terrorism

A report by outgoing Senator Tom Coburn warns that DHS is struggling to fulfill its duties to protect the nation from cyber attack.

Senator Warns of DHS Struggle with Cyber Security

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) used his final days in office to warn that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is struggling to fulfill its mission to protect the nation from cyber attack. The report, “A Review of the Department of Homeland Security’s Missions and Performance,” (PDF) was released on Saturday, as the retiring Senator from Oklahoma was leaving office. In it, the outgoing Senator said that DHS’s strategy and programs “are unlikely to protect us from the adversaries that pose the greatest cybersecurity threat.” The warnings on DHS cyber operations were part of a larger critique of the Department in the report, in which Coburn called on reforms of Homeland Security focused on accountability and streamlining. Despite spending $700 million annually on a range of cybersecurity programs, Coburn said it is hard to know whether the Department’s efforts to assist the private sector in identifying, mitigating or remediating cyber […]

New Clues In Sony Hack Point To Insiders, Away from DPRK

New Clues In Sony Hack Point To Insiders, Away from DPRK

A strong counter-narrative to the official account of the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment has emerged in recent days, with the visage of the petulant North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un, replaced by another, more familiar face: former Sony Pictures employees angry over their firing during a recent reorganization at the company. Researchers from the security firm Norse allege that their investigation of the hack of Sony has uncovered evidence that leads, decisively, away from North Korea as the source of the attack. Instead, the company alleges that a group of six individuals is behind the hack, at least one a former Sony Pictures Entertainment employee who worked in a technical role and had extensive knowledge of the company’s network and operations. [Read Security Ledger coverage of the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment.] If true, the allegations by Norse deal a serious blow to the government’s account of the incident, which placed the blame squarely on […]

The German steel maker ThyssenKrupp said it was the target of a large scale attack aimed at stealing industrial secrets.

Cyberattack Inflicts Massive Damage on German Steel Factory

  A report released this week from Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security said that a German steel manufacturing plant was severely damaged by a cyber-physical attack this year. The incident was mentioned in an annual report by the Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (or BSI), which provided a summary of cyber security issues and incidents affecting Germany. According to the report, a German steel manufacturing facility was the victim of a “targeted attack” that the report labeled an “APT” or “advanced persistent threat” style attack.  [Read more Security Ledger coverage of APT-style attacks.] The attackers used a sophisticated spear-phishing e-mail and social engineering to get access to the office network at the steelworks, the report claims. “From there, they worked successively to production networks.” The malicious code disrupted the function of control system components that led to a blast furnace not being able to be turned off in a regulated fashion. “The result (was) massive damage […]

Anti semitic messages printed out on Internet connected printers, and a well known Internet provocateur and white supremacist has taken credit.

Cyber Resilience? Sony Employees Back To Faxes and Face to Face

There’s a fascinating article on TechCrunch that cites a current (anonymous) Sony Pictures Entertainment employee talking about life at the company in the wake of a crippling November 24th cyber attack that wiped out thousands of computer systems and stole terabytes of data from the company. According to the story, Sony employees have resorted to using circa 1990s fax machines to transmit documents and – horror – having face to face communications in lieu of texting, e-mail or social networking, all of which are disabled within Sony’s environment. [Read more Security Ledger coverage of the Sony Pictures hack here.] “We had barely working email and no voicemail so people talked to each other,” the source tells TechCrunch. “Some people had to send faxes. They were dragging old printers out of storage to cut checks…It was crazy.” “That is what a major corporate security breach sounds like,” TechCrunch writes. “The squeal […]

White House Cyber Chief: JP Morgan Underscores Critical Infrastructure Risk

White House Cyber Chief: JP Morgan Underscores Critical Infrastructure Risk

The White House’s cyber security czar, Michael Daniel, said the Obama Administration is deeply concerned about the reported hack of systems belonging to banking giant JP Morgan Chase & Co. but sees the incident as part of a larger trend of attacks against U.S. critical infrastructure. Asked about the targeted attack against JP Morgan and other banks and financial institutions, Daniel said that the White House was concerned, but not surprised by the incident. “We have watched for several years the trend of malicious actors in cyber try to figure out how to target critical infrastructure,” he said. “Financial services is critical infrastructure.” The White House was concerned that a major U.S. bank would fall victim to hackers, but sees it in the context of a “broad trend,” rather than an isolated incident, he said. Speaking with Michael Farrell, the Cybersecurity Editor at Christian Science Monitor, Daniel hit on many of the now-common talking […]