Cyberspace is a vast territory that is yet to be fully explored, and it will take us a very long time before we can say that we know it well. For now, let’s just deal with hackers and hacktivists doing their thing, breaching through some of the Internet’s tightest security setups.
First in this week’s lineup of cybersecurity news, Bitcoin exchange Bitcoinica was breached. It compromised for a total of ฿18,547 BT which is equivalent to over $87,000 USD. While the company was very swift in reporting the incident, they were sparing with details. Bitcoin assured, however, that the amount isn’t all of their currency and that they will not inhibit withdrawals. We can recall Bitcoin suffering a number of serious compromises with large amounts of Bitcoins stolen or lost. Such incident includes the Linode server hack which incurred the company ฿46,703 BTC which is equivalent to $228,845 USD.
Meanwhile, the FBI is alarmed by the dramatic increase of online threats. “Critical threats facing our nation today emanate from the cyber realm,” said Shawn Henry, then Executive Assistant Director of the FBI for cyber security. Black hat hackers are not the only problem at this juncture but more like foreign intelligence, criminal enterprises and terrorist groups.
“We’ve got hackers out to take our personal information and money, spies who want to steal our nation’s secrets, and terrorists who are looking for novel ways to attack our critical infrastructure,” Henry added.
It has become a tradition in the cyber realm that when a celebrity dies, there has to be a malware riding in the coat tails of their death. The most recent among these celebrity death baits is Beastie Boy’s Adam Yauch (aka MCA). The mechanism of the malware this time allows it to target specific recipients through social engineering. Trend Micro reported that there’s an email circulating around enticing recipients to download a malicious attachment. Whoever downloads it will unwittingly execute TROJ.DROPPR.JET malware, while this malware will execute another malware detected as TROJ.SWYSYN.SME.
Moving on, Amnesty International UK Site was breached between May 7 and 9 with hackers aiming to plant malware onto vulnerable Windows PCs. Once installed, this malware can extract a user’s files, emails, passwords and a myriad of other personal information. This isn’t the first for Amnesty International. The same site was assaulted last year, and it’s Hongkong site was breached as well late last year.
Finally, Apple recently released an update to kill exploits in Adobe System’s Flash Player, as well as the abominable Flashback Trojan. Looking back, the said Trojan created a botnet of 550,000 Macs. Apple rolled out an update to remove the infections from Macs OS X lion and OS X Snow Leopard last month but it didn’t end it all.
“If the Flashback malware is found, it presents a dialog notifying the user that malware was removed,” Apple stated in an advisory announcing the tool’s availability. “There is no indication to the user if malware is not found.”
That wraps up this week’s look back at security and insecurity across cyberspace. Tune in next week when we tackle the news that slipped through the net as new threats arise and more hackers squirm through the trenches with keyboards in hand.