data security

Ransomware Attack and Phony Websites

November 17th, 2017

ECKAAA

East Central Kansas Area Agency on Aging (ECKAAA) mentioned that they were affected by the ransomware attack.The incident left files encrypted and inaccessible to the company. Cybersecurity company is hired to investigate.

“The ransomware only affected portions of ECKAAA’s server; not every file stored on the server was encrypted,” the statement read. “Although not every file was encrypted, the ransomware perpetrators would have had access to every file stored on the attacked server. Based on its investigation, the company does not believe any data was removed from ECKAAA’s servers.”

Affected information includes names, addresses, and telephone numbers. They also may have contained names, addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and/or Medicaid numbers.

Facility mentioned that they have backups and the services are not hampered. As per the OCR data breach reporting tool, total 8,750 individuals possibly got affected by this incident.

“ECKAAA has also provided education to its workforce regarding ransomware, including, but not limited to, the importance of using robust passwords,” ECKAAA continued. “All passwords were changed following the ransomware incident. ECKAAA also intends to update its cybersecurity policies and procedures as necessary to prevent similar incidents in the future. As of October 30, 2017, no malicious activity has been detected.”

PHONY WEBSITES

The Recovery Institute of the South East, P.A. (RISE Therapeutic Services) mentioned that it was victim of cyber attack.

Organization said that certain individuals may have been contacted by websites that were claiming to be connected to RISE

“As of now we know that it was used to redirect any contact through the website, email, and also the phone number,” RISE stated. “Through Psychology Today it was confirmed that approximately 200 plus calls and 75 plus emails through their site were rerouted to an unauthorized individual who has yet to be identified.”

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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.

Managing Privileged Passwords

November 11th, 2017

Recent survey conducted by One Identity of 913 IT security pros shows that 86 percent of IT security professionals face challenges managing privileged passwords.

As per the One Identity website – “We believe that security is much more than the practice of denial and restriction. That’s why One Identity’s design and integration philosophy is that our solutions must add agility and efficiency to an organization – regardless of size or market – as well as secure its digital assets.”

Other findings of the survey include –

Eighteen percent use a paper logbook for privileged password management

Thirty six percent manage passwords in Excel or another spreadsheet

Twenty two percent are not able to monitor or record activity performed with admin credentials

Forty percent do not change the default admin password

“Over and over again, breaches from hacked privileged accounts have resulted in astronomical mitigation costs, as well as data theft and tarnished brands,” One Identity president and general manager John Milburn said in a statement. “These survey results indicate that there are an alarmingly high percentage of companies that don’t have proper procedures in place.”

LastPass research survey shows that the average security employee is managing 191 passwords.

Twenty six and half percent of businesses has multi-factor authentication to protect their password vaults.

“While we’re seeing that a significant portion of businesses are investing in multi-factor authentication, it is not yet adopted widely enough to compensate for the shortcomings of passwords,” the report states.

Duo Labs conducted survey of 443 individuals has below findings –

Twenty eight percent of respondents use two-factor authentication (2FA)

Fifty six percent of respondents had never heard of it

Forty-five percent of those who use 2FA said they do so on all services that offer it

“This survey underscores the reality that we as a security community still have a long way to go when it comes to educating the everyday person about proper security behaviors in general and 2FA in particular,” the researchers wrote.

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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.

Deception Technology

October 31st, 2017

Symantec’s endpoint security product suite has latest update which uses deception technology to keep devices secured. Deception technology is first step towards this efforts in the industry.

It unveiled Endpoint Security for the Cloud Generation along with this new technology. It is used by the companies to trick hackers which makes them believe that they had gained access to the systems.

“Deception technology is a direct result of Symantec’s innovation strategy paired with more than 15 years of endpoint security expertise,” Sri Sundaralingam, head of product marketing for Enterprise Security Products at Symantec.

The technique makes hackers to waste their efforts, time and energy breaking into fake servers.

“With deception on the endpoint, customers can now utilize the threat intelligence and deception capabilities of the largest security company in the world to expose stealthy attack tactics, delay attackers, and determine attacker intent beyond what’s available through purely network-based deception technologies – all at a scale like no other in the market,” continued Sundaralingam.

SEP 14.1 also had a new add-on entity which is called Hardening. It isolates suspicious activity at applications.  It also provides behavioral analysis and machine learning to identify malware.

Symantec Advanced Threat Protection (ATP): Endpoint 3.0 employs SEP’s endpoint detection and response features combined with threat intelligence and machine learning to stop attacks.

Company also launched Skycure’s AI-enabled mobile threat defense software. Skycure was acquired by Symantec for an undisclosed amount.

“One of the most dangerous assumptions in today’s world is that iOS and other mobile devices that employees bring into the office are safe, but the apps and data on these devices are under increasing attack,” stated Symantec CEO Greg Clark at the time. “We believe that tomorrow’s workforce will be completely mobile and will demand a cyber defense solution that travels with them.”

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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

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.

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 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.

APT33 Attacks US companies

September 29th, 2017

As per the FireEye researchers, Iranian government hacking group is using phishing attacks to target companies in the U.S., Saudi Arabia and South Korea. The group is named as APT33.

In the past year,  the group is able to access to many U.S. organization in the energy sector. It also targeted refining and petrochemicals in South Korean and aviation business in Saudi Arabia.

“We assess the targeting of multiple companies with aviation-related partnerships to Saudi Arabia indicates that APT33 may possibly be looking to gain insights on Saudi Arabia’s military aviation capabilities to enhance Iran’s domestic aviation capabilities or to support Iran’s military and strategic decision-making vis a vis Saudi Arabia,” the researchers wrote.

“Iran has repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to globally leverage its cyber espionage capabilities,” FireEye director of intelligence analysis John Hultquist said in a statement. “Its aggressive use of this tool, combined with shifting geopolitics, underscore the danger that APT33 poses to governments and commercial interests in the Middle East and throughout the world.”

STEALTHbits Technologies CTO Jonathan Sander told eSecurity Planet that this is changing the face of cyber attacks.”When a cyber attack occurs, most still envision some young man in a hoodie or loner in a basement,” he said. “However, most of the bad guys today are professionals working for governments, organized crime, or even private [firms] in countries with lax laws that let cybercrime be a middle-class profession.”

“Organizations tend to focus defense on attacks that would exfiltrate data,” he said. “Many use the common notion that we’ve all been penetrated already as an excuse to only worry about defending against the last stage of most attacks where that data is stolen. When the motivation is destruction, though, the part where the data leaves never happens, and the trap is never sprung.”

Virsec Systems co-founder and COO Ray DeMeo mentioned there is no surprise in such groups. “We’ve seen clear evidence for some time that nation-state funded groups are using systematic, methodical, and innovative techniques to find weaknesses in networks and critical infrastructure systems,” he said.

“Expect ongoing cyber warfare to be the new normal, and it’s critical that all organizations take security much more seriously, improve their detection and protection capabilities, and train all employees to protect their credentials against theft,” DeMeo added.

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Alertsec Endpoint Encrypt is the full disk encryption service that delivers a mobile data protection system for all information stored on laptops used throughout your organization.

SEC Breach Calls for Broader Use of Encryption

September 27th, 2017

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Jay Clayton recently mentioned that software vulnerability in its Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval (EDGAR) system “was exploited and resulted in access to nonpublic information”.

He added it “may have provided the basis for illicit gain through trading.”

Hackers gain access to the system last year but till August 2017 commission determined that the data may have been available for illegal trading.

AsTech Consulting chief security strategist Nathan Wenzler mentioned that hackers can sell non-sensitive data as well. “Many of them are looking for specific types of information which they can leverage as an advantage in business deals, stock trades, investments and other financial activities for huge profits,” he said.

Wenzler added, “It’s imperative that monitoring and detection for the inappropriate use of this kind of data be a standard layer of defense for organizations right alongside patching vulnerabilities, encrypting data and enforcing strong access controls.”

Gabriel Gumbs, vice president of product strategy at STEALTHbits Technologies mentioned that the hackers may have been inspired by other data breach. ”Protecting information that will be made public but has to remain private for some period of time is very difficult to govern,” he said.

“This is not an area most organizations have shown competence in, and for any publicly traded company it is an area that they must be proficient in — but until then, expect this will not be the last such insider trading hack,” he said.

Jason Hart, vice president and CTO for data protection at Gemalto mentioned that stopping such threats is unrealistic goal “A better starting point is for organizations to truly know what they are trying to protect and then putting the right safeguards like encryption in place,” he said. “Of the 1.9 billion data records compromised worldwide in the first half of 2017, less than 1 percent used encryption to render the information useless.”

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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.

Superfish Privacy Claims Settled by Lenovo

September 24th, 2017

PC vendor Lenovo admitted that adware is known as ‘Superfish’ was pre-installed on their system. These PCs were sold in the U.S. Now, Lenovo and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a coalition of 32 state attorneys have settled the case. The FTC claimed that Superfish Adware was violating consumer privacy and filed the legal complaint in 2014.

“Lenovo compromised consumers’ privacy when it pre-loaded software that could access consumers’ sensitive information without adequate notice or consent to its use,” Acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen said in a statement. “This conduct is even more serious because the software compromised online security protections that consumers rely on.”

Earlier Lenovo denied the claim and added that there is no evidence to say that systems have security concerns. In early 2015, company changing it stance admitted that the adware has security risks.

The main issue with Superfish is that it installed a security certificate which allowed – ‘it work as a man-in-the-middle (MiTM) and intercept traffic between the user and the intended location’.

“To date, we are not aware of any actual instances of a third-party exploiting the vulnerabilities to gain access to a user’s communications,” Lenovo stated. “Subsequent to this incident, Lenovo introduced both a policy to limit the amount of pre-installed software it loads on its PCs and comprehensive security and privacy review processes, actions which are largely consistent with the actions we agreed to take in the settlements announced today. “

As per the settlement between two parties, Lenovo mentioned that it will stop misrepresenting preloaded software. It also agreed to implement a comprehensive security program for next 20 years. The program is subject to third-party audit.

Lenovo has agreed to security risks but remains firm that there is no violation of privacy of customers.

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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.