Data theft

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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Current State of IOT

August 30th, 2017

As per the recent reports, a list of IP addresses and login credentials for more than 8,000 telnet-accessible Internet of Things (IoT) devices was posted on Pastebin. GDI Foundation chairman Victor Gevers mentioned that out of 8,233 devices only 144 has different login credentials. He also mentioned that the common credentials are root:[blank] (782 instances), admin:admin (634), root:root (320), admin:default (21), and default:.

Varonis technical evangelist Brian Vecci told that a leak as big as this one opens the door to a wide variety of infections and exploits. “Not only do consumers need to be mindful of what they put on their network and do what they can to secure their devices, but manufacturers have an obligation to make security an essential part of the design with IoT products,” he said.

Vecci said that defaults settings is an open invitation for attackers.

“Device manufacturers need to build better security into the design of their products and services to ensure that even if a consumer doesn’t take the time to customize the device, it’s not accessible and inviting abuse,” Vecci added. “Some manufacturers, for example, are beginning to minimize the risk of devices being hacked by randomizing factory default credentials and disabling remote access by default.”

As per the recent Irdeto survey, 90 percent mentioned that the cyber security should be inbuilt in IOT devices.

“Today’s connected world needs consumers to be vigilant about security threats,” Irdeto director of IoT security Mark Hearn said in a statement. “On the device manufacturer side, there must be a better ‘defense-in-depth’ approach to cyber security that integrates multiple layers of security into a system. This approach, combined with ongoing security updates to protect against the latest threats, is critical to mitigate attacks targeting IoT technologies.”

New IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2017 was introduced in the US to tackle security issues.

“My hope is that this legislation will remedy the obvious market failure that has occurred and encourage device manufacturers to compete on the security of their products,” bill co-sponsor Sen. Mark Warner said at the time.

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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.

Healthcare Industry Most Affected by Data Breach

July 8th, 2017

As per reports, healthcare industry was frequently attacked by cyber hackers. Vectra Networks survey suggests that 164 threats were detected per 1,000 host devices. The education industry has 145 threat detections per 1,000 host devices.

 “The data shows that healthcare and education are consistently targeted and attackers can easily evade perimeter defenses,” the report mentions.

There is a rise of 265 percent in the average number of reconnaissance, lateral movement and exfiltration detections. Also, 333 percent rise was recorded for reconnaissance detections. Finance and technology received below-average threat detection rates mainly due to stronger policies and good response. Media companies have highest rates of exfiltration.

Healthcare industry now has a significant number of IoT.

 “These unsecured devices are easy targets for cybercriminals,” the report mentions.

As per Synopsys survey, sixty percent of manufacturers and 49 percent of HDOs said that usage of mobile devices in hospitals and other healthcare organizations increase data risk. But only 17 percent are employing steps to prevent attacks.

 “The security of medical devices is truly a life or death issue for both device manufacturers and healthcare delivery organizations,” Ponemon Institute chairman and founder Dr. Larry Ponemon said in a statement. “According to the findings of the research, attacks on devices are likely and can put patients at risk. Consequently, it is urgent that the medical device industry makes the security of its devices a high priority.”

Medical devices are difficult to secure as per the eighty percent of respondents.

 “These findings underscore the cyber security gaps that the healthcare industry desperately needs to address to safeguard the wellbeing of patients in an increasingly connected and software-driven world,” Synopsys global director of critical systems security Mike Ahmadi said in a statement.

“The industry needs to undergo a fundamental shift, building security into the software development lifecycle and across the software supply chain to ensure medical devices are not only safe, but also secure,” Ahmadi added.

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

 

Kmart Attacked by Hackers Again

July 2nd, 2017

Kmart suffered another data breach when its server was attacked by hackers.

 “Our Kmart store payment data systems were infected with a form of malicious code that was undetectable by current anti-virus systems and application controls,” a Kmart FAQ on the data breach states. “Once aware of the new malicious code, we quickly removed it and contained the event.”

 Sears Holdings owns Kmart. It has not mentioned the number of affected card holder in the statement. Also, the location impact is also not disclosed. But it mentioned that only card information got breached.

 “All Kmart stores were EMV ‘Chip and Pin’ technology enabled during the time that the breach had occurred and we believe the exposure to cardholder data that can be used to create counterfeit cards is limited,” the company stated. “There is no evidence that kmart.com or Sears customers were impacted nor that debit PIN numbers were compromised.”

 This is the second breach in three years. Security of the card is crucial and online shops are finding it difficult to secure.

 “Consumers should monitor the transactions on any account linked to credit or debit cards they have used in a Kmart store and report any fraudulent transactions to their bank as soon as they are identified,” Capps said. “Given the brisk migration to a chip-and-pin system, we are unlikely to see the stolen credentials used for in-person payments, but they can be used for online transactions. “

 In 2014, Kmart was affected by malware.

 “We will likely find that this attack started with a stolen credential, used to inject the malware into Kmart’s networks,” Nir Polak, CEO of security vendor Exabeam mentioned. “In this modern operating environment, better behavioral analysis — focused on both use of credentials and on the system processes that are spawned from malware — is the best way to detect and shut down these attacks.”

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

IoT Security

June 6th, 2017

The Internet of Things (IoT) is seeing the rapid rise but it seems to repeat the history of technology evolution. The pace of growth is not matched with security requirements. IoT helps automation as well as real-time synchronization of business processes. The implementation helps for precise response in real time.

 “IoT devices assist businesses in real-time responses to supply-and-demand market effects, they empower patients and healthcare professionals to continuously monitor conditions, and they enable electric grid operators to adjust the production, flow, and cost of electricity according to real-time market demands to ensure the most efficient, resilient, and cost-effective solution,” says James Scott, senior fellow at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology, a Washington DC-based cybersecurity think tank.

 Hundreds of companies now provide IoT solutions. But security aspect is lagging behind.

 “As was shown in the Dyn attack, we appear doomed to repeat the mistakes we made with PCs and mobile devices in IoT,” says Tom Byrnes, founder and CTO of ThreatSTOP. “Once again, cost reduction has made security an afterthought, if a consideration at all, with predictably disastrous consequences.”

It is different than other systems as threat involved is higher due to many connection points. As per the Intel, 200 billion IoT devices will be online by 2020.

“Most IoT devices and sensors lack any form of security or security-by-design,” says Scott.

 “Without the layered security of the IoT microcosms, hacktivists can disrupt business operations, cyber-criminals can compromise and ransom pacemakers, and cyber-jihadists or nation-state sponsored threats can compromise and control the grid,” to name just a few of the potential IoT security attack scenarios.

“Every IoT device has inherent vulnerabilities and exploitable weaknesses resulting from a culture that sacrifices security in the design process in favour of meagre savings and in the rush to market,” says Scott. “The overwhelming preponderance of insecure IoT devices in the future will render security an impossibility in the future.”

Most of IoT devices do not have computational power or battery life to have security applications.

“We need to develop cost-effective IoT devices that incorporate security-by-design rather than cheaper and less secure alternatives,” says Scott. “While that may save a few dollars in the short-term, it puts the public and critical infrastructure at risk of losing millions of dollars and valuable data in the long-term.” 

Also, there is a lack of platform standards.  

“With old devices lasting longer than ever before, there are many devices currently in use that do not support new standards,” says Sam Rehman, Chief Technology Officer of Arxan. “Hackers will always see legacy devices as a prime choice of the entry.”

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

Verizon Survey

May 5th, 2017

Verizon mentioned that increase in the propriety research, prototypes, and amounts of confidential personal data is the major factor for the rise in the phishing attack. It also mentioned that there is an increase in 50 percent in the attacks last year.

Almost 95% of the attacks include the phishing technique of software installation on the user device. There is also rise in getting the information by pretending someone else. These are called pretexting attacks. Eighty-eight percent of pretexting attacks originated from emails.

Many smaller organizations also suffered a data breach. Sixty-one percent of breach occurred at the companies having less than 1000 employees.

“Cyber-attacks targeting the human factor are still a major issue,” Verizon Enterprise Solutions Global Security Services Executive Director Bryan Sartin said in a statement. “Cybercriminals concentrate on four key drivers of human behaviour to encourage individuals to disclose information: eagerness, distraction, curiosity and uncertainty. And as our report shows, it is working, with a significant increase in both phishing and pretexting this year.”

Verizon mentioned that three quarters of the breaches was caused by outsider. Almost 51% involves criminal groups.

Finance sector was the major area where attacker focused. Almost 24% attacks counted for this sector. Healthcare involves 15% of data breaches.

“The cybercrime data for each industry varies dramatically,” Sartin explained. “It is only by understanding the fundamental workings of each vertical that you can appreciate the cyber security challenges they face and recommend appropriate actions.”

Survey also found out that 73% percent of the attacks are financially motivated.

“Social engineering is a common means for cybercriminals to establish a foothold,” report authors warned. “And employees are making this easy by using easy-to-guess passwords. Users, and even IT departments are even often guilty of not changing the default passwords that devices come with, and can easily be looked up online.”

The report author at Verizon mentioned that encryption and two-factor authentication also help to limit the damage.

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Alertsec helps you comply with HIPAA, PCI and SOX requirements. The implemented encryption is powered by CheckPoint and has the highest security certifications: FIPS 140-2, Common Criteria EAL4 and BITS.

Hacking of Amazon third-party sellers’ accounts

April 16th, 2017

Hackers use passwords for high-profile breaches to compromise Amazon third-party sellers’ accounts. The attackers stole tens of thousands of dollars from sellers’ accounts. They also posted nonexistent items for sale in order to get more funds.

The incident has affected two million seller accounts on Amazon.com account which counts for more than half of its sales. As per the reports, over 100,000 sellers earn more than $100,000 a year.

Amazon seller Margina Dennis told NBC News about the fraud. She got 100 emails from customers. They were complaining of not getting a Nintendo Switch. The product was uploaded on site through her account by hacker. They also changed the accounts password.

An Amazon spokesman said “There have always been bad actors in the world; however, as fraudsters get smarter so do we. Amazon is constantly innovating on behalf of customers and sellers to ensure their information is secure and that they can buy and sell with confidence on Amazon.com.”

Third-Party Risk

CyberGRX CEO Fred Kneip mentioned that hackers are targeting Amazon’s third-party ecosystem for financial gain.

“Amazon is a high-profile example of how increasingly connected businesses have become, but organizations across the world in every industry are undergoing a similar transformation as outsourcing, globalization and the digitization of business expand their digital ecosystems exponentially,” he said.

“Whether it’s one of the world’s largest retailers or a small business, companies need to approach third-party cyber risk as a real threat to their business that needs to be continuously managed,” Kneip added.

AlienVault security advocate Javvad Malik mentioned that third party vendors should look for their own security.

“It is therefore, important that all companies of all sizes have at least a basic level of threat detection controls in place that can alert when unexpected changes occur, or when systems start behaving in an unusual manner,” he said.

“Compromised credentials are the leading attack vectors in cyber breaches, as hackers target networks through trusted third-party suppliers and contractors who likely have less rigorous security than the ultimate target,” Centrify senior director of products and marketing Corey Williams said.

“This certainly won’t be the last time we see third parties being hacked — organizations need to up the security stakes with multi-factor authentication, which requires more than one method of authentication to verify the user’s identity for a login or other transaction, in order to stop the use of stolen credentials,” Williams added.

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

Keeping sensitive information from leaks

April 11th, 2017

Today companies needs to keep the data very secure due to need of protecting corporate data and  also regulations which require consumer data to be protected. EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are increasing the fines for non compliance. It is daunting task for companies to comply with regulations.

“I can see the difference from before GDPR and after GDPR,” he said of companies scrambling to shore up data leaks. “Even if I have a tiny office somewhere, I need to check for confidential data.” And automating this scrutiny is the only way to effectively manage it.” said Angel Serrano, senior manager of advanced risk and compliance analytics at PwC UK in London.

What is DLP?

ISACA mention it “data leak prevention”.

Gartner calls it “data loss protection” or “data loss prevention”.

It prevents unauthorized users from sending sensitive data.

“DLP is not one thing, like a tomato,” GBT Technologies co-founder Uzi Yair said, referring to GBT’s enterprise suite of products. In addition to more traditional practices such as scanning endpoints, network and storage as well as policy management and workflow tools, it includes an information rights management (IRM) policy server that applies file-level control over who has access to what, where – it might be solely on-premises – and when.

Recent reports on DLP has below highlights:

  • An average of 20 data loss incidents occur every day all around the world
  • Eighty three percent of organisations have security solutions but still thirty three percent suffer from data loss
  • DLP detects incidents and has regular expressions, dictionary-based rules, and unstructured data for breach detection.
  • Many facilities use DLP only for email instead of full business applications

DLP takes two forms:

  • Agent software for desktops and servers, physical and virtual appliances for monitoring networks and agents, or soft appliances for data discovery
  • Integrated DLP products that may offer more limited functionality

“All these web applications like Google Drive and Office 365 are integrating with other satellite applications,” said Krishna Narayanaswamy, founder and chief scientist at Netskope.” Salesforce uses Google Drive as a place to store files. DocuSign can put documents in Google Drive. You need to be at all the points where data is going into these applications. You need to be able to inspect that data at rest and determine who uploaded that data. Also inspect and apply policies to outgoing email.”

Many companies do not use new ways.

“The new generation considers email a dinosaur. They go to social media – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook – you have to cover those as well. More and more communication is coming via SSL, and that’s a big blank spot that many DLP vendors have not considered,” Narayanaswamy said.

“When you look at the web, there are many reasons for sending data from inside to the outside,” Narayanaswamy said. “Modern applications constantly post information about how users are using the application, response times, and so forth, to improve user experience. When you look at every post transaction, there’s a potential for many false positives,” which have been the bane of DLP.

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Alertsec helps you comply with HIPAA, PCI and SOX requirements. The implemented encryption is powered by CheckPoint and has the highest security certifications: FIPS 140-2, Common Criteria EAL4 and BITS.

Ransomeware attack at ABCD

April 8th, 2017

ABCD Pediatrics recently suffered ransomware attack. According to the statement, a virus was inserted to gain access to the healthcare organization’s servers. Patient data was encrypted in the process. Facility contacted IT personnel to take all servers offline. It is conducting detailed analysis.

Experts came to conclusion that this particular type of virus has likely not removed the information from the server.  Facility also mentioned that user accounts may have been accessed through it’s network. Affected information includes names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, insurance billing information, medical records, and lab reports.

As per the OCR data breach reporting tool, approximately 55,447 patients may have been affected. ABCD has successfully removed the virus from the system. Corrupted data was also removed from its servers. Secure backup of the facility is not affected and thus used to restore all impacted data. It also mentioned that no PHI was lost or destroyed in the incident.

“Also, please note that ABCD never received any ransom demands or other communications from unknown persons,” ABCD stated. “However, ABCD remains concerned because it discovered user logs indicating that computer programs or persons may have been on the server for a limited period of time.”

Facility has upgraded it cyber security monitoring program to stop future incidents. Call centre is setup for the affected patients.

“Patients also can place a fraud alert on their credit files with the three major credit reporting agencies. A fraud alert is a consumer statement added to one’s credit report. The fraud alert signals creditors to take additional steps to verify one’s identity prior to granting credit. This service can make it more difficult for someone to get credit in one’s name, though it may also delay one’s ability to obtain credit while the agency verifies identity.”

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

Data breach trends in 2016

April 5th, 2017

As per the IBM report, data breach increased 566 percent in 2016 from 600 million to more than 4 billion. The report also mentioned that healthcare in no longer the most attacked sector. Most of the attack was carried out on financial services industry.

In 2016, 12 million records were affected in healthcare. In previous year, the breach was 100 million records which counts to eighty eight percent drop. IBM surveyed 8000 security clients in 100 countries.

IBM Security Vice President of Threat Intelligence Caleb Barlow mentioned that the cyber attacks was carried out with innovative techniques.

“While the volume of records compromised last year reached historic highs, we see this shift to unstructured data as a seminal moment,” Barlow said in a statement. “The value of structured data to cyber-criminals is beginning to wane as the supply outstrips the demand. Unstructured data is big-game hunting for hackers and we expect to see them monetize it this year in new ways.”

IBM mentioned that for ransomware attacks, 70 percent of the companies paid more that $10,000 to regain the access to data. According to the FBI, cyber-criminals were paid $209 million in first three months of 2016.

Ransomware attacks are on the rise with 400 percent increase. In the coming time healthcare will do many reforms which includes increase in internet of things (IoT) technology. This will increase the attacks.

“Retail and financial services have battened down their hatches,” IDC Health Insights Research President Lynne Dunbrack told HealthITSecurity.com in a 2016 interview. “Now the cyber criminals might still be nipping at those heels, but they are looking at other targets, healthcare being one of them.”

CynergisTek Vice President Dan Berger mentioned that attacks against healthcare are carried out with sophistication.

“The dramatic increase in hacking attacks in 2016, coupled with the large number of patient records compromised in those incidents, points to a pressing need for providers to take a much more proactive and comprehensive approach to protecting their information assets in 2017 and beyond,” Berger stated.

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