Norway Accuses Russia of Cyber-Attack

Norway Accuses Russia of Cyber-Attack

¬†Norway’s foreign ministry, army and other institutions were targeted in a recent cyber-attack by a group suspected of ties to Russian authorities, Norwegian intelligence – which was among the targets – said Friday.

Known as APT 29, the group singled out by Oslo has already been accused of hacking interference in the US election last year.

“Nine different email accounts were targeted in an attempt at what is called spear phishing, in other words malicious emails,” Arne Christian Haugstoyl, an official with Norway’s intelligence service PST, told television channel TV2.

“It’s difficult to know what the goal” of the operation was, he said, adding that Norway was alerted to the attack by an allied country.

He described APT 29 as a group “with links to the Russian authorities”.

PST spokesman Martin Bernsen, quoted by daily Verdens Gang (VG), said there was “no reason to believe that classified information had been obtained in connection with the attack.”

In addition to the foreign ministry, the army and PST itself, the attack – the date of which was not disclosed – also targeted the Norwegian radiation protection agency, a school and the parliamentary group of the Labour party, the traditionally dominant political party in Norway but which is currently in opposition.

Legislative elections are scheduled for September 11, though no link has been made to the vote.

Norway, a NATO member, and its neighbour Russia normally enjoy good relations but ties have grown more tense in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.

The Scandinavian country on Wednesday summoned the Russian ambassador to lodge a protest after Moscow refused visas to two senior lawmakers in a move Oslo denounced as “unjustifiable”.

Russia said the visa refusal was a reaction to Norway’s participation in EU economic sanctions against it over the Ukraine crisis.

Moscow was also angered by the recent deployment of some 300 US soldiers on Norwegian soil.

Tags: Norway, Russia, Internet, Cyber Attack

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FireEye’s Mandiant Red Team Operations to Curb Cyber-Attack Risk

FireEye's Mandiant Red Team Operations to Curb Cyber-Attack Risk

US-based network security company FireEye on Monday launched the “Mandiant Red Team Operations” a set of objectives-based assessments that conduct no-holds-barred attacks on organisations to highlight weakness in systems or procedures and to enhance detection and response capabilities.

Additionally, “Mandiant Penetration Testing” was also launched on Monday that offers eight highly customisable penetration test types including penetration tests that assess Industrial Control Systems (ICS), Internet of Things (IoT) devices and mobile applications and devices.

“As we have seen over the last 12 years, determined threat actors will find a way into networks to carry out intellectual property theft, destroy systems, ransom or steal data, or conduct espionage and ultimately maintain their presence for as long as possible,” Marshall Heilman, vice president, incident response and red team operations, FireEye, said in a statement.

The features are designed to utilise unique Mandiant methodology that does not harm business operations or data.

Penetration Testing from Mandiant can be customised for embedded device/IoT assessments, mobile device assessments and web application assessments among others.

“IoT and mobile devices are exponentially expanding, the vulnerabilities of organisations as their adoption outpaces security teams’ ability to properly vet and secure them. Our decade of knowledge enables us to provide comprehensive recommendations to improve security postures,” Heilman noted.

Mandiant is a US cyber-security firm that was acquired for $1 billion by FireEye.

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Tags: Cyber attack, Cyber security, FireEye, Internet, Mandiant
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US to Blame Iran for 2013 Cyber-Attack on New York Dam: Report

US to Blame Iran for 2013 Cyber-Attack on New York Dam: Report

The Obama administration is planning to publicly blame Iranian hackers for a 2013 cyber-attack against a small dam in New York state, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The Justice Department has prepared an indictment against the hackers, two of the sources said, and a public announcement could come as soon as next week.

US officials believe the hackers gained access only to some back office systems, not the operational system of the Bowman Avenue Dam, a flood control system around 30 miles (50 km) north of New York City. The attack was not considered sophisticated, the sources said.

A Justice Department spokesman said he had no comment. CNN first reported news of the planned indictment.

Asked about the report at a news briefing, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said: “We obviously take seriously all such malicious activity in cyberspace. We are going to continue to use all the tools at our disposal to prevent, deter, detect, counter, and mitigate that kind of activity.”

The Obama administration has grown increasingly concerned about the threat of foreign nation-state hacks on US infrastructure – a worry that has grown since US officials said a cyber-attack was the cause of a December blackout in the Ukraine that affected nearly a quarter-million customers.

The Justice Department similarly charged five Chinese military hackers in 2014 for hacking into the networks of several US businesses in order to steal trade secrets.

Larger facilities also the same types of vulnerabilities that could be exploited in similar ways by hackers using tools that can easily be obtained on either the open Internet or closed underground criminal forums, said Steve Grobman, chief technology officer of Intel Corp’s security division.

“We shouldn’t look at the size of the particular body of water, dam or power distribution facility,” Grobman said. “This is as a good example of how critical infrastructure is vulnerable to various actors.”

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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