Encryption

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.

Google Encryption for Clouds

December 13th, 2017

Largest cloud networks in the planet is operated by Google. It employs multiple techniques to keep the data secure. Company is now providing some insight about the encryption techniques.

Google, like others, uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) to encrypt connections for data in motion from external hosts to the Google Cloud. But Google has its own method for encrypting data connections within its own data centers. It is called Application Layer Transport Security (ALTS).

“We get a lot of customer questions about encryption, so we’re trying to build trust through transparency,” Maya Kaczorowski, Security and Privacy Product Manager at Google, told eSecurityPlanet.

Kaczorowski mentioned that when a user connects to the Google Cloud, by default the connection is encrypted with TLS. Google is making use of TLS 1.3, which is not yet an official IETF standard.

Container vendor Docker has a model similar for its Swarm orchestration technology called mutually authenticated TLS (mTLS).

“TLS uses X.509 certificates, while ALTS uses protocol buffers,” Kaczorowski said.

Kaczorowski said that Protocol Buffers are a language-neutral technology for serializing data.

“It’s not based in hardware, Protocol Buffers are just a way for storing and transmitting information,” Kaczorowski said.

Kaczorowski mentioned that BeyondCorp is all about how Google employees access internal applications and resources.

“With ALTS, what we’re talking about is how every service at Google can authenticate with each other,” Kaczorowski said.

Company is also working on the open-source Istio service mesh project for Kubernetes.

“Istio authentication automatically aims to encrypt data transit between services,” she said. “The concept is similiar to ALTS.”

“For encryption in transit we have encryption at the network layer (Layer 3) and at the application layer (Layer 7),” Kaczorowski said. “With encryption at rest we’re encrypting both at the storage device layer and at the storage system layer.”

“We want to have multiple layers that we can fall back on,” she said.

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

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.

New Google Patch for Android

December 2nd, 2017

Google released possibly its final Android security update for 2017. The latest patch addresses at least 42 different vulnerabilities which includes 11 flaws in the media framework (five are critical remote code execution issues).

“The most severe vulnerability in this section could enable a remote attacker using a specially crafted file to execute arbitrary code within the context of a privileged process,” Google warned in its advisory.

Libmedia and libstagefright components of the Android media framework is patched in every single security update provided by Google since August 2015. Google provided update every single month after the Stagefright vulnerability which was first publicly disclosed at Black Hat USA 2015.

“The state of the union for Android security is strong and I have spent time making sure it stays strong,” Adrian Ludwig said, the man who runs Android security for Google. “It’s not just about building a safe; it’s about building something that can react and respond to security quickly.”

In this new update, the critical remote code execution flaw in the system component is also addressed.

“We’re updating all Nexus devices — the Nexus 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10 and even the Nexus players — and we’re patching for libstagefright,” Ludwig said. “This is the single largest mobile software update the world has ever seen.”

Security support will extend for three years from a time Nexus device appears in the market.

“The industry has looked at recent events and realized that it needs to move fast, and we need to tell people what we’re doing,” Ludwig said.

“The most severe vulnerability in this section could enable a remote attacker using a specially crafted file to execute arbitrary code within the context of a privileged process,” Google warned in its advisory.

Ludwig also mentioned that, “We’re taking an aggressive stance to see if an application is doing something wrong, and we’re working with the developers and the development process to make it right.”

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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.

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.

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.

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.

Funding for Averon

October 25th, 2017

San Francisco-based company Averon recently secured $8.3 million in an Avalon Ventures-led Series A round of funding. The firm is a mobile authentication startup.

Direct Autonomous Authentication (DAA) mobile identity verification standard is the brainchild of Averon. It allows smartphone users seamlessly and securely interact with services and devices. The technology allows users to interact with devices like smart locks which involves no download of dedicated app.

“Averon leverages real-time mobile network signaling and the SIM/eSIM (eUICC) chips already found in the world’s seven billion smartphones, requiring no installation, no apps, and no user involvement whatsoever,” the company explained in an Oct. 24 media advisory. “Working seamlessly in the background, it is the easiest, fastest and most secure way to provide instant, frictionless authentication.”

Wendell Brown, Averion’s CEO mentioned that his company is the solution to large scale breaches in current time.

“As we see in the news every day, cybersecurity breaches continue to grow in size and frequency, and the world is in desperate need of the next generation of online identity authentication,” said Brown, in a statement. “Averon offers a uniquely superior solution that authenticates users while relying on zero personally identifiable data and requiring zero effort on the part of consumers – Averon is the new gold standard in cybersecurity, and we’re rapidly taking it to scale.”

Many cyber security startups are getting funded. The partial list can be mentioned as below who got funding in recent times –

KnowBe4 secured a $30 million Series B round of financing the company

Contrast Security mentioned that it had completed a Series C round worth $30 million

ShiftLeft’s secured $9.3 million

Attivo Networks secured  $21 million Series C round of funding

Duo Security raised $70 million

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

New Funding for Contrast Security

October 20th, 2017

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

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

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

Contrast takes two approaches for security.

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

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

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

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

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