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Making Sense of Operational Technology Attacks: The Past, Present, and Future

Making Sense of Operational Technology Attacks: The Past, Present, and Future

Mar 21, 2024 Operational Technology / SCADA Security
When you read reports about cyber-attacks affecting operational technology (OT), it's easy to get caught up in the hype and assume every single one is sophisticated. But are OT environments all over the world really besieged by a constant barrage of complex cyber-attacks? Answering that would require breaking down the different types of OT cyber-attacks and then looking back on all the historical attacks to see how those types compare.  The Types of OT Cyber-Attacks Over the past few decades, there has been a growing awareness of the need for improved cybersecurity practices in IT's lesser-known counterpart, OT. In fact, the lines of what constitutes a cyber-attack on OT have never been well defined, and if anything, they have further blurred over time. Therefore, we'd like to begin this post with a discussion around the ways in which cyber-attacks can either target or just simply impact OT, and why it might be important for us to make the distinction going forward. Figure 1 The Pu
Cyber 9/11, cyber doomsday...between fear and need for action

Cyber 9/11, cyber doomsday...between fear and need for action

Mar 15, 2013
It's not a mystery, every nation is worried of the level of security of its infrastructure, the United States are among the most concerned governments due the high number of cyber-attack against its networks. US Government representative such us former States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano warned in more than one occasion on the possible consequences of a cyber offensive and declared the necessity to improve the cyber capabilities of the country.  Senators are interested to evaluate the level of protection of nuclear stockpile of foreign governments against cyber attacks, question has been raised after that Pentagon's chief cyber officer admitted to ignore if countries such as Russia or China have adopted efficient countermeasures. Nelson and Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. will request to national intelligence an assessment about the ability of foreign states to safeguard networked
10,000 Victims a Day: Infostealer Garden of Low-Hanging Fruit

10,000 Victims a Day: Infostealer Garden of Low-Hanging Fruit

Jul 15, 2024Cyber Crime / Data Protection
Imagine you could gain access to any Fortune 100 company for $10 or less, or even for free. Terrifying thought, isn't it? Or exciting, depending on which side of the cybersecurity barricade you are on. Well, that's basically the state of things today. Welcome to the infostealer garden of low-hanging fruit. Over the last few years, the problem has grown bigger and bigger, and only now are we slowly learning its full destructive potential. In this article, we will describe how the entire cybercriminal ecosystem operates, the ways various threat actors exploit data originating from it, and most importantly, what you can do about it. Let's start with what infostealer malware actually is. As the name suggests, it's malware that... steals data. Depending on the specific type, the information it extracts might differ slightly, but most will try to extract the following: Cryptocurrency wallets Bank account information and saved credit card details Saved passwords from various apps Bro
Israeli Power Grid Authority Suffers Massive Cyber Attack

Israeli Power Grid Authority Suffers Massive Cyber Attack

Jan 27, 2016
The country which built a Digital Iron Dome , Israel had undergone one of the largest serious cyber attack this year. This time, the name of Israel is being popped up in the current headlines is for the massive cyber attack which triggered against the Nation's Electrical Power Grid Authority's Network. "Yesterday we identified one of the largest cyber attacks that we have experienced," Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz confirmed at the CyberTech 2016 Conference at the Tel Aviv Trade Fair and Convention Center on Tuesday, according to an article published by The Times of Israel. "The virus was already identified and the right software was already prepared to neutralize it," Steinitz added. "We'd to paralyze many of the computers of the Israeli Electricity Authority. We are handling the situation and I hope that soon, this very serious event will be over...but as of now, computer systems are still not working as they should." Sev
cyber security

Top 4 Security Risks of GenAI

websiteWizGenAI Security / Technology
Gain a competitive edge and unlock the top 4 major emerging risks within GenAI. This report from Gartner provides insights and recommended actions for security and product leaders.
World War C report - Motives behind State Sponsored Cyber Attacks

World War C report - Motives behind State Sponsored Cyber Attacks

Oct 03, 2013
Nation-state driven cyber attacks are routinely conducted on a global scale to defend national sovereignty and project national power. We are living in the cyber era, human conflict is involving also the fifth domain of warfare , the cyberspace . As never before disputes take place with blows of bits, militias of every government are developing cyber capabilities dedicating great effort for the establishment of cyber units . Network security company, FireEye, has released a report titled " World War C: Understanding Nation-State Motives Behind Today's Advanced Cyber Attacks " which describes the effort spent by governments in cyber warfare context, the document analyzes in detail the different approaches adopted by various countries in conducting nation-state driven cyber attacks . Security experts highlight the intensification of state-sponsored attacks for both cyber espionage and sabotage purpose, campaigns such as Moonlight Maze and Titan Rain or the destruc
Small satellite terminals (VSAT) are vulnerable to Cyber attack

Small satellite terminals (VSAT) are vulnerable to Cyber attack

Jan 10, 2014
The Military Units that rely on very small aperture terminals (VSATs) for satellite communications in remote areas are vulnerable to cyber attack . Researchers from cyber intelligence company IntelCrawler recently identified nearly 3 million VSATs, many of them in the United States, and found that about 10,000 of them could be easily accessed because of configuration weaknesses. " We have scanned the whole IPv4 address space since 2010 and update the results in our Big Data intelligence database, including details about the satellite operator's network ranges, such as INMARSAT, Asia Broadcast Satellite, VSAT internet iDirect, Satellite HUB Pool, and can see some vulnerabilities, " Researchers have warned that terminals having data transmission rate 4kbps to 16 Mbps used in narrow and broadband data transmission are vulnerable to cyber attack. VSATs are most commonly used to transmit narrowband data such as credit card, polling or RFID data or broadband data for VoIP or
Israeli Road Control System hacked, caused Traffic jam on Haifa Highway

Israeli Road Control System hacked, caused Traffic jam on Haifa Highway

Oct 28, 2013
Israel is considered one of the most advanced country in cyber security, but at the same time is a privileged target for hostile governments intent in sabotage and cyber espionage on his technology. Yesterday, Cybersecurity experts revealed that a major artery in Israel's national road network located in the northern the city of Haifa suffered a cyber attack, that caused massive traffic congestion in the City. Isreal military officials are aware of cyber threats that could hit the infrastructure of the country and they afraid the possible effect of a cyber attack on a large scale. Israeli government websites suffer thousands of cyberattacks each day according Ofir Ben Avi, head of the government's website division. The Israel Electric Corp. confirmed that its servers register about 6,000 unique computer attacks every second. In June, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that Iran militia, Hezbollah and Hamas have targeted in numerous occasions Israel
Richard Clarke Highlights Overlapping Techniques in Cyber Crime, Espionage, and Warfare

Richard Clarke Highlights Overlapping Techniques in Cyber Crime, Espionage, and Warfare

Oct 31, 2010 Cybersecurity / Cyber Defense
The difference between cyber crime, cyber espionage, and cyber war is often just a matter of a few keystrokes, as they use the same techniques. Richard Clarke, chairman of Good Harbor Consulting, highlighted this during his keynote at the RSA Europe 2010 conference in London. Cyber Crime Cyber crime is not just a theory; it happens every day. Clarke explained that just two weeks ago, there were arrests of a cyber cartel in the US. However, those arrested were students acting as mules. These mules simply open a bank account and allow money to flow in and out of it, being the lowest level in the cyber crime hierarchy. Clarke elaborated that these cartels are often based in Moldova, Estonia, Belarus, or Russia. After lengthy investigations involving warrants to search computers and servers, crimes are traced back to these countries. However, cooperation from these countries is often nonexistent, making them effective cyber sanctuaries. As long as attacks happen outside their borders an
Major Cyber Attack Paralyzes Kyivstar - Ukraine's Largest Telecom Operator

Major Cyber Attack Paralyzes Kyivstar - Ukraine's Largest Telecom Operator

Dec 13, 2023 Cyber Attack / Geopolitics
Ukraine's biggest telecom operator Kyivstar has  become  the victim of a " powerful hacker attack ," disrupting customer access to mobile and internet services. "The cyberattack on Ukraine's #Kyivstar telecoms operator has impacted all regions of the country with high impact to the capital, metrics show, with knock-on impacts reported to air raid alert network and banking sector as work continues to restore connectivity," NetBlocks  said  in a series of posts on X (formerly Twitter). Kyivstar, which is owned by Dutch-domiciled multinational telecommunication services company VEON,  serves  nearly 25 million mobile subscribers and more than 1 million home internet customers. The company said the attack was "a result of" the war with Russia and that it has notified law enforcement and special state services. While Kyivstar is working to restore the services, the internet watchdog noted that the telco is largely offline. That said, Kyivstar has yet t
Ukraine Police Warns of New NotPetya-Style Large Scale CyberAttack

Ukraine Police Warns of New NotPetya-Style Large Scale CyberAttack

Oct 14, 2017
Remember NotPetya ? The Ransomware that shut down thousands of businesses, organisations and banks in Ukraine as well as different parts of Europe in June this year. Now, Ukrainian government authorities are once again warning its citizens to brace themselves for next wave of "large-scale" NotPetya-like cyber attack. According to a press release published Thursday by the Secret Service of Ukraine (SBU), the next major cyber attack could take place between October 13 and 17 when Ukraine celebrates Defender of Ukraine Day (in Ukrainian: День захисника України, Den' zakhysnyka Ukrayiny). Authorities warn the cyber attack can once again be conducted through a malicious software update against state government institutions and private companies. The attackers of the NotPetya ransomware also used the same tactic—compromising the update mechanism for Ukrainian financial software provider called MeDoc and swapping in a dodgy update including the NotPetya computer v
Israel Neutralizes Cyber Attack by Blowing Up A Building With Hackers

Israel Neutralizes Cyber Attack by Blowing Up A Building With Hackers

May 06, 2019
The Israel Defense Force (IDF) claims to have neutralized an "attempted" cyber attack by launching airstrikes on a building in Gaza Strip from where it says the attack was originated. As shown in a video tweeted by IDF, the building in the Gaza Strip, which Israeli fighter drones have now destroyed, was reportedly the headquarters for Palestinian Hamas military intelligence, from where a cyber unit of hackers was allegedly trying to penetrate Israel's cyberspace. "We thwarted an attempted Hamas cyber offensive against Israeli targets. Following our successful cyber defensive operation, we targeted a building where the Hamas cyber operatives work. HamasCyberHQ.exe has been removed," said the Israeli Defence Forces on Twitter. However, the Israel Defense Force has not shared any information about the attempted cyber attack by the Hamas group, saying it would reveal the country's cyber capabilities. According to Judah Ari Gross of Times of Israel ,
New Rules Enable Military Assistance During Domestic Cyber-Attacks

New Rules Enable Military Assistance During Domestic Cyber-Attacks

Oct 31, 2010
The Obama administration has revised federal policy, enabling the military to assist during a domestic cyber-attack, reported the New York Times on Oct. 21. Typically, the military cannot deploy units within the country's borders, except for natural disasters, and even then, a presidential order is required. However, under a new agreement between the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security, military cyber experts can now be called upon if critical computer networks in the United States are attacked. Robert J. Butler, the Pentagon's deputy assistant secretary for cyber policy, told the Times that this policy change will allow agencies to focus on how to respond to such attacks more effectively. The two agencies "will help each other in more tangible ways than they have in the past," Butler stated in an article in Defense News, an Army Times publication. He added that closer collaboration will provide "an opportunity to explore new ways for
Russian Hackers Linked to 'Largest Ever Cyber Attack' on Danish Critical Infrastructure

Russian Hackers Linked to 'Largest Ever Cyber Attack' on Danish Critical Infrastructure

Nov 16, 2023 Cyber Warfare / Threat Intelligence
Russian threat actors have been possibly linked to what's been described as the "largest cyber attack against Danish critical infrastructure," in which 22 companies associated with the operation of the country's energy sector were targeted in May 2023.  "22 simultaneous, successful cyberattacks against Danish critical infrastructure are not commonplace," Denmark's SektorCERT  said  [PDF]. "The attackers knew in advance who they were going to target and got it right every time. Not once did a shot miss the target." The agency said it found evidence connecting one or more attacks to Russia's GRU military intelligence agency, which is also tracked under the name  Sandworm  and has a track record of orchestrating disruptive cyber assaults on industrial control systems. This assessment is based on artifacts communicating with IP addresses that have been traced to the hacking crew. The unprecedented and coordinated cyber attacks took place on
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