July is gone and hence it’s time, as usual, to summarize the main cyber events happened in the second half of this month (Part I here).
For a strange coincidence this month has shown an unusual number of breaches dating back to several years ago (2010-2012) and reported only now: Catch of The Day, Think W3 Limited, Paddy Power and Lasko are the organizations affected.
Looking quickly at Cyber Crime, these two weeks have brought the breach to The Wall Street Journal (by W0rm the same author of the breach to CNET), the disclosure of a failed attempt to disrupt the Nasdaq in 2010, a breach to the website of the European Central Bank, an extensive attack aimed to compromise the Tor Infrastructure, and, last bunt not least, the DHS advisory related to Backokff, a PoS Malware already compromising 600 organizations throughout the U.S.
Moving to Cyber Espionage, this period will be remembered for the Canadian allegations against China, related to a cyber attack against The National Research Council and the possible compromising three Israeli defense contractors responsible for building the “Iron Dome” missile shield program.
Israel was even under the radar of the Hacktivists, who concentrated there their efforts in support of the #OpSaveGaza operation.
If you want to have an idea of how fragile our electronic identity is inside the cyberspace, have a look at the timelines of the main Cyber Attacks in 2011, 2012, 2013 and now 2014 (regularly updated). You may also want to have a look at the Cyber Attack Statistics, and follow @paulsparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.
Also, feel free to submit remarkable incidents that in your opinion deserve to be included in the timelines (and charts).
This information security week has offered many interesting points: the brand new CRIME attack against SSL/TLS, the release of BlackHole Exploit Kit 2.0 that promises new stealth vectors of Drive-By download infections, the takedown of the emerging Nitol botnet by Microsoft, and, last but not least, the first (?) known example of a new generation of a C&C Server leveraging the anonymization granted by Tor Service.
The latter is in my opinion the news with the most important consequences for the Information Security community, since delineates the next step of Botnets’ evolution, after the common, consolidated, C&C communication schema, and its natural evolution consisting in Peer-to-Peer (P2P) communication.
The first (I wonder if it is really the first) discovery of a Botnet command server hidden in Tor, using IRC protocol to communicates with its zombies, has been announced in a blog post by G-Data. Of course the advantages of such a similar communication schema are quite simple: the Botnet may use the anonymity granted by the Deep Web to prevent the identification and the likely takedown of the server, and the encryption of the Tor protocol to make traffic identification harder by traditional layers of defense. Two advantages that greatly exceed the Tor latency which represents the weakness of this communication schema.
Maybe it was only a matter of time, in any case it is not a coincidence that in the same weeks researchers have discovered BlackHole 2.0 and the first (maybe) C&C infrastructure hidden inside the Deep Web: Cyber Criminals are continuously developing increasingly sophisticated methods to elude law enforcement agencies and to evade the security controls of the traditional bastions, and the botnets are confirming more than ever to be the modern biblical plague for the Web…
And even if every now and then good guys are able to obtain a victory (as the Nitol takedown), the war is far from over.