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#cybersecurity | #hackerspace | Apple Confirms iPhone Regularly Gathers Location Data, But Says It Doesn’t Leave the Phone

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans Apple confirmed that their latest iPhone 11 phones come with a feature that requires regular geolocation checks, but the company said that information doesn’t leave the phone. Security researcher Brian Krebs noticed that the latest iPhone 11 was making geolocation check seven when all apps that […] View full post on AmIHackerProof.com

#cybersecurity | #infosec | Smashing Security #153: Cybercrime doesn’t pay (but Uber does)

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans The cybercrime lovebirds who hijacked Washington DC’s CCTV cameras in the run-up to Donald Trump’s inauguration, the truffle-snuffling bankers at the centre of an insider-trading scandal, and the hackers that Uber paid hush money to hide a security breach. All this and much more is discussed […] View full post on AmIHackerProof.com

Congress Still Doesn’t Have an Answer for Ransomware

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Ransomware has steadily become one of the most pervasive cyberattacks in the world. And while high-profile global meltdowns like 2017’s NotPetya strain garner the most attention, localized attacks have devastating consequences as well. Look no further than the cities of Atlanta and Baltimore, whose online operations ground to a halt after ransomware takeovers. Or more recently, Alabama’s DCH Health Systems, which had to turn away all but the most critical patients from its three hospitals after hackers seized control of their networks.

The attacks affect communities both large and small. In fact, victims often aren’t even specifically targeted. Hackers have increasingly focused on so-called managed service providers, companies that remotely handle IT infrastructure for a wide range of customers, to get the highest return on their investment. Successfully compromise one MSP, and you can hit nearly two-dozen local Texas governments, as one recent example proved.

It’s the kind of large-scale problem that would benefit from a large-scale solution. Yet despite the clear and pervasive danger, Congress seems stumped.

“There’s a gap between the focus and resources here in Washington and what happens in a town of 200,000 people,” representative Jim Himes (D-Connecticut) tells WIRED.

While Himes, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, is concerned about the rise in these brazen attacks, he also sees fundamental limitations in the federal government’s ability to help stop hyper-local attacks.

“There’s only so much the federal government can do to encourage municipalities to patch their software and update their equipment, that sort of thing,” Himes says.

“There’s an urgency and an immediacy.”

Senator Richard Blumenthal

Last month the Senate passed a bill that would force the Department of Homeland Security to set up “cyber hunt” and “cyber incident response” units, including bringing in experts from the private sector, to help ward off attacks or to help respond after an entity is hit. But even one of that bill’s main sponsors, senator Maggie Hassan (D-New Hampshire), is now calling for the Government Accountability Office to conduct a top-to-bottom review of the federal government’s programs aimed at helping localities and entities crippled by these ransomware attacks.

“The federal government must do more to help state and local governments prevent and respond to cyberattacks, and this report will give us a key tool to identify how the federal government is doing in this task, and what more can be done,” Hassan said in a statement accompanying the release of her letter to the GAO.

The letter itself reveals the mysterious depth of this growing problem: Congress and the agencies tasked with protecting American’s security are basically clueless when it comes to even understanding the scope of the problem.

While Congress still lacks a tangible plan to help mitigate the impact, some members at least seem to be increasingly aware of the issue.

When WIRED broached the topic of recent ransomware attacks against Connecticut school districts back on July 16, neither of that state’s senators really knew about the problem that had gripped their own constituents. But when asked again recently, senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) acknowledged the stakes of the growing problem.

“I’m beginning to hear it very loudly and clearly from officials that they are feeling isolated, alone, [and] incapable of responding,” Blumenthal said last month.

The senator’s newly acquired knowledge on the topic may stem from the spike in high-profile ransomware attacks that have struck communities in Arizona, Oklahoma, Virginia, New York and Texas, just to name a few.

“Ransomware is one of the growing threats to cybersecurity, and the federal government ought to be doing everything possible to assist towns and cities,” Blumenthal said. “There’s an urgency and an immediacy.”

Blumenthal’s now calling for the federal government to provide states with technical expertise on ways to defensively combat these attacks, outlines of a potential strategy to respond to such an attack. (Even seemingly straightforward questions like whether to pay the ransom or hold out remain divisive.) Blumenthal has also called for moving taxpayer dollars from Washington to localities so they can secure and harden their systems. The Pentagon may be fortified against foreign cyberintrusion, but local school districts and municipalities now face sophisticated attacks from hackers or foreign entities that many policymakers view as an attack on America itself.

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ZTE #Kerfuffle Shows #Cybersecurity Doesn’t #Operate in a #Vacuum

Lawmakers have decried the president’s efforts to reverse a ban on a Chinese telecom, citing security fears, but there’s a lot more at stake.

President Donald Trump’s signal last week that he might loosen restrictions that effectively shuttered Chinese phone maker ZTE drew intense criticism from national security-focused lawmakers who worry the company could be used as a Chinese spying tool.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in particular, struck back at the president, charging that the U.S. would be “crazy to allow [ZTE] to operate in U.S. without tighter restrictions.”

Taking a tough line on ZTE over security, however, could have cascading consequences that the U.S. will come to regret, cyber and China policy watchers warn.

The bottom line, they said, is that even if Chinese tech companies pose cyber risks to U.S. consumers, that threat must be viewed within the nations’ broader, bilateral relationship.

It’s an Extremely Complicated Relationship

The president’s efforts to halt the ZTE ban stand in stark contrast to how the Trump administration treated another foreign company that officials said could be a launching pad for cyber espionage: Russia’s Kaspersky Lab.

In that case, in addition to banning Kaspersky from federal networks, Trump Homeland Security and national security officials have acknowledged urging major corporations and critical infrastructure owners to similarly jettison the Russian anti-virus firm.

When it comes to a major Chinese company, however, the calculus is more complicated. China has a massive tech sector and major U.S. brands, including Apple, Cisco and Juniper Networks have major Chinese operations.

That means that a conflict that starts with cybersecurity could end with a slate of unrelated consequences including higher prices for consumers.

“Unwinding the U.S.-Russia tech relationship is not very hard,” said Adam Segal, a China and cybersecurity expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. “It’s Kaspersky and it’s hard to think of many other Russian companies that provide any type of tech to the U.S.”

China’s tech sector is not only much broader, but officials’ and lawmakers’ chief concern about the company—that the Chinese government could force it to cooperate with cyber espionage against U.S. targets—is basically true of any Chinese company, Segal said.

There’s also a danger that China, which during recent decades has been a major player in the global economy, could shift to focus more on its domestic market if it sees too many roadblocks to U.S. sales, said Tim Maurer, co-director of the Cyber Policy Initiative at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. That could severely hamper global trade.

“I think security concerns are secondary to broader political goals,” Maurer said, assessing Trump’s decision.

Where does security fit in?

Trump’s pledge to help loosen restrictions on ZTE, offered in a May 14 tweet, did not appear to have anything to do with security.

The Commerce Department’s decision in April to ban ZTE from using U.S. products for seven years was sparked when the Chinese company violated a settlement agreement by selling telecom equipment with U.S. components in it to Iran. ZTE ceased major operations following the Commerce Department decision but said it was working to get the ban reversed or modified.

Trump’s official reason for trying to revisit the ban, as stated on Twitter, was that it produced “too many jobs in China lost.” The unstated subtext was that reversing the decision would give Trump a carrot to offer in U.S.-China trade negotiations that began last week as the nations exchange a series of escalating tariff threats.

The Commerce Department’s decision was also damaging to U.S. companies that supply materials to ZTE, including Qualcomm, a San Diego firm worth over $85 billion, which supplies most of ZTE’s computer chips.

Critics, however, were quick to seize on security concerns.

Rubio, who has sponsored legislation that would ban ZTE from U.S. government contracts, declared on Twitter that the “problem with ZTE isn’t jobs & trade, it’s national security & espionage.”

Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., declared that: “By promising to help Chinese tech company ZTE, the President isn’t just prioritizing Chinese jobs over the U.S.’s wellbeing, he’s jeopardizing our national security.”

The Senate appropriations committee unanimously passed an amendment from Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., on Thursday, that would block Trump from reversing the ZTE ban. The amendment was included in the House version of a funding bill that covers the Commerce Department among other agencies.

It’s Not Black and White

It’s important to draw a distinction, cyber and China watchers say, between protections that apply to the U.S. government—which holds a bevy of secrets and reams of citizens’ personal information that would be of intense interest to Chinese government spies—and those that apply to consumer devices.

“The government can do what it wants and that’s not a big factor in the broader market,” said Bruce McConnell, a former top cybersecurity official at the Homeland Security Department, who’s now global vice president at the EastWest Institute, a non-partisan think tank.

“If the government’s intention is to put Chinese companies out of business for security reasons,” however, “that doesn’t seem to me to be a good road to go down,” McConnell said, noting that U.S. companies might come out behind in a tit-for-tat conflict with China.

Betsy Cooper, a cybersecurity researcher at the University of California-Berkeley, warned against taking a “black and white, full access or no access” approach to foreign companies that pose potential risks to U.S. networks.

“I think it’s very hard to imagine a world in which we allow full and open access of these companies to American markets because of backdoor concerns that do exist,” Cooper said. “But, I do think we have a tendency to swing too far in the other direction.”

Context is Key

The nations announced the broad outlines of a deal over the weekend by which the U.S. will back away from its tariff threats and China will purchase more U.S. goods to lower the nations’ trade imbalance. Yet it remains unclear whether the government will reverse the ZTE ban.

Trump declared in his initial tweet that the “Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!” but Press Secretary Sarah Sanders seemed to backpedal Thursday, saying only that the president had asked the department “to look into it.”

Security concerns about ZTE go back many years. The House Intelligence Committee issued a 2012 report outlining the danger ZTE and another Chinese telecom Huawei posed to U.S. national security systems in 2012, when Ruppersberger was the panel’s ranking Democrat.

More recently, the Pentagon banned Huawei and ZTE phones from being sold on military bases and the Federal Communications Commission has forwarded a plan that would bar federal subsidies to Huawei and ZTE or to U.S. companies that include them in their supply chain.

Intelligence officials have also espoused their distrust of Huawei and ZTE in congressional hearings at the urging of Rubio and other lawmakers.

If the government does reverse the ban, it will be a contrast to the administration’s general approach to the Chinese cyber threat.

The administration has been more vocal, for example, about Chinese hackers stealing U.S. companies’ intellectual property and trade secrets than the Obama administration was during its final years in office.

The Obama administration was highly critical of Chinese hacking during its early years and even indicted five members of China’s People’s Liberation Army for the hacking in 2014. The Obama team stepped down its criticism, however, after a 2015 deal between Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping that neither nation would hack the other for purely commercial reasons.

While Chinese commercial hacking didn’t cease after that deal, it did decrease significantly, according to FireEye and other private-sector cybersecurity firms.

It’s not clear if the Trump administration’s surge in criticism over Chinese hacking is responding to an uptick in the actual hacking itself.

It’s also not clear if the U.S. government believes China has engaged in purely commercial hacking—the subject of the Obama-Xi deal—or if much of the hacking is focused on industries that can yield both commercial and national security insights, such as aviation and energy.

What is to be done?

Bruce McConnell, the former Homeland Security cyber chief, suggests a two-part solution to government concerns about the security of ZTE and other foreign tech firms.

First, the U.S. government—which routinely refuses to share the data undergirding its conclusions about cyber threats out of fear of revealing intelligence sources and methods—must figure out a way to be more transparent, he said.

“It’s a problem that we’re basing our policy off classified information and the general public doesn’t have a clue what the evidence is,” McConnell said.

Second, the U.S. and other governments should work toward a common and transparent process for governments to vet technology for spying backdoors and other vulnerabilities, he said.

Microsoft, for example, has agreed to software reviews to operate in China and built custom versions of software for the Chinese market.

After the British government raised concerns about Huawei, the company agreed to build a British cybersecurity testing center where the code for all British Huawei products is poked and prodded by the nation’s intelligence agency, GCHQ.

The U.S. could consider a similar model, McConnell said.

In an effort to urge the Homeland Security Department to reverse its Kaspersky ban, the Russian anti-virus company similarly offered to open up its source code for review. The government did not respond to that offer, but should have accepted it, McConnell said.

Code inspections aren’t perfect and there’s no guarantee a backdoor might not slip through during such a review, McConnell said. But, a government’s pronouncement after such a review would carry more weight.

“It’s about creating a transparent and open, crowdsourced evaluation of product security,” he said. “If you put something out in the public domain or through an inspection program, allow the code to be inspected across the board, it would have a lot more credibility.”

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Cybersecurity #Awareness Doesn’t #Fuel Better #Preparation

New research from SolarWinds MSP has revealed that whilst awareness surrounding cyber-attacks is increasing it is not equating to better preparedness, with confusion about the risks posed and a lack of means to defend against them evident.

The 2017 Cyberattack Storm Aftermath study, commissioned with the Ponemon Institute, surveyed 200 senior-level execs in the US and US about emerging threats, specifically those propagated by the Vault 7 leaks and the WannaCry/NotPetya attacks fueled by the EternalBlue Shadow Brokers leak.

The results found that whilst the majority (69%) of respondents had a high awareness of both WannaCry and NotPetya threats, only 28% (WannaCry) and 29% (NotPetya) felt they would be able to prevent those attacks. What’s more, 44% of the respondents who were aware of the WannaCry patch failed to implement it, with that figure 55% for the NotPetya patch.

Speaking to Infosecurity Tim Brown, VP of security, said that the key to prevention is applying the appropriate patches, but too many businesses are failing to make that connection.

“That shows a lack of knowledge on what the action plan associated with a vulnerability should be,” he added. “People often don’t think of basic security hygiene as one of the most important things they need to do, but it really is – although it’s really not easy. Doing the basics well is not ‘sexy’ or ‘cool’, it’s a lot of hard work that needs to get done, but no technology is going to really save you from that hard work.”

Another significant finding from the report was that more than half of execs felt they did not have sufficient budget to prevent, detect and contain significant cybersecurity threats.

“Budget is always an issue, and basically your security budget always first goes towards meeting your regulatory requirements. How you move the needle towards more security is always a challenge. You have to be able to explain in more business terms the ‘what if’ scenarios.

To conclude Larry Ponemon, founder of the Ponemon Institute, said the lack of knowledge among senior-level security execs highlighted in the report is worrying.

“They know that attacks are on the increase, but many don’t know what they are and seem unable to effectively prevent them,” he added. “Better use needs to be made of the resources available, such as US CERT alerts, and the service providers that most businesses are using to outsource protection. Those providers also need to step up and provide education on where most attacks are coming from and how they can be prevented.”

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The DNC Begins Cybersecurity Effort To Try To Make Sure 2016 Doesn’t Happen Again

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Phishing drills, top Silicon Valley hires, constant cybersecurity education, emails in the cloud, Tom Perez on Signal, and end-to-end encryption apps like Wickr, which the rest of the Democratic party committees have already adopted. The DNC’s new CTO, now concluding an internal security review, wants a “culture change inside the…

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Hacking Doesn’t Effect the Best Online Trading Sites

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

The Internet is a wonderful resource for doing business; but the fact remains that there is a need for security of online transactions. Online transactions are vulnerable and everyone who does business on the Net has a responsibility to make it safe for its e-commerce customers. Certainly, the Internet community…

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Study: Most Professional Training for Teachers Doesn’t Qualify as ‘High Quality’ – Teaching Now – Education Week Teacher

Only 20 percent of the professional development offered by districts meets the federal definition of “high quality” under the new Every Student Succeeds Act, according to researchers.

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#pso #htcs #b4inc

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EBR 041: What To Do If Your Ex Boyfriend Doesn’t Respond To You

Hey guys guess what time it is? Yup, it’s time for another episode of “The Ex Boyfriend Recovery Podcast!” YAY!!!!! Hold your applause ladies! I know I am awesome but we don’t want me to get a big head and think I am king of the world…. Read More….

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SECURITY THIS WEEK: THE GOVERNMENT REALLY DOESN’T SEEM TO LIKE ENCRYPTION

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

SECURITY THIS WEEK: THE GOVERNMENT REALLY DOESN’T SEEM TO LIKE ENCRYPTION

This week, Andy Greenberg and Gwern Branwen uncovered the probable identity of Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto—but then again, he might be a hoaxer. We took a look at malvertising, the hack that can infect your computer even if you don’t click anything. And Anonymous announced it’s launching an online operation against national embarrassment/presidential candidate Donald Trump. TheTor Project got a new executive director, who knows a thing or two about defending digital privacy. And meanwhile, the war against encryption raged on. Each Saturday we round up the news stories that we didn’t break or cover in depth at WIRED, but which deserve your attention nonetheless. As always, click on the headlines to read the full story in each link posted. And stay safe out there! Cryptographers, civil libertarians, and privacy advocates have spoken loud and clear about how weakening encryption will make online communications and e-commerce more vulnerable (and make tech companies less competitive economically). But the war against crypto rages on in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. President Obama is calling on tech companies to work with law enforcement in the case of “activist terrorist plotting,” and he’s hinting at a push to weaken […]

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