Archive for September 29, 2015

It’s an Indo-Pak Cyberspace WAR!

On Sunday morning, India’s southern Kerala state woke up to the news of the state government’s official website (www.Keralagov.in) being hacked by Pakistani hackers, who posted image of a burning Indian flag.
The hackers had left messages such as "Pakistan Zindabad", "We are Team Pak Cyber Attacker" and "Security is just an illusion". The page also carried the identity of the hacker; “hacked” by Faisal 1337”. The Home Page also contained the website address www(dot)Faisal1337(dot)com.

However, preliminary reports suggested the hackers were could not get past the home page and into the server hosting this website.

This news spread like fire over social media and the issue instead of being a government website being hacked turned into being an attack on India by the neighbouring country. But few expected that within a span of few hours an Indian hacking group with the name of “The Mallu Cyber Soldiers” will payback the favour.
The Indian hacking group had hacked over 100 official websites of Pakistani government and posted message on their websites- “Better stay away from Indian Cyber Space”.

They also posted a message on their facebook page.

" !!Message to Script Kiddies of Pakistan ....Do not touch Indian Websites !!! Now your 46 Pakistan government websites got crashed and 4 educational websites got defaced This is a small payback for hacking kerala.gov.in "

They also posted a list of websites which were crashed. Few included Pakistan’s government website Pakistan.gov.pk, president.gov.pk and cabinet.gov.pk.

But the war did not cyber war did not there. In the same message, the group ‘Hell Shield Hackers’ stated that the motive behind this attack was to retaliate against the attack on the Kerala government’s website.
Often gunfire exchanges across the border seem to take place. During the cricket matches also between the two countries, the rivalry of the two nations are frequently seen but now a full-blown hacking and defacement war seems to have simultaneously erupted in cyber space.

This is not the first time that the hacking has taken place between the two nations.

In October 2014, a Malayali actor and producer, Mohanlal Viswanathan Nair’s  website was hacked by a group known as Cyber Warriors, who had posted several "Free Kashmir slogans" and warned Indian Army about their activities in the Kashmir valley.

The Government from both the nations have nothing to do with it.

Hacking the government sites exposes the vulnerability of official websites.

Though it was just a defacement and officials told that the server of Kerala Government’s website is safe. Yet, the incident calls for a better cyber security mechanism.

The Indian public sees this retaliation as ‘revenge’. However, it’s an issue much more than patriotism.
 Hackers mostly target large organisations, government or community websites which store personal information of thousands or millions of users.

While the Modi government talks about digitizing India, incidents like these highlight the importance for improved cyber security which comes foremost and is a much important issue before the digitization of the country.

While the USA and China are entering into a cyber security agreement, the Indo Pak cyber hack games continue unabated which exposes the weak cyber security of both the nations.

Huge card breach at Hilton Hotel properties


Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc., an American global hospitality company formerly known as Hilton Worldwide and Hilton Hotels Corporation, has started its investigation after a security researcher Brian Krebs claimed that some hackers had compromised credit card data in gift shops and restaurants at a “large number” of Hilton Hotel and franchise properties across the United States.
   
The researcher said that the hackers broke into point-of-sale machines.

However, it is not clear that how many Hilton properties might get affected by the incident, that might have happened date back to November 2014, and may still be ongoing.

“In August, Visa sent confidential alerts to numerous financial institutions warning of a breach at a brick-and-mortar entity that is known to have extended from April 21, 2015 to July 27, 2015. The alerts to each bank included card numbers that were suspected of being compromised, but per Visa policy those notifications did not name the breached entity,” the researcher added.

He said that other five different banks had said that the common point-of-purchase for cards included in that alert had only one commonality. They were all were used at Hilton properties, including the company’s flagship Hilton locations as well as Embassy Suites, Doubletree, Hampton Inn and Suites, and the upscale Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts.

“Hilton Worldwide is strongly committed to protecting our customers’ credit card information,” the company said in a statement. “We have many systems in place and work with some of the top experts in the field to address data security.  Unfortunately the possibility of fraudulent credit card activity is all too common for every company in today’s marketplace.  We take any potential issue very seriously, and we are looking into this matter.”

iOS 9 Lockscreen Bug That Lets Hackers to access Your Photos And Contacts

Whatever and whenever Apple launches its products or software it attracts biggest attention than any other company. The reason behind this might be the craze for the Apple products around the world.

Its less than a week when Apple launched its ios 9, nearly 50% of its devices are running on its ios 9. One of the most exciting features are the split view or basically the ability to use two apps at once,  includes faster performance and improved battery life, and security enhancements.

When the whole world is busy in appreciating the new ios,  Jose Rodriguez discovered a serious security flaw in this newly launched ios.

Rodriguez has posted a YouTube video demonstrating the security flaw, Vid,  which allows Siri to access information on the handset from the PIN unlock screen.

In the video, Rodriguez enters an incorrect password, then asks for the time through voice controlled device, once it displays the time, you are able to search and share function, then through iGadget you can pull owner's contacts, messages, and photos via the Share screen, without entering a correct password.

The best way to avoid the voice-activation flaw  is to disable Siri  on the lock screen.

The other major problem that users are facing with ios 9 is problem in updating their firmware and running bluetooth devices.

New feature, Wi-Fi Assist, may shot up your data usage. This feature will automatically turn on your mobile data when it encounters weak Wifi signal. It is an attempt to ensure that  users don’t experience any buffering when on a weak WiFi signal.

We didn’t mean to discourage you from updating your Apple device if you haven’t or you had, but to caution you from the flaws of the new ios.

5.6 million fingerprints stolen, but the reason is still unknown

Some people are blaming Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which serves as a sort of human resources department for the federal government,  some are saying unchangeable biometrics and others are blaming Chinese hackers behind the massive breach in U.S of the OPM’s servers during which fingerprints of 5.6 million people were stolen.

No matter, what was the reason but the tension is about those millions people whose fingerprints have been stolen. What would be the consequence? Or there is nothing to worry about?

The authority concerned needs to come up with some program to address the issue.

Now, the U.S. officials have blamed Chinese government hackers without any evidence. China has also denied to have any involvement in the breach.

The OPM has said that the federal experts believe there is low chance of fingerprints being misused. However, there is a possibility that future technologies could take advantage of this information.

The OPM had earlier confirmed that the number of people was 1.1 million only. However, the number has now increased to 5.6 million.

“The fact that the number [of fingerprints breached] just increased by a factor of five is pretty mind-boggling,” Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technologist at the Center for Democracy & Technology, told Boing Boing. “I’m surprised they didn't have structures in place to determine the number of fingerprints compromised earlier during the investigation.”

Not only the fingerprints, it is said that about 21.5 million individuals had their Social Security Numbers and other sensitive information affected by the hack.

As per the OPM, now, Department of Homeland Security and Defense Department representatives are planning to review the implications of the stolen fingerprint data.

5.6 million fingerprints stolen, but the reason is still unknown

Some people are blaming Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which serves as a sort of human resources department for the federal government,  some are saying unchangeable biometrics and others are blaming Chinese hackers behind the massive breach in U.S of the OPM’s servers during which fingerprints of 5.6 million people were stolen.

No matter, what was the reason but the tension is about those millions people whose fingerprints have been stolen. What would be the consequence? Or there is nothing to worry about?

The authority concerned needs to come up with some program to address the issue.

Now, the U.S. officials have blamed Chinese government hackers without any evidence. China has also denied to have any involvement in the breach.

The OPM has said that the federal experts believe there is low chance of fingerprints being misused. However, there is a possibility that future technologies could take advantage of this information.

The OPM had earlier confirmed that the number of people was 1.1 million only. However, the number has now increased to 5.6 million.

“The fact that the number [of fingerprints breached] just increased by a factor of five is pretty mind-boggling,” Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technologist at the Center for Democracy & Technology, told Boing Boing. “I’m surprised they didn't have structures in place to determine the number of fingerprints compromised earlier during the investigation.”

Not only the fingerprints, it is said that about 21.5 million individuals had their Social Security Numbers and other sensitive information affected by the hack.

As per the OPM, now, Department of Homeland Security and Defense Department representatives are planning to review the implications of the stolen fingerprint data.