The eve of 12th May left the security gurus perplexed once again as the massive ransomware attack shook the world across the globe. The LinkedIn feed started with the news of NHS being impacted in England and over the next few hours ultimately all forums were flooded with news of “WannaCry” leaving the organizations cry for their critical data across the globe. According to BBC, ransomware encrypted data on at least 75,000 computers in 99 countries on Friday. Continue reading Patch the weakest link or WannaCry : Option is ours
Security Awareness across the enterprise has always been a debatable issue. There would hardly be any CISO/CIO who would deny the role of security awareness, yet awareness gets the least eyes and attention of the security executives. Some blame the lack of resources, others say it is the responsibility of HR department, a few claim it has no benefit and that they simply have no time for it while majority is too busy in procuring and installing technology solutions. Continue reading Ingredients for Designing a Successful Security Awareness Campaign
The organizations continue to reap the benefits of internet but at the same time remain vulnerable. Every day we hear incidents related to security breaches, financial loss and tarnished corporate reputation through sophisticated malwares, highly organized spear phishing attacks and insider threats. “According to AV-Test Institute 390,000 new malicious programs are registered with them every day”. This goes on to show that the malwares are increasing at a rapid pace, beating the advancements in technology that are meant to stop them.
If we look back a decade and a half, the only few known security technologies to an organization were either an antivirus or a firewall. The journey started, then came, endpoint protection, email gateways, web gateways, identity & access, data loss prevention, encryption, SIEM & sandboxing and so many more. Half of these technologies have seen a re-launch with some added features and a word “Next Generation” to it and we still remain vulnerable.
Times are gone when a simple Antivirus & firewall combination would be enough to safeguard an organization from virus attacks. The journey from Antivirus to End Point security is quite an interesting one. On the way we found evolution of complex technologies such as IPS, Email Gateways, Web Gateways, Security Information & Event Management, DLP, Identity & Access and God knows how many other technologies. All of them had a same objective to keep the organization secure from the cyber-attacks. While technologists were occupied in developing the latest technology controls, hackers were busy targeting the most vulnerable assets in the organization i.e. Humans.
The easiest technique of targeting humans to steal confidential information is Phishing, which refers to a hacker’s attempt to get personal financial details from employees who are regular internet surfers. Vishing is another form of cyber-attack much like phishing; it is orchestrated through cell phone text messages. Employees are sent text messages supposedly from their employers requesting for personal information. The most recent form of employee attack is whaling; whaling is a form of phishing that is targeted at top executives and people of high net worth. These individuals are tricked into divulging sensitive information through real looking fake emails that are supposedly from people or organizations of importance.
The release of sensitive information to the public by individuals who are sometimes called whistleblowers and dubbed traitor or hero, is termed to be a data leak.
The most notable data leaks in the world include those facilitated by Wikileaks that showed the inner workings of US diplomacy, while the NSA files leak revealed that the NSA extensively tapped into the communication systems of American citizens and made use of court orders to coarse network providers to turn in the call, messaging and browsing data of its users.
Now, the Panama Papers is another notable leak in world history. A collection of 11.5 million files leaked from the database of the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca. The Panama Papers reveals the task evading practices of the rich, who create offshore companies in tax havens around the world.
$100 Million Bank Heist Brought To Light By “Fandation” – A Typo
Financial institutions in the Middle East are deeply concerned about their cyber-presence, as cyber-attacks have escalated over a period of very short time.
The hackers/ cybercriminals are launching highly sophisticated/ undetectable Trojans and ransomware. One of the most prevalent ransomware is ‘locky’, which encrypts user data, and threatens to delete everything if the victim does not pay compensation. Of course anti-virus companies are working on a solution against ‘locky’, but without much luck.
With almost all banks in the region now using the latest technology and network controls to guard their boundaries, such attacks have reached a new level.
In what might be considered one of the most ridiculous bank raids to date, the central Bank of Bangladesh experienced a higher level of theft as undetected attackers conducted a thorough and careful study of the bank’s operations and security systems and disguised as bank officials, requested a series of large money transfers orders for the New York Federal reserve. They successfully made away with a large amount of money, believed to be approximately $100mn.
The attackers carefully transferred this money to independent areas and regions but in a bid to operate discreetly, the money was separated and independently transferred across areas. $80mn dollars is believed to have successfully ended up in the Philippines, whereas the remaining $20mn was being transferred to an NGO in Sri Lanka.
While Middle East countries have faced humanitarian disasters for many years, a greater problem now faces these countries: cyber-crime.
Cyber war is a pretty new phenomenon with countries like Iran conducting their first cyber-attack against its rivals during diplomatic crises in the year 2012. A group of Iranians calling itself the ‘Cutting Sword of Justice’ launched an attack on Saudi Arabia’s national oil company-Aramco in 2012. The move not only left 30,000 workstations paralysed, but also affected workstations in the Qatar-based company RasGas.
According to Saudi Arabia, the attack was aimed at curtailing all the operations in the oil and gas production company Aramco. The operation targeted other Middle Eastern countries like Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and 12 others with a focus on important sectors like education, technology, transportation, defense and telecommunication.
In the wake of severe diplomatic ties with the Middle East countries, hackers attacked key websites in Saudi Arabia’s Defense Ministry, while the Syrian Electronic Army planned attacks aimed at Qatar, Saudi Arabia and any other countries in support of rebel groups in Syria. The gang not only targeted major news networks such as Saudi Arabia’s Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera but also has also destroyed the website of the US Army.
INFOGISTIC, a leading information security company and provider of PhishRod, a security behavior management & phishing simulation service has appointed information security veteran Hamed Diab as the senior board member in the META region (Middle East, Turkey & Africa).
Hamed brings in over 20+ years of experience in cyber security, strategy, leadership and business planning with leading IT companies in the world. Besides being on the board of PhishRod, Hamed is currently serving as a Regional Director for Middle East Turkey & CIS countries (Common Wealth of Independent States ) with ForeScout. Prior to this, Hamed has served with Intel Security (McAfee) as Regional Director for Middle East & North Africa and was instrumental in McAfee’s business growth in the region. He also held key positions with 3COM, Hewllet-Packard and COMPAQ during his career.
As organizations prepare to take on the battle against Phishing, PhishRod will certainly benefit from Hamed’s vast experience of the cyber security industry in the region.
For further details on PhishRod, please visit www.phishrod.co
I hope you are not a member of AshleyMadison.com. If you are, your only lifeline is to disconnect your wife from the internet. If this is not possible, you can keep cursing the hackers of the website. The central hub for online promiscuity was recently hacked by a group of hackers called the Impact Team. The team of hackers, of course, must have left a great impact on the company, when it gave the threat to expose the identities of their users that include popular people, politicians and high profile public figures.
The Impact Team wrote:
“Too bad for ALM, you promised secrecy but didn’t deliver. We’ve got the complete set of profiles in our DB dumps, and we’ll release them soon if Ashley Madison stays online. And with over 37 million members, mostly from the US and Canada, a significant percentage of the population is about to have a very bad day, including many rich and powerful people.”
With analysis of the attack still ongoing, The Impact Team would have been able to gain access to so much of the company’s data bank through negligence of some of the company’s employees.
Such examples are not restricted to online dating websites, a technology giant like Sony has been one of the biggest targets in the preceding year. It could be very easy to assume that Sony would have had one of the very best security setups due to the kind of business they do, which is all about information. The company was about to release a film titled The Interview which focused on North Korea, and was disgraced by hackers. The company has been facing charges for negligence, and interestingly enough, the company was sued by its former employees. They were in the very best position to know what happened. As a result the critical information was released, causing millions in damages. Still think technology can protect you from being hacked?