1-15 November 2013 Cyber Attacks Timeline

It’s time for the summary of the main cyber attacks occurred in the first half of November and reported on the news.

These fifteen days have been particularly troubled from an information security perspective, having left to the records several remarkable breaches: LoyaltyBuild, affecting potentially 1.12 million individuals, CorporateCarOnline.com (850,000 individuals), MacRumors (850,000 individuals) and, last but not least, vBulletin (860,000 users affected). A damage report which appears really devastating.

But even hacktivists have been particularly active: several operations have been carried on by the Anonymous all over the world (Italy, UK, Singapore, Japan, Philippines and Ukraine). One in particular (by Indonesian hacktivists against Australian targets) has apparently created a fracture inside the collective.

Last but not least, the chronicles report the latest hack of the Syrian Electronic Army against VICE and a new wave of attacks of Pakistani hackers against Indian targets.

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).1-15 November 2013 Cyber Attacks Timeline

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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 January 2014 Cyber Attacks Timeline

It’s time for the Cyber Attacks Timeline for the first half of January 2014. I wish we had a better start for this Infosec year. Not even a month has passed (actually this timeline covers the first two weeks) and we have already seen several massive breaches (Snapchat) and other resounding events, maybe less relevant from a mere numeric perspective, but equally meaningful for the high profile of the victims involved (Microsoft).

Besides Snapchat, other important organizations have been targeted by Cyber crooks with very bad consequences: World Poker Tour (175,333), Staysure (93,000 individuals involved) and OpenSUSE (79,500 victims) are the most noticeable examples. On the cyber crime front other meaningful events include a wave of attacks against Video Games industries, and the hacking of Yahoo advertise network, infecting, potentially 27,000 users per hour.

Hacktivists of the Syrian Electronic Army are back with the result that even Microsoft is now part of the list of their victims (however their web site was also hacked in the same period). Other hacktivists very active in the same period include the infamous RedHack collective.

Last but not least, the control room of the Nuclear Plant of Monju in Japan was found infected with a malware capable of allegedly exfiltrate 42,000 emails.

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).

1-15 Jan 2014 Cyber Attacks Timeline

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16-31 December Cyber Attacks Timeline

Despite still related to December 2014, here is the first timeline for 2015 covering the main events occurred between the 16th and 31st December 2014 (first part here).

No doubt, this Christmas will be remembered for the unwelcome surprise of the DDoS attack performed by the infamous Lizard Squad against the online services of Sony and Microsoft. An attack that has shattered the dreams of many players, just few minutes after unwrapping their brand new consoles under the Christmas Tree. However, the light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and inevitably two members of the collective have allegedly been arrested (not before having attempted a Sybil Attack against Tor).

But the latter was not the only attack targeting the Tor anonymity service in this period, which also suffered an unexplained outage affecting a cluster of Tor Directory Authority Servers in a Rotterdam data center.

Other noticeable events concern the outage of the Internet connection in North Korea (despite it is not completely clear if caused by a cyber attack or a fault), a malware detected in a South Korea power plant, the attacks targeting the ICANN and the ISC Consortium, two among the most important organizations for the Internet, and (yet another) breach targeting NVIDIA.

Moving to a different topic, all in all the hacktivists decided to enjoy the Christmas vacations with the exception of the Syrian Electronic Army who were back, and defaced an online magazine, the International Business Time, for an article against the Syrian regime.

Last but not least, with regard to  Cyber Espionage, there have been two operations discovered in this period: an alleged attack perpetrated by Chinese hackers against an Afghan CDN targeting directly many local governmental sites, and indirectly many foreign institutions, and also the discovery of the Anunak group, a well-organized crew able to steal USD $25 Million with a long lasting cyber espionage operation against targets in Europe and the US.

If you want to have an idea of how fragile our electronic identity is inside the cyberspace, have a look at the timelines of the main Cyber Attacks in 2011, 2012, 2013 and now 2014 (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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The China Cyber Attacks Syndrome

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  • Post last modified:November 11, 2011
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A week ago, the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive published a report to Congress concerning the use of cyber…

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