Monday, 1 August 2016

Cyber Security Roundup for July 2016

In July there were several reports affirming the continued escalation of Cybecrime in the UK, with the National Crime Agency (NCA) including cybercrime in its crime statistics for the first time, confirming there were more incidents of cybercrime than physical crime in the UK. NCA concluded that UK businesses and law enforcement were losing a “cyber arms race” with online criminals. The Information Commission’s Office (ICO) highlighted the UK Health and Local Government as the worse industries for data protection, accounting for 41% of data breaches reported to the ICO in Q1 of this year. 

The EU approved “EU-US Privacy Shield” as a replacement for ‘Safe Harbor’, however there is speculation this is merely a temporary fix, as the EU data protection committee, Working Party 29, raised concerns with the Privacy Shield agreement, which they intend to address in 2017.

BT's broadband outages in July has led to concern about the resilience of the UK's national digital infrastructure to cyber attacks.

In the games industry Pokemon Go dominated the gaming industry and cyber security headlines, with many gamers running into personal cyber security issues in their attempts to play Pokemon Go ahead of its official UK launch in mid July. Gamers were duped into downloading malicious versions of the game, and there were reports of gamers having account credential compromises as a result of signing up with dubious game downloading websites. A hacking group also claimed to had taken down the Pokemon Go servers for several hours with a DDoS attack. In other games industry news Clash of Kings and Warframe account credentials were reported to have been compromised on mass via a support forum.

There was plenty of speculation and evidence of a 'cold war' Cyberwarfare escalation, with reports of hacks against democratic (Clinton) groups in the US presidential race, and reports of large scale and 'professional' cyber attacks hitting Russian government agencies.


Monday, 4 July 2016

Cyber Security Roundup for June 2016

Before Brexit (Why Brexit will be Business as Usual for Cyber Security & Data Protection in the UK) dominated the UK parliament agenda, a Commons Committee lambasted the Information Commissioner’s Office for not acting tough enough with TalkTalk in regards to their data breach earlier this year. 

The UK parliament also passed the controversial ‘Snoopers Charter’ bill this month.

For the fourth month in a row Adobe and Microsoft released critical patches to fix zero day exploited flash vulnerabilities. 

A spate of tech company chiefs had their twitter accounts hacked, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who was also spotted on an Instagram picture with tape covering his MacBook's webcam.

The Ransomware epidemic continues to make headlines and cause issues across all industries, this month saw concern over a new strain of ransomware called RAA, which executes only using JavaScript. 


Friday, 24 June 2016

Why Brexit will be Business as Usual for Cyber Security & Data Protection in the UK

So it actually happened, they have gone and done it, its shocked the world, the UK populous have voted to leave the European Union today. Now what? Well we'll have to just get on with it and starting thinking how Brexit will impact Cyber Security and Data Protection in the UK from here on in. 

I didn't post a word on Brexit despite being asked numerous times during the "debating" season, or as we in the security industry call it, FUD!.  But now its done and dusted, here are my thoughts, which as always on this blog, are completely my own.

Cyber Security Defence
The UK is a significant player in the international cyber threat intelligence community, although a highly secretive business, the “snooping” documents leaked by Edward Snowden demonstrated how closely GCHQ works with their American counterpart agencies. When it comes to the business of protecting the UK’s critical national infrastructure, economy and businesses from cyber attacks, NATO membership trumps the EU membership every time. So I don’t believe UK citizens should be too concerned that Brexit will significantly weaken the UK’s cyber defence posture. I also don’t see that UK security agencies and services ties being cut with their European counterparts any time soon, given the common terrorist, criminal gangs, and cyber threats European countries share.

Privacy and Data Protection
Privacy is a fundamental right for all European Union citizens, and to address this right in the digital space, the EU have devised the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR is a top to tails overhaul of Europe's current Data Protection Directive (law), upon which EU member states data protection laws is based, including the UK’s Data Protection (Act) law. Europe’s existing data protection legalisation is well past its sell by date, it was drafted without any knowing or consideration of social networking, borderless cloud services, and colossal personal data collection and mining. Yet despite desperate need for digital privacy protection legalisation in Europe, the GDPR has been held up by Brussels’ bureaucratic red tape for far too many years, and it has only recently made it an agreed final draft, which is due to come into European Union law in May 2018.

The GDPR applies not just each EU member state, but any business or organisation from countries outside the European Union which stores and/or process EU citizen’s data. So from the UK perspective, despite the uncertainty caused by Brexit, my advice is for UK businesses to assume the GDPR is still going to apply, and to continue preparations to be compliant by May 2018.

Why UK will still need to comply with GDPR

I believe it is highly likely that the UK government (executive) will adopt the GDPR into UK law despite Brexit, or at the very least the vast majority of the GDPR requirements. The EU is likely to insist on the UK replicating the GDPR in law as part of the trade negotiations. Given many businesses in the UK will store and/or process EU citizen data, they still have to comply with GDPR regardless of Brexit or even client contract clauses. Finally it would be extremely emotive and controversial if UK companies were to treat and regard UK citizen privacy and personal data at a lesser degree to that of ‘foreign’ EU citizens. So I do fully expect it to be business as usual in UK on the data protection front despite Brexit.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Cyber Security Roundup for May 2016

The business impact of under investing in IT security was felt by TalkTalk, their profits were halved after 160,000 customers walked away from using the company’s services following their recent high profile data breach. TalkTalk received wide criticism for poorly handling their customer data breach which further damaged TalkTalk's reputation with customers. 

Hugh volumes of stolen user credentials taken from the likes of LinkedIn, Tumblr and MySpace were dumped onto the dark web. 

Spear phishing continues to be a problem across all industries, with one attack costing the job of a CEO and CFO at a German aircraft company. 

The ICO publicly fined two NHS trusts and the Kent police following personal data breaches. One ICO £185,000 fine was due an emailed newsletter, the email “to” field displayed the email addresses of individuals infected with HIV to all recipients of the newsletter email. An issue simply prevented by using the BCC field instead of “To” or “CC”. 

Ransomware continues to be a major evolving problem, with new strains of the malware such as Petya detected, and existing strains such as CryptXXX receiving updates.



Friday, 29 April 2016

Cyber Security Roundup for April 2016

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was finally approved by the European Parliament this month. Coming into force in 2018, the GDPR has serious teeth with an up to 4% global turnover fine for non-compliance, and 72 hour mandatory data breach reporting amongst ground breaking data protection changes geared at improving EU citizen's privacy rights. The new data protection regulation will have significant impact all businesses in UK, even if the UK votes to leave the EU. 

An updated version of PCI DSS was also released; there are a number of minor changes to requirements within V3.2 which PCI DSS compliant businesses need to be aware of in order to avoid being caught out during compliance assessments. 

There were several huge data breaches from around world, with entire country populations personal data being compromised.  There was what could be a very defining UK lawsuit by 6,000 Morrisons staff against their company, after an employee stole and posted their personal details online.


Friday, 1 April 2016

Cyber Security Roundup for March 2016

Ransomware attacks continue soar across all UK industry sectors, Trustwave SpiderLabs provided a excellent overview of how one of the most prolific ransomware strains works in How the Locky Ransomware Works

March saw media headlines dominated by Apple refusal to co-operate with the FBI in breaking the iPhone’s security, which concluded with the FBI successfully hacking iPhone via an anonymous third party, sparking the old but much needed Privacy V Security debate. 

There were also notable hacks of Law Firms and a major ‘Cyber Heist’ at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York by hackers. Another major TLS vulnerability named ‘DROWN’, highlights the importance of patching OpenSSL and not using weak crypto.


Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Cyber Security Roundup for February 2016

This month saw the trend in Spear Phishing and Ransomware cyber attacks continues across all industry sectors. Snapchat disclosed their CEO had fallen victim to a spear phishing attack which led to disclosure of Snapchat employee payroll information. 

Two German hospitals were victim to ransomware after a member of staff opened a malware infected email attachment. The ransomware crippled X-ray machines and email systems for two weeks, underlining the business risk ransomware presents.



Tuesday, 9 February 2016

The Internet is Fast running out of IP Addresses - IPv6 V IPv4

The explosion in the number of connected devices on the Internet, as fuelled with more users worldwide getting cheap access to net, now over 3.2 billion users, and the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), means the Internet is fast running out of IP addresses.

IP addresses are important on the World Wide Web and every internet-enabled device has at least one IP address. Unfortunately, the current IP addressing system has a limited number of IP addresses, which means they’ll soon be running out. This outdated system, IPv4 was deployed more than three decades ago and it is still in use. IPv6 is an improvement on IPv4 and it’s seen as its replacement since it offers almost an infinite number of IP addresses.

The New Jersey Institute of Technology has created and asked I share an excellent Infographic on How Engineers can insure the web doesn't run out of IP Addresses, comparing IPv4 to IPv6 .  

Sunday, 24 January 2016

10 Steps to Building a Secure Network Infrastructure

Irish based Exigent Networks has produced the following Infographics on Building a Network Infrastructure. The graphic outlines the steps that need to be taken in building a network infrastructure, detailing each part of the process, while also advising as to the benefits of having a quality network infrastructure in place, and provides security tips.

Considering all the security requirements at the design stage is far cheaper, and indeed results in a more secure network infrastructure, as opposed to trying to bolt on security to a poorly designed network. Also remember keeping the network infrastructure secure is an ongoing process, vulnerability testing, patching systems and devices, including switches, firewalls and routers, requires a continued process.