Zombie versions of Adobe’s troubled software can still cause problems in systems around the world.
"This could just be the tip of the iceberg," said a former NSA analyst. "No one had a solution to preventing an attack like this and here we are."
But for local governments, this past year has been a particularly brutal reminder of the threat.Following a 2018 attack that paralyzed the city of Atlanta for weeks, more than half a dozen cities and public services across the country have fallen to ransomware so far in 2019, on a near monthly basis; the the Administrative Office of the Georgia Courts became the latest victim this Saturday, when an attack knocked its systems offline.The string of attacks on municipalities may seem like a new pattern.And law enforcement officials emphasize that the spate of attacks actually fits into a broader, ever-growing trend of ransomware attacks that spans numerous industry sectors.Incident responders agree with this assessment and note that attackers will capitalize on any technique that sees some success, to infect as many targets as possible and maximize the possibility of return."There’s definitely an increase or uptick in the amount of ransomware campaigns that we’re seeing out there, but it’s not specific to municipalities or state or federal organizations, it’s just pretty much across the board in every industry vertical," says David Kennedy, CEO of the penetration testing and incident response consultancy TrustedSec.
“Conferences have shifted focus to having to police people’s beliefs, politics and feelings.”A popular US cybersecurity conference that last year sold 2,400 tickets online in 13 seconds says it is shutting down – citing the increasing difficulty of managing attendee behaviour.Kentucky-based DerbyCon was founded in 2011 and has been described as a “baby DEFCON” (one of the world’s largest hacker conferences, held annually in Las Vegas).Yet in a blog post late Monday, DerbyCon co-founder David Kennedy said 2019’s “DerbyCon 9.0” would be the organisers’ last, blaming the increased difficulty of attendee behaviour.“We had to handle issues that honestly, as an adult, we would never expect to have to handle from other adults,” he wrote.DerbyCon Founder: More Difficult to Police Each Year
Early Tuesday, Microsoft announced that last week it seized control of six domains owned by the Russian hacking group Fancy Bear, also known as APT28."Despite last week’s steps, we are concerned by the continued activity targeting these and other sites and directed toward elected officials, politicians, political groups and think tanks across the political spectrum in the United States."Because Fancy Bear phishing efforts mimic and blend into Microsoft services, the court granted the company standing to take legal action, which not only allowed for its 2016 suit, but also laid the groundwork for Microsoft to seek court approvals as needed to take down malicious sites.Specifically, Microsoft has used a technique known as sinkholing, a way to divert network traffic from its planned destination to a different server.Microsoft combines its broad visibility into its billions of users, and the chops of its internal Digital Crimes Unit, to get a jump on phishing sites like the ones Fancy Bear established, get legal permission to take over those domains, and then send any traffic that heads their way to oblivion instead."It’s not a gimmick, but it’s also not an innovation," says David Kennedy, CEO of the threat tracking firm Binary Defense Systems, who formerly worked at the NSA and with the Marine Corps' signal intelligence unit.
As we find out more about Russia's interference in the 2016 United States presidential election, former NSA hacker and TrustedSec CEO David Kennedy reveals what it would take to hack an election.David Kennedy: What's interesting with the election systems is that as they become more and more electronic, and people can use computer systems to actively go in and cast your votes at the actual ballots, those are all susceptible to attack.What the government has tried to do is a technique called air gapping, which means that they're not supposed to be hooked up to the internet or have the ability to communicate the internet, so they can be not hacked by hackers.Essential databases that are used to count the ballots and actually cast votes is connected to multiple networks and the internet.And we're seeing intrusions occur, and so as we're using electronic voting as a method to conduct actual voter ballots, it's a very, very susceptible system.There's definitely possibilities for other influences to have a direct impact on our elections themselves.
In a time where companies, celebrities, and even governments are coming under cyber-attacks, getting hacked might seem inevitable.But according to former NSA hacker David Kennedy, there are steps you can take to prevent it from happening to you.Kennedy shares his five must-do tips for protecting yourself from hackers.Robot" is probably one of the most accurate portrayals of what hackers can actively do.If you're interested in hacking and don't understand a lot of this, the TV show itself actually employs hackers to work on the show to depict real-life hacks that could happen in real life and it's a very very accurate portrayal of everything that we see in today.From being able to hack Smartphones to getting access to a big corporation and being able to bring them to their knees from a cyber perspective.
In 2015, the United States and China agreed to a digital truce that banned hacking private companies to steal trade secrets.And though the agreement has been touted as a success, it hasn't stopped Chinese state-sponsored hackers from pushing the envelope of acceptable behavior.Moreover, it certainly hasn't slowed types of hacking that fall outside the purview of the accord.In recent weeks, Chinese hackers have reportedly breached a US Navy contractor that works for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, stealing 614 GB of data about submarine and undersea weapons technology.Attacks in the last few months originating from China have also targeted US satellite and geospatial imaging firms, and an array of telecoms."China’s actually backed off quite a bit on intellectual property theft, but when it comes to military trade secrets, military preparedness, military readiness, satellite communications, anything that involves the US’s ability to keep a cyber or military edge, China has been very heavily focused on those targets," says David Kennedy, CEO of the threat tracking firm Binary Defense Systems, who formerly worked at the NSA and with the Marine Corps' signal intelligence unit.
On Thursday, Twitter chief technology officer Parag Agrawal disclosed in a blog post that the company had inadvertently recorded user passwords, in plain text, in an internal system.This is not how things are supposed to go!And while Twitter has fixed the bug, and doesn't think any of the exposed passwords were accessed in any way, you should still change your Twitter password right now to make sure your account is secure."It's a bad thing and Twitter should be held to the fire for it," says David Kennedy, CEO of the penetration testing firm TrustedSec."But they are taking the right steps by requesting everyone change their password and making the bug public versus hiding it."As Agrawal explained, Twitter does this, too, using a well-regarded hash function called bcrypt.
On Thursday, a report from the Daily Beast alleged that the Guccifer 2.0 hacking persona—famous for leaking data stolen from the Democratic National Committee in 2016—has been linked to a GRU Russian intelligence agent.Guccifer 2.0 took careful precautions to remain anonymous for months, yet one small mistake may have blown the whole cover.Such a gaffe may seem unthinkable for such a prominent and seemingly powerful hacker, but security experts note that, as the truism goes, everyone makes mistakes."It's really easy for a hacker to slip up even if they've perfected their tradecraft," says David Kennedy, CEO of the security firm TrustedSec, who formerly worked at the NSA and with the Marine Corps' signal intelligence unit.From the outside, the faceless world of cyber espionage and digital nation-state aggression has an air of drama and mystery.Though it may feel surprising every time, elite hackers regularly make crucial opsec mistakes.
A new recycling project at Maghaberry Prison is set to halve its waste costs in coming years.About 30 prisoners sort plastic, tin cans, cardboard, newspaper, broken pallets and waste electric equipment, and the amount going to landfill has been slashed.Their work station is a draughty structure within the prison grounds and the aim is to secure them work in the eco-industry upon release.A conveyor belt smelling faintly of rubbish carries materials to be separated.Maghaberry uses 1,000 pints of milk a day – in individual containers.Maghaberry governor David Kennedy said: “Recycling is incredibly important for the environment and it is also very important for the Northern Ireland Prison Service in reducing the cost of our landfill.
Almost 400 mysterious stone structures dating back thousands of years have been discovered in Saudi Arabia, with a few of these wall-like formations draping across old lava domes, archaeologists report.Many of the stone walls, which archaeologists call "gates" because they resemble field gates from above, were found in clusters in a region in west-central Saudi Arabia called Harrat Khaybar.[See Images of the Mysterious Stone Structures in Saudi Arabia]Discovered mainly through satellite images, a few of the gates are actually located on the side of a volcanic dome that once spewed basaltic lava, researchers found.The gates "are stone-built, the walls roughly made and low," David Kennedy, a professor at the University of Western Australia, wrote in a paper set to be published in the November issue of the journal Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy.The gates "appear to be the oldest man-made structures in the landscape," Kennedy noted, adding that "no obvious explanation of their purpose can be discerned."
When researchers are searching for remnants of structures and settlements constructed by ancient peoples they typically focus on areas that are hospitable to human life.A new discovery in Saudi Arabia goes firmly against that notion, with archaeologists revealing the existence of hundreds of stone “gates” situated in and around ancient lava domes, in an area that is little more than a hellish landscape devoid of vegetation and water.The structures, which measure anywhere from 40 feet to nearly 1,700 feet in length, are crude in their construction, built of rough rocks that have withstood thousands of years of wear and tear.What’s most interesting is that it appears that the lava fields these structures were built upon was still active at the time, with hardened lava appearing to have flowed over some of the gates.“Gates are found almost exclusively in bleak, inhospitable lava fields with scant water or vegetation, places seemingly amongst the most unwelcoming to our species,” David Kennedy of the Western University of Australia, who led the research, wrote.Kennedy noted that the structures “appear to be the oldest man-made structures in the landscape,” and that at the moment “no obvious explanation of their purpose can be discerned.”
The breach was apparently discovered over the summer, when Kelly gave the smartphone to White House tech support after having problems with it and struggling to successfully run software updates.Several questions remain unanswered, as to what type of phone Kelly was using, and what sort of access hackers may have had.The possibilities run the gamut—and have potentially serious consequences."Having a phone compromised for several months definitely is not good," says David Kennedy, the CEO of TrustedSec, who formerly worked at the NSA and with the Marine Corps' signal intelligence unit.If it was just [run of the mill] malware it's probably not a big deal, but if it was a nation state, monitoring phone communications, emails, and other data is all possible."If Kelly had an Android phone he may have gotten tricked into downloading a malicious app.
On Tuesday morning, Wikileaks published a data trove that appears to contain extensive documentation of secret Central Intelligence Agency spying operations and hacking tools.Codenamed “Vault 7,” the file contains 8,761 documents, and Wikileaks claims that it represents “the majority of [the CIA] hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized ‘zero day’ exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation.”Initial expert reactions are that the data seems legitimate, and will create deep problems for the CIA on many fronts.The leak exposes CIA capabilities and tools like unpatched iOS and Android vulnerabilities, strategies for compromising end-to-end encrypted chats (though not undermining the encryption itself), bugs in Windows, and even ability to turn Samsung smart TVs into listening devices.“From what I can tell, this seems to be legitimate,” says David Kennedy, CEO of TrustedSec, who formerly worked at the NSA and with the Marine Corps’ signals intelligence unit.But a lot of it seems to be missing, as far as direct codebase used for these.” Wikileaks says it redacted much of that more specific information.
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