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Security Week In Review March 26-30

2014-08-10 19:55

“Big” seemed to epitomize last week in security—from big botnet takedowns to big breaches to big privacy issues related to a certain social networking site. Here is this week's lowdown.

Zeus Takedown: Microsoft kicked off the week by announcing late Sunday night that it had taken down several of the most damaging botnets connected to the powerful Zeus banking Trojan. Altogether, the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, along with the United States Marshals and several financial organizations aligned to coordinate an 'unprecedented, proactive cross-industry operation” to disrupt several of the botnets related to the Zeus family of malware. Known as Operation b71, the effort focused on Zeus, SpyEye and Ice-IX variants of the Zeus family, which to date have caused somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 million in damages, by Microsoft's estimations. To take down the notorious banking Trojan, Microsoft used its legal prowess to disconnect two IP addresses behind the Zeus ‘command and control’ structure, while simultaneously monitoring 800 domains used to identify thousands of Zeus-infected computers. The resulting effort severely crippled the botnet, although parts of it remain alive and twitching.

Visa and MasterCard Breached: Visa and MasterCard are doing damage control after a group of individuals compromised payments processor Global Payments Inc. and lifted at least 1.5 million card numbers during a massive cyber attack. In another, and possibly unrelated attack, a hacker group believed to be based in New York, also gained access to the payment system by targeting parking garages in the city, according to security blogger Brian Krebs, which resulted in more than 50,000 compromised cards.

The hackers managed to gain access to users' card numbers, enabling them to create fraudulent cards, but did not appear to have obtained cardholder names, addresses or Social Security numbers.

Last week, the credit card duo have issued warnings to banks and credit unions alerting users to be wary of fraudulent activities and provided the payment card issuers with the affected account numbers so they could take steps to alert the consumers and protect them with independent fraud monitoring and new cards.

Thus far, no cardholder data has been used for fraudulent purposes. However, experts contend that more compromises could emerge down the road as the breach unfolds.

** Kelihos Keeps On Tickin**': Some threats just don't seem to die. Just days after security researchers announced that they had successfully taken down the malicious botnet Kelihos earlier last week, the network of infected computers appears to be making a comeback as its authors regroup.

The recent takedown followed six months after a joint effort in September 2011 between Microsoft and Kaspersky Lab, which tackled a much smaller Kelihos botnet incorporating about 40,000 infected machines. The effort appeared only to have thwarted the botnet, which later resurfaced as a variant strand of Kelihos-B.

Following the original takedown, Kaspersky Lab and other security researchers warned users that the cyber criminals behind the malicious network remained at large and could easily come back swinging with an even bigger botnet down the road. And they did—creating a botnet three times the size of the original.

Meanwhile, earlier last week, Kaspersky Lab's experts, along with the CrowdStrike Intelligence Team, Dell SecureWorks and members of the Honeynet Project embarked on a joint effort to dismantle the notorious botnet, renowned for sending out copious spam and information stealing malware, comprised of about 109,000 infected computers,

Privacy Once Again Debated On Facebook: In the ongoing saga of Facebook and privacy, this time the social networking giant is advocating for the users right to keep their private profile, well, private.

Controversy continued to swirl around the legally questionable practice of asking potential job candidates to fork over their Facebook credentials to curious managers on the lookout for illegal behavior or anything otherwise incriminating.

The issue gained further momentum last week when a proposed amendment protecting prospective employees was flatly defeated 236 to 184 in the House of Representatives by house Republicans. Had it passed, the amendment, proposed by Democratic Congressman Ed Perlmutter, would have prevented employers from demanding workers’ usernames and passwords for Facebook and other social networking sites. The amendment would have added onto existing FCC legislation, granting additional provisions to the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2012 that enabled the agency to intervene when employers asked applicants for this kind of confidential information.

Source: 03-62-hcram-weiver-ni-keew-ytiruces/tsop/moc.tenitrof.golb

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