Week in review: Illegal surveillance, WordPress insecurity, cheap computer kill switch

Here’s an overview of some of last week’s most interesting news, podcasts and articles:


Securing the smart grid: European Network of Cyber Security
Dr. Klaus Kursawe is the Chief Scientist at the European Network of Cyber Security (ENCS), where he is leading the research and development activities for critical infrastructure security. In this interview he talks about the challenges related to smart grid security.

New Dyre variant outsmarts AV researchers’ sandboxes
Since it was first spotted in June 2014, the Dyre/Dyreza banking Trojan has become extremely popular with cyber crooks, and especially those that target businesses.

Court declares NSA’s domestic phone metadata collection program illegal
It took nearly two years, but three judges of a federal appeals court in New York have unanimously ruled that the bulk collection of telephone metadata associated with phone calls made by and to Americans, performed by the National Security Agency, should not have been approved based on section 215 of the Patriot Act, i.e. that the program is, in fact, illegal.

To what extent companies digitally track our daily lives?
Do you know how digitally collected information uncovers things about you which you would rather remained private? We’re already living in the age of Big Data, and are on the very cusp of the age of the Internet of Things – will this lead to to complete and ubiquitous surveillance?

New infostealer tries to foil analysis attempts by wiping hard drive
Cisco researchers have discovered a new information-stealing Trojan that reads and records any plain-text data the victim types into their browser. But this discovery would be nothing to write home about were it not for the malware’s extremely destructive behavior if it detects malware researchers’ attempts to analyze it.

Social threat intelligence
In this podcast recorded at RSA Conference 2015, Trevor Welsh, Sales Engineering Manager at ThreatStream, talks about how in the security space, our adversaries are not machines or artificial intelligence, they’re people. This means that information security companies are trying to beat the enemy with scale and consistency.

Millions of WordPress sites risk hijacking due to flaw in default theme
Guess what? Unless your site is hosted by one of 11 specific web hosts, it’s time to patch your WordPress installation again!

Researchers create searchable database of intelligence operators
The researchers behind Transparency Toolkit, a venture whose goal is to develop source software to collect and analyze publicly available data on surveillance and human rights abuses, have released ICWATCH, a collection of 27,094 resumes of people working in the intelligence community.

Product spotlight: Qualys Web Application Firewall 2.0
In this podcast recorded at RSA Conference 2015, Wolfgang Kandek, CTO at Qualys, talks about the recently announced Qualys Web Application Firewall (WAF) version 2.0, that comes fully integrated with the Qualys Web Application Scanning solution (WAS).

Top cyber attack vectors for critical SAP systems
SAP is run by over 250,000 customers worldwide, including 98 percent of the 100 most valued brands. Despite housing an organization’s most valuable and sensitive information, SAP systems are not protected from cyber threats by traditional security approaches.

Criminal attacks in healthcare are up 125% since 2010
The healthcare industry is experiencing a surge in data breaches, security incidents, and criminal attacks—exposing millions of patients and their medical records, according to the Ponemon Institute.

The risks of moving data into cloud and mobile environments
In this podcast recorded at RSA Conference 2015, Rich Campagna, VP, Products & Marketing at Bitglass, talks about how cloud and mobile and the the largest trends happening in enterprise IT today.

New AlphaCrypt ransomware delivered via Angler EK
Yet another type of ransomware has been detected by malware researchers. Dubbed AlphaCrypt, it appropriates the look of TeslaCrypt, but operates similarly to Cryptowall 3.0.

Netflix open sources FIDO, its automated incident response tool
Netflix has open sourced FIDO (Fully Integrated Defense Operation), a system for automatically analyzing security events and responding to security incidents that the company has been successfully using for over 4 years.

As Uber account compromises continue, company says they weren’t breached
Transport service company Uber has had its fair share of problems through the years, but lately instances of hacked accounts and fraudulently booked trips seem to have increased, fueling speculations that the company has suffered a data breach.

Company invokes DMCA to block researcher from disclosing flaws in its product
Electronic lock maker CyberLock has attempted to prevent IOActive from releasing information about a host of security flaws they discovered in its product of the same name.

The importance of data loss prevention for OS X
In this podcast recorded at RSA Conference 2015, Zoran Cocoara, Sales and Business Development Manager at CoSoSys, talks about the integration of Macs in the enterprise and the need for Data Loss Prevention for OS X.

GPU-based malware is real, say developers of PoC rootkit and keylogger
Two yet unfinished coding projects by a group of developers that call themselves Team Jellyfish have received unexpected attention due to an Ars Technica article published on Thursday.

Windows 10 spells the end of Patch Tuesday
Microsoft is ready to abandon the longstanding patching schedule that saw patches and security updates being delivered on the second Tuesday of every month. With the advent of Windows 10, security updates and other software innovations will be pushed to PCs, tablets and phones as soon as they are ready.

USBKill turns thumb drives into computer kill switches
A coder that goes by the online handle “Hephaestos” has shared with the world a Python script that, when put on an USB thumb drive, turns the device in an effective kill switch for the computer in which it’s plugged in.

Crimeware infects one-third of computers worldwide
The APWG reports that during the 4th quarter of 2014, a record number of crimeware variants were detected, a strategy of overwhelming proliferation of variations designed to defeat antivirus software. Meanwhile, phishers increasingly targeted retail and service sites, hoping to take advantage of the burgeoning numbers of online shoppers.

Classification and protection of unstructured data
In this podcast recorded at RSA Conference 2015, Stephane Charbonneau, CTO of TITUS, talks about TITUS Classification Suite 4, a significant new release of its flagship data identification and information protection suite.

APTs: The fine balance of control and monitoring
Security is not about winning the war. It is more like insurance, it’s about how we handle risks.

Mozilla pushes for full HTTPS use
Mozilla has announced they are planning to deprecate non-secure HTTP.

Product spotlight: Targeted threat intelligence from Solutionary
In this podcast recorded at RSA Conference 2015, Joseph Blankenship, Director of Marketing at Solutionary, talks about how they provide clients with advance, actionable intelligence to improve situational awareness, identify targeted threats and potentially avoid attacks altogether.

How long is the wait?
Nobody likes to wait. But yet, we wait at restaurants, to see the doctor, and to get our hands on the latest cool tech gadget. We spend a lot of time waiting and we have grown accustomed to it. Having to wait even extends to cybersecurity. Waiting twenty minutes for a table may be tolerable, but waiting for an update to secure your network is not.




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