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Hacking & Security Posts - Page 12

Iran plans to expand its 'smart filtering' for Internet users

The Iranian government will move ahead with an effort to use "smart filtering" of the Internet for Iranian users, with "undesirable" content censored - Iran has some of the strictest regulation and controls of the Internet, with many foreign websites blocked.


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Despite Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other populations blocked, a growing number of Iranian users access these websites with virtual private networks (VPNs). However, Tehran wants to filter the content, hoping it's a more effective method of preventing some blocked content - and President Hassan Rouhani previously promised to begin opening up technology access.


"Presently, the smart filtering plan is implemented only on one social network in its pilot study phase and this will process will continue gradually until the plan is implemented on all networks," said Mahmoud Vaezi, Iranian Communications Minister, in a statement to the IRNA news agency.

Report: North Korea's Bureau 121 scarier than previously thought

The North Korean government has steadily increased capabilities of its secretive Bureau 121 cyberespionage unit, but very little is known about how it operates. A North Korean defector recently shed light on the division of specialized "cyber warriors," with specific training of programming languages, operating systems research, and IT network security vulnerabilities.


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By the time hackers are officially hired by Bureau, some candidates have almost nine years of training, according to Jang Se-yul, a graduate of the top North Korean engineering college. Bureau 121 cybercriminals - and their families - are moved to Pyongyang and become among the country's top 1 percent, including a high salary, free apartment, and free Internet access.


The US and other western nations are focused more on limiting cyberespionage, especially from North Korea, Iran, China and Russia - but the cybercriminals have had a step up on us for quite some time. North Korea understands it wouldn't be able to win a conventional war against political rivals, but is able to cause chaos using their hacker branch.

Japanese banks being targeted by Chinese hackers, tension growing

Cybercriminals from China are increasingly targeting Japanese bank account holders, with more than $16 million stolen from the Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group during the first six months of 2014. Japanese police officials report a rising number of Chinese nations being arrested for cyber-related crimes, and security experts point towards Chinese-based IP addresses.


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The chaos begins by a phishing attack that tricks users into providing their passwords. Money is transferred out of Japan and people are recruited to visit ATMs and withdraw as much money as they can. Products are purchased in Japan and the stolen items are shipped and re-sold in China.


Earlier in the year, Japanese government websites were compromised by suspected Chinese hackers, with most of the sites temporarily dropped by distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. However, other websites were defaced with political messages related to Japan-China sociopolitical propaganda - as both countries continue their efforts to rebuild an extremely tumultuous relationship.

Hackers cause damage at German factory with malware attack

Cybercriminals compromised a German factory and caused "massive" damage to a blast furnace inside of the facility, according to a Federal Office for Information Security report made available by the German government. The company impacted remains unknown, but it looks like they fell victim to a phishing attack that led to malware installation on company computers - and it didn't take long before PCs and factory systems to suffer.


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Since the company's employees were not able to maintain control of the blast furnace, there was "massive damage to [the] plant." "The attackers were knowledgeable in conventional IT security and had extensive knowledge of applied control and production processes," according to a recently published report.


As cybercriminals find new methods to conduct cyberespionage, there is growing concern that they can breach critical infrastructure - and cause significant damage - and this German foundry incident is a worrying sign. It's unknown if the hackers intended to just steal data, or cause physical damage, but show how vulnerable computer systems can be.

Hackers take credit for downing Xbox Live, PlayStation Network

The Lizard Squad reportedly has taken credit for dropping Microsoft's Xbox Live and Sony's PlayStation Network on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. It's not a complete surprise to hear of the cyberattacks, with the group promising them all month long. Lizard Squad used a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, with the FBI and other hacker groups reportedly targeting them.


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Unfortunately, the group demanded 10,000 retweets of a message posted on Twitter, so gamers will be able to access, Xbox Live and other services - and regain playability on PSN. Both Microsoft and Sony are working on connectivity issues, with spotty service available in North America.


It's not a surprise to hear they wanted to target the attack for Christmas, as many gamers plug in their consoles for the first time - or hit the power switch to begin playing a new title.

Japan working to improve cybersecurity after Sony Pictures attack

Following a successful data breach targeting Sony Pictures, the Japanese government is increasingly weary of potential North Korea-based cyberattacks. Japan is used to China's ambitious cyberespionage campaigns, but North Korea has steadily improved its own ability to launch successful attacks.


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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to boost internal cybersecurity defense as the threat of foreign-based attacks reaches frightening levels. There is specific interest in ensuring critical infrastructure, such as its power grid, transportation networks, and gas supplies can continue to function even under continued attack.


"Japan is maintaining close contact with the United States and supporting their handling of this case," said Yoshihide Suga, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary, during a press conference. The Japanese government is relying on strong ties with Washington in a joint-cooperation to increase cybersecurity.

Sony Pictures releases 'The Interview' on streaming services

The long saga of the Sony hack is far from over, but Sony has finally taken the step of releasing "The Interview" for purchase on a variety of digital platforms. The Interview is available on Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft's Xbox Video, and a Sony website. The movie was released at 1 PM EST today and is available to stream for $5.99, and for purchase at $14.99. Sony also announced that 300 theaters will play the movie on Thursday.


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Sony has taken a considerable beating over the massive hack of the Sony Pictures outfit. The satirical film outlines an assassination attempt of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The pending release triggered strong condemnation from North Korea, which threatened action. Soon after, Sony Pictures was hacked, and the US government claims to have proof that North Korea was behind the attack. After the hacking attack, embarrassing internal Sony documents were released to the public, and the hacking group also threatened violence at any theaters showing the film. Several prominent film distribution companies refused to air the movie, leading Sony Pictures to pull the movie. That announcement met with widespread criticism, particularly from President Obama, who likened the move to cowing to terrorists.

Continue reading 'Sony Pictures releases 'The Interview' on streaming services' (full post)

South Korea wants China's cooperation into nuclear hack attack

South Korea hopes the Chinese government will be cooperative in a data breach investigation recently suffered by the Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. just a few days ago. Some of the IP addresses used to compromise the Korean company are linked to a northeastern Chinese city close to the border with North Korea, according to an unnamed South Korean government official.


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Despite its geographic location, there still isn't enough evidence to accuse China or North Korea of being directly involved in the cyberattack - although China is suspected of targeting the United States and its allies, while North Korea has been accused of previous cyber breaches suffered by South Korean companies.


"When we have the cooperation of the Chinese, where of course we don't have jurisdiction, we will be asking for checks or maybe a search of the location of the IP address," a South Korean official recently said. "As we're doing this, there is a possibility that the IP addresses in China are not the final source but used in a routing. It's possible (the network) in China was used (remotely) from some other location."

Want a job? Sony hiring cybersecurity director to work in Washington

Sony doesn't want a repeat of its data breach suffered by Sony Pictures, and hopes a new Director of Vulnerability Management Engineering will be able to lend a hand. The company is still trying to lick its wounds after foreign cyberattackers brought Sony Pictures to its knees, with corporate emails and movies stolen, along with employee personal information.


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Applicants must have a minimum of 10 years information security experience and five years of experience in penetration testing/red teaming. The qualified candidate must have a Master's degree in computer science or another appropriate field, or have equivalent experience.


Sony also posted job listings for junior analysts on the "security operations team," a senior risk management analyst job, senior governance, and a risk and compliance analyst dedicated to security and privacy training.

Continue reading 'Want a job? Sony hiring cybersecurity director to work in Washington' (full post)

Companies should learn from Sony hack, work to improve cybersecurity

If companies needed another reminder on the importance of improving cybersecurity, they can learn from the current predicament tormenting Sony Pictures. C-level executives need to be more involved when it comes to being proactive ensuring cybersecurity strategies at their companies are being implemented properly.


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It has been a brutal year for data breaches in the United States, with Sony Pictures joining the unfortunate list of Home Depot, Target, JPMorgan Chase, and multiple other companies that suffered high-profile, very public cybersecurity incidents. Trying to prevent these data breaches is much easier said than done, but many companies have either ignored security recommendations - or overlooked potential fallout - related to security.


"I think the scale of this impact on Sony is what's going to make a lot of C-suites sit up and say 'Wow, we really do need to take this seriously,'" said Rob Sloan, cyber data and content head at Dow Jones Risk & Compliance, in a statement published by Fortune. "They can see the damage being done and it's potentially career-threatening for them and business-ending if they don't have the funds to support them through their troubles."

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