A study of hacktivism resisting Israeli operations against Hamas in Gaza highlights the difficulty of attribution, particularly when non-, trans-, or sub-national actors are involved. What, in the end, does attributing an action to Anonymous really mean? (Hacktivists in this respect resemble irregular military forces. How are they organized? How are they controlled? How are they recognized?)
For a look at what it's like for a community and its associated non-governmental organizations to receive the cyber ministrations of a state security apparat, see a Max Planck Institute study of China's operations against its Uyghur minority. Observations concerning social engineering of highly targeted attacks are particularly interesting.
Russian cyber espionage against former Soviet and Warsaw Pact nations' diplomatic networks continues.
India's government and Internet service providers receive a warning to expect cyber attacks on Independence Day, August 15.
Android malware reported by ESET affords an object lesson in how crimeware evolves in the underground ecosystem.
Patch Tuesday reviews are in.
Damballa and Trend Micro both release their 2014 Q2 trend reports, with Damballa seeing ransomware reaching a tipping point, and Trend Micro calling for a more strategic approach to cyber defense.
In industry news, Lookout raises $150M in venture capital. Financial markets digest IBM's acquisition of Lighthouse Security. Cisco is rumored to be bracing for layoffs.
Wired publishes an interview with Edward Snowden amid speculation that there remains at least one undiscovered leaker within the US Intelligence Community. The Snowden affair prompts discussion of corporate and agency ethics and whistleblower policies.
Today's issue includes events affecting China, Bahrain, France, India, Israel, Kazakhstan, Palestinian Territories, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.
Cyber Attacks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities
Cyber Infiltration During Operation Protective Edge(Forbes) At the commencement of Operation Protective Edge, the latest Israeli military operation in the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip, hackers began attacking Israeli government sites and media outlets through denial of service (DDoS) and Domain Network System (DNS) attacks, and the personal data of Israeli citizens were exposed. These recent attacks are connected to cyber groups with links to state sponsorship terrorism, with some affiliation to the Anonymous theoretical concept
A Look at Targeted Attacks Through the Lens of an NGO(Max Planck Institute for Software Systems) We present an empirical analysis of targeted attacks against a human-rights Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) representing a minority living in China. In particular, we analyze the social engineering techniques, attack vectors, and malware employed in malicious emails received by two members of the NGO over a four-year period. We find that both the language and topic of the emails were highly tailored to the victims, and that sender impersonation was commonly used to lure them into opening malicious attachments. We also show that the majority of attacks employed malicious documents with recent but disclosed vulnerabilities that tend to evade common defenses. Finally, we find that the NGO received malware from different families and that over a quarter of the malware can be linked to entities that havebeen reported to engage in targeted attacks against political and industrial organizations, and Tibetan NGOs
Android backdoor lurking inside legitimate apps(Help Net Security) One of the most important pieces of advice we give Android users is to refrain from downloading applications from dubious sources and to stick to the official Google Play store. Malware does show up from time to time there, but it is much better controlled, thanks to the Google Bouncer, than on alternative app stores
State of Infections Report — Q2 2014(Damballa) The Damballa Q2 2014 "State of Infections" report revisits the state of the enterprise under attack and trends in threats seen in the second quarter of 2014. Ransomware was a big mover this quarter, appearing nearly everywhere, grabbing international headlines and showing vigorous activity. Unlike traditional malware, which conducts its criminal activity in the background, ransomware is essentially a cyber stick-up. The victim is immediately locked out of their computer. Most will not regain control even if they pay the ransom demand
Trend Micro's Q2 Security Round Up Highlights Need for Comprehensive Cybersecurity Strategy to Keep Information Secure(CNW) Cyber threats, data breaches and high-risk vulnerabilities have continued to dominate the first half of 2014 as seen in Trend Micro Incorporated's (TYO: 4704; TSE: 4704) second quarter security roundup report, "Turning the Tables on Cybercrime: Responding to Evolving Cybercrime Tactics." The severity of these attacks intensified against financial and banking institutions as well as retail outlets. Total attacks have exposed more than 10 million personal records as of July 2014 and strongly indicate the need for organizations to adopt a more strategic approach to safeguarding digital information
Lookout funding boosted by Amazon's Bezos(Financial Times) Lookout has raised $150m from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley Investment Management, in the largest fundraising by a cyber security company this year
IBM Buys Lighthouse Security Group To Boost IAM Offerings(CRN) IBM bought the Identity and Access Management (IAM) subsidiary of longtime IBM partner Lighthouse Computer Services on Monday in an effort to bolster its cloud-based security offerings and one-up competitors Amazon Web Services, CA and Oracle
Why surveillance companies hate the iPhone(Washington Post) The secrets of one of the world's most prominent surveillance companies, Gamma Group, spilled onto the Internet last week, courtesy of an anonymous leaker who appears to have gained access to sensitive corporate documents. And while they provide illuminating details about the capabilities of Gamma's many spy tools, perhaps the most surprising revelation is about something the company is unable to do: It can't hack into your typical iPhone
Bitdefender Internet Security 2015 Review(Laptop) Bitdefender Internet Security has earned the top honors in tests at AV-Test, an independent software testing lab. Bitdefender security suite includes all the features in Bitdefender Antivirus Plus and has a few others that are more directed toward internet security
GFI WebMonitor 2015 Beta 1 released(Help Net Security) Beta 1 of a totally revamped GFI WebMonitor is now available for preview. GFI WebMonitor 2015 is a new, powerful version that really gives sysadmins the tools to manage internet monitoring in their organization
How to Hack a Macbook via Firewire(Techly) There's nothing quite like a weekend at a hacking convention to make you realise just how easy it is for technology companies to fall behind the ball
Whitepaper: History of cryptography(Help Net Security) This whitepaper presents a brief history of cryptography and how encryption-related technologies have evolved and will continue to evolve as well as the measures Internet users should consider when implementing modern encryption
Design and Innovation
No More Solitude: How to Make DoD the Next Google(War on the Rocks) Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, "Nothing will change the fact that I cannot produce the least thing without absolute solitude." He could have easily been describing the current culture of innovation within the U.S. Department of Defense
Drexel gets $3.1M from NSF for minority STEM program(Technical.ly Philly) Drexel is the lead university on the 20-year-old National Science Foundation program. As of last year, it has helped more than 10,200 students get undergraduate degrees, said regional director Veniece Keene
Science academies a hot trend for fall in North Jersey(NorthJersey.com) With schools set to open in about three weeks, the hottest trend in education is the launching of special academies for science, technology, engineering and math, aimed at training future high-tech workers and capturing the fascination of young people born to a digital age
NPR Is Laundering CIA Talking Points to Make You Scared of NSA Reporting(The Intercept) On August 1, NPR's Morning Edition broadcast a story by NPR national security reporter Dina Temple-Raston touting explosive claims from what she called "a tech firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts." That firm, Recorded Future, worked together with "a cyber expert, Mario Vuksan, the CEO of ReversingLabs," to produce a new report that purported to vindicate the repeated accusation from U.S. officials that "revelations from former NSA contract worker Edward Snowden harmed national security and allowed terrorists to develop their own countermeasures"
The Most Wanted Man in the World(Wired) The message arrives on my "clean machine," a MacBook Air loaded only with a sophisticated encryption package. "Change in plans," my contact says. "Be in the lobby of the Hotel —— by 1 pm. Bring a book and wait for ES to find you"
For a complete running list of events, please visit the Event Tracker on the CyberWire website.
Newly Noted Events
Cyber Attack Against Payment Processes Exercise 1(Online, September 9 - 10, 2014) FS-ISAC, the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center will conduct its fifth annual simulated cyber security exercise related to payment processes used by banks, community institutions,...
Cyber Attack Against Payment Processes Exercise 2(Online, September 16 - 17, 2014) FS-ISAC, the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center will conduct its fifth annual simulated cyber security exercise related to payment processes used by banks, community institutions,...
FS-ISAC Fall Summit 2014(Washington, DC, USA, October 13 - 16, 2014) The Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), is a non-profit association comprised of financial institution members, that is dedicated to protecting the global financial services...
FOCUS 14:Empowering the Connected World(Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, October 26 - 27, 2014) FOCUS will offer you a unique opportunity to learn directly from other McAfee users. Hear real-world scenarios from McAfee customers and learn how they maintain the highest standards of security while...
FS-ISAC EU Summit 2014(London, England, UK, November 3 - 5, 2014) The Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), is a non-profit association comprised of financial institution members, that is dedicated to protecting the global financial services...
ZeroNights 2014(Moscow, Russia, November 13 - 14, 2014) ZeroNights is an international conference dedicated to the practical side of information security. It will show new attack methods and threats, showcase new possibilities of attack and defense, and suggest...
FS-ISAC & BITS Annual Summit(Miami Beach, Florida, USA, May 17 - 20, 2015) The Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), is a non-profit association comprised of financial institution members, that is dedicated to protecting the global financial services...
SANS Cyber Defense Summit and Training(Nashville, Tennessee, USA, August 13 - 20, 2014) The SANS Institute's Cyber Defense Summit will be paired with intensive pre-summit hands-on information security training (August 13-18). This event marks the first time that SANS will conduct a training...
Resilience Week(Denver, Colorado, USA, August 19 - 21, 2014) Symposia dedicated to promising research in resilient systems that will protect critical cyber-physical infrastructures from unexpected and malicious threats—securing our way of life.
AFCEA Technology & Cyber Day(Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, USA, August 21, 2014) The Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA) — Oklahoma City Chapter will once again host the 10th Annual Information Technology & Cyber Security Day at Tinker AFB. This is the only...
Build IT Break IT Fix IT: Build IT(Online, August 28, 2014) The Build it Break it Fix it security contest is a new security-oriented programming contest held by the Maryland Cybersecurity Center, Cyberpoint, and Trail of Bits. The Build it Break it Fix it security...
The Hackers Conference(New Delhi, India, August 30, 2014) The Hackers Conference is an unique event, where the best of minds in the hacking world, leaders in the information security industry and the cyber community along with policymakers and government representatives...
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