Iran Has Been Targeting VPN Servers to Plant Backdoors

“A new report published today reveals that Iran’s government-backed hacking units have made a top priority last year to exploit VPN bugs as soon as they became public in order to infiltrate and plant backdoors in companies all over the world,” writes ZDNet: According to a report from Israeli cyber-security firm ClearSky, Iranian hackers have targeted companies “from the IT, Telecommunication, Oil and Gas, Aviation, Government, and Security sectors.” The report comes to dispel the notion that Iranian hackers are not sophisticated, and less talented than their Russian, Chinese, or North Korean counterparts. ClearSky says that “Iranian APT groups have developed good technical offensive capabilities and are able to exploit 1-day vulnerabilities in relatively short periods of time.” [ATP stands for “advanced persistent threat” and is often used to describe nation-state backed cyberattackers.]

In some instances, ClearSky says it observed Iranian groups exploiting VPN flaws within hours after the bugs have been publicly disclosed

SOAR or not to SOAR?, (Sun, Feb 16th)

Security, Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) allow organizations to collect data about security threats from multiple sources to automate an appropriate response on repetitive tasks. As an analyst you need to juggle and pivot several times a day between multiple tools and devices to evaluate a huge amount information and deal with flood of repetitive tasks such as alerts, tickets, email, threat intelligence data, etc. The end goal is to centralize everything in one location to improve analysis using captured institutionalized knowledge.

Zero Trust Can Fix Healthcare’s Security Problem

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are under attack from cyber criminals. In 2019 healthcare was one of the most targeted industries. In the first half of 2019 alone, there were 168 attacks that breached more than 30 million health care records. And according to IBM research, the average cost of a breach at a healthcare facility was $3.92 million. And as hospitals continue to go digital, these stats are on track to get even worse.

A Light at the End of Liberty Reserve’s Demise?

In May 2013, the U.S. Justice Department seized Liberty Reserve, alleging the virtual currency service acted as a $6 billion financial hub for the cybercrime world. Prompted by assurances that the government would one day afford Liberty Reserve users a chance to reclaim any funds seized as part of the takedown, KrebsOnSecurity filed a claim shortly thereafter to see if and when this process might take place. This week, an investigator with the U.S. Internal Revenue service finally got in touch to discuss my claim.

Signal Is Finally Bringing Its Secure Messaging To the Masses

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Wired: [Cryptographer and coder known as Moxie Marlinspike] has always talked about making encrypted communications easy enough for anyone to use. The difference, today, is that Signal is finally reaching that mass audience it was always been intended for — not just the privacy diehards, activists, and cybersecurity nerds that formed its core user base for years — thanks in part to a concerted effort to make the app more accessible and appealing to the mainstream. That new phase in Signal’s evolution began two years ago this month. That’s when WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton, a few months removed from leaving the app he built amid post-acquisition clashes with Facebook management, injected $50 million into Marlinspike’s end-to-end encrypted messaging project. Acton also joined the newly created Signal Foundation as executive chairman. The pairing up made sense; WhatsApp had used Signal’s open source protocol to encrypt all WhatsApp communications end-to-end by default, and Acton had grown disaffected with what he saw as Facebook’s attempts to erode WhatsApp’s privacy.

Since then, Marlinspike’s nonprofit has put Acton’s millions — and his experience building an app with billions of users — to work. After years of scraping by with just three overworked full-time staffers, the Signal Foundation now has 20 employees. For years a bare-bones texting and calling app, Signal has increasingly become a fully featured, mainstream communications platform. With its new coding muscle, it has rolled out features at a breakneck speed: In just the last three months, Signal has added support for iPad, ephemeral images and video designed to disappear after a single viewing, downloadable customizable “stickers,” and emoji reactions. More significantly, it announced plans to roll out a new system for group messaging, and an experimental method for storing encrypted contacts in the cloud. Many of those features might sound trivial. They certainly aren’t the sort that appealed to Signal’s earliest core users. Instead, they’re what Acton calls “enrichment features.” They’re designed to attract normal people who want a messaging app as multifunctional as WhatsApp, iMessage, or Facebook Messenger but still value Signal’s widely trusted security and the fact that it collects virtually no user data.

Rocket Lab will launch a satellite to the Moon for NASA to prepare for the Lunar Gateway

Launch startup Rocket Lab has been awarded a contract to launch a CubeSat on behalf of NASA for the agency’s CAPSTONE experiment, with the ultimate aim of putting the CAPSTONE CubeSat into cislunar (in the region in between Earth and the Moon) orbit – the same orbit that NASA will eventually use for its Gateway Moon-orbiting space station. The launch is scheduled to take place in 2021.

6 Noteworthy Data Breaches in 2019

2019 was a banner year for breaches. Some of the biggest victims included social media heavy-hitters Facebook and TikTok, as well as financial dynamo Capital One. They???re just the tip of the iceberg: according to Forbes, over 3,000 breaches in 2019 tallied up to 4.1 billion compromised data records. That???s a whopping 22.5 million records stolen by cyberattackers every day of last year.

DHS Announces Funding Opportunity for Fiscal Year 2020 Preparedness Grants

WASHINGTON— Today, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf announced the release of Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Notices of Funding Opportunity for eight DHS preparedness grant programs totaling nearly $1.8 billion. The grant programs provide funding to state, local, tribal and territorial governments, as well as transportation authorities, nonprofit organizations and the private sector, to improve the nation’s readiness in preventing, protecting against, responding to, recovering from and mitigating terrorist attacks, major disasters and other emergencies. The grants reflect the Department’s focus on funding for programs that address our nation’s immediate security needs and ensure public safety in our communities.