Category Archives: Compliance

Security News for the Week Ending January 15, 2021

US Bulk Energy Providers Must Report Attempted Breaches

The Solar Winds attack, from what little we know about it, was bad enough, but what if it was Russia’s trial run for taking down the power grid like they did in Ukraine or taking out the water supply or gas supply? NERC, the electric utility regulator, released CIP -008-6 which requires relevant bulk power providers to report attempted hacks in addition to successful ones.

All cybersecurity incidents, whether actual compromises or attempts to comprise, have to be reported to the DHS Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT), now known as National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), as well as the Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center (E-ISAC). Unfortunately, the feds have not clearly defined what an attempt is. Credit: CSO Online

Researchers Say Bitcoin Hacks in 2020 Netted $3.78 Billion

In fairness, that is at today’s Bitcoin value, but lets say it is only $2 billion. Does that make you feel better? The most lucrative target was individual Bitcoin wallets, but hackers went after exchanges and apps too. Credit: ZDNet

FAA Changes Rules on Mask Wearing on Airplanes

Up until today, if passengers would not follow flight crew’s instructions to wear masks and were unruly, threatened or intimidated flight crews, the FAA tried to counsel them or hit them with civil fines. Now they have changed the rules and anyone who does that will be charged with interfering with a flight crew, which caries the penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $35,000 fine. Or both. Ouch. Credit: Vice

Apple Changes Rules That Exempted Themselves from Security Rules

In MacOS 11 Apple created a rule that exempted 53 of its own apps from having to go through the Mac’s firewall. After all, Apple does know best. Apple claimed the exemption was temporary. Why? Because Apple made some changes in MacOS and they didn’t have time to iron out all the bugs in their apps before they shipped the software. That’s comforting. Once 11.2 ships, Apple’s apps will no longer be exempted. Oh, by the way, they forgot to tell their users that they were exempting their buggy apps from the firewall. Because? Don’t know. Probably would not be good PR. Credit: ZDNet

Signal Messaging App Creaking Under The Load

Years ago Facebook bought the privacy oriented messaging app WhatsApp which has become very popular. Last month Facebook created new terms which require users to allow Facebook to mine your WhatsApp data which is sort of unpopular with people who signed up for a privacy oriented app. Under the covers, WhatsApp is really just Signal, Moxie Marlinspike’s privacy oriented messaging app with some lipstick on it. As a result of Facebook’s not understanding that users would be displeased with the change to their terms of service, apparently tens of millions of people are moving from WhatsApp to Signal. Combine that with the shutdown of Parler, and Signal, which is a non-profit, is having trouble managing the load. Last week Elon Musk told his 40+ million followers to use Signal. It is likely that they will get things sorted out but any time a company gets 25-50 million new customers all at once, while it is a good problem, it is a problem. Stay tuned. Credit: The Register

Chain of Evidence

This seems to keep coming up, so maybe spending a little time on the subject might be helpful.

The security or privacy team creates this form for users to acknowledge something or approve something and then hand it off. Marketing gets in the middle of it to make it look pretty. Developers then take a few shortcuts to get it done on time.

Problem solved. Or is it?

Eventbrite was involved in a dispute with a customer. They wanted to invoke the arbitration clause in their terms of service. Okay. So far, so good.

But they run three versions of their application: A desktop website. A mobile website and a mobile app. They all had a terms of service acknowledgement, so are we still good?

Here is where they got into trouble.

Three platforms, three different acknowledgement forms.

Three different color schemes.

Three different button locations.

Then when they went to court they close cropped the screen shot hoping the judge wouldn’t figure out there was a whole bunch of distracting stuff next to the terms of service link.

Did marketing intentionally reduce the contrast of the link so people would not actually read what they were agreeing to?

Then there is the issue of the fact that there were, over the years, multiple versions of that screen.

So here is a question for you to ponder.

COULD YOU TELL A COURT WHAT VERSION OF THE RELEVANT SCREEN WAS IN PRODUCTION AT THE TIME THE USER AGREED TO THE TERMS?

I didn’t think so.

Then there is the issue of which platform the user agreed to the terms on.

COULD YOU TELL A COURT WHICH PLATFORM A USER AGREED TO YOUR TERMS ON?

Then there is the issue of time.

In this case the user signed up 5 years ago.

So what you need to do is know what version of the software was running whichever platform the user was on at the time the user actually acknowledged whatever it is you are concerned about and keep track of that for say, 5 years or 10 years or more. You need to be able to produce a visual image of what the screen actually looked like, including colors and positions. For each platform.

Are you good?

Oh, yeah, one more thing. Are your log files forensically sound? Could you swear under oath that the data that you had could not have been manipulated or even accidentally changed by a DBA or admin? Do you even keep logs for long enough? Do you collect all of the right data? You get the idea.

For the legal version of this conversation, read Professor Goldman’s blog here, but you probably have enough of a headache now.

Likely, you need to partner with your legal team to make sure that you get this right. It basically cost Eventbrite their case.

Could you defend your case if you had to?

Covid-19 Does NOT Mean No Ransomware

Three separate ransomware stories – all against healthcare organizations, even though SOME hackers SAID they weren’t going to hack healthcare. Of course, what makes you think you can trust folks who break the law for a living.

#1 – Largest Private Hospital Company in Europe Hit By Ransomware

Fresenius, is Europe’s largest hospital operator and a major provider of dialysis equipment and services. The company said that the hack has “limited some of its operations but that patient care continues”

You can’t expect them to say anything different, but the part of its operations that are limited are likely those that use computers. Which is pretty much everything.

They have four business units – kidney patient care, operating hospitals, pharmaceutical provider and facilities management. I am sure that none of those depend on those ransomed computers.

Fresenius employs nearly 300,000 people.

To make matters worse, the particular malware, SNAKE, targets Internet of Things devices. None of those in your average hospital.

SNAKE is one of the family of ransomware 2.0 hacks that threaten to publish your private data if you don’t pay up – so backups are not a complete defense from these attacks. Credit: Brian Krebs

#2 and #3 – Two other Ransomware 2.0 attacks went after plastic surgery clinics.

One was Dr. Kristin Tarber’s clinic in Bellevue, Washington.

There the hackers published patient medical histories.

The other is in Nashville, TN and attacked the Nashville Plastic Surgery Institute D/B/A Maxwell Aesthetics. There the hackers stole patient history data, health insurance info, surgery info an other information.

I haven’t seen the stolen/published data from these hacks, but in other plastic surgery hacks, they have published photos of plastic surgery of body parts that are not usually exposed, if you get what I mean.

The challenge for the healthcare industry is that the insurance companies and government reimbursements are really reducing margins.

Until the folks that control their reimbursements decide that getting shutdown for weeks or operating off paper charts with no visibility to patient history is a not a good thing, expect there to be a lot more breaches.

For the hackers, this is very lucrative. I would not be surprised if this is a revenue stream for North Korea.

I definitely feel for the healthcare providers. They want to do the right thing, but they don’t have the money.

This year the Department of Defense, which has had its own problems with hackers, decided that security is not optional and will actually reimburse defense contractors for the costs of implementing security.

The healthcare industry hasn’t gotten there yet. Hopefully it will. Otherwise, expect your medical information to be available for sale on the web. Credit: SC Magazine

Security News for the Week Ending October 18, 2019

Less Than Half of Mississippi State Agencies Even Have a Cybersecurity Policy

In Mississippi’s first ever state cybersecurity audit, the state auditor reported dismal results.   54 state agencies did not respond to the audit.   38% of those responding did not encrypt sensitive data.  22 agencies had not conducted a third party security risk assessment.  11 did not even have a cybersecurity policy plan.  Overall, over half of the respondents (remember 54 agencies did not even respond) were less than 75% compliant with state law.  State agency heads know that, unlike you or me, they are not going to get hauled into court for breaking the law and if they get fined, it isn’t their money.  I wonder how typical this is in other states.  Source: Govtech

 

Karma Wins

Dark web website BriansClub (named after former WaPo journalist turned security author, columnist and speaker Brian Krebs, but which has no relation to him) was hacked,

BriansClub is in the business of selling stolen credit cards and apparently they do very well, thank you.  In the first 8 months of this year, the site sold about 9 million stolen credit cards netting the site’s operator $126 million (in 8 months).   If we assume an average loss to the credit card issuer of $500, that represents a $4 billion loss.

But now hackers hacked the hacker and stole 26 million credit cards from them.  Needless to say, BriansClub can’t ask the cops for help.

Remember that this is only ONE site on the dark web, so you can kind of get an idea of the massiveness of online fraud.

Krebs shared this data with the fraud folks from the credit card industry, so hopefully they can shut off these cards and make live a little better for the victims.

Source: Brian Krebs

 

Hotel [NON] Security

Kevin Mitnick, the Chief Hacking Officer of security training company KnowBe4, posted a video on YouTube about the security – or more accurately the lack of security – of hotel room safes.  I always assumed that they had backdoors because people are pretty likely to forget whatever they set the combination to.

On the other hand, why bother to change the backdoor combination from all zeros.  See the video on YouTube.

 

One Of President Trump’s Websites Was Leaking Donor Information and Open to Attack

One of the President’s web sites left a debugging tool enabled which allowed an attacker to hijack the site’s email server and intercept, read or send emails from that domain.  Trump’s website is one of hundreds that have left the tool enabled.

The researcher who discovered it worked very hard – much harder than he should have had work to – in order to get the Trump campaign to fix the bug.  How long the data on the site was exposed is unknown.  Source: Threatpost.

 

Samsung Issues Alert for Fingerprint Reader Fail

Apparently Samsung is in trouble because if you put a silicone gel screen protector on the front of your S10 anyone’s fingerprint will unlock the phone.

Samsung’s response was that you should only use official Samsung accessories.  FAIL!!!   Early Samsung branded screen protectors had a hole over the fingerprint sensor to fix this problem.  Why fix the problem if you can die cut the screen protector for a whole lot less?

Samsung is working on a fix, but this is another example of convenience over security.  Fingerprint and facial scan readers on inexpensive (relatively) consumer devices are low security.  In fact, biometrics should never be used to authenticate you, only to identify you.  Source: Ars

 

California Poised to Make History Again – This One has Even Bigger Impact

In June Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 375, the California Consumer Privacy Act which is the only law in the country that offers consumers far more control over their data in the hands of third parties such as Internet based companies.

Now AB 1906 is headed to Governor Brown to sign.  If he does, and there is no reason to think that he won’t,  it will require manufacturers of Internet of Things devices to implement “reasonable” (there is that undefined word again) security features that are appropriate to the nature and function of the device, appropriate to the information collected or stored and designed to protect the device and information from destruction, use, modification or disclosure.

At least it says appropriate to the nature and function of the device.  A light bulb is probably less sensitive than, say, a smart door lock.

One thing the law called out is the use of default userids and passwords like admin/admin or user/user.  It says that it would a reasonable security feature that the password required to access the device is UNIQUE to each and every device or requires the user to change the password before the device is available online.

It does not make the manufacturer responsible for software that the buyer installs on the device (thankfully) and also exempts any device that is regulated by a federal agency (like HIPAA) to the extent that the activity in question is covered by HIPAA. 

Unlike the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), this law has no  private right of action.

It does, however, allow any California city attorney, county attorney, district attorney or the Attorney General to enforce the law.

While it does not say anything about making patches available, since there is a requirement to have security features that protect the device and  information, if there are bugs found after it is built, it would seem reasonable that the manufacturers will have to fix that.  If true, that would mean that they have to have a  mechanism to patch the software.

Unlike the CCPA, most companies who manufacture IoT devices will be impacted because they are unlikely to bar California residents from buying their products or California stores from selling them and it would be cost prohibitive to build two versions of a cheap IoT device unlike, say, two versions of car – one that meets California emissions requirements and one that does not.

For consumers across the country, this is a good thing because they will benefit from increased security of IoT devices based on California law.

Information for this post came from the National Law Review.

Complying with GDPR and California’s CCPA – Step 3

For those companies who have customers in California – independent of where the company is located – or are doing business in Europe, you have new privacy regulations to deal with.  While California’s law doesn’t go into effect for another 16 months and it is possible that there will be changes to the law before it goes into effect, it is important to start getting ready for the law because complying with all of the requirements will take a significant effort.  For businesses operating in Europe, you should already be compliant with GDPR.

Step 1 was to create a vendor data inventory (see article here).

Step 2 was to create a vendor cyber risk management program (see article here).

Now, here is step 3.

Step 3 – Map the flow of data between systems and between vendors.

Both CCPA and GDPR have requirement to delete data, stop processing data and provide a copy of data that you have, in a machine readable format if possible, if the user requests it.

You have to do this quickly and you have to track and document what you have done.

If you do not know what data you have, who you share it with and all of the places it may be stored, you are unlikely to be able to comply with these laws and you could wind up getting sued.

Where it is stored, for example, could include on web servers, on internal servers, on workstations and at cloud service providers.

Building and maintaining a map will assist in designing the process of complying with those requests when we get to those steps.

If you need assistance with this, please contact us.