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Using Government firewalls? They won’t snoop on you. Honest.

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The UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) – that is, its national surveillance agency – has recently announced plans to create what is described as a national British firewall. This would initially protect ‘government sites and industries regarded as critical to national security’, but could potentially be expanded out to protect large private sector companies of all kinds. This sounds great in theory – a unified national layer of cyber protection, delivered by a highly specialized security agency – but in practice it also carries risk. GCHQ is already known to intercept companies’ private data, when national security aims have justified such actions. In coming under the protection of a managed …

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Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) – Paving the way for Cyber-Crime as a part-time job?

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By Andreas Åsander Most of us — especially we who are in the cybersecurity industry, have noticed that cyber-crime is on the steep rise. Malware is no longer about fame and glory: these days it’s all about making quick (and dirty) money. In fact, it’s such big business that Europol claims that cybercrime is an industry that generates a whopping EURO 290 billion loss/turnover each year, making it bigger than the global trade of marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined. With a clear trend of cyber-crime expanding from relatively contained cells of organized criminals towards the bigger mass, there is good reason to believe that we will be seeing more ransomwares, …

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SIEM: another buzzword or useful security?

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Security Information and Event Management – SIEM – is something that you’ve probably seen it in the news. But to be implemented successfully, a few things need to be kept in mind. Words by Mikael Olsson Ah the days of the simple firewall or even NGFW; it was all so easy to sleep good at night, feeling that the baddies were kept out. But we know that there’s more to keep your network garden healthy and free of pests. Some are calling this Security Information and Event Management – SIEM and, without a doubt, it leads to an increased level of security with a minimal amount of intensive admin. It’s …

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Mind the security gap: why multi-factor authentication works

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There’s a gap in your organization – one that could potentially do a lot of damage to your operations, the integrity of your data and even your business bottom line. It exists between your IT team and your end users. A new report from the Ponemon Institute explores this gap in detail – and claims that it is widening.  For example, the report’s findings include the fact that while just over half of IT practitioners believe that IT security policies are being properly enforced across the organization (still a low proportion, we would argue), only 35% of end users agree. Similarly, 52% of personnel working in IT or infosecurity believe …

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Crossed wires: how a whaling attack cost a company 45 million dollars

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How do you make 40 million euros (USD 44.6 million) with just one email?  It’s not a trick question: in fact, it’s exactly what happened when unknown cybercriminals launched a ‘whaling’, or high-level spear-phishing attack against finance staff at Leoni AG, Europe’s biggest manufacturer of wires and electrical cables for the automotive sector. A senior finance officer at Leoni’s Romanian head office was the target of the attack, in which she received a convincing-looking email that had been constructed to appear as it had come from one of the company’s top executives. Investigations showed that the email carefully followed Leoni’s internal procedures for approving and transferring funds. As a result, the …

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Election systems Trumped? How IP blocking can vote down cyberattacks

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We’re all familiar with public and private-sector organizations, financial institutions, entertainment businesses and even police forces falling victim to cyberattacks.  Now the computer systems used to run elections in the American states of Illinois and Arizona have been added to the list of victims. Hackers have apparently accessed the records of over 200,000 voters in Illinois alone, including names and addresses, dates of birth and in some cases, the last four digits of Social Security numbers and driver’s license or state ID numbers. While it looks likely that the aim of the attack was to steal personal data, rather than a trial run at changing the possible outcome of an …

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Creating the next-generation human firewall

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There’s an old saying in the motor racing world which states the most critical—and dangerous—component in a car is the nut that holds the steering wheel. It’s similar in IT security: one of the biggest problems with protecting networks is the thing that works the mouse. Think about it. Your corporate network can be protected with the most sophisticated, up-to-date tools and technologies, but ransomware and malware can completely bypass these protections if a user unwittingly invites the infection in. The invitation is as simple as clicking a link on an infected website, or opening a legitimate-looking attachment that then reaches out to a compromised server to download something nasty. …

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Psst, wanna buy USD500 million worth of NSA cyber weapons?

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Though the agenda of hacker group Shadow Brokers is unclear, one thing is for sure: advanced, state developed cyber weapons falling into nefarious hands could be the equivalent of WMD being bought and deployed by ISIS. What could be in the NSA toolbox that could be so cataclysmic? Decrypted News finds out what could be lurking in this Pandora’s Box. Last week’s revelation of opaque Shadow Brokers’ claim to have hacked the equally hidden Equation Group’s NSA toolbox—and their subsequent offer to auction off the best cyber weapons from the raid for 1 million bitcoins—was initially met with nigh universal professional skepticism from security experts. Equation Group—the Blackwater type black …

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Smartphones take a back seat to IoT proliferation

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As IoT devices get set to outpace smartphones and tablet devices, bandwidth demands and mobile security become critical for telecom operators. Once upon a time, the conventional wisdom spoke of smartphones and tablets demanding more and more data demands on mobile connectivity. As such, telecoms worked vigorously to get capacity and its 4G data pipe sufficiently widened to accommodate that projected demand; a sigh of relief could be heard by mobile operators as bandwidth a tidal wave was averted. Then came the realization that IoT devices would be more ubiquitous, be even more prolific than smartphones. And the race is on again. “IoT is now accelerating as device costs fall …

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Census stopped: avoiding the DDoS disruption that hit the Australia census website

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Australia’s first ever digital census suffered serious disruption on August 9th, after a series of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks took the system offline. Embarrassingly, this followed the boss of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) saying that:   “We have load tested it at 150 percent of the number of people we think are going to be on it on Tuesday for eight hours straight and it didn’t look like flinching.” The point is, of course, that while load testing is a crucial part of website planning, design and operation – and should certainly not be neglected – it is not the most useful mitigation technique in the face …