Connect with us

Breaches

A Barrage of Breaches Later, Cybersecurity Requires a Rethink

Published

on

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity needs an upgrade.

// -- Discuss and ask questions in our community on Workplace.

It’s a good time to bet against cybersecurity when everyday headlines are made of breached dating websites; stolen federal employee records; pilfered private health care records of patients – all of which affects millions of people. It’s time, perhaps, that fundamental cybersecurity policies in corporations, the government and other predictable targets vulnerable to hackers, requires a rethink.

An example as recent as the $100 million insider trading ring involving Wall Street traders and Ukrainian hackers looking into corporate press releases addresses the vulnerabilities in no uncertain terms. In an age where companies can distribute information through corporate websites, social media outlets, and mailing lists, one might assume newswires are outdated and offer little value. Still, newswires are necessary. Companies are mandated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to put out press releases in the interest of fair disclosure. Hence, PR agencies are predictable targets for opportunists and hackers for their ill-gotten gains.

press releasesThe FBI dismantled the illegal insider ring and released their own press release, claiming the accused had stolen approximately 150,000 confidential press releases since 2010. It’s baffling that, with such massive stakes, PR wire agencies and companies aren’t investing in a better cybersecurity infrastructure.

// -- Become a yearly Platinum Member and save 69 USD. Click here to change your current membership -- //

Rick Spurr, Chairman and CEO of Zix Corporation – an email encryption services provider, says that companies and services that are not prioritizing the latest security measures risk embarrassment and are jeopardizing customer trust.

“Anyone in security shouldn’t be surprised by incidents like the hack of newswire services. Data breaches are common and have occurred for years, but often they’ve gone undetected,” Spurr told Hacked.

“These incidents show that all companies – both public and private – have valuable data that is vulnerable to theft and, therefore, require data protection.”

While certain industries like healthcare and finance adopted security solutions early, a majority of the rest were slow to implement protection, adds Spurr.

The Greatest Vulnerabilities Are Also the Most Obvious Ones

The reality is that no corporation, government or person is truly secure against the threat of hacking. Mitigation strategies and cyber-defenses are routinely the focus of cybersecurity experts, and yet the biggest vulnerabilities in companies remain its employees.

“Employee behavior risks” remain the greatest concern as a vulnerability facing companies, asserts Spurr. Social engineering scams such as email and phone spear phishing,  lack of encryption binding sensitive data sent outside the corporation and other routine errors contribute to failing cybersecurity.

There has been a concentrated focus on embracing encryption by trendsetting tech giants recently. The U.S. Govt recently mandated that all federal websites are required to adopt HTTPS encryption by Dec 31, 2016. At the time of writing this, only 29% of federal websites are compliant with the mandate. Small business owners have also expressed concerns about current cybersecurity and encryption measures.

The other significant vulnerability stems from the “interception of unencrypted data as it travels across the public Internet,” Spurr contends.

There are many insecure channels of communication being used to send confidential information. Unencrypted email and file sharing services are the first that come to mind. Communication via mobile devices should also be a concern for business executives.

Immediate Solutions for Curbing Threats

The human element in any situation always represents the probability of error(s), and it is no different in companies. Even the best employees will inevitably make mistakes, explains Spurr. The best course of action would be to embrace and prioritize automated cybersecurity systems that are further elaborated upon here and here. Email encryption is a necessity and recommended because it is automated to scan instantly and secure data in real-time.

Furthermore, Spurr notes that it is imperative that employees are educated about the dangers of targeted spear phishing schemes. Regular training routines are also recommended to understand and be vigilant against social engineering schemes that will always better the best-automated security and encryption possible.

The Bigger Picture

While HTTPS encryption and better cybersecurity practices will help with greater safety, the means to combat or even resist the threat of state-sponsored hacker groups is a far more daunting task. For instance, the latest State of the Internet report (Q2 2015) indicates the originating source for the highest number of DDoS attacks is China.

State-sponsored hackers from China have long been suspected and accused of targeting U.S. institutions by breaching records of over 30 million federal employees; infiltrating universities; stealing airline manifests by hacking United Airlines; performing cyber espionage on Forbes among other clandestine operations.

It isn’t all one-way, either. Edward Snowden revealed that the U.S. targeted and hacked Chinese Universities and mobile phones. In what is essentially a high-stakes game of cat and mouse to preserve their self-interests, the subject of cybersecurity, state-sponsored hacking, and cyber espionage were discussed at length during bi-lateral talks between the two nations earlier this year.

It has to be reiterated that every security system, company or government can be hacked. However, better standards of cybersecurity will ensure that the privacy and confidential information of millions that are stored online are better preserved. Otherwise, it’s one long and open season for malicious hackers.

Images from Shutterstock and Pixabay.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

Rate this post:

Important for improving the service. Please add a comment in the comment field below explaining what you rated and why you gave it that rate. Failed Trade Recommendations should not be rated as that is considered a failure either way.
0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5 (0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this.
Loading...

Samburaj is the contributing editor at Hacked and keeps tabs on science, technology and cyber security.




Feedback or Requests?

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Samburaj Das

    August 28, 2015 at 11:24 am

    For those interested, here’s a real-time map of cyber-attacks taking place around the world. Disclaimer: It looks notoriously similar to a Star Wars shooting gallery. http://map.norsecorp.com/

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Breaches

Coincheck Hackers Launder 40% of Stolen NEM Funds, Experts Say

Published

on

The hackers behind Coincheck’s massive NEM heist have successfully offloaded 40% of the stolen funds, according to new research by Tokyo-based consultancy group L Plus. The successful money laundering campaign highlights the ongoing challenges authorities face in bringing cyber criminals to justice.

// -- Discuss and ask questions in our community on Workplace.

Hackers Launder NEM

Analysts at L Plus believe that roughly 200 million NEM tokens, worth $79 million, have already been laundered through the dark web. However, the hackers likely pocketed a much smaller amount amid ongoing efforts to blacklist the tokens.

Nikkei Asian Review reported Monday that Coincheck was targeted with “suspicious traffic” for weeks leading up to the Jan. 26 heist. Citing a person close to the investigation, Nikkei said the attackers hacked an employee email and stole a private key needed to transfer the NEM tokens to the desired accounts. L Plus indicated that the attacker must have repeatedly accessed the Coincheck server to obtain the private key.

When the hack took place, the stolen NEM tokens were worth more than $400 million. Today, they are worth less than half that amount. The identity of the attackers remains unknown to this day. However, authorities have speculated that North Korea may have been responsible for the attack.

// -- Become a yearly Platinum Member and save 69 USD. Click here to change your current membership -- //

Coincheck plans to resume operations this week following a government-mandated freeze on all trading activity.

Japan Boosts Oversight

The attack has prompted Japan’s financial regulators to step up their oversight efforts of the cryptocurrency market. Last week, regulators penalized seven exchanges after deeming their internal controls insufficient to deal with a cyber attack.

Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) slapped two exchanges – FSHO and Bit Station – with month-long suspensions. The remaining five exchanges – Bicrements, Coincheck, GMO Coin, Mr. Exchange and Tech Bureau – were given business improvement orders.

The FSA began conducting on-site inspections in late January following the Coincheck attack. Regulators have uncovered several issues, including a lack of customer protection measures and insufficient anti-money laundering controls.

Japan remains one of the most welcoming jurisdictions for cryptocurrency trading, but repeated attacks may prompt regulators to reconsider their relatively lax approach. Digital currency exchanges in Japan and elsewhere face a growing threat from cyber criminals looking to capitalize on the rising value of digital assets.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

Rate this post:

Important for improving the service. Please add a comment in the comment field below explaining what you rated and why you gave it that rate. Failed Trade Recommendations should not be rated as that is considered a failure either way.
2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5 (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this.
Loading...

4.5 stars on average, based on 415 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




Feedback or Requests?

Continue Reading

Breaches

Skepticism Grows Over BitGrail’s Supposed $167 Million Hack

Published

on

A relatively unknown cryptocurrency exchange by the name of BitGrail has informed its users of a coordinated cyber attack targeting Nano (XRB) tokens. However, the incident does not appear to be holding up to scrutiny after the founder of the exchange made an odd request to the developers of Nano shortly after discovering the alleged theft.

// -- Discuss and ask questions in our community on Workplace.

BitGrail Exchange Allegedly Compromised

The Italian exchange issued a notice to its clients last week informing them that 17 million XRB tokens were compromised in a cyber attack. The XRB token, formerly known known as Raiblocks, is valued at $9.80 at the time of writing for a total market cap of $1.3 billion. That puts the total monetary loss of the supposed heist at nearly $167 million.

Parts of the notice have been translated into English from the original Italian by Tech Crunch, a media company dedicated to startups and technology news. According to the agency,  BitGrail has stated the following:

“… Internal checks revealed unauthorized transactions which led to a 17 million Nano shortfall, an amount forming part of the wallet managed by BitGrail… Today a charge about those fraudulent activities has been submitted to the competent authorities and now is under police investigation.”

// -- Become a yearly Platinum Member and save 69 USD. Click here to change your current membership -- //

The notice indicated that all transactions have been put on hold until authorities complete their investigation.

Very little is known about BitGrail, as it is not listed among the 183 exchanges whose volume is ranked by CoinMarketCap.

Suspicion Grows

Unlike other crypto heists, the circumstances surrounding the alleged BitGrail attack have been met with widespread suspicion. As David Z. Morris of Fortune rightly notes, this isn’t the first time BitGrail has suspended Nano withdrawals. The same thing happened in early January when the exchange halted not only Nano, but Lisk and CryptoForecast transactions as well.

The suspension was followed by an announcement that the exchange was taking measured steps to verify users and enforce anti-money laundering requirements. It was around this time that users became suspicious that BitGrail was going to cut and run with their tokens.

BitGrail founder Francesco Firano made an unusual request to the developers of Nano following the alleged attack: he asked them to fork their record, a move that would essentially restore the stolen funds.

Nano officially rejected the request on Friday, the day after Firano supposedly discovered the stolen coins. In a post that appeared on the Nano Medium page, the team said:

“We now have sufficient reason to believe that Firano has been misleading the Nano Core Team and the community regarding the solvency of the BitGrail exchange for a significant period of time.”

Last month, hackers made off with more than $400 million worth of NEM tokens stolen from Coincheck, a Japan-based cryptocurrency exchange. The coins have yet to be recovered and the perpetrators remain at large. In 2014, a cyber heist brought down Mt Gox, which was the world’s largest exchange.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

Rate this post:

Important for improving the service. Please add a comment in the comment field below explaining what you rated and why you gave it that rate. Failed Trade Recommendations should not be rated as that is considered a failure either way.
1 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 5 (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this.
Loading...

4.5 stars on average, based on 415 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




Feedback or Requests?

Continue Reading

Breaches

Coincheck Hackers Are Trying to Sell Their Stolen NEM Coins

Published

on

hacker extortion bitcoin

The hackers behind the biggest crypto heist of all time are attempting to sell their stolen coins, according to an executive at the NEM Foundation. The revelations are the latest in a four-day saga that has authorities still struggling to identify perpetrators or locate the account in receipt of the stolen funds.

// -- Discuss and ask questions in our community on Workplace.

Hackers Try to Profit

Jeff McDonald, Vice President of the NEM Foundation, said Tuesday that his organization had traced stolen XEM coins to an unidentified address. It was here that the thief tried to unload the stolen funds onto six online exchanges for the purpose of selling them. McDonald said the exchanges have since been notified.

It was not immediately apparent how many of the stolen coins were spent or even the whereabouts of the account. A spokeswoman at the NEM Foundation later said the attacker sent the cryptocurrency to several random accounts in 100-token increments.

Last Friday, the attackers made off with more than $400 million worth of NEM tokens from Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck. The monetary value of the heist has fluctuated several times over the past four days, reflecting regular price moves in NEM’s native XEM token. However, Coincheck said it would reimburse account holders at a rate of 81 U.S. cents per token, which reflects the average price between Jan. 26 and 27.

// -- Become a yearly Platinum Member and save 69 USD. Click here to change your current membership -- //

Coincheck has been fined administrative penalties for failing to secure client funds. It was later revealed by the executive management team that the exchange failed to implement basic security features, such as multi-signature capability and cold storage. Rather, the XEM tokens were held in accounts connected to the internet.

Although the NEM Foundation is trying to prevent the liquidation of stolen funds, MacDonald said the attackers will likely get away with some of the money. However, the likelihood that they spend all of it is virtually zero given the market’s underlying liquidity constraints.

NEM Price Volatility

News of the heist on Friday triggered significant volatility in the price of XEM and the broader cryptocurrency market. Following a brief recovery, XEM has declined steadily over the past three days, with prices reaching new six-week lows on Tuesday. The coin touched a session low of 79 cents on volumes of more than $32 million. At press time, the coin was worth a little more than 80 cents.

Even with the decline, NEM held on to tenth spot in the global cryptocurrency rankings based on market cap. The coin’s overall value remains well north of $7 billion, according to CCN.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

Rate this post:

Important for improving the service. Please add a comment in the comment field below explaining what you rated and why you gave it that rate. Failed Trade Recommendations should not be rated as that is considered a failure either way.
3 votes, average: 4.33 out of 53 votes, average: 4.33 out of 53 votes, average: 4.33 out of 53 votes, average: 4.33 out of 53 votes, average: 4.33 out of 5 (3 votes, average: 4.33 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this.
Loading...

4.5 stars on average, based on 415 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




Feedback or Requests?

Continue Reading

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

A part of CCN

Hacked.com is Neutral and Unbiased

Hacked.com and its team members have pledged to reject any form of advertisement or sponsorships from 3rd parties. We will always be neutral and we strive towards a fully unbiased view on all topics. Whenever an author has a conflicting interest, that should be clearly stated in the post itself with a disclaimer. If you suspect that one of our team members are biased, please notify me immediately at jonas.borchgrevink(at)hacked.com.

Trending