Saturday, May 2, 2015

Information War and Cyberwar on Police | "Ransomware"

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Ransomware Hackers Hitting Police Departments

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Police in Maine whose shared server was infected by ransomware last week chose to pay $300 to the perpetrators rather than risk losing their internal files or spend more money and time to try to work around the cyberattack. In a similar 
attackRelevant Products/Services
 in Massachusetts, local police paid $500 ransom to the hackers to regain control of their 
dataRelevant Products/Services
.
Attacks involving ransomware, in which malware restricts users' access to their own computer files, are on the rise, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Once spread primarily by e-mails with malicious attachments, ransomware is increasingly infecting users in so-called "drive-by" attacks via compromised Web sites.
In these most recent cases, ransomware known as "megacode" infected the IT systems of police departments in Lincoln County, Maine, and Tewksbury, Massachusetts. In both instances, police were able to regain access to their data after paying ransoms using the digital currency Bitcoin, which ensures greater anonymity in online transactions.
Other Costs Beyond Ransom
"The average case of a ransomware attack can be quite damaging given that the target of an attack is typically the company's intellectual property," Andrey Pozhogin, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Kaspersky Lab North America, told us. "There are a number of ways things can go wrong even if the company decides to pay the ransom."
Among those potential problems are actions by a system administrator -- or bugs in the malware itself -- that can make encrypted data unrecoverable. Organizations attacked by ransomware might also have to contend with costly downtime, IT infrastructure Relevant Products/Services damage, legal fallout caused by data losses, or damaged relationships with partners and customers.
Despite these possible risks, only 37 percent of businesses globally -- and just 28 percent of businesses in North America -- say they believe ransomware represents a serious threat.
Kaspersky Labs on Monday also announced that it had worked with a group of leading IT companies in an effort coordinated by Interpol to disrupt a criminal botnet known as Simda. Distributed via infected Web sites that redirect users to exploit kits, Simda is believed to have infected some 770,000 computers around the world, with most of the victims located in the U.S.
Cellphones Also at Risk
"Ransomware has been around for several years, but there's been a definite uptick lately in its use by cybercriminals," the FBI noted in an online update in January. It added that ransomware has also become a growing threat to cellphones by locking down users' devices and demanding payments to unlock them.
Botnets are often used to help spread ransomware, according to the FBI. For example, a multinational law enforcement effort last year that helped to disrupt the botnet GameOver Zeus also led to the seizure of command and control servers for a ransomware known as Cryptolocker. GameOver Zeus was blamed for millions of dollars in losses globally to businesses and individuals, and computers infected by the botnet were often also infected with Cryptolocker.
The FBI recommends that people protect Relevant Products/Services themselves against ransomware by making sure they are using updated antivirus software Relevant Products/Services, automated patches, strong passwords and pop-up blockers. It also advises people not to open attachments or URLs in unsolicited e-mails and to download software only from known and trusted sources. Regular backups and offline data storage Relevant Products/Services can also help avoid the potential for damage from ransomware.
Paying Not an Option
Ryan Merritt, Malware Research Lead at Trustwave, told us that, "Ransomware infections are not typically the result of a targeted attack. More often we see them as part of larger campaigns where botnets are used to spam out phishing e-mails containing malicious links and/or attachments that include the initial stages of the malware. Having defenses already in place prior to this type attack is arguably even more critical than other types of attacks since your remediations options are much more limited once infected by ransomware."
Merritt said while tempting, paying the ransom should never be considered as a viable option because that helps the hackers improve their methods and can lead to more advanced attacks and techniques in future versions of the rasomware.
"We have witnessed the rapid maturation of ransomware from hollow cosmetic threats to advanced levels of encryption," he said. "It is not improbable to assume that this quick rise is in part due to the success rates the criminals have enjoyed in monetizing their exploits. Cutting off the attacker's cash flow by not paying the ransom may be our most effective way to combat this class of attack."
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ransomware police - Google Search

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  • Ransomware hackers extort money from more police departments

    ConsumerAffairs-Apr 13, 2015
    Just last week, police in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, admitted that they'd ... Megacode, Cryptolocker and other forms of ransomware work by ...
  • Police Department Pays Cybercriminals Following Ransomware ...

    eSecurity Planet-Apr 8, 2015
    A recent survey found that 55 percent of organizations that have been hit by such attacks recommend negotiating with cybecriminals to restore ...

  • Ransomware Hackers Hitting Police Departments

    CIO Today-Apr 13, 2015
    Police in Maine whose shared server was infected by ransomware last week chose to pay $300 to the perpetrators rather than risk losing their ...
  • Cyber War on Police - Google Search

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    Amid Ferguson protests, hacker collective Anonymous wages

    <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/.../amid-ferguson-protests-" rel="nofollow">www.washingtonpost.com/.../amid-ferguson-protests-</a>...
    The Washington Post
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    Aug 13, 2014 - The global network of hacktivists targeted St. Louis County Police ... Amid Ferguson protests, hacker collective Anonymous wages cyberwar.

    'Hacktivists' from around the world take to social media to stir Baltimore unrest

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    After riots overtook West Baltimore on Monday, a hashtag began to appear on Twitter and other social media — #BALTIMORELOOTCREW — linking together posts that depicted pilfered prescription drugs and demolished store shelves.
    But that "crew" was not actually in Baltimore protesting the death of Freddie Gray, according to a local cybersecurity company. Many photos shared using that label, and others, were taken years ago, and often not even in the United States, employees at Federal Hill-based ZeroFox found.
    Bad actors and so-called "hacktivists" descended on Baltimore — electronically, at least — this past week, flooding social media with automated accounts and inauthentic images, said James C. Foster, CEO of the social media risk management firm. Law enforcement and cybersecurity experts said such barrages increasingly target areas of unrest around the world, spurring violence and challenging efforts to contain it.
    "There's a global reach now where they don't have to be here to further instigate it," Foster said.
    The company's specialty is rooting out cyber criminals lurking on social media. And when West Baltimore erupted in rioting Monday, its employees felt compelled to apply their skills. ZeroFox worked into the night tracing tweets and Facebook accounts that shared photos of looting and violence.
    What they found was that much of the activity was coming from well outside of Baltimore, in some cases from Russia, China, India and the Middle East.
    "I just killed a pig," wrote one tweet, showing a bloodied police officer slumped on the ground. Not only was the photo of an officer in South America, but the account sharing it was not in Baltimore.
    Another tweet, which appeared to be coming from the Baltimore police, asked, "Why are we even tweeting?" and suggested that the protesters couldn't read. It also referred to them with a racial slur.
    But the account was one of nearly 100 impersonating police, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Gov.Larry Hogan and the Maryland National Guard that popped up amid the protests.
    While there was no proof that such misinformation led to any specific acts of violence, ZeroFox officials said cutting through it requires significant effort that takes away from investigations of legitimate threats.
    Officials with Baltimore police and the administrations of Rawlings-Blake and Hogan declined to answer questions about cyber crimes. David Garcia, state secretary of information technology, declined to comment, saying an operation was ongoing.
    — Scott Dance
    Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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    Cyber War on Police - Google Search

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    New Pentagon strategy warns of cyberwar capabilities

    <a href="http://kwwl.com" rel="nofollow">kwwl.com</a>-Apr 22, 2015
    (AP) - A new Pentagon cybersecurity strategy lays out for the first time publicly that the U.S. military plans to use cyberwarfare as an option in conflicts with ...

    Cyberwar on Police - Google Search

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    What the ISIS Campaign Teaches Us About the Future of War

    Defense One-Apr 16, 2015
    ... Wired for War; Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs .... assistance/advising to Afghan Army, Air Corps, and police programs.
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    Cyberwar on Police - Google Search

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    #Ferguson #Anonymous Wage Cyber War On ... - YouTube

    <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rq_7PzIs9E4" rel="nofollow">www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rq_7PzIs9E4</a>
    Aug 13, 2014 - Uploaded by Noel Silva
    A little over 24 hours ago in Ferguson, Missouri - USA the Ferguson PoliceDepartment shot an un-armed teen 6 times and killed him. His body  ...

    War on Police Worldwide As Intelligence Operation by Iran - Russia - China Axis - Google Search

    Cyberwar on Police | Ransomware | 

    Ransomware police