Archive for the ‘Hackers’ category

Cyber Insurance and Cloud Cyber Attacks

July 31st, 2017

According to the insurer Lloyd’s, a large cyber attack could cause $53 billion in economic losses which is almost same estimation as per 2012’s Superstorm Sandy. The report mentions the two possibilities. One where a disruptive attack which can lead to losses of $53 billion. Other includes an attack on computer operating systems which could lead to losses of $28.7 billion.

As per Lloyd’s estimation, the range of losses can vary between $15.6 billion to $121.4 billion. Average loss range is from $620 million for a large loss to $8.1 billion for an extreme loss.

“Just like some of the worst natural catastrophes, cyber events can cause a severe impact on businesses and economy, trigger multiple claims and dramatically increase insurers’ claims costs,” Lloyd’s CEO Inga Beale mentioned

“Underwriters need to consider cyber cover in this way and ensure that premium calculations keep pace with the cyber threat reality,” Beale added. “We have provided these scenarios to help insurers gain a better understanding of their cyber risk exposures so they can improve their portfolio exposure management and risk pricing, set appropriate limits and expand into this fast-growing, innovative insurance class with confidence.”

As per the RiskIQ study, cybercrime led to global economy $454 billion loss last year. it also mentioned that $858,153 is lost to cybercriminals every minute. Companies spent $142,694 per minute to protect.

“Today, an organization’s digital assets are subject to malware, malvertising, and phishing efforts on a scale never before seen, while rogue apps, domain and brand infringement, and social impersonation cause business disruption and material loss,” RiskIQ manager of content strategy Mike Browning wrote in a blog post examing the findings.

The report also mentioned that 818 pieces of unique malware are injected in the system per minute.

“As companies innovate Web, social, and mobile means to engage with their customers, partners and employees, threat actors will prey on business exposures and brands to capture users’ trust, access credentials, and sensitive data,” RiskIQ chief marketing officer Scott Gordon said in a statement. “This requires organizations to extend their security programs to monitor and mitigate threats outside the firewall.”

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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.

Kaspersky Lab Defends Allegations

July 18th, 2017

Kaspersky Lab is accused of deep connections with Russia-based hacking efforts. The U.S. government has removed the firm from its vendor list which can be used for federal government. The step was taken after U.S. officials, including Adm. Mike Rogers, director of the National Security Agency and Cyber Command leader, testified before a Senate committee mentioning potential risks from Kaspersky Lab software.

Kaspersky Lab has denied the accusations.

“Regardless of how the facts are misconstrued to fit in with a hypothetical, false theory, Kaspersky Lab, and its executives, do not have inappropriate ties with any government,” the company stated. “The company does regularly work with governments and law enforcement agencies around the world with the sole purpose of fighting cybercrime.”

Allegations were also made against Kaspersky Lab that it took active participation in raids with Russian law enforcement officials and ‘hacked back’ against organizations.

“Hacking back is illegal, and Kaspersky Lab has never been involved in such activities,” the company stated. “Instead we are actively participating in joint shut-down of botnets led by law enforcements of several countries where the company provides technical knowledge.”


Kaspersky Lab mentioned that it only provides technical expertise throughout the investigation to help catch cybercriminals.

“Concerning raids and physically catching cybercriminals, Kaspersky Lab might ride along to examine any digital evidence found, but that is the extent of our participation, as we do not track hackers’ locations,” the company stated.

“I want to reassure you, our valued partner – there is no evidence because no such inappropriate ties exist,” he wrote in reference to the Russian government allegations. “While Kaspersky Lab regularly works with governments and law enforcement agencies around the world to fight cybercrime, the company has never helped nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts.”

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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.

AI Security Company Series D Round

July 10th, 2017

Darktrace U.K.-based startup which has offices in San Francisco has recently raised $75 million in a Series D round of funding.

Nicole Eagan, CEO at Darktrace, mentioned that Insight Venture Partners’ participation in the investment “is another strong validation of the fundamental and differentiated technology that the Enterprise Immune System represents,” in a statement. “It marks another critical milestone for the company as we experience unprecedented growth in the U.S. market and are rapidly expanding across Latin America and Asia Pacific in particular, as organizations are increasingly turning to our AI approach to enhance their resilience to cyber-attackers.”

Company uses artificial intelligence to tackle security threats. The Enterprise Immune System uses the algorithm in real time to stop the attack. It tracks normal behaviour and security threats. It also detects insider threats and zero-day attacks.

“Unlike more common forms of malware, which rely on human-mediated methods such as phishing to co-opt people into triggering the payload, this type of attack uses a worm to move from machine to machine without human intervention,” Andrew Tsonchev, director of Cyber Analysis at Darktrace, wrote in a blog post. “Fortunately, it is precisely this – a dramatic change in internal activity – which has allowed us to effectively fight back.”

Company mentioned that its contract value has now reached $200 million. Bookings are also increased in the US. The headcount in last year is doubled to 500. It has 450 partners. Most important the software has detected over 48,000 serious threats.

“Unlike more common forms of malware, which rely on human-mediated methods such as phishing to co-opt people into triggering the payload, this type of attack uses a worm to move from machine to machine without human intervention,” Andrew Tsonchev, director of Cyber Analysis at Darktrace, wrote in a blog post. “Fortunately, it is precisely this – a dramatic change in internal activity – which has allowed us to effectively fight back.”

Another AI based security company Attivo Networks has also raised $15 million.

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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

IoT Security

July 5th, 2017

The Internet of Things (IoT) is seeing the rapid rise but it seems to repeat the history of technology evolution. The pace of growth is not matched with security requirements. IoT helps automation as well as real-time synchronization of business processes. The implementation helps for precise response in real time.

 “IoT devices assist businesses in real-time responses to supply-and-demand market effects, they empower patients and healthcare professionals to continuously monitor conditions, and they enable electric grid operators to adjust the production, flow, and cost of electricity according to real-time market demands to ensure the most efficient, resilient, and cost-effective solution,” says James Scott, senior fellow at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology, a Washington DC-based cybersecurity think tank.

Hundreds of companies now provide IoT solutions. But security aspect is lagging behind.

 “As was shown in the Dyn attack, we appear doomed to repeat the mistakes we made with PCs and mobile devices in IoT,” says Tom Byrnes, founder and CTO of ThreatSTOP. “Once again, cost reduction has made security an afterthought, if a consideration at all, with predictably disastrous consequences.”

 It is different than other systems as threat involved is higher due to many connection points. As per the Intel, 200 billion IoT devices will be online by 2020.

 “Most IoT devices and sensors lack any form of security or security-by-design,” says Scott.

 “Without layered security of the IoT microcosms, hacktivists can disrupt business operations, cyber-criminals can compromise and ransom pacemakers, and cyber-jihadists or nation-state sponsored threats can compromise and control the grid,” to name just a few of the potential IoT security attack scenarios.

“Every IoT device has inherent vulnerabilities and exploitable weaknesses resulting from a culture that sacrifices security in the design process in favor of meager savings and in the rush to market,” says Scott. “The overwhelming preponderance of insecure IoT devices in the future will render security an impossibility in the future.”

 Most of IoT devices do not have computational power or battery life to have security applications.

 “We need to develop cost-effective IoT devices that incorporate security-by-design rather than cheaper and less secure alternatives,” says Scott. “While that may save a few dollars in the short-term, it puts the public and critical infrastructure at risk of losing millions of dollars and valuable data in the long-term.”

 Also, there is lack of platform standards.

 “With old devices lasting longer than ever before, there are many devices currently in use that do not support new standards,” says Sam Rehman, Chief Technology Officer of Arxan. “Hackers will always see legacy devices as a prime choice of entry.”

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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.

Kmart Attacked by Hackers Again

July 2nd, 2017

Kmart suffered another data breach when its server was attacked by hackers.

 “Our Kmart store payment data systems were infected with a form of malicious code that was undetectable by current anti-virus systems and application controls,” a Kmart FAQ on the data breach states. “Once aware of the new malicious code, we quickly removed it and contained the event.”

 Sears Holdings owns Kmart. It has not mentioned the number of affected card holder in the statement. Also, the location impact is also not disclosed. But it mentioned that only card information got breached.

 “All Kmart stores were EMV ‘Chip and Pin’ technology enabled during the time that the breach had occurred and we believe the exposure to cardholder data that can be used to create counterfeit cards is limited,” the company stated. “There is no evidence that kmart.com or Sears customers were impacted nor that debit PIN numbers were compromised.”

 This is the second breach in three years. Security of the card is crucial and online shops are finding it difficult to secure.

 “Consumers should monitor the transactions on any account linked to credit or debit cards they have used in a Kmart store and report any fraudulent transactions to their bank as soon as they are identified,” Capps said. “Given the brisk migration to a chip-and-pin system, we are unlikely to see the stolen credentials used for in-person payments, but they can be used for online transactions. “

 In 2014, Kmart was affected by malware.

 “We will likely find that this attack started with a stolen credential, used to inject the malware into Kmart’s networks,” Nir Polak, CEO of security vendor Exabeam mentioned. “In this modern operating environment, better behavioral analysis — focused on both use of credentials and on the system processes that are spawned from malware — is the best way to detect and shut down these attacks.”

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 Alertsec encryption is powered by Check Point and has the highest security certifications: FIPS 140-2, Common Criteria EAL4 and BITS.

U.S Election Systems Attacked by Russian Hackers

June 22nd, 2017

Thirty-nine states were hit by Russian hackers prior to the 2016 U.S. election. In Illinois, hackers got access to the database and tried to delete or alter voters data. A software was also accessed which was used by poll workers on Election Day.

“Last year, as we detected intrusions into websites managed by election officials around the country, the administration worked relentlessly to protect our election infrastructure,” Eric Schultz, spokesman for former President Barack Obama, told Bloomberg.

“Given that our election systems are so decentralized, that effort meant working with Democratic and Republican election administrators from all across the country to bolster their cyber defenses.”

A former senior U.S official mentioned that Russians now possess knowledge of U.S. election systems prior to the next presidential election.

“The U.S. must start putting precautions in place today that assures voter data and election systems are protected, or else history is bound to repeat itself.”Seclore CEO Vishal Gupta said.

Federal agents found traces of hacking into the database. Many states refused to cooperate with the agency.

“It’s laughable how systems we thought were immune to attack were so woefully under-secured.” Venafi chief security strategist Kevin Bocek said.

“We’ve seen this with ATMs and POS systems,” Bocek added. “The finance and retail industries have effectively responded to their own deep vulnerabilities, and now state, local and federal governments need to respond in the same way to protect voting systems.”

“Without a record of who is accessing, changing or deleting data, it’s virtually impossible to detect the compromise,” he said. “It’s not hard to imagine a scenario where voter data has been compromised but has gone undetected due to lack of auditing or evidence of a breach.”Varonis vice president of field engineering Ken Spinner said

“It’s more important than ever to monitor file activity and user behaviour, so that if an outside party is attempting to manipulate or delete information — as happened in Illinois — that activity is able to be flagged and investigated right away,” Spinner added.

“Whether you’re a small company or a national government, the best risk reduction is to limit access to those who need it the most, keeping sensitive data locked down, and to monitor data access so that when something suspicious happens, you can catch it before it turns into global headlines,” Spinner said.

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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. Perhaps, most importantly, your login credentials to cloud applications are protected. 

New SiteLock Application to Protect WordPress

June 19th, 2017

WordPress open-source publishing is the popular platform for companies. It has also attracted cyber criminals. Sites face attacks frequently. SiteLock, a Scottsdale, Ariz. website security vendor has started private beta of its new SMART Database (SMART/DB) solution. This application scans detects and automatically removes spam and malware from WordPress databases.

 SiteLock was formed in 2008. President Neill Feather mentioned that company specializes in helping small and midsized businesses (SMBs) mount a defence against cyber attackers. It also provides easy-to-deploy web application firewall (WAF) and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) mitigation capabilities. SMBs to strengthen their WordPress deployments are also implemented.

 Operating a website is a risky affair in the current cybersecurity landscape.

“On average, websites face over 8,000 attacks per year from cyber criminals trying to steal valuable resources such as website bandwidth, traffic, and customer data. Popular, well-recognized websites that utilize e-commerce or a large number of interactive features or plugins can be obvious targets for cyber attacks and are often reported in mainstream media,” Feather said.

 “According to SiteLock data, websites using 10 to 20 plugins are two times more likely to be compromised than the average website, and websites linking to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts are 2.5 times more likely to be compromised than the average website.”

 Many small business owners do not pay much attention towards cyber security but the trend of attacks is increasing.

 “In fact, 43 percent of all cyber attacks targeted small businesses in 2016,” Feather informed. “Given that the majority of small businesses manage or maintain their own websites, they typically aren’t aware of the time or resources required to ensure adequate protection against ever-evolving security threats such as malware and other vulnerabilities.”

 “It’s important to understand that any website, regardless of the number of features or amount of traffic, is constantly at risk,” he added.

 Many WordPress websites face attack today.

 “As most WordPress websites include customer engagement features such as blog comments, blog contributors, and content aggregation, this emerging malware monitoring technology keeps comments and posts clean from spam, ensuring site content is search engine friendly and is most valuable for visitors,” Feather said. “SMART/DB also mitigates other database malware like malicious redirects and backdoors, ultimately keeping website visitors safe.”

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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.

Kmart Attacked by Hackers Again

June 9th, 2017

Kmart suffered another data breach when its server was attacked by hackers.

“Our Kmart store payment data systems were infected with a form of malicious code that was undetectable by current anti-virus systems and application controls,” a Kmart FAQ on the data breach states. “Once aware of the new malicious code, we quickly removed it and contained the event.”

Sears Holdings owns Kmart. It has not mentioned the number of affected card holder in the statement. Also, the location impact is also not disclosed. But it mentioned that only card information got breached.

“All Kmart stores were EMV ‘Chip and Pin’ technology enabled during the time that the breach had occurred and we believe the exposure to cardholder data that can be used to create counterfeit cards is limited,” the company stated. “There is no evidence that kmart.com or Sears customers were impacted nor that debit PIN numbers were compromised.” 

This is the second breach in three years. Security of the card is crucial and online shops are finding it difficult to secure.

“Consumers should monitor the transactions on any account linked to credit or debit cards they have used in a Kmart store and report any fraudulent transactions to their bank as soon as they are identified,” Capps said. “Given the brisk migration to a chip-and-pin system, we are unlikely to see the stolen credentials used for in-person payments, but they can be used for online transactions. “

 In 2014, Kmart was affected by malware.

 “We will likely find that this attack started with a stolen credential, used to inject the malware into Kmart’s networks,” Nir Polak, CEO of security vendor Exabeam mentioned. “In this modern operating environment, better behavioural analysis — focused on both use of credentials and on the system processes that are spawned from malware — is the best way to detect and shut down these attacks.”

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 Alertsec encryption is powered by Check Point and has the highest security certifications: FIPS 140-2, Common Criteria EAL4 and BITS.

IoT Threat Defense Platform of Cisco

May 22nd, 2017

Cisco has created new IoT Threat Defense Platform to tackle growing threats. It consists of integrated security technologies which protects enterprise IoT deployment from hackers. It uses the network segmentation capabilities. Its’ AnyConnect provides remote access functionality.

Marc Blackmer, product marketing manager of Industrial Solution at Cisco’s Security Business Group said that it’s best not to leave any stone unturned given the scale and complexity of IoT implementations.

“A characteristic of the IoT is that it opens a multitude of attack vectors,” Blackmer mentioned. “Now, organizations need to be aware of, not just what servers and workstations are online, but whether their HVAC system or connected lighting have been mistakenly connected to the Internet.”

Researchers at Dalhousie University in Canada and Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel conducted a test. It demonstrated a citywide bricking attack using smart bulbs. Companies are connecting their IoT devices to internet and hackers are looking for loopholes.

“A simple Shodan search can turn up medical devices and industrial equipment connected to the Internet, as well,” Blackmer said. “With this in mind, we selected the technologies in our portfolio that would, first, segment IoT devices, to protect them from external attacks, as well as protect the business should one of those devices be compromised, and then those that provide broad, complementary coverage across a range of attack vectors.”

Connecting virtual local area networks (VLANs) to the scale of the IoT can overwhelm even the most efficient IT teams. Cisco products and team is also helping companies to secure their networks from stealthier threats.

“We are inspecting the traffic throughout the organization (with Stealthwatch, Advanced Malware Protection, and our NGIPS [Next-Generation Intrusion Prevention System], which is included with our NGFW [Next-Generation Firewall]), as well as that attempting to exit the organization (with Umbrella and Cognitive Threat Analytics).”

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Alertsec is powered by Check Point Endpoint Security products, which are positioned in the leader’s quadrant in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Mobile Data Protection.

Hackers trying to gain access to US defence servers

April 27th, 2017

US Airforce is attacked by hackers. It was the continuation of bug bounty program which earlier allowed attacks on Pentagon and the Army. It is an effort to allow security researchers to attack a limited set of Pentagon IT assets. It is now widened to different branches of the armed forces.

The program plans to expand further and allow entities from the U.S and the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

“Hack the Air Force has the largest scope of participation yet,” Reina Staley, Chief of Staff at U.S Defense Digital Services.

Earlier the bug bounty program was limited only to US citizens.

“Since the success of Hack the Pentagon and the subsequent Hack the Army bounty, we’ve been working to continually expand the bounds for participation by everyone,” she said. “For this round with the Department of the Air Force, we’re excited to include the citizens of a few allied nations.”

This program is limited scope program where participants need to work on given scope. It’s not open invitation to hack anything. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), known as drones are not included in this program. Hack the Air Force is also limited period program.

“DDS: The Department of Defense launched a Vulnerability Disclosure Program (VDP) which allows security researchers across the globe to submit discovered vulnerabilities through the HackerOne platform for remediation by DoD security teams,” Staley said. “The VDP provides a safe and legal avenue for anyone to report these vulnerabilities at any time, even outside of a bug bounty program.”

“Our aim is for DoD organizations and all military Services to adopt this crowdsourced security tool,” Staley said. “It’s incredibly important for us to strengthen the assets that support services for our Service members, civilians, and their families around the world.”

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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.