Think Information. Think Security.
 
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An assembly of tech giants including AMD, Honeywell, Intel, Lockheed Martin, and RSA, has come together to form the “Cyber Security Research Alliance”, a consortium that will focus on the "grand challenges" for cyber security and next generation technologies.

The Cyber Security Research Alliance (CSRA) is a private, non-profit research consortium formed in response to the growing need for increased public-private collaboration to address complex problems in cyber security, the organization explained. Priority research areas for the organization will include data and information sharing, control system security, and threat mitigation. 


 
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The term “Watering Hole” has become a popular way to describe targeted malware attacks in which the attackers compromise a legitimate website and insert a “drive-by” exploit in order to compromise the website’s visitors. 
This technique has long been used by indiscriminate cybercriminal attacks as well as targeted malware attacks. 

While cybercriminals use “drive-by” exploits to indiscriminately compromise as many computers as they can, the use of this technique in relation to APT activity is what Shadowserver aptly described as “strategic web compromises”. The objective is to selectively target visitors interested in specific content. Such attacks often emerge in conjunction with a new drive-by exploit.


 
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The British Internet Watch Foundation, which works with local police to investigate complaints of online child sexual abuse, recently combed through its database of sites specifically for images that looked like they were self-portraits or self-made videos. 

In a mere 47 hours they found more than 12,000 instances of girls who had taken provocative portraits or videos of themselves; when they examined the provenance of these photos, they found 88% of them had been lifted from other websites, including social media. That is, almost nine times out of ten, the self-portraits on the porny or otherwise offensive websites were used without the permission or knowledge of the people in them.


 
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Hackers have lifted potentially sensitive data from the US National Weather Service after exploiting a vulnerability in the weather.gov website.

A previously-unknown group called Kosova Hacker's Security claimed credit for the hack in a lengthy post on pastebin, containing a stream of data lifted as a result of the hack. Leaked data includes a list of partial login credentials, something that might give other hacking crews a head start in attacking the website, as well as numerous system and network configuration files. The leaked information appears to consist only of system files and the like rather than scientific data, something that strongly distinguishes the breach from the so-called ClimateGate hack against the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia back in November 2009.


 
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The study, conducted by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), surveyed 377 people and found more than half (57%) used public Wi-Fi hotspots to access confidential work-related information. The online survey was commissioned by Sherman, Conn.-based Private Communications Corporation, a seller of virtual private network (VPN) software.

Public Wi-Fi usage has gone up 240% in the past year, but 44% of respondents weren't aware of a way to protect their information when using a hotspot. In addition, 60% of those surveyed indicated they were either concerned or very concerned about their security when using a public hotspot. Experts have pointed out that the rapid increase in public hotspots is associated with the growing use of smartphones and tablet devices.


 
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SOPA. The dearly beloved antipiracy bill was quashed before it reared its ugly head and became signed into U.S. law. It only took months of worldwide protests, tech media outrage,site blackouts and the occasional satirical video or two. A huge sigh of relief spread through the technology community when the bill was discarded -- at least for the moment. However, enterprising virus developers have piggybacked on the fear that copyright infringement and court cases produce for the general public -- using the recognizable SOPA branding to lure victims into parting with their hard-earned cash. 

The so-called SOPA cryptovirus which warns users that their IP address is on a copyright infringement blacklist has been discovered. The 'ransomware' holds a computer hostage, warning that unless a victim hands over money, data will be wiped. U.S. and Canadian victims have to pay via a MoneyPak prepaid voucher, whereas others have to use Western Union.


 
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The purveyors of phishing attacks are finding that they can net many more prey by turning websites into so-called "watering holes" rather than first sending malicious emails directly to their targets, according to new research from security firm Websense. Researchers believe these watering hole tactics demonstrate an evolution of phishing attacks -- and a sign of more targeted threats to come. The findings, released Tuesday, note a troubling emergence of targeted website compromises. Phishers bank on their targets visiting these sites so they can install malware on victim's machines, capable of ripping off personal information.


 
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Fraudsters are targeting Skype users through two different ruses – one that spreads ransomware by way of instant messages, and another which uses spam to spread the banking trojan Zeus. Researchers at security firm GFI discovered both threats.

On Tuesday, they discovered the spam campaign, which infects users with Zeus via the BlackHole exploit kit. Emails mimicking Skype voicemail notifications direct users to sign into the internet phone service by clicking a link. But instead their machines are hit with the trojan. The scam was detected shortly after Chris Boyd, senior threat researcher at GFI, published a blog post Friday about a separate threat affecting Skype users: ransomware spreading through Skype IMs.


 
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A large peer-to-peer botnet known for its resilience was spotted sniffing out potential victim voice-over-IP (VoIP) servers using an advanced stealth technique of camouflaging its efforts to recruit new bots.The Sality botnet, which was first discovered in 2003 and has been estimated to have hundreds of thousands or more infected machines in its zombie army, scanned IPv4 addresses in February 2011 via a covert scanning method that flew under the radar, according to new research from the University of California-San Diego and the University of Napoli in Italy.

The researchers were able to observe the botnet's activity via UCSD's darknet, called the UCSD Network Telescope, which provides a passive traffic-monitoring system for studying malicious Internet activity. They will present their findings at next month's Internet Measurement Conference 2012 in Boston.


 
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Researchers have detected a "new man-in-the-browser" (MITB) attack method that uses malware capable of stealing users bank or other sensitive information entered on websites. As opposed to traditional MITB scams – where malware sitting on victims' computers is used to monitor a list of targeted websites and then pounces when users visit those sites – this technique allows criminals to draw victims' data from an unlimited pool of sites. Trusteer discovered the threat in late August and posted a blog this week that details the scam.

George Tubin, senior security strategist at Trusteer, told SCMagazine.com on Wednesday that malware used in what the company dubbed "universal" MITB attacks pinpoints desired information, like credit card numbers, entered on any website -- and processes it immediately, rather than afterward, as in a traditional MITB scenario.