The threat of a data breach is one that every company faces and it is also an eventuality that they all know can happen at any time. The number of daily attempt to penetrate corporate security is staggering as is the number of successful attack where at least some data is taken. It is for this reason that we still a confused when companies want to move to a cloud based or subscription style software agreement. Once all of that billing information is stored in a single spot (even multiple data centers) it becomes a very big target. Adobe has found that out the hard way as they are now reporting a breach that lost the information for approximately 2.9 Million users and source code for Cold Fusion and Acrobat.
There is one thing about the hacking world that is a constant, everything changes. We have seen anti-anonymous and Anti-Wikileaks groups come and go from individuals like The Jester to others that claim they were once with Anonymous, but now have seen the error of their ways and are working for the good of the world. These groups all have one thing in common; they are rarely effective for long. This is not to say they do not have skill or talent. In some cases they are very talented. However their effects are rarely long term.
The National Security Agency has just released a report to the powers that be in the US that expresses concern that the online activist group Anonymous could go after the US power grid in the next 3-5 years (we told you things like this would happen). This report was put together by their counter terrorism group and while it lacked any details in the body of the report (like the axis for attack) and forgot to mention there are other people out there that would like to do this (like foreign countries and real Terrorists) it does raise some real concerns.
A warning has been sent out to financial institutions and government agencies as the collective known as Anonymous has announced their OpUSA. The Operation as put forth by the hackvist group is supposed to target banks and government websites and is supposed to kick off on May 7th. Some security experts are advising the targeted organizations to prepare for Distributed Denial of Service Attacks and harden their sites against them.
If there is one thing that you can say Anonymous has done that has a measurable positive effect it is exposing the level of Corporate and Government Ignorance. Ignorance is not an admissible excuse any longer in this day and age and is often used in court when someone says they did not know they were breaking the law. Since this is generally accepted why is anyone willing to give companies that show massive amounts of ignorance (which is just really lack of forethought or cost cutting) when it is discovered that their systems are not secure? We are shocked that this is at all acceptable considering the data breaches going back as far as 2009. Still we continually hear about this product or that network is suddenly discovered to be insecure. Exactly how is that possible?
Symantec, perhaps in an effort to reclaim some of their reputation, has released a report claiming that some people involved in the DDoS attacks after the MegaUpload take down may have been tricked into downloading a data stealing virus. In a post on Symantec’s own blog they have built a nice (and plausible) timeline of events complete with images (although no links) showing how this happened right around the 20th of January. Many news sites have picked this up and are busy wirting articles about how Anonymous has been hacked... Now the question is, is any of this true?
The online movement known as Anonymous had a fairly busy weekend and even managed to push their “fun” into Monday. According to several of the Anonymous twitter accounts they are now rather upset at PasteBin. It seems that the owner of PasteBin is unhappy about the uses that Anonymous has put his “code sharing” site to. He laments that it was never intended for the sharing of sensitive information and has even stated he is going to hire additional workers to help remove these types of posts. This had an interesting effect on the collective where tweets saying things like “Srsly Pastebin, f*** you - @Pastebin to hire staff to tackle hackers' 'sensitive' posts” .
Russian leaker WZOR confirmed yesterday that he is in possesion of both x86 and x 64 Windows 8 Enterprise RTM. He stated that they will leak these to the web anytime and that the "Pro" versions (both x64 and x86) can also be expected in near future. This version differs from the earlier "N" editions by not having Windows Media Player stripped out. Windows Server 2012 was also leaked yesterday via the same source, and will probably be available together with Windows 8 RTM leaked versions on popular torrent sites, and similar sources.
As someone that has followed the online “hacking” community since its infancy (war dialing anyone) I can say with a fair amount of confidence that the guys what kicked it all off (Like Steve Wozniak) would be proud of where some of the movement has gone. In the early 80’s War Dialing was something of a fun sport, you dialed a range of numbers until a computer answered and then you tried to talk to it. A lot of the activity was aimed at “corrupt businesses and government agencies” right alongside the people looking to just do it because it was something new and exciting.
The Mac world had an unsettling wakeup call today as it found out what most people have known for years: Macs are no more secure than any other PC. This wakeup call is not the first of its kind and it is certainly not going to be the last, we just wonder if anyone will actually listen or if Apple PR will continue to claim Macs cannot get malware.