Middle East Cyber War Update

Another week of Cyber War in the Middle East…

Another week in which pro Israeli hackers seem to have disappeared, and hence have apparently left the scene to Pro Palestine hackers, although not so many high-profile actions have been reported in this period. The only exception to this schema is represented by Mauritania Hacker Team who dumped 4000 login accounts from Microsoft Israel Dynamics CRM Online website. This action is particularly significant… Not because it targeted a Cloud service, and not even because it targeted a Microsoft Cloud Service, but most of all because on the wake of the multiple dumps performed by Pro Arab hackers against Israel (among which the dump to the Microsoft Cloud Service was only the latest), the Israel’s Justice Ministry has releases guidelines forbidding unnecessary collection of personal national identification numbers. This is the first time in which the aftermath of a Cyber War has direct implications on everyday life.

From this point of view the wars fought on the cyber domain are completely different from the wars fought on the real world… In the cyber battlefield the civilians are the primary targets (since they have their personal data dumped) and not collateral victims…

Read the complete timeline of the Middle East Cyber War at this link and follow @paulsparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.

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16-30 November 2012 Cyber Attacks Timeline

November has gone and it’s time to review this month’s cyber landscape.

From a Cyber Crime perspective, November 2012 will be probably remembered for the breach to Nationwide, one of the largest insurance and financial services providers in the US, a breach that has potentially left up to 1 million users exposed. Unfortunately, in terms of massive breaches, this is not the only remarkable event of the month, just at the end Acer India has suffered a massive cyber attack culminated in the leak of nearly 15,000 records. Not comparable with the breach that affected Nationwide, but for sure of big impact.

Also on the cyber-espionage front this month has been interesting: JAXA, the Japan Space agency has been targeted by yet another targeted attack (after January 2012) and Symantec has discovered W32.Narilam, a new destructive malware targeting several nations in Middle East.

The hacktivist front has been characterized by the dramatic events in Gaza, the attacks have reached a peak around the first half of the month (as in the first part, I did not take into consideration the attacks carried on in name of OpIsrael for which I wrote a dedicated timeline), in any case the Anonymous have found another way to mark this month, leaking 1 Gb of documents from the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Last but not least, this month has seen three large-scale DNS Poisoning attacks (against the Pakistani Registrar PKNIC, Inc., GoDaddy, and the Romanian Registrar). A very rare occurrence!

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 and 2012 and the related statistics (regularly updated), 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).

16-30 November 2012 Cyber Attacks Timeline

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1-15 March 2013 Cyber Attacks Timeline

Other troubles for system administrators: March is confirming the 2013 dangerous trend with several high profile breaches against industrial, financial and governmental targets.

The first two weeks of March have begun with the breach to Evernote, and continued with (among the others) the third phase of the infamous Operation Ababil, targeting U.S. Banks and an alleged Chinese attack against the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Additional noticeable events include a wave of DDoS attacks against several Czech Republic’s targets (belonging to media, news and financial sector), a breach suffered by the NIST Vulnerability Database (unfortunately not an isolated example of the attacks against US governmental targets happened in these two weeks) and also the leak of 20,000 records from an Avast! German distributor.

Last but not least, the examined period has also confirmed the role of Twitter as the new mean to make resounding attacks against single individuals or organizations. Qatar Foundation, Saudi Aramco, and France 24 are only several of the organizations fallen victims of accounts hijacking.

Of course, these are only the main events, feel free to scroll down the list to analyze in detail what happened in these two weeks.

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).

Once again, a special thanks to Kim Guldberg AKA @bufferzone for continuously advising me about significant cyber events through the Submit Form! Much Appreciated!

1-15 March 2013 Cyber Attacks Timeline

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1-15 August 2013 Cyber Attacks Timeline

The first half of August has gone, so it is time for the Cyber Attacks Timeline summarizing the main events occurred in this period.

Looks like the massive breaches have decided to have a break during August. Although the first fifteen days have shown a remarkable number of attacks, no huge leaks have been recorded.

The only exception is the latest attack to the United States Department of Energy (14,000 individuals potentially affected) and the one targeting the Ferris State University with nearly 60,000 records potentially affected.

Other remarkable events include the attacks against Opscode and Crytek. In this latter case four websites have been temporarily taken down.

Last but not least, the Syrian Electronic Army is back in action, and its wave of Social Engineering attack has directly and indirectly hit many primary targets such as Channel 4 and the New York Post (via the hack to the SocialFlow platform).

Important: this period has also seen an high cyber activity between India and Pakistan. The attacks deserve a dedicated timeline to be published very soon. So they will not appear in this timeline.

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 August 2013 Cyber Attacks Timeline Addendum (more…)

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Timeline of Cyber Attacks in Conjunction with the Pakistan and India Independence Days

As I previously mentioned in the 1-15 August Cyber Attack Timeline, I decided to build a dedicated timeline for the Cyber Attacks between India an Pakistan happened during the month of August as they reached an unusual peak in conjunction with the occurrence of the Independence Days in Pakistan (14 August), and India (15 August).

Actually the relationships between the two countries are not what I would define idyllic, and to confirm this scenario, a huge cyber espionage operation against BSNL the Indian state-owned Telco company, has recently surfaced. In any case, easily predictable, hackers of both sides contributed to add further fuel to the fire with an unusual peak of attacks concentrated around the dates of the Independence Days. These attacks have not the sophistication typical of state-sponsored operations, since are mainly “limited” to defacements (so the damage is more symbolic than practical). However, in several cases the targets are of very high profile (as in the case of the Facebook pages of the Pakistan Army).

A short (probably non-exhaustive) summary follows:

India Pakistan TL

Also notice that during the same Period Pakistan was targeted by an unprecedented wave of Cyber Attacks by Afghan Hackers.

Pakistan Afghanistan

This is indeed quite curious since the attacks came nearly in contemporary of the first football match between the two countries in Kabul after 36 years (and the first home match of the Afghanistan national team after 10 years). For the chronicle, in the real world, Afghanistan’s footballers have won 3-0 over Pakistan.

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16-31 June 2014 Cyber Attacks Timeline

I do not know if being happy or not, but it looks like the second half of June (the first timeline covering 1-15 June is here) has seen a sharp inversion of the decreasing trend recorded on the last few months. I have registered an increase of the number of attacks with particular focus on targeted attacks.

The cyber crime front offered several noticeable events, targeting, just to mention the most devastating cases: AT&T, Evernote, the State of Montana (1.3 million single individuals potentially affected), and Butler University.

Moving to hacktivism, the cyber temperature is still high in Brazil, where the hacktivists concentrated their unwelcome attentions. Other points of interest involve Pakistan, and US.

Last but not least, this period recorded an unusual number of targeted attacks spotted in the news. The list includes (but is not limited to): the British Government Secure Intranet, an US Hedge Fund, Vietnamese Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, ICS vendors in US and Europe and a Government Agency in Taiwan.

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, 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).

16-31 June 2014 Cyber Attacks Timeline rev2

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1-15 October 2014 Cyber Attacks Timeline

Here we go with the first timeline of the main Cyber Attacks happened in October (according to my personal evaluation metric).

Two weeks very active from an information security perspective. The list of attacks is quite long and heterogeneous, with massive breaches (The Snappening and a list of nearly 7.000.000 compromised accounts used to brute-force Dropbox), a rich list of cyber crime and cyber espionage campaigns, a renewed burst of the cyber war between India and Pakistan, and a couple of operations orchestrated by hacktivists.

Digging into Cyber Crime, besides the two above quoted events, we find the Mac.BackDoor.iWorm, a widespread botnet targeting OS X, and trapping 17,000 devices. The list continues with a purported attack against Yahoo, initially believed to be orchestrated exploiting the infamous Shellshock vulnerability, the ATM malware Tyupkin, supposed to have been used for stealing millions of bucks from 50 ATMs in Eastern Europe and Russia, a breach against Kmart, and, last but not least, other two (and a half) waves of leaked photos from the Snappening.

Scrolling down the Cyber Espionage events, we cannot help but notice a similar abundance of operations with a widespread usage of 0-day vulnerabilities. Just to mention several names: Sandworm, Hurricane Panda, and even an old acquaintance like Nitro.

India and Pakistan were very busy in the Cyber Space, with  defacements and leaks against a wide range of mutual targets like also the Anonymous, who kicked off #OPHK, against China and in support of Hong Kong protesters.

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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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).

16-31 May 2014 Cyber Attacks Timelinesv2

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