Financial Activities Outpaces Ransomware AttacksGP0|#91bd5d60-260d-42ec-a815-5fd358f1796d;L0|#091bd5d60-260d-42ec-a815-5fd358f1796d|Cybersecurity;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a43444652019-06-01T04:00:00Z, Megan Gates<p>​Their goal is to infiltrate without being noticed. To attach themselves to their host and deplete some, but not all, of its resources. And to grow until detection is no longer avoidable and the host is no longer needed.</p><p>Like a parasite, cryptojackers use the resources of their hosts’ computers and Internet of Things (IoT) devices to mine for cryptocurrency while evading detection. And what started out as a small vector of attack has quickly grown into an epidemic in the last year.  </p><p>In its annual <em><a href="">Threat Intelligence Index</a></em> released in February, IBM’s X-Force found that cryptojacking attacks increased 450 percent while ransomware attacks declined by about 45 percent.</p><p>“Criminals are increasingly leveraging coin-mining malware over ransomware, installing miners on victim endpoints and enslaving them, thus slowly generating coins for the attacker,” according to the report.</p><p>“That was surprising coming off WannaCry and NotPetya, and the other large ransomware trends,” says John Kuhn, senior threat researcher at X-Force Iris, the research and incident response arm of IBM. “The reason behind the decline in ransomware—I think—is that people are not falling victim to it anymore.”</p><p>Ransomware is intrusive and obvious to targets. Its goal is to get victims to pay cryptocurrency to the perpetrators, so they make a profit. But more people are aware of ransomware and are skeptical that they will get their data back if they pay. Antivirus companies are also getting better at detecting and preventing attacks, Kuhn adds. </p><p>Ransomware is still around, “but overall I don’t think it was making that much money for them, so they switched over to cryptojacking or cryptomining malware,” he says.</p><p>Just like miners are needed to obtain the metals used to create physical currencies, they are also needed to find cryptocurrencies and validate transactions made using them. The difficulty in mining depends on the type of cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is the most complicated, requiring computers to solve complex math problems to produce a new piece of currency. </p><p>Cryptomining requires a great deal of computing power and is most profitable when done on a large scale, said Ayse Kaya Firat, head of analytics and customer insights at Cisco, in a presentation at the RSA Conference in March. </p><p>To lower their costs, some criminals are engaging in cryptojacking—using a cryptocurrency miner on an individual’s device without the owner’s knowledge or consent. </p><p>“This operation taxes the device’s central processing unit or graphics processing unit, is costly in terms of electric power, and can cause damage to devices as they overheat,” according to the X-Force report. </p><p>Attack actors typically use two methods to engage in cryptojacking. The first method is via a website that an individual might visit via using an Internet browser. Attackers tend to target websites that an individual would visit for a lengthy period of time, such as news websites or video hosting sites.</p><p>“You go to a website, there are some scripts that connect out and then connect back to your browser, and they force the browser to start mining Monero or another cryptocurrency without your knowledge or permission,” Kuhn says. </p><p>The only sign that this script is running on the computer would likely be that the central processing unit (CPU) fan would kick up because the CPU is working overtime to mine cryptocurrency while the individual is using the device.</p><p>“Or your machine might get really slow—it all happens on the backend,” Kuhn adds. “And essentially when you close the browser out, the whole process stops.”</p><p>The other method is to install cryptomining malware on an individual’s device, which is how roughly 50 percent of miners were conducting cryptomining in 2018, Firat said. This malware takes over the CPU to mine for cryptocurrency, even when a user is not actively using the device. </p><p>“These are the more troubling ones because you’re not sitting at your computer and you don’t notice the sluggishness, the fans kicking up, or anything else,” Kuhn explains.</p><p>Another sign that cryptomining might be underway is a spike in electric bills. In a 2018 report, Morgan Stanley said global power demand from cryptocurrency mining was at about 22 terawatt hours but could surge to between 125 and 140 terawatt hours by the end of the year—approximately 0.6 percent of world consumption and the same as the entire electrical consumption of Argentina in an average year.</p><p>“In the short term, cryptocurrency power consumption is a small percentage of global power usage so we don’t anticipate it will impact utility valuations in the near- to medium-term,” said Nicholas Ashworth, cohead of European Utilities Research at Morgan Stanley, in a statement on the report. “But over time the energy consumption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies will likely become a hot topic for the utility sector.” </p><p>Another troubling trend that’s beginning to emerge is cryptojacking campaigns that use Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as routers and cameras. Similar to how attackers compromised millions of IoT devices in the Mirai botnet attack (see “<a href="/Pages/Rise-of-the-IoT-Botnets.aspx">Rise of the IoT Botnets</a>,” <em>Security Management,</em> February 2017), actors will “exploit a vulnerability inside these devices and make them start to mine cryptocurrency,” Kuhn says. </p><p>This is especially problematic because IoT devices traditionally use default passwords or weak passwords, have low built-in security, and are not regularly patched, says Coleman Wolf, CPP, CISSP, senior security consultant at Environmental Systems Design and a member of the ASIS International IT Security Council.</p><p>“I do regular presentations, and one of the points I always drive home is these IoT devices might not look like it, but under the hood they’re computers,” Wolf says. “They may not be as powerful as a desktop or a server, but like any other computer they can be exploited.”</p><p>And like computers, it may be difficult to tell if an IoT device is being used for cryptomining. Often, the most obvious sign is if the device stops functioning.</p><p>“A lot of these routers and cameras are not designed to run at full CPU tilt that these miners do,” Kuhn says. “So, a lot of times they just fail or stop functioning, and that’s a big sign that something might be going on.”</p><p>To proactively identify if an IoT device is being used for cryptomining, Wolf recommends that end users change default passwords on their devices, regularly patch, and conduct regular network scanning. </p><p>“I don’t want to get people paranoid if their security camera does something buggy and immediately make them think it’s been hacked, but that’s one way to be suspicious,” he explains. “If power, speed, or effectiveness of the device changes unexpectedly, that could be a sign that it’s been compromised.”</p><p>However, attack actors will likely be cautious about causing the device to fail entirely because they want to continue using it for cryptomining.</p><p>“It doesn’t work to the miners’ advantage to kill the system, to kill their host, or have people unplug the device because it’s not working,” Wolf says. </p><p>And while the threat actors are not using cryptojacking to inflict harm on the host, the activity does pose a security threat because it offers a foothold into the system for additional activity.</p><p>“If they were able to slip this cryptojacking malware in, there’s a large chance that they’re going to slip in something like a banking Trojan, an information stealing Trojan, or one of those file list type malwares using Powershell that are far more dangerous than something like a cryptojacking malware,” Kuhn adds.</p>

Financial Activities Outpaces Ransomware Attacks Review: Financial Investigations Security Credit Fraudians Slip In Technology with a Personal Touch Identity Crisis Review - Business Theft and Fraud: Detection and Prevention bajo Control Trouble to Bank On Under Control’s-Responsive-Banking-Concept-Enhances-ATM-Security-and-Service.aspx2014-12-02T05:00:00ZDiebold’s Responsive Banking Concept Enhances ATM Security and Service Releases 'Culture of Compliance' Guidance for Financial Institution Leaders Releases 'Culture of Compliance' Guidance for Financial Institution Leaders on a Security Upgrade, Money Laundering Are Top Threats Facing the Financial Industry in 2014 Money, Real Crime Economics to Fight Terrorists Discusses Efforts to Prevent Fraudulent Transactions Warns Data Brokers

 You May Also Like...,-Expert-Says.aspxBag Checks At Hotels Unlikely To Become New Normal, Expert Says<p>​In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting that killed 59 people and wounded more than 500 others, many are wondering if hotels will change their security policies and procedures. </p><p>One area of concern is if hotels will begin implementing bag checks because gunman Stephen Paddock was able to smuggle 23 firearms, along with other equipment, into his suite at Mandalay Bay to carry out Sunday’s massacre.<br></p><p>The Wynn resort in Las Vegas—located on the opposite end of the Vegas Strip from the Mandalay Bay resort—introduced security guards on Monday afternoon to screen visitors with metal-detector wands. It also implemented a bag check, which created a 10-minute wait to get inside the facility. <br></p><p>This is unlikely to become the new normal for hotel security in the near future, however, says Russell Kolins, CEO of the Kolins Security Group and chair of the ASIS International Hospitality, Entertainment, and Tourism Security council.<br></p><p>“Hotels are in the business of selling privacy—they’re offering hospitality and selling privacy,” Kolins explains, adding that hotels would likely start to lose business if they began checking bags—especially in locations like Las Vegas. <br></p><p>“In Vegas especially, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” Kolins says. “People bring items they don’t want other people to see.”<br></p><p>At airports, travelers are subject to bag searches—as well as body scans—because they are a different kind of target than a hotel. Travelers also have no expectation of privacy while on a plane, except for in the bathroom, unlike in a hotel where travelers expect privacy within their room, Kolins says.<br></p><p>One policy that might need to be revisited following the shooting, however, is how hotels handle checking rooms that have a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. <br></p><p>Paddock checked into the Mandalay Bay on Thursday and kept a “Do Not Disturb” sign on his hotel door throughout his stay. This meant hotel cleaning staff did not enter his room, <a href="" target="_blank">according to a hotel worker who spoke to The New York Times,​</a> because housekeeping is only allowed to enter a room with such a sign on it if a security guard is present.<br></p><p>Requiring a security guard be present to enter rooms with privacy signs is the right move, Kolins says, but hotels should consider changing their policies to require room checks every other day.<br></p><p>“That’s an arbitrary period of time, but I think a policy should be instilled to at least check on the rooms,” Kolins says, adding that hotels would have to make patrons aware of the policy. But such a policy could, potentially, prevent an individual from using a hotel room for an extended period of time to plot a criminal act.<br></p><p>Kolins leads a team of court-certified security experts at his firm. He says he thinks it’s unlikely that Mandalay Bay will be sued for negligence for the shooting because to sue for negligence, plaintiffs must be able to show foreseeability. <br></p><p>“This is unprecedented—nothing like this has ever happened,” Kolins explains. “If something happens the first time, it’s not foreseeable.”<br></p><p>Now that such an attack has happened, though, if a similar attack happens plaintiffs could potentially bring a lawsuit saying it was foreseeable. In response, Kolins says he expects the hotel security industry to begin having seminars and tabletop meetings to determine how they would handle a similar case.<br></p><p>“I think what this has done is show that the slogan ‘expect the unexpected’ is again proven to be true,” Kolins says. “It wasn’t foreseeable because it was unprecedented.”​<br></p>GP0|#cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8;L0|#0cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8|Physical Security;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a4344465 Under Control<p>​<span style="line-height:1.5em;">Companies spend significant resources on access control equipment. Estimates of the size of the global market range from about $6 billion to around $22 billion, and a recent ASIS survey indicates that 57 percent of U.S. businesses will be increasing access control spending through 2016. </span></p><p>Upfront costs are just the start. Security professionals take time to determine which doors need to be locked and when.  They decide where to install readers and decide how to pro­cess visitors. Despite the effort spent on the access control equipment layout and maintenance, over time the access control database can become mismanaged. Requests for tweaks to reader groupings and access levels are continuous. One group may want time restrictions for the janitorial crew; another group may need access to one door but want to restrict others. If these accommodations are made without regard for the overall system, over time a complicated tangle of access control levels is created. The next thing you know, security no longer controls access; access control takes charge of the organization’s security, resulting in a chaotic mess.</p><p>BB&T, a large financial services institution headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has protocols in place that ensure appropriate and accurate administration of access control systems at its corporate locations. The Fortune 500 company has more than 1,800 financial centers in 12 states.  In addition, it has approximately 120 corporate buildings–data centers, operations centers, call centers, corporate and regional headquarters–that have access control systems. ​</p><h4>Challenges</h4><p>Regulatory developments over the last decade make it necessary to closely maintain access control data. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 require health­care and financial organizations, respectively, to keep strict watch over sensitive and personal information. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 forced a strengthening of internal controls within corporations. More recently, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard requires that companies keep tight control over credit and debit card data. </p><p>These regulations, as well as others that affect specific industries, have brought more scrutiny to the administration of access control data. Most large organizations, especially those in regulated industries, have experienced an increase in audit activity as it relates to physical access controls. This means that regular reviews of access reports are required in many cases. For this reason, it is critical that the data in a company’s access control database be clean and accurate.  </p><p>Numerous challenges can arise from failing to properly maintain an access control system. Maintenance lapses can result in thefts when, for example, terminated employees get into a facility. What good is an access control system if, due to negligence in maintaining the system, people can enter places they shouldn’t? If your access control database has been around for years and has turned into a Byzantine web of access permissions, what steps can be taken to get control over the data? </p><p>Access control database administrators must have an ongoing process of maintaining the accuracy of the data. A standards-based approach must be taken to manage any effective access control program. Standards include defining the types of users in the system–employees, vendors, visitors, temporary card users– and establishing credentials for which each of these user categories will be managed and reviewed. Once the user categories are defined, space definitions and ongoing maintenance procedures must be established. ​</p><h4>Database management</h4><p>BB&T categorizes its cardholders into three groups based on the users’ network login ID. There are employees and contractors with a company network login ID; vendors, tenants, and others without a company network login ID; and temporary users. BB&T uses the network login ID for employers and contractors because the network ID is also used in the IT security database. This allows security to match the IT access records to the physical access records. Human resource data was considered for this match, but the bank determined that many vendors, temporary employees, and contractors who have a BB&T network login ID are not included in its human resource system. Matching the network login ID covers a majority of the organization’s users. If the records do not match, the user’s access is terminated.   </p><p>For cards not involved in the matching process, BB&T identifies a company employee who can serve as a sponsor for each vendor and tenant. The company conducts quarterly reviews of those cards, during which the company sponsor ascertains whether the vendor or tenant employee still works for the third-party company and still needs the BB&T card.</p><p>All temporary cards in the system are assigned to the individuals who have the cards in their possession. The temporary cards may be used by visitors, trainees, vendors, and employees who forgot their badge at home. Information on the cardholder is housed within the access control database. Quarterly reports for all temporary cards are sent to one person who is responsible for ensuring that their temporary cards are accounted for.  ​</p><h4>Space</h4><p>BB&T has established criteria and definitions of the physical space in its environment and categorizes space into three categories: critical, restricted, and general. Criteria are established for each category of space. The critical category is reserved for high-risk, critical infrastructure areas, such as server rooms or HVAC sites. Restricted space is office space for departments that the company deems restricted. All critical and restricted space is assigned a space owner. The space owner is then responsible for approving or denying people’s access to that area. General access areas are common doors and hallways.</p><p>For each category of space, standards are established on how access is governed. For example, the data center standards might state that janitors or nonessential personnel are not granted access without an escort. Standards also dictate who can approve access to that space and how often access reports should be reviewed. For example, critical and restricted space reports are reviewed monthly or quarterly.</p><p>Access devices are grouped together based on the categories of space and the users that access the space. This streamlines the access request process and makes it easier for the requestors to understand what access they are selecting. Grouping as many readers together as possible minimizes the number of possible groupings meaning that there are fewer choices for those requesting access. It also makes it easier to ensure that access reports are accurate, and it simplifies the process of approving access and access report reviews. If all readers for critical space to a building are grouped together, only one approval would be required for critical space and only one report would need to be reviewed.  </p><p>However, in some cases, minimizing groupings may not possible. For example, one group of users may be allowed into the IT area but only a subset of that group has access to the server room that resides within the lab. In this case, groups would be categorized by the users rather than the readers.</p><p>It’s also important to make sure that access levels and device groupings don’t overlap. This can complicate the request process and the report reviews and could cause access reports to reflect an incomplete list of users who have access to a space. For example, in a building with three readers, grouping one may include the front and back doors, and grouping two may include the communications room. If, in addition to these two groupings, there is an overarching grouping three that includes all three readers, this could create a problem since each of the three individual readers belong to two different groupings. In this scenario, if a request is made to determine who has access to the communications room, rather than producing a report of the communications room reader group, an additional report of the group of all three readers would need to be provided. In many organizations, this second step is missed, causing an inaccurate representation of those with access to a specific area. This can be a major issue if discovered during an audit.</p><p>Another way to remedy this issue would be to run reader reports on individual doors, in this example, a reader report on the communications room only. Most access control systems allow for this type of report. However, in companies with a large number of individual card readers, this would require many more reports. The same users often need access to multiple doors, so combining them into groupings that don’t overlap makes more sense than running individual reader reports. As a rule, BB&T does not allow a reader that has been deemed critical or restricted to belong to more than one reader grouping. This ensures that access reports are accurate and complete.  It does, however, require that a user who needs access to a full building, such as a janitor or security officer, request access to each area of the building rather than requesting overarching access to the entire building. This is beneficial, not only for reporting reasons, but also because it requires that space owners approve all users who have access to their space and holds the space owners responsible for knowing who is entering their space. Controls in the report review process can be set up to ensure that a space owner does not remove access for a janitor or security officer. Some systems allow cards to be flagged and would require a higher level of scrutiny before access is removed. Nonetheless, this is a cleaner way to set up access levels and ensures that space owners will review a report of all users that have access to their space, which is what most auditors are looking for.   ​</p><h4>Clean-Up</h4><p>If an access control system has become muddled over time, a database clean-up is recommended. A good place to start is to deactivate all cards that have not been used in a specific timeframe, such as the previous six months. Thus there will be fewer cards to review. Then, security can find a common piece of data with another database in the company that provides a match of current employees. Human resource or information security data is best to determine whether active cardholders in the system still work for the company. Of the remaining cards for nonemployees, visitors, tenants, and contractors, security should research whether the card users can be associated with a manager or employee within the company. Security can work with these internal partners to implement an ongoing review of access cards. ​</p><h4>Maintenance</h4><p>Performing a regular match of human resource or information security data ensures that cards are deactivated for users whose information does not match that on the card. If a user is not captured in the match, that person should be assigned to a sponsor for quarterly review to determine whether any credentials need to be terminated. Access reports should be reviewed for all nongeneral space to ensure that users still need access to the designated areas. Such reviews should take place at regular intervals–not more than quarterly. An important piece of the access request process is to ensure that all necessary information is captured to support the new standards and to support the report review. For example, if the request is for a visitor, security should capture the name of the person who will have that card in their possession during the request.   ​</p><h4>Automation</h4><p>BB&T is working to upgrade the auto­mation of its access control request and audit reporting system by the end of 2015. It is considering software that automates the entire access control database management process from the onboarding human resource system to the access control system. This would include a software interface that would be fully integrated with the information security credentialing system. The ideal software would fully integrate with the access control system where approved access is automatically provisioned with no human intervention.</p><p>Cost is a major factor in implementing such automation. Some companies choose to automate pieces of the process. Some use a simple Web portal form that sends e-mails to approvers and ultimately e-mails the request to the team that provisions access or provides a dashboard for the access control team to view requests. Many companies have integrated with human resource or information security data to update their access control system, which allows for the automatic deactivation of cards for terminated employees, vendors, or contractors. Others have found a way to automate the report reviews. Few access control manufacturers provide these additional software tools in combination with their access control software. Some will work with or direct their customers to third-party solutions, while others are beginning to see the need for automation and are incorporating pieces into their standard software package, such as more robust reporting capabilities.  </p><p>These efforts may seem daunting, but once the standards are set and the database is cleaned up, ongoing maintenance is initiated, and some level of automation is implemented, the system will be under control. It is imperative that security professionals see beyond the equipment and installation and not rely solely on these for protection. A sound maintenance program ensures that, should access control processes be called into question, security can be confident that the company’s program is under control.  </p><p>--</p><p><em><strong>Briggette Jimenez, CPP,</strong> is physical security manager at BB&T where she manages the company’s security command center, security operations, and workplace violence prevention programs.</em></p>GP0|#cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8;L0|#0cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8|Physical Security;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a4344465 Review: Disaster Volunteers<p>​Butterworth-Heinemann;; 140 pages; $39.95.</p><p>A practical guide for those interested in humanitarian volunteer work, <em>How to Become an International Disaster Volunteer </em>is straightforward and easy to understand. The author recounts his experience in the field of volunteer work and the challenges he had to face in his journey of helping others. The book presents a step-by-step plan to succeed in becoming a disaster volunteer, including self-evaluation, training, to-do lists, and case studies.</p><p>What makes this book unique is that the author endeavors to include everything an individual would need to know about international volunteering in one publication. Like a textbook, the book is organized by the stages a volunteer would go through, from deciding to become a volunteer to the psychological effects that remain upon returning from the mission.</p><p>The book does not address the role of security personnel during disasters, but it advises volunteers to be extra careful when traveling to disaster locations because they are always assumed to be less secure than usual—especially when there is civil unrest. The author discusses case studies in locations where volunteers faced security challenges and how they were overcome. Generally, security-related issues were only briefly discussed and in little depth.  </p><p>The author successfully creates a practical guide for current international disaster volunteers and those who are interested in becoming volunteers. This book is an easy read and concise. Although it doesn't contribute to the security body of knowledge, security practitioners would benefit from reading this book by gaining an understanding of disaster volunteering.</p><p><em><strong>Reviewer: Khalid Al-Ghamdi, CPP, PSP</strong>, is the head of security engineering and projects for Saudi Aramco. He serves on the ASIS Petrochemical, Chemical, and Extractive Industry Security Council and is vice chair of the Dhahran Chapter.</em></p>GP0|#28ae3eb9-d865-484b-ac9f-3dfacb4ce997;L0|#028ae3eb9-d865-484b-ac9f-3dfacb4ce997|Strategic Security;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a4344465