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16-31 December Cyber Attacks Timeline

January 5, 2015 Leave a comment

Despite still related to December 2014, here is the first timeline for 2015 covering the main events occurred between the 16th and 31st December 2014 (first part here).

No doubt, this Christmas will be remembered for the unwelcome surprise of the DDoS attack performed by the infamous Lizard Squad against the online services of Sony and Microsoft. An attack that has shattered the dreams of many players, just few minutes after unwrapping their brand new consoles under the Christmas Tree. However, the light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and inevitably two members of the collective have allegedly been arrested (not before having attempted a Sybil Attack against Tor).

But the latter was not the only attack targeting the Tor anonymity service in this period, which also suffered an unexplained outage affecting a cluster of Tor Directory Authority Servers in a Rotterdam data center.

Other noticeable events concern the outage of the Internet connection in North Korea (despite it is not completely clear if caused by a cyber attack or a fault), a malware detected in a South Korea power plant, the attacks targeting the ICANN and the ISC Consortium, two among the most important organizations for the Internet, and (yet another) breach targeting NVIDIA.

Moving to a different topic, all in all the hacktivists decided to enjoy the Christmas vacations with the exception of the Syrian Electronic Army who were back, and defaced an online magazine, the International Business Time, for an article against the Syrian regime.

Last but not least, with regard to  Cyber Espionage, there have been two operations discovered in this period: an alleged attack perpetrated by Chinese hackers against an Afghan CDN targeting directly many local governmental sites, and indirectly many foreign institutions, and also the discovery of the Anunak group, a well-organized crew able to steal USD $25 Million with a long lasting cyber espionage operation against targets in Europe and the US.

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).

16-31 December 2014 Cyber Attacks Timeline Read more…

16-31 August 2014 Cyber Attacks Timeline

September 1, 2014 2 comments

August is gone, and here we are with the list of the most noticeable cyber attacks occurred during the second half of the month (first part here).

This period will be probably remembered for the massive cyber attack against Community Health Systems (4.5 million records compromised), the wave of coordinated attacks targeting JPMorgan Chase and at least four other US banks, the malware targeting 51 franchised stores of UPS, and, last but not least, the mother of all breaches in Korea (220 million records containing personal information 0f 27 million people). Another noticeable event was also the coordinated DDoS attacks against Sony Entertainment Network, Xbox Live and other online gaming services.

For what concerns cyber espionage, chronicles report, among other things, the massive coordinated cyber attack against 50 Norwegian oil and energy companies, the discovery of three cyber attacks (within the past three years) against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the theft of classified information from the Malaysian agencies involved in the MH370 investigation.

Instead, nothing particularly meaningful has been reported for hacktivism: many sparse actions (mostly against direct or indirect interests of Israel) of limited impact and hence without particular consequences.

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).

16-31 August 2014 Cyber Attacks Timeline v2

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1-15 January 2014 Cyber Attacks Timeline

February 5, 2014 2 comments

It’s time for the Cyber Attacks Timeline for the first half of January 2014. I wish we had a better start for this Infosec year. Not even a month has passed (actually this timeline covers the first two weeks) and we have already seen several massive breaches (Snapchat) and other resounding events, maybe less relevant from a mere numeric perspective, but equally meaningful for the high profile of the victims involved (Microsoft).

Besides Snapchat, other important organizations have been targeted by Cyber crooks with very bad consequences: World Poker Tour (175,333), Staysure (93,000 individuals involved) and OpenSUSE (79,500 victims) are the most noticeable examples. On the cyber crime front other meaningful events include a wave of attacks against Video Games industries, and the hacking of Yahoo advertise network, infecting, potentially 27,000 users per hour.

Hacktivists of the Syrian Electronic Army are back with the result that even Microsoft is now part of the list of their victims (however their web site was also hacked in the same period). Other hacktivists very active in the same period include the infamous RedHack collective.

Last but not least, the control room of the Nuclear Plant of Monju in Japan was found infected with a malware capable of allegedly exfiltrate 42,000 emails.

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 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).

1-15 Jan 2014 Cyber Attacks Timeline

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An Industry Wide Attack

September 9, 2011 3 comments

9/9/2011: Globalsign admitted evidence of a breach to the web server hosting the www website:

Today we found evidence of a breach to the web server hosting the www website. The breached web server has always been isolated from all other infrastructure and is used only to serve the http://www.globalsign.com website. At present there is no further evidence of breach other than the isolated www web server. As an additional precaution, we continue to monitor all activity to all services closely. The investigation and high threat approach to returning services to normal continues.

Starting from March 2011, one might say that the authentication bastions have been crumbling one after another. In hindsight, one event in particular occurred during March 2011 has been mostly underestimated. Of course I am not referring to the RSA affair, but to the Comodo Hack, whose only blame was to happen too close in time to the RSA Breach, which ended up obfuscating its impact for the Information Security Landscape … At least until August 2011.

As a matter of fact when, immediately after the Comodo Hack, the so called Comodo Hacker published on pastebin his declaration of Cyberwar, no one considered the hypothesis that other Certification Authorities could have been equally compromised. Consequently, although the hack was classified as a serious cyberattack, driven by a political matrix and capable to establish a new (unwelcome) record, it was considered an isolated episode, mainly due to the scarce attention to application security by the targeted Comodo partner. Moreover the final target (Google) and the political reasons behind the attack deserved much more attention than the means used to perpetrate the attack itself: the first-time compromission of a Certification Authority, a completely inedited attack vector.

Nearly four months later, the Diginotar hack (again an attack with alleged political reasons behind although according to Trend Micro it targeted Iranian Internet users) has shown to the world the weaknesses of our authentication model and its chain of trust. Not only the hacker was able to forge more than 500 fake Code Sign and SSL certificates, but he also claimed to have access to other four CAs, quoting explicitly GlobalSign, and indirectly another one StartCom, which was able to avoid the hack since its CEO was sitting in front of the HSM during the attack, although the Comodo Hacker claims to own email, DB Backup and Customer data.

Trust in Diginotar Certificate Authority has been revoked from all browsers and OSes, permanently from all Mozilla Products, but not from Smartphones, with heavy consequences for the Dutch government’s PKIoverheid (PKIgovernment) program. Of course, easily predictable, the assertions from Comodo Hacker triggered panic between cert providers. On September the 6th GlobalSign decided to temporary cease issuance of all certificates as a precautionary measure and appointed Fox-IT to perform an intensive audit (Fox-IT is the same Dutch Cybsersecurity Company which performed the audit on Diginotar); on September the 7th Symantec released a statement to reassure their customers their infrastructure has been audited and it is not compromised. A similar announcement has been published by Thawte after an erroneous report from a Dutch Government agency according to which the Security firm had been breached. Unfortunately the story does not end here and although the Comodo Hacker promises further disclosures.

If I can spend few words on the question, the best way to describe it is to quote a statement from GlobalSign: “these claims (from Comodo Hacker) represent an industry wide attack”. Said in simple words: the aftermaths of the Diginotar hack will force to rethink the current authentication model and chain of trust (even because authentication technologies and vendors are increasingly tied) even if we seriously risk to run out of ammo: in this year we lost tokens and CAs… Now What Else?

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