1-15 December 2013 Cyber Attacks Timeline

Maybe hackers are feeling the Christmas atmosphere since this first half of December has recorded a minor number of attacks in comparison with the previous months. However considering merely the number of attacks to evaluate the cyber landscape could bring to wrong conclusions since, even if in absolute terms the number of attacks has experienced a decrease, in several cases the amount of affected users has been really considerable.

This is the case, for instance, of the 20 million of records leaked in China (and found on WeChat) or the 2.4 million of students and employees of Maricopa Community College compromised in an Aprl Security Breach.

It is really curious to notice that in (too) many cases the breaches have been notified several months later. As also happened for JP Morgan Chase, who also had 456,000 owners of prepaid cash cards compromised in July and notified only in December.

Concerning Cyber Espionage, chronicles report of an alleged Chinese Cyber Attack during the 2013 G8 Summit in Russia, while hacktivists were constantly active in Ukraine, Turkey, India, Syria (indirectly) and, a new Entry for December, Angola.

As usual, if you want to have an idea of how fragile our data are inside the cyberspace, have a look at the timelines of the main Cyber Attacks in 2011, 2012 and now 2013 (regularly updated). You may also want to have a look at the Cyber Attack Statistics, and follow @paulsparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.

Also, feel free to submit remarkable incidents that in your opinion deserve to be included in the timelines (and charts).

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1-15 February 2014 Cyber Attacks Timeline

And here we are with the timelines of the main Cyber Attacks happened during the first half of February.

It is very hard to summarize these days from an Infosec perspective, considering the noticeable number of massive breaches: Kickstarter (potentially 5.6 million of records affected), Forbes (1 million records leaked), Orange (800,000 users impacted) and St. Joseph Health System (400,000 users affected) are the main examples, but they must not overshadow other ‘minor’ events such as the the attack against Bell.ca (‘only’ 40,000 users affected).

15 days in which Cybercrime and Hacktivism dangerously overlapped, ‘thanks’ mainly to the infamous Syrian Electronic Army, author of the hack against Forbes but also of several account hijacking attacks that have become their unique fingerprint, but also ‘thanks’ to the RedHack collective who, once again, targeted (directly or indirectly) the Turkish Government with three noticeable attacks.

Last but not least, the Cyber Espionage: the first half of February has brought us the discovery of “The Mask” (AKA Careto), a massive Operation targeting 31 countries around the world, but also the revelation of an alleged attack carried on by Huawei against the Indian provider BSNL and a further purported Chinese attack against some bio-medic industries in the U.S.

Finally, the Cyber War between India and Pakistan deserves a special mention, despite only defacements have been reported, the end of the fight is far from being reached.

As usual, if you want to have an idea of how fragile our data are inside the cyberspace, have a look at the timelines of the main Cyber Attacks in 2011, 2012 and now 2013 (regularly updated). You may also want to have a look at the Cyber Attack Statistics, and follow @paulsparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.

Also, feel free to submit remarkable incidents that in your opinion deserve to be included in the timelines (and charts).

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16-31 May 2014 Cyber Attacks Timeline

Here we are with the second part of the timeline of May (first part here).

Summer is coming here, and looks like attackers prefer to spend more  time in the beach rather than in front of their keyboards. In fact the number of reported attack is confirming its decreasing trend, at least for this part of the year.

Nonetheless, the second part of may has brought some noticeable events, such as the attack to Ebay (potentially 145 million accounts compromised), the attack against the Avast! Forum (400,000 records compromised) and the Arkansas State University (“only” 50,000 records). Other noticeable (and funny) event includes the hack of a San Francisco road sign by a prankster announcing the attack by Godzilla!

Cyber Spies were indeed pretty active in this period. Chronicles report of the Operation Clandestine Fox, a cyber attack against several industries in Australia, an undisclosed utility attacked in the US, a three year social network poisoning campaign sponsored by Iran and, last but not least, the alleged attack against the $12.7 million supercomputer in New Zealand from Chinese attackers.

Instead the operations from Law Enforcement Agencies against Hacktivists seem to be effective, the number of attacks motivated by hacktivism is dramatically reducing.

As usual, if you want to have an idea of how fragile our data are inside the cyberspace, have a look at the timelines of the main Cyber Attacks in 2011, 2012 and now 2013 (regularly updated). You may also want to have a look at the Cyber Attack Statistics, and follow @paulsparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.

Also, feel free to submit remarkable incidents that in your opinion deserve to be included in the timelines (and charts).

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November 2011 Cyber Attacks Timeline (Part II)

The second half of November has confirmed the trend seen in the previous report covering the first half of the month. The period under examination has confirmed a remarkable increase in Cyber Attacks from both a quality and quantity perspective.

Although the month has been characterized by many small attacks, several remarkable events have really made the difference.

Among the victims of the month, Finland deserves a special mention in this unenviable rank: the second half of the month has confirmed the emerging trend for this country, which suffered in this period two further breaches of huge amounts of personal data, for a global cumulative cost, computed on the whole month, around $25 million.

But Finland was not the only northern European country hit by cybercrookers (maybe the term cyberprofessionals would be more appropriate): Norwegian systems associated with the country’s oil, gas and energy sectors were hit with an APT based cyber attack resulting in a loss of sensitive information including documents, drawings, user names and passwords.

But once again the crown of the most remarkable breach of the month is placed upon the head of South Korea which suffered another huge data dump affecting users of the popular MMORPG “Maple Story” affecting theoretically 13 million of users, nearly the 27% of the Korean population, for an estimated cost of the breach close to $2.8 billion.

The list of affected countries this month includes also 243,089 Nigerian users, victims of the hack of Naijaloaded, a popular forum.

Microsoft has been another victim in this November, with a phishing scam targeting Xbox Live users. Details of the scam are not clear, although each single affected user in U.K. might have lost something between £100 and £200 for a total cost of the breach assimilable to “million of Pounds”.

November will make history for showing for the first time to information security professionals the dangers hidden inside the SCADA universe (and not related to Nuclear Reactors). The echo of Stuxnet and Duqu is still alive, but this month was the the turn of SCADA water pumps, that have suffered a couple of attacks (Springfield and South Houston), the first one allegedly originated from Russia and the second one from a “lonely ranger” who considered the answer from DHS concerning the first incident, too soft and not enough satisfactory. My sixth sense (and one half) tells me that we will need to get more and more used to attacks against SCADA driven facilities.

The Anonymous continued their operations against governments with a brand new occurrence of their Friday Releases, targeting a Special Agent of the CA Department and leaking something like 38,000 emails. Besides from other some sparse “small” operations, the other remarkable action performed by the Anonymous collective involved the hacking of an United Nations (old?) server, that caused personal data of some personnel to be released on the Internet.

November Special mentions are dedicated (for opposite reasons) to HP and AT&T. HP for the issue on their printers discovered by a group of Researchers of Columbia Univerity, which could allow a malicious user to remotely control (and burn) them. AT&T deserved the special mention for the attack, unsuccessful, against the 1% of its 100 million wireless accounts customer base.

In any case, counting also the “minor” attacks of the month, the chart shows a real emergency for data protection issues: schools, e-commerce sites, TVs, government sites, etc. are increasingly becoming targets. Administrators do not show the deserved attention to data protection and maybe also the users are loosing the real perception of how much important is the safeguard of their personal information and how serious the aftermaths of a compromise are.

As usual, references for each single cyber attack are reported below. Have a (nice?) read and most of alle share among your acquaintances the awareness that everyone is virtually at risk.

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