data security

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. 

Cyber Attacks

December 25th, 2017

Austin Manual Therapy mentioned that they suffered data breach due to unauthorized access to its system. As per the reports, limited parts of the system were accessed. There is no data which shows that the attack was also carried on the organization’s core EHR system.

“Despite conducting a comprehensive forensic analysis, we have very little evidence as to what documents or information the attacker was able to access or steal,” Austin Manual Therapy stated. “We know that the attacker was able to access one of our computers and a shared file system.”

Affected information included addresses, phone numbers, occupations, dates of birth, insurance policy information, insurance coverage and eligibility information, charge amounts, dates of service, driver’s license information, diagnosis, health screening information, referring physician information, and full or partial Social Security numbers.

As per the OCR tool, total 1,750 individuals may have been affected.

“While our investigation is substantially complete, it remains ongoing and will likely continue through the end of the year,” Austin Manual explained. “We also have implemented and are continuing to implement additional security measures designed to prevent a recurrence of this type of attack, to quickly identify unusual activity, and to further protect the privacy of your information.”

CA Facility Data Breach

California-based Stanislaus County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) mentioned that it suffered data breach due to a ransomware attack.

“The network has been shut down and isolated from the County-wide network while online services and communication are being provided by other means temporarily, and client care has continued,” read a Stanislaus County statement from December 15, 2017.

Stanislaus County said that it has previously mitigated ransomware attacks, but this time “the particular techniques used in this attack were able to get past the security mechanisms that are in place.”

“All BHRS computers are being held in quarantine to prevent any further infection,” the statement read. “No breech of personal information has been detected at this time.”

Stanislaus County did not mention the affected number of individuals.

BHRS has more than 400 employees and provides services “for about 14,000 adults and children, including mental health services and help with overcoming addictions.”

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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.

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.

Security Budgets After WannaCry, NotPetya Attacks

December 22nd, 2017

AlienVault conducted survey of 233 IT professionals worldwide. The report shows that only 14 percent increased budgets for cyber security after the WannaCry and NotPetya cyber attacks. Only twenty percent were able to apply changes or implement security projects that had previously been put on hold.

Only 16 percent mentioned that their company leadership and boards took interest in security after the attacks.

“WannaCry and NotPetya are generally believe to have marked a turning point in cyber awareness, but the reality on the ground paints a different picture,” AlienVault security advocate Javvad Malik said in a statement. “Destructive malware poses existential threats to companies across all industries and can no longer be ignored.”

“To improve our cyber resilience, corporate strategy needs to be developed that covers how to plan for, detect, mitigate and recover from such destructive attacks,” Malik added.

“The IT security profession remains a very tough place to work, where resilience is the key to success — particularly if you are blamed in the event of your company suffering a security incident,” Malik said.

Twenty percent said that IT advice is now taken seriously after the attacks.

Another survey conducted by Spiceworks shows that thirty two percent hope to look for another job.

Eight one percent mentioned that its critical to have cyber security expertise.

“Although the majority of IT professionals are satisfied with their jobs, many also believe they should be making more money, and will take the initiative to find an employer who is willing to pay them what they’re worth in 2018,” Spiceworks senior technology analyst Peter Tsai said in a statement.

“Many IT professionals are also motivated to change jobs to advance their skills, particularly in cyber security,” Tsai added. “As data breaches and ransomware outbreaks continue to haunt businesses, IT professionals recognize there is high demand for skilled security professionals now, and in the years to come.”

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

Keeper Security Patches Password Protection Flaw

December 19th, 2017

Google Project Zero security researcher Tavis Ormandy sent a email to Keeper Security about a new vulnerability. Company replied to Ormandy and delivered a patch within 24 hours to the users. The security issue is identified as “privileged UI injection into pages”.

“I’ve heard of Keeper, I remember filing a bug a while ago about how they were injecting privileged UI into pages,” Ormandy wrote in a bug report. “I checked and, they’re doing the same thing again with this version.”

The first time Ormandy informed Keeper Security of the privileged UI injection into pages” issue was in August 2016. At that time, Ormandy explained how the flaw could simply enable an attacker to steal passwords from Keeper users.

“This is a complete compromise of Keeper security, allowing any website to steal any password,” Ormandy wrote in his new advisory.

Keeper browser extension has this particular flaw.

“This potential vulnerability requires a Keeper user to be lured to a malicious website while logged into the browser extension, and then fakes user input by using a clickjacking and/or malicious code injection technique to execute privileged code within the browser extension,” Keeper wrote in its advisory.

Google Project Zero has a 90-day disclosure policy to publicly reveal the issue. But Keeper solved the issue in 24 hours.

Keeper browser extension has already been automatically updated.

“Assume that everything is hackable,” Jeff Bohren, Chief Software Engineer at Optimal IdM suggests.

Boren mentioned that users look for a password manager which is cloud based along with two-factor authentication.

“2FA does a good job of allowing only individual account owners access to their login credentials,” Bohren said. “If hackers do succeed in guessing a password, they must still breach additional authentication steps before they can reach important data.”

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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.

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.

DDoS Attack

November 29th, 2017

DDoS attack attempts on organizations was 237 per month or eight attack attempts a day in third quarter of 2017.

“The growing availability of DDoS-for-hire services is causing an explosion of attacks, and puts anyone and everyone into the crosshairs,” Corero CEO Ashley Stephenson said in a statement. “These services have lowered the barriers to entry in terms of both technical competence and price, allowing anyone to systematically attack and attempt to take down a company for less than $100.”

“Alongside this trend is an attacker arms race to infect vulnerable devices, effectively thwarting other attackers from commandeering the device,” Stephenson added. “Cyber criminals try to harness more and more Internet-connected devices to build ever larger botnets. The potential scale and power of IoT botnets has the ability to create Internet chaos and dire results for target victims.”

In second quarter of 2017, the attack leveraged multiple vendors “Often lasting just a few minutes, these quick-fire attacks evade security teams and can sometimes be accompanied by malware and other data exfiltration threats,” Stephenson said.

Sapio Research conducted survey on behalf of CDNetworks. It shows that 88 percent of U.S. respondents are confident in their current DDoS mitigation capabilities. Among them 69 percent got affected by DDoS attack within the past 12 months.

“The results show that most U.S. companies are mindful of the alarming recent rise in DDoS attacks, and are increasing their investment in mitigation technology in response,” CDNetworks Americas managing director Alex Nam said in a statement. “This has understandably led to a confidence in resilience. But when comparing alongside the frequency of DDoS attacks and the likelihood of their success, this confidence tips worryingly into complacency.”

There was increase in attack on gaming services and on platforms offering new financial services such as initial coin offerings (ICOs).

“Entertainment and financial services — businesses that are critically dependent on their continuous availability to users — have always been a favorite target for DDoS attacks,” Kaspersky head of DDoS protection Kirill Ilganaev said in a statement. “For these services, the downtime caused by an attack can result not only in significant financial losses but also reputational risks that could result in an exodus of customers to competitors.”

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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.

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.

Russian Cyber Security Threat

November 25th, 2017

Ciaran Martin, CEO of the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) mentioned that hostile states present a significant cyber threat to the country’s critical infrastructure security.

“I can confirm that Russian interference, seen by the National Cyber Security Centre, has included attacks on the U.K. media, telecommunications and energy sector,” Martin mentioned.

“That is clearly a cause for concern — Russia is seeking to undermine the international system,” he added.

As per the survey by Tripwire, forty seven percent said that water, electricity and gas utilities are the most likely entities to be attacked.

“Before the Internet brought almost universal connectivity, industrial security was very different from what it is today,” Tripwire chief research officer David Meltzer said in a statement. “Traditional industrial and critical infrastructure organizations had no Internet as we know it today. Perimeter defense typically meant physical security — gates, fences, barriers and guards. Nowadays, these systems are Internet-connected, more virtualized in many cases, and more remotely accessible than ever before.”

“There is no dispute that connectivity provides many business advantages, such as centralized management and control, remote engineering access and resource consolidation,” Meltzer added. “However, it’s important to remember that it also brings with it a large number of additional risks, mainly increased attack vectors, exposure of inherently insecure and sometimes obsolete IT systems, and the opportunity for attackers to exploit vulnerabilities that have not been patched.”

Survey conducted by a Ponemon Institute of 377 U.S. professionals shows that there is cyber security issue for oil and gas operations. Only thirty five percent believe that their companies are well equipped.

“The fact that nearly 70 percent of oil and gas companies were hacked in the past year must serve as a call to action,” Siemens USA CEO Judy Marks said in a statement. “As oil and gas producers use digitalization to become safer and more efficient, there is a clear need to bulk up defenses for operational technology, which is even more vulnerable to attacks than the IT environment.”

Nozomi Networks founder and chief product officer Andrea Carcano mentioned that energy sector companies are prone to attack 24/7. “It is essential that critical infrastructure operators take steps to increase the visibility into their ICS networks and deploy new innovations that enable early detection of advanced persistent threats, whoever is making them,” he said.

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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.

Device Theft Incidents

November 20th, 2017

Brevard Physician Associates

Brevard Physician Associates mentioned that it was burglarized which possibly affected health data for 7,976 patients. The incident came to notice when the company saw tripped security alarm. An employee of the company found that three computers were missing.

Affected information included patient names, the names of patients’ insurance providers, the amount charged for the services provided, and the CPT codes of the services provided. However, patient addresses, dates of birth, telephone numbers, Social Security numbers, insurance ID numbers, and financial information were not included.

“We believe that the information contained on the stolen computers presents a minimal risk of future identity theft or financial fraud,” Brevard stated. “All three computers were password protected with strong passwords. Additionally, all of the data from all three computers will be automatically deleted upon their connection to the internet.”

Brevard also mentioned that it has “enhanced the security” at its office. Additional policies are in place to ensure it is “appropriately secured in the future.”

Martinsville Henry County

Martinsville Henry County (MHC) Coalition for Health and Wellness recently suffered data breach at Bassett Family Practice. The incident involved stolen laptop from the Bassett employee’s car.

Facility believe that the thief was after the laptop and not the information. As per the OCR data breach reporting tool, total 5,806 individuals may have been impacted.

Affected information includes patient names, dates of birth, account numbers, identity of providers, and/or details about patient visits with the practice. There is currently no indication that Social Security numbers or financial information was on the device.

“We are currently upgrading our IT security policies, procedures and related equipment to prevent future information from being stored on a laptop in an unencrypted manner,” Bassett said. “Please understand we value our relationship with you and take the security of your personal information very seriously. We have taken immediate steps and we will continue to evaluate our technology, policies and procedures in our efforts to prevent another occurrence such as this from happening in the future.”

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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.