Tag Archives: Cybersecurity

[ISN] Researcher says he can hack GM’s OnStar app, open vehicle, start engine

http://venturebeat.com/2015/07/30/researcher-says-can-hack-gms-onstar-app-open-vehicle-start-engine/ By Bernie Woodall in Detroit and Jim Finkle in Boston Reuters July 30, 2015 BOSTON/DETROIT (Reuters) – A researcher is advising drivers not to use a mobile app for the General Motors OnStar vehicle communications system, saying hackers can exploit a security flaw in the product to unlock cars and start engines remotely. “White-hat” hacker Samy Kamkar posted a video on Thursday saying he had figured out a way to “locate, unlock and remote-start” vehicles by intercepting communications between the OnStar RemoteLink mobile app and the OnStar service. Kamkar said he plans to provide technical details on the hack next week in Las Vegas at the Def Con conference, where tens of thousands of hacking aficionados will gather to learn about new cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Kamkar released the video a week after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles recalled some 1.4 million vehicles after hacking experts demonstrated a more serious vulnerability in the Jeep Cherokee. That bug allowed them to gain remote control of a Jeep traveling at 70 miles per hour on a public highway. […]




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[ISN] Hacking Critical Infrastructure: A How-To Guide

http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2015/07/hack-critical-infrastructure/118756/ By Patrick Tucker Defense One July 31, 2015 Cyber-aided physical attacks on power plants and the like are a growing concern. A pair of experts is set to reveal how to pull them off — and how to defend against them. How easy would it be to pull off a catastrophic cyber attack on, say, a nuclear power plant? At next week’s Black Hat and Def Con cybersecurity conferences, two security consultants will describe how bits might be used to disrupt physical infrastructure. U.S. Cyber Command officials say this is the threat that most deeply concerns them, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report. “This is because a cyber-physical incident could result in a loss of utility service or the catastrophic destruction of utility infrastructure, such as an explosion,” the report said. The most famous such attack is the 2010 Stuxnet worm, which damaged centrifuges at Iran’s Natanz nuclear enrichment plant. (It’s never been positively attributed to anyone, but common suspicion holds that it was the United States, possibly with Israel.) Scheduled to speak at the Las Vegas conferences are Jason Larsen, a principal security consultant with the firm IOActive, and Marina Krotofil, a security consultant at the European Network for Cyber Security. Larsen and Krotofil didn’t necessarily hack power plants to prove the exploits work; instead Krotofil has developed a model that can be used to simulate power plant attacks. It’s so credible that NIST uses it to find weakness in systems. […]


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[ISN] Hackers give up when they go up against this cybersecurity company

http://fortune.com/2015/07/29/crowdstrike-cybersecurity-george-kurtz/ By Robert Hackett @rhhackett Fortune.com July 29, 2015 It’s not every day that a company can compel hackers to give up. Yet that’s exactly what CrowdStrike managed to do earlier this year. CEO and co-founder George Kurtz tells it like this: A besieged customer needed backup. So Kurtz’s team sent in reinforcements, placed its cloud-based software sensors across the breached business’s computing environment, and started gathering intel. Aha! Investigators spotted Hurricane Panda, an old Chinese nemesis that Kurtz’s crew had been battling since 2013. What happened next surprised them: When the attackers scanned an infected machine only to find traces of CrowdStrike, they fled. CrowdStrike’s reputation precedes it. The company, founded in 2011 and based in Irvine, Calif., has gone toe-to-toe with some of the world’s most sophisticated state-sponsored hacking groups. The firm analyzed the data behind the breaches of millions of sensitive records at the Office of Personnel Management, the federal agency responsible for human resources, in what may have been the biggest act of cyberespionage the U.S. has ever seen. It has published threat reports on many of the more than 50 adversaries it tracks, which include the likes of Ghost Jackal (the Syrian Electronic Army), Viceroy Tiger (an Indian intruder), and Andromeda Spider (a criminal coterie). Between 2013 and 2014 its revenue grew 142% and its customer base more than tripled, two reasons Google Capital GOOG 0.63% , the tech giant’s growth equity arm, led a $100 million investment in CrowdStrike in July, its first ever for a computer security company. Kurtz used to travel hundreds of thousands of miles a year as CTO of McAfee, now called Intel Security INTC 0.17% , to meet with beleaguered customers. It struck him that they did not need more anti-malware and antivirus products, the traditional realm of information security, so much as software oriented toward tradecraft and technique, the domain of cyberspies. Co-founder and CTO Dmitri Alperovitch, then McAfee’s head of threat intelligence, agreed. […]


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[ISN] GAO: Defense installation utilities at risk of cyber attack

http://www.militarytimes.com/story/military/2015/07/24/utility-cyber-attack/30615033/ By Andrew Tilghman Staff writer Military Times July 25, 2015 The utility systems that provide water, electricity and other essential services to military installations worldwide have limited defenses against cyber-attacks, putting many bases at risk for a “serious mission-disabling event,” a new Government Accountability Office report says. A recent GAO investigation identified a disturbing vulnerability in the military’s network of “industrial control systems,” the computers that monitor or operate physical utility infrastructure. For example, “most” Navy and Marine Corps industrial control systems (ICS) “have very little in the way of security controls and cybersecurity measures in place,” according to government documents identified by the GAO. That leaves many installations exposed to a “cyber-physical effect” attack that could cause the “physical destruction of utility infrastructure controlled by an ICS,” the GAO said. […]


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[ISN] GAO: Defense installation utilities at risk of cyber attack

http://www.militarytimes.com/story/military/2015/07/24/utility-cyber-attack/30615033/ By Andrew Tilghman Staff writer Military Times July 25, 2015 The utility systems that provide water, electricity and other essential services to military installations worldwide have limited defenses against cyber-attacks, putting many bases at risk for a “serious mission-disabling event,” a new Government Accountability Office report says. A recent GAO investigation identified a disturbing vulnerability in the military’s network of “industrial control systems,” the computers that monitor or operate physical utility infrastructure. For example, “most” Navy and Marine Corps industrial control systems (ICS) “have very little in the way of security controls and cybersecurity measures in place,” according to government documents identified by the GAO. That leaves many installations exposed to a “cyber-physical effect” attack that could cause the “physical destruction of utility infrastructure controlled by an ICS,” the GAO said. […]


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[ISN] After Dodging the Bullet that Hit OPM, Interior ‘Owns’ Up to Cyber Problem

http://www.nextgov.com/cybersecurity/2015/07/after-dodging-bullet-hit-opm-interior-owns-cyber-problem/117904/ By Aliya Sternstein Nextgov.com July 15, 2015 Sometimes fear is the best motivator. At the Interior Department, this was the case when computer hackers stole millions of federal employee records from an Office of Personnel Management database stored inside one of Interior’s data centers. The assailants left Interior’s data unscathed. But point taken, Interior Chief Information Officer Sylvia Burns said Wednesday afternoon. The incident, part of a historic hack against the U.S. government, prompted the department to expedite a goal of eliminating wimpy passwords as the only safeguard when signing in to agency systems. The intruders, suspected Chinese spies, used a stolen password from an OPM contractor to copy OPM’s database, according to federal officials. From OPM’s network, the bad guys then scampered across the entire Interior facility’s IT environment, Burns said. All other data, however, was not compromised, she said. “When I, as a CIO for the department, learned of the intrusion, it was horrifying to me and since that time, my team and I have been on high alert working probably seven days a week, long hours to take our lessons learned and do a mitigation plan around it,” Burns said. […]


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[ISN] Senator Sasse: The OPM Hack May Have Given China a Spy Recruiting Database

http://www.wired.com/2015/07/senator-sasse-washington-still-isnt-taking-opm-breach-seriously/ By Senator Ben Sasse Security Wired.com 07.09.15 AS A NEWLY elected Senator, I am here to tell you a hard truth: Washington does not take cybersecurity seriously. But you probably already knew that if you’ve read anything about the massive OPM data breach. To recap today’s news from OPM, since 2013, a malicious attacker—likely the Chinese government—breached government databases and stole information on some 21 million federal employees. This included personal information like addresses and Social Security numbers. Most of these people held security clearances and for them it also included nearly 150 pages of material in what are called Standard Form 86s (SF-86), which detail nearly every aspect of their lives. Here’s the kicker: despite today’s jaw-dropping news, the attackers were in our networks so long that it may still be a while before we figure out everything they stole. Most news coverage has centered on federal employees. But that’s an incomplete picture because it’s now clear many victims never worked for the federal government. When applying for a security clearance with the SF-86, applicants list their family members, neighbors, co-workers, foreign contacts, and even college roommates. What this means is that not only do the hackers know lots of sensitive information about millions of government employees, they also know a great deal about many of the people they know and love. The implications for threats, intimidation, and blackmail are chilling. “Oh, you don’t want to sell out your country? OK, we get it. By the way, your parents still live at 2911 Rainbow Drive, right?” China may now have the largest spy-recruiting database in history. […]


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[ISN] GAO: Early look at fed’s ‘Einstein 3’ security weapon finds challenges

http://www.networkworld.com/article/2946040/security0/gao-early-look-at-feds-einstein-3-security-weapon-finds-challenges.html By Michael Cooney Network World July 9, 2015 When it comes to the government protecting all manner of state and personal information, the feds can use all the help it can get. One of the most effective tools the government has is the National Cybersecurity Protection System (NCPS), known as “EINSTEIN.” In a nutshell EINSTEIN is a suite of technologies intended to detect and prevent malicious network traffic from entering and exiting federal civilian government networks. The Government Accountability Office has been tracking EINSTEIN’s implementation since about 2010 and will later this year issue an update on the status of the system. But this week, it included some details of its report in an update on the state of federal security systems, and all is not well. Preliminary EINSTEIN observations from the GAO: •The Department of Homeland Security [which administers EINSTEIN] appears to have developed and deployed aspects of the intrusion detection and intrusion prevention capabilities, but potential weaknesses may limit their ability to detect and prevent computer intrusions. For example, NCPS detects signature anomalies using only one of three detection methodologies identified by NIST: signature-based, anomaly-based, and stateful protocol analysis. Further, the system has the ability to prevent intrusions, but is currently only able to proactively mitigate threats across a limited subset of network traffic (i.e., Domain Name System traffic and e-mail). […]


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