Security Endeavors is geared for people looking to learn about, or get involved with, the field of Computer Information Security. Originally offered as a series of interviews offering real-life insight to help the curious find or make their own path, the format now includes weekly headlines. As time permits we'll include conversations with professionals to learn what holds their interest and pursuing the work they're passionate about.
We get a chance to talk to Jack Rhysider, host of Darknet Diaries, "a podcast covering true stories from the dark side of the Internet." In this interview, we learn about how perseverance played an important role in the process of figuring out the path Jack wanted to be on and is ultimately, pursuing.
Show notes for Security Endeavors Headlines for Week 5 of 2019
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InfoSec Week 6, 2019 (link to original Malgregator.com posting)
The Zurich American Insurance Company says to Mondelez, a maker of consumer packaged goods, that the NotPetya ransomware attack was considered an act of cyber war and therefore not covered by their policy.
According to Mondelez, its cyber insurance policy with Zurich specifically covered “all risks of physical loss or damage” and “all risk of physical loss or damage to electronic data, programs or software” due to “the malicious introduction of a machine code or instruction.” One would think that the language in the cyber insurance policy was specifically designed to be broad enough to protect Mondelez in the event of any kind of cyber attack or hack. And NotPetya would seem to fit the definition included in the cyber insurance policy – it was a bit of malicious code that effectively prevented Mondelez from getting its systems back up and running unless it paid out a hefty Bitcoin ransom to hackers.
Originally, Zurich indicated that it might pay $10 million, or about 10 percent of the overall claim. But then Zurich stated that it wouldn't pay any of the claim by invoking a special “cyber war” clause. According to Zurich, it is not responsible for any payment of the claim if NotPetya was actually “a hostile or warlike action in time of peace or war.” According to Zurich, the NotPetya cyber attack originated with Russian hackers working directly with the Russian government to destabilize the Ukraine. This is what Zurich believes constitutes "cyber war."
Reuters reports that hackers working on behalf of Chinese intelligence breached the network of Norwegian software firm Visma to steal secrets from its clients. According to investigators at cyber security firm Recorded Future, the attack was part of what Western countries said in December is a global hacking campaign by China’s Ministry of State Security to steal intellectual property and corporate secrets. Visma took the decision to talk publicly about the breach to raise industry awareness about the hacking campaign, which is known as Cloudhopper and targets technology service and software providers in order reach their clients.
A new vulnerability has been discovered in the upcoming 5G cellular mobile communications protocol. Researchers have described this new flaw as more severe than any of the previous vulnerabilities that affected the 3G and 4G standards.
Further, besides 5G, this new vulnerability also impacts the older 3G and 4G protocols, providing surveillance tech vendors with a new flaw they can abuse to create next-gen IMSI-catchers that work across all modern telephony protocols.
This new vulnerability has been detailed in a research paper named "New Privacy Threat on 3G, 4G, and Upcoming5G AKA Protocols," published last year.
According to researchers, the vulnerability impacts AKA, which stands for Authentication and Key Agreement, a protocol that provides authentication between a user's phone and the cellular networks.The AKA protocol works by negotiating and establishing keys for encrypting the communications between a phone and the cellular network.
Current IMSI-catcher devices target vulnerabilities in this protocol to downgrade AKA to a weaker state that allows the device to intercept mobile phone traffic metadata and track the location of mobile phones. The AKA version designed for the 5G protocol --also known as 5G-AKA-- was specifically designed to thwart IMSI-catchers, featuring a strong
Show notes for Security Endeavors Headlines for Week 4 of 2019
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InfoSec Week 5, 2019 (link to original Malgregator.com posting)
According to a Reuters investigation, United Arab Emirates used former U.S. intelligence operatives to hack into the iPhones of activists, diplomats and foreign politicians using so-called Karma spyware. It’s described as a tool that could remotely grant access to iPhones simply by uploading phone numbers or email accounts into an automated targeting system. The tool has limits — it doesn’t work on Android devices and doesn’t intercept phone calls. But it was unusually potent because, unlike many exploits, Karma did not require a target to click on a link sent to an iPhone, they said. In 2016 and 2017, Karma was used to obtain photos, emails, text messages and location information from targets’ iPhones. The technique also helped the attackers harvest saved passwords, which could be used for other intrusions. According to the report, Karma relies, at least in part, on a flaw in Apple’s iMessage messaging system. The flaw allowed for the implantation of malware on the phone through iMessage which establishes a connection with the device even if the phone’s owner didn’t use the app.
To initiate the compromise, Karma needed only to send the target a text message — no action was required on the part of the recipient. It isn’t clear whether the Karma spyware is still in use. The story says that by the end of 2017, security updates to the iPhone software had made Karma far less effective. https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-spying-karma/
Russia also has it's own Wikileaks. Called Distributed Denial of Secrets, the website aims to "bring into one place dozens of different archives of hacked material that, at best, have been difficult to locate, and in some cases appear to have disappeared entirely from the web." Distributed Denial of Secrets, or DDoS, is a volunteer effort that launched last month. Its objective is to provide researchers and journalists with a central repository where they can find the terabytes of hacked and leaked documents that are appearing on the internet with growing regularity and is being considered a kind of academic library or a museum for leak scholars. DDoS differs from WikiLeaks in that it doesn’t solicit direct leaks of unpublished data—its focus is on compiling, organizing, and curating leaks that have already appeared somewhere in public. The DDoS project compiled more than 200,000 emails into a spreadsheet for ease of searching. In all, its cache now contains 61 different leaks totaling 175 gigabytes. https://www.thedailybeast.com/this-time-its-russias-emails-getting-leaked
The Japanese government will run penetration tests against all the IoT devices in the country in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. They want to map vulnerable devices and find out how to harden infrastructure. The survey will be carried out by employees of the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) under the supervision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. NICT employees will be allowed to use default passwords and password dictionaries to attempt to log into Japanese consumers' IoT devices.
The plan is to compile a list of insecure devices that use default and easy-to-guess passwords and pass it on to authorities and the relevant internet service providers, so they can take measures to alert consumers and secure the devices.The survey is scheduled to kick off next month, when authorities plan to test the password security of over 200 million IoT devices, beginning with routers and web cameras. Devices in people's homes and on enterprise networks will be tested alike.https://www.zdnet.com/article/ja