Click here to close now.

Welcome!

@BigDataExpo Blog Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Wayne Lam, Jayaram Krishnaswamy, Adrian Bridgwater

Blog Feed Post

August 6 – Politico: More than 1 billion passwords stolen by Russian hacker gang – Haul highlights password problems

August 6, 2014

By: Joseph Marks

With help from David Perera, Tal Kopan and Shaun Waterman

MORE THAN 1 BILLION PASSWORDS STOLEN BY RUSSIAN HACKER GANG — Last night’s New York Times scoop that a gang of criminal hackers deep in the Russian hinterlands had amassed more than 1 billion usernames and passwords linked to half-a-billion email addresses demonstrates both that the Web is increasingly dangerous for consumers and that Russia remains a safe zone for hacking networks, analysts told MC. “The untouchables of the internet have developed a robust hacker economy of scale in Russia,” Trend Micro Chief Cybersecurity Officer Tom Kellermann said.

When hackers gather information at that massive scale — this is likely the biggest haul in history — the danger isn’t just the data they have but the data they can deduce from it, CrowdStrike General Counsel Steve Chabinsky told MC. Many people ignore security experts’ advice and don’t vary their passwords, which means attackers that know the password to one account can try the same password — or variations on it — to breach other accounts. “The volume of these records allows hackers to do their own form of big data analytics, scouring passwords and using them in attacks not only against these corporate victims but against others as well,” said Chabinsky, who was previously deputy assistant director of the FBI’s cyber division.

The massive trove of data — stolen from hundreds of thousands of websites — was discovered by the Milwaukee firm Hold Security, which dubbed the gang CyberVor (cyber thief in Russian). The findings were verified by an independent security expert working on behalf of the Times. The list of compromised sites “includes many leaders in virtually all industries across the world, as well as a multitude of small or even personal websites,” Hold Security said. The hacking ring does not appear to be connected with the Russian government and does not appear to have sold many of the records, the Times reported. The story: http://politi.co/1y3H3L0 The Hold Security report: http://bit.ly/1oAdnUy

SECURITY FIRM FACES “CASHING IN” QUESTIONS — Demonstrating that no good deed goes unpunished, Hold Security has faced suggestions that they are “cashing in” on their discovery by offering a low-cost ($120 per year) service to webmasters to determine if their site was among the 420,000 breached by the gang. After questions from reporters, the firm appears to have taken down the page offering the service, reports Forbes blogger Kashmir Hill. The story: http://onforb.es/1opzTuG

HACKER HAUL HIGHLIGHTS PASSWORD PROBLEMS — The massive trove of stolen account credentials highlights the way the ubiquitous password has become one of the weakest links in the online security chain. Every new online account — from the vital like banking to the trivial like pizza delivery — means another different password to remember; or another chance for cybercrooks to steal your favorite one. Easily remembered passwords can generally be easily guessed, even when encrypted — by computers that try thousands of different possibilities a minute. But an Obama administration program exploring ways to make alternatives to the password commercially viable without infringing on privacy is caught in political crossfire on Capitol Hill.

For the third year running, House appropriators voted earlier this year to gut funding for the program, targeting cash for pilot implementation projects. As Dave Perera reports this morning, “the program’s backers say it’s pure politics. The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, NSTIC, is a relatively tiny line item in the budget of the government’s technology lab. It comes in at just $16.5 million — a rounding error in the $51.2 billion appropriations bill that funds Commerce, Justice and U.S. scientific agencies.” The full story on NSTIC:http://politico.pro/1lzoXuN

HAPPY WEDNESDAY and welcome to Morning Cybersecurity, where today’s anniversary of the atomic bomb dropping on Hiroshima — whatever else you think about it — is a good opportunity to read the Times’ fascinating obituary of Theodore Van Kirk, the last surviving crew member of the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped that bomb 59 years ago. Van Kirk died last Monday at 93. http://nyti.ms/1pBCeqv Whatever you’re reading today, drop us a line. Send your thoughts, tips and feedback this week to [email protected] and follow @talkopan, @joseph_marks_, @POLITICOPro and @MorningCybersec. Full team info is below.

INTEL OFFICIALS PREPARE TO GO AFTER SECOND SNOWDEN — Intelligence officials are considering asking the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into the leak of documents related to the government’s terrorist watchlist to Glenn Greenwald’s The Intercept, Reuters reported late yesterday. The documents were dated August 2013, two months after Edward Snowden bolted the NSA and passed a trove of documents to Greenwald and other journalists. The investigation threat would seem to confirm the intelligence community has a second leaker on its hands, but the community would not confirm that fact to Reuters. The story:http://reut.rs/1stSKuR

And some background: There have been rumors rumbling since early July that a second intelligence community source was feeding leaks to reports. That’s when German broadcaster ARD published an unsourced story about XKeyscore targeting users who visit anonymizing sites such as Tor. “I do not believe that this came from the Snowden documents … I think there’s a second leaker out there,” security researcher Bruce Schneier wrote at the time (http://bit.ly/1jO8F08) Greenwald responded by tweeting, “seems clear at this point.” (http://bit.ly/1v7YAWa).

But, even if The Intercept’s August 2013 documents are genuinely from a different source, that doesn’t mean a second leaker on the unprecedented scale of Snowden, a senior law enforcement official cautioned MC. “The unfortunate reality is some people leak information or provide information to those not entitled to receive it, but that’s not anything new,” the source said. “It’s certainly something we take seriously, but I don’t think anybody’s at the point where they think there’s another Edward Snowden.” Background from CNN, which broke the second leaker story: http://cnn.it/1y2AjwU and The Intercept report: http://bit.ly/1qVpsXQ

IN OTHER SURVEILLANCE NEWS, TOR — The Defense Department did not receive personal data about Tor users through a government-funded project to detect vulnerabilities, a DOD spokeswoman told Reuters yesterday. The project was conducted by researchers at Carnegie-Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute with funding from DOD. The researchers had planned to describe their work at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas this week but the university canceled the talk amid the controversy, Reuters reported. In a note on Tor’s website last week, project leader Roger Dingledine said the service had identified computers on its network that had been quietly altering Tor traffic for five months in an attempt to unmask users connecting to “hidden services,” which include drug bazaars and whistleblower sites. Details from Reuters: http://reut.rs/V0viYM

FEDS FAIL EMAIL HYGIENE TEST — Most organizations are not doing enough to prevent their email domains from being forged by hackers and federal agency websites are especially failing — so much so that the government ought to mandate they put their house in order, a new report recommends. Just 4 percent of top federal sites qualified for the nonprofit Online Trust Alliance’s email honor roll, well below the 8.3 percent average for websites generally. Social media sites topped the list with 28 percent qualifying. Major financial institutions were next at 17 percent. To make the honor roll, organizations had to implement best practices for authenticating email that help prevent spearphishing and other malware attacks. Tal has the story http://politico.pro/1kmk6Ss

POSSIBLE IRANIAN CONNECTION IN ISRAELI DDOS ATTACKS — Security firm Arbor Networks spotted sharp upticks in DDoS attacks against Israel starting days after the Hamas-attributed deaths of three Israeli teenagers sparked the latest round of fighting. Attacks went from an average of 30 per day in June to an average of 150 per day in July, peaking at 429 attacks on July 21st, the firm said in a blog post. The attack pattern “bears a striking resemblance” to the “Itsoknoproblembro” botnet attacks launched against U.S. financial firms in 2013, Arbor adds. The Qassam Cyber Fighters, an Islamist hacking group with possible official Iranian ties, took responsibility for the financial industry attacks. Arbor says they don’t know who controls the “Brobot” botnet today, but it’s “being used to attack Israeli civilian governmental agencies, military agencies, financial services and Israel’s cc TLD DNS infrastructure.” The blog post: http://bit.ly/1kDe14s

OPERATION ARACHNAPHOBIA STILL GOING STRONG IN PAKISTAN: A Pakistani APT group has remained active even after it was outed by ThreatConnect’s Intelligence Research Team in August, 2013, launching malware attacks aimed at Indian military and government targets, according to a joint report from ThreatConnect and FireEye released yesterday. Since the first report, the group dubbed Operation Arachnophobia has embedded Bitterbug malware in phony news articles about the arrest of an Indian diplomat and about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 which the “lure” article casts as a Pakistani attack. Details:http://bit.ly/1ssTrDL

REPORT WATCH:

– Sixty percent of companies plan to spend their IT funds on improving cybersecurity over the next two years, and 88 percent said IT investments overall will be important or critical, according to a PwC survey of more than 200 private company leaders in the second quarter of this year: http://pwc.to/1ooEc9R

QUICK BYTES

– Former NSA Chief Keith Alexander is defending the profits of his new cybersecurity firm again — this time to the Associated Press. AP: http://bit.ly/1ATkuwQ

– Smart building technology could open up a new breed of cyberattacks. TechCrunch:http://bit.ly/XBcUYy

– Boston University researchers have been awarded a $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation to test a new cloud-based modular cybersecurity system. GCN:http://bit.ly/1y3Wdjp

– The Veterans Affairs Department launched a new campaign yesterday to educate veterans about identity theft prevention. VA: http://1.usa.gov/1kFwMUV

– Blackphone and Signal have different business philosophies but hit the same post-Snowden privacy concerns. Reuters: http://reut.rs/1sdaLLV

That’s all for today. Have a great Wednesday!

Read the full article at: http://www.politico.com/morningcybersecurity/0814/morningcybersecurity14903.html

The post August 6 – Politico: More than 1 billion passwords stolen by Russian hacker gang – Haul highlights password problems appeared first on ThreatConnect - Threat Intelligence.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Adam Vincent

Adam is an internationally renowned information security expert and is currently the CEO and a founder at Cyber Squared Inc. He possesses over a decade of experience in programming, network security, penetration testing, cryptography design & cryptanalysis, identity and access control, and a detailed expertise in information security. The culmination of this knowledge has led to the company’s creation of ThreatConnect™, the first-of-its-kind threat intelligence platform. He currently serves as an advisor to multiple security-focused organizations and has provided consultation to numerous businesses ranging from start-ups to governments, Fortune 500 organizations, and top financial institutions. Adam holds an MS in computer science with graduate certifications in computer security and information assurance from George Washington University. Vincent lives in Arlington, VA with his wife, two children, and dog.

@BigDataExpo Stories
In the midst of the widespread popularity and adoption of cloud computing, it seems like everything is being offered “as a Service” these days: Infrastructure? Check. Platform? You bet. Software? Absolutely. Toaster? It’s only a matter of time. With service providers positioning vastly differing offerings under a generic “cloud” umbrella, it’s all too easy to get confused about what’s actually being offered. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Kevin Hazard, Director of Digital Content for SoftL...
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies drivi...
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world...
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.
Malicious agents are moving faster than the speed of business. Even more worrisome, most companies are relying on legacy approaches to security that are no longer capable of meeting current threats. In the modern cloud, threat diversity is rapidly expanding, necessitating more sophisticated security protocols than those used in the past or in desktop environments. Yet companies are falling for cloud security myths that were truths at one time but have evolved out of existence.
To many people, IoT is a buzzword whose value is not understood. Many people think IoT is all about wearables and home automation. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed some incredible game-changing use cases and how they are transforming industries like agriculture, manufacturing, health care, and smart cities. He will discuss cool technologies like smart dust, robotics, smart labels, and much more. Prepare...
Discussions about cloud computing are evolving into discussions about enterprise IT in general. As enterprises increasingly migrate toward their own unique clouds, new issues such as the use of containers and microservices emerge to keep things interesting. In this Power Panel at 16th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the state of cloud computing today, and what enterprise IT professionals need to know about how the latest topics and trends affect t...
One of the hottest areas in cloud right now is DRaaS and related offerings. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Dale Levesque, Disaster Recovery Product Manager with Windstream's Cloud and Data Center Marketing team, will discuss the benefits of the cloud model, which far outweigh the traditional approach, and how enterprises need to ensure that their needs are properly being met.
Public Cloud IaaS started its life in the developer and startup communities and has grown rapidly to a $20B+ industry, but it still pales in comparison to how much is spent worldwide on IT: $3.6 trillion. In fact, there are 8.6 million data centers worldwide, the reality is many small and medium sized business have server closets and colocation footprints filled with servers and storage gear. While on-premise environment virtualization may have peaked at 75%, the Public Cloud has lagged in adop...
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust...
Even as cloud and managed services grow increasingly central to business strategy and performance, challenges remain. The biggest sticking point for companies seeking to capitalize on the cloud is data security. Keeping data safe is an issue in any computing environment, and it has been a focus since the earliest days of the cloud revolution. Understandably so: a lot can go wrong when you allow valuable information to live outside the firewall. Recent revelations about government snooping, along...
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will addresses this very serious issue o...
The web app is Agile. The REST API is Agile. The testing and planning are Agile. But alas, Data infrastructures certainly are not. Once an application matures, changing the shape or indexing scheme of data often forces at best a top down planning exercise and at worst includes schema changes which force downtime. The time has come for a new approach that fundamentally advances the agility of distributed data infrastructures. Come learn about a new solution to the problems faced by software orga...
Business as usual for IT is evolving into a "Make or Buy" decision on a service-by-service conversation with input from the LOBs. How does your organization move forward with cloud? In his general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Maravei, Regional Sales Manager, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco, discusses how Cisco and its partners offer a market-leading portfolio and ecosystem of cloud infrastructure and application services that allow you to uniquely and securely combine cloud busin...
In their general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Michael Piccininni, Global Account Manager - Cloud SP at EMC Corporation, and Mike Dietze, Regional Director at Windstream Hosted Solutions, reviewed next generation cloud services, including the Windstream-EMC Tier Storage solutions, and discussed how to increase efficiencies, improve service delivery and enhance corporate cloud solution development. Michael Piccininni is Global Account Manager – Cloud SP at EMC Corporation. He has been engaged in t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place November 3–5, 2015 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to globa...
SYS-CON Events announced today that kintone has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. kintone promotes cloud-based workgroup productivity, transparency and profitability with a seamless collaboration space, build your own business application (BYOA) platform, and workflow automation system.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo® and DevOps Summit 2015 Silicon Valley, which will take place November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Alert Logic provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid IT infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for cust...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgenia will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between Personal and Professional Social, Mobile and Cloud user experiences, our solutions help large and medium-sized organizations dramatically improve produc...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the...