Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Security

Chronology of a DDoS: SpamHaus

Around 12:00 GMT March 16, 2013, a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack took offline both the spamhaus.org website and a portion of its e-mail services. SpamHaus was able to restore connectivity by March 18; however, SpamHaus is still weathering a massive, ongoing DDoS attack. The DDoS attacks have also had less severe but measurable consequences for the Composite Block List (CBL) as well as Project Honey Pot.

The attackers appear to have hijacked at least one of SpamHaus’ IP addresses via a maliciously announced BGP route and subsequently used a Domain Name System (DNS) server at the IP to return a positive result for every SpamHaus Domain Name System-based Block List (DNSBL) query. This caused all SpamHaus customers querying the rogue nameserver to erroneously drop good connections.

According to the New York Times, Sven Olaf Kamphuis is acting as a “spokesman for the attackers.” Kamphuis is allegedly associated with hosting provider “the CyberBunker,” which is housed in an old, five-story NATO bunker located in the Netherlands. CyberBunker has a reputation for “bulletproof hosting,” not only because of the physically fortified infrastructure, but also for their permissive terms of use, stating “Customers are allowed to host any content they like, except child porn and anything related to terrorism. Everything else is fine.” Kamphuis is also allegedly affiliated with the StopHaus group, which publicly claimed responsibility for the BGP hijack attack via Twitter.  Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Thoughts on DarkSeoul: Data Sharing and Targeted Attackers

The attacks against South Korean media and banking organizations last week severely disrupted a handful of organizations with a coordinated distribution of “wiper” malware designed to destroy data on hard drives and render them unbootable. At 14:00 KST on March 20, 2013, the wiper was triggered across three media organizations and four banks, setting off a firestorm of speculation and finger-pointing and that which continues as of this writing. In this post, I’ll share a perspective no one else seems to be talking about, but may be the real motivation behind these attacks.

The What and the Possible Why

Let’s start with what we know:

  • The attack was highly targeted
  • The malware was specifically designed to distribute the wiper payload throughout the impacted organizations
  • The malware was timed to deploy its destructive payload simultaneously across all affected organizations
  • The resulting loss of data and downtime has been severe

While the “what” of the attack is well established, the “why” and “how” are still a matter of debate. Theories postulated include an outright act of warfare from North Korea designed to economically disrupt South Korea, or an act of sabotage to cover the tracks of data exfiltration allegedly wrought by China. But what if there were an explanation that was less about countries and politics and more about that all-time motivator of crime: money? Consider, if you will, the following timeline. Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Today’s the Day: Announcing the Cisco IOS Software Security Advisory Bundle

Today, Cisco is celebrating a milestone in its commitment to helping you act on security intelligence—our 10th bundle of Cisco IOS Software Security Advisories. We’re proud of our commitment to these predictable disclosures (on the fourth Wednesday of March and September annually) because they originated as a direct response to your feedback. Bundled publications allow you to plan ahead and ensure resources are available to analyze, test, and remediate vulnerabilities in your environments. In an upcoming post, my colleague John Stuppi will share how the Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) drove the evolution from a traditional disclosure model to the current semiannual bundled publication. John’s post will also provide another vehicle to share feedback with PSIRT, the organization that manages the receipt, investigation, and public reporting of security vulnerability information that is related to Cisco products and networks.

Make sure you take a look at the Cisco Event Response—our “go to” document that correlates the full array of Cisco Security Intelligence Operations (SIO) resources for this bundle (including links to the advisories, mitigations, Cisco IntelliShield Alerts, CVSS scores, and OVAL content). Remember, this collateral is not unique to Cisco IOS Software Security Advisories but is part of Cisco SIO’s response to current security events.

Today’s edition of the Cisco IOS Software Security Advisory Bundled Publication includes seven advisories that affect the following technologies:

  • Network Address Translation
  • Resource Reservation Protocol
  • Internet Key Exchange
  • Zone-Based Firewall Session Initiation Protocol Inspection
  • Smart Install
  • Protocol Translation
  • IP Service Level Agreement  Read More »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Cisco Still Number One for Data Center Security

We were excited to read the Infonetics Data Center Security Strategies and Vendor Leadership: North American Enterprise Survey, which was released yesterday. It revealed Cisco’s continued leadership in a market that spans a multitude of vendors – application/database, client, data center integration and network. The report indicates that leaders need to offer the right mix of products across the data center security and cloud arenas as well as demonstrate security efficacy and integration into adjacent markets. Cisco has continued to execute on a unified security portfolio spanning firewallsIntrusion Prevention System (IPS), gateways, and integrated threat intelligence further complemented by strategic partnerships. Seamless integration and shared security intelligence with routing and switching (Nexus and Catalyst) and converged infrastructure (Cisco UCS) enables our customers to benefit from optimized traffic links, the highest levels of security resilience, increased availability and scalability as well as lower costs of ownership. Per the report, “to say you’re the leader in the data center/cloud security is to say you are an innovator who can tackle the biggest problems in IT security for the biggest and most demanding customers.”

We’d like to highlight two areas that Cisco has continued to demonstrate an outright lead over other vendors. In the area of perception as the top data center security supplier, Cisco leads with 47 percent of votes compared to IBM with 38 percent and McAfee with 28 percent, who ranked second and third. Cisco scored between 40 to 60 percent of respondents’ votes (covering 10 criteria) for being the leading data center security supplier with McAfee scoring 15 points below Cisco, HP received around 20 percent of votes, and Juniper and Trend with 15 percent.  Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Join the PCI Experts to Help You Bridge the Gap Between Compliance and Security

As part of Cisco’s Compliance team, I’ve monitored organizational breaches and attacks. If you’re like me and follow media reports and industry news, then you know that data breaches have increased in severity and frequency. Unfortunately, many organizations do not have the tools, personnel, and funding to prevent, quickly detect, and contain data breaches. The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council offers robust and comprehensive standards to enhance payment card data security. According to Ponemon Institute, organizations that are PCI compliant have fewer data breaches than non-compliant firms do. However, we know that PCI compliance is not enough. Even if you’ve met the stringent requirements of PCI DSS 2.0, your cardholder data may not be totally secure.

So, how can organizations maintain compliance and end-to-end security? The Compliance Solution team has gathered thought leaders in the payment card industry to offer research, guidance and best practices to help organizations overcome these challenges.

Join our webcast on April 16, 2013, with PCI experts from the Ponemon Institute, Verizon Business, and the PCI Security Standards Council to learn how Cisco can help bridge the gap between PCI compliance and security to minimize the impact of an attack. Read More »

Tags: , , , ,