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Attackers #hijack #state agency #server for #malware

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Attackers #hijack #state agency #server for #malware

Cybercriminals are always upping their game. One of their latest gambits, a sophisticated phishing attack that involved hosting malware on at least one state’s government servers, shows that they may be outpacing the good guys.

The multistage targeted attack, discovered and announced last week by researchers at the Cisco Talos threat intelligence group, began with the bad actors creating a realistic-looking “spoof” email that purported to be from the Securities and Exchange Commission. This spear-phishing email was sent out to a number of government agencies in a highly targeted scheme, which the researchers deduce came from a motivated threat actor or group that continues to operate.

At the government agencies where the phishing emails succeeded, the online criminals were able to surreptitiously plant malicious code on government servers in at least one state, Louisiana, to create a “malware infection chain” likely to dupe other targets. Representatives from the state of Louisiana had no comment for this story.

According to Craig Williams, senior technical leader at Cisco Talos, this attack is similar to previous so-called DNSMessenger attacks, which have become more frequent this year, whereby sophisticated techniques are used to infect legitimate enterprise and government computer systems with viruses, ransomware, Trojans and other types of malware.

“We have threat hunting techniques specifically designed to detect DNSMessenger,” said Williams, describing how he and his team of researchers tracked this exploit and the infected state government server. “Once we examined the malware sample, that led us to the web server.” He added that it appeared only “a single server” was affected.

While the researchers appear to have exposed this attack before it could gain too much traction (and impact more government servers), the growing creativity and sophistication of both the phishing attacks and hackers’ ability to insert malware into a legitimate government enterprise servers underscores how much more crafty and talented cybercriminals are becoming, according to Williams. “By using ‘known good’ servers, attackers are hoping to go unnoticed,” he said. “No one would normally question someone connecting to a state of Louisiana public web server, for example.”

And the government sector is becoming an increasingly attractive target for such attacks. According to the 2017 U.S. State and Federal Government Cybersecurity Report, released in August 2017 by SecurityScorecard, government organizations received the lowest security scores across multiple sectors, including transportation, retail and healthcare. “It’s clear that cybersecurity incidents are not going anywhere and that government will continue to remain a target,” the report concluded. “But with technology propelling forward and hackers as motivated as ever, government agencies are struggling to put up effective cybersecurity defenses, and hackers are taking advantage.”

Williams agreed. “We will likely see the actors behind DNSMessenger continue to use any public server they can compromise,” he said. “It helps the actors hide their infrastructure and go undetected longer.”

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State of Small Business Cybersecurity in North America

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

State of Small Business Cybersecurity in North America

Small business owners know they are at risk for cyberattacks, but they are somewhat at a loss as to what to do. That’s one of the findings of a new report from the Better Business Bureau, The State of Small Business Cybersecurity in North America, released today as part of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. One of the more troubling findings is that half of small businesses reported they could remain profitable for only one month if they lost essential data.

“Profitability is the ultimate test of risk,” said Bill Fanelli, CISSP, chief security officer for the Council of Better Business Bureaus and one of the authors of the report. “It’s alarming to think that half of small businesses could be at that much risk just a short time after a cybersecurity incident.”

“Small business owners get it,” Fanelli continued. “When we asked them about the most common cybersecurity threats – ransomware, phishing, malware – they know what’s out there, and most of them have basic protections in place. For instance, 81% use antivirus software and 76% have firewalls. But one of the most cost-effective prevention tools, employee education, is used by fewer than half of the companies we surveyed. Other prevention measures scored even lower.”

BBB surveyed approximately 1,100 businesses in North America (71.4% of the sample came from the United States, 28.5% from Canada and 0.1% from Mexico). Two-thirds of the participants were BBB Accredited Businesses, and they apparently fared marginally better in most measures, such as awareness of specific threats and adoption of cybersecurity measures. The data was collected in an online survey with a margin of error of approximately +/- 3% for a 95% confidence interval.

The report focuses on cybersecurity effectiveness from three perspectives: a) cybersecurity standards/frameworks; b) best practices; and c) cost-benefit analysis. One of the key findings is that the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, technically a voluntary standard from the National Institute for Standards and Technology, is becoming mandatory in some markets. Not only are many companies requiring it of their vendors for procurement, but many businesses are adopting it because it helps them run a better business. The NIST framework is the basis for BBB’s training program, “5 Steps to Better Business Cybersecurity”

The State of Small Business Cybersecurity emphasizes the need not only for education and training, but for cost-benefit analysis of cybersecurity measures. The report suggests a formula created by two professors at the University of Maryland, Martin P. Loeb, PhD and Lawrence A. Gordon, PhD, to help small business owners estimate their risk from cybersecurity attacks and calculate an appropriate investment in prevention.

“It doesn’t do any good for a small business to adopt a $10,000 solution if the potential risk reduction is only worth $5,000,” said Fanelli. “We hope this report will give small business owners greater awareness of the real and the perceived risks of cyberattacks, as well as best practices for protecting against these types of security threats. We hope it serves as a step forward in advancing cybersecurity in the marketplace.”

Source:

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Homeland Security clarifying state election hacking attempts

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

The Department of Homeland Security has notified two states that Russian hackers attempted to scan networks other than their election systems in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, contrary to details provided last week. On Wednesday, California became the second state — after Wisconsin — to receive the clarification….

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20-year prison term proposed for hackers of State secrets

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Cyber criminals, convicted of hacking into government databases to mine State secrets for sale to foreign countries, will serve 20 years in jail if Parliament passes a Bill seeking to tame the growing white-collar crime. The Computer and Cybercrimes Bill 2017, a revised version of a 2016 law, also proposes…

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Is the state the biggest cyber criminal of all?

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

The internet is the first thing humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand Cyber crime is one of the fastest growing areas of criminal activity in the world and policing it is no longer considered exclusive to law enforcement. INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock in January 2016 stated “[…] cyber…

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Ransomware Attacks ‘Double’ As Nation State Weapons Fall Into Hands Of Hackers

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Grim reading…Malware is growing, adware mutating, and sophisticated ‘nation state’ tools are being used by low-level hackers Security specialists Check Point has painted a fairly grim picture of the cyber security landscape in its latest ‘Cyber Attack Trends: Mid-Year‘ report. It revealed that ransomware attacks have doubled in the first…

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How a suspected nation state cyber campaign turned out to be a lone hacker in Nigeria

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

A hacker in his mid-20’s who used the motto “get rich or die trying” on social media has been linked to a series of cyberattacks against global companies in the energy, construction, mining, oil and infrastructure sectors that were initially believed to be state-sponsored operations. That’s according to Check Point,…

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Arizona State University student threatens to send suitors’ ‘unsolicited’ pictures to their mothers

To Purchase This Product/Services, Go To The Store Link Above Or Go To http://www.become007.com/store/ TEMPE, AZ – An Arizona State University student is taking matters into her own hands to combat unsolicited explicit photos being sent to her online dating account. Like many adults, 20-year-old Madi Kohn signed up for…

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Hackers Use Pirate Sites to Ruin Your Life, State Attorneys General Warn

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

With a new public service announcement, a group of State Attorneys General warns the public that pirate sites are a severe threat to online safety. Hackers use pirate websites to steal IDs and financial information, or even take over people’s webcams without their knowledge, they say. In recent years copyright…

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Argentina army says its website hacked with images supporting Islamic State

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Argentina army says its website hacked with images supporting Islamic State

Argentina’s army said on Monday that its website was hacked and images purported to be of members of the Islamic State militant group were posted on it. “This is a threat. ISIS is in Argentina and you will hear from us soon,” said the page, which was seen by Reuters….

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