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Hackers Get Back to the Basics

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Hackers Get Back to the Basics

For the past month, WikiLeaks has regularly released secret CIA documents that reveal the breadth of the agency’s hacking tools. Some seem lifted straight from a spy thriller, like a tool that can turn internet-connected TVs into covert listening devices. The same could be said for complex state-on-state cyberattacks, like the worm that caused Iranian nuclear centrifuges to malfunction in 2009, or electronic strikes sabotaged North Korean missile launches.

But most of the time, you don’t need a team of elite hackers or a flashy cyberweapon to steal valuable data, wreak digital havoc, or extort a Bitcoin ransom. Often, all it takes is an email.

That’s how Russia-affiliated hackers infiltrated the email account of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, last March. Podesta fell for a classic sleight of hand: a message that looked like a warning from Google, but was in fact a portal to a fake password-reset page. The moment Podesta entered it, his email history was compromised, soon to be indexed and published online by WikiLeaks.

Last year, one in every 131 emails sent were malicious, according a new report from Symantec, the computer-security company. That’s a marked increase from the two previous years, when the rate was one in 230, on average.

The rise in email-delivered attacks is a reflection of a pattern that Symantec’s research team calls “living off the land.” It’s essentially a return to basics: Rather than hoarding complex “zero-days”—attacks that exploit security holes for which no patches currently exist—or coding web-based malware, hackers are turning to more straightforward methods.

Macros embedded in Word or Excel documents, for example, saw a surprising comeback in 2016. Macros are mini-programs that automate tedious tasks inside a document, like formatting a table in a certain way, or filling out a long form with personal information. But since they’re designed to execute a series of commands—and aren’t confined to the document they live in—they can be maliciously repurposed. In the late ’90s, a macro virus called Melissa caused $80 million in damage by emailing the first 50 contacts in each victim’s address book.

As tighter security makes complex exploits harder to come by, hackers may simply be moving on to lower-hanging fruit.
The popularity of macro viruses plummeted in the early 2000s, when new versions of Microsoft Office came with more restrictive security settings for macros. But in the last few years, they’ve surged again. That’s because attackers have started using social engineering: tricks that convince victims to help the cyberattack along. A Word document with a malicious macro might say, “Please click ‘Enable content’ to view this password-protected document.” When the user does so, the macro is free to do fulfill its destructive instructions.

Harnessing existing tools like Office macros for nefarious purposes comes with an additional advantage: It can be harder to detect an attack when it comes from a familiar platform. An emailed Word document with macros might not set off the same alarm bells that a strange executable file would. Similarly, PowerShell scripts—which allow IT administrators to make changes to a large number of systems remotely—can be twisted into a destructive force, but aren’t necessarily dangerous on their face.

This resurgence of phishing and social engineering might be a result of improvements in defenses. “It gets harder and harder to fool the computer, but there’s still a good chance of fooling the end user,” said Kevin Haley, the director of Symantec’s Security Response team and a contributor to the report.

As tighter security makes complex exploits harder to come by, hackers may simply be moving on to lower-hanging fruit. Symantec saw a 30 percent drop in the number of web-based attacks in 2016, and the number of zero-day exploits plateaued last year, after a sharp drop the year before. As those fancier attacks get more resource-intensive, sending hundreds of thousands of spam emails remains cheap—and often yields results.

Trends like this one tend to be cyclical, Haley said. As administrators wise up to the email threat and implement tighter security, and people train themselves to stop clicking on fishy links and attachments, simple email-delivered tricks may get less lucrative. “They’re going to keep doing it until it stops working,” Haley said. “And then they’ll move onto something else.”

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‘He was so upset’ Mum hits back after bullies mock her son’s World Book Day outfit

A mother has hit back after cruel bullies mocked her son’s World Book Day costume.

Heartbroken Jodie Rose shared a picture of her son Preston in a Cat In The Hat costume, inspired by the Dr Seuss book of the same name, to the This Morning Facebook page, explaining that when the four year old had arrived at school, he’d been teased by children who were wearing superhero outfits instead of abiding by the more traditional rules of the day.

‘Here is my son Preston yesterday for #worldbookday as “Cat in the Hat” from his favourite book. Pity his day was ruined by bullies who teased him for being a character from an actual book, and not a “superhero” like most of the other boys went as,’ she wrote.

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Hacking Team hits back at ‘vigilante hackers’ again following Cellebrite breach

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Hacking Team hits back at ‘vigilante hackers’ again following Cellebrite breach

The recent high-profile Cellebrite data breach, which saw a vigilante hacker reportedly break into the Israeli phone hacking firm’s systems made headlines for the nature of the attack. Around 900GB data was reportedly stolen in the attack, which has angered …

The post Hacking Team hits back at ‘vigilante hackers’ again following Cellebrite breach appeared first on National Cyber Security Ventures.

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What Is The Fastest Way To Get My Ex Boyfriend Back?

Women who often come to Ex Boyfriend Recovery want results as fast as humanly possible. Results = Getting An Ex Boyfriend Back And in today’s day and age it makes sense. We live in a society where all you have to do when you have a question about something is to whip out your phone, type a search into Google and BAM there is your answer. Now, the interesting thing about this is that when it comes to finding the quickest way for getting your ex boyfriend back I have always been in the camp that this isn’t something you can rush. Read More….

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UK will ‘strike back’ if it comes under cyberattack, says government

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Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

UK will ‘strike back’ if it comes under cyberattack, says government

International hackers and cyberattackers who launch operations against the UK will be retaliated against, the government has warned, as it sets out plans to protect infrastructure, business, and citizens from online threats.
These tactics form part of the government’s National

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Back to Zen with Dan Tricarico

Over the past year Dan Tricarico and @K12ArtChat have been trading wonderful like-minded tweets and it’s been lovely getting to know a truly authentic educator such as him.  As a teacher and author from southern […]

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Philadelphia cuts back suspensions for kindergarteners – Education Week

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19 Books for Teachers Going Back to School

This year, I introduced you to my effort to hold myself accountable to my 2016 resolution: to increase my reading on topics of personal and professional growth. Over the course of this year, I’ve shared […]

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How DoD holds service leaders accountable to ‘back to basics’ cyber program

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Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

How DoD holds service leaders accountable to ‘back to basics’ cyber program

About a year after major breaches at the Office of Personnel Management forced all agencies to buckle down and address their critical vulnerabilities, Defense leaders say they’re beginning to see a noticeable culture change in how each service thinks about

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This Credit Card Lets You Donate Your Cash Back Rewards To Charity

Now you can put those rewards points you never actually utilize to good use.

The new Charity Charge credit card lets users donate their cash back rewards to any nonprofit of their choice, according to a release. The MasterCard issued by Commerce Bank gives cardholders one percent cash back on every purchase, to be given to up to three organizations or K-12 schools of the user’s choosing.

“I just want to make doing good part of the routine of everyday living,” founder Stephen Garten told Read More

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