Week of August 05, 2016


Week of August 05, 2016

Do Data Breaches Affect Company Value?

  • Malware is growing more prevalent, possibly nearing 600 million samples in 2016, and the average cost of a data breach has been estimated to reach $4 million.
  • Gartner, which had estimated worldwide spending on information security reaching $75.4 billion in 2015, sees a 26 percent probability that a company will experience one or more data breaches within a 24-hour period.
  • We know there are significant and quantifiable costs associated with a data breach, but how does a security incident affect a company’s value?
  • Target was the victim of a massive data breach, estimated to have involved the loss of the personal information of almost 70 million individuals.
  • The day the news hit the media, there was an obvious drop in share value, but Target recovered after a couple months.
  • Looking at the stock market value for Target and a few other companies who have experienced major breaches, the correlation between security incidents and drop in share prices is marginal at best.
  • Regardless of what measures a company takes to secure its stock market value, it may ultimately take a serious dive if security gaps are not quickly remedied and breaches occur regularly.

Source: RSA Conference, July 29, 2016

Computer Systems Used By Clinton Campaign Hacked

  • Computer systems used by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign were hacked in an attack that appears to have come from Russia’s intelligence services.
  • The apparent breach escalates an international episode in which Clinton campaign officials have suggested that Russia might be trying to sway the outcome of the election.
  • The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the fund-raising arm for House Democrats, also said that its systems had been hacked.
  • The attack on the congressional committee’s system appears to have come from an entity known as “Fancy Bear,” which is connected to the Russian military intelligence service.
  • The F.B.I. said that it was examining reports of “cyber intrusions involving multiple political entities” but did not identify the targets of the attacks.
  • Clinton campaign officials have suggested that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia could be trying to tilt the election to Mr. Trump, who has expressed admiration for the Russian leader.
  • The Trump campaign has dismissed the accusations about Russia as a deliberate distraction.

Source: New York Times, July 29, 2016

Cisco's Big Cyber-Security Report

  • Companies are still using outdated technology leaving them prone to cyber-attacks, security researchers are losing their confidence, and hackers are making millions of dollars through so called ransomware attacks.
  • Cisco’s latest security report confirms that recent ransomware attacks on hospitals, universities, and even some utility services, are on the rise.
  • Hackers continue to love using the Adobe Flash media player as a convenient way to penetrate computers because of its buggy nature and security holes.
  • Hackers are using abandoned WordPress sites as tools for their attacks – creating an infrastructure that supports ransomware, bank fraud, or phishing attacks.
  • Businesses with legacy IT equipment and computer systems are at higher risks of security breaches because a lot of older IT technology wasn’t designed to thwart modern-day attacks.
  • Recent huge corporate hackings like the ones that wrecked Sony Pictures and health insurer Anthem have hurt the confidence of modern security professionals.

Source: Fortune, July 29, 2016

Hackers Steal $63.7 Million From BitCoin Exchange

  • A Hong Kong-based Bitcoin exchange has suspended all transactions after hackers stole almost 120,000 BTC (currently valued at $63.7 million).
  • The news has helped to contribute to a drop in Bitcoin's value, and over the last two days it has fallen by around 13 percent.
  • While the exchange actually deals in other cryptocurrencies beyond Bitcoin, the hack itself did not take anything beyond BTC.
  • The company also directly contacted Bloomberg to confirm that deposits made in US dollars were not affected by the breach.
  • Incidents like this won’t irreparably harm Bitcoin, but the regularity of these incidents must be concerning for outside investors.

Source: Engadget, August 03, 2016

Does Dropping Malicious USB Sticks Really Work?

  • Plugging in that USB stick you found lying around on the street outside your office could lead to a security breach.
  • A research team dropped nearly 300 USB sticks on a college campus and measured who plugged in the drives; 98% of drives were picked up and for 45% of the drives, someone plugged in the drive and clicked on files.
  • Just over two-thirds of the people who responded to the survey contained on the USB drives said that they accessed the USB sticks with the intention of returning them to their rightful owner.
  • The most basic and simplest way to conduct an attack would have seen malicious code placed in the HTML file that would have been automatically activated upon viewing, perhaps downloading further malware from the internet.
  • A more sophisticated attack, however, would see the use of a device using HID (Human Interface Device) spoofing to trick a computer into believing that it was, in reality, a keyboard.
  • USB devices should be treated with caution – never plug in an unidentified USB stick.

Source: Trip Wire, August 04, 2016

Researchers Show How To Steal Payment Card Data From Pin Pads

  • The manner in which many PIN pads used by consumers to pay for purchases and communicate with point-of-sale systems make it very easy for attackers to steal payment card data.
  • Researchers showed how an attacker could intercept communications between a card reader and a POS system and extract sensitive cardholder data from it.
  • The data from a card swipe is transferred to the POS system either via an Ethernet cable or via a serial port if the card reader is integrated with the POS system.
  • The attack works because PIN pad devices from most manufacturers do not authenticate POS systems when sending cardholder data.
  • As a result, it becomes relatively easy for someone to stick a rogue device between the POS system and the PIN pad and capture the data flowing through.
  • The weaknesses make it possible for attackers to steal cardholder data even from chip-enabled EMV smart cards.

Source: Dark Reading, August 03, 2016

Apple ID Hackers Using "Find My iPhone" Lock Message To Demand Ransom

  • Ransomware is not uncommon on Windows machines, but has so far only been seen once on Macs and not at all on non-jailbroken iOS devices.
  • Hackers are trying to fool people into thinking their devices have been compromised after gaining access to an Apple ID.
  • Hackers use Find My iPhone to lock the phone, displaying a message demanding a ransom for access.
  • The attack requires someone to have compromised the Apple ID associated with the device.
  • The best protection is to use strong, unique passwords for every website and use two-factor authentication for your Apple account.

Source: 9to5 Mac, August 03, 2016

Are Smart City Transportation Systems Susceptible To Hackers?

  • Cybersecurity experts say it's only a matter of time before hackers become interested in smart city transportation clouds.
  • Taking control of parking, traffic lights, signage, street lighting, automated bus stops and many other systems could be appealing to bad guys from many walks of life including political activists and terrorists.
  • Moscow has already experienced its first major transportation hack, albeit to make a serious point about security.
  • A researcher with Kaspersky Lab was able to manipulate traffic sensors and capture data simply by looking up a hardware user manual that was readily available online from the sensor manufacturer.
  • Some cities are beginning to plan for smart features in public transit and parking, but experts warn there is nothing smart about building a city that has the latest technology, but leaving the infrastructure wide open and vulnerable to attacks.

Source: BBC, August 05, 2016

Deleted WhatApp Messages Aren't Actually Deleted

  • Chat logs from WhatsApp linger on your phone even after you’ve deleted them.
  • It could be accessed by someone with physical access to the device or by law enforcement issuing a warrant to Apple for iCloud backups.
  • Although the data is deleted from the app, it is not overwritten in the SQLite library and therefore remains on the phone.
  • The same issue exists with iMessage as well; other apps like Signal and Wickr leave fewer forensic traces.
  • However, the ways this forensic data could be exported are relatively limited.

Source: Tech Crunch, July 29, 2016

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