Tag Archives: cyber attacks

Point-of-Sale Malware Hits Black Market

During last year’s holiday season, Target was the victim of a massive data breach that turned out to be just the first in a long line of malicious intrusions among corporations. The Target breach was perpetrated using malware that tapped into and scanned computers connected to point-of-sale systems that process credit card payments.

Now, it seems, the same kind of point-of-sale malware used in the Target breach and a number of other attacks this past year is available in underground markets for as little as $2,000. Unfortunately for businesses that maintain large quantities of customer data, that availability means all cybercriminals—even those without the skills to develop and execute a sophisticated attack themselves—are a threat to network security.

The simple reality for contemporary businesses is that they must be prepared for attempted intrusions because they will be hit with multiple attacks.  In fact, in the US, at least one business is attacked every hour. Network monitoring solutions that include network forensics capabilities give IT engineers the visibility they need to ferret out these attacks and take decisive action. The four pillars of a complete cyber attack analysis solution are:

  • Network Recording – capturing network traffic from 1G, 10G and 40G networks around the clock for forensic analysis
  • Searching and Inspection – enabling administrators and security experts to comb through archived traffic for anomalies and signs of security events
  • Trend Analysis and Baselining – characterizing network and application usage so that anomalies can be detected more quickly
  • Reporting – capturing data and distilling analysis into reports so that security and IT experts can log the results of their investigations and review network vulnerabilities in post-mortem analysis

With more malicious weapons available to cybercriminals, businesses need advanced tools that help them meet network security challenges. So, is your organization prepared for these threats? If you’d like to learn more about how to upgrade your security, click here to read our white paper, “Network Forensics 101: Finding the Needle in the Haystack.”

The Worst Cyber Attacks and Data Breaches of 2014

Compiling a list of the most crippling cyber-attacks and data breaches of 2014 is a real eye-opener. Regardless of the size or industry, no business is completely immune from these vulnerabilities. As such, these criminal acts are important to publicize because they highlight a larger point about the importance of cyber security. In many ways, 2014 was the year that businesses—and the public at large—finally realized just how vulnerable they are to malicious attacks. Here are five incidents that opened eyes:

1.  JPMorgan

Hackers who perpetrated the cyber attack on JPMorgan compromised information from 76 million households and 7 million businesses. Although the financial services company says there is no evidence that personal account information or passwords were stolen, a New York Times report stated the hackers “drilled deep into the bank’s vast computer systems, reaching more than 90 servers.” This incident was particularly troubling because banks were previously considered relatively secure against hacks.

2.  Target

Although the Target data breach technically occurred during the 2013 holiday season, the company and its customers felt the ramifications well into this year. In fact, the incident eroded customers’ trust and hurt Target financially to the point that former CEO Gregg Steinhafel eventually resigned. Perhaps most disturbing about this attack was that Target received security alerts about the malware hackers were uploading into the system but ignored these notifications because they were difficult to verify.

3. eBay

The e-commerce giant was compromised sometime in February or March, as hackers were able to steal employee credentials and steal somewhere in the neighborhood of 145 million user passwords. Unfortunately the year only got worse from there, as the company was hacked again in September, this time so thoroughly that some links on the site actually directed users to spoof pages setup by criminals to look like eBay pages and trick customers into unwittingly handing over personal information.

4Home Depot

In what can only be termed an unmitigated disaster, the home improvement giant had malware running on its systems for five months before the problem was detected. Criminals made off with 56 million credit card numbers, gathering the information from self-checkout lanes at the store’s brick-and-mortar locations. In an effort to improve its public image, Home Depot offered free identity protection services for victims and is still trying to untangle all the details of the incident to get a clearer picture of what happened.

5. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro

The restaurant chain was compromised at 33 of its locations as hackers stole customer information from credit and debit cards. Amazingly, the intrusion went undetected from October of 2013 until June of this year before the Secret Service made the company aware that it had been breached.

Will 2015 Be Better?

Although hackers are always developing new techniques, businesses can drastically reduce the risk of an intrusion and make it easier to spot attacks as they happen by deploying network monitoring and cyber security solutions. For more information about how WildPackets helps protect organizations against criminals, download our white paper, “Real World Security Investigations With Network Forensics.”

State Department Latest Government Agency to Be Hacked

When retailers and restaurant chains were hacked, the public got angry. When financial institutions were invaded, the public worried. Now, as the list of organizations that have been breached grows to include government agencies, the public is starting to panic.

Shortly after news broke that the White House had its unclassified servers hacked, the State Department was forced to take the unprecedented step of shutting down its email in response to a cyber attack. The U.S. Postal Service, Office of Personnel Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Healthcare.gov are all also victims of recent network intrusions.

Government agencies were once thought to have the most secure networks, but recent events have clearly placed that assumption in doubt. In fact, regardless of an organization’s mission or the industry it occupies, the network monitoring and cyber security solutions it utilizes are what determines whether it is vulnerable to or protected from malicious hackers.

No matter what industry you’re in, in light of the avalanche of hacking and data breach stories hitting the news recently, it would be wise to re-examine the security tools that you have in place today. Network Forensics is one tool that should be in your arsenal.  Security analysts and Network Engineers can use network forensics to analyze what tactics a hacker used to infiltrate the network, something particularly valuable today when cybercriminals are constantly coming up with new and more sophisticated ways to breach security.  To learn more about this topic, download our white paper entitled, “Why Your Enterprise Needs Security Attack Analysis.”