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).
Few Days ago, a Trend Micro Research Paper on the Russian Underground gave a scary landscape of the Underground Black Market showing that every hacking tool and service can be found at dramatically cheap prices in a sort of democratization of Cyber Crime.
Today the news related to the discovery of an unknown 0-day vulnerability targeting Adobe Reader X and XI, confirms that the underground market follows the same rules than the real economy: premium products (read 0-day vulnerabilities) are not for every wallet and if you want a brand new 0-day you must be able to pay up to $50.000.
This is the price at which the previously unidentified Adobe vulnerability is sold according to Malware analysts at Moscow-based forensics firm Group-IB, who have discovered it. The price is justified since this is really a “premium exploit”: in fact beginning with Reader X (June 2011), Adobe introduced a sandbox feature further enhanced in Adobe XI (only three weeks ago). The Sandbox is aimed at blocking the exploitation of previously unidentified security flaws and has proven to be particularly robust: Adobe claimed that since its introduction in Adobe Reader and Acrobat X, they have not seen any exploits in the wild capable of breaking out of it. At least until yesterday.
This makes this 0-day particularly meaningful… And expensive, even if it has some limitations (for example, cannot be fully executed until the user closes his Web browser, or Reader).
Of course cyber criminals did not waste time and Group-IB says the vulnerability is included in a new, custom version of the Blackhole Exploit Kit (apparently it has not been still included in the official version).
And Adobe? So far they have not received any details: “We saw the announcement from Group IB, but we haven’t seen or received any details. Adobe has reached out to Group-IB, but we have not yet heard back. Without additional details, there is nothing we can do, unfortunately—beyond continuing to monitor the threat landscape and working with our partners in the security community, as always.”