Kvě 14

WanaCrypt0r 2.0 Ransomware Myths Fail To Shake Bitcoin Optimism

· May 13, 2017 · 7:00 pm

Bitcoin is shrugging off links with the ongoing international WanaCrypt0r 2 cyber attack as the media struggles to work out who to blame.

WanaCrypt0r 2: Media Perpetuates Bitcoin Myth

Beginning Friday morning, 99 countries began losing control of huge sections of their IT infrastructure.

The alarm first became public after Spanish telecommunications giant Telefonica saw 85% of its computers infiltrated with Bitcoin ransomware. Screens displayed a demand for around $300 per machine to end the attack, which soon spread to countries around the world including the UK, where its public health service, the NHS, was targeted.

As more details have come to light, Bitcoin has taken a substantial publicity hit due to a combination of misinformation and sensationalism in the mainstream press.

UK publication the Daily Mirror published a form of explainer for readers about BItcoin as the attack spread, in which it described the virtual currency as “the money ransomware hackers are demanding from NHS.”

Attack Fails To Shake Crypto Confidence

Not everyone was fooled by the kneejerk reaction. One response to the Mirror article reading “blaming bitcoin for ransomware is exactly like blaming the duffel bag for of cash for a kidnapping,” yet markets clearly felt the pressure.

Having reached a high of almost $1870 earlier in the week, Bitcoin briefly saw a dip to $1655 in light of the attack, subsequently recovering to sit at around $1750 at press time Saturday.

Bitcoin price drops in wake of cyber attack

Given the scale of the attack, such resilience is remarkable, perhaps due to an already emerging sense the real weakness lies in outdated IT systems.

In the hunt to find the source of the attack, Microsoft immediately came under fire, as its perpetrators appear to have exploited a Windows vulnerability to spread WanaCrypt0r 2.

This vulnerability first hit the headlines after hacker group the Shadow Brokers leaked a second batch of National Security Agency data in April.

Real Spotlight On Legacy Infrastructure

In the case of the NHS, which has seen doctors switch to pen and paper as a result of computers being outside staff control, running the Windows XP operating system would have made its network a ‘sitting duck’ for more modern attacks.

Despite Microsoft releasing security updates to minimize the threat from the Shadow Brokers leak, XP has not had official security updates made for several years.

I'll Never Let Go XP

Outdated infrastructure has been easy prey for ransomware attackers in the past. The scale of the problem became evident in studies last year, which suggested the majority of both smaller and larger businesses were ill-prepared for such eventualities.

Data collected by Phishme in Q3 2016 showed that 97% of common phishing emails contained ransomware.

What do you think about the WanaCrypt0r 2 attacks? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of MemeGenerator, CoinMarketCap, AdobeStock

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Úno 26

Bitcoin Demand Rises as U.S. Corporations are Stocking Up

· February 26, 2017 · 9:00 am

Bitcoin has attracted a great deal of interest over the last couple of years, and mainstream investing has skyrocketed with the ever-growing Bitcoin price. Now, a new market sector is starting to emerge as American corporations are stocking up on digital currency to combat cybercrime.

Corporations Fuel Bitcoin Demand as Ransomware Spreads

Hackers with an eye towards gaining valuable Bitcoins are hitting corporations more and more with dreaded ransomware, and this problem seems to be getting worse and worse. How to handle this growing epidemic is also a matter of some controversy. It seems to put companies in a no win situation.

“The official FBI policy is that you shouldn’t pay the ransom,” said Leo Taddeo, chief security officer for Crypt-zone to Newsfactor. Taddeo ran the cyber division of the FBI’s New York City office.

It’s an option to pay the ransom to get back up and running. Sometimes it’s the only option. But it has downsides. Paying ransom just invites the next attack.


A vicious cycle has begun. The more companies pay out in Bitcoin, the more attacks become likely. The more valuable Bitcoins become, the more attacks become likely. Those who do not pay the ransomware demands may lose the trust of their customers or their valuable business data altogether. From the criminal’s side of it, they can rationalize their dastardly deeds by blaming the victims for not expecting this outcome from now on.

“They’ll actually explore your system to see how much money they can squeeze from you,” said Andrei Barysevich, director of advanced collection at Recorded Future. “They actually think they are on the moral high ground. They think the companies should have paid more for security.”

Ransomware Attacks Hit $1 Billion

A corporate cyber-hitman can demand up to $75000 USD in Bitcoin, or about 65 BTC. Individuals can get hit as well, but they can only be taken for a few hundred dollars. Recorded Future, a Somerville, Mass., threat intelligence firm, says ransom payments skyrocketed 4,000 percent last year, reaching $1 billion. Another firm, Kaspersky Lab, estimates that a new business is attacked with ransomware every 40 seconds, becoming a true epidemic.

Bitcoinist_Kaspersky Labs CryptXXX Bitcoin Ransomware

Another problem is just because you have paid a cyber-criminal does not mean they will kindly do as they said and provide you decryption keys to restore your files. Criminals aren’t the most ethical people in the world, so you may have to pay a couple of times. Authorities say backing up all your computer files on a regular basis may be the best way to protect yourself.

This may save file information, but may not restore computer systems that are needed to continue running the business on a daily basis. It depends upon the attack if you will need to pay up or not. About 25% of companies never get restoration after an attack.

Have you been the victim of a ransomware attack? What’s the best way to prevent such an attack besides backing up your files? Share below!

Image provided by Business Insider, Shutterstock

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Dub 13

500 Million Records Stolen in 2015 Due To Security Vulnerabilities

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Security Vulnerabilities

Despite the wide variety of cyber attacks against companies and individual users all over the world, far too many websites contain security vulnerabilities.  Hackers have a relatively easy time to gain access to centralized databases and obtain sensitive user information.

Also read: Security Experts Create Solution For Petya Bitcoin Ransomware

Three In Four Sites Have Security Vulnerabilities

A new report by Symantec paints a rather painful picture for enterprises and individual website owners who collect consumer data. Considering how close to three in four sites have security vulnerabilities which have gone unpatched for quite some time now, the situation is far more dire than most people expected.

Internet criminals are becoming more refined in their attack methods, and there does not seem to be a preference for particular security vulnerabilities. With so many different platforms collecting sensitive data, such as addresses and verification documents, there is a treasure trove of data which can be sold on the underground markets.

Symantec Security Response Director Kevin Haley told the media:

“Advanced criminal attack groups now echo the skill sets of nation-state attackers. They have extensive resources and a highly-skilled technical staff that operate with such efficiency that they maintain normal business hours and even take the weekends and holidays off. We are even seeing low-level criminal attackers create call centre operations to increase the impact of their scams.”

The report also makes mention of nine “mega breaches” which took place in 2015, and the total number of records stolen is well above half a billion. Zero-day security vulnerabilities seem to be the primary attack vector for internet criminals, and Symantec noted a 125% increase in the number of zero-day exploits being identified last year. Moreover, 430 million new malware variants were discovered, including various types of Bitcoin ransomware.

Speaking of Bitcoin ransomware, this remains one of the biggest concerns for security experts all over the world. Most of these malware packages are part of an exploit kit which will take advantage of security vulnerabilities. Now that ransomware has made it to Macintosh and mobile devices; the future looks grim unless security precautions are taken to the next level.

Distributed ledgers can eventually take the place of traditional database solutions although more research and development is needed in this regard. Storing sensitive consumer data in one place makes it very attractive for hackers to exploit security vulnerabilities and sell the information on underground forums. Blockchain technology is an ally in this fight, and enterprises would be wise to explore this possibility further in the coming years.

What are your thoughts on this new Symantec report? What can be done to prevent hackers from exploiting security vulnerabilities? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Symantec

Images courtesy of Symantec, Shutterstock

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500 Million Records Stolen in 2015 Due To Security Vulnerabilities