Securing the Securer: Cyber Threats to the Insurance Sector

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“Amazing”, “extreme”, “one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.” These were the words of a cyber forensics expert who was tasked with investigating the biggest breach of an insurance company in history. Respectively, these words describe the operational security, stealth tactics, and malware engineering of the group that stole the personal information of almost 79 million policyholders in the US in 2015. The forensic team claim that 1000 boxes were infected, and roughly 7000 MD5 hashes (distinct file identifying numbers) were assigned to the ever-changing malware used to conduct the breach. What the details of this breach show is that the insurance sector has become a particularly attractive target for well-resourced and highly skilled cybercriminals.

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West African Threat Actors

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Last year saw a plethora of sophisticated cyber attacks including the infiltration of Oracle’s MICROS point of sale customer portal, the string of multi-million dollar thefts that leveraged the SWIFT banking network, and the US election hacks

Meanwhile in West Africa, cyber criminals continue their ongoing operations.

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The Rise of Mobile Malware

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The threat associated with mobile malware is expanding. In 2015 alone, Kaspersky uncovered 884,774 new malicious mobile programs, and 7,030 new mobile banking Trojans. Mobile malware is growing in sophistication, borrowing deployment and obfuscation techniques from conventional PC malware, reflecting the continuous evolution of the cyber threat landscape. It is almost certain that in some cases this is a result of funding and development support from advanced threat actors.

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Exploring the Cyber Threats to Healthcare

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In October 2016, computer systems in Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Trust had to be shut down following a suspected ransomware attack.  The Trust cancelled numerous operations, outpatient appointments and diagnostic procedures as a result.   This incident is far from being an isolated case; an NCC Group Freedom of Information request revealed that almost half of NHS trusts have been subjected to a ransomware attack in the past year. 

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IOT Zombie Apocalypse

The IoT Zombie Apocalypse

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This blog post will look at the security issues surrounding so-called “smart devices”, and the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that have occurred in recent months. It will attempt to address some of the burning questions that have been asked since, such as how on earth can a zombie army of video recorders and cameras deny access to a large chunk of the internet? Who would do such a thing and why? And, how vulnerable is the Internet’s infrastructure to these monster botnets?

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The Immutability of Cryptocurrency: Part 2 – Concerning Fragility

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In part 1 of this blog, we examined some of the underlying concepts that make cryptocurrencies work. Specifically, we explored the premise of immutability, which is a requirement for a decentralised currency that users can trust. We saw how immutability is guaranteed by a shared consensus between users and developers – trying to change the specification to undermine the rules that govern a currency will inevitably split the user base. Splitting the user base effectively splits the currency, resulting in what is known as a fork.

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The Immutability of Cryptocurrency: Part 1 – Concerning Immutability

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Any cryptocurrency is reliant on a lot of assumptions; this is part of the reason they are such a volatile, high-risk investment. One of the fundamental premises of most cryptocurrencies is the idea that the currency is generated and transferred per a technical specification that is not susceptible to external influence, so-called “immutability”.

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The Market of Malware

The Market of Malware: Buying, Selling and Collaborating in the Criminal Underground

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The Dark Web is a fascinating, confusing and for some, a shocking place. Amongst the plethora of forums discussing, selling and sharing drugs, guns, pornography, credit cards (the list goes on), cybercriminals of all levels of sophistication also seek to acquire, enhance, and profit from a variety of hacking tools. This post provides examples of trading and collaboration that lie behind development of malicious software (malware), as well as providing examples of how it can be rapidly upgraded and changed.

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