Reports

Profile Poisoning the Next Frontier for Hackers

Google and Facebook already know everything about you – your interests, friends, tastes and even your movements. That’s already a privacy nightmare, but researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Information Security Center (GTISC) think it could soon be a security nightmare, also. Automated information systems already determine what version of the news most of us see. But researchers at Georgia Tech warn that the power of such systems to shape what each of us see online could soon become a powerful tool in the hands of sophisticated attackers, who might look for ways to manipulate victims’ online profile to steer them to certain sites, according to the report “Emerging Cyber Threats Reports 2013.” Researchers at Georgia Tech said attacks that manipulate a victim’s search history, part of their online profile, using cross-site request forgery are already technically feasible. In practice, they would allow for a kind of super-search engine […]

Report: Insecure SEC Laptops Toted To Black Hat

What’s worse than neglecting to encrypt the data on the government-issue laptop you use to handle sensitive data related to the workings of U.S. equities markets? How about hopping on a plane and bringing said laptop with you to the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, one of the world’s largest gatherings of hackers. That’s just one of the allegations in an as-yet unreleased Inspector General report on irregularities at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), according to a report on Friday by Reuters. The Inspector General’s report, a copy of which was reviewed by Reuters, found evidence of widespread lapses in information security within the agency that acts as a watchdog over stock markets and exchanges within the U.S. Among other errors, staff at the SEC failed to encrypt laptops containing sensitive stock exchange data or even install antivirus software on those systems, Reuters reported. The Inspector General […]

Are Security Firms Ducking Attribution for VOHO? (Rhymes with ‘Carolina’)

RSA left few stones unturned in its recent report (PDF) on the so-called “VOHO” attacks against pro democracy, military industrial base and high finance firms. But one question that was notably left unanswered was perhaps the most important: “Who, or what, was behind the attacks?” Now the  lead RSA security researcher trusted with analyzing the malware used in recent “watering hole” attacks tells Security Ledger that the malware left some clues as to the origins of the attacks, which affected tens of thousands of systems in more than 700 organizations, but not enough to conclusively link VOHO to a specific group, country or actor. “It’s hard to tell,” said Chris Elisan, a Principal Malware Scientist at RSA and the lead investigator into the malware used in the VOHO attacks. “The malware is only part of it,” he said. Other parts of what Elisan called the “attack chain” are needed to identify […]

Microsoft: Freeware, Pirate Software Supply Chain Leads to Infections

The Internet is a dangerous place, in general. And, depending on what you’re looking for online, it might be very dangerous, indeed, according to Microsoft. Writing in the company’s latest Security Intelligence Report, Microsoft said that its Malware Protection Center (MMPC) has observed an increase in malicious code infections that emanate from what it calls the “unsecure supply chain”  – the informal network of legitimate and underground web sites that distribute freeware and pirated software. Freeware that promises to generate registration keys for popular products like Adobe’s Photoshop, Microsoft Windows and games such as Call of Duty were among the most commonly associated with malicious programs, Microsoft said.  Internet users hoping to unlock pirated software download the key generators believing that they will produce a valid registration key, but often end up infecting their system in the process. But malware authors and cyber criminal groups will also wrap their creations in with […]