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Posts Tagged ‘Law enforcement agency’

July 2012 Cyber Attacks Statistics (Part I)

Here we are with the statistics from the Cyber Attack Timeline for the first half of July 2012. The sample included 39 attacks which have been analyzed according the three familiar parameters: Motivations behind attacks, Distribution of attacks techniques and Distribution of targets.

As far as Motivations Behind Attacks are concerned, the first two weeks of July confirmed the trend of the last months: Cybercrime ranked at number one with nearly the 70% of the occurrences, well ahead hacktivism, at number two with the 23%. Cyber Warfare and Cyber Espionage are well behind with respectively the 5% and 3% of the attacks.

The Distribution Of Attack Techniques has shown, for the first half of July, a considerable number of attacks of unknown origin. As a matter of fact, in more than one half of the occurrences (53%) it has not been possible to track the attack technique used by cyber croockers, at least according to the available information. In all those cases in which it has been possible to track the attacks, the first half of July has seen an overtake of DDoS (18%) against SQL Injection (13%), although if one sums the total occurrences of SQL Injections (certain and claimed, the latter are characterized by a question mark in the chart), the total of SQLi is a remarkable 21%, slightly greater than DDoS). I had to modify this chart after I came across an article indicating an SQL Injection attack as the vector of the breach suffered by Nvidia.

The Distribution of Targets chart confirms the Industry at rank number one with the 38% of occurrences. In any case, if we do not consider the fragmentation of this category (I have dedicated an apposite chart to drill it down), Governments have confirmed to be the most vulnerable targets with the 10% of the occurrences, corresponding to the most vulnerable single category.

Amongst the single categories, Law Enforcement Agencies rank at number two with the 8% of occurrences, followed by Education targets, online forums and political organizations, each one of them with the 5% of occurrences.

Again, please notice that data must be taken very carefully since they do refer only to discovered attacks (the so-called tip of the iceberg), and hence do not pretend to be exhaustive but only aim to provide an high level overview of the “cyber landscape” of the considered period. Moreover, remember that the most dangerous threats are the invisible ones.

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), 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).

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May 2012 Cyber Attacks Statistics

June 10, 2012 1 comment

As I did last month for the Cyber Attacks occurred in April, I have aggregated the data collected on the timelines of May (on the right) in order to provide a consolidated view of the month according to the three parameters of Motivations Behind Attacks, Distribution of Targets and Distribution of Attack Techniques. Again, no need to repeat that data must be taken very carefully since they do refers only to discovered attacks (the so-called tip of the iceberg), and hence do not pretend to be exhaustive but only aim to provide an high level overview of the “cyber landscape” of the month.

As far as Motivations Behind Attacks are concerned, month after month, the charts are becoming monotonous. Cyber Crime ranked undoubtedly at number one with the 61% of occurrences. Twice the occurrences of Hacktivism which ranked at number two. In this chart, Cyber Warfare and Cyber Espionage motivated-attacks are well behind although they were few but good (One Flame was enough for this month, wasn’t it?).

The Distribution of Targets chart is highly fragmented even if with a familar pattern:  Government targets ranked firmly on top of the preferences for the attackers, with Education and Law Enforcement targets completing the top three (although, compared to April, they swapped their positions in this unenviable chart). It worths to mention that targets belonging to organizations that offers on-line services are fragmented as well, but if the single entries are summed up, they would rank at number two with approximately the 15% of occurrences.

The Distribution of Attack Techniques chart whows that SQL Injection has been the preferred weapon used by Cyber Criminals in May, overtaking Distributed Denial of Service, the Cyber Paintball Pistol. Clearly the occurrences of DDoS attacks are influenced by the winds of hacktivism which did not blow so high in May. Interesting to notice a further important number of events (17% of the sample) related to unknown attacks targeting DBs, which clearly shows that data repositories are proving to be the weakes element of the chain. May the patch enFORCEment be with you!

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), and follow @paulsparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.

Sixteen Months of Cyber Attacks in Italy

Tomorrow, during the 2012 Security Summit, Edition of Rome, the June Update of the 2012 Italian Report on ICT Security will be unleashed.

I gave a contribution for the section concerning the Cyber Attacks in Italy. The following lines depict a summary of what you will be able to find in the full report (so far only in Italian).

During the period ranging from February 2011 to April 2012, I collected 127 cyber attacks, among which 112, corresponding to the 88% (that is almost the entire sample), driven by hacktivism. In only 15 cases different motivations were found, related to Cyber Crime (14 occurrences) and Cyber Espionage.

The collected sample shows that more than 43% of targets were government sites and political associations. Organizations related to education rank at number three even though most of the attacks were concentrated in a single event in July when as many as 18 universities were affected simultaneously.

Entertainment industry and Law Enforcement Agencies are far behind, but ahead all other categories, probably a consequence of the cyber attacks perpetrated in January and March 2012 during the waves of protests against SOPA and PIPA, (and the subsequent shutdown of MegaUpload). Please notice that not event the Holy See has been safe from hackers with a wave of DDoS attacks targeting several Vatican sites after some controversial declarations of a security vendor.

The trend analysis clearly reflects the influence of external factors on hacktivism in Italy: the first intervention in Libya, then the emotional impact of the collective LulzSec, and finally the protests against the proposed laws considered repressive to freedom of expression on the Internet.

As far as the attack distribution is concerned, Italy has just demonstrated to be a “Spaghetti DDOS” country. On the wake of hacktivism, our country has assisted, in the analyzed period, to a massive wave of Distributed Denial Of Service Attacks. SQL Injection and Defacement attacks are well behind (again remember that most of the SQLi attacks were concentrated on a single event occurring on July). In any case the distribution shows a tendency to perform those kinds of attacks (DDoS and Defacement) capable to gain the most attention from media.

Although the sample may provide an interesting snapshot, please keep in mind that it only includes those attacks that have been detected since the authors claimed them, or simply because the attacks themselves earned plenty of space on media. Given the times we are living in, I’m afraid these are just the tip of the iceberg.

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), and follow @paulsparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.

P.S. I did not include in the sample the controversial attack to CNAIPIC (Italian Cyber Police) since the origin of that event is far from being certain.

April 2012 Cyber Attacks Statistics

I have aggregated the data collected related to cyber attacks occurred in April 2012 (that you may find in the links on the right) in order to provide a consolidated view for the month. The statistics have been taken according to three parameters: Motivations Behind Attacks, Distribution of Targets and Distribution of Attack Techniques. Of course the information does not pretend to be exhaustive, in any case it is useful to provide a snapshot on the cyber landscape of the last month.

As far as the Motivations Behind Attacks are concerned, Cyber Crime ranks undoubtedly at number one with the 51% of the occurrences. Hacktivism is at number two with “only” the 39% of the occurrences. Other motivations such as Cyber Warfare or Cyber Espionage are far behind with respectively the 7 and 2 percent. This is not a surprise since attacks motivated by Cyber Espionage should be supposed to be subtle and hidden and this explains their rank (unlike the attacks motivated by hacktivism that use to attract the greatest attention by media).

As far as the Distribution Of Targets is concerned, Governements keep on to be preferred targets, with nearly one third of the occurrences. Law Enforcement Agencies rank at number two with 9% immediately followed by Educational Institutions with 7%. Online Platforms such as Online Games or other kind of platforms (such as email services) are behind with the 6% of occurrences for both of them. Of course the high position for governments and LEAs is quite simple to explain: both categories are the preferred targets for hactkivists.

A month characterized by Distributed Denial of Service, at least according to the Distribution of Attack Techniques chart. SQL Injection ranks at number two, immediately followed by Defacement. If we sum up also the indirect occurrences of SQLi (that is those cases whose symptoms seem the ones proper of SQLi but no direct evidences were found) the distribution of the two techniques is nearly the same (respectively 29% for DDoS and 27% for SQLi). Of course DDoS is the preferedd cyber weapon for hacktivists and this explain its dominion on this unwelcomed chart.

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), and follow @paulsparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.

April 2012 Cyber Attacks Timeline (Part I)

April 16, 2012 2 comments

As usual, here is the list of the main cyber attacks for April 2012. A first half of the month which has been characterized by hacktivism, although the time of the resounding attacks seems so far away. Also because, after the arrest of Sabu, the law enforcement agencies (which also were targeted during this month, most of all in UK), made  two further arrests of alleged hackers affiliated to the Anonymous Collective: W0rmer, member of CabinCr3w, and two possible members of the infamous collective @TeaMp0isoN.

In any case, the most important breach of the first half of the month has nothing to deal with hacktivism, targeted the health sector and occurred to Utah Department of Health with potentially 750,000 users affected. According to the Last Ponemon Study related to the cost of a breach ($194 per record) applied to the minimum number of users affected (250,000), the monetary impact could be at least $ 55 million.

Another interesting event to mention in the observed period is also the alleged attack against a Chinese Military Contractor, and the takedown of the five most important al-Qaeda forums. On the hacktivist front, it worths to mention a new hijacked call from MI6 to FBI, but also the alleged phone bombing to the same Law Enforcement Agency. Both events were performed by TeamPoison, whose two alleged members were arrested the day after.

For the sample of attacks I tried to identify: the category of the targets, the category of the attacks, and the motivations behind them. Of course this attempt must be taken with caution since in many cases the attacks did not target a single objective. Taking into account the single objectives would have been nearly impossible and prone to errors (I am doing the timeline in my free time!), so the data reported on the charts refer to the single event (and not to all the target affected in the single event).

As usual the references are placed after the jump.

By the way, SQL Injection continues to rule (the question mark indicates attacks possibly performed by SQL Injection, where the term “possibly” indicates the lack of direct evidences…).

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), and follow @pausparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.

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February 2012 Cyber Attacks Timeline

March 5, 2012 1 comment

Find here February 2012 Cyber Attacks Timelime Part I.

With a small  delay (my apologies but the end of February has been very busy for me and not only for Cybercrooks as you will soon see), here it is the second part of my compilation with the main Cyber Attacks for February 2012.

Easily Predictable, the Hacktivism is still the main concern for System Administrators, in particular for the ones of Stratfor who suffered a huge leak of 5 million of emails.

On the same front, the threats of the Anonymous for the Friday actions have come true and as a matter of fact Law Enforcement Agencies suffered other remarkable breaches in this month: Infragard for the second time and also Interpol (a new entry) that was taken down after the arrest of 25 members of the collective. Anti ACTA protest also continue to shake Europe as also the delicate economical and social situation in Greece.

Last but not least, this month has also seen an unforgettable leak, affecting potentially more than 1.000.000 Youporn users.

As usual, the chart does not include the events related to Middle East Cyber War Timeline, that you may find at this link, as they “deserve” a dedicated timeline.

After the jump you find all the references, follows @paulsparrows for the latest updates on a regular basis and also have a look to the 2012 Cyber Attacks Timeline Master Index.

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February 2012 Cyber Attacks Timeline (Part I)

February 16, 2012 1 comment

February 2012 brings a new domain for my blog (it’s just a hackmaggedon) and confirms the trend of January with a constant and unprecedented increase in number and complexity of the events. Driven by the echo of the ACTA movement, the Anonymous have performed a massive wave of attacks, resuming the old habits of targeting Law Enforcement agencies. From this point of view, this month has registered several remarkable events among which the hacking of a conf call between the FBI and Scotland Yard and the takedown of the Homeland Security and the CIA Web sites.

The Hacktivism front has been very hot as well, with attacks in Europe and Syria (with the presidential e-mail hacked) and even against United Nations (once again) and NASDAQ Stock Exchange.

Scroll down the list and enjoy to discover the (too) many illustrious victims including Intel, Microsoft, Foxconn and Philips. After the jump you find all the references and do not forget to follow @paulsparrows for the latest updates. Also have a look to the Middle East Cyberwar Timeline, and the master indexes for 2011 and 2012 Cyber Attacks.

Addendum: of course it is impossible to keep count of the huge amount of sites attacked or defaced as an aftermath of the Anti ACTA movements. In any case I suggest you a couple of links that mat be really helpful:

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December 2011 Cyber Attacks Timeline (Part I)

December 21, 2011 Leave a comment

As usual, here it is my compilation of December Cyber Attacks.

It looks like that Christmas approaching is not stopping hackers who targeted a growing number of  organizations including several security firms (Kaspersky, Nod 32 and Bitdefender) even if in secondary domains and with “simple” defacements.

Cyber chronicles report of Gemnet, another Certification Authority Breached in Holland (is the 12th security incident targeting CAs in 2011) and several massive data breaches targeting Finland (the fifth this year, affecting 16,000 users), online gambling (UB.com affecting 3.5 million of users),  Telco (Telstra, affecting 70,000 users), and gaming, after the well known attacks to Sony, Sega and Nintendo, with Square Enix, which suffered a huge attacks compromising 1,800,000 users (even if it looks like no personal data were affected).

Online Payment services were also targeted by Cybercrookers: a Visa East European processor has been hit by a security breach, but also four Romanian home made hackers have been arrested for a massive credit card fraud affecting 200 restaurants for a total of 80,000 customers who had their data stolen.

As usual, hacktivism was one of the main trends for this first half of the month, which started with a resounding hacking to a Web Server belonging to ACNUR (United Nations Refugees Agency) leaking more than 200 credentials including the one belonging to President Mr. Barack Obama.

But from a mere hactvism perspective, Elections in Russia have been the main trigger as they indirectly generated several cyber events: not only during the election day, in which three web sites (a watchdog and two independent news agencies) were taken down by DDoS attacks, but also in the immediately following days, when a botnet flooded Twitter with Pro Kremlin hashtags, and an independent forum was also taken down by a further DDoS attacks. A trail of events which set a very dangerous precent.

Besides the ACNUR Hack, the Anonymous were also in the spotlight (a quite common occurrence this year) with some sparse attacks targeting several governments including in particular Brazil, inside what is called #OpAmazonia.

Even if not confirmed, it looks like that Anonymous Finland might somehow be related to the above mentioned breach occurred in Finland.

Other interesting events occurred in the first two weeks of December: the 0-day vulnerability affecting Adobe products, immediately exploited by hackers to carry on tailored phishing campaigns and most of hall, a targeted attack to a contractor, Lockheed Martin, but also another occurrence of DNS Cache Poisoning targeting the Republic of Congo domains of Google, Microsoft, Samsung and others.

Last but not least, the controversial GPS Spoofing, which allegedly allowed Iran to capture a U.S. Drone, even the GPS Spoofing on its own does not completely solve the mistery of the capture.

Other victims of the month include Norwich Airport, Coca Cola, and another Law Enforcement Agency (clearusa.org), which is currently unaivalable.

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

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Antisec hacks another Defense Contractor

August 16, 2011 12 comments

Update August 19: As part of #FFF IV Antisec has released full torrent for Vanguard Defense Industries Hack.

The Antisec Typhoon seems unstoppable and has apparently hacked another Defense Contractor. Continuing their campaign against law enforcement agencies and related organizations, driven by the infamous hash #FFFriday, this time they have targeted Richard Garcia, the Senior Vice President of Vanguard Defense Industries (VDI). During the Breach nearly 4,713 emails and thousands of documents were stolen.

According to TechHerald, AntiSec targeted VDI’s website due to their relationship with several law enforcement agencies from Texas and other parts of the U.S., as well as their relationship with the FBI, the DHS, and U.S. Marshals Service. Moreover, with this hack Antisec (in)directly targeted FBI since Richard Garcia  is the former Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s field office in Los Angeles. To those supporting AntiSec, this alone is reason enough to target VDI and release Garcia’s corporate email to the public.

As usual the attack had been anticipated by an enigmatic and threatening tweet:

The emails were taken after AntiSec breached VDI’s website, based on the popular WordPress platform. According to Antisec source, VDI had two outdated plugins installed on their website, which had its development outsourced to a local marketing company in Texas. Although the person from AntiSec did not disclose the exact method used to access Garcia’s email, he stated that the hack was performed through the VDI website, and that his password was rather weak.

VDI is the responsible for ShadowHawk, an unmanned helicopter that can be tasked with aerial surveillance or equipped for military usage. At its base, the ShadowHawk comes with CCD TV optics, or an upgraded version includes CCD TV optics and FLIR optics. A third version, for military or law enforcement usage only, can be equipped with a single or multiple shot 37 mm or 40mm grenade launcher, as well as a 12g shotgun, and thermal cameras.

The is only the last leak to Defense Contractor, scroll down the list for attacks targeting Defense Contractors in this very troubled year:

Date Author Description Organization Attack
Feb 5

HBGary Federal

Anonymous hacks HBGary Federal Web Site, copies tens of thousands of documents, posts tens of thousands of emails online and usurps CEO Aaron Baar’s Twitter Account.

  Apr 6

L3 Communications

An E-mail dated April 6, sent to 5,000 employees of U.S. Defense Contractor L-3 warns of an attack attempt made with compromised SecureIDs. It is not clear if the attack was successful (it was revelead half a month later). This is in absolute the first attack perpetrated with RSA Seeds.

Compromised SecureID
May 21 ?

Lockheed Martin

This is the first known (and the only officially recognized so far) attack perpetrated with compromised SecureID seeds targeting a U.S. Defense Contractor. This Attack was detected before any sensitive information could be stolen. 100,000 accounts were locked as a precaution.

Compromised SecureID
May 26 ?

Northrop Grumman

Third U.S. Defense Contractor attacked using Compromised RSA Seeds. Attacked detected before any sensitive data was stolen.

  Jun 3


As part of the FFFriday campaign, LulzSec steals 180 usernames, real names, hashed and plain text passwords, are acquired and posted publicily

  Jul 8

IRC Federal

Anonymous attacks IRC Federal and dumps the content of the attack on a torrent available at The Pirate Bay. The dumped content include databases, private emails, contracts, development schematics, and internal documents for various government institutions.

July 11

Booz Hallen Hamilton

Anonymous attacks consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton and releases details of internal data including 90,000 military emails and passwords. Estimated cost of the breach is around $5,400,000.00.

Jul 11 ?

Unknown Contractor

The Pentagon reveals to have suffered a breach of 24,000 documents in March, during a single intrusion believed to have been perpetrated by a Foreign Country. As a consequence of the Intrusion, a classified U.S. Military Weapon System will need to be redesigned after specs and plans were stolen during the breach.

Jul 28

Mantech International Corporation

Anonymous hacks Mantech International Corporation, another FBI Contractor, as a consolidated tradition on Friday, and releases details of internal data and documsnts.

Jul 29

U.S. Law Enforcement Institutions

As part of the Antisec operation and in retaliation for the raids and the arrest again alleged Anonymous and LulzSec members, Anonymous attacks 77 U.S. Law Enforcement Institutions, defacing and destroying their servers.

Aug 1

PCS ConsultantsAnother U.S. Government contractor, PCS Consultants gets hacked by Anonymous & Antisec. Hackers extract website Database and leak it on the internet via Twitter on Pastebin (as usual!). Leaked Data include Admin’s and 110 users emails, plus passwords in encrypted hashes.
 Aug 16

Vanguard Defense Industries

Antisec targets Richard Garcia, the Senior Vice President of Vanguard Defense Industries (VDI). During the Breach nearly 4,713 emails and thousands of documents are stolen. As consolidated tradtion, the torrent is released on Friday, August the 19th.

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