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16-30 September 2014 Cyber Attacks Timeline

October 6, 2014 Leave a comment

And finally we can complete the September 2014 Cyber Attacks Timeline (Part I here), with the second part covering the most important events between the 16th and the 30th.

A very fruitful month for Cyber Criminals, since there are several events that will be remembered. For sure the Shellshock vulnerability will spoil the troubled sleeps of many System Administrators. In any case this is not the only remarkable event, the chronicles report of an (un)expected tail of the Celebrity Leak scandal (the so-called Fappening), with other two rounds of leaked pictures occurred on the 20th and the 26th, and a couple of massive breaches against TripAdvisor subsidiary Viator (1.4 million users affected) and Japan Airlines (750,000 users affected). Last but not least, it is also worthwhile to mention the group of teen hackers charged for hacking into Microsoft, the US Army and several game companies, stealing $100 million in Intellectual Property, and the so-called Operation Harkonnen, the longest cyber crime campaign ever.

Regarding the Cyber Espionage, the timeline reports the discovery of yet another Chinese Operation against US contractors, and a coordinated state-sponsored mobile malware aimed to intercept protesters in Hong Kong.

At least for once… Nothing particular interesting for Hacktivism…

If you want to have an idea of how fragile our electronic identity is inside the cyberspace, have a look at the timelines of the main Cyber Attacks in 2011, 2012, 2013 and now 2014 (regularly updated). You may also want to have a look at the Cyber Attack Statistics, and follow @paulsparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.

Also, feel free to submit remarkable incidents that in your opinion deserve to be included in the timelines (and charts).

16-30 September 2014 Cyber Attacks Timeline

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16-31 June 2014 Cyber Attacks Timeline

I do not know if being happy or not, but it looks like the second half of June (the first timeline covering 1-15 June is here) has seen a sharp inversion of the decreasing trend recorded on the last few months. I have registered an increase of the number of attacks with particular focus on targeted attacks.

The cyber crime front offered several noticeable events, targeting, just to mention the most devastating cases: AT&T, Evernote, the State of Montana (1.3 million single individuals potentially affected), and Butler University.

Moving to hacktivism, the cyber temperature is still high in Brazil, where the hacktivists concentrated their unwelcome attentions. Other points of interest involve Pakistan, and US.

Last but not least, this period recorded an unusual number of targeted attacks spotted in the news. The list includes (but is not limited to): the British Government Secure Intranet, an US Hedge Fund, Vietnamese Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, ICS vendors in US and Europe and a Government Agency in Taiwan.

As usual, if you want to have an idea of how fragile our data are inside the cyberspace, have a look at the timelines of the main Cyber Attacks in 2011, 2012, 2013 and now 2014 (regularly updated). You may also want to have a look at the Cyber Attack Statistics, and follow @paulsparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.

Also, feel free to submit remarkable incidents that in your opinion deserve to be included in the timelines (and charts).

16-31 June 2014 Cyber Attacks Timeline rev2

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16-30 April 2013 Cyber Attacks Timeline

Here’s the second part of the April cyber attacks Timeline (Part I at this link)

The most remarkable event of this period has certainly been the breach suffered by Living Social potentially exposing 50 million customers of the e-commerce website. Other illustrious victims of the month include the mobile operator DoCoMo and the online reputation firm Reputation.com.

The wake of DDoS attacks has continued even in the second part of the month: once again several U.S. banks have fallen under the blows of the Izz ad-din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters.

Like in the first  half of the month, following a consolidating trend in this 2013, the Syrian Electronic Army has continued his wave of attacks against Twitter accounts (even the FIFA has been targeted). In one case, the hijacking of the Twitter account of Associated Press, the bogus tweets related to an alleged attack against the White House, the effect has crossed the boundaries of the cyber space (the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 150 points, or about 1 percent, immediately following the tweet).

If you want to have an idea of how fragile our data are inside the cyberspace, have a look at the timelines of the main Cyber Attacks in 2011, 2012 and now 2013 (regularly updated). You may also want to have a look at the Cyber Attack Statistics, and follow @paulsparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.

Also, feel free to submit remarkable incidents that in your opinion deserve to be included in the timelines (and charts).

April 2013 Cyber Attacks Timeline Part II

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16-31 March 2013 Cyber Attacks Timeline

First part here: 1-15 March 2013 Cyber Attacks Timeline

March is gone and hence it is time to analyze the events that characterized the past month.

Two events in particular gained the first pages of the magazines: the wiper malware in Korea and the DDoS attack against Spamhaus that, maybe exaggerating, has been defined the “biggest attack in history”.

But these were not the only noticeable attacks in this second part of the month: the Operation Ababil of the Izz ad-din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters against U.S. banks achieved a new phase, constantly disrupting the connectivity of several high profile financial targets, including Chase, USBank, etc.; Telenor admitted to have been hacked by high-tech spies emptying the content of executives’ personal computers, and also the Anonymous claimed to have breached the Mossad, despite there are many doubts about this last attack.

Other important events include a breach against MTV Taiwan (600,000 accounts), McDonald’s (200,000 accounts), the Turkish Ministry Of Economy (96,000 accounts), and Renault Colombia (31,000 accounts leaked).

If you want to have an idea of how fragile our data are inside the cyberspace, have a look at the timelines of the main Cyber Attacks in 2011, 2012 and now 2013 (regularly updated). You may also want to have a look at the Cyber Attack Statistics, and follow @paulsparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.

Also, feel free to submit remarkable incidents that in your opinion deserve to be included in the timelines (and charts).

16-31 March 2013 Cyber Attacks Timeline Read more…

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What Security Vendors Said One Year Ago…

January 10, 2012 2 comments

I did not resist, so after publishing the summary of Security Predictions for 2012, I checked out what security vendors predicted one year ago for 2011. Exactly as I did in my previous post, at the beginning of 2011 I collected the security predictions in a similar post (in Italian). I also published in May an update (in English) since, during the Check Point Experience in Barcelona held in May 2011, the Israeli security firm published its predictions. Even if the latters have been published nearly at the half of 2011, for the sake of completeness, I decided to insert them as well in this year-to-year comparison.

Then, I included Symantec (for which this year I did not find any prediction), McAfee, Trend Micro, Kaspersky, Sophos and Cisco. I included Check Point in a second time and I did not include Fortinet, At that time I missed their five security predictions, which I only discovered later so I decided to provide an addendum for this post including Fortinet as well in order to provide a deeper perspective.

The security predictions for 2011 are summarized in the following chart, which reports what the vendors (with the partial above described exception of Checkpoint) expected for the past year in terms of Information Security trends.

But a strict side-by-side comparison with the 2012 information security predictions (extracted by my previous post) is more helpful and meaningful:

As you may notice mobile threats were on top even among the predictions for 2011. This prediction came easily true most of all for Android which suffered (and keeps on suffering) a huge increase in malware detection samples (even if the overall security risk remains contained). Social Media were on top as well: they have been crucial for the Wind of the Changes blown by the Arab Spring but in the same time Social Media have raised many security concerns for reputation, the so called Social Network Poisoning (who remembers Primoris Era?). Although 2011 was the year of the Anonymous, hacktvism ranked “only” at number 4, behind Advanced Persistent Threats, which however played a crucial role for information security (an APT was deployed for the infamous RSA Breach, but it was not an isolated case).

Also botnets, web threats and application vulnerabilities ranked at the top of Security predictions for last year (and came true). As far as botnets are concerned, fortunately 2011 was a very important year for their shutdown (for instance Hlux/Kelihos, Coreflood, Rustock). In several cases the botnets were taken down thanks to joint operations between private sectors and law enforcement agencies (another prediction came true). On the application side, this prediction came true most of all thanks to the Sony breach, the Liza Moon infection and the huge rate of SQLi based attacks and ASP.NET vulnerabilities. We have also assisted to an hard blow to SSL/TLS and XML Encryption.

But what is more surprising (and amusing) in my opinion is not to emphasize which predictions were correct, but rather to notice  which predictions were dramatically wrong: it looks like that, against the predictions, virtualization threats were snubbed by cybercrookers in 2011 (and nearly do not appear in 2012). But the most amusing fact is that no security vendor (among the ones analyzed) was able to predict the collapse of the Certification Authority model thanks most of all to the Comodo and Diginotar Breaches.

First Security Breach In The App Store

November 8, 2011 Leave a comment

It looks like the Judgment Day for iOS has finally arrived. Until today the robustness of the AppStore has always been considered one of the strengths of the Apple Model: unlike the Android Market, which is constantly under attack for its weak security model that allowed too many malicious users to upload malicious applications, a strict control policy had prevented, at least so far, the same destiny for the mobile Apple Application.

Unfortunately Charlie Miller, an old acquaintance of the Apple Supporters, thought that winning three Pwn2Owns in the last four years (2008, 2009 and 2011) exploiting practically every Apple Vulnerability was not enough. So he decided consequently to attack Cupertino directly inside its AppStore security model.

The story begins early last year, after the release of iOS 4.3 when the researcher became suspicious of a possible flaw in the code signing of Apple’s mobile devices.

As stated in the original article by Forbes:

To increase the speed of the phone’s browser, Apple allowed javascript code from the Web to run on a much deeper level in the device’s memory than it had in previous versions of the operating system. In fact, the browser’s speed increase had forced Apple to create an exception for the browser to run unapproved code in a region of the device’s memory, which until then had been impossible. (Apple uses other security restrictions to prevent untrusted websites from using that exception to take control of the phone.)

The next step was to discover a bug that allowed to expand that code-running exception to any application, and that is exactly what he did, but still this was not enough.

After discovering the bug, he submitted an App to the App Store exploiting the vulnerability. The App was approved and behaved as expected (actually a behaviour to which the victims of Android malware are quite familiar): the app was able to phone home to a remote computer downloading new unapproved commands onto the device and executing them at will, including stealing the user’s photos, reading contacts, making the phone vibrate or play sounds, or otherwise repurposing normal iOS app functions for malicious ends.

This method will be presented at the SysCan Conference in Taiwan next week even if a video demonstrations of the exploit is already available.

Last but not least: as a reward for discovering the bug, Apple has decided to revoke to Miller the Developer’s License.

Probably Android users will be the happiest to learn that, as stated by Miller:

Android has been like the Wild West. And this bug basically reduces the security of iOS to that of Android.

At least for one thing (security), iOS and Android are identical.

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