Apr 23

Verizon Data Breach Report Illustrates Need for Increased Cybersecurity Within Small Businesses

SecurityBreachThe annual Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report has been extremely valuable in understanding the state of data security and breaches, and the 2014 edition released today is especially eye-opening:

  • Companies of all sizes are under attack.  Small companies (<1,000 employees) only have around 12% of the reported security incidents of large companies (1,000+) but have nearly twice the number of confirmed data loss incidents.  This implies that it’s easier for a hacker to victimize these small companies, and will likely lead to continued increase in attacks.  Small companies need the same level of cybersecurity as global enterprises do (if not more).
  • Web App attacks and Cyber-Espionage are the two fastest growing drivers of data breaches.  Stolen credentials and malware introduced by phishing attacks are top threat vectors for these attacks.  Strong authentication mechanisms, email security and AV and required to keep your critical data safe from these attacks.

These are just two of the many insights gained from the 2014 Verizon Data Breach report.  Read the full report here and speak to an internet and data security expert such as EdgeWave to build a plan to keep your company secure from cyber threats.

Apr 22

Misplaced Confidence in an Era of Rising Risks

cyberattackThe PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) 2014 Global State of Information Security Survey revealed a rise in economic cybercrime, especially against the Financial Services segment, and the trend is expected to continue.  You can view the survey here.

This year’s survey shows that security breaches have increased 25% over the previous year, to an average of 3,741 detected incidents per survey respondent, while the average cost is up 18% to $531 per security incident – that averages to $2 million per year in data breach costs per respondent!

The key findings of the survey: “While many have made significant security improvements, most companies are still falling behind today’s determined adversaries.”

The Financial Services sector is a specific focus for hackers, according to the survey. Financial Services reported 39% of total attacks and experiencing a whopping 169% increase in detected incidents over last year — six times the growth of the overall study.

The survey found that while leadership in the Financial Services sector is confident that they have security measures in place to lower risk, in reality, tools to protect assets and data are unlikely to be up-to-date.

“Despite the potential consequences, many respondents do not adequately safeguard their high-value information.”

The numbers show that 52% of respondents lack behavior monitoring and profiling, 42% do not have adequate data loss prevention tools in place and 31% have failed to implement monitoring and analysis of security intelligence.

EdgeWave is on the leading edge of internet and data security solutions for the Financial Services sector. Visit www.edgewave.com, or call 1-800-782-3762 to see how your can protect your high-value information from cybercrime.

Apr 17

Innovation in Tax Fraud Targets Human Resources Departments

The Human Resources Department is normally a secure environment, very conscientious about protecting employee personal information. But to cyber criminals, HR is a treasure trove. On April 4th, 2014, KrebsOnSecurity reported of a deep-reaching scheme by an organized criminal gang that has hacked multiple Human Resource departments and filed fraudulent federal tax returns on all employees.

Stretching back to the beginning of this year’s tax filing season, organized criminals have exploited HR systems to steal all data needed to successfully file a return, such as the employee’s Social Security number, address, wages and employer identification number.  They then filed false tax returns using IRS approved online software and diverted refunds to American Express pre-paid cards, all before unsuspecting employees had a chance to file legitimately.

One web-based control panel for a tax fraud outfit tracked fraudulent returns filed on behalf of thousands of people from more than a half dozen victim organizations, totaling more than $1 million in bogus returns.

Not only was employee information stolen from breached HR departments: personal information of spouses and children were compromised as well because HR processes health insurance with that information.

Third-party providers of services such as payroll are often gateways for this kind of criminal activity. Be sure to protect your company, clients, and employees with comprehensive data security, and educate all stakeholders about their responsibility to keep their credentials under lock and key.


Apr 15

EdgeWave EPIC Advanced Threat Defense Discovers New, Rapidly Mutating Campaign

Since Friday April 4th, 2014, Edgewave’s EPICTM   advanced threat defense service has captured an enormous amount of malicious email designed to circumvent widely used automated Bayesian filters. Bayesian filters categorize email into groups such as “trusted” and “suspicious” based on a probability number or percentage. (screenshot below)

These campaigns embed malicious copy in an image, which is unscannable by automated threat filters, and fills the body of the email with meaningless copy that appears non-threatening.   This technique is called “image spam”, and this screenshot of the scam discovered by EPIC engineers shows garbage text along with an image specifically designed to get around the automated Bayesian filter.

“We’ve been seeing a huge botnet image spam pump-n-dump campaign over the past few days.  It’s been mutating, and as of now we have eleven rules targeting it with over one million hits (the largest currently has over eleven million, and seven of the rules have over four million). We started seeing this around Friday [April 4th, 2014], and the latest rule targeting it was written on April 8th, 2014. Subject lines have things like ‘best stock tip for’, ‘last tip I gave you tripled your principle’, ‘don’t you deserve an edge in the market,’ etc.,” EPIC Supervisor Dexter Davies reported.

In addition to image-spam, cyber criminals use other techniques such as replacing regular alphanumeric characters with unique but readable symbols such as Â, Ç, Ë, etc to fool automated malware filters.  The deductive human component of EdgeWave EPIC advanced threat defense is critical in detecting these sophisticated types of threats.

“Always be wary of a message where all the text is part of an image. If you can’t select the text, that’s a red flag,” Davies said.

Only EdgeWave EPIC combines human and automated threat review to detect and stop even the most sophisticated of advanced malware threats.  Make EPIC an essential part of your data security program – learn more at http://www.edgewave.com/, or call 1 800 782 3762.

Bayesian filters

Apr 10

Healthcare Data Vulnerabilities Increase in 2014

PharmacyThe California Healthcare Foundation reported a dramatic increase in data breaches and security problems affecting thousands across the country.

  • On April 2, Health Data Management reported that Catholic Health Initiatives informed nearly 12,000 patients that their private information had been compromised as a result of phishing scams in Kentucky, Tennessee, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Washington State.
  • PracMan billing service in Alabama disclosed a subcontractor breach on January 10 of 3,100 patient health records on an unprotected server
  • Kaiser Permanente in Northern California alerted 5,100 patients of a compromised laptop containing malicious software detected on February 12. Compromised information included names, addresses, birthdates, lab results with research data, and medical record numbers. Healthcare IT News said that the laptop had been infected for more than two-and-a-half years.
  • Michigan Department of Community Health notified media and almost 3,000 patients of compromised data from a laptop and flash drive theft discovered on February 3, which likely occurred January 30-31.

This is in addition to the LA County/Sutherland Healthcare Solutions theft of eight computers, which compromised a total of 338,700 PHI earlier this year.

The Healthcare Industry is a lucrative target for cybercriminals because healthcare information goes for up to 10 times as much on the black market as stolen credit card numbers.

Patients sign HIPPA authorization forms with providers with the understanding that their privacy will be protected. It is incumbent on healthcare providers and required by law that they live up to this agreement.

Neglect patient security at your own peril.

EdgeWave specializes in Healthcare Industry Security Solutions that will prevent breaches from causing migraine pain resulting from security breaches to Healthcare Entities and patients. Visit http://www.edgewave.com/solutions/industry_healthcare.asp or call 1 800 782 3762 for a personal consultation.