The Cyber Information Sharing and Protection Act, AKA CISPA, has once again passed in the US House of Representatives. Reminder that this bill gives government agencies and their other agencies access to personal, private user data to help monitor for the presence of hackers.
Now, when CISPA was first passed, Senate said NO! Also, President Barack Obama has said that he’d veto the bill if it came through his office. Because of the different privacy issues, many advocates against this bill will fight it to the end.
This bill has been backed by bigwig business for a long period of time, almost since the beginning of the talks of this bill. Maybe it could be the big government contract ($$$) for these big businesses that seem attractive or maybe could be the fact that these business truly believe to end hackers’ abilities.
Will it completely stop hacker initiatives? Probably not. However, it would provide the ability to try to limit some of the bigger initiatives.
Government sectors of China, Russia, etc. are a bit of a cyberthreat to the United States, information access is what the US will need if it wants ahead of the game. Do you agree?
Of course the president of the US doesn’t want it passed if it violates the rights of citizens. But, in the end, realize that if money among other things, like personally-identifiable-information were to be stolen every year — and people would realize this, then people should have no problem with their data being accessible to US authorities rather than hackers.
The bright side would be, is if government authorities have access to your private data, it isn’t going to spread around like wildfire, unlike what’d happen if a hacker got a hold of it.
It’s easy to do an Internet search for lists of email addresses, and pull up loads upon loads of private email addresses that hackers posted in public to humiliate those that haven’t been smart enough to keep it secret.
Spammers and phishers, all the time, access your private information on Facebook, if you accidentally click the wrong link or follow a malicious email link – which asks you to ‘enter your Facebook username and password to continue.’
Some people argue that the government doesn’t care for internet users but rather cares for the money they’d get. Well, actually, if you think about it, the government is paying these big businesses to participate in the information sharing process, so the American people’s pocketbooks/wallets can be protected, and their own privacy.
Who else has protested this? Anonymous:
Even the Reddit co-founder is urging the US Government to NOT pass it.
What should be our take? You decide. My vote is neutral. I see this bill as a good thing in spots (because of potentially ending hacker initiatives and malware/virus threats), however, it poses a major privacy threat. For most advocates of privacy, I agree with them.
Your opinion matters too! Contact your local senator and let your voice be heard. It’s usually best to write a letter, which provides good results. Providing written documentation of a fair but firm protest is the best way to go.
It seems as if security firm, Trusteer, has identified a new variant of the Gozi financial malware. This one is more sophisticated and requires your attention. This new variant infects the Master Boot Record (MBR) on your computer — which is a boot sector software device that resides at the beginning of your hard drive that tells your computer how to boot up.
Just like TDL4, another MBR infector, this malware is hard to detect and remove. The main idea behind Gozi, though, is to wait for Internet Explorer to be launched on the victim’s machine, and malicious code is injected into the Process. This allows the malware to intercept web traffic, and inject its own code to webpages, misleading the user and collecting financial information (as well as social security numbers, birth dates, etc.).
Some speculate other developers have taken over, since apparently the main developer as well as accomplices were arrested not long ago. Looks like the new developers have a more sophisticated twist on the whole situation.
What’s different? The MBR rootkit component. This component makes the malware more sophisticated, because the removal of such threat can cause the computer to fail booting. The main problem at trying to fix infections in the MBR is that occasionally, the backup code that is placed in a different sector, is modified to not work when the infection locks in. This makes you have to keep it on the machine. However, it’s more effective to use private tools to help remove it.
One of the private tools, well sort of private, is the Kaspersky Rescue Disc. There are others that are available also, including TDSSKiller, which may or may not work out correctly.
If you need further help, we would love to assist. Please comment at any time!
The hugely popular note-taking app/service Evernote, has been hacked. The company posted an advisory stating some 50 million users (which is about how many the service has) could have been compromised in their accounts. It informed them that usernames, email addresses, and encrypted passwords were stolen.
The investigation is still ongoing on how exactly the hackers gained administrative entry to the site. However, Evernote has told reporters that suspicious activity seemed to have been noticed first on Feb. 28.
Apparently, no payment details or other identity information was stolen, and it seems like the passwords were indeed encrypted, which is good.
It seems Evernote has responded quickly to this incident, and it does seem a bit isolated compared to other recent incidents of this scale.
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Stuxnet, the government malware believed to have been created by a dual-venture of the US and Israel, and the one used to attack the Iran nuclear enrichment facility, is now believed to have an earlier attack link. It is believed now that sometime in 2008 was when the facility may have been in progress of attacks from Stuxnet.
Iran leaders met in Kazakhstan this week to discuss with members of the UN Security Council the nuclear program. The researchers there announced a new variant of the sophisticated Stuxnet cyberweapon.
Some have noted that the US and Israel may have partnered way before doing similar activities to try to take down the nuclear enrichment program in Iran.
The new variant was designed as a different attack vector against the centrifuges for the uranium enrichment program, versus later versions released. This “new variant” was apparently released in 2007. Here we are six years later, knowing the discovery of such variant. This shows that the current versions of Stuxnet were made in 2009, which means this variant now recognized predated the original code that researchers found. Therefore, its first version may have been in 2007. That tells security experts this: Stuxnet was attacking much earlier than previously thought.
Still to make a rebuttal, Iran is awaiting and planning new cyberwarriors, which can construct cyberattacks and cyberterrorism on the US.
Looking in the code of the 2007 version, it was used for Siemens PLCs, which are used in the Iran nuclear enrichment program in Natanz. It was aimed at sabotaging the valves’ operations, by controlling the flow of uranium.
The list of new information goes on. According to Wired Magazine, the new finding, described in a paper released by Symantec on Tuesday (.pdf), resolves a number of longstanding mysteries around a part of the attack code that appeared in the 2009 and 2010 variants of Stuxnet but was incomplete in those variants and had been disabled by the attackers.
We reported on all the recent cyberattacks lately, but didn’t catch this, so here’s an addendum to yesterday’s story:
Consistent with our security response practices, we chose not to make a statement during the initial information gathering process. During our investigation, we found a small number of computers, including some in our Mac business unit, that were infected by malicious software using techniques similar to those documented by other organizations. We have no evidence of customer data being affected and our investigation is ongoing.
After dealing with multiple attacks on several sites, including Apple, Facebook, and Twitter – this being Java exploits. Now, it’s time to deal with more hacks, including NBC.com (which has been serving up malware for a day now) and Twitter. As in recent reports now, Tumblr and Pinterest have been forewarned.
NBC.com’s hacked pages were modified to include additional HTML component called IFRAME, which is inline frame. This allows at least a 1px x 1px frame to be included independently in the webpage, which may contain malicious code. In HTML code, frames can be made to host web content. But, in the hands of the evildoers, aka cybercriminals, it is used as an effort to launch malware campaigns.
I recognized something was wrong with NBC.com, which may have already been hacked a few weeks ago, and I posted the information on my Twitter account that a downloaded file was sent to my browser asking me to save or open it. This was on a sister site/blog, RedTape. I asked people to replicate it. The Twitter status can be found here.
What type of malware was delivered? Citadel or ZeroAccess, which are both crimeware families and botnets. They are usually part of several exploit kits.
This drive-by download situation is no good, as the pages were taken offline. Therefore, that dropped the traffic of those specific areas of the site. It is sure that this situation is a matter of cybercrime aimed at a financial side of things, not defacement or pranks.
Was it a big deal that it was NBC? No. In fact, it is sure the hackers were aimed at using a high-profile site, and apparently NBC.com was the easiest or quickest to access. Hackers rely on time and many other factors to make their approach(es).
Zendesk hacks and other various warnings
Zendesk is all about customer support…therefore no one really knows, except for those in the business of customer support. Big names use this service, which include Tumblr, Twitter, and Pinterest, among others. Hackers broke into the Zendesk systems, accessing email addresses of those big name customers, namely Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest.
How “pinteresting” that another hack has been born, which is related to a social network. Zendesk detailed the hack:
We’ve become aware that a hacker accessed our system this week. As soon as we learned of the attack, we patched the vulnerability and closed the access that the hacker had. Our ongoing investigation indicates that the hacker had access to the support information that three of our customers store on our system. We believe that the hacker downloaded email addresses of users who contacted those three customers for support, as well as support email subject lines. We notified our affected customers immediately and are working with them to assist in their response.
The companies involved made a point to tell its customers that they haven’t been hacked, but private information was stolen. Luckily, no password thievery was involved.
Obviously, an incident like this, just like the NBC.com incident, needs to be taken very seriously. Something must be done to stop the continuous hacks.
Twitter hacks additionally are nothing new. Many times, hackers used a backdoor, such as the tools the support team uses, to infiltrate the information of Twitter users. It’s not a huge gain, more possibly a waste of time.