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The Iranian government is increasing its cyberattack capabilities and wants to target government rivals, according to security company Mandiant. The country still doesn't have modernized cyber weapons at the moment, but is willing to invest time and energy into expanding its digital weapons.
Iran was reportedly behind malware attacks that infected Saudi Aramco and RasGas, in retaliation following the suspected infection of an Iranian nuclear facility by the United States and Israel.
"Although Iran has long been considered a second-tier actor behind China and Russia, recent speculation has focused on Iran's interest in perpetrating offensive network attacks against critical infrastructure targets," the Mandiant report says.
The majority of phishing emails are sent during the work week, amounting to 93 percent of activity, with the most popular day Wednesday, according to cybersecurity company Mandiant. The use of clever social engineering techniques, in which cybercriminals create unique attack methods to compromise unsuspecting users, continues to be a leading strategy that helps find success.
Mandiant studied clients in more than 30 different business industries, with 15 percent of attacks hitting the financial market, with 13 percent aimed towards media and entertainment, according to the company.
Companies trying to protect employees must teach them the basic threats that phishers use, especially in financial intuitions, which receive one-third of all phishing attempts.
It seems likely colleges and universities could face a higher number of cyberattacks and data breaches, as security vulnerabilities and other challenges remain a problem, according to HALOCK Security Labs.
University IT staff need to prioritize their networking and security budgets to address the most glaring security threats - and separating sensitive systems from public systems can be a good start. PCs and servers with sensitive information can be supervised by IT staff, while student employees can manage public systems, according to HALOCK.
"Universities in general have limited budgets for information security, and therefore struggle to comply with the numerous laws and regulations regarding the data in their custody," said Terry Kurzynski, HALOCK Senior Partner, in a press statement.
Nine men behind the "Jabber Zeus Crew" have been indicted for charges including conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity, multiple counts of bank fraud, conspiracy to commit computer fraud and identity theft, and aggravated identity theft.
The group allegedly used the Zeus Trojan to collect bank account numbers, account passwords, PIN numbers, and other significant information. Conviction could lead to a monetary fine that would total at least $70,000,000, the DOJ said in its indictment.
"It was further part of the conspiracy that [defendants] used 'money mules' residents of the United States who received funds transferred over the Automated Clearing House ('ACH') network or through other interstate wire systems from victims' bank accounts into the money mules' own bank accounts, and then withdrew some of those funds and wired the funds overseas to conspirators," the indictment stated.
The recent revelation of the "Heartbleed" OpenSSL bug has made it an extremely hectic week for Internet users, technology companies, banks, and the U.S. government. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently issued a public advisory about "working together to mitigate cybersecurity vulnerabilities."
The DHS offers this advice to Internet users: verify the website has patched the vulnerability, then change passwords; closely monitor email, bank and social media accounts to spot suspicious activity; and become more vigilant to ensure websites are using HTTPS for all data exchanges.
"While there have not been any reported attacks or malicious incidents involving this particular vulnerability confirmed at this time, it is still possible that malicious actors in cyberspace could exploit unpatched systems," the DHS noted in a recent news release. "That is why everyone has a role to play to ensuring our nation's cybersecurity. We have been and continue to work closely with federal, state, local and private sector partners to determine any potential impacts and help implement mitigation strategies as necessary."
Cybercriminals have compromised at least 200,000 credit card owners in South Korea, with forged credit cards and fraudulent charges being reported. South Korean police authorities have identified more than 250 cases of fraudulent charges, and expect that number to increase as customers are notified to look for suspicious activity.
The hacker successfully breached a company in South Korea responsible for managing card payment processing terminals, collecting credit card numbers, expiration dates, and loyalty card passwords, according to the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS).
The FSS found credit information from three credit card companies and one bank were leaked, with two of the credit card companies already publicly punished for significant data breaches. Earlier in the year, more than 100 million South Korean credit card and bank accounts were compromised, with bank officials resigning and facing heavy scrutiny from government officials.
Security experts recently issued a statement saying the Heartbleed computer bug doesn't just hit Internet web servers, and can be found on PCs, email servers, mobile phones, and firewalls. To date, both Cisco and Juniper Networks noted that they are working to ensure their products are secure.
Unfortunately, it can be a difficult task to fix security issues with networking equipment, and Cisco has to test dozens of products to verify they are secure. Meanwhile, Juniper is busy also trying to check security and release patches as needed:
"A subset of Juniper's products were affected by the Heartbleed vulnerability including certain versions of our SSL VPN software, which presents the most critical concern for customers," a Juniper spokesperson said in a statement. "We issued a patch for our SSL VPN product on Tuesday and are working around the clock to provide patched versions of code for our other affected products."
Banks and financial institutions recently received a memo urging them to fix the security hole that is exploited by "Heartbleed," and they should consider upgrading encryption software and changing passwords, according to the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council.
"Attackers could potentially impersonate bank services or users, steal login credentials, access sensitive email, or gain access to internal networks," the memo states.
Amazon, Yahoo, Netflix, and other major websites were quick to fix security holes, and users can change passwords on those sites.
The California Legislature is now mulling over AB 1710, a bill aimed at forcing retailers to be held liable for damages stemming from data breaches. Following the Target breach, in which millions of customers were exposed to potential data theft, banks and credit unions have been forced to reissue debit and credit cards - and consumers were largely left in the dark until contacted by banks.
However, AB 170 would force companies to be more forthcoming in regards to consumer protections and awareness due to data breaches. The bill changes current laws relating to customer data stored by businesses, consumer cost reimbursement, consumer identity theft mitigation, and notification time following a breach.
"Consumers need increased protection from the large data breaches that are occurring across the country," said Assemblyman Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento), the AB 1710 co-author. "By improving the way sensitive information is retained and how consumers are alerted when breaches occur, AB 1710 will better protect customers' personal information."
There is a legal case in Florida that could set an important precedent in the United States: how criminal law can deal with bitcoins and other forms of cryptocurrency being used by criminals to commit money laundering.
Two men, described as bitcoin "enthusiasts," were arrested trying to purchase bitcoins with money related to the Target malware hacking breach, according to the US Secret Service and Miami Beach Police Department.
Pascal Reid, 29, and Michell Espinoza, 30, face up to 25 years in prison if they are convicted of money laundering and for running an unlicensed money service business. The first transactions started around $500, but progressed up to a proposed $30,000 cash-for-bitcoin swap, according to federal investigators.