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Inside Security (Nov 28th, 2017)

David’s Take

I hope your organization made it through Cyber Monday, which really should be called Phishing Monday, what with all the offers of deals and discounts that we received in our inboxes yesterday. If you are interested in reading about my own anti-phishing journey, I posted a piece on my blog here about deploying Valimail, which helps manage DMARC and other advanced email authentication protocols. It wasn’t a simple process and I am glad to have had their help.  

As the year comes to a close, a number of security vendors are compiling their year-in-review reports. I’ll try to stay abreast of these and highlight the best and useful ones to read, and so let's start the series with Bitdefender’s insights into the past year’s threats. It is based on their own global sensor network and from their customers. Ransomware is still king, with one in every six spam emails includes some kind of ransomware attack vector.  Also on the rise this past year are crypto-currency miner malware, polymorphic attacks and Android-based Trojans.

Finally, one self-promotion. My analysis of the growth of connected car security research in Israel was posted today on IBM’s Security Intelligence blog, and came from my trip earlier this month there.

-- David Strom, editor of Inside Security

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Top Story

Speaking of DMARC, more than 77 percent of the healthcare industry has not deployed DMARC to protect its emails. Only two percent are protecting their patients from phishing and spoofing by using quarantine or reject policies on their domains. The remaining 21 percent have deployed DMARC to monitor unauthenticated emails, but are not blocking phishing emails. – AGARI (pdf)

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Acquisitions of the week

McAfee buys Skyhigh Networks for an undisclosed amount. The vendor sells a cloud access security broker solution and has 7,000 employees. Skyhigh’s CEO Rajiv Gupta will run the combined company’s cloud business. -- MSSP Alert


Barracuda Networks is going private after operating for several years as a public company. The $1.6B acquisition is by San Francisco-based private equity firm Thoma Bravo and expected to close in February. The firm has investments in numerous infosec companies, including DigiCert, McAfee, SailPoint and Imprivata and MSPs such as Continuum.


Trend Micro buys Immunio, a hybrid cloud security firm based in Montreal. No terms were disclosed. – DARK READING

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Attacks and vulnerabilities

If an attacker knows some key personal information about a prospective student seeking college financial aid, they can use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid website (fafsa.ed.gov) to steal that person’s identity. Krebs says a data thief can “see a virtual colonoscopy of personal information on that individual and their family’s finances — including almost 200 different data elements.”  – KREBS ON SECURITY

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Google has discovered and removed from Google Play apps that were downloaded to 1300 users’ devices that contained the Tizi backdoor, which installs spyware to steal sensitive data from popular social media applications and can root the device for more trouble. Most of the users are from Kenya. – GOOGLE BLOG

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Two security researchers have discovered severe bugs in the Intel Management Engine. It runs runs millions of embedded devices on Minix, which could be the most popular OS that you have never heard of. They will present their results at the EU Blackhat conference. Last week week Intel put out an urgent security advisory and firmware update correcting the issue. NAKED SECURITY

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There is a serious vulnerability in a MailChimp WordPress plug-in that takes advantage of a file inclusion bug, according to researchers. The specific plug-in is called MailChimp for WooCommerce and has more than 30k active installs. A week after the researchers notified MailChimp, they came out with an update (v2.1.2) but didn’t mention the issue. The researchers decry this lack of transparency, saying this “could be seen as another questionable element of MailChimp’s handling of security.” PLUGIN VULNERABILITIES

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The docket

US prosecutors have charged three Chinese citizens from Guangzhou with hacking into various businesses including Siemens and Moody’s to steal their secrets. The indictments were handed down in federal court in Pittsburgh and had to do with attacks over the past six years. The attacks appear to be state-sponsored. -- REUTERS

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Bug bounty

Bug bounties can pay handsomely for some researchers. A second $100k bounty was recently awarded to a hacker named Gzob Qq (obviously a pseudonym) for reporting another ChromeOS compromise. It required a series of five different exploits to happen in sequence – SEARCHSECURITY

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Just for fun

Yes, you can turn your Tesla into a cryptominer by stealing the free AC power at a roadside charging station. Whether you feel this is ethical is another matter.  And in case you wondered, the estimated power use of the bitcoin network is 30.14TWh/year, which exceeds that of Ireland and more than a dozen other EU countries.  – ECO MOTORING NEWS

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Can you tell which of the two drawings shown here is real and which is a fake? A new AI app that compares brush strokes can help and was the subject of a recent academic research effort. It was able to find all the fakes. -- ARTNET

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