Million new cyber phishing sites created each month

Cyber phishing attacks continue to increase in volume and sophistication, according to researchers at security firm Webroot.

Cyber phishing attacks continue to increase in volume and sophistication, according to researchers at security firm Webroot.
In May 2017, the number of new phishing sites reached a new high of 2.3 million in that month alone, according to the September 2017 Webroot Quarterly Threat Trends Report.

Data collected by Webroot shows that the latest phishing sites use realistic web pages that are almost impossible to find using web crawlers to trick victims into providing personal and business information.

Once this data is harvested, attackers are able to steal digital identities to access business IT systems to steal data and compromise business email accounts to carry out CEO fraud attacks.

The Webroot data also shows phishing attacks have grown at an unprecedented rate in 2017, with it continuing to be one of the most common, widespread security threats faced by both businesses and consumers.

According to the report, phishing is the top cause of cyber breaches in the world, with an average of more than 46,000 new phishing sites created each day.

The sheer volume of new sites makes phishing attacks difficult to defend against for businesses, the report said.

Even if the block lists are updated hourly, they are generally 3–5 days out of date by the time they are made available, the report said, by which time the sites in question may have already victimised users and disappeared.

Attacks are increasingly sophisticated and more adept at fooling the victim, the researchers found. The note that while in the past, phishing attacks randomly targeted as many people as possible,today’s phishing is more sophisticated.

Cyber attackers now typically research their targets and use social engineering to uncover relevant personal information for individualised attacks. Phishing sites also hide behind benign domains and obfuscate true uniform resource locators (URLs), fooling users with realistic impersonated websites.

The researchers found that zero-day websites used for phishing may number in the millions each month, yet they tend to impersonate a small number of companies. Webroot categorised URLs by the type of website being impersonated and found that financial institutions and technology companies are the most phished categories.

According to an FBI public service announcement issued on 4 May 2017, phishing scams cost US business $500m a year, while Verizon found phishing to be involved in 90% of breaches and security incidents and a report by ESG showed that 63% of surveyed security and network influencers and decision makers have suffered from phishing attacks in the past two years.

In the ESG report, 46% of respondents said malware attacks have become more targeted over the past two years, and 45% said there is a greater volume of malware than in the past two years.

“Today’s phishing attacks are incredibly sophisticated, with hackers obfuscating malicious URLs, using psychology and information gleaned from reconnaissance to get you to click on a link,” said Hal Lonas, chief technology officer at Webroot.

“Even savvy cyber security professionals can fall prey. Instead of blaming the victim, the industry needs to embrace a combination of user education and organisational protection with real-time intelligence to stay ahead of the ever-changing threat landscape,” he said.

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ICO reports record number of data breaches and fines

The UK Data Protection privacy watchdog reports that it has dealt with more data breach reports and issued more fines in the past year than ever before.

The UK Data Protection privacy watchdog reports that it has dealt with more data breach reports and issued more fines in the past year than ever before.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has dealt with a record number of data protection incidents, nuisance marketing cases and individual complaints in the past year, according to its latest annual report.

The ICO’s annual performance statistics for 2016/17 also reveal that the regulator received more reported data protection breaches and fined more companies for unlawful activities than any previous year. The rpory can be found at:

It seems that from a hacker perspective, many organisations are still leaving the front door open and the windows unlocked. Failure to protect and handle data correctly can also result in punitive actions for companies participating in the digital economy.

Wake up and get the knowledge to heep your data protected.

The record numbers are in part ascribed to the fact that the ICO’s free telephone helpline, live chat service and online reporting tool all helped make it easier for the public to report their concerns to the regulator, and the fact that audits and new self-assessment tools helped increase organisations’ awareness of their responsibilities.

The statistics show that data protection complaint cases rose to 18,354, around 2,000 more than the previous year. Some 2,565 self-reported data breaches resulted in 16 civil monetary penalties totalling £1,624,500 for serious breaches across a range of public, private and voluntary sectors.

The ICO received more than 166,000 reports about nuisance calls and texts. The ICO issued a record number of 23 fines in this regard, totalling £1,923,000, and issued nine enforcement notices and placed 31 organisations under monitoring.

More than 5,400 freedom of information (FOI) cases were received and 5,100 closed during the year, with 1,351 decision notices, which was “broadly similar” to the previous year, the ICO said.

“We have continued to monitor compliance and raised the threshold for our intervention, taking action if fewer than 90% of their FOI responses fall in the statutory timescale,” the ICO said.

The statistics show the ICO received more enquiries about the legislation it deals with than in the year before.

“Although calls to our helpline were slightly down on last year at 189,942, this was more than made up by new channels including our live chat service, which received 18,864 contacts. Letter and email contacts remained similar to last year,” the ICO said.
People at heart of ICO, says deputy commissioner

The ICO expects its work to intensify next year in the run up to deadline for compliance with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on 25 May 2018.

The GDPR introduces a more rigorous data protection regime and stricter penalties for breaches of up to €20m or 4% of annual global turnover, whichever is greater.

Deputy commissioner Simon Entwisle said: “We have advised and educated organisations to help them work within the law and we have taken action when they’ve fallen short of the mark.”

People will continue to be at the heart of what the ICO does as it looks to the future, he said, with the GDPR giving people greater control over their own data.

“We are working closely with organisations to help them understand their obligations and be ready for the new rules,” he said.

Entwisle said ICO staff at every level deserve credit for the contribution they have and continue to make. “Information commissioner Elizabeth Denham’s programme to strengthen the team – in both numbers and expertise – will equip the ICO to meet the challenges ahead.”

Testifying to the House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee in a hearing on the new EU data protection package, Denham planned to expand the ICO’s staff to deal with the extra work burden to be imposed by the GDPR.

This includes plans to recruit 200 additional staff to take the total number to around 700 in the next three years, with the most pressing staff needs being in relation to the increased duties imposed by the GDPR and the need to educate people about the implications of the regulation.

Denham said Brexit had also added work for the ICO’s policy staff to ensure they can give advice to government and to parliament about what the various impacts would be of different regulatory arrangements post-Brexit.

In addition to the new work related to the GDPR and Brexit, Denham said the UK is increasing the work it is doing internationally regarding data protection enforcement.

“The ICO is one of the largest regulators globally. We have 35 years’ experience in this space and we have a newly developed international strategy,” she said.

“We are going to continue to lean in and engage deeply in work with our European colleagues on the implementation of the GDPR, but at the same time we are engaging in global enforcement work beyond Europe, which involves building bridges with other regulators around the world.”

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Only 5% of FT 100 cos have cyber board member expertise

Only 5% of FT 100 company boards have a board director with specialist technology or cyber security experience, according to research by Deloitte.

Only 5% of FT 100 company boards have a board director with specialist technology or cyber security experience, according to research by Deloitte.This is despite cyber risk being identified as a principal risk by the vast majority of them. Of the type of cyber attacks disclosed as a threat, unauthorised access to systems ranked most common (19%), followed by hacking (13%) and malware (13%). Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks were only mentioned by five companies, despite Deloitte predictions that we could see ten million DDoS incidents in 2017.

More than half of companies mentioned cyber contingency, crisis management or disaster recovery plans in their annual report. Of these, however, only 58% disclosed that these plans had been simulated in test scenarios over the year.

The most commonly disclosed potential impacts of cyber breaches were business disruption (68%), reputational damage (58%), and data loss (45%).

Clearly, the more frequently and stringently mitigation plans are tested, the more resilient and responsive the company. Interestingly, very few reports identified employee action as one of their cyber security threats. Company employees are, knowingly or unintentionally, the most common cause of a cyber breach.

Deloitte’s analysis proposes seven principles to improve cyber disclosure when finalising reporting:

  • Every sector, although not every company, identifies cyber as a principal risk – think carefully if you have not done so.
  • The value destruction capability of cyber risk is very high, ranging from remediation demands to huge reputational damage. Detailed disclosure is therefore worthwhile to highlight the risks to shareholders and let them know you are taking it seriously.
  • The better disclosures are company specific, year specific and provide sufficient detail to give meaningful information to investors and other stakeholders.
  • Boards and board committees are increasingly educating themselves about the cyber threat and challenging management on how they are dealing with the risk.
  • Companies should take credit for what they are doing, including describing who has executive responsibility, board level responsibilities, the policy framework, internal controls, and disaster recovery plans.
  • Boards should think about what could be missing from their disclosures, for example a clear indication of the main threats facing the company, who poses those threats, the likelihood, possible impact and detail about what the company – and the board – is doing to manage or mitigate those particular risks.
  • Finally, if your disclosure does not look strong enough after taking credit for what the company is doing already, it is time to ask whether you are actually doing enough to manage cyber risk.

The report can be found at:

So if you want to save yourself stress, money and a damaged reputation from a cyber incident please ring us now on 01242 521967 or email [email protected] or complete the form on our contact page NOWContact Cyber 139

Kreb’s Immutable Truths About Data Breaches

Cyber 139 have been following Brian Kreb’s writings for a while and his Dilbert style post below caught our imagination:

Cyber 139 have been following Brian Kreb's writings for a while and his Dilbert style post below caught our imagination:

I’ve had several requests for a fresh blog post: A list of immutable truths about data breaches, cybersecurity and the consequences of inaction.

“There are some fairly simple, immutable truths that each of us should keep in mind, truths that apply equally to political parties, organizations and corporations alike:

-If you connect it to the Internet, someone will try to hack it.

-If what you put on the Internet has value, someone will invest time and effort to steal it.

-Even if what is stolen does not have immediate value to the thief, he can easily find buyers for it.

-The price he secures for it will almost certainly be a tiny slice of its true worth to the victim.

-Organizations and individuals unwilling to spend a small fraction of what those assets are worth to secure them against cybercrooks can expect to eventually be relieved of said assets.”

They may not be complete, but as a set of truisms these tenets probably will age pretty well. After all, taken as a whole they are practically a model Cybercriminal Code of Ethics, or a cybercrook’s social contract.

Nevertheless, these tenets might be even more powerful if uttered in the voice of the crook himself. That may be more in keeping with the theme of this blog overall, which seeks to explain cybersecurity and cybercrime concepts through the lens of the malicious attacker (often this is a purely economic perspective).

So let’s rifle through this ne’er-do-well’s bag of tricks, tools and tells. Let us borrow from his literary perspective. I imagine a Cybercriminal Code of Ethics might go something like this (again, in the voice of a seasoned crook):

-If you hook it up to the Internet, we’re gonna hack at it.

-If what you put on the Internet is worth anything, one of us is gonna try to steal it.

-Even if we can’t use what we stole, it’s no big deal. There’s no hurry to sell it. Also, we know people.

-We can’t promise to get top dollar for what we took from you, but hey — it’s a buyer’s market. Be glad we didn’t just publish it all online.

-If you can’t or won’t invest a fraction of what your stuff is worth to protect it from the likes of us, don’t worry: You’re our favorite type of customer!


Hackers follow the money too

Deepthroat suggested during the Watergate investigations to “follow the money”- for Nixon then, read hackers now.

Deepthroat suggested during the Watergate investigations to follow the money- for Nixon then, read hackers now.Now hackers are going after law firms for exactly the same reason. This month, US prosecutors charged three Chinese traders with securities fraud, saying they had made more than $4m trading on information allegedly stolen from two of the US’s best known law firms.

Though prosecutors did not identify the firms, the descriptions of them and the work they had done match Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Weil, Gotshal, two firms routinely hired by Fortune 500 companies to help run their big deals. Both firms have declined to comment.

Though prosecutors did not identify the firms, the descriptions of them and the work they had done match Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Weil, Gotshal, two firms routinely hired by Fortune 500 companies to help run their big deals. Both firms have declined to comment.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission said the hackers targeted seven firms known for their mergers and acquisitions work, hitting them with more than 100,000 attacks over a three-month period. They then struck gold with two

They then struck gold with two organisations. After installing malware on each law firm’s computer network, they gained access to their IT departments and from there broke into the files and emails of senior M&A lawyers. They ended up stealing nearly 60 gigabytes of data related to at least 10 potential deals.

In several cases, the information bore fruit — the hackers gained early word of Pitney Bowes’ 2015 offer for ecommerce group Borderfree and Intel’s 2015 purchase of Altera, and were able to trade ahead of them.

“This case of cyber meets securities fraud should serve as a wake-up call for law firms around the world: you are and will be targets of cyber hacking because you have information valuable to would-be criminals,” said Preet Bharara, the US attorney for Manhattan.

Other professional services firms should take note- your reputation and organisation are at risk from hackers.

This is not the first time the industry has been hit by hackers who specialise in what is becoming known as “outsider trading”. Last year federal prosecutors charged nine people in the US and Ukraine with trading ahead of earnings press releases that had been provided to Marketwired, PR Newswire and Business Wire. That case inspired other Ukraine-based hackers to try their luck with law firms, according to intelligence firm Flashpoint, which put out a warning in March.

Accounting firms that provide tax advice on mergers, boutique advisory firms, and consultants who weigh in on synergies and downsizing plans are almost certainly on the criminals’ hit list. Retailers, telecoms groups and internet companies, including Target, TalkTalk and Yahoo, have already had to pay the price for weak defences.

But in some ways, they got off easy. Most of the stolen passwords were old and the account details rarely included immediately usable information. At most, the hacks involved theft of credit card numbers, which come with fraud defences. So customers have rarely felt much need to hold hacked companies accountable. Yahoo, for example, seems to have suffered very little drop off in customer loyalty after announcing the first of two giant hacks, although the jury is still out after the second one.

Professional services firms will not be so lucky. Banks and companies pay extremely high prices for outside advice. They expect professionalism and confidentiality in return. Getting hacked by a bunch of Chinese traders is hardly a strong recommendation of either.

Faced with a choice of five law firms that invested in cyber defences that were strong enough to withstand a pointed attack, and two who did not, which would you choose?

So if you want to save yourself stress, money and a damaged reputation from a cyber incident please ring us now on 01242 521967 or email [email protected] or complete the form on our contact page NOWContact Cyber 139From:

GDPR data protection fines

GDPR- the General Data Protection Regulations and fines are less than 17 months away warns Cyber139. Happy New Year!

GDPR- the General Data Protection Regulations are less than 17 months away warns Cyber139

A two tiered system of fines will apply. Breaches of some provisions by businesses, which law makers have deemed to be most important for data protection, could lead to fines of up to €20 million or 4% of global annual turnover for the preceding financial year, whichever is the greater, being levied by data watchdogs.

For other breaches, the authorities could impose fines on companies of up to €10 million or 2% of global annual turnover, whichever is greater.

Hoping that BREXIT might help you? Wrong- speaking in parliament in the week before Christmas, UK digital minister Matt Hancock again confirmed that the GDPR “will become directly applicable in UK law on 25 May 2018”.

Data controllers could face more severe regulatory fines than data processors for failing to keep personal data appropriately secure under the new General Data Protection Regulation

One of the many changes that the new Regulation will deliver when it comes into force on 25 May 2018 is a new statutory obligation on data security that data processors must observe above and beyond contractual duties agreed with data controller customers.

Under current EU data protection rules service providers that process personal data on behalf of other businesses cannot be held directly liable to individuals for a breach of data security. If data processors are at fault for data breaches then it is the data controller who contracted with them whose neck is on the block for any non compliance with data protection laws, although the data processor could be liable to the data controller under their contract.

The Regulation addresses this anomaly but makes a distinction between the maximum fine data protection authorities will be able to levy against data controllers compared to data processors for failings on data security.

The relevant provisions on data security are contained under Articles 5 and 32 of the Regulation.

Article 5 sets out basic rules on personal data processing which only apply to data controllers, considered to be fundamental to data protection. One of those rules requires data controllers to ensure that personal data is “processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures”.

According to the Article 83 provisions of the Regulation on administrative fines, where data controllers breach that Article 5 requirement they can be served with the highest possible fine that data protection authorities will be able to issue under the reformed framework.

In contrast if data processors breach their statutory data security obligations, set out under Article 32, which requires them to “implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure a level of security appropriate to the risk” of their personal data processing, then the most they could be fined is up to €10m or 2% of global annual turnover.

Data controllers are also subject to the Article 32 obligations. It therefore appears open to national data protection authorities to fine data controllers for any data security failings under Article 5 or Article 32. Their choice in those circumstances would impact on the severity of the fines they could issue.

Whether security measures are appropriate in each instance will depend on “the state of the art, the costs of implementation and the nature, scope, context and purposes of processing as well as the risk of varying likelihood and severity for the rights and freedoms of natural persons”, according to the Regulation.

Beyond the imposition of administrative fines for data security breaches, the Regulation will also introduce an updated right for data subjects to claim compensation for damages they suffer from such incidents.

A data controller or data processor could be sued for compensation as well as being exposed to the administrative fines – being fined will not shield it from compensation claims, and vice versa.

The revised right will allow data subjects to pursue either data controllers or data processors for all of the compensation owed to them for the damage they have suffered from a data breach, although a processor will only be liable for damage caused by processing where it has not complied with any part of the Regulation that applies to them or if it has “acted outside or contrary to lawful instructions of the controller”.

Data controllers pursued for damages will be able to claim back all or some of the money they pay out from their data processor if the data processor was  in fact responsible, wholly or in part, for the breach.

Equally, data processors will have the same right to claim back money from data controllers, or indeed other data processors involved, whose fault caused or contributed to the damage, if the data subject pursues the data processor for the full compensation pay-out.

So if you want to save yourself stress, money and a damaged reputation from a cyber incident please ring us now on 01242 521967 or email [email protected] or complete the form on our contact page NOWContact Cyber 139

Cyber 139 wishes you a secure and prosperous New Year

Cyber 139 wishes you a secure and prosperous New Year for 2017.

Cheltenham based cyber security and protection firm Cyber 139 wishes you a secure and prosperous New Year for 2017.

Cheltenham based cyber security and protection firm Cyber 139 wishes you a secure and prosperous New Year for 2017.

Overall 24% of ALL businesses surveyed in 2016 had had one or more cyber security breaches in the past 12 months- so please don’t let you be a victim in 2017.

So if you want to save yourself stress, money and a damaged reputation from a cyber incident please ring us now on 01242 521967 or email [email protected] or complete the form on our contact page NOWContact Cyber 139

Cyber crime costs small businesses the most

New research has found that cyber crime is disproportionately effecting small businesses the most.

New research has found that cyber crime is disproportinately effecting small businesses the most.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has found that small firms are unfairly carrying the cost of cyber crime in an increasingly vulnerable digital economy.

The report Cyber Crime: How to protect small firms in the digital economy suggests smaller firms are collectively attacked seven million times per year, costing the UK economy an estimated £5.26 billion.

Despite the vast majority of small firms (93%) taking steps to protect their business from digital threats, two thirds (66%) have been a victim of cyber crime in the last two years. Over that period, those affected have been victims on four occasions on average, costing each business almost £3000 in total.

Cyber crime costs small businesses disproportionately more than big businesses when adjusted for organisational size.

Currently the responsibility largely falls on small businesses to protect themselves. FSB is calling for more support to be given to those smaller firms least able to bear the burden of the increasing global cyber threat.

Almost all (99%) of the UK’s 5.4 million small firms rate the internet as being highly important to their business, with two in three (66%) offering, or planning to offer, goods and services online. Without intervention, the growing sophistication of cyber attacks could stifle small business growth and in the worst cases close them down.

Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, said: “The digital economy is vital to small businesses – presenting a huge opportunity to reach new markets and customers – but these benefits are matched by the risk of opportunities for criminals to attack businesses.

“Small firms take their cyber security responsibility very seriously but often they are the least able to bear the cost of doing so. Smaller businesses have limited resources, time and expertise to deal with ever-evolving and increasing digital attacks. We’re calling on Government, larger businesses, individuals and providers to take part in a joint effort to tackle cyber crime and improve business resilience.”

The types of cyber crime most commonly affecting small businesses are phishing emails (49%), spear phishing emails (37%), and malware attacks (29%).

Small firms are also concerned about hacking and fraud when the card is not present, with the average information breach setting them back 2.2 days.

To combat this, four in five small firms (80%) use computer securing software, and well over half (53%) perform regular updates of their IT systems.

The FSB report also found room for small firms to improve security.

Currently just a quarter of smaller businesses (24%) have a strict password policy, four per cent have a written plan of what to do if attacked online, and just two per cent have a recognised security standard such as ISO27001 or the Government’s Cyber Essentials scheme.

Mike Cherry added: “Small firms are understandably focussed on building their businesses and creating the jobs which drive economic growth. The vulnerabilities of the digital world affects everyone and the responsibility for improving resilience should not be left to the group with least resource to do something about it.

Yahoo confirms one billion users have had data hacked

Bob Lord, chief information security officer at Yahoo, admits details of the breach in a blog post.

Bob Lord, chief information security officer at Yahoo, admits details of the breach in a blog post.“We believe an unauthorised third party, in August 2013, stole data associated with more than one billion user accounts. We have not been able to identify the intrusion associated with this theft,” he said.

Speaking to Computer Weekly, Jonathan Care, a research director at market watcher Gartner, said Yahoo’s lack of clarity on this point was troubling.

“The implication is that Yahoo has overly focused on deploying protective technologies, and has not put in place effective analytics, detection and response systems and processes,” he said.

“From what we do know, the attackers made use of cookie masquerading, pass-the-hash and a state-sponsored actor. This gives strength to the importance of a strong detection plan.”

The incident came to light after US law enforcers shared files with the company that a third-party claimed contained Yahoo user data.

“We analysed this data with the assistance of outside forensic experts and found that it appears to be Yahoo user data,” said Lord.

Yahoo admits that staff knew about the data breach two years before it was confirmed publicly, and that the incident could affect the $4.83bn sale deal with Verizon.

“For potentially affected accounts, the stolen user account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (using MD5) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers.”

“We are notifying potentially affected users and have taken steps to secure their accounts, including requiring users to change their passwords,” he said. “We have also invalidated unencrypted security questions and answers so that they cannot be used to access an account.”

Which suggests that many personal questions have been hacked as well.

This latest breach comes several months after Yahoo revealed details of another historic attack on its systems, dating back to 2014, which led to the personal details of at least 500 million users becoming exposed.

At the time, the incident was reported to be the largest publicly reported breach of its kind, but the August 2013 one is understood to be considerably bigger.

After news of the 2014 hack broke, Yahoo confirmed some staff knew about it several years before details were publicly disclosed, and acknowledged that it could lead to Verizon withdrawing its $4.83bn bid to acquire the company.

In light of its latest disclosure, questions are now being raised about how the news may affect the deal, given Verizon went on record in October 2016 to say the previous breach could pave the way for it to drop its bid.

“It also emphasises the importance of purchasers understanding the security risks of target businesses and building in contractual mechanisms to adjust the price, or even allow them to walk away from the deal if breaches like these come to light before completion.”

“Clearly, the upshot of this is that we need to realise that it’s no longer a case of ‘if we’re targeted or unlucky’, but that we are all targets.”

Camelot’s National Lottery accounts are hacked

It could be you- as tens of thousands of online lottery Camelot players’ accounts are hacked.

It could be you- as tens of thousands of online lottery Camelot players' accounts are hacked.National Lottery operator Camelot says the login details of thousands of people who do the lottery online have been stolen.

There are 9.5 million national lottery players registered online, but Camelot said only around 26,500 accounts were accessed. It added that fewer than 50 accounts have had suspicious activity, such as personal details being changed, since the breach.

The company said it unearthed “suspicious activity on a very small proportion of our players’ online National Lottery Accounts” during its online security monitoring on 28 November 2016.

It added that there has been no unauthorised access to core systems. “In addition, no money has been deposited or withdrawn from affected player accounts,” said Camelot.

“However, we do believe that this attack may have resulted in some of the personal information that the affected players hold in their online account being accessed.”

The company said it is now trying to find out what happened, but it believes that “the email address and password used on the National Lottery website may have been stolen from another website where affected players use the same details”.

The affected accounts have been suspended and Camelot will contact the account holders to re-activate them. Camelot added that it is working with the National Cyber Security Centre on the incident.

Are you an online lottery player?

If so, just crossing your fingers is not enough. To mitigate risks in the short term, account holders should update passwords and avoid using the same password across multiple sites.