2009's Five Most Dangerous Attacks

By JDavis | 5/3/09 6:25 PM

Hackers continue to penetrate many more companies than administrators care to admit, according to two security experts at the RSA Conference. More interesting to our community, however, is the fact that four of the five attacks on the list are infected via devices, instead of Windows PCs.

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Conficker Infects Critical Medical Devices

By JDavis | 5/3/09 6:13 PM

The Conficker worm didn't just hit PCs -- it also infected several hundred critical medical devices, a security expert said in a panel at the RSA security conference. Right now it's unclear how the devices, which control things like heart monitors and MRI machines, got infected. But it underlines the need to secure medical systems with embedded firewalls and anti-malware software like Mocana's NanoDefender™.

The computers are older machines running Windows NT and Windows 2000 in a local area network that was not supposed to have access to the Internet, however, the network was connected to one that has direct Internet access and so they were infected, he [Marcus Sachs, director of the SANS Internet Storm Center and a former White House cybersecurity official] recently told CNET news.

The situation illustrates the dangers of connecting critical networks, like in hospitals and in SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems used by utilities and other critical infrastructure providers, with networks connected to the Internet, he said during the panel "Securing Critical Infrastructures: Infrastructure Exposed."

"We're seeing a huge uptick in probing for SCADA systems," said Jerry Dixon, director of analysis and vice president of government relations at research firm Team Cymru. For years, the SCADA systems were separated from the public networks, but that's not the case anymore, he said.

While PCs do remain the primary targets, hackers and malware-writers are increasingly setting their sites on non-PC SCADA devices attached to the network. In other words, as PC security mechanisms have become more sophisticated, non-PC SCADA devices are becoming the more attractive, comparatively "soft" targets -- an easier way into the host network, thereby threatening our critical national infrastructure.

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Wireless Access Points Get Wireless Access Points Get Sneaky

By JDavis | 3/22/09 5:44 PM

Naivete or nastiness? However a wireless AP gets plugged into a company's network, each one creates an access point where anyone can bypass firewalls and remotely access sensitive information. And despite a company's best efforts, there are a few tricks that attackers use to foil even the best rogue WAP detection efforts. One that caught our eye was Wireless Knocking.

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