Archive for the ‘phishing’ category

DHS and FBI warns of APTs Targeting

October 27th, 2017

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have recently mentioned in a statement that an advanced persistent threat (APT) campaign is specifically targeting government entities and organizations. The affected entities are energy, nuclear, water, aviation and critical manufacturing sectors.

Attackers are targeting low security networks and third party suppliers.

“Based on malware analysis and observed [indicators of compromise], DHS has confidence that this campaign is still ongoing, and threat actors are actively pursuing their ultimate objectives over a long-term campaign,” the alert mentioned

Attackers use public website tor phishing attack.

“As an example, the threat actors downloaded a small photo from a publicly accessible human resources page,” the report states. “The image, when expanded, was a high-resolution photo that displayed control systems equipment models and status information in the background.”

Hackers try to steal login information through security loopholes.

“Although these watering holes may host legitimate content by reputable organizations, the threat actors have altered them to contain and reference malicious content,” the alert mentioned.

“Approximately half of the known watering holes are trade publications and information websites related to process control, ICS, or critical infrastructure.”

Attackers conduct reconnaissance operations after getting into system.

“Specifically, the threat actors focused on identifying and browsing file servers within the intended victim’s network,” the alert states. “The threat actors viewed files pertaining to ICS or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems.”

In one case hackers got inside energy installation systems.

Virsec Systems CEO Atiq Raza told eSecurity Planet that attack has common pattern “Rather than directly attacking high security networks, hackers are doing careful reconnaissance of connected third parties, staging servers or watering holes for insiders,” he said. “Once hackers steal credentials, or find a less secure backdoor, they can quickly pivot to more secure servers, bypassing traditional network perimeter security.”

“IT security needs to assume the perimeter is porous and focus more directly on guarding sensitive applications and data,” Raza added.

____________________________________________________________________________________

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.

Office Workers Not Sure of Phishing Attack

September 12th, 2017

Intermedia recent survey of more than 1,000 U.S. office workers has astonishing results. Fourteen percent do not have detailed knowledge about phishing attack or they can’t differentiate phishing email. Twenty-one percent are a victim of a phishing attack.

Thirty-four percent are company owners or executive managers who are a victim. Twenty-five percent are IT, workers.

Intermedia vice president of security and privacy Ryan Barrett mentioned that it is required to talk to employees more than considering it as a threat — otherwise, traditional education can actually lead to a false sense of security.

“Instead, companies need to offer regular interactive IT security training, simulate security incidents to help employees detect and prevent cyber attacks, and talk about the risks when big data breaches are in the news,” Barrett mentioned.

A Bitglass survey of 129 hackers at Black Hat 2017 has below findings –  

Fifty-nine mentioned phishing is the best strategy for data exfiltration

Malware and ransomware ranking second at 27 percent

“Phishing and malware are threats made all the more potent by cloud adoption and the ease with which employees can share corporate data,” Bitglass vice president of product management Mike Schuricht said in a statement.

Other survey conducted by Bromium of 500 CIOs in the U.S., U.K. and Germany found that fully 99 percent of respondents see end users as “the last line of defense” against hackers, and are spending an average of $290,033 per large enterprise on employee education in response.

“While end-users are often the easiest target for hackers, the idea that they should be ‘the last line of defense’ for a business is simply ridiculous,” Bromium CTO Simon Crosby said in a statement. “The fact is, most employees are focused on getting their jobs done, and any training will go out the window if a deadline is looming.”

“Instead of wasting time on user education policies, protect your users,” Crosby suggested. “Let them click with confidence. If they get attacked, let it happen, but do so in a contained environment. By isolating applications in self-contained hardware-enforced environments, malware is completely trapped. Users are free to download attachments, browse websites and click on links without fear of causing a breach.”

____________________________________________________________________________________________

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

New Phishing Attack

August 19th, 2017

Comodo researchers found a new ransomware campaign which targeted tens of thousands using simple email which contained only attachment and no text. The file name is E 2017-08-09 (xxx).xxx with the number in parentheses and different file extension with each email.

After the click on the attachment, a new Locky ransomware variant called IKARUSdilapidated is downloaded.

“Named for the appearances of ‘IKARUSdilapidated’ in the code string, it is clearly related to the ‘Locky’ Trojan and shares some of its characteristics,” the researchers note. “As a new malware variant, it is read as an ‘unknown file’ and is allowed entry by organizations not using a ‘default deny’ security posture (which denies entry to all unknown files until it is verified that they are ‘good’ files and are safe to have enter the IT infrastructure).”

The attachment is unreadable having the following phrase-

“Enable macro if data encoding is incorrect,” a social engineering technique which runs  run a binary file that downloads an encryption Trojan.

Comodo-protected endpoints found out more than 62,000 phishing emails on Aug 9,10 and 11. Eleven thousand IP address where used from one thirty-three different countries.

“This quantity of servers can only be used for a specific task if they are formed into a large bot network (or botnet), and have a sophisticated command and control server architecture,” the researchers note.

As per the Kaspersky, Locky and its variants were the most profitable form of ransomware.

“Ransomware is here to stay, and we will have to deal with it for a long time to come,” Google senior strategist Kylie McRoberts said.

Tripwire principal security researcher Travis Smith told that sending such email is a profitable method.

“For ransomware, the attacker just needs one low-level employee to click a link or open an attachment,” he said.

“That one click then allows them to immediately be paid hundreds, if not millions, of dollars in nearly anonymous cryptocurrency,” Smith added.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

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.

Complex Malware Installed by Simple Phishing Attacks

August 9th, 2017

A new JScript back door called Bateleur distributed by the FIN7 (a.k.a Carbanak) hacker group through phishing emails targeting U.S.-based restaurant chains has been identified by Proofpoint researchers.

The modus operands is simple. The receiver gets the email containing document which contains macro. The message of the email is “here is the check as discussed.”

The executed macro creates a scheduled task to run Bateleur which then sleeps for three seconds and then again executes Bateleur and then sleeps for 10 seconds. Finally, it deletes the scheduled task.

“The combined effect of these commands is to run Bateleur on the infected system in a roundabout manner in an attempt to evade detection,” the researchers note.

The JScript macro contains anti-sandbox and anti-analysis functionality.

“We continue to see regular changes to the tactics and tools used by FIN7 in their attempt to infect more targets and evade detection,” the researchers state. “The Bateleur JScript back door and new macro-laden documents appear to be the latest in the group’s expanding toolset, providing new means of infection, additional ways of hiding their activity, and growing capabilities for stealing information and executing commands directly on victim machines.”

Simon Taylor, vice president of products at Glasswall, mentioned that though the software is complex, a method of installing it is very straight forward through phishing email.

“Phishing is a tried and true method for attackers — largely because it is predictably and repeatedly successful,” he said.

“Historically, the security industry has attempted to change employee behaviour,” Taylor added. “But while education helps, cyber criminals are continuously adjusting their techniques and the authenticity of their messages in order to stay several steps ahead of their victims.”

“Humans are and always will be the weakest link in an organization, and going forward, defense and detection strategies must change to address these inevitable challenges,” Taylor said.

Cyber Resilience

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Alertsec is based on the 256-bit AES encryption algorithm and has the highest security certifications.

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.”

____________________________________________________________________________________________

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.”

____________________________________________________________________________________________

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

IoT Security

June 6th, 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 the 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 favour of meagre 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 a 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 the entry.”

____________________________________________________________________________________________

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

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).”

____________________________________________________________________________________________

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.

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.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

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.

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.”

____________________________________________________________________________________________

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