Showing posts with label cyber-attacks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cyber-attacks. Show all posts

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Hacker Halted Europe Interviews Part 3 – Winn Schwartau


In October, EC-Council’s Hacker Halted came to Europe for the first time. Firebrand attended the conference in Reykjavik, Iceland and interviewed industry experts about the hottest topics in cyber security.

Winn Schwartau, President and Founder of The Security Awareness Company, is one of the world’s top experts on IT security, privacy, cyber-terrorism and related topics. Having over 30 years of experience in the industry Mr Schwartau is a renowned writer and speaker and at Hacker Halted Europe 2013 he talked about the controversial topic of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).

In his keynote presentation, entitled “The ABC’s of BYOD”, Mr Schwartau spoke about the possible impact of insufficient mobile security and how poor Mobile Device Management (MDM) might result in serious legal consequences for your business.

Besides describing the potential threats faced by supporters of BYOD, Mr Schwartau also discussed possible means of improving the security of mobile devices. To see what else he talked about, watch this video:

Have you watched our previous interviews? Check out the ones with EC-Council President Jay Bavisi and Facebook's Director of Security Operations, Jennifer Lesser

About the Author:       
Peter writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Hackers in China infiltrated The Times for 4 months


Chinese hackers persistently attacked The New York Times for four months, and managed to infiltrate its computer systems and get the passwords of its reporters and other employees.

Although the hackers thought they remained undetected for all those months, The Times and the security experts they hired were keeping a watchful eye on what it was they were looking at and to make better defences to block them. Security experts easily expelled the attackers and can now keep them from breaking back in thanks to the information gathered.

Security experts at Mandiant found that the hackers tried to hide their whereabouts by first penetrating computers at United States universities and routing the attacks through them.

The hackers installed malware that gave them access to any computer on The Times’s network. The malware was identified by computer security experts as a specific strain from computer attacks originating from China.

Security experts also found evidence that the hackers stole the corporate passwords for all employees working at Time and used them to gain access to the personal computers of 53 employees outside The Times’s newsroom. But no found evidence was found that they used the passwords to get further personal information.  Customer data was not stolen.

Hackers are taking advantage of the basic human instincts to catch their victims. The seven deadly sins are Apathy, Curiosity, Gullibility, Courtesy, Greed, Diffidence and Thoughtlessness. Find out how hackers take advantage of all our guilty in our recent blog post.

You too can take cyber attacks apart and use forensic techniques to uncover the culprits. The EC-Council C|HFI v8 certification course teaches you the entire digital forensics process. Learn how to secure the scene, collect evidence, and send it to the lab for testing. Train to be the police of the future - get certified.

About the Author:
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

A new Cold War - worlds most complex virus

Stuxnet was what many call a wake-up call to countries around the globe (read about Stuxnet here). Iran has already responded to this attack by amassing the second largest online army in the world. The internet has taken over and is quickly becoming the next platform for war. The only problem is, you don’t know who is waging it.

Stuxnet was a weapon, and the first to be made entirely from code. Since then, several viruses have been identified. One in particular, which has been dubbed Wiper was believed to be deleting data in the Middle East and from computers belonging to the Iranian oil industry.

Future Cyber Security
By DGH source: Technology Moral Dilemma blog
July 1, 211
Wiper was so complex and sophisticated that even Kaspersky, the Russian security could not find the virus or any information on the creator/s. The malware wiped hard drives clean, including its own coding.

But who could finance this kind of technology? It was clearly not a teenage boy in his room doing a prank. This virus had a goal and a target.

The 15 year old security firm did not give up. They eventually found an MD5 hash and file name on computers in Iran. When they put everything together they found something big, of a complexity never seen before… Flame.

Kaspersky Lab researcher Alexander Gostev stated that “Flame is a huge package of modules almost 20mb in size when fully deployed. Because of this, it is an extremely difficult piece of malware to analyse”

He added “Overall, we can say Flame is one of the most complex threats ever discovered. In addition, the geography of the targets and the complexity of the threat leave no doubt it being a nation state that sponsored the research behind it.”

Competitor security firm Symantec agreed with Kaspersky, stating that “This code was not likely to have been written by a single individual but by an organised, well-funded group of people working to a clear set of directives. Certain file names associated with the threat are identical to those described in an incident involving the Iranian oil ministry.”

Morgan wright – Cyberterrorism Analyst stated that the virus had 20 times more coding in it than Stuxnet, the virus that knocked down Iran’s nuclear centrifuges. He added that Flame was not only designed for recognisance, but also to steal documents, audio data, screenshots and to wipe clean hard drives with important information.

For the victims of Flame, it was like having a spy with direct control of their computer.

Learn how to take Flame and Stuxnet apart and use forensic techniques to uncover the culprits. The EC-Council C|HFI v8 certification course will teach you the entire digital forensics process. You'll learn how to secure the scene, collect evidence, and send it to the lab for testing. You will learn the following:
  • How to investigate cyber crime, and the laws involved
  • Different types of digital evidence, and the examination process
  • The first responder toolkit - how to secure, preserve and evaluate the electronic crime scene
  • How to recover deleted files and partitions in Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux
  • How to use steganography, and the AccessData forensic toolkit
  • Password cracking and how to investigate password-protected file breaches
  • Log capturing and management
  • How to investigate logs, network traffic, wireless attacks, and web attacks
  • How to track emails and investigate e-mail crimes
Train to be the police of the future - get certified.

Here is an interesting video on the deconstruction of the Flame virus:

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Cyber war: The youth who defend us

The usual misconception is that the only form of cybercrime is from organised gangs and teenage hackers all looking to empty your credit cards. But Britain is facing an increase in cyber crime and digital threats from much more dangerous sources.

Each day cyber criminals, enemy states and terrorists are engineering new viruses to bring down our economy, our national defences and our energy supply at just a click of a button. The shadow defence secretary stated that the “arms race of the 21st century” is cyber security. Britain, as mentioned in a previous post, is one of the main targets of cybercrime and needs a new type of army to defend it. But with a 57% decline of pupils taking IT at A-level from 2001 and 2009, where will the UK find them? 78,000 jobs in Britain will be created by the IT industry in the next four years and “over 90% of IT employers have reported difficulty in recruiting for cyber security positions”.

Cyber Security Challenge UK
The Cyber Security Challenge UK was set up as a competition in 2010 to encourage the UK to get rid of the digital skills gap. It attracted over 4000 applications and the winners received credit from the biggest security companies in the country with internships, placement opportunities and an Apple iPad 3.

19 year old Lucy Robson who won the challenge is currently one of recruits defending our country. She is being trained by the Ministry of Defence’s former research arm; Qinetiq, as part of a placement. She stated that “it was apparent that I was the only female there”. There is a large gap between males and females in the IT industry also mentioned in a previous post.

Just 8% of women entered the competition; Lucy Robson added that “it’s never put me off and I’m not sure why there aren’t more female applicants because it is such an interesting job”.

It is estimated that the total cost to the British economy through cybercrime is £27 billion a year (BBC).

Why do you think their is such a large gap between males and females in the IT industry?

Friday, 3 August 2012

$2.5 billion taken from world banks: OPERATION HIGH ROLLER


In a recent report by McAfee and Guardian Analytics, it was found that a highly sophisticated and reoccurring cyber-attack has taken as much as $2.5 billion from bank accounts around Colombia, Europe and the U.S.A.

The report states that the organized criminal who deal with the malware have attempted to take $78 million  from accounts at 60 or more institutions, but it is stated that the total attempted fraud could go up to $2.5 billion if all were as successful as those discovered in the Netherlands.
It was named "Operation High Roller” and is formed by combination of a large understanding of banking transaction systems (highly possible from an insider) with a malicious code. The code requires no human interaction. 60 servers were found processing thousands of attempted thefts from high-value commercial accounts which included  large global banks, very rich individuals and credit unions.
The malware finds a victim automatically by searching for the highest value accounts and then transfers money to a prepaid debit card which is quickly emptied anonymously. It does this by altering the target's bank statement to conceal the theft. 
Reuters stated that “The new software allows the criminal to siphon money out at all hours, potentially increasing the number of hacked accounts and the speed with which they are drained.” It is said to be an advanced version of two existing malicious software, known as SpyEye and Zeus.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Intelligence Chief explains “astonishing” levels of cyber-attacks

A news article on BBC has reported that MI5 is battling "astonishing" levels of cyber-attacks on UK industry. The intelligence agency's chief, Jonathan Evans, has warned internet "vulnerabilities" were being exploited by criminals as well as states.

"Vulnerabilities in the internet are being exploited aggressively not just by criminals but also by states," he said. "The extent of what is going on is astonishing."

"This is a threat to the integrity, confidentiality and availability of government information but also to business and to academic institutions," Mr Evans said.

"What is at stake is not just our government secrets but also the safety and security of our infrastructure, the intellectual property that underpins our future prosperity and... commercially sensitive information."

"We appear to be moving from a period of a deep and focused threat to one where the threat is less monolithic but wider," he said.

He also said greater collection of communications data will be allowed from social networks to tackle crimes, including terrorism.

"It would be extraordinary and self-defeating if terrorists and criminals were able to adopt new technologies... while the law enforcement and security agencies were not permitted to keep pace with those same technological changes," he said.

The last few months have seen high profile hack attempts, including the Flame Virus and 1.5 million password leaks by LinkedIn.

Security skills are in-demand and much needed. To view security courses offered by Firebrand, visit: