Archive for the ‘identity theft’ category

Verizon Survey

May 5th, 2017

Verizon mentioned that increase in the propriety research, prototypes, and amounts of confidential personal data is the major factor for the rise in the phishing attack. It also mentioned that there is an increase in 50 percent in the attacks last year.

Almost 95% of the attacks include the phishing technique of software installation on the user device. There is also rise in getting the information by pretending someone else. These are called pretexting attacks. Eighty-eight percent of pretexting attacks originated from emails.

Many smaller organizations also suffered a data breach. Sixty-one percent of breach occurred at the companies having less than 1000 employees.

“Cyber-attacks targeting the human factor are still a major issue,” Verizon Enterprise Solutions Global Security Services Executive Director Bryan Sartin said in a statement. “Cybercriminals concentrate on four key drivers of human behaviour to encourage individuals to disclose information: eagerness, distraction, curiosity and uncertainty. And as our report shows, it is working, with a significant increase in both phishing and pretexting this year.”

Verizon mentioned that three quarters of the breaches was caused by outsider. Almost 51% involves criminal groups.

Finance sector was the major area where attacker focused. Almost 24% attacks counted for this sector. Healthcare involves 15% of data breaches.

“The cybercrime data for each industry varies dramatically,” Sartin explained. “It is only by understanding the fundamental workings of each vertical that you can appreciate the cyber security challenges they face and recommend appropriate actions.”

Survey also found out that 73% percent of the attacks are financially motivated.

“Social engineering is a common means for cybercriminals to establish a foothold,” report authors warned. “And employees are making this easy by using easy-to-guess passwords. Users, and even IT departments are even often guilty of not changing the default passwords that devices come with, and can easily be looked up online.”

The report author at Verizon mentioned that encryption and two-factor authentication also help to limit the damage.

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

Stolen laptop leads to data breach

May 2nd, 2017

Lifespan Corporation recently suffered a possible data breach due to stolen laptop. The device belongs to Lifespan employee. An individual broke into employee’s car and stole laptop along with other items. The employee immediately reported the incident to law enforcement & Lifespan.

As per the website, “Lifespan, Rhode Island’s first health system, was founded in 1994 by Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital. A comprehensive, integrated, academic health system affiliated with The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Lifespan’s present partners also include Rhode Island Hospital’s paediatric division, Hasbro Children’s Hospital; Bradley Hospital; Newport Hospital; and Gateway Healthcare. “

To reduce unauthorized access to the laptop, Rhode Island health organization changed the login credentials for accessing Lifespan system information. Facility found out the stolen MacBook was not encrypted. Password protection was also not present on the system.

The laptop included information of 20,431 patients. Affected information included emails containing patient names, medical record numbers, and demographic information. Lifespan has started notifying the affected patients. Call centre is also established to answer the queries.

Facility mentioned that there is no suggestion or information of data misuse. Also, patient medical records or Social Security numbers were not included in the breach.

Facility is retraining the employees to avoid such incidents in future.

“Lifespan is committed to protecting the security and confidentiality of our patients’ information, and we deeply regret this incident occurred.”

How can you protect data when the laptop is stolen?

Encryption

 Encryption can play a major role in securing your data in case of stolen laptop.

Authentication

Biometrics and two-factor authentication (2FA) increases the security level of your device.

Email security

Your email contains a lot of sensitive information. Emails are auto-opened in the system due to stored password. Remember password or use alternative methods to open email accounts.
Find My Device

Activate Find My Device software on your laptop. It will help you to track the laptop.

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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.

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.

Illegal Access of Health Records

April 23rd, 2017

Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital employees accessed data which was not included in their job responsibility. Facility found out that 21 hospital employees were involved. The incident has affected 419 emergency room patients.

Facility has immediately sent the notification letters to affected patients. Also, patient record access to the employees is revoked. Hospital conducted an investigation and third party forensic firm is hired to determine whether the data is available in the black market.

Till now there is no indication of information misuse. The hospital’s chief compliance and privacy officer Trent Belliston mentioned that investigators did not find any evidence to believe that employees had any malicious intent.

“No evidence that the information’s being used in an improper way,” said Belliston. “We believe this to be a case of snooping, or individuals who were bored.”

Belliston also mentioned that there is no evidence suggesting this was a targeted attack.

“It was a wide array of patients and information,” Belliston said.

Twenty-one employees are disciplined or terminated based on their extent of involvement. Hospital CEO Russ Myers mentioned that labor and confidentiality laws stop him from naming which employees were part in the security breach or how the employees were disciplined.

Patient medical and demographic information were viewed by the employees. Financial information was not seen.But Belliston mentioned that patient Social Security numbers may have been viewed as it was present on the patient records.

Facility is providing free credit monitoring for all potentially affected patients for two years. Also, a call centre is set up to answer queries.

“There’s the potential for this to happen in a hospital at any point in time,” said Belliston.

“Similarly to how important the safety of the patient is from a physical standpoint, likewise, the security of their information is also of great importance to us, making sure their information is safe,” he added.

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Firms to spend more on cyber security

April 21st, 2017

As per the recent Duff & Phelps survey, eighty-six percent of financial services firms are planning to spend more time and resources on cyber security in this year. In 2016, only 60 percent said they planned to spend more. Also, thirty-one percent mentioned that the cyber security is the top priority.

“Cyber security is at the top of the agenda for financial services firms today,” Jason Elmer, managing director for compliance and regulatory consulting at Duff & Phelps, said in a statement. “In the wake of high-profile cyber attacks, many are anticipating clearer and more punitive cyber security regulation to be implemented.”

“Firms are proactively looking to strengthen cyber defenses as a result, and this is an opportunity for regulators to collaborate with financial institutions to form new rules,” Elmer added. “What’s also clear is that commercial pressures from investors concerned about the security of their sensitive data will accelerate any attempt to improve cyber security measures.”

There is a high cost involved in the case of a breach. Kaspersky Lab conducted a survey of financial institutions. It mentioned that cost of even a single cyber security incident to a financial institution in the U.S. can rise up to $1,165,000.

Other findings of survey include-

Fifty-three percent believe that their top concerns are phishing/social engineering attacks on customers

Thirty-three believe that attack can happen on local/branch office

Thirty-one percent believe that digital banking services can be the target

“Given the substantial monetary losses from cyber attacks, it is not surprising that financial organizations are looking to increase spending on security,” Kaspersky Lab vice president for enterprise business Veniamin Levtsov said in a statement.

“We believe successful security strategies for financial organizations lie in a more balanced approach to allocating resources — not just spending on compliance, but also investing more in protection from advanced targeted attacks, paying more attention to personal security awareness and getting better insights on the industry-specific threats,” Levtsov added.

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

Encryption strategy for enterprises

April 18th, 2017

A Recent survey of Thales’ 2017 Global Encryption Trends Study shows that only 41 percent of enterprises have an encryption strategy which has consistency throughout the company.

Other findings of the reports are as follow-

Forty-six encrypts data on-premise before sending to the cloud

Twenty-one percent encrypts data in the cloud

Thirty-seven percent gave control of keys and encryption processes to cloud service providers

Fifty-five percent believe that compliance is the most important driver for encryption

“The accelerated growth of encryption strategies in business underscores the proliferation of mega breaches and cyber attacks, as well as the need to protect a broadening range of sensitive data types,” Ponemon Institute chairman and founder Dr. Larry Ponemon said in a statement.

“Simply put, the stakes are too high for organizations to stand by and wait for an attack to happen to them before introducing a sophisticated data protection strategy,” Ponemon added. “Encryption and key management continue to play critical roles in these strategies.”

A different survey conducted by Venafi of more than 1,540 information security professionals shows that twenty-three percent have no idea the extent of decryption and inspection of encrypted data.

“Encryption offers the perfect cover for cyber criminals,” Venafi chief security strategist Kevin Bocek said in a statement. “It’s alarming that almost one out of four security professionals don’t know if his or her organization is looking for threats hiding in encrypted traffic.”

“It’s clear that most IT and security professionals don’t realize the security technologies they depend on to protect their business are useless against the increasing number of attacks hiding in encrypted traffic,” Bocek added.

This survey also showed that 41 percent companies encrypt at least 70 percent of internal network traffic.

“Although the vast majority of the respondents inspect and decrypt a small percentage of their internal encrypted traffic, they still believe they can quickly remediate a cyber attack hidden in encrypted traffic,” Bocek said. “The problem is that attackers lurking in encrypted traffic make quick responses even more difficult.”

“This is especially true for organizations without mature inbound, cross-network, and outbound inspection programs,” Bocek added.

“This overconfidence makes it very clear that most security professionals don’t have the strategies necessary to protect against malicious encrypted traffic.”

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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.

Hacking of Amazon third-party sellers’ accounts

April 16th, 2017

Hackers use passwords for high-profile breaches to compromise Amazon third-party sellers’ accounts. The attackers stole tens of thousands of dollars from sellers’ accounts. They also posted nonexistent items for sale in order to get more funds.

The incident has affected two million seller accounts on Amazon.com account which counts for more than half of its sales. As per the reports, over 100,000 sellers earn more than $100,000 a year.

Amazon seller Margina Dennis told NBC News about the fraud. She got 100 emails from customers. They were complaining of not getting a Nintendo Switch. The product was uploaded on site through her account by hacker. They also changed the accounts password.

An Amazon spokesman said “There have always been bad actors in the world; however, as fraudsters get smarter so do we. Amazon is constantly innovating on behalf of customers and sellers to ensure their information is secure and that they can buy and sell with confidence on Amazon.com.”

Third-Party Risk

CyberGRX CEO Fred Kneip mentioned that hackers are targeting Amazon’s third-party ecosystem for financial gain.

“Amazon is a high-profile example of how increasingly connected businesses have become, but organizations across the world in every industry are undergoing a similar transformation as outsourcing, globalization and the digitization of business expand their digital ecosystems exponentially,” he said.

“Whether it’s one of the world’s largest retailers or a small business, companies need to approach third-party cyber risk as a real threat to their business that needs to be continuously managed,” Kneip added.

AlienVault security advocate Javvad Malik mentioned that third party vendors should look for their own security.

“It is therefore, important that all companies of all sizes have at least a basic level of threat detection controls in place that can alert when unexpected changes occur, or when systems start behaving in an unusual manner,” he said.

“Compromised credentials are the leading attack vectors in cyber breaches, as hackers target networks through trusted third-party suppliers and contractors who likely have less rigorous security than the ultimate target,” Centrify senior director of products and marketing Corey Williams said.

“This certainly won’t be the last time we see third parties being hacked — organizations need to up the security stakes with multi-factor authentication, which requires more than one method of authentication to verify the user’s identity for a login or other transaction, in order to stop the use of stolen credentials,” Williams 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.

Keeping sensitive information from leaks

April 11th, 2017

Today companies needs to keep the data very secure due to need of protecting corporate data and  also regulations which require consumer data to be protected. EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are increasing the fines for non compliance. It is daunting task for companies to comply with regulations.

“I can see the difference from before GDPR and after GDPR,” he said of companies scrambling to shore up data leaks. “Even if I have a tiny office somewhere, I need to check for confidential data.” And automating this scrutiny is the only way to effectively manage it.” said Angel Serrano, senior manager of advanced risk and compliance analytics at PwC UK in London.

What is DLP?

ISACA mention it “data leak prevention”.

Gartner calls it “data loss protection” or “data loss prevention”.

It prevents unauthorized users from sending sensitive data.

“DLP is not one thing, like a tomato,” GBT Technologies co-founder Uzi Yair said, referring to GBT’s enterprise suite of products. In addition to more traditional practices such as scanning endpoints, network and storage as well as policy management and workflow tools, it includes an information rights management (IRM) policy server that applies file-level control over who has access to what, where – it might be solely on-premises – and when.

Recent reports on DLP has below highlights:

  • An average of 20 data loss incidents occur every day all around the world
  • Eighty three percent of organisations have security solutions but still thirty three percent suffer from data loss
  • DLP detects incidents and has regular expressions, dictionary-based rules, and unstructured data for breach detection.
  • Many facilities use DLP only for email instead of full business applications

DLP takes two forms:

  • Agent software for desktops and servers, physical and virtual appliances for monitoring networks and agents, or soft appliances for data discovery
  • Integrated DLP products that may offer more limited functionality

“All these web applications like Google Drive and Office 365 are integrating with other satellite applications,” said Krishna Narayanaswamy, founder and chief scientist at Netskope.” Salesforce uses Google Drive as a place to store files. DocuSign can put documents in Google Drive. You need to be at all the points where data is going into these applications. You need to be able to inspect that data at rest and determine who uploaded that data. Also inspect and apply policies to outgoing email.”

Many companies do not use new ways.

“The new generation considers email a dinosaur. They go to social media – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook – you have to cover those as well. More and more communication is coming via SSL, and that’s a big blank spot that many DLP vendors have not considered,” Narayanaswamy said.

“When you look at the web, there are many reasons for sending data from inside to the outside,” Narayanaswamy said. “Modern applications constantly post information about how users are using the application, response times, and so forth, to improve user experience. When you look at every post transaction, there’s a potential for many false positives,” which have been the bane of DLP.

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

Data breach trends in 2016

April 5th, 2017

As per the IBM report, data breach increased 566 percent in 2016 from 600 million to more than 4 billion. The report also mentioned that healthcare in no longer the most attacked sector. Most of the attack was carried out on financial services industry.

In 2016, 12 million records were affected in healthcare. In previous year, the breach was 100 million records which counts to eighty eight percent drop. IBM surveyed 8000 security clients in 100 countries.

IBM Security Vice President of Threat Intelligence Caleb Barlow mentioned that the cyber attacks was carried out with innovative techniques.

“While the volume of records compromised last year reached historic highs, we see this shift to unstructured data as a seminal moment,” Barlow said in a statement. “The value of structured data to cyber-criminals is beginning to wane as the supply outstrips the demand. Unstructured data is big-game hunting for hackers and we expect to see them monetize it this year in new ways.”

IBM mentioned that for ransomware attacks, 70 percent of the companies paid more that $10,000 to regain the access to data. According to the FBI, cyber-criminals were paid $209 million in first three months of 2016.

Ransomware attacks are on the rise with 400 percent increase. In the coming time healthcare will do many reforms which includes increase in internet of things (IoT) technology. This will increase the attacks.

“Retail and financial services have battened down their hatches,” IDC Health Insights Research President Lynne Dunbrack told HealthITSecurity.com in a 2016 interview. “Now the cyber criminals might still be nipping at those heels, but they are looking at other targets, healthcare being one of them.”

CynergisTek Vice President Dan Berger mentioned that attacks against healthcare are carried out with sophistication.

“The dramatic increase in hacking attacks in 2016, coupled with the large number of patient records compromised in those incidents, points to a pressing need for providers to take a much more proactive and comprehensive approach to protecting their information assets in 2017 and beyond,” Berger stated.

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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.

Insider security breach at KY

April 2nd, 2017

Kentucky-based Med Center Health mentioned that a former employee accessed certain patient billing information without permission. As per the reports, facility found out that on two instances the person “obtained certain billing information by creating the appearance that they needed the information to carry out their job duties for Med Center Health.”

“The evidence we have gathered to date suggests that the former employee intended to use these records to assist in the development of a computer-based tool for an outside business interest which had never been disclosed to Med Center Health officials,” Med Center Health explained in its letter, signed by CEO Connie Smith.

Person accessed the data and copied it on encrypted CD and encrypted USB drive. Facility mentioned that the data is not related to work responsibilities of the employee. Affected information included Social Security numbers, health insurance information, diagnoses and procedure codes, and charges for medical services. Patients medical records were not copied.

Patients who were treated at The Medical Center Bowling Green, The Medical Center Scottsville, The Medical Center Franklin, Commonwealth Regional Specialty Hospital, Cal Turner Rehab and Specialty Care and Medical Center EMS between 2011 and 2014 got impacted.

Law enforcement asked the facility to delay its data breach notification process.

“We sincerely apologize for any concern and inconvenience this incident may cause you,” the letter read. “We continue to review the incident and to take steps aimed at preventing similar actions in the future. Those actions include re-enforcing education with our staff regarding our strict policies and procedures in maintaining the confidentiality of patient information.”

Facility did not mention the number of individuals affected. It has established a dedicated call center to answer patients’ queries.

As per the statement, “We are offering credit monitoring and identity protection services to eligible patients and enrollment instructions are contained in the letters sent to the patients. We also recommend that you review the explanation of benefits that you receive from your health insurer. If you see services that you did not receive, please contact your health insurer immediately.”

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