Security News

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Multi-Party Cyber-Incidents Cost 13x More Than Single-Party Incidents

Multi-Party Cyber-Incidents Cost 13x More Than Single-Party Incidents

Multi-Party Cyber-Incidents Cost 13x More Than Single-Party Incidents

A new study has found that the financial losses caused by cyber-incidents affecting multiple parties are vastly more devastating than those that stem from any single-party incident. 

According to the Ripples Across the Risk Surface study, published today by Cyentia Institute, when compared to losses triggered by a single-party incident, the ripple effect costs that occur following multi-party incidents result in a total loss that is a whopping 13 times greater. 

Extreme losses, which sit above the 95th percentile, show an even larger discrepancy, with a loss of $16m for single-party incidents versus $417m for multi-party incidents.

The in-depth study, sponsored by RiskRecon, analyzed data from 813 cyber-incidents and closely examined their impact on numerous downstream organizations, described as secondary victims. A cyber-incident is defined in the study as an “event that compromises the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of an information asset.”

The objective of this first-of-its-kind study was to raise market awareness of the far-reaching effects an incident such as a data breach can have as a result of the hyper-interdependencies of organizations.

Researchers plumbed historical data relating to 90,000 cyber-events from the cyber-loss database Advisen, finding that since 2008, 813 cyber-incidents had occurred in which at least three organizations were primary victims. 

As a result of these multi-party cyber-incidents, a further 5,437 downstream loss events occurred in which secondary organizations were impacted. In fact, downstream entities affected by multi-party incidents outnumbered primary victims by 850%.

In one single incident examined by researchers, 131 different organizations were affected. 

Researchers found that secondary organizations could be faced with losses equal to those experienced by primary victims. 

“Our analysis reveals little difference between losses reported by primary and secondary victim organizations of a cyber incident. This suggests that another firm’s breach could impact your organization just as much (or worse) than a breach of your own systems,” wrote researchers. 

Analysis into the specific industries most severely impacted by ripple events was conducted through Cyentia Institute’s adoption of the North American Industry Classification System. Based on this data, the sectors that possess the highest concentration of personal data and information (credit bureaus, banks, collection agencies, and hotels) account for nearly 60% of all organizations generating ripple effects. 

“Most breach research doesn’t explain the downstream impact of ripple events and that these incidents no longer simply impact a single organization,” said Kelly White, CEO and co-founder of RiskRecon.  

“Lacking proper third-party risk controls can contaminate the entire enterprise ecosystem where sensitive data is stored and shared.”

Researchers projected that multi-party incidents will increase at an average rate of 20% per year.

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IRS to Mount Epic Cyber-Safety Campaign

IRS to Mount Epic Cyber-Safety Campaign

IRS to Mount Epic Cyber-Safety Campaign

America’s Internal Revenue Service is to launch a large-scale cyber-safety campaign to coincide with the busiest shopping period of the year.

According to the website Accountingtoday.com, the campaign by the IRS will begin on the Monday after Thanksgiving, commonly known to bargain hunters as Cyber Monday. 

“The campaign will emphasize to practitioners and taxpayers the potential dangers they face during the holiday shopping season and the filing season ahead,” said Stephen Mankowski, national tax chair of the National Conference of CPA Practitioners.

“National Tax Security Awareness Week 2019 is slated to begin on Cyber Monday and run from December 2 through December 6,” he continued. “This is the heaviest period of time when people are online and when phishing is most common.”

YouTube videos will form a key part of the campaign, which will strongly urge taxpayers to only make purchases from known vendors and to regularly check their bank statements for any suspicious activity. 

Mankowski said that continued widespread ignorance of security best practices had been flagged as a concern during a recent meeting he attended with government officials in Washington, DC.

“During the recent Tax Forums, the IRS noted that a lot of people still are not aware of the basics of data security,” he said. “The IRS has been making some headway, but much more is needed.”

The news follows last month’s efforts by the IRS to raise cybersecurity awareness within families as part of National Work and Family Month. 

On October 22, the IRS urged families and teens to stay vigilant in protecting personal information while connected to the internet. 

An IRS spokesperson wrote: “During National Work and Family Month, IRS is asking parents and families to be mindful of all the pitfalls that can be found by sharing devices at home, shopping online and through navigating various social media platforms. Often, those who are less experienced can put themselves and others at risk by leaving an unnecessary trail of personal information for fraudsters.”

Cybersecurity “common-sense suggestions” shared by the IRS on their website include advice to always use a virtual private network when connecting to public Wi-Fi, a recommendation to encrypt sensitive files such as tax records stored on computers, and an admonition not to share personal information such as birthdate, address, age, and Social Security numbers online.

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Facebook Bug Turns on iPhone Cameras

Facebook Bug Turns on iPhone Cameras

Facebook Bug Turns on iPhone Cameras

Users of the Facebook app have complained after discovering a bug that causes their iPhone cameras to activate in the background when they use the app. 

Multiple people have taken to Twitter to report that using the Facebook app on their iPhone has caused the device’s rear camera to switch on and run in the background.

Eagle-eyed users noted that the problem seemed to occur as they looked at photos and watched videos that appeared on their newsfeed.

It isn’t clear whether the cameras activated by the bug were recording what they observed.

The earliest incident relating to the bug was recounted on Twitter by software tester @neo_qa on November 2. 

The concerned Facebook user wrote: “Today, while watching a video on @facebook, I rotated to landscape and could see the Facebook/Instagram Story UI for a split second. When rotating back to portrait, the Story camera/UI opened entirely. A little worrying . . .”

CNET were able to replicate the bug, and other Facebook users chimed in to say that they had experienced the same issue, with one Twitter user, @selw0nk, quipping that “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.”

At the beginning of this week, more users of Facebook took to Twitter to report another bug that seems to be affecting the latest version of the iOS. 

This time, users said that when they navigated away from an image they had opened in the Facebook app, they could see a thin slice of the camera’s viewfinder. From this, they concluded that whenever the Facebook app is opened, the camera is activated in the background.

Twitter user @JoshuaMaddux wrote on November 10: “Found a @facebook #security & #privacy issue. When the app is open it actively uses the camera. I found a bug in the app that lets you see the camera open behind your feed. Note that I had the camera pointed at the carpet.”

The camera-related bugs have added fuel to the fire for people who believe that it’s within the realm of possibility that Facebook might deliberately record its users as a way to gather information or target advertisements. 

After a week of silence regarding the first camera bug, Facebook’s vice president of integrity Guy Rosen responded on Twitter to Maddux’s November 10 tweet about the second bug. 

From his Android device, Rosen wrote: “Thanks for flagging this. This sounds like a bug, we are looking into it.”

In a later tweet, Rosen said the camera bug had been created when an earlier bug was fixed.

“We recently discovered our iOS app incorrectly launched in landscape,” Rosen wrote. 

“In fixing that last week in v246 we inadvertently introduced a bug where the app partially navigates to the camera screen when a photo is tapped. We have no evidence of photos/videos uploaded due to this.”

Rosen later confirmed that nothing was uploaded to Facebook as a result of the camera-related bugs, because the camera was in preview mode. 

A fixed version of the app was submitted to the App Store yesterday.

Dr. Richard Gold, head of security engineering at Digital Shadows, commented: “Bugs such as these erode the already fragile trust between companies and the public, even though their origin might be completely innocuous.”

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Airbus Launches Human-Centric Cybersecurity Accelerator

Airbus Launches Human-Centric Cybersecurity Accelerator

Airbus Launches Human-Centric Cybersecurity Accelerator

Airbus has announced the launch of a human-centric cybersecurity accelerator program. It will feature a dedicated team of human factor and cognitive psychology experts that will work in collaboration with the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and a range of other partners to gain crucial insights into human-centric approaches for improving cybersecurity effectiveness. 

The Accelerator will offer placements for qualifying university students and establish collaboration opportunities with research teams and businesses to help make the UK one of the safest places to do business in cyberspace. 

The launch follows the opening of the Airbus Cyber Innovation Hub, located in Newport, Wales, in April 2019.

Dr Kevin Jones, chief information security officer of Airbus, said: “With increasingly sophisticated attacks being attempted every day, it simply isn’t possible to protect every user against every cyber-attack. We therefore need to think differently and identify ways for security to work with an organization’s people, to better protect against an array of threats.

“With the right tools and approach, employees can be the strongest link in an organization’s cyber-defense. Our work aims to put people-centric thinking at the heart of an organization’s security and we’re keen to hear from likeminded researchers and organizations who are interested in getting involved with our new Accelerator.”

Airbus was recently forced to take action after a possible Chinese state-sponsored hacking operation was detected targeting multiple suppliers over the past year.

Dr Ian Levy, technical director at the NCSC, said the new initiative is a welcome one and recognizes the importance of a multidisciplinary approach that puts people at the center of cybersecurity development.

“At the NCSC, we recognize the vital role employees have to play in an organization’s cyber-resilience and we are pleased to collaborate on this program.”

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Mexican Petrol Giant Pemex Hit by Ransomware

Mexican Petrol Giant Pemex Hit by Ransomware

Mexican Petrol Giant Pemex Hit by Ransomware

Mexico’s state-owned petroleum giant Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) is insisting all operations are running normally after a suspected ransomware attack, despite reports to the contrary.

The firm claimed that operation and production systems remain unaffected and supply of fuel remains guaranteed. However, it admitted that an attack on Sunday did affect around 5% of its personal computers.

Reports, though, suggest the firm has been harder hit, with Pemex billing systems taken offline, forcing staff to rely on manual processes which means payment of staff and suppliers may be disrupted.

Invoices for fuel sent from Pemex storage facilities to gas stations were being filled in manually while some employees in the petrol giant’s refining business couldn’t access emails or get online on Tuesday, with computers running slowly, sources told Bloomberg.

Although an internal memo reportedly suggested Ryuk as the culprit, security experts have seen leaked ransom notes confirming that the attackers used the DoppelPaymer variant.

A Tor payment site revealed a ransom demand of 565 Bitcoins, (£3.9m, $5m).

The same ransomware is thought to have been used in an attack against Canada’s Nunavut territory earlier this month.

Pemex is the latest in a long line of big-name organizations targeted by ransomware this year. Norwegian aluminium giant Norsk Hydro suffered major outages after being struck in March. The firm later admitted that the attack may have cost it as much as $41m after production was disrupted.

German automation giant Pilz was crippled for over a week by ransomware last month, while US mailing technology company Pitney Bowes and French media conglomerate Groupe M6 admitted suffering attacks.

Over a quarter (28%) of UK firms were hit by ransomware over the previous 12 months, according to research from Databarracks published in July.

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