Archive for the ‘Encryption’ category

Google Encryption for Clouds

December 13th, 2017

Largest cloud networks in the planet is operated by Google. It employs multiple techniques to keep the data secure. Company is now providing some insight about the encryption techniques.

Google, like others, uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) to encrypt connections for data in motion from external hosts to the Google Cloud. But Google has its own method for encrypting data connections within its own data centers. It is called Application Layer Transport Security (ALTS).

“We get a lot of customer questions about encryption, so we’re trying to build trust through transparency,” Maya Kaczorowski, Security and Privacy Product Manager at Google, told eSecurityPlanet.

Kaczorowski mentioned that when a user connects to the Google Cloud, by default the connection is encrypted with TLS. Google is making use of TLS 1.3, which is not yet an official IETF standard.

Container vendor Docker has a model similar for its Swarm orchestration technology called mutually authenticated TLS (mTLS).

“TLS uses X.509 certificates, while ALTS uses protocol buffers,” Kaczorowski said.

Kaczorowski said that Protocol Buffers are a language-neutral technology for serializing data.

“It’s not based in hardware, Protocol Buffers are just a way for storing and transmitting information,” Kaczorowski said.

Kaczorowski mentioned that BeyondCorp is all about how Google employees access internal applications and resources.

“With ALTS, what we’re talking about is how every service at Google can authenticate with each other,” Kaczorowski said.

Company is also working on the open-source Istio service mesh project for Kubernetes.

“Istio authentication automatically aims to encrypt data transit between services,” she said. “The concept is similiar to ALTS.”

“For encryption in transit we have encryption at the network layer (Layer 3) and at the application layer (Layer 7),” Kaczorowski said. “With encryption at rest we’re encrypting both at the storage device layer and at the storage system layer.”

“We want to have multiple layers that we can fall back on,” she said.

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AlertSec ACCESS checks all computers and smartphones and detects all encryption types

NiceHash Breach

December 10th, 2017

The cryptocurrency mining marketplace NiceHash mentioned that its payment system had been affected by data breach. Contents of its Bitcoin wallet were stolen.

Company didn’t mention the number of bitcoin affected but according to Reddit, the hacker bitcoin address has 4,736 Bitcoin which values $83 million.

“Clearly, this is a matter of deep concern and we are working hard to rectify the matter in the coming days,” the company said in a statement. “In addition to undertaking our own investigation, the incident has been reported to the relevant authorities and law enforcement and we are cooperating with them as a matter of urgency.”

Company has temporarily stopped operations.

Webroot senior threat research analyst Tyler Moffitt mentioned email that the breach should serve as a reminder to the mining community that when mining for a pool, it’s always best to have payouts trigger at the smallest amount. “Even though there are fees associated with using the minimum payout, having the amount sit in the mining pool’s wallet is risky,” he said.

Cybercriminals targeting cryptocurrencies has increased. Imperva’s Global DDoS Threat Landscape Report shows that 73.9 percent of all Bitcoin exchanges were attacked by DDoS method.

“As a rule, extortionists and other cybercriminals are commonly drawn to successful online industries, especially emerging ones that are less likely to be well-protected,” Imperva security evangelist Igal Zeifman said by email. “Attackers can make a lot of money when attacking crypto exchanges due to factors such as the anonymity of the cryptocurrencies, hence the ability to ‘get rid’ of the stolen goods with limited risk.”

Recorded Future report also reported a rapid spike in mining malware.

“Our research has confirmed that cybercriminals are shifting attack vectors from highly damaging ransomware infections to long-term, low-velocity crypto mining operations,” the report states.

The researchers also found out that there are sixty two different types of cryptomining malware available for sale online.

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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.

IoT Security Skills in Energy Companies

December 5th, 2017

Inmarsat survey of senior IT decision makers from 100 large energy companies worldwide shows that fifty four percent need additional security skills to deliver successful IoT projects. Fifty three percent need to make significant investments to fulfill requirements.

Other findings include-

Only two percent mentioned that IoT do not create new challenges

Thirty percent said they have given special consideration for IoT in security apparatus

Fifty nine percent mentioned that their board has insufficient knowledge of IoT

“The core operations of energy companies have traditionally been insulated from the destructive cyber attacks that have destablized other industries, as they were not connected to the Internet,” Inmarsat senior director for energy Chuck Moseley said in a statement. “But with the advent of IoT, more and more parts of their infrastructure are being connected, creating new vulnerabilities and risks.”

“Worryingly, our research shows that many energy businesses lack the security processes and skills to address these new vulnerabilities,” Moseley added. “This needs to be quickly addressed, and it must be driven by senior leadership within energy businesses, to ensure that they do not miss out on the huge potential value that IoT can bring to the energy sector.”

Another survey conducted by CyberX study of 375 industrial networks worldwide shows that thirty one percent are connected to the public Internet. Seventy six percent are running outdated and unpatchable operating systems like Windows XP and Windows 2000.

“Most of these ICS/SCADA sites were built years ago, long before the proliferation of Internet connectivity and the need for real-time intelligence,” the report states. “The key priorities were performance and reliability rather than security.”

“We don’t want to be cyber Cassandras — and this isn’t about creating FUD — but we think business leaders should have a realistic, data-driven view of the current risk and what can be done about it,” CyberX CEO and co-founder Omer Schneider said in a statement.

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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 Google Patch for Android

December 2nd, 2017

Google released possibly its final Android security update for 2017. The latest patch addresses at least 42 different vulnerabilities which includes 11 flaws in the media framework (five are critical remote code execution issues).

“The most severe vulnerability in this section could enable a remote attacker using a specially crafted file to execute arbitrary code within the context of a privileged process,” Google warned in its advisory.

Libmedia and libstagefright components of the Android media framework is patched in every single security update provided by Google since August 2015. Google provided update every single month after the Stagefright vulnerability which was first publicly disclosed at Black Hat USA 2015.

“The state of the union for Android security is strong and I have spent time making sure it stays strong,” Adrian Ludwig said, the man who runs Android security for Google. “It’s not just about building a safe; it’s about building something that can react and respond to security quickly.”

In this new update, the critical remote code execution flaw in the system component is also addressed.

“We’re updating all Nexus devices — the Nexus 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10 and even the Nexus players — and we’re patching for libstagefright,” Ludwig said. “This is the single largest mobile software update the world has ever seen.”

Security support will extend for three years from a time Nexus device appears in the market.

“The industry has looked at recent events and realized that it needs to move fast, and we need to tell people what we’re doing,” Ludwig said.

“The most severe vulnerability in this section could enable a remote attacker using a specially crafted file to execute arbitrary code within the context of a privileged process,” Google warned in its advisory.

Ludwig also mentioned that, “We’re taking an aggressive stance to see if an application is doing something wrong, and we’re working with the developers and the development process to make it right.”

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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.

Russian Cyber Security Threat

November 25th, 2017

Ciaran Martin, CEO of the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) mentioned that hostile states present a significant cyber threat to the country’s critical infrastructure security.

“I can confirm that Russian interference, seen by the National Cyber Security Centre, has included attacks on the U.K. media, telecommunications and energy sector,” Martin mentioned.

“That is clearly a cause for concern — Russia is seeking to undermine the international system,” he added.

As per the survey by Tripwire, forty seven percent said that water, electricity and gas utilities are the most likely entities to be attacked.

“Before the Internet brought almost universal connectivity, industrial security was very different from what it is today,” Tripwire chief research officer David Meltzer said in a statement. “Traditional industrial and critical infrastructure organizations had no Internet as we know it today. Perimeter defense typically meant physical security — gates, fences, barriers and guards. Nowadays, these systems are Internet-connected, more virtualized in many cases, and more remotely accessible than ever before.”

“There is no dispute that connectivity provides many business advantages, such as centralized management and control, remote engineering access and resource consolidation,” Meltzer added. “However, it’s important to remember that it also brings with it a large number of additional risks, mainly increased attack vectors, exposure of inherently insecure and sometimes obsolete IT systems, and the opportunity for attackers to exploit vulnerabilities that have not been patched.”

Survey conducted by a Ponemon Institute of 377 U.S. professionals shows that there is cyber security issue for oil and gas operations. Only thirty five percent believe that their companies are well equipped.

“The fact that nearly 70 percent of oil and gas companies were hacked in the past year must serve as a call to action,” Siemens USA CEO Judy Marks said in a statement. “As oil and gas producers use digitalization to become safer and more efficient, there is a clear need to bulk up defenses for operational technology, which is even more vulnerable to attacks than the IT environment.”

Nozomi Networks founder and chief product officer Andrea Carcano mentioned that energy sector companies are prone to attack 24/7. “It is essential that critical infrastructure operators take steps to increase the visibility into their ICS networks and deploy new innovations that enable early detection of advanced persistent threats, whoever is making them,” he said.

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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.

Device Theft Incidents

November 20th, 2017

Brevard Physician Associates

Brevard Physician Associates mentioned that it was burglarized which possibly affected health data for 7,976 patients. The incident came to notice when the company saw tripped security alarm. An employee of the company found that three computers were missing.

Affected information included patient names, the names of patients’ insurance providers, the amount charged for the services provided, and the CPT codes of the services provided. However, patient addresses, dates of birth, telephone numbers, Social Security numbers, insurance ID numbers, and financial information were not included.

“We believe that the information contained on the stolen computers presents a minimal risk of future identity theft or financial fraud,” Brevard stated. “All three computers were password protected with strong passwords. Additionally, all of the data from all three computers will be automatically deleted upon their connection to the internet.”

Brevard also mentioned that it has “enhanced the security” at its office. Additional policies are in place to ensure it is “appropriately secured in the future.”

Martinsville Henry County

Martinsville Henry County (MHC) Coalition for Health and Wellness recently suffered data breach at Bassett Family Practice. The incident involved stolen laptop from the Bassett employee’s car.

Facility believe that the thief was after the laptop and not the information. As per the OCR data breach reporting tool, total 5,806 individuals may have been impacted.

Affected information includes patient names, dates of birth, account numbers, identity of providers, and/or details about patient visits with the practice. There is currently no indication that Social Security numbers or financial information was on the device.

“We are currently upgrading our IT security policies, procedures and related equipment to prevent future information from being stored on a laptop in an unencrypted manner,” Bassett said. “Please understand we value our relationship with you and take the security of your personal information very seriously. We have taken immediate steps and we will continue to evaluate our technology, policies and procedures in our efforts to prevent another occurrence such as this from happening in the future.”

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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.

Government of Canada Plans to Set CyberSecurity Policy

November 14th, 2017

The growing trend of attacks is worrying every corner of the world. Like other parts, Canadians are also at risk from cyber attack. The Government of Canada plans to fight this battle. They are implementing various measures to stop the attacks. At the SecTor conference here, Colleen Merchant, Director General for National Cyber Security at Public Safety Canada, explained the steps taken.

Merchant mentioned that government agencies will have different responsibilities for cyber security. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is tasked to handle law enforcement and related investigations. Public Safety Canada handles the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Center (CCIRC).

“CCIRC also has a responsibility for coordinating the overall national response to significant cyber events affecting critical systems in Canada,” she said.

Public Safety Canada also provides helping hands to set policy for cyber security. Merchant mentioned that the role of policy is to help assess challenges and help to formulate overall approaches that work at a national level.

The Government of Canada has released its Cyber Security Strategy manifesto in 2010 which consists of  three core pillars including: securing government systems, partnering to secure vital system outside of the federal government, and helping Canadians to be more secure online.

“From 2010 and going up to 2020 we have committed $431.5 million for investment and improvement into cyber security,” Merchant said.

Government of Canada has taken views from various entities while drafting policy for cybersecurity. Merchant said that there was the need for more privacy, collaboration and skilled cyber security personnel.

“We are recognizing that cyber-security has become a source for economic prosperity,” Merchant said.

“The Government can’t solve all problems but we can find ways to force-multiply, by providing all partners with direction and to set out national-level objectives that we can all work toward,” she said.

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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.

Managing Privileged Passwords

November 11th, 2017

Recent survey conducted by One Identity of 913 IT security pros shows that 86 percent of IT security professionals face challenges managing privileged passwords.

As per the One Identity website – “We believe that security is much more than the practice of denial and restriction. That’s why One Identity’s design and integration philosophy is that our solutions must add agility and efficiency to an organization – regardless of size or market – as well as secure its digital assets.”

Other findings of the survey include –

Eighteen percent use a paper logbook for privileged password management

Thirty six percent manage passwords in Excel or another spreadsheet

Twenty two percent are not able to monitor or record activity performed with admin credentials

Forty percent do not change the default admin password

“Over and over again, breaches from hacked privileged accounts have resulted in astronomical mitigation costs, as well as data theft and tarnished brands,” One Identity president and general manager John Milburn said in a statement. “These survey results indicate that there are an alarmingly high percentage of companies that don’t have proper procedures in place.”

LastPass research survey shows that the average security employee is managing 191 passwords.

Twenty six and half percent of businesses has multi-factor authentication to protect their password vaults.

“While we’re seeing that a significant portion of businesses are investing in multi-factor authentication, it is not yet adopted widely enough to compensate for the shortcomings of passwords,” the report states.

Duo Labs conducted survey of 443 individuals has below findings –

Twenty eight percent of respondents use two-factor authentication (2FA)

Fifty six percent of respondents had never heard of it

Forty-five percent of those who use 2FA said they do so on all services that offer it

“This survey underscores the reality that we as a security community still have a long way to go when it comes to educating the everyday person about proper security behaviors in general and 2FA in particular,” the researchers wrote.

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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.

Deception Technology

October 31st, 2017

Symantec’s endpoint security product suite has latest update which uses deception technology to keep devices secured. Deception technology is first step towards this efforts in the industry.

It unveiled Endpoint Security for the Cloud Generation along with this new technology. It is used by the companies to trick hackers which makes them believe that they had gained access to the systems.

“Deception technology is a direct result of Symantec’s innovation strategy paired with more than 15 years of endpoint security expertise,” Sri Sundaralingam, head of product marketing for Enterprise Security Products at Symantec.

The technique makes hackers to waste their efforts, time and energy breaking into fake servers.

“With deception on the endpoint, customers can now utilize the threat intelligence and deception capabilities of the largest security company in the world to expose stealthy attack tactics, delay attackers, and determine attacker intent beyond what’s available through purely network-based deception technologies – all at a scale like no other in the market,” continued Sundaralingam.

SEP 14.1 also had a new add-on entity which is called Hardening. It isolates suspicious activity at applications.  It also provides behavioral analysis and machine learning to identify malware.

Symantec Advanced Threat Protection (ATP): Endpoint 3.0 employs SEP’s endpoint detection and response features combined with threat intelligence and machine learning to stop attacks.

Company also launched Skycure’s AI-enabled mobile threat defense software. Skycure was acquired by Symantec for an undisclosed amount.

“One of the most dangerous assumptions in today’s world is that iOS and other mobile devices that employees bring into the office are safe, but the apps and data on these devices are under increasing attack,” stated Symantec CEO Greg Clark at the time. “We believe that tomorrow’s workforce will be completely mobile and will demand a cyber defense solution that travels with them.”

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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

Funding for Averon

October 25th, 2017

San Francisco-based company Averon recently secured $8.3 million in an Avalon Ventures-led Series A round of funding. The firm is a mobile authentication startup.

Direct Autonomous Authentication (DAA) mobile identity verification standard is the brainchild of Averon. It allows smartphone users seamlessly and securely interact with services and devices. The technology allows users to interact with devices like smart locks which involves no download of dedicated app.

“Averon leverages real-time mobile network signaling and the SIM/eSIM (eUICC) chips already found in the world’s seven billion smartphones, requiring no installation, no apps, and no user involvement whatsoever,” the company explained in an Oct. 24 media advisory. “Working seamlessly in the background, it is the easiest, fastest and most secure way to provide instant, frictionless authentication.”

Wendell Brown, Averion’s CEO mentioned that his company is the solution to large scale breaches in current time.

“As we see in the news every day, cybersecurity breaches continue to grow in size and frequency, and the world is in desperate need of the next generation of online identity authentication,” said Brown, in a statement. “Averon offers a uniquely superior solution that authenticates users while relying on zero personally identifiable data and requiring zero effort on the part of consumers – Averon is the new gold standard in cybersecurity, and we’re rapidly taking it to scale.”

Many cyber security startups are getting funded. The partial list can be mentioned as below who got funding in recent times –

KnowBe4 secured a $30 million Series B round of financing the company

Contrast Security mentioned that it had completed a Series C round worth $30 million

ShiftLeft’s secured $9.3 million

Attivo Networks secured  $21 million Series C round of funding

Duo Security raised $70 million

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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.