Category Archives: Breach

Security News for the Week Ending January 10, 2020

Albany Int’l Airport Hit By Ransomware via MSP

In what is becoming an all too common story, the Managed Service Provider that supported Albany, NY’s airport, Logical Net of Schenectady, NY, was hacked and from there, the hackers were able to connect to the airports administrative network and infect it with REvil ransomware, the same ransomware that hit Travelex (see below).  I say supported because after the airport paid the under 6 figure ransom (? $99,000), they fired the MSP.  The ransomware encrypted the airport’s backups in addition to the live data.  Given that we are hearing about these attacks against outsourced service providers almost weekly, customers need to start putting pressure on these providers to improve their security.  Source: Bleeping Computer

Cyber Attack Events From Iran Nearly Tripled

Soon after the attack that killed General Soleimani, attacks originating from Iran were up 50% and grew from there.  Cloudflare says that for their little piece of the world Internet, there were a half billion attack attempts in a 48 hour period.  Source: MSN

Info on 56 Million U.S. Residents Sits Exposed – On a Server in China

This does not appear to be a hack.  22 gigabytes of data on 56 million U.S. residents is sitting exposed on a server in China.  The data appears to belong to CheckPeople.com, one of those for a fee information sites;  It is hosted on a web farm run by the Chinese giant Alibaba.  While this data is not super valuable, it could be useful for any number of foreign adversaries because of the volume and that whoever created it did all of the work of aggregating and organizing it.  Did CheckPeople license it to the Chinese? Or did the Chinese steal it?  Or does CheckPeople use servers in China?   If so, that is something we should stop.  Source: The Register

Travelex Woes Continues

NOTE: I am providing a bit of a blow by blow of the Travelex attack because it is a useful learning lesson for everyone on what to do, what not to do and how to communicate about it.  We usually don’t get as much direct information about these attacks are as are seeing here, even though most of the information is NOT coming from Travelex.

 

This has got to be one of the worst incident response examples I have seen since, say Equifax.  Really, really bad and getting worse by the day. They said this won’t have a material effect on their business, but that is hard to believe.

FRIDAY January 10, 2020

As of Friday night, Travelex’s website is still down.

Given the size of the organization, it is surprising that 10 days into the ransomware attack, the company is still offline.

According to Bleeping Computer, the hackers originally demanded $3 million not to sell Travelex’s data but have now upped the number to $6 million.

While Travelex’s public position is that no “structured” personal data has been  stolen, the hackers say that Travelex is negotiating a price with them.

Hackers behind the REvil ransomware say, on a Russian hacker forum, that if Travelex does not pay the ransom, they will sell the data on the black market.

As we watch this dumpster fire of an attack from a distance, one of the many lessons to learn is about alternate providers.  Travelex provides services to a number of banks such as Barklays, Lloyds and Westpac.  Those banks have had to shut down currency services to their customers.

As part of your disaster recovery and business continuity plan, you need to consider the impact on YOUR business not only if you are hit by a ransomware attack but what if one of your key providers is taken offline for a week or two or more from an attack.

In this case, the banks have had to refund customer orders and customers have gone to competing banks for their currency needs, possibly never coming back.

THURSDAY January 9, 2020

The NY Times is reporting that the hackers claim to have uploaded 5 gigabytes of “sensitive customer information” and have been in Travelex for 6 months.  They say that if Travelex doesn’t pay them $6 million by January 14th, they will publish the data (AKA Ransomware 2.0).  Their web site is still down. Banks like Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland that use Travelex as their foreign currency provider are also still down.

WEDNESDAY January 8, 2020

Travelex finally admitted they were hit by the REvil ransomware.  London’s Met (Metropolitan Police) said that their elite cyber team was not contacted until January 2, 3 days after the attack.

They are also saying that there is no EVIDENCE that STRUCTURED personal customer data has been encrypted.  I am not quite sure how to read between those lines.

They also say that, 9 days into the attack, they still don’t have a complete picture of all the data that was encrypted.

Their web site is still down, although there is a new press release on it, updated from the old one.

Finally, they say that they don’t currently anticipate any material financial impact from the breach.  (British Airways was fined $230 million for their breach – not counting lawsuits, remediation, etc.  Not sure what they are thinking).

TUESDAY January 7, 2020

The Travelex web site still shows the message that says they were hit by malware with no explanation and no expected up time.

MONDAY, January 6, 2020

I wrote in Last weekend’s newsletter that Travelex, who had an IT incident (likely ransomware, but unconfirmed), seemed to have recovered by last Sunday night.  At least their web site was back up.  It turns out that I spoke too soon and as of Monday, their website is still/again down.

Still being tight-lipped about things, information is leaking out around the edges – something that businesses would be well advised to understand.   They cannot keep these things under wraps.

What we do know is that booths at airports are still operating, although they are doing it with a pen and a pocket calculator.

Travelex says that they don’t know when things will be back online.  I assume this means that people who took Travelex’s advice and put their money in a Travelex cash card still do not have access to their money.  This is the perfect stuff for lawsuits – actual harm.

The Register is reporting that Travelex had/has public facing Windows servers with Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) enabled with no network authentication.  This is kind of like playing Russian Roulette with 5 live bullets – not recommended.

The servers are running Windows Server 2008 R2, which will be officially unsupported on January 15th – just a few days from now.  The servers are also running .Net 4.0.30319, which is also “rather old”.

I am sure that regulators on both sides of the Atlantic will be asking some uncomfortable questions.  This may also be a GDPR violation.

Stay tuned for details.  Source: The Register

Computer Weekly says the attack is ransomware, specifically the REvil Ransomware and the bad guys are asking $3 million for the decryption key.   They are also saying that Travelex waited 8 months to patch a critical flaw in Pulse VPN servers. Source: Computer Weekly.

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Security News for the Week Ending January 3, 2020

Starbucks Leaves Their API Key in a Public Github Repository

Vulnerability hunter Vinoth Kumar found a Starbucks API key in a public Github repo.

The flaw was set to CRITICAL after they verified that the key gave anyone access to their Jumpcloud (An AD alternative) directory.

The problem was reported on October 17th and it took Starbucks several weeks to understand how bad the damage was.  The key was revoked within 4 days, but still, best practice would like that to be more like 60 minutes.  That, to me, is a failure on Starbucks’ (and probably most company’s) part.  After all, the key, as demonstrated in a proof of concept, would have allowed a hacker to take over Starbucks AWS account.  They paid Kumar a bug bounty of $4,000.  They definitely got away cheap.  Source: Bleeping Computer

 

Location Data Can Put Employee Safety At Risk

On the heels of a story that reporters were able to identify Secret Service agents who were travelling with the President, including figuring out where they lived, using available location data (see story from earlier this week about colleges collecting thousands of location data points per day on each student), comes another story regarding the hazards of location data.

As companies isolate teams to mask R&D, M&A and other sensitive activities, location data that is being sent by apps allows anyone with access to that data to de-compartmentalize those activities and understand exactly what companies are doing, who they are talking to, who their vendors are, possibly what technology areas they are interested in, etc.  Executives are often the worst behaved users and often generate the biggest digital exhaust because of lack of understanding of how the apps work and the consequences.

Since companies have moved to BYOD devices and can no longer control what apps a user installs or what data those apps exhaust, they have very little control over the problem.  Some apps have been found to send out over a thousand data points per app, per person, per day.  To servers in China.  What could possibly go wrong.

The only way to counteract this is via employee education.   Source: ZDNet

 

Travelex Knocked Offline by Cyber Attack

Travelex, the currency exchange company, was knocked offline by some sort of cyber attack.  As seems to be the case much of the time, the company decided that staying silent and not telling anyone what is going on will make things better.  In one way they are right since they are not giving the lawyers who will be suing them any information now.  That will wait until the lawsuits are filed.

One of the services that Travelex offers is stored value credit card called the Money Card.  They sell it to travelers as the safest to travel with money.  Only for current Travelex Money Card customers, it is super safe, because they cannot get their money.  Which could be a problem if you are traveling and need access to your cash.

In addition, banks that use Travelex as their currency exchange service are also offline.  Travelex is a huge player in this space, so their being down is a big problem.

The attack hit them on New Year’s eve and as of the night of January 3rd, they are still offline.  This could have a long term impact on their business and some commercial customers might choose to leave them.

The silence only makes it worse.  They likely did not have a disaster recovery/business continuity plan – at least not one that works.  And, I am sure that regulators in many, many countries will be asking questions.  Source: Threatpost

 

Guess How Long It Takes For Hackers to Test Your Stolen Credit Card Once it is on the Dark Web?

A researcher decided to test how long it takes for your credit card to be tested after it is posted for sale on the dark web.  It turns out the test was a little harder to conduct than the researchers thought since everyone buying and selling on the dark web is, how shall I say this, A TAD BIT SUSPICIOUS OF EVERYONE ELSE.

Once he got past that problem, it turns out the answer is about two hours.  That is not very comforting.  Hackers buying the stolen cards want to know if they are any good, so they make very small purchases, thinking most people won’t bother to trace down a $0.50 transaction that they don’t recognize.

Two Hours is not very long and a bit of a surprise to me.  Source: Bleeping Computer

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Cloud Hopper Attack Bigger Than Reported. MUCH Bigger

I hate to keep beating on this drum, but the message is important and the news keeps getting worse.

Yesterday I wrote about yet another managed service provider that was hit by a ransomware attack and a number of their clients had their data encrypted.

Today the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Cloud Hopper attack in 2016, which was revealed last year, was much bigger than has been previously reported.

Up until now, the news we knew about was that 12 managed service providers had been successfully attacked.  Among the 12 was Hewlett Packard (HPE).  According to the Journal, HPE was so compromised that even as they were giving their clients the “all-clear”, the Chinese were re-compromising their network.

The Chinese hacking group, known as APT10 (for advanced persistent threat – not your average 400 pound hacker that our President talks about) had access to the data of hundreds of firms.

Included in that list are Rio Tinto, Philips, American Airlines Group, Deutsche Bank AG, Allianz SE and Glaxo Smith Kline.

Director of the FBI Christopher Wray said it was the equivalent to stealing the master keys to an apartment complex.

The Journal says that whether the hackers are still inside those networks is an open question.  They say that data from the security firm Security Scorecard shows that thousands of IP addresses globally are still reporting back to APT10.

The US Government is now worried about their own possible exposure.  Yikes.

The government says that the hackers took personnel information on over 100,000 Navy personnel.  You can only imagine what that might mean.

This could be part of the reason that the government is moving so fast on CMMC (government fast, that is).  CMMC is a new security requirement for government contractors scheduled to go into effect very soon.

If this isn’t scary enough, the Journal says that the Ruskies, not wanting to be outdone by the Chinese, are also trying to breaking to Cloud Service Providers.

Check out yesterday’s blog post for recommendations, but the number one recommendation is to get a robust logging and alerting solution in place so that you know when you are under attack and don’t wind up like Marriott – discovering that the bad guys are inside your system.  FOUR YEARS after the fact.

Unfortunately the WSJ article is behind a paywall, but if you have access, it is fascinating reading.

Your job now is to protect yourself.

Like in previous times when Willie Sutton was robbing banks, he said that is where the money is.  Today, the money is in information and that information is at MSPs and other hosting providers.

Source: WSJ

 

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Is This Becoming a Thing-Another MSP Ransomed

A couple of weeks ago it was a Managed Service Provider in Denver.  A few weeks before that, it was one in Wisconsin.  This week it is Irvine, CA based Synoptek with more than 1,100 customers including state and local governments, financial services and healthcare.  Their web site says that they did more than $100 million in business last year.

Someone captured a Tweet of theirs before they deleted it:

Now that they were hit by a ransomware attack which encrypted customer data on Christmas Eve, they probably wished they took their own advice.

They are being very quiet about the whole thing, but reports say that it infected a subset of their customers and that they paid the ransom.  Hopefully they have insurance to cover the cost.

Unlike the attack in Colorado, it looks like these guys were better prepared and were able to contain the attack and are working quickly to mitigate it.

Several thoughts here:

  • It looks like this *IS* becoming a thing because for an MSP, if they don’t pay the ransom, if they don’t decrypt their clients’ data, if they don’t minimize the consequences, they are likely out of business.  From an attacker’s standpoint, this is THE BEST scenario.
  • Since there are likely tens of thousands of these service providers out there from mom & pop shops to a few hundred employees (Synoptek has about 700 peops), there is no shortage of opportunities
  • As an MSP’s customer, you want to ask those embarrassing questions like do you have insurance, are you prepared and how long would I be down?
  • This attack also went after the remote control software, which is a weak spot for MSPs.  There are some options when it comes to this, so you might want to ask questions.
  • When it comes to *YOU*, you need to make sure you are prepared-
  • Do you have your own backups?
  • Do you have a monitoring and alerting system to detect the problem quickly (we have a cost effective solution)?
  • What is your plan if one or more of your service providers is down for a day?  For a week? For a couple of weeks?  Goes out of business?
  • Can you continue to do business while you are down?
  • While the total number of businesses impacted by just these three attacks that did hit the news is around, best guess, one thousand companies, that is just 3 attacks.  This will likely get uglier before it gets better.

And just to lighten things up a bit, check out this YouTube clip from the animated movie Hoodwinked.  He has a good suggestion – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUIP208nZZs

Source: Brian Krebs

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Weekly Security News for the Week Ending December 20, 2019

Retailer LightInTheBox Exposes 1.6 Billion Customer Records

The challenge with today’s big data world is that the breaches are enormous.  LightInTheBox left customer transaction data exposed due to, apparently, a server misconfiguration.   They effectively breached themselves.  The data was a web server log with dates from Aug  9 to Oct 11 of this year.   It appears that there was no payment data in the log files, which is a good thing.  Also, they did not figure it out;  a security researcher told them about it.  1.6 billion records will cause them some pain.  The good news is that this happened before CCPA went into effect.  This time next month and it would have been a much, much more expensive breach.  Source: SC Mag

Facebook, Twitter Disable Sprawling Pro-Trump Disinformation Operation

Facebook and Twitter this week disabled a  global network of hundreds of fake accounts distributing pro-Trump messages which used AI to generate fake photographs to cover its tracks.  The accounts, they say, were associated with two media groups, the BL and Epoch Media.  They said that the accounts were suspended because of their tactics and not because of their content.

Facebook said the BL was linked to hundreds of fake accounts that posted political messages at high frequencies and attempted to direct traffic to their web sites.

On Facebook alone, the disabled network had more than 600 accounts and had purchased $9 million in advertisements.  Twitter deleted 700 accounts.

Some of these activities were linked to the countries of Georgia and Saudi Arabia.

It looks like 2020 election engineering activities have already begun.  Source: WaPo

Business Email Compromise Scams Google and Facebook out of $120 Million

While $120 million to Facebook and Google is kind of like $120 to you and me, still, it is impressive that the hackers were able to present $120 million of fake invoices and fake supporting documents  like contracts.

One of the hackers was caught and made a plea deal for 60 months in jail and fined $26 million.  Source: The Register

While British Politicians Demand Facebook Doesn’t Encrypt Your Messages, They Switch to Signal So Their Messages Can’t Be Read

At the same time that the Brits, Australians and U.S. are demanding that Facebook doesn’t encrypt Messenger messages in a way they can’t read them, they are shifting their own messages from WhatsApp to Signal.  The reason?  They don’t want their messages to be intercepted.  Source: The Register

Credentials Can Now Be Extracted From iPhones

iPhones have a well deserved reputation for being secure, but now the Russian software company Elcomsoft says that they can extract some information from iPhones, even before its first login after power up, the most secure state.

They are using the Checkm8 vulnerability in the boot ROMs of most iPhones before the iPhone 11 that, it appears, will be impossible to fix.  If you have $1,495, you, too, can hack into anyone’s iPhone that you can physically get your hands on.  In theory, they only sell to good guys, but that definition is probably a bit loose.  Based on the price, the cops probably love it as they have complained that encrypted devices stop them from solving crimes.  Source: 9to5Mac

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Weekly Security News for the Week Ending December 13, 2019

Apple’s Ad Tracking Crackdown Shakes Up Ad Market

Two years ago Apple decided that since they don’t earn a lot of revenue from ads and Google, their competitor in the phone business, does, wouldn’t it be great to do something to hurt them.  Oh, yeah, we can pretend the real reason we are doing it is to protect the privacy of our users.  Thus was born Intelligent Tracking Prevention.  This makes it much more difficult for advertisers to micro-target Safari users.

The results have been “stunningly effective”, trashing Google and others ad revenue from Safari users (typically affluent users who buy $1,000+ Apple phones, hence a highly desirable demographic) by 60%.  The stats are that Safari makes up a little over half of the US mobile market (Android wallops iPhone worldwide, but there are more users in the US willing to pay a lot of money for a phone).

So it is kind of a win-win.  Apple puts a dent in Google’s revenue and the users get tracked a little bit less.  Source: Slashdot.

 

Apple Releases Fix to Bug That Can Lock Users Out of Their iDevices

Apple users are generally pretty good at installing new releases, but this one fixes a bug that would allow an attacker to create a denial of service attack against any Apple device by sending it a bunch of requests at a speed the device can’t handle.  The bug is in AirDrop, Apple’s file sharing feature.    The good news is that a patch is available, so you just need to install it.  Source: Techcrunch

 

KeyWe Smart Lock is Broke and Can’t Be Fixed

KeyWe is a smart lock for your house.  You can buy it on Amazon for about 150 bucks. And unlock your house from your phone.

But you probably shouldn’t.  Because, apparently, ANYONE can unlock your house from their phone.

Researchers have figured out how to intercept the communications using a $10 Bluetooth scanner and decrypt the communications because the folks that wrote the software thought they knew something about cryptography.

Worse yet – the software in the lock cannot be upgraded.  Ever.  By any method, local or remote.  You get to buy a new lock.

So, as people continue to be infatuated with anything Internet, the crooks say thank you because, as I always say, the S in IoT stands for security (hint: there is no S in IoT).  Source:  The Register

 

Over 1 BILLION Userid/Password Combinations Exposed

There is a bit of good news in this (at the end).   Researchers found a publicly exposed Elasticsearch database on the net that was indexed by the BinaryEdge search engine.  The database contained 2.7 billion email addresses and clear text (unencrypted) passwords for over a billion of them.  The researchers contacted the ISP hosting the database and it was eventually taken offline.  It is not clear who owns the database or what its purpose is.   It looks like it is a collection aggregated from a number of breaches.  The good news is that most of the email addresses are from Chinese domains, so if we want to hack back at China, we have most of their emails and passwords.  Source: Info Security Magazine

New Orleans Hit By Ransomware Attack

In what is at least the third ransomware attack in Louisiana in recent weeks, the City of New Orleans shut down all of its computers, including the City’s official web site in an attempt to contain a ransomware attack.  As of right now, 911 is using their radios in place of computers to manage emergencies.

The city told users to unplug their computers from the network and stop using WiFi in an effort to contain the damage.  They then went from floor to floor to check if people really did that.

A MUCH SIMPLER AND QUICKER WAY TO CONTAIN THE DAMAGE IS TO POWER OFF ALL NETWORK SWITCHES (including the ones that the WiFi routers are connected to).  Doing that eliminates the communications path for the malware.  Once that is complete, you can power off individual computers. Source: NOLA.Com

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