Tag Archives: ‘Risk

The Bitcoin boom and its infosec effects

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In this week’s Risk & Repeat podcast, SearchSecurity editors discuss the recent bitcoin boom and how the cryptocurrency’s rising value could affect the cybersecurity landscape.

The bitcoin boom that saw a dramatic rise in the cryptocurrency’s value in recent weeks could have big implications for information security.

In the last month, the price of a single bitcoin tripled, jumping from approximately $5,700 to more than $17,000. A number of factors, including interest in the opening of the first regulated bitcoin futures exchanges and a hard fork in the cryptocurrency, could be contributing to the bitcoin boom beyond a general increase in buying and selling volumes.

But the surge also comes at a time of rampant global ransomware attacks, many of which demand payment from victims in bitcoin. While some enterprises have disclosed ransomware attacks, experts generally believe that many more attacks are kept quiet.

Could cybercriminals and ransomware attacks be contributing to the bitcoin boom? What will the rising price of the cryptocurrency mean for the cybercrime economy? Will the high value of bitcoin lead to more cyberattacks on bitcoin owners and exchanges, like NiceHash, which recently lost approximately $80 million in bitcoin following a massive data breach?

SearchSecurity editors Rob Wright and Peter Loshin discuss those questions and more on the bitcoin boom in this episode of the Risk & Repeat podcast.

Analyzing the accidental data breach

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In this week’s Risk & Repeat podcast, SearchSecurity editors discuss the rise of accidental data breaches following a series of enterprise exposures of user data online.

Data breaches are so common these days that some of them don’t even include threat actors or malware of any kind.

Troy Hunt, security researcher and creator of the website HaveIbeenpwned.com, recently testified before Congress in a hearing titled “Identity Verification in a Post-Breach World,” in which he discussed how organizations are often committing accidental data breaches. Such incidents typically involve enterprises mistakenly making corporate or user data public on the internet through cloud services, web services and other technologies.

Hunt’s testimony comes on the heels of a number of accidental data breaches via Amazon Web Services (AWS); several organizations, including the NSA and U.S. Army, have exposed sensitive data through misconfigured instances of AWS’ Simple Storage Service. More recently, Kromtech Security Center revealed that mobile app developer Ai.type exposed more than 370 million personal records of users, including, in some cases, users’ contact lists, through a misconfigured MongoDB database.

During the congressional hearing last week, Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) asked Hunt why these accidental breaches keep happening. “Is it really that easy to accidentally share your cloud services with the world?” Griffith asked.

“The simple answer to the last question is, yes, it is that easy,” Hunt said. “It’s very often just a simple misconfiguration.”

Why are enterprises committing so many accidental breaches? Do these incidents reflect a lack of security competency? Should cloud providers and software developers do more to protect customers from making these types of errors? SearchSecurity editors Rob Wright and Peter Loshin discuss those questions and more in this episode of the Risk & Repeat podcast.

Sale of Symantec Website Security completed

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In this week’s Risk & Repeat podcast, SearchSecurity editors discuss the sale of Symantec Website Security to DigiCert and what it means for Symantec’s troubled certificate business.

DigiCert Inc.’s acquisition of Symantec Website Security was completed last week, but concerns in the browser community still remain about Symantec’s SSL certificates.

DigiCert agreed to acquire the Symantec Website Security division, which includes the vendor’s public key infrastructure (PKI) business, in August, following months of negotiations between Symantec and web browser giants Google and Mozilla regarding widespread issues with the security vendor’s certificate authority. Those issues included certificate mis-issuance and a lack of proper auditing, which led Google and Mozilla to propose a removal of trust for certificates issued by Symantec Website Security.

After tense negotiations and delays, Symantec ultimately agreed to a remediation plan that would turn over its SSL certificate operations to another trusted certificate authority that would oversee issuance and validation. Instead of choosing a third-party partner, Symantec agreed to sell its PKI business to DigiCert.

However, Mozilla expressed concerns that Symantec’s old PKI operations, as well as its culture and processes, would continue to operate despite DigiCert assuming ownership of the business — DigiCert has said that all Symantec certificates will be issued and validated by DigiCert’s PKI by Dec. 1.

Questions still remain about how DigiCert will address the systemic problems within the Symantec Website Security division and when they will be resolved. SearchSecurity editors Rob Wright and Peter Loshin discuss those questions and more in this episode of the Risk & Repeat podcast.

Risk & Repeat: Is vulnerability marketing problematic?

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In this week’s Risk & Repeat podcast, SearchSecurity editors discuss vulnerability marketing and compare how the recent KRACK attack and ROCA flaw were publicized and promoted.

Should security vulnerabilities be marketed like products? That was the question after two major security flaws brought to light last week — the KRACK attack and the ROCA flaw — offered a contrast in the practice of vulnerability marketing.

While the KRACK attack, which exploits a vulnerability in the WPA2 protocol, received more marketing and media attention, some infosec experts argued the ROCA flaw, which affects RSA encryption in Infineon Technologies chips, was equally, if not more serious than KRACK.

Both vulnerabilities were discovered primarily by security researchers at universities, not by vendors. Yet, ROCA appeared to have taken a backseat to the KRACK attack; the latter discovery benefited from vulnerability marketing efforts, which included a dedicated website and promotional efforts to raise awareness of the WPA2 flaw.

What are the potential drawbacks of vulnerability marketing? Should the researchers that discovered the ROCA flaw have done more to promote their findings, or is the infosec community treating vulnerabilities too much like products? SearchSecurity editors Rob Wright and Peter Loshin discuss those questions and more in this episode of the Risk & Repeat podcast.

Risk & Repeat: Kaspersky ban turns ugly

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In this week’s ‘Risk & Repeat’ podcast, SearchSecurity editors discuss the U.S. government’s Kaspersky ban and how competitors like McAfee are trying to capitalize on it.

The ongoing controversy surrounding the U.S. government’s ban on antivirus vendor Kaspersky Lab took another ugly turn, thanks to a competitor.

Last week, it was revealed that McAfee, formerly Intel Security, was using the Kaspersky ban to promote its McAfee Total Protection software. Specifically, the promotion highlighted the fact that McAfee is headquartered in the U.S., while Kaspersky is based in Russia. It also included an inflammatory headline, which claimed, “FBI advises removal of Kaspersky for suspected ties to Russia spies.” McAfee has since changed the promotion page, but not before Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky criticized the vendor’s actions on Twitter.

The Kaspersky ban came amid investigations regarding the Russian government’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. While there’s no evidence of wrongdoing, the Department of Homeland Security this month ordered every federal agency to remove Kaspersky products from their systems within 90 days.

Should antivirus competitors try to capitalize on the Kaspersky ban? Was McAfee’s approach out of line? Is Kaspersky being treated unfairly by the U.S. government? SearchSecurity editors Rob Wright and Peter Loshin discuss those questions and more in this episode of the Risk & Repeat podcast.