Tag Archives: US

JPMorgan Chase Hit by Data Breach

JPMorgan Chase which is an American multinational banking and financial services company has officially announced that they have suffered a data breach which has compromised data belonging to 76 million households and 7 million small businesses.

It is believed that the attorneys general of Connecticut and Illinois have started an investigation into the data breach.

JPMorgan Chase notified the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Thursday which declared that customer information such as names, addresses, phone numbers and emails addresses have been compromised.

On a slightly more positive note for the affected customers, JPMorgan Chase haven’t found any evidence that information such as customer account numbers, passwords, date of births or social security numbers have been compromised.

JPMorgan first became aware of a possible data breach in August and stated that they were working with US law enforcement authorities. It has also been revealed that the cyber-thieves had spent a month accessing the confidential data before the security breach was found.

Illinois attorney general Lisa Madigan believes that this is one of the most troubling data breaches to have ever occurred and that this breach proves that no data is ever safe from cybercriminals.

Madigan stated, “This is among the most troubling breaches ever — and not just because of its magnitude, but because it proves that there is probably no database that cyber criminals cannot compromise.”

Madigan added, “Chase is trying to diminish the extent of the breach, but what’s clear is that people can no longer assume their information is safe. Americans must assume that cyber criminals are working 24/7 to steal their personal information.”

Avivah Litan who is a security analyst for Gartner also believes that no data is now safe from cyber-thieves and that you cannot afford to take your foot of the pedal when it comes to data security.

Litan stated, “This is really a slap in the face of the American financial services system. Honestly, this is a crisis point.”

Litan added, “You have to be paranoid now. You can’t slack off. There is no such thing as data confidentiality anymore. Everything is out there.”

GameoverZeus and Cryptolocker: is your data protected?

A massive international anti-cyber crime initiative has recently made a breakthrough, with a wanted notice for Russian national Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev issued by the US government.  Bogachev is thought to be the mastermind behind two of the most recent (and most infamous) internet phishing schemes, commonly known as Gameover Zeus and the Cryptolocker virus.

GameoverZeus is a piece of malware that, when deployed on a victim’s computer, is able to target and extract login information for a range of applications ranging from social media and email accounts to online banking details. A different type of Zeus malware can also be used to install the ransomware Cryptolocker if the Zeus trojan is unable to find what it’s looking for.

As the Zeus group of malwares are trojans, and are therefore not designed to be found, Cryptolocker has become slightly more well known to users. Its function is to demand a ransom for certain files which have been infected by Cryptolocker. Affected users then face the dilemma of losing what is potentially an important file, or submitting to the ransom demands, with no real guarantee that they will get their file back anyway.

The US Department of Justice has officially issued charges against Bogachev, thought to be a ring leader of cyber-criminals, after the botnet that was operating the phishing scams was brought down. The effort was a collaboration between law enforcers from the US, as well as the UK and private security firms from around the world. The team was able to take control of the “Command and Control (C&C)” servers which had orchestrated the criminals’ operation.

However, the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) were quick to point out that this intervention is only temporary, as it would only be a matter of time before the criminals acquired new C&C servers from which they can run their operation. The NCA stressed to users the importance of ensuring that their computers were free of malware and protected against future infection.

The affect of the Zeus and Crytolocker malwares has been huge, and on a truly global scale. The scams can affect both home users and businesses and highlight the need to have the proper security measures in place.

Here at Backup Technology we have seen many of our customers affected by Cryptolocker in particular. Luckily, the files affected were securely backed up in our data centres, and so were retrievable. Had they not been backed up, the affected customers would have suffered the inconvenience, and potentially damaging affect of losing important files.

If you feel you are vulnerable to either Cryptolocker or the Zeus trojan, why not make an enquiry about our Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery services. They could end up saving you a huge amount of stress and money should the worst happen!

China counters US claims with own charges of cyber-espionage

On Tuesday China’s state controlled media released a report that stated that the Americans had hacked into over 1 million Chinese computers. The report said that during the past 2 months, 1.2 million computers had been hacked into by the Americans.

The report was released after America’s allegations on Monday, that five Chinese officials had stolen trade secrets from American companies. This is the first time America has tried to charge state funded hackers.

China said that the “fabricated” allegations are damaging their two countries relations. US officials have said that “the country will not tolerate the alleged sabotage of its companies.” China was very quick to deny the claims, saying that the Americans were being hypocritical.

Chinese government officials said that “China is a victim of severe U.S. Cyber Theft, wire tapping and surveillance activities.”

Many of the claimed targets of the American cyber attacks include: Chinese government departments, universities and major companies.

To ease tensions between the two nations and to resolve the security issues, the two nations have established a Chinese and US working group. But china’s foreign minister said that the group had been suspended due to “the US’s lack of sincerity.” China now demands a withdrawal of the US’s claims.

Tensions have been high between the two countries after Edward Snowdon’s claims that the US had been hacking into schools and companies based in mainland china, in his damaging report on the NSA. Many experts believe that this is to bring the alleged hacking, back into the spotlight and American officials believe that the cyber espionage preformed by the Chinese government will result in major job losses and have a damaging effect on the US economy. No official agreement has been made between the two countries to resolve the issue. This dispute is expected to go on into the future.

Chinese Government Continue Using Windows XP

The Chinese government is attempting to patch potential security flaws in the Windows XP operating system after it reached its end of life on 8th April 2014.

As the end of life has been reached for this operating system which is 13 years old, no new security updates are released by Microsoft which leaves those that are still using the operating system vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Senior official Yan Xiaohong stated, “Security problems could arise because of a lack of technical support after Microsoft stopped providing services, making computers with XP vulnerable to hackers.”

The reason why the Chinese government is attempting to create its own patches is because they deem the price to upgrade the machines using the XP operating system to Windows 8 as being too expensive.

At the moment, Windows 8 costs 888 yuan (£84) in China. The Chinese government is keen to avoid the increased procurement costs and therefore want to continue to use Windows XP.

Chinese security providers have already released patches for the XP operating system which are currently being appraised by the Chinese government.

Yan Xiaohong stated, “The government is conducting appraisal of related security products and will promote use of such products to safeguard users’ information security”

At the moment, it is reported that nearly 70% of all computers in China use the Windows XP operating system whilst this figure is as little as 18% in the US.

This means that there are a huge number of computers that are still running on XP and leaves the users more vulnerable to cyber-attacks which could have unprecedented results.

Regardless of what operating system you use, it is vital that data is protected by utilising a robust backup solution. By having the latest security updates downloaded and applied to your machine does reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of a cyber-attack but doesn’t rule it out completely. Therefore, by having a robust backup solution in place, you can be sure that you can recover your data in the desired state, no matter what happens.

Have you upgraded from Windows XP? Do you think Microsoft should have continued to support Windows XP?

Windows Phone picking up sales momentum in US

The Windows phone has been the outcast of the smart phone play ground pretty much ever since it was released. Chucked in at the deep end, with the already established swimmers Apple and Android to contend with, the Windows phone has had to play catch up for all of its existence.

However, there are those who now believe that the Windows phone is finally coming into its own, as handsets become more attractive, and the overall appeal of the Windows mobile OS gathers pace. The other benefit of going with Windows is the integration with all other Windows devices, such as Microsoft’s other dwindling mobile offering, the Surface tablet, as well as laptops, desktops and servers used by millions of home users and businesses across the globe.

This level of integration, coupled with the loyalty/ fear of trying another operating system (depending on your level of IT literacy) will be hugely attractive to both home users and the mobile workforce, the latter of which is becoming increasingly strong in numbers, and is set to grow further.

Beside integration of devices (which Apple have done successfully for a few years now), there is the cost of the Windows phone which pleases many. The Windows phone is vastly cheaper than the iPhone, and while it lacks some of the latter’s features it makes up for it by being kinder to customers’ wallets. This attracts those that would like a good all round smart phone, without paying 550 (and above!) for it. The Windows phone also comes in cheaper than the flagship Samsung Galaxy models, which are the pick of the Android phones.

However, despite the US showing improvement, it is not all promising news for the future of the Windows phone. While market share in Europe is 10% (twice what it is in the US) many see that as a limited market, with the two main players of Android (market share of 51.6%) and Apple (market share of 40.7%) well liked across the continent. Adding to the Everest already in front of them, Microsoft are expected to get rid of the Nokia name, after acquiring their handset manufacturing partner earlier this year. Although not a game changer, the Finnish brand is still popular in Europe and this move will not help boost ratings.

China is another market (the biggest of all in the world), that Microsoft have not cracked with their phone. The big two of Apple and Android also haven’t been as popular in China as they have elsewhere, so the outlook doesn’t look particularly promising for Windows. Add to that the number of home-grown Chinese smart phone producers, and the picture does not improve for Windows, now or over the next few years.

Adobe Suffers Large Security Breach

Nearly 3 Million of Adobe’s customers have had their private information compromised during a cyber attack on its website, Adobe has confirmed. Adobe also stated that it was investigating the illegal access of some source code for its products, which included the hugely popular Adobe Acrobat and ColdFusion.

Adobes chief security officer, Brad Arkin stated that Adobe deeply regretted the incident. He states We believe the attackers removed from our systems certain information relating to 2.9 million Adobe customers, including customer names, encrypted credit or debit card numbers, expiration dates, and other information relating to customer orders. At this time, we do not believe the attackers removed decrypted credit or debit card numbers from our systems. We deeply regret that this incident occurred. Were working diligently internally, as well as with external partners and law enforcement, to address the incident.”

In an interview with the BBC Chester Wisniewski, who is a senior advisor at Sophos, thought that the breach could be very serious. He went on to say “billions of computers around the world use Adobe software, so if hackers manage to embed malicious code in official-looking software updates they could potentially take control of millions of machines. This is on the same level as a Microsoft security breach,” he added.

Security experts Brian Krebs and Alex Holden are assisting Adobe with their investigations. The two discovered a 40GB cache of Adobe source code while investigating attacks on three US data providers, Dun & Bradstreet, Kroll Background America, and LexisNexis. Mr Krebssaidthe Adobe code was on a server he believed the hackers used.

Immediately Adobe said that it is resetting the passwords for customer accounts it believes were compromised, and that those customers will get an email alerting them to the change. Whilst also recommending customers affected change their passwords and user information for other websites for which they used the same ID.

For those US customers whose debit or credit card information is suspected of being accessed, Adobe is offering a complimentary one-year subscription to a credit-monitoring programme.

Adobe said it had notified law enforcement officials and is working to identify the hackers. All information can be found on the Adobe blog, here.

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