A common time clock that is used by companies and government agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) contains pre-programmed “back door” user accounts that could allow malicious attackers to gain access to sensitive networks, according to research by a security researcher at Qualys Inc. Speaking before an audience at the Black Hat Briefings in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Billy Rios, the Director of Threat Intelligence at Qualys Inc., revealed research on the Kronos 4500, a “time and attendance” product (aka time clock) that employees use to ‘punch in’ and ‘punch out’ from work. Rios said that an in-depth analysis of the Kronos equipment and the software that it runs revealed two types of backdoor accounts (user names and passwords) that will provide access to any deployed 4500 device. The accounts are particularly worrying because some vulnerable devices can be discovered using Internet searches, and because TSA is known to use Kronos attendance […]
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The U.S. government’s federal technology agency has published a draft version of a voluntary framework it hopes will guide the private sector in reducing the risk of cyber attacks on critical infrastructure. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published a draft of its Preliminary Framework to Reduce Cyber Risks to Critical Infrastructure on Monday. The document provides a guide for critical infrastructure owners of different maturity levels to begin documenting and understanding their risk of cyber attack, and – eventually – to measure their performance in areas such as asset management, threat detection and incident response. The framework was called for by Executive Order 13636, signed by President Obama in February. In that order, NIST was charged with creating a framework for sharing cyber security threat information and information on successful approaches to reduce risks to critical infrastructure. The Framework is comprised of five major cybersecurity functions: Know […]
Attempted cyber attacks on critical infrastructure in the U.S., including energy and critical manufacturing jumped sharply in the first half of 2013, according to a just-released report from the Department of Homeland Security’s Industrial Control System Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT). ICS-CERT said that cyber incidents across all critical infrastructure in the U.S. are on pace to double in 2013. The agency has responded to 200 such incidents so far in fiscal year 2013 (October of 2012 to May of 2013), compared to 198 incidents for all of fiscal year 2012. A majority of those incidents – 53% – were against organizations in the energy sector, ICS-CERT reported. The report is just the latest from DHS about threats to the energy sector. The agency warned energy firms after seeing a sharp jump in attacks during 2012, when attacks on energy firms accounted for around 40% of the malicious activity directed […]
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued guidance to medical device makers and hospitals that use their products to pay more attention to cyber security and the potential for cyber attacks on vulnerable medical instruments. The FDA released its “Safety Communication for Cybersecurity for Medical Devices and Hospital Networks” on Thursday – the same day that the Department of Homeland Security’s ICS (Industrial Control System) CERT issued a warning about the discovery of hard coded “back door” passwords in some 300 medical devices from 40 separate vendors, including drug infusion pumps, ventilators and patient monitoring systems. The FDA said it expects device makers to “review their cybersecurity practices and policies to assure that appropriate safeguards are in place to prevent unauthorized access or modification to their medical devices or compromise of the security of the hospital network that may be connected to the device. Hospitals were instructed to harden […]
A bulletin published by the Department of Homeland Security has warned that the increasing use of wireless networking technology to enable medical devices expands the ways that those devices could be hacked. The bulletin, published May 4 by DHS’ National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, warns that advances in medical devices, including Internet connectivity and the use of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices in patient care “expands the attack surface” of medical devices. “Smartphones and tablets are mini computers with instant access to the internet or linked directly to a hospital’s network. The device or the network could be infected with malware designed to steal medical information if not upgraded with the latest anti-virus and spy-ware software,” DHS said. Advances in medical device technology have already greatly improved medical care, especially in areas like medical health records and remote monitoring of patients with implantable medical devices. However, too little […]