The New York Times has recently reported the news related to a (yet another) targeted cyber-attack against JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency). This targeted attack has allegedly led to the exfiltration of sensitive information related to Epsilon, a solid-fuel rocket prototype supposed to be used also for military applications, suggesting the targeted attack is probably part of a cyber-espionage campaign.
The targeted attack has been carried on by mean of a malware installed in a computer at Tsukuba Space Center. Before being discovered, on November 21, the malicious executable has secretly collected data and sent it outside the agency.
This is the second known targeted attack against JAXA in less than eleven months: on January 13, 2012, a computer virus infected a data terminal at Japan’s Space Agency, causing a leak of potentially sensitive information including JAXA’s H-2 Transfer Vehicle, an unmanned vessel that ferries cargo to the International Space Station. In that circumstance officials said that information about the robotic spacecraft and its operations might have been compromised.
Unfortunately the above cyber-attacks are not episodic circumstances, confirming that Japan is a hot zone from an information security perspective, and a coveted target for cyber espionage campaigns. Undoubtedly, the strategic importance of this country in the global chessboard and hence its internal secrets and the intellectual property of its industries are more than a good reason for such similar targeted cyber-attacks.
The list is quite long…
19 September 2011: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan’s biggest defense contractor, reveals that it suffered a hacker attack in August 2011 that caused some of its networks to be infected by malware. According to the company 45 network servers and 38 PCs became infected with malware at ten facilities across Japan. The infected sites included its submarine manufacturing plant in Kobe and the Nagoya Guidance & Propulsion System Works, which makes engine parts for missiles.
24 October 2011: An internal investigation on the Cyber Attack against Mitsubishi finds signs that the information has been transmitted outside the company’s computer network “with the strong possibility that an outsider was involved”. As a consequence, sensitive information concerning vital defense equipment, such as fighter jets, as well as nuclear power plant design and safety plans, was apparently stolen.
25 October 2011: According to local media reports, computers in Japan’s lower house of parliament were hit by cyber-attacks from a server based in China that left information exposed for at least a month. A trojan horse was emailed to a Lower House member in July of the same year, the Trojan horse then downloaded malware from a server based in China, allowing remote hackers to secretly spy on email communications and steal usernames and passwords from lawmakers for at least a month.
27 October 2011: The Japanese Foreign Ministry launches an investigation to find out the consequences of a cyber-attack targeting dozens of computers used at Japanese diplomatic offices in nine countries. Many of the targeted computers were found to have been infected with a backdoor since the summer of the same year. The infection was allegedly caused by a spear-phishing attack targeting the ministry’s confidential diplomatic information. Suspects are directed to China.
2 November 2011: Japan’s parliament comes under cyber attack again, apparently from the same emails linked to China that already hit the lawmakers’ computers in Japan’s lower house of parliament. In this circumstance, malicious emails are found on computers used in the upper chamber of the Japanese parliament.
13 January 2012: Officials announce that a computer virus infected a data terminal at Japan’s space agency, causing a leak of potentially sensitive information. The malware was discovered on January 6 on a terminal used by one of its employees. The employee in question worked on JAXA’s H-2 Transfer Vehicle, an unmanned vessel that ferries cargo to the International Space Station. Information about the robotic spacecraft and its operations may thus have been compromised and in fact the investigation shows that the computer virus had gathered information from the machine.
20 July 2012: The Japanese Finance Ministry declares to have found that some of its computers have been infected with a virus since 2010 to 2011 and admits that some information may have been leaked. 123 computers on 2,000 have been found infected and, according to the investigation, the contagion started in January 2010, suggesting that information could have been leaked for over two years. The last infection occurred in November 2011, after which the apparent attack suddenly stopped.
Cross Posted from TheAviationist.
2011 has been an annus horribilis for information security, and aviation has not been an exception to this rule: not only in 2011 the corporate networks of several aviation and aerospace industries have been targeted by digital storms (not a surprise in the so-called hackmageddon) but, above all, last year will be probably remembered for the unwelcome record of two alleged hacking events targeting drones (“alleged” because in the RQ-170 Sentinel downed in Iran episode, several doubts surround the theory according to which GPS hacking could have been the real cause of the crash landing).
But, if Information Security professionals are quite familiar with the idea that military contractors could be primary and preferred targets of the current Cyberwar, as the infographic on the left shows, realizing that malware can be used to target a drone is still considered an isolated episode, and even worse, the idea of a malware targeting, for instance, the multirole Joint Strike Fighter is still something hard to accept.
However, things are about change dramatically. And quickly.
The reason is simple: the latest military and civil airplanes are literally full of electronics, which play a primary role in managing avionics, onboard systems, flight surfaces, communcation equipment and armament.
For instance an F-22 Raptor owns about 1.7 millions od line of codes , an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter about 5.7 millions and a Boeing 787 Dreamliner about 6.5 millions. Everything with some built in code may be exploited, therefore, with plenty of code and much current and future vulnerabilities, one may not rule out a priori that these systems will be targeted with specific tailored or generic malware for Cyberwar, Cybercrime, or even hacktivism purposes.
Unfortunately it looks like the latter hypothesis is closer to reality since too often these systems are managed by standard Windows operating systems, and as a matter of fact a generic malware has proven to be capable to infect the most important U.S. robots flying in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, and Indian Ocean: Predator and Reaper Drones.
As a consequence, it should not be surprising, nor it is a coincidence, that McAfee, Sophos and Trend Micro, three leading players for Endpoint Security, consider the embedded systems as one of the main security concerns for 2012.
Making networks more secure (and personnel more educated) to prevent the leak of mission critical documents and costly project plans (as happened in at least a couple of circumstances) will not be aviation and aerospace industry’s information security challenge; the real challenge will be to embrace the security-by-design paradigm and make secure and malware-proof products ab initio.
While you wait to see if an endpoint security solution becomes available for an F-35, scroll down the image below and enjoy the list of aviation and aerospace related cyber attacks occurred since the very first hack targeting the F-35 Lightning II in 2009.
Of course aviation and aerospace industries are not the only targets for hackers and cybercriminals. So, if you want to have an idea of how fragile our data are inside the cyberspace, have a look at the timelines of the main Cyber Attacks in 2011 and 2012 (regularly updated) at hackmageddon.com. And follow @pausparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.
As usual the references are after the jump…
Christmas has just gone and here it is my personal way to wish you a Happy New Year: the second part of my personal chart (first part here) of Main 2011 Cyber Attacks covering the time window from August to November 2011 (December is not yet finished, and featuring remarkable events, so expect an update very soon). This memorable year is nearly over and is time, if you feel nostalgic, to scroll down the second part of the list to review the main Cyber Events that contributed, in my opinion, to change the landscape and the rules of the (information security) game. Many events in this period among whom, IMHO, the most noticeable is the one carried on against Diginotar. Since then our trust in conventional authentication models is not (and will not be) the same anymore.
Of course this is my personal selection. Suggestions are well accepted and if you need more details about the cyber events in 2011, feel free to consult my 2011 Cyber Attacks Master Index. As usual after the page break you find all the references…
A week ago, the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive published a report to Congress concerning the use of cyber espionage to attempt to gain business and industrial secrets from US companies. Easily predictable, the results present a frightening picture!
With no surprise it turned out that the biggest dangers and perpetrators of cyber-espionage operations against American business are China and Russia.
- Chinese actors are the world’s most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage. US private sector firms and cybersecurity specialists have reported an onslaught of computer network intrusions that have originated in China, but the Intelligence Community cannot confirm who was responsible.
- Russia’s intelligence services are conducting a range of activities to collect economic information and technology from US targets.
- Some US allies and partners use their broad access to US institutions to acquire sensitive US economic and technology information, primarily through aggressive elicitation and other human intelligence tactics. Some of these states have advanced cyber capabilities.
Unfortunately the predictions for the near future are not encouraging: the authors of the report judge that the governments of China and Russia will remain aggressive and capable collectors of sensitive US economic information and technologies, particularly in cyberspace.
This is mainly due to three factors: a technological shift with a growing number of devices connected to the Internet (according to a Cisco Systems study, the number of devices connected to the Internet is expected to increase from about 12.5 billion in 2010 to 25 billion in 2015). An economical shift driven by the Cloud Paradigm which requires the information to be ubiquitous and always available and, last but not least, a cultural shift which bring users to a growing use of social media for personal and professional use with a dangerous overlapping.
With these considerations in mind I decided to concentrate on a single table all the attacks with cyber espionage implications reported in 2011 for which China was directly or indirectly (or allegedly) considered responsible. The details (and links) of each single attack can be found on my 2011 Cyber Attacks Timeline Master Index (of course the list does not include the infamous Operation Aurora and the attack to G20 during the French Leadership since these events occurred during 2010).
U.S., Canada, Japan and Korea are among the countries hit by the Cyber Attacks from Far East. The most known attack is for sure the one perpetrated against RSA, whose wake affected several U.S. Contractors. Moreover the same attack was not an isolated episode, but the tip of an iceberg hiding 760 affected organizations worldwide.
Shady Rat and the IMF attack were other noticeable events as also the breach reported against the Cyworld the Korean Social Networks in which 37 million users were affected.
A frightening scenario that also generated some resounding fake attacks during 2011 (do you remember the Renault affair?)
A new cold (cyber)war at the gates?
- Cyber-espionage attempts on US businesses are on rise (arstechnica.com)
Here it is the second part of my traditional monthly Cyber Attacks Timeline (Part I available here). From an information Security Perspective the main events of this month were the infamous Diginotar breach which led to Bankrupt for the Dutch Company and also the BEAST attack to SSL, two events which, together, thumbed the Infosec Community in its stomach.
Of course these events did not divert the attention of hackers who kept on to carry on attacks against different targets.
The Anonymous continued their campaign: although mainly focused on the #OccupyWallStreet Operation (in which a Senior Officer who used pepper spray against protestors was “doxed”, they targeted several governments including Mexico, Austria, (where they also performed an unconfirmed hack against an health insurance Firm targeting 600,000 dumped users) and Syria. In particular the latter attack triggered a retaliation by Syrian Electronic Soldiers against the prestigious Harvard University.
Chronicles also report a Japan defense contractor hit by hackers, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, (China denied its involvement on the attack), another Twitter Account hacked by The Script Kiddies (this time against USA Today), an indirect attack perpetrated
against (through) Oracle by infecting its MySQL.com domain with downloadable malware and, last but not least a massive defacement of 700,000 sites hosted by Inmotion.
US Navy was also victim of defacement.
As far as the prize for the “Most Expensive Breach of the Month” is concerned, the laurel wreath is undoubtedly for SAIC (Science Applications International Corp.) which lost a tape database backup containing data of 4,900.000 users with an estimated cost of approximately 1 billion of bucks…
As usual, useful Resources for compiling the table include:
- Cyber War News (but it looks like it gave up to post reports on Cyber Attacks on 25 September 2011)
CNET Hackers Chart(unfortunately it is not up-to-date since 24 August 2011).
- Dark Reading
- Naked Security
- Office Of Inadequate Security (DataBreaches.net)
- The Hacker News
My inclusion criteria do not take into consideration simple defacement attacks (unless they are particularly resounding) or small data leaks.
Update: On 09/30/2011, Betfair reported a 3.15 million records breach with a total estimated cost of 1.3 billion USD winning the laurel wreath of the most expensive breach of the month.
As part of OpIndipendencia, websites of several Mexican government ministries, including Defense and Public Security, are teared down in the same day of the symbolic beginning of Mexico’s independence from Spain.
Clubmusic.com, a worldwide dj website. is hacked and the leak dumped on pastebin.
|Sep 16||Sec Indi Security Team
||Official Website of The United States Navy
An hacker crew called Sec Indi Security Team Hacker uploads a custom message on the server to warn a WebDav vulnerability.
|Sep 16||?||California State Assembly
More than 50 employees of the California State Assemby, including some lawmakers, have been warned that their personal information might have been obtained by a computer hacker.
||Intelligence And National Security Alliance
Names and email addresses of hundreds of U.S. intelligence officials have been posted on an anti-secrecy website. On Monday Sep 10 INSA published a major report warning of an urgent need for cyberdefenses. Within a couple of days, in apparent retaliation, INSA’s “secure” computer system was hacked and the entire 3,000-person membership posted on the Cryptome.org website
||Fake FBI Anonymous Report
A Fake FBI Psychological profile of the Anonymous group is published. Although not a direct cyber attack, this event can be considered an example of psychological hacking and a “sign of the times” of how information and counter information may play a crucial role in hacking.
|Sep 18||Texas Police
Anonymous/Anti-sec releases a document containing a list of about 3300 members of the Texas Police Association
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan’s biggest defense contractor, has revealed that it suffered a hacker attack in August that caused some of its networks to be infected by malware. According to the firm, 45 network servers and 38 PCs became infected with malware at ten facilities across Japan. The infected sites included its submarine manufacturing plant in Kobe and the Nagoya Guidance & Propulsion System Works, which makes engine parts for missiles.
|Sep 19||City Of Rennes
Hana SK Card Co., a South Korean credit card firm, announces that Sep 17, some 200 of its customers’ personal information has been leaked. Total cost of the breach is $42,800.
|Hana SK Card
||?||Former USSR Region
Source report that at least 50 victim organizations ranging from government ministries and agencies, diplomatic missions, research institutions, and commercial entities have been hit in the former Soviet Union region and other countries in an apparent industrial espionage campaign that has been going on at least since August 2010.The advanced persistent threat (APT)-type attacks — dubbed “Lurid” after the Trojan malware family being used in it — has infected some 1,465 computers in 61 countries with more than 300 targeted attacks.
||Shad0w||Fox Sports Website
Fox Sports website, on of the most visited Websites in the world (rank 590 in Alexa) gets hacked. An Hacker named “Shad0w” releases SQL injection Vulnerability on one of the sub domain of Fox Sports and exploit it to extract the database. Leaked database info posted on pastebin. Vulnerable link is also posted together admin password hashes.
|Sep 22||Core Security Technologies
Popular IRC service UKChatterbox advises users to change their passwords following a series of hacks which culminated in an attack that may have compromised user details. The password reset follows on from a succession of outages previously attributed to maintenance upgrades, back to the start of the summer. In a notice to users, UKChatterbox advises users to change their passwords and not to re-use them on other sites. The number of hacked account is unknown.
||Seven Major Syrian Cities and Government Web Sites
The Anonymous unleash a chain of defacement actions against the Syrian Government, hacking and defacing the official sites of seven major Syrian cities, which stayed up in their defaced version for more than 16 hours. The defacement actions kept on the following day in which 11 Syrian Government Sites were defaced as part of the same operation.
||Indira Gandhi International Airport
Although happened three months ago, it turns out that a ‘technical snag’ hittinh operations at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) T3 Terminal was caused by a “malicious code” sent from a remote location to breach the security at the airport.
|Sep 26||Inmotion Hosting Server
700,000 websites hosted on InMotion Hosting network are hacked by TiGER-M@TE. The hackers copied over the index.php in many directories (public_html, wp-admin), deleted images directory and added index.php files where not needed. List of all hacked 700,000 sites here.
|Sep 26||Austrian Police
The Austrian Anonymous branch publishes the names and addresses of nearly 25,000 police officials, raising fears for officers’ personal security. An Austrian Interior ministry spokesman said the information came from an “association closely related with the police”. Estimated cost of the breach is around $ 5,400,000.
|Sep 26||USA Today Twitter Account
The USA Today Twitter account is hacked and starts to tweet false messages mentioning the other accounts hacked by the authors of the action: the Script Kiddies (already in the spotlight for hacking the FoxNews Twitter Account at the Eve of 9/11 anniversary)
MySQL.com website is struck by cybercriminals, who hacked their way in to serve up malicious code to visiting computers with a Java exploit that downloaded and executed malicious code on visiting Windows computers. Brian Krebs reports that just few days before, he noticed on a Russian underground website that a hacker was offering to sell admin rights to MySQL.com for $3000. MySQL.com receives almost 12 million visitors a month (nearly 400,000 a day).
|Java Exploit to install malware|
|Sep 26||Harvard University
In retaliation for the defacements performed by the Anonymous targeting Syria, Syrian Electronic Soldiers deface the website of the prestigious Harvard University. The same group came in the spotlight during July and August for defacing Anonoplus engaging a “de facto” cyberwar against The Anonymous.
The month of September is characterized by the OccupyWallStreet Operation, started on September, the 17th and still ongoing. Although not directly configurable as an hacking action, it may rely on the support of the Anonymous who “doxed” a senior police who controversially usec pepper spray against a group of female protesters.
|Sep 27||COGEL, Council On Governmental Ethical Law
Once again in this month,Snc0pe claims another resounding action. This time the alleged target is the official website of The Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL). He posts a message on pastebin, along with the database download link.
|Sep 28||Tiroler Gebietskrankenkasse (TGKK)
AnonAustria in the spotlight again after the resounding hack against Austrian Police. This time the victim is an health insurance firm Tiroler Gebietskrankenkasse (TGKK) whose database of some 600,475 medical records AnonAustria claims to have hacked. The databse includes some celebrities. The total cost of the breach is around $128,500,000.00.
||SAIC (Science Applications International Corp.)
SAIC, one of the Pentagon‘s largest contractors reveals to have discovered a data breach occurred a couple of weeks before, affecting as many as 4.9 million patients who have received care from military facilities in San Antonio since 1992. The breach involved backup computer tapes from an electronic health care record. Some of the information included Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers and private health information for patients in 10 states. Statement of the data breach here Estimated cost of the breach is around $ 1 billion.
||Laptop Virus Repair
Although not resounding as the one which targeted MySQL.com, here it is another example of a website infected with malicious code targeting a free antivirus cloud based service.
|Laptop Virus Repair
Betfair reports a leak including not only the payment card details of most of its customers but also “3.15m account usernames with encrypted security questions”, “2.9m usernames with one or more addresses” and “89,744 account usernames with bank account details”. The incident occurred on 14 March 2011 but was announced only 18 months later. Estimated cost of the breach is around $1.3 billion.