Archive for the ‘Alertsec Express’ category

Increase in Ransomware Sales

October 16th, 2017

There was increase in sales of ransomware on the dark web by 2,502 percent. It raised to 6.2 million dollar from $250,000.

“This increase is largely due to a simple economic principle — supply and demand,” the report states. “Cyber criminals are increasingly seeing opportunities to enter the market and looking to make a quick buck via one of the many ransomware offerings available via illicit economies.”

There are around 6300 dark web marketplaces which sells ransomware. The listing includes 45,000 product which are priced in the range of $0.50 to $3,000.

“Based on our research, ransomware can no longer be perceived as petty criminals performing stick-ups and kidnappings,” Carbon Black security strategist Rick McElroy said in a statement. “Instead, ransomware has become a rapidly growing, cloud-based black market economy focused on destruction and profit.”

“Today, legitimate enterprises avoid heavy investments in infrastruture — and hackers are no different,” McElroy added. “In fact, with ransomware, hackers have set a model for a cloud-based, high-profit and effective turnkey service economy.”

Survey conducted by Crowd Research Partners of 516 cyber security professionals shows that –

Eighty percent view ransomware a moderate or extreme threat

Small fraction of respondents say they will pay ransom

It also found out that most successful insertion of malware is through email attachments.

“In many respects, ransomware is a game changer,” Cybersecurity Insiders founder and CEO Holger Schulze said in a statement. “It is incredibly easy and inexpensive for cyber criminals to execute highly profitable attacks on a global scale.”

Survey conducted by Magnet Networks of 205 shows that 48 percent do not have cyber security policy.

“We found that only 13 percent of respondents think that their business is very secure — and in the absolute world of cyber attacks you are either totally secure or you are vulnerable in some way,” Magnet Networks cyber security expert James Canty said in a statement.

In seventy percent of the companies under 10 employees, the security aspect is handled by business owner or office manager.

That means that as many as 171,000 Irish businesses, Canty said, “have no one qualified looking after their network security and may not be protected against a ransomware and cybercrime industry which is growing at a rapid rate.”

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AlertSec ACCESS is a patent pending technology designed to check that devices are encrypted before access to a network is granted. Encrypted devices secure your data even if they are lost or stolen.

North Korea Hackers Hit US Companies

October 14th, 2017

FireEye researchers recently mentioned that spear phishing emails were sent to U.S. electric companies which can be traced back to North Korea.

The emails contained fake invitations to a fundraiser. Anyone who opened attachment will get malware.

The researchers mentioned that the attack is early-stage reconnaissance.

“Nation-states often conduct cyber espionage operations to gather intelligence and prepare for contingencies, especially at times of high tension,” the researchers wrote.

Two years ago North Korean hackers has released sensitive data on South Korean nuclear power plants.

Researchers mentioned that North Korea linked hackers are bold and “likely remain committed to pursuing targets in the energy sector, especially in South Korea and among the U.S. and its allies, as a means of deterring potential war or sowing disorder during a time of armed conflict.”

“North Korea linked hackers are among the most profilic nation-state threats, targeting not only the U.S. and South Korea but the global financial system and nations worldwide,” the researchers wrote. “Their motivations vary from economic enrichment to traditional espionage to sabotage, but all share the hallmark of an ascendant cyber power willing to violate international norms with little regard for potential blowback.”

Eddie Habibi, CEO of PAS Global mentioned that with the growing tension between US and North Korea the frequency of the attack will rise.

And while critical infrastructure is as prepared as it has ever been for phishing attacks, Habibi said, it’s not well prepared for the consequences of attacks that provide the attackers with “access to the process control networks where you find systems that control volatile processes or ensure worker safety.”

“These systems are often 15 or 20 years old and consequently do not adhere to today’s secure by design principles,” Habibi said. “They are also not visible to security personnel, which makes detecting and reacting sufficiently to compromise difficult at best. Exploiting these systems can lead to loss of production, shareholder value, and even life under certain circumstances.”

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AlertSec ACCESS is a patent pending technology. It is designed to enforce that devices are encrypted before access to a network is granted. Encrypted devices secure your data in case a device is lost or stolen. AlertSec ACCESS checks all computers and smartphones and detects all encryption types.

North Korean Hackers

October 11th, 2017

South Korean ruling party lawmaker Lee Cheol-hee said that North Korean hackers have stole 235 GB of data from South Korea’s Defense Integrated Data Center which includes operational plans created by Seoul and Washington for all-out war with North Korea.

The data includes plans for “decapitating” the North Korean leadership if war breaks out. It also includes contingency plan.

“The Ministry of National Defense has yet to find out about the content of 182 GB of the total [stolen] data,” he said.

As per the Pentagon spokesman Colonel Rob Manning, all key information remains secure. “I can assure you that we are confident in the security of our operations plans and our ability to deal with any threat from North Korea,” he said.

“We’ll continue to work closely with our partners in the international community in identifying, tracking and countering any cyber threats,” Manning added.

As per the AlienVault threat engineer Chris Doman, hacker group responsible for the attacks is possibly a subgroup of the attackers behind WannaCry, the Sony breach, and the SWIFT hacks. “They are very active, and I continue to see new malware samples from them every week,” he said.

“In Ukraine, the number of cyber attacks, and their level of sophistication, rose with fighting on the ground,” Comodo senior research scientist Kenneth Geers said. “The threat of sudden decapitation via cyber and traditional strikes may force Kim Jong-un into making desperate moves.”

“Cyber is more unpredictable than traditional weaponry, because you may lose control of your assets before you know it,” Geers added. “Given that the risk is international nuclear war, there are no limits on what both sides might do in cyberspace to prepare the battlespace, in an effort to improve the prospects of victory for their side.”

Geers also mentioned that North Korean hackers may plan sabotage operations in case of war. “It is possible that North Korea might receive cyber help from Russia and/or China, who may perceive an interest in undermining U.S. geopolitical goals, as well as testing national cyber capabilities,” he said.

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AlertSec ACCESS is a patent pending technology designed to check that devices are encrypted before access to a network is granted. Encrypted devices secure your data even if they are lost or stolen.

Fast Flux Botnets is a Security Risk

October 8th, 2017

Attackers use many techniques which is hidden in nature. Akamai research mentioned that a botnet with over 14,000 IP addresses uses fast flux DNS technique to avoid detection. It is technique which uses Domain Name System (DNS) to hide the source of an attack.

Multiple sets of IP address are rapidly swapped in and out of the DNS records which avoids detection. Most of the attack are coming from eastern Europe.

“No attribution to a specific attacker, but the research shows that the majority of botnet IP addresses are from Ukraine, Romania and Russia,” Or Katz, Principal Lead Security Researcher, Akamai, told eSecurityPlanet.

Botnets have been using fast flux techniques earlier which includes the zBot and Avalanche networks.

It is not a new technique. The focus of the research conducted by Akamai is to show analysis using data science approaches.

“According to the evidence we were able to collect, we assume that the botnet infrastructure is based on compromised machines and the machines that are associated with the botnet are constantly changing,” Katz said. “The fast flux technique being used is abusing the features of DNS in a way that serve their objectives.”

Akamai has not given the specifics of the attack.

“While tracking fast flux botnet is challenging, it is possible to do so by using algorithms that capture the fluxing behavior by looking on the relevant features, and this can lead to detecting such networks out-of-the-box,” Katz said.

One can detect botnets attack by having threat landscape visibility along with DNS and web traffic monitoring.

“Fast flux botnets are using domain names as the way for communication with malware,” Katz said. “Having algorithms that can track those domain names, once they start to become active, can reduce the effectiveness of such botnets.”

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AlertSec ACCESS checks for full disk encryption on PCs running Windows 7, 8, and 10 Home, Pro and Enterprise as well as Mac OS El Capitan and Sierra. AlertSec ACCESS will also verify that all smartphones running IOS and Android are encrypted before access is granted.

Outsourcing Solution for Skill Gap?

October 5th, 2017

A recent survey shows that there is huge skill gap in security staff. Three hundred and fifteen IT security professionals participated. Seventy two percent mentioned that it is difficult to hire skilled staff.

Ninety percent of the participants believe that technology vendors can help to address the skills gap. Ninety six percent believe automation can solve skill gap.

Tripwire sponsored the survey and was conducted by Dimensional Research. Forty seven percent of respondents are worried about losing security capabilities due to skill gap.

Other findings include –

Fifty two percent mentioned that they’re concerned about coping up with vulnerabilities

Twenty nine percent are concerned about keeping track of devices and software on the network

Twenty four percent are concerned about identifying and responding to issues in a timely manner

“Considering the recent high-profile threats that have been attributed to unpatched systems, it’s no wonder respondents are concerned that a technical skills gap could leave their organizations exposed to new vulnerabilities,” Tripwire vice president of product management and strategy Tim Erlin said in a statement.

Eight percent believe they need expertise in the cloud.

“Growing adoption of cloud, IoT and DevOps brings about new challenges that security teams with need to keep up with, and if organizations want to bridge a technical skills gap they should look to work with security vendors and managed security providers who can help them address today’s major attack types, while also offering training to their existing IT teams,” Erlin said.

“As security continues to become an even bigger challenge for organizations, we can expect to see more and more businesses outsourcing to gain security expertise in the future,” he added.

Another (ISC)2 survey of more than 3,300 IT professionals stated that there is no adequate  resources for security training.

Only thirty five percent said that there is active action taken on security issues.

“Security is a shared responsibility across any enterprise or government agency,” (ISC)2 CEO David Shearer said in a statement. “Unless IT is adequately trained and enabled to apply best practices across all systems, even the best security plan is vulnerable to failure.”

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AlertSec ACCESS is a patent pending technology designed to check that devices are encrypted before access to a network is granted. Encrypted devices secure your data even if they are lost or stolen.

Oracle CEO Promises Autonomous Security Technology

October 2nd, 2017

Oracle’s founder Larry Ellison mentioned Equifax mistakes while mentioning that new Oracle technology would help to prevent Oracle customers from the data breach.

Due to vulnerability in the Apache Struts framework, there was data breach which exposed personally identifiable information on 143 million Americans.

“The biggest threat by far in cybersecurity is data theft,” Ellison said. “Preventing data theft is all about securing your data.”

As per the Oracle CEO, Oracle database is the safest database. Its new Oracle 18c database has autonomous capabilities. It has auto-tuning as well as automatic patching capabilities.

Ellison plans on announcing a new cyber-security service.

“You have to know when you’re being attacked and as they come in and you better detect that during reconnaissance phase,” Ellison said. “The attacker’s goal is to take your data and send it someplace else.”

The new system will automatically detect threats when they first appear. It will immediate defend and remediate against the detected problem.

He also mentioned that automated patching is key to the cyber defense.

“We have to automate our cyber-defences and you have to be able to defend yourself without taking your systems offline or shutting down your database,” Ellison said.

The new system makes use of machine learning and has the same underlying technology foundation as the Oracle 18c database.

“No human error means no opportunities for human malicious behaviour,” Ellison said.

“After your database’s been notified by your security system it has to be able to patch itself immediately while running,” he explained.

“There was a patch available for Equifax [but] somebody didn’t apply it. It’s a clean sweep; directors aren’t safe, nobody’s safe when something like that happens. People are going to get better at stealing data and we have to get a lot better at protecting it.”

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AlertSec ACCESS checks for full disk encryption on PCs running Windows 7, 8, and 10 Home, Pro and Enterprise as well as Mac OS El Capitan and Sierra.

New Anti-Malware Engine by BullGuard

September 30th, 2017

London cybersecurity software provider BullGuard launched new anti-malware engine to detect and block advanced threats.

“The new engine is specifically designed to protect against zero-day threats or threats, such as polymorphic malware and file-less attacks, for which traditional signature-based engines are insufficient. The engine monitors a wide array of behaviours across the device and utilizes a comprehensive set of rules to discriminate bad behaviour from good,” explained Paul Lipman, CEO of BullGuard.

“The client-side engine is supported by a cloud-based machine learning system that continually learns from data across our customer base, and from our automated malware research systems, so the ruleset and engine functionality improve on an on-going basis,” continued Lipman.

The company is further branching out from its consumer antivirus roots with a real-time Home Network Scanner feature in BullGuard Premium Protection that continually scans a home’s Wi-Fi networks for internal threats. It also enlists the cloud to scan home networks using external vectors, a similar tactic to that used by security professionals to perform penetration testing.

Home Network Scanner finds cybersecurity problems. There is a rise in the attack on IoT devices.

“Earlier this year BullGuard released an IoT scanner that checks whether your home network is accessible from the open internet. We found that approximately five percent of people using our scanner had open ports that could potentially be compromised by attackers,” revealed Lipman.

“Consumer routers are notoriously hackable, as we’ve seen this year in multiple news stories (most notably the Wikileaks revelation about how the CIA has been pwning consumer routers for over a decade),” he added. “The new home network scanner offered in BullGuard Premium Protection takes this scanning to the next level, utilizing a deeper scan from multiple locations in the cloud, and coupling this with internal network scanning capabilities to ensure that our customers are immediately aware of potential vulnerabilities.”

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The Alertsec service protects everything stored on the computer such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, Gmail, Photos, Credit Card data files etc.

APT33 Attacks US companies

September 29th, 2017

As per the FireEye researchers, Iranian government hacking group is using phishing attacks to target companies in the U.S., Saudi Arabia and South Korea. The group is named as APT33.

In the past year,  the group is able to access to many U.S. organization in the energy sector. It also targeted refining and petrochemicals in South Korean and aviation business in Saudi Arabia.

“We assess the targeting of multiple companies with aviation-related partnerships to Saudi Arabia indicates that APT33 may possibly be looking to gain insights on Saudi Arabia’s military aviation capabilities to enhance Iran’s domestic aviation capabilities or to support Iran’s military and strategic decision-making vis a vis Saudi Arabia,” the researchers wrote.

“Iran has repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to globally leverage its cyber espionage capabilities,” FireEye director of intelligence analysis John Hultquist said in a statement. “Its aggressive use of this tool, combined with shifting geopolitics, underscore the danger that APT33 poses to governments and commercial interests in the Middle East and throughout the world.”

STEALTHbits Technologies CTO Jonathan Sander told eSecurity Planet that this is changing the face of cyber attacks.”When a cyber attack occurs, most still envision some young man in a hoodie or loner in a basement,” he said. “However, most of the bad guys today are professionals working for governments, organized crime, or even private [firms] in countries with lax laws that let cybercrime be a middle-class profession.”

“Organizations tend to focus defense on attacks that would exfiltrate data,” he said. “Many use the common notion that we’ve all been penetrated already as an excuse to only worry about defending against the last stage of most attacks where that data is stolen. When the motivation is destruction, though, the part where the data leaves never happens, and the trap is never sprung.”

Virsec Systems co-founder and COO Ray DeMeo mentioned there is no surprise in such groups. “We’ve seen clear evidence for some time that nation-state funded groups are using systematic, methodical, and innovative techniques to find weaknesses in networks and critical infrastructure systems,” he said.

“Expect ongoing cyber warfare to be the new normal, and it’s critical that all organizations take security much more seriously, improve their detection and protection capabilities, and train all employees to protect their credentials against theft,” DeMeo added.

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Alertsec Endpoint Encrypt is the full disk encryption service that delivers a mobile data protection system for all information stored on laptops used throughout your organization.

SEC Breach Calls for Broader Use of Encryption

September 27th, 2017

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Jay Clayton recently mentioned that software vulnerability in its Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval (EDGAR) system “was exploited and resulted in access to nonpublic information”.

He added it “may have provided the basis for illicit gain through trading.”

Hackers gain access to the system last year but till August 2017 commission determined that the data may have been available for illegal trading.

AsTech Consulting chief security strategist Nathan Wenzler mentioned that hackers can sell non-sensitive data as well. “Many of them are looking for specific types of information which they can leverage as an advantage in business deals, stock trades, investments and other financial activities for huge profits,” he said.

Wenzler added, “It’s imperative that monitoring and detection for the inappropriate use of this kind of data be a standard layer of defense for organizations right alongside patching vulnerabilities, encrypting data and enforcing strong access controls.”

Gabriel Gumbs, vice president of product strategy at STEALTHbits Technologies mentioned that the hackers may have been inspired by other data breach. ”Protecting information that will be made public but has to remain private for some period of time is very difficult to govern,” he said.

“This is not an area most organizations have shown competence in, and for any publicly traded company it is an area that they must be proficient in — but until then, expect this will not be the last such insider trading hack,” he said.

Jason Hart, vice president and CTO for data protection at Gemalto mentioned that stopping such threats is unrealistic goal “A better starting point is for organizations to truly know what they are trying to protect and then putting the right safeguards like encryption in place,” he said. “Of the 1.9 billion data records compromised worldwide in the first half of 2017, less than 1 percent used encryption to render the information useless.”

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Alertsec helps you comply with HIPAA, PCI and SOX requirements. The implemented encryption is powered by Check Point and has the highest security certifications: FIPS 140-2, Common Criteria EAL4 and BITS.

Deloitte Firm Data Breach

September 26th, 2017

Deloitte firm suffered data breach when it was hit last year by a cyber attack. The incident affected confidential emails and plans of at least six of its clients. Firm mentioned that attack was privileged, unrestricted ‘access to all areas.

Affected information also included usernames, passwords, IP addresses, architectural diagrams for businesses and health information.

As per the statement “In response to a cyber incident, Deloitte implemented its comprehensive security protocol and began an intensive and thorough review including mobilizing a team of cybersecurity and confidentiality experts inside and outside of Deloitte.”

“As part of the review, Deloitte has been in contact with the very few clients impacted and notified governmental authorities and regulators,” the company added.

As per the source, the exact duration was not known to the company.

“I think it’s unfortunate how we have handled this and swept it under the rug,” the source told Krebs. “It wasn’t a few emails like reported. They accessed the entire email database and all admin accounts. But we never notified our advisory clients or our cyber Intel clients.”

Raytheon chief strategy officer for cyber services Josh Douglas mentioned that data was not protected properly. “Two-factor authentication … is a basic part of cyber hygiene, and while it might not have prevented the intrusion altogether, it would have at least slowed the attackers and forced them to use more sophisticated methods,” he said.

He added that 2FA alone isn’t enough. “Organizations need to hunt threats to their network proactively and adopt an incident response plan that prevents or limits the exfiltration of sensitive data,” he said. “Comprehensive cybersecurity is especially important in the era of cloud computing, where companies are storing sensitive data remotely. As we tell our clients, cloud computing puts your information on someone else’s computer — so it’s vital to protect the cloud exactly as you would your own servers.”

“Some key elements to such a strategy are an optimally deployed and tuned SIEM platform leveraging machine learning, a combination of internal and external expertise actively engaged in analysis, and the use of deception technology to identify active attackers and suspicious behavior,” Netsurion CISO John Christly said.

VASCO Data Security CMO John Gunn mentioned growing trends among hacker to attack other confidential. ”This was first evidenced by the successful attack on newswire services that yielded hackers more than $100 million of insider trading profits, and more recently with the successful breach of the SEC for confidential information on publicly traded companies,” he said.

“Firms such as Deloitte that have troves of sensitive, non-public information that could be used for illegal trading activity will find themselves increasingly in the cross-hairs of sophisticated hacking organizations,” Gunn added.

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Alertsec’s cloud-based information security service provides an easy and convenient way to protect information on your organization’s laptops and computers.