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IT Security A Major Stumbling Block To Smart Manufacturing

The Internet of Things holds tremendous promise for the manufacturing space. But smart factories may still be more than a decade away, due in part to a lack of solid IT security controls, according to a survey of 1,300 German manufacturing firms and academics. The survey of 1,300 members companies and universities by the German Association for Electrical, Electronic, and Information Technologies (VDE) found that only 20% anticipated adoption of “smart production” (or “Industry 4.0” – as its referred to) by the start of the next decade. In contrast, 70% of those surveyed doubted that smart manufacturing goals would be achieved by 2025, despite obvious advantages. Why the skepticism? One commonly cited reason is a lack of strong IT security. According to a write-up on SAP’s blog, IT security was the most oft-cited obstacle to setting up smart factories. Sixty six percent of those surveyed cited security concerns as a reason to […]

Update: Researchers Use Weezer Tune To Knock Defibrillators Offline

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include comment from Medtronic and from the researchers. A bit more on that: I spoke to the fine researchers who conducted this study. They are concerned that people might casually read the headline or first couple paragraphs and conclude that listening to Weezer will kill them. Listening to Weezer will not kill you. Listening to Weezer will not interfere with your implanted defibrillator if used under normal conditions. Their experiment (and my article) make this clear, but you do have to  read down a bit in the article to get that, and I know not everyone does that. In any case, the health benefits of using an implanted defibrillator in accordance with your doctor’s instructions, far outweigh any risk from EMI or other electronic tampering. – PFR 5/22/2013. Listening to Weezer could kill you. Literally. That’s the conclusion of an unusual experiment […]

Digi Serial Servers

Update: Serial Server Flaws Expose Critical Infrastructure

A survey conducted by the firm Rapid 7 has found evidence that widespread vulnerabilities and insecure configuration of ubiquitous networking components known as serial port (or “terminal”) servers, may expose a wide range of companies and critical assets – including point of sale terminals, ATMs and industrial control systems – to remote cyber attacks.(*) The vulnerable devices connected hardware like retail point-of-sale systems at a national chain of dry cleaners, providing direct access to employee terminals from which customer payment information could be accessed. Other exposed systems were used to monitor the location of cargo containers, train cargo as well as HVAC and industrial control systems, Rapid7 said. In the Rapid7 survey, over 114,000 unique IPs were identified in a scan using the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), the vast majority manufactured by one company: Digi International. If left unaddressed, the vulnerable devices give remote attackers direct, administrative access to hardware devices […]

Data Breach For Dummies: Simple Hacks, Hackers Are The Norm

In spite of widespread media attention to the problem of “advanced persistent threats” and nation-backed cyber espionage, most cyber attacks that result in the theft of data are opportunistic and rely on unsophisticated or non-technical means, according to Verizon’s 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR). Verizon said that its analysis of 47,000 security incidents and 621 confirmed cases of data loss showed that three-quarters were “opportunistic” – not targeted at a specific company or individual – and financially motivated. Around 20 percent of attacks were linked to what Verizon termed “state affiliated actors” conducting cyber espionage. Verizon’s annual Data Breach Investigations Report presents the results of investigations conducted by Verizon’s RISK investigators, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, US-CERT as well as by law enforcement agencies globally. In its sixth year, it is a highly regarded and oft-cited benchmark of malicious activity and threats to organizations. In a press release […]

Painting of Flowers

One Reason Security Is So Hard? Really Bad Reports.

Security is hard. Everyone knows that. The question is: why? After all, our understanding of cyber threats improves with each day. The tools we use to secure our systems have also improved over time – antivirus software, firewalls, application firewalls, intrusion detection, data leak prevention, and so on. And yet, when we look at the data, there’s not much evidence that better understanding and better tools are leading to better security. According to Jonathan Grier, an independent security consultant, the answer to the question ‘Why aren’t we getting better at stopping attacks and protecting data?’ is that we’re not doing a good job of learning from the data we have. In a conversation with The Security Ledger, Grier, the founder of Grier Forensics,  said that, despite a wealth of security data, the security industry’s approach to analyzing it is immature. Grier likes working on the cutting edge of computer forensics and application security. […]