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The Biggest Hacks and Breaches from 2014

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IBM’s Security team has released cyber attack statistics for 2014. In the summary, 2014s biggest hacks so far have changed from previous years – focusing on malware affecting US retailers, 43% more retail data was stolen in 2014 than the previous year.

IBM said 61 million retail records were stolen over the last 12 months. Down from last year’s 73 million. Also noted, the number of daily attacks dropped from 4,200 to just over 3,000. Put together, it shows the typical breach in 2014 has become more destructive.

Below are 8 of 2014s Biggest Hacks So Far. Often, breaches are not made public until months after they occur. Historically, Black Friday has been one of the most active days for cyber attacks. That information is not anticipated until later in the year.

Ebay

2014's Biggest Hacks So Far IBM ChartLast September more than 100 listings identified as exploits tricked customers into handing over their personal identification. First reported on the 17th in an iPhone listing, the attacks continued throughout the week.

The problem centered on Ebay’s feature of letting sellers place Javascript and Flash on their item page. Hackers used cross-server scripting exploits to spoof banking sites. Users fooled by the listings were redirected to pages asking them to link their bank accounts. Many of the listings were placed through hijacked accounts. Some sellers having used their accounts for years with massive feedback and regular shoppers. It gets worse, some sellers logged back into their accounts to find massive listing fees. Security researchers say that the Javascript/XSS attack had been part of the site since February.

Ebay had faced hacking problems earlier in 2014 as well. Also last February, surreptitious hackers broke into Ebay stealing logins, passwords, birth dates, email and physical addresses of users. Hackers made use of leaked Ebay employee data to access the network.

Ebay asked user’s to change their passwords in May, once they became aware. No financial data was reported lost. Though, hackers now know where Ebay user’s live and may focus on them, physically, in hopes of revealing more personal information offering fake deals and offers via mail and email.

Also, in July, hackers broke into Ebay subsidiary StubHub and defrauded nearly $1 million from the service.

Target a Target

data breachOriginally reported at the end of 2013, the Target hack was, perhaps, a precursor to the rise of 2014 retail attacks. Responsible for the loss of 40m financial records and 70m customer accounts, the cost of replacing credit and debit cards is roughly $400m alone. The hack occurred over November and December, in time for Black Friday. Over the past year, more has come to light regarding the notorious breach.

Malware introduced through third-party vendors point-of-sale machines hummed away during the holiday shopping season. Target was unaware of the hack until their customers data surfaced on a black market website.

Security research Brian Krebs reported that Fazio Mechanical, a heating and air contractor may have provided thieves the means to attack Target. The firm had previously succumbed to a phishing attack linked to the malware found on Target’s system.

Also read: Bitcoin Exchange Bitstamp Is Back Online with Multi-sig Security after Hack

AOL Email Spoofs

As many as 2% of AOL Mail accounts could have been compromised by spammers last April. The accounts were still used to send spoofed emails – a message that appears to be from a valid contact, but is not from the contact.

AOL notified affected users and has been working with law enforcement. The Twitter feed #aolhacked tracked the effect of the hack. The unauthorized access did not lead to a loss of financial data. This was not 2014s biggest hack, but respect for a 90s company making a headline in 2015.

UPS Malware Breach

The UPS Store was alerted by the US government that malware was targeting US retailers. Fifty-one compromised franchises in twenty-four states may have leaked information from January until August. Although UPS has not released a hard number for such a large time frame, no fraud has been attributed to this hack, yet.

Every UPS store affected by the malware was individually owned – separate from the corporate locations. These stores are responsible for their service contracts and were not part of the, larger, UPS network.

2014s Biggest Hacks Citadel

Citadel Malware

 

Staples Credit Card Harvesting

Between August and September malware, ran amok on Staple’s Point of Sale system. Over one million credit cards, verification codes, expiration dates and full names of cardholders escaped from the system. Staples have since offered identity protection services to customers shopping at affected locations.

The Staples attack drew the attention of security expert Brian Krebs. At the time, he was following the malware that hit Staples. Several banking sources had tipped him on a pattern of debit and credit fraud similar to the point-of-sale malware.

Home Depot

On September 8th, Home Depot confirmed a hack that compromised nearly 56 million credit cards and 53 million email addresses. Exploiting a flaw in the Windows Operating System, hackers pushed custom malware to self-checkout terminals. The software ran for five months, swiping customer information.

Hackers targeted the 7,500 checkout terminals because they were the easiest to identify in Home Depot’s database. The companies 70,000 registers, apparently, were obfuscated in some way. The Depot became aware of the breach when their customers credit card information began showing up on Rescator.cc, the Amazon.com of stolen credit cards.

Estimates the breach will cost Home Depot upwards of $63m have not phased the home repair behemoth. This attack eclipses the Target breach earlier in the year where 40m customer credit card records were harvest. Home Depot shares closed the year up 18% and 4% over their sales goals. If they are worried, Home Depot customers are not showing it.

Also read: Tech is Charlie, Hackers are Charlie

JPMorgan Bailed Out of Their Systems

One of the largest breaches ever hit JP Morgan Chase last June, lasting until July. Certainly, this was 2014s biggest hack in the financial realm. Although the organization chose not to come forward until a security filing in October, some 76 million households and 7 million business accounts were compromised.

Security researchers close to the case suspect that somehow hackers obtained architecture diagrams of JP Morgans internal systems. Once equipped with a road map to the largest banking system in the country, the hackers cross-checked each system with know exploits looking for ways inside.

In a short time, the attackers obtained root privileges (the highest administrative level) in dozens of JP Morgan systems. It’s still unclear how hackers gained this level of access and researchers close to the case say it may take months to understand the intruders’ methods. Additionally, that it would take months to patch and renegotiate licensing deals to swap out software.

Although the initial disclosure of the breach sent chills down Wall Street’s spine and prompted an investigation by the FBI and Federal Reserve, no motive has been ascertained. In spite of compromising over 90 servers, no evidence exists to support any customer accounts lacked funds. Most perplexing, where did the funding for such an attack come from if there was no financial gain. For a time, law enforcement speculated the attack to be funded by a foreign government for information gathering purposes only.

JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon stated the financial giant will spend $250m a year on security. However, he cited employee retention as an issue. Competing banks regularly vet each other’s employees, including IT security experts and job changes are becoming an increasingly regular part of the post-American exceptionalism world.

Sony – 2014’s Biggest Hack?

The Sony hack is an on-going saga of finger-pointing and international drama possibly implicating an entire country. On November 24 the image “Hacked by #GOP” appeared on Sony’s screens, warning that Sony must obey their demands, or they would release Sony’s top secrets.

The attack started when phone and email services halted in Sony’s New York offices. As a precaution, the entertainment giant shut down Los Angeles locations. Effectively, the entire corporation came to a standstill. Demands reach Sony, claiming to be the Guardians of Peace, telling them to pull the release of The Interview. Over a week later, speculations began to surface that North Korea may be responsible for the attack; retaliation for the recent movie, The Interview, a bumbling comedy about a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jung Un cited.

Data released from the hack includes internal scathing reviews of Adam Sandler movies, passports and visas for cast and crew (including Jonah Hill and Angelina Jolie). Film budgets, scripts, confidential contracts, and username and passwords of Sony executives did not escape the attack.

On November 27th, Five Sony films, four that had not yet reached theaters, were dumped online. Brad Pitt’s Fury was downloaded more than 1 million times. Annie, Mr. Turner, Still Alice and To Write Love On Her Arms, all of which were not yet in theaters, were also part of the dump. Along with the pre-bonus salaries of 17 Sony executives and 6,000 current and former employees are leaked. Sony hired FBI security firm, SealMandiant, to investigate.

Researchers have linked malware used in the Sony attack to malware previously attributed to cyber attacks by North Korea.  In a response from President Obama, Sony decides to release the film Christmas Day. After hackers retaliate, threatening violence against the theaters showing the film, Sony releases the film online for download.

Images from Shutterstock, Dell SecureWorks, IBM, and Siliconangle.

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.

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Crypto-Security Testnet Surpasses Key Milestones

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Security and has been combined with micro-compucomputing are a combination which ascended to greatly relevant, both economically and financially, since the early days of commercial internet technology, the John McAfee associated era of anti-virus software, and fears of ‘millennium-bug’ (‘Y2K’)-induced societal meltdowns.

As a market player, ‘cybersecurity‘ is hailed for its continuedvalue and growth, with recent implementations advancing in tandem with technological development. With ‘blockchain’ having become a key buzzword in recent years, it comes as little surprise that digital security providers have been attempting to identify and provide protection against cryptocurrency related scams.

Examples of these include ‘malware‘ AKA ‘malicious software’. They are often created with the aim of illicitly subvert the processing power of the victim’s device for use towards the mining of cryptocurrencies, or lock and potentially delete highly sensitive data (such as Ransomware’).

Cybersecurity and Blockchain

Crypto attacks can affect almost any person or institution: from private wallets and exchanges, to cryptocurrency operators, and even sometimes unsuspecting users of internet browsers with no relation to blockchain based services.

In an article published at CCN in August 2018, I wrote about the large prolificity and news coverage of cyber-attacks carried out against cryptocurrency organisations: with a majority of them involving the theft of high-value quantities of tokens or sensitive data.

Key points raised in the piece include the identification of wallets and exchanges as high-value targets for potential thieves, as well as a discussion surrounding a study of over 1000 participants in which none of the top exchanges were “lauded for security”.

As cybersecurity has been exposed as a fatal flaw in the unauthorised access / theft access of finances and data, it has also drawn a spotlight on the various methods employed by the companies which suffer these attacks.

Middleware, Wear and Tear

Some teams attempt to protect their data and finances through the creation and implementation of their own proprietary cybersecurity solutions whilst others seek the tender of others,

‘Middleware’ is nothing new and has long been utilised as a means of implementing third-party solutions as a means of shifting professional a legislative liability regarding essential functions of a brand technology.

It’s a creation by third party product / service providers that sits between external and internal code in order to facilitate functions or protections.

Decentralized Security Testnet

REMME is a project harnessing blockchain technology to create a distributed cybersecurity solution for enterprises.

Its now-released testnet has already demonstrated the efficacy of storing hashed Public Key Infrastructure certificates on the blockchain, and with 300 pilot program participants signed up, REMME isn’t short of applicants eager to trial its distributed identity and access management solution.

‘Distributed Identity and Access management’ (IAMd) and ‘Public Key Infrastructure’ requests (PKId) count amongst two of the primary features of the proprietary REMChain testchain network infrastructure. Both claims of which have come from CEO Alex Momot, who additionally praised “The interoperability of the public blockchain and sidechains”.

Additional features include the ‘REMchain block explorer’ – ‘node monitoring’ (connected to five nodes worldwide) – REMME WebAuth demo application.

While a pilot program reportedly attracting over 300 global enterprise applicants, REMME feels confident about the future of their long terms plans: which include full integration existing enterprise systems (ERP, CRM, Accounting software etc.).

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.

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Breaches

MyEtherWallet Compromised in Security Breach; Users Urged to Move Tokens

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Popular cryptocurrency service MyEtherWallet (MEW) is urging users to move their tokens after the platform succumbed to its second cyber attack of the year. As the company reported earlier, hackers targeted MEW’s popular VPN service in an attempt to steal cryptocurrency.

Hola VPN Users Compromised

Rather than target MEW directly, hackers took control of the Hola VPN service, which claims nearly 50 million users. For the next five hours, MEW users who had the Hola chrome extension installed and running on their computer were exposed.

MEW took to Twitter to urge users to move their funds immediately.

“Urgent! If you have Hola chrome extension installed and used MEW within the last 24 hrs, please transfer your funds immediately to a brand new account!” the company said. It added the following message shortly thereafter:”We received a report that suggest Hola chrome extension was hacked for approximately 5 hrs and the attack was logging your activity on MEW.”

At the time of writing, MEW’s Twitter feed had no further updates.

MyEtherWallet is used to access cryptocurrency wallets, where users can send and receive tokens from other people.

The company reportedly told TechCrunch that the attack originated from a Russian-based IP address.

“The safety and security of MEW users is our priority. We’d like to remind our users that we do not hold their personal data, including passwords so they can be assured that the hackers would not get their hands on that information if they have not interacted with the Hola chrome extension in the past day,” MEW said, as quoted by TechCrunch.

It’s not yet clear how many users were compromised in the attack or how much, if any, was stolen from their wallets. MEW suffered a similar incident in February after a DNS attack wiped out $365,000 worth of cryptocurrency from users’ accounts.

Cyber Attacks on the Rise

The attack on MEW came less than 24 hours after Hacked reported another major cyber breach involving Bancor, a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange. The security breach compromised roughly $23.5 million worth of digital currency, including Ethereum, NPXS and BNT, Bancor’s native token.

Last month, a pair of South Korean exchanges fell prey to cyber criminals, prompting local regulators to expedite their approval of new cryptocurrency laws.

It has been estimated that a total of $761 million has been stolen from cryptocurrency exchanges in the first half of the year, up from $266 million in all of 2017. That figure is expected to rise to $1.5 billion this year.

CipherTrace, the company behind the estimates, told Reuters last week that stolen cryptocurrencies are mainly used to launder money and aid criminals in concealing their identities.

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.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 648 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he leads content development for one of the world's foremost cryptocurrency resources. Over the past eight years Sam has authored more than 10,000 articles and over 40 whitepapers in the fields of labor market economics, emerging technologies, cryptocurrency and traditional finance. Sam's work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Contact: sam@hacked.com Twitter: @hsbourgi




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Mt. Gox vs. Bithumb: That Was Then, This Is Now

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Bithumb now shares something in common with the Tokyo-based shuttered bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox — both suffered a hack on about the same date, June 19. It’s a club that no exchange wants to belong to and that Bithumb happened on the seven-year anniversary of Mt. Gox’s maiden attack has to be more than an eerie coincidence.

It’s a stark reminder of the risks involved with keeping funds on an unregulated exchange, vulnerabilities that cost South Korea’s Bithumb some $36.6 million in digital cash and Mt. Gox $450 million in hacked bitcoin and its future. The Mt. Gox theft unfolded over a series of hacks that culminated in 2014. Though it’s still early on in the Bithumb hack, it appears the South Korean exchange will recover from the security breach. So what do we know now that we didn’t on June 19, 2011?

Then vs. Now

Former Coinbase official Nick Tomaino, who is also the founder of crypto fund 1 confirmation, reflected on the Mt. Gox hack in what proved to be a prescient tweet given the Bithumb attack that was about to surface.

The thing to note about Mt. Gox is that the Japan-based exchange in 2011 controlled most of the BTC trading volume, approximately three-quarters of it by average estimates — more if you ask Tomaino. Since bitcoin fever caught on in 2017, there are more than 500 cryptocurrency exchanges on which trading volume is shared. Binance boasts the highest trading volume and captures nearly 15% of bitcoin trading. It’s much less than Mt. Gox days but still a little high.

The other thing to note is that the Mt. Gox hack or actually hacks, as there were multiple attacks on the exchange over several years, was a mysterious event that was shrouded in controversy and mistrust of a key executive. Bithumb, on the other hand, confronted the hack seemingly right away on Twitter and has not let any grass grow under its feet in the interim, which is a key difference in the way Mt. Gox was handled.

Also, the bitcoin price didn’t tank in response to the Bithumb hack. It traded lower for a while, but less than 24 hours it was back in the green, which is a reflection of the fact that bitcoin trading is no longer dependent on a single exchange.

Charlie Lee, creator of Litecoin (LTC), the No. 6 cryptocurrency by market cap, was among the first to respond to the Bithumb hack. He tweeted:

Indeed, Bithumb does expect to be able to cover the losses via their reserves.

Crypto Security

It’s still early on in Bithumb’s security breach, and more details are sure to emerge in time. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to use the hack as an opportunity to examine the security of your cryptocurrency investment portfolio. There are several hardware wallet options out there for you to choose from — whether it’s Trezor or Ledger Nano S, to name a couple — and as Charlie Lee advised, “only keep on exchange coins that you are actively 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.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 69 rated postsGerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. She owns some BTC and ETH.




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