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Cyber attack targets British bank
January 29, 2016

The DDoS attack rained down on the bank and its customers for most of this morning and locked punters out of a range of online banking services at a time when minds were turning to the pub and the weekend.

Alex Kwiatkowski, a senior strategist at software group Misys, said the attack was “very concerning” and “shines a bright spotlight” upon HSBC’s systems weaknesses. It told customers it was working hard to restore service adding: “We apologise for any inconvenience”.

Anyone attempting to access their account was receiving an error message on Friday morning reading: “We’d like to apologise to all our customers for Online Banking being unavailable”.

The previous failure occurred just a few days into the new year and was caused by a glitch in HSBC’s IT systems, rather than a hacker attack.

The bank says its working with law authorities to identify the attackers, but remains offline and – in an ominous note on Twitter – advises that all branches will be open on Saturday.

The attack may affect customers on pay day and comes two days ahead of the deadline for filing self-assessment tax returns and paying personal taxes.

A CYBER attack against HSBC has caused disruption for customers trying to log in on a key day for managing their money.

Some DDoS attacks are used by attackers as a smoke screen, to keep security teams busy while a more serious compromise is underway.

It is the second outage to face HSBC this month.

Those problems in early January were due to a “complex technical issue” with its internet banking systems and not a cyber attack or any other malicious act, HSBC said.

However, the fact that online banking remains now inaccessible suggests that recovery is not yet complete.

It was not yet clear whether First Direct customers had also been affected by the attack.

Source: http://www.mytechbits.com/cyber-attack-targets-british-bank/981180317/

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Cyber attacks predicted to increase in 2016
January 25, 2016

Following a series of cyber attacks on university networks in 2015, The Center for Internet Security (CIS), a non-profit organisation which strives to improve global internet security, have forecast that a new wave of attacks will hit the UK in 2016.

As quoted in FedScoop, Thomas Duffy, chair of the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Centre (MS-ISAC) run by CIS, predicted a “growth in malware, such as randomware” attacks in the new year.

“There was a lot of activity in 2014, 2015, and we don’t expect that to slow down in 2016” Duffy said, explaining that there were a number of “new variants” which were becoming “harder to detect and harder to mitigate”.

He also said that universities were often hit by these cyber attacks because they are “home to an awful lot of valuable intellectual property” and that major research universities in particular were “prime targets” for attackers.

In order to prevent attacks like these in the future, Duffy said that software needed to be “updated on a regular basis”.

“We’ve gotten pretty good at updating the operating systems, but often the content management systems are forgotten about, or if they do patch them, they forget about the plug-ins and all the component pieces of the web server [that] need to be patched and kept up to date” he told FedScoop.

A patch is a piece of software that seeks to fix security vulnerabilities and other bugs in a computer program or its supporting data.

A spokesperson for Jisc, a public body which provides digital resources and networks to higher education institutions, told The Student about the steps being made by the organisation to protect universities from cyber attacks in the future.

“While the defences we put in place have resulted in no similar impact to network services since, we continue to work hard to improve resilience and strengthen the network against attacks.”

She went on to say that Jisc is taking action “to protect core infrastructure from outside of the Janet network, and [is] working with customers to increase protection even further.”

Universities across the UK, including Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester, were disrupted during the exam diet of last December, when publicly-funded internet networks were hit by a series of cyber attacks.

Jisc released a statement  in December, declaring that they had “been experiencing a targeted and sustained set of attacks on the Janet network.”

The Janet network is used by many universities throughout the UK and the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks brought about “reduced connectivity and disruption” for all its users, according to Jisc.

DDoS attacks are malicious attempts to interrupt a network service and often occur when multiple systems flood a target system, usually one or more web servers.

Jisc announced in another statement that they did not know who were behind the incident but were “working with various enforcement agencies” as part of an “ongoing investigation into the cause of the attacks.”

Source: http://www.studentnewspaper.org/12983-2/

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How to Spot a DDoS Attack
January 21, 2016

If you are a technician and a network you are responsible for begins to go down because the traffic that is coming into the network is unusually high, there is a good chance you are experiencing a distributed denial of service attack, or DDoS. These attacks, which are extraordinarily difficult to prevent altogether, can be exceedingly costly for a business.

When targeted by a DDoS attacks, the organization’s network is overloaded with traffic. This is a deliberate action that is perpetrated by a party looking to take down your organization’s network. It is typically performed by a botnet that has been created by hackers. It quickly shifts from being an unruly inconvenience to a major operational problem, as these robots take down your ability to access your data and applications.

One major difference between a DDoS attack and your traditional hack is that the former can be carried out by almost anyone. There have been tales of individuals, including young people, successfully bringing down company networks. We’re here to tell you that you don’t have to give up to a seemingly relentless DDoS attack. By understanding your network, its traffic, and what to do if you are at the unfortunate end of one of these attacks, you won’t have to deal with the downtime that is typically associated with this type of interruption.

Understand Your Network
Do you know how much traffic comes through your network? If you don’t, you can’t immediately assume that you’ve been the target of a DDoS attack. In order to best detect abnormalities with your network traffic, familiarizing yourself with your typical network traffic is a must.

Beyond the DDoS attack, by understanding your organization’s network, you will be in a much better position to react to the most common issues your network may face. With this information, the minute you see traffic that looks out of place, you can react to the issue quicker, avoiding costly downtime.

Be Ready
The unpredictable nature of DDoS attacks leave many IT administrators unprepared. Identify your critical systems and take action to protect them from being compromised. There is definitely a reason why you are under attack, but it’s extremely difficult to know what that reason is. Even if you are facing dire circumstances, it is essential that operations are sustained. One way this can be mitigated is by hosting some or all of your organization’s computing infrastructure in the cloud.

If yours is like most small and medium-sized businesses, you can’t afford to accept large chunks of downtime. To ensure your organization is protected, one solution is to call the certified technicians at Excedeo. We have the knowledge of industry best practices and years of experience warding off cyber criminals.

Source: http://www.itsupportpros.com/blog/entry/tip-of-the-week-how-to-spot-a-ddos-attack

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Cops arrest suspected DDoS extortion gang leader
January 13, 2016

Australian police help flush out alleged DD4BC boss.

Australian police have helped European law enforcement get their hands on alleged members of the Distributed Denial of Service for Bitcoin (DD4BC) gang in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Operation Pleiades saw a joint task force of European police arrest their main target, according to Europol.

Police did not name the person arrested, or another suspect who was also detained. Several property searches were carried out with extensive amounts of evidence seized, police said.

Members of the DD4BC gang were identified in Bosnia and Herzegovina by Britain’s Metropolitan Police Cyber Crime Unit, with support from Australian, French, Romanian and Swiss forces, as well as the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, and INTERPOL.

Police said DD4BC had been using “pseudonymous” methods to receive their ransoms, and had embarked on several pay-or-be-DoSed campaigns since the middle of 2014.

Initially, DD4BC targeted online gaming sites, but police said the gang had recently started attacking financial institutions and members of the entertainment industry as well. Organisations hit by DD4BC were marked as vulnerable, and shook down for more money after the initial blackmail attempts.

Thousands of businesses and organisations in Europe and around the world have reported becoming the victims of denial of service extortion.

Network security vendor Arbor Networks conducted an analysis last year on DD4BC’s activities since July 2014.

DD4BC would typically launch smaller attacks on their targets in the 10Gbps to 15Gbps per second range as a warning, Arbor Networks said. If the victim refused to pay the 100 Bitcoin (approximately A$64,000 as of writing) ransom demanded, DD4BC would then hit networks with denial of service attacks in the 40 to 60Gbps range.

Most of the attacks DD4BC used were based on reflection techniques, in which vulnerable internet hosts were tricked into sending multiple, large responses to small queries from faked addresses towards victim networks, starving them of resources as they struggle to process a massive flood of traffic.

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Thai government websites hit by denial-of-service attack
October 2, 2015

Several Thai government websites have been hit by a suspected distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, making them impossible to access.

The sites went offline at 22:00 local time (15:00 GMT) on Wednesday. Access was restored by Thursday morning.

It appeared to be a protest against the government’s plan to limit access to sites deemed inappropriate.

Tens of thousands of people have signed a petition against the proposal they call the “Great Firewall of Thailand”.

The name is a reference to the so-called “Great Firewall of China” commonly used to refer to the Chinese government’s censorship over internet content.

‘Inappropriate websites’

A DDoS attack works by exceeding a website’s capacity to handle internet traffic. They are usually orchestrated by a program or bot.

But on Wednesday, calls went out on social media in Thailand encouraging people to visit the websites and repeatedly refresh them.

Among the targets were the site of the ministry of information, communications and technology (ICT) and the main government website thaigov.go.th.

ICT Deputy Permanent Secretary Somsak Khaosuwan said the site did not crash because of an attack but because it was overloaded by visitors checking to see whether and attack was happening, the Bangkok Post reports.

‘Single gateway’

Since seizing power, the Thai military government has increased censorship, blocked websites and criminally charged critics for comments made online.

News it was planning to set up a single government-controlled gateway as a “tool to control inappropriate websites and information flows from other countries” emerged last month.

Internet gateways are the point at which countries connect to the world wide web.

Analysis: Jonathan Head, BBC News, Bangkok

What are Thais angry about?

The cabinet had ordered a single gateway to be imposed in order to block “inappropriate websites” and control the flow of information from overseas. That the decision, made at a cabinet meeting on 30 June, was kept secret has caused more alarm.

Why does the government want a single gateway?

A statement by Minister for Information Uttama Savanayana that the decision was not yet final, and that the single gateway was only intended to reduce the cost of internet access. This was met with disbelief by many Thais, and then the shutdown of government websites.

Will the DDoS have any impact?

Thai netizens insist this is not an attack, but a form of civil disobedience. The military may still push ahead with its firewall, whatever the opposition. The need for control, as it confronts the task of managing a sensitive royal succession, will probably trump any concerns it may have for the digital economy.

Thailand used to have just a single gateway but slow internet speeds led to the liberalisation of the industry and today there are 10, operated by private and state-owned companies.

The apparent attack renewed the vibrant debate over the single gateway plan on social media, with many users declaring the end of privacy.

“Thailand is developing. Thailand is developing into North Korea,” one Twitter user said.

“I personally & professionally support free flow of information & fair competition on ICTs,” said Supinya Klangnarong from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commissions (NBTC) on Facebook.

“Hope NBTC’s website won’t be attacked tonight. An open debate is definitely better than a cyber warfare. Voices of reason shall be heard.”

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34409343