Check Point

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.

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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.

Breaches in US Financial Service Organizations

October 23rd, 2017

As per the 2017 Thales Data Threat Report, forty two percent of U.S. financial services organizations got affected by data breach. Survey saw participation of 1,100 senior security executives worldwide. The findings are as below:

Twenty four percent of the organizations suffered data breach in last year alone

Nineteen percent suffered data breach in 2016

Eighty-six percent of participants believe they are vulnerable to data threats.

Ninety six percent will use sensitive data in an advanced technology environment

“Data breaches continue to hit the headlines and, as recently illustrated by the Equifax breach, the financial services industry is a prime target for hackers,” Thales e-Security vice president of strategy Peter Galvin said in a statement.

“As digitization continues to transform the industry’s online infrastructures it is critical organizations implement data security solutions that follow the data — wherever it is created, shared or stored,” Galvin added.

A recent survey conducted by ISMG survey of over 250 banking and security leaders found that 38 percent have confidence in threat detection deployed by companies.

“This survey certainly shows that while consumers may shoulder many direct costs and burdens associated with fraud, institutions are also suffering substantially,” NuData Security marketing director Lisa Baergen told eSecurity Planet by email.

“The global uptick in fraud, coupled with ever-increasing amounts of PII available on the black market, makes financial institutions more vulnerable and as a result, their security investments are growing yet their confidence in them isn’t,” Baergen added.

As per Symantec’s Q2 Mobile Threat Intelligence Report: Mobility and Finance found that twenty five percent of mobile devices used by employees at financial services organizations are at risk.

“Since user behavior is such a huge factor in mobile security, user education is one of the most important things an organization can do to… minimize the threat to their organizations through mobile devices,” the report suggests.

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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.

New Funding for Contrast Security

October 20th, 2017

Contrast Security raised $30 million in a Series C round of financing which was led by Battery Ventures along with venture capital (VC) firms Acero Capital and General Catalyst. The total money raised till date is $54 million.

Company deals in technology that enables enterprises to develop and deploy “self-protecting” software. Contrast Assess and Contrast Protect are two products which integrates security elements into software development process.

“Contrast doesn’t treat the symptoms like a scanner, sandbox, or firewall.  Instead, Contrast infuses both security testing and protection directly into the application, like an immune system for applications that inoculates against vulnerabilities and attacks,” explained Williams. “Simply add Contrast to your application environment, and it starts working immediately without any code or process changes, and without needing security experts.”

Contrast takes two approaches for security.

“Contrast Assess focuses on vulnerabilities, and instantly alerts development teams so they can fix code without disrupting software development. Contrast Protect identifies and blocks attacks, rendering them ineffective,” said Williams. “Together, Contrast Assess and Protect provide organizations with a comprehensive self-protecting software solution that works in data center, cloud, and container [environments], throughout an application’s development and deployment.”

The company’s approach combines DevOps and security without affecting performance, Williams added. In terms of threats and attacks, Contrast’s technology protects against the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) top 10 vulnerabilities and much more.

“Contrast invented a way to combine multiple different analysis techniques in a single component that measures vulnerabilities and attacks directly from the running application. This provides an almost unfair information advantage that allows Contrast to protect against a broader range of security problems than other tools and to do it more accurately,” Williams added.

Security risks blocked by company product includes Command Injection, Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), Hard-coded Password, Insecure Encryption Algorithms, Java Reflection Injection, NoSQL Injection, SQL Injection, Weak Random Number Generation among many more. “Contrast also includes a powerful rule language that allow definition of both positive (behavior pattern is required) and negative (behavior pattern is disallowed) security rules,” Williams concluded.

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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.

Increase in Ransomware Sales

October 16th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eighty percent view ransomware a moderate or extreme threat

Small fraction of respondents say they will pay ransom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

North Korea Hackers Hit US Companies

October 14th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

North Korean Hackers

October 11th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fast Flux Botnets is a Security Risk

October 8th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Akamai has not given the specifics of the attack.

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

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

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

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

Outsourcing Solution for Skill Gap?

October 5th, 2017

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

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

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

Other findings include –

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

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

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

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

Eight percent believe they need expertise in the cloud.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oracle CEO Promises Autonomous Security Technology

October 2nd, 2017

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

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

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

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

Ellison plans on announcing a new cyber-security service.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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