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‘Unprecedented’ Hacking Scheme Worth Over $100 Million Called the Largest Case of Its Kind

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

(TheBlaze/AP) — In late October 2013, Panera Bread Co., the national chain of restaurants that specializes in healthy soups and baked goods, prepared a news release to announce it was adjusting its earnings expectations downward for the recently begun fourth quarter. The release undoubtedly was one of many sent by publicly traded companies to business news services for publication. This one was different, though. While an unsuspecting investing public awaited the announcement, federal authorities say a group comprising computer hackers and stock traders already had seen the release in the computer system of Marketwired, the Toronto business newswire. Using the crucial information in the release, the group allegedly made $17 million worth of trades and orders betting Panera’s stock would lose value once the news went public. They were correct, and for their efforts walked away with nearly $1 million in profit, according to a criminal indictment unsealed Tuesday against nine people in the U.S. and Ukraine. “This cyber hacking scheme is one of the most intricate and sophisticated trading rings that we have ever seen, spanning the globe and involving dozens of individuals and entities,” Andrew Ceresney, director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement, said in a […]

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Largest ever cyber wargame tests Europe’s defences


Europe’s biggest ever cyber security war diversions exercise has started, with the point of testing how nations can cooperate against a significant cross-fringe security danger. Throughout its first stage, the Cyber Europe 2014 occasion unites more than 200 associations including vitality organizations, telecoms administrators, and 400 security experts. The scale of the cyberwargame demonstrates how genuinely countries now take the danger of computerized assaults, and is only one of various such wargames being run in Europe as advanced systems are currently seen as a standard battleground in any clash. The coordinators said the topic of the occasion was not impacted …continue reading

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Sentry360 announces largest 360-degree camera deployment in mass transit history

Top Priority Sector:  video_surveillance_cctv Plainfield, IL-based Sentry360, a manufacturer of advanced Ultra-HD surveillance cameras and systems, has announced the deployment of the largest 360-degree surveillance camera system in mass transit history. Read More….

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New York City Road Runners secure world’s largest marathon with Sony IP Cameras

Top Priority Sector:  video_surveillance_cctv The New York City Marathon is the largest in the world. After the 2012 race was canceled due to Superstorm Sandy, a record number of runners turned out for the return of the marathon in 2013. Read More….

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Seoul to host largest international gathering on cyberspace

  Around 1-thousand IT experts from more than 90 countries will gather in Seoul next week to discuss ways to tackle cyber crimes. Under the theme of “Global Prosperity through an Open and Secure Cyberspace,” the Seoul Conference on Cyberspace 2013 will focus on six main issues: economic growth and development, socio-cultural benefits, cyber security,
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7GB data Leaked from Azerenergy, Azerbaijan’s largest electrical power producer

Once again anonymous hacktivist have announced another leak of data from the Azerbaijan government and more so its  largest electrical power producer . View full post on Cyber War News Read More….

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Flashback the largest Mac malware threat yet, experts say


Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you’ve probably heard about Flashback, a piece of malware targeting users of Apple’s
Mac OS X that’s now estimated to be quietly running on more than 600,000 machines around the world.

That number, which came from Russian antivirus company Dr. Web earlier this week, was confirmed today by security firm Kaspersky. More than 98 percent of the affected computers were running Mac OS X, the firm said.

That’s certainly a big number, but how does it stack up to past threats?

“It’s the biggest, by far,” Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at antivirus and computer security firm F-Secure, told CNET in an e-mail. “I’m afraid the malware-free times of Mac users are behind us permanently.”

Separately, Catalin Cosoi, chief security researcher for antivirus-software maker Bitdefender, said the infection was likely the largest for the Mac so far this decade, but that there’s no precise way to measure how many Mac OS computers have been compromised.

“600,000 represents around 12 percent of the Mac OS computers sold in Q4 2011,” Cosoi said, “which means that if we count the number of Mac OS devices sold in the past three years, we can estimate that less than 1 percent of the Mac OS computers are possibly infected. On the other hand, if we look at the actual numbers and not at the percentages, the numbers look pretty scary.”

Why now?
The consensus among security researchers is that a threat this size has been long overdue for the Mac, in no small part because of the platform’s growing popularity.

Apple has outpaced the growth of the PC industry for 23 straight quarters, according to data from IDC. While the company’s iOS devices, like the
iPhone and
iPad, have not surprisingly seen much faster growth and overall sales in recent years, Apple also broke a Mac sales record in its last quarter, selling more than 5 million computers — all of which were, of course, running the company’s proprietary operating system.

That kind of growth, which as of February put Apple’s installed base of Mac OS X users at 63 million, has not gone unnoticed by attackers, according to security researchers.

“As more people buy and use Macs, we’ll see more malware,” Charlie Miller, a principal research consultant for Accuvant Labs, told CNET by telephone. “Part of it too is that it’s a Java vulnerability, and the actual exploit is OS independent, so (malware writers) didn’t have to know how to write an OS X exploit.”

In this particular instance, the weak point that malware writers were targeting was Java, a technology Apple hasn’t included out of the box on its computers since 2010, but that it supports with its own releases. The runtime is used from anything from enterprise applications to popular 3D games like Minecraft. In November 2010, when announcing plans for the OpenJDK project, Apple said it would continue to maintain these versions through Lion, but that Java SE 7 and beyond would be handled and distributed by Oracle.

Java or no, Paul Ferguson, a senior threat researcher at Trend Micro, suggested that HTML5 — a Web standard in progress that Apple, Microsoft, and other browser makers are helping to build — holds the same type of threat for future attacks.

“Wait until HTML5 becomes more ubiquitous for similar types of threat vulnerabilities, and you can have a botnet that runs in your browser,” Ferguson cautioned. “The more ubiquitous these platforms are, it won’t matter if it’s a mobile device or a computer. It it’s running Java or any other cross-platform technology, the threat is there.”

Not the first mainstream threat to the Mac
Malware programs are designed to harvest user information that can be sold to third parties, or used for fraudulent activities. Infected machines can also be used as botnets, which can be rented for use in distributed denial of service attacks. Flashback is the latest in a series of attacks against Mac users through malware — though it turns out not to be so new.

“Flashback’s come back around a few times now,” said Steve Bono, principal security analyst for Independent Security Evaluators. “It’s possible that these computers have been infected since the beginning — sometime last fall. These things go unpatched, and once a vulnerability is known, it can take months to make the patch.”

That’s exactly what happened with Flashback. While earlier versions that relied on a piece of software meant to look like Adobe’s Flash installer were squashed as part of security updates, this latest variant went through Java instead. Oracle updated Java to patch the vulnerability the attackers were going through in February, though Apple took longer to patch the version it maintains and delivers to users through its software update tool.

MacDefender, last year’s big malware scare, pretended to be an antivirus program.


Prior to Flashback, the malware of interest was a piece of software called MacDefender, which also went by the name of Mac Security and Mac Protector. The fake antivirus program preyed on users by pretending to be a legitimate antivirus program that would find things on a computer then get rid of them in return for users acquiring a full license to the software. As it turned out, the viruses it was pretending to find were actually coming from MacDefender itself.

“The fake antivirus epidemic from last year was the real turning point,” Roel Schouwenberg, a senior researcher at Kaspersky Labs, told CNET. “With all the media attention, malware authors realized they could make money off Macs.”

Schouwenberg noted that besides the initial wave from Flashback, and the Mac Defender infections, there was an attack from malware that actually changed your Mac’s DNS settings.

Apple’s response to the MacDefender issue was to first issue a way for users to identify the malware when coming across it on the Web, then to release a series of updates to its own built-in malware scanner in OS X called XProtect, all in order to protect users from accidentally installing it. Those tools were also able to remove it from machines on which it had already been installed.

Patching the future
One aspect of Apple’s internal culture that frustrates security experts is that the company’s stance on fixing vulnerabilities has been inconsistent. Experts note that while Apple’s mobile iOS platform has been patched in a timely manner, and there are even some at the company who “beat the security drum” (according to Schoewenberg), Flashback is an example of the process not working.

“Flashback was patched by Adobe for all major platforms back in February, but Apple only patched it this week,” Schoewenberg said. “Waiting two months is not acceptable, and we see OS X threats evolving.”

Apple’s Gatekeeper technology coming in the next version of OS X promises to tighten down OS security.


Apple, which declined to comment on the Flashback malware, announced plans to tighten up security in the next major version of Mac OS X, due for release this summer, with a feature called Gatekeeper. The new protection tool offers to keep users safe by requiring that developers register with Apple to have their applications signed and verified by Apple. Users can then choose whether they want to keep their computers from installing software that hasn’t been signed by a registered developer.

“The approach they’re taking is two-pronged: Gatekeeper to make you download stuff that has at least some checking for malicious code, and antivirus [XProtect] baked into the OS for when you happen to get hit,” Miller said. “On the grand scheme, they have the right ideas, they just haven’t been keeping up on things like they should.”

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2012-02-21 – SANS Institute Makes its Largest Training Event of the Year, SANS 2012, Available via Live Simulcast

SANS Institute Makes its Largest Training Event of the Year, SANS 2012, Available via Live Simulcast

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Symantec claims largest ever Android malware find

The largest-ever Android malware campaign may have duped as many as 5 million users into downloading infected apps from Google’s Android Market, according to Symantec.

Dubbed “Android.Counterclank” by Symantec, the malware was packaged in 13 different apps from three different publishers, with titles ranging from “Sexy Girls Puzzle” to “Counter Strike Ground Force”. Many of the infected apps were still available on the Android Market at time of writing.

“They don’t appear to be real publishers,” said Kevin Haley, a director with Symantec’s security response team. “These aren’t re-bundled apps, as we’ve seen so many times before.”

Haley was referring to a common tactic by Android malware makers to repackage a legitimate app with attack code, then re-release it to the marketplace in the hope that users will confuse the fake with the real deal.

Symantec estimated the impact by combining the download totals, which the Android Market shows as ranges, of the 13 apps, arriving at a figure between one million on the low end and five million on the high. “Yes, this is the largest malware [outbreak] on the Android Market,” said Haley.

Android.Counterclank is a Trojan horse that when installed on an Android smartphone collects a wide range of information, including copies of the bookmarks and the handset maker. It also modifies the browser’s home page. The hackers have monetised the malware by pushing unwanted advertisements to compromised Android phones.

Although the infected apps request an uncommonly large number of privileges, something that the user must approve, Haley argued that few people bother reading them before giving their okay.

“If you were the suspicious type, you might wonder why they’re asking for permission to modify the browser or transmit GPS coordinates,” said Haley. “But most people don’t bother.”

Android.Counterclank is a minor variation on an older Android Trojan horse called Android.Tonclank that was discovered in June 2011.

Some of the 13 apps that Symantec identified as infected have been on the Android Market for at least a month, according to the revision dates posted on the e-store. Symantec, however, discovered them only yesterday.

Users had noticed something fishy before then.

“The game is decent… but every time you run this game, a search icon gets added randomly to one of your screens,” said one user after downloading “Deal Be Millionaire” application. “I keep deleting the icon, but it always reappears. If you tap the icon you get a page that looks suspiciously like the Google search page.”

Android users have hammered one of the infected apps with low review scores, calling it ‘crap’. All 13 suspected apps are free for the downloading.

Symantec’s researchers have told Google of their discovery, said Haley. Google, however, did not immediately reply to questions and a request for confirmation on the security firm’s claims.

Haley said Symantec’s researchers are still “peeling back the layers of the onion,” and added that the company would publish more information on the threat as it unearthed details. “What’s interesting here is that instead of taking legitimate apps, [malware authors] have created apps similar to legitimate ones,” said Haley. “That, and the big numbers of downloads, of course.”

Symantec has published a list of the 13 infected apps on its website.

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ProtectMyID: In honor of Data Privacy Day, we review the largest data breaches of 2011. #dataprivacy

ProtectMyID: In honor of Data Privacy Day, we review the largest data breaches of 2011. #dataprivacy

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