Why Would Someone Want to Attack Me?

We see a lot of headlines in the news, but it stems from the nation states attacking.      Youtube video from Black Hat Asia2018

China attacks specific companies.

Russia also attacks in cyberspace and it culminated when Russia attacked Estonia 2008, also the next year a military physical attack in Georgia with a Cyberspace attack as well.

Snowden disclosed the US attack of Stuxnet into Iranian centrifuges.

This is a ‘right’ of the nation state attackers using their knowledge of Zero Days and encrypted keys.    Where the nation states say it is their right to attack other nation states, because “no one will know” as it is not a physical attack.

Except this culminated in a Russian attack on power infrastructure attack where Estonia lost power for several days.

The side effect of Stuxnet was that other hackers(criminal etc) figured out how the attack was done, then investigated this possibility and eventually was able to create a new attack with malware for ransomware.

So what does this mean? It means that attackers  will eventually figure out the defensive flaws that one normally cannot see or notice.

the actual methods of inserting programs are varied, sometimes the user allows the software to run with spearphishing or just clicking on the wrong site on the Internet.

Above picture is from “Decentralized malware youtube video“.

 

The trust the private sector has in their computers between customer and company is not in the thoughts of nation-states attacking each other.

A side effect of nation states attacking each other is the need for better defenses for all, since we are all on the Internet. Once the knowledge of attacks comes out of the shadows the criminal hackers take a little bit of time and develop the attacks also.

So you may not look like you have anything to attack, but if you are on the Internet you will be attacked.

 

The only thing you can do is to create a defense that can handle even sophisticated attacks.

Contact us to discuss this phenomenon.

 

 

5 Top Cybersecurity Attacks Revealed at RSAC2018

YouTube Video of the discussions of the following people:

Alan Paller, Moderator, Research Director and Founder, SANS Institute Ed Skoudis, Faculty Fellow, Penetration Testing

The following image shows the most interesting points brought forward in the video, as this is a presentation at RSAC every year now with SANS’ top instructors or employees that work throughout their company. Dr. Johannes Ulrich is at Internet Storm Center many days(although others keep it going when he is not available).

Top Cyber attacks to look for this year:

  1. Cloud Storage leakage
  2. Big Data Analaytics
  3. Crypto Currency mining on your infrastructure
  4. ICS/SCADA  will get some attention from hackers
  5. IoS will continue to be attacked and used for hacker purposes

These possible attack vectors are not surprises really, but it is good to reinforce where we need to focus.

Cloud storage can be a problem when not configured with security in mind. Have you done an audit with  your data?  Considered if private repositories were marked public? Public repositories with sensitive data? Github, Amazon, Google cloud, Microsoft Azure, Docker Hub and more each have their own pitfalls.

When you collaborate within the cloud is the software written within the cloud written with security in mind?  We know that some chips cannot keep all data within the bounds as we expect without a patch.  This information was found after the software was out in the world for years. New cloud security problems are being investigated now.

Big Data Analytics

Now the criminals are using the data that they have already stolen in new ways…  Maybe they fill out your new credit card with all info about you(as if it was you).  Also could fill out a completed tax form with 90% accuracy.    So it is possible that new methods are being devised where data is being found on you to help create better scams or general criminal enterprises.

Data is not important, criminal hackers want your computer resources to run crypto currencies.

Finally, the ICS/SCADA cyber problem is going to just get going. The problem in SCADA is that people will likely get hurt.  The problem in this space is that the ICS (Industrial Control Systems) space is not as secure as other systems have been due to a lack of focus on security.

Of course the IoT(Internet of Things item is also an important attack area. If you think about it the criminals will come up with new ways of attacking our infrastructure and will try and find any method that is possible. So if you are not focusing on an area, or it has not had a Cyber focus in the past… then it will be found sooner than later.

 

It is true, the hackers are trying to get the low hanging fruit, but we need to circle the wagons, and review everything again and again.

The simple thing to do is to audit your systems with a framework of audit work such as in CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor).

Lucky we have this CISA certification –

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In a Russian Conflict: Cybersecurity another Dimension of Attack

(((4/19 update below)))

In that cybersecurity is another Dimension of attack  (versus Dimensions: Land, Air, Sea, and Space) how would we be affected by this dimension?

In Land one sees their foe most of the time, and if the enemy wants to take your stuff they have to physically take it.  (Or they try and send munitions instead via Artillery with limited range).

In Air one can take troops up and over your land and enemy land forces to drop them and take stuff. Munitions are able to  drop from remote areas, but one has to send missiles and airplanes where radar can see them.

In Sea one can move around with ships or submarines to drop people to take stuff. The munitions are sent via devices as well which are physical.

Space is also a dimension which although in a unique area, is also a physical dimension with physical munitions.

In Cyber how do you know if the enemy is not already in your  systems.  There is no need for enemy soldiers to leave their homes or their barracks, they can attack your infrastructure without moving. Control of your computers can be done automatically and it can look like a third party attacked.  Cyber has an electronic dimension so the fact that it is not as physical “or real” has made understanding this dimension more difficult for some.

So what does this mean? It means if you understand how to navigate a command line or can read custom code you can understand this phenomenon (Cyberwar) in ways a non speaker is not capable:

Maybe this analogy will help:

You know in Physics there is Height, width, and length?

What about the fourth dimension(and not time) :

It is hard for us 3D people to think 4D.  So that seems to be the same for people who do not live in Cyber, they just DO NOT get the details!!!   It does not matter how much I try to explain the details, 4D is too much of a leap for some.

 

So I think Cyber is just too difficult or maybe a better word is ‘strange‘ of a concept for many people.

 

****UPDATED 4/19 12pm Central******

An interesting story about Russia attacking US and UK routers…

https://mashable.com/2018/04/17/russian-router-warning-us-uk/#slGg.DbuWsqF

Remember my post on 3/13/18?  http://oversitesentry.com/replace-your-wi-fi-router-if-2yr-old/

some good quotes from the mashable article:

‘These “cyber actors” are identifying vulnerable devices to break into, where they can extract device configurations, harvest login details, and control the traffic that goes through the router.’

 

A quick review from my post  — you can’t patch older than 2 years routers, as they are not being patched by manufacturers.

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The compliance departments are reverse engineering the effects of a breach and Cyber understanding.   It is too difficult to decipher code, so we say don’t perform CC processing without encryption.  We don’t say what the encryption is and how it should be sent. There are many more pitfalls for a manager without technical knowledge.

If Hackers can steal data of your prized customers with a thermometer, then what else can they do?

So what to do? Create Cyber audits to review the IT world in your entity. Otherwise you will see headlines that you will not like.

Contact Us to discuss

 

 

Protect Privacy of Client Data using New Ways

Do you want to actually improve your level of Cybersecurity?

What will you do differently today or in the next few months better than last year?

As in past post the GDPR has laid out new regulations 

that affect an entity that has data of an EU resident with impact on any of the following:

  1. Private and family life, home and communications data
  2. Physical and mental integrity
  3. Personal data
  4. Freedom to work and choose occupation
  5. Freedom of thought , conscience and religion
  6. Freedom of expression

The key in this graph is to be near the Green shaded squares, and not the bright red squares. I.e. having a high probability with a critical impact is bad and requires focus.  Whereas an unlikely probability is negligible impact then this is not so important to focus on.

The problem is to find the Critical impact and high probability events in a manner that are easy to see as well.

In the computer world we have focused almost exclusively on personal data (PII – Personal Identifiable Identity).

But there are more difficult to identify privacy concerns such as:

What does it mean to protect freedom of expression?

So if someone has a political cause that they follow, like Greenpeace. If for some reason another non-profit has an interest in getting new donations.  Here is a google search that had a “People also search for”  area:

So keeping even a log of searches or other information might lessen some freedom.

Freedom to choose an occupation?

How can lack of privacy screw up your freedom to choose an occupation? Besides the pictures on Facebook about your late night parties. What if you say one thing on Facebook, and yet another in interview?

Freedom of thought?

The freedom of thought may be happening already, but that may be “good”. If you are a criminal and try to add illegal items for sale, that may not be possible due to the filters. Although your freedom was curtailed, the overall good of less illegal acts on the Internet may be desirable. Other curtailing of freedom of thought as in my politics is better than yours is quite more complicated to curtail or even attempt to make fair, as it is in the eye of beholder. So politics may not be able to be policed.  This subject will depend on the country it is in, as USA has a unique constitution as in freedom of press and speech.

Private and home communications?

Here the nirvana of the advertiser means to learn how you use ‘stuff’ so that they can modify and make you buy their ‘stuff’ instead. So how much of private information should be ‘clouded’? Too bad there are  no smoke generators, where one can create a bunch of junk signals that makes the advertiser just confused.

 

So you can see that Cyber is about People and information, as an interesting Youtube Blackhat keynote said (presented by The Grugq) : Cyber is a new dimension in conflict which is still not fully theorized or conceptualized. Not that it is stopping anybody.

So we have to start focusing on privacy data protection in many new ways (and use the GDPR as a start – only because one can see into the initial bureaucracy mind of regulations of privacy).

 

Contact us to get a start on the new privacy regulations to come.

How many Bad Cyber-Characters Are There?

As I was listening to

The Future is not Blockchain. It’s Hashgraph. I had a question as they were discussing how a potential attack could come into their product, i.e. what if 3 out of 5 cheaters were in a card game? Obviously the cheaters would win, unless the game was found out to be cheated and you could enforce something to recoup losses.

The problem we have is we are on the Internet, and we have to be, so my question came as an obvious, how many bad characters are on the Internet right now?

Let’s list some of the known actors:

  1. Ransomware creators (criminal syndicates in friendly legal areas – East European countries)
  2. Ransomware creators (bad state actors – like NorK, Iran, and to some degree China -only because China has some local government that can do this for some time – and any others that push their weight around)
  3. Malware creators that want to make Bitcoins or Monero by using your computers to mine cryptocurrencies.(could be anybody)
  4. DoS (Denial of Service) attacks causing threats and ransom in other ways are sold on Darkweb for money, so anybody can attack anybody else(competitors, neighbors etc.)

 

The reality is we do not know “exactly” our adversaries, and there are estimates that ransomware cost $5 Billion in 2017, but numbers can be inflated.

But let’s turn that around – if your device receives ransomware and you cannot unlock it then stating statistics of millions (or Billions) of dollars means little when your device is not working.

So yes it is good to know your adversary, and there is no shortage of criminals and their methods to extract more money from their marks(people who do not know how to defend their computers).

What does that mean to all of us without exaggeration?

So we know there are a lot of cyber criminals, and they are constantly looking for you to mess up. They are becoming more sophisticated not less.

So here is a report by Mandiant (a Fireeye company) that investigates last year’s actual breaches and other activity as they have found at client sites and more- you can click on the report without registering.

There is also an interesting statistic they have compiled: “Dwell time” the number of days that there is evidence of a compromise on the network before detection.

America dwell time was 75.5 days in 2017, an improvement of 23.5 days(was 99days).

The average for the world was 101 days in 2017.

So this is an interesting statistic and is in line within Cybersecurity discussions as I know them. A bad character once they breach a network they will stay under the radar for a while, then performing their stealing or destruction before they are found.

So if we use both sets of information we know the Cyber criminals are making a lot of money and they are very sophisticated. They are not like the old “script kiddies” where it is fun to see what mischief to get into. Today’s bad characters are here to stay, to make more money this year than last.

We have to become more sophisticated as we keep using more of the Internet with more technologies.

Contact Us to discuss the sophistication of attackers and more.