With the growing online availability of attack tools and services, the pool of possible attacks is larger than ever. Let’s face it, getting ready for the next cyber-attack is the new normal! This ‘readiness’ is a new organizational tax on nearly every employed individual throughout the world.
With an estimated viewing audience of over 3.2 billion globally, the 2014 World Cup draws a large amount of viewers to television screens around the world and it brings a fair amount of advertisers as well.
“To err is human.”
This quote by British poet Alexander Pope gained new meaning to me after reading a follow-up article by Information Week on the massive security breach that the American retailer Target experienced this past November. According to the story, the Target security team reviewed and ignored urgent warnings about unknown malware spotted on their network. They simply made the wrong call. This can happen, but this erroneous call, ended up resulting in millions of dollars in lost revenues to the organization as well as exposed the personal and credit information of millions of their shoppers.
The inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell once stated, "Before anything else, preparation is the key to success." Unfortunately, it appears that attackers launching DoS/DDoS attacks have embraced this line of thought and invested their efforts in reconnaissance and meticulous preparation during the "pre-attack" phase. Drawing from attacks handled by our Emergency Response Team (ERT), Radware recently conducted research on the ways in which pre-attack planning and detailed preparation dramatically increases the potency and success rate of attacks.
In 2012, DDoS attacks revealed a new cyber security trend: attack campaigns that last for days and sometimes even weeks. Unfortunately, many organizations that find themselves under attack don’t know how to change the attack dynamics. Instead of working to halt attacks, many just wait passively for them to conclude.
But what about stopping the attack? Why can’t organizations become more proactive and implement counter measures that can halt the attackers from sending additional malicious traffic? Why not push the hackers back as far as possible from critical applications?
On Nov 29th I had the good fortune to participate in a 45-minute panel discussion at the Bloomberg Enterprise Risk Conference on the following topic:
The panel consisted of a number of esteemed industry thought leaders including Dimitri Alperovitch, Co-Founder and CTO, CrowdStrike Inc, John M. (Mike) McConnell, Vice Chairman, Booz | Allen | Hamilton; Former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and Andy Ozment, Senior Director for Cybersecurity, National Security Staff, The White House. Michael Riley, an industry reporting veteran from Bloomberg News and a true gentleman, moderated the panel.
There is no doubt that the last couple of months have been historic in the world of cyber security. In October, it was US banks and financial institutions that faced a barrage of cyber attacks during “Operation Ababil.” In November, Israeli websites came under fire during the Anonymous led “OpIsrael” attacks. However, there is a stark contrast in the effectiveness of these two attack operations. While the banking attacks were by-and-large successful, the attacks on Israeli websites fell short.
Of course the question for security experts is – how do we explain this disparity? Is it because the financial sector didn’t have enough resources or serious professionals dedicated to program management? Is it because the Israeli government possessed a cyber defense strategy that was executed flawlessly? In truth, neither scenario seems likely and the real answer may make some a bit uncomfortable.
As you have likely have read in the news today, the hacktivist group Anonymous launched #OpIsrael – an online attack of Israeli websites in retaliation for recent missiles attacks from Gaza. Through efforts on social media outlets, IRCs and Pastebin, Anonymous called for its tens of thousands of supporters from around the world to join this attack.
This morning, Radware’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) released a new threat alert regarding an upcoming DDoS attack on Israeli websites including the IDF website, the Prime Minister Office website, Israeli banks, airlines and infrastructure sites. The attack started at 10AM Israel time on 11/15 and is expected to last for many hours.
At Radware, we feel strongly that 2012 has been the year of the DDoS attack – and it doesn’t look like it’s going to change any time soon. Over the past few months, we’ve seen strong evidence that cyber attacks, including DDoS and DoS attacks, will only continue to become more intense and more powerful. With little chance these attacks will slow down in the new year, it is essential for organizations to act now to protect themselves. That’s why we commissioned a new in-depth research report, “Cyber Security on the Offense: A study of IT Security Experts.” Co-authored with the Ponemon Institute, this survey of 705 senior IT security practitioners explores the current cyber threat landscape and how well prepared organizations are to deal with today’s large-scale DDoS and DoS attacks.
The results are telling.
While the majority of American’s will cast their vote for the next President of the United States by going to the polls this Tuesday, there are a growing number of Americans for whom the option of voting via email is now available. Currently, 32 States, and the District of Columbia, allow military personnel and registered voters living overseas to cast their ballots using email, fax or an Internet portal. However, in light of the recent damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey election officials are allowing voters displaced by the storm to cast their ballots via email as well.