Why Doesn’t Anybody Fire Those Responsible for Heartbleed Getting by OpenSSL? Because Nobody Hired Them! Just a Few Volunteers Maintain This Critical Software.

Posted on April 23rd, 2014 by Dan Rampe

Heartbleed

When the Heartbleed glitch left hackers a wide-open back door in OpenSSL, the software that protects banks, email, social media, government and just about everything else online, it even got the attention of people who were still using Windows 95.

No one has a handle on how much damage may have been caused. Or if the majority of cybercriminals were as clueless about the Heartbleed flaw as the rest of us. One thing is certain. Heartbleed virtually had the entire virtual world in crisis mode. And when an event of this magnitude occurs, there is always a call for finding out who’s responsible and making them pay. So why hasn’t this happened?

Writing on money.cnn.com, Jose Pagliery explains who was holding their fingers in the dike and why holding them (the people, not their fingers) responsible would be like blaming a friend who was house-sitting for a burglary that took place while he was at work. (Note: the following has been modified to fit our format.)

They’re all volunteers. And only one does it as a full-time job.

Their labor of love is OpenSSL, a free program that secures a lot of online communication. And it was a tiny coding slip-up two years ago that caused the Heartbleed bug, a hole that allows attackers to peer into computers. The bug forced emergency changes last week at major websites like Facebook, Google and Yahoo.

But security experts say OpenSSL is severely underfunded, understaffed and largely ignored.

The bug wasn’t caught until recently, because the OpenSSL Software Foundation doesn’t have the resources to properly check every change to the software, which is now nearly half a million lines of code long. And yet that program guards a vast portion of our commerce and government — including weapon systems and smartphones, the foundation claims.

“The mystery is not that a few overworked volunteers missed this bug; the mystery is why it hasn’t happened more often,” Steve Marquess, the foundation’s president, said in an open letter.

When weighed against its critical importance to Internet security, OpenSSL has a shoestring budget. It has never received more than $1 million a year, Marquess said. The only federal support listed online was a single $20,000 renewal contract from the Department of Defense.

While the foundation receives money from the Department of Homeland Security, Citrix and others, the vast majority of its funding is from specific work-for-hire contracts. A company wants a certain feature added here, a specific function there. It keeps developers busy. But Marquess said there’s no money going toward reviewing the code or performing audits.

In fact, the only person working on this full-time is Stephen Henson, an extremely private mathematician living in England who referred to Marquess for comment. Only a handful of other developers pitch in with any consistency, and Marquess told CNN their total labor amounts to maybe two full-time workers.

Even in the aftermath of Heartbleed, the foundation has received only $9,000 — sparking Marquess to publicly call out companies that use OpenSSL for free.

“I’m looking at you, Fortune 1000 companies,” he wrote.

In the wake of Heartbleed, this lack of funding for OpenSSL may prove a wake-up call.

Startups and major corporations frequently use open-source software because it’s freely distributed and costs nothing. But they rarely contribute back in dollars or donated time. Without significant outside help — donating dedicated staff and money without strings attached — open-source projects like this are at risk of fizzling out or blowing up in our faces, said Azorian Cyber Security founder Charles Tendell.

“If you bought your car and knew it was put together by volunteers, how would you feel about that?” Tendell asked.

A select few firms provide some help. Facebook and Microsoft sponsor bug bounties via the HackerOne program — essentially paying hackers to find mistakes that need fixing. And it was a Google security researcher, Neel Mehta, who discovered the Heartbleed bug.

Others are convinced it’s time to chip in. The initial response by Marc Gaffan, cofounder of cloud-security provider Incapsula, was: “What do you expect? You got this for free. You get what you pay for.” But it turns out his company relies on OpenSSL too. When asked if he would lead by example, Gaffan promised his firm would make its first donation.

This recent scare has gotten the White House’s attention. The Obama administration is now “taking a hard look at widely used tools such as OpenSSL to see if there is more that the federal government needs to do — including supporting research and development,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Laura Lucas Magnuson.

There’s a catch, however. The government can only get so close without triggering fears that it’s actually undermining the security of online communications, especially after Edward Snowden’s disclosures about the National Security Agency’s extensive surveillance programs. Former NSA crypto engineer Randy Sabett, now a tech privacy attorney at the Cooley law firm, expects the open-source community will be apprehensive.

“The public does not want the government involved in the design of the commercial Internet,” he said. “They don’t want back doors put in.”

ThreatMetrix® builds trust on the Internet by offering market-leading advanced fraud prevention and frictionless context-based security solutions. These solutions authenticate consumer and workforce access to mission critical applications using real-time identity and access analytics that leverage the world’s largest trusted identity network.

ThreatMetrix secures enterprise applications against account takeover, payment fraud, fraudulent account registrations, malware, and data breaches. Underpinning the solution is the ThreatMetrix® Global Trust Intelligence Network, which analyzes over 500 million monthly transactions and protects more than 160 million active user accounts across 2,500 customers and 10,000 websites.

The ThreatMetrix solution is deployed across a variety of industries, including financial services, enterprise, e-commerce, payments, social networks, government and insurance.

For more information, visit www.threatmetrix.com or call 1-408-200-5755.

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You Don’t Have to Be Young, Old, Rich, Poor, Male or Female. Any Race, Religion or Nationality Will Do. You Don’t Even Have to Be Alive. Larry Magid on Identity Theft – and How to Avoid It.

Posted on April 22nd, 2014 by Dan Rampe

Center for Identity Theft

Technology columnist and commentator, Larry Magid, discusses what he learned at the Center for Identity’s ID 360 conference, where experts from around the world gathered to talk about identity theft and how not to become a victim. (The following has been edited to fit our format.)

Identity theft is a problem from cradle to grave, said Suzanne Barber, director of the Center for Identity Theft. “More and information is being asked for by different organizations,” she noted. “The book club asks for information along with the grocery store, and you’re left with a dilemma — ‘I want the services and access that these different originations provide but they want a lot of information about me.”‘

One thing you should avoid sharing, she said, is your Social Security number, which is very valuable to identity thieves. A lot of businesses ask for your Social Security number to verify your identity but there are often other ways to do this.

I give my Social Security number to banks when I open a new account because it’s a government requirement that they have it for tax purposes. But when a doctor’s office asked for it recently, I declined because they don’t need it to bill me or my insurance company and they certainly don’t need it to treat me. If anyone asks for your Social Security number, ask why they need it.

Barber said parents should be especially careful when it comes to their children’s Social Security numbers. She said children are 35 times more likely than adults to be identity theft victims. One reason is because children almost always have clean credit ratings, which makes them very valuable to identity thieves. Also, said Barber, parents tend not to monitor their children’s Social Security numbers and credit ratings, so they’re less likely to uncover a child’s identity theft until they’ve been victimized.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, warning signs that your child may have been victimized include their being turned down for government benefits because the benefits are being paid to another account using your child’s Social Security number. Other warnings include a notice from the Internal Revenue Service that the child’s Social Security number was used on another tax return or bills or collection calls for products or services not received.

Whether a child or an adult, you should check your credit reports at least once a year. You can get a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228. This program is sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission. Do not confuse it with other credit reporting services that have “free” in their name.

I recommend that you check your bank and credit and debit card activity regularly. If you don’t already have an online account with your bank, set one up and go in frequently to look for recent activity, which is sometimes posted immediately after a transaction occurs. If you find anything suspicious, report it right away so you’re not charged and so the bank can investigate. This is especially important for debit cards because the bank will deduct any charges from your account immediately and you need to get them to reimburse you for any fraudulent charges.

Other types of identity theft risks include fraudulent tax returns, which could result in someone else getting your refund. There is also medical fraud — people getting medical services billed to your insurance account or prescriptions in your name. ID 360 conference speaker Ann Patterson said another risk is “misdiagnosis, mistreatment or delay in treatment,” due to someone getting medical care in your name.

The Identity Theft Resource Center advises people to use a cross-cut shredder to dispose of documents with personal information. They also advise that you “know your billing cycles and contact creditors when bills fail to show up.” That’s one piece of advice I would have never thought of. Few of us particularly enjoy getting bills, but better us than an identity thief.

ThreatMetrix® builds trust on the Internet by offering market-leading advanced fraud prevention and frictionless context-based security solutions. These solutions authenticate consumer and workforce access to mission critical applications using real-time identity and access analytics that leverage the world’s largest trusted identity network.

ThreatMetrix secures enterprise applications against account takeover, payment fraud, fraudulent account registrations, malware, and data breaches. Underpinning the solution is the ThreatMetrix® Global Trust Intelligence Network, which analyzes over 500 million monthly transactions and protects more than 160 million active user accounts across 2,500 customers and 10,000 websites.

The ThreatMetrix solution is deployed across a variety of industries, including financial services, enterprise, e-commerce, payments, social networks, government and insurance.

For more information, visit www.threatmetrix.com or call 1-408-200-5755.

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With Credit and Debit Card Fraud Nearly Doubling Between 2012 and 2013, Financial Pros Are “Doubling Down” on Security.

Posted on April 20th, 2014 by Dan Rampe

Credit Card Fraud

The Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) surveyed more than 5000 members. The result? As a reaction to ongoing and persistent credit and debit card fraud, most companies are increasing or seriously considering increasing security.

The “2014 AFP Payments Fraud and Control Survey” found that 63 percent of polled organizations have already added or planned to add new security measures including secure signature stamps, electronic stamps, and storing payment data with third-party vendors.

Quoted in a piece on associationsnow.com, AFP’s president and CEO, Jim Kaitz said, “Criminals will try to stay a step ahead. But with potential liability increasing for merchants, companies are taking a hard look at where their own vulnerabilities lie. This is especially important for big companies with complex systems, which are frequent targets for fraud.”

Last year, according to the study, 60 percent of organizations were exposed to fraud or attempted fraud. And according to Katie Bascuas’ piece on associationsnow.com, while checks were the most common form of payment fraud in 2013, fraudulent activity using credit and debit cards nearly doubled between 2012 and 2013.

Mallory Duncan, general counsel for the National Retail Federation, places much of the blame on technology. Duncan told Reuters, “The technology that exists in cards out there is 20th-century technology, and we’ve got 21st-century hackers.”

Whether banks, retailers or credit card companies would pay for the upgrades is still to be determined. One solution the Electronic Transactions Association is working on is chip-based Europay, MasterCard, and Visa (EMV) cards, which would help stop criminals from counterfeiting cards using stolen account numbers. However, it would do nothing to prevent cybercrooks from using stolen credit card numbers online.

The Retail Industry Association said it intended to launch the RILA Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Initiative to improve payment card security, establish a cybersecurity leaders’ council, and call for federal data-breach notification legislation.

RILA President Sandy Kennedy said, “By working together with public-private sector stakeholders, our ability to develop innovative solutions and anticipate threats will grow, enhancing our collective security and giving customers the service and peace of mind they deserve.”

ThreatMetrix® builds trust on the Internet by offering market-leading advanced fraud prevention and frictionless context-based security solutions. These solutions authenticate consumer and workforce access to mission critical applications using real-time identity and access analytics that leverage the world’s largest trusted identity network.

ThreatMetrix secures enterprise applications against account takeover, payment fraud, fraudulent account registrations, malware, and data breaches. Underpinning the solution is the ThreatMetrix® Global Trust Intelligence Network, which analyzes over 500 million monthly transactions and protects more than 160 million active user accounts across 2,500 customers and 10,000 websites.

The ThreatMetrix solution is deployed across a variety of industries, including financial services, enterprise, e-commerce, payments, social networks, government and insurance.

For more information, visit www.threatmetrix.com or call 1-408-200-5755.

Join the cybersecurity conversation by visiting the ThreatMetrix blogFacebookLinkedIn and Twitter pages.

Breaches Bad for Californians’ Health. Patients’ Personal Medical Record Data Stolen in 3 Separate Incidents

Posted on April 19th, 2014 by Dan Rampe

Healthcare

Old-fashioned burglary to cutting-edge malware put patients’ data at risk from one end of California to the other.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Torrance, California’s Sutherland Healthcare Solutions, a medical billing and collections company, was burglarized and eight computers taken. Data stored on those computers included 338,700 patients’ first and last names, Social Security numbers and certain billing information. Also possibly compromised were birth dates, addresses and diagnoses.

Patients were offered free credit monitoring. That didn’t stop the filing of three class-action suits. Meanwhile, the police, the L.A. County D.A.’s cybercrime team and the U.S. Secret Service are investigating.

Writing on fiercehealthit.com, Ashley Gold reports that in Orange County, the La Palma Intercommunity Hospital learned in September 2012 that an employee, who was not authorized, accessed Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, addresses, birth dates and some medical information. However the hospital didn’t notify patients of the employee’s spying for more than a year.

At the other end of the state, in Northern California, Kaiser Permanente told 5,100 patients, who participated in a research study, that their information was compromised when malicious software infected a Kaiser server. The stolen data included first and last names, addresses, race/ethnicity, medical record numbers, lab results and responses to the study. And, according to Government Health IT, it took Kaiser more than two and half years to discover the breach.

A recent report by IT security audit firm Redspin noted that more than 7 million patient records were breached last year, an increase of 138 percent from 2012.

ThreatMetrix® builds trust on the Internet by offering market-leading advanced fraud prevention and frictionless context-based security solutions. These solutions authenticate consumer and workforce access to mission critical applications using real-time identity and access analytics that leverage the world’s largest trusted identity network.

ThreatMetrix secures enterprise applications against account takeover, payment fraud, fraudulent account registrations, malware, and data breaches. Underpinning the solution is the ThreatMetrix® Global Trust Intelligence Network, which analyzes over 500 million monthly transactions and protects more than 160 million active user accounts across 2,500 customers and 10,000 websites.

The ThreatMetrix solution is deployed across a variety of industries, including financial services, enterprise, e-commerce, payments, social networks, government and insurance.

For more information, visit www.threatmetrix.com or call 1-408-200-5755.

Join the cybersecurity conversation by visiting the ThreatMetrix blogFacebookLinkedIn and Twitter pages.

 

What Do You Get When You Mix Malware with More People than Ever Doing E-commerce Online Transactions? 28.4 Million Cyberattacks.

Posted on April 18th, 2014 by Dan Rampe

Malware

A new study, “Financial Cyber Threats in 2013,” from Kaspersky Lab says cyberattacks using financial malware increased 27.6 percent in 2013 over the previous year.

Cybercriminals used every possible maltechnology (yes we just coined the word) including banking Trojans, keyloggers and two new types of malware; one targets Bitcoin wallets, the other downloads software to generate the crypto-currency.

Kaspersky Lab senior security researcher, Sergey Lozhkin, said, “The popularity of banking Trojans and other programs targeting financial data is due to the fact cybercriminals can use them to make money quickly. The current situation has forced users and financial institutions to take active measures against online threats, while security software vendors have to develop new protection solutions.”

Banking Trojans such as Zbot, Carberp, and SpyEye were responsible for about two-thirds of financial malware in 2013. However, their “market share” decreased compared to 2012 because most of the attacks were aimed at Bitcoin users. Keylogger use also decreased because cybercriminals opted for improved specialized programs.

Compared to the previous year, financial attacks on Russian users declined by 9.19 percent while attacks on American users increased from 17.56 percent in 2012 to 30.8 percent in 2013. The proportion of attacks on German users almost doubled from 5.83 percent to 9.32 percent.

Also of note in the study:

• 31.45% of all phishing attacks in 2013 targeted financial institutions.

• 22.2% of all attacks involved fake bank websites; the share of banking phishing doubled over 2012.

• In 2013, the number of cyberattacks involving malware designed to steal financial data rose by 27.6% to 28.4 million. The number of users attacked by this financial-targeting malware reached 3.8 million, an 18.6% increase year on year.

• In the study’s malware sample collection, the number of malicious Android applications designed to steal financial data rose almost fivefold in the second half of 2013, from 265 samples in June to 1321 in December.

ThreatMetrix® builds trust on the Internet by offering market-leading advanced fraud prevention and frictionless context-based security solutions. These solutions authenticate consumer and workforce access to mission critical applications using real-time identity and access analytics that leverage the world’s largest trusted identity network.

ThreatMetrix secures enterprise applications against account takeover, payment fraud, fraudulent account registrations, malware, and data breaches. Underpinning the solution is the ThreatMetrix® Global Trust Intelligence Network, which analyzes over 500 million monthly transactions and protects more than 160 million active user accounts across 2,500 customers and 10,000 websites.

The ThreatMetrix solution is deployed across a variety of industries, including financial services, enterprise, e-commerce, payments, social networks, government and insurance.

For more information, visit www.threatmetrix.com or call 1-408-200-5755.

Join the cybersecurity conversation by visiting the ThreatMetrix blogFacebookLinkedIn and Twitter pages.

 

 

 

 

Tired of Hearing about Heartbleed? Do Something About It. ThreatMetrix Strategies for “Staunching” Heartbleed and Any Similar Threats in the Future.

Posted on April 16th, 2014 by Dan Rampe

Heartbleed

After going unnoticed for two years, researchers discovered Heartbleed, the flaw that could let a hacker defeat OpenSSL, the most common encryption technology on the Internet. Another way of saying it is Heartbleed put 66 percent of servers worldwide at the mercy of cybercriminals. And another way of saying that is email, instant messaging, e-commerce transactions and more were being jeopardized in every corner of the planet, exposing passwords, credit card numbers and other personal data.

The Heartbleed security flaw was a danger to websites and the mobile applications and networking equipment that connect homes and businesses to the Internet, including such things as routers and printers. In short, the flaw presented a danger to the entire Internet of Things, i.e., any device from air conditioners to refrigerators that could be connected online.

After putting in a patch to fix the flaw, many, if not most online businesses, only had one strategy to offer users: change your passwords.

“Today it’s Heartbleed and tomorrow it will be another data breach or vulnerability,” said Alisdair Faulkner, chief products officer, ThreatMetrix.

“Passwords are a static means of security and are frankly obsolete as a stand-alone authentication solution in today’s cybersecurity landscape. Once account login information is obtained, cybercriminals have access to personal data used for committing bank fraud or falsifying credit card transactions – the possibilities are endless. Security should not just rely on point-in-time authentication solutions. Instead, continuous evaluation of trust is required based on what the user is attempting to do.”

ThreatMetrix’s preventative cybersecurity strategies offer protection that goes well beyond passwords and other forms of static authentication:

Real-time trust analytics – Move beyond just big-data collection and improve effectiveness of controls with real-time analysis of device, location, identity and behavioral context for every authentication attempt. Real-time trust analytics offer unprecedented identity authentication policies for businesses and enterprises by comparing against global benchmarks derived from peers in their industry, the size and scale of the enterprise, geographic location and more.

Enhanced mobile identification – Detects jailbroken devices and offers location-based authentication, protecting mobile transactions by indicating when the mobile operating system has been breached and the security of applications has been compromised.

“To protect against future attacks like Heartbleed, businesses need to move beyond legacy verification and authentication solutions and recognize the benefits of leveraging a collective approach to cybersecurity,” said Faulkner. “The ThreatMetrix® Global Trust Intelligence Network (The Network) delivers real-time intelligence, providing customers with consistent risk assessments of data and creating a digital persona of users by mapping their online behaviors and devices.”

Consumers can protect their online identities and personal information from threats like Heartbleed by ensuring location information on social networks is encrypted and by using different passwords across sites and never storing them on devices.

ThreatMetrix® builds trust on the Internet by offering market-leading advanced fraud prevention and frictionless context-based security solutions. These solutions authenticate consumer and workforce access to mission critical applications using real-time identity and access analytics that leverage the world’s largest trusted identity network.

ThreatMetrix secures enterprise applications against account takeover, payment fraud, fraudulent account registrations, malware, and data breaches. Underpinning the solution is the ThreatMetrix® Global Trust Intelligence Network, which analyzes over 500 million monthly transactions and protects more than 160 million active user accounts across 2,500 customers and 10,000 websites.

The ThreatMetrix solution is deployed across a variety of industries, including financial services, enterprise, e-commerce, payments, social networks, government and insurance.

For more information, visit www.threatmetrix.com or call 1-408-200-5755.

Join the cybersecurity conversation by visiting the ThreatMetrix blogFacebookLinkedIn and Twitter pages.

Heartbleed Part II: Some Online Passwords That Do and Don’t Need Changing to Relieve Some of the Heartburn Caused by Heartbleed

Posted on April 11th, 2014 by Dan Rampe

Heartbleed

The Heartbleed flaw: In no time, it went from “That the name of a band?” to “The sky is falling. The sky is falling.” Now, if by chance you’ve been on Mars or in a marketing meeting (or in a marketing meeting on Mars) the last few days, Heartbleed is an encryption flaw in the Open SSL cryptographic software library.

Two-thirds of web servers worldwide use the Open SSL cryptographic software library to connect with end users and guard against digital eavesdropping. While the flaw was just discovered, it has been open to hackers for approximately two years. Best of all (that, of course is sarcasm) if a hacker were stealing data, nobody would know because the flaw made it possible to steal logins and passwords without leaving evidence the hacker was even there.

If you’re over 23 (give or take), you’re aware of the Y2K computer flaw when it was predicted that at 12:01 a.m. New Year’s Day 2000, planes would fall out of the sky, commerce would cease and there would be rioting, looting and chaos worldwide. And worst of all: no 2000 Super Bowl!

The point is no one exactly knows if data has been compromised or if hackers even knew about the flaw. Now, there is a fix and affected companies have either implemented it or are in the process of implementing it.

Mashable.com surveyed some of the most frequented sites on the web to find out the status of their fixes and whether they advised customers to change their passwords. Following is a partial list. You may find their complete list on mashable.com, “The Heartbleed Hit List: The Passwords You Need to Change Now.”

ThreatMetrix® builds trust on the Internet by offering market-leading advanced fraud prevention and frictionless context-based security solutions. These solutions authenticate consumer and workforce access to mission critical applications using real-time identity and access analytics that leverage the world’s largest trusted identity network.

ThreatMetrix secures enterprise applications against account takeover, payment fraud, fraudulent account registrations, malware, and data breaches. Underpinning the solution is the ThreatMetrix® Global Trust Intelligence Network, which analyzes over 500 million monthly transactions and protects more than 160 million active user accounts across 2,500 customers and 10,000 websites.

The ThreatMetrix solution is deployed across a variety of industries, including financial services, enterprise, e-commerce, payments, social networks, government and insurance.

For more information, visit www.threatmetrix.com or call 1-408-200-5755.

Join the cybersecurity conversation by visiting the ThreatMetrix blogFacebookLinkedIn and Twitter pages.

 

Let’s Put Our Cards on the Table. U.S. Briefs China on Cyberwarfare Plans.

Posted on April 10th, 2014 by Dan Rampe

China

The U.S. is briefing China’s military how it plans to defend against cyberattacks and use cybertechnology against adversaries. China, for its part, is saying nothing about its plans. Does this sound like playing poker with just your hold card showing? Anyway, you gotta hope somebody’s playing with a full deck.

In his piece in The New York Times, David E. Sanger explains the idea behind the American strategy and what the U.S. hopes to accomplish with the new cyber openness. (The story has been edited to fit our format.)

The idea was to allay Chinese concerns about plans to more than triple the number of American cyberwarriors to 6,000 by the end of 2016, a force that will include new teams the Pentagon plans to deploy to each military combatant command around the world. But the hope was to prompt the Chinese to give Washington a similar briefing about the many People’s Liberation Army units that are believed to be behind the escalating attacks on American corporations and government networks.

So far, the Chinese have not reciprocated.

The effort, senior Pentagon officials say, is to head off what Mr. Hagel and his advisers fear is the growing possibility of a fast-escalating series of cyberattacks and counterattacks between the United States and China. This is a concern especially at a time of mounting tensions over China’s expanding claims of control over what it argues are exclusive territories in the East and South China Seas, and over a new air defense zone. In interviews, American officials say their latest initiatives were inspired by Cold-War-era exchanges held with the Soviets so that each side understood the “red lines” for employing nuclear weapons against each other.

“Think of this in terms of the Cuban missile crisis,” one senior Pentagon official said. While the United States “suffers attacks every day,” he said, “the last thing we would want to do is misinterpret an attack and escalate to a real conflict.”

Mr. Hagel’s concern is spurred by the fact that in the year since President Obama explicitly brought up the barrage of Chinese-origin attacks on the United States with his newly installed counterpart, President Xi Jinping, the pace of those attacks has increased. Most continue to be aimed at stealing technology and other intellectual property from Silicon Valley, military contractors and energy firms. Many are believed to be linked to cyberwarfare units of the People’s Liberation Army acting on behalf of state-owned, or state-affiliated, Chinese companies.

“To the Chinese, this isn’t first and foremost a military weapon, it’s an economic weapon,” said Laura Galante, a former Defense Intelligence Agency cyberspecialist.

Administration officials acknowledge that Mr. Hagel, on his first trip to China as defense secretary, has a very difficult case to make, far more complicated than last year. The Pentagon plans to spend $26 billion on cybertechnology over the next five years — much of it for defense of the military’s networks, but billions for developing offensive weapons — and that sum does not include budgets for the intelligence community’s efforts in more covert operations. It is one of the few areas, along with drones and Special Operations forces, that are getting more investment at a time of overall Pentagon cutbacks.

Moreover, disclosures about America’s own focus on cyberweaponry — including American-led attacks on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and National Security Agency documents revealed in the trove taken by Edward J. Snowden, the former agency contractor — detail the degree to which the United States has engaged in what the intelligence world calls “cyberexploitation” of targets in China.

The revelation by The New York Times and the German magazine Der Spiegel that the United States has pierced the networks of Huawei, China’s giant networking and telecommunications company, prompted Mr. Xi to raise the issue with Mr. Obama at a meeting in The Hague two weeks ago. The attack on Huawei, called Operation Shotgiant, was intended to determine whether the company was a front for the army, but also focused on learning how to get inside Huawei’s networks to conduct surveillance or cyberattacks against countries — Iran, Cuba, Pakistan and beyond — that buy the Chinese-made equipment. Other cyberattacks revealed in the documents focused on piercing China’s major telecommunications companies and wireless networks, particularly those used by the Chinese leadership and its most sensitive military units.

Mr. Obama told the Chinese president that the United States, unlike China, did not use its technological powers to steal corporate data and give it to its own companies; its spying, one of Mr. Obama’s aides later told reporters, is solely for “national security priorities.” But to the Chinese, for whom national and economic security are one, that argument carries little weight.

“We clearly don’t occupy the moral high ground that we once thought we did,” said one senior administration official.

For that reason, the disclosures changed the discussion between the top officials at the Pentagon and the State Department and their Chinese counterparts in quiet meetings intended to work out what one official called “an understanding of rules of the road, norms of behavior,” for China and the United States.

The decision to conduct a briefing for the Chinese on American military doctrine for the use of cyberweapons was a controversial one, not least because the Obama administration has almost never done that for the American public, though elements of the doctrine can be pieced together from statements by senior officials and a dense “Presidential Decision Directive” on such activities signed by Mr. Obama in 2012. (The White House released declassified excerpts at the time; Mr. Snowden released the whole document.)

Mr. Hagel alluded to the doctrine a week ago when he went to the retirement ceremony for Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the first military officer to jointly command the N.S.A. and the military’s Cyber Command. General Alexander was succeeded last week by Adm. Michael S. Rogers, who as the head of the Navy’s Fleet Cyber Command was a central player in developing a corps of experts who could conduct cyberwarfare alongside more traditional Navy forces.

“The United States does not seek to militarize cyberspace,” Mr. Hagel said at the ceremony, held at the N.S.A.’s headquarters at Fort Meade, Md. He went on to describe a doctrine of “minimal use” of cyberweaponry against other states. The statement was meant to assure other nations — not just China — that the United States would not routinely use its growing arsenal against them.

In Beijing, the defense secretary “is going to stress to the Chinese that we in the military are going to be as transparent as possible,” said Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, “and we want the same openness and transparency and restraint from them.”

Experts here and in China point out that a lot was left out of Mr. Hagel’s statement last week. The United States separates offensive operations of the kind that disabled roughly 1,000 centrifuges in Iran’s nuclear program, America’s best-known (and still unacknowledged) cyberattack against another state, from the far more common computer-enabled espionage of the kind carried out against the Chinese to gather information about a potential adversary.

“It’s clear that cyberspace is already militarized, because we’ve seen countries using cyber for military purposes for 15 years,” said James Lewis, an expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The Chinese have had offensive capabilities for years as well,” he said, along with “more than a dozen countries that admit they are developing them.”

ThreatMetrix® builds trust on the Internet by offering market-leading advanced fraud prevention and frictionless context-based security solutions. These solutions authenticate consumer and workforce access to mission critical applications using real-time identity and access analytics that leverage the world’s largest trusted identity network.

ThreatMetrix secures enterprise applications against account takeover, payment fraud, fraudulent account registrations, malware, and data breaches. Underpinning the solution is the ThreatMetrix™ Global Trust Intelligence Network, which analyzes over 500 million monthly transactions and protects more than 160 million active user accounts across 2,500 customers and 10,000 websites.

The ThreatMetrix solution is deployed across a variety of industries, including financial services, enterprise, e-commerce, payments, social networks, government and insurance.

For more information, visit www.threatmetrix.com or call 1-408-200-5755.

Join the cybersecurity conversation by visiting the ThreatMetrix blogFacebookLinkedIn and Twitter pages.

It’s Dubbed “Heartbleed” and Is about as Serious as a Heart Attack. Security Flaw Opens Up Two-Thirds of Web Servers Worldwide to Hackers

Posted on April 9th, 2014 by Dan Rampe

Heartbleed

OpenSSL researchers announced the release of a fix for the “glitch” discovered in the Open SSL cryptographic software library that two-thirds of web servers worldwide use to connect with end users and guard against digital eavesdropping. UNFORTUNATELY, the fix may be coming a couple of years too late — because that’s about as long as the flaw has been available to hackers.

In his piece on policymic.com, Tom McKay says that the bug that allows for easy untraceable breaches of secure systems, which control everything from banking to retail to email, was originally discovered by Google researcher Neel Mehta.

The OpenSSL team reports McKay described the difference between this software flaw and others. “Bugs in single software or library come and go and are fixed by new versions. However this bug has left a large amount of private keys and other secrets exposed to the Internet. Considering the long exposure, ease of exploitations and attacks leaving no trace this exposure should be taken seriously.”

Or putting it in language a farmer might use—Is this fix like closing the barn door after the cows have gotten out?

To demonstrate how the flaw could be used, the research team was able to breach Yahoo security and steal email logins and passwords without leaving evidence it was ever there.

In the OpenSSL team’s own words, “We attacked ourselves from outside, without leaving a trace. Without using any privileged information or credentials we were able steal from ourselves the secret keys used for our X.509 certificates, user names and passwords, instant messages, emails and business critical documents and communication.

“Anyone who noticed and exploited the bug since it was introduced on March 14, 2012 could have easy access to an incomprehensible number of secure systems.”

TechCrunch noted that “even encrypted data illegally stolen from servers could eventually be forced open either with more stolen data or other methods, depending on server configuration.”

Until servers are updated worldwide, data remains at risk. So until the servers are updated does everybody just go fishing (and we mean fishing not phishing)?

Well, Tumblr sent out this alert to its users:

Urgent security update

Bad news. A major vulnerability, known as “Heartbleed,” has been disclosed for the technology that powers encryption across the majority of the internet. That includes Tumblr.

We have no evidence of any breach and, like most networks, our team took immediate action to fix the issue.

But this still means that the little lock icon (HTTPS) we all trusted to keep our passwords, personal emails, and credit cards safe, was actually making all that private information accessible to anyone who knew about the exploit.

This might be a good day to call in sick and take some time to change your passwords everywhere—especially your high-security services like email, file storage, and banking, which may have been compromised by this bug.

You’ll be hearing more in the news over the coming days.

Take care.

Besides change your passwords, “take care” is always good advice. However, in this situation it may not be all that useful.

Something that is useful to know comes from the technology news and media network, The Verge, which says “Google, Apple, and Microsoft are all unaffected, as well as most major e-banking services.”

ThreatMetrix® builds trust on the Internet by offering market-leading advanced fraud prevention and frictionless context-based security solutions. These solutions authenticate consumer and workforce access to mission critical applications using real-time identity and access analytics that leverage the world’s largest trusted identity network.

ThreatMetrix secures enterprise applications against account takeover, payment fraud, fraudulent account registrations, malware, and data breaches. Underpinning the solution is the ThreatMetrix™ Global Trust Intelligence Network, which analyzes over 500 million monthly transactions and protects more than 160 million active user accounts across 2,500 customers and 10,000 websites.

The ThreatMetrix solution is deployed across a variety of industries, including financial services, enterprise, e-commerce, payments, social networks, government and insurance.

For more information, visit www.threatmetrix.com or call 1-408-200-5755.

Join the cybersecurity conversation by visiting the ThreatMetrix blogFacebookLinkedIn and Twitter pages.

 

ThreatMetrix to Exhibit Advanced Fraud Prevention Solutions at NACHA PAYMENTS 2014

Posted on April 4th, 2014 by Dan Rampe

The ThreatMetrix Global Trust Intelligence Network Provides Payments Professionals with a Collective Approach to Cybersecurity

San Jose, CA – April 4, 2014 – ThreatMetrix®, the fastest-growing provider of context-based security and advanced fraud prevention solutions, announced today it is exhibiting in booth 613 at NACHA PAYMENTS 2014, the largest and most comprehensive education event for the payments industry, April 6 – 9 at the Orlando World Center Marriott.

NACHA, The Electronic Payments Association, manages the development, administration and governance of the ACH Network – the backbone for the electronic movement of money and data. The ACH Network provides a safe, secure and reliable network for direct account-to-account consumer, business and government payments.

NACHA PAYMENTS 2014 brings together more than 2,300 payments professionals and nearly 100 industry leaders at an interactive conference that provides attendees with the right tools to drive the right solutions and revenue opportunities.

“Wherever money flows, payment fraud is likely to follow,” said Bert Rankin, chief marketing officer, ThreatMetrix. “Through our participation at NACHA PAYMENTS, attendees can learn how to move beyond legacy verification and authentication solutions and leverage a collective approach to cybersecurity – the ThreatMetrix® Global Trust Intelligence Network (The Network) – to prevent payment fraud.”

The ThreatMetrix TrustDefender™ Cybercrime Protection Platform leverages the collective power of The Network and is the leading payment fraud prevention solution. It enables companies to implement payment fraud prevention and security strategies that drive incremental revenue, increase customer confidence and reduce chargebacks. With the TrustDefender Cybercrime Protection Platform, businesses can:

• Profile devices and identify threats

• Examine users’ identities and activity

• Configure business rules to reflect their exact requirements

• Validate business policies to minimize customer friction

• Generate detailed analysis and reports

About ThreatMetrix

ThreatMetrix builds trust on the Internet by offering market-leading advanced fraud prevention and frictionless context-based security solutions. These solutions authenticate consumer and workforce access to mission critical applications using real-time identity and access analytics that leverage the world’s largest trusted identity network.

ThreatMetrix secures enterprise applications against account takeover, payment fraud, fraudulent account registrations, malware, and data breaches. Underpinning the solution is the ThreatMetrix™ Global Trust Intelligence Network, which analyzes over 500 million monthly transactions and protects more than 160 million active user accounts across 2,500 customers and 10,000 websites.

The ThreatMetrix solution is deployed across a variety of industries, including financial services, enterprise, e-commerce, payments, social networks, government and insurance.

For more information, visit www.threatmetrix.com or call 1-408-200-5755.

Join the cybersecurity conversation by visiting the ThreatMetrix blogFacebookLinkedIn and Twitter pages.

© 2014 ThreatMetrix. All rights reserved. ThreatMetrix, TrustDefender ID, TrustDefender Cloud, TrustDefender Mobile, TrustDefender Client, the TrustDefender Cybercrime Protection Platform, ThreatMetrix Labs, and the ThreatMetrix logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of ThreatMetrix in the United States and other countries. All other brand, service or product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or owners.

Media Contacts
Dan Rampe
ThreatMetrix
Tel: 408-200-5716
Email: drampe@threatmetrix.com

Beth Kempton
WalkerSands Communications
Tel: 312.241.11178
Email: beth.kempton@walkersands.com