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Hack Marks Second Case of Real-World Physical Damage

Today we look at a hack on a German steel mill that produced the second confirmed case of cyberattack-originated physical damage: Lost in the Sony Hoopla Losing Control of the System Separation to Enhance Security Conclusion Lost in the Sony Hoopla The Sony hack captured our imaginations in December, so many people missed reports of an attack that was much more disturbing for those in the security field. A report by the German government that was posted to the Internet in December details an attack on an unidentified German steel mill. The attackers created enough volatility within the plant’s control systems, wrote Kim Zetter of Wired, “that a blast furnace could not be properly shut down, resulting in ‘massive’—though unspecified—damage.” This German incident is only the second time that a 100% digital assault has destroyed physical property. The original case of attackers crossing the virtual/physical divide was Stuxnet, a digital worm that was used by the United States and Israel to attack Iranian control systems. The infiltration occurred in late 2007 or early 2008. In January 2010, International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors observed that the  centrifuges for uranium gas enrichment were malfunctioning at an alarming rate. In June of that [...]

More Destructive 2014 Hacks: Snapsaved Had it Coming

Today we look at more of the biggest enterprise intrusions of 2014, as showcased by Kim Zetter for Wired (see our opening article here): Home Depot – And You Thought Target Was Bad Jennifer Lawrence Naked – Don’t Look, You Creeps Snapsaved – They Had It Coming Twitter – Never Going to Let You Down Bitcoin – Um, Maybe this Wasn’t a Good Idea I’m Afraid! Home Depot – And You Thought Target Was Bad Home Depot now feels the pain of Neiman Marcus, Michael’s, and Target. The hardware box store chain revealed in September that it had been hacked, compromising the payment card numbers of 56 million people – 10 million more than were stolen from Target. Kim notes that the intruders were inside the corporation’s network starting in April, after two previous attempts that resulted in minor damages. Independent security professionals had allegedly recommended that Home Depot install additional data safeguards that could have prevented the breach, but the company had not acted in time. Jennifer Lawrence Naked – Don’t Look, You Creeps Hackers ran roughshod on Jennifer Lawrence’s genitals in September, posting pictures of them for everyone to see. 4chan users released more than 500 images supposedly [...]

The Most Destructive Hacks of 2014

Today we look at the biggest enterprise intrusions of 2014: Introduction – Hackers Rampaging Sony – Head Hanging in Shame European Union – Government Spy Machine Regin More Introduction – Hackers Rampaging Human beings are funny. Although we all want peace and security, we also gravitate toward death and destruction. Sometimes it is because we feel compassion for the victims. Sometimes we are trying to learn from bad examples and figure out what organizations seem vulnerable. And sometimes, we are mesmerized by the raw carnage. Perhaps all three of those explain our obsession with computer hacks. Hacks aren’t just captivating, though. As Kim Zetter reports in Wired, data breaches at enterprises are progressively growing and becoming more sophisticated. They are also becoming more sinister. When hackers infiltrated Sony Pictures, they did more than abscond with sensitive personal data. They performed a sort of digital terrorism on the inside of the studio’s network on their way out the door, deleting the contents of servers and leaving the IT team clamoring to recover. Kim explains that this data-destruction type of attack is not new: “Digital destruction of this sort was first seen in Saudi Arabia and Iran when computers used in the [...]

Cloud Experts Say the Darndest Things About 2015

This report looks at where cloud is headed for 2015, through the eyes of several experts in the field: Introduction John Engates – People won’t just buy on cost. Allan Leinwand – Development agility will grow increasingly important. Nigel Beighton – Infrastructure is on its way out. Sachin Sony – Enterprises will build private, leading toward hybrid. Conclusion Introduction Cloud grew astronomically during 2014. The infrastructure as a service field became increasingly competitive at the top, as IBM and Microsoft took turns throwing punches at AWS, primarily by injecting huge sums of cash into breakneck efforts to topple the obvious market leader. What happens in 2015? James Bourne collected perspectives from several industry experts. Notably, these experts are to a large extent voice boxes for the strategies of their corporations. Don’t necessarily expect evenhanded attitudes or even clarity here. With that sizable grain of salt (maybe even a saltshaker), let’s look at these expert projections: John Engates – People won’t just buy on cost. John Engates, the chief technology officer of Rackspace, said the customers will be seeking out more sophisticated plans in 2015, rather than simply making buying decisions on cost. He commented, “The importance of a trusted partner [...]

Fend for Yourselves! Verizon Cloud Drifts Away for the Weekend

This report looks at the extensive scheduled downtime announced this week by one of our largest and most well-recognized competitors: Are You Freaking Kidding Me? Hey, Where’s the Cloud? Why So Extended? What About Failover? Know Your SLA Don’t Run for the Hills Are You Freaking Kidding Me? No one was very impressed with Verizon’s announcement that its enterprise system Verizon Cloud would go down early Saturday morning for up to 48 hours. When Sharon Gaudin of Computerworld reported that the service would be moved offline beginning at 1 AM EST on Saturday, January 10, readers were quick to express their disgust. One user, 99BitterReality, thought that the move by Verizon should be seen as its swansong, insulting the intelligence of anyone who would give them a second chance: “Only the truly stupid would continue with a company unable/unwilling to provide even a really lousy level of service.” Commenter vipbackchannel noted that Verizon was responsible for the Affordable Care Act debacle in late 2013, when the system became widely unreliable right at the time when the Obama administration needed it most. In closing, vipbackchannel summarized his opinion of the telecom giant’s infrastructure: “They have very bad design.” Hey, Where’s the [...]

Terrifying Verizon Cloud Unleashes a S–tstorm

This article looks at Verizon’s announcement that their enterprise customers should plan for as much as 48 hours of downtime over the weekend. That’s right: two days. We will proceed as follows: Verizon Cloud – Sh–tstorm a-Brewin’ Prepare for the Worst – Bring Your Raincoat They Don’t Know What They’re Doing I said I’ll Give You Shelter from the Storm Verizon Cloud – Sh–tstorm a-Brewin’ Never hit someone when they are down. It’s just not nice. But what else can you say other than, “What is Verizon doing?” Sharon Gaudin of Computerworld reported on an alert Verizon sent out to its enterprise cloud users letting them know that there could be as much as 48 hours of service outage over the weekend. Sharon writes, “The company confirmed this afternoon that its new cloud service, Verizon Cloud, will be shut down for maintenance for as long as two days starting at 1 a.m. ET [New York City time] on Saturday, Jan. 10.” Enterprise users have been told to shut off their cloud servers by Midnight ET – just turn it off, like a vacuum cleaner. You just can’t make this stuff up. Users of Verizon Cloud won’t be able to use [...]