data breach

Almost One Third U.S. Businesses breached in 2017

December 26th, 2017

Twenty-nine percent of U.S. businesses were affected by a data breach in the 2017. The analysis was done by HSB of 403 senior executives in the U.S., and conducted by Zogby Analytics.

Company reputation gets a hit after the breach says two third of respondents. The amount spent was $5,000 and $50,000 to respond to a breach as per the twenty seven respondents. Thirty  percent said they spent between $50,000 and $100,000.

Fifty one percent mentioned that lack of knowledge is the reason behind the success of the attack.

“The results highlight how closely our economy and society are interconnected digitally,” HSB vice president Timothy Zellman said in a statement. “Almost all of our personal and business data can be accessible on the Internet through online business connections, websites and social media. And that exposes our private information to attacks from hackers and cyber thieves.”

Another survey conducted by Balabit of 222 IT executives and IT security professionals shows that 35 percent of respondents see themselves as the largest internal security risk to networks within their companies. IT staff has higher rights than other users.

The report also has below findings –

Forty seven percent of respondents mentioned that the time and location of login, followed by private activities using corporate devices (41 percent), and biometrics identification characteristics such as keystroke analytics (31 percent) is the most important user data for spotting malicious activity

“As attacks become more sophisticated, targeted attacks and APTs more commonly involve privileged users inside organizations — often via hacks involving stolen credentials,” Balabit security evangelist Csaba Krasznay said in a statement. “Today, IT security professionals’ tough job has become even tougher. It is not enough to keep the bad guys out; security teams must continuously monitor what their own users are doing with their access rights.”

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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. 

Devices and Data Breach

December 24th, 2017

Pennsylvania-based Washington Health System (WHS) Greene mentioned that it suffered data breach due to missing external hard drive.

The device was used for Bone Densitometry machine. Facility mentioned that data of patients who underwent bone density studies at WHS Greene from 2007 until October 11, 2017 may have been present in the hard drive.

Affected information included certain patient information which includes patient names, height, weight, race, and gender information, medical record numbers and health issues may have been included for some patients. Social Security and financial information were not present.

WHS Greene mentioned that there are no signs of information misuse.

“Washington Health System Greene is committed to maintaining the privacy and security of patient information, including regular review and evaluation of the security of all processes in place,” WHS Green stated. “This unprecedented situation has our full attention and please be assured that we have taken and will continue to take steps to ensure that a breach of this nature will not happen in the future.”

As per the OCR data breach reporting tool, total 4,145 individuals may have been affected.

Data sold online in another breach

New Jersey-based Chilton Medical Center recently mentioned that an employee removed a computer hard drive. The person sold it on the internet. Hard drive was sold in the last month.

Patients treated May 1, 2008 to October 15, 2017 may have had their information present on the device.

Affected information included patients’ names, dates of birth, addresses, medical record numbers, allergies, and medications the patient may have received at Chilton Medical Center.

“During our investigation, we determined that the former employee removed other devices and assets from Chilton Medical Center to sell on the internet in violation of policy,” the statement explained. “While we currently have no indication that any of these devices or assets contain patient information, we continue to investigate this incident and, if we determine additional patients are affected, we will notify them as appropriate.”

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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.

ICS Malware

December 16th, 2017

FireEye researchers mentioned that the company’s Mandiant subsidiary is attacked by new industrial control systems(ICS) malware. The hackers shut down plant operations by targeting emergency shutdown systems.

Schneider Electric’s Triconex Safety Instrumented System (SIS) controllers were targeted specifically. The researchers are calling the malware Triton. The operations were shut down during reconnaissance performance by attackers.

“FireEye has not connected this activity to any actor we currently track; however, we assess with moderate confidence that the actor is sponsored by a nation state,” the researchers wrote. “The targeting of critical infrastructure as well as the attacker’s persistence, lack of any clear monetary goal and the technical resources necessary to create the attack framework suggest a well-resourced nation state actor.”

Russian, Iranian, North Korean, U.S. and Israeli state actors may be behind the attacks. “Intrusions of this nature do not necessarily indicate an immediate intent to disrupt targeted systems, and may be preparation for a contingency,” the researchers mentioned.

Phil Neray, vice president of industrial cyber security at CyberX, mentioned that his company believes the targeted plant was in Saudi Arabia, which would likely mean that Iran was responsible for the attack.

“It’s widely believed that Iran was responsible for destructive attacks on Saudi Arabian IT networks in 2012 and more recently in 2017 with Shamoon, which destroyed ordinary PCs,”

Neray said. “This would definitely be an escalation of that threat because now we’re talking about critical infrastructure — but it’s also a logical next step for the adversary.”

Chris Morales, head of security analytics at Vectra, mentioned that an attack like this was all but inevitable. “The connectivity and integration of traditional information technology with operational technology — IT/OT convergence — is increasing exponentially,” he said.

“The IoT and IT/OT convergence is accelerated by the speed of business and the implementation of AI to drive decisions in ICS environments,” Morales added. “In addition, more ICS devices are running commercial operating systems, exposing ICS systems to a wider swath of known vulnerabilities.”

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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.

IoT Security Skills in Energy Companies

December 5th, 2017

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

Other findings include-

Only two percent mentioned that IoT do not create new challenges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IoT Security

November 30th, 2017

Healthcare organizations are now implementing connected medical devices for better services to patients. But healthcare technology leaders are worried about IoT security with connected devices.

Business technology professionals survey in healthcare shows that seventy one percent are skeptical towards IoT devices.

“Emerging technologies have to be embraced,” ISACA CEO Matt Loeb said in a statement. “As the research shows, the reluctance to deploy them is linked to the need to understand and mitigate the risks of doing so. Organizations that implement a strong information and technology governance program will better understand their capabilities, which leads to more effective risk management and increased confidence in deployment of these technologies.”

The survey also mentioned that forty seven percent do not consider their organizations’ head is digitally literate.

“The resounding message from our research is clear: senior leadership needs to invest in increasing its digital fluency,” Loeb said. “Organizations with digitally fluent leadership are more clearly recognizing the benefits and risks of emerging technologies.”

The trend shows that IoT devices are there to stay even there is resistance from senior leadership.

“[IoT] can also be remotely controlled and is highly automated across existing network infrastructure, resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit in addition to reduced human intervention,” researchers stated.

The research team also mentioned that there is variety of sectors and savings due to increasing automation. As per the Deloitte poll, the biggest cyber security challenge is to identify and mitigate potential risks in legacy and connected devices.

“Legacy devices can have outdated operating systems and may be on hospital networks without proper security controls,” said Russell Jones, Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP. “Connected device cybersecurity can start in the early stages of new device development, and should extend throughout the product’s entire lifecycle; but even this can lead to a more challenging procurement process. There is no magic bullet solution.”

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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.

Uber Breach

November 27th, 2017

Uber mentioned that it had covered up a massive data breach of 57 million customers’ and 600,000 drivers’ information in late 2016 by shelling out the hackers a $100,000 ransom.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi mentioned that two hackers “inappropriately accessed user data stored on a third-party cloud-based service that we use.”

Affected information includes 600,000 U.S. drivers’ names and driver’s license numbers, and 57 million global users’ names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers.

“At the time of the incident, we took immediate steps to secure the data and shut down further unauthorized access by the individuals,” Khosrowshahi said. “We subsequently identified the individuals and obtained assurances that the downloaded data had been destroyed. We also implemented security measures to restrict access to and strengthen controls on our cloud-based storage account.”

Uber paid the hackers a $100,000 ransom not to publish the data.

“None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it,” Khosrowshahi said.

“While I can’t erase the past, I can commit on behalf of every Uber employee that we will learn from our mistakes.”

“Breach disclosure is critical to get right, because it can have long lasting effects on the organization and its customers,” SecureAuth chief security architect Stephen Cox said by email.

“To the organization, every breached customer has a financial impact, and long term viability comes into question because of damage to the brand.”

AsTech chief security strategist Nathan Wenzler said the decisions made by Uber’s CISO is shocking after the incident.

“Quite simply, legitimate security professionals know better than this, and the community at large is built upon integrity in all matters,” Wenzler said. “When you act as the front line of defense for an organization, it is imperative that your security team operates in the most honest and forthright manner possible.”

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

Government of Canada Plans to Set CyberSecurity Policy

November 14th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Data Breach at Forever 21

November 12th, 2017

Retailer Forever 21 recently suffered data breach. Affected information includes credit and debit card information at some Forever 21 locations. Third party notified the company about the breach.

“We immediately began an investigation of our payment card systems and engaged a leading security and forensics firm to assist us,” the company mentioned.

Forever 21 has encryption and tokenization solutions. It mentioned that only some point of sale (PoS) devices where affected. The company do not  know the affected location.

Obsidian Security CTO Ben Johnson mentioned that the breach is a reminder that every retailer is a target. “Holiday shoppers should be diligent in monitoring their account activity, and should consider Apple Pay or cash if they are feeling less confident about the security of the retailers’ systems,” he said.

“Retailers should understand that any areas of weakness, such as those few systems without multi-factor authentication or encryption, will eventually find themselves victim of compromise,” Johnson added. “In some ways things are improving on the defensive side, but we cannot forget that the attackers often innovate faster.”

Recent survey by SiteLock shows that there is growing concern for online shopping. The findings are as below –

Twenty seven percent worry about the information being compromised

Sixty-five percent mentioned that they will not return to the website after it got hacked

Fifty two percent say a store  which provides a secure payment network makes them confident

Another survey conducted by Paysafe has below findings –

Fifty nine percent of U.S. consumers believe fraud is an inevitable part of shopping online

Fifty eight percent said that they are willing to accept any security measures needed to eradicate fraud

Thirty nine percent of US businesses believe their customers would prefer increased security

“For years, consumers have had to overcome the apprehension that businesses know too much about them — from shoe sizes to food preferences,” Paysafe CEO Todd Linden said in a statement. “But as the payment world evolves, it is this knowledge that will make individuals more secure.”

“The evolution of big data will make payments smarter and easier and help to redress the balance between security and convenience,” Linden added. “Big data will be the ultimate key to tightening up security at PoS, online and in brick and mortar environments.”

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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.

Ghostwriter AWS Issue

November 2nd, 2017

Skyhigh Networks researchers is warning about “GhostWriter,”. This entity misconfigures Amazon S3 buckets to allow public write access for a malicious third party to launch man-in-the-middle (MiTM) attacks.

“GhostWriter underlines the fact that security is just not the responsibility of the cloud service providers, but also the customer, and often it is a customer misconfiguration that exposes their data to threat,” Skyhigh chief scientist Sekhar Sarukkai wrote in blog.

According to Skyhigh, more than 1,600 S3 buckets get accessed from the enterprise network. Four percent are exposed to GhostWriter. “Skyhigh has identified thousands of such buckets being accessed from enterprise networks and has shared these affected buckets with AWS for remediation,” Sarukkai wrote.

Affected entities are major news sites, leading retailers, popular cloud services and ad networks.

“Bucket owners who store JavaScript or other code should pay particular attention to this issue to ensure that third parties don’t silently overwrite their code for drive-by attacks, Bitcoin mining or other exploits,” Sarukkai added.

This kind of misconfiguration is creating high profile data breaches which includes expose of 4 million Verizon customers’ data and 3 million WWE fans’ contact details.

Another survey conducted by AlgoSec of 450 senior security and network professionals showed that thirty percent of the participants plan to increase public cloud usage.  Forty four percent said that they faced challenges after migrating to public cloud.

AlgoSec director of communications Joanne Godfrey mentioned that it’s essential for organizations to maintain complete visibility”This enables them to better protect the business and fulfill compliance demands, while taking full advantage of the cost savings and agility offered by the hybrid cloud model,” she said.

“Companies of all sizes are adopting increasingly more complex technical solutions as the market democratizes what was previously reserved for software giants,” Threat Stack CSO Sam Bisbee said in a statement. “This has created an opening for internal and external threats as security teams catch up on cloud, containers, and more.”

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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.