Category Archives: Data Breach

MageCart Hacked Customers’ In NewEgg Credit Card Data Breach

The infamous cyber gang Magecart seems unstoppable. The gang has been around for quite a few years. However, this year,

MageCart Hacked Customers’ In NewEgg Credit Card Data Breach on Latest Hacking News.

Magecart’s Next Attack Resulted In ABS-CBN Data Breach

We’ve been hearing about the malicious attacks by Magecart attacks targeting multiple firms. After British Airways and Feedify, Magecart’s next

Magecart’s Next Attack Resulted In ABS-CBN Data Breach on Latest Hacking News.

UK Regulator Fines Equifax £500,000 Over 2017 Data Breach

Atlanta-based consumer credit reporting agency Equifax has been issued a £500,000 fine by the UK's privacy watchdog for its last year's massive data breach that exposed personal and financial data of hundreds of millions of its customers. Yes, £500,000—that's the maximum fine allowed by the UK's Data Protection Act 1998, though the penalty is apparently a small figure for a $16 billion

HOTforSecurity: Equifax fined £500,000 for ginormous 2017 breach

More than a year after hackers breached credit reporting agency Equifax to steal 146 million customer records, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued the company with a £500,000 fine – a small penalty for a such a monumental blunder.

You might wonder why the UK and not the US (where Equifax is based) has fined the agency. The answer comes in the third paragraph of the ICO’s press release, where it is mentioned that, “although the information systems in the US were compromised, Equifax Ltd was responsible for the personal information of its UK customers.”

It was still the US parent company that processed UK customer data, but the UK arm (Equifax Ltd.) failed to take appropriate steps to ensure Equifax Inc was protecting the information, hence the fine.

The investigation was carried out under the Data Protection Act (DPA) from 1998, which the GDPR replaced this year. However, since the breach occurred before GDPR went into effect, the fine was issued under the older legislation.

Under the DPA, Equifax reportedly contravened five out of eight data protection principles, including failure to secure personal data, poor retention practices, and lack of legal basis for international transfers of UK citizens’ data.

“The loss of personal information, particularly where there is the potential for financial fraud, is not only upsetting to customers, it undermines consumer trust in digital commerce,” said Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner. “This is compounded when the company is a global firm whose business relies on personal data.”

“We are determined to look after UK citizens’ information wherever it is held. Equifax Ltd has received the highest fine possible under the 1998 legislation because of the number of victims, the type of data at risk and because it has no excuse for failing to adhere to its own policies and controls as well as the law,” added Denham.



HOTforSecurity

Equifax fined £500,000 for ginormous 2017 breach

More than a year after hackers breached credit reporting agency Equifax to steal 146 million customer records, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued the company with a £500,000 fine – a small penalty for a such a monumental blunder.

You might wonder why the UK and not the US (where Equifax is based) has fined the agency. The answer comes in the third paragraph of the ICO’s press release, where it is mentioned that, “although the information systems in the US were compromised, Equifax Ltd was responsible for the personal information of its UK customers.”

It was still the US parent company that processed UK customer data, but the UK arm (Equifax Ltd.) failed to take appropriate steps to ensure Equifax Inc was protecting the information, hence the fine.

The investigation was carried out under the Data Protection Act (DPA) from 1998, which the GDPR replaced this year. However, since the breach occurred before GDPR went into effect, the fine was issued under the older legislation.

Under the DPA, Equifax reportedly contravened five out of eight data protection principles, including failure to secure personal data, poor retention practices, and lack of legal basis for international transfers of UK citizens’ data.

“The loss of personal information, particularly where there is the potential for financial fraud, is not only upsetting to customers, it undermines consumer trust in digital commerce,” said Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner. “This is compounded when the company is a global firm whose business relies on personal data.”

“We are determined to look after UK citizens’ information wherever it is held. Equifax Ltd has received the highest fine possible under the 1998 legislation because of the number of victims, the type of data at risk and because it has no excuse for failing to adhere to its own policies and controls as well as the law,” added Denham.

7GB of Medical Data Publicly Exposed Thanks to Misconfigured AWS S3 Bucket

A misconfigured AWS S3 bucket belonging to Medcall Healthcare Advisors exposed sensitive patient records as well as confidential doctor-patient audio discussions. For some reason, the story about the misconfigured AWS S3 bucket keeps repeating itself. Verizon, the Pentagon, Toyota, Tesla and the NSA are among the companies that have fallen victim to the same data breach.

In this case, the data breach was detected on August 24, 2018 by risk specialists from cyber resilience company UpGuard. They reported that as much as 7 gigabytes of data from 181 US-based companies had now been compromised. Medical information including personally identifiable information, sickness descriptions, phone recordings, employment history, the Social Security Numbers of 3000 people and injury forms in pdf could easily be accessed used for a number of illicit activities such as identity theft, fraud or blackmail.

“The bucket was publicly writable, as was the ACL permission set, which had an “Everyone – Full Control” statement,” reads their blog.

On August 30, Medcall CEO Randy Baker was informed about the vulnerability and the bucket was closed immediately.

“MedCall Advisors is a comprehensive tele-emergent care medical service utilizing technology to immediately connect anyone experiencing a medical event with a physician Board Certified in Emergency Medicine. Plan participants are able to access physicians through multiple mediums. Landline calls, smart phones and computers provide both audio and video consultations,” says their official website,

The companies affected are part of various industries, including transportation, school districts and large franchise chains such as KFC and Piggly Wiggly.

ICO to Fine Equifax £500,000 for 2017 Data Breach

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) of the United Kingdom announced it will fine Equifax £500,000 for a data breach that occurred in 2017. In a monetary penalty notice filed on 19 September, the ICO revealed its decision to impose the maximum fine specified in section 55A of the Data Protection Act 1998 on Equifax. The […]… Read More

The post ICO to Fine Equifax £500,000 for 2017 Data Breach appeared first on The State of Security.

A Smarter Approach to Security Will Reduce the Risk of Malware

Despite the cybersecurity industry advancing at a promising rate, malware continues to plague organizations. In fact, it was found that the majority of data breaches have happened after a malware infected attachment

The post A Smarter Approach to Security Will Reduce the Risk of Malware appeared first on The Cyber Security Place.

Security Affairs: US State Department confirms data breach to unclassified email system

The US State Department confirmed that hackers breached one of its email systems, the attack potentially exposed personal information of some of its employees.

The incident seems to have affected less than 1% of employee inboxes, 600-700 employees out of 69,000 people.

“The Department recently detected activity of concern in its unclassified email system, affecting less than 1 per cent of employee inboxes. Like any large organization with a global presence, we know the Department is a constant target for cyber attacks,”  states the US State Department.

“We have not detected activity of concern in the Department’s classified email system. We determined that certain employees’ personally identifiable information (PII) may have been exposed. We have already notified those employees.”

The security breach affected an unclassified email system at the State Department, the news of the hack came to light after Politico obtained a “Sensitive but Unclassified” notice about the incident.

“This is an ongoing investigation, and we are working with partner agencies, as well as the private sector service provider, to conduct a full assessment.” a State Department spokesperson told Politico.

“We will reach out to any additional impacted employees as needed.”

After the Agency noticed the “suspicious activity” in its email system notified the incident to a number of employees whose personal information may have been compromised.

US State Department didn’t reveal which kind of data had been accessed by attackers, at the time of writing we only know that no classified information had been exposed.

The Agency claimed it took steps to secure its system, and it is offering three years of credit and identity theft monitoring to the affected employees.

A group of senators wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week raising concerns that the department did not meet federal standards for cybersecurity and questioning its resilience to cyber attacks.

“Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) asked Pompeo for an update on what the State Department has done to address its “high risk” designation, and how many cyberattacks the department had been subject to abroad in the last three years.”  reported TheHill.

“Pompeo was asked to respond by Oct. 12.”

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – US State Department, Data Breach)

The post US State Department confirms data breach to unclassified email system appeared first on Security Affairs.



Security Affairs

US State Department confirms data breach to unclassified email system

The US State Department confirmed that hackers breached one of its email systems, the attack potentially exposed personal information of some of its employees.

The incident seems to have affected less than 1% of employee inboxes, 600-700 employees out of 69,000 people.

“The Department recently detected activity of concern in its unclassified email system, affecting less than 1 per cent of employee inboxes. Like any large organization with a global presence, we know the Department is a constant target for cyber attacks,”  states the US State Department.

“We have not detected activity of concern in the Department’s classified email system. We determined that certain employees’ personally identifiable information (PII) may have been exposed. We have already notified those employees.”

The security breach affected an unclassified email system at the State Department, the news of the hack came to light after Politico obtained a “Sensitive but Unclassified” notice about the incident.

“This is an ongoing investigation, and we are working with partner agencies, as well as the private sector service provider, to conduct a full assessment.” a State Department spokesperson told Politico.

“We will reach out to any additional impacted employees as needed.”

After the Agency noticed the “suspicious activity” in its email system notified the incident to a number of employees whose personal information may have been compromised.

US State Department didn’t reveal which kind of data had been accessed by attackers, at the time of writing we only know that no classified information had been exposed.

The Agency claimed it took steps to secure its system, and it is offering three years of credit and identity theft monitoring to the affected employees.

A group of senators wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week raising concerns that the department did not meet federal standards for cybersecurity and questioning its resilience to cyber attacks.

“Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) asked Pompeo for an update on what the State Department has done to address its “high risk” designation, and how many cyberattacks the department had been subject to abroad in the last three years.”  reported TheHill.

“Pompeo was asked to respond by Oct. 12.”

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – US State Department, Data Breach)

The post US State Department confirms data breach to unclassified email system appeared first on Security Affairs.

State Department Email Breach Exposed Personal Data Of Employees

Data breaches are not unusual in this day and age. In fact, the frequency of such incidents makes them look

State Department Email Breach Exposed Personal Data Of Employees on Latest Hacking News.

Smashing Security #096: Bribing Amazon staff, and blinking deepfakes

Ss episode 96 thumb

Amazon staff are being bribed to delete negative reviews and leak data, deepfakes are getting more dangerous, an update on John McAfee’s bitcoin bet, and our guest gets a shock…

All this and more is discussed in the latest edition of the award-winning “Smashing Security” podcast by computer security veterans Graham Cluley and Carole Theriault, joined this week (for a while at least) by David Bisson.

Hackers Steal Customers’ Credit Cards From Newegg Electronics Retailer

The notorious hacking group behind the Ticketmaster and British Airways data breaches has now victimized popular computer hardware and consumer electronics retailer Newegg. Magecart hacking group managed to infiltrate the Newegg website and steal the credit card details of all customers who entered their payment card information between August 14 and September 18, 2018, according to a joint

Radware Blog: Millennials and Cybersecurity: Understanding the Value of Personal Data

From British Airways to Uber, recent data breaches have shown how valuable our data is to cybercriminals – and the lengths to which they will go to access it. The size and impact of these breaches has meant that topics once reserved for tech experts and IT personnel have transitioned into a more mainstream conversation. […]

The post Millennials and Cybersecurity: Understanding the Value of Personal Data appeared first on Radware Blog.



Radware Blog

Keeping Your Personal Information Safe

By Vasilii Chekalov EveryCloud, According to a study by Statista in March of 2018, 63% of respondents expressed concern that they would be hacked in the next five years. 60%

The post Keeping Your Personal Information Safe appeared first on The Cyber Security Place.

State Department Says Some Employee Info Possibly Exposed in Security Incident

The U.S. State Department said that some employees’ information might have been exposed in a recent security incident. In a notice shared by Politico, the State Department disclosed that “activity of concern” on an email system might have exposed some employees’ personally identifiable information (PII). IT personnel inside the Department determined that the activity affected […]… Read More

The post State Department Says Some Employee Info Possibly Exposed in Security Incident appeared first on The State of Security.

Data breaches make companies underperform the market in the long run

While the share prices of companies that experienced a sizeable/huge data breach suffer just a temporary hit, in the long term breached companies underperformed the market, an analysis by consumer tech product review and comparison site Comparitech has shown. This is the site’s second annual analysis into the share prices and overall performance of 24 companies that are listed on the New York Stock Exchange and have suffered a data breach in the last ten … More

The post Data breaches make companies underperform the market in the long run appeared first on Help Net Security.

E Hacking News – Latest Hacker News and IT Security News: 42 Million Emails And Passwords Uploaded To A Free, Public Hosting Service

 

A database comprising of a collection of a total number of 42 million records was uploaded on an anonymous file hosting service kayo.moe. recently. The collection included unique email addresses and plain text passwords alongside partial credit card data.

Troy Hunt, Australian security researcher and creator of the Have I Been Pwned data breach index site, was requested to analyze and check whether it was the aftereffect of an obscure data breach. He could determine that more than 91% of the passwords in the dataset were at that point already accessible in the Have I Been Pwned collection and that the filenames in the said collection don't point to a specific source in light of the fact that there is no single example for the breaches they showed up in.

In light of the format of the data, the list are in all probability expected for credential stuffing attacks, which consolidate into a single list cracked passwords and email addresses and run them consequently against different online services to hijack the user accounts that match them.

Sample of data from lists sent to Hunt

The reason for the utilization of the credential stuffing attacks lies behind the fact that these attacks, while exploiting the users, for convenience are probably going to reuse those credentials on various other sites.

"When I pulled the email addresses out of the file, I found almost 42M unique values. I took a sample set and found about 89% of them were already in HIBP which meant there was a significant amount of data I've never seen before.” Hunter wrote on a blog post.

The database contained an overall of 755 documents totalling 1.8GB.

Users are constantly encouraged though to utilize solid as well as diverse passwords for various accounts. Continuously empower multifaceted validation.



E Hacking News - Latest Hacker News and IT Security News

42 Million Emails And Passwords Uploaded To A Free, Public Hosting Service

 

A database comprising of a collection of a total number of 42 million records was uploaded on an anonymous file hosting service kayo.moe. recently. The collection included unique email addresses and plain text passwords alongside partial credit card data.

Troy Hunt, Australian security researcher and creator of the Have I Been Pwned data breach index site, was requested to analyze and check whether it was the aftereffect of an obscure data breach. He could determine that more than 91% of the passwords in the dataset were at that point already accessible in the Have I Been Pwned collection and that the filenames in the said collection don't point to a specific source in light of the fact that there is no single example for the breaches they showed up in.

In light of the format of the data, the list are in all probability expected for credential stuffing attacks, which consolidate into a single list cracked passwords and email addresses and run them consequently against different online services to hijack the user accounts that match them.

Sample of data from lists sent to Hunt

The reason for the utilization of the credential stuffing attacks lies behind the fact that these attacks, while exploiting the users, for convenience are probably going to reuse those credentials on various other sites.

"When I pulled the email addresses out of the file, I found almost 42M unique values. I took a sample set and found about 89% of them were already in HIBP which meant there was a significant amount of data I've never seen before.” Hunter wrote on a blog post.

The database contained an overall of 755 documents totalling 1.8GB.

Users are constantly encouraged though to utilize solid as well as diverse passwords for various accounts. Continuously empower multifaceted validation.

Operator at kayo.moe found a 42M Record Credential Stuffing Data ready to use

Operator at kayo.moe found a 42M Record  Credential Stuffing Data containing email addresses, plain text passwords, and partial credit card info.

A huge archive containing email addresses, plain text passwords, and partial credit card data has been found on a free anonymous hosting service, Kayo.moe.

The operator of the service shared the file with the popular expert Troy Hunt who operates the Have I Been Pwned data breach notification service asking him to check the source of the huge trove of data.

The data is not related to a data breach of kayo.moe, the platform was not impacted by any incident.

The database shared by Kayo includes over a total of 755 files totaling 1.8GB.

According to Hunt, the data in the archive were collected for credential stuffing attacks, typically hackers obtain data from multiple breaches then combine them into a single unified list.

The attackers were likely planning to run them automatically against multiple online services and compromise user accounts.

Roughly 89% of the records in a sample set analyzed by Hunt were already in the HIBP archive, this means that the archive anyway contains a huge quantity of data that were not present.

“When I pulled the email addresses out of the file, I found almost 42M unique values. I took a sample set and found about 89% of them were already in HIBP which meant there was a significant amount of data I’ve never seen before. (Later, after loading the entire data set, that figure went up to 93%.),” Hunt wrote a blog post.

“There was no single pattern for the breaches they appeared in and the only noteworthy thing that stood out was a high hit rate against numeric email address aliases from Facebook also seen in the (most likely fabricated) Badoo incident. Inverting that number and pro-rata’ing to the entire data set, I’d never seen more than 4M of the addresses. So I loaded the data.”

Credential Stuffing Data

 

“The data also contained a variety of other files; some with logs, some with partial credit card data and some with Spotify details.” added Hunt. “This doesn’t indicate a Spotify breach, however, as I consistently see pastes implying a breach yet every time I’ve delved into it, it’s always come back to account takeover via password reused.”

To avoid being vulnerable to credential stuffing attacks the best defense is to use different credentials for each web service we use. Don’t reuse passwords!

Always use a two-factor authentication mechanism when implemented by the service we access to, and use strong password that can be generated by password manager applications.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – credential stuffing attacks, hacking)

The post Operator at kayo.moe found a 42M Record Credential Stuffing Data ready to use appeared first on Security Affairs.

Veeam mishandles Own Data, exposes 440M Customer E-mails

Data-management Veeam found itself in need of some self-help after mismanaging its own data with a misconfigured server that exposed more than 440 million e-mail addresses and other types of customer information. Security researcher Bob Diachenko discovered that a MongoDB server operated by Veeam was left wide open and searchable for some days in...

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Smashing Security #095: British Airways hack, Mac apps steal browser history, and one person has 285,000 texts leaked

Smashing Security #095: British Airways hack, Mac apps steal browser history, and one person has 285,000 texts leaked

Malicious script is being blamed for the British Airways hack, Trend Micro’s apps are booted out of the Mac App Store for snaffling private data, and Paul Manafort’s daughter wants Twitter to remove a link.

All this and more is discussed in the latest edition of the award-winning “Smashing Security” podcast by computer security veterans Graham Cluley and Carole Theriault, joined this week by David Emm of Kaspersky Lab.

Veeam Leaks 200 GB Customer Database, Goldmine for Phishers

A database containing 200 gigabytes of customer data, estimated to harbor around 445 million records, has been exposed online by backup and recovery company Veeam, thanks to an improperly secured server hosted on Amazon.

The database apparently contained names, email address, IP addresses, referrer URL addresses, customer organization size, and much more. Security researcher Bob Diachenko, who found and reported the findings, believes this information could be extremely valuable to spammers conducting phishing campaigns, as no sensitive financial information seems to have been bundled in the database.goldmine

“Even taking into account the non-sensitivity of data, the public availability of such large, structured and targeted dataset online could become a real treasure chest for spammers and phishers,” wrote Diachenko. “It is also a big luck that database was not hit by a new wave of ransomware attacks which have been specifically targeting MongoDBs (with much more extortion amount demand than it was last year).”

The IP address of the Amazon server seems to have been indexed by the Shodan search engine, known to be used to identify poorly secured internet-connected devices, starting August 31st. Although the researcher came across it on September 5th, it wasn’t until September 9th that the server seems to have been quietly pulled offline after repeated notifications by Diachenko and TechCrunch’s Zack Whittaker.

The entire database apparently contained information dating from 2013 all the way to 2017, and it was potentially used by Veeams marketing infrastructure.

“Based on the collection names and analysis of data in the database, my first guess was that database originated from Marketo server, so I also sent security notifications to their email addresses,” wrote Diachenko. “However, upon further analysis I came to conclusion that data was part of Veeam marketing server infrastructure, rather than Marketo.”

A Veeam spokesperson, Heidi Kroft, recently stated that “We will continue to conduct a deeper investigation and we will take appropriate actions based on our findings.”

British Airways Hack Update: Caused by Injected Script & PCI DSS Non-Compliance is Suspected

On Friday (7th September 2018), British Airways disclosed between 21st August 2018 and 5th September 2018, 380,000 BA customer's payment card transactions were compromised by a third party through its website and mobile app. This data included the customer's full name, email address, debit\credit card 16 digit number (PAN), expiry date and card security code i.e. CVV, CV2

Details of how the hack was orchestrated have now come to light. In a blog post RiskIQ researchers have claimed to have found evidence that a web-based card skimmer script was injected into the BA website, very similar to the approach used by the Magecard group, who are believed to be behind a similar attack against the Ticketmaster website recently. Web-based card skimmer script attacks have been occurring since 2015.

In this case, once the customer has entered their payment card details and then submits the payment either on a PC or on a touchscreen device, the malicious script executes and captures their payment card data, sending it to a virtual (VPS) server hosted in Romania. The server was hosted on a domain called baways.com and was certified (https) by Comodo to make it appear legit within the website html (code). The server domain was registered 6 days before the breach started, this obviously went undetected by BA's security, perhaps the domain registration could have been picked up by a threat intelligence service.

Other Researchers have also claimed the BA website wasn't PCI DSS compliant. Marcus Greenwood found files loaded from 7 external domains onto the BA website, and crucially said the BA payment page wasn't isolating the card payment entry within an iframe, which would prevent any third-party scripts (and XSS attacks) from being able to read the payment card form fields. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is required by all organisations which accept, process, store and/or transmit debit and credit cards.

Here is the advice from CEO of global cybersecurity specialist SonicWall, Bill Conner:

"Organizations and government entities carry a responsibility to consumers and civilians alike to guard their most valuable information at all cost. While the British Airways breach may not have been as detrimental as I’m sure its culprits would have liked it to be, it should serve as a wake-up call to CTOs, CIOs and CISOs. The fact is, it is early days, and the true damage done is yet to be seen. Personal information that does not change as easily as a credit card or bank account number drive a high price on the Dark Web. This kind of Personally Identifiable Information is highly sought after by cybercriminals for monetary gain. Companies should be implementing security best practices such as a layered approach to protection, as well as proactively updating any out of date security devices, as a matter of course."

My view mass credit\debit card data (cardholder data) complete with the security code has always been targeted by cyber crooks as it is very easily sellable on the dark web, as the data only can be used in cardholder-not-present transaction fraud, where credit card holder is not physically present i.e. online, app, phone. The finger can be pointed at lack of PCI DSS compliance by merchants like BA, however, I think it is about time technology was used to improve the security of all cardholder-not-not present transactions, namely Multi-factor authentication (MFA).  While MFA on all cardholder-not-present is not a silver bullet, there is no 100% security, enforced usage across all industries would certainly devalue debit\credit card data considerably.

British Airways hacked: 400,000 customers affected

British Airways, UK’s largest airline, has been hacked, the company confirmed on their official website this week. According to a spokesperson who interviewed with The Telegraph, almost 400,000 customers who booked a flight between 22:58 BST August 21 2018 and 21:45 BST September 5 2018 were affected.

Hackers stole customer personal and payment card data from the website and mobile app, however travel and passport information was not compromised. British Airways customers affected by the breach were contacted on Thursday night and will be reimbursed for any financial loss. The airline warns that no emails will be sent out asking customers for their payment card data, so they should stay alert for any identity theft attempts.

Customers should urgently reset their passwords to ensure the safety of their bank accounts. Also, all are advised to monitor their financial situation and reach out to their banks and card providers, especially if they receive suspicious emails on behalf of the airline.

British Airways announced the incident has been resolved and all activity resumed, customers can check in and make bookings. Relevant authorities have been informed and an investigation is ongoing.

“British Airways continues to investigate with the police and cyber specialists, and has reported the data theft to the Information Commissioner,” the company said.

According to a spokesperson, the airline detected the breach when “a third party noticed some unusual activity and informed us about it. We immediately acted to close down the issue, and started an investigation as a matter of urgency.”

British Airways Hacked – 380,000 Payment Cards Compromised

British Airways, who describes itself as "The World's Favorite Airline," has confirmed a data breach that exposed personal details and credit-card numbers of up to 380,000 customers and lasted for more than two weeks. So who exactly are victims? In a statement released by British Airways on Thursday, customers booking flights on its website (ba.com) and British Airways mobile app between

British Airways Customer Data Stolen in Website and Mobile App Hack

In a statement, British Airways stated: "From 22:58 BST August 21 2018 until 21:45 BST September 5 2018 inclusive, the personal and financial details of customers making bookings on ba.com and the airline’s app were compromised." The airline said they will be notifying affected customers, and if anyone has been impacted to contact their bank or credit card providers.
The Telegraph reported 380,0000 payments were compromised, and that BA customers had experienced payment card fraud as a result before the BA breach disclosure, which strongly suggests unencrypted debit\credit cards were stolen.

There are no details about the data theft method at the moment, but given the statement said the BA website and BA mobile app was compromised, I think we could be looking at another example of an insecure API being exploited, as per the Air Canada breach and the T-Mobile breach last month.

We'll see what comes out in the wash over the next few days and weeks, but thanks to the GDPR, at least UK firms are quickly notifying their customers when their personal and financial data has been compromised, even if there is little detail reported about how. Without knowing how the data was compromised, customers cannot be truly assured their private data is safe. It also will be interesting to learn whether the BA systems were compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), required by all organisations that accept, process, store and/or transmit debit and credit cards.

Update: 
A spokesperson at BA said "hackers carried out a sophisticated, malicious criminal attack on its website" and impacted BA customers would be compensated. 

380,000 card payment transactions were confirmed as stolen, specifically:
  • Full Name
  • Email address
  • Payment card number (PAN)
  • Expiration date
  • Card Security Code [CVV] - typically a 3 digit authorisation code written on the back of the debit\credit card
BA insists it did not store the CVV numbers, these are not allowed to be stored after payment card authorisation under PCI DSS. This suggests the card details may have been intercepted during the payment transaction, perhaps by a maliciously injected or compromised third party website plugin, as opposed to data theft from the database, as often seen with SQL injections attacks against web apps.

BA have published help and FAQs to anyone that is impacted by this data breach.
https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/information/incident/data-theft/latest-information

British Airways is owned by IAG, their share price dropped by more than 4%, which equates to a £500m+ value loss in the company.

Update on the Attack Method (11 Sept 2018)
In a blog post RiskIQ researchers have claimed to have found evidence that a web-based card skimmer script was injected into the BA website, very similar to the approach used by the Magecard group, who are believed to be behind a similar attack against the Ticketmaster website recently. Web-based card skimmer script attacks have been occurring since 2015.

In this case, once the customer entered their payment card details and submitted the payment either on a PC or on a touchscreen device, the malicious script captured their data and sent it to a virtual (VPS) server hosted in Romania. The server was hosted on a domain called baways.com and was certified (https) by Comodo to make it look legit. The server domain was registered 6 days before the breach started, this obviously went undetected by BA's security, perhaps the rogue domain registration could have been picked up by a threat intelligence service.

Researchers have also claimed the BA website wasn't PCI DSS. They found 7 scripts running on the BA website, but crucially said the BA payment page wasn't isolating the card payments within an iframe, which would prevent third-party scripts (and XSS attacks) from being able to read the payment card form fields.

Bill Conner, CEO SonicWall said "Organizations and government entities carry a responsibility to consumers and civilians alike to guard their most valuable information at all cost. While the British Airways breach may not have been as detrimental as I’m sure its culprits would have liked it to be, it should serve as a wake-up call to CTOs, CIOs and CISOs. The fact is, it is early days, and the true damage done is yet to be seen. Personal information that does not change as easily as a credit card or bank account number drive a high price on the Dark Web. This kind of Personally Identifiable Information is highly sought after by cybercriminals for monetary gain. Companies should be implementing security best practices such as a layered approach to protection, as well as proactively updating any out of date security devices, as a matter of course."

A Look Back at the Equifax Data Breach, One Year Later

WannaCry, Petya, and Equifax first come to mind when you think of the most impactful cyber events in recent years, with the first-year anniversary of the latter coming up September 7th. Impacting nearly 150 million Americans (essentially half the country), the breach changed the nature of identity theft. Now, just before its anniversary, let’s take a look back on the impact of the Equifax data breach, what it all means for consumers, and the current state of identity theft.

Equifax reported that the breach exposed as many as 147.9 million consumer accounts, potentially compromising information such as names, dates of birth, addresses, and Social Security numbers.

To its credit, Equifax launched a program to alert potentially affected consumers that their data may have been exposed, and offered a free year subscription to its credit monitoring service, TrustID.

Unfortunately, identity theft breaches are not an uncommon occurrence. Such incidents are up 44% overall with 1,579 reports last year, and there are likely even more that went unreported. Exposed records due to data breaches are up 389%. Roughly 179 million records have been stolen, with 14.2 million credit card numbers exposed in 2017, an 88% increase over 2016. What’s more, 158 million Social Security numbers were exposed last year, an increase of more than 8 times from 2016. And all this theft has added up – consumers reported $905 million in total fraud losses last year, a 21% increase. So, it only makes sense that identity theft ranked as roughly 14% of all consumer complaints to the FTC last year.

However, despite all the publicity about major data breaches, consumers have done very little or have changed very little largely due to optimism bias. In fact, a recent McAfee survey shows that despite increased consumer concerns, only 37% of individuals use an identity theft protection solution and 28% have no plans to sign up for an ID theft protection solution.

So now the next question is, what should consumers do to protect themselves against identity theft? Start by following these tips:

  • Place a fraud alert. If you know your data has been compromised, place a fraud alert on your credit so that any new or recent requests undergo scrutiny. This also entitles you to extra copies of your credit report, so you can check for anything suspicious. If you find an account you did not open, report it to the police or Federal Trade Commission, as well as the creditor involved so you can close the fraudulent account. Then, make sure you correct your credit report by filing a dispute with each of the three credit bureaus.
  • Freeze your credit. This allows you to seal your credit reports so no one else can take out new accounts or loans in your name. You can do this without impacting your existing lines of credit, such as credit cards. If you want to apply for services or open new accounts, you can temporarily “unfreeze” your credit using a personal identification code only you have.
  • Invest in an identity theft monitoring and recovery solution. With the increase in data breaches, people everywhere are facing the possibility of identity theft. That’s precisely why they should leverage a solution tool such as McAfee Identity Theft Protection, which allows users to take a proactive approach to protecting their identities with personal and financial monitoring and recovery tools to help keep their identities personal and secured.

And, of course, to stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats, be sure to follow me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable? and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

The post A Look Back at the Equifax Data Breach, One Year Later appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Cyber Security Roundup for August 2018

The largest data breach disclosed this month was by T-Mobile, the telecoms giant said there had been "unauthorised access" to potentially 2 million of their 77 million customer accounts. According to the media, a hacker took advantage of a vulnerability in a T-Mobile API (application programming interface). It was a vulnerable API used by Air Canada mobile App which was also exploited, resulting in the compromise of 20,000 Air Canada customer accounts. Air Canada promptly forced a password change to all of its 77 million customer accounts as a result, however, the airline faced criticism from security experts for advising a weak password strength. Namely, a password length of 8, made up of just characters and digits. Both of these hacks underline the importance of regularly penetration testing Apps and their supporting infrastructure, including their APIs.

Hackers stole up to 34,000 Butlin guest records, reportedly breaching the UK holiday camp firm through a phishing email. Dixons Carphone upped the estimated number of customer records breached in a hack last year from 1.2 million to 10 million, which includes 5.9 million payment cards. There was no explanation offered by Dixons to why it had taken so long to get a grip on the scale of the data breach, which was reported as occurring in July 2017.

Huawei continues to face scrutiny over the security of their products after the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) issued a warning about using the Chinese tech manufacturing giant's devices in a security report. Huawei recently took over from Apple as the world's second largest provider of smartphones. A 16 year old Australian 'Apple fanboy' found himself in court after hacking into Apple's network.

On the international scene, Microsoft announced it had thwarted Russian data-stealing attacks against US anti-Trump conservative groups, by taking down six domains which hosted mimicked websites, which were likely to be used in future phishing campaigns. The Bank of Spain's website was taken out by a DDoS attack, and a Chinese Hotel Group's 140Gb customer database was found for sale on the dark web. The PGA golf championship was hit by a ransomware, and the FBI arrested three key members of the notorious FIN7 hacking group, the group is said to be responsible for stealing millions of credit card and customer details from businesses across the world.

On the personal front, the EC-Council confirmed my Computer Hacking Forensic Investigation (CHFI) certification had been renewed until 2021. I dropped into B-Sides Manchester this month, the highlight was a demonstration of a vulnerability found by Secarma researches, namely a PHP flaw which places CMS sites at risk of remote code execution

There was plenty of critical security patches released by the usual suspects, such as Microsoft, Cisco, and Adobe, the latter firm released several out-of-band patches during August. A critical update was released for Apache Struts (popular web server) and a reminder that Fax machines and all-in-one devices network devices could be used as a way into corporate networks by hackers.

Finally, there were a couple of interesting cybercrime articles posted on the BBC's news website this month,  Cyber-Attack! Would your firm handle it better than this? and Unpicking the Cyber-Crime Economy

NEWS
AWARENESS, EDUCATION AND THREAT INTELLIGENCE

Family Tech: How Safe is Your Child’s Personal Data at School?

Kids and Personal DataRight about now, most kids are thinking about their chemistry homework, the next pep rally, or chiming in on their group text. The last thing on their minds as they head back to school is cybersecurity. But, it’s the one thing — if ignored — that can wreck the excitement of a brand new school year.

You’ve done a great job, parent. You’ve equipped their phones, tablets, and laptops with security software. And, you’ve beefed up safeguards on devices throughout your home. These efforts go a long way in protecting your child’s (and family’s) privacy from prying eyes. Unfortunately, when your child walks out your front door and into his or her school, new risks await.

No one knows this season better than a cybercriminal. Crooks know there are loopholes in just about every school’s network and that kids can be easy targets online. These security gaps can open kids up to phishing scams, privacy breaches, malware attacks, and device theft.

The school security conversation

Be that parent. Inquire about your school’s security protocols.  The K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center reports that 358 school breaches have taken place since January of 2016.  Other reports point to an increase in hackers targeting school staff with phishing emails and seeking student social security numbers to sell on the dark web.

A few questions to consider:Kids and Personal Data

  • Who has physical and remote access to your student’s digital records and what are the school’s protection practices and procedures?
  • How are staff members trained and are strong password protocols in place?
  • What security exists on school-issued devices? What apps/software is are being used and how will those apps collect and use student data?
  • What are the school’s data collection practices? Do data collection practices include encryption, secure data retention, and lawful data sharing policies?
  • What is the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy?

The data debate

As K-12 administrators strive to maintain secure data collection practices for students, those same principles may be dubious as kids move on to college. As reported by Digiday, one retailer may be quietly disassembling privacy best practices with a bold “pay with data” business model. The Japanese coffee chain Shiru Café offers students and faculty members of Brown University free coffee in exchange for entering personal data into an online registry. Surprisingly, the café attracts some 800 customers a day and is planning on expanding its business model to more college campuses.

The family conversation

Keep devices close. Kids break, lose, lend, and leave their tech unattended and open to theft. Discuss responsible tech ownership with your kids. Stolen devices are privacy gold mines.

Never share passwords. Kids express their loyalty to one another in different ways. One way that’s proving popular but especially unsafe nowadays is password sharing. Remind kids: It’s never okay to share passwords to devices, social networks, or school platforms. Never. Password sharing opens up your child to a number of digital risks.

Safe clicking, browsing practices. Remind kids when browsing online to watch out for phishing emails, fake news stories, streaming media sites, and pop-ups offering free downloads. A bad link can infect a computer with a virus, malware, spyware, or ransomware. Safe browsing also includes checking for “https” in the URL of websites. If the website only loads with an “http,” the website may not be enforcing encryption.Kids and Personal Data

Be more of a mystery. Here is a concept your kids may or may not latch on to but challenge them to keep more of their everyday life a mystery by posting less. This includes turning off location services and trying to keep your whereabouts private when sharing online. This challenge may be fun for your child or downright impossible, but every step toward boosting privacy is progress!

Discuss the risk of public Wi-Fi. Kids are quick to jump on Wi-Fi wherever they go so they can use apps without depleting the family data plan. That habit poses a big problem. Public Wi-Fi is a magnet for hackers trying to get into your device and steal personal information. Make sure every network your child logs on to requires a password to connect. Go a step further and consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for added security for your whole family.

Want to connect more to digital topics that affect your family? Stop by ProtectWhatMatters.online, and follow @McAfee_Family on Twitter. Also, join the digital security conversation on Facebook.

Toni Birdsong is a Family Safety Evangelist to McAfee. You can find her onTwitter @McAfee_Family. (Disclosures)

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Air Canada Suffers Data Breach — 20,000 Mobile App Users Affected

Air Canada has confirmed a data breach that may have affected about 20,000 customers of its 1.7 million mobile app users. The company said it had "detected unusual log-in behavior" on its mobile app between August 22 and 24, during which the personal information for some of its customers "may potentially have been improperly accessed." <!-- linkads --> The exposed information contains basic

Report: Nearly Half of Security Professionals Think They Could Execute a Successful Insider Attack on Their Organization

As potential threats and entry points into organizations’ databases keep growing, so does the amount of money folks are throwing at detecting and actioning insider threats. In fact, the ballooning amount of money being spent on cybersecurity overall clearly highlights the seriousness with which businesses are tackling the problem in general.

Identifying and containing data breaches

Insider threats are a major concern for CISOs, and rightly so; professionals are concerned because insiders need legitimate access to data to do their work, so in most cases, they’re already embedded within an organization. Perhaps more terrifying is the time it can take to identify and mitigate breaches.

According to Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), almost 60% of data breaches take months to detect, and even then, more than 20% take several days to begin actioning.

What does an insider threat look like?

Well, for one it’s not a Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy kind of a situation, not when it comes to day-to-day data security anyway. As a matter of fact, the very reason they’re so hard to detect is that these users all have legitimate credential and data access. They already have access to sensitive database areas, sensitive file shares; and — more importantly, for those regulations that suggest we rely on encryption of data — these employees often have access to the data we encrypt but have the right to decrypt the data, much like most applications.

So, if you were to pull off an insider attack, how would you do it?

In a recent survey of 179 IT professionals, a staggering 43% said they believe they could execute a successful attack on their own organizations. Only a third believe it would be difficult or impossible to carry out a successful insider theft and just 22% say they would have a 50/50 chance.

With the increasingly blurred line between work and home life, and more pressingly, work devices; the ease with which insider threats can carry out attacks continues to grow. Many companies issue employees a networked laptop or smartphone as standard. Now, while this is a necessary business function, it could have potentially devastating consequences where data security is concerned. When asked to put themselves in the shoes of a malicious insider, 23% of security professionals said they would use their company-owned laptop to steal information from their company, while 20% said their personal computer, and 19% said their laptop.

The good news is that our survey also suggests that nearly two-thirds of organizations have a solution which allows them to detect malicious insiders, while 79% percent of organizations would have a way to tell if their employees were accessing something they shouldn’t; this is, however, caveated with another, suggesting 33% of organizations would take weeks or months to discover an employee had gone malicious, while 14% would never know.

Insider threats are hard to detect because people deliberately try to fly under the radar. That’s why you need to monitor who is accessing what data, and how that user is using the data. In the meantime, data access analytics will create a contextual behavior baseline of user data access activity and pinpoint risky or suspicious data access.

2.3 Million T-Mobile Customers Exposed Following Data Breach

The personal data of 2.3 million T-Mobile customers may have been exposed and could be up for sale following a data breach on Aug. 20. While the company did say it successfully blocked the attack and no credit card information, social security numbers, or passwords were compromised, other personal data may have been accessed.

The type of information believed to have been exfiltrated by the hacker ranges from customers’ names, phone numbers, zip codes, and email addresses to account numbers and whether or not the accounts were prepaid or postpaid.

“We take the security of your information very seriously and have a number of safeguards in place to protect your personal information from unauthorized access,” reads the official T-Mobile statement. “We truly regret that this incident occurred and are so sorry for any inconvenience this has caused you.”

However, a security researcher claiming to have had access to some of the stolen data says hashed passwords may have also been stolen, which could place account owners at risk. While there’s no official statement regarding the encryption algorithm used to hash the passwords or whether they were salted, the fact that hashed passwords may have been exposed even though T-Mobile’s statement says that “no passwords were compromised” is troubling.

Some security experts believe the exposed data could be used to affect T-Mobile user accounts, by allowing attackers to perform social engineering schemes that result in SIM hijacking attacks. This is particularly concerning as two-factor authentication could easily be bypassed if attackers manage to reroute phone calls to SIM cards that they control.

Customers that may have been affected by the breach have or will soon be contacted by the company.

T-Mobile Hacked — 2 Million Customers’ Personal Data Stolen

T-Mobile today confirmed that the telecom giant suffered a security breach on its US servers on August 20 that may have resulted in the leak of "some" personal information of up to 2 million T-Mobile customers. The leaked information includes customers' name, billing zip code, phone number, email address, account number, and account type (prepaid or postpaid). However, the good news is that

Apple hacked by 16-year-old who “dreamed” of working for firm

An Australian teenager has admitted hacking into Apple’s internal network and stealing 90 GB worth of files.

The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has pleaded guilty to breaking into Apple’s systems on multiple occasions over the course of a year, from his parent’s home in Melbourne’s suburbs.

According to a report in The Age, the young hacker claimed to be a “fan” of the company, who “dreamed” of working for Apple one day.

The teen is thought to have attempted to hide his identity using a variety of tools, such as VPN software. But after Apple eventually spotted the unauthorised access of their internal systems they informed the FBI, who in turn worked with the Australian Federal Police to track down the intruder.

A search of the teenager’s home last year saw law enforcement officers seize two Apple laptops with serial numbers that “matched the serial numbers of devices which accessed the internal systems”, according to a prosecutor.

In addition, a mobile phone and hard drive was also seized.

According to the report, the boy is thought to have successfully accessed authorised login keys, and stored files in a folder labelled “hacky hack hack”.

In what is perhaps an indication of his immaturity, the teenage hacker is alleged to have bragged about his actions to others via WhatsApp.

An official statement from Apple, provided to the BBC, attempts to reassure Apple customers that their personal data was not at risk:

“We vigilantly protect our networks and have dedicated teams of information security professionals that work to detect and respond to threats.

“In this case, our teams discovered the unauthorised access, contained it, and reported the incident to law enforcement.

“We regard the data security of our users as one of our greatest responsibilities and want to assure our customers that at no point during this incident was their personal data compromised.”

Apple is understandably very sensitive to headlines that its systems may have been hacked, and there will no doubt be even greater embarrassment that it may have been successfully compromised for over a year by a boy aged just sixteen.

The boy is due to be sentenced on 20 September, and might serve as a warning to others: if you want to work for a company, it’s generally not a good idea to hack into it first.

A Bug in Chrome Gives Bad Actors License to Play ‘20 Questions’ with Your Private Data

In a 2013 interview with The Telegraph, Eric Schmidt, then CEO of Google was quoted as saying: “You have to fight for your privacy or lose it.”

Five years later, with the ‘Cambridge Analytica’ data breach scandal fresh in our memory, Eric Schmidt’s statement rings as a self-evident truth. Similarly clear today is the nature of the “fight”: a grapple for transparency and corporate accountability that can only be won through individual vigilance.

With this in mind, in this post, we’ll share with you details of a new browser bug we uncovered, which has the potential to affect the majority of web users. With it, bad actors could play a ‘guessing game’ to uncover private data stored on Facebook, Google, and likely many other web platforms.

The bug in question affects all browsers running the Blink engine — used to power Google Chrome –, exposing users who aren’t running the latest version of Chrome. Currently, over 58 percent of the entire internet population uses Google Chrome.

Once the vulnerability was identified, Google patched it in the latest release of Chrome 68; and we strongly recommend that all Chrome users make sure that they’re running the latest version.

Mining Private Data

The bug in question makes use of the Audio/Video HTML tags to generate requests to a target resource.

By monitoring the progress events generated by these requests, it grants visibility into the requested resource’s actual size. As we found out, this information can then be used to “ask” a series of yes and no questions about the browser user, by abusing filtering functions available on social media platforms like Facebook.

For example, a bad actor can create sizeable Facebook posts for each possible age, using the Audience Restriction option, making Facebook reflect the user age through the response size.

The same method can be used to extract the user gender, likes, and many other user properties we were able to reflect through crafted posts or Facebook’s Graph Search endpoints.

Large response size would indicate that the restriction didn’t apply, while small ones would indicate that the content was restricted. Meaning, for instance, that the user is from a disallowed age or gender. With several scripts running at once — each testing a different and unique restriction –, the bad actor can relatively quickly mine a good amount of private data about the user.

In a more serious scenario, the attack script would be running on a site that requires some kind of email registration — an e-commerce or a SaaS site, for instance –. In this case, the above-mentioned practices would allow the bad actor to correlate the private data with the login email address for even more extensive and intrusive profiling.

Attack Flow

When a user visits the bad-actor site, the site injects multiple hidden video or audio tags that request a number Facebook posts the attacker previously published and restricted using different techniques. The attacker can then analyze each request to indicate, for example, the user’s exact age, as it’s saved on Facebook, regardless of their privacy settings.

Discovering the Bug

A few months ago I was researching the Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) mechanism by checking cross-origin communications of different HTML tags. During my research, I noticed an interesting behavior in the video and audio tags. It seems that setting the ‘preload’ attribute to ‘metadata’ changed the number of times the ‘onprogress’ event was being called in a way that seemed to be related to the requested resource size.

To check my hypothesis, I created a simple NodeJS HTTP server that generates a response in the size of a given parameter. I then used this server endpoint as the resource for the JavaScript shown above.

The script creates a hidden audio element that:

  • Requests a given resource
  • Track the number of times the `onprogress` event was triggered
  • Returns the value of the counter once the audio parsing fails

I started experimenting, requesting different response sizes while looking for a correlation between the size and the number of times the `onprogress` event was triggered by the browser.

As you can see in the graph below, when response size is zero only one `onprogress` event is called, for a response of around 100KB the event is called twice, and the number of events continues to increase, allowing me to estimate the size of most web pages.

From this, we see that the number of `onprogress` events correlates with the size of the response, hence we can indicate whether the restriction criteria was met.

Conclusion

Once we confirmed the vulnerability we reported it to Google with a proof of concept, and the Chrome team responded by patching the vulnerability in Chrome’s 68 release.

We’re delighted to have contributed to protecting the privacy of the entire user community, as we continuously do for our community.

Latest on the Currys PC World Data Breach Impacting 10 Million Customers

Following further investigations, Currys PC World today confirmed 10 million of their customer personal details may have been stolen by hackers, a revised number from the 1.2 million customers and 5.9 million payment cards it advised back in June.

In June 2018, the company said there was "an attempt to compromise" 5.8 million credit and debit cards but only 105,000 cards without chip-and-pin protection had been leaked after hackers attempted access to company's payment processing systems.

The hack was said to have occurred nearly a year before it was disclosed, so it either went undetected, which is common where there is inadequate security monitoring in place, or the business knew about the breach but choose not to disclose it to their impacted customers.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) fined the Dixons Carphone £400,000 for a data in 2015 breach, however, Currys PC World stated the incidents were not connected.

The business stressed it has now improved its security measures including enhanced controls, monitoring, and testing to safeguard customer information, and "trebling their investment in cybersecurity". Unfortunately, no details have been disclosed explaining how the hackers were able to access such large quantities of personal data. The company "security improvement" statement suggests their IT security was rather underfunded and not at a sufficient standard to adequately secure their business operations and customer data.

The ICO (statement) and the NCSC (statement) both have released statements in June about the breach. So we'll see what the ICO makes of it, but I think the business is likely to be fined again, although not the potentially massive GDPR penalties, as this data breach occurred before the GDPR came into force in May.

Customer statement by Currys PC World to their customers today

On June 13, we began to contact a number of our customers as a precaution after we found that some of our security systems had been accessed in the past using sophisticated malware.

We promptly launched an investigation. Since then we have been putting further security measures in place to safeguard customer information, increased our investment in cyber security and added additional controls. In all of this we have been working intensively with leading cyber security experts.

Our investigation, which is now nearing completion, has identified that approximately 10 million records containing personal data may have been accessed in 2017. This unauthorised access to data may include personal information such as name, address, phone number, date of birth and email address.

While there is now evidence that some of this data may have left our systems, these records do not contain payment card or bank account details and we have no confirmed instances of customers falling victim to fraud as a result. We are continuing to keep the relevant authorities updated.

As a precaution, we are letting our customers know to apologise and advise them of protective steps to take to minimise the risk of fraud. These include:

If you receive an unsolicited email, letter, text or phone call asking for personal information, never reveal any full passwords, login details or account numbers until you are certain of the identity of the person making the request. Please do not click on any links you do not recognise.


If you think you have been a victim of fraud you should report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and internet crime reporting centre, on 0300 123 2040*.

We also recommend that people are vigilant against any suspicious activity on their bank accounts and contact their financial provider if they have concerns.
You can find more information here


We take the security of your data extremely seriously and have previously announced that we have taken action to close off this access and have no evidence it is continuing. Nevertheless, we felt it was important to let customers know as soon as possible.

We continue to make improvements and investments to our security systems and we’ve been working round the clock to put this right. We’re extremely sorry about what has happened – we’ve fallen short here. We want to reassure you that we are fully committed to protecting your data so that you can be confident that it is safe with us.

The Reddit Data Breach: What Consumers Need to Know

With the tagline, “giving you the best of the internet in one place,” Reddit is a popular website designed for discussion, news aggregation, and the creation of social content. Boasting over 330 million users, the platform is characterized by an engaged community. Which also means it contains treasure troves of consumer data. Unfortunately, there’s now a chance that information has been exposed, as Reddit announced today that its systems were hacked at some point earlier this summer.

Announcing the breach on its r/announcements section, Reddit informed users that its internal systems were accessed by attackers sometime between June 14th to June 18th. The cybercriminals managed to bypass the SMS-based two-factor authentication the company had in place to access user data. This information includes some current email addresses and a 2007 database backup containing old salted and hashed passwords (meaning, passwords that haven’t been stored in plaintext). Additionally, email digests sent in June 2018 were also accessed by the hackers as well.

Now, the amount the impacted emails and passwords is not yet exactly known, but it’s crucial Reddit users (particularly those who joined by 2007) start taking steps now to secure their personal security. Start by following these tips:

  • Change up your password. If you joined Reddit in 2007 or before, you should change up your password immediately. When changing your password, make sure the next one you create is a strong password that is hard for cybercriminals to crack. Include numbers, lowercase and uppercase letters, and symbols. The more complex your password is, the more difficult it will be to crack. Avoid common and easy to crack passwords like “12345” or “password.”
  • Keep an eye out for sketchy emails and messages. If you received an email from a Reddit digest in June, then there’s a chance the hacker has your email address. Cybercriminals can leverage this stolen information for phishing emails and social engineering scams. So, if you see something sketchy or from an unknown source in your email inbox, be sure to avoid clicking on any links provided. Better to just delete the email or message entirely.
  • Don’t solely rely on SMS two-factor authentication (2FA). If anything, we can all learn a lesson from this Reddit breach – we can’t solely rely on SMS two-factor authentication anymore to secure our data. In fact, SMS is one of the weakest forms of 2FA. If you wish to lock down your data on your devices, it’s best to use app-based two-factor authentication, such as Google Authenticator.

And, of course, to stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats, be sure to follow me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable? and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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Ransomware Hits Health Care Once Again, 45,000 Patient Records Compromised in Blue Springs Breach

More and more, ransomware attacks are targeting one specific industry – health care. As detailed in our McAfee Labs Threats Report: March 2018, health care experienced a dramatic 210% overall increase in cyber incidents in 2017. Unfortunately, 2018 is showing no signs of slowing. In fact, just this week it was revealed that patient records from the Missouri-based Blue Springs Family Care have been compromised after cybercriminals attacked the provider with a variety of malware, including ransomware.

Though it’s not entirely sure yet how these attackers gained access, their methods were effective. With this attack, the cybercriminals were able to breach the organization’s entire system, making patient data vulnerable. The attack resulted in 44,979 records being compromised, which includes Social Security numbers, account numbers, driver’s licenses, disability codes, medical diagnoses, addresses, and dates of birth.

The company’s official statement notes, “at this time, we have not received any indication that the information has been used by an unauthorized individual.”  However, if this type of data does become leveraged, it could be used by hackers for both identity and medical fraud.

So, with a plethora of personal information out in the open – what should these patients do next to ensure their personal data is secure and their health information is private? Start by following these tips:

  • Talk with your health provider. With many cyberattacks taking advantage of the old computer systems still used by many health care providers, it’s important to ask yours what they do to protect your information. What’s more, ask if they use systems that have a comprehensive view of who accesses patient data. If they can’t provide you with answers, consider moving on to another practice that has cybersecurity more top of mind. 
  • Set up an alert. Though this data breach does not compromise financial data, this personal data can still be used to obtain access to financial accounts. Therefore, it’s best to proactively place a fraud alert on your credit so that any new or recent requests undergo scrutiny. This also entitles you to extra copies of your credit report so you can check for anything suspicious. If you find an account you did not open, report it to the police or Federal Trade Commission, as well as the creditor involved so you can close the fraudulent account.
  • Keep your eyes on your health bills and records. Just like you pay close attention to your credit card records, you need to also keep a close eye on health insurance bills and prescription records, which are two ways that your health records can be abused. Be vigilant about procedure descriptions that don’t seem right or bills from facilities you don’t remember visiting.
  • Invest in an identity theft monitoring and recovery solution. With the increase in data breaches, people everywhere are facing the possibility of identity theft. That’s precisely why they should leverage a solution tool such as McAfee Identity Theft Protection, which allows users to take a proactive approach to protecting their identities with personal and financial monitoring and recovery tools to help keep their identities personal and secured.

 And, of course, to stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats, be sure to follow me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable? and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

The post Ransomware Hits Health Care Once Again, 45,000 Patient Records Compromised in Blue Springs Breach appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Cyber Security Roundup for July 2018

The importance of assuring the security and testing quality of third-party provided applications is more than evident when you consider an NHS reported data breach of 150,000 patient records this month. The NHS said the breach was caused by a coding error in a GP application called SystmOne, developed by UK based 'The Phoenix Partnership' (TTP). The same assurances also applies to internally developed applications, case-in-point was a publically announced flaw with Thomas Cook's booking system discovered by a Norwegian security researcher. The research used to app flaw to access the names and flights details of Thomas Cook passengers and release details on his blog. Thomas Cook said the issue has since been fixed.

Third-Third party services also need to be security assured, as seen with the Typeform compromise. Typeform is a data collection company, on 27th June, hackers gained unauthorised access to one of its servers and accessed customer data. According to their official notification, Typeform said the hackers may have accessed the data held on a partial backup, and that they had fixed a security vulnerability to prevent reoccurrence. Typeform has not provided any details of the number of records compromised, but one of their customers, Monzo, said on its official blog that is was in the region of 20,000. Interestingly Monzo also declared ending their relationship with Typeform unless it wins their trust back. Travelodge one UK company known to be impacted by the Typeform breach and has warned its impacted customers. Typeform is used to manage Travelodge’s customer surveys and competitions.

Other companies known to be impacted by the Typeform breach include:

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) fined Facebook £500,000, the maximum possible, over the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal, which impacted some 87 million Facebook users. Fortunately for Facebook, the breach occurred before the General Data Protection Regulation came into force in May, as the new GDPR empowers the ICO with much tougher financial penalties design to bring tech giants to book, let's be honest, £500k is petty cash for the social media giant.
Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal
Facebook reveals its data-sharing VIPs
Cambridge Analytica boss spars with MPs

A UK government report criticised the security of Huawei products, concluded the government had "only limited assurance" Huawei kit posed no threat toUK national security. I remember being concerned many years ago when I heard BT had ditched US Cisco routers for Huawei routers to save money, not much was said about the national security aspect at the time. The UK gov report was written by the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC), which was set up in 2010 in response to concerns that BT and other UK companies reliance on the Chinese manufacturer's devices, by the way, that body is overseen by GCHQ.

Banking hacking group "MoneyTaker" has struck again, this time stealing a reported £700,000 from a Russia bank according to Group-IB. The group is thought to be behind several other hacking raids against UK, US, and Russian companies. The gang compromise a router which gave them access to the bank's internal network, from that entry point, they were able to find the specific system used to authorise cash transfers and then set up the bogus transfers to cash out £700K.


NEWS

Popular Social Media App Timehop Hit With Huge Data Breach

The Fourth of July is characterized by barbeques, fireworks, and patriotism – and now cyberattacks! Just this past Independence Day, the popular social media app Timehop was hacked – as cybercriminals set their sights on the company’s servers, rather than enjoying hot dogs and sparklers. The attack affects a whopping 21 million Timehop users and has put their personal information at risk of being compromised.

The key ingredient for this attack: multi-factor authentication. Or, lack thereof. Hackers were able to access the company’s cloud servers on July 4th because Timehop had not turned on multi-factor authentication. “The breach occurred because an access credential to our cloud computing environment was compromised,” the company said. Once they obtained the credential to access the servers, the crooks managed to remain inside the system for approximately two hours.

In a company blog post, Timehop stated that the security breach compromised the names and emails of these 21 million users, which is essentially its entire user base. And 4.7 million of those affected users had a phone number that was attached to their account breached in the attack as well. Fortunately, Timehop says that no financial data was compromised in the attack, and all access to social media platforms was deactivated immediately by Timehop, which actually logged all users out of their accounts.

This breach joins the Exactis and Adidas breaches that have occurred in the past week, leaving millions of consumers out there concerned for their personal security. So, what next steps should Timehop users take to ensure they secure their personal information? Start by following these tips:

  • Change up your passwords. With this personal data already in hand, it’s likely cybercriminals are going to take a guess at your password and attempt to get inside your Timehop account. Therefore, make sure you change up your password to Timehop and any other accounts that use the same one.
  • Use two-factor authentication. If this breach has made anything clear, it’s that we cannot rely on passwords that use single-factor authentication to protect our accounts. Learn a lesson from Timehop and always enable two-factor authentication when given the option.
  • Invest in an identity theft monitoring and recovery solution. With the increase in data breaches, people everywhere are facing the possibility of identity theft. That’s precisely why they should leverage a solution tool such as McAfee Identity Theft Protection, which allows users to take a proactive approach to protecting their identities with personal and financial monitoring and recovery tools to help keep their identities personal and secured.

And, of course, to stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats, be sure to follow me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable? and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

The post Popular Social Media App Timehop Hit With Huge Data Breach appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Cyber Security Roundup for June 2018

Dixons Carphone said hackers attempted to compromise 5.9 million payment cards and accessed 1.2 million personal data records. The company, which was heavily criticised for poor security and fined £400,000 by the ICO in January after been hacked in 2015, said in a statement the hackers had attempted to gain access to one of the processing systems of Currys PC World and Dixons Travel stores. The statement confirmed 1.2 million personal records had been accessed by the attackers. No details were disclosed explaining how hackers were able to access such large quantities of personal data, just a typical cover statement of "the investigation is still ongoing".  It is likely this incident occurred before the GDPR law kicked in at the end of May, so the company could be spared the new more significant financial penalties and sanctions the GDPR gives the ICO, but it is certainly worth watching the ICO response to a repeat offender which had already received a record ICO fine this year. The ICO (statement) and the NCSC (statement) both have released statements about this breach.

Ticketmaster reported the data theft of up to 40,000 UK customers, which was caused by security weakness in a customer support app, hosted by Inbenta Technologies, an external third-party supplier to Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster informed affected customers to reset their passwords and has offered (to impacted customers) a free 12-month identity monitoring service with a leading provider. No details were released on how the hackers exploited the app to steal the data, likely to be a malware-based attack. However, there are questions on whether Ticketmaster disclosed and responded to the data breach quick enough, after digital banking company Monzo, claimed the Ticketmaster website showed up as a CPP (Common Point of Purchase) in an above-average number of recent fraud reports. The company noticed 70% of fraudulent transactions with stolen payment cards had used the Ticketmaster site between December 2017 and April 2018. The UK's National Cyber Security Centre said it was monitoring the situation.

TSB customers were targetted by fraudsters after major issues with their online banking systems was reported. The TSB technical issues were caused by a botched system upgrade rather than hackers. TSB bosses admitted 1,300 UK customers had lost money to cyber crooks during its IT meltdown, all were said to be fully reimbursed by the bank.
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) issued Yahoo a £250,000 fine after an investigation into the company's 2014 breach, which is a pre-GDPR fine. Hackers were able to exfiltrate 191 server backup files from the internal Yahoo network. These backups held the personal details of 8.2 million Yahoo users, including names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed password and other security data. The breach only came to light as the company was being acquired by Verizon.

Facebook woes continue, this time a bug changed the default sharing setting of 14 million Facebook users to "public" between 18th and 22nd May.  Users who may have been affected were said to have been notified on the site’s newsfeed.

Chinese Hackers were reported as stealing secret US Navy missile plans. It was reported that Chinese Ministry of State Security hackers broke into the systems of a contractor working at the US Naval Undersea Warfare Center, lifting a massive 614GB of secret information, which included the plans for a supersonic anti-ship missile launched from a submarine. The hacks occurred in January and February this year according to a report in the Washington Post.

Elon Musk (Telsa CEO) claimed an insider sabotaged code and stole confidential company information.  According to CNBC, in an email to staff, Elon wrote I was dismayed to learn this weekend about a Tesla employee who had conducted quite extensive and damaging sabotage to our operations. This included making direct code changes to the Tesla Manufacturing Operating System under false usernames and exporting large amounts of highly sensitive Tesla data to unknown third parties". Telsa has filed a lawsuit accusing a disgruntled former employee of hacking into the systems and passing confidential data to third parties. In the lawsuit, it said the stolen information included photographs and video of the firm's manufacturing systems, and the business had suffered "significant and continuing damages" as a result of the misconduct.

Elsewhere in the world, FastBooking had 124,000 customer account stolen after hackers took advantage of a web application vulnerability to install malware and exfiltrate data. Atlanta Police Dashcam footage was hit by Ransomware.  And US company HealthEquity had 23,000 customer data stolen after a staff member fell for a phishing email.

IoT Security
The Wi-Fi Alliance announced WPA3, the next generation of wireless security, which is more IoT device friendly, user-friendly, and more secure than WPA2, which recently had a security weakness reported (see Krack vulnerability). BSI announced they are developing a new standard for IoT devices and Apps called ISO 23485. A Swann Home Security camera system sent a private video to the wrong user, this was said to have been caused by a factory error.  For Guidance on IoT Security see my guidance, Combating IoT Cyber Threats.

As always, a busy month for security patching, Microsoft released 50 patches, 11 of which were rated as Critical. Adobe released their monthly fix for Flash Player and a critical patch for a zero-day bug being actively exploited. Cisco released patches to address 34 vulnerabilities, 5 critical, and a critical patch for their Access Control System. Mozilla issued a critical patch for the Firefox web browser.

NEWS

The Exactis Data Breach: What Consumers Need to Know

There are data breaches, and then there are data breaches. For example, who could forget the Equifax data breach, which compromised the personal information of over half of the citizens of the United States? And now, a breach of similar magnitude has emerged, as a security researcher has discovered that marketing firm Exactis’ database was sitting on a publicly accessible server. Specifically, there were two versions of the database exposed online, each with around 340 million records—roughly two-thirds on consumers and the rest on businesses.

So how did Exactis have this much data in the first place? The Florida-based marketing firm collects and trades consumer data in order to refine the accuracy of targeted ads. Which is precisely what makes this breach so crucial, as the information exposed is highly personal. The leaked data includes people’s phone numbers, home and email addresses, interests, and the number, age, and gender of their children. As of now, credit card information and Social Security numbers don’t appear to have been leaked.

The behavioral data involved in this leak, alongside the personal information, makes this breach particularly concerning because of how this information can be used by cybercriminals to improve the success of socially engineered attacks. For instance, crooks can use such personal information in phishing attacks over email or social media. Now, cybercriminals can enact highly personalized attacks against consumers, who will already be faced with potentially fraudulent activity against their names.

Therefore, it’s important consumers immediately take action to protect their personal security and identity. To do just that, follow these tips:

  • Keep an eye out for sketchy emails and messages. Cybercriminals can leverage this stolen information for phishing emails and social engineering scams. So, if you see something sketchy or from an unknown source in your email inbox or a social media message, be sure to avoid clicking on any links provided. Better to just delete the email or message entirely.
  • Set up an alert. Though this data breach does not compromise financial data, this personal data can still be used to obtain access to financial accounts. Therefore, it’s best to proactively place a fraud alert on your credit so that any new or recent requests undergo scrutiny. This also entitles you to extra copies of your credit report, so you can check for anything suspicious. If you find an account you did not open, report it to the police or Federal Trade Commission, as well as the creditor involved so you can close the fraudulent account.
  • Invest in an identity theft solution. With this breach, almost every American adult could be facing the possibility of identity theft. That’s precisely why they should leverage an identity theft solution such as McAfee Identity Theft Protection, which allows users to take a proactive approach to protecting their identities with personal and financial monitoring and recovery tools to help keep their identities personal and secured.

And, of course, to stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats, be sure to follow me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable? and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.


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The post The Exactis Data Breach: What Consumers Need to Know appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Summer Refresh: Take Time to Relax but Not on Password Security

With summer comes permission to relax a little more, sun a little more, and fun a little more. But, as Newton’s Third Law reminds us, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Apply that principle to online safety and it might read like this: Each time you relax your family’s digital security a little, there’s a hacker nearby who will step up his or her schemes accordingly.

If your summer routine includes more traveling, online gaming, or time for social connecting, your first line of digital defense is strong, unhackable passwords.

Now is a great time to pump up those passwords to make sure your summer playlist streams seamlessly and summer goes off without a hitch. (Note: If you feel confident in your password strength, type your email address into the site ;– Have I been pwned? to see if your passwords have been compromised).

5 Tips to Pump Up Your Password Strength

  1. Think strength. It’s never too late to put serious thought into creating strong passwords. Begin today. Visualize your password as a superhero. Because of their strength, superheroes like Hulk, Thor, or Optimus Prime can handily protect the world. Strip them of their strength, and each warrior becomes an average Joe vulnerable to the elements of evil. Strength is inherent to password power. Infuse your password with superhero strength by including numbers, lowercase and uppercase letters, and symbols. The more complex your password is, the more difficult it will be for a crook to crack (it’s okay to add a personal touch to your password). A few examples of a secure password might be: myDogisCr@yCr@y!!, Ilov3Gummi3B3ars!! or $oundOfMu$ic_1965.
  2. Get a password manager. If you are driving yourself crazy trying to wrangle a million passwords, a password manager will do the remembering for you. A powerful password manager will:  Generate random passwords that are difficult to guess, require Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), auto-save and securely enter your passwords on frequented sites.
  3. Use unique passwords and MFA. If taken seriously, these two extra steps could save you a million headaches. 1) Use unique passwords for each of your accounts. By using different passwords, you avoid having all of your accounts become vulnerable if you are hacked (think domino effect). 2) MFA is Multi-Factor Authentication (also called two-step verification or authentication ). MFA confirms a user’s identityonly after presenting two or more pieces of evidence. Though not 100% secure, this practice adds a layer of security to an account.
  4. Pay attention and take action. It might be summer, but if you snooze, you will lose — privacy in this case. Be sure to pay attention to the news and know if a data breach affects your family. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC), the number of U.S. data breach incidents in2017 hit a new record high, rising a drastic 44.7 percent over 2016. Popular sites such as Facebook, Netflix, and Twitter have experienced breaches might easily have affected you or a member of your family.
  5. Connect carefully. So you’ve done everything you can to create strong passwords and that’s awesome! What you can’t control is how others protect your account data, which often includes passwords. Make sure that websites, platforms, and companies that have access to your sensitive information take security seriously and have privacy and security plans in place. Google the company before you establish an account to see if it has had a data breach.

What are the potential consequences of a weak password? A determined hacker can track a person’s online activity, identify and hack weak passwords then use those weak passwords to access banking information, credit card numbers, and personal data used to steal a person’s identity. Remember: Just as you go to work each morning to put food on the table for your family, a hacker has similar goals. So, work with equal diligence to protect what’s yours.

toni page birdsong

 

Toni Birdsong is a Family Safety Evangelist to McAfee. You can find her on Twitter @McAfee_Family. (Disclosures).

The post Summer Refresh: Take Time to Relax but Not on Password Security appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Cybercriminals Steal the Show! 26 Million Ticketfly Customers’ Data Compromised in Massive Breach

When we find out our favorite artist is coming to town, we immediately head to the web to snatch up a ticket to their show. This where ticket distribution services, such as Ticketmaster and TicketFly, become handy, as they allow us to easily input our information to claim a spot for the show. But as of this week, users of the latter company are unfortunately now dealing with that very information being compromised by a massive data breach. In fact, Troy Hunt, founder of “Have I Been Pwned,” discovered that a hacker posted several Ticketfly database files to a public server online.

This attack first began with an unnamed hacker informing Ticketfly of a security vulnerability and demanding a ransom of one bitcoin to reveal the flaw and help fix it. This threat was met with no response. Following which, the hacker then defaced the site, prompting the company to take it offline, and stole piles of Ticketfly customer data in the process.

In addition to a whopping 26 million email addresses, this stolen data includes users’ names, phone numbers, home and billing addresses. As of now, no financial information has been published publicly by the hacker, but he or she has threatened to post more data if they are not paid their ransom.

So, with this personal information out in the open and potentially more still to come, what can these Ticketfly customers do to ensure they protected their data? Start by following these tips:

  • Keep an eye out for sketchy emails. One way cybercriminals can leverage stolen emails is by using the list for phishing email distribution. If you see something sketchy or from an unknown source in your email inbox, be sure to avoid clicking on any links provided. Better to just delete the email entirely.
  • Set up an alert. Though this hacker has not published financial data, that doesn’t mean he or she may not still have it on hand. Therefore, if you’re a Ticketfly user, it’s best to proactively place a fraud alert on your credit so that any new or recent requests undergo scrutiny. This also entitles you to extra copies of your credit report so you can check for anything suspicious. If you find an account you did not open, report it to the police or Federal Trade Commission, as well as the creditor involved so you can close the fraudulent account.
  • Invest in an identity theft solution. With this breach, Ticketfly users may be faced with the possibility of identity theft. That’s precisely why they should leverage an identity theft solution such as McAfee Identity Theft Protection, which allows users to take a proactive approach to protecting their identities with personal and financial monitoring and recovery tools to help keep their identities personal and secured.

And, of course, to stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats, be sure to follow me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable? and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

The post Cybercriminals Steal the Show! 26 Million Ticketfly Customers’ Data Compromised in Massive Breach appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Cyber Security Roundup for May 2018

I'm sure the release of the GDPR on 25th May hasn't escaped anyone's attention. After years of warnings about the EU parliament's intended tough stance on enforcing the human right to privacy in the digital realm, a real 'game changer' of a global privacy regulation has finally landed, which impacts any organisation which touches EU citizen personal data. 

The GDPR's potential hefty financial penalties for breaching its requirements is firmly on the radar of directors at large enterprises and small businesses alike, hence the massive barrage of emails we have all have received in recent weeks, on changes to company privacy statements and requesting consent, many of which I noted as not being GDPR compliant as obtaining "explicit consent" from the data subject. So there is a long way to go for many organisations before they become truly GDPR compliant state based on what I've seen so far in my mailbox.

Cybercriminals have been quick to take advantage of the GDPR privacy emails deluge, using the subject matter in their phishing attacks to cheat access to accounts and con victims.
On a positive GDPR note, also on 25th May, IBM developerWorks released a three-part guidance series written by myself, aimed at helping Application Developers to develop GDPR compliant applications.

Developing GDPR Compliant Applications Guidance

Overshadowed by the GDPR coming in force, was the release of new NHS Data Security and Protection Toolkit, aimed at the NHS and their service providers, and the European NIS Directive (for telecom providers) went under the radar, but they are significant to those working in those industries.

Always make sure your Broadband Router\Hub does not permit remote administrative access (over the internet) and is always kept up-to-date with the latest security patches, otherwise, it will be at serious risk of being hacked and remotely controlled by cyber-criminals. As evidenced with month, after a DNS flaw in over 800,000 Draytek Routers has allowed hackers to take them over, malware called VPNFilter has infected 500,000 routers, and serious vulnerabilities has been reported in TP-Link EAP controllers.

IBM made headlines after banning its workers from using USB sticks, which I think is a good and reasonable policy. As quite frankly any modern enterprise, whether large or small, with a decent IT infrastructure and cloud services, staff shouldn't need to use USB devices to move data either internally or externally with third parties, so I see this as a rather smart business and security move to ban all USB devices, as it forces staff to use the more secure and more efficient technology made available.

As my @securityexpert twitter account crossed the 10,000 follower threshold Twitter advised 300 million users to reset their passwords after internal error. Apparently, the passwords for the Twitter accounts were accidentally stored in a database in their "plain text" value instead of using a hashed value for the password, as per best practice. I always strongly recommend Twitter users to take advantage and use the multi-factor authentication system Twitter provides, which reduces the risk of account hacking.

Breaches of note in May included a T-Mobile website bug which exposed personal customer data, Coca-Cola said an insider breached 8,000 accounts, and BMW cars were found to have over a dozen security vulnerabilities.

As always a busy month of new security patch releases, with Microsoft, Adobe, PHP, PGP, Google, Git, and Dell all releasing critical security updates to fix significant security flaws. Click the links for the full details.

Analysis of DDoS Attacks at Cloudflare, has revealed that while organisations in the UK have certainly upped their spending on DDoS mitigation, cyber-criminals are now responding by switching to Layer 7 based DDoS attacks
Some interesting articles about the Welsh Cyber Security Revolution and a review of the NHS a year on from the WannaCry outbreak

Reports of interest this month include the Thales Data Threat Report, which found UK businesses to be the most breached in Europe. The LastPass Psychology of Passwords Report which found 59% of people surveyed used the same passwords across multiple accounts, despite 91% of them knowing that using the same password for multiple accounts is a security risk. The 2017 Cylance Report stated the number of cyber-attacks on industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, professional services, and education rose by about 13.4% between 2016 and 2017.

NEWS
AWARENESS, EDUCATION AND THREAT INTELLIGENCE

Insider Threat at Coca-Cola Compromises 8,000 Employees’ Information

Cybercrime is often seen as a battle of good versus evil – a hacker tries to infiltrate a system while cyber defenders work hard to fend them off. Sometimes, data breaches are the work of these cybercriminals, and other times they’re caused by an actual employee of the affected company – something we like to call an insider threat. Just this past week, popular soft drink producer Coca-Cola announced that they were facing exactly that: an insider threat in the form of a former employee found carrying a personal hard drive of worker data.

So far, we know that this employee uploaded the data of their fellow coworkers onto an external hard drive, which they took with them when departing the company. According to a company representative, “the type of stolen and exposed data varies per employee.” And though there are no more known specifics around the data, we do know that this theft impacts 8,000 individual Coca-Cola employees.

As of now, Coca-Cola says it’s been working with law enforcement to dig into the details of this insider threat, but in the interim, these employees need to start taking proactive steps to protect their personal information. In order to do just that, follow these basic security tips:

  • Set up an alert. If you know there’s a chance your personal data has been compromised, place a fraud alert on your credit so that any new or recent requests undergo scrutiny. This also entitles you to extra copies of your credit report, so you can check for anything suspicious. If you find an account you did not open, report it to the police or Federal Trade Commission, as well as the creditor involved so you can close the fraudulent account.
  • Freeze your credit. This allows you to seal your credit reports so no one else can take out new accounts or loans in your name. You can do this without impacting your existing lines of credit, such as credit cards. If you want to apply for services or open new accounts, you can temporarily “unfreeze” your credit using a personal identification code only you have.`
  • Consider an identity theft protection solution. With their personal information floating around, these employees could be faced with the possibility of identity theft. McAfee Identity Theft Protection allows users to take a proactive approach to protecting their identities with personal and financial monitoring and recovery tools to help keep their identities personal and secured.

And, of course, to stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats, be sure to follow me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable? and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.


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Application Development GDPR Compliance Guidance

Last week IBM developerWorks released a three-part guidance series I have written to help 
Application Developers develop GDPR compliant applications.

Developing GDPR Compliant Applications Guidance

The GDPR
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was created by the European Commission and Council to strengthen and unify Europe's data protection law, replacing the 1995 European Data Protection Directive. Although the GDPR is a European Union (EU) regulation, it applies to any organizations outside of Europe that handle the personal data of EU citizens. This includes the development of applications that are intended to process the personal information of EU citizens. Therefore, organizations that provide web applications, mobile apps, or traditional desktop applications that can indirectly process EU citizen's personal data or allow EU citizens sign in are subject to the GDPR's privacy obligations. Organizations face the prospect of powerful sanctions should applications fail to comply with the GDPR.

Part 1: A Developer's Guide to the GDPR
Part 1 summarizes the GDPR and explains how the privacy regulation impacts and applies to developing and supporting applications that are intended to be used by European Union citizens.

Part 2: Application Privacy by Design
Part 2 provides guidance for developing applications that are compliant with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. 

Part 3: Minimizing Application Privacy Risk

Part 3  provides practical application development techniques that can alleviate an application's privacy risk.

Cyber Security Roundup for April 2018

The fallout from the Facebook privacy scandal rumbled on throughout April and culminated with the closure of the company at the centre of the scandal, Cambridge Analytica.
Ikea was forced to shut down its freelance labour marketplace app and website 'TaskRabbit' following a 'security incident'. Ikea advised users of TaskRabbit to change their credentials if they had used them on other sites, suggesting a significant database compromise.

TSB bosses came under fire after a botch upgraded to their online banking system, which meant the Spanished owned bank had to shut down their online banking facility, preventing usage by over 5 million TSB customers. Cybercriminals were quick to take advantage of TSB's woes.

Great Western Railway reset the passwords of more than million customer accounts following a breach by hackers, US Sun Trust reported an ex-employee stole 1.5 million bank client records, an NHS website was defaced by hackers, and US Saks, Lord & Taylor had 5 million payment cards stolen after a staff member was successfully phished by a hacker.

The UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) blacklist China's state-owned firm ZTE, warning UK telecom providers usage of ZTE's equipment could pose a national security risk. Interestingly BT formed a research and development partnership with ZTE in 2011 and had distributed ZTE modems. The NCSC, along with the United States government, released statements accusing Russian of large-scale cyber-campaigns, aimed at compromising vast numbers of the Western-based network devices.

IBM released the 2018 X-Force Report, a comprehensive report which stated for the second year in a row that the financial services sector was the most targeted by cybercriminals, typically by sophisticated malware i.e. Zeus, TrickBot, Gootkit. NTT Security released their 2018 Global Threat Intelligence Report, which unsurprisingly confirmed that ransomware attacks had increased 350% last year.  

A concerning report by the EEF said UK manufacturer IT systems are often outdated and highly vulnerable to cyber threats, with nearly half of all UK manufacturers already had been the victim of cybercrime. An Electropages blog questioned whether the boom in public cloud service adoption opens to the door cybercriminals.

Finally, it was yet another frantic month of security updates, with critical patches released by Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, Intel, Juniper, Cisco, and Drupal.

NEWS
AWARENESS, EDUCATION AND THREAT INTELLIGENCE
REPORTS

Cyber Security Roundup for March 2018

In the wake of the global political fallout over the Salisbury nerve agent attack, there are reports of a growing threat of Russian state or Russian state-affiliated hacking groups conducting cyber attack reprisals against UK organisations, government officials have directly warned bosses at electricity, gas and water firms, Whitehall departments and NHS hospitals to prepare for a state-sponsored cyber assault


Large-scale data breaches were disclosed with Under Armour’s Fitness App MyFitnessPal (1.5 million personal records compromised), Orbitz (880k payment cards at risk), and at a Walmart partner (1.3 million personal records compromised). The latter was caused when an AWS S3 bucket holding a Walmart database was left with open access, which isn't the first time a cloud service misconfiguration has caused a major data breach.

TalkTalk were warned about their website’s poor security after a hacker known as 'B' disclosed a cross-site scripting vulnerability on the talktalk.co.uk website to Sky News. TalkTalk was given a record £400,000 fine by the Information Commissioner's Office following a major website breach in October 2015, which 157,000 customer details were stolen. And the company were told to "be more diligent and more vigilant” and was fined a further £100,000 after data belonging to 21,000 customers were exposed to "rogue" staff at an Indian call centre.

GitHub survived the largest ever DDoS attack recorded thanks to Akamai DDoS protection, which peaked at a massive 1.35 terabytes of data per second.

UK schools were warned they were soft targets for cybercriminals, experts believe many schools are ill-equipped to prevent cyber thefts, with sensitive data such as children’s medical records said to be lucrative on the dark web. There has been a number of security incidents disclosed involving UK schools in recent months.
Gwent Police are facing scrutiny by the Information Commissioner's Office for not informing 450 people that hackers may have accessed their personal information, after discovering the breach over a year ago.

A hacker alleged to be behind a gang the ran the Carbanak and Cobalt bank target malware has been arrested. The gang is reported to be responsible for the theft of up to billion euros through bank transfers and from cash machines, from over 100 banks since 2013


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Drinkman and Smilianets Sentenced: The End to Our Longest Databreach Saga?

On Thursday, February 15, 2018, we may have finally reached the end of the Albert Gonzalez Databreach Saga.  Vladimir Drinkman, age 37, was sentenced to 144 months in prison, after pleading guilty before U.S. District Judge Jerome Simandle in New Jersey.  His colleague, Dmitriy Smilianets, age 34, had also pleased guilty and was sentenced to 51 months and 21 days in prison (which is basically "time served", so he'll walk immediately).  The pair were actually arrested in the Netherlands on June 28, 2012, and the guilty pleas had happened in September 2015th after they were extradited to New Jersey.

Those who follow data breaches will certainly be familiar with Albert Gonzalez, but may not realize how far back his criminal career goes.

On July 24, 2003, the NYPD arrested Gonzalez in front of a Chase Bank ATM at 2219 Broadway found Gonzalez in possession of 15 counterfeit Chase ATM cards and $3,000 in cash. (See case 1:09-cr-00626-JBS).  After that arrest, Gonzalez was taken under the wing of a pair of Secret Service agents, David Esposito and Steve Ward.  Gonzalez describes some of the activities he engaged in during his time as a CI in his 53 page appeal that he files March 24, 2011 from his prison cell in Milan, Michigan.

At one point, he claims that he explained to Agent Ward that he owed a Russian criminal $5,000 and he couldn't afford to pay it.  According to his appeal, he claims Ward told him to "Go do your thing, just don't get caught" and that Agent Ward later asked him if he had "handled it." Because of this, Gonzalez (who again, according to his own sentencing memo, likely has Asperger's) claims he believed that he had permission to hack, as long as he didn't get caught.

Over Christmas 2007, Gonzalez and his crew hacked Heartland Payments Systems and stole around 130 million credit and debit cards.  He was also charged with hacking 7-Eleven (August 2007), Hannaford Brothers (November 2007) where he stole 4.2 million credit and debit cards. Two additional data breaches against "Company A" and "Company B" were also listed as victims.  In Gonzalez's indictment, it refers to "HACKER 1 who resided in or near Russia" and "HACKER 2 who resided in or near Russia."  Another co-conspirator "PT" was later identified as Patrick Toey, a resident of Virginia Beach, VA.  (Patrick Toey's sentencing memorandum is a fascinating document that describes his first "Cash out trip" working for Albert Gonzalez in 2003. Toey describes being a high school drop out who smoked marijuana and drank heavily who was "put on a bus to New York" by his mother to do the cash out run because she needed rent money.  Toey later moved in with Gonzalez in Miami, where he describes hacking Forever 21 "for Gonzalez" among other hacks.

Gonzalez's extracurricular activities caught up with him when Maksym Yastremskiy (AKA Maksik) was arrested in Turkey.  Another point of Gonzalez's appeal was to say that Maksik was tortured by Turkish police, and that without said torture, he never would have confessed, which would have meant that Gonzalez (then acting online as "Segvec") would never have been identified or arrested.  Gonzalez claims that he suffered from an inadequate defense, because his lawyer should have objected to the evidence "obtained under torture."  These charges against Gonzalez were tried in the Eastern District of New York (2:08-cr-00160-SJF-AKT) and proved that Gonzalez was part of the Dave & Buster's data breach

On December 15, 2009, Gonzalez tried to shrug off some of his federal charges by filing a sentencing memo claiming that he lacked the "capacity to knowingly evaluate the wrongfulness of his actions" and asserting that his criminal behavior "was consistent with description of the Asperger's discorder" and that he exhibited characteristics of "Internet addiction."  Two weeks later, after fighting that the court could not conduct their own psychological exam, Gonzalez signed a guilty plea, agreeing that the prosecutor would try to limit his sentence to 17 years. He is currently imprisoned in Yazoo, Mississippi (FBOP # 25702-050) scheduled to be released October 29, 2025.

Eventually "HACKER 1" and "HACKER 2" were indicted themselves in April 2012, with an arrest warrant issued in July 2012, but due to criminals still at large, the indictment was not unsealed until December 18, 2013. HACKER 1 was Drinkman.  HACKER 2 was Alexandr Kalinin, who was also indicted with Drinkman and Smilianets.

Shortly after the Target Data Breach, I created a presentation called "Target Data Breach: Lessons Learned" which drew heavily on the history of Drinkman and Smilianets. Some of their documented data breaches included:
VictimDateDamages
NASDAQMay 2007  loss of control
7-ELEVEN August 2007
Carrefour October 2007 2 million cards
JCPenneyOctober 2007
HannafordNovember 2007 4.2 million cards
Wet SealJanuary 2008
CommideaNovember 2008 30 million cards
Dexia Bank BelgiumFeb'08-Feb'09
Jet BlueJan'08 to Feb '11
Dow Jones2009
EuroNetJul '10 to Oct '11  2 million cards
Visa JordanFeb-Mar '11  800,000 cards
Global Payments SystemsJan '11 to Mar '12
Diners Club SingaporeJun '11
IngenicardMar '12 to Dec '12

During the time of these attacks, Dimitry Smilianets was also leading the video game world.  His team, The Moscow 5, were the "Intel Extreme Masters" champions in the first League of Legends championship, also placing in the CounterStrike category.   Smilianets turned out not to be the hacker, but rather specialized in selling the credit cards that the other team members stole.  Steal a few hundred million credit cards and you can buy a nice gaming rig!

Smilianets with his World Champion League of Legends team in 2012

 How did these databreaches work?


Lockheed Martin's famous paper "Intelligence-Driven Computer Network Defense Informed by Analysis of Adversary Campaigns and Intrusion Kill Chains" laid out the phases of an attack like this:

But my friend Daniel Clemens had explained these same phases to me when he was teaching me the basics of Penetration Testing years before when he was first starting Packet Ninjas!

1. External Recon - Gonzalez and his crew scan for Internet-facing SQL servers
2. Attack (Dan calls this "Establishing a Foothold") - using common SQL configuration weaknesses, they caused a set of additional tools to be downloaded from the Internet
3. Internal Recon - these tools included a Password Dumper, Password Cracker, Port Scanner,  and tools for bulk exporting data
4. Expand (Dan calls this "Creating a Stronghold")  - usually this consisted with monitoring the network until they found a Domain Admin userid and password.  (for example, in the Heartland Payments attack, the VERITAS userid was found to have the password "BACKUP" which unlocked every server on the network!
5. Dominate - Gonzalez' crew would then schedule an SQL script to run a nightly dump their card data
6. Exfiltrate - data sent to remote servers via an outbound FTP.

In Rolling Stone, Gonzalez claims he compromised more than 250 networks
In the Rolling Stone article, "Sex, Drugs, and the Biggest Cybercrime of All Time" , Steven Watt, who was charged in Massachusetts for providing attack tools to Gonzalez in October 2008.  Watt's tools were used in breaches, including BJ's Wholesale Club, Boston Market, Barnes & Noble, Sports Authority, Forever 21, DSW, and OfficeMax.  As part of his sentencing, Watt was ordered to repay $171.5 Million dollars.

Almost all of those databreaches followed the same model ... scan, SQL Inject, download tools, plant a foothold, convert it to a stronghold by becoming a domain admin, dominate the network, and exfiltrate the data. 

How did the TARGET Data breach happen, by the way?  Target is still listed as being "Unsolved" ...   but let's review.  An SQL injection led to downloaded tools, (including NetCat, PSExec, QuarksPWDump, ElcomSoft's Proactive Password Auditor, SomarSoft's DumpSec, Angry IP Scanner (for finding database servers), and Microsoft's OSQL and BCP (Bulk Copy)), a Domain Admin password was found (in Target's case, a BMC server monitoring tool running the default password), the POS Malware was installed, and data exfiltration begun. 

Sound familiar???

Justice?

With most of Gonzalez's crew in prison by 2010, the data breaches kept right on coming, thanks to Drinkman and Smilianets. 

Drinkman, the hacker, was sentenced to 144 months in prison.
Smilianets, the card broker, was sentenced to 51 months and 21 days, which was basically "time served" -- he was extradited to the US on September 7, 2012, so he'll basically walk.

Will Smilianets return to video gaming? to money laundering? or perhaps choose to go straight?

Meanwhile, Alexandr Kalinin, of St. Petersburg, Russia; Mikhail Rytikov, of Odessa, Ukraine; and Roman Kotov, of Moscow, Russia, are all still at large.  Have they learned from the fate of their co-conspirators? or are they in all likelihood, scanning networks for SQL servers, injecting them, dropping tools, planting footholds, creating strongholds, and exfiltrating credit card data from American companies every day?

Kalinin (AKA Grig, AKA "g", AKA "tempo") is wanted for hacking NASDAQ and planting malware that ran on the NASDAQ networks from 2008 to 2010.  (See the indictment in the Southern District of New York, filed 24JUL2013 ==> 1:13-cr-00548-ALC )

Mykhailo Sergiyovych Rytikov is wanted in the Western District of Pennsylvania for his role in a major Zeus malware case.  Rytikov leased servers to other malware operators.  Rytikov is also indicted in the Eastern District of Virginia along with Andriy DERKACH for running a "Dumps Checking Service" that processed at least 1.8 million credit cards in the first half of 2009 and that directly led to more than $12M in fraud.  ( 1:12-cr-00522-AJT filed 08AUG2013.)  Rytikov did have a New York attorney presenting a defense in the case -- Arkady Bukh argues that while Rytikov is definitely involved in web-hosting, he isn't responsible for what happens on the websites he hosts.

Roman Kotov, and Rytikov and Kalinin, are still wanted in New Jersey as part of the case 1:09-cr-00626-JBS (Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle ). This is the same case Drinkman and Smilianets were just sentenced under.

Cyber Security Roundup for December 2017

UK supermarket giant Morrisons, lost a landmark data breach court case in December after a disgruntled Morrisons employee had stolen and posted the personal records of 100,000 co-workers online, the supermarket chain was held liable for the data breach by the UK High Court. The High Court ruling now allows those affected to claim compensation for the "upset and distress" caused. Morrisons said it believed it should not have been held responsible and would be appealing against the decision. If the appeal is lost it could open up the possibility of further class action lawsuits cases by individuals. Pending the GDPR becoming law in May 2018, such a court ruling sets a legal precedent for individuals to claim damages after personal data losses by companies through the courts as well. After May 2018, the GDPR grants individuals the right sue companies for damages following personal data breaches. So we can expect 'ambulance chasers' lawyers to pick up on this aspect of the GDPR, with class action lawsuits following data breaches, it well could become the new "P.P.I. industry"

Any businesses or individuals using Kaspersky should be aware the UK National Cyber Security Centre has warned government agencies against using the Russian supplier’s products and services, which follows a ban by US government departments in November. Barclays responded to the warning by stopping their free offering of Kaspersky anti-virus products to its customers. 2017 saw Cyber Security become a political football, so it is no real surprise that the UK and US once again blamed North Korea for the devasting WannaCry attacks earlier in the year, personally, I blame poor patch management and hackers, not the North Korea cyber army!

Nadine Dorries MP got herself in hot water after trying to defend now former political colleague Damian Green, following claims of Mr.Green accessed porn on his Parliment computer. This was activity was reported by a retired Police officer, which was said to be a breach of the data protection act. Nadine tweeted "my staff log onto my computer on my desk with my login everyday" to suggest anyone could have used Damian Green's PC to access the illicit websites. This led to widespread condemnation and a warning by ICO to MPs on password sharing. 

The fact illicit websites were not blocked by Parliament systems is one concerning lack security issue, but the flagrant disregard for basic cybersecurity by government MPs is gobsmacking, especially when you consider they are supposed to be understanding the risk and setting laws to protect UK citizens from cyber attacks and data breaches. Its another "slap palm on head" after the last UK Prime Minister announced he wanted to ban encryption.

2017 has seen huge rises in cryptocurrencies values, which has placed cryptocurrency brokers and user crypto coin wallets in the sights of cybercriminals. This month mining platform NiceHash was breached by hackers, who stole £51 million worth of Bitcoin and Bitcoin exchange Youbit, which lets people buy and sell Bitcoins and other virtual currencies, shut down and filed for bankruptcy after losing 17% of its assets in the cyber-attacks. I think we can expect further cryptocurrencies attacks in 2018 given the cryptocurrency bubble is yet to burst.

Faked LinkedIn profiles are nothing new, however, the German Intelligence Agency (BfV) said it had spotted China were using faked LinkedIn profiles to connect with and gather information on German officials and politicians, which is an interesting development.

Finally, Hackers were reported as taking advantage of poorly secured systems at UK private schools, and it was claimed hackers could turn off heating systems at UK schools and military bases.

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Cyber Security Roundup for November 2017

One of the most notable data breaches disclosed this month was by Uber, given the company attempted to cover up the breach by paying off hackers. Over a year ago the transport tech firm was said to have paid £75,000 to two hackers to delete 57 million Uber account records which they had stolen. Uber revealed around 2.7 million of the stolen records were British riders and drivers. As a UK Uber rider, this could mean me, I haven't received any notification of the data breach from Uber as yet. The stolen information included names, email addresses, and phone numbers. Uber can expect enforcement action from regulators on both sides of the pond, the UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said it had "huge concerns" about the breach and was investigating.

Jewson, Cash Converters, and Imgur all reported losing data due to hacks this month, while Equifax has reported suffering significant negative financial losses following their high profile hack of personal customer data. Equifax reported their net income had dropped by £20 million due to the hack, and their breach bill was coming in at a whopping £67 million.

November was a very busy month for security patches releases, with Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, Oracle, Cisco and Intel releasing a raft of patches to fix critical vulnerabilities. Apple even had to quickly release an emergency patch at end of November to fix a root access flaw reported in macOS High Sierra version 10.13.1. So just keep patching everything IT to ensure you and your business stays ahead of enterprising cybercriminals, the Equifax breach is a prime example of what can go wrong if system patching is neglected.

November also saw Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) finally released an updated version to its Top Ten application vulnerabilities list, which is a ‘must know’ secure coding best practice for all software developers and security testers, especially considering that Akamai reported web application attacks had increased by 69% in the third quarter of 2017. Look out for an updated OWASP Top Ten IBM DeveloperWorks Guidance from me in December to reflect the updated list.

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Cyber Security Roundup for October 2017

State-orchestrated cyber attacks have dominated the media headlines in October, with rogue state North Korea and its alleged 6,800 strong cyber force blamed for several cyber attacks. International intelligence scholars believe the North Korean leadership are using cyber warfare to up the political ante with their ongoing dispute with the United States. The North Koreans, as well as terrible security practices, were directly blamed by the UK National Audit Office for the recent NHS WannaCry attack (despite North Korea denying it). North Korea was also reported to be implicated in the stealing US War Plans from South Korea, and for a spear phishing campaign against the US Power Grid. The possible Russian manipulation of the US election with cyber attacks and rogue social media campaigns is still a story not going away, while the Chinese are alleged to be behind the data theft of Australian F-35 fighter jet, in what is described as an 'extensive' Cyberattack. The finger was pointed at Iran for the recent Parliamentary Emails cyber attacks in the UK, meanwhile, EU governments venting their cyber concern, warning that Cyber Attacks can be an Act of War.

Stephen Hawking caused controversy in both the science and tech industry last year when he said Artificial Intelligence could be a serious threat to human existence, could the plot of The Terminator really come to fruition? Perhaps so, as it was reported that AI had already defeated the Captcha Security Check system. Personally, I believe both AI and Quantum Computing will pose significant new threats to cybersecurity space in the next decade.

A far higher number of personal records were compromised in the Equifax data breach than was previously thought, with millions of UK citizens confirmed to be impacted by the US-based credit checking agency hack. Equifax’s now ex-CEO provided an interesting blow-by-blow account of the cyber-attack at a US government hearing, even though Equifax technical staff were specifically warned about a critical Apache Struts (web server) patch, it was ignored and not applied, which in turn allowed hackers to take full advantage of vulnerability to steal the Equifax data on mass. To make matters even worse, the Equifax consumer breach help website was found to be infecting visitors with spyware.

Yahoo revealed all 3 Billion of its user accounts had in fact been breached, in what is truly an astonishing mammoth sized hack, biggest in all history, so far. Elsewhere on the commercial hacking front, Pizza Hut's website was reported to be hacked with customer financial information taken, and Disqus said a 2012 breach it discovered in October exposed the information of 17.5 million its users from as far back as 2007.

It was a super busy month for security vulnerability notifications and patch releases, with Microsoft, Netgear, Oracle, Google, and Apple all releasing rafts of critical level patches. A serious weakness in the wireless networking WPA2 protocol was made public to great fanfare after researchers suggested all Wifi devices using WPA2 on the planet were vulnerable to an attack called Krack, which exploited the WPA2 weakness. Krack is a man-in-the-middle attack which allows an attacker to eavesdrop or redirect users to fake websites over Wifi networks secured using the WPA2 protocol. At the time of writing most wireless access point vendors and operating system providers had released patches to close the WPA2 vulnerability, and there have been no known exploits of the vulnerability reported in the wild.

BadRabbit is a new strain of ransomware which is emerging and is reported to be infecting systems and networks in Russia and the Ukraine at the moment. BadRabbit is the latest network self-propagating malware, like NotPeyta and WannaCry, to use the NSA EternalRomance hacking tool. A massive new IoT botnet was discovered, its continued growth is fuelled by malware said to be more sophisticated than previous IoT botnet king, Mirai. Russian based threat actor group APT28 is said to be targeting the exploitation of a recently patched Adobe vulnerability (CVE-2017-11292), in using malicious Microsoft Word attachment, so ensure you keep on top of your system patching and always be careful when opening email attachments. 

Finally, the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) released its first annual report, as it seeks to improve cybersecurity across the UK. Among NCSC achievements cited in the report are:
  • The launch of Active Cyber Defence, credited with reducing average time a phishing site is online from 27 hours to 1 hour
  • Led UK response to WannaCry
  • Advice website with up to 100,000 visitors per month
  • Three-day Cyber UK Conference in Liverpool
  • 43% increase in visits to the Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership (CiSP)
  • Produced 200,000 physical items for 190 customer departments via UK Key Production authority to secure and protect communications of Armed Forces and national security
  • 1,000 youngsters on CyberFirst courses and 8,000 young women on CyberFirst Girls competition.
  • Worked with 50 countries, including signing Nato's MoU
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Cyber Security Roundup for September 2017

A massive data breach at Equifax dominated the UK media finance headlines this month, after 143 million customer records were compromised by a cyber-attack, 400,000 of which were UK customer accounts. Hackers took advantage of Equifax’s negligence in not applying security updates to servers. The data breach has already cost the CEO, CIO and CISO their jobs. In the UK Equifax faces investigations and the prospect of significant fines by both the Financial Conduct Authority and the Information Commissioner's Office over the loss of UK customer financial and personal data respectively.

Hackers stole a quarter of a million Deloitte client emails, follow the breach Deloitte was criticised by security professional for not adopting two-factor authentication to protect the email data which they hosted in Microsoft’s Azure cloud service.

September was an extremely busy month for security updates, with major patches releases by Microsoft, Adobe, Apache, Cisco and Apple to fix an array of serious security vulnerabilities including BlueBorne, a Bluetooth bug which exposes billions of devices to man-in-the-middle attacks.

UK government suppliers using Kaspersky to secure their servers and endpoints may well be feeling a bit nervous about the security software after Kaspersky was banned by US Government agencies. The US Senate accused the 20-year-old Russian based security company as being a pawn of the Kremlin and posing a national risk to security. Given the US and UK intelligence agency close ties, there are real fears it could lead to a similar ban in the UK as well. A UK ban could, in theory, be quickly extended to UK government suppliers through the Cyber Essentials scheme, given the Cyber Essentials accreditation is required at all UK government suppliers.

While on the subject of the Russia, the English FA has increased its cybersecurity posture ahead of next year's World Cup, likely due to concerns about the Russian Bears hacking group. The hacking group has already targeted a number of sports agencies in recent months, including hacking and releasing football player's world cup doping reports last month. 

In the last couple of weeks, I was Interviewed for Science of Security, and I updated my IBM Developer Works article on Combating IoT Cyber Threats.

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When the Press Aids the Enemy

Let's start with this- Freedom of the press is a critical part of any free society, and more importantly, a democratically governed society.

But that being said, I can't help but think there are times when the actions of the media aid the enemy. This is a touchy subject so I'll keep it concise and just make a few points that stick in my mind.

First, it's pretty hard to argue that the media looks for ever-more sensational headlines, truth be damned, to get clicks and drive traffic to their publication. Whether it's digital or actual ink-on-paper sensationalism sells, there's no arguing with that.

What troubles me is that like in the war on terrorism, the enemy succeeds in their mission when the media creates hysteria and fear. This much should be clear. The media tend to feed into this pretty regularly and we see this in some of the most sensational headlines from stories that should told in fact, not fantasy.


So when I came across this article on Buzzfeed called "The Messy Media Ethics Behind the Sony Hacks" it suddenly hit me - the media may very well be playing perfectly into the enemy's hands. The "Guardians of Peace" (GOP) in their quest to ruin Sony Pictures Entertainment have stolen an unfathomable amount of information. As Steve Ragan who has repeatedly written on about this and many other breaches tweeted that's 200Gb or 287,000 documents. That's mind-blowing.

This cache of data has proven to be yet-unreleased movies, marketing presentations, email exchanges between executives and attorneys, financial plans, employees' medical records and so much more. The GOP have made it clear their aim is to "punish" Sony Pictures Entertainment - and while we don't really have an insight as to the true motivations here, I think it's clear that releasing all this data is meant to severely negatively impact the business.

What has followed in the days since the announcement of the hack is a never-ending stream of "news" articles that I struggle to understand. There were articles like this one providing commentary and analysis on internal marketing department presentations. There were articles analyzing the internal and privileged (as far as I know, but I'm not a lawyer) communications between corporate legal counsel and Sony Pictures executives. There were articles talking about the release of SPE employee medical records. The hit-parade goes on and on... and I'm not linking over to any more of the trash because it embarrasses me.

Clearly, clearly, the mainstream media (and hell even the not-so-mainstream) have long lost their ethics. Some would claim that it's the "freedom of the press" that allows them to re-publish and discuss sensitive, internal documents. Others argue that since it's already in the public domain (available on BitTorrent) then it's fair game. Note: This was discussed during the Snowden release - and it was clear that classified information released to the public domain does not suddenly lose its classified status. I'm fairly certain this easily applies to the not-national-security type of assets as well. To be honest, this argument makes me question the intellectual integrity of some of the people who make it.

Anyway, back to my point. If the GOP wanted to destroy Sony Pictures Entertainment then hacking in and releasing secret information and intellectual property was only half the battle. The second half, unfortunately, is being picked up and executed by the media, bloggers, and talking heads putting out "analysis" on all this data. Publishing links to the hacked data, analyzing its contents, and looking for further embarrassing and ugly things to publish- the media should be ashamed of itself.

The hack alone wasn't going to damage SPEs image to where it has fallen now - the media is clearly complicity in this and it's a shame. I'm not an attorney so I question whether publishing and discussing confidential communications between an attorney and executive is ethical. Forget that, is it even legal? Journalists and bloggers continue to hide behind the "freedom of the press", and some folks even to blasting me for daring to question the absolute rights of the press. Except - the freedom of the press isn't absolute, as far as I know.

But whether it's legal, clearly there are ethical problems here. If you're in the media and you're poring over the confidential email communications stolen from Sony Pictures Entertainment systems, I emphasize stolen, and you're commenting on this - to what end? Arguing that the media is releasing this information because (a) it's already in the public domain and (b) it's "for the public good" is ludicrous.

Remember - while you're reveling in someone else's misery that you too may be a coincidental victim one day. Then it'll be your turn to have your private information released and analyzed and attacked as part of the next breach. Your recourse? None... Glass houses, journalists. Glass houses.

The Other Side of Breach Hysteria

In a world where everyone is trying to sell you something, security is certainly no exception. But separating the hype from the truth can easily turn into a full time job if you're not careful.

With all the recent retail data breaches, it would appear as though the sky is falling in large chunks right on top of us. Every big-name retailer, and even some of the smaller ones, are being hacked and their precious card data is bring whisked away to be sold to miscreants and criminals.

Now enter the sales and marketing pitches. After every breach it would seem our mailboxes fill up with subject lines such as-
"Learn how not to be the next , read how our latest gizmo will keep you secure!"
I don't know about you, but the snake-oil pitch is starting to get old. While it's clear that the average buyer is getting the message about data breaches and hackers - I believe there are two other aspects of this which aren't talked about enough.

First there is the notion of "breach fatigue". If you read the news headlines you would have thought that everyone's bank accounts would be empty by now, and everyone in the United States would have been the victim of identity theft by now. But they haven't. Or they haven't been impacted directly. This leads to the Chicken Little problem.

You see, many security professionals cried that security incidents did not receive enough attention. Then the media took notice, and sensationalized the heck out of incidents to an almost rock-star fervor. The issue here is that I believe people are starting to grow weary of the "Oh no! Hackers are going to steal everything I have!" talk. Every incident is the biggest there has ever been. Every incident is hackers pillaging and stealing countless credit card records and identities. The average person doesn't quite know what to make of this, so they have no choice but to mentally assume the worst. Then - over time - the worst never comes. Sure, some get impacted directly but there is this thing called zero fraud liability (in the case of card fraud) that means they are impacted - but barely enough to notice because their banks make it alright. More on this in a minute.

We as humans have a shocking ability to develop a tolerance to almost anything. Data breach hysteria is no exception. I've now seen and heard people around televisions (at airports, for example, where I happen to be rather frequently) say things like "Oh well, more hackers, I keep hearing about these hackers and it never seems to make a difference." Make no mistake, this is bad.

You see, the other side of the awareness hill, which we are rapidly approaching, is apathy. This is the kind of apathy that is difficult to recover from because we push through the first wave of apathy into awareness, and then hysteria, which leads to a much stronger version of apathy where we will be stuck - I believe. So there we are, stuck.

If I'm honest, I'm sick and tired of all the hype surrounding data breaches. They happen every day of every week, and yet we keep acting like we're shocked that Retailer X, or Company Y was breached. Why are we still even shocked? Many are starting to lose the ability to become shocked - even though the numbers of records breached and scale of the intrusions is reaching absurd proportions.

Second point I'd like to make is around the notion of individual impact. Many people simply say that "this still doesn't impact me" because of a wonderful thing like zero fraud liability. Those 3 words have single-handedly destroyed the common person's ability to care about their credit card being stolen. After you've had your card cloned, or stolen online and had charges show up - you panic. Once you realize your bank has been kind enough to put the funds back, or roll-back the fraudulent charges you realize you have a safety net. Now these horrible, terrible, catastrophic breaches aren't so horrible, terrible and catastrophic. Now they're the bank's problem.

Every time someone has a case of credit card fraud the bank covers under zero fraud liability (and let's face it, most cards and banks have this today) - their level of apathy for these mega-breaches grows. I believe this is true. I also believe there is little we can do about it. Actually, I'm not sure if there is anything that needs to be done about it. Maybe things are just the way they're going to be.

There is a great phrase someone once used that I'm going to paraphrase and borrow here - things are as bad as the free market will support. If I may adapt this to security - the security of your organization is as good (or bad) as your business and your customers will support.

Think about that.