On February 18, 2014, the online gaming website Wurm was the victim of a DDoS attack. The company posted the following note on its website at the time of its attack:
“Shortly after today’s update we were the target of a DDoS attack and our hosting provider had to pull us off the grid for now. We will be back as soon as possible but things are out of our hands since their other customers are affected. As we wrote in a previous news post we are planning on changing hosting anyways which should improve things for the future. We can offer 10,000 euro for any tips or evidence leading to a conviction of the person responsible for this attack.”
Last fall my husband was visiting a relative in the hospital when he noticed an Ethernet port on the side of the bed. He asked the nurse what the hospital uses the port for. She explained that they occasionally connect patient-monitoring devices to the port on the bed to facilitate transmission of alerts to the nurses’ station. For example, if a patient connected to a heart monitor experiences a problem, an alert signal is sent through the network to a manned station. The bed’s port number identifies which patient is in distress.
While this sounds like an efficient use of technology, my husband was curious: how secure is this port for the transmission of sensitive data? He plugged his personal computer into the bed’s port and – voila! – he was able to access the public Internet. Uh oh. If he could get to the Internet via the bed’s port, the Internet could get to the bed via the same port and into the hospital’s network and beyond. Needless to say, he was shocked at this complete lack of security on a network where human lives literally are at risk.
Posted in Application Security, Data Protection, Governance, Risk and Compliance, Network Security, Security Management, Security Threats, Uncategorized
Tagged cyber security, data breach, DDoS Attacks, healthcare information, phishing, SANS Institute
Have you heard of a smash-and-grab robbery? In the physical world, it usually refers to a group of thugs who storm a retail store – often a jewelry store or a pawn shop – and smash the display cases with sledge hammers. They grab all the expensive merchandise they can get and run out of the store before shocked store clerks have much time to react.
Now there is an equivalent type of attack in the cyber world. Instead of sledge hammers, criminals use a DDoS attack to cripple system resources and distract the security and networking professionals who turn their attention to mitigating the denial-of-service attack. Meanwhile, the cyber thieves are moving elsewhere through the network in an attempt to steal intellectual property or information that can be quickly monetized. The DDoS attack is simply a diversionary tactic to take security experts’ eyes off the data exfiltration.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. For the LOVE of DDoS defense, I’m pleased to share with you another video blog, this time focused on Application Layer attacks. Read more
The winter Olympics get underway in Sochi, Russia this week, and most of the attention about security has been focused on physical security and the potential for acts of terrorism. Russian President Putin has promised a “ring of steel” around the Olympic venues to provide a high level of physical safety for the athletes and tens of thousands of other visitors and workers.
Nevertheless, it’s expected that a very high percentage of visitors to Sochi will be attacked…online. NBC Nightly News just ran a story about the digital version of Russian Roulette that visitors to Russia will unwittingly play. According to Brian Williams of NBC News, “visitors to Russia can expect to be hacked” practically the moment they turn on their smart phones, tablets or PCs once they land in Russia.
In November 2013, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) submitted a public report to U.S. President Barack Obama. The report, Immediate Opportunities for Strengthening the Nation’s Cybersecurity, provides key insights from a more comprehensive but classified assessment of the Nation’s cybersecurity needs and opportunities.
The purpose of the report is twofold:
- To point to areas where executive (i.e., governmental) action can accelerate progress toward protecting the nation’s information systems and assets, and
- To recommend a number of approaches to encourage greater adoption of secure practices in the private sector (i.e., without additional mandates imposed by federal law).
Posted in Governance, Risk and Compliance, Network Security, Security Management, Security Threats, Uncategorized
Tagged Compliance, Corero, cyber attacks, cybersecurity, First Line of Defense, government, managed security service providers, NIST
Well, here’s a switch. Usually televisions are bringing crap into our households. Now experts have learned that some smart TVs have been sending crap (in the form of spam) out of their owners’ houses.
A recent press release from Proofpoint, Inc. details how the security service provider uncovered an Internet of Things (IoT) based cyberattack that utilized household “smart” appliances. According to Proofpoint, “The global attack campaign involved more than 750,000 malicious email communications coming from more than 100,000 everyday consumer gadgets such as home-networking routers, connected multi-media centers, televisions and at least one refrigerator that had been compromised and used as a platform to launch attacks.”
Hang on to your credit cards and start checking your free credit reports: The latest news about retail breaches is not good.
Numerous sources are now reporting that the recent Target and Neiman Marcus data breaches may be the tip of the cyber heist iceberg, and there are likely more related breaches that have not yet been announced.
Writing in BankInfoSecurity, Tracy Kitten reports that banks that issue credit cards say fraud patterns may reveal additional breaches at other well-known brands—possibly a leading hotel company and a restaurant chain. Banks are often the first ones to detect retail breaches, even before the merchants themselves realize what is happening.
Ever since news of the Target breach broke a few weeks ago, everyone from security experts to concerned consumers have been hyper-sensitive to what’s happening in retail security. If it’s true that 110 million consumers had their financial account data compromised in that one breach alone, it’s no wonder many of us are fearful each time we swipe a debit or credit card at a merchant’s point of sale (POS).
If a breach can happen at Target – a large corporation with deep security resources – just think what could be happening at many smaller merchants who can’t afford the kind of resources of a Target, or a TJX, or a Neiman Marcus.