A roundup of the top news stories in information security this week, including voting machine hacks, Anthem reporting yet another data breach, and spoilers being released after episodes of everyones favorite medieval HBO were leaked.
DEF CON Proves How East It Is To Hack Voting Machines
At the annual DEF CON cybersecurity conferences in Las Vegas, a “Voting Machine Village” allowed attendees to try to hack a number of voting systems. In an effort to uncover vulnerabilities, the event featured 30 voting machines that were each ultimately hacked, with some only taking a few minutes to compromise. The hope is to put pressures on states to bolster the security of voting systems.
Security Researcher Arrested at Airport for Allegedly Creating the Kronos Banking Malware
British security researcher Marcus Hutchins, aka "MalwareTech," was arrested at the Las Vegas airport by the FBI. After attending both the Black Hat and DEF CON cybersecurity conferences - but not presenting at either - Hutchins was apprehended while on his way back to Britain. A six-count indictment charges Hutchins and another man based in Wisconsin with various crimes associated with the Kronos banking Trojan.
German Court Issues Suspended Sentence for Mirai Botmaster
Daniel Kaye, a British man who was detained in February at London’s Luton airport on a European arrest warrant for building the infamous Mirai botnet, was issued a suspended sentence by a German court. Kaye now faces cybercrime charges in the United Kingdom. The 29-year-old Kaye plead guilty in a German court for launching attacks that impacted close to one million Deutsch Telekom customers as part of his attack-for-hire service that leveraged the Mirai botnet.
Hackers Publish Sensitive Information on Pastebin in Alleged Hack of Mandiant
An anonymous source posted personal and professional information on Pastebin belonging to a senior threat intelligence analyst at Mandiant. The information allegedly came from a compromised system at the company maintained by Adi Peretz. The Pastebin post alleges that sometime from 2016 and into 2017 the cybersecurity firm was compromised, and that “more critical data” belonging to Mandiant may be published in the future.
Researchers Unveil New Tool to Combat Ransomware
At the Black Hat security conference, researchers Andrea Continella and Federico Maggi unveiled ShieldFS, an add-on Windows driver and filesystem that detects ransomware and recovers files. Tested against more than a dozen ransomware strains, the tool was able to detect malware 97 percent of the time, with zero file loss. According to Continella, when ShieldFS collects data to detect malware, “it can transparently and automatically recover and restore the original copies” of files.
Senate Bill Introduced to Secure IoT Devices
A Senate bill was introduced this week with the aim of addressing vulnerabilities in Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The new bill requires vendors that produce IoT devices to conform to industry security standards, and also prohibits them from releasing any devices that have unchangeable passwords or known security flaws. The legislation was drafted with input from experts at the Atlantic Council and Harvard University.
HBO Hack Results in Game of Thrones Leak
HBO confirmed this week that its network has been compromised, resulting in the attacker leaking full unreleased episodes of its hit show “Game of Thrones.” In an email to journalists, the cybercriminals behind the cyber attack claim to have compromised 1.5 terabytes of data from HBO. In addition to “Game of Thrones,” episodes of “Ballers” and “Room 104” may have also been published online.
Amazon Echo Devices Can Be Turned Into a “WireTap”
Security researcher Mark Barnes of MWR Labs was able to turn an Amazon Echo into a “wiretap” device. According to the expert, any devices older than 2017 is vulnerable to a physical attack. By gaining access to the root shell on the underlying Linux OS and installing malware, it would grant them remote access to the device, steals authentication tokens, and even stream live microphone audio to remote services.
New Anthem Data Breach Impacts 18,500 Members
Anthem Health Insurance has experienced yet another data breach, this time impacting 18,500 of its members. After the member records had been emailed to a private email address of a staffer at a third-party vendor LaunchPoint, the insurance company reported the incident. According to a release by the company, the employee that was involved in “identity theft activities” has been terminated.
Report: Chinese Telecom Experiences Record-Breaking DDoS Attack
A new study by security firm Kaspersky Lab indicates that a Chinese telecom company experienced a 277-hour distributed denial-of-service attack at the end of the second quarter of 2017. The cyber assault registered a 131% hourly increase when compared to the longest attack recorded earlier in the year. The attack spanned 11 days.