information security

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.

Ransomware Attack and Phony Websites

November 23rd, 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.

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.

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.

GDPR

November 8th, 2017

HyTrust conducted survey of 323 attendees at the VMworld 2017 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. It found that only 21 percent are concerned about GDPR compliance regulations and plan to implement it. Twenty seven percent are concerned but have no plan to implement.

“If you think GDPR desn’t apply to your organization, think again,” HyTrust president and founder Eric Chiu mentioned in a statement.

“Most organizations today are very aware of their security risks, but are not as far along with technology and processes to meet the GDPR compliance requirements, despite a May 2018 deadline that has significant fines for failure to comply,” Chiu added.

Another survey conducted by Carbon Black survey of 120 business decision makers has below findings –

Eighty six percent of respondents mentioned that they are confident in their ability to comply with GDPR requirements

Fifty eight percent are not using effective risk management tools

Survey conducted by Computing Magazine stated that only ten percent have their toolsets for classifying critical data and prioritizing risk to data.

“In order to effectively identify and neutralize data breaches, it’s essential to know what constitutes normal network behaviors versus what is suspicious,” Carbon Black senior director for compliance and governance programs Chris Strand said in a statement.

“Failing to align the right data protection toolsets with people and processes, many organizations are at risk of non-compliance with the GDPR and, more importantly, putting their customers’ information in jeopardy,” Strand added.

Survey conducted by IAPP-EY survey of 548 privacy professionals worldwide shows that fully 95 percent ( 75 percent of whom are located outside the EU) say the GDPR applies to their organization.

“Even though the EU’s GDPR has yet to take effect, organizations the world over are spending money on hiring and promoting privacy staff, training employees on privacy, purchasing technology to help with GDPR compliance, and pushing privacy awareness into every corner of the firm,” the report states.

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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.

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

Breaches in US Financial Service Organizations

October 23rd, 2017

As per the 2017 Thales Data Threat Report, forty two percent of U.S. financial services organizations got affected by data breach. Survey saw participation of 1,100 senior security executives worldwide. The findings are as below:

Twenty four percent of the organizations suffered data breach in last year alone

Nineteen percent suffered data breach in 2016

Eighty-six percent of participants believe they are vulnerable to data threats.

Ninety six percent will use sensitive data in an advanced technology environment

“Data breaches continue to hit the headlines and, as recently illustrated by the Equifax breach, the financial services industry is a prime target for hackers,” Thales e-Security vice president of strategy Peter Galvin said in a statement.

“As digitization continues to transform the industry’s online infrastructures it is critical organizations implement data security solutions that follow the data — wherever it is created, shared or stored,” Galvin added.

A recent survey conducted by ISMG survey of over 250 banking and security leaders found that 38 percent have confidence in threat detection deployed by companies.

“This survey certainly shows that while consumers may shoulder many direct costs and burdens associated with fraud, institutions are also suffering substantially,” NuData Security marketing director Lisa Baergen told eSecurity Planet by email.

“The global uptick in fraud, coupled with ever-increasing amounts of PII available on the black market, makes financial institutions more vulnerable and as a result, their security investments are growing yet their confidence in them isn’t,” Baergen added.

As per Symantec’s Q2 Mobile Threat Intelligence Report: Mobility and Finance found that twenty five percent of mobile devices used by employees at financial services organizations are at risk.

“Since user behavior is such a huge factor in mobile security, user education is one of the most important things an organization can do to… minimize the threat to their organizations through mobile devices,” the report suggests.

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AlertSec ACCESS is a patent pending technology. It is designed to enforce that devices are encrypted before access to a network is granted. Encrypted devices secure your data in case a device is lost or stolen. AlertSec ACCESS checks all computers and smartphones and detects all encryption types.

North Korea Hackers Hit US Companies

October 14th, 2017

FireEye researchers recently mentioned that spear phishing emails were sent to U.S. electric companies which can be traced back to North Korea.

The emails contained fake invitations to a fundraiser. Anyone who opened attachment will get malware.

The researchers mentioned that the attack is early-stage reconnaissance.

“Nation-states often conduct cyber espionage operations to gather intelligence and prepare for contingencies, especially at times of high tension,” the researchers wrote.

Two years ago North Korean hackers has released sensitive data on South Korean nuclear power plants.

Researchers mentioned that North Korea linked hackers are bold and “likely remain committed to pursuing targets in the energy sector, especially in South Korea and among the U.S. and its allies, as a means of deterring potential war or sowing disorder during a time of armed conflict.”

“North Korea linked hackers are among the most profilic nation-state threats, targeting not only the U.S. and South Korea but the global financial system and nations worldwide,” the researchers wrote. “Their motivations vary from economic enrichment to traditional espionage to sabotage, but all share the hallmark of an ascendant cyber power willing to violate international norms with little regard for potential blowback.”

Eddie Habibi, CEO of PAS Global mentioned that with the growing tension between US and North Korea the frequency of the attack will rise.

And while critical infrastructure is as prepared as it has ever been for phishing attacks, Habibi said, it’s not well prepared for the consequences of attacks that provide the attackers with “access to the process control networks where you find systems that control volatile processes or ensure worker safety.”

“These systems are often 15 or 20 years old and consequently do not adhere to today’s secure by design principles,” Habibi said. “They are also not visible to security personnel, which makes detecting and reacting sufficiently to compromise difficult at best. Exploiting these systems can lead to loss of production, shareholder value, and even life under certain circumstances.”

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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.