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Cybercriminals recently targeted JPMorgan Chase customers with a curious phishing attack designed to steal banking credentials and infect PCs so other usernames and passwords could be collected. JMorgan is the No. 1 bank in the United States based on assets, and confirmed the "Smash and Grab" cyberattack targeting its customers.
It seems spam filters stopped a large portion of the attacks, but the phishing scam looks authentic, so it likely did compromise customers. In addition to stealing JPMorgan Chase credentials, attached malware also targets Bank of America, Royal Bank of Scotland and Citigroup customers.
Financial institutions are struggling to try to defend customers from cyberattacks - and the use of social engineering is rising, with cybercriminals simply tricking users into providing the data. However, it's rather curious that these spammers are including malware that steals credentials of other banks, because it's more likely to be detected.
Information security spending will reach $71.1 billion in 2014, a 7.9 percent year-over-year growth rate, according to the Gartner research group. The data loss prevention sector will have the fastest growth, amounting to 18.9 percent, with security spending to rise 8.2 percent in 2015 up to $76.9 billion.
There is great interest in improving security, especially among companies with customer and client data at risk, as retailers, financial institutions, and healthcare in the private sector try to boost their defenses. Cybercriminals are improving their malware and malicious software, which can be found online for a relatively low price to anyone willing to pay.
"This Nexus of Forces is impacting security in terms of new vulnerabilities," said Lawrence Pingree, Gartner research director, in a press statement. "It is also creating new opportunities to improve effectiveness, particularly as a resule of better understanding security threats by using contextual information and other security intelligence. This has led to increased awareness among organizations that would have traditionally treated security as an IT function and a cost center."
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) noted that a single point-of-sale malware, dubbed "Backoff," could be responsible for infecting Target, UPS and more than 1,000 U.S. businesses in the past year alone. DHS officials are urging companies scan their networks to ensure they were not infected by Backoff or some other malware variant.
Seven POS service providers have found malware on their systems, as cybercriminals are interested in selling and purchasing customer personal information on the black market.
Target, Neiman Marcus, Supervalu, P.F. Chang's, UPS Store, and other retailers have been hit by data breaches, as the problem became prevalent following the Target breach. There has been a stronger call for U.S. banks and credit card companies to release new cards that have embedded microchips providing security that scrambles data during transactions.
There's one pissed off hacking group right now, which has not only taken down the PlayStation Network, but through Twitter, the group sent a bomb threat on an American Airlines flight that John Smedley was on. Smedly is the president of Sony Online Entertainment, and has confirmed he was indeed on the flight, and that it was diverted for security reasons.
Smedley tweeted: "Something about security and our cargo". An American Airlines spokesperson confirmed that Flight 362 was diverted for security reasons, and that the FBI was investigating the threat. Before all of the bomb threat hoopla, the hacking group took to Twitter to tweet a threat to American Airlines' Twitter account. While the plane was in the air, the group tweeted an image showing the e-Ticket for Smedley's flight, a confirmation number, and then asking if Smedley and Sony were indeed on the flight.
During the flight itself, the hackers continued to tweet threats. American Airlines Flight 363 was diverted from its patch to San Diego, into Phoenix. There were some 179 passengers and six crew on-board, all safe.
All hackers need to compromise traffic lights is a laptop and a radio connected to it, with researchers able to alter traffic lights from a vehicle.
The traffic light controllers often aren't encrypted and have default usernames and passwords that are posted online. The traffic light controllers are linked by an induction loop that is hidden underground, with cameras able to provide traffic light colors to the controller. It only takes a minimal amount of research before hackers are essentially given the blueprints.
"There's an assumption that these devices are secure," said Branden Ghena, University of Michigan computer science PhD student and study lead researcher. "We all just trust them so much. This is critical infrastructure. We were shocked that was going on."
The "Machete" cyberattack targeted Spanish speaking residents of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, and the malware was recently noted by security firm Kaspersky Lab. The targeted attack campaign likely launched in 2010 and was improved in 2012, with the Machete operation still potentially active. The malware is sent as a RAR file attachment that includes a PowerPoint presentation, researchers noted.
The malware can log keystrokes, capture geolocation data, capture screenshots, record audio from PC microphone, take photos via Web camera, and copy files to a remote server, among other similar cybercriminal activities.
There were 85 victims in Colombia, 282 victims in Ecuador, and 372 victims in Venezuela, though also found 45 victims in Russia and small numbers of victims in the United States and Europe. Much like other malware distribution, the criminals rely on social engineering to trick users to unknowingly install it on their machines.
Social media service Diaspora, an open source, decentralized service consisting of individual nodes, utilizes thousands of private servers. Unfortunately, there isn't a way for the Diaspora project team to edit or remove content from a network node, and that's likely why IS chose it.
After being booted from Twitter and other social networking sites, the Islamic State is looking for new alternatives. In an attempt to spread images, videos and published propaganda to shock the west and appeal to new recruits, IS wants to have a collection of social media accounts to use.
"As many of the members of the core team are pod administrators ourselves, we know it can be hard to detect such users," the Diaspora blog reads. "We rely on our community members to use the report function to alert their podmin to any post or comment they believe to be a cause for concern. However, because this is such a crucial issue, we have also accumulated a list of accounts related to IS fighters, which are spread over a large number of pods, and we are in the process of talking to the podmins of those pods."
Apple iMessage now accounts for more than 30 percent of all mobile spam messages sent to users, with cybercriminals easily able to send messages to a large number of users. To better combat spam messaging, Apple previously put in place iMessage rate-limiting, as hackers last year were able to send a large volume of messages with little resistance. However, it still remains a lucrative tool for cybercriminals to use for spam and phishing attacks, with the problem seemingly out of control.
To register for an iMessage account, a criminal simply needs a victim's linked email address - a mobile phone number isn't required. Security experts have seen message come from U.S. companies such as Microsoft's Hotmail to China's Yeah.net, indicating a large number of accounts have been created to send out spam.
Trying to report iMessage spam abuse is a tiresome, annoying process: users must email Apple, including a screenshot of the spam message, email address or phone number of sender, along with the date and time the message was sent by the spammer.
U.S. universities face a bigger threat of security data breaches than the retail and healthcare sectors, according to a recent study published by BitSight. As the school year begins again, hackers are preparing to target universities once again, the report said.
Using data based on major athletic conferences, including the Pacific-12, Big 10, Big 12, Southeastern Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference and Ivy League from July 2013 to June 2014, all divisions saw a drop in cybersecurity performance.
"From Social Security and credit card numbers to health records and intellectual property produced by research departments, colleges and universities house a vast amount of sensitive data," said Stephen Boyer, BitSight co-founder and CTO, in a statement to FierceCIO. "While not surprising given the unique challenges universities face securing open campus networks, it's concerning to see that they are rating so far below other industries that we've seen plagued by recent security problems."
The UPS Store suffered a data breach at 51 retail locations across the United States, with 105,000 customer transactions, ranging from January 20 to August 11, at risk due to the security incident. If you've shopped at the UPS Store, you're urged to visit the company's website to identify if your UPS Store location was compromised - individual notification letters will not be sent out.
To date, there has been no evidence of fraud related to the incident, with malware found on the company's network. Names, postal addresses, payment information and email addresses are at risk, but it's unknown how many customers might have been affected.
"As soon as we became aware of the potential malware intrusion, we deployed extensive resources to quickly address and eliminate this issue," said Tim Davis, UPS Store President, in a statement. "Our customers can be assured that we have identified and fully contained the incident."