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Posts Tagged ‘Advanced Persistent Threat’

December 2011 Cyber Attacks Timeline (Part II)

December 30, 2011 2 comments

This infamous 2011 is nearly gone and here it is the last post for this year concerning the 2011 Cyber Attacks Timeline. As you will soon see from an infosec perspective this month has been characterized by two main events: the LulzXmas with its terrible Stratfor hack (whose effects are still ongoing with the recent release of 860,000 accounts), and an unprecented wave of breaches in China which led to the dump of nearly 88 million of users for a theoretical cost of nearly $19 million (yes the Sony brech is close). For the rest an endless cyberwar between India and Pakistan, some hactivism and (unfortunately) the usual amounts of “minor” breaches and defacement. After the page break you find all the references.

Last but not least… This post is my very personal way to wish you a happy new infosec year.

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One Year Of Lulz (Part II)

December 26, 2011 1 comment

Christmas has just gone and here it is my personal way to wish you a Happy New Year: the second part of my personal chart (first part here) of Main 2011 Cyber Attacks covering the time window from August to November 2011 (December is not yet finished, and featuring remarkable events, so expect an update very soon). This memorable year is nearly over and is time, if you feel nostalgic, to scroll down the second part of the list to review the main Cyber Events that contributed, in my opinion, to change the landscape and the rules of the (information security) game. Many events in this period among whom, IMHO, the most noticeable is the one carried on against Diginotar. Since then our trust in conventional authentication models is not (and will not be) the same anymore.

Of course this is my personal selection. Suggestions are well accepted and if you need more details about the cyber events in 2011, feel free to consult my 2011 Cyber Attacks Master Index. As usual after the page break you find all the references…

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One Year Of Lulz (Part I)

December 15, 2011 2 comments

Update December 26: 2011 is nearly gone and hence, here it is One Year Of Lulz (Part II)

This month I am a little late for the December Cyber Attacks Timeline. In the meantime, I decided to collect on a single table the main Cyber Attacks for this unforgettable year.

In this post I cover the first half (more or less), ranging from January to July 2011. This period has seen the infamous RSA Breach, the huge Sony and Epsilon breaches, the rise and fall of the LulzSec Group and the beginning of the hot summer of Anonymous agsainst the Law Enforcement Agencies and Cyber Contractors. Korea was also affected by a huge breach. The total cost of all the breaches occurred inthis period (computed with Ponemon Institute’s estimates according to which the cost of a single record is around 214$) is more than 25 billion USD.

As usual after the page break you find all the references.

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November 2011 Cyber Attacks Timeline (Part II)

November 30, 2011 Leave a comment

The second half of November has confirmed the trend seen in the previous report covering the first half of the month. The period under examination has confirmed a remarkable increase in Cyber Attacks from both a quality and quantity perspective.

Although the month has been characterized by many small attacks, several remarkable events have really made the difference.

Among the victims of the month, Finland deserves a special mention in this unenviable rank: the second half of the month has confirmed the emerging trend for this country, which suffered in this period two further breaches of huge amounts of personal data, for a global cumulative cost, computed on the whole month, around $25 million.

But Finland was not the only northern European country hit by cybercrookers (maybe the term cyberprofessionals would be more appropriate): Norwegian systems associated with the country’s oil, gas and energy sectors were hit with an APT based cyber attack resulting in a loss of sensitive information including documents, drawings, user names and passwords.

But once again the crown of the most remarkable breach of the month is placed upon the head of South Korea which suffered another huge data dump affecting users of the popular MMORPG “Maple Story” affecting theoretically 13 million of users, nearly the 27% of the Korean population, for an estimated cost of the breach close to $2.8 billion.

The list of affected countries this month includes also 243,089 Nigerian users, victims of the hack of Naijaloaded, a popular forum.

Microsoft has been another victim in this November, with a phishing scam targeting Xbox Live users. Details of the scam are not clear, although each single affected user in U.K. might have lost something between £100 and £200 for a total cost of the breach assimilable to “million of Pounds”.

November will make history for showing for the first time to information security professionals the dangers hidden inside the SCADA universe (and not related to Nuclear Reactors). The echo of Stuxnet and Duqu is still alive, but this month was the the turn of SCADA water pumps, that have suffered a couple of attacks (Springfield and South Houston), the first one allegedly originated from Russia and the second one from a “lonely ranger” who considered the answer from DHS concerning the first incident, too soft and not enough satisfactory. My sixth sense (and one half) tells me that we will need to get more and more used to attacks against SCADA driven facilities.

The Anonymous continued their operations against governments with a brand new occurrence of their Friday Releases, targeting a Special Agent of the CA Department and leaking something like 38,000 emails. Besides from other some sparse “small” operations, the other remarkable action performed by the Anonymous collective involved the hacking of an United Nations (old?) server, that caused personal data of some personnel to be released on the Internet.

November Special mentions are dedicated (for opposite reasons) to HP and AT&T. HP for the issue on their printers discovered by a group of Researchers of Columbia Univerity, which could allow a malicious user to remotely control (and burn) them. AT&T deserved the special mention for the attack, unsuccessful, against the 1% of its 100 million wireless accounts customer base.

In any case, counting also the “minor” attacks of the month, the chart shows a real emergency for data protection issues: schools, e-commerce sites, TVs, government sites, etc. are increasingly becoming targets. Administrators do not show the deserved attention to data protection and maybe also the users are loosing the real perception of how much important is the safeguard of their personal information and how serious the aftermaths of a compromise are.

As usual, references for each single cyber attack are reported below. Have a (nice?) read and most of alle share among your acquaintances the awareness that everyone is virtually at risk.

Related articles

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Moving Security Model From Content To Context

November 27, 2011 1 comment

In these days I visited several customers to talk about technology trends for 2012. With the occasion I decided to collect all the articles written in my blog concerning Advanced Persistent Threats and Related Technologies in a single, very short, presentation, and consequently uploaded it to SlideShare. Feel free to give it a look as a reference. My perception is that next year we will often hear talking about APTs and NG-IPS (and, more in general, about context-aware security Technologies).

 

Advanced Persistent Threats and Human Errors

November 20, 2011 1 comment

In these days many people are asking me what they can do to stop an Advanced Persistent Threat. Although security firms are running fast to develop new technologies to thwart these attack vectors (sophisticated SIEMs and a new breed of network security devices, the so called Next Generation IPSs), unfortunately I am afraid the answer is not so easy. I might spend thousands of words to figure out the answer, but I would not be able to give a better representation than this cartoon I found a couple of days ago in the Imperva Blog.

Intentional or unintentional the human error is always the first vector an Advanced Persistent Threat exploits to enter the organization: as a matter of fact all the APT attacks recorded in 2011 (and unluckily examples abound in the news), have a point in common: the initial gate which allowed the attack to enter, that is the user.

The last resounding example is not an exception to this rule: on Friday November, the 17th Norway’s National Security Authority (NSM) confirmed that systems associated with the country’s oil, gas, and energy sectors were hit with a cyber attack, resulting in a loss of sensitive information. If we look at the information available for this attack, it is really easy to find all the ingredients of a typical APT Attack: virus spread via malware-infected emails sent to “selected individuals”, sophisticated malware designed to avoid detection by anti-virus solutions, and, last but not least, sophisticated malware designed to steal information from the victim’s computer: documents, drawings, username and password.

So at the end which is the key to face an APT, before the technology itself is able to catch it? The answer (and the technology) spins around the user which is the first firewall, IPS, anomaly detector, who can stop an APT. Of course exactly like security devices must be configured to stop the intrusion attempts, analogously users must be configured educated not to accept virtual candies from strangers, hence acting as unintentional gates for the threats to enter the organizations. This often happens because of shallow behaviors or also because of behaviors in clear contrast with the internal policy (yes the infamous AUP). I use to say that security is a mindset, quite similar to distrust: you have it since you are naturally born with it, or you may simply be educated to embrace it.

Keep in mind the central role of the user inside the security process since 2012 will be the year of APTs… Would you ever buy (and heavily pay) an armored door for your home and give the key to people you do not trust?

October 2011 Cyber Attacks Timeline (Part I)

October 16, 2011 2 comments

October has come and here it is, also for this month, the first part of my Cyber Attacks Timeline covering the cyber events occurred in the first half of the current month.

Three events in particular have marked this month: The German Trojan R2-D2 (that is raising many questions and concerns inside the infosec community), the keylogger hitting U.S. Drones and a new cyber attack to Sony involving this time “only” 93,000 accounts (oops! They did it again).

Except for a couple of isolated occurrences (in Austria and UK), the Cyber Attacks by Anonymous and Antisec had a break, maybe because hacktivism efforts are being focused on the #OccupyWallStreet operation that is rapidly spreading all over the World (I wonder why in here in Rome yesterday it has not been possible to have peaceful protests as happened in all the other Capitals). Besides, albeit not directly related with Anonymous, several Syrian log files were leaked showing the control of the Government on the Internet.

Other events of the month: a couple of fashion related websites were hacked, the Cyber-Guerrilla between India and Pakistan was particularly active with the cyber armies of the two nations facing themselves in the cyber space with continual mutual defacements, @SwichSmoke was also particularly active against Venezuela Government Web Sites. Other “minor” leaks were performed by @FailRoot and @ThEhAcKeR12 but one of the victims of the latter was Camber Corporation, an U.S. Contractor.

Anyway, Camber Corporation was not the only targeted Contractor, also Raytheon Corporation (a survivor of the RSA Breach) was targeted with a cloud based spear-phishing campaign, again the attack was thwarted but, in my opinion, has deserved a mention as well. Chronicles also reports of a claimed hack to Infragard (again).

Moreover the aftermaths of the RSA breach are not completely over: this month the security firm’s CEO claimed that a couple of different Cyber Crews, under the flag of an enemy nation (and the suspects were immediately directed to China), are behind the Cyber Attack in March and acted to perform it.

But a very special mention for this month (and the consequent lowly desiderable prize), is undoubtedly deserved by Mr. Oliver Letwin, Her Majesty’s Cabinet Minister, who was caught by The Daily Mirror  in the habit of dumping private correspondence and sensitive documents detailing Al-Qaeda activities and secret service operations into park bins in St James’s Park, Westminster, close to Downing Street. Security, logical and physical, may have many unpredictable implications…

From a technical point of view SQLi and defacements were the most used lethal weapons for this month, even if a massive ASP.NET based attack, targeting 300,000 web sites,  is also worth mentioning.

This Timeline was compiled with Useful Resources by:

And my inclusion criteria do not take into consideration simple defacement attacks (unless they are particularly resounding) or small data leaks.

Last but not least: you may find all the timelines for 2011 in my Master Index. Enjoy the list(s) and share and retweet to encourage me to keep it up2date!

Date Author Description Organization Attack
Oct 1 Neatstuffs

Filmradar.com

NeatStuffs hacks filmradar.com a movie review and information site/community and releases on Mediafire a 6mb txt file containing 95167 accounts with hashed passwords. Estimated cost of the breach is $ 20,365,738.


SQLi?
Oct 2
Venezuela National Statistics Institute

SwichSmoke crew hacks the Venezuela National Statistics Insitute during the 2011 Census.


SQLi?
Oct 2

Camber Corporation (US Contractor)

Once again a US Government contractor is target of cyber crime. This time is the turn of Camber Corporation, targeted by a small hack by @ThEhAcKeR12, which releases 3 admin accounts with encrypted passwords. and admin full name.

  ?
Oct 2

wrestlegame.co.uk

Again @ThEhAcKeR12, this time the crew dumps 1500+ accounts (in encrypted format) and a database from wrestlegame.co.uk. Estimated cost of the breach is around $321,000.

wrestlegame SQLi?
Oct 2
A student arrested few days later
Thailand Prime Minister

Thailand’s Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, had her Twitter account hacked flooding her followers with a stream of messages criticising her leadership with statements like this: The final post read: “If she can’t even protect her own Twitter account, how can she protect the country?

Account Hacking
Oct 4 Austrian Economy Chamber (WKO)

WKO confirms that its webserver was infiltrated by unidentified cyber criminals. More than 6,000 data sets of customers of the chamber were published on the internet. Although Anonymous Austria leaked the data, they stressed they had not carried out the attack on WKO themselves, but had been provided with the records by someone else, adding that the security leak was exposed by using online search engine Google. Estimated cost of the Breach is around $1,284,000.

  Vulnerability on The Target Platform
Oct 5

funniestvideosonline.com

@ThEhAcKeR12 does not stop here and dumps 3300 accounts from funniestvideosonline.com and are all encrypted passwords. Estimated cost of the Breach is around $706,200.

SQLi?
Oct 5 www.xvidonline.com

@FailRoot hacks and leaks  several accounts from www.xvidonline.com putting the websits offline.

xvidonline.com SQLi?
Oct 5 Optik Fiber Gmail (Claimed)

Optik Fiber releases several gmail accounts claimed to have been hacked via a known security flaw in gmail. It is not sure if this is real or not but it is meaningful as well of the global level of (in)security, real or psychological.

Known Security Flaw in Gmail (N/A)
Oct 5 ? Fashion TV India

Unknown hackers hacks Fashion TV India with the injection tool havij and obtain a list of accounts dumping usernames and passwords in clear text.

SQLi via havij
Oct 6
Syrian Internet Log Files

Internet activists from Telecomix release 54 GB of log files allegedly created by Syrian internet censors between 22 July and 5 August 2011. The data were found on a third party server.

?
Oct 7

unijobs.com.au

An Australian University website that lists jobs is hacked by @BlackHatGhosts and has data dumped, included user logins and passwords.

SQLi?
Oct 7 Several Hackers

Department of Public Enterprises South Africa

Department of Public Enterprises, south Africa is hacked and had its database dumped

SQLi
Oct 7 Same authors above

Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Republic of Indonesia

Another day, another government website hacked, (and its data leaked).

Indonesia SQLi
Oct 7  ? University Of Georgia

The University of Georgia discovers a data file on a publicly available Web server that contained sensitive personnel information on 18,931 members of the faculty and staff employed at the institution in 2002. The file included the social security number, name, date of birth, date of employment, sex, race, home phone number and home address of individuals employed at UGA in 2002. Estimatec Cost of the Breach is around $4,051,234.


Internal Accidental Error
Oct 8 ?
U.S. Military Drones

Wired reports that a computer virus has infected Predator drones and Reaper drones, logging pilots’ keystroke during their fly missions over Afghanistan and other warzones. The virus was detected nearly two weeks ago at the Ground Control System (GCS) at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada and has not prevented drones from flying their missions, showing an unexpected strength so that multiple efforts were necessary to remove it from Creech’s computers.


USB Stick?
Oct 8 German law Author. and Customs Dep.
German Citizens

A very strange (un)lawful Cyber Attack, against German Citizens. Chaos Computer Club discloses a “state malware”: a backdoor Trojan horse capable of spying on online activity and recording Skype internet calls. They declare the malware is used by the German police force. The malware was allegedly installed onto the computer as it passed through customs control at Munich Airport.

Germany Flag
Troian Horse
Oct 9 Turkish Energy Team
Several Government Websites

Turkish Energy Team performs (and keeps on to perform) a massive defacement against several governments websites (in certain cases some sub domains). The list (in continuous growth) is published on Zone-H.

Defacement
Oct 9 MCA-CRB
Other Government Websites

Different Crew, same result: a massive defacement against several governments websites. Also in this case the list (in continuous growth) is published on Zone-H.

Defaced Domains 2 Defacement
Oct 9
justonehost.com

Another Web site hosting company defaced: this time it is the turn of justonehost.com that is hacked by @FailRoot, that also dumps its Database online. The leak contains all users informations, emails, paypals and much more is 11.86mb and has been uploaded to megaupload.


Defacement SQLi
Oct 10
 

Congress of the State of Chihuahua

Another government website hit and leaked by @FailRoot: Congress of the state of Chihuahua Mexico. The leak contains administration usernames and (easy guessable) passwords.

Congreso del Estado de Chihuahua SQLi?
Oct 10 Q!sR QaTaR

Turkish Government Websites

A cybercriminal from Quatar defaces a large number of websites belonging to the Ankara government, leaving them non-operational.

Margent
Oct 10

40 Zimbabwe Government Websites

A crew called ISCN hacks and defaces 40 Zimbabwe government based websites leaving a polical message.

Zimbabwe Defacement
Oct 10
UKGraffiti.com

UKGraffiti is hacked by Anonymous_DR (Anonymous Dominicana) who also dumps usernames, emails and encrypted passwords.


SQLi?
Oct 11 ?
RSA

RSA reveals that it believes two groups, working on behalf of a single nation state, hacked into its servers during the infamous Breach of March and stole information related to the company’s SecurID two-factor authentication products used to attack some defense contractors. Although people are likely to assume that China might have been involved in the attack, they did not reveal the name of the nation involved.

RSA
APT
Oct 11 ?
Sony (Playstation Network, Sony Entertainment Network and Sony Online Entertainment)

Back tho the future! Sony under cyber attack… Again! The Company reports of unauthorized attempts to verify valid user accounts on Playstation Network, Sony Entertainment Network and Sony Online Entertainment. A total of 93,000 accounts have been affected (PSN/SEN: approximately 60,000 accounts; SOE: approximately 33,000). In these cases the attempts succeeded in verifying valid sign-in IDs and passwords, so the accounts were temporalily locked.


SQLi?
Oct 11 ?
blueHOMES.com

Unknown Hackers hack the European property Dealers website blueHOMES.com . About 500,000 Users data claim to be hacked including database with customer passwords in plaintext, full addresses, skype account, and mailboxes of bluehomes. Specified data leaked on pastebin with sample data of some users.


SQLi
Oct 11 ?
Find2Trade.com

Another website hit by Havij. This time is the turn of Find2Trade, an internet portal whose goal is to help small and medium enterprises to reach much higher profits while reducing costs. UserID, email and passwords, which are encrypted, were leaked.


Havij
Oct 12 ?
Raytheon

The U.S. Defense Contractor reveals that it was the victim of a cloud-based attack for the first time, with the incident occurring one week before. Nothing new but the fact that this was the first cloud based attack. The firm usually blocks 1.2 billion attacks a day in addition to four million spam emails each day.


N/A
Oct 12 ? WineHQ

Another Linux Project hacked! Jeremy White, Codeweavers Founder announces that access to the WineHQ database has been compromised. It looks like attackers have used phpMyAdmin to access the WineHQ project’s database and harvest users’ appdb and bugzilla access credentials.

WineHQ SQLi
Oct 13 ?
300,000 Websites

Google reveals another mass infection which affected hundreds of thousands of sites that relied on ASP or ASP.NET: A malicious script got injected into several locations targeting English, German, French and other language speakers surfers.

Asp.Net ASP Vulnerability
Oct 13 ?
Genentech

The biotechnology company suffered a data breach on August, 17 which may have resulted in the theft of information belonging to 3,500 of the million patients who utilize the company’s support programs. Estimated Cost of The Breach is around $750,000

Unlegitimate Access
Oct 14 ?
Chili’s Grill & Bar Restaurant

Ok a Chili Breach is not a big deal, except the fact that the computer server Hackers broke into, is placed at Yokosuka Naval Base. According to Navy officials, hackers stole credit card information and run up erroneous charges.

Credit Card Thieft
Oct 14 ?
Fedora Project

This is not a direct cyber attack but a consequence of the hacks to Linux projects (Kernel.org and Linux). ThreatPost reveals that Fedora Project contacted users to change their password and SSH public key before November 30 to avoid having their accounts marked as inactive.

Fedora Logo N/A
Oct 14
Barinas State, Venezuela

Another dump of sites from @SwichSmoke coming from the state “Barinas” and the government for that state. The release note, in Spanish states that the original password is 123456, fairly lame for a government website.

Barinas SQLi
Oct 14 Vicky Singh
Pakistan Embassy in China

Another episode of the Cyberware between Pakistan and Indian Crew: Vicky Singh defaces the Pakistan Embassy in China.

?
Oct 14 Team Dexter
Contrexx.com

An European Content Management System provider is hacked and has a dump of administration details leaked online.

  N/A
Oct 14 Oct 15 Several Authors
Club Music CPPS

Club Music CPPS is hacked: the leak contains account emails, usernames and decrypted passwords. Note: on Oct 16 the site is still defaced :(

SQLi Defacement
Oct 14
Venezuela National Graduate Advisory Council

Another cyber attack by @SwichSmoke, this time they leak the Venezuela National Graduate Advisory Council and release the leaked data on pastebin.

SQLi
Oct 14 ?
Infragard Atlanta (claimed)

It seems that Infragrad has been hacked again and had a dump of accounts leaked and decrypted even if there is no source or reason or even proof that this is 100% real in anyway. Anyway it still shows that Infragard is still in the eyes of some people. The alleged leak contains emails, usernames, encrypted passwords and the decryption of the password as well.

Infragard N/A
Oct 14 ?
NSEC (Netaji Subhash Engineering College)

The Netaji Subhash Engineering College NSEC is hacked and has a fair amount of member accounts dumped on pastebin. This comes from an unknown source and unknown reasons. The leak contains full user information, emails and passwords in clear text.

SQLi
Oct 14

Chinese Government

Barbaros-DZ hacks over 1,700 sites belonging to the Chinese Government defacing them and leaving a message against the Goverment itself. THe list of the sites is available on Zone-H.

 Defacement
Oct 14

UK Government

Special mention this month for Her Mayesty’s Cabinet Minister Oliver Letwin, who has got himself into hot water, after The Daily Mirror reported him in the habit of dumping private correspondence and sensitive documents detailing Al-Qaeda activities and secret service operations into park bins in St James’s Park, Westminster, close to Downing Street. The documents contained the personal details of the minister’s constituents, including names, phone numbers, email contacts and postal addresses.

UK Flag Defacement
Oct 15 SA3D HaCk3D
16,000+ websites

SA3D HaCk3D shows on Zone-H the results of his work of the past years: a total of 16,000+ websites defaced.

SA3D HaCk3D Defacement
Oct 15 p0xy
iCPPS

For an alleged personal revenge, a hacker called p0xy leaks usernames, emails and hashed passwords from the iCPPS online platform.

icpps SQLi
Oct 15 iolaka
World Miss Photogenic

This time is the turn of a fashion/model based website, which is attacked and suffers a dump of accounts leaked containing 1000+ accounts including usernames, emails and encrypted passwords by iolaka.

SQLi
Oct 15
India Cyber Crime Investigation Cell

Another episode of the Cyber-Guerrilla between India and Pakistan: Pakistani hacker Shadow008 hacks and defaces India’s Most Important website of Cyber cell located at Mumbai.

Defacement
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