Sleepless Nights at Marriott

Last week, hotel behemoth Marriott disclosed that hackers stole the personal details of 500 million guests…and that the hackers have had access since 2014. Talk about losing sleep.The hijacked data includes names, email and home addresses, passport numbers, dates of birth and more (like um…credit card numbers). That’s right. Apparently the stolen data, included encrypted credit card numbers. Marriott is unable to say if the hackers have been able to crack the encryption and reveal the passwords. Regardless, this is more than a PR nightmare for the hotelier. If Marriott is found guilty of breaking any of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules, the hotel chain could lose more than 4% of its annual revenue, which could easily be in excess of 21.5 million dollars.

Do you suspect that you might be victim of the Marriott hack? CLICK HEREfor some good advice on what you can do.

50K Printers Hacked by YouTube Fan

Now for some lighthearted hacking news. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, a bored hacker forced 50,000 printers to print flyers promoting Youtube star “PewDiePie.” Yes, you read that right. The hacker, aka “TheHackerGiraffe,” explained that, in a fit of boredom after playing video games for 4 hours straight, decided he was in the mood for hacking. He used the IoT search engine Shodan to locate vulnerable printers, and then used a tool called the Printer Exploitation Toolkit to print the flyers. TheHackerGiraffe pointed out that he could have damaged the printers or accessed their internal networks, but he just wanted to spread awareness of insecure systems. In the end, this was sort of a win-win. Or at least a win for PewDiePie and a win for printer vulnerability awareness. You’re welcome internet.

Khashoggi Victim of Cyber Crime?

A lawsuit filed last week by Saudi activist Omar Abdulaziz alleged that his phone was hacked with Pegasus spyware and that his communications with journalist Jamal Khashoggi were intercepted. Abdulaziz states that the data from the hack was used to assassinate Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in October. The company behind Pegasus, the NSO Group, is an Israeli cybersecurity firm that sells spyware. The company responded, saying “…NSO is a technology company that is uninvolved with how our products are used once they are sold to our customers.” Regardless, this case highlights the dangers of spyware and the importance of cybersecurity across both private and public sectors.

FBI Turns the Table on Scammers

OK, this is a good one. Recently unsealed court documents reveal how the FBI tricked a cybercrime gang by setting up a fake webpage. The cybercriminals were posing as Fedex CEO Brian Reh and they managed to contact the accounting department of a company called Gorbel Manufacturing and extract $82,000. Gorbel later alerted the FBI, who came up with a scheme to fool the hackers into connecting to a fake Fedex site that ultimately revealed the hacker’s info through booby-trapped Word files. Chalk this one up as a sweet, ironic win for the good guys!

Ohio Hospital ER Hit With Ransomware

Cybersecurity experts know that it’s only a matter of time before a cyber incident leads directly to loss of life. While that may have already happened somewhere in the world, it came too close for comfort at an Ohio hospital. Over the weekend, a ransomeware attack on critical computer systems sent ambulances away from East Ohio Regional Hospital and Ohio Valley Medical Center. The attack aimed directly for the Emergency Room admittance computers, forcing the hospital to divert patients with potentially life-threatening injuries to other hospitals. The good news is that the hack only impacted patients enroute to the hospital and walk-in patients were able to check in. Still, hacks like this demonstrate just how fragile our infrastructure, and physical safety, is at the hands of cyber-criminals.

Today is the Day

For cybersecurity, today is game day. Well, minus the foam hands and crazy hats (oh, wait). With 24 months since the 2016 presidential elections, this midterm marks the first major test of our new election security precautions that governments and companies have adopted. From voting machines to social media, systems are being deployed to curb abuse and rebuild voter confidence. DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen asserts that today’s election will be “the most secure election we’ve ever had.” We all hope that’s the case.

And the government isn’t the only one keeping an eye out today. Facebook, after months of scrutiny over the 2016 elections, has established an election “war room,” to monitor and deflect any attempts of abuse on it’s platform. The social media giant has already nixed several accounts that appeared to be Russian meddlers and will keep a keen eye out all day.

So far, so good. But then, it’s still early in the day. Come on, America. Let’s do this!

Step Forward, Step Back for Apple

OK, let’s be honest. There are few things like the feeling of opening up a new MacBook or iPhone and trying it out for the first time. And the new round of Apple toys has some pretty sweet new features, especially when it comes to security. But, like most things in life, it seems to be one step forward and one step back for the tech giant. The new MacBooks feature Apple’s custom T2 security chip (a pretty amazing step in computer security) and a microphone that physically disconnects whenever the lid is closed. Two points for Apple.

On the iPhone front, it only took a few hours for a Spanish security researcher to find a passcode bypass hack for the new iOS 12.1. The details are HERE and apparently its unfixable until Apple releases an update to the OS. We assume that’ll be coming anytime. Until then, we’ll be careful but you know we’ll be happily testing out our new Apple gadgets.

Millions (More) of Bluetooth Devices Vulnerable

If you’ve been following the CyberBrief, you know that we’re watching closely the development of bluetooth security, as it affects so much of our lives in a connected world. Recently, security researchers have unveiled details of two critical vulnerabilities in Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) chips embedded in millions of network access points around the world.

The vulnerability, known as BleedingBit, could allow remote attackers to take control of critical medical devices like insulin pumps and pacemakers as well as point-of-sales and other IoT devices. The makers of the vulnerable BLE chips, including Texas Instruments, Cisco and Aruba have all released patches or updates to address the problem.

DoD Opens “Tatooine” Outpost

Yeah, we mean that Tatooine. Well, sort of. The U.S. Department of Defense’s Digital Defense Service has opened its new cybersecurity workspace in Augusta, Georgia and they’ve named it Tatooine, after the fictional Star Wars planet that was home to Luke Skywalker. The new facility is designed to house military and civilian technologists, engineers, designers and other experts and exists to cultivate talent and promote innovative strategies to build cyber capabilities.

The DoD isn’t the only one rolling out new and innovative ways to combat cyber threats. Facilities like Tatooine are popping up across the country. IBM is literally putting cyber on wheels with its new mobile Tactical Operations Center — an 18 wheeler jam packed with the latest in cybersecurity simulation technology. Needless to say, the NCC is inspired by these new cyber efforts and can’t wait for the day when we have something like this right here on the Front Range!

Miss the 2018 Cyber Symposium?

In case you missed it, the 2018 NCC National Cyber Symposium was hosted at the Broadmoor Hotel on Oct 8-9 and it was a tremendous event. We had amazing speakers like John Sileo, General Michael Hayden, NIST Fellow Ron Ross, cyber guru Dan Geer and so many others. If you missed it, look for some of our sessions to be made available online soon. You can catch Ron Ross’ talk now HERE. Oh, and if you want to see a glimpse of what you missed, click HERE