The Department of Homeland Security warned firms in the energy sector about new, targeted malware infecting industrial control systems and stealing data. DHS’s ICS CERT, the Industrial Control Systems Computer Emergency Response Team, said it is analyzing malware associated with an ICS-focused malware campaign. The malicious software, dubbed “Havex” that was being spread by way of phishing emails and so-called “watering hole” attacks that involved compromises of ICS vendor web sites. DHS was alerted to the attacks by researchers at the security firms Symantec (which dubbed the malware campaign “Dragonfly”) and F-Secure (“Havex”) -a remote access trojan (or RAT) that also acts as an installer (or “downloader”) – fetching other malicious applications to perform specific tasks on compromised networks. One of those additional payloads is a Trojan Horse program dubbed Karagany (by Symantec) that has been liked to prior attacks on energy firms. According to Symantec, the malware targeted energy grid operators, major electricity generation firms, […]
Are We Even Trying To Defend The Internet of Things?
Josh Corman has been a frequent mention on this blog. Josh, who is the Director of Security Intelligence at Akamai Technologies, joined me on the first episodes of Talking Code, speaking about application security and The Internet of Things. He talked candidly about the role that platform security played in his thinking about buying a new car. Well, a few months have passed and now Josh has the new car. But now that he has it, he’s thinking more than ever about the security problem as it pertains to the Internet of Things. In this video, from a TEDx event in Naperville, Illinois (right outside Chicago), Josh talks about his evolving theory of security on the Internet of Things. The IoT, he says, is a “tidal wave” of change that will transform our lives – connecting every aspect of life via software. But this growing amalgam of Internet connected stuff […]
NSA Toolbox Included Hacks For Juniper, Cisco, Dell
The German magazine Der Spiegel made headlines this week with its story detailing the US National Security Agency’s (NSAs) offensive hacking capabilities. The story is based on classified NSA documents absconded with by former contractor Edward Snowden and lays bare a Webster’s Dictionary full of classified hacking tools and programs. Among the highlights of the story: + The NSA developed and deployed a wide range of hacking tools that could compromise hardware from leading IT and networking equipment makers including Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks and the Chinese vendor Huawei and Dell Inc. + The NSA tools were designed to provide persistent access that allowed the NSA to monitor activity on the compromised endpoint, avoid detection by third party security software and survive software and firmware updates. One such tool, DEITYBOUNCE, provided persistent access to Dell’s PowerEdge servers by “exploiting the system BIOS” and using “System Management Mode to […]
U.S. Cyber Security Framework Is Good News-For Hackers
Ralph Langner, the renowned expert on the security of industrial control- and SCADA systems, warns that the latest draft of the U.S. Government’s Cyber Security Framework (CSF) will do little to make critical infrastructure more resistant to devastating cyber attacks. Writing on his blog, Langner said that a draft of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST’s) Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework does little to compel critical infrastructure owners to improve the security of their systems, or guarantee uniform (and robust) cyber security standards in the critical infrastructure space. NIST released the latest draft of the CSF late last month (PDF). But Langner, writing on Wednesday, likened the framework to a recipe that, if used by three different chefs, produces three totally different dishes…or just a messy kitchen. “A less metaphorical words, a fundamental problem of the CSF is that it is not a method that, if applied properly, would lead to predictable results,” […]
What Is The NSA’s Big Crypto Breakthrough?
The revelations about US government spying keep coming fast and furious, thanks to Edward Snowden, the former Booz Allen Hamilton contractor who absconded with reams of classified (and highly classified) documents from the National Security Agency. The latest details come courtesy of The Washington Post which on Thursday published documents detailing the so-called “Black Budget” – government spending on its intelligence services including the CIA and NSA – over the last nine years, including the $52 billion spent in 2013. The documents give the most detailed accounting to date on U.S. government spending on intelligence in the post September 11 world and contain quite a few surprises. Among them: proof that the CIA receives far more money than does the NSA. But it is Uncle Sam’s work on cryptanalysis that has attracted a lot of attention from computer security and privacy experts. First, the Black Budget reveals that the NSA […]