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1-15 October 2013 Cyber Attacks Timeline

October 27, 2013 2 comments

It’s time to review the list of the main cyber attacks happened during the first half of October.

Of course there are few doubts: the breach involving Adobe (compromising the details of 3 million customers and the source code of two products) is for sure the most remarkable event of the month (and probably of the year), and its consequences will likely affect the Infosec landscape for long. In addition it overshadowed all the other events occurred so it is quite hard to summarize the threat landscape of the first 15 days of October.

In a nutshell, these two weeks have brought an unprecedented number of DNS Hijackings and several considerable breaches (however not comparable in size and impact with the one affecting Adobe). At first glance, looks like the number of attacks motivated by Cyber Crime is constantly increasing and leaving behind Hacktivism.

Last but not least, curiously, for this couple of weeks, I did not find any remarkable operations motivated by Cyber Espionage.

As usual, 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).

1-15 October 2013 Cyber Attacks Timeline

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16-31 March 2013 Cyber Attacks Timeline

First part here: 1-15 March 2013 Cyber Attacks Timeline

March is gone and hence it is time to analyze the events that characterized the past month.

Two events in particular gained the first pages of the magazines: the wiper malware in Korea and the DDoS attack against Spamhaus that, maybe exaggerating, has been defined the “biggest attack in history”.

But these were not the only noticeable attacks in this second part of the month: the Operation Ababil of the Izz ad-din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters against U.S. banks achieved a new phase, constantly disrupting the connectivity of several high profile financial targets, including Chase, USBank, etc.; Telenor admitted to have been hacked by high-tech spies emptying the content of executives’ personal computers, and also the Anonymous claimed to have breached the Mossad, despite there are many doubts about this last attack.

Other important events include a breach against MTV Taiwan (600,000 accounts), McDonald’s (200,000 accounts), the Turkish Ministry Of Economy (96,000 accounts), and Renault Colombia (31,000 accounts leaked).

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).

16-31 March 2013 Cyber Attacks Timeline Read more…

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February 2012 Cyber Attacks Timeline

March 5, 2012 1 comment

Find here February 2012 Cyber Attacks Timelime Part I.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Middle East Cyber War Timeline (Part IV)

February 11, 2012 3 comments
Another week, another wave of attacks between the two cyber contenders (here: Part I, Part II, Part III).

After some mutual attacks in terms of DDoS and defacements (with a new entry from Morocco and a resounding defacement against the Tel Aviv University Security Studies Program website, the head of the National Cyber Defense Authority), this week has seen the revamping of Credit Cards leaks “thanks” to Zcompany Hacker crew, who dumped more than 200 Credit Cards belonging to Israel And United States.

Even considering this latter event, however, the timeline seems to have confirmed the descending trend, with the early actors of both parties apparently quiet inside their virtual shelters (maybe to elaborate new strategies). But in this apparently calm sky a new thunderstorm threatens the horizon: it is the Anonymous which posted a message promising a reign of terror for Israel…

If you have a look to the Middle East nations involved in the cyber conflict which made attacks or suffered attacks (depicted in the map below that does not include U.S. victim of the latest Credit Card leak and France whose Council of Jewish Institutions was hacked earlier in June), you may easily notice that the virtual geopolitics reflect nearly exactly the real ones (the dotted arrow from Iran indicates the uncertainty of the nationality of OxOmar) with the new entry of Pakistani ZHC.

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One Year Of Lulz (Part II)

December 26, 2011 1 comment

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…

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November 2011 Cyber Attacks Timeline (Part II)

November 30, 2011 Leave a comment

The second half of November has confirmed the trend seen in the previous report covering the first half of the month. The period under examination has confirmed a remarkable increase in Cyber Attacks from both a quality and quantity perspective.

Although the month has been characterized by many small attacks, several remarkable events have really made the difference.

Among the victims of the month, Finland deserves a special mention in this unenviable rank: the second half of the month has confirmed the emerging trend for this country, which suffered in this period two further breaches of huge amounts of personal data, for a global cumulative cost, computed on the whole month, around $25 million.

But Finland was not the only northern European country hit by cybercrookers (maybe the term cyberprofessionals would be more appropriate): Norwegian systems associated with the country’s oil, gas and energy sectors were hit with an APT based cyber attack resulting in a loss of sensitive information including documents, drawings, user names and passwords.

But once again the crown of the most remarkable breach of the month is placed upon the head of South Korea which suffered another huge data dump affecting users of the popular MMORPG “Maple Story” affecting theoretically 13 million of users, nearly the 27% of the Korean population, for an estimated cost of the breach close to $2.8 billion.

The list of affected countries this month includes also 243,089 Nigerian users, victims of the hack of Naijaloaded, a popular forum.

Microsoft has been another victim in this November, with a phishing scam targeting Xbox Live users. Details of the scam are not clear, although each single affected user in U.K. might have lost something between £100 and £200 for a total cost of the breach assimilable to “million of Pounds”.

November will make history for showing for the first time to information security professionals the dangers hidden inside the SCADA universe (and not related to Nuclear Reactors). The echo of Stuxnet and Duqu is still alive, but this month was the the turn of SCADA water pumps, that have suffered a couple of attacks (Springfield and South Houston), the first one allegedly originated from Russia and the second one from a “lonely ranger” who considered the answer from DHS concerning the first incident, too soft and not enough satisfactory. My sixth sense (and one half) tells me that we will need to get more and more used to attacks against SCADA driven facilities.

The Anonymous continued their operations against governments with a brand new occurrence of their Friday Releases, targeting a Special Agent of the CA Department and leaking something like 38,000 emails. Besides from other some sparse “small” operations, the other remarkable action performed by the Anonymous collective involved the hacking of an United Nations (old?) server, that caused personal data of some personnel to be released on the Internet.

November Special mentions are dedicated (for opposite reasons) to HP and AT&T. HP for the issue on their printers discovered by a group of Researchers of Columbia Univerity, which could allow a malicious user to remotely control (and burn) them. AT&T deserved the special mention for the attack, unsuccessful, against the 1% of its 100 million wireless accounts customer base.

In any case, counting also the “minor” attacks of the month, the chart shows a real emergency for data protection issues: schools, e-commerce sites, TVs, government sites, etc. are increasingly becoming targets. Administrators do not show the deserved attention to data protection and maybe also the users are loosing the real perception of how much important is the safeguard of their personal information and how serious the aftermaths of a compromise are.

As usual, references for each single cyber attack are reported below. Have a (nice?) read and most of alle share among your acquaintances the awareness that everyone is virtually at risk.

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The China Cyber Attacks Syndrome

November 11, 2011 5 comments

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?

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