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A Chinese state-sponsored hacking group has been targeting Malaysian government officials, computer experts with the Malaysian government said on Wednesday.
The purpose of the attacks has been to infect computers of government officials with malware and then steal confidential documents from government networks, Malaysia’s Computer Emergency Response Team (MyCERT) said in a security advisory.
The attacks against government officials consist of highly-targeted spear-phishing emails.
MyCERT says the attackers have been pretending to be a journalist, an individual from a trade publication, and representatives for a military organization and non-governmental organization (NGO).
The emails contained links to documents stored on Google Drive. The documents, when opened, asked recipients to enable macros.
The malicious macros used two Office exploits (CVE-2014-6352 and CVE-2017-0199) to execute malicious code on the victim’s system to download and install malware.
“The group’s operations tend to target government-sponsored projects and take large amounts of information specific to such projects, including proposals, meetings, financial data, shipping information, plans and drawings, and raw data,” MyCERT said.
MyCERT officials didn’t say if government officials were compromised in these attacks.
Indirectly pointing the finger at China
However, while MyCERT didn’t accuse the Chinese government directly, their advisory included links to research from the cyber-security community.
The write-ups [1, 2, 3, 4] describe the hacking tools and modus operandi of a cyber-espionage group known as APT40, known for its hacking activity alligned with the interests of the Chinese government.
In an exposé published last month, an online group of cyber-security analysts calling themselves Intrusion Truth have claimed that APT40 are contractors hired and operating under the supervision of the Hainan department of the Chinese Ministry of State Security.
According to FireEye, besides Malaysia, the group has also targeted Cambodia, Belgium, Germany, Hong Kong, Philippines, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
The group has been primarily focused on “engineering, transportation, and the defense industry, especially where these sectors overlap with maritime technologies.”
The APT40 group is also tracked by other security firms, but under other names, such as TEMP.Periscope, TEMP.Jumper, Leviathan, BRONZE MOHAWK, GADOLINIUM. The group has been active since 2014, according to multiple reports.
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The UK government is set to spend £1.8m developing anti-drone capabilities, as threats from the skies increase.
The Ministry of Defence’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) this week announced funding for 18 projects, which will each receive around £100,000. Successful organizations included University College London, Thales UK, QinetiQ, Northumbria University and BAE Systems Applied Intelligence.
Projects include developing methods to detect 4G and 5G-controlled drones, AI sensors to automatically identify aerial vehicles and low-risk ways of stopping drones through electronic interception.
The first, proof-of-concept, phase will run until summer 2020 and will be followed by a second phase focused on maturing these projects into integrated solutions.
“The introduction of Unmanned Air Systems (UAS), often referred to as drones, has been one of the most significant technological advances of recent years and represents a shift in capability of potential adversaries,” explained competition technical lead, David Lugton.
“The threat from UAS has evolved rapidly and we are seeing the use of hostile improvised UAS threats in overseas theatres of operation. There is a similar problem in the UK with the malicious or accidental use of drones becoming a security challenge at events, affecting critical infrastructure and public establishments; including prisons and major UK airports.”
Drones famously forced hundreds of flights to be cancelled at London’s Gatwick Airport last Christmas, with tens of thousands of passengers stranded. In fact, the number of near-misses involving UAS in the UK soared by over a third from 2017 to 2018.
However, drones could also represent a growing threat not just to physical safety but also network security.
Just this week, defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton warned that 2020 could see hackers use UAS as rogue access points — landing them in concealed places on corporate property while they harvest credentials, perform man-in-the-middle attacks against employees and carry out network reconnaissance.
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Three quarters of all Internet of Things (IoT) projects are “failing”, according to Cisco’s Australian CTO Kevin Bloch, primarily because they have been designed to solve individual problems, and have become siloed and unsupported as a result.
“The inaugural phase of IoT is characterised by numerous point solutions from a multitude of new — often startup — vendors. Typically, these solutions have been designed to solve a particular societal problem such as lighting or parking. In each case, a complete IT stack needs to be built in support of the solution,” Bloch explained.
“Eventually, customers find themselves with multiple siloes from multiple vendors that don’t interoperate, are not cybersecure, use different protocols, and generate more complexity at greater cost.”
According to Bloch, this is why Cisco is constructing an “IoT Phase 2” foundation, which consists of a platform that is able to cope with multiple different sensors, vendors, applications, and data interchanges.
The CTO added that IoT projects are also failing due to a lack of cybersecurity, qualified skills by those running them, project definition, governance, and support.
Released alongside nine other axioms on the IoT landscape, Bloch said Cisco hopes to aid other companies in launching successful connected solutions by discussing both pitfalls and successes.
The lack of cybersecurity made up a second of his axioms, with Bloch saying that if something is not secured, it should not be connected.
“Cybersecurity crime is already at an all-time high and negatively impacting global economies by upwards of 1 percent of GDP,” he said.
“We are becoming more mobile, we are using more cloud services, and we are expanding IoT deployment to tens of billions of connected things, thereby expanding exploitation and attack opportunities. Our situation will inevitably get worse if we don’t take the right precautions.
“If you don’t secure it, don’t connect it.”
Again, Bloch said that most of the new IoT solutions being brought to market are being developed by companies or startups without any experience — including experience in security.
As a result, he said Cisco is continuing to invest billions of dollars into cybersecurity solutions for IoT, mobility, and cloud. One such product was Cisco’s IoT Threat Defense solutionlaunched in June in an effort to mitigate and solve common security issues threatening the deployment and operation of connected devices, with the networking giant at the time saying many vendors and companies strip security mechanisms out of devices in order to keep them at low cost.
Cisco IoT CTO Shaun Cooley in June explained that as many devices also don’t have the power to protect themselves, network-side security must be emphasised, along with improving processors, enforcing the better labelling of devices, and requiring a notification and approval process prior to allowing connectivity.
The IoT Threat Defense suite is also enabled by Cisco’s network intuitive, which combines the technologies Cisco has been working towards for the past few years: Software-defined networking, software-defined access, network function virtualisation, APIs, and intelligent WAN capabilities.
A third axiom saw Bloch argue that IoT is about collecting data and about the data itself — not about connecting things, with Cisco predicting that connections will cost nothing within a decade.
Under this axiom, Bloch said there are two main components needed to be able to “measure” the physical world and enable automation: Sensing via a camera, sensor, or processor; and connectivity, or the transferring of data measurements to a computer.
“Sensing and connectivity provide data that enable a product to externalise its capabilities and provide a range of new opportunities and services,” he explained.
Another of Bloch’s IoT axioms argued that the key is having the right data, knowing what to ask of the data, and knowing how to find the answers — with the CTO correlating this to another assumption: That by 2025, 40 percent of all data will never make it to the cloud.
“While amassing data may seem important, the critical question to ask is ‘what do you need the data for?’” he said.
“Most organisations already have more data than they can manage, yet most often don’t have the right data. If they did, would they know what to ask of the data? If they are able to formulate the problem, how would they go about finding the answers needed within the data?”
The key for organisations is finding the answers to those three questions by utilising a combination of compute, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, he argued.
Cisco has been focused on providing IoT solutions globally, in June announcing its Kinetic IoT operations platform with a focus on managing connections, “fog” computing, and the delivery of data, which “streamlines the capability of companies bringing their IoT initiatives to market”.
“It’s really a platform for getting data off of your devices,” Cisco SVP and GM of IoT and Applications Rowan Trollope said at the time, adding that it will complement Cisco’s Jasper IoT platform.
“We’re extending from the edge all the way onto the device to provide an amazing platform to get way more data.”
According to Trollope, trillions of terabytes of data is “locked up” on unconnected devices across the world, which Cisco Kinetic could help extract. It will also speed up the time between proof of concept and implementation for customers.
The post Cisco: Most #IoT projects are #failing due to lack of #experience and #security appeared first on National Cyber Security Ventures.
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by Melissa Sher and Asha Dornfest
For many of us, celebrating holidays with our extended family is already tricky emotional territory. But this year, the election has unleashed a level of personal division we’ve never experienced before.
Family members’ voting choices have caused rifts to open up between relatives, and wildly different reactions to the election results ― even between people who voted the same way ― have left people feeling isolated and misunderstood.
Some of us are at such a loss we’re wondering if we should just cancel holiday plans altogether.
The post 30 Service Projects For Extended Families Needing Post-Election Healing appeared first on Parent Security Online.
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#pso #htcs #b4inc
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nationalcybersecurity.com – If you’re testing your hacking skills or trying to learn more about security, your toolkit shouldn’t end with your computer. If you’re willing to pick up a screwdriver, a soldering iron and a few o…
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If you’re testing your hacking skills or trying to learn more about security, your toolkit shouldn’t end with your computer. If you’re willing to pick up a screwdriver, a soldering iron and a few other tools, there are several great […]
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