Tag Archives: Personal

[ISN] Cybercom: Big Data Theft at OPM, Private Networks is New Trend in Cyber Attacks

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/cybercom-big-data-theft-at-opm-private-networks-is-new-trend-in-cyber-attacks/ By Bill Gertz Washington Free Beacon July 27, 2015 The commander of U.S. Cyber Command said last week that the Office of Personnel Management hack of millions of records of federal workers shows a new trend toward using Big Data analytics for both nation-state and criminal cyber attacks. “One of the lessons from OPM for me is we need to recognize that increasingly data has a value all its own and that there are people actively out there interested in acquiring data in volumes and numbers that we didn’t see before,” said Adm. Mike Rogers, the Cyber Command commander and also director of the National Security Agency. The theft of 22.1 million federal records, including sensitive background information on millions of security clearance holders, will assist foreign nations in conducting future cyber attacks through so-called “spear-phishing,” Rogers said, declining to name China as the nation state behind the OPM hacks. Additionally, China is suspected in the hack uncovered in February of 80 million medical records of the health care provider Anthem, which would have given it access to valuable personal intelligence that can be used to identify foreign spies and conduct additional cyber attacks. […]




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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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[ISN] Madonna Phone Hacker Sentenced to 14 Months in Jail

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/madonna-phone-hacker-sentenced-to-14-months-in-jail-20150709 By Kory Grow Rolling Stone July 9, 2015 The Israeli man who was indicted on four charges of cyber crimes in association with hacking into Madonna’s songs and leaking Rebel Heart tracks before the record’s release has been sentenced to 14 months in jail. Adi Lederman accepted a plea bargain with a Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court in forming his sentence on Thursday, according to The Jerusalem Post. The man was also fined NIS 15,000 (approximately US $4,000) Lederman, who’d gained fame in 2012 with an audition for the Israeli analog to American Idol, was accused of leaking demos and in-progress versions of the singer’s tunes online in December 2014. Madonna reacted by releasing six songs from the LP and putting out the album earlier than she had intended. The man was arrested in January, and the country’s authorities said they believed he had also hacked into the personal computers of other celebrities. “I am profoundly grateful to the FBI, the Israeli police investigators and anyone else who helped lead to the arrest of this hacker,” Madonna wrote on Facebook at the time. “Like any citizen, I have the right to privacy. This invasion into my life – creatively, professionally, and personally – remains a deeply devastating and hurtful experience, as it must be for all artists who are victims of this type of crime.” […]


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[ISN] Lizard Squad Hacker Who Shut Down PSN, Xbox Live, And An Airplane Will Face No Jail Time

http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2015/07/09/lizard-squad-hacker-who-shut-down-psn-xbox-live-and-an-airplane-will-face-no-jail-time/ By Paul Tassi Contributor Forbes.com 7/09/2015 Last Christmas, a hacking collective known as the “Lizard Squad” managed to take down PSN and Xbox Live right as everyone was attempting to play their consoles during holiday, creating one of the worst outages in the history of either network. The attacks soon evolved into a more personal nature, targeting then-president of Sony Online Entertainment, John Smedley, which included posting his personal details and actually grounding an American Airlines flight he was on with a Twitter TWTR -1.15%-issued bomb threat. Since then, everyone has been wondering just who the members of Lizard Squad were and if they’d ever be brought to justice. Recently, one individual, 17 year-old Julius “zeekill” Kivimaki was identified, and after standing trial in his native Finland, has just been convinced of an incredible 50,700 charges of computer-related crimes. He will serve a two-year suspended sentence, and effectively face no jail time. If you imagine the general public might be upset about such a lax sentence, you’d be right, but no one is more angry than John Smedley himself, now leading Daybreak, the studio responsible for games like H1Z1 and Planetside 2. […]


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[ISN] Why Cyber War Is Dangerous for Democracies

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/06/hackers-cyber-china-russia/396812/ By MOISÉS NAÍM The Atlantic June 25, 2015 This month, two years after his massive leak of NSA documents detailing U.S. surveillance programs, Edward Snowden published an op-ed in The New York Times celebrating his accomplishments. The “power of an informed public,” he wrote, had forced the U.S. government to scrap its bulk collection of phone records. Moreover, he noted, “Since 2013, institutions across Europe have ruled similar laws and operations illegal and imposed new restrictions on future activities.” He concluded by asserting that “We are witnessing the emergence of a post-terror generation, one that rejects a worldview defined by a singular tragedy. For the first time since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, we see the outline of a politics that turns away from reaction and fear in favor of resilience and reason.” Maybe so. I am glad that my privacy is now more protected from meddling by U.S. and European democracies. But frankly, I am far more concerned about the cyber threats to my privacy posed by Russia, China, and other authoritarian regimes than the surveillance threats from Washington. You should be too. Around the time that Snowden published his article, hackers broke into the computer systems of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and stole information on at least 4 million (and perhaps far more) federal employees. The files stolen include personal and professional data that government employees are required to give the agency in order to get security clearances. The main suspect in this and similar attacks is China, though what affiliation, if any, the hackers had with the Chinese government remains unclear. According to the Washington Post, “China is building massive databases of Americans’ personal information by hacking government agencies and U.S. health-care companies, using a high-tech tactic to achieve an age-old goal of espionage: recruiting spies or gaining more information on an adversary.” […]


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[ISN] U.S. data hack may be 4 times larger than the government originally said

http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/22/politics/opm-hack-18-milliion/index.html By Evan Perez and Shimon Prokupecz CNN June 23, 2015 Washington (CNN) – The personal data of an estimated 18 million current, former and prospective federal employees were affected by a cyber breach at the Office of Personnel Management – more than four times the 4.2 million the agency has publicly acknowledged. The number is expected to grow, according to U.S. officials briefed on the investigation. FBI Director James Comey gave the 18 million estimate in a closed-door briefing to Senators in recent weeks, using the OPM’s own internal data, according to U.S. officials briefed on the matter. Those affected could include people who applied for government jobs, but never actually ended up working for the government. The same hackers who accessed OPM’s data are believed to have last year breached an OPM contractor, KeyPoint Government Solutions, U.S. officials said. When the OPM breach was discovered in April, investigators found that KeyPoint security credentials were used to breach the OPM system. Some investigators believe that after that intrusion last year, OPM officials should have blocked all access from KeyPoint, and that doing so could have prevented more serious damage. But a person briefed on the investigation says OPM officials don’t believe such a move would have made a difference. That’s because the OPM breach is believed to have pre-dated the KeyPoint breach. Hackers are also believed to have built their own backdoor access to the OPM system, armed with high-level system administrator access to the system. One official called it the “keys to the kingdom.” KeyPoint did not respond to CNN’s request for comment. […]


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[ISN] Hard to Sprint When You Have Two Broken Legs

http://carnal0wnage.attackresearch.com/2015/06/hard-to-sprint-when-you-have-two-broken.html By Valsmith June 14, 2015 Now as a disclaimer, I don’t work for the government so there is a lot I don’t know but I have friends who do or who have in the past and you hear things. I also pay attention and listen to questions I get in my training classes and conference talks. This directive from the White House is laughable for a number of reasons and demonstrates just how out of touch decision makers in the Government are on these issues. 1.) Technically skilled people have been BEGGING to improve cyber security in the government for well over 15 years. I don’t think this is any kind of secret, just google for a bit or talk to anyone who works in government in the trenches. Asking for staff, tools, budget, authority, support and getting little of it. In a way, this directive is insulting to them after years of asking, trying and failing suddenly someone says: “oh hey I have an idea, why don’t you go and secure stuff!”. Right. Unless you are going to supply those things they need RIGHT NOW, they will fail. And government procurement and hiring organizations are notoriously slow so the chances of that happening are slim. 2.) IT Operations. The first thing that has to be in place for there to be any real chance is solid IT operations. Organizations have to be able to push out images and patches quickly, orderly, and with assurance. Backup recovery, knowledge of inventory, well managed systems, etc. are all paramount. Do you know how most government IT operations are managed? By contractors, aka the lowest bidder. These are the Raytheons, Booz Allens, Boeings, Lockheeds, etc. who bid on large omnibus support contracts, win them, and THEN try to fill the staffing requirements. How do you win the lowest bid in services / support contracts? By keeping staffing costs down, aka paying the lowest possible salaries. This results in some of the most piss-poor IT operations in the world. You want to know why Hilary Clinton, former Secretaries of Defense, and numerous other government staff run their own private mail servers? Most likely its because their work provided email DOESN’T work. Slow systems, tiny inbox quotas, inability to handle attachments, downtime, no crypto or crypto incompatible with anyone else, these are just a few of the issues out there. And its not just email. I have personally seen a government conference room system take 15-20 minutes to log in at the windows login prompt, due too poor IT practices. I was told that most of the time people resorted to paper hand outs or overhead projectors. Yeh like the ones you had in highschool in the 90s with the light bulbs and transparencies. Essentially what this directive is saying: “Hey you low end IT staff, winners of the lowest bid, who can barely keep a network up or run a mail server, make sure you become infosec experts and shore up our defenses, and you have 30 days to do it.” Right. I have heard horror stories from acquaintances in the government of waiting 6 months for an initial account setup ticket to get performed. Weeks to get a new desktop deployed. It is idiotic to think that current IT operations can support this kind of request. But that is who typically manages servers, network and desktops, and who would have to deploy whatever security tools would be needed to do this in support of pitifully small infosec teams. […]


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