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Showing posts with label Breach. Show all posts

FireEye: Transportation and Telecom Firms Being Hit in Chinese Espionage

 

According to security firm FireEye, a massive Chinese espionage operation against US and European government entities includes four new hacking tools and reaches more commercial sectors than previously reported. 

Two China-linked gangs — as well as additional hackers that investigators did not name — have used virtual private network software in breaches affecting the transportation and telecommunications industries. The breaches had previously only been identified as affecting the defense, banking, and government sectors, according to the firm. 

The intruders are using Pulse Connect Secure, a popular VPN product, to break into networks and steal critical data. According to Mandiant, FireEye's incident response arm, many of the hacked firms "operate in verticals and industries aligned with Beijing's strategic objectives" specified in the Chinese government's latest "Five Year Plan" for economic growth. 

According to Sarah Jones, senior principal analyst at Mandiant Threat Intelligence, most of the breaches have been carried out by a group called UNC2630, which appears to work on behalf of the Chinese government. Four other pieces of malware are being used by the alleged Chinese hackers to collect data and cover their tracks. 

In a blog post published Thursday, Mandiant analysts said, “Chinese cyber-espionage activity has shown a larger tolerance for risk and is less restrained by diplomatic considerations than previously characterized.” 

In a separate incident disclosed by Microsoft in March, alleged Chinese spies used vulnerabilities in the Exchange Server software to steal email inboxes from U.S. firms. Some researchers said that the intrusions were unethical because the malicious code left on victims' systems could have been exploited by a variety of financially motivated criminals. 

On Thursday, a request for comment on Mandiant's findings was not immediately answered by a representative for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. Beijing consistently denies carrying out cyberattacks. Responding to the alleged Chinese attacks as well as a suspected Russian operation that used SolarWinds software has been a time-consuming process for US officials. 

Pulse Connect Secure is used by at least 24 federal entities, with some national-security-focused research laboratories openly announcing the use of the software. According to a representative from the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Pulse Connect Secure cyberattack may have compromised at least five civilian agencies.  

According to the security firm, the claimed Chinese spies covered up traces of many of their hacks in some of the Pulse Connect breaches as Mandiant prepared to reveal the operation last month.

“The greater ambition and risk tolerance demonstrated by Chinese policymakers since 2019 indicate that the tempo of Chinese state-sponsored activity may increase in the near future and that the Chinese cyber threat apparatus presents a renewed and serious threat to U.S. and European commercial entities,” the Mandiant analysts alerted.

US Cybersecurity Company FireEye Hacked by 'Nation-Backed' Threat Actors


On Tuesday, one of the leading cybersecurity firms, FireEye said that it has been attacked by "highly sophisticated" state-sponsored hackers who stole the company's valuable hacking tools used for testing customers' security and computer networks. The attack was heavily customized to breach FireEye's systems. 
 
The breach substantiated the biting reality that the most advanced security vendors out there, primarily to protect others from intrusions can also be targeted and consequently hacked. Notably, the attacker mainly sought data of some government customers, using an unprecedented combination of tactics, according to the firm. CEO Kevin Mandia in his blogpost characterized the attack as a 'highly targeted cyberattack', a kind never witnessed before. So far, no customer data seem to be accessed by the attackers. 
 
There are a number of speculations about who might have performed the attack, however, the firm gave no clarity about the origins of the attackers and is investigating the matter along with the FBI. In a similar context, Mandia indicated in his blog post that the nation responsible for the attack is someone with world-class offensive capabilities as the unfamiliarity of the attack speaks volumes about the top-notch capabilities tailor-made to attack FireEye.  
 
On the basis of his 25 years of experience in cybersecurity, Mr. Mandia further said in his Saturday's blog that this attack was “different from the tens of thousands of incidents we have responded to throughout the years,” and “used a novel combination of techniques not witnessed by us or our partners in the past.” 
 
“These tools mimic the behavior of many cyber threat actors and enable FireEye to provide essential diagnostic security services to our customers,” the company said in the filing. “Consistent with our goal to protect the community, we are proactively releasing methods and means to detect the use of our stolen Red Team tools.” 
 
While giving insights, a CISA spokesperson told, "As details are made available we are working to share and implement countermeasures across the federal networks and with our private sector partners," 
 
Meanwhile, FireEye has been said to have a "ringside seat" for some of the most advanced intrusions carried out globally by Mike Chapple, a former NSA official who's currently working at the University of Notre Dame as a cybersecurity expert.

33.4 Billion Records Exposed In Breaches Due To Cloud Misconfigurations?


With the rise in the number of records ‘exposed’ by cloud misconfigurations year after year from 2018 to 2019 by 80%, there is an evident ascent in the total cost to organizations related with those lost records. As organizations keep on embracing cloud services quite swiftly however they neglect to implement legitimate cloud security measures, sadly, specialists anticipate that this upward trend would remain.


Charles “C.J.” Spallitta, Chief Product Officer at eSentire says, “The rush to adopt cloud services has created new opportunities for attackers – and attackers are evolving faster than companies can protect themselves. The fact that we have seen a 42% increase from 2018 to 2019 in cloud-related breaches attributed to misconfiguration issues proves that attackers are leveraging the opportunity to exploit cloud environments that are not sufficiently hardened. This trend is expected to continue as more organizations move to the cloud,”

“Additionally, common misconfiguration errors that occur in cloud components expand and advance the attacker workflow. Real-time threat monitoring in cloud assets is critical, given the unprecedented rate of scale and nature of cloud services. Organizations should seek-out security services that distill the noise from on-premise and cloud-based security tools while providing broad visibility to enable rapid response when threats are found,” Spallitta concluded.


Key report findings: 
  1. 81 breaches in 2018; 115 in 2019 – a 42% increase
  2. Tech companies had the most data breaches at 41%, followed by healthcare at 20%, and government at 10%; hospitality, finance, retail, education, and business services all came in at under 10% each
  3. 68% of the affected companies were founded prior to 2010, while only 6.6% were founded in 2015 or later
  4. 73 (nearly 42%) of known affected companies experienced a merger or acquisition (M&A) transaction between 2015 and 2019, which indicates cloud security is an area of risk for companies involved in merging disparate IT environments
  5. Elasticsearch misconfigurations accounted for 20% of all breaches, but these incidents accounted for 44% of all records exposed
  6. The number of breaches caused by Elasticsearch misconfigurations nearly tripled from 2018 to 2019
  7. S3 bucket misconfigurations accounted for 16% of all breaches, however, there were 45% fewer misconfigured S3 servers in 2019 compared to 2018 
  8. MongoDB misconfigurations accounted for 12% of all incidents, and the number of misconfigured MongoDB instances nearly doubled YoY


Imperva Firewall Breached: Users API keys, SSL Certificates Exposed



Imperva, a leading security vendor, disclosed a security breach which exposed API keys, SSL certificates, scrambled passwords and email addresses for a subset of its customers using the Cloud Web Application Firewall (WAF) product.

Previously known as, Incapsula, the Cloud WAF examines the incoming requests into applications and obstructs any kind of malicious activity.

The breach was made known to the California based firm by a third party on August 20 and the details of the disclosure are yet to be made public.

In conversation with the Threatpost, Chris Morales, Head of Security Analytics at Vectra, said, “Losing SSL certificates and API access to an enterprise network is concerning. Secure web gateways, firewalls, intrusion detection, and prevention systems, and data loss prevention (DLP) products all perform some form of SSL intercept and decryption to perform DPI,”

“While we often point to lack of maturity of security operations or misconfiguration of cloud systems as to why a company would miss an attack, it is even more unfortunate when a security vendor who builds a cloud security product is compromised that should have the skills and capabilities to detect and respond to cyberattacks,” He further told.

Referencing from the writings of CEO, Chris Hylen, “We want to be very clear that this data exposure is limited to our Cloud WAF product… Elements of our Incapsula customer database through September 15, 2017, were exposed. These included: email addresses; hashed and salted passwords. And for a subset of the Incapsula customers through September 15, 2017: API keys and customer-provided SSL certificates.”

Assuring the users, he told, “We continue to investigate this incident around the clock and have stood up a global, cross-functional team.”

As a remedial measure, Imperva brought into force password resets and 90-day password expiration for the product which notably is a key component of the company's leading application security solution.








Major Breach of Biometric Systems Exposes Information of More Than 1 Million People



In a vulnerability found by Israeli security researchers there occurred a rather major breach of biometric systems that left data of more than 1 million individuals 'exposed' in an openly accessible database.

The frameworks influenced were said to have been utilized by the UK Metropolitan police, defence contractors, and banks, for fingerprint and facial recognition purposes.
It all started when the researchers found that the biometric data on 'Suprema's web-Biostar 2 platform' that controls access to secure facilities, was unprotected and 'mostly unencrypted.'

The affected database included 27.8 million records, totalling 23 gigabytes of data. A small and simple manipulation of the URL search criteria enabled access to the data as well as allowed room for some changes.

Purportedly, the researchers have now been searching for familiar IP blocks to further use these in order to discover holes in company’s frameworks that could conceivably prompt data breaches.
We were able to find plain-text passwords of administrator accounts. The access allows first of all seeing millions of users are using this system to access different locations and see in real time which user enters which facility or which room in each facility, even. We [were] able to change data and add new users,” – Rotem and Locar, the security researchers.

Despite the fact that the vulnerability has been fixed, be that as it may, it is still in the news as the size of the breach was disturbing because the affected service is currently in use in approximately 1.5 million areas over the world.