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Respect in Security seeks to stamp out industry harassment

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Around a third of cybersecurity professionals have had personal experience of harassment online (32%) and in-person (35%), according to a study from Respect in Security – a new initiative set up to support victims and encourage coordinated industry action to tackle the problem.

Respect in Security engaged Sapio Research to poll 302 industry professionals (male, female and non-binary) across multiple age groups, organisation sizes and levels of seniority.

Of those that reported experiencing in-person harassment, most said it came at industry events (36%), in the office (47%) or work socials (48%).

Online harassment is most likely to have occurred on Twitter (44%) or email (37%).

Respondents who had suffered from harassment online and in-person were fairly evenly split between male, female and non-binary respondents.

Although 82% of those polled said their organisation has an anti-harassment policy and complaints procedure, nearly half (45%) argued that their employer should do more to ensure all employees understand what constitutes harassment and what acceptable behaviour looks like.

A further 40% said organisations need to improve the transparency of processes to show that any cases of harassment are acknowledged and investigated promptly.

As it stands, 16% of respondents said they would not tell anyone if they witnessed or were a victim of harassment, either by choosing not to (9%) or because they’re too scared to (7%).

“Harassment comes in many forms. It might be online or in-person, physical, verbal or non-verbal, and involve direct communication or deliberate action to exclude individuals. It violates personal dignity and can create an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the victims,” said Rik Ferguson, co-founder of Respect in Security.

“As much as we’re tempted to retaliate against what we see happening, it’s not always the best way to deal with this kind of behaviour”, said Lisa Forte, co-founder of Respect in Security.  “We would instead like the industry to come together to eradicate harassment and make the perpetrators accountable for their actions through official channels. We urge all organisations to sign our pledge today.”

Over two-fifths (44%) of cybersecurity professionals believe that reports of harassment in the industry are fairly accurate, and a quarter (25%) think they are highly under representative.

Respect in Security urges all employers to sign its pledge and help to build a more tolerant and respectful industry. The pledge is not only a commitment to a respectful environment within your own company, but a promise to publish your grievance policy externally, there is no place for harassment anywhere within the industry.

Cyberattacks surge by 33% in a year

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According to the data presented by Atlas VPN, cyberattacks have increased by 33% since last year – The total amount of malicious attacks in Q1 rose from 538 in 2020 to 713 in 2021.

In January 2020, there were a total of 160 cyberattacks. Meanwhile, January 2021 saw 183 malicious attacks — 14% more than the same month last year.

Looking at February’s numbers, we can see a tremendous increase in cyberattacks in 2021 compared to 2020. Malicious attacks jumped by 33% from 191 in 2020 to 254 in 2021.

In March 2021, cyberattacks grew more than 50% compared to March 2020. The total number of attacks went up from 187 to 276.

Cybersecurity writer and researcher at Atlas VPN, William Sword, said: “A significant increase in cyberattacks has shown that many companies or government administrations are not prepared to handle cybersecurity threats. With more and more people becoming victims of hackers, responsible institutions should step up their efforts in the cybersecurity field.”

Cybercriminals employ various techniques to penetrate vulnerable systems. Malware continues to be one of the most used techniques for cyberattacks. In Q1 2021 it was employed in 32% of all cyberattack cases. Hackers use malware to trick a victim into providing personal data for identity theft.

Unknown attacks were the second most-used in the first quarter of this year at 22%. The unknown threat is classified as such when a security product cannot recognize its code, which is why it is tough to stop such attacks.

Next up is account takeover (ATO). This type of cyberattack technique was used in 14% of all cyberattacks in Q1 2021.

Click here to read the full report.

Cybersecurity in Financial Services: Remaining compliant and reducing risk with automation

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By LogRhythm

Businesses in the financial services sector have to manage enormous risk, wealth and personally identifiable information (PII), all while meeting strict regulatory requirements.  

As the proliferation of financial data continues to grow, organizations face the task of continuously protecting that information and keeping it secure, while maintaining a reputation in the financial sector. Despite this, many security teams lack the resources and funding to keep up with the evolving threat landscape and ecosystem of regulatory compliance rules.

The Complexity of Complying

For financial services organizations, cybersecurity is about minimising risk for both the customers and the business. This includes compliance, it is vital organizations reduce the possibility of further fines or other penalties by implementing security measures. 

On top of this, security teams are often attempting to mitigate threats manually, increasing effort and stress. Analysts need to eliminate the time spent writing scripts, building rules and creating reports to allow focus on evolving attacks.

Automating Processes for Financial Security

Implementing prebuilt content which is specifically mapped to the individual controls of each regulation enables instant results that do the heavy lifting for you. Combining compliance automation software with Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) gives analysts the resources to comply with necessary mandates more efficiently and effectively than previous manual processes. A SIEM platform can facilitate security teams to improve detection, mitigation and response capabilities.

Furthermore, automation systems allow workflows to be more streamlined to help analysts combat evolving threats by removing manual tasks and enriching data with contextual details consistently.

An Expanding Compliance Environment

Looking forward, the financial sector is expected to face continued vulnerabilities in its technological offerings, both online and traditional brick and mortar. With compliance automation systems at the forefront, patterns of fraudulent activity will be detected at a greater rate, increasing the likelihood of mitigation before impact. 

The compliance environment can only extend further, with more regulatory requirements coming into play. Financial organizations should be prepared for stricter security rules becoming a necessity to protecting both customer and business data.

LogRhythm’s offerings provide financial services organizations with industry-leading automation, compliance and auditing support, comprehensive reporting and protection against advanced cyberthreatsLearn more >

Progress your career with a funded Cyber Security Apprenticeship

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This funded Degree Apprenticeship programme from De Montfort University (DMU) is a great opportunity to work towards becoming a fully-competent cyber security professional.

Businesses often find their workforce has gaps in the specific digital skills needed to protect them from cyber security threats. The Cyber Security Technical Professional Integrated Degree Apprenticeship provides the essential skills and knowledge to ensure individuals can become independent cyber security professionals who can operate within business, technology or engineering functions across a range of industry sectors. Apprentices will develop skills which enable them to lead teams that research, analyse, model and assess cyber risks, design, develop, justify, manage and operate secure solutions, and detect and respond to incidents.

The great news is that if your organisation is a Levy payer, this apprenticeship allows you to utilise the funds within that Apprenticeship Levy. If your organisation does not pay the levy, up to 95% of the apprenticeship can be funded by the Government Apprenticeship Service. With this service you have the opportunity to reserve funds up to three months in advance of the start date for the programme. From now until autumn, up to 15,000 apprenticeships are available via this route.  

The teaching on this programme is underpinned by the work of academics from DMU’s Cyber Technology Institute (CTI). The CTI is a recognised NCSC Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research as well as an Airbus Centre of Excellence in SCADA Forensics. This research and industry expertise provides the perfect environment for apprentices to develop the skills they need to respond to real-world cyber security challenges.

Key elements of the apprenticeship include; Risk modelling, analysis and assessment strategies, Cyber Incident Response tools and techniques, Secure software development, Malware Analysis, and understanding of the applicable laws, regulations, standards and ethics.

During this 42 month programme apprentices can expect to attend DMU for week-long blocks of teaching for each module, learning alongside peers from industry to encourage broad scope thinking. Integrating workplace training with academic learning provides apprentices with an increased understanding of their organisation’s unique business needs.

This apprenticeship is suitable for professionals employed by an organisation who will support their participation in the entire programme. This includes regular meetings with a work place mentor to support development of the professional skills they need to complete the programme successfully.

DMU works with organisations such as IBM, Siemens and BT delivering apprenticeships, where learning and skills are embedded back into the business from day one, adding real value and transferring fresh and innovative ideas.

The programme is based on the Level 6 Cyber Security Technical Professional (Integrated Degree) apprenticeship standard and is allocated Funding Band 27 (£24,000) by the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA).

To find out more, click here.

Unwanted apps high on 2020 cyber threat list

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

So-called ‘fleeceware’ apps and aggressive adware software are among the key cyber threats posed to businesses and the public in 2020.

That’s according to the 2020 Threat Report, produced by SophosLabs to explore changes in the threat landscape over the past 12 months.

The Report focuses on six areas where researchers noted particular developments during this past year – here are the key findings:-

  • Ransomware attackers continue to raise the stakes with automated active attacks that turn organizations’ trusted management tools against them, evade security controls and disable back ups in order to cause maximum impact in the shortest possible time. 
  • Unwanted apps are edging closer to malware. In a year that brought the subscription-abusing Android Fleeceware apps, and ever more stealthy and aggressive adware, the Threat Report highlights how these and other potentially unwanted apps (PUA), like browser plug-ins, are becoming brokers for delivering and executing malware and fileless attacks.  
  • The greatest vulnerability for cloud computing is misconfiguration by operators. As cloud systems become more complex and more flexible, operator error is a growing risk. Combined with a general lack of visibility, this makes cloud computing environments a ready made target for cyberattackers.
  • Machine learning designed to defeat malware finds itself under attack. 2019 was the year when the potential of attacks against machine learning security systems were highlighted. Research showed how machine learning detection models could possibly be tricked, and how machine learning could be applied to offensive activity to generate highly convincing fake content for social engineering. At the same time, defenders are applying machine learning to language as a way to detect malicious emails and URLs. This advanced game of cat and mouse is expected to become more prevalent in the future. 

Other areas covered in the 2020 Threat Report include the danger of failing to spot cybercriminal reconnaissance hidden in the wider noise of internet scanning, the continuing attack surface of the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and the further advancement of automated active attacks (AAA).

“The threat landscape continues to evolve – and the speed and extent of that evolution is both accelerating and unpredictable. The only certainty we have is what is happening right now, so in our 2020 Threat Report we look at how current trends might impact the world over the coming year.  We highlight how adversaries are becoming ever stealthier, better at exploiting mistakes, hiding their activities and evading detection technologies, and more, in the cloud, through mobile apps and inside networks. The 2020 Threat Report is not so much a map as a series of signposts to help defenders better understand what they could face in the months ahead, and how to prepare,” said John Shier, senior security advisor, Sophos.

For additional and detailed information on threat landscape trends and changing cybercriminal behaviours, check out the full SophosLabs 2020 Threat Report at https://www.sophos.com/threatreport

Fines of up to £17m if UK infrastructure firms neglect cyber security

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The Government has announced plans to fine Infrastructure firms up to £17m if they don’t have adequate cyber security measures in place.

Under a new directive, UK regulators will be able to inspect cyber security at premises operated by transport, energy water and health companies, checking for any threat to public safety and possibility of significant adverse or economic impact resulting from a disruptive incident.

The announcement follows plans last year from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to bring the UK in line with the EU Network and Information Systems (NIS) Directive, which comes into effect in May.

The directive will also cover threats affecting IT services, hardware failures and environmental attacks.

Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, said: “Today we are setting out new and robust cybersecurity measures to help ensure the UK is the safest place in the world to live and be online.

“We want our essential services and infrastructure to be primed and ready to tackle cyber attacks and be resilient against major disruption to services.”

Discussing the directive, Jens Monrad, analyst at cyber security company FireEye, said: “With so many nations, including the UK, now relying on digitalisation, hackers may look to cause mass disruption by targeting critical national infrastructure,” said Jens Monrad, at cyber-security company FireEye.

“This could be systems, which the UK government and citizens rely on, like healthcare systems, water supply and electricity.”

Uber conceal massive data hack

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Global transportation tech company Uber concealed a massive breach of personal information of over 57 million customers and drivers in October 2016, with the company acknowledging that it failed to notify individuals and regulators it has been revealed.

The company covered up the breach, and instead paid the hackers responsible $100,000 to delete data and keep the breach quiet.

Addressing the situation, new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi admitted that, while there was no excuse for the incident, he had “obtained assurances that the downloaded data had been destroyed”.

“None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it,” Uber’s chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, said in a statement to The Guardian: “While I can’t erase the past, I can commit on behalf of every Uber employee that we will learn from our mistakes.

“We are changing the way we do business, putting integrity at the core of every decision we make and working hard to earn the trust of our customers.”

It is thought the hackers managed to download data including names, email addresses and phone numbers, including driver license numbers of over 600,000 Uber drivers around the US.

Uber claims that other information, including credit card numbers, bank account details and birth dates were not compromised.

Khosrowshahi admitted that the breach had prompted him to take several measures, with the departure of two senior members of staff responsible fro the company’s 2016 response.

 

 

 

Retailer CeX suffers data hack

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Tech trade-in retailer CeX has suffered a data breach, which could affect top to two million of its registered website customers.

In an email to its customers, managing director David Mullins said it was investigating the breach “as a priority” and that they would be “taking a number of measures to prevent this from happening again.”

It is believed that the breach was a result of an unauthorised third party accessing CeX’s computer systems, with customer information including names, addresses, email details and phone numbers compromised.

The email by Mullins also stated that for “a small number of customers” the breach may also extend to encrypted data from expired credit cards up to 2009, although it was unlikely any payment information was taken as CeX ceased storing customer cards in 2009.

CeX is currently contacting two million of its registered website customers.

“We are taking this extremely seriously and want to provide you with details of the situation and how it might affect you,” Mullins said in the email.

“This was a sophisticated breach of security and we are working closely with the relevant authorities to help establish who was responsible. Our cyber security specialists have already put in place additional advanced measures to fix the problem and prevent this from happening again.”

CeX is asking all customers to change passwords for its Webuy online account.

“Although your password has not been stored in plain text, if it is not particularly complex then it is possible that in time, a third party could still determine your original password and could attempt to use it across other, unrelated services,” the email said. “As such, as a precautionary measure, we advise customers to change their password across other services where they may have re-used their WeBuy website password.

“We take the protection of customer data extremely seriously and have always had a robust security programme in place which we continually reviewed and updated to meet the latest online threats. Clearly however, additional measures were required to prevent such a sophisticated breach occurring and we have therefore employed a cyber security specialist to review our processes. Together we have implemented additional advanced measures of security to prevent this from happening again.”

Anglo-Irish task force needed ahead of Brexit

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A top Irish cyber security expert has claimed that ongoing Brexit negotiations are failing to address the most basic cyber security issues, and that an Anglo-Irish Cyber Task Force should be set up as soon as possible.

Paul C Dwyer, president of the International Cyber Threat Task Force (ICTTF) has voiced concern regarding the security of data protection and the worries of the digital community and digital border post Brexit. Dwyer recommends that Ireland should take the lead and work with the British Government with the aim of creating a task force to focus on these and other challenges, co-ordinating a joint cross sector approach to the issues that arise from new EU cyber legislation, the ICTTF being held up as an example of such an organisation.

The ICTTF was formed seven years ago as a not-for-profit virtual group to help connect cyber security experts. The organisation now has over 3,000 members from over 100 countries, along with over 20 million visitors to the ICTTF community portal a year.

https://www.icttf.org

Andrus Ansip proposes new Euro cyber security centre

960 629 Stuart O'Brien

A senior European politician has proposed that the EU should set up a new cyber security centre, with the aim of certifying the security level of technology products.

Andrus Ansip, European Commissioner for the Digital Single Market, says the new centre would focus on technology products and technical expertise, working separately from NATO’s cyber security centre.

“European products and cybersecurity products are not able, only some of them are able, to compete in the world market. We have to pay much more attention to this,” commented Ansip.

“When the WannaCry ransomware attack affected companies across Europe in May, there were a lot of member states who asked for some help from the European Union.”

Ansip had previously tweeted earlier in the month that “more centres of excellence were needed” after a visit to NATO’s cybersecurity centre based in Estonia.

It is thought that Ansip will reveal more information on the centres in September, ahead of conversations on cybersecurity certification, along with an announcement on an updated EU cybersecurity strategy and a new legal basis for the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA).

However, the news of the centre could create problems and an overlap between organisations.

Speaking with EURACTIV, Steve Purser, ENISA’s director of operations said: “There is already a lot of competition between EU offices tasked with managing cyber security… it does make sense to have hundreds of people at the European level, but not hundreds of organisations.”