Tag Archives: Symantec

Symantec Warns Against Small Business Vulnerabilities

Small businesses can benefit greatly by using the latest technologies to improve operational efficiency and innovation, but they can also open the door to a host of headaches. In the Symantec 2014 Small Business Trends Report, the leading IT-security company predicts continued consumer focus on privacy, and a growing “Internet of Things” (IOT) connected to more and more mobile devices which will have a direct impact on small businesses and they way they do business.

“Security researchers have already demonstrated attacks against smart televisionsmedical equipment, baby monitors and security cameras. Many of the companies building gadgets that connect to the Internet don’t even realize they have an oncoming security problem and therefore don’t have a friendly end-user method to patch these new vulnerabilities or notify customers when there is a vulnerability.”


last ned

“From scary headline news to a much-needed wake-up call,” Symantec writes, not referring to anything in particular. But consumers focus will be on privacy in 201, the security company concludes. warning that many small businesses may wake up to a complete new reality.

“In 2014, we expect to see privacy protection emerge as a feature in new and existing products.  But this new feature will inevitably spark a debate on whether or not these features actually provide real or meaningful privacy protection,” Symantec writes in their “2014 Small Business Trends Report,” released in January.

Internet of Vulnerabilities

I think I would emphasise this one, thou:

“Our devices are getting smarter and so must we.  With millions of devices connected to the Internet—and in many cases running an embedded operating system—expect more hackers to be hacking in 2014.  Security researchers have already demonstrated attacks against smart televisionsmedical equipment, baby monitors and security cameras. Many of the companies building gadgets that connect to the Internet don’t even realize they have an oncoming security problem and therefore don’t have a friendly end-user method to patch these new vulnerabilities or notify customers when there is a vulnerability.  This poses serious and potentially debilitating problem for small businesses.”

READ: Proofpoint Report. Internet of Things Cyberattack

Trouble with social networking

“New social networks attract scammers and cybercriminals the more they grow in popularity. Consider Instagram, which now boasts more than 130 million users. Small businesses are leveraging the visual social network to share artistic photos and promotions to drive engagement, but some spammers are taking advantage of this trend with gift card offers to get sensitive information.”

Here’s the Symantec small business security advice for 2014:

  1. Consider the information you’re collecting on your consumers and whether it is necessary. Be transparent about why you’re collecting certain data, and you’ll establish a more trusting relationship with your customers.

  2. Consider the sensitivity of information accessed and stored via wearable tech in the workplace. Establish an “Internet of Things” employee policy about what can and cannot be used in the office or used to access your network.

  3. Carefully consider what social communities best fit your brand before creating a presence on all the latest social networks.

Full summary @ Symantec.com

And – by the way – here’s the latest Symantec Intelligence report:

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Filed under Laws and Regulations, Technology

Top 10 Cyber Threats of 2011 – Updated

PandaLabs, the antimalware laboratory of Panda Security, the cloud security company, has forecasted several radical innovations in cyber-crime for 2011. Hacktivism and cyber-war; more profit-oriented malware; social media; social engineering and malicious codes with the ability to adapt to avoid detection will be the main threats.

“There will also be an increase in the threats to Mac users, new efforts to attack 64-bit systems and zero-day exploits.”


Here is a summary of what PandaLabs now predicts as the ten major security trends of 2011:

1. Malware creation:
In 2010, PandaLabs witnessed significant growth in the amount of malware and discovered at least 20 million new strains, more than in 2009. At present, Panda’s Collective Intelligence database stores a total of more than 60 million classified threats. The actual rate of growth year-on-year however, appears to have peaked. Several years ago it was over 100 percent and in 2010 it was 50 percent.

2. Cyber war:
Stuxnet and the WikiLeaks cables suggesting the involvement of the Chinese government in the cyber-attacks on Google and other targets have marked a turning point in the history of these conflicts. Stuxnet was an attempt to interfere with processes in nuclear plants, specifically, with uranium centrifuge. Attacks such as these, albeit more or less sophisticated, are still ongoing, and will undoubtedly increase in 2011, even though many of them will go unnoticed by the general public.

3. Cyber-protests:
Cyber-protests , or hacktivism, are all the rage and will continue to grow in frequency. This new movement was initiated by the Anonymous group and Operation Payback, targeting organizations trying to close the net on Internet piracy, and later in support of Julian Assange, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks. Even users with limited technical know-how can join in the distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) or spam campaigns. Despite hasty attempts in many countries to pass legislation to counter this type of activity effectively by criminalizing it, PandaLabs believes that in 2011 there will be more cyber-protests, organized by this group or others that will begin to emerge.

4. Social engineering:
Cyber-criminals have found social media sites to be their perfect working environment, as users are even more trusting with these than with other types of tools, such as email. Throughout 2010, PandaLabs witnessed various attacks that used the two most popular social networks – Facebook and Twitter – as launching pads. In 2011, not only will hackers continue to use these networks, but it is predicted that they will also be used more for distributed attacks.

BlackHat SEO attacks (indexing and positioning of fake websites in search engines) will also be widely employed throughout 2011, as always, taking advantage of hot topics to reach as many users as possible. In addition, a significant amount of malware will be disguised as plug-ins, media players and other similar applications.

5.Windows 7 influencing malware development:

It will take at least two years before there is a proliferation of threats designed specifically for Windows 7. In 2010, PandaLabs began seeing a shift in this direction, and predicts that in 2011, new cases of malware targeting users of this new operating system will continue to emerge.

6.Mobile phones:

In 2011 there will be new attacks on mobile phones, but it will not be on a massive scale. Most of the existing threats target devices with Symbian, an operating system which is now on the wane. Of the emerging systems, PandaLabs predicts that the threats for Android will increase considerably throughout the year, becoming the number one mobile target for cyber-crooks.
7. Tablets:

The dominance of the iPad will start to be challenged by new competitors entering the market. Therefore PandaLabs does not believe that tablet PCs will become a major consideration for the cyber-criminals in 2011.

8. Mac:

Malware for Mac exists, and will continue to exist. And as the market share of Mac users continues to grow, the number of threats will grow. The greatest concern is the number of security holes in the Apple operating system. Developers will need to patch these holes as soon as possible, as hackers are well aware of the possibilities that these vulnerabilities offer for propagating malware.

9. HTML5:

HTML5 is the perfect target for many types of criminals and could eventually replace Flash. It can be run by browsers without any plug-ins, making it even more attractive to find a security hole that can be exploited to attack users regardless of which browser they use. PandaLabs expects to see the first attacks on HTML5 in the coming months.

10. Highly dynamic and encrypted threats:
PandaLabs expects dynamic and encrypted threats to increase in 2011. PandaLabs is receiving more and more encrypted, stealth threats designed to connect to a server and update themselves before security companies can detect them. There are also more threats that target specific users, particularly companies, as information stolen from businesses will fetch a higher price on the black market.

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Filed under International Econnomic Politics, Laws and Regulations, Technology

Hackers Release Cloned Stuxnet Worm Online

The group of “hacktivists” that call themselves the “Anonymous.” who made headlines recently after a series of online cyber attacks against financial companies,  have just released another bombshell: They say a decrypted version of the same cyberworm that crippled Iran‘s nuclear power program and is described as the worlds first cyber weapon gas been released online.

“With the right tools — and these guys have shown themselves more than once to be a fairly technical bunch of individuals — then it gives others a cookbook to start modifying.”

Michael Gregg

The ones and zeroes that make up the code called the Stuxnet worm – described as the most sophisticated cyberweapon ever created – has been released online, according to a Twitter message by one representative of the Anonymous hackers.  Security experts are yet not sure how dangerous the cloned version of Stuxnet is.

The codes for the mysterious and highly complex piece of software were reportedly found when the faceless group hacked into the computers of HBGary, an US security company that the Anonymous collective views as an enemy.

According to the website – TheHackerNews.com –  security experts says  the leaked code is serious cause for concern.
“There is the real potential that others will build on what is being released,” Michael Gregg, chief operating officer of cybersecurity firm Superior Solutions.

Gregg emphasise that the group hasn’t released the Stuxnet worm itself, but rather a decrypted version of it.

HBGary has been investigating the malicious software.

According to the Anonymous is the composition of Stuxnet almost like a building block for cyber criminals.
“As an attacker you need to understand how something works. The better you understand how it works the easier it is to build something similar that servers the same purpose,” Gregg explains.

The “decompiled” code the group has made available is in that sense a kind of recipe book for disaster, he says.
“With the right tools – and these guys have shown themselves more than once to be a fairly technical bunch of individuals – then it gives others a cookbook to start modifying,”.

Careful examination of the Stuxnet worm by an army of security analysts have shown it to be a cybermissile designed to penetrate advanced security systems.

It was equipped with a “warhead” that targeted and took over the controls of the centrifuge systems at Iran’s uranium processing center in Natanz, it also had a second “warhead” that targeted the massive turbine at the nuclear reactor in Bashehr.
Stuxnet was designed specifically to take over those control systems and evade detection, and it apparently was successful.

But Dave Aitel, CEO of Immunity Inc., painted a firm draw a distinguished line between the version of the worm that destroyed Iran’s nuclear plant and the code released by Anonymous.
“What they’ve released is essentially incomprehensible,” he says.

Adding that what the pieces of the code group found was removed from the raw worm that has been “travelling around Iran destroying nuclear things.”

“This is essentially just a translation. HBGary took the worm in the wild and translated it into a slightly easier to read format,” Aitel says.

He notes that Stuxnet is still a threat, however, and the more dangerous raw version of the worm – or the “binary” version – is still easily accessible for those wishing to use it maliciously.

“The stuxnet binary is widely available,” Aitel points out. “The people who would use the binary would know how to find it.”
Orla Cox, a security operations manager at Symantec, told The Guardian that it was “very difficult to tell” how dangerous Anonymous’ copy of Stuxnet is.
“It would be possible (for Anonymous to use Stuxnet in an attack),” Cox says.

“But it would require a lot of work; it’s certainly not trivial.”

A hacker would need to repurpose the single-minded code and retarget it, a likely challenge, according to the experts.
The Anonymous group say they released the Stuxnet code on February 13, after finding it in a database of e-mails it stole from HBGary.

“First public Stuxnet decompile is to be found here,” one representative of the group wrote over Twitter.

Sneak a peak!

Anonymous claims the hacking was a response to HBGary’s purported efforts to penetrate the group and identify its members.

But the reasons for releasing the Stuxnet code are unclear.
The ramifications, experts say, are far less obscure.
“Now that pieces of that code become available, it’s not a far step to others developing their own attack kits, Michael Gregg says.

“Just because they don’t have malicious intent with it doesn’t mean others wouldn’t.”
This won’t lead to an immediate threat. But it could lead to something soon, Gregg says.

“Weeks wouldn’t surprise me.”

Well, I would not jump off my chair just yet.

One of the things that made the original Stuxnet so special, was that it was designed to use 4 so-called “zero-day” vulnerabilities.

These short-time fixes are sold on the black market at very high prices.

Only one will cost a fortune.

But now we might see what kind of money power these cyber activist have…

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Filed under International Econnomic Politics, Technology