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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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Monero Price Analysis: Stronger Malware to Mine Monero; XMR/USD Has Room for Another Potential Squeeze South

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  • Researchers: a stronger malware has been uncovered, which can mine Monero.
  • XMR/USD price action remains stuck in a narrowing range, subject to an imminent breakout.

The XMR/USD price has seen some upside on Saturday, holding gains of around 3% towards the latter stages of the day. Despite the press higher from the bulls, a move which has been observed across the cryptocurrency market, vulnerabilities remain. Price action has been ranging for the past nine sessions. Once again, this isn’t specifically just XMR, as this type of behavior is witnessed across the board. The narrowing in play came after the steep drop that rippled across the market on 10th January.

Price action was initially well-supported to the upside by an ascending trend line, which was in play from 15th December. This at the time was a very promising recovery, as XMR/USD had gained as much as 55%. Unfortunately, however, the bulls were unable to break down supply heading into the $60 region and were eventually dealt a big hammer blow. On 10th January, the market bears forced a heavy breach to the downside, smashing through this support. The price had dropped a big double-digits, some 20%.

Stronger Malware Mining Monero (XMR)

There is a dangerous form of malware that can bypass being detected and mine Monero (XMR) on cloud-based servers. A recent notice was put out by Palo Alto Networks’ Unit 42, an intelligence team that specializes in cyber threats, regarding a Linux mining malware. This was detailed to have been developed by Rocke group, which has the ability uninstall cloud security products. It can do this to the likes of Alibaba Cloud and Tencent Cloud, to then illegally mine Monero on compromised machines.

The two researchers from Palo Alto Networks, Xingyu Jin and Claud Xiao, detailed the findings of their studies. Once the malware is downloaded, it takes administrative control to initially uninstall all cloud security products. Shortly after, it will then then transmit code that will mine the Monero (XMR). Further within their press release, they said, “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first malware family that developed the unique capability to target and remove cloud security products.”

Technical Review – XMR/USD

XMR/USD daily chart.

Given the current range block formation, eyes should be on the key near-term technical areas. Firstly, to the downside, $43, which is the lower part of the range. A breach here will likely see a retest of the December low, $38. To the upside, resistance be observed at around the mid $46 level. Should a breakout be observed here, then a potential retest of the broken trend line will be watched.

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 124 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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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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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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4.7 stars on average, based on 772 rated postsChief Editor to Hacked.com and Contributor to CCN.com, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi




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