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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 »

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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 »

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Network Threats Are Hitching a Ride in Mobile Environments

Innovation never stops in the mobile world, and that rule applies to security threats as well. Network attacks are becoming more sophisticated and even high-tech businesses with the most advanced security may find themselves in the crosshairs as we shift to more devices and anywhere access.

Just a few weeks ago, multiple leading social networking and large enterprises were hit with an attack when their employees visited a known and trusted website focused on mobile application development. Attackers used a method commonly referred to as “water-holing,” where they compromise a legitimate site commonly visited by employees of their target organizations. Using zero-day vulnerabilities and malicious code that change at a rapid rate, these attacks highlight the need to consistently enhance traditional defenses based on signatures or reputation with global and local context analysis.

This episode underscores how important security is in a more mobile, more connected world—attackers are paying attention, using these industry trends to create targeted and sophisticated attacks that can bypass traditional defenses. The Cisco 2013 Annual Security Report found that Android Malware grew 2,577 percent in 2012 alone. The Internet of Everything is taking shape and the number of online connections is soaring. According to Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2013, 30 billion things will be connected by 2020.

Read More »

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Becoming PCI certified…is this within reach?

Anyone who has been involved with compliance knows that simplifying complexity is the key to maintaining a secure and compliant organization. It’s become quite apparent that sustaining compliance is a marathon, and the journey must be travelled with vigilance. This is not something that is an endpoint or a task, that once accomplished, can be shelved and forgotten; therefore, it is very helpful for merchants, who wish to become compliant or maintain compliance, to purchase solutions that are “certified.”

The fact that you are purchasing a product that’s already been validated as secure and “capable” of being compliant reduces the complexity and uncertainty associated with big-ticket items. Adding new credit card readers or a payment application in your stores is expensive, and knowing that these products are validated by the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Council gives merchants confidence that they’re making a wise and secure decision.   Read More »

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Securing Your Company’s Data in a Mobile World

Mobile workers accessing corporate applications and data from a range of personal and corporate devices is fast becoming the new normal. Month by month every survey confirms the inevitable—mixing personal and business data, devices, and apps. Companies are scrambling amidst a sea of new technologies to regain control of their IT infrastructure, and those thinking ahead are planning for more than just tolerance of personal data and scaling mobile access; they’re building the next evolution of application access, which is based on consistent policies for application and data across any access method or device. These architectures demand an integrated system that spans device, network, and application layers, and they demand policies for employee access based on much more than user name and password. Read More »

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