DMARC Adoption Study Reveals Healthcare Industry Lags Behind Other Industry Sectors
Dec03

DMARC Adoption Study Reveals Healthcare Industry Lags Behind Other Industry Sectors

A recent DMARC adoption study by Agari has revealed the healthcare industry lags behind most other industry sectors on email authentication. Most of the top healthcare firms in the United States are failing to protect their customers and partners from phishing threats. Domain-based message authentication, reporting and conformance (DMARC) protects domains and stops domain abuse by phishers. While DMARC is highly effective at authenticating messages and preventing spoofing, 98% of top healthcare operators have not yet implemented DMARC. In the UK, virtually none of the domains used by NHS Trusts are protected by DMARC, leaving them exposed to phishing attacks. 99% of NHS Trust domains are not protected by DMARC. For the study, Agari analyzed domains used by 549 large healthcare and...

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Most Successful Phishing Scams Revealed by PhishMe
Dec02

Most Successful Phishing Scams Revealed by PhishMe

What are the most successful phishing scams? Warnings about undelivered parcels? Security alerts that require users’ immediate attention? Documents that has been shared by contacts? According to a recent analysis by anti-phishing solution provider PhishMe, the most successful phishing scams, which have almost a 20% success rate, involve the use of entertainment-based triggers to get users to take the desired action. For its analysis, the PhishMe team analyzed the results of more than 52 million phishing simulation exercises conducted using PhishMe Simulator – The company’s phishing simulation platform. The platform allows organizations to conduct simulated phishing campaigns to test the effectiveness of their security awareness training programs, to give employees practice at identifying...

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Medical College of Wisconsin Phishing Attack Affects 9,500 Patients
Nov29

Medical College of Wisconsin Phishing Attack Affects 9,500 Patients

The exposure of approximately 9,500 patients’ protected health information at the Medical College of Wisconsin has been caused by a phishing attack. The attackers were able to gain access to several staff members’ email accounts, which included a variety of sensitive information of patients and some faculty employees. The types of data in the accessed email accounts included names, addresses, medical record numbers, dates of birth, health insurance details, medical diagnoses, treatment details, surgical information, and dates of service. A very small number of people also had their Social Security numbers and bank account information accessed. The incident happened over the space of a week in the summer between July 21 and July 28 when spear phishing emails were transmitted to specific...

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Protenus November Breach Baromoter Highlight Internal Breaches
Nov21

Protenus November Breach Baromoter Highlight Internal Breaches

Following an unusually bad September, healthcare data breach incidents fell to more typical levels, with 37 breaches tracked in October according to the November 2017 Healthcare Breach Barometer Report from Protenus. The Protenus monthly summary of healthcare data breaches collates incidents reported to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR), and incidents made public using media outlets and tracked by databreaches.net. Those incidents include several HIPAA breaches that have still not been reported to OCR, including a significant breach that has impacted a minimum of 150,000 individuals – the actual number of individuals impacted will not be revealed until the investigation has come to an end. The numbers of individuals impacted by another eight HIPAA...

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Contacts Stolen and Spear Phishing Emails Sent by Ursnif Trojan
Nov17

Contacts Stolen and Spear Phishing Emails Sent by Ursnif Trojan

The financial sector banking Trojan Ursnif, one of the most commonly experienced banking Trojans, has before been used to attack banking institutions. However, it seems the individuals behind the malware have expanded their horizons, with cyberattacks now being carried out on a wide variety of groups across many different sectors, including healthcare. The new strain of the Ursnif Trojan was found by researchers at security firm Barkly. The malware was sent in a phishing email that seemed to have been sent in response to a message sent to another group. The spear phishing email included the message thread from previous conversations, suggesting the email information of the recipient had been accessed. The email contained a Word document as an attachment with the message “Morning, Please...

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Alex Azar Nominated for HHS Secretary by President Trump
Nov16

Alex Azar Nominated for HHS Secretary by President Trump

Alex Azar, the former Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, is now the favorite to take over the reins from former Secretary Tom Price after receiving the presidential nomination for the role by President Trump. During the Presidential term of George W. Bush, Azar served as general counsel to the HHS and Deputy Secretary President Trump confirmed, via his Twitter account, that he believes Azar is the best person the job, tweeting “Happy to announce, I am nominating Alex Azar to be the next HHS Secretary. He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!” The role of Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services was vacated by former Secretary Tom Price in September 2017, after revelations about his controversial use of military aircraft...

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Hospitals System and Cook County Health Patientshave Patients
Nov15

Hospitals System and Cook County Health Patientshave Patients

Illinois-based Cook County Health and Hospitals System, a health system comprising two hospitals and more than a dozen community health centers in Cook County, has advised its patients of a possible breach of their protected health information. The breach was experienced at the offices of Experian Health, a business associate of Cook County Health and Hospitals System. Experian Health is utilized to calculate insurance eligibility and limited patient information is given to the business associate for this aim. The breach was suffered in March 2017 while an upgrade of Experian Health’s computer system was being carried out. The protected health information of 727 patients was sent to other healthcare systems by mistake. The PHI disclosed was limited and did not incorporate the sort...

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2017 Data Breach Report Reveals 305% Annual Rise in Breached Records
Nov14

2017 Data Breach Report Reveals 305% Annual Rise in Breached Records

The Risk Based Security (RBS) 2017 data breach report has shown there has been a 305% surge in the number of records exposed in data breaches in the last 12 months. For its latest breach report RBS, a provider of real time information and risk analysis tools, reviewed analyzed breach reports from the first three quarters of 2017. RBS explained in a recently published blog post, this year has been “yet another record breaker for data breaches.” In Quarter 3, 2017, there were 1,465 data breaches filed, bringing the complete number of publicly reported data breaches up to 3,833 incidents for the year to date. So far in 2017, over 7 billion records have been illegally accesed or stolen. RBS reveals there has been a steady surge in publicly disclosed data breaches since the end of May, with...

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CyberAttack Infection Found by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany
Nov10

CyberAttack Infection Found by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany

The Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany (CCDA) was performing an upgrade of its computer security software during August when it found malware on its systems. The software was discovered to have been placed on one of the computer servers located at its Glens Falls office, which provided treatment to based patients in Saratoga, Warren and Washington Counties in New York. They acted quickly was taken to block access to the server and CCDA called in a computer security company to complete a review into the breach. The investigation, which ran over several weeks, uncovered that access to the server potentially went back as far as 2015. While access to the server was possible and malware software had been installed, the review did not find details to suggest the protected health...

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Ransomware Attack Affects: 8,750 Patients According to Aging Agency
Nov09

Ransomware Attack Affects: 8,750 Patients According to Aging Agency

East Central Kansas Area Agency on Aging (ECKAAA), an Ottawa-based body, has reported that a ransomware attack, resulting in the encryption of files on one of the agency’s servers, has exposed files containing the protected health information (PHI) of approximately 8,750 patients. The cyberattack happened on September 5, 2017 and was immediately located by ECKAAA, which took swift moves to limit the spread of the infection. Dues to this, only parts of the server had files encrypted. Those files were found to contain names, telephone numbers, addresses, birthdates, Medicaid numbers, and Social Security details. ECKAAA contracted a cybersecurity firm to help with the investigation and determine the true extent and nature of the attack. The investigation showed the ransomware variant used...

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Breach of PHI at Texas Children’s Health Plan After Staff Member Sent Emails to Personal Account
Nov07

Breach of PHI at Texas Children’s Health Plan After Staff Member Sent Emails to Personal Account

A breach of HIPPA has occurred at the Texas Children’s Health Plan after it has been found that the protected health information (PHI) of 932 clients has been emailed to the personal private email account of a former member of staff. The violation of privacy was incident was first seen on September 21, 2017, although it was discovered that the former member of staff emailed the private data in November and December 2016. The emails included in the breach were discovered during a routine review of the organization’s IT infrastructure. Texas Children’s Health Plan moved quickly once the breach was found and took steps toto mitigate risk. The health insurance plan has also adapted additional security measures to prevent similar breaches incidents from being experienced in the future...

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Google Search Poisoning Used to Spread Zeus Panda Trojan
Nov07

Google Search Poisoning Used to Spread Zeus Panda Trojan

Google search poisoning is being used by cybercriminals to get malicious links ranking highly in the organic search listings. Websites that rank highly in the organic search listings attract the lion’s share of traffic. Ranking highly for popular keyword terms can therefore deliver thousands of visitors. Google scans websites and if malware is found on a webpage, the page will be marked as malicious and will be removed from the listings by Google. However, if the websites contain hyperlinks to other websites, readers of those sites may visit those links and be directed to malicious sites. It takes longer for Google to recognize these malicious links and penalize the sites that have them included. This buys the attackers extra time. There is a problem with this approach. Conducting search...

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Study Reveals Extent to Which Combosquatting is Used by Hackers
Nov02

Study Reveals Extent to Which Combosquatting is Used by Hackers

The use of combosquatting is on the rise, although until recently, the extent to which combosquatting was being used by cybercriminals was not known. However, a new study that examined more than 468 billion DNS records has revealed the practice is far more common than typosquatting. More than 100 times as common in fact. What is Combosquatting? Combosquatting is the use of a trademark in combination with another word in a domain. For example, take the brand Google. A cybercriminal wishing to fool users into thinking a malicious domain was legitimate and owned by Google, could try to register the domain Google-security or Google-updates. Provided those domains had not already been registered and parked by Google, or another combosquatter, those domains could be used in phishing attacks or...

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PHI of 8,000 Possibly Exposed in Following Office Break In
Nov02

PHI of 8,000 Possibly Exposed in Following Office Break In

An office break in and subsequent computer theft has lead to the possible exposing of the protected health information (PHI) of up to 8,000 clients of Brevard Physician Associates. has been exposed after a desktop computer was stolen in a burglary. The break in happened on Labor Day September 4, 2017 when Brevard Physician Associates business premises was closed. Thieves gained access to the offices early that morning and illegally removed three desktop computers. The office’s alarm system notified the police who attended the scene immediately but were unable to apprehend the individuals responsible for the break in. The police completed a forensic analysis of the location however, so far, this has not lead to any arrests being made in the investigation and the computers in...

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New Matrix Ransomware Malvertising Campaign Detected
Oct30

New Matrix Ransomware Malvertising Campaign Detected

A new Matrix ransomware malvertising campaign has been detected. The campaign uses malicious adverts to direct users to a site hosting the Rig exploit kit. Flash and IE vulnerabilities are exploited to download the malicious file-encrypting payload. The new Matrix ransomware malvertising campaign was detected by security researcher Jérôme Segura. Matrix ransomware is not a new threat, having first been detected in late 2016. The ransomware variant was used in campaigns at the start of the year, although as the year progressed, use of Matrix ransomware has been limited. However, the threat is back with a new malvertising campaign that uses the Rig exploit kit to probe for two unaddressed vulnerabilities: one in Internet Explorer – CVE-2016-0189 – and one in Flash Player –...

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Data Breaches Drop For Second Consecutive Month
Oct26

Data Breaches Drop For Second Consecutive Month

The latest report of the Breach Barometer from Protenus/Databreaches.net Healthcare shows that data violations have dropped for the second consecutive month, according to . In August, there were 33 reported healthcare data violations, down from 36 incidents in July and 56 in June. While the drop int he number of data breaches is encouraging, that is still more than one healthcare data breach per day. While it was the second best month of the year so for in terms of the number of reported incidents, it was the third worst in terms of the number of individuals impacted. 575,142 people were impacted by healthcare data breaches in July, with the figure rising to 673,934 individuals in August. That figure will rise even more as two incidents were not included in that total since it is not yet...

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Medical Device Cybersecurity Emphasis for New AEHIS/ MDISS Partnership
Oct17

Medical Device Cybersecurity Emphasis for New AEHIS/ MDISS Partnership

A new working relationship d between CHIME’s Association for Executives in Healthcare Information Security (AEHIS) and the Foundation for Innovation, Translation and Safety Science’s Medical Device Innovation, Safety and Security Consortium (MDISS) will focus on helping advance medical device cybersecurity and improve patient data security. The two groups will cooperate to aid members identify, mitigate, and prevent cybersecurity threats by issuing cybersecurity best practices, teaching about the threats to device security, training members, and promoting data sharing. For the past three years, AEHIS has been assisting healthcare groups improve their information security defences. More than 700 CISOs and other healthcare IT security leaders have availed of the education and networking...

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Internet of Things Medical Resilience Partnership Act to Provide Direction on Devices
Oct13

Internet of Things Medical Resilience Partnership Act to Provide Direction on Devices

The Internet of Medical Things Resilience Partnership Act, aimed at establishing public-private stakeholder partnership which will be tasked with developing a cybersecurity framework to prevent data breaches, has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives. The hope is that this framework will be adopted by medical device manufacturers and other stakeholders to prevent data breaches and make medical devices more secure from cyberattacks. The range of medical devices now being employed in the healthcare industry is considerable and the number is only likely to keep increasing. As more devices are developed, the risk of harm to patients grows. These devices are currently used in hospitals, worn by patients receving treatment, fitted surgically or used in the home. The devices...

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Why You Should Use a Web Filter to Prevent Employees Accessing Pornography
Oct12

Why You Should Use a Web Filter to Prevent Employees Accessing Pornography

Many companies have realized that acceptable Internet usage policies are insufficient and do not prevent employees accessing pornography at work. While employees can be told that the viewing of pornography at work is unacceptable, and viewing pornography is likely to result in instant dismissal, it does not stop porn from being accessed at work by some individuals. The accessing of pornography in offices and other places of work is commonplace. One survey conducted by Proven Men Ministries in 2014 indicates two thirds of men and one third of women have accessed pornography using their work computers. When employees access pornography at work, it does not just reduce productivity, it can have many negative implications for employers. Further, when anonymizer services such as VPNs are used...

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Over Half of Cloud Storage Services are Misconfigured: Report
Oct10

Over Half of Cloud Storage Services are Misconfigured: Report

A recent report by cloud threat defense firm RedLock claims more than half of businesses have made errors that have exposed sensitive data to the general public vuia the cloud. The study shows many organizations are not adhering to established security best practices, such as using multi-factor authentication for all privileged account subscirbers. Worse again, many groups are failing to constantly review their cloud environments which means data is being exposed without detection. The issue seems to worsening as RedLock’s last review for Q2 revealed 40% of businesses had misconfigured at least one of their cloud storage services – Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for onee. A new study, released in its most recent Cloud Security Trends Report, shows that percentage grew to 53%...

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SMB IT Security Survey Reveals Confidence in Cybersecurity Defences is Low
Oct09

SMB IT Security Survey Reveals Confidence in Cybersecurity Defences is Low

A recent SMB IT security survey has revealed that while security spending has increased by 17% year over year, IT professionals are less confident in their ability to prevent data breaches. That is not surprising given that 68% have reported having experienced at least one data breach in the past 12 months, 29% of organizations experienced a phishing attack, and 18% have had to deal with a ransomware infection. The SMB IT security survey was conducted by Osterman Research on behalf of Internet security firm Cyren. When asked about the main threats and how well protected their organizations were, fewer than 50% believed their defenses were good enough to prevent threats such as phishing, ransomware, and zero-day exploit attacks. Respondents were asked about their biggest security...

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Hacking Group ‘The Dark Overlord’ Attacks Another Healthcare Organization
Oct09

Hacking Group ‘The Dark Overlord’ Attacks Another Healthcare Organization

After a seemingly prolonged period of inactivity, the hacking group TheDarkOverlord has revealed another attack on a U.S. healthcare supplier, Mass-based SMART Physical Therapy (SMART PT). The hack reportedly happened on September 13, 2017, with the announcement of the data theft released by TDO on Twitter on Friday 22, 2017.  No details were given as to how access to the data was gained, although it was revealed to databreaches.net that the attack took advantage of the use of fragile passwords. The entire database of patients was reportedly obtained. Databreaches.net was provided with the patient database and has was able to  confirm that the attack was genuine. The database held a wide range of data on 16,428 patients, including contact information, dates of birth and Social Security...

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Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany Discovers Long-Term Malware Infection
Oct09

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany Discovers Long-Term Malware Infection

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany (CCDA) has discovered, during a software upgrade in August 2017, that malware  was installed on one of the computer servers used by its Glens Falls premise, which provides services in Saratoga, Warren and Washington Counties in New York. A quick response was taken to block access to the server and CCDA called in a computer security firm to carry out an investigation into the unauthorized access. The review, which took several weeks to finish, revealed that access to the server potentially as far back as 2015. While access to the server was possible and malware had been put in place, the investigation did not uncover proof to suggest the protected health information of patients had been accessed or stolen. A review of the server showed the...

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Ransomware and Phishing Rated Top Threats by IT Professionals
Oct03

Ransomware and Phishing Rated Top Threats by IT Professionals

A recent survey by Cyren, conducted by Osterman Research, has revealed the biggest concerns of IT professionals are ransomware and phishing. When asked about their biggest security concerns, 62% said ransomware, 61% said phishing, and 54% said data breaches. The survey also showed that investment in cyber defenses has increased, yet for many firms, even further investment in security solutions has failed to prevent data breaches. It is unsurprising that confidence in the ability to prevent data breaches and cyberattacks is so low, as 68% of SMBs surveyed had experienced at least one serious security breach in the past 12 months. 29% said they had experienced a successful phishing attack, while 18% had ransomware installed that encrypted files. 63% of SMBs said they have increased their...

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More than 1 Million New Phishing Websites are Created Each Month
Sep27

More than 1 Million New Phishing Websites are Created Each Month

The Quarterly Threat Trends Report published by WebRoot this month shows there has been a significant increase in the number of new phishing websites being launched each month. May 2017 saw a record number of new phishing websites created, with more than 2.3 million new websites detected in the month of May alone. Figures for the quarter show there are now well over 1 million new phishing websites created each month, which equates to more than 46,000 new phishing websites every single day. The monthly average number of new phishing websites is 1,385,000. One of the main problems is the short lifespan of phishing websites. Typically, a phishing website is created and only used for 4-8 hours on average. During that time, the site may be visited by many thousands of individuals, but the...

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Imperial Valley Passes OCR HIPAA Audit With Help From The Compliancy Group
Sep19

Imperial Valley Passes OCR HIPAA Audit With Help From The Compliancy Group

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has investigated a Californian Physician’s group following a reported breach of protected health information. Covered entities can implement policies and procedures to prevent data breaches, but security incidents are still likely to occur. Responding correctly to those breaches and ensuring HIPAA Rules are carefully followed will help to ensure financial penalties for HIPAA violations are avoided. As with all breaches that result in the protected health information of more than 500 individual being exposed, OCR launched an investigation of Imperial Valley Family Care Medical Group (IVFCMG) when the breach summary was submitted through its breach portal. The breach in question was the theft of a laptop computer...

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Piriform Alerts Users That CCleaner Contained Malware
Sep19

Piriform Alerts Users That CCleaner Contained Malware

Piriform’s CCleaner, a free PC cleaning app with 130 million users around the world, has been discovered to contain malware. Researchers at Cisco Talos recently announced that CCleaner contains a backdoor that was inserted by hackers. The backdoor was present in two versions of the application – the 32-bit version of CCleaner 5.33.6162 and CCleaner Cloud 1.07.3191. The backdoor was inserted into those versions at least a month before it was discovered, giving the hackers behind the malware plenty of time to gather information on compromised computers, of which there are many. An estimated 2.27 million users have downloaded the infected version of the application, according to Avast, which purchased Piriform this summer. Initially it was thought that as many as 3% of users may have been...

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HIPAA Privacy Rule Violation Penalties Waived in Wake of Hurricane Harvey
Aug28

HIPAA Privacy Rule Violation Penalties Waived in Wake of Hurricane Harvey

Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Tom Price has announced that certain HIPAA Privacy Rule violation penalties will be waived in the disaster area of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana. Following any natural disaster, hospitals and health systems must operate in difficult circumstances. During such times, it can be a major challenge to provide treatment while complying with all aspects of HIPAA Rules. With resources stretched, HIPAA Privacy Rule violations can easily occur. In emergencies situations, such as when healthcare organizations are required to assist in disaster relief efforts, HIPAA Rules must still be followed. The HIPAA Privacy Rule is not suspended in such situations, although the HHS Secretary can waive certain provisions of the HIPAA...

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Webroot Acquires Securecast and Starts Offering Anti-Phishing Training
Aug21

Webroot Acquires Securecast and Starts Offering Anti-Phishing Training

Webroot, a leading provider of endpoint security systems, has announced it has acquired Securecast – A provider of a fully automated security awareness training platform. The Securecast security-awareness-as-a-service platform has been renamed Webroot Security Awareness Training, and a beta version of the platform has now been made available. Webroot will be offering the new platform to its customers to help them train their employees to be more security aware and identify and respond correctly to phishing attacks. The Webroot Security Awareness Training Platform will include a comprehensive library of training resources covering the most common attack vectors and tactics used by cybercriminals to gain access to networks and data. Training modules can be used to teach employees how...

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Worldwide Cybersecurity Spending in 2017 to Exceed $86.4 Billion
Aug17

Worldwide Cybersecurity Spending in 2017 to Exceed $86.4 Billion

Gartner has released a new report predicting worldwide cybersecurity spending in 2017 will reach $86.4 billion. The information security market is now the fastest growing sector and will increase by 7% by the end of 2017. Gartner predicts growth in the sector will be similar in 2018, with spending rising to $93 billion next year. Within the infrastructure protection segment, Gartner says the biggest growth will be in security testing. Growth in emerging application security testing tools is expected to contribute to growth in the sector until at least 2021. Gartner predicts hardware support services will see slower growth as more companies switch to the cloud and SaaS. Over the course of the past 12 months, the volume of cyberattacks has grown and the impact of those attacks has been...

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NIST Revises Guidance on Passwords
Aug17

NIST Revises Guidance on Passwords

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued new guidance on passwords. It is standard practice to make passwords stronger by using a combination of capital letters, lower case letters, numbers and special characters. While that certainly makes it harder for cybercriminals to crack passwords using brute force methods, it also makes passwords particularly difficult to remember. In practice, forcing users to add in upper case letters, numbers and special characters to their passwords often means the first letter of a standard password is capitalized, numbers replace digits and an exclamation mark or asterisk is added to the end. Instead of ‘password,’ Password! Or P4ssw0rd! is used. Neither would be particularly difficult for a hacker to crack, yet both would likely...

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HITRUST and Trend Micro Partnership to Improve Cyber Threat Xchange Capabilities
Aug15

HITRUST and Trend Micro Partnership to Improve Cyber Threat Xchange Capabilities

The Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) has partnered with Trend Micro to form the HITRUST Cyber Threat Management and Response Center which will enhance the capabilities of the HITRUST Cyber Threat Xchange. The HITRUST Cyber Threat Xchange is the most widely adopted threat information sharing organization serving the healthcare industry. The HITRUST Cyber Threat Xchange provides detailed information on the latest cyber threats, allowing organizations to develop effective responses to the latest threats. Organizations signed up to the HITRUST Cyber Threat Xchange receive indicators of threats and compromise rapidly, as was highlighted by the recent WannaCry ransomware attacks. HITRUST reports that it was providing detailed information on the threat two weeks before the first...

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Mid-Year Healthcare Data Breach Report Shows Insiders Pose the Biggest Data Breach Risk
Aug03

Mid-Year Healthcare Data Breach Report Shows Insiders Pose the Biggest Data Breach Risk

Protenus has released its mid-year healthcare data breach report. The Breach Barometer reports chart the data breaches experienced by healthcare organizations each month and include data from the Office for Civil Rights and other verified sources. The mid-year data breach report is a summary of all breaches reported between January and June 2017. The mid-year healthcare data breach report shows that while the number of data breaches being reported has remained fairly constant year over year, the number of individuals impacted by healthcare breaches has increased. 223 incidents were reported between January and June. Last year, 450 incidents were reported between January and December. This year looks set to be just as bad, if not worse, than 2016. The mid-year healthcare data breach...

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47% of Healthcare Orgs Have Had a HIPAA Data Breach in the Past 24 Months
Aug01

47% of Healthcare Orgs Have Had a HIPAA Data Breach in the Past 24 Months

A recent survey conducted by KMPG has revealed that 47% of healthcare organizations have experienced a HIPAA data breach in the past 24 months. The last time the KPMG Cyber Healthcare and Life Sciences Survey was conducted in 2015, 37% of respondents confirmed they had experienced a data breach over the same time period. 70% of respondents said they had experienced at least one security breach due to an unplugged vulnerability being exploited by a malicious actor. 54% said they had experienced a malware incident, while 36% said at least one of their employees had responded to a phishing email resulting in the exposure of sensitive data. Third-party companies or devices were implicated in breaches at 26% of organizations while one fifth of respondents said a breach had been caused by an...

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Data Breach Reporting Tool Updated by OCR
Jul25

Data Breach Reporting Tool Updated by OCR

Following the passing of the HITECH Act in 2009, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights developed its data breach reporting tool to allow HIPAA-covered entities to easily submit reports of data breaches. A summary of data breach reports is published via the data breach reporting tool and is viewable by the public. The data breach list – which is commonly known as OCR’s Wall of Shame – details all reported healthcare data breaches that impact more than 500 individuals. While there have been updates to the data breach reporting tool since its release, the format of the data breach list has changed little over the years. An update to the portal, and how the information is displayed, was long overdue. Recently there have been calls for OCR to change the...

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Model Patient Request for Health Information Form Issued by AHIMA
Jul25

Model Patient Request for Health Information Form Issued by AHIMA

A model patient request for health information form has been issued by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) that can be used by healthcare providers to give to patients who request copies of their health information. The HIPAA Privacy Rule permits patients to obtain copies of their health data from their providers, although at many hospitals the process is inefficient, lacks transparency and patients are often left in the dark about what is happening after they have submitted their requests, according to a recent report from the ONC. Under HIPAA Rules, patients must be provided with copies of their health information within 30 days of the request being submitted. Patients are also permitted to request their information in paper or electronic form, although ONC...

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Does GDPR Apply to US Companies?
Jul24

Does GDPR Apply to US Companies?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect in the EU in May 2018, but does GDPR apply to US companies, and if so, how?   What is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)? The General Data Protection Regulation is a new law in the European Union that was approved by the EU Parliament on April 14, 2016. GDPR – Regulation (EU) 2016/679 – will come into effect on May 25, 2018 – the deadline for ensuring compliance with GDPR. GDPR will replace existing privacy legislation (Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC) that was introduced in 1995, updating the requirements for companies and individuals doing business in the EU with respect to data security and privacy. As the name suggests, GDPR is concerned with the protection of personal data collected from consumers....

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Call Issued for Federal Agencies to Adopt DMARC to Prevent Phishing
Jul20

Call Issued for Federal Agencies to Adopt DMARC to Prevent Phishing

Over the past few months there have been several cases of criminals impersonating government departments in phishing campaigns, prompting Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) to write to the Department of Homeland Security calling for the use of DMARC to prevent phishing attacks using federal email domains. Phishers are gaining access to real domains used by federal agencies and are sending out phishing emails. The official domains add authenticity to the phishing attacks, increasingly the likelihood that email recipients will open the emails and take whatever action the attackers suggest. DMARC can be used to prevent spoofing of domains. DMARC uses two validation systems: Domain Keys Identified Mail and the Sender Policy Framework to verify the sender of the email and determine if the domain is being...

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Ransomware Investigation Uncovered 15-Month Data Breach
Jul20

Ransomware Investigation Uncovered 15-Month Data Breach

When Peachtree Neurological Clinic was attacked with ransomware all was not lost as data were recoverable from backups; however, the ransomware investigation revealed something far worse. Its systems had been breached 15 months previously. The ransomware incident resulted in the encryption of the provider’s electronic medical records. A ransom demand was issued. Payment was required in exchange for the keys to unlock the encryption. Since Peachtree Neurological Clinic had a backup up its data, it was not necessary to pay the ransom. The encrypted files could be restored. A forensic investigation was conducted to determine whether all traces of the ransomware had been removed. Peachtree Neurological Clinic conducted various scans of its system to determine whether the ransomware had been...

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HHS Announces Closing Out of Office of the Chief Privacy Officer
Jul17

HHS Announces Closing Out of Office of the Chief Privacy Officer

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) will be closing out the Office of the Chief Privacy Officer in FY 2018 due to cuts to its budget. The budget cuts are intended to make the ONC more accountable and a much leaner organization. The ONC will have to operate with $22 million less funding in FY 2018, and the Office of the Chief Privacy Officer is one of the early casualties. The HITECH Act in 2009 required the HHS to appoint a Chief Privacy Officer, whose main role is to advise the National Coordinator on privacy and security polices, in addition to coordinating with other federal agencies, regions and states. The CPR has also played a significant role in outreach efforts to improve understanding of HIPAA...

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UK Hospital Cybersecurity Funding to Increase by £21 Million
Jul16

UK Hospital Cybersecurity Funding to Increase by £21 Million

Hospital cybersecurity funding has been increased in the UK in the wake of the recent WannaCry ransomware attacks that crippled parts of the NHS. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has pledged a further £21 million ($27 million) will be made available to 27 major trauma centers in the UK to improve their cybersecurity protections. The additional hospital cybersecurity funding is intended to make it harder for hospitals to be attacked with malware. The WannaCry ransomware attacks on May 12, 2017 affected 48 NHS trusts in the UK and prevented medical services from being provided to some patients. Hospital systems were taken out of action and it took several days for systems to be brought back online. Attacks on that scale should not have been possible and should not have had such a major impact...

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Global Petya Ransomware Attacks involve Modified EternalBlue Exploit
Jun28

Global Petya Ransomware Attacks involve Modified EternalBlue Exploit

Global Petya ransomware attacks are underway with the campaign bearing similar hallmarks to the WannaCry ransomware attacks in May. The attackers are using the a modified EternalBlue exploit that takes advantage of the same SMBv1 vulnerability used in WannaCry. The ransomware variant bears a number of similarities to Petya ransomware, although this appears to be a new variant. Petya ransomware was first discovered last year, with the latest variant using a similar encryption process. In contrast to WannaCry, Locky and CryptXXX, this ransomware variant does not encrypt files. Instead, it encrypts the master file table (MFT) which is what computer use to locate files on hard disks. Without the MFT, the computer cannot locate files. Stored files are not encrypted but they still cannot be...

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$115 Million Anthem Data Breach Settlement Agreed
Jun27

$115 Million Anthem Data Breach Settlement Agreed

A $115 million Anthem data breach settlement has been agreed in the consolidated data breach case filed on behalf of the 78.8 million victims of the firm’s 2015 data breach. If the Anthem data breach settlement is approved by the judge presiding over the case it will be a record-breaker – The largest data breach settlement ever reached. That said, the amount each victim will receive will be low. Lawyers will take one third of the settlement, leaving little for the data breach victims. The Anthem data breach settlement may be a record-breaker, but take out the lawyers’ fees and it only amounts to around one dollar per breach victim, although not all victims are members of the class-action. Once lawyers’ fees have been taken out of the Anthem data breach settlement, the remainder will...

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Healthcare Data Breach Resolution Costs Fall
Jun26

Healthcare Data Breach Resolution Costs Fall

Healthcare data breach resolution costs are still higher than all other industries, but the latest Ponemon Institute/IBM Security study has shown that for the first time ever, those costs have fallen year-over-year. For seven years, Ponemon/IBM have been conducting their cost of a data breach study, and each year the costs of resolving data breaches has risen. However, this year, average breach resolution costs fell by around 10%. The average cost of a data breach is now $3.62 million globally with the average per record cost being $141. Heavily regulated industries such as the financial services and healthcare face higher breach costs, with healthcare topping the list for seven consecutive years. Healthcare data breach resolution costs are now $380 per exposed or stolen record. The...

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PhishMe Lands Prestigious 2017 SC Europe Award for its Anti-Phishing Solutions
Jun14

PhishMe Lands Prestigious 2017 SC Europe Award for its Anti-Phishing Solutions

Each year, SC Media hosts a prestigious awards ceremony where the best companies and information security products are recognized and celebrated. The SC Awards are widely regarded as some of the most prestigious awards for companies in the field of information security. Each company and product is scrutinized by two panels of judges which score the companies and products on a wide range of criteria. To be selected as a finalist in one of the 29 categories shows a company can truly claim to be one of the best of the best. Being named as a category winner is a tremendous honor. The awards are highly coveted and clearly show companies have gone the extra mile and developed a truly outstanding product. This year, the human phishing defense solution provider PhishMe was nominated as a...

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Q2 Saw a 400% Increase in Phishing Attacks on Businesses
Jun13

Q2 Saw a 400% Increase in Phishing Attacks on Businesses

The threat from phishing has been growing steadily over the past few years, but a new report from Mimecast shows the threat is greater than ever before with more phishing attacks on businesses than any other time in history. The report shows there has been a 400% increase in phishing attacks on businesses in Q2, 2017. For the study, Mimecast analyzed the inbound emails of 44,000 business users. That analysis showed cybercriminals are increasingly targeting employees using highly sophisticated methods to get them to reveal their login credentials or install malware. It is now increasingly common for threat actors to impersonate C-level executives, business partners or employees to add more authenticity to their requests. When an email appears to have been sent by a c-level executive, many...

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Phishing Trends and Intelligence Report Published by PhishLabs
Jun12

Phishing Trends and Intelligence Report Published by PhishLabs

PhishLabs, a leading provider of phishing defense solutions, has published its Phishing Trends and Intelligence Report for Q1, 2017. The report shows that cybercriminals have changing tactics and targets in the first quarter of 2017, attacking different industries with different methods compared to the previous quarter. PhishLabs CEO Tony Price said, “The first quarter of 2017 shows just how quickly the phishing threat landscape can change as threat actors shift who they target and how.” While the healthcare sector has been a major target in 2016, in Q1, 2017 the majority of phishing attacks were conducted on five other industry sectors. PhishLabs reports that 88% of phishing attacks were conducted on financial institutions, e-commerce companies, cloud storage/file hosting...

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PhishMe Offers Assistance with GDPR Compliance
Jun10

PhishMe Offers Assistance with GDPR Compliance

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be written into EU law next year, although companies need to start their GDPR compliance programs now if they are to ensure they are fully compliant before the May 25, 2018 deadline. Any company that is discovered not to be in compliance with the new regulation after that date faces a stiff financial penalty. The maximum fine for non-compliance with GDPR is $20 million Euros or 4% of the company’s global annual turnover, whichever is the greater. GDPR compliance is not optional. Any company doing business in any of the 28 EU member states is required to comply with the new regulation. The main aim of GDPR is to strengthen data protection rights of individuals and facilitate the free flow of personal data in the digital single market....

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Pacemaker Cybersecurity Protections Found Lacking
Jun01

Pacemaker Cybersecurity Protections Found Lacking

A recent study has found pacemaker cybersecurity protections not only to be lacking, but woefully inadequate. Many of the devices tested were discovered to contain thousands of software vulnerabilities, many of which could potentially be exploited by cybercriminals to gain access to the devices and their associated systems. Medical device security issues have long been a concern, yet little is being done to address the problems. In some cases, the security vulnerabilities are severe and could easily result in the exposure or theft of sensitive data. Worse, vulnerabilities could be exploited to cause the devices to malfunction, which has potential to cause patients to come to serious harm. Last year, MedSec conducted a study of pacemakers and associated devices manufactured by St. Jude...

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New Ironscales Report Delves into Current Phishing Trends
May30

New Ironscales Report Delves into Current Phishing Trends

Ironscales, a leading vendor of anti-phishing solutions, has published a new report on the latest phishing trends. The report shows how phishing tactics have changed, the effectiveness of phishing campaigns and how traditional anti-spam technologies are failing to block spear phishing attacks. The report – titled ‘How Modern Email Phishing Attacks Have Organizations on the Hook’ – was the result of a study of 8,500 verified phishing attacks on 100 organizations affecting 500,000 mailboxes. Those organizations were spread across many industry sectors including healthcare, finance, energy and Insurance in North America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Phishing emails used to be fairly easy to identify and block; however, the tactics used by cybercriminals today result in more...

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Windows 7 Computers Worse Hit by WannaCry Ransomware
May23

Windows 7 Computers Worse Hit by WannaCry Ransomware

The WannaCry ransomware attacks are understood to have resulted in data being encrypted on around 300,000 computers in 150 countries. The attackers took advantage of unpatched software, exploiting a vulnerability in Microsoft Server Message Block 1.0 (SMBv1) using the EternalBlue exploit stolen from the NSA and published online by the hacking group Shadow Brokers. While a patch had been released by Microsoft to fix the vulnerability in March (MS17-010), many organizations had been slow to apply the patch and were vulnerable to attack. However, the bulk of infected computers were running older operating systems for which a patch had not been released. Data released from Kaspersky Lab shows that in the vast majority of cases, it was organizations with Windows 7 machines that had data...

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Wanna Decryptor Ransomware Encrypts Data on Medical Devices
May18

Wanna Decryptor Ransomware Encrypts Data on Medical Devices

Friday’s Wanna Decryptor ransomware campaign badly affected NHS hospitals in the United Kingdom, with 40 hospitals spread across at least 24 Trusts confirming they were affected and had data encrypted. However, some media reports claim as many as 48 of the 248 Trusts in the UK were impacted by the attack to some degree. Wanna Decryptor (WannaCry/WannaCrypt) attacks rapidly spread across the globe, with an estimated 200,000 victims spread across 150 countries. China was hit particularly badly due to the number of computers running older, vulnerable operating systems such as Windows XP. Microsoft had issued a patch to address the vulnerability that was exploited by Wanna Decryptor ransomware, although not for the unsupported Windows XP operating system. Microsoft has since taken an unusual...

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WannaCry Ransomware Campaign Thwarted
May15

WannaCry Ransomware Campaign Thwarted

The WannaCry ransomware campaign that saw 61 NHS Trusts in the UK attacked has been stopped thanks to the actions of a UK security blogger and malware researcher. The individual, who wishes to remain anonymous, found a kill switch for the ransomware that prevented it from encrypting files. The WannaCry ransomware campaign was launched on Friday May 12, 2017, with infections occurring at lightning speed. In contrast to many ransomware campaigns that are highly targeted on specific industries or geographical locations, this attack was global. It soon became apparent that the WannaCry ransomware campaign was one of the largest ever conducted. On Saturday, there were 57,000 known infections in 100 countries. This morning, as the dust started to settle, the victim count has soared to more...

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NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act of 2017 Approved by House Committee
May08

NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act of 2017 Approved by House Committee

The NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act of 2017 has been approved by the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. The new act requires the National Institute for Standards and Technology to issue new cybersecurity guidance for small businesses to help them manage cybersecurity risk. Cyberattacks on small businesses are now commonplace with cybercriminals often targeting small businesses. Smaller businesses may not have as much data as large organizations, so cyberattacks are less profitable; however, small businesses also have weaker defenses making attacks far easier. Further, if access is gained to the computer systems of small businesses, cybercriminals may be able to use that access to launch attacks on suppliers and vendors. Small healthcare organizations in...

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Webroot Antivirus Update Problems Mount: Servers, PCs and Apps Crippled
Apr25

Webroot Antivirus Update Problems Mount: Servers, PCs and Apps Crippled

Webroot antivirus update problems are mounting with many thousands of the company’s customers experiencing severe issues after installing an April 24 update. Customers who had their computers running between 7PM and 9PM UTC on April 24 and had their AV set to update automatically had the update applied. While the update should have simply loaded the latest malware signatures, hundreds of critical files were accidentally marked as malicious. The AV solution then started moving those files to the quarantine folder, causing servers and PCs to become unstable and crash. The reason for the crashes and system instability was due to Windows system files being mistakenly marked as infected with W32.Trojan.Gen. However, the Webroot antivirus update problems didn’t end there. In addition to system...

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Employee Security Awareness is the Biggest Healthcare Data Security Threat
Apr20

Employee Security Awareness is the Biggest Healthcare Data Security Threat

Hackers continue to target healthcare organizations, malware is a constant threat, and ransomware continues to pose many problems, but when it comes to the biggest healthcare data security threats, employee security awareness has topped the table. HIMSS Analytics recently asked 125 healthcare IT leaders and IT professionals about their biggest concerns, and top spot when it came to data security threats was a lack of employee security awareness. However, it does not appear that employees have not been told about risks and best practices. 85% of respondents said they did provide security awareness training to employees, yet almost 80% of respondents still said employee security awareness was their top concern. The survey suggests that while employee security awareness training is...

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March Sees Increase in Healthcare Data Breaches and Victim Count
Apr18

March Sees Increase in Healthcare Data Breaches and Victim Count

This year has seen healthcare data breaches remain steady for the first couple of months, although March saw the number of incidents rise and the severity of those incidents also increase. In January and February, 31 incidents occurred each month. In March, there were 39 reported incidents, according to the latest Breach Barometer healthcare data breach report from Protenus. The number of records exposed or stolen in those attacks increased sharply, with more than two and a half times as many individuals impacted by data breaches in March than were affected by the healthcare data breaches in January and February combined. There was one massive data breach reported that affected 697,000 patients. That incident involved the theft of a device containing electronic protected health...

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Companies Wasting Money on Unused Cloud Capacity
Apr13

Companies Wasting Money on Unused Cloud Capacity

There are many benefits to switching to cloud computing, although one of the most important reasons for switching to the cloud is to save money. The cloud allows companies to avoid paying for expensive on-premise hardware. Purchasing servers requires a high capital expenditure, which can be avoided by using the cloud. More hardware also needs to be purchased than is actually necessary to make sure there is sufficient capacity to cope with the peaks, and also as backup for hardware failure. With cloud computing, the hardware cost is the service provider’s problem. Savings can also be made on staffing. Without the need to maintain equipment, fewer man hours are required and IT employees’ time does not come cheap. There are also savings to be made on power. Running IT equipment requires...

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Philadelphia Ransomware Used in Targeted Attacks on US Hospitals
Apr11

Philadelphia Ransomware Used in Targeted Attacks on US Hospitals

Cybercriminals are conducting targeted attacks on U.S. healthcare organizations using Philadelphia ransomware; a relatively new ransomware variant developed from Stampedo ransomware. Philadelphia ransomware was first seen in September 2016, although recently, a new campaign has been detected that has already seen two U.S hospitals have sensitive files encrypted. The actors behind the latest attacks are targeting physicians using spear phishing emails. Information about targets can be easily found on social media accounts with a little research. Information is gathered on an organization and campaigns crafted to maximize the chance of infection. In this case, the attackers use logos and names of physicians who work at the targeted hospital to add credibility to documents and increase the...

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Study Analyses Hospital Data Breach Risk
Apr06

Study Analyses Hospital Data Breach Risk

A recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine looked at the hospital data breach risk and determined which organizations are most at risk of experiencing data breaches. The researchers discovered that hospital data breach risk is positively linked with the size of the hospital. Larger hospitals are more likely to experience data breaches, as are hospitals with a strong focus on teaching. Smaller hospitals may have smaller budgets to devote to cybersecurity and may not be such large targets for cybercriminals; however, the researchers determined that hospital data breach risk is higher at larger and teaching-focused hospitals due to them providing greater access to healthcare data. The more individuals that require access, the higher the risk of data breaches being suffered. For the...

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74% of Organizations Vulnerable to Insider Threats
Apr04

74% of Organizations Vulnerable to Insider Threats

Spending on cybersecurity defenses has increased to reduce the risk of attacks by cybercriminals, yet organizations still feel vulnerable to insider threats. Furthermore, insider threats have increased in the past 12 months, according to a recent survey conducted on U.S. IT security professionals. 508 IT security professionals were surveyed by LinkedIn’s Information Security Community and Crowd Research Partners in a study conducted for Haystax Technologies. The study revealed that 74% of IT security pros feel their organization is vulnerable to attacks by insiders. That represents a 7% increase in the perceived threat level in the space of a year. More than half of surveyed IT security professionals also said the number of insider threats had increased in the past 12 months. 56% said...

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Cybersecurity Tips for Healthcare Providers Offered by WEDI
Mar24

Cybersecurity Tips for Healthcare Providers Offered by WEDI

The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) has published a white paper offering cybersecurity tips for healthcare providers to help them ensure the sensitive protected health information of patients remains confidential and resilience against healthcare cyberattacks is improved. The white paper – The Rampant Growth of Cybercrime – explains the scale of the current problem. The healthcare industry has been extensively targeted by cybercriminals over the past few years and the attacks are showing no sign of abating. The sheer number of data security incidents reported to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights shows just how frequently cyberattacks result in access to ePHI being gained. In 2016, more than 315 major data security breaches were reported...

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Medical Records of 26 Million Healthcare Patients at Risk of Compromise
Mar21

Medical Records of 26 Million Healthcare Patients at Risk of Compromise

An IT system used by around 2,700 medical practices in the United Kingdom potentially allows the medical records of patients to be accessed by unauthorized individuals. The system –  SystmOne – is one of the most popular in the United Kingdom and contains the medical records of around 26 million UK patients. While the system is secure, if practices activate ‘enhanced data sharing’ the records contained in the system can be made available to local hospitals. However, that setting would also enable hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers to also access patients’ medical records. Those employees include receptionists and clerical staff, who are unauthorized to view the records. Members of staff in prisons, pharmacies, GP surgeries and care homes could also potentially be given...

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Dharma Ransomware Decryptor Developed
Mar02

Dharma Ransomware Decryptor Developed

Following the release of decryption keys this Wednesday, security researchers have developed a free Dharma ransomware decryptor. It is now possible for businesses and individuals who have had their files encrypted by Dharma ransomware to unlock their files without having to pay a ransom. Dharma ransomware has not been one of the most prevalent ransomware threats. There have been nowhere near as many infections as the likes of CryptXXX, Locky, or Samsa ransomware. Those ransomware variants, along with hundreds of others, are still being used to attack businesses and individuals and no free decryptors are yet available for those infections. Dharma ransomware first appeared in November 2016, having been developed from Crysis ransomware. The decryption keys for Crysis were also released...

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Trust in Healthcare Providers High, Despite Increased Data Breaches
Feb24

Trust in Healthcare Providers High, Despite Increased Data Breaches

Trust in healthcare providers’ ability to keep the sensitive data of patients and health plan members secure remains high, even though the past two years have seen record numbers of healthcare data breaches reported. In 2015, more than 113 million healthcare records were exposed or stolen, and 2016 saw more healthcare data breaches discovered than in any other year since records first started being kept. According to a recent survey by Accenture, 88% of Americans trust their healthcare providers to keep their health information secure. 36% of respondents said they had a great deal of trust in their healthcare providers and believed they could prevent their health data from being accessed or stolen. Trust in pharmacies was similarly high, with 85% of respondents believing data would not...

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Ironscales Wins Best Messaging Security Solution Award
Feb15

Ironscales Wins Best Messaging Security Solution Award

Cyber Defense Magazine has announced the winners of its 2017 Awards, with Ironscales winning an Editor’s Choice Award in the Best Messaging Security Solution category for its automated phishing defense platform IronTraps™. The Cyber Defense Magazine Awards are decided by a panel of independent information security experts, with nominated products assessed on a wide range of criteria over a period on months. The prestigious awards recognize innovative cybersecurity products that are highly effective at blocking cyber threats. Pierluigi Paganini, Editor-in-Chief of Cyber Defense Magazine, said “We’re thrilled to recognize next-generation innovation in the information security marketplace and that’s why Ironscales has earned this award from Cyber Defense Magazine. IronTraps™ is the first,...

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Maryland Ransomware Bill Makes Attacks Felonies
Feb15

Maryland Ransomware Bill Makes Attacks Felonies

A new Maryland ransomware bill has been introduced that makes extortion using unauthorized software a criminal offense. The new Maryland ransomware bill introduces stiff penalties for ransomware attacks on companies based in the state as well as attacks on individuals. Cybercriminals that use ransomware to try to extort money from victims would be fined up to $10,000 for the attack and could face up to 10 years in jail. While the Maryland ransomware bill – HB 340 – may be enough to discourage home-grown attacks, it is likely to do little to deter foreign cybercriminals. Since the majority of ransomware attacks are launched from outside the United States, state residents should not let down their guard. The bill points this out quite clearly saying “Because the perpetrators are often...

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February Patch Tuesday Delayed as Microsoft Fixes Last Minute Issues
Feb15

February Patch Tuesday Delayed as Microsoft Fixes Last Minute Issues

The Valentine’s Day update from Microsoft did not arrive yesterday as planned. February Patch Tuesday will be coming, just a little later than usual. The decision to bundle together updates means that if urgent flaws are not fixed in time, they would have to wait until the following month to be fixed. In this case, Microsoft has chosen to delay its monthly round of patches to make sure some serious issues are addressed and included in this month’s round of patches. IT admins have been waiting for Microsoft to issue its update to address a flaw that was identified three months ago and was announced earlier this month. Microsoft delayed issuing a patch for the zero-day flaw in the SMB file sharing platform until Patch Tuesday, even though the flaw is being exploited in the wild. While the...

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Windows Devices Used to Increase Size of Mirai Botnet
Feb14

Windows Devices Used to Increase Size of Mirai Botnet

The Mirai Botnet was used to launch devastating distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks late last year, some of which took down large sections of the Internet including some of the most popular websites  – Twitter and Netflix for example. One Mirai attack on the hosting company OVH registered 1.1 Tbps. It has been predicted that attacks on that scale are likely to become much more common in 2017. The Botnet is comprised of IoT devices that have been poorly protected. Mirai malware is loaded to those devices to create an army capable of conducting massive DDoS attacks. Mirai targets Linux-based IoT devices such as DVRs, surveillance cameras, IP cameras and routers, rather than computers. While the botnet is not believed to include Windows devices, they are now being used to...

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Healthcare Data Breach Report for January 2017 Highlights Insider Risk
Feb14

Healthcare Data Breach Report for January 2017 Highlights Insider Risk

The healthcare data breach report for January 2017 published by Protenus this week highlights the danger of insider data breaches. Insider data breaches accounted for the largest percentage of healthcare data breaches disclosed in January 2017, considerably more than those caused by hackers. Summary of the Protenus Healthcare Data Breach Report for January 2017 In January 2017, 31 healthcare data breaches were disclosed publicly. While the causes for all of those breaches are not yet known – details of 26 breaches have yet to be disclosed – 58.4% were due to insiders. Those breaches accounted for 59.2% of the 388,307 records known to have been exposed in those 31 healthcare data breaches in January 2017. The insider threat is perhaps the hardest to mitigate, yet the risk posed by...

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New Microsoft Security Tools for Businesses Soon to be Released
Feb13

New Microsoft Security Tools for Businesses Soon to be Released

On Friday, an announcement was made about a host of new Microsoft security tools for businesses that will soon be released. The new tools have a wide range of cybersecurity capabilities and can be used by businesses to improve security on Windows 10 and Office 365. Businesses will soon be able to use on-premises Active Directory with Windows Hello which will allow the use of biometric logins to improve authentication without the need to use Azure Active Directory. A Dynamic Lock feature will also be added in Windows Hello. This feature will link a smartphone with Windows 10 to ensure that Windows 10 devices are locked when they are out of Bluetooth range, helping to prevent unauthorized access when users forget to lock their devices when they leave their desks. The tools will be released...

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HITRUST Threat Catalogue Helps Healthcare Industry Prioritize Cybersecurity Threats
Feb10

HITRUST Threat Catalogue Helps Healthcare Industry Prioritize Cybersecurity Threats

The HITRUST Alliance has announced that the organization will be releasing the HITRUST Threat Catalogue in March: A new resource to help healthcare organizations improve security by aligning the wide range of current cybersecurity threats and risk factors with its Common Security Framework. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires all covered entities to conduct a risk assessment to identify the potential threats to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic protected health information. The risk assessment is a fundamental element of HIPAA and healthcare data security. If a risk assessment is not performed, a healthcare organization will be unaware of the risks to ePHI and will therefore not be able to take appropriate action to reduce...

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Phishing Attacks on Cloud Storage Providers Causing Concern
Feb09

Phishing Attacks on Cloud Storage Providers Causing Concern

Phishing is one of the most common ways that cybercriminals gain access to sensitive data. While logins for online banking services are still a major prize, cybercriminals are now increasingly conducting phishing attacks on cloud storage providers. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) attacks have also soared. A recent report from PhishLabs shows the extent to which cloud storage providers are being targeted. In 2013, cloud storage and hosting services accounted for 9% of attacks. By 2016, the percentage had risen to 23% of attacks. Attacks on SaaS providers barely registered in 2013. Now attacks account for 2% of the overall total. In 2016, phishing attacks on cloud storage providers increased by 5%, while attacks on SaaS providers increased by a staggering 182%. According to PhishLabs, the...

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Beware of LNK Attachments and Malicious SVG Files
Feb08

Beware of LNK Attachments and Malicious SVG Files

JavaScript attachments are still used to infect computers with malware and ransomware, but a new trend has emerged that is seeing cybercriminals switch to malicious SVG files. Malicious LNK files are also growing in popularity. The reasoning behind the switch in file types is clear. They are much less likely to arouse suspicion; therefore, they are more likely to be opened. JavaScript has been extensively used over the past 12 months as a malware downloader. Malicious email attachments containing JavaScript code – or JavaScript files – have been highly effective. However, for most computer users, JavaScript files are rarely encountered. A zip file may be extracted if the email recipient is made to believe that the file is benign, but many individuals would think twice about double...

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IRS Issues W2 Phishing Scam Warning
Feb07

IRS Issues W2 Phishing Scam Warning

Cybercriminals have been sending huge numbers of W2 phishing scam emails over the past few weeks. Tax season usually sees an increase in scam emails being sent, although this year cybercriminals have started their scamming campaigns even earlier. The victim count is also growing rapidly. The W2 phishing scam in question is an email request for copies of employees’ W-2 forms. The scammers impersonate the CEO, CFO or another executive in the organization that is likely to have a legitimate need for the data. Cybercriminals are using a variety of techniques to spoof company email addresses. A casual glance at the email address of the sender will not reveal any clues that the email is not genuine. Since the email appears to have been sent from an authority figure, employees are less likely...

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Reputation Loss of More Concern than a Data Breach
Feb06

Reputation Loss of More Concern than a Data Breach

Data breaches are a constant worry for most organizations, although a new study from the Ponemon Institute has shown that while the theft of data is a concern, it is the fallout from poor risk management that is the biggest worry. The biggest fear is not loss of data but loss of reputation. The study, which was sponsored by RiskVision, was conducted on 641 professionals involved in risk management at their respective organizations. When asked about their biggest fears from poor risk management, 63% said reputation damage. Security breaches only ranked in second place along with business disruption, jointly cited as a major concern by 51% of respondents. Damage to a brand is almost certain to happen after a data breach is experienced or intellectual property is stolen. While it is usually...

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Spam Email Volume has Increased: 65% of Emails are Spam
Feb02

Spam Email Volume has Increased: 65% of Emails are Spam

Cisco Systems has released its annual Cybersecurity Report which shows that spam email volume has increased once again. 65% of all emails sent are now spam, and Cisco reports that one fifth of those emails are malicious and contain malware-infected attachments or links to websites containing exploit kits and adware. The report shows there was a massive spike in spam email volume in 2016, with many of those emails sent using the Necurs botnet. The Necurs botnet grew by around 200,000 IP addresses in June over just a couple of hours, and the botnet has continued to grow throughout the year. In addition to a spike in spam email, the Necurs botnet is also extensively used to spread malware such as the Dridex Trojan and ransomware variants including Locky. There has been a marked change in...

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WebEx Browser Extension Flaw Patched by Cisco Systems
Jan31

WebEx Browser Extension Flaw Patched by Cisco Systems

A WebEx browser extension flaw discovered by Google’s Tavis Ormandy has now been patched by Cisco Systems. The critical vulnerability affects the Cisco WebEx Meetings Server and Cisco WebEx Centers (Meeting Center, Event Center, Training Center, and Support Center) browser extensions on Windows machines. Affected versions of the extension are the Cisco WebEx Extension for Google Chrome (earlier versions than 1.0.7), the ActiveTouch General Plugin Container on Firefox (earlier versions than 106), and the IE GpcContainer Class ActiveX control file. (earlier versions than 10031.6.2017.0126) The vulnerability in the web conferencing software could potentially be exploited by hackers allowing the remote execution of malicious code. According to Cisco, the WebEx browser extension flaw is due...

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Beazley Report Details Biggest Security Threats in 2016
Jan31

Beazley Report Details Biggest Security Threats in 2016

Beazley, a provider of cybersecurity insurance for businesses, has released a new report detailing the biggest security threats in 2016. For the report, Beazley analyzed almost 2,000 data breaches experienced by its clients in 2016. The report shows the extent to which ransomware was used to attack U.S. businesses last year. Ransomware attacks on businesses in the United States increased fourfold in 2016. In 2016, Beazley’s clients experienced more than 200 ransomware attacks. According to Beazley’s calculations, we can expect ransomware attacks to continue to increase in 2017. Attacks on businesses are easy to pull off because cybersecurity defenses are not sufficiently advanced to cope with increasingly sophisticated ransomware variants. Beazley predicts ransomware attacks will double...

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Increased Security Spending Does Not Equate to Better Cybersecurity Defenses
Jan30

Increased Security Spending Does Not Equate to Better Cybersecurity Defenses

Increasing spending on cybersecurity solutions will not necessarily mean organizations are better equipped to deal with cyber threats. While many organizations choose to increase spending on defenses to counter the increased threat, it is essential that the money is spent on solutions that are able to keep sensitive data secured. There is a tendency to keep on investing in similar technologies, even though they have been shown to be ineffective at mitigating risk. A survey conducted by 451 Research for the Thales 2017 Data Threat Report indicated 73% of organizations had increased security spending for 2017. In 2016, security spending had been increased by 58% of organizations surveyed. While it is reassuring that organizations appreciate defenses need to be improved, an analysis of...

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Gmail to Start Blocking JavaScript Attachments from February 2017
Jan27

Gmail to Start Blocking JavaScript Attachments from February 2017

Blocking JavaScript attachments can help to reduce malware and ransomware infections, yet Google has resisted adding the file attachments to its banned list. However, that will now change from February 13, 2017. JavaScript files – those with extensions .JS and .JSE – are now commonly used by cybercriminals to infect computers with malware. Over the course of the past two years, malicious JavaScript files has been one of the preferred methods of infecting computers with ransomware. JavaScript files are commonly used as downloaders for malware, and ransomware in particular. The files are usually hidden using a variety of techniques, such as the use of double extensions such as PDF or DOCX to fool email recipients into thinking the files are genuine invoices or parcel tracking documents....

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Kroll Publishes Global Fraud and Risk Report for 2016/2017
Jan27

Kroll Publishes Global Fraud and Risk Report for 2016/2017

The 2016/2017 Kroll Annual Global Fraud and Risk Report has just been released, highlighting just how frequently cybersecurity incidents are experienced by businesses. According to Kroll’s Global Fraud and Risk Report, 85% of surveyed company executives have experienced a cybersecurity incident in the past 12 months. 68% reported at least one security incident, while 82% of executives said their company had experienced at least one instance of fraud. Out of the companies that had been attacked, 33% said they have experienced virus or worm infections and 26% of respondents said their employees had been targeted with phishing attacks. Data deletion or loss due to system issues was reported by 24% of executives, 23% had experienced a data breach involving employee or customer data, and 22%...

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Over 220 Trend Micro Security Vulnerabilities Discovered in 6 Months
Jan27

Over 220 Trend Micro Security Vulnerabilities Discovered in 6 Months

Two security researchers have discovered more than 220 Trend Micro security vulnerabilities in the past 6 months. 194 of those vulnerabilities were rated as critical and could potentially allow hackers to remotely execute code without any need for user interaction. The vulnerabilities are spread across 11 different products produced by the cybersecurity firm, and one of those vulnerabilities, which affects Trend Micro’s Data Loss Prevention, could potentially allow hackers to compromise an entire network. In total, Roberto Liverani and Steven Seeley have passed on details of 223 Trend Micro security vulnerabilities to the company since July 29, 2016. A statement released by Trend Micro confirmed that the company takes all security vulnerabilities seriously, saying “we are dedicated to...

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Worst Passwords of 2016 Revealed
Jan24

Worst Passwords of 2016 Revealed

The worst passwords of 2016 have been revealed by SplashData. This year’s report shows the same mistakes are still being made by end users. Even though the use of weak passwords is a major security risk, end users are still opting for passwords that are easy to remember and simplicity is often favored over security. To compile the list of the worst passwords of 2016, SplashData researchers trawled through millions of stolen credentials that had been dumped online.  In total, more than 5 million passwords were assessed and sorted to find the most common passwords in use. The results of SplashData’s analysis do not make for pleasant reading. It would certainly not take a hacker to guess many of the passwords on the list. SplashData’s password analysis showed that not only are ridiculously...

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Biomedical Research Labs Targeted with Ancient Mac Malware
Jan20

Biomedical Research Labs Targeted with Ancient Mac Malware

Security researchers have discovered a new Mac malware that is being used in targeted attacks on biomedical research organizations. However, while the malicious code is new to security researchers, it is not a new threat to research organizations. The Mac malware is believed to have been stealing secrets for many years. The malware, named Fruitfly by Apple, was discovered by an IT admin at Malwarebytes. Malwarebytes calls the Mac malware OSX.Backdoor.Quimitchin after the Aztec spies who infiltrated other tribes. Once installed, the malware takes snapshots of the screen and accesses the webcam on infected devices. Furthermore, the malware is able to simulate keyboard and mouse clicks allowing a hacker to take full control the device remotely. The malware also scans the infected device for...

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MAPFRE Life HIPAA Settlement: $2.2 Million for Impermissible Disclosure of ePHI
Jan19

MAPFRE Life HIPAA Settlement: $2.2 Million for Impermissible Disclosure of ePHI

MAPFRE Life Insurance Company of Puerto Rico has settled potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights. MAPFRE Life HIPAA Settlement of $2.2 Million Agreed with OCR According to the resolution agreement, MAPFRE Life will pay OCR $2,204,182 and must adopt a corrective action plan to address multiple noncompliance issues discovered by OCR during the investigation of a 2011 data breach. On September 29, 2011, MAPFRE discovered that a pen drive had been stolen from its IT department. MAPFRE Life was able to reconstitute the data on the pen drive from the computer to which the drive was attached. An analysis of the data revealed the electronic protected health information of...

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2016 Healthcare Data Breach Report Published
Jan18

2016 Healthcare Data Breach Report Published

The 2016 healthcare data breach report from cybersecurity company Protenus shows that 2016 was a record-breaking year for healthcare data breaches. In 2016, more than one healthcare data breach occurred every day on average. Those breaches resulted in the theft or exposure of 27 million individuals’ confidential information. In total, 450 breach incidents were reported by healthcare organizations – healthcare providers, health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and business associates of healthcare organizations – in 2016. Hacking incidents and ransomware attacks on healthcare organizations accounted for 26.8% of data breaches according to the 2016 healthcare data breach report. It is difficult to determine how many healthcare ransomware attacks occurred in 2016. The Protenus 2016...

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2017 Global Application and Network Security Report Published by Radware
Jan12

2017 Global Application and Network Security Report Published by Radware

A recent survey conducted by Radware, and published in its 2016-2017 Global Application and Network Security report, shows that almost half of companies have been subjected to a cyber-extortion attempt in 2016, mostly with ransomware. 49% of polled businesses said they had been issued with a ransom demand after a cyberattack in the past 12 month showing the threat of ransom-related attacks has risen considerably. Ransomware and data theft with a ransom charged for its safe return, is a highly profitable strategy for cybercriminals. More actors are now getting involved and are extorting huge sums out of businesses that are not prepared for these types of attacks. The 2016-2017 Global Application and Network Security report confirms what many other surveys and studies have suggested –...

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Attacks on Misconfigured MongoDB Databases Soar
Jan12

Attacks on Misconfigured MongoDB Databases Soar

Over the past two weeks, there has been a spate of attacks on misconfigured MongoDB databases with the attackers wiping data and issuing Bitcoin ransom demands to return the contents of stolen databases. The attacks started on or around December 27, 2016, with one malicious actor believed to have been targeting organizations running unprotected MongoDB databases. By January 6, 2017, that individual had attacked 13 companies. That individual goes by the handle Harak1r1. However, as news spread on the number of unprotected databases that were in use, the attacks started to soar. More individuals have now got in on the act. There are now believed to be between 13 and 15 actors involved in the attacks. In the past few days, the number of companies affected has gone from hundreds to tens of...

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13 Updates Issued by Adobe: 42 Critical Flash, Reader and Acrobat Flaws Addressed
Jan11

13 Updates Issued by Adobe: 42 Critical Flash, Reader and Acrobat Flaws Addressed

The first Patch Tuesday of 2017 has seen Adobe issue 13 updates for Adobe Flash, Adobe Acrobat, and Adobe Reader. The updates address 42 critical vulnerabilities, although exploits are not thought to currently exist in the wild. That said, now the patches have been released, it is only a matter of time before exploits are developed. The updates are spread across two bulletins: APSB17-01 for Acrobat and Reader and APSB17-02 for Adobe Flash Player. 29 critical flaws in Acrobat and Reader have been addressed, all but one of which can lead to remote code execution. The remaining 13 critical vulnerabilities affect Flash. Users of Acrobat XI and Reader XI should update to version 11.0.19, while other users should update to either 15.023.20053 (continuous release track) or 15.006.30279 (classic...

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January 2017 Patch Tuesday: Four Updates Issued by Microsoft
Jan11

January 2017 Patch Tuesday: Four Updates Issued by Microsoft

January 2017 Patch Tuesday sees one of the lightest updates for Microsoft. The updates are spread across just four security bulletins, two of which have been marked as critical. The updates deal with three exploits affecting Microsoft products directly: Microsoft Edge, MS Office and Windows. The fourth update is for Adobe Flash and updates the Edge and IE browsers. The two critical security bulletins are for Microsoft Office and the Adobe Flash. The updates for the Microsoft Edge browser and Windows are marked as important. The Office update affects Microsoft Office Services and Web Apps and addresses a vulnerability that is being tracked as CVE-2017-0003. The vulnerability could allow an attacker to remotely execute code if a user opens a specially crafted MS Office document. The update...

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FDA Confirms Vulnerabilities in St. Jude Medical Devices
Jan10

FDA Confirms Vulnerabilities in St. Jude Medical Devices

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has completed its investigation into claims that vulnerabilities in St. Jude Medical devices could be remotely exploited by hackers wishing to cause patients harm. Last summer, Muddy Waters published a damming report on ‘stunning’ security vulnerabilities in St. Jude Medical devices that posed a serious risk to patients. The short selling firm had been contacted by a cybersecurity startup called MedSec and was provided with details of a number of alleged security vulnerabilities in St Jude Medical devices, including some of its most popular defibrillators and pacemakers and their associated systems. While the devices are intended to help control patients’ heart functions, the flaws could potentially be exploited by individuals and used...

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$475,000 Presense Healthcare HIPAA Settlement Agreed with OCR
Jan10

$475,000 Presense Healthcare HIPAA Settlement Agreed with OCR

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights has announced a $475,000 Presense Healthcare HIPAA settlement has been agreed. This is the first HIPAA enforcement action of 2017 and the first time OCR has settled a case solely based on the delayed issuing of breach notifications to individuals impacted by a protected health information breach. In 2013, Presense St. Joseph Medical Center, a hospital run by Illinois-based Presense Healthcare, discovered that operating room schedules containing 836 individuals protected health information had gone missing from the Presense Surgery Center at St. Josephs. The documents contained a range of sensitive information on patients, including names, dates of birth, medical record numbers, treatment dates, procedures performed,...

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Global Cybercrime Costs Will Top $6 Trillion in 5 Years
Jan04

Global Cybercrime Costs Will Top $6 Trillion in 5 Years

A recent report published by Cybersecurity Ventures suggests global cybercrime costs will double over the next five years. Global cybercrime costs in 2015 are estimated to have reached $3 trillion. The damage inflicted by cybercriminals has been predicted to top $6 trillion by 2021. The managed security services provider (MSSP) and advisory firm calculated the damages from theft of intellectual property and data, financial fraud, embezzlement, post-attack disruption to business processes, in addition to the cost to businesses of resolving data breaches, limiting reputational harm, conducting forensic investigations, and restoring normal business processes. A massive hike in global cybercrime costs can be expected. Even over the course of the last 12 months the potential attack surface...

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New Leet Botnet Used in 650Gbps DDoS Attack
Jan02

New Leet Botnet Used in 650Gbps DDoS Attack

A new botnet has been discovered to almost rival Mirai. The Leet botnet is capable of performing DDoS attacks of at least 650 Gbps 2016 has seen an increase in DDoS attacks on organizations, not only in terms of frequency but also scale. The Mirai botnet was used to conduct massive DDoS attacks on a number of websites and online platforms towards the end of the year. KrebsOnSecurity was attacked, with the DDoS assault registering 620 Gbps, and French hosting company OVH registered a 990Tbps attack – The largest ever DDoS attack reported. That was until the massive attack on DNS provider Dyn. That attack was reportedly 1.2 Tbps. The Mirai botnet – a botnet consisting of thousands and thousands of compromised IoT devices – was used for all of the above DDoS attacks, yet was not even...

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New Hampshire Hospital Data Breach Result of Human Error
Dec30

New Hampshire Hospital Data Breach Result of Human Error

A recent New Hampshire Hospital data breach has resulted in the disclosure of the protected health information of 15,000 patients. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) psychiatric hospital data breach occurred in October last year. The person responsible for the breach was identified at the time, but the incident was not deemed to be severe and the attack went unreported. In October 2015, a patient of New Hampshire Hospital used a hospital library computer to access non-confidential files. A staff member noticed that the patient had accessed information that shouldn’t have been accessible and the incident was reported to a supervisor. However, the matter was not reported to hospital officials, although action was taken to restrict access to library computers. 10 months...

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Final Cybersecurity Guidance on Medical Devices Issued by FDA
Dec27

Final Cybersecurity Guidance on Medical Devices Issued by FDA

Final cybersecurity guidance on medical devices has been issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The 30-page document augments previous guidance published by the FDA in 2014 and is intended to help manufacturers of medical devices implement policies, procedures, and controls to secure postmarket devices. Previous guidance has covered security controls and policies that should be implemented to ensure medical devices are secured before coming to market. The latest document covers the processes that should take place to ensure that medical devices are continuously checked to ensure vulnerabilities are addressed before they can be exploited by hackers. In recent years, a number of medical devices have been shown to contain serious vulnerabilities that could be exploited by...

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Microsoft Admits Its Windows 10 Update Policy Was Too Aggressive
Dec26

Microsoft Admits Its Windows 10 Update Policy Was Too Aggressive

The aggressive tactics used by Microsoft to get push its Windows 10 upgrade annoyed many users. Many Windows users felt they were being bombarded with communications telling them to upgrade for security recommendations. The frequency that dialog boxes popped up on screens and the inability to remove or prevent notifications from appearing angered many Windows 7 and Windows 8 users. During a weekly podcast, Chris Capossela, Microsoft’s Chief Marketing Officer, apologised for the tactics that Microsoft used to promote the upgrade, although he did point out that Microsoft’s intentions were good – To ensure users of Windows were better protected against malware and other threats. Capossela said “finding that right balance where you’re not stepping over the line of being too aggressive is...

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63% Increase in Healthcare Data Breaches in 2016
Dec22

63% Increase in Healthcare Data Breaches in 2016

There has been a 63% increase in major healthcare data breaches in 2016, according to the 2016 Healthcare Cyber Breach Report from cybersecurity firm TrapX. The report, which covers healthcare data breaches in 2016 from January 1 to December 12, shows that while the total number of healthcare records exposed in 2016 was considerably lower than last year, the number of incidents increased substantially. In 2015, 111,812,172 records were breached in major cyberattacks. In 2016, the number of exposed or stolen records was ‘only’ 12,057,759. However, in 2016, the healthcare industry in the United States experienced 93 major data breaches in 2016. In 2015, TrapX documented 57 major healthcare data breaches. The report shows how the number of major cybersecurity breaches has increased every...

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Over 400,000 New Phishing Webpages are Created Every Day
Dec20

Over 400,000 New Phishing Webpages are Created Every Day

Cybercriminals are now creating record numbers of phishing sites and are using those sites to steal login and email credentials and credit card information. The malicious websites can be convincing. Images are taken from legitimate websites to make the webpages appear genuine. Sites perform complementary – but fake – virus and malware scans and convince visitors that their computers have been infected, and new scams are constantly being created to convince visitors to part with sensitive information or download malware. Antivirus companies and web filtering service providers are quick to identify new phishing sites. New malicious sites are rapidly added to blacklists enabling the sites to be blocked. Individuals and companies protected by solutions to neutralize web-borne threats remain...

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