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Vendor Risk Bites Sears, Delta and Best Buy, while Saks, Lord & Taylor Deal With Breach

Data breaches dominated the cyber security headlines last week, as Sears, Delta, Best Buy, Saks, and Lord & Taylor all found themselves in the news.

Sears, Delta and Best Buy: Another vendor risk incident

What do retail giant Sears Holdings, consumer electronics chain Best Buy and Delta Air Lines have in common? A customer service contractor that got hacked, compromising an undetermined number of their customers’ payment card data.

The contractor, called [24]7.ai, got breached in late September of last year, and discovered and contained the incident in mid-October. The company, which provides customer support for a variety of clients via online chats, didn’t offer details about the cause or nature of the hack in its brief statement issued Wednesday.

In its statement, Sears estimated the number of its potentially affected customers at under 100,000, and said that [24]7.ai informed it about the breach in mid-March of this year. Meanwhile, Delta said it was notified on March 28, and that it believes a “small subset” of its customers’ data was exposed, although it can’t say for sure whether the information was accessed or compromised. Best Buy said “a small fraction” of its customers may have been impacted, regardless of whether they used the chat function, according to USA Today.

It’s the latest in the recurring problem of vendor risk, in which an organization’s information security is compromised after a trusted third party — contractor, supplier, consultant, partner — suffers a breach.

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Microsoft Misfires with Meltdown Patch, while WannaCry Pops Up at Boeing

In our weekly roundup of InfoSec happenings, we start, as has often been the case this year, with concerning Meltdown / Spectre news — this time involving Microsoft — and also touch on a password hack at Under Armour, a WannaCry infection at Boeing, and a severe Drupal vulnerability.

Microsoft patches its Meltdown patch, then patches it again

In an instance of the cure possibly being worse than the disease, a Microsoft patch for Meltdown released in January created a gaping security hole in certain systems in which it was installed.

It took Microsoft two tries to fix the issue, which affects Windows 7 (x64) and Windows Server 2008 R2 (x64) systems. The company thought it had solved the vulnerability (CVE-2018-1038) with a scheduled patch last Tuesday, but then had to rush out an emergency fix two days later.

Security researcher Ulf Frisk, who discovered the vulnerability, called it “way worse” than Meltdown because it “allowed any process to read the complete memory contents at gigabytes per second” and made it possible to write to arbitrary memory as well.

“No fancy exploits were needed. Windows 7 already did the hard work of mapping in the required memory into every running process,” Frisk wrote. “Exploitation was just a matter of read and write to already mapped in-process virtual memory. No fancy APIs or syscalls required — just standard read and write.”

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Continuous Web Security Assessment for Production and DevOps Environments

Web applications have become essential for business, as they simplify and automate key functions and processes for employees, customers and partners, making organizations more agile, innovative and efficient.

Unfortunately, many web applications are also unsafe due to latent vulnerabilities and insecure configurations. Web application attacks rank as the most likely to trigger a data breach, according to the 2016 and 2017 editions of the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report.

Those findings are consistent with SANS Institute’s 2016 State of Application Security Report, which found that “public-facing web applications were the largest items involved in breaches and experienced the most widespread breaches.”

“Insecure web applications are a real problem today,” Dave Ferguson, Director of Product Management for Web Application Scanning at Qualys, said during a recent webcast. “Web apps are a foothold into your organization for potential attackers.”

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Securing your Cloud and Container DevOps Pipeline

Organizations are aggressively moving workloads to public cloud platforms, such as Amazon’s AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft’s Azure, upping the ante for InfoSec teams, which must protect these new environments.

Driving this growth in cloud computing adoption is its essential role in digital transformation initiatives, which help businesses be more efficient, effective, flexible and innovative in areas like e-business, supply chain management, customer support and employee collaboration.

Digital transformation projects are typically delivered using web and mobile apps created in DevOps pipelines, where developers and operations staff work collaboratively at every step of the software lifecycle, releasing apps or app updates frequently.

But security must be integrated throughout the DevOps process — planning, coding, testing, releasing, deploying, monitoring — in an automated way, organically building it into the software lifecycle instead of bolting it on at the end.

That way, vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, policy violations, malware and other safety issues can be addressed before code is released, reducing the risk of exposing your organization and your customers to cyber attacks.

In a recent webcast, Hari Srinivasan, Qualys’ Director of Product Management for Cloud and Virtualization Security, explained how Qualys can help you secure your cloud and container deployments across your DevOps pipeline.

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Feds Take On Foreign Hackers, While 880K Orbitz Customers “Likely” Affected by Data Breach

In this edition of Qualys’ infosec news digest, we look at Orbitz’s data breach, AMD’s vulnerabilities controversy, and recent actions by the U.S. government against alleged Russian and Iranian cyber spies.

Orbitz was (kinda, sorta, maybe) hacked

Orbitz disclosed last week that personal information linked to almost 900,000 payment cards may have been compromised, after it detected a “data security incident” in which “there was likely unauthorized access” to customer data.

The customer data at risk includes payment card details, full names, dates of birth, phone numbers and e-mail and home addresses.

Orbitz doesn’t think that passport numbers nor travel itineraries were compromised. It doesn’t collect Social Security numbers. Orbitz, which is owned by Expedia, isn’t sure if data was stolen, but a privacy rights experts recommends that customers not rest easy.

“I think consumers should assume that their personal information has been compromised even though they may not have been notified. There have been so many data breaches that you just can’t assume that you haven’t been affected,” Beth Givens, executive director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, told Consumer Reports.

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Webcast Q&A: The GDPR Deadline Readiness and Impact to Global Organizations Outside the EU

With the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) going into effect in late May, organizations are hungry for clarifying information regarding its vaguely-worded requirements, in particular as they apply to cyber security and IT compliance. This interest in better understanding how to comply with GDPR was evident among participants of a recent Qualys webcast titled “The GDPR deadline readiness and impact to global organizations outside the EU.”

Here we’re providing an edited transcript of their questions and of the answers provided by webcast host and Qualys Director of Product Management Tim White. Darron Gibbard, Qualys’ Chief Technical Security Officer and Managing Director of the EMEA North region, contributed to some of the answers.

Are there any recommended frameworks for implementing controls and processes for information security that I could follow to ensure GDPR readiness?
There are a variety of different ways of implementing general security best practices. There are some specific recommendations and each member country is starting to post the requirements. The most advanced one is the U.K.’s ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office). They provided a lot more depth about what InfoSec requirements you should put in place, but even their recommendations are still very vague. This isn’t like PCI where they say you have to implement a change detection solution to monitor critical changes to configuration files, and you must monitor log files on a regular basis. GDPR doesn’t have prescriptive controls like that. GDPR indicates that you have to implement the controls that are appropriate for the level of risk and that you need to protect the data from breaches of confidentiality, integrity and availability. So they basically say: “Do a good job at security.”

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Cryptomining is all the rage among hackers, as DDoS amplification attacks continue

In this week’s InfoSec news review we’ll dive into cryptomining, get the latest on DDoS amplification, go over recent data breaches, and check out another vendor claiming it can crack iPhones.

I, me, mine

The freight train that’s cryptomining shows no sign of slowing down, and the cyber security implications are intensifying accordingly.

This week alone, Microsoft detected and disrupted a massive cryptomining malware campaign, a Tesla AWS account got hijacked, a new mining worm was discovered, and Kaspersky researchers warned about increased sophistication of infection methods.  

While there is a legitimate component to this business, malicious hackers eager to profit are aggressively breaching networks and infecting devices — PCs, IoT systems, smartphones, servers — to steal computing power for mining virtual currencies.

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GDPR: The Stakes Are High and Time Is of the Essence

With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) going into effect in under three months, the countdown clock is fast approaching zero for organizations worldwide that handle personal data of EU residents.

GDPR is a very broad and wide-ranging regulation that requires organizations to obtain a lot of legal advice, and to implement business controls. Although these controls exceed the scope of information security, IT security and compliance are a significant subset of the regulation.

A special challenge for InfoSec teams is GDPR’s lack of details about specific security measures and requirements for protecting EU residents’ data.

“The GDPR regulation is extremely vague and doesn’t give any detailed prescriptive requirements of what the expectations are for data protection, but they’re very far-reaching,” Tim White, a Qualys Product Management Director, said during a recent webcast.

GDPR puts a heavier burden of accountability on organizations, forcing them, among other things, to accommodate significant new rights for individuals. For example, EU residents can request that organizations delete, disclose, correct and transfer their personal information.

To comply with these GDPR “subject access requests,” organizations must know what data they have, where it’s stored, with whom they’re sharing it, how they’re protecting it, and what they’re using it for.

Unfortunately, many organizations are far from ready to comply with GDPR.

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Apple in the InfoSec Spotlight, as GitHub Falls Prey to Amplified DDoS Attack

Apple has been all over InfoSec news in the past week or so, along with Spectre / Meltdown developments, a tax season scam alert from the feds, and an apparent solution to the Winter Olympics’ hack whodunit. In addition, researchers warned about a new trend of using Memcached servers to significantly boost DDoS attacks, as GitHub became a victim of this new tactic.

Apple under siege

A digital forensics vendor claims it can crack iOS devices, including the iPhone X, pictured here. (Photo credit: Apple)

The second half of February was intense for Apple on the security front. A digital forensics vendor claimed having the ability to unlock all iPhone models, including the X, while a researcher warned about a Trojan targeting MacOs computers that’s not detected by anti-virus products. Oh, and Apple had to squash another one of those pesky bugs that let people crash iPhones via texting.

Unlocking iPhones

Forbes dropped a news bomb on Monday when it reported that Cellebrite recently started telling its customers — which are primarily government, military and corporate investigative teams — that it’s able to unlock and extract data from devices running iOS 11, such the iPhone X, as well as other iPhones, iPads and iPods.

While Cellebrite isn’t publicly trumpeting this capability, anonymous sources told Forbes that in recent months the company “has developed undisclosed techniques to get into iOS 11 and is advertising them to law enforcement and private forensics folk across the globe.”

As Forbes noted, Cellebrite has posted a brochure on its website where it details its ability to unlock these Apple products as well as several Android devices, and extract data from them. The way it works is that customers ship the devices to Cellebrite, where its engineers work their magic. Cellebrite can’t (or won’t) crack devices remotely.

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Hackers Hit the Olympics, While Patch Tuesday and Meltdown / Spectre Keep IT Departments On Edge

This week offered a representative sampling of different corners of the cyber security world: The monthly Patch Tuesday, a brazen attack against the Olympics, new Meltdown and Spectre concerns, and a boost for Intel’s bug bounty program.

Oh, and the gargantuan Equifax data breach may have been even bigger than previously thought.

Winter Olympics hack confirmed

The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea are in full swing, featuring the world’s best ice skaters, skiers, hockey players and snowboarders, and also attracting, unfortunately, malicious hackers.

Attackers’ goals seem to be to disrupt the games in a variety of ways by interfering with and disabling IT systems.

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