIS). We are everywhere ;)”

Well, they’re everywhere they can easily hack. I predicted this sort of pranksterism in one of my earlier posts. Expect this kind of thing to ramp up a bit as they get better at finding vulnerabilities in websites.

Then look at this: West Hollywood furniture store website hacked by group claiming to be ISIS

West Hollywood furniture store owner Olga Rechdouni woke up Sunday morning to a frightening discovery. Her website, Duroque.com, had been hacked by a group claiming to be the terror group ISIS.

Across the front page of her website read the words, “Hacked by Islamic State (ISIS). We are everywhere. :)”

“I’m scared. I’m really, really scared, because I don’t know what to think. I don’t understand why this happened to us, a small business in West Hollywood,” said Rechdouni, who designs custom furniture and dog beds.

Calm down, Olga. ISIS hasn’t put out a fatwa on dog beds that I know of. Just work more on your cyber security and get a good guard dog.

In fact, today has seen a spate of so-called ISIS attacks across the US and Canada, but all were small businesses or minor organizations who probably never thought they’d be hacked. However, if any of these are connected to larger companies as suppliers or distributors, be careful.

1-9-15  Websites of towns near Paris hacked, replaced with ISIS flag

You can expect more of such attacks as ISIS will recruit for an all out cyberwar this year. The message on these compromised websites reads  “The Islamic State Stay Inchallah, Free Palestine, Death to France, Death to Charlie.” Yeah, we’ve heard it all before.

11-2-14 This blog changed it’s title to Secure Your Workplace Network to more accurately align itself with the developing goals of  InZero Systems and its innovative Workplay Technology.

10-29-14 Hacking Tops List of Crimes Americans Worry About Most

69% of Americans worry about having their credit card information stolen by hackers, while 62% worry about having their computer or smartphone hacked. These are interesting statistics in light of the apathy found among many about securing their mobile devices. It seems people are worried but that this worry does not give them the motivation to do anything about securing their devices.

10-29-14 Russia reportedly suspected of being behind breach of White House computers

I’d like to know how they managed to do this. The fact that they did is somewhat disturbing, however. Could they listen in on phone calls and conversations?

“The official said that the situation was dealt with immediately and work continues, although the new measures have led to temporary outages and loss of connectivity for some White House employees.” This may indicate a breach that used a mobile device connected to the network. Well, if anyone has the malware to infiltrate the White House, the Russians have.

10-3-14 Hackers’ Attack on JPMorgan Chase Affects Millions

This should be no surprise to anyone. However, exposing the data of 76 million customers is worrying. JP Morgan claims no data was stolen, but, in these cases, it can be hard to tell. It still looks as Russia is behind the attack but the method of initiate it seems a bit unclear. Apps may have been exploited or some sort of whale phishing (getting into a network through an executive’s account) may have allowed the attacker to get to the deepest levels. Check my post on this attack for more details.

9-18-14 Chinese hacked U.S. military contractors, Senate panel finds

It’s official. Chinese hackers repeatedly got into “U.S. airlines, technology companies and other contractors involved in the movement of U.S. troops and military equipment”. Cybersecurity expert Dmitri Alperovitch, chief technology officer with the security firm Crowdstrike, said China had for years shown a keen interest in the logistical patterns of the U.S. military.

No surprise to anyone, really.

The Chinese denied everything.  Also no surprise to anyone.

7-30-14 Employee info may have been compromised in NRC cyberattack: president

In what is being called a “highly sophisticated” attack, Canada’s National Research Council admitted that employee information and technological secrets may have been taken by government sponsored Chinese hackers. This is a common pattern. Why spend money on research when you can let others do the research for you and then steal it later? Details of the hack were not published, but since NRC president, John McDougall, warned employees not to connect to the network. It’s likely an endpoint was compromised through a phishing attack, which is a common attack profile for Chinese hackers.

7-22-14 Forensic scientist identifies suspicious ‘back doors’ running on every iOS device

So for all of you 600 million Apple device users out there, you’re not as secure as you thought you were. And that includes the U.S. government, which has approved Apple devices for government use. Apple may have built this backdoor into its devices but, it’s there and can be exploited by bad guys.

7-10-14 Chinese Hackers Gained Access To Sensitive US Government Data: Report

Well, I suppose everyone knew this was coming. The agency involved, Office of Personnel Management, claimed that no personal information was lost. But why else would you hack into this particular office?

6-26-14 No Surprise, Most Cyber Attacks Come From the US and China

Take a look at attacks as they occur.

6-25-14 Montana health record hackers compromise 1.3 million people

This is deja vu all over again. Health care organizations have been a repeated target for hackers as they contain a wealth of personal information. Check the deep web for people selling information or new credit cards. Just hoping that nothing was taken isn’t going to do it. The report says that the organization receives 17,000 attacks a day. No one could probably survive this.

6-18-14 Hostile State-sponsored Hackers Breached UK Government Network

It’s surprising that we were given any information at all on such a hack as the UK government usually doesn’t report any successful hacking. Who’s behind it? That information is not given…round up the usual suspects. It is interesting that the UK government just approved the use of Samsung smartphones and tablets on its network.  Hey, you don’t think that…

6-18-14 Dominos data hacked, ransom demanded

So, how much do you want that pizza?

Hackers have stolen data on more than 600,000 Dominos Pizza customers in Belgium and France, the pizza delivery company said, and an anonymous Twitter user threatened to publish the data unless the company pays a cash ransom. How much did they want? 30,000 euros. That’s a lot of pizza.

Customer names, delivery addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and passwords were taken from a server used in an online ordering system.

6-6-14 Man in court for $90,000 romance scam

These guys have everything against them, but continue to succeed in making huge amounts of money. With every one caught, a hundred are still scamming people…but at least they caught this lowlife. The death of the victim was not explained.

6-6-14 Beware dating site romance scams, Scots warned

See my latest post on this topic. Why are Scots so susceptible? Looks like a good topic for a sociologist to research.

6-6-14 Internet fends off Heartbleed 2.0

The return of your worse nightmare. If it’s any consolation, this vulnerability seems to be a little harder to exploit. However, questions about the real security of open source code are raised.

5-30-14 Hacker group threatens cyber-attack on World Cup sponsors : source

“The hacker group Anonymous is preparing a cyber-attack on corporate sponsors of the World Cup in Brazil to protest the lavish spending on the soccer games in a country struggling to provide basic services, said a hacker with knowledge of the plan.” It will be interesting to see what sort of security moves will be made to stop this attack. Who’s going to win this battle?

5-30-14 Half of American adults hacked this year

I wonder if it surprises anyone that you have a 50-50 chance of being a hacking victim. At some point, more people will be hacked than not. “Cyberattacks are growing so numerous that we’re becoming numb to them. Researchers at IT company Unisys say we’re now experiencing ‘data-breach fatigue.'”

5-22-14 eBay Hacked…Two Months Ago

That’s the big problem. Why did it take so long to announce this? My guess is they were uncertain what and how much personal information was lost. Maybe they hoped to fix it first. In the meantime, the stolen personal information could have been used. Look for more anger about this.

5-20-14 Blackshades – More Malware to Worry About

This RAT (Remote Administration Tool) can be use to take complete control of your computer including your camera. Those in control, therefore, can monitor all your computer activity, look through your files, change your settings, and watch while you suffer under their torment. They will get you with a regular email phishing scam where they want you to click on a link. The program can also send the malware to friends and use your social media to make it look like the infecting link was really from you.

Here is the official FBI report on the incident.

5-6-14 Miami Teen Under House Arrest After Allegedly Hacking Computer to Change Grades

Well, this is one that got caught. The problem was that he was selling his services to other students; otherwise, no one may have ever found out. Expect the government and schools to make a big deal about this because such hacking is now running rampant. You can even buy school exploit kits on the deep web. Schools giving tablets to tech savvy students is like giving a fox the keys to the henhouse.

5-5-14 Security Experts Warn Of Possible Russian Cyberattack Against The U.S., Ukraine

This has been talked about for some time and should be no surprise to anyone following the matter. However, given that these experts are highlighting it now seems to indicate that the chances for such attacks are increasing. Don’t think that the US or the Ukraine will not retaliate.

4-29-14 Internet Explorer Security Issues Trigger National Security Alert 

As the article states, “The browser problem, which affects IE versions 6 through 11, has allowed a well-organized group of hackers to gain access to confidential information from a broad spectrum of defense and financial industry computer systems in a campaign that has been dubbed ‘Operation Clandestine Fox.'” (for more information see my special post)

4-23-14 Data breach could affect 30,000 Iowa State students

Once again, a university is hacked. Are you are aware that there are special school exploit kits available on the deep web? The school took the extreme measure of destroying all its servers. Great. But then they installed new software protection, not so great. This will only delay the next hack. Check out InZero’s hardware-based security and put your mind at ease. No more servers to destroy.

4-22-14 AOL email hacked: Several users complain about compromised accounts

Here’s a story that could get more attention as people realize they’ve been hacked. It looks like a phishing attack with a twist. Changing your password doesn’t seem to solve your email being used to send spam. The problem is that this spam message might come from someone you know but contain a link.

http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-aol-hacked-email-phishing-twitter-20140421,0,2040533.story#ixzz2zarOZvrH

4-16-14 Study: 52 Percent Of Businesses Defenseless Against Cyber-Attacks

According to a new Ponemon Institute study, most businesses are not prepared for a cyber attack. Even worse, 81% say they are having trouble securing endpoints. Listen, if you are among these companies, I encourage you to take a look at the WorkPlay tablet and put your mind at ease.

4-16-14 Galaxy S5′s fingerprint scanner has already been hacked, PayPal accounts at risk

Fooled by a dummy fingerprint. Well, it had to happen. After all, software is used to translate real-world input( a fingerprint) into digital information and all software is ultimately hackable. The bad news is that once fooled, the system easily lets you in with free access to PayPal. Not good news for security teams.

4-11-14 Wild at Heart: Were Intelligence Agencies Using Heartbleed in November 2013?

This is an angle I suggested in my recent post. Not to be brushed aside as a conspiracy theory, as anyone studying internet cyber spying will attest to. This is the first in what may be a string of evidence that could trace the source of this bug. Also see Wired Magazine’s article Has the NSA Been Using the Heartbleed Bug as an Internet Peephole?

4-4-14 Fearing Cyberattack, Israel Curbs Government Websites’ Foreign Traffic

“In January, an Israeli cyber security firm said hackers had broken into a Defence Ministry computer via an email attachment tainted with malicious software that looked like it had been sent by the country’s Shin Bet security service.”

You don’t suppose Israel has any malware on Palestinian computers, do you?

4-4-14 China to co-operate with EU on cybersecurity

Hmmm. Something about foxes and henhouses comes to mind.

4-3-14 This kind of says it all

4-3-14 Feds Warn Banks of Cyber Attacks on ATMs

This is worrying. Somehow, cybercriminals get access to a bank’s network and then install malware that gets customer pin numbers. From there, it’s just a matter of emptying the account and disabling the withdrawal limit. A little too high-profile a crime for the FBI to brush off.

4-3-14 Anti-media cybercrime spree continues: Al Arabiya hacked by NullCrew

Not sure what’s behind this anti media angle but it should be a heads-up for other outlets. The most important point for me was that two hacking teams worked together on this one. I was wondering when this would happen.

4-1-14 Homeland Security director says firms must be aware of internal cyber attacks

Ireland discovers what everyone else should already know: mobile devices can lead your company into disaster. A company or enterprise is most likely to be destroyed from within, by employees misusing mobile devices.

4-1-14 What’s Wrong With America’s Cyber Security Policy?

Apparently, a lot of things. My recent post highlighted the problem of government security and this article gives a few more reasons that government agencies should be concerned.

3-26-14 Microsoft Word Is Under A Hack Attack: Do Not Open Documents Named ‘.RTF’

The word is out, literally. Don’t open any rtf documents you may receive by email until Microsoft gives the okay. Apparently, your computer can even be infected if you preview the document, so be warned.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/hackers-are-attacking-microsoft-word-2014-3#ixzz2x3i0yp2Z

3-25-14 Auburn University’s College of Business Hacked

Once more, proof that universities are easy pickings for hackers. Lots of endpoints connected to the network. Now, 14,000 records are compromised.

3-19-14 Personal data of 20,000 employees exposed in security breach: IRS

Recently, I’ve written about the IRS and the problem of controlling employees and keeping them from compromising data. Here are the two stories wrapped into one.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in a statement that an unencrypted thumb drive containing the information was plugged into an employee’s unsecured home network, making the information potentially accessible to third parties online.

3-19-14 Missing Malaysia Airlines flight could have fallen victim to world’s first ‘cyber-hijack’

Add this to the possible theories. Is it possible? Some airlines have been worried about this for a while and are working with the federal government for some changes.

Sally Leivesley, science advisor to the Australian government observed: “It is looking more and more likely that the control of some systems was taken over in a deceptive manner, either manually, so someone sitting in a seat overriding the autopilot, or via a remote device turning off or overwhelming the systems.

“A mobile phone could have been used to do so or a USB stick. When the plane is air-side, you can insert a set of commands and codes that may initiate, on signal, a set of processes.”

3-12-14  Apple’s online services going down intermittently, DNS problem/hack likely culprit (Update: Mostly back)

Users are finding they cannot access some of Apple’s services. It is not clear whether this problem will develop further or will be taken care of, however, if this develops into something, you’ve heard it here first.

3-12-14 The NSA Is Using Facebook to Hack Into Your Computer

If you didn’t already figure this out, it looks like the NSA masked itself as a Facebook site to detour traffic into its own site, thereby allowing them to look through the hard drives of whoever was unfortunate enough to be fooled. Check out my story on how Facebook is used by hackers.

3-11-14 North Dakota University System Hacked

Once again, universities seem to be easy pickings for hackers as the information of 290,000 students and 780 staff members may have been compromised. “All those affected are being offered one year of free identity protection services from AllClear ID.” Hmm, something about barn doors and horses comes to mind.

3-11-14 Archdiocese of Seattle hacked, warns 90,000

Is nothing sacred? It seems we should expect more hacks targeting personal information as tax season arrives. According to the article:

“In scenarios such as this, the hackers steal names and Social Security numbers and  redirect the refunds to themselves or associates.”

World’s Biggest Cyberattack Detected, Over 350 Million Accounts, 1.25 Billion Email Addresses Hacked

The headline says it all. If you have a Yahoo or Google account, you should be a little nervous. This story has been confirmed by Reuters.

2-28-14 UK, US spies hacked into webcam feeds of millions of Yahoo users

Can anything be done in the name of national security? Those private, intimate video chats you had may have had an eavesdropper called the US or UK government. But they not only listened, they saved screenshots, often of people in various levels of undress. Why not just throw them away? Ever heard of blackmail.

Poor security practices have exposed hundreds of thousands of veteran records with personal data to anyone interested. The agency doesn’t even know if or when the data was stolen, their security was that bad.

2-27-14 Will Healthcare Ever Take IT Security Seriously?
According to the article, apparently not. Expect healthcare breaches to rise sharply this year and a certain amount of panic to spread through the industry, especially when heathcare.gov is hacked. This is not a prediction but a statement of fact.

2-24-14 Apple Admits Products Are Vulnerable to Hackers

Oops. For all those considering purchasing iPads or iPhones, beware. It seems these have been found especially vulnerable to hackers who found a way to circumvent Apple’s encryption system. Of course, Apple has applied a patch but we all know the Law of Patches: All patches are temporary fixes.

2-21-14 Malicious Medical Machines? Doctors’ Devices and Data Under Attack from Hackers

Don’t think that it is only tablets, smartphones, and computers that allow hackers to gain important patient information by accessing your network. This story points out that many new medical technologies come with the capability to be connected to the healthcare organization’s network. The problem is that most healthcare centers don’t really take the time to configure them against cyber attacks.  When this happens,  the hacker is into your system and all of your information.

2-21-14 Security for HealthCare.gov remains a serious concern

In an interview with Megyn Kelly, cybersecurity analyst Morgan Wright says it isn’t a matter of if the Obamacare website will be hacked, but when. People using it are cautioned. If your identity is stolen, criminals can use your information to get drugs or medical treatments at your expense.

Cyberattacks are on the rise. And health-care data is the biggest target.

In 2013, for the first time, the healthcare sector experienced more cyber attacks than the business sector did. This amounted to 43% of all hacks. Why? Experts say that healthcare facilities are far behind in their use of security to protect sensitive data.

2-17-14 Hackers used previously unknown Internet Explorer flaw in new attacks

Microsoft is under pressure once again. This time, hackers have exploited a new flaw in its Internet Explorer 10 browser to redirect browsers to a web page that infects the user’s system with code placed in Adobe Flash software. One of the main targets seemed to be visitors to the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) website. The attack is similar to other attacks that have originated in China.

2-17-14 British police question CNN’s Piers Morgan over phone-hacking

Although Morgan has admitted using phone hacking in the past because “everybody does it” , meaning that all media outlets use the technique, he seems pretty quiet about what the police are questioning him about.  In 2006, he admitted listening to a personal voicemail from former Beatle Paul McCartney to his ex-wife. How did he manage that? If Mr. Morgan is not careful, he may get himself shot.

2-17-14 UPDATE: Forbes Reports Hacking Attack; Kickstarter Also Hit, User Data Exposed

Hackers did the usual. Got into the site and stole personal information. All those users who registered with these companies are encouraged to change their passwords. Kind of a bit late for that. Expect to see more high profile attacks in the near future as hackers perfect their methods in getting into these high profile sites. For a list of all the recent media sites hacked, see this article, Financial Times, NYT Hit By Hackers

2-16-14 BYOD creates special security challenges at hospitals

Hackers have discovered that hospitals are easy targets, thus, security has become a major concern. Hospitals can be fined or be sued by clients for bad security. Software solutions are short-sighted in such a case. InZero’s WorkPlay Tablet seems like a perfect solution for such cases.

2-12-14 Employee file sharing practices put corporate data at risk, study finds

Another sobering study for those companies interested in establishing a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) framework. According to this Globalscape study, nearly half of all employees are ignoring company guidelines for maintaining a secure work environment. For example, 63% use online storage devices for important company information, and 60% use personal email to transfer important work data. What makes these statistics more surprising is that 47% of employees realized there were guidelines in place but simply chose to ignore them. Apparently, when employees bring their own devices, they believe they have the right to use them as they choose.

2-11-14 Hackers Hit Health System’s Server
Approximately 405,000 patients and employees had their personal information stolen by hackers from, what a surprise, China. Why are hospitals targeted? Lots of hospitals have doctors and nurses using tablets to enter data. It only takes one weak point and the server is compromised. Personal information is valuable no matter where it is taken from.

2-11-14 Hackers try to hijack Facebook, other high profile domains through domain registrar

The hacking group known as the Syrian Electronic Army tried to change the domain name of several high profile sites such as Facebook and Amazon. They nearly made it. The SEA’s attack style involves launching spear phishing attacks against employees of the companies they target in order to obtain sensitive credentials. Spear phishing is a targeted form of phishing, which involves tricking people into divulging their login information or installing malicious software. This type of attack can be successful in companies that employ a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) system. In these cases, BYOD can mean Bring Your Own Demise.

2-5-14: Google Play Exclusive: Security Company Thirtyseven4 Releases Tablet Security Suite for Android

The antivirus company Thirtyseven4 is offering its Android security suite for free for six months through Google Play. This is clearly a PR effort to raise its profile.
Unfortunately, there is nothing in its portfolio to suggest anything besides old-fashioned software-based protection.
Read More

1-24-14: Schools don’t think Android tablets are secure enough

Apple heads the education tablet market with Microsoft growing in popularity. Schools would opt for cheaper Android tablets if they could be assured they were secure. Need some good security anyone?
Read More

2-2-14: New Devices. Same Old Security Issues?

New devices at Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2014) were criticized for not addressing security issues such as those related to BYOD. As if Samsung didn’t already have enough problems with its Knox security system, the company was singled out for a bad kill switch which would allow hackers to disable a phone or tablet. It was subsequently rejected by “the top four US carriers and their CTIA trade group”. This relates to the following story…
Read more

2-7-14: California bill proposes mandatory kill-switch on phones and tablets
Read More

2-4-14: Do Windows 8.1 Users Need 3rd Party Anti-Malware Software?

The conclusion is, yes. The included windows protection just doesn’t measure up.
Read More

One Response to Latest News and Views

  1. Pingback: Cyber Sec News 2017 – Jan9+ – Our Security Blog (c) 2015-6

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