Cisco announces its intent to acquire OpenDNS

 
Cisco announced on June 30 its intent to acquire OpenDNS, a security company which provides advanced threat protection for any device, anywhere and anytime based in San Francisco.

It is said that the acquisition will boost Cisco's Security everywhere approach by adding broad visibility and threat intelligence from the OpenDNS cloud delivered platform.

According to the press statement issued by the organization, the OpenDNS team will join the Cisco Security Business Group. As per the agreement, Cisco will pay $635 million in cash and assumed equity awards, plus retention based incentives for OpenDNS. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of fiscal year 2016, subject to customary closing conditions.

The press statement said that the burgeoning digital economy and the Internet of Everything (IoE) are expected to spur the connection of nearly 50 billion devices by 2020, creating a vast new wave of opportunities for security breaches across networks. The faster customers can deploy a solution, the faster they can detect, block and remediate these emerging security threats.

“OpenDNS' cloud platform offers security delivered in a Software-as-a- Service (SaaS) model, making it quick and easy for customers to deploy and integrate as part of their defense architecture or incident response strategies. By providing comprehensive threat awareness and pervasive visibility, the combination of Cisco and OpenDNS will enhance advanced threat protection across the full attack continuum before, during and after an attack,” the statement read.

The statement added that OpenDNS' broad visibility, unique predictive threat intelligence and cloud platform with Cisco's robust security and threat capabilities will increase awareness across the extended network, both on- and off-premise, reduce the time to detect and respond to threats, and mitigate risk of a security breach.

Hilton Romanski, Cisco chief technology and strategy officer, said that many people, processes, data and things connected because of which opportunities for security breaches and malicious threats grow exponentially when away from secure enterprise networks.

“OpenDNS has a strong team with deep security expertise and key technology that complements Cisco's security vision. Together, we will help customers protect their extended network wherever the user is and regardless of the device,” Romanski added.

A Bug allows anyone to crash the iPhone with a Message

(pc- Google images)
A new bug in the latest version of iOS shows a string of Arabic characters and symbols in a special text message which is followed by the crashing of the phone.

(pc- Google images)
It affects the Messages App so much so that the lines of the message after being copied and texted to another iPhone, shuts it off as well.

Affecting iOS 7 and iOS 8 now, it is due to the banner notifications processing the Unicode text using CoreText API.

This susceptibility of the iPhone to stop working can happen in any mode; but in Jailbreaking iOS, it enters into the safe mode.

The only patch to this vulnerability is to send a photo or text to the original dispatcher with the help of the share sheet in another app.

The Reddit website has been flooded with comments after the recent attack of the malicious iMessage on their iPhones.

Megaupload domains serve malware and scam ads to website visitors


Three years ago, the US government had seized several Megaupload domains that are now directing visitors to malware scams and ads.The domains namely Megaupload[dot]com and Megavideo[dot]com are being exploited by cybercriminals to supply malware and carry out scams.

Seized back in January 2012, the trial and hearing have been delayed since the New Zealand police raided the mansion of Kim Dotcom in Auckland and closed the online file locker storage website. US officials still hope that New Zealand will hand over him and his colleagues.

The domains redirect people to a Zero-Click advertising feed which feeds malicious links to malware installers and other malicious ads.

Many of these redirects try to trap the visitors with the chance of winning iPhones for cheap. One of the malicious ads serves as the link to a false BBC article, offering the iPhone 6 for only £1.

It is said that the reason behind the exploitation of the domains is the failure of the FBI cybercrime unit in controlling the main nameserver, which was previously registered to the Cyber Initiative and Resource Fusion Unit (CIRFU).


CIRFU.biz, the domain name for Megaupload.com, points to a server in The Netherlands hosted by LeaseWeb; and the domain CIRFU.net lists Syndk Media Limited as the registrant.

It seems that Megaupload and Megavideo are serving malicious ads run by the third party as the domain used as a nameserver by the Department of Justice has either expired or taken over via other means, and is no longer a part of the Government.

“With U.S. Assistant Attorney Jay Prabhu the DOJ in Virginia employs a guy who doesn’t know the difference between civil & criminal law. And after this recent abuse of our seized Mega domains I wonder how this guy was appointed Chief of the Cybercrime Unit when he can’t even do the basics like safeguard the domains he has seized,” Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom commented.

“Jay Prabhu keeps embarrassing the U.S. government. I would send him back to law school and give him a crash course in ‘how the Internet works’,” Dotcom adds.

Apart from these domains, various poker sites seized previously, naming absolutepoker.com and ultimatebet.com also are linked to malicious content now.

Copart.com hacked, requests all members to change passwords


Copart, a Texas-based company which provides online vehicle auction and remarketing services, is urging its member to change their password for their Copart.com account after the company discovered that an authorized person gained access to its computer network.


“As part of our efforts to address the problem, the Copart is requiring all members to change the password for their Copart.com account,” Sean Eldridge, senior vice-president & chief operating officer at the Copart, wrote in a letter.


“If you have not already recently been required to reset your password, simply sign into your Copart account and go to the Change Password option under the My Account tab. Also, if you use the same username and password for any other account, we recommend that you change your password there as well,” he added.

On 31 March 2015, when the company identified that the unauthorized person accessed to its network, the company immediately worked to block any further unauthorized access.

A leading cyber-security firm has been hired for the investigation. It helps the company to help determine what had happened to the company’s system and to assists in implementing enhanced security measures.

“Based on the investigation, we determined that the unauthorized person may have accessed the member’s name, address, driver’s license number, telephone number, e-mail address, and the username and password for their Copart.com account,” said Eldridge.

In order to protect, the company has recommended its members to remain vigilant by reviewing their account statements and credit reports for any unauthorized activity.

Similarly, the members can also get a copy of their credit report, free of charge, in every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

According to the letter, in order to order the free credit report, the members should visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call toll free at 1-877-322-8228.

Eldridge said that if any member believed that his/her personal information has been misused, he/she should immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission and/or the attorney general’s office in respective Home State.

Cisco releases software updates to address serious flaws in TelePresence products

Cisco has released software updates to address several vulnerabilities that have been identified in its TelePresence products, which can be exploited by hackers to compromise a vulnerable system.

It has also urged its customers to update their TelePresence software. Similarly, they are advised to consult their maintenance providers or check the software for feature set compatibility and known issues that are specific to their environments.

Cisco said in an advisory published on May 13 that the workarounds that mitigate the vulnerabilities, which have been identified by during its internal tests and product security reviews, are not available.

“The vulnerability in the web framework of multiple Cisco TelePresence products could allow an authenticated or remote attacker to inject arbitrary commands that are executed with the privileges of the root user,” Cisco said in its advisory.

“The vulnerability is due to insufficient input validation. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by authenticating to the device and submitting crafted input to the affected parameter in a web page."

"Administrative privileges are required in order to access the affected parameter. A successful exploit could allow an attacker to execute system commands with the privileges of the root user,” the advisory added.

Cisco said that although, this is a serious vulnerability with a CVSS score of 9.0, it hasn’t found evidence that shows flaw has been leveraged for malicious purposes.

One click scammers targeting people in Hong Kong

People running one click scams on the internet have seem to taken it one step further by creating new malware in Chinese.

Recently, one click scammers have begun targeting people in Hong Kong by using pop-up windows and registration pages that have been written in Chinese and ask for payment in Hong Kong dollars. In the last month alone, Symantec has blocked more than 8,000 such attempts.

Such scams have been primarily running on adult websites and download malicious software to a users computer.

Such scams primarily were run in Japan but hackers have come into new territory by learning Chinese.

Cisco fixes remote code flaw in its UCS Central software

Cisco System Inc, an American multinational corporation,  has released an advisory to address remote code execution vulnerability in its Unified Computing System (UCS) Central software, a networking giant which integrates processing, networking and storage into one system.


The company said that it could exploit by remote attackers to execute arbitrary commands on affected systems.

“Successful exploitation of the vulnerability may permit unauthenticated access to sensitive information, allow arbitrary command execution on the Cisco UCS Central operating system or impact the availability of the affected device,” Cisco wrote in its advisory on May 6.

“An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by sending a crafted HTTP request to an affected device," said the advisory. An exploit could allow the attacker to execute arbitrary commands on the underlying operating system with the privileges of the root user.”

According to the advisory, the vulnerability was caused by the improper input validation (CVE-2015-0701) which allows an unauthenticated remote attacker to execute arbitrary commands on the underlying operating system with root privileges.

However, the company has failed to validate user input via its web framework, exposing the platform to remote attack in versions 1.2.

The company added that it is not aware of any public exploits as it hasn’t found any evidence to prove it.

The advisory said that the users can fix the vulnerability by updating the software which is provided by Cisco.

The company has urged its users to update to UCS Central software version 1.3. It has assigned the vulnerability its highest severity score of 10.

Earlier, Cisco released security updates for several of its products. Like Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA), Cisco Small Business SPA300 and SPA500 series IP phones, and IOS software.

Hacker's tweet led FBI to issue warning for airlines in US

In response to the claims and reports of the recent United Airlines incident, The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has issued a warning to all the airlines to be on the lookout for hackers. It follows an onboard tweet from Chris Roberts, pro hacker and the founder of One World Labs.

Roberts, a researcher specializing in the security of commercial airplanes, was detained by FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) agents while deplaning his United Airlines flight from Denver to Syracuse, New York. This action was taken after he tweeted a joke about taking control of the plane’s engine-indicating and crew-alerting system, which provides flight crews with information in real-time about an aircraft’s functions, including temperatures of various equipment, fuel flow and quantity, and oil-pressure.

The computer expert tweeted: “Find myself on a 737/800, lets see Box-IFE-ICE-SATCOM, ? Shall we start playing with EICAS messages? 'PASS OXYGEN ON' Anyone ? :)”. This apparently caught the attention of Federal authorities who confiscated Robert’s iPad, MacBook Pro, and storage devices after questioning him for four hours.


Roberts stated that he was perturbed by the actions of the US law enforcement as he has been demonstrating vulnerabilities in the avionics system used on modern airplanes and telling CNN that he could connect a computer under his seat to view data from the aircraft’s engines, fuel and flight-management systems. And he is not the only one, according to an article by Forbes, Thomas Lim, head of security consultancy Cose Inc, has repeatedly been checked going through airports in recent years. On a flight from New York to Taipei, he was searched of all his belongings at the airport in Anchorage.

United Airlines has now banned Chris Roberts from all its flights.

Moreover, in a notification reported by the Wired Magazine, the FBI advised airlines to report any suspicious activity i.e. passengers connecting unknown wires and cables, or tampering or the forced removal of covers to network connection ports, along with reporting any evidence of suspicious behaviour concerning aviation wireless signals, including social media messages with threatening references to onboard network systems, automatic dependent surveillance systems (ADS-B), aircraft communications addressing and reporting systems (ACARS) and air traffic control networks.

Valve new policy to control spam cases and phishing on Steam


Photo Courtesy: Steam
With an aim to control spam cases and phishing on Steam, Valve, an entertainment software and technology company, has come up with a new policy under which people won’t get Steam’s features, unless they have a minimum of $5 worth of games in their library, or more in the store.

It is believed that Valve’s new policy is to ensure that the user is an actual gamer or not.

It is said that once the new policy gets implemented, current and new users will find huge restriction on their Steam accounts. However, those people who have spent $5 in the past or more in the store won’t have to face such restriction.

Although, people can play games without paying $5, they cannot send friend invitations, open a group chat, vote on Greenlight, Steam Reviews and Workshop items, participate in the Steam Market, post frequently in the Steam Discussions, gain Steam Profile Levels (Locked to level 0) and Trading Cards, submit content on the Steam Workshop, post in an item's Steam Workshop Discussions, access the Steam Web API, use browser and mobile chat.

Tom Sykes, who writes for PC Gamer, wrote that if anyone has 200 Steam games on his/her game library, then he/she won’t face restrictions. But, the new policy would affect people who only use Steam with disc-based retail games.

He added that by activating retail game on Steam won't prevent account restrictions. People can use buy different features by their own currency. Their currency will be converted into dollars using daily exchange rates.

Teenagers suspected of hacking Belgian and French websites


Photo Courtesy: The Local France
Two teenagers, who were suspected of hacking the websites of Belgian and French newspapers last week, would have a court hearing, authorities said on April 17.

The websites of Le Soir, La Libre Belgique, La Dernière Heure, the Sudpresse group, the French regional publications, including La Voix du Nord, and Union de Reims and l'Ardennais, which sites were disabled during the attacks, were targeted.

According to the prosecutors, five-year prison sentence will be given to those two teens, if the prosecutors find them guilty. Similarly, those persons will have to pay a fine of up to 100,000 euros and also to have to compensate for the damages.


In a statement Brussels prosecutors said that the regional unit of computer crime managed to identify the two teens, who are 18 and 16 years old, behind the cyber attacks on Sunday and Monday.

The hacking, which took place on Sunday evening, forced the Le Soir to close down its website for several hours.

The Belgian media group Rossel and the Belgian group IMP filed a police complaint last week.

The authorities carried out three raids in Belgium. During the raids, they discovered one address which linked to the attacks.

An examining magistrate has been investigating the case. They will try to find out, if others are involved or not in the attacks, the authorities said.

In a video by an anonymous group of Belgian, said that it had identified one of the teens as an adolescent who lives in Belgium and loves playing games.

The group, which is said to be hackers’ group, said it shared information with the police as it was protecting freedom of expression.

AT & T fined $25 million over customer data thefts

(photo courtesy- www.bbc.com)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined AT & T Inc with $25 million over data breaches at call centers in Mexico, Colombia and The Philippines. The FCC said that at least two employees confessed stealing of private information belonging to thousands of US customers which included their names, full and partial social security numbers and account-related data, known as customer proprietary network information (CPNI).

According to a senior FCC official, the details of about 280,000 people were taken during the data breaches. These series of data thefts took place in 2013 and 2014. The data was used by call center employees to request handset-unlock codes for AT&T phones and shared with third parties involved in trafficking stolen cell phones.

After this incident, AT&T has informed with all the affected customers and it has also terminated its business deal with the companies that operated the call centers where the data was stolen.

The company also quoted that it has changed its policies and strengthened operations to ensure that a similar data breach doesn’t occur.

The investigations began by the FCC in Mexico, last May, after it was given information about data going missing.

The $25 million fine is the highest that the FCC has ever issued for data security and privacy violations.  

Google intrduces new review process for apps, age based rating system for all apps on Play Store soon


Google has decided to make change to its app submission process by adding human approval as a new step. Starting a couple of months back, a team of reviewers at Google started reviewing all applications before they were allowed to go live on the Play Store.

“We started reviewing all apps and games before they’re published – it’s rolled out 100%, and developers haven’t noticed the change.” said Purnima Kochikar, Director of Business Development for Google Play. After implementing the new review system, Google has still maintained its superiority in speed over rivals, Apple. Developers are able to get their apps live within a few hours of its submission on the Play Store, unlike Apple which has lengthy review process.

The reason Google has been so successful at this is its autmoated software that can detect only malware, but also sexual content and infringement of copyrights. Kochikar was not very coclusive about what all Google can detect through its automated detection softwares.

She said, “We’re constantly trying to figure out how machines can learn more,” explains Kochikar. “So whatever the machines can catch today, the machines do. And whatever we need humans to weigh in on, humans do.”

Google also lauched a new age based rating system for the Play Store that is supposed to come into effect in May. The system will be based on the scales provided by a given region’s official rating authourity. App developers will be required to fill in a questionnaire about the objectionable content in their app before submission and return the most appropriate rating for the app.

Googel has said that it will keep an eye on the ratings being given out by the new questionnaire system to make sure that the developers are truthful while filling out the questionnaire. Their will be a grace period for applications which are currently their on the Play Store, but soon, new submissions and updates to the Play Store will require developers to fill out the questionnaire.

Apple releases Bash update addressing ShellShock vulnerability

Over the last few days we have seen headlines about the critical security bug in Bash shell that affects Unix, Linux and even Mac computers.

Apple previously noted that only few Mac users who runs the advanced Unix Services were actually affected by the shell shock vulnerability.  Others are not at risk to this bug.

Apple said they are working to quickly provide update to patch this problem.

As promoised, it has released OS X bash update for OS X Lion, Mountain Lion and Mavericks.

You can download the update from their support page:
http://support.apple.com/downloads/

CSPF introduces Free online Ethical Hacking Course

Cyber Security and Privacy Foundation is happy to announce the first free online Ethical Hacking & Cyber Defence Course.

Within first 10 days after the course is launched, we have seen alreay 240 students registered for the online course.  The students registered range from Age group of 20 to 60.

Mr. Gemini Ramamurthy, chairman of CSPF, says we are very happy with overwhelming response from across the Globe for this course.  CSPF will continue to offer more such courses to the Online academy.


White Hat Hacking Course:
https://www.udemy.com/certified-whitehat-hacker-level-1/

Cyber Defence Course:
https://www.udemy.com/cyber-defence-course-cdc/

4 Cybercriminals from Vietnam arrested for using SMS malware to earn $100,000


Image Credits: Hanoimoi
Vietnam Police have arrested four individuals accused of stealing approximately $100,000 by infecting more than 100,000 mobile devices with a premium-rate SMS sending virus.

The suspects are identified as 23 year old Ha Xuan Tien, 24-year-old Nguyen Duc Luc, 25-year-old Nguyen Van Tu, 29-year-old Tran Ngoc Hai, according to Tuoitrenews.

The malicious applications which was used by suspects to infect users are said to be distributed via websites like "soundfest.com.vn", "clickdi.com". 

Once the malicious application infects a smart phone, the app will automatically send SMS messages to premium rate numbers.  Premium rate numbers allows the owner to earn money from incoming calls and SMS.

The victim will lose 15,000  Vietnamese Dong($0.71 in USD), after each message is sent from their device to these premium rate numbers.

Using this method, the cyber criminals manged to earn more than 2.1 Billion Vietnamese Dong($98,700 in USD) since late 2013.

Hackers compromised University Servers to Mine Bitcoins

Social Security numbers of Nearly 30,000 students who enrolled between 1995 and 2012 are at risk following the breach of Iowa State University's network server. 

University says they found no evidence that any of the financial information of students or any others files were accessed by the intruders.

Officials at Iowa State University believe the attackers who breached the five departmental servers were trying to use the computing power of the servers to generate virtual currency Bitcoins.

Even though the personal information was not the intended target, the University urges affected students to monitor their financial reports.

Another 18,949 students whose University ID numbers were on compromised servers are being notified about the breach.  However, this data have no use beyond their campus.

The breach occurred on Feb 3rd. On Feb 28th, the University came to know two of their servers were infected. On March 28th, they came to know third server having the personal information were also compromised in the breach.

Law enforcement officials have been notified of the security breach.

BJP website blocked for Pakistan over repeated hacking attacks

The repeated hacking attacks against Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) websites have forced the authorities to block the access to its official website in Pakistan.

"The owner of this website (bjp.org) has banned your IP address on the country or region you are accessing it from." This is error which is currently being displayed whenever someone tries to access the bjp.org from Pakistan.

At the time of writing, even the BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi's website(narendramodi.in) has also been blocked for Pakistan and showing some error message.

This move comes after Pakistan hackers targeted BJP related website and defaced BJP's Leader LK Advani's website and Bihar BJP websites in last two days.

The website can be still accessed by users from Pakistan by using proxies to mask their IP addresses.  If the website is secure against all attacks, then there will be need for such wide range of IP blocks except in cases of DDOS attacks. Even then, only individual IPs usually need to be blocked.

Arvind Gupta, BJP IT Cell Heaad, told NewsWeek that the site had been blocked in Pakistan "automatically" as a security measure and they had request CERT-India to unblock the sites.

Google offers Refunds to users scammed by fake "Virus Shield" app

Google is trying to maintain its reputation by offering refunds to those android users who were scammed by a fake antivirus app "Virus Shield".

Earlier this month, Android Police uncovered a fake virus scanner which was hosted in Google's Play Store that did nothing other than changing the icon and led the users into believing their devices are safe.

This fake paid app($3.99) was downloaded by more than 10,000 users before Google and others became aware of the true nature of this app.  In fact, this app reached number one position in the Top Paid apps list.

However, the developer of this app told the Guardian that one of their developers mistakenly uploaded the wrong version of "Virus Shield" application.  At the time, he also promised to refund users who bought their app.

But, Google seems to have decided not to lose thousands of users who are unhappy about the lax security mechanism which allowed such fake apps to be published.

According to Android Police report, Google is not only issuing refunds to purchasers but also offering them $5 promotional credit using which you can buy apps, books and music in Google Play store.

Phishing pages trick Steam users to Upload SSFN file

Is Steam login page asking you to upload SSFN file? Think twice before uploading, because the legitimate steam site never asks you to upload SSFN file.

Steam Guard is extra layer of security.  It will ask you to enter a verification code sent to your email, whenever you try to log in from a computer you haven't used before.

This feature will prevent attackers from taking control of your steam account, even if they know your login id and password. 

However, there is new Phishing scam uncovered by MalwareBytes that bypasses the Steam Guard protection.  It tricks users into handing over their login credentials and the SSFN file.

What is SSFN File?
SSFN is the file that avoids you from having to verify your identity through Steam Guard every time you login to Steam on your computer.  If an user deletes this file, he will be asked to verify again and new SSFN file will be generated and stored in your pc.

If you upload your SSFN file to a phishing page, attackers can use this file with username &password to take control of your account.

In a reddit thread, several users have reported that they got fooled by this phishing scam.

"Steam will never ask you to provide any Steam Guard files. If you upload or give a user your Steam Guard .SSFN file, they can gain access to your account without accessing your email account. However, they must know your Steam account password and username to use this file" Valve article about Steam Guard reads.

Wired website blocked by Google Chrome

Official website of popular American magazine Wired has been blocked by Google and Chrome.  Users who tries to access few urls of wired are getting a warning message saying "This site may harm your computer".

We tried to access wired.com from Google search result, there was no warning message for home page.  However, when i tried to access the 'wired.com/business/', i was presented with Malware warning page.

"Hey folks, we had a brief technical issue this morning, but it's fixed. Thanks to those of you who brought it to our attention." Wired tweeted regarding the issue.

It is unclear what they mean by 'technical issue' and how come Google has blocked the website.  At the time of the writing, visitors are still presented with the malware warning message.  Wired says it is waiting for Google chrome to remove the warning.