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Posts Tagged ‘BAE Systems’

BotClouds Still Hard to Detect (And Mitigate)

October 31, 2012 1 comment

This morning, during my usual virtual promenade through my feeds, I came across a really interesting post from Stratsec, a subsidiary of Bae Systems.

The post unveils the details of an unprecedented experiment aimed to verify how easy and cheap is to setup a botCloud and how hard is for the Cloud providers to detect them (and consequently advise the victims).

As the name suggests, a botCloud is defined as a group of Cloud instances that are commanded and controlled by malicious entity to initiate cyber-attacks.

The research was carried on by subscribing to five common Cloud providers and setting up to 10 Cloud instances targeting a victim host, protected by traditional technologies such as IDS, and flooded with several common attack techniques (malformed traffic, non-RFC compliant packets, port scanning, malware traffic, denial of service, brute force, shellcode and web application attacks) in 4 scenarios:

  1. Victim host placed in a typical network scenario with a public IP, firewall and IDS;
  2. Victim host setup as a cloud instance inside the same cloud service provider then the attackers;
  3. Victim host setup as a cloud instance inside a different cloud service provider then the attackers;
  4. Same scenario as test 1 with a major duration (48 hours) to verify the impact of duration on the experiment;

 The findings are not so encouraging, and confirm that the security posture of the cloud providers needs to be improved:

  • No connection reset or connection termination on the outbound or inbound network traffic was observed;
  • No connection reset or termination against the internal malicious traffic was observed;
  • No traffic was throttled or rate limited;
  • No warning emails, alerts, or phone calls were generated by the Cloud providers, with no temporary or permanent account suspensions;
  • Only one Cloud provider blocked inbound and outbound traffic on SSH, FTP and SMTP, however these limitation was bypassed by running the above service on non-default port.

The other face of the coin is represented by the moderate easiness needed to setup an army of cloud-hidden zombie machined which can leverage the advantages of a Cloud infrastructure. In fact a botCloud

  • Is relatively easy to setup and use;
  • Needs significantly less time to build;
  • Is Highly reliable and scalable;
  • Is More effective;
  • Has a Low cost.

Cloud Service Providers (and their customers), are advised…

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After latest F-35 hack, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Elbit under multiple cyber attacks….right now.

March 14, 2012 2 comments

Cross Posted from TheAviationist.

I have just published a timeline covering the main Cyber Attacks targeting Military Industry and Aviation, but it looks like the latest events will force me to post an update, soon.

Although perpetrated with very different timelines, origins and motivations behind them, the last three days have seen a new wave of attacks against military industry that has unexpectedly become the point of intersection between cybercrime and cyberwar.

The first clamorous attack was disclosed a couple of days ago, when the Sunday Times revealed that alleged Chinese Hackers were able to penetrate into computers belonging to BAE Systems, Britain’s biggest defence company, and to steal details about the design, performance and electronic systems of the West’s latest fighter jet, the costly F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The hacking attack has raised concerns that the fighter jet’s advanced radar capabilities could have been compromised and comes few weeks after papers about the future British-French drone were stolen in Paris.

Apparently, once again, an APT-based attack, or maybe one of its precursors, since it was first uncovered nearly three years ago. In any case, according to the sources and the little information available, it lasted continuously for 18 months, exploiting vulnerabilities in BAE’s computer defences to steal vast amounts of data. A fingerprint analogous to other similar cyber operations, allegedly generated from China such as Operation Aurora or the controversial operation Shady RAT.

Details of the attack have been a secret within Britain’s intelligence community until they were disclosed by a senior BAE executive during a private dinner in London for cyber security experts late last year.

Curiously the F-35 seems to be a very attracting prey for hackers as it was already the victim of a Cyber Attack in 2009; once again the latest attack is believed to be originated from China, who is showing a restless cyber activity.

Although completely different for impact and motivations, a second attack has just been announced by the infamous hacking collective Anonymous, which, in name of the #OpFreePalestine operation, has published the contact details for senior staff at BAE (hit once again), Lockheed, Gulfstream Aerospace, a division of General Dynamics, and the United States Division Of Israeli Owned Arms Company Elbit Systems. An attempt to embarrass military industry considered involved in the events happening in Palestine.

Although the data dumps apparently contain little valuable information (according to V3.co.uk many of the telephone numbers listed are for company headquarters, while several of the names appear to be out of date), the latest attacks represent a quantum leap in the Middle East Cyber War, after the “reign of terror” threatened by Anonymous against Israel.

The F-35 JSF is not only the most advanced stealthy fighter plane of the next future. It is also the most expensive. That’s why some partners have been compelled to downsize their initial requirements because of cuts imposed by the increasing unit price (with the new contract the total unit cost for an LRIP 5 jet is 205.3 million USD!!).

Apparently these cuts are interesting even the IT Security budgets of the manufacturers.

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 and 2012 (regularly updated) at hackmageddon.com. And follow the author of this article @pausparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.

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