• CybersecurityIt’s easier to defend against ransomware than you might think

    By Amin Kharraz

    Ransomware – malicious software that sneaks onto your computer, encrypts your data so you can’t access it and demands payment for unlocking the information – has become an emerging cyberthreat. Several reports in the past few years document the diversity of ransomware attacks and their increasingly sophisticated methods. Unfortunately, the use of advanced cryptosystems in modern ransomware families has made recovering victims’ files almost impossible without paying the ransom. However, it is easier to defend against ransomware than to fight off other types of cyberthreats, such as hackers gaining unauthorized entry to company data and stealing secret information.

  • CybersecurityWhat Machiavelli can teach us about cybercrime and e-commerce security

    Online poker offers new insights into the mind-set of scheming Machiavellians, researchers have found. The researchers show that the card betting game can be used as a novel way to better understand the psychology of strategic deception. The research is part of a broader project looking at break-through research on deception, a basic problem at the heart of cybercrime affecting sectors such as e-commerce and financial services, to deepen our fundamental understanding of how deception works particularly in online settings.

  • view counter
  • CybersecurityCybersecurity’s weakest link: humans

    By Arun Vishwanath

    There is a common thread that connects many of the recent hacks which captured the headlines. They all employed generic – or what is now considered “old school” – phishing attacks which typically took the form of the infamous “Nigerian prince” type e-mails, trying to trick recipients into responding with some personal financial information. “Spearphishing” attacks are similar but far more vicious. They seek to persuade victims to click on a hyperlink or an attachment that usually deploys software (called “malware”) allowing attackers access to the user’s computer or even to an entire corporate network. Yes, people are the weakest links in cybersecurity. But they don’t have to be. With smarter, individualized training, we could convert many of these weak links into strong detectors – and in doing so, significantly strengthen cybersecurity.

  • CybersecuritySystem predicts 85 percent of cyber-attacks using input from human experts

    By Adam Conner-Simons

    Today’s security systems usually fall into one of two categories: human or machine. So-called “analyst-driven solutions” rely on rules created by living experts and therefore miss any attacks that do not match the rules. Meanwhile, today’s machine-learning approaches rely on “anomaly detection,” which tends to trigger false positives that both create distrust of the system and end up having to be investigated by humans, anyway. But what if there were a solution that could merge those two worlds? What would it look like? Virtual artificial intelligence analyst developed by the MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab and machine-learning startup PatternEx reduces false positives by factor of 5.

  • CybersecuritySharing password data safely to bolster cybersecurity

    An unfortunate reality for cybersecurity researchers is that real-world data for their research too often comes via a security breach. Now computer scientists have devised a way to let organizations share statistics about their users’ passwords without putting those same customers at risk of being hacked.

  • CybersecurityCybercrime’s true toll

    Cyber thieves who steal credit and debit card numbers are making millions of dollars in profits, fueling a global criminal enterprise marked by the high-profile data breaches of major companies such as Target and Home Depot. A criminologist offers one of the first scientific studies to estimate cybercrime profits, saying the findings should be a wakeup call for consumers and law enforcement officials alike.

  • CybersecurityHyperion cyber security technology receives commercialization award

    The commercial licensing of a cybersecurity technology developed at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been recognized by the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC) as a good example of moving technology to the marketplace. Hyperion, which has the capability automatically to analyze executable programs and recognize behaviors that signal malicious intent and vulnerabilities, was licensed to Virginia-based R&K Cyber Solutions, LLC, in late 2014.

  • CybersecurityResearchers use advanced algorithms to identify six botnets

    Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) cyber security researchers have discovered and traced approximately six “botnets” by analyzing data collected from past cyberattacks. Botnets are networks of malicious, remotely updatable code that covertly lurk on infected computers.

  • CybersecurityIntel unveils new security-on-a-chip system

    Intel on Tuesday unveiled a new password security-on-a-chip system called Intel Authenticate. The new security system aims to thwart hackers who use fake e-mails to trick employees into revealing sensitive information like user names and passwords. Intel said that putting the authentication process on a chip makes the PC itself part of the security system.

  • CybersecurityOptical illusions which fool computer vision raise security concerns

    Computers are learning to recognize objects with near-human ability. But researchers have found that computers, like humans, can be fooled by optical illusions, which raises security concerns and opens new avenues for research in computer vision

  • Infrastructure protectionIranian hackers attacked New York dam

    In 2013, Iranian government hackers infiltrated the control system of Bowman Avenue Dam in Rye, New York, located twenty-five miles from New York City. Using a cellular modem, the hackers could have released larger volumes of upstream water without warning. As dams go, the Rye dam is small at about 20ft tall. There was some confusion initially, as DHS and DOE thought a similarly named dam in Oregon — the Arthur R. Bowman Dam – was the one hacked. The Oregon dam, at 245 feet, is much bigger, and hacking its control systems could have had much more serious consequences.

  • CybersecurityFollowing indictments, China’s military reduces its commercial cybeespionage against American companies

    The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has reduced its cyberespionage activity targeting American companies since five PLA officers were indicted by the Department of Justice in May 2014. “The indictments had an amazing effect in China, more than we could have hoped for,” said one expert. In April, Obama signed an executive order calling for impose economic sanctions on individuals and entities that take part in or benefit from illicit cyber-activities such as commercial espionage. “If the indictments had the effect of getting the PLA to scale down, then sanctions likely will have a wider effect on other Chinese state-sponsored groups,” says another expert.

  • Encryption & terroristsTelegram IM app recalibrates policies after Paris attacks

    Pavel Durov, the creator of the popular instant messaging app Telegram, has said that following the Paris terrorist attacks, his company has blocked dozens of accounts associated with the jihadist Islamic State group. As is the case with other technology companies, Telegram is trying to negotiate the balance between privacy and security: the same privacy-enhancing technology which keeps customers’ communication private, also helps terrorists communicate with each other and plot attacks safe from monitoring and surveillance by intelligence agencies and law enforcement.

  • CybersecurityAutomated application whitelisting to prevent intrusions, malware

    Automated application whitelisting regulates what software can load onto an organization’s network. It is one of a number of techniques that can help prevent malware infections, and it complements other security technologies that are part of an enterprise’s defense-in-depth resources. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published a guide to deploying automated application whitelisting to help thwart malicious software from gaining access to organizations’ computer systems.

  • CybersecurityDHS S&T-funded technology protects devices from cyberattacks

    In 2011, a small group of university researchers working on securing embedded devices caught the attention of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T). That effort has since evolved into a one-of-a-kind technology — called Symbiote — which Hewlett-Packard (HP) recently licensed from Red Balloon Security, to protect its printers from cyberattacks.