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Posts Tagged ‘NBC’

15-31 May 2013 Cyber Attacks Timeline

And here we are with the second part of the Cyber Attacks Timeline for May (first part here).

The second half of the month has shown an unusual activity with several high-profile breaches motivated by Cyber-Crime or Hacktivism, but also with the disclosure of massive Cyber-Espionage operations.

The unwelcome prize for the “Breach of the Month” is for Yahoo! Japan, that suffered the possible compromising of 22 million users (but in general this was an hard month for the Far East considering that also Groupon Taiwan suffered an illegitimate attempt to access the data of its 4.1 million of customers).

On the cyber-espionage front, the leading role is for the Chinese cyber army, accused of compromising the secret plans of advanced weapons systems from the U.S. and the secret plans for the new headquarter of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization.

On the Hacktivism front, this month has been particularly troubled for the South African Police, whose web site has been hacked with the compromising of 16,000 individuals, including 15,700 whistle-bowlers.

Other noticeable events include the unauthorized access against the well known open source CMS Drupal (causing the reset of 1 million of passwords), the trail of hijacked Twitter accounts by the Syrian Electronic Army and also an unprecedented wave of attacks against targets belonging to Automotive.

If you want to have an idea of how fragile our data are inside the cyberspace, have a look at the timelines of the main Cyber Attacks in 2011, 2012 and now 2013 (regularly updated). You may also want to have a look at the Cyber Attack Statistics, and follow @paulsparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.

Also, feel free to submit remarkable incidents that in your opinion deserve to be included in the timelines (and charts).

May 2013 Cyber Attacks Timeline Part II Read more…

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1-15 November 2012 Cyber Attacks Timeline

November 19, 2012 1 comment

The first half of November 2012 has been undoubtedly characterized by Hacktivism. Not only the month has begun with the ProjectBlackStar by the infamous Team Ghostshell (2.5 million accounts leaked belonging to different Russian sectors), but also the long-awaited November 5 has brought an unprecedented wave of Cyber Attacks against organizations all over the world, including Symantec and the UK Ministry Of Defence (more than 3,000 accounts leaked in both cases).

Moreover, after the dramatic event of the 14th of November (the killing of Ahmed Al-Jaabari, the commander of the military wing of Hamas by an Israeli missile and the consequent Operation “Pillar Of Defense”), the Anonymous have started a massive campaign of Cyber Attacks against Israel sites and in support of Palestine. This campaign is still ongoing even if it is really impossible to track all the attacks (nearly 700 defaced web sites so far), and hence, as far as possible, only a general overview is provided.

Of course these events have shadowed the other attacks, including the ones to LG (3,300 accounts leaked in two different cyber attacks) and Adobe (150,000 records allegedly compromised).

The chronicles also report of an alleged cyber attack against Telecom Italia (30,000 accounts allegedly leaked), even if there several doubts about the real authenticity of this attack.

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 and the related statistics (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).

Read more…

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An E-mail Attack to Ground Zero

September 11, 2011 1 comment

Easily Predictable, the 10th 9/11 anniversary turned out to be a too tempting opportunity for unscrupulous hackers and cyber pranksters. Probably the NBC News Twitter account (and its 130,000 followers) will remember this anniversary eve for a long time after, late on Friday September the 9th, the Twitter account started to tweet false reports of a plane attack on ground zero.

Original Image by Naked Security

Although there were some misplaced details on the tweets, few minutes later the Company Chief Digital Officer, admitted the account was hacked, asking their followers not to retweet the bogus tweets:

The account was suspended and restored after few minutes, and you will probably remember that the misplaced detail, that is The Script Kiddies who claimed to have hacked the account, are not new to such similar actions since they already hacked the FOX News political account on July, the 4th 2011, announcing a bogus report on Mr. Obama death.

This is not a coincidence, probably the hacker(s), a splinter cell of Anonymous and LulzSec have exploited the same (human?) vulnerability. The NBC News account is tightly controlled and only three NBC News executives have the password.

One of them, Ryan Osborn, the NBC director of social media, said he was monitoring the account at the time and noticed the bogus messages within seconds, noticing that the password to NBC News’ Twitter account had been altered. He immediately contacted Twitter, which shut the account down eight minutes after the tweets appeared.

But there is a further particular: although the warning on easily predictable 9/11 scams, Osborn said he recently received a suspicious email as Hurricane Irene was approaching New York. The email came from an unknown sender with the subject “Hurricane Alert” and the message:

Ryan, You need to get off Twitter immediately and protect your family from the hurricane. That is an order.

Osborn wrote back “I’m sorry. Who is this?” and the sender then replied:

I’m the girl next door

with an attachment. Osborn said he mistakenly clicked on the attachment and it contained a Christmas tree.

Probably that click was fatal and injected a Trojan Keylogger on Osborn’s PC, which was used to steal the password.

The FBI is investigating the NBC News Twitter account hacking but one thing is clear: Twitter accounts are becoming a preferred target for this kind of hacks, they allow to reach a wide audience in few seconds with the double result to quickly (and virally) spread panic among followers and amplify the echo (and visibility) of the attack. Moreover, there is no need to perpetrate huge attacks to compromise the server infrastructure since the entry point is human and human defenses have proven to be extremely much weaker and easy to penetrate (a simple email is enough) than digital defenses.

Last but not least, this is only the latest occurrence of an attack carried on via malicious attachments which are being deployed to carry on complex multilayered attacks (as in case of RSA Breach), or simple questionable pranks (as in case of NBC News or Fox News).

I miss the good old days when the threat via e-mail could be at most spam…

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