Saturday, May 31, 2014

Countries and systems compromised

"For any nation would dare to say that 100% is prepared for an attack, but Brazil is prepared to respond to cyber threats more likely". Article started on Saturday with the words of General Jose Carlos Dos Santos, head of the division of military cyber command in Brazil, in response to the question I did a few months ago at the press conference on the strategy of the World Cup in Fútbol.

Words unfortunately after learning that the system of internal communications of the Ministry of External Relations of the country has been committed. The method of attack, a classic among classics: Social engineering and phishing coupled in order to obtain access credentials of any of the 1,500 Brazilian diplomats worldwide. And the cup, still unknown, but between the union fears "be facing a new Wikileaks".

Friday, May 30, 2014

When reality surpasses predictions

"I think Facebook is the next Microsoft in both the bad and the good senses. That's an amazing company that is going to do a lot of good and bad things.” You cannot say Jimmy Wales, one of the founders of Wikipedia, that he didn’t anticipate it, since he said this words in 2007 (Wikiquote). In fact, both good and bad things are present in Facebook... often outside of Facebook itself.

A few days ago, FireEye warned the community about the activities of Iranian hacker group called Ajax Security Team, and now iSIGHT has reported the existence of what they have considered "the most elaborated cyber espionage campaign in recent years" (that is to say "in history"). The campaign consists of recreation of extremely well-imitated fake social media profiles, especially on Facebook, specifically designed to contact U.S. intelligence officers and all kind of politicians worldwide.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The world of encryption is in mourning

“WARNING: Using TrueCrypt is not secure as it may contain unfixed security issues.” Yesterday the anonymous developers of TrueCrypt, a free open-source disk encryption software, raised all community’s eyebrows with this statement on their web page on Sourceforge. So much so, many people thought they were being victims of a hacker attack. But it seems that the authors of the program have actually decided to give up and have recommended private tools like BitLocker as substitutes.

The idea of a hacker seizing the TrueCrypt page was not so farfetched. In fact, in the past 12 months, the personal data of 47% of Americans have been compromised by hackers, according to data protection research firm Ponemon Institute.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Nothing, not even your body, is free of hacking

“A patient gets a device like this implanted once for one disease, and they’re done. No prescriptions, no medicines, no injections. That’s the future.” At least, that's the future imagined by neurosurgeon Kevin Tracey to treat diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

The vision of Mr. Tracey involves implanting tiny electronic devices in the vagus nerve of the patient. These implants produce electrical impulses that transmit instructions to his nervous system to fight the disease that afflicts him. However, this promising future presents a clear threat: the hacking. These devices will have wireless connectivity to update them or send them instructions, for example, from a mobile phone. But as we all know, wireless connections are susceptible to be attacked what could lead to the death of a patient.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Some good news and other bad ones for security

There is a saying in Spanish that literally says “one of sand and one of lime”, which somehow means “one good with another bad (thing).” This is the way news about cybersecurity and cybercrime come today.

On one hand, it has been discovered a new banking Trojan that blends features from the infamous Zeus and Carberp. Zberp, that's how they have called, targets customers of 450 financial institutions worldwide. However, on the other hand, the French and Bulgarian police in coordination with Europol have conducted a joint operation to put an end to a Bulgarian gang which cloned credit cards and used them to steal money from the associated bank accounts. Named as Operation Eco, it has resulted in the arrest of 11 members of such criminal group.

Monday, May 26, 2014

The spark of cyber fires

“A mighty flame followeth a tiny spark” (Italian poet, Dante Alighieri). Last week, we saw how a few sparks became two major fires and today we witness how these fires keep expanding out of control.

The first spark was the indiction of 5 Chinese military by the U.S. accused of cyber espionage. This burnt the flame of revenge in the Chinese administration which ordered state enterprises to avoid dealing with American consulting firms such as McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group and Bain. Now U.S. may add fuel to the fire by preventing the entry into its territory of Chinese hackers who plan to attend major hacking conferences Black Hat and DefCon that will take place in Las Vegas in August.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Top 5 Infosec links of the week (XXVI)

"Digital identity, phishing campaigns with Google Drive, cyber attacks and their consequences, Facebook detecting malware and the great digital work of the Guardia Civil". The five top post this week, directly in the Sunday compilation.

The news these days has been the attack that suffered Ebay with the alleged theft of millions of user accounts, and all the hype surrounding the sale of false information, making it clear that the interest of the attackers is not only theft money, but the digital identity of the person, in order to impersonate her in any situation.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Randomness and vulnerable systems

"We predict an increasing number of new data breaches in both sectors in the next few years, as well as the appearance of new types of specific malicious code targeted at retailers' backoffice systems and cash registers". IntelCrawler guys words, after making public a discovery that will not leave anyone indifferent:

Discovered a PoS botnet, apparently directed from Serbia, almost 1500 stores in over 35 countries. The odd thing is that among infected at least 25 different types of management software are counted, pointing to a criminal industrialization with great resources. Systems which, as we mentioned last week, start to be in the crosshairs of cyber attackers, being programs that handle credit cards, and usually do not have the necessary security measures.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Not only your money, but your life

It is not only about your password or about or your money. It is also about your personal information, those small pieces of the puzzle of your online identity, those which criminals use to impersonate you and extend their range of action over your contacts.

Those are some ideas by cybersecurity expert Scott Schober, interviewed by CTV News about eBay’s data leakage. In addition to the threat itself that this episode implies, eBay users should be extremely cautious: after a security breach like this, "black hats" often release several phishing campaigns taking advantage of the users’ confusion who have heard they must change their passwords.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Cyber attacks and their consequences

“The scope for damage is absolutely huge and could be the biggest hack of all time” (Rik Ferguson, vice president of security research at Trend Micro).

This quote is related to the massive data breach suffered by the Internet giant eBay. The attackers “compromised a small number of employee log-in credentials,” allowing unauthorised access to eBay’s customer database where it was stored the personal data of its 233 million users. The company stated that the breach did not affected the financial details of its users, but hackers had access to other information such as names, email addresses, physical addresses, phone numbers and birth dates. Also to the passwords, but in this case they were encrypted. This is a highly valuable information if sold in the black market, so no doubt this incident will have serious repercussions for eBay.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The boomerang effect of industrial cyber espionage

"Boomerang effect: it is the outcome of an action that turns against its author" (Real Academia Española). After the indictment of five accused Chinese military industrial accused of cyber espionage by the U.S., about we told you yesterday, it comes the analysis of the possible consequences for Americans. Does this decision could turn against them?

The comprehensive analysis by David E. Sanger on The New York Times covers the different espionage episodes on foreign companies carried out by the National Security Agency (NSA). Oil companies such as Brazil's Petrobras, technological ones such as China's Huawei or German Siemens, and even an optic fiber operator from Hong Kong called Pacnet have been targeted by NSA’s surveillance. But the actions of the U.S. intelligence services has also affected political figures such as Joaquin Almunia, antitrust commissioner of the European Commission or Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff. Until what extend does all this espionage have to do with national security and not with the aim of enhancing the U.S. private sector’s competitiveness?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Industrial cyber espionage, a new workhorse for diplomacy

"You’ve spied on us!", one side says. "We don’t know what you're talking about! You have spied on us indeed!", the other responds. And they had kept accusing each other for a long time until the first side decided to go one step further.

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted five Chinese military accusing them of industrial cyber espionage. Taking into consideration everything what Edward Snowden revealed about the surveillance practices carried out by the National Security Agency (NSA), this could be seen as a very cynical gesture. In fact, it doesn’t seems a very good measure as it may have a boomerang effect, as Wired notes. Once the door is open, China and other countries affected by NSA’s espionage might begin announcing indictments of U.S. officials. For now, the Asian giant denies such allegations and predicts a deterioration of diplomatic relations between the two powers.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A wide color range of cyberthreats

Green, brown, blue, pink, orange, red, violet... The cyberthreats’ landscape is multicolored and affects a wide range of subjects ranging from large retail chains or ATM’s to satellite communications or even security firms.

Today there is only one way to stay away from the risks of electronic devices and data networks: to live completely isolated and incommunicado. The rest of us actually are and will always be potential victims of the dangers of cyberspace.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Top 5 Infosec links of the week (XXV)

Data protection in the IoT, rationality and intelligent algorithms, benefits of working for ilegal organization, points of sale attacked, and Japanese arrested for possession of weapons created by 3D printers. The five top post this week, directly in the Sunday compilation.

The methods of attack and theft of personal data evolve at an alarming rate in an environment increasingly dominated by the internet of things. Kester and Pattison wrote an article recently about measures to be applied to mitigate the hazards associated with these attacks.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

We are our worst vulnerability and our best antivirus

"In the web we are our worst vulnerability, but we are also our best antivirus". One of those phrases that come every day to work @_Angelucho_, a strong advocate of IT security, great companion of this medium, and that together with numerous partners formed X1RedMasSegura, an event aimed at the general public (not professionals only), which already has its second edition, and held these days in the auditorium of the School of Telecommunication Engineering (ETSIT) of the Polytechnic University of Madrid. What can not attend? No matter, for it has enabled streaming available on the link that accompanies this post.

What is and what net neutrality means? Does it affect everyone equally? Why back in the news today? All these questions (and some more) are answered in the mini tutorial from ITespresso been prepared for the occasion. One issue of concern, which will mark the future of digital information, and therefore of human knowledge.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Everyone connected, even the 'bad guys'

"Next year it's estimated that there will be 15 billion connected devices. By 2020 this number will reach 50 billion. (...) Between now until 2020, the digital universe will double every two years." These predictions are explained in a recent article by two experts in the Internet of things (IoT): Stephen Pattison and Steven Kesler (English version / Spanish version).

A world full of all kind of connected devices is not a futuristic scenario. It is here and it has come to stay. Kesler and Pattison reflect on this and on the IoT's implications for data security. Therefore they propose some guidelines and recommendations for the government to ensure a smooth transition to the new digital world. Among them, we find that "consumers must be the owners of their own data" while "they must rely on how their data is used, stored and transported" in an environment in which "technology is an important part of the solution."

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Information, forgetting, security and Ancient World

“Forget what has already happened, it may be regrettable, but not redone”. This quote by the Roman historian Livy may have inspired the judges from the Court of Justice of the European Union, who decided to give carte blanche to the so-called "right to be forgotten". The case have to do with several issues such as privacy, data analysis and information security.

Among of all the links on this issue, we wanted to draw attention on two considerations. The first one, published by the BBC, places the debate on the cultural and legislative gap between the two sides of the Atlantic; while in the United States mentioning the First Amendment (guaranteeing freedom of expression) blocks any initiative to regulate the flow of information, European legislators understand that citizens should be able to decide on whatever surrounds them... and consider Google’s fault to index the original source.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Internet forgives and forget in the European Union

“If, following a search made on the basis of a person’s name, the list of results displays a link to a web page which contains information on the person in question, that data subject may approach the operator directly and, where the operator does not grant his request, bring the matter before the competent authorities in order to obtain, under certain conditions, the removal of that link from the list of results.”  This is how the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled yesterday in relation to the "right to be forgotten" in a case started by a Spanish lawyer against Google 5 years ago. This sentence has caused much controversy both inside and outside Europe as a consequence of the ongoing struggle between the right to privacy and the right to information in a world increasingly more and better communicated.

While in Europe judges have resolved whether to be forgotten is a right or not, in the United States, U.S. Navy sailors can forget about having fully functional ebooks readers. For security reasons, their e-readers will not have any feature that can be exploited by the enemy. That means zero connectivity: no ports, no  WiFi and no data connection.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Cybercrime drives a Ferrari

“Ferrari gives you a special feeling.” We don’t need Fernando Alonso telling us, we can imagine how amazing must be driving one of the Cavallino Rampante’s cars.

In fact, the leader of an eastern European cybercrime scheme has offered a brand new Ferrari for the hacker who gets more profits from their illicit activities within his organization, according to the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3). It is a way to motivate them to find new scams and carry out more effective cyber attacks.

Monday, May 12, 2014

"Killer robots" are not the only threat

“The people are really thinking it’s ok to give the right to target and kill human beings to machines.”  Jody Williams, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997, uttered these words with a mixture of anger and fear in an interview in which she was asked about "killer robots."

We live in a world where almost anything is achievable provided the means and enough time to develop it. Unfortunately, some of these inventions are designed solely to kill other human beings. This is the case of "killer robots" whose creation is close to being a reality. Machines would be able to select their targets and destroy them autonomously, without any human intervention, as it is in the case of drones. The controversy is served and has reached the UN, where the matter will be discussed by experts during the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) in November.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Top 5 Infosec links of the week (XXIV)

What do they have in common DNS protocols, the Soccer World Cup and Shanghai students? Apparently nothing, but beside Heartbleed, these are the top topics past week from the clicks you have done on shared links. These are your readings.

Can you imagine that any of the pages you are visiting day by day were anything but what you think? Well that is exactly what some researchers warned at the very start of the week: a flaw in the DNS protocols, which are the very basis of our current web experience, enabling IP adresses interpreted as URL addresses and vice versa. It was the main topic last week and no wonder: potentially all (ie: ALL), Internet users are at risk. The post where CIGTR realized that news ("Just forget it"), has also been one of the most visited links these seven days.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Get in the ring, hackers

Welcome to the most important e-Boxing evening in recent years! At one side, with a completely freaky look, Cyber Security! At the other, and with decades of experience, The Comfort Zone! Let the battle begin. Seconds out!

By now you know that cybersecurity is a fight that is fought daily. But sometimes the worst enemies are not out there, they are not the "hackers" but those who practice a kind of friendly fire, without awareness. So our first "intimate enemies" are comfort and ignorance. Because only convenience or ignorance can be attributed to the fact that 7 out of 100 websites that have reissued their certificates after the Heartbleed "black hole", they have reissued them... using the same private key. We are at the Round 1 and Cyber Security boxer has got his nose dislocated. Timeout.

Friday, May 9, 2014


As the former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, said “unless both sides win, no agreement can be permanent”.  For this reason, we spend our lives always negotiating, always trying to reach that point of mutual benefit which is not always possible.

In Colombia, for instance, the government is not able to get a definitive agreement with the FARC. The peace process initiated in November 2012 is suffering constant attacks by opponents of the current Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. Now it has even been arrested a hacker who was allegedly spying talks between the guerrillas and the government in order to sabotage the process.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Big Cibersecurity Circus

"There was a circus that always gladdened the heart, full of color, world of illusion, full of joy and emotion." We begin today's post with this very popular song by the great Spanish clown Miliki to give you the warmest welcome to... The Big Cybersecurity Circus!

Among our audience today we have people from the two industries most targeted by cybercrime, the financial and the energy ones. At least, they are according to a study by ThreatTrack Security in which 72% of respondents within these sectors said they thought their companies would suffer a cyber attack in the next 12 months. Welcome! Things begin!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Cyberthreats... despite the Feria

You would love to be in Seville today, and you know it! The uproar of the Seville’s Feria de Abril (April Fair) is calling you, but you're here hooked in front of the screen.

While people in Seville fill the space of the Feria with colors and polka dots, the rest of the world faces the dangers of cyberspace. For example, those called Advanced Persistent Threats (APT), traditionally a name for those cyber attacks that targeted a specific objective over a long period of time. However, according to a research by Imperva company, such threats don’t need to be so sophisticated to achieve highly effective results anymore. Just taking advantage of the employees’ mistakes within an organization it is enough for cybercriminals to achieve their goals.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Cybersecurity is not a joke

This little joke perfectly reflects the lack of understanding that often exists between the senior management and their IT or information security departments. However, both groups need to speak the same language and pursue the same business goals if they want to succeed.

One of the goals to be pursued is to reduce confidential data breaches down to zero. Nowadays 63% of companies believe they wouldn’t be unable to prevent information theft in case of attack, according to a survey by the Ponemon Institute. Therefore it is key that the CISO or the responsible for cybersecurity has the full support of the management in order to cope with such a difficult task.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Just "forget it"

What are you doing reading this? Stop, turn off, go out to take fresh air and forget Internet. If it seems drastic, maybe you do not know that some Israeli researchers have found a flw in the DNS protocol. That is, at the very base of the current Internet, what is used for an IP address to be interpreted as a URL, and vice versa, to get a quick idea of the meaning of DNS, Domain Name System.

If you insist on reading further, it must be said that the researchers have claimed that they are not aware that this flaw has ben exploited, mostly because it involves great technical complexity. But hey, at least on paper, it is virtually possible that any site you are visiting right now, is anything but the place to which you browsed.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Top 5 Infosec links of the week (XXIII)

0-Days in Internet Explorer, hacking semaphore, the largest cybersecurity exercise in the European Union, how to stop cybercriminals and learn from failures. The five top post this week, directly in the Sunday compilation.
A new 0-Day in all commercial versions of Internet Explorer has exploded on the net, with the discovery that they were already in circulation attacks targeting different industries and based on malicious flash files.

Security flaws that become critical when they affect urban infrastructure, as recently presented by Cesar Cerrudo of IOActive, Inc., has been found how easily hack semaphores and present its investigation within fifteen days at the Infiltrate Security Conference.

The EU is aware of these dangers, and this week carried out the largest operation in the history of cyber security, Cyber ​​Europe 2014 (CE2014), involving over 200 companies and 400 industry professionals.

The eternal struggle of cat and mouse. The first trying to defend the vulnerabilities that are usually discovered first by the second, as shown in the video that accompanies the article.

And we end with a link to our home that has crept into the weekly top, in which we talk about the importance of taking action and learning from mistakes.

Top five topics of the week. News Five drinking from the same source. The business that are behind the theft.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Digital privacy

"Later this month, Apple will update its policies so that in most cases when law enforcement requests personal information about a customer, the customer will receive a notification from Apple". With these words Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for the company, reveals the future of the new management user privacy.

Apple is not the only one that tell your customer that their data will be transferred to the government. Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo in a few months these days also gave separate statements about it. Causes, discomfort aroused by the knowledge of the tactics of the NSA and government of half the world. The new one has a but, and this time will be the judge to decide whether the consumer should be warned or not, and how could it be otherwise, shall be exempt any requests that come directly to national security.

Privacy in the Post-Snowden era. A massive awareness that is taking large technology to take action on behalf of users. Facebook announced this week at its developer event that from now on, Facebook Connect can be configured to make connections in third-party services without giving them sensitive data. Thus, stands as one of the most comfortable and useful methods from the client, ensuring your data will remain in good hands.

And also knew the decision of Google (without forgetting that is motivated by a complaint) stop tracing of email communications of its Apps for Education users, Google's suite implemented in most universities and colleges. It thus ended contextualization in display advertising across its services. A relief for those research groups used to use. And won a victory for privacy.

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Friday, May 2, 2014

A vulnerability with an explorer's soul

“I’m a explorer”. This is how the Indian actor Waris Ahluwalia describes himself. Are you also keen on discovering new places, knowledge, experiences...?

In fact, today, we are all a bit of explorers, at least when we go into the jungle of Internet. However, instead of maps and binoculars, our main tool is some of the web browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Happy Labour Day for all of those who work hard in the cybersecurity field

Thomas Edison, one of the most brilliant inventors in history, said “there is no substitute for hard work.” Therefore, in this Labour Day, the CIGTR’s team want to recognize the efforts of all you who struggle everyday to make the Internet a more secured place.

Congratulations to all those that seek the weaknesses of systems and devices so they can be fixed. For example, the systems that control traffic lights and electronic traffic signs. As you can see in today's video, Cesar Cerrudo from IOActive has found a way to easily hack them. He will explain their findings at the Infiltrate Security Conference in fifteen days.