Politico’s Cybersecurity Newsletter from October 10th, 2018 references a report on hacking that has two golden nuggets in it.
A university just paid $12m to a fraudster. Prevention would have been easy. Read more
The News Sentinel is reporting that Knox County computer systems were breached the night of the primary. It was a two stage attack, complete with with a distraction. Here is the short version.
First, the website to report election results came under a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. The bad guys sent more traffic to it than it could handle. This is remarkably easy to do today, as multiple services on the dark web will allow you to purchase attacks against websites of your choice. This attack, while real, wasn’t the target, it was just meant to draw IT’s attention away from the core infrastructure and servers.
Sword and Shield, a Knoxville based security company, was contracted to investigate the incident. Their official report says that logs indicate an attempt to access the database sitting behind the webserver. Further testing revealed that there was a security hole that was active on election night, although it would not have been possible to tamper with the election results remotely.
Double staged attacks like this are very common today: as noted above it’s easy to start a DDoS attack against a website, which is highly noticeable. It quickly draws away the top level talent in an organization to deal with it while hackers attempt to quietly infiltrate in a different route. It’s the digital equivalent of setting a paper bag on fire on the front porch and then going and breaking in the basement window. The fire is meant to be noticed.
It’s fortunate that the election results were not tampered with, and the Knox County appears to have done a great job designing the voting system to make hacking it very difficult. This would be a good time for them to look at prevention on website attacks as well.
ZDNet reports that Atlanta budgeted approximately $2.6 million to recover from their ransomeware incident earlier this year.
This is a small figure as far as ransomeware recovery goes. It excludes the cost of lost productivity, not just city employees but anyone who couldn’t get work done that day because of the incident. Think of contractors, plumbers, etc. waiting on permits, anyone trying to file business taxes, etc. The true cost of the incident to the city is something far north of the reported figure.
It’s also a clear example of why all organizations need backup now, not later, emergency plans for incidents like this, including how to recover when you get hit. Finally, until you’ve tested your backup and recovery procedures you can’t be sure that they work.
This afternoon one of our technicians was chatting with a legitimate support rep from a well-known vendor. The support rep correctly said that he could not help with the issue over web chat but to call 855-785-2511. When our technician called it was clearly a scam company behind the operation:
- They wanted to charge for free support
- They wanted to use remote tools that this vendor does not use
- They didn’t have a clue on how to solve the issue
This post exists just to serve as a warning to others that 855-785-2511 is clearly a scam phone number.
SunTrust Bank quietly announced Friday, April 20th, 2018 that a former employee was working with a “criminal third party” and may have passed along information from as many as 1.5 million client accounts.
Affected customers appear to be being notified by email with this message:
SunTrust cares deeply about your privacy and the security of your information. We became aware of potential theft by a former employee of information from some of our client contact lists, as we shared in a news release on Friday, April 20, 2018. We are still investigating in cooperation with law enforcement. We apologize that you are one of our clients who may have been affected, as your continued trust is critical to us.
Given this, we are proactively notifying you that certain information, including your name, address, phone number and certain account balances may have been affected. The contact lists did not include personally identifying information, such as your social security number, account number, PIN, User ID, password, or driver’s license number.
Your confidence is at the core of our purpose, and we want you to know that we have heightened our monitoring of your accounts and increased other related security measures. While we have not identified significant fraudulent activity, know that you will not be responsible for any fraud on your SunTrust accounts as a result of this incident.
At no cost to you, we recommend that you enroll in the IDnotify(tm) service provided by Experian(r) which includes:
* A personalized Experian credit report at signup;
* Experian Credit Monitoring for indicators of fraud;
* Dark Web monitoring;
* Identity Restoration specialists available for immediate help to address credit and non-credit related fraud; and
* $1 Million Identity Theft Insurance reimbursement for certain costs associated with a stolen identity event, subject to the terms of the policy.
To enroll in IDnotify:
* Log into your Online Banking account at www.suntrust.com and follow the instructions; or
* If you do not have an Online Banking account, please visit https://www.suntrust.com/identity-protection and follow the instructions.
To best protect your information, we recommend you consider additional steps that can be found here<https://www.suntrust.com/fraud-and-security-department>. You also will receive more information from SunTrust in the mail.
Protecting your information is a top priority for SunTrust, and we appreciate the opportunity to serve you.
Mark A. Chancy
You can probably expect no to very little follow up on this, ever. As always, one of the best things you can do to protect yourself is to freeze your credit. In this case, we’d recommend checking your balance every day along with recent transactions as well.
Remember, ACH and checking fraud do not carry the same protections as credit cards. Also, while SunTrust says that personally identifying information was not leaked it’s nearly impossible to know after the fact, which this finding appears to be.
On Monday, September 18th, Cisco’s Talos reported that the popular computer cleaning utility, CCleaner, was found to distributing Malware for about the last month.
For a period of time, the legitimate signed version of CCleaner 5.33 being distributed by Avast also contained a multi-stage malware payload that rode on top of the installation of CCleaner. CCleaner boasted over 2 billion total downloads by November of 2016 with a growth rate of 5 million additional users per week.
For our managed services customers, we are actively uninstalled CCleaner and running clean up scans immediately. We highly recommend that anyone that does not have IT managed services actively monitoring and fixing this, uninstall CCleaner themselves (or contact us) and then follow up with an antivirus scan, such as Webroot or MalwareBytes.
At this point it is too early to know what impact the malware has had, if any. No early reports indicate that it was “activated” in a way to cause malicious actions on end computers. However, we expect to learn more over the next few days and may well discover that it has impacted specific organizations.
Scripting CCleaner Uninstall: http://www.itninja.com/blog/view/how-to-install-run-and-remove-ccleaner-silently-script-in-k1000
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