‘India most cyber-attacked country’
India is the most cyber-attacked country in the world, revealed National Cyber Security (NCS) coordinator Lieutenant General Rajesh Pant while inaugurating the Cyber-security Centre of Excellence on Tuesday. On incidents of facial recognition software being used in the State through the prism of consent, he said that Personal Data Protection Bill seeks to bring about safeguards, and will define sensitive and critical data. CCTV cameras have been instrumental in solving crimes. Touching upon the ‘ongoing’ debate between security and privacy, and the Disha case, he said, “What happened in Hyderabad would not have been solved without CCTV cameras. Whether the bill comes or not, that is besides the point. Security is more important.”
NCRB organises hackathon, asks students, techies to detect flaws in crime tracking system
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) is organising a hackathon that will challenge law enforcement personnel as well as ‘civilian’ cyber security enthusiasts, students and tech professionals, to detect vulnerabilities and flaws in the crime and criminal tracking network and systems (CCTNS) that interlinks police stations and criminals database across the country. It is being done in partnership with Cyber Peace Foundation.
First coronavirus cyber threats seen in the wild
The malicious files discovered by Kaspersky’s researchers were disguised as pdf, mp4 and docx files about the coronavirus. In each case the filenames implied that they contained useful information on how to protect yourself from the coronavirus, information on how to detect it, and news updates. In reality, the files contained various threats including Trojans and worms capable of destroying, blocking, modifying or copying and exfiltrating personal data, as well as interfering with the victims’ computing equipment or networks. Kaspersky said its products detected coronavirus-related files with the following detection names: Worm.VBS.Dinihou.r, Worm.Python.Agent.c, UDS:DangerousObject.Multi.Generic, Trojan.WinLNK.Agent.gg, Trojan.WinLNK.Agent.ew, HEUR:Trojan.WinLNK.Agent.gen, and HEUR:Trojan.PDF.Badur.b.
BOJ warns of cyber-attack vulnerability ahead of Olympic Games
Japan’s financial institutions must guard against cyber-attacks ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, with nearly 40% of banks and other firms experiencing attacks over the past three years, the Bank of Japan said on Friday. The increasing threat of cyber-attacks has prodded the Bank of England and other central banks to take action to ensure that banks, insurers and other financial firms minimize the impact of cyber-attacks or technology outages. Over 70% believed the threat of cyber-attacks has increased since 2017 — the last time the BOJ conducted a similar survey — while nearly 60% said they have departments specializing in cyber incidents, the survey showed. Still, about 60% of the 402 financial institutions surveyed said they were not able to secure enough staff to oversee measures to deal with cyber-attacks.
Malaysia: Master plan on cyber security in the works
The National Cyber Security Agency (Nacsa) is developing a Cybersecurity Awareness Master Plan that will outline the role and responsibilities of various stakeholders in the implementation of cybersecurity awareness programmes in the country. Dr Wan Azizah, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister, said her ministry is selecting 100 women to participate in this year’s Empowering Women in Cyber Risk Management programme. She said the programme targets women professionals who have been out of work for over six months to be given skills training in cybersecurity.
Africa, Israel and the Middle East
Tracker SA’s systems hacked
Stolen vehicle recovery company Tracker on Sunday announced that it had become “a victim of a cybercrime in the form of a ransomware attack.” The hack attack “encrypted information on some systems”, CEO Wayne de Nobrega said in a statement. Initially, Tracker shared on its social feed on Saturday that it was experiencing “technical difficulties” on its systems. The financial sector suffered the brunt of the attacks. The SA Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) confirmed in October that the banking industry had been hit by a wave of ransom-driven distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. The City of Johannesburg also reported a breach of its network around the same time, which shut down its website and all e-services. The city was sent a bitcoin ransom note.
Rwanda prepared for Cybertech Africa meet- Minister Ingabire
The Minister for ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire has said Rwanda is prepared for the first ever Cybertech Africa summit that is slated in March. We are also talking to institutions like Rwanda Convention Bureau, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the private sector so as to ensure hospitality for both local and international delegates, she said. Rwandan officials were part of the close to 2,000 delegates at summit drawn from around 80 countries across the world. The Cybertech Global meet was held n Tel Aviv, Israel that ended on January 30. Cybertech Global was first held in Israel, Tel Aviv in 2014 but from 2015, it has been held in other continents like America, Europe, Asia and for the first time, it will come to Africa.
Cyber Attacks in Europe, Middle East Could Be Work of Turkey-Sponsored Hackers
Sweeping cyber attacks targeting governments and other organizations in Europe and the Middle East are believed to be the work of hackers acting in the interests of the Turkish government, three senior Western security officials said. The hackers have attacked at least 30 organizations, including government ministries, embassies and security services as well as companies and other groups, according to a Reuters review of public internet records. Victims have included Cypriot and Greek government email services and the Iraqi government’s national security adviser, the records show.
More countries participate in international cyber exercise
A NATO-accredited entity said they reached new levels of cooperation during the organization’s annual cyber exercise, an event that combined technical skills with kinetic force and the input of Cyber Commands’ members. This year, over 120 technical experts, Special Forces and military operators worked to test the skills needed to execute a cyber operation, including the testing of offensive cyber capabilities. Six countries were part of the Cyber Command element at the event, known as Crossed Swords and organized by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Center of Excellence, an independent research, training and exercise hub. For many participants, Crossed Swords is a preparation for Locked Shields, another exercise organized by the NATO-accredited military organization Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. There, cybersecurity experts practice protecting critical infrastructure during a severe cyberattack.
Energy minister: Israel stopped ‘very serious’ cyber attack on power plant
Israel detected and prevented a “very serious cyberattack” on one of the country’s power plants, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Wednesday. Addressing the Cybertech Global Tel Aviv 2020 conference, Steinitz said the attempted attack was detected “a few months ago,” and represented one of only a few serious cyberattacks on Israeli energy facilities to date.
MASS-HACK: World Leaders’ Planes Heading To Israel Targeted In 800 Cyber-Attacks
The report said that according to officials of Israel’s Airports Authority Cyber Division, over 800 separate cyber-attacks targeted Israeli airspace while the word leaders were landing in Israel on Thursday. Officials added that the attacks, stemming from Iran, China, North Korea, Russia and Poland were all successfully fended off. Israel was well aware of the likely possibility of cyber-attacks and security preparations for the arrival of almost 50 heads of state included preparing for the attacks. In 2017, Israel’s National Cyber Directorate (INCD) launched the “Hercules” project to counter cyber threats to aviation, including airports, control towers, airspace control, airlines and airplane maintenance.
Saudi Cyber Security Market Expected to Reach $5 Billion in 2020
Over the past decade, the successive growth witnessed in the cyber security market in Saudi Arabia has caught global attention, given the volume of government spending and huge investments that put the Kingdom at the region’s forefront according to the major global institutions. A recent study conducted by the International Foundation for Electronic Studies and Research and published by the Saudi-American Business Council in Washington under the title, “Saudi Cybersecurity Challenges between the Past, Present and Future”, the value of the Saudi electronic security market in 2022 is expected to reach $5 billion. The 2020 plan also focuses on opening the private sector to further develop the digital economy and IT security. The Saudi 2020 State budget allocates about SAR102 billion to the regional and digital administration, which includes cyber security.
Zero Cyberattack Success Against Critical Israeli Infrastructures in 2019, Cyber Chief Says
The cyber incident breakdown that was reported this year to the INCD’s National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) counted approximately 8,600 reports and alerts, over half, 4,415, were received from the public and from organizations at the INCD operational center based in Be’er Sheva. Israel has developed advanced security protocols, as cyber-attacks on Israel have risen exponentially in the past several years, reaching up to two million attacks against crucial Israeli infrastructure on a daily basis. Israel’s rise as one of the world’s leaders in cybersecurity has been boosted by cooperation between the military, government, education and private sectors, a level of partnership unmatched in the Western world.
How are Southeast Asia’s casinos adapting to modern cyber-attacks?
Online casinos are investing vast sums of time and money in protecting their customers’ data. Despite this effort, cyber threats remain a major concern for their operations. The regulators are responsible for fair play in gaming and protect the players against fraud. They look into complaints, analyse software, RNGs, and player exclusion mechanisms. After the regulator gives a license, they perform regular checks to ensure the casino remains in compliance with regulation. Extreme measures are necessary to counter the extreme cyberthreats and protect gamers against fraud. Despite this effort, cybersecurity remains a leading concern for online casino operators. In the game of cat and mouse between online casinos and hackers, advantages on either side are short-lived.
UK police arrest three over Maltese cyber bank robbery
The NCA said that approximately £800,000 was received by a bank account held in Belfast, and shortly afterwards, card payments and withdrawals adding up to £340,000 were made. The criminals spent at high-end London stores including Harrods and Selfridges, blew £110,000 on Rolex watches at a third store, and put down payments on a Jaguar and an Audi A5. The subsequent joint investigation by the Maltese authorities and the NCA resulted in the arrest of two men aged 22 and 17 in West Hampstead and Ladbroke Grove on 23 January 2020. The NCA has scored a series of significant wins against cyber criminals in recent weeks. On 17 January, it worked with a number of international partners to take down the WeLeakInfo website, which made available over 12 billion personal credentials gleaned from over 10,000 leaks and data breaches. In addition to its high-profile activities, it has also conducted more mundane police work targeting small time cyber criminal activity. Earlier in January, a Southwark man was sent to prison for nine months for his role in an attack on National Lottery operator Camelot, but rather than spending lavishly on luxury goods, the perpetrator netted himself just £5.
EXCLUSIVE: The cyber attack the UN tried to keep under wraps
“While researching cybersecurity last November, we came across a confidential report about the UN. Networks and databases had been severely compromised — and almost no one we spoke to had heard about it. This article about that attack adds to The New Humanitarian’s previous coverage on humanitarian data. We look at how the UN got hacked and how it handled this breach, raising questions about the UN’s responsibilities in data protection and its diplomatic privileges.”
Minister wants new rapid response cyber security unit
Defence Minister Viola Amherd has said that she wants to create a special unit that would protect critical and civil infrastructure against cyber-attacks. The minister also plans to strengthen the snooping powers of the intelligence service. The announcement by Amherd comes as it becomes clearer that cyber attacks are a growing menace not just to state infrastructure but also to private citizens — one in seven of whom report having been victims of online attacks. Many attacks also go unreported. In December last year, the government also said it was considering the introduction of an obligation for providers of critical infrastructure such as telecoms to report any breaches — currently no such requirement exists.
UK Cyber Sector Tops £8bn as Brexit Looms
New figures cited by the UK government claim the country’s cybersecurity sector has achieved double-digit growth over the past two years, but Brexit threatens to undo much of the good work by making cross-border recruitment and sales harder. Based on research from Queen’s University Belfast, the sector is now worth £8.3bn, with revenues from UK firms having increased 46% from 2017–19. The number of cybersecurity firms located in the UK also grew significantly over the period, by 44% from 846 in 2017 to over 1200 at year-end 2019. There are also question marks over UK sales to the continent. Boris Johnson’s government has refused to consider remaining in the single market, meaning likely trade restrictions that will hinder firms’ growth prospects.
Microsoft to establish Belfast cyber security centre
Eighty-five new jobs will be created as part of the move and the Department for the Economy is providing £800,000 in funding for pre-employment training places at Belfast Met. Microsoft already employs 28 people at its Belfast offices. Economy Minister Diane Dodds said the investment was a result of the talent available in Northern Ireland.
United States, Canada & Mexico
Rich and famous turn to ‘personal cyber security’ to protect phones
The world might be turning to technology to solve everything from traffic to dating, but no one app or gadget will save the rich and famous from falling prey to cyberattacks, according to digital security experts. Tech giants spend millions of dollars every year to protect their top executives from all kinds of physical threats. Facebook allotted almost $20 million in 2018 for protecting CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his family at his residences and during travel. In 2017, Apple CEO Tim Cook started using private jets paid for by the company because of safety concerns. But when a report concluded that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ phone was hacked, it shifted people’s attention to how high-profile people protect their cybersecurity.
Cyber Attacks On Business, Personal Reputations A Growing Threat
With reputation terrorism growing rapidly online in sophistication and scale, “cyber warrior” may be the new preferred title for a company’s chief communications officer. Only a few years ago this was the domain of nation-states toying with each other’s politics. It is now a serious challenge for businesses, non-profits and individuals. One in five communications professionals in the United States and Canada said their organizations had been affected by fake news, according to a survey last year by the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations.
Cyber-Attack on US Water Company Causes Network Outage
A South Carolina water company is recovering from a cyber-attack that took its phone and online payment systems offline for nearly a week. The cyber-attack on Greenville Water triggered a payment system outage that began on Wednesday, January 22. Company spokesperson Emerald Clark said 500,000 customers were affected by the incident. An investigation has been launched into the cyber-attack, the exact nature of which is yet to be revealed by Greenville Water. It’s not yet known who targeted the water company or from where the attack was launched. Greenville Water’s online payment system was back up and running on Monday afternoon, and its phone payment system was restored the following day. Greenville Water has assured customers that payments received late as a result of the attack will not lead to fines or the shutting off of their water supply.
Lander hosts NYT reporter for cyber security talk
In this digital age, it’s hard to consider the technology we have at our disposal as primitive or underdeveloped, but when it comes to cybersecurity and cyberattacks, we’re still just starting to understand the scope of what havoc technology can wreak. Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times national security correspondent David Sanger spoke Monday at Lander University as part of the school’s Larry A. Jackson lecture series. Having written multiple books on the development and deployment of cyberattacks, Sanger said today’s understanding of cyber is comparable to how well the Wright brothers understood how the airplane would be used. One of the reasons why cyber attacks are such a prominent threat, Sanger said, is because for a long time they weren’t punished. Governments believed many cyber attacks were espionage efforts, and if America acknowledged and sanctioned other nations for performing espionage, it would face counterarguments that America has been using cyber for espionage purposes since Stuxnet. In 2018, President Donald Trump signed a still-secret order giving the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command the go-ahead to go into foreign networks without needing presidential approval, along with making clandestine cyber operations part of traditional military operations. But as global use of cyber attacks and incursions increase, Sanger said there’s reason to be hesitant.
Pentagon finalizes first set of cyber standards for contractors
The Pentagon has finalized the long anticipated cybersecurity standards contractors will have to follow before winning contracts from the Department of Defense, a new process called the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) 1.0. The model is a tiered cybersecurity framework that grades companies on a scale of one to five based on the level of classification and security that necessary for the work they are performing. Previously, the Pentagon did not have unified standard for cybersecurity that businesses needed to follow when bidding for contracts. Companies could claim to meet certain industry standards for cybersecurity, but those assertions were not tested by auditors, nor did the standards take into account the type of work a company was bidding to complete. Since then, defense officials have said that cybersecurity is not a one size fits all approach.
SEC, NSA issue new cyber-security guidance
Two new guidance documents, one from the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations and another from the National Security Agency, aim to help companies improve their cyber-security efforts, including managing vulnerabilities in the cloud.
How cyber-criminals are exploiting Latin America’s new digital economy
Over the past decade, Latin America has transitioned from a majority analogue region to a predominantly digital one. But as its companies and governments embrace internet technologies at a breakneck pace, cyber security concerns have frequently taken a back seat. The number of internet users in Mexico, for instance, has grown by a staggering 13.4% annually since 2006, compared to a 3.3% annual increase in the United States. At the same time, the US spent considerably more on security solutions than all of Latin America combined, a discrepancy that experts anticipate will only widen in the coming years.