Top Cyber Threats for 2017

2017 is promising to be another difficult year for cyber-defenders who are protecting company and government networks from attack.  Here are what I think will be the top attack vectors this year.

Business Email Compromise

CEOs and other C suite officers will increasingly be targeted for email account hijacking.  This is an easy exploit to run because high ranking employees and officers often are ...

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US-CERT Releases More About Grizzly Steppe

US-CERT just released more information about the Grizzly Steppe cybercrime group who has been fingered for hacking the DNC and US voter registration databases.  The short  report, titled Enhanced Analysis of GRIZZLY STEPPE Activity, makes interesting reading, especially if you are interested in finding out more about state-sponsored political espionage.  See pages 4-7 for the main story.

The Grizzly Steppe group is certainly ...

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Should You Use Domain Privacy?

I will start out by admitting that I hate Domain Privacy.  But I just read a story in Naked Security on February 9th that is causing me to reevaluate my opinion.  It turns out that the new White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, has a personal website at www.seanspicer.com.   The website has been turned into a private site, but the WHOIS record ...

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Malware Turns Smartphone Into Eavesdropper

I read an interesting article on Naked Security the other day about how Hamas had used Facebook and social engineering tactics to trick Israeli soldiers into installing surveillance malware.  The malware allowed Hamas to track the soldiers using the phone’s GPS, and to turn on the microphone and video to actually listen in and and watch their targets.  Hamas undoubtedly picked up the malware ...

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Facebook Strengthens Password Recovery Process

As a regular reader of this blog, you are probably using a long, unique, 20 character password with two-factor authentication, and a password manager to keep it all straight.  But let’s say that you fall for a phishing scam, and give away the password to your email account.  The attacker can now use your email account to request password reset emails from your other online accounts, and you have yourself one big ...

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Facebook Adds USB Key Two-Factor Authentication

Facebook has added USB key security to it’s two-factor authentication options.  Previously, Facebook users could add the additional security of two-factor authentication to their account by using the Facebook app to receive a six digit one-time passcode, or by having the code sent to their smart phone via SMS text message.  Facebook now supports the open-source Universal 2 Factor (U2F) standard established by the FIDO Alliance, such as the  Yubikey from Yubico.

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The Problem With Biometric Authentication

NIST is working on new authentication standards, and there are some surprising changes coming out of this effort.  One of the issues that NIST is dealing with is the use of biometrics for authentication.  But there are problems with biometrics.  Here they are from the NIST Special Publication 800-63b.  Emphasis is mine.

“5.2.3. Use of Biometrics

For a variety of reasons, this ...

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Passwords Are On Life Support

Passwords are not dead – not yet.  But they are on life support.  They are no longer enough to truly secure anything on their own.

I just read an sobering, eye-popping article on NetMux that discussed easy ways to crack passwords that are longer than 12 characters.

What makes this so disheartening for me is that I have been telling everyone to increase their password length ...

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Credential Stealing Malware in PDF Attachments

On Wednesday we talked about a phishing exploit that used malware to provide remote access and steal the personal information of the victims.  Today we continue the story with a similar exploit, called “Fareit” to “ferret out” the user credentials and other personal information the victims.

This exploit uses a phishing email to send the target either a PDF attachment or a Word attachment.  The PDF variant uses Windows Powershell to install.  The ...

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