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Posts Tagged ‘McAfee’

Information, The Next Battlefield

October 5, 2011 1 comment

Today the Information Security Arena has been shaken by two separate, although similar, events: IBM and McAfee, two giants in this troubled market, have separately decided to make a decisive move into the Security Information And Event Management (SIEM) market by acquiring two privately held leading companies in this sector.

As a matter of fact, nearly in contemporary, today IBM has officially announced to acquire Q1 Labs while McAfee was officially declaring its intent to acquire privately owned company NitroSecurity.

Although part of different tactics, the two moves follow, in my opinion, the same strategy which aims to build a unified and self-consistent security model: a complete security framework must not only provide information but also the intelligence to manage it, Information is power and Security is no exception to this rule.

But in order to be a real power, information must be structured and here comes the key point. Both vendors are leading providers of Network and Host Intrusion Prevention Solutions, heritage of the acquisions of ISS by IBM and Intrushield by McAfee and have hence the ability to capture security events from endpoints and networks: definitively they have the ability to provide the information, but they miss the adequate intelligence to correlate and manage it in order to make it structured.

This is completely true for McAfee that, (at least until today) lacked a SIEM solution in its portfolio and needed to rely on the SIA Certified SIEM Partner (Of course NitroSecurity was certified as a Sales Teaming Partner, the higher level). But in part this is also true for IBM that, despite the Micromuse acquisition and its troubled integration with Tivoli, was never able to became a credible player in this market, confined at the boundaries of the various (magic) quadrants.

Now they can make a decisive change to their positioning and also leverage a powerful trojan horse (the Information Management) to push their technologies to conquer new customers and market segments.

Is maybe a coincidence that another leader provider of SIEM solutions (ArcSight) is part of a company (HP) which also has in its portfolio Tipping Point (as part of the 3Com acquisition) a leader provider of Network IPS?

Event detection and event correlations (and management) are converging in the new Unified Security Model, general SIEM vendors are advised…

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Processor Assisted Or OS Embedded Endpoint Security?

September 14, 2011 1 comment

Yesterday, September the 13th 2011, the Information Security Arena has been shaken by a couple of announcements earthquakes unleashed by two of the most important players in this market.

The first earthquake was detected in San Francisco, at the Intel Developer Forum, where McAfee announced DeepSAFE, a jointly developed technology from McAfee and Intel that enables to build hardware-assisted security products that take advantage of a deeper security footprint. According to McAfee, sitting beyond the operating system and close to the silicon, DeepSAFE technology allows to gain an additional vantage point in the computing stack to better protect systems. Although initially conceived as an anti-rootkit (and 0-day) technology, McAfee promises that DeepSAFE Technology will be the foundation for its next gen security products, maybe landing also on the Android Platform (but not on Intel’s MeeGo Mobile Platform).

The second earthquake was detected in Redmond where Microsoft announced that antivirus protection will be a standard feature for its next gen flagship OS Windows 8: features from its Security Essentials program, currently available as a separate download for Windows users, will be added to the Windows Defender package already built into Windows, allowing the users to get out-of-the-box protection against malware, along with firewall and parental controls, from within Windows without requiring a separate software. Another new security feature being baked into Windows 8 is protection from bootable USB drives that are infected with malware.

Although easily predictable (even if Microsoft took only 6 years to fully embed Sybari technology inside its OSes after the 2005 acquisition, rumors on a hardware assisted security technology were the pillars of the McAfee acquisition by Intel), these announcements have a potential huge impact on the landscape, both for consumers and more in general for the whole antivirus industry.

As fare as the Micorsoft announcement is concerned, consumers will be happy to find a free “OS-embedded” antimalware solution inside their (favourite ?) desktop operating system, on the other hand the antivirus industry will likely not be happy to have an embedded competitor to fight against (and to disable during the installation of their own products).

Similarly, just like the Operating System, the processor itself is a “necessary evil” for a PC so the other endpoint security vendors will not be happy to fight against a competitor technology which (quoting textual words) allows “McAfee DeepSAFE technology (to) sit beyond the operating system (and close to the silicon) allowing McAfee products to have an additional vantage point in the computing stack to better protect systems.”

Of course all this turmoil on the endpoint security arena looks paradoxical if compared with Google’s assertions according to which, its brand new ChromeOS will need no antivirus at all because of its many built in layers of security. On the other hand it risks to become a turmoil for the consumer who will have soon to face an hard question: will my next operating system need “software embedded” antimalware, “hardware assisted” antimalware or no antimalware at all?

Personally I do not like the idea of a single Microsoft Antivirus for every PC equipped with Windows 8 (a single vulnerability would be enough to infect millions of devices), in the same way I believe that an Operating System without antimalware protection is an unrealistic model which is not compatible with the multi-layer approach of the endpoint security (it is not a coincidence that ChromeOS has already fallen under the blows of a XSS vulnerability.

Similarly I do believe that, in order to avoid (further) Antitrust lawsuits Intel will open its direct access to processor layer to other vendors besides McAfee. On the other hand, in order to obtain the “go-ahead” from the European Commission, Intel promised to ensure that rival security vendors will have access to “all necessary information” to use the functionalities of Intel’s CPUs and chipsets in the same way as those functionalities are used by McAfee, the commission said in a statement…

Otherwise the lawyers seriously risk to be the sole winners of this endpoint revolution.

August 2011 Cyber Attacks Timeline

September 2, 2011 8 comments

Here it is the complete list of Main Cyber Attacks for July: definitively it looks like the Dog Days did not stop the Cyber Attacks, which have been particularly numerous during August.

Following the trail of July, an attack against PCS Consultants, another U.S Government contractor opened this hot month, even if the controversial shady RAT affair monopolized (and keeps on to monopolize) the infosec landscape (and not only during the first half of the month). Easily predictable nearly every endpoint security vendor (and McAfee competitors) tend to minimize the event considering it only the latest example of RAT based cyber attacks with no particular features (see for instance the comment by Sophos, Kaspersky and Symantec).

Analogously the Dog Days did not stop hactivism with the infamous hacking group Anonymous (and its local “chapters”) author of several attacks in different countries and most of all of author of a kind of arm wrestling against BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), sometimes carried out with questionable methods. Research in Motion was indirectly involved on the Anonymous Campaign during the London Riot, but also Anonymous was hit by (another) defacement attack carried on by Syrian hackers which affected Anonplus, the alternative Social Network.

South Korea was also hit with other massive breaches (involving also Epson Korea) and a defacement against the local branch of HSBC.

According to my very personal estimates, based on the Ponemon Institute indications, the cost for the data breach for which enough information was available, is around $ 126 million mainly due to the impressive Epson Data Breach.

Useful resources for compiling the table include:

And my inclusion criteria do not take into consideration simple defacement attacks (unless they are really resounding) or small data leaks.

Enjoy the complete list!

Date Author Description Organization Attack
Aug 1

PCS Consultants

Another 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.


SQLi?
Aug 2
Vitrociset

72 hours after the first defacement, Vitrociset, a contractor of Italian Cyber Police, is hacked and defaced again by Anonymous.


SQLi? Defacement
Aug 3
United Nations (Shady RAT)

In an interview to Vanity Fair (as to say, information Security is a fashion), a McAfee Security Researcher declares UN and other international institutions have been victims of a large scale Remote Access Tool based attack from a Foreign Country. The attack is dubbed shady RAT and suspects are directed to China.


Remote Access  Tool
Aug 3
Colombia

Anonymous and Colombian Hackers shut down the websites of Colombia’s president, the interior and justice ministry, the intelligence service DAS and the governing party. The hacker attack was meant as a protest against government censorship.

DDoS
Aug 3
The SUN and News Corp. International

Britain’s Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid The Sun sends a message to readers warning them that computer hackers may have published their data online after an attack on the paper’s website last month. A hacker styled ‘Batteye‘ claims to have posted details taken from The Sun on the Pastebin.

SQLi?
Aug 3
Front National

As a consequence of the Massacre of Oslo, Anonymous France claims to have hacked a server belonging to Front National, leaking a list of 100 leaders of the party


?
Aug 5 ?

Citi Cards Japan (Citigroup)

Eight weeks after a hacker cracked its credit card database, the company’s credit card unit in Japan, Citi Card, reported in a message to its user base that “certain personal information of 92,408 customers has allegedly been obtained and sold to a third party illegally.” Estimated cost of the breach is about $19.8 million.


unfaithful outsourcer
Aug 6 Law Enforcement Agencies

After the first attack to Law Enforcement Institutions in July, Anonymous and LulzSec, as part of what they define the ShootingSheriffsSaturday, leak again 10 Gb of Data from the same Law Enforcement Agencies, including private police emails, training files, snitch info and personal info. The attack was made in retaliation for anonymous arrests


SQLi?
Aug 6
SAPPE (Sindacato Autonomo Polizia Penitenziaria)

Anonymous defaces the Web Site of SAPPE (Independent Union of Prison Guards) and leaves a message on pastebin (here in italian) claiming more rights for detainees


SQLi?
Aug 6
Policia Federal (Brazilian Police)

LulzSec Brazil hacks Brazilian Police and discloses 8 gb of data from what they defined the Pandora’s Box


USB Key Stolen?
Aug 7
Syrian Ministry of Defense

The Syrian Ministry of defense is hacked by Anonymous which defaces the web site and post a note supporting the Syrian people


Defacement
Aug 9
Anonplus (Anonymous Social Network)

In retaliation for the defacement of the Syrian Ministry of Defence, a Syrian Group of hackers dubbed Syrian Electronic Army, has defaced (for the third time), Anonplus, the alternative Social Network in phase of deployment by Anonymous, posting several gruesome images.


Defacement
Aug 9
Research In Motion

As an (in)direct consequence of the London Riots, a crew of hackers called TeaMp0isoN defaces The Official BlackBerry Blog after RIM has indicated to assist London police, who are investigating the use of the messaging service in organizing riots, with a “very extensive monitoring of the BlackBerry Messenger model”.


SQLi?
Aug 9
Operation Satiagraha

As part of Operation Antisec, LulzSec and Anonymous, release 5gb of documents, photos, audio files and videos, exposing that wich was one of the greatest corruption scandals in the recent history of Brazil


SQLi?
Aug 10 ?
University Of Wisconsin Milwaukee

The Social Security numbers of 75,000 students and employees at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee arE exposed after hackers planted malware in a campus server.ty-of-wisconsin-server. Estimated Cost of the Breach is $16 million.


APT
Aug 10 ?
Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx)

The Hong Kong stock exchange (HKEx) halts trading  for seven stocks in the afternoon trading session after its website was attacked during the morning trading session. The seven stocks in question were all due to release sensitive results to the website that could impact the price of their stocks. Initially the attack was believed to have compromised the web site. Later it was discovered to be a DDoS.


DDoS
Aug 12 Headpuster
Welt.de

An hacker called Headpuster, to protest against the sale of user data to a third party operator, hacks Welt.de using an SQL Injection (http://boot24.welt.de/index_welt..php?ac =***) and steals a large amount of data  including credit card information of 30,264 users from the database He then publishes censored excerpts. Estimated cost of the breach is around $6.5 million.


SQLi?
Aug 12 ?
Hong Kong stock exchange (HKEx)

The Hong Kong stock exchange comes under attack for the second day in a row on Thursday. The exchange blamed a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack against its news web server, hkexnews.hk. A Suspect has been arrested on Aug, the 23rd.


DDoS
Aug 14
Mybart.org

As part of their #OpBART and #Bart-Action in response to a temporary shutdown of cell service in four downtown San Francisco stations to interfere with a protest over a shooting by a BART police officer, Anonymous attacks the myBART.org website belonging to San Francisco’s BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) system. They perform a SQL injection (SQLi) attack against the site and extract 2,450 records containing names, usernames, passwords (plain text), emails, phone numbers, addresses and zip codes. Estimated Cost of the Breach is $524,300.


SQLi
Aug 15 ?
GOMTV.NET

After SK, Another South Korean service provider reports a large-scale data breach of usernames and passwords for subscribers worldwide. This time, it’s the turn of Seoul-based streaming media service GOMTV to suffer a data-spilling intrusion. According to GOM TV, the breach happened early in the morning of Friday 12 August 2011 Korean time; the company sent out a warning email to its subscribers on Sunday 14 August 2011.


SQLi?
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. The attack has been performed on August the 16th, but, as a consolidated tradtion, the torrent has been released on Friday, August the 19th.


Vulnerability in WordPress Hosting Platform
Aug 16
Ebay

Hacker group Cslsec (Can’t stop laughing security) leaks some accounts from Ebay and post them on pastebin.


SQLi?
Aug 17
BART Police

A database belonging to the BART Police Officers Association is hacked, and the names, postal and email addresses of officers are posted online. Over 100 officers are listed in the document posted, as usual, on pastebin. Estimated cost of the breach is $21,400.


SQLi?
Aug 20

HSBC Korea

A turkish based hacker hacks and defaces the Korean branch of HSBC, the global banking group.

defacement
Aug 21 pr0tect0r AKA mrNRG

Nokia Developer Forum

The developer forum section of Nokia Website is hacked by Indian Hacker “pr0tect0r AKA mrNRG“. He was able to deface the site and access to email records. According to an official statement from Nokia a “significantly larger” number of accounts has been accessed although they do not contain sensitive information.

SQLi
Aug 21
Danish Government

Anonymous Hackers upload a file on Torrent containing the snapshot of the Danish Government database of companies. The snapshot was obtained during the summer of 2011 by systematically harvesting data from the public parts of the cvr.dk website.

SQLi?
Aug 22 ?
Epson Korea

Hacking in South Korea: After GOMTV.NET Epson Korea is hit by a massive data breach, involving the personal information of 350,000 registered customers. Hackers break into Epson Korea’s computer systems, and steal information including passwords, phone numbers, names, and email addresses of customers who had registered with the company. Estimated cost of the breach is $74,900,000.

 ?
Aug 22 Electr0n
Libyan domain name registry

Hackers deface the nic.ly website, the main registry which administers .ly domain names (the “.ly” stands for “Libya”) and replace it with anti-Gaddafi message.


defacement
Aug 22 Allianceforcebiz.com

@ThEhAcKeR12, an admirer of Anonymous acts independently to breach an outsourced provider and steal a customer list with 20,000 log-in credentials. Many on the list were U.S. government employees. Estimated cost of the breach is around $4,280,000.


SQLi?
Aug 22

UK MET Police

As part of the Murder Military Monday, Metropolitan UK Police is hacked for #Antisec by CSL Security using SQL injection Vulnerability and the vulnerable link is also shown on Twitter and pastebin. Other attacked sites include: USarmy.com, GoArmy.com.


SQLi
Aug 23
U.S. Government

F-Secure discovers that on 17th of July, a military documentary program titled “Military Technology: Internet Storm is Coming” was published on the Government-run TV channel CCTV 7, Millitary and Agriculture (at military.cntv. While they are speaking about theory, they actually show camera footage of Chinese government systems launching attacks against a U.S. target.

DDoS?
Aug 24
Cslsec

Another example of Cyberwars between different hacker crews: TeaMp0isoN hacks Cslsec which claimed to be the new LulzSec


Defacement
Aug 25 ?
U.S. Military Base

Another example of military emails leaked by hackers.


SQLi?
Aug 27 Division Hackers Crew
Borlas.net

Division Hackers Crew hacks the Database of Borlas.net (Free SMS Site) and leaks the usernames, Passwords, emails and phone numbers of 14800 registered users. As usual, leaked database has been posted on pastenbin. Estimated cost of the breach is $3,167,200.


SQLi?
Aug 28
Orange.fr

Anonymous Hacker hacks Orange.fr and uploads the database and Site source code backup on file sharing site.


SQLi?
Aug 29 Iranian Hackers
Diginotar

A user named alibo on the Gmail forums posts a thread about receiving a certificate warning about a revoked SSL certificate for SSL-based Google services. The certificate in question was issued on July 10th by Dutch SSL certificate authority DigiNotar. The fake certificate was forged by Iranian Hackers, and revoked immediately. This is the second episode of a MITM attack against Google after the Comodo Affair in May.


Vulnerability
Aug 29 ?
Gabia (South Korean domain registrar)

Another Cyber Attack in South Korea: Gabia a South Korean domain registrar is hacked on Saturday Aug 27, according to a report Monday by the Korea Herald. The hack exposed over 100,000 domains and 350,000 users data. The information included names, user IDS, passwords and registration numbers.

?
Aug 29
densetsu.com

Sometimes they come back: one of the lulzsec members seems to have made a quick returning hacking a child porn trading forum and leaking over 7000 accounts.

densetsu.com SQLi?
Aug 30
Wikileaks (1)

Der Spiegel reports that a WikiLeaks file containing the original leaked US State Department cables has inadvertently been released onto the Internet. The documents have not been edited to protect sources, meaning that the lives of informants could be at risk.

?
Aug 30 ?
Wikileaks (2)

The WikiLeaks website, which contains thousands of U.S. embassy cables, has crashed in an apparent cyberattack. The anti-secrecy organization said in a Twitter message Tuesday that Wikileaks.org “is presently under attack.”

  DDoS
Aug 30
swgalaxies.net

@neatstuffs leaks over 23,000 emails and passwords from a Star Wars Fan Club, and all the passwords are in clear text…sad isnt it? that a website would store so many users information with no security.

SQLi?

August 2011 Cyber Attacks Timeline (Part I)

August 29, 2011 3 comments

Update Sep 2: August 2011 Cyber Attacks Timeline (Complete List)

It looks like the Dog Days did not stop the Cyber Attacks, which have been particularly numerous during August. This is the reason why I decided to divide my traditional collection in two parts. Today it is the turn of the first half covering the interval 1-15 August.

Following the trail of July, an attack against PCS Consultants, another U.S Government contractor opened this hot month, even if the controversial shady RAT affair monopolized (and keeps on to monopolize) the infosec landscape (and not only during the first half of the month). Easily predictable nearly every endpoint security vendor (and McAfee competitors) tend to minimize the event considering it only the latest example of RAT based cyber attacks with no particular features (see for instance the comment by Sophos, Kaspersky and Symantec).

Analogously the Dog Days did not stop hactivism with the infamous hacking group Anonymous (and its local “chapters”) author of several attacks in different countries and most of all of author of a kind of arm wrestling against BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), sometimes carried out with questionable methods. Research in Motion was indirectly involved on the Anonymous Campaign during the London Riot, but also Anonymous was hit by (another) defacement attack carried on by Syrian hackers which affected Anonplus, the alternative Social Network.

South Korea was also hit with another massive breach (but the story for SK does not end here).

According to my very personal estimates, based on the Ponemon Institute indications, the cost for the data breach for which enough information was available, is around $ 43 million.

Date Author Description Organization Attack
Aug 1

PCS Consultants

Another 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.


SQLi?
Aug 2
Vitrociset

72 hours after the first defacement, Vitrociset, a contractor of Italian Cyber Police, is hacked and defaced again by Anonymous.


SQLi? Defacement
Aug 3
United Nations (Shady RAT)

In an interview to Vanity Fair (as to say, information Security is a fashion), a McAfee Security Researcher declares UN and other international institutions have been victims of a large scale Remote Access Tool based attack from a Foreign Country. The attack is dubbed shady RAT and suspects are directed to China.


Remote Access  Tool
Aug 3
Colombia

Anonymous and Colombian Hackers shut down the websites of Colombia’s president, the interior and justice ministry, the intelligence service DAS and the governing party. The hacker attack was meant as a protest against government censorship.

DDoS
Aug 3
The SUN and News Corp. InternationalBritain’s Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid The Sun sends a message to readers warning them that computer hackers may have published their data online after an attack on the paper’s website last month. A hacker styled ‘Batteye‘ claims to have posted details taken from The Sun on the Pastebin. SQLi?
Aug 3
Front National

As a consequence of the Massacre of Oslo, Anonymous France claims to have hacked a server belonging to Front National, leaking a list of 100 leaders of the party


?
Aug 5 ?

Citi Cards Japan (Citigroup)

Eight weeks after a hacker cracked its credit card database, the company’s credit card unit in Japan, Citi Card, reported in a message to its user base that “certain personal information of 92,408 customers has allegedly been obtained and sold to a third party illegally.” Estimated cost of the breach is about $19.8 million.


unfaithful outsourcer
Aug 6 Law Enforcement Agencies

After the first attack to Law Enforcement Institutions in July, Anonymous and LulzSec, as part of what they define the ShootingSheriffsSaturday, leak again 10 Gb of Data from the same Law Enforcement Agencies, including private police emails, training files, snitch info and personal info. The attack was made in retaliation for anonymous arrests


SQLi?
Aug 6
SAPPE (Sindacato Autonomo Polizia Penitenziaria)

Anonymous defaces the Web Site of SAPPE (Independent Union of Prison Guards) and leaves a message on pastebin (here in italian) claiming more rights for detainees


SQLi?
Aug 6
Policia Federal (Brazilian Police)

LulzSec Brazil hacks Brazilian Police and discloses 8 gb of data from what they defined the Pandora’s Box


USB Key Stolen?
Aug 7
Syrian Ministry of Defense

The Syrian Ministry of defense is hacked by Anonymous which defaces the web site and post a note supporting the Syrian people


Defacement
Aug 9
Anonplus (Anonymous Social Network)

In retaliation for the defacement of the Syrian Ministry of Defence, a Syrian Group of hackers dubbed Syrian Electronic Army, has defaced (for the third time), Anonplus, the alternative Social Network in phase of deployment by Anonymous, posting several gruesome images.


Defacement
Aug 9
Research In Motion

As an (in)direct consequence of the London Riots, a crew of hackers called TeaMp0isoN defaces The Official BlackBerry Blog after RIM has indicated to assist London police, who are investigating the use of the messaging service in organizing riots, with a “very extensive monitoring of the BlackBerry Messenger model”.


SQLi?
Aug 9
Operation Satiagraha

As part of Operation Antisec, LulzSec and Anonymous, release 5gb of documents, photos, audio files and videos, exposing that wich was one of the greatest corruption scandals in the recent history of Brazil


SQLi?
Aug 10 ?
University Of Wisconsin Milwaukee

The Social Security numbers of 75,000 students and employees at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee arE exposed after hackers planted malware in a campus server.ty-of-wisconsin-server. Estimated Cost of the Breach is $16 million.


APT
Aug 10 ?
Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx)The Hong Kong stock exchange (HKEx) halts trading  for seven stocks in the afternoon trading session after its website was attacked during the morning trading session. The seven stocks in question were all due to release sensitive results to the website that could impact the price of their stocks. Initially the attack was believed to have compromised the web site. Later it was discovered to be a DDoS
DDoS
Aug 12 Headpuster
Welt.de

An hacker called Headpuster, to protest against the sale of user data to a third party operator, hacks Welt.de using an SQL Injection (http://boot24.welt.de/index_welt..php?ac =***) and steals a large amount of data  including credit card information of 30,264 users from the database He then publishes censored excerpts. Estimated cost of the breach is around $6.5 million.


SQLi?
Aug 12 ?
Hong Kong stock exchange (HKEx)

The Hong Kong stock exchange comes under attack for the second day in a row on Thursday. The exchange blamed a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack against its news web server, hkexnews.hk. A Suspect has been arrested on Aug, the 23rd.


DDoS
Aug 14
Mybart.org

As part of their #OpBART and #Bart-Action in response to a temporary shutdown of cell service in four downtown San Francisco stations to interfere with a protest over a shooting by a BART police officer, Anonymous attacks the myBART.org website belonging to San Francisco’s BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) system. They perform a SQL injection (SQLi) attack against the site and extract 2,450 records containing names, usernames, passwords (plain text), emails, phone numbers, addresses and zip codes. Estimated Cost of the Breach is $524,300.


SQLi
Aug 15 ?
GOMTV.NETAfter SK, Another South Korean service provider reports a large-scale data breach of usernames and passwords for subscribers worldwide. This time, it’s the turn of Seoul-based streaming media service GOMTV to suffer a data-spilling intrusion. According to GOM TV, the breach happened early in the morning of Friday 12 August 2011 Korean time; the company sent out a warning email to its subscribers on Sunday 14 August 2011.
SQLi?

Five Years of Hacking (Updated)

August 3, 2011 8 comments

Strange Days for Information Security, you may watch my July 2011 Attacks Chart for noticing how troubled July has been. August promises to be even worse, but this is not the point…

The point is that in an Interview to Vanity Fair, which is not tipically an Information Security Magazine, Dmitri Alperovitch, Vice President of threat research at McAfee reported that, for at least five years, a high-level hacking campaign, dubbed Operation Shady RAT (like Remote Access Tool), has infiltrated the computer systems of national governments, global corporations, nonprofits, and other organizations. This infiltration has made more than 70 victims in 14 countries for what has been defined “Biggest-ever series of cyber attacks uncovered”, an attack so big that, according to Alperovitch: “It’s been really hard to watch the news of this Anonymous and LulzSec stuff, because most of what they do, defacing Web sites and running denial-of-service attacks, is not serious. It’s really just nuisance.”

Victims included government agencies in the United States, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, and Canada, the Olympic committees in three countries, and the International Olympic Committee. Rounding out the list of countries where Shady rat hacked into computer networks: Japan, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Denmark, Singapore, Hong Kong, Germany, and India. The vast majority of victims—49—were U.S.-based companies, government agencies, and nonprofits. The category most heavily targeted was defense contractors—13 in all.

Courtesy Of McAfee

In addition to the International Olympic Committee, the only other victims that McAfee has publicly named are the World Anti-doping Agency, the United Nations, and ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (whose members are Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam).

All the signs of the attack point to China. If confirmed this would be the third attack discovered by McAfee originating from China, after Operation Aurora and the Night Dragon.

One thing is clear: if Vanity Fair is dealing with Information Security, there is really something strange. At least let us hope this is not the sign Information Security is simply becoming a matter of fasion.

Meanwhile, after the Vanity Fair preview, McAfee has released its report on Shady RAT. McAfee was able to gain access to one specific Command & Control server used by the intruders, collecting logs that reveal the full extent of the victim population since mid-2006 when the log collection began. The results are described inside the documents and Curiously China, which was reported by the press as the alleged author of the attack, is never expressely quoted.

Courtesy Of McAfee

Interesting to say, this report raised several doubts on McAfee Competitors. As an example, Sophos, on a dedicated post, considers that there’s nothing particularly surprising in McAfee’s report since companies get often targeted by hackers, who install malware to gain remote access to their computers and data, sometimes driven by motivations for hacking which extend beyond purely financial (for instance, IP theft, economic, political, etc motivations).

Moreover, Sophos wonders why McAfee did not disclose what kind of information was stolen from the targeted organisations, and how many computers at each business were affected.

In any case I noticed with pleasure that, like I did, Sophos was also surprised from the fact the preview was first released on Vanity Fair…

The Antivirus is Dead, Long Live the Antivirus!

May 18, 2011 1 comment

The Google Chromebook (that is the first Chromium OS powered devices) was presented few days ago (and is ready to reach our shelves for the half of June), but only yesterday I accidentally came across an interesting article (which I had already reported in yesterday’s post) which led me to several thoughts concerning the future of endpoint security, or better, how endpoint protection technologies will adapt themselves to the rapidly mutating landscape, which is shifting from an endpoint-centric to a cloud-centric model. My personal confessions of a dangerous mind derive from Google’s assertion that: Chromebooks have many layers of security built in so there is no anti-virus software to buy and maintain. Moreover, the fact that data reside mainly on the cloud moves the data protection requirements towards the cloud rather than on the endpoint.  If this is true many security giants (such as Intel McAfee, Symantec, Trend Micro, etc.) focalized on endpoint would seriously have to worry about.

The core of the Chromium OS is represented by the Chrome web browser. Through a Web Interface, and most of all thanks to HTML5, Open Web Platform APIs and Google Chrome Extensions, the users will be able to access virtually any kind of applications from the cloud.

What does it mean from a security perspective? The Security Overview document describing the Security Mechanisms adopted by the Chromium OS is clear: the operating system has been designed from the ground up with security in mind, security as an iterative process focused on for the life of the operating system. As a matter of fact, since the OS is browser-centric, the security design efforts have been concentrated on this aspect starting from the foundation, that is the Operating Systems. Several  of the weapons adopted by Chromium OS include:

  • OS Hardening through techniques of Process sandboxing (at OS and browser level), toolchain hardening, Kernel hardening and configuration paring, Additional file system restrictions (Read-only root partition, tmpfs-based /tmp, user home directories without executables, privileged executables, or device nodes;
  • Modular browser with sandboxes for media and HTML parsers;
  • Protection for Phishing, XSS and other Web vulnerabilities;
  • Secure autoupdate protecting itself from attacks by mean of Signed updates downloaded over SSL, checking of Version numbers of updates and verification of the integrity of each update on subsequent boot, by man of Verified Boot process;

That said, is really true that Chromium OS will be the death knell for antivirus?

Before answering this 10 million Dollars question (rigorously Monopoly Dollars) there is a due premise that must necessarily be done: classifying an endpoint protection technology as Antivirus is maybe a little bit reductive and anachronistic. The new generations of threats (the so called blended threats or APTs) make use of several combination of attack vectors ranging from malicious phishing web sites to 0-day OS or application vulnerabilities. This has implied in the last two/three years that the concept of multi-layered protection has found fertile ground in the endpoints as well (as previously done in the network with UTM/XTM technologies) since the new threats are not simple malware but complex combinations of attack vectors which need different layers of protections. A simple antivirus does not exist anymore in a corporate context, but has been substituted by a set of protection technologies combining Anti-Malware, Personal Firewall, Host Intrusion Prevention, Encryption, Data Leackage Prevention, Compliance.

With this premise in mind there are some points for which, in my opinion, endpoint protection technologies will be still needed (at least for version 1.0);

  • Some Critical voices stress the fact that Google will provide an SDK dedicated to write native applications.  Although Google has probably done everything to secure those apps with their double sandbox design, in theory will be possibility to install malicious code or simply bugged code, unaware vector of vulnerabilities in the system (or in the cloud).
  • Since the OS is browser-centric, protection of the browser becomes a critical factor. The security design document states that the web browser provides Protection for Phishing, XSS and other Web vulnerabilities, but the description is not so satisfying: “Phishing, XSS, and other web-based exploits are no more of an issue for Chromium OS systems than they are for Chromium browsers on other platforms.  The only JavaScript APIs used in web applications on Chromium OS devices will be the same HTML5 and Open Web Platform APIs that are being deployed in Chromium browsers everywhere.  As the browser goes, so will we”. Only one simple consideration about this point: a vulnerability on the Webkit rendering engine caused a serious security flaw on the Android and Chrome Browser (and on the Safari Browser and Apple And Blackberry smartphone browsers as well during the last Pwn2Own 2011). Moreover phishing has registered a tremendous growth in the last months as the initial vector for perpetrating complex multi-layered attacks. I am not aware of the fact that chrome users have been less affected than the users of other browsers.
  • There is also another important point: the security overview document identifies two possible kinds of adversaries: opportunistic adversaries and dedicated adversaries. The first kind just tries to compromise an individual user’s machine and/or data, the second kind may target a user or an enterprise specifically for attack. According to Google version 1.0 will be focuses on dangers posed by opportunistic adversaries. This means that, at least for the first version, the Chromium OS will not offer countermeasures targeted to mitigate network-level attacks.

So what are the conclusions? Maybe the death knell for Antivirus technologies (or would be better to say endpoint protection technologies) is still far, rather I believe more realistically that endpoint security technologies will have to be redefined (or better tailored) to better fit the new scenario in which the endpoints act as web-centric gates for the cloud. Maybe antivirus will be no more necessary, but security efforts on the endpoints will have to be directed to protect this new role from OS and web application vulnerabilities (see authentication tokens in clear), malicious web sites, phishing, data loss/leakage (even if the Chromium OS already offers some native features in this direction), and, last but not least, compliance issues (for an enterprise usage). How this will be achieved? Simple, by mean of cloud based security services…

Top Security Challenges for 2011: Check Point’s Perspective

May 16, 2011 1 comment

At the last Check Point Experience in Barcelona, the Israeli-based company unleashed its own Top Security Challenges for 2011.

In a certain sense one might say that it could be quite easy for Checkpoint to make predictions at this point of the year considered that we are in the middle of 2011 (and truthful predictions should already come true), but this is not my point of interest. My point of interest is the fact that, in my prevision evaluation of security predictions for 2011 (we were in December 2010), I was a little bit disappointed for the fact that it had not been possible to compare Check Point, a landmark in Network Security, with the other vendors since at that time it did not release any prediction for the current year. The perspective of this vendor, focused on network security, is a really interesting complement to the landscape (that is unifying endpoint, network and cloud security), since Check Point is considered the pioneer of modern firewall, as well as inventor of the stateful inspection technology, the foundation of network protection.

According to John Vecchi, head of product marketing for Check Point, the following areas will be on the radars and agendas of CISOs worldwide

  • Virtualization and the cloud: according to him, the challenges associated with this trend include lack of skills in the security team, cost of new solutions and regulatory issues. To these challenges I would also add fragmentation of Cloud Environments which need powerful tools to normalize, securize and manage such environments. As a matter of fact we are experiencing the proliferation of Hypervisors, operating systems, services and application that must forcefully coexist each other on the same environment;
  • IT consumerization: Tablets and Smartphones are becoming inseparable companions of Organizations and Enterprises, but, although they are breaking the line between personal and professional life, they have not been natively conceived for a professional usage, and this paves the way to new threats that need to be faced. According to the Israeli company 30% of enterprises are implementing tablet computers and by 2013, we will see a 100% increase in smartphone usage. Meanwhile, according to Juniper Networks, Android Malware increases 4 times faster…
  • Consolidation and complexity in security. According to Check Point there is a huge trend to converge and unify information security technologies. This challenge is not a surprise: the company is well known among security professionals for the completeness of its management framework and the consolidation (of vendors and technologies) is a well consolidated trend in market, vendors and technologies;
  • Web 2.0 and social media: this is another consolidated trend whose last (and more relevant) example is the affair of Primoris Era and the consequent risks of social espionage or social (media) engineering which can have a devastating impact for the Enterprises. But this is not the only risks: due to their six degrees of separations: social networks are a powerful (and reliable) mean to spread infections. In my opinion, this challenge is strictly related to IT consumerisation (as mobile technologies, social media is an example of consumer technologies which rapidly spread into Enterprise), and Enterprises are generally not prepared to face similar threats, which are increasingly pushing the users to cross the boundaries which separate personal and professional usage of their working tools. In both cases, in my opinion, the possible countermeasures are similar: not only technology but (most of all) education for users who should be made aware of risks deriving from crossing that line: would you ever store the last financial plan in the same computer when your son chats, surfs the web or share his life on Facebook? Why should you do on the same phone or tablet where you share your life (without considering the fact that data are continuously sent to Apple, Google and so on…).
  • Data security and data loss: according to Check Point, $7.2m is the average cost of a data breach in 2011. USBs and laptops, corporate email and web mail are the largest sources of data ,loss. Agreeable security challenge, but too easy after the affair of Wikileaks.
  • Threat landscape: according to Check Point, this can be broken down into two motives: Crime and profit, and Cyber-warfare and hacktivists. The biggest recent threats include stuxnet, operation aurora (belonging to the second category), and zeus zbot (belonging to the first). These are the so called Advanced Persistent Threats that are increasingly used not as “exercises of style” but as real weapons for fighting wars on the virtual battlefields or stealing money.

The last predictions have little to deal with security (in the sense that they are general concepts) but are worthwhile to be mentioned as well:

  • Governance, risk and compliance: according to Check Point Governance and compliance has the greatest influence on the information security programme for 60% of companies. In my opinion this challenge goes in the same direction of consolidation and complexity in security which need unified management whose role, definitively is just to enforce the policy (at least this is my model);

  • Cost-saving IT and Green IT: the latter two are strictly joined (and in a certain sense also joined with Cloud and virtualization). IT has always been considered an enabler: but probably in the current complicated situation it is not enough and IT must also support the enterprise to control costs (and moreover in this scenario information security must be a business process).

After analyzing Check Point’s Top Threats I enjoyed in comparing them with the available predictions of other vendors. Of course I had to do some assumptions, that is: I mapped the “Threat Landscape” to Advanced Persistent Threat, “IT Consumerization to Mobile”, and “Data Security and Data Loss” to Removable Media.

The results are represented in the following table:

Checkpoint confirms the mobile as the Top Threat for 2011 (as done, in total, by 6 of the 7 examined vendors, the only excluded, Kaspersky, simply put the mobile as a top threat for 2010). Similarly, Advanced Persistent Threats gained the preference of 5 vendors of the 7 examined, including Check Point, as Social Media did. Curiously, as far as Cloud and Virtualization are concerned, Checkpoint’s Top Challenge is similar to the one provided by Symantec (and Trend Micro): I would have expected more vendors addressing the Cloud and Virtualization as a key concern for the 2011 (and the examples of Epsilon, Amazon and Sony are particularly meaningful of the level of attention deserved by this technology).

On Facing the 2011 Top Security Challenges, particolarly meaningful for Check Point is the role played by the unified management technologies. This is not surprising since, on one hand, vendors and technologies are converging and consolidating themselves in few vendors with a multi-domain porfolio (the ast firm in order of example is Sophos with the acquistion of Astaro); on the other hand Check Point management technologies are considered the state-of-the-art for a unified management framework.

Some Random Thoughts On The Security Market

May 10, 2011 1 comment

The intention by UK-headquartered company Sophos to acquire Astaro, the privately-held security company co-headquartered in Karlsruhe, Germany and Wilmington, Massachusetts (USA) is simply the last effect of the process of vendor consolidation acting in the information security market. It is also the trigger for some random thoughts…

In the last two years a profound transformation of the market is in place, which has seen the birth (and subsequent growth) of several giants security vendors, which has been capable of gathering under their protective wings the different areas of information security.

The security model is rapidly converging toward a framework which tends to collect under a unified management function, the different domains of information security, which according to my personal end-to-end model, mat be summarized as follows: Endpoint Security, Network Security, Application Security, Identity & Access Management.

  • Endpoint Security including the functions of Antivirus, Personal Firewall/Network Access Control, Host IPS, DLP, Encryption. This component of the model is rapidly converging toward a single concept of endpoint including alle the types of devices: server, desktop, laptop & mobile;
  • Network & Contente Security including the functions of Firewall, IPS, Web and Email Protection;
  • Application Security including areas of WEB/XML/Database Firewall and (why not) proactive code analysis;
  • Compliance: including the functions of assessment e verification of devce and applications security posture;
  • Identity & Access Management including the functions of authentication and secure data access;
  • Management including the capability to manage from a single location, with an RBAC model, all the above quoted domains.

All the major players are moving quickly toward such a unified model, starting from their traditional battlefield: some vendors, such as McAfee and Symantec, initiallty moved from the endpoint domain which is their traditional strong point. Other vendors, such as Checkpoint, Fortinet, Cisco and Juniper moved from the network filling directly with their technology, or also by mean of dedicated acquisitions or tailored strategic alliances, all the domains of the model. A further third category is composed by the “generalist” vendors which were not initially focused on Information Security, but became focused by mean of specific acquisition. This is the case of HP, IBM and Microsoft (in rigorous alphabetical order) which come from a different technological culture but are trying to become key players by mean of strategic acquisitions.

It is clear that in similar complicated market the position and the role of the smaller, vertical, players is becoming harder and harder. They may “hope” to become prey of “bigger fishes” or just to make themselves acquisitions in order to reach the “critical mass” necessary to survive.

In this scenario should be viewed the acquisition of Astaro by Sophos: from a strategical perspective Sophos resides permanently among the leaders inside the Gartner Magic quadrant but two of three companions (Symantec and Mcafee, the third is Trend Micro) are rapidly expanding toward the other domains (meanwhile McAfee has been acquired by Intel). In any case all the competitors have a significant major size if compared with Sophos, which reflects in revenues, which in FY 2010 were respectively 6.05, 2.06 and 1.04 B$, pretty much bigger than Sophos, whose revenues in FY 2010 were approximately 260 M$, about one fourth of the smaller between the three above (Trend Micro which is, like Sophos, a privately-owned company).

In perspective the acquisition may be also more appealing and interesting for Astaro, which is considered one of the most visionary players in the UTM arena with a primary role in the European market. Its position with respect to the competition is also more complicated since the main competitors are firms such as Fortinet, Check Point and Sonicwall which all have much greater size (as an example Checkpoint revenues were about 1.13 B $ in FY 2010 which sound impressive if compared with the 56 M $ made by Astaro in the Same Fiscal Year).

In this scenario, the combined company aims to head for $500 million in 2012.

Last but not least both companies are based in Europe (respectively in England and Germany) and could rely on an US Headquarter in Massachusetts.

From a technological perspective, the two vendors are complementary, and the strategy of the acquisition is well summarized by the following phrase contained in the Acquisition FAQ:

Our strategy is to provide complete data and threat protection for IT, regardless of device type, user location, or network boundaries. Today, we [Sophos] offer solutions for endpoint security, data protection, and email and web security gateways. The combination of Sophos and Astaro can deliver a next generation set of endpoint and network security solutions to better meet growing customer needs […]. With the addition of Astaro’s network security, we will be the first provider to deliver truly coordinated threat protection, data protection and policy from any endpoint to any network boundary.

Sophos lacks of a network security solution in its portfolio, and the technology from Astaro could easily fill the gap. On the other hand, Astaro does not own an home-built antivirus technology for its products (so far it uses ClamAV and Avira engines to offer a double layer of protection), and the adoption of Sophos technologies (considered one of the best OEM Antivirus engine) could be ideal for its portfolio of UTM solutsions.

Moreover the two technologies fit well among themselves to build an end-to-end security model: as a matter of fact Information security is breaking the boundary between endpoint and network (as the threats already did). Being obliged to adapt themselves to the new blended threats, which often uses old traditional methods to exploit 0-day vulnerabilities on the Endpoint, some technologies like Intrusion prevention, DLP and Network Access Control, are typically cross among different elements of the infrastructure, and this explains the rush of several players (as Sophos did in this circumstance) to enrich their security portfolio with solutions capable of covering all the information Security Domains.

Just to have an idea, try to have a look to some acquisitions made by the main security players in the last years (sorry for the Italian comments). Meanwghile the other lonely dancers (that is the companies currently facing the market on their own), are advised…

Cisco

HP

IBM

Intel

Microsoft

Check Point

Fortinet

Juniper Networks

Symantec

Other Considerations On TCP Split Handshake

April 21, 2011 3 comments

The storm unleashed by NSS Labs test for the TCP split handshake attack which affected 5 firewall vendors  is far from being quiet.

During these days I enjoyed speaking with many colleagues about the results of the tests and definitively, I must confess that firewalls were not the only entities unaware the TCP Split Handshake, as a matter of fact, none of the professionals I discussed with (of course including me the first time I read about it) were familiar with this method of establishing TCP connections.

Nevertheless the show must go on: professionals must study to stay up-to-date (and learn what TCP Split Handshake is), firewalls (if susceptible to attack) must be fixed in order to learn how TCP Split handshake is correctly handled.

After the surprising findings of the test vendor are running for cover, so I spent half an hour to check the state-of-the-art after some communications from NSS Labs (unfortunately I was not able to attend the webinar of today) and some rumors on the Infosec arena.

Among the manufacturers found susceptible to TCP Split handshake attack during the first round, Palo Alto Networks has released an update (4.0.2) to fix the TCP Split Handshake Evasion, after the fix the manufacturer was able to pass the TCP handshake attack test.

As far as Juniper Networks is concerned, today a communication sent by E-mail by NSS Labs has indicated that this vendor is working on a fix as well: a configuration setting which will be enabled by default for new customers.

But probably the most interesting piece of news is the fact that today some Cisco representatives today went to NSS Labs to participate in the vulnerability-assessment on site and sort out any issues directly. Cisco refused to accept the results of the tests since was not able to reproduce the issue on any tested platform (ASA, IOS Firewall, IPS Appliances). An updated blog post about the findings is expected later today. NSS Labs also expects to publish updated findings related to what firewalls it tested have completed remediation to protect against the TCP Split Handshake attack.

Just for fun…

(But not only!), I gave a look individually to other vendors not involved in the tests to see if they had analyzed the behavior of their technologies on this issue.

Some McAfee representatives indicated me that their Enterprise Firewall platform is not prone to TCP Split Handshake attack. I looked for some information and I found this post from the vendor. Would be interesting if the security manufacturer from Santa Clara could release a more detailed documentation (maybe they already released but I did not find it J).

Stonesoft issued a blog post with the result of the test performed individually on its Stonegate Devices with the same BreakingPoint method pointed out in the original document describing the attack. The finding is that with the only firewall function the security device is not vulnerable if the “strict mode” is enabled in the advanced properties of the node. In normal or loose mode the traffic is permitted (even if Stonesoft indicates that the firewall does not get spoofed, that is correctly recognizes the origin of the session). With the antivirus function enabled the firewall is not vulnerable in any mode.

Astaro except some tweets indicating that the technology is not vulnerable. Would be interesting, also in this case, if the vendor could release some detailed document on the necessary configurations to be implemented to avoid the spoof (or if they are enabled by default).

I was nearly forgetting Microsoft, for which there is not any official document. Anyway I found an independent test in this blog which seems to confirm that the Microsoft platform is not vulnerable.

At this point I look forward to read the result of Cisco/NSS joint tests…

SCADA Security: Bridge the Gap

April 15, 2011 1 comment

Utilities and Security Vendors are taking very seriously the events of Stuxnet and they’re consequently running for cover. Although due to natural events, the dramatic facts of Fukushima have shown to the entire World (and likely to Cyber-terrorists) how close we are to the abyss of a nuclear meltdown, with the consequent fear that a simil-Stuxnet malware could give the final push (even if according to some urban legends Stuxnet might have played a role in the failure of cooling systems afterward the Tsunami of March 11, 2011).

In a previous post, I identified the Smart Grids (and more in general SCADA systems) as possible targets of Cyber-Attacks. Not only because they constitute one of the means through which the western world is trying to mitigate the effects on the energy bills of the chronic instability of the oil-producing countries and also the dependency from nuclear energy, but also because Smart Grids (and similar technologies based on Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) will be the core of the promising Green Smart City initiatives promoted by several important IT players.

Taken for granted the many benefits, in terms of flexibility and resilience, deriving from the adoption of an IP-based approach, from a security perspective one must consider that a smart grid is generally composed by IP-Enabled heterogeneous technologies, 15/20 years old (this is the typical life cycle of the components). These technologies, often not even of last generation, unfortunately were not created to ensure the security made necessary by the adoption of an open-world Internet approach. While, on one hand, the IP protocol provides the intelligence that allows the different nodes to think as a single entity, on the other hand, the adoption of such a “single ecosystem model” comes with the price of having to accept (and mitigate) the threats hidden inside the IP packets.

But not only IP: in terms of connectivity, Smart Grids represent a leap into the unknown, since, to further worsen the picture, control systems of Smart Grid are based on the reviled  Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, which will have to necessarily reach a meaningful level of complexity to manage the proliferation of smart grids and the huge amount of data collected (the only thought of privacy issues makes me feel a subtle shudder), “old-school that’s SCADA Been Bolted Into Some sort of a newer technology“. Moreover utilities have hundreds of different standards and protocols, and teams that typically operate and maintain the infrastructures own very few IT skills. This also makes it difficult the convergence between different disciplines: the convergence between power distribution and IP-based control technologies is not supported by an analogous convergence between management infrastructures. This is also the outcome of a cultural gap: who manages the utilities does not completely (if not at all) trusts who comes from the IT world because of the hands-on approach of the latter, and hence tends to hide the management details of their closed world.

As a consequence energy utilities are “de facto” building a new Internet, a real parallel universe, as defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which, in the wake of security concerns has promoted appropriate standards and specifications concerning smart grid cyber security of control systems. Analogously further support in this direction will be provided by NERC CIP (North American Electric Reliability Corp. ‘s Critical Infrastructure Protection Plan), recently updated which contains more than 100 standard and establishes requirements for protection of the critical elements of a Smart Grid. Security of Smart Grid Infrastructure is the Starting point and key element of  the program.

It is not a coincidence that a recent report by market research firm Pike Research states that Smart grid cybersecurity will increase 62% between 2010 and 2011, and by 2015, the annual worldwide market spending will reach $1.3 billion. According to Pike Research senior analyst Bob Lockhart.

“Smart grid cybersecurity is significantly more complex than the traditional IT security world. It is a common misperception that IT networks and industrial control systems have the same cyber security issues and can be secured with the same countermeasures. They cannot. To successfully secure the electrical grid, utilities and their key suppliers must design solutions that effectively bridge the worlds of information and operations technology.”

Vendors are moving quickly to bulid the bridge and make SCADA premises secure. McAfee has recently announced a strategic partnership with Wind River (another Intel Subsidiary) for embedded devices, with particular focus on industrial control, energy management, automotive, national infrastructure, defense, networking and smartphones as well as emerging segments including smart grid, connected home health care, home gateways and tablets. In the same time, exactly on April, the 13th, the Security Manufacturer of Santa Clara announced a strict joint product certification initiative with Siemens-Division Industry Automation (the manufacturer of Industrial Control Systems hit by Stuxnet). In my opinion the latter press release is not important for the single product involved in the compatibility tests, but rather it states undoubtedly the fact that not only SCADA and IP technologies are converging in Smart Grids, but also security is converging and hence traditional IT focused security vendors are developing new initiatives to face these two sides of the coin. It is likely that similar initiatives will become more and more frequent in the security landscape, and the predictions contained in the Pike Research report will presumably act as a catalyzer.

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