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Hackers threaten First Securities with DDoS attacks
September 23, 2016

TAIPEI, Taiwan — First Securities (第一金證券) was blackmailed on Thursday by hackers who threatened to completely disable its trading system with DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks.

The hackers asked the brokerage firm to pay 50 bitcoins (approximately NT$940,000), in an email that they sent to First Securities at around 10 a.m. on Thursday.

Local newspaper Apple Daily cited an unnamed source as saying that a DDoS attack came at around 11 a.m., stopping all electronic trades.

First Securities President Yeh Kuang-chang (葉光章) confirmed that they received the blackmail email but stressed that the firm’s trading system was only slowed down but not disabled by the attacks as reported. The firm has activated a reserve system and, while a small number of investors were affected by the attacks, the system was not paralyzed, Yeh said. He said he believed the situation would be resolved by Friday.

Yeh said the firm had reported the incident, which he said had caused no losses to the firm, to the authorities or to the investigation bureau.

Yeh also stressed that while the firm had yet to ascertain the origin of the hackers, he had preliminary ruled out the possibility that Thursday’s DDoS attacks were related to the ATM heist aimed at its sister institution — First Commercial Bank — in July. ATMs at 41 First Bank branches were hacked in the incident, with over NT$80 million believed to have been stolen. Seventeen suspects from six countries have been identified in the heist, which involved an international crime ring. The Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) issued a statement at 6 p.m. saying that First Securities suffered from an unknown online attack beginning at 10:50 a.m. and was not able to immediately recover its electronic trading system. The TWSE advised investors to use other forms of trading.

TWSE Vice President Chien Lih-chung (簡立忠) said the TWSE had informed other securities firms and that no other firms had reported similar blackmail or system problems.

Source: http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/national/national-news/2016/09/23/479195/Hackers-threaten.htm

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Renowned blog KrebsOnSecurity hit with massive DDoS attack
September 22, 2016

The 620 Gbps DDoS attack was built on a massive botnet.

The security blog KrebsOnSecurity has been hit with one of the largest distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks of all time.

The site, which is run by security expert Brian Krebs, was hit by a DDoS attack of around 620 Gbps on 20 September.

KrebsOnSecurity managed to stay online during the attack, due to defences from content delivery network provider Akamai.

The largest attack of this kind Akamai had previously defended was one of 336 Gbps earlier this year.

Previous large-scale DDoS attacks, including the 336 Gbps attack, used well-known methods to amplify a smaller attack such as using unmanaged DNS servers.

Apart from being much larger in terms of scale, the attack on KrebsOnSecurity also differed in that it seemed to instead use a very large botnet of hacked devices. This could have involved hundreds of thousands of systems.

“Someone has a botnet with capabilities we haven’t seen before,” Martin McKeay, Akamai’s senior security advocate, said to KrebsOnSecurity. “We looked at the traffic coming from the attacking systems, and they weren’t just from one region of the world or from a small subset of networks — they were everywhere.”

Brian Krebs said that there were some signs that the attack had used a botnet that had captured a large number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

During a DDoS attack, the targeted website is flooded with traffic, designed to overwhelm the resources of the site to crash or suspend its services.

“It seems likely that we can expect such monster attacks to soon become the new norm,” wrote Krebs.

He suggested that the attack on his site might have been in retaliation for a series he had done on the takedown of a DDoS-for-hire service vDOS, a theory supported by text included in the strings of the DDoS attack referencing the vDOS owners.

Source: http://www.cbronline.com/news/cybersecurity/business/renowned-blog-krebsonsecurity-hit-with-massive-ddos-attack-5012622

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Cybersecurity is threatening America’s military supremacy
September 21, 2016

The sparsely populated Spratly Islands, a collection of hundreds of islands and reefs spread over roughly 165,000 square miles in the South China Sea, are very quickly becoming the center of one of the most contentious international disputes between world powers since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Alarmingly, the use of cyber attacks in this dispute suggests we might already be in the midst of a new Cold War playing out in cyberspace — where America’s advantage is not as clear as it is with conventional armies and navies.

The Spratly Islands are of economic and strategic importance. All of the countries in the region — including China, Vietnam and the Philippines — have made competing territorial claims to the region. In recent years, China has become increasingly aggressive in its claim, rapidly building artificial islands while also conducting military operations in the area.

Beyond this conventional military build up, however, are complex and brazen cyber attacks by China that are leaving America and its allies increasingly concerned.

A massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack knocked offline at least 68 Philippine government websites in July, apparently in response to an international court ruling that denied China’s territorial claims in the region. Just days later, Vietnam’s national airline and major airports were targeted in a series of attacks by the Chinese hacking group 1937CN.

Those are just the latest examples of China’s years long cyber campaign related to the Spratly Islands. (In another attack, the website of the aforementioned international court was infected with malware and taken offline last year.)

While these “nuisance” attacks — and continued cyber espionage by China — are serious, targeted Chinese cyber attacks designed to impact America’s physical military systems in the South China Sea are the most substantial evidence that we may be on the brink of a more tangible cyber threat to American military power.

China appears to be moving forward with plans to use electronic attacks designed to either disrupt or take control of American drones. With reports that the Chinese attempted to interfere with U.S. military drones at least once in recent years, the country has shown a willingness to use GPS jamming to prevent U.S. aircraft from conducting surveillance missions in the Spratly Islands.

That 2015 instance appears to fit China’s public posturing on the ways it says it could use electronic GPS jamming to disrupt U.S. drone networks. One 2013 report in the Chinese journal Aerospace Electronic Warfare notes in technical detail how its military can “use network warfare to attack and even control America’s network” by disrupting the connection between satellites and aircraft.

This sort of GPS jamming could be the largest electronic threat to the U.S. drone program. In fact, it has been widely speculated that Iran used a similar GPS “spoofing” technique to take control of a U.S. surveillance drone in 2011.

The American military says it is preparing for these sorts of attacks with its new cyber strategy released last year. In addition to outlining how cyber will be included in military planning, the report calls for a hardening of the military’s cyber defenses to prevent the theft of military technology or cyber attacks against military infrastructure and weaponry.

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Blizzard’s Battle.net Servers Knocked Offline By Another DDoS Attack
September 20, 2016

Blizzard Entertainment became a victim of yet another distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack as its Battle.net servers were knocked down on Sunday, Sept. 18.

The DDoS attack that rendered Battle.net’s servers offline was waged by hacking group PoodleCorp.

Owing to the attack, Battle.net, which runs several popular games such as World of WarcraftHearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and Overwatch to name a few, was left handicapped even as angry users took to social media to vent their ire.

Gamers on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were all affected by the outage. Blizzard Entertainment acknowledged the situation on its official Twitter account.

“We are currently monitoring a DDOS attack against network providers which is affecting latency/connections to our games,” wrote Blizzard in a tweet.

The DDoS attack on Battle.net lasted for half an hour after PoodleCorp took to Twitter to state that it would halt the attack and restore the servers if the tweet below was retweeted 2,000 times.

The blackmail (ransom note?) found favor with a majority of gamers as they were only too willing to retweet to have access again to the games they were playing. As promised, PoodleCorp stopped the attack once the 2,000 retweet milestone was reached. This is not the first time Blizzard Entertainment has come under the mercy of PoodleCorp.

Earlier in August, we reported that it was hit with a PoodleCorp DDoS attack, which disrupted gameplay for users of Battle.net until network engineers addressed the issue. Back then however, the hacking group did not ask for retweets.

Blizzard Entertainment has been the victim of a spate of DDoS attacks in the past few months. In June, an attack took down its servers as well. The outage was attributed to Lizard Squad member AppleJ4ck, who claimed responsibility and cautioned that the hack was a small part of some “preparations.”

Aside from the DDoS attack, Blizzard has been having a terrible week anyway. On Sept. 14, 16 and 18, the company suffered from technical issues that prevented or delayed users from logging in and joining the game servers. However, for now, Blizzard Entertainment can breathe easy as the technical problems Battle.net was encountering owing to the DDoS attack from PoodleCorp have been resolved.

Source: http://www.techtimes.com/articles/178300/20160919/blizzards-battle-net-servers-knocked-offline-by-another-ddos-attack.htm


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DDoS always knocks twice
September 19, 2016

If you were DDoSed once, you will be DDoSed again, that is for sure.

A company is rarely attacked by a DDoS (distributed denial of service) just once. If it happens once, it will probably happen again, which is why constant preventive measures are required, if a company wants to keep their online services operational.

These are the results of a new report by Kaspersky Lab. Entitled Corporate IT Security Risks 2016, it says that one in six companies were victims of DDoS attacks in the past 12 months. The majority of those attacks were aimed against construction, IT and telecommunications companies. Almost four out of five (79 per cent) reported more than one attack, and almost half reported being attacked four times, or more. The length of these attacks is also an issue. Just above a third (39 per cent) are considered ‘short-lived’, while more than a fifth (21 per cent) lasted ‘several days’ or even ‘weeks’.

Companies are usually the last to know they’re being attacked, too, with 27 per cent being informed by their customers, and in 46 per cent of cases by their third-party audit organisation. Kaspersky Lab says this is not unusual, as cyber-attackers usually go for customer portals (40 per cent), communication services (40 per cent) and websites (39 per cent).

“It’s dangerous to view DDoS attacks as some rare occurrence that a company may encounter once, by accident, and with minimal damage. As a rule, if an attack is successful, the criminals will use this tool against a company over and over again, blocking its resources for prolonged periods of time. Unfortunately, even a single attack can inflict large financial and reputational losses and, considering the likelihood of a repeat attack is almost 80 per cent, you can multiply these losses two, three or more times. For a modern company, an anti-DDoS solution is just as necessary as the basic protection against malware and phishing,” says Alexey Kiselev, Project Manager on the Kaspersky DDoS Protection team.

Source: http://www.itproportal.com/news/ddos-always-knocks-twice/