Weekly Cyber Risk Roundup: Cryptocurrency Attacks and a Major Cybercriminal Indictment

Cryptocurrency continued to make headlines this past week for a variety of cybercrime-related activities.

2018-02-10_ITT.pngFor starters, researchers discovered a new cryptocurrency miner, dubbed ADB.Miner, that infected nearly 7,000 Android devices such as smartphones, televisions, and tablets over a several-day period. The researchers said the malware uses the ADB debug interface on port 5555 to spread and that it has Mirai code within its scanning module.

In addition, several organizations reported malware infections involving cryptocurrency miners. Four servers at a wastewater facility in Europe were infected with malware designed to mine Monero, and the incident is the first ever documented mining attack to hit an operational technology network of a critical infrastructure operator, security firm Radiflow said. In addition, Decatur County General Hospital recently reported that cryptocurrency mining malware was found on a server related to its electronic medical record system.

Reuters also reported this week on allegations by South Korea that North Korea had hacked into unnamed cryptocurrency exchanges and stolen billions of won. Investors of the Bee Token ICO were also duped after scammers sent out phishing messages to the token’s mailing list claiming that a surprise partnership with Microsoft had been formed and that those who contributed to the ICO in the next six hours would receive a 100% bonus.

All of the recent cryptocurrency-related cybercrime headlines have led some experts to speculate that the use of mining software on unsuspecting users’ machines, or cryptojacking, may eventually surpass ransomware as the primary money maker for cybercriminals.


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Other trending cybercrime events from the week include:

  • W-2 data compromised: The City of Pittsburg said that some employees had their W-2 information compromised due to a phishing attack. The University of Northern Colorado said that 12 employees had their information compromised due to unauthorized access to their profiles on the university’s online portal, Ursa, which led to the theft of W-2 information. Washington school districts are warning that an ongoing phishing campaign is targeting human resources and payroll staff in an attempt to compromise W-2 information.
  • U.S. defense secrets targeted: The Russian hacking group known as Fancy Bear successfully gained access to the email accounts of contract workers related to sensitive U.S. defense technology; however, it is uncertain what may have been stolen. The Associated Press reported that the group targeted at least 87 people working on militarized drones, missiles, rockets, stealth fighter jets, cloud-computing platforms, or other sensitive activities, and as many as 40 percent of those targeted ultimately clicked on the hackers’ phishing links.
  • Financial information stolen: Advance-Online is notifying customers that their personal and financial information stored on the company’s online platform may have been subject to unauthorized access from April 29, 2017 to January 12, 2018. Citizens Financials Group is notifying customers that their financial information may have been compromised due to the discovery of a skimming device found at a Citizens Bank ATM in Connecticut. Ameriprise Financial is notifying customers that one of its former employees has been calling its service center and impersonating them by using their name, address, and account numbers.
  • Other notable events:  Swisscom said that the “misappropriation of a sales partner’s access rights” led to a 2017 data breach that affected approximately 800,000 customers. A cloud repository belonging to the Paris-based brand marketing company Octoly was erroneously configured for public access and exposed the personal information of more than 12,000 Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube personalities. Ron’s Pharmacy in Oregon is notifying customers that their personal information may have been compromised due to unauthorized access to an employee’s email account. Partners Healthcare said that a May 2017 data breach may have exposed the personal information of up to 2,600 patients. Harvey County in Kansas said that a cyber-attack disrupted county services and led to a portion of the network being disabled. Smith Dental in Tennessee said that a ransomware infection may have compromised the personal information of 1,500 patients. Fresenius Medical Care North America has agreed to a $3.5 million settlement to settle potential HIPAA violations stemming from five separate breaches that occurred in 2012.

SurfWatch Labs collected data on many different companies tied to cybercrime over the past week. Some of those “newly seen” targets, meaning they either appeared in SurfWatch Labs’ data for the first time or else reappeared after being absent for several weeks, are shown in the chart below.

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Cyber Risk Trends From the Past Week

2018-02-10_RiskScoresA federal indictment charging 36 individuals for their role in a cybercriminal enterprise known as the Infraud Organization, which was responsible for more than $530 million in losses, was unsealed this past week. Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan said the case is “one of the largest cyberfraud enterprise prosecutions ever undertaken by the Department of Justice.”

The indictment alleges that the group engaged in the large-scale acquisition, sale, and dissemination of stolen identities, compromised debit and credit cards, personally identifiable information, financial and banking information, computer malware, and other contraband dating back to October 2010. Thirteen of those charged were taken into custody in countries around the world.

As the Justice Department press release noted:

Under the slogan, “In Fraud We Trust,” the organization directed traffic and potential purchasers to the automated vending sites of its members, which served as online conduits to traffic in stolen means of identification, stolen financial and banking information, malware, and other illicit goods.  It also provided an escrow service to facilitate illicit digital currency transactions among its members and employed screening protocols that purported to ensure only high quality vendors of stolen cards, personally identifiable information, and other contraband were permitted to advertise to members.

ABC News reported that investigators believe the group’s nearly 11,000 members targeted more than 4.3 million credit cards, debit cards, and bank accounts worldwide. Over its seven-year history, the group inflicted $2.2 billion in intended losses and more than $530 million in actual losses against a wide range of financial institutions, merchants, and individuals.
Continue reading “Weekly Cyber Risk Roundup: Cryptocurrency Attacks and a Major Cybercriminal Indictment”

Weekly Cyber Risk Roundup: Bitcoin Attacks Dominate Headlines, New Phishing Warnings

Several cryptocurrency exchanges were among the week’s top trending cybercrime targets due to a variety of different currency thefts, data breaches, and warnings from researchers.

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The most impactful incident occurred at the bitcoin mining platform and exchange NiceHash, which said on Wednesday that its payment system was compromised and the bitcoin in its wallet was stolen. NiceHash said it is “working to verify the precise number of BTC taken”; however, news outlets reported that a wallet linked to the attack obtained around 4,736 bitcoin, which is valued at more than $72 million based on Saturday’s price. The company has not released many details about the attack other than that it began after an employee’s computer was compromised.

In addition, researchers warned this week that the increased valuation of bitcoin has led to it becoming one of the top 10 most targeted industries for DDoS attacks. On Monday, Bitfinex said that its services were disrupted by a DDoS attack. On Thursday, Coinbase warned that the explosion of interest in digital currencies was creating “extreme volatility and stress” on its systems and warned its users to invest responsibly as any future downtime could impact their ability to trade.

News outlets also reported that some Bittrex customers who go through the company’s manual verification process but are rejected have received customer support emails that contain the passports details and photographs of other users, although Bittrex has not confirmed the reports.

Finally, the SEC announced that it obtained an emergency asset freeze to halt the Initial Coin Offering PlexCorps after it raised up to $15 million from thousands of investors by falsely promising a 13-fold profit in less than a month’s time.

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Other trending cybercrime events from the week include:

  • TIO Networks announces breach: PayPal announced a breach at TIO Networks, a payment processor it acquired in July, that affects approximately 1.6 million customers. City Utilities (CU) and Duke Energy have since notified customers that their personal information was compromised due to the breach, as TIO was the provider of the operating system for CU’s payment kiosks and mobile payment app, in addition to being used to process Duke Energy’s in-person payments.
  • Payment card breaches: The Image Group is notifying customers of a temporary vulnerability on its eCommerce platform, Payflow Pro, that made some payment card numbers susceptible to interception while in transit to PayPal. JAM Paper & Envelope is notifying customers of a payment card card breach affecting its website due to unauthorized access by a third party. A payment card breach involving the Royal National Institute for the Blind’s web store affects as many as 817 customers, and around 55 individuals have already reported fraudulent activity as a result of the incident.
  • Extortion attacks: The Alameda County Library is notifying its users that their personal information may have been compromised after it received an extortion email that claimed hackers had gained access to the library’s entire database of users and may sell that information if they weren’t paid a five bitcoin ransom. The Mecklenburg County government in North Carolina said that its computer systems were infected with ransomware that is demanding $23,000 for the encryption key. Mad River Township Fire and EMS Department in Ohio said that years of data related to residents who used EMS or fire services was lost due to a ransomware infection. The fertility clinic CCRM Minneapolis said that nearly 3,300 patients may have had their information compromised due to a ransomware attack.
  • Other notable incidents: The Center for Health Care Services in San Antonio is notifying 28,434 patients that their personal information was stolen by a former employee. The County of Humboldt is notifying current and former employees that the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office recovered payroll documents from the county. Pulmonary Specialists of Louisville is notifying patients their information may have been compromised due to possible unauthorized access. Virtual keyboard developer Ai.Type, bike sharing company oBike, Real Time Health Quotes, and Stanford University all had data breaches due to accidental data exposure. Baptist Health Louisville, Sinai Health System, and The Henry Ford Health System notified patients of employee email account breaches.
  • Law enforcement actions: Authorities reportedly shut down Leakbase, a service that sold access to more than two billion credentials collected from old data breaches. The Justice Department announced a software developer at the National Security Agency’s Tailored Access Operations has pleaded guilty to removing classified NSA data and later having that data stolen from his personal computer by Russian state-sponsored actors. A Michigan man pleaded guilty to gaining access to the Washtenaw County computer network and altering the electronic records of at least one inmate in an attempt to get the inmate released early. A Missouri man has been sentenced to six years in prison for hacking his former employer, American Crane & Tractor Parts, in order to steal trade secrets.

SurfWatch Labs collected data on many different companies tied to cybercrime over the past week. Some of those “newly seen” targets, meaning they either appeared in SurfWatch Labs’ data for the first time or else reappeared after being absent for several weeks, are shown in the chart below.

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Cyber Risk Trends From the Past Week

2017-12-8_RiskScoresPhishing concerns were highlighted once again this past week due to a newly announced vulnerability that allows malicious actors to spoof emails, as well as warnings that phishers are making efforts to appear more legitimate.

A researcher has discovered a collection of bugs in email clients, dubbed “Mailsploit,” that circumvents spoofing protection mechanisms and, in some cases, allows code injection attacks. The vulnerabilities were found in dozens of applications, including Apple Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird, Microsoft Outlook 2016, Yahoo! Mail, ProtonMail, and others.

The bug has been fixed in 10 products and triaged for 8 additional products, the researcher said. In addition, Mozilla and Opera said they won’t fix the bug as they consider it to be a server-side problem; however, Thunderbird developer Jörg Knobloch told Wired that a patch would be made available. DMARC spoofing protection is not attacked directly using Mailsploit,  the researcher said, but rather bypassed by taking advantage of how the clients display the email sender name.

In addition, researchers said that nearly a quarter of all phishing websites are now hosted on HTTPS domains, up from three percent a year ago. The increase is due to both an increased number of HTTPS websites that can be compromised and used to host malicious content, as well as phishers registering HTTPS domains themselves due to their belief that the “HTTPS” designation makes a phishing site seem more legitimate to potential victims. An informal poll conducted by PhishLabs found that more than 80% of the respondents incorrectly believed the green padlock associated with HTTPS websites indicated that a website was either legitimate or safe — when in reality it only means that the connection is encrypted.

Individuals and organizations should be aware that malicious actors continue to leverage exploits like Mailsploit along with more secure-looking websites in order to dupe potential victims via phishing attacks with the goal of installing malware, gaining access to networks, or stealing sensitive data.

Weekly Cyber Risk Roundup: Uber’s Breach Woes, Major Cybercriminals Prosecuted

Uber was the week’s top trending cybercrime target due to the announcement of a year-old breach that affects 57 million customers and drivers. In addition, the company admitted to paying the hackers $100,000 in an effort to keep the breach out the public eye.

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The data was stolen in October 2016, and it includes the names, email addresses, and phone numbers of 50 million Uber riders, as well as the driver’s licenses and personal information of approximately 7 million drivers. Bloomberg reported that two attackers accessed a private GitHub repository used by Uber software engineers, used login credentials they obtained there to access data stored on an Amazon Web Services account that handled computing tasks for the company, and then discovered an archive of rider and driver information they later used to extort the company.

The breach announcement is just the latest chapter is Uber’s security and legal woes, and Dara Khosrowshahi, who took over as chief executive officer in September, said that the company is “changing the way we do business” moving forward. The payment of $100,000 to conceal the breach and have the attackers delete the stolen information led to the firing of Uber’s chief security officer and another employee for their roles in the incident. Reuters reported that three senior managers within Uber’s security unit have since resigned as well.

Europe’s national privacy regulators have formed a task force to investigate Uber’s breach and the company’s attempt at concealing it from regulators. In addition, numerous state attorneys general have initiated investigations or lawsuits related to the breach. The breach also came a week before three senators introduced a national bill that would require companies to report data breaches within 30 days.

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Other trending cybercrime events from the week include:

  • Organizations continue to expose data: Researchers found 111 GB of internal customer data from National Credit Federation exposed online via a publicly accessible Amazon S3 bucket. Researchers discovered three publicly accessible Amazon S3 buckets tied to Department of Defense intelligence-gathering operations that contain at least 1.8 billion posts of scraped internet content over the past 8 years. Researchers discovered data belonging to the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) exposed on the internet, including internal data and virtual systems used for classified communications. A security researcher discovered a file containing 11 million email addresses and plaintext passwords for users of Armor Games and Coupon Mom. Dalhousie University is notifying 20,000 individuals that their personal information was inadvertently saved to a folder accessible by faculty, staff, and students.
  • Email incidents lead to breaches: YMCA of Central Florida is notifying individuals that an unauthorized person gained access to several employee email accounts, potentially compromising a variety of personal information including ID cards, financial information, and health information. The Medical College of Wisconsin said that 9,500 patients had their information compromised due to a spear phishing attack on the school’s email system. Ireland’s Central Statistics Office said that 3,000 former employees had their personal information exposed due to an error that resulted in their personal P45 information being sent via email.
  • More extortion attacks: The British shipping company Clarksons said that it was the victim of a data breach and that the actors behind the breach have threatened to release some of the stolen data if a ransom is not paid. The Texas Department of Agriculture, which oversees school breakfast and lunch programs, said that several East Texas school districts were affected by a ransomware infection on a department employee’s computer. A server used by USA Hoist Company, Mid-American Elevator Company, and Mid-American Elevator Equipment Company to store employee and vendor information was infected with ransomware by a group claiming to be TheDarkOverlord.
  • Other notable incidents: Imgur said that it was recently notified by a researcher of a data breach that occurred in 2014 affecting the email addresses and passwords of 1.7 million user accounts. Combat Brands is notifying customers of breach of payment card data involving cards used at fightgear.com, fitness1st.com, ringside.com, and combatsports.com between July 1, 2015 and October 6, 2017. The Australian Department of Social Services is notifying 8,500 individuals that data relating to staff profiles within the department’s credit card management system prior to 2016 has been compromised due to a breach at a contractor. Brinderson, L.P. is notifying employees that their personal information may have been compromised due to unauthorized access to one of its computer systems.

SurfWatch Labs collected data on many different companies tied to cybercrime over the past week. Some of those “newly seen” targets, meaning they either appeared in SurfWatch Labs’ data for the first time or else reappeared after being absent for several weeks, are shown in the chart below.

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Cyber Risk Trends From the Past Week

2017-12-1_RiskScoresThis past week saw several notable legal actions against cybercriminals.

The most prominent figure was Roman Valeryevich Seleznev, aka Track2, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison for his role in the 2008 defrauding of Atlanta-based payment card processor RBS Worldpay – which led to the theft of 45.5 million debit card numbers and $9.4 million in fraudulent ATM withdrawals – as well as his role in selling stolen payment card and personal data to members of carder.su – a cybercriminal website that resulted in victims losing at least 50 million dollars.

As SurfWatch Labs noted in April, Seleznev is already serving a 27-year prison sentence, the longest ever related to cybercrime, for his role in a separate $170 million payment card fraud operation. The prosecutors in that case described Seleznev as “the highest profile long-term cybercriminal ever convicted by an American jury” and a “pioneer” and “revered” point-of-sale hacker in the criminal underworld. Seleznev’s two sentences will be served concurrently.

In addition, the U.S. government has charged three Chinese nationals with hacking into Siemens AG, Trimble Inc, and Moody’s Analytics between 2011 and 2017 to steal business secrets. According to the indictment, the three defendants were associated with the Chinese cybersecurity firm Guangzhou Bo Yu Information Technology Company Ltd. Government officials told Reuters that most if not all of the firm’s hacking operations are state-sponsored and directed; however, the case is not being prosecuted as state-sponsored hacking.

The week also saw the guilty plea of one of the four men indicted earlier this year on charges related to the hacking of Yahoo. Karim Baratov, 22, a Canadian national and resident, pleaded guilty for his role in assisting the three other men who are charged and remain at large in Russia. The three other men are accused of hacking Yahoo’s network, and Baratov said in his plea agreement that he hacked more than 11,000 webmail accounts in total from around 2010 until March 2017, including accounts of individuals of interest to the FSB as directed by one of the other men. Baratov’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for February 20, 2018.

Finally, Europol announced that a joint law enforcement action across 26 countries had led to the arrest of 159 individuals and the identification of 766 money mules and 59 money mule organizers. The money mule transactions accounted for total losses of nearly €31 million, more than 90 percent of which was cybercrime related.

Weekly Cyber Risk Roundup: More Payment Card Breaches and Dark Web Arrests

Payment card breaches were back in the news again this week as Forever 21 announced that it is investigating a point-of-sale breach (POS) at some of its stores, and several other organizations issued breach announcements related to stolen payment card data.

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Forever 21 said that it received a report from a third party about potential unauthorized access to payment cards at some of the company’s stores, and the ongoing investigation is focusing on POS transactions made in stores between March 2017 and October 2017.

“Because of the encryption and tokenization solutions that Forever 21 implemented in 2015, it appears that only certain point of sale devices in some Forever 21 stores were affected when the encryption on those devices was not in operation,” the company wrote.

In addition, organizations continue to submit breach notification letters to various state attorneys general regarding the previously disclosed breach involving Sabre Hospitality Solutions SynXis Central Reservations system, including The Whitehall Hotel and JRK Hotel Group, both of which were impacted from August 10, 2016, through March 9, 2017. The Register also reported that Jewson Direct is notifying customers that their personal and payment card information may have been compromised due to the discovery of unauthorized code on its website. However, the company said the inclusion of card data in the notification was only “an advisory measure” as the investigation is ongoing.

The recent breaches, as well as other breaches such as Sonic, may have led to an increase in payment card fraud activity in the third quarter of 2017. Fraud activity is also expected to increase as consumers buy gift cards and other items over the holiday shopping season.

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Other trending cybercrime events from the week include:

  • Organizations expose data: Researchers discovered a publicly exposed Apache Hive database belonging to ride-hailing company Fasten that contained the personal information of approximately one million users as well as detailed profiles of its drivers. A researcher said the Chinese drone maker DJI has exposed a variety of sensitive information via GitHub for up to four years, in addition to exposing customer information via insecure Amazon S3 buckets. Researchers discovered two insecure Amazon S3 buckets appearing to belong to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s commercial division,  including information regarding production services and stock files. The Maine Office of Information Technology said that approximately 2,100 residents who receive foster care benefits had their personal information temporarily posted to a public website after an employee at contractor Knowledge Services uploaded a file containing their data to a free file-comparison website without realizing that the information would become publicly accessible. Dignity Health is notifying employees that some of their personal information was accidentally exposed to other employees.
  • Employee email accounts compromised: ClubSport San Ramon and Oakwood Athletic Club is notifying employees that their W2 and tax statements were sent to a malicious actor following a phishing attack impersonating an executive. ABM Industries Incorporated is notifying employees that their personal information may have been compromised due a phishing attack that led to multiple email accounts being compromised. Saris Cycling Group is notifying employees that their personal information may have been compromised due a phishing email that led to an employee email account being compromised.
  • Extortion-related attacks: The website of Cash Converters was hacked, and the actors behind the attack said they would release the data of thousands of UK consumers unless a ransom is paid. Little River Healthcare Central Texas is notifying patients of a ransomware attack that may have accessed their information and led to some data being irretrievably deleted when the clinic tried to restore the files. Far Niente Winery is notifying individuals of a ransomware attack that may have compromised their personal information.
  • Other notable incidents: A group associated with Anonymous hacked the email accounts of an employee of Italy’s Defence Ministry and a member of the Italian police and then published a variety of information allegedly obtained from those accounts. Officials from Catawba County, North Carolina, said that malware shut down a number of county servers and caused temporary interruptions in service, as well as a number of spam emails being sent to county residents. Gallagher NAC is notifying individuals that their personal information may have been compromised due to “a small amount of data” being stolen from a database between June 18 and September 19. CafeMom is notifying customers that email addresses and passwords used to create accounts prior to July 2011 were compromised “at some point in the past.” AppDirect said that a phisher has been impersonating members of the company’s human resources, recruiting, and sales teams on job sites, and several people have applied to those fake listings and received fake job offers.

SurfWatch Labs collected data on many different companies tied to cybercrime over the past week. Some of those “newly seen” targets, meaning they either appeared in SurfWatch Labs’ data for the first time or else reappeared after being absent for several weeks, are shown in the chart below.

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Cyber Risk Trends From the Past Week

2017-11-18_RiskScoresDark Web markets continued to make headlines this week as a key player in AlphaBay’s operations was charged and cyber-attacks against other still-active dark web marketplaces temporarily disrupted operations.

Federal prosecutors allege that Ronald L. Wheeler III, of Streamwood, Illinois, worked as a spokesperson for the now-shuttered Dark Web marketplace AlphaBay. AlphaBay had grown to become the largest-ever Dark Web marketplace before it, along with the popular Hansa Market, were taken offline by law enforcement this past summer.

Wheeler is accused of working alongside Alexandre Cazes, a 25-year-old Canadian who was alleged to be the owner of AlphaBay known as “Alpha02.” Cazes reportedly committed suicide in his Thai jail cell a week after being arrested in July.

The Associated Press reported that Wheeler has pleaded not guilty to the AlphaBay-related charges, but prosecutors allege that he worked with Cazes using the name “Trappy” to moderate the AlphaBay forum on reddit, mediate sales disputes, and provide other non-technical assistance to users.

As SurfWatch Labs previously reported, the downfall of AlphaBay and Hansa Market elevated Dream Market to the temporary king of the Dark Web. However, Dream Market other popular markets have been the target of DDoS attacks over the past few weeks, making the sites difficult to access for some users. Those attacks can delay purchases beyond the already congested list of pending Bitcoin transactions, which is slowing down both legitimate and criminal transactions.

Prior to being seized, AlphaBay had grown to accept multiple payment options, including Ethereum and Monero; however, Dream Market still only accepts Bitcoin, and that restriction may help push some users towards other markets that have more, and quicker, payment options as the Dark Web marketplace continues to evolve in AlphaBay’s absence.

Weekly Cyber Risk Roundup: Bad Rabbit’s Parallel Attack, Paradise Papers Fallout

October’s Bad Rabbit ransomware attacks were back in the news this week due to a report that a series of phishing attacks occurred at the same time as the Bad Rabbit outbreak, and the parallel attacks may have been carried out by the same group.

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The discovery also suggests that Ukraine may have been a key target of the attacks, despite Russian victims being more heavily targeted by Bad Rabbit.

The phishing attacks targeted users of Russian-designed 1C software with emails that appeared to be from the developer, the head of the Ukrainian state cyber police told Reuters. 1C products, including accounting software, are widely used in Ukraine.

The official said that 15 companies reported they were compromised by the attack, and it is possible that more people or organizations may have been affected due to 1C software’s wide use. The official also said the main theory is that both the Bad Rabbit and 1C phishing attacks were carried out by the same perpetrators with the goal of getting remote and undetected access in order to steal financial and confidential information. 1C’s developers did not respond to Reuters’ requests for comment about the phishing attacks, but a Ukrainian distributor confirmed that its users were targeted and that it warned them to take extra precautions.

Some researchers have suggested that the Bad Rabbit attacks were carried out by the same group behind June’s NotPetya outbreak. The NotPetya attack leveraged a back door that had been inserted into the M.E.Doc accounting software, which Reuters reported is used by 80 percent of Ukrainian companies. The use of popular Ukrainian accounting software during both NotPetya and attacks potentially linked to Bad Rabbit is yet another shared connection between the two events.

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Other trending cybercrime events from the week include:

  • Data breach announcements: Verticalscope, which manages popular Web discussion forums, confirmed that it discovered an intrusion that provided access to the individual website files of six websites. Tween Brands is notifying customers that their personal information may have been compromised due the discovery of unauthorized access to a server. HumanGood is notifying customers that their personal information may have been compromised due to unauthorized access at a third-party benefits coordination vendor. North American Title Company is notifying customers that their personal information may have compromised due to an employee’s email account being accessed by an unauthorized third party. Wilbraham, Lawler & Buba and the East Central Kansas Area Agency on Aging announced ransomware attacks that could have also compromised personal information.
  • Data exposed: WikiLeaks released the source code for an alleged CIA hacking tool called “Hive,” and the release is just the first in a new series, dubbed “Vault 8,” that is intended to publish the source code from the variety of hacking tools described in the series of “Vault 7” publications earlier this year. A flaw in the website of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) exposes the search records and purchased documents of users such as investigative journalists and finance industry professionals. The website of the Scottish Appropriate Adult Network, which works with mentally impaired individuals that need help with the justice system, was shut down after it was found to be exposing the personal information of about 50 people. Klinger Moving Company is notifying employees that their personal information was briefly exposed due to a file that was stored on a company server being browsable via search engines.
  • Other notable incidents: NIC Asia Bank said that malicious actors initiated $4.4 million worth of fraudulent money transfers via the SWIFT messaging system last month; however, the bank was able to recover all but $580,000 of the funds. The anime streaming service Crunchyroll said that intruders planted a fake homepage that pushed a malicious “CrunchyViewer” program to its viewers for several hours. Approximately 800 school websites hosted by SchoolDesk displayed a pro-ISIS video after the company was hacked and a file was injected that redirected those websites to the video. Valley Family Medicine said that two now-former employees printed a mailing list of 8,450 patient names and addresses and used the list to make postcards informing them of a new practice.
  • Legal actions: A Pennsylvania man has been indicted for illegal trading via more than 50 hacked online brokerage accounts, which caused the firms servicing the accounts to lose more than $2 million. A former Minnesota resident has been charged with purchasing a year’s worth of DDoS attacks against his former employer Washburn Computer Group, as well as the networks of the Minnesota Judicial Branch, Hennepin County, and several banks. The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office is warning employees to obey strict privacy laws on the heels of a charity worker at Rochdale Connections Trust being prosecuted for sending spreadsheets containing the personal information of 183 people to his personal email address.

SurfWatch Labs collected data on many different companies tied to cybercrime over the past week. Some of those “newly seen” targets, meaning they either appeared in SurfWatch Labs’ data for the first time or else reappeared after being absent for several weeks, are shown in the chart below.

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Cyber Risk Trends From the Past Week

2017-11-10_RiskScoresThe hack of a large cache of sensitive documents from the offshore law firm Appleby, which was first reported several weeks ago, has already begun to have potentially wide-reaching ramifications.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which also drove the reporting around the 2016 “Panama Papers” leak, has dubbed the new leak the “Paradise Papers.”

The Guardian reported that the now-exposed Appleby documents contain information related to numerous prominent individuals and organizations, such as Donald Trump’s commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, associates of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, social media platforms Twitter and Facebook, corporations Apple and Nike, a variety of wealthy private individuals, and hundreds more.

Appleby reiterated this week that the theft of its data was not a leak by an insider, but “a serious criminal act” carried out “by an intruder who deployed the tactics of a professional hacker.” The company has previously stated that it had “thoroughly and vigorously investigated the allegations” from the ICIJ and was “satisfied that there is no evidence of any wrongdoing, either on the part of ourselves or our clients.”

The BBC reported that although the 2016 Panama Papers were larger is size, the way the Paradise Papers “lifts the lid on sophisticated, upper-end offshore dealings” is unprecedented. For example, Gabriel Zucman, a professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote in The New York Times that $70 billion, or close to 20 percent of all U.S. corporate tax revenue, is lost every year due to shifting corporate profits to tax havens.

The ICIJ and nearly 100 media groups are continuing to dig through the 13.4 million documents spanning seven decades that make up the Paradise Papers. The BBC said the papers include 6.8 million documents related to the Appleby breach, 6 million documents from corporate registries in mostly Caribbean jurisdictions, and a smaller amount from the Singapore-based international trust and corporate services provider Asiaciti Trust.

Dozens more stories related to the Paradise Papers will likely be published in the near future, although it remains to be seen what political, economic, or reputational fallout will accompany the organizations and individuals impacted by the leak.

Weekly Cyber Risk Roundup: Spain-Catalonia Conflict Goes Digital, Russian Hacking Revealed

The Spanish government was the week’s top trending cybercrime target due to a series of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) and other attacks that were orchestrated by the hacktivist group Anonymous.

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The Anonymous’ campaign against the Spanish government comes on the heels of  Catalonia’s recent referendum on independence. As Miguel-Anxo Murado wrote in The New York Review last month, the multi-year independence movement finally came to a head in October as secessionists ignored both a ban placed on the vote by the Spanish Constitutional Court as well as the threat of police action and voted for independence.

That vote led to “mayhem,” Murado wrote, resulting in almost nine hundred people being injured throughout Catalonia as Spanish police confronted protesters and stormed polling stations in order to seize the ballot boxes. On Sunday, Reuters reported that Spain had issued arrest warrants for ex-Catalonia leader Carles Puigdemont and four associates due to rebellion and sedition charges related to the push for recession.

The independence movement has also been accompanied by what one Washington Post editorial described as “The great Catalonian cyberwar of 2017.” According to the Post, Spanish courts and authorities have in the past few months ordered telecom companies to shut down websites pertaining to the vote and forced Google Play to remove an app related to the referendum. 

Scattered cyber-attacks have occurred as the issue unfolded over the past couple months; however, attacks ramped up towards the end of October as Anonymous groups on Twitter and elsewhere urged others to join the #FreeCatalonia campaign, which resulted in numerous organizations being targeted with DDoS attacks, website defacements, and other low-level malicious activity.

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Other trending cybercrime events from the week include:

  • Extortion attacks: TheDarkOverlord said it hacked the customer database of Hollywood production studio Line 204, and the group is threatening to leak the company’s internal client data, which includes contracts, files, invoices, and more. The group told media outlets that it will leak the data if it does not receive an unspecified ransom, a threat the group has made to numerous other hacked organizations. A malicious actor has released the personal information of 29 University of the Fraser Valley students and is threatening to release more data if the school does not pay a $30,000 ransom.
  • Data leaked: Information related to 46.2 million Malaysian mobile phone numbers that was taken from Malaysian telephone companies and mobile virtual network operators in 2014 has leaked, and the data appears to have been traded among multiple malicious actors. An unnamed third party contractor for government agencies, a bank, and a utility exposed the details of 48,270 Australian employees due to a publicly accessible Amazon S3 bucket.
  • Third-party-related breaches: Malicious actors used information apparently stolen in another breach to create Iowa Public Employees Retirement Systems accounts for individuals who had never created one, and they used those accounts to steal pension checks by redirecting them to different bank accounts. Kimberly-Clark is notifying a “small number” of customers that their personal information may have been compromised due to attacks that targeted registered accounts using a list of credentials leaked in other data breaches not related to the company. Midland County in Texas said a third-party payment system used to pay fines may have been compromised resulting in an undisclosed number of individuals having their payment card information stolen.
  • Other data breaches: North Korean hackers were likely behind an April 2016 hack of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering that led to the theft of sensitive documents. Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Albany said that the personal information of clients and some employees was compromised due to hackers gaining access to a server. The certified public accountants Chiorini, Hunt & Jacobs are notifying customers that their personal information may have been compromised due to three email accounts being accessed. The Union Labor Life Insurance Company is notifying customers that their information may have been compromised when an unauthorized third-party briefly gained access to an employee’s email account and used that account to send spam messages that contained PDF documents with links to malicious sites.
  • Other notable incidents: Numerous art galleries confirmed they were targeted by business email compromise scams that hijacked email communications and requested payment details be changed in order to steal amounts up to £1 million. T-Mobile said it has called all of the few hundred customers targeted by malicious actors with attempts to “swap” the victims’ SIM cards and impersonate them. An unspecified cyber attack at the Oklahoma Corporate Commission led to its network being shut down for a week. A former University of Iowa student used keyloggers to steal credentials, access 250 student and faculty accounts, and then change his grades and access his exams early.

SurfWatch Labs collected data on many different companies tied to cybercrime over the past week. Some of those “newly seen” targets, meaning they either appeared in SurfWatch Labs’ data for the first time or else reappeared after being absent for several weeks, are shown in the chart below.

2017-11-04_ITTNew

Cyber Risk Trends From the Past Week

2017-11-04_RiskScoresThe investigation into Russia’s alleged election-related hacking brought several new developments this past week.

For starters, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Justice department has identified at least six members of the Russian government connected to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) hack, and evidence is being assembled to potentially bring official charges against those individuals next year. The WSJ said that dozens of others may have played a role in the hack; however, it is possible prosecutors may wait to identify some or all of those involved until Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into alleged Russian hacking is complete.

The Mueller investigation has already resulted in several indictments as well as a guilty plea for lying to the FBI from George Papadopoulos, who served as a foreign policy advisor for the Trump campaign. The guilty plea has some overlap with the hacked emails, as court documents state that an overseas professor Papadopoulos met with multiple times “told him about the Russians possessing ‘dirt’ on then-candidate Hillary Clinton in the form of ‘thousands of emails.’”

A Sunday report from the Associated Press lays out the timeline of Russia’s hacking attempts, and that campaign appears to have begun with phishing emails sent to a list of email addresses tied to staffers of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign. Most of those emails bounced back, but one of those staffers who had also joined the 2016 campaign ended up clicking on multiple phishing links — possibly providing the attackers with a fresh batch of email addresses to target. More than a dozen democrats were ultimately hacked, including John Podesta. One of Podesta’s hacked emails was the first document published by Guccifer 2.0, although it was altered. Guccifer 2.0 airbrushed the word “CONFIDENTIAL” onto the document and claimed the document came from the DNC rather than Podesta in order to entice reporters.

APT28, the group tied to the hacks, had wide-reaching targets far beyond the U.S. election, the AP reported. The group targeted the gmail accounts of 4,700 users spread across 116 countries, including Ukrainian officers, Russian opposition figures, U.S. defense contractors, and thousands of others of interest to the Kremlin. In the U.S. the targets included diplomatic and military officials; defense contractors such as Boeing, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin, some republicans, and more than 130 democratic party workers.

Weekly Cyber Risk Roundup: Bad Rabbit Halted, Law Firm Breach Raises Questions

The week’s top trending event was the outbreak of Bad Rabbit ransomware, which quickly spread across Russia and Eastern Europe before most of the infrastructure behind the attack was taken offline hours later. 

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Bad Rabbit was largely spread via watering hole attacks using compromised news media websites that prompted users to install a fake “Flash Update.” Symantec reported that the vast majority of infection attempts occurred in Russia within the first two hours of the malware’s appearance, but there were also infection attempts observed in Japan, Bulgaria, Ukraine, the U.S., and other countries.

The malware used an SMB component as well as the “Mimikatz” tool, along with some hard-coded default usernames and passwords, to attempt to spread laterally across a network after infection. It was later discovered that the malware also leveraged the leaked NSA exploit EternalRomance in a way that was “very similar to the publicly available Python implementation of the EternalRomance exploit” used by NotPetya (or Nyeta) malware.

“The BadRabbit exploit implementation is different than the one in Nyetya, although it is still largely based on the EternalRomance exploit published in the ShadowBrokers leak,” Cisco researchers wrote. “We can be fairly confident that BadRabbit includes an EternalRomance implementation used to overwrite a kernel’s session security context to enable it to launch remote services, while in Nyetya it was used to install the DoublePulsar backdoor.”

Those infected with Bad Rabbit were directed to a Tor payment page and presented with a countdown timer for when the ransom demand would increase, starting at 0.05 bitcoin (around $280). The Register reported that various researchers have found that recovering infected machines appeared difficult, but not impossible.

2017-10-28_ITTGroups

Other trending cybercrime events from the week include:

  • TheDarkOverlord targets surgery clinic: TheDarkOverlord said it has stolen terabytes of data from London Bridge Plastic Surgery, including sensitive photos and information on some high-profile clients. “We have TBs [terabytes] of this shit. Databases, names, everything,” a representative from The Dark Overlord told The Daily Beast. “There are some royal families in here.” The clinic confirmed that it was likely breached and said it has launched an investigation into the stolen data.
  • Cryptocurrency-related cybercrime: A phishing scam impersonating MyEtherWallet managed to trick several users into handing over the passwords to their wallets, and as a result approximately $16,000 was stolen. Coinhive, which provides websites with a JavaScript miner, said that its Cloudflare account was hijacked due to the use of an insecure password and lack of two-factor authentication, and as a result the attacker was able to steal hashes from users. Coincafe said that an unauthorized third party gained access to a system that was decommissioned in 2014 containing customers’ personal information, and the third party then contacted some of those customers and said they would erase their compromised data for a fee. The website for the new cryptocurrency Bitcoin Gold was taken offline by a DDoS attack.
  • Updates on previously disclosed breaches: Whole Foods said its payment card breach affected nearly 100 locations. U.S. Cellular said an investigation into automated attacks against online user accounts in June revealed that the incident also exposed bank account and routing numbers. West Music, which operates westmusic.com and percussionsource.com, is the latest company to notify customers of a payment card breach tied to third-party payment processor Aptos. Alliance College-Ready Public Schools said they are one of multiple school districts and charter networks affected by a vulnerability that exposed information from the school data platform Schoolzilla. The NSA contractor tied to the leak of confidential hacking tools allegedly disabled his antivirus and infected his computer with malware when installing a pirated version of Microsoft Office.
  • Other notable events: A contractor lost control of a Dell customer support website designed to help customers restore their data and computers to their factory default state, and the hijacked website may have been used to push malware while it was compromised. Researchers discovered two publicly exposed MongoDB databases belonging to Tarte Cosmetics that contained the personal information of nearly two million customers. FirstHealth of the Carolinas, which has more than 100 physical locations, said that a WannaCry variant forced the shutdown of its network to prevent the malware from spreading. Memory4Less is notifying customers that their personal information may have compromised due to an unauthorized user installing malware on its network between November 2016 and September 2017. LightHouse Management Services and the Iowa Department of Human Services announced employee email account breaches. COL Financial Group said it has experienced a “possible breach.” Two websites run by the Czech Statistical Office that reported the results of the country’s parliamentary elections were temporarily taken offline by DDoS attacks.

SurfWatch Labs collected data on many different companies tied to cybercrime over the past week. Some of those “newly seen” targets, meaning they either appeared in SurfWatch Labs’ data for the first time or else reappeared after being absent for several weeks, are shown in the chart below.

2017-10-28_ITTNew

Cyber Risk Trends From the Past Week

2017-10-28_RiskScoresThe offshore law firm Appleby said that client data was stolen last year, and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which obtained the hacked data, has contacted the firm over allegations of wrongdoing and says it plans on publishing a series of stories related to the breach.

Business Insider reported that the law firm’s super-rich clients are “bracing themselves for the exposure of their financial secrets.” The incident has echoes of the 2016 “Panama Papers” leak, which involved the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca and has led to numerous consequences around the globe — including the resignation of prime ministers in Iceland and Pakistan, and calls for the impeachment of Ukraine’s president.

It is unclear at the moment what fallout, if any, may occur due the breach at Bermuda-based Appleby, and it is important to note that the company said in a statement that it has found no evidence of wrongdoing.

“We are disappointed that the media may choose to use information which could have emanated from material obtained illegally and that this may result in exposing innocent parties to data protection breaches,” the company said. “Having researched the ICIJ’s allegations we believe they are unfounded and based on a lack of understanding of the legitimate and lawful structures used in the offshore sector.”

However, there have already been reports that leak has led to renewed scrutiny of Glencore Plc’s acquisition of Katanga Mining Ltd., which runs copper and cobalt mines in Congo, and claims that aircraft buyers may have used Isle of Man for abusive Value Added Tax (VAT) avoidance.

Appleby’s clients include FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies, and the breach serves as a reminder that law firms are often the target of malicious actors due to the combination of sensitive documents they hold along with the potentially weaker security inherent in some third parties. Additional documents and reporting related to the Appleby breach will likely be published throughout the coming months.