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HP Security Research OSINT (OpenSource Intelligence) articles of interest--August 15, 2014

SR-FI_Team ‎08-15-2014 04:57 PM - edited ‎08-22-2014 02:00 PM

Below, you will find the HP Security Research key articles of interest for August 15, 2014. These are publically available articles that are provided as a news service only. The intent of this blog post is to share current events related to the cyber security industry. 


The making of a cybercrime market

How two underground entities surfaced, battled, aligned, and ultimately extracted billions from some of the world’s largest financial institutions via unsuspecting, everyday banking client victims


Tenn. firm sues bank Over $327K cyberheist

An industrial maintenance and construction firm in Tennessee that was hit by a $327,000 cyberheist is suing its financial institution to recover the stolen funds, charging the bank with negligence and breach of contract. Courtwatchers say the lawsuit — if it proceeds to trial — could make it easier and cheaper for cyberheist victims to recover losses.


Meet MonsterMind, the NSA bot that could wage cyberwar autonomously

Edward Snowden has made us painfully aware of the government’s sweeping surveillance programs over the last year. But a new program, currently being developed at the NSA, suggests that surveillance may fuel the government’s cyber defense capabilities, too. The NSA whistleblower says the agency is developing a cyber defense system that would instantly and autonomously neutralize foreign cyberattacks against the US, and could be used to launch retaliatory strikes as well. The program, called MonsterMind, raises fresh concerns about privacy and the government’s policies around offensive digital attacks.


A two-step plan to stop hackers

There are a number of ways that consumers could react to the news this week that Russian hackers got their hands on 1.2 billion username and password combinations. We could pass it off as just another theft — one that has become public, among many others that we may never know about. If we haven’t been hacked by now, maybe there’s no need to worry, and our banks and brokerage firms are protecting us. Another possibility is to assume that the hackers are smarter than the banks, opt out of online access altogether and go back to using the phone or showing up in person for help. But the developments pushed me in a third direction: To seek out all of the crucial accounts in my life, including every financial one, and try to add another level of security to the login process for each one.


Q&A on the reported theft of 1.2B email accounts

My phone and email have been flooded with questions and interview requests from various media outlets since security consultancy, Hold Security, dropped the news that a Russian gang has stolen more than a billion email account credentials. Rather than respond to each of these requests in turn, allow me to add a bit of perspective here in the most direct way possible: The Q&A.


Iran’s internet users outsmart government in cat-and-mouse censorship game

Tor, a popular online anonymity tool used by many Iranians to bypass Internet censorship, was blocked from late July until the beginning of August. The block prevented 75 percent of the network's estimated 40,000 daily users in Iran from connecting to Tor.


Intellectual property loss affects 21 percent of manufacturing businesses in the past year

In ever more competitive global markets the success or failure of a business can rest on insights and solutions that allow it to operate more efficiently than its competitors. If this information falls into the hands of a competitor advantage is lost. Yet the results of a new study by Kaspersky Lab show that one in five manufacturing businesses has suffered a loss of intellectual property in the last 12 months.


What it's like running a shared Wi-Fi network for a bunch of hackers

This week, people who care about security — and specialize in compromising it — are gathered in the adult theme park that is Las Vegas for back-to-back hacker conferences, Black Hat and Defcon. Security researchers show off their best parlor tricks, demonstrating ways they’ve hacked cars, security systems, thermostats, credit card readers, and the hackers themselves, as two researchers talked about how they helped law enforcement take down Cryptolocker — the infamous ransomware that encrypted an infectee’s files and would only release the digital hostages if a Bitcoin ransom were paid. 


Heartbleed, GotoFail bring home Pwnie Awards

With nerdy security-themed music, a splash of sequins, and a general attitude of good-natured disorder, the security community celebrated its very best and very worst at the Pwnie Awards, Wednesday evening at the Black Hat conference. The Pwnies are awarded by a panel of security researchers who would no doubt be Pwnie winners themselves if they were eligible to enter: Dino Dai Zovi, Justine Aitel, Mark Dowd, Alexander Sotirov, Brandon Edwards, Christopher Valasek, and HD Moore.


Gaza and Crimea conflicts could have been predicted by monitoring cyber attacks

A surge in cyber attacks preceeded both the conflict in Ukraine and in Gaza, new research has found--leading to suggestions that the technique could be used to predict future fighting.


The man who can see the Internet

When major world crises erupt these days, a least some members of the media rush to check the blog of Renesys, a small New Hampshire-based firm specializing in what it calls "Internet intelligence." The insights found there into which dictator has kicked his country off the Internet for how long is a byproduct of Renesys's core work of selling information on the flow of Internet traffic to Internet service providers. But by monitoring the Internet's vital signs, the company can see how the ever-evolving global network of networks fits into global events.


Meet the puzzle mastermind who designs Def Con’s hackable badges

Def Con is one of the world’s biggest hacker conventions, an annual gathering of security experts, cryptographers and at least a few people who could surreptitiously drain your bank account if they wanted. They come to Las Vegas to learn about the latest computer vulnerabilities and exploits, show off their skills, and hack or crack anything that can be hacked and cracked—including the conference badges.


Researcher snaps a Zeus hacker's photo through his webcam

Security researcher Raashid Bhatt has detailed how to bust the security protections of the Zeus banking trojan allowing him to take a webcam photo of the scammer. Bhatt (@raashidbhatt) wrote in a technical blog how he reverse-engineered the malware after a scammer attempted to foist the malware on him through a phishing scam claiming that "a person from your office was found dead outside" directing him to open a malicious attachment to verify the victim's identity.


Backdoor techniques in targeted attacks

Backdoors are an essential part of targeted attacks, as they allow an external threat actor to exercise control over any compromised machines. These allow the threat actor to collect information and move laterally within the targeted organization. Our investigations into various targeted attacks have showed that a wide variety of tactics are used by backdoors to carry out their routines, as well as remain undetected by network administrators and security products. Over time, these techniques have evolved as more sophisticated defenses become available to network administrators.


Expert warns of Chip-and-PIN pitfalls

The inevitable changeover from magnetic strip-based payment cards to EMV, or chip-and-PIN, is coming for consumers and merchants in the United States. And coming along with it are a raft of weaknesses and real-world attacks that shoot holes in the presumption that EMV will remedy credit card fraud. Cambridge University professor Ross Anderson, a cryptography expert who has spent more than a decade examining the various EMV protocols, vulnerabilities and hacks, today cautioned during a talk at the Black Hat 2014 conference that American banks and merchants heed these lessons and prepare accordingly.


Chart of the Week: The hype cycle of emerging technologies

Have you been hearing a lot about “the internet of things” lately? Maybe you even read our recent report collecting expert predictions on the subject. The 2014 Gartner Hype Cycle might help explain why this volume of attention has risen. This annual report plots the rising expectations and enthusiasm (and subsequent disappointment and disillusionment) for various emerging technologies. As Quartz’s Leo Mirani points out, the Internet of Things has “reached the zenith of its hype,” egged on by copious, “breathless” news coverage.


Apparently Canada is now the Bitcoin ATM “Capital of the World"

If you’re not aware of what a BTM actually is, think ATM, just with the world’s first digital currency. Using a cellphone with a Bitcoin wallet, users can buy up to $3,000 worth of Canadian currency, in Bitcoin, by scanning a QR Code generated by the BTM. After that, its instantly uploads the digital currency directly to smartphones.


Internet noise and malicious requests to a new web server

I set up a brand new web server to see what type of connections it will receive. Since the server had no “production” purpose, all attempts to access it could be considered suspicious at best. Such requests are associated with scans, probes and other malicious activities that tend to blend into the background of web traffic. Here’s what I observed.


The information contained in this blog post is from publicly available sources. Avoid suspicious links and advertisements. These articles do not represent HP’s view or position on any of the topics listed. 

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