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Hacking & Security Posts - Page 72

NSA allegedly poses as Facebook to help spread its malware

The National Security Agency (NSA) reportedly wants to infect millions of computers with malware, and the TURBINE program is based on hacking routers, impersonating Facebook, and other shady practices. Not surprisingly, the information was made public based on revelations released by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.


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The NSA posed as a fake Facebook server, and successfully infected a user's computer to gain access to stored files on a HDD, according to a report posted on The Intercept. Previously, the NSA would use this tactic for a small number of select targets that couldn't be tracked with regular wiretaps, but greatly expanded use over the past 10 years.


Security experts are disheartened by yet another data snooping case from the NSA, potentially opening up additional security issues by intentionally infecting computers with malware.

Continue reading 'NSA allegedly poses as Facebook to help spread its malware' (full post)

162,000 legitimate WordPress websites used to launch DDoS attacks

Legitimate WordPress sites can be compromised and turned into a weapon to use as part of a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, according to security researchers. A HTTP-based distributed flood attack from more than 162,000 attacks recently brought down a larger site, with the victim WordPress site forced offline due to a tremendous amount of traffic.


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Compromised websites likely didn't realize they were hijacked and used as part of the attack, though administrators can search for XML-RPC "POST" requests in website logs.


"Any WordPress site with XML-RPC enabled (which is on by default) can be used in DDoS attacks against other sites," said Daniel Cid, Sucuri CTO, wrote in a blog post. "Note that XML-RPC is used for pingbacks, trackbacks, remote access via mobile devices and many other features you're likely very fond of."

Continue reading '162,000 legitimate WordPress websites used to launch DDoS attacks' (full post)

Two arrested following successful data theft of phone company KT Corp

Two men have been arrested and are allegedly involved in a cyberattack and data theft of KT Corp, a major South Korean phone company, with 12 million users affected. The breach took place over a long period, and the criminals took up to 300,000 piece of information at a time, and the South Korean government forced KT Corp to create an online database for users hit by the breach.


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One of the suspects reportedly broke into the KT Corp computer system using custom-coded software he developed himself. During the breach, the accused hacker gained bank details, employment information and home addresses on 12 million KT - around 75 percent of the company's customers.


The information was later sold to another criminal, and he allegedly used the data to pose as a KT sales rep and sell mobile phones - the criminal scheme generated an estimated $10.8 million, according to reports.

Continue reading 'Two arrested following successful data theft of phone company KT Corp' (full post)

Banks, financial institutions increasingly researching biometrics

Banks and other financial institutions are embracing biometrics as a next-level security platform, helping prevent against fraud and theft, according to a report published by the Global Industry Analysts (GIA) research group.


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Fingerprint recognition is the most popular form of biometrics security, with high accuracy and relatively low deployment costs.


Most common biometric security tend to be fingerprint verification, hand-geometry recognition, speech recognition, and iris and retina scanning technologies. Each has significant advantages and disadvantages, leading some companies to adopt multiple types of biometrics. However, it's not cost-effective to install and maintain multiple layers of security, unless necessary, with each different solution needing a complex infrastructure.

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Cybercriminals show no shame, try to extort non-profit group

Most cybercriminals want to exploit vulnerable networks and make a profit as quickly and easily as possible - and that includes compromising non-profit groups, even trying to conduct organized extortion. Hackers recently hijacked the crisis line of The Bridge for Youth, a Minnesota non-profit aimed at helping homeless adolescents in the state.


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It seems The Bridge was hit with phone spam that was able to hijack phone lines and Internet access - and criminals will hold the lines for ransom, in exchange for monetary payment. Instead of paying the criminals, under police guidance, they refused - and then redirected the line to an answering machine - and worked with other non-profits to set up a new phone line.


"We had to shut down our crisis number of 35 years last Tuesday," said Dan Pfarr, The Bridge for Youth Executive Director, in a statement to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "The guys who took over our crisis line wanted money. We told them we work with distressed families and kids at the low point of their lives. That we deal with lives. We can't have abused kids or parents... calling in and getting a busy signal."

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Mt. Gox faced 150,000 DDoS attacks per second, report says

Defunct bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox was under continued cyberattack prior to having its loot and source code stolen, enduring up to 150,000 DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks per second, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper.


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Cybercriminals attacked Mt. Gox by launching thousands of massive DDoS attacks to help cover attempts to steal bitcoins, which led to the Mt. Gox system to go down. Following the attack, Mt. Gox representatives announced 750,000 customer bitcoins were gone, along with 100,000 owned by the company.


Since its inception, bitcoin values have ranged from $40 per coin up to $1,100 in 2013, though is hovering around $610.

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168,000 at risk after computers stolen, health data compromised in LA

Up to 168,500 patients of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services are at risk after thieves broke into the Sutherland Healthcare Solutions (SHS) office and stole PCs with personal information.


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Included in the data breach: Names, Social Security Numbers, birthdates, addresses, medical diagnoses, medical and billing information. The Southern California SHS office was broken into on February 5, and the company is now working with law enforcement - and reviewing its internal policies to try and prevent a similar breach from happening in the future.


"We take this incident very seriously and are taking the necessary precautions to protect all patient related information from theft or criminal activity," SHS said in an open memo. "We and Los Angeles County are actively working with law enforcement."

Continue reading '168,000 at risk after computers stolen, health data compromised in LA' (full post)

Congressman Mike Pompeo wants SXSW to nix Edward Snowden interview

Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas) doesn't want SXSW organizers to interview former NSA IT contractor Edward Snowden, saying Snowden cares more about personal fame than personal privacy of US citizens.


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SXSW officials wanted to open a debate focused on government surveillance and how important it is to help develop the online ecosystem.


"Mr. Snowden's appearance would stamp the imprimatur of your fine organization on a man who ill deserves such accolades," Congressman Pompeo said in an open letter. "Rewarding Mr. Snowden's behavior in this way encourages the very lawlessness he exhibited. Such lawlessness - and the ongoing intentional distortion of truth that he and his media enables have engaged in since the release of these documents - undermines the very fairness and freedom that SXSW and the ACLU purport to foster. I strongly urge you to withdraw this invitation."

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Google was attacked by the Chinese, NSA according to its chairman

During his speech at the SXSW technology conference in Austin, Texas, Google chairman Eric Schmidt had some damning words to say about the Chinese, and the NSA. SChmidt said that government attacks from China, and the US, forced Google to boost its security protocols.


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Schmidt said that governments around the world have come to the realization that trying to block Internet access to its citizens are futile, and that they have moved onto other methods of control. He said: "You don't turn off the Internet: you infiltrate it. The new model for a dictator is to infiltrate and try to manipulate it. You're seeing this in China, and in many other countries."


The Google chairman was pressed about the role of technology in uprisings, such as the one in the Ukraine right now, where he said that the spread of mobile devices has allowed people to organize much more easily, but although "revolutions are going to be easier to start," they'll also be "harder to finish."

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NC State researchers create compromised Android detection software

Researchers from North Carolina State University have created the Practical Root Exploit Containment (PREC) tool aimed to look for root exploits in malicious apps.


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Since most malicious apps targeting Google Android are based on C programming, not Java, researchers can compare apps with a database that describes how apps are expected to operate. Software anomaly detection isn't new, but researchers focused strictly on C code, greatly reducing the number of false positives by searching for C only.


"We have implemented PREC and evaluated our methodology on 140 most popular benign applications and 10 root exploit malicious applications," researchers wrote in their paper. "Our results show that PREC can successfully detect and stop all the tested malware while reducing the false alarm rates by more than one order of magnitude over traditional malware detection algorithms."

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