Wednesday, 28 June 2017

MP Cyber Attack Further Proof That Weak Passwords Are The Biggest Threat To Data Security

Leading Identity and Access Management specialists My1Login says that weak passwords and poor ID management are likely to have contributed to the MP email cyber attack at the weekend.

Parliament was hit by a “sustained and determined” cyber-attack last Friday, with hackers attempting to gain access to MPs’ and their staffers’ email accounts. Both houses of parliament were targeted in an attack that sought to gain access to accounts protected by weak passwords.

My1Login CEO, Mike Newman, comments: “The full facts are still to come out, but this was a determined attack to exploit weak passwords. Most passwords are very easy to break by hackers as there is a commonality to them world-wide. Moreover, people don’t take enough precautions to safeguard their passwords; they write them down; save them to their computer or make them extremely weak so they are easy to remember. This has to change.”

He added: “In my opinion, the only way to safeguard data, especially when it comes to matters of national security, is to eliminate end-users having to manage passwords altogether. Our Single Sign-On technology removes the need for end-users to manage or even know passwords, protecting against weak password use and ensuring data is kept secure”.

My1Login has recently been cited as a global leader in Identity Management by CB Insights, the highly respected analyst and technology sector research group,. The company was also recently approved for the G-Cloud 9 digital framework to supply cloud services to the UK public sector.

Over 1,000 companies currently rely My1Login’s solution which eliminates cyber security vulnerabilities by removing the need for employees to manage multiple passwords. It provides next generation Identity and Access Management solutions for enterprise and eliminates the need for passwords in business by providing Single Sign-On that works with all applications, across all devices. The service works with cloud, mobile and thick-client legacy applications, which enables them to fully address Single Sign-On challenges even in the most complex of enterprise environments where apps are often a mix of cloud, mobile and legacy systems such as mainframes.

 

For more information please email norman@my1login.com or visit www.my1login.com.

 

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Mobile Ransomware: An Evolving Threat for Developed Markets

Mobile ransomware actors are focusing their attacks on wealthy countries. Developed markets not only have a higher level of income, but also a more advanced and more widely used mobile and e-payment infrastructure. According to Kaspersky Lab’s annual ransomware report for 2016-2017, this is appealing to criminals because it means they can transfer their ransom in just a couple of taps or clicks.

Kaspersky Lab has continued its tradition of reporting on ransomware threats with its second annual study into the issue. The report covers the full two-year period, which, for comparison reasons, has been divided into two parts of 12 months each: from April 2015 to March 2016 and from April 2016 to March 2017. We’ve chosen these particular timescales because they witnessed several significant changes in the ransomware threat landscape.

Mobile ransomware activity skyrocketed in the first quarter of 2017 with 218,625 mobile Trojan-Ransomware installation packages – 3.5 times more than in the previous quarter. Activity then fell to the average level of the observed two year period. Despite a small relief, the mobile threat landscape is still arousing anxiety, as criminals target nations with developed financial and payment infrastructures that can be easily compromised.

In the period of 2015-2016 Germany was the country with the highest percentage of mobile users attacked with mobile ransomware (almost 23 per cent), as a proportion of users attacked with any kind of mobile malware. It was followed by Canada (almost 20 per cent), the UK and the US – exceeding 15 per cent.

This changed in 2016-2017 with the US shifting from fourth to first position (almost 19 per cent). Canada and Germany retained their top-3 ranking with almost 19 per cent and over 15 per cent  respectively, leaving the UK ranking at fourth place with more than 13 per cent.

The rise in the United States occurred largely due to attacks from the Svpeng and Fusob malware families, the first of which is mainly targeting America. As for Fusob, this malware family was initially focused on Germany, but since Q1 2017 America has topped its list of targets with 28 per cent of attacks.

“These geographical changes in the mobile ransomware landscape could be a sign of the trend to spread attacks to rich, unprepared, vulnerable or yet unreached regions. This obviously means that users, especially in these countries, should be extremely cautious when surfing the web,” notes Roman Unuchek, security expert at Kaspersky Lab.

Other key findings from the 2017 Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) report include:  

  • The total number of users who encountered ransomware between April 2016 and March 2017 rose by 11.4 per cent compared to the previous 12 months (April 2015 to March 2016) – from 2,315,931 to 2,581,026 users around the world;
  • The proportion of users who encountered ransomware at least once out of the total number of users who encountered malware fell by almost 0.8 percentage points, from 4.34 per cent in 2015-2016 to 3.88 per cent in 2016-2017;
  • Among those who encountered ransomware, the proportion that encountered cryptors rose by 13.6 percentage points, from 31 per cent in 2015-2016 to 44.6 per cent in 2016-2017;
  • The number of users attacked with cryptors almost doubled, from 718,536 in 2015-2016 to 1,152,299 in 2016-2017;
  • The number of users attacked with mobile ransomware fell by 4.62 per cent from 136,532 users in 2015-2016 to 130,232.
  • The top 10 countries with the biggest share of users attacked with PC ransomware as a proportion of all users attacked with any kind of malware in 2016-2017 are: Turkey (almost 8 per cent), Vietnam (around 7.5 per cent), India (over 7 per cent), Italy (around 6.6 per cent), Bangladesh (more than 6 per cent), Japan (almost 6 per cent), Iran (almost 6 per cent), Spain (almost 6 per cent), Algeria (almost 4 per cent), and China (almost 3.8 per cent). This is very different list compared to 2015-2016 as Turkey, Bangladesh, Japan, Iran, and Spain have since entered the list, all exceeding 5 per cent.

To reduce the risk of infection, users are advised to:

  • Back up data regularly.
  • Use a reliable security solution, and remember to keep key features – such as System Watcher – switched on.
  • Always keep software updated on all the devices you use.
  • Treat email attachments, or messages from people you don’t know, with caution. If in doubt, don’t open it.
  • If you’re a business, you should also educate your employees and IT teams; keep sensitive data separate; restrict access; and back up everything, always.
  • If you are unlucky enough to fall victim to an encryptor, don’t panic. Use a clean system to check our No More Ransom site; you may well find a decryption tool that can help you get your files back.
  • The latest versions of Kaspersky Lab products for smaller companies have been enhanced with anti-cryptomalware functionality. In addition, a free anti-ransomware tool has been made available for all businesses to download and use, regardless of the security solution they have installed.
  • Last, but not least, remember that ransomware is a criminal offence. Report it to your local law enforcement agency.

For help and advice on dealing with ransomware visit No More Ransom. Check out No Ransom to find the latest decryptors, ransomware removal tools, and information about ransomware protection.

Read the full version of the Kaspersky Lab’s Malware Report on Securelist.com.

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New Research Shows Cybersecurity Battleground Shifting to Linux and Web Servers

WatchGuard®’s latest quarterly Internet Security Report reveals that despite an overall drop in malware detection, Linux malware made up more than 36 percent of the top threats identified in Q1 2017. The increased presence of Linux/Exploit, Linux/Downloader and Linux/Flooder attacks highlights the need to protect Linux-based IoT devices and Linux servers from the internet with layered defences.

Other key findings from the Q1 2017 report include:

 

  • The cybersecurity battleground is shifting toward web servers. In Q1, drive-by downloads and browser-based attacks were predominant. Furthermore, 82 percent of the top network attacks targeted web servers or other web-based services. Users should strengthen web server defences by hardening permissions, limiting resource exposure, and patching server software.

 

  • Legacy Antivirus (AV) continues to miss new malware at a higher rate. AV solutions missed 38 percent of the total threats WatchGuard caught in Q1, compared to 30 percent in Q4 2016. The growing number of new or zero-day malware now evading traditional AV highlights the weaknesses of signature-based detection solutions and the need for services that can detect and deter advanced persistent threats.

 

  • Attackers still exploit the Android StageFright flaw. This exploit first gained notoriety in 2015 and is proving its longevity as the first mobile-specific threat to hit WatchGuard Threat Lab’s top 10 attacks list this year. At a minimum, Android users should regularly upgrade their operating systems to prevent mobile attacks like StageFright.

 

  • Threat actors take a break from hacking the holidays. Overall, threat volume decreased 52% in Q1 2017 compared to Q4 2016. We believe the drop in malware detections can be attributed to the absence of seasonal malware campaigns associated with various Q4 holidays, which increased overall malware instances during that period.

 

“This new Firebox Feed data allows us to feel the pulse of the latest network attacks and malware trends in order to identify patterns that influence the constantly evolving threat landscape,” said Corey Nachreiner, chief technology officer at WatchGuard Technologies. “The Q1 report findings continue to reinforce the importance and effectiveness of basic security policies, layered defences and advanced malware prevention. We urge readers to examine the report’s key takeways and best practices, and bring them to the forefront of information security efforts within their organisations.”

WatchGuard’s Internet Security Report explores the latest computer and network security threats affecting small to midsize businesses (SMBs) and distributed enterprises. It is designed to offer educational insights, research and security recommendations to help readers better protect themselves and their organisations against modern threat actors.

The WatchGuard Report is based on anonymised Firebox Feed data from more than 26,500 active WatchGuard UTM appliances worldwide, representing a small portion of the overall install base. These appliances blocked more than 7 million malware variants in Q1, representing an average of 266 samples blocked by each individual device. WatchGuard appliances also blocked more than 2.5 million network attacks in Q1, which equates to 156 attacks blocked per device. The complete report includes a breakdown of the quarter’s top malware and attack trends, an analysis of the CIA Vault 7 leaks and key defensive learnings for readers. The report also features a new research project from the WatchGuard Threat Lab, which focuses on a new vulnerability in a popular IoT camera.

For more information, download the full report here: www.watchguard.com/security-report

 

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Met Police vulnerable to cyber attacks due to Windows XP use, GLA warned

The Greater London Authority fears the Metropolitan Police is vulnerable to cyber attacks after figures reveal more than 18,000 devices in the force still run on Windows XP. The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) still uses Windows XP on more than 18,000 computers, putting the force at risk of cyber attacks,  the Greater London Authority (GLA) has been warned.

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ORIGINAL SOURCE: Computer Weekly

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Organizations award hackers up to $900,000 a year in bug bounties

A new HackerOne report examines over 800 hacker-powered programs from organizations including Airbnb, GitHub, General Motors, Intel, Lufthansa, Nintendo, U.S. Department of Defense, Uber, and more. Findings are based on nearly 50,000 resolved security vulnerabilities and more than $17 million in bounties awarded.

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ORIGINAL SOURCE: Help Net Security

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52% of All JavaScript npm Packages Could Have Been Hacked via Weak Credentials

Tens of thousands of developers using weak credentials to secure their npm accounts inadvertently put more than half of the npm packages (JavaScript libraries and tools) at risk of getting hijacked and used to deploy malicious code to legitimate applications that use them in their build process.

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ORIGINAL SOURCE: Bleeping Computer

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Hackers threaten South Korean banks with DDoS attacks

KB Kookmin Bank, Shinhan Bank, Woori Bank, KEB Hana Bank, NH Bank and two other South Korean banks were reportedly threatened with DDoS attacks last week.  The Armada Collective hacking group has issued a ransom demand of approximately £245,700 to seven South Korean banks, threatening to launch distributed denial of service attacks against each of their organisations.

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ORIGINAL SOURCE: SC Magazine

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‘Vaccine’ created for huge cyber-attack

Security researchers have discovered a “vaccine” for the huge cyber-attack that hit organisations across the world on Tuesday. The creation of a single file can stop the attack from infecting a machine. However, researchers have not been able to find a so-called kill switch that would prevent the crippling ransomware from spreading to other vulnerable computers.

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ORIGINAL SOURCE: BBC

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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Farsight security research indicates that WannaCry-like attacks represent ‘just another day at the office’

We all remember WannaCry; the scale of the attack, spanning over 150 countries and almost a quarter of million computers. In the UK, at least, this was accompanied by a media frenzy, largely due to the highest profile victim of the attack being the National Health Service. As a highly emotional target here in the UK, WannaCry became big news as the media strived to explain what had happened to our beloved NHS. However, according to a survey conducted at Infosecurity Europe earlier this month by Farsight Security, attacks of this nature happen with alarming regularity. 49% of those surveyed indicated they had been involved in battling and preventing WannaCry style cyberattacks in the last year.

Of this 49%,  nearly three quarters (72%) said that this type of event, requiring them to work frantically to protect networks from attack, had happened three times in the last year alone.

“WannaCry made the headlines and got the general public listening, however, cybersecurity professionals actually work on incidents like this all throughout the year,” said Dr. Paul Vixie, CEO and Cofounder of Farsight Security.

Of the 49% of respondents who reported other WannaCry-like incidents that were shielded from public view, 20% said that these major security events have happened up to a staggering six times over the last year alone. It is easy to forget how common these attacks are and how hard these security professionals are working to keep our national infrastructure and our data secure.

The WannaCry ransomware attack began on Friday, May 12, 2017, and within a day was reported to have infected more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries. The sheer scale of the attack left many cybersecurity professionals working over the weekend to make sure their systems were prepared and resilient enough to withstand the attack. The NHS was publicly known to be particularly badly hit. The WannaCry ransomware exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows, for which a patch was released. However, many corporations do not automatically patch their systems due to issues that a Windows update can cause to their legacy software programs. So, despite the patch being released, not updating left hundreds of thousands of devices open to attack, and held to ransom.

Cybercriminals often create and discard thousands of domain names within minutes for phishing attacks and other methods to “fly below the radar” during cyberattacks. Today most security professionals begin a cyberinvestigation by examining a suspicious IP address or domain name. Using Farsight DNSDB, the world’s largest historical database of Passive DNS with more than 35 Billion DNS resolutions collected since 2010, users can query these domain names and related IP addresses to gain rich threat intelligence, from information when attackers entered a network to motives and methods.

The survey of 360 information security professionals was conducted at Infosecurity Europe 2017 conference which took place June 6-8, 2017, at the Olympia Conference Centre in London.

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Stephanie Daman – The Cyber Industry has lost an inspirational soul

The CEO of Cyber Security Challenge UK, Stephanie Daman, has passed away peacefully at the age of 56 following a long battle with cancer.

Stephanie was a remarkable role-model who inspired all of those with whom she came into contact. She cared passionately about Cyber Security Challenge UK and it’s twin missions to find and nurture talented people to join the cyber security profession and promote career opportunities in cyber security generally.

She was first diagnosed days after being appointed CEO in 2012 but fought resolutely and bravely to avoid it having any impact on her ability to be both an inspirational business leader and devoted mother to her beloved daughter Katrina, aged 8.

During nearly five years at the helm of Cyber Security Challenge UK, Stephanie oversaw a step change in the number and variety of activities it undertook; nurturing it on the journey from an ambitious start-up to a well-established and mature not-for-profit company consistently punching above its weight. She introduced programmes specifically targeted at universities and schools; expanded the Challenge’s network of sponsors and supporters and even ensured that the UK is a key member of the steering committee for the European Cyber Security Challenge.

Before joining the board of Cyber Security Challenge UK, Stephanie was Head of Group Information Risk at HSBC and a founder member and creator of Get Safe Online. Always keen to play her part in the wider security community, she was an active member of both the Information Assurance Advisory Council and the Risk and Security Management Forum. Earlier in her career, Stephanie worked as a Government security official where her postings included the British Embassy in Washington DC and the Cabinet Office.

Stephanie’s hard work and dedication touched an enormous number of people across the sector – whether it was her drive to bring gender equality to the cyber security workforce; her desire for innovative approaches to solving the UK’s cyber skills deficit; or her incredible ability to generate support for new ideas that would give people the opportunities they deserved. Stephanie Daman’s infectious dynamism and resolve made things happen that truly changed peoples’ lives for the better. We will all miss her greatly.

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What does the GDPR mean for SMEs?

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in the UK in May 2018 and is anticipated to have a significant impact on businesses across the country.

The GDPR is a replacement for the Data Protection Act 1998, and will apply to all organisations that process, handle and store any personal data of EU residents.

These new regulations mean businesses are required to gain consent  for all data collected from individuals, and provide clear and comprehensive privacy notices to help these individuals understand what they are opting into. Crucially, organisations of all sizes need to be able to prove that consent was given if they want to process any form of personal data.

Ultimately, the GDPR regulations mean increased powers for European Supervisory Authorities, including the ability to impose financial penalties of up to €20 million or four percent of the business’ worldwide annual turnover, for non-compliance or breaches.

With this in mind Ebuyer, a leading provider of storage, networking and security solutions to SMBs, has created a compliance checklist to help business owners avoid the potentially disastrous consequences of a compliance failure:

 

  1. Begin compliance discussions now with key people in your organisation.
  2. Document the personal data your organisation holds, where it came from and who it is shared with.
  3. Review your privacy notices. Under the GDPR, you will need to clearly identify the lawful basis for processing customer data, as well as how long you will retain it for and the customer’s right to complain about how you are using it.
  4. Have a robust process in place for locating and deleting individual customers’ data, if and when requested.
  5. Be aware of the new right to “data portability”. This means individuals have the right to request their personal data in a commonly-used, machine-readable format, provided to them free of charge and within one month.
  6. Review how you seek, record and manage consent for data collection. Remember consent must be explicitly provided: assumption of consent (for instance, via pre-ticked boxes on a web form) can breach regulations.
  7. Review how you will verify individuals’ ages, and how you will obtain parental consent to process the data of under-13s if required.
  8. Reinforce your existing data breach reporting procedures to ensure your organisation can meet the new timelines.
  9. Take steps to appoint a Data Protection Officer if you are required to, and consider who should be trained in, and responsible for, GDPR compliance even if not.

 

Amber Smith, Head of Sales at Ebuyer.com said: “The new GDPR regulations will have a significant impact on small businesses, who will need to begin taking steps to achieve compliance as soon as possible. But it’s not just SMEs who need to begin making these changes, as the law applies to all companies regardless of size, from sole traders to multinationals.

“This year’s ransomware attacks should already have emphasised the need for businesses to invest in robust antivirus and cybersecurity measures, but in case they didn’t, hopefully the GDPR and its new penalties for non-compliance will.”

To find out more about what you need to do to ensure your business complies, please visit: http://www.ebuyer.com/blog/2017/06/impact-of-the-gdpr-on-small-businesses/

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Majority of cyber professionals not confident UK government can protect itself from cyberattacks

Tripwire, Inc., a leading global provider of security and compliance solutions for enterprises and industrial organisations, today announced the results of a survey of 350 information security professionals that found 69 percent are not confident in the ability of the U.K. government to protect itself from cyberattacks in 2017. The survey was conducted June 6-8, 2017, at Infosecurity Europe 2017 at the Olympia Conference Centre in London.

Additionally, when participants were asked if they thought European Union agencies like Europol and ENISA help keep the U.K. more cyber secure, 68 percent said “yes”.

“With the highly publicised investigations and speculations into election hacking across the world, it seems only logical that people will start to wonder about their own government’s cyber resiliency,” said Tim Erlin, VP at Tripwire. “The recent WannaCry outbreak in the U.K. has shown us what happens when government entities and national infrastructures are not protected from today’s cyberthreats.”

Europol director Rob Wainwright told members of Parliament last year that Britain would become a “second-tier nation” to Europol after Brexit. This, coupled with the continued indication of a “hard” Brexit, could jeopardize the U.K.’s relationship with EU bodies, including Europol and ENISA.

Erlin added, “What the results of this survey show is that seasoned cybersecurity professionals are not confident that the U.K. government is protected from hackers. They also value the relationship that the U.K. has with friends and colleagues in the EU-funded agencies. The importance of an EU-wide coordinated effort to combat cyber risk should not be forgotten during withdrawal negotiations, as these efforts are clearly valued by the U.K.’s cybersecurity community.”

About Tripwire

Tripwire is a leading provider of security, compliance and IT operations solutions for enterprises, industrial organizations, service providers and government agencies. Tripwire solutions are based on high-fidelity asset visibility and deep endpoint intelligence combined with business context; together these solutions integrate and automate security and IT operations. Tripwire’s portfolio of enterprise-class solutions includes configuration and policy management, file integrity monitoring, vulnerability management, log management, and reporting and analytics.

Learn more at www.tripwire.com, get security news, trends and insights at www.tripwire.com/blog, or follow us on Twitter @TripwireInc.

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Nearly half of UK office workers believe automation will have a positive impact on their organisation, finds new study

Capgemini, a global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing services, today revealed findings of its research showing that nearly half (48%) of UK office workers are optimistic about the impact automation technologies will have on the workplace of the future. However, the cost of implementation and lack of infrastructure are big barriers to adoption for UK businesses.

Capgemini commissioned independent research company Opinium to survey over 1,000 UK office workers to explore their attitudes and expectations of cutting-edge technologies including automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI), including machine learning. It found that 40% of respondents believe machine learning will have a potentially positive impact in the workplace along with robotics (32%). Only 10% of respondents felt automation would have a negative impact.

 

Opportunity for an automated workplace

Nearly half of respondents (47%) revealed they have given serious thought to how automation technologies can support their department with its day-to-day processes; this rises to 85% among those office workers who are responsible for finances. In addition, business owners and directors, who were also part of the research sample, believe that as much as 40% of business tasks in their organisation could be automated in the next three to five years. Tasks such as invoicing (41%), managing expense claims (28%) reporting (28%) and administration tasks (28%) were all highlighted as having the potential for automation in the near future.

 

As a result of increasing the use of these technologies in the workplace, office workers are starting to see the benefits these could have, including freeing up staff time to do higher value, core business tasks (27%), lowering costs (25%) and improving the accuracy of results (21%).

 

Lee Beardmore, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Capgemini’s Business Services Unit, says: “It’s really heartening to see the optimism for automation technologies among the UK’s office workers – particularly when nearly half have given serious thought to implementation in their own workplace. At present our survey estimates that around 13% of businesses in the UK are benefiting from automation, but there’s still a lot that haven’t seen anything yet. We certainly expect this figure to rise in the near future as more and more businesses realise the transformational power of technologies such as AI, robotics and automation. All of these technologies represent an opportunity for growth for businesses in every industry sector.”

 

Barriers to a more automated future

Although there is much optimism surrounding the benefits of automation technologies, office workers also noted a number of challenges to their organisation’s adoption, with an average of  just under a third of respondents saying that implementation costs were the main barrier across all the technologies. Interestingly, Cybersecurity is most commonly seen as an obstacle to taking up AI (17%), while there is least awareness of the potential benefits of robotics (18%) and machine learning (17%). Time needed to implement, as well as skills and expertise needed, were also in the top five reasons cited as barriers.

One of the biggest problems businesses will have to overcome is a lack of infrastructure. More than seven in 10 office workers (73%) were either not sure or knew their businesses didn’t have the infrastructure in place to adopt AI. Respondents had the most confidence in automation, but 60% still admitted they didn’t or might not have everything in place to adopt the technology.

 

Lee Beardmore, continues: “I would urge all businesses to not only start thinking about the potential value of automation technologies, but to also start looking at the skills and expertise they need within their organisation for future implementation, to stay competitive in the years to come. That’s why we are continuing to help in the drive to educate and support businesses when it comes to key technologies such as AI, robotics, and automation. By doing so Capgemini aims to boost the prospects of individual businesses and UK PLC’s productivity on the whole.”

 

Antony Walker, deputy CEO of techUK said: “This survey is a useful reminder of the positive outcomes we will see from automation. Whilst it is clear that new technologies will have a transformational impact on many jobs, it is by no means inevitable that machines will simply be used to displace humans. Dynamic economies that harness innovation to drive productivity and economic growth remain the best generators of rewarding and meaningful employment. This study suggests that many of today’s workers see real benefits in technological innovation.”

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No Windows Fix Just yet for the Intel Bug That Crashes CPUs

Some Intel CPU models are affected by a bug that crashes computers when a certain sequence of operations are being processed.
The bug was discovered by a developer working on the OCaml compiler and was reported to Intel last year. Intel rolled out a fix for the issue in the form of a microcode errata in April and May 2017.

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ORIGINAL SOURCE: Bleeping Computer

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AA password reset email cockup crashes servers

UK car insurance giant the AA caused all sorts of confusion on Monday after accidentally sending out a “password update” email to people. The alert led to motorists rushing to log into the motoring organization’s website to change their passwords, only to overload the servers and effectively run them over. Brits were furious after discovering that they couldn’t access their profiles, fearing hackers had broken into their accounts and changed their passwords.

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ORIGINAL SOURCE: The Register

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AES-256 encryption keys cracked by hands-off hack

DUTCH RESEARCHERS have discovered a way of cracking AES-256 encryption using reasonably cheap gear and wireless tech. Fox-IT explains that it, and an other company called Riscure, have created a new method for slurping up security that is enabled through proximity and relies on the monitoring of electromagnetic signals in what is known as a side channel attack.

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ORIGINAL SOURCE: The Inquirer

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Cybersecurity battleground shifting to Linux and web servers

Despite an overall drop in general malware detection for the quarter, Linux malware made up more than 36 percent of the top threats identified in Q1 2017. This attack pattern demonstrates the urgent need for heightened security measures to protect Linux servers and Linux-dependent IoT devices, according to WatchGuard Technologies.

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ORIGINAL SOURCE: Help Net Security

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HMS Queen Elizabeth is ‘running outdated Windows XP’, raising cyber attack fears

Fears have been raised that Britain’s largest ever warship could be vulnerable to cyber attacks after it emerged it appears to be running the outdated Microsoft Windows XP. As HMS Queen Elizabeth left its dockyard for the first time to begin sea trials, it was revealed the £3.5billion aircraft carrier is apparently using the same software that left the NHS exposed.

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ORIGINAL SOURCE: The Telegraph

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Monday, 26 June 2017

Parliament hit by cyber attack – Cyber Industry reaction

A cyber attack on Westminster has compromised up to 90 parliamentary email accounts officials have confirmed.

The incident which took place over the weekend saw hackers launch a sustained and determined attempt to access MPs email accounts by searching for weak passwords.

Parliamentary officials were forced to lock MPs out of their email accounts to reduce any potential damage from the attack.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and National Crime Agency have been working with the House of Commons to investigate the attack which is thought to have affected up to 90 accounts out of the 9,000 users. No information has been released regarding whose accounts may have been compromised.

Cyber security professionals have spoken out giving their thoughts and reactions to the news.

Leigh-Anne Galloway, cyber security resilience lead at Positive Technologies, believes condutcting frequent tests and simulations would better prepare organisations for breach’s in the future. “The UK National Cyber Security Centre are quantifying the extent of the breach at this stage and taking precautionary measures to limit any further impact to parliament computer systems. This should serve as a red light to all organisations, it’s not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ a breach may happen. It isn’t good enough to prepare for this type of event on paper, instead an organisation should prepare by regularly simulating incidents in order to put their response procedures into practice,” she said.

This view was echoed by Spencer Young, RVP EMEA at Imperva, who felt that with inadequate password protection in place, an attack like this was inevitable. “While we aren’t sure exactly what caused the issue, it appears there are concerns that Members of Parliament’s email credentials and passwords have been compromised.

Passwords continue to be an Achilles Heel in the fight against cybercrime as improper user behaviour – such as weak passwords or use of the same password across different sites continues,” he said.

“What’s disturbing, aside from the doubtless potential for high levels of confidentiality within emails emanating from the House, is that there are simple, effective methods such as two-factor authentication, and TLS Client Authentication which have been shown to be extremely secure, yet usability issues have hampered adoption. This is an outcome of a continual lack of understanding and investment from Government in security strategies that enterprise Britain adopts as standard operating procedures. This attack was unfortunately always a matter of time.”

Ravi Pather, senior vice president of eperi GmbH believes enterprises need to implement multiple levels of IT and Data security to deter future attacks, saying “we have to assume that hackers will be successful – if not today, then tomorrow or the next day.  The real question therefore is: are these Houses of Parliament systems – including email applications – protecting sensitive data from within? After all, this is what hackers are after.”

“A “sustained and determined” cyber-attack by hackers means that hackers have some access to usernames and passwords credentials and will use these to attempt to access IT systems and emails – a bit like hackers trying to break into your front door and are trying to pick your front door locks.    It’s been separately reported that UK MP’s user credentials were on sale in Russian criminal websites, suggesting this may have been previously obtained.

“IT security of yesteryear was focused on implementing security systems such as ‘two factor authentication’ and ‘access and identity management’ systems to prevent this type of attack – akin to making sure the locks and front door had good security systems and preventing entry.

“In a modern IT architecture, companies need multiple levels of both IT security as well as data security.   They have to assume that not only can attackers come through the front door, they can also access data via other points of entry.

“In other words, what if the attackers do gain entry via breaking in via user passwords?  Will they have easy open access to the data in email and other systems that contain sensitive data such as HR, expenses, accounts, sensitive parliamentary data?

“The focus therefore becomes more about where the email systems are storing this data.  Is it an on-premise email or a cloud based mail system where this email maybe stored on a cloud based service?  Is this data encrypted throughout its entire lifecycle?

“Furthermore, let’s not believe mere ‘data at rest’ encryption systems are enough.  Though it’s a start, we have to protect this sensitive data through its entire life cycle.  ‘Data in motion’, ‘data in use’ and ‘data at rest’.“

We just hope that the Houses of Parliament have this next level of more advanced data protection systems installed as well.   If not, then there may be a very serious issue of gaining access to email and other systems that use and store sensitive data.

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IISP Launches New Skills Framework for Information Security Professionals

The not-for-profit, Institute of Information Security Professionals (IISP) has launched a new version of its Skills Framework, which is widely accepted as the de-facto standard for measuring the knowledge, experience and competency of information security information assurance professionals. First introduced in 2006 and developed by world-renowned academics and security experts in collaboration with industry, government and universities, the IISP Skills Framework is used by the UK Government to underpin its Certified Professional Scheme and by organisations to develop and benchmark their own in-house capabilities. It is also fundamental to the development of training courses and syllabi for UK university courses in information security, while The Tech Partnership will use the latest version as the foundation for Cyber Security apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships.

 

The changes to the 2017 Framework reflect the evolving threat landscape, new technologies and significant changes in cyber skill profiles and challenges. The new Framework includes new skills groups for Threat Intelligence and Assessment, Threat Modelling, Cyber Resilience, Penetration Testing and Intrusion Detection and Analysis as well as Incident Management, Investigation and Response, while also expanding the roles of Enterprise and Technical Security Architecture and redefining the skills profile for Audit, Compliance and Testing. The IISP also puts more focus on Management, Leadership and Influence, Business Skills and Communication and Knowledge Sharing. The four defined competency levels have also been expanded to six – two based on knowledge and four on measuring practical experience.

 

The IISP Skills Framework is the only competency-based assessment for information security professionals, setting it apart from knowledge-based qualifications. The IISP also uses the Framework itself to independently assess individuals via peer review and assess the quality of training courses for its Training Accreditation scheme. The IISP offers three levels of accredited individual membership; Associate, Full and Fellow.

 

The IISP has also revised the accreditation processes to simplify but maintain a high level of rigour and Version 2.1 is now published and available free through the IISP web site to members and to non-members on application, www.iisp.org.

 

“With the rapid growth of cyber threats and attacks there is a significant shortage of high-calibre information security professionals and the UK’s National Audit Office warned recently that a lack of skilled workers is hampering the fight against cyber crime,” said Alastair MacWillson, chairman of the IISP.

 

“The Skills Framework helps on multiple levels, from raising the standards of professionalism and allowing companies to identify gaps in their experience and competency, to encouraging new talent into the industry and helping to educate students and train individuals so they have the skills to address today’s ever-evolving cyber security challenges.”

 

“While the original IISP Skills Framework has stood the test of time well, these latest changes reflect the current threat landscape and the evolving needs of public and private sector organisations,” said   Pete Fischer a Fellow of the IISP who led the Skills Framework review.  “Unlike other certifications, it requires professionals to evidence that they have successfully performed the required skills in the real world and have a track record of delivering to the highest standards. The new Framework also recognises the growing need for strategy, management and communications skills for some information security roles.”    

 

The IISP Skills Framework will continue to underpin the Government’s Certified Professional scheme run by the NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) for Information Assurance (IA) professionals, for which the IISP is also the leading certifying body.

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Business demands for agility and innovation prompt rise of cloud native applications: adoption is set to double by 2020

New research from Capgemini, a global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing services, indicates a significant step change in enterprise cloud adoption through the increased use of cloud native applications – applications and services built to perform optimally in the cloud, leveraging Platform as a Service (PaaS). Driven by recognition that cloud-native applications can enable IT to better contribute to business agility and innovation, 15 percent of new enterprise applications are cloud native today with adoption set to increase rapidly in the next three years, jumping to 32 percent by 2020.

“This is an exciting shift in our industry. We predict that cloud-native architectures will become the default option for customer-facing applications by 2020, driven by a need to continuously deploy innovations at an accelerated pace and enhance the customer experience. Businesses that delay adopting this approach will struggle to make up the gap with cloud-native competitors,” said Franck Greverie, Cloud and Cybersecurity Group Leader at Capgemini. “Organizations need to listen to their CIOs and understand the huge potential of cloud-native technology to deliver business benefits and innovation. CIOs must also address culture and skills gaps within their own organizations on the road to being cloud-native leaders.”

The study of more than 900 senior professionals working in both IT and the wider business, from 11 countries across Europe, the Americas and Australia, attributes this shift in cloud adoption to a desire to improve business agility (74%), increase collaboration with external partners (70%) and deliver better customer experiences (67%).

It identifies a small group of ‘leader’ organizations that are already committing to cloud-native applications – those with more than 20 percent of their new enterprise applications developed in this way – with these leaders almost twice as likely to report increases in organizational revenues attributable to cloud-native applications than slower adopters (84% vs 44%). Compared with the laggards[1], cloud-native leaders also:

  • Are more likely to describe their approach to software development as agile (69% to 37%), deployment as automated (78% to 46%), and DevOps teams as integrated (69% to 38%)
  • Display a more growth-focused attitude towards IT functions, with improving the customer experience (90%), business agility (87%) and scalability (85%) viewed as higher priorities than reducing costs (79%)

As adoption increases, CIOs at organizations leveraging or planning to leverage cloud-native applications expect IT to become even more central to supporting business ambitions, including the development of new business models (67%), rapid scaling of the business (72%), quicker updating of products/services (71%) and adopting new routes to market (68%).

However, many CIOs are facing challenges in building business cases to invest in cloud-native apps from business leaders that see cost reduction as the priority for IT teams. These challenges range from the organizational, including battling an ingrained culture that is opposed to the nature of cloud-native working (65%) and a skills shortage when developing cloud-native apps (70%), to the technical, such as difficulties integrating with legacy infrastructure (62%) and being locked in to vendor contracts (58%).

Digital Challengers Drive Sector Disruption

Just over a quarter of high-tech firms (26%) and almost a third of manufacturing firms (29%) are cloud-native leaders, compared with just 11% of banking providers, 18% of insurers and 22% of CPRD firms. Priorities are changing as a result of the digital challengers: banks now build 10%[2] of their new applications using a cloud-native approach, while almost half of insurers (47%) and almost one-third of consumer products, retail and distribution (CPRD) firms (27%) say that cloud native forms a core part of their technology strategies. All three groups – banks, insurers and CPRD firms – plan to spend considerably more on PaaS in three years than they do today (41%, 44% and 41% respectively).

Building a Cloud-Native Business

A clear roadmap to cloud—including the move to cloud-native application development—can dramatically improve the reputation across the business of IT, and therefore the CIO by extension. The new report offers six recommendations to help CIOs turn their organizations into cloud-native leaders:

  1. Assess the application portfolio and identify priorities for cloud-native development
  2. Build credibility by demonstrating a cloud roadmap and ability to deliver growth
  3. Start small, and then scale up to develop a skilled team
  4. Adapt the IT operating model to support both business agility and stability
  5. Be pragmatic in selecting technologies
  6. Incubate a culture of innovation, collaboration, testing and learning

 Cloud Native Apps Report Research Methodology

On behalf of Capgemini, Longitude Research conducted a survey of 902 professionals about their views on cloud-native software development, and the progress their organization has made in adopting this approach. Respondents were evenly split between IT and non-IT and were based in 11 countries in Europe and the Americas plus Australia. Respondents came from a range of sectors, with the largest numbers working in banking, insurance, consumer products, and retail and distribution companies. A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

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Bankers Are Hiring Cyber-Security Experts to Help Get Deals Done

Companies and investment funds are adding an extra layer of scrutiny to acquisitions by screening targets for cybersecurity risks, as global computer attacks raise awareness. That’s prompting offers specifically tailored to takeovers by a variety of players, from consultants like Deloitte LLP to software providers including Intralinks Holdings Inc.

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ORIGINAL SOURCE: Bloomberg

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Japan sees surge in demand for cyber insurance as attacks increase

There has been a sharp increase in the number of policyholders – mainly companies – taking out cyber insurance, which compensates losses caused by cyber attacks. The number of victims whose personal information was stolen last year from companies and other entities rose by more than 10 million from the previous year. The estimated compensation paid by the affected companies also increased to nearly 300 billion yen (S$3.74 billion).

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ORIGINAL SOURCE: Strait Times

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Cyber security set to dominate at ‘Five Eyes’ meeting in Canada

Thwarting the encryption of terrorist messaging is priority number one between the so-called ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance. The alliance, which comprises of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, will meet in the Canadian capital of Ottawa on Tuesday.

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ORIGINAL SOURCE: SBS

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UK electricity grid cyber-attack risk is ‘off the scale’

Concerns over the threat posed by cyber-attacks on power stations and electricity grids is “off the scale” in the UK energy sector, according to a leading industry figure. No other country in the world has an energy industry as worried about the risk from cyber threats, such as the WannaCry ransomware attack that recently hit the NHS, the former chief of National Grid told the Guardian.

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ORIGINAL SOURCE: The Guardian

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Parliament cyber-attack ‘hit up to 90 users’

Up to 90 email accounts were compromised during the cyber-attack on Parliament on Friday. Fewer than 1% of the 9,000 users of the IT system were impacted by the hacking, said a parliamentary spokesman. The hack prompted officials to disable remote access to the emails of MPs, peers and their staff as a safeguard.

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ORIGINAL SOURCE: BBC

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Friday, 23 June 2017

198 Million US Voter Records Leaked

Earlier this week, it was reported that 198 MILLION US voter records were leaked on a public Amazon S3 storage server owned by a Republican data analytics firm, Deep Root Analytics. This is reportedly the biggest leak of its kind in history.

Various databases were found on the server, containing personal information of American citizens, including their name, date of birth, home address, phone number, and voter registration details- which shows their own voting preference. Deep Root Analytics, a republican data analytics firm, uses various data sets to help their political partners target potential voters, by analyzing big data, and was used in the 2016 presidential campaign.

They have since spoken out to take responsibility for the leak, whilst acknowledging they have no reason to believe their security systems were compromised.

Terry Ray, chief product strategist at Imperva, gave some insight on the breach;

“This was less a leak, but was rather an identified exposed server. From the information provided, the data is not known to have been stolen necessarily.  It sounds to me that this is another case of incorrectly secured cloud based systems. Certainly, security of private data – especially my data, as I am a voter – should be of paramount concern to companies who offer to collect such data, but that security concern should ratchet up a few marks when the data storage transitions to the cloud, where poor data repository security may not have the type of secondary data centre controls of an in-house, non-cloud data repository.

With more data being collected by companies than ever before, securing it is no small task. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration. Are the environment and the data vulnerable to cyber threats? Who has access to the data? And there’s also the issue of compliance. Big data deployments are subject to the same compliance mandates and require the same protection against breaches as traditional databases and their associated applications and infrastructure.

He added-

“Much of the challenge of securing big data is the nature of the data itself. Enormous volumes of data require security solutions built to handle them. This means incredibly scalable solutions that are, at a minimum, an order of magnitude beyond that for traditional data environments. Additionally, these security solutions must be able to keep up with big data speeds. The multiplicity of big data environments is what makes big data difficult to secure, not necessarily the associated infrastructure and technology. There is no single logical point of entry or resource to guard, but many different ones, each with an independent lifecycle.”

Andrew Clarke, EMEA director at One Identity gave some pointers on how best to avoid this type of data breach in the future;

  • “Always ensure that only the right people can access data
  • Empower the owners of the data to easily put the proper access controls in place
  • Don’t assume that just because it is password it is safe (use multifactor and role-based access controls)
  • Slow down and make sure that governance is in place, especially for data stored in the cloud this means: The owners of the data decide what is right (not IT); making it easy for someone that is right for the data to get to the data; run periodic attestations to validate that all of the people with permission to access the data actually should have that permission”

He adds- “Once a “security first” and “Identity is the new perimeter” attitude is adopted, incidents will be dramatically reduced”.

 

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Westfield CIO: Data And Personalisation Are Key To Shopping Centre Survival

Shopping is fast becoming an online activity, but Westfield has a plan to keep consumers coming back to its two London facilities.

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ORIGINAL SOURCE: Silicon UK

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Fraudster Made £100K from Online Banking Bug

An online fraudster has been jailed after pocketing nearly £100,000 by exploiting a glitch in his online banking platform.

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ORIGINAL SOURCE: Info Security Magazine

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Variant of Marcher Android malware poses as Flash Player update

Developers of the Android banking malware Marcher are now disguising the trojan as an Adobe Flash Player update, the cloud security company Zscaler has reported in a Thursday blog post.

 

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ORIGINAL SOURCE: SC Magazine

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Blockchain: Helping secure digital identities

Blockchain allows individuals, independent of each other, to rely on the same shared, secure and auditable source of information for managing identity.

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ORIGINAL SOURCE: Information Age

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RIG Exploit Kit Usage Declines as Browsers Are Getting Harder to Hack

Another major exploit kit (EK) looks like it’s heading for the EK graveyard as activity from the RIG EK has fallen to less than 25% of what the exploit kit used to handle three months ago, in March 2017.

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ORIGINAL SOURCE: Bleeping Computer

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Cybersecurity Ventures Predicts 3.5 MILLION Cybersecurity Jobs by 2021!

This week, Cybersecurity Ventures released their latest report, predicting that by 2021, there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs; a dramatic and noticeable increase from previous estimates. Previous reports have estimated much smaller estimates when predicting the skills gap of the future; the 2015 report by Symantec reported a projected shortfall of 1.5 million from the global demand of 6 million for cybersecurity workers, and the 2016 ISACA skills gap analysis predicted a global shortage of 2 million cybersecurity professionals by 2019.

Either way, these numbers illustrate pretty clearly that the cybersecurity world is struggling to keep up with the huge increase in cybercrime.

With Cybercrime estimated to cost the World $6 trillion annually by 2021, and that figure consistently rising, the growing skills gap is concerning to many all over the World. NASSCOM estimates India alone will need 1 million cybersecurity professionals to meet the demands of its ever expanding economy; Intel Corp’s 8 nation study suggests a shortage of cybersecurity  professional shortage in all countries in the study ((Israel, the US, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, the UK and Mexico). Australia is reportedly the most at risk, and is facing the largest hit; CIO reported that 88% of IT professionals  and decisions makers feared the cybersecurity shortage both within their own organisation, and as a nation.

So what can be done to resolve this impending issue?

Robert Herjavec, founder and CEO at Herjavec Group​ says, ”Unfortunately the pipeline of security talent isn’t where it needs to be to help curb the cybercrime epidemic. Until we can rectify the quality of education and training that our new cyber experts receive, we will continue to be outpaced by the Black Hats.”

He adds, ““I highly recommend pursuing your education in information technology or computer science” says Herjavec, directing his comments at IT workers and new entrants to the field — including college graduates. “There is a zero-percent unemployment rate in cybersecurity and the opportunities in this field are endless. Gone are the days of siloed IT and security teams. All IT professionals need to know security – full stop. Given the complexity of today’s interconnected world, we all have to work together to support the protection of the enterprise.”

 

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A Quantum Encryption Solution is Here!

Encryption gateway vendor eperi and Deutsche Telekom have presented a joint quantum encryption solution that will prevent even the most advanced computers from cracking encryption algorithms. The approach, one of the first of its kind, will also be able to protect data in SaaS applications like Office 365, Salesforce or custom apps against this threat. Key to this is PQC (Post Quantum Cryptography), advanced encryption algorithms developed by the Technische Universit├Ąt (TU) Darmstadt.

“Quantum computers are not science fiction anymore,” said Elmar Eperiesi-Beck, CEO of eperi. “There is growing evidence that intelligence agencies are working on prototypes that allow them to crack currently safe algorithms. In the near future, the most important of our secure encryption algorithms could become obsolete, a potential nightmare scenario for data protection efforts.”

The team, headed by Prof. Dr. Johannes Buchmann from TU Darmstadt, has been cooperating with eperi and Deutsche Telekom to integrate these PQC algorithms into eperi’s encryption gateway. This solution encrypts data before it leaves an organisation to be processed or stored in the cloud, allowing enterprises to remain in control of who can access their data, even in decentralised IT structures.

In two session talks at Magenta Security 2017, Munich Germany, which was where the announcement was made, eperi founder and CEO Elmar Eperiesi-Beck and Professor Johannes Buchmann explained how all organisations profit from better data protection in the cloud era. Personal data, such as employee information, or sensitive enterprise data like patents and research are an easy target for espionage and data theft. Progressively stricter data protection laws like the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are putting immense pressure on everyone processing data.

“One of the biggest advantages of the eperi Gateway is that the user can fully control the encryption and switch out their algorithms if needed,” said Prof. Buchmann. “To be prepared for the threats of tomorrow, organisations have to protect themselves now. The eperi Gateway allows them to do that in an efficient and totally secure way.”

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Learning the lessons from cyber attacks

Cybercriminals have been known to target businesses across all sectors. Recent high-profile cyber attacks have successfully breached well-known brands including telecoms providers, retailers and banks. Evidently, all industries are potentially vulnerable. As businesses become ever more negatively affected by cyber attacks, lessons need to be learnt and effective cyber defences implemented in order to protect businesses and their customers.

The problem is, this is easy to say, but much harder to do. Businesses of all sizes will find it a struggle to minimise and ultimately block the myriad of cyber threats they face. Some breaches occur due to bad practice and poor security; however in other cases, organisations with even the most robust security defences may face so many threats that some slip through the cracks.

When a business is successfully breached and customer data is exposed, the consequences can be severe. Recently, a national telecommunications company was fined £400,000 by the UK regulator following a large-scale breach that compromised a vast amount of customers’ data. The attacker was able to access the personal data of 156,959 customers including their names, addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers and email addresses. Evidently, these breaches can be serious with businesses and their customers susceptible to substantial financial and reputational damage.

The Role of the Deep & Dark Web

We know cybercriminals make use of the Deep & Dark Web in order to conduct their illegal activities. Earlier this year, it was reported that gamers were put at risk of having their private information sold on the dark web following a data breach involving 2.5 million accounts. Effective cyber defences need to include monitoring and understanding of the dark web. Without it, a business is trying to defend itself whilst blindfolded and with its arms tied behind its back.

Our research shows that cybercriminals are using the dark web to buy and sell fraudulent gift cards. This type of crime has grown substantially over the last several years because it can yield significant financial rewards at a relatively low risk for criminals.

Cybercriminals’ continued interest in gift card fraud aligns with a common practice among many gift card issuers: the prioritisation of user experience and profits over security. Unlike bank-issued credit and debit cards, gift cards are not held to strict anti-fraud standards, which means that many gift cards may lack common-yet-effective security features aimed to help combat fraud. This is just one example of criminal profiteering using the Deep & Dark Web.

Attaining Effective Cyber Defence

Effective cyber defence requires barriers that deter cybercriminals alongside effective risk intelligence. In the high stakes world of commercial cybersecurity, prevention is better than cure. As previously stated, any breach or cyber compromise has the potential to result in substantial reputational and financial consequences. The recent case of the telecoms company serves as a case in point — the company’s share price plummeted after the attack and still hasn’t recovered fully.

Businesses need to prioritise cybersecurity and make sure it is a C-Suite issue that is taken seriously by all departments and employees across the entire business. The weakest link in the defence is most often what will be exploited by criminals. As such, businesses need to ensure staff are trained so they don’t create a gateway for criminals. Furthermore, cybersecurity infrastructure needs to be updated and invested in to help businesses detect and mitigate cyber threats more accurately and effectively.

The latest cyber attacks once again shine the spotlight on cybercrime. It is an issue that affects companies of all sizes and from all sectors. Even countries are affected by it. It is a truly global challenge.

Above all else, it is crucial for businesses to focus on what they can control. Having effective insight and intelligence about relevant threats, investing in technology and people, providing training for staff on cybersecurity, and prioritising defence from the most senior staff through to the most junior is essential. Failure to take action will only make your business more vulnerable to compromise. These are the lessons businesses must learn from the latest high-profile cyber-attacks.

 

Written by Vitali Kremez, Director of Research, Flashpoint

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Local authorities need data system refresh within 18 months

Phoenix Software today reveals that local authorities are unable to store and analyse data effectively. Independent research it commissioned alongside VMware among local authority IT leaders shows the majority believe their current data analysis capabilities (75 percent) and data storage capabilities (72 percent) will need a refresh within the next 18 months and this refresh could greatly enhance their productivity internally and help them deliver highly effective citizen-focused solutions.

IT departments within local authorities are under pressure to control data, reduce costs and transform applications for both staff and citizens. The study reveals a change in data management approach is needed. Over half (51 percent) believe they don’t currently have the correct strategy in place for managing citizen data, while nearly a third (28 percent) do not think they are completely ready for impending compliance regulations.

This is having an impact on their ability to successfully deliver information and services. The respondents believe that mobility initiatives are often being restricted by efforts to control data (40 percent) and a lack of support for the applications staff need (38 percent). An overwhelming 87 percent of respondents thought their organisation could benefit from taking steps to support access to applications remotely or in the field.

Keith Martin, Director of Public Sector at Phoenix Software, said: “Transforming IT is one of the most complex challenges the public sector faces and managing data is one of the toughest elements of that challenge. Local Authorities are sometimes faced with sprawling, siloed environments that can’t communicate, integrate or interact; the good news is that there is an understanding that change is required and this change will be key as Authorities look to use technology to meet the needs of their citizens.”

“Meeting compliance regulation and data sovereignty requirements means organisations need to understand what data they have, get rid of what they don’t need, while having the capabilities to analyse and effectively use what remains. That’s a big undertaking for any public sector IT team to handle on their own. Luckily there are experts out there who support on these projects every day and, when turned to for guidance, can help them through each step of the transition.”

Tim Hearn, Director, UK Government and Public Services, VMware, said: “From planning and managing recycling initiatives to social worker visits for citizen engagement, effective use of data will be key to the success of citizen experiences. With so much of today’s digital innovation delivered and consumed in applications, local governments need to embrace a cloud strategy that works best for them today, and future-proof investments in technology so they can meet the demands faced in years to come as well.”

 

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Thursday, 22 June 2017

WannaCry Ransomware Infects 55 Speed and Red-Light Cameras in Australia

Fifty-five speed and red-light cameras in the Australia’s state of Victoria were infected with the WannaCry ransomware.The incident took place last week and was brought to light by a local radio station. According to current information, the infection took place during maintenance operations, as a human operator connected an infected USB to the devices, which were apparently running on a Windows OS.

 

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ORIGINAL SOURCE: Bleeping Computer

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Locky Ransomware Returns, but Targets Only Windows XP & Vista

The Locky ransomware is back, spreading via a massive wave of spam emails distributed by the Necurs botnet, but the campaign appears to be a half-baked effort because the ransomware is not able to encrypt files on modern Windows OS versions, locking files only on old Windows XP & Vista machines.

 

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ORIGINAL SOURCE: Bleeping Computer

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Median Dwell Time for Hackers Drops to 49 Days

The dwell time for hackers inside victim networks fell by nearly half over the past year, although the time from intrusion to containment of such threats remained virtually the same, according to Trustwave.

 

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ORIGINAL SOURCE: Info Security Magazine

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AdGholas malvertisers experiment with ransomware, delivered through AstrumEK

The AdGholas malvertising threat group conducted a new campaign in May and June 2017 using the Astrum exploit kit to infect victims with Mole ransomware – an unusual change-up for these adversaries, who historically have favored banking trojans, according to researchers from Trend Micro and Proofpoint.
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ORIGINAL SOURCE: SC Magazine

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The Queen’s Speech: a technological revolution?

The Queen’s Speech outlined a number of technology-centred initiatives aimed at bolstering the economy, driving innovation, defending online safety and meeting environmental targets.

 

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ORIGINAL SOURCE: Information Age

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IoT the top priority in driving digital transformation says new global research report

IoT has become the leading technology for digital transformation and is the number one priority for 92 per cent of organisations, according to global research findings published today by Inmarsat (LSE:ISAT.L), the world’s leading provider of global mobile satellite communications.  The Inmarsat Research Programme study focusing on the enterprise application of the Internet of Things (IoT) revealed that machine learning (38 per cent), robotics (35 per cent), and 3D printing (31 per cent) were also key requirements for effectively delivering digital transformation for business. 

Conducted independently on behalf of Inmarsat by Vanson Bourne, The Inmarsat Research Programme report “The Future of IoT in Enterprise 2017” surveyed 500 senior respondents from across the agritech, energy production, transportation, and mining sectors, from organisations over a 1,000 employees in size.

The key findings reveal that almost all (97 per cent) respondents are experiencing, or expect to experience, significant benefits from the deployment of IoT technologies.  Improved service delivery capabilities (47 per cent), better health and safety across the organisation (46 per cent), and greater workforce productivity (45 per cent) were identified as the top three benefits to be gained from the deployment of IoT-based solutions.

However, the research also highlights security concerns, a lack of skills (particularly in the deployment of IoT) and connectivity as key challenges that need to be addressed in order to maximise IoT’s potential. Almost half (47 per cent) of respondents believe that their organisation will need to rethink their approach to data security and make heavy investments to meet IoT security requirements.  Some 45 per cent cite lack of skills as a particular challenge for their organisation in deploying IoT, while 29 per cent agree with the statement that connectivity issues threaten to derail their IoT deployments before they have even begun.

Paul Gudonis, President, Inmarsat Enterprise, commented: “The development and deployment of IoT is a new phenomenon spreading over every industry in every part of the world and this research has confirmed that IoT is the leading technology in digital transformation, taking a steady lead over other forms of innovation. IoT acts as the eyes and ears of organisations and its value comes from how the data it collects is used to improve effectiveness across an organisation. As such, it is unsurprising that so many organisations are deploying IoT to propel their digital transformation initiatives.

“However, this is not to imply that challenges are absent. The research points to clear concerns – namely, security, skills, and connectivity. The increasing interconnectivity of devices, teamed with a heightened cyber-security landscape and a short supply of relevant skills, brings an array of issues. To overcome these challenges, collaboration is key.

“Developing new technology is complex and draws on many different type of skills. Reliable network infrastructure providers, that can operate anywhere in the world, need to work closely with end-user businesses to make sure they understand their operational needs. Inmarsat is working with our network of partners globally to drive innovation through our expertise in IoT solutions and satellite connectivity,” concluded Gudonis.

The research, The Future of IoT in Enterprise 2017, is accessible as an intelligence paper and can be downloaded here: http://research.inmarsat.com/

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Ransom-Aware: Carbon Black Survey Finds 7 of 10 Consumers Would Consider Leaving a Business Hit By Ransomware

WannaCry brought the threat posed by cybercriminals into the public consciousness in a way that had not really been seen before. Temporarily crippling the NHS brought the dangers of cyber-attacks to reality and demonstrated that organisations need to be taking the problem of all forms of cybercrime seriously. Ransomware is a particularly devastating form of attack that a successful attack can have a major commercial impact on businesses.

Carbon Black recently surveyed 5,000 people to gauge the public’s perception on ransomware, its threshold for paying a ransom, and the expectations consumers have on businesses to keep their data safe.

The result showed that for 57% of those consumers surveyed WannaCry was the first exposure they’d had to the intricacies of ransomware, meaning public perception has been – at least temporarily – raised by the high profile nature of the attack. It remains to be seen whether the upturn in awareness continues or whether it reverts back to pre-WannaCry levels of awareness. Either way, with consumer awareness so high the commercial risks and downsides resulting from an attack are even greater from a business standpoint.

When compared side by side with other consumer facing industries, retailers did not score well when it came to consumer trust. When asked about the level of trust consumers have that their financial institutions, healthcare providers and retailers can keep their personal data safe, 70% of consumers said that they trust that their financial institutions and healthcare providers can keep their data safe. Only 52% of consumers trust that retailers can keep their data safe. These results show all industries have a lot of room for improvement when it comes to public confidence, but retailers especially.

The critical part for businesses though is the attitudes and reaction of consumers to successful ransomware attacks. A large majority (70%) of consumers would consider leaving a business if it were hit by a ransomware attack. Financial institutions were the most vulnerable with 72% of consumers saying that they would consider leaving them if they were hit by ransomware, for retailers it was 70%, and healthcare providers 68%.

The fact that consumer behaviour changed little between financial institutions, retailers and healthcare providers shows a significant majority of consumers will punish companies who are affected by ransomware.

Our survey showed the general public places a huge premium on their financial data over both phone data and even medical records. When asked what their most sensitive information is 42% said it was financial data, closely followed by the 41% who stated it was personal and family photos and videos. Mobile data and medical records both were only most valued by 5% of those surveyed. 

When asked if they would personally be willing to pay ransom money if their personal computer and files were encrypted by ransomware, it was close to a dead heat with 52% of respondents saying they would pay and 48% saying they would not. This is interesting given the best practice advice for both individuals and businesses is not to pay. We know that paying ransoms is only a temporary fix and it serves to embolden and reward cybercriminals.

Of the 52% who said they would pay a demand for money from a cyber attacker 12% of the cohort said they would pay $500 (approx. £390) or more, 29% said they would pay between $100 (approx. £78) and $500 to get their data back, whilst the majority (59%) said they would pay less than $100.

The onus of responsibility to keep consumer data safe is mostly on the individual organisations themselves, consumers said in our survey. While the burden is distributed among government organisations, software providers, and cybersecurity companies as well, consumers say the buck stops with the companies that are trusted with the private data. This is an important consideration for businesses.

This survey, which follows hot on the heels of the highly publicised WannaCry attack, shows that consumers are now very aware of ransomware and hold a view that should worry businesses. Clearly, consumers now more aware of ransomware have indicated that they would be very willing to leave a business that is successfully attacked. Consumers want businesses to be looking after their data – which they strongly value – and a failure to do so will have a significant commercial impact. Therefore it is imperative for businesses to make sure they have the right people, processes and technology in place to stop all forms of cyberattack including ransomware.

 

For the full report on ransomware that Carbon Black conducted go to – https://www.carbonblack.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Carbon_Black_Ransom_Aware_Survey_Report.pdf

 

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