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Amnesty International says ‘state sponsored’ hackers targeted Hong Kong base

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EU rethinks relationship with China as new corporate espionage case surfaces
A new case of suspected Chinese industrial espionage highlights Europe’s tricky balancing act between exploiting opportunities in China and guarding against the theft of technology back home.

Amnesty International’s Hong Kong office has been hit with a cyberattack that the group says is the work of a state-sponsored team whose tactics are consistent with those supported by the Chinese government.

The London-based group said on Thursday night that the cyberattack was first detected on 15 March 2019 on the Hong Kong arm’s local IT systems.

After detection, Amnesty said a “global taskforce” was set up to address the issue, which included pulling in cyberforensics and security professionals. 

Affected systems have been analyzed and protection is now in place in order to mitigate the risk of further compromise.

Until the investigation is complete, the human rights advocates will not reveal specific data relating to what areas were targeted, or why.

See also: Chinese hackers strike US universities in bid for military technology

However, information may have been compromised in the attack as Amnesty said it has contacted all individuals whose information may have been exposed. Man-kei Tam, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong also said that the cyberattack was an “outrageous attempt to harvest information and obstruct our human rights work.”

A spokesperson for Amnesty told the South China Morning Post that supporters’ names, Hong Kong identity card numbers and personal contact information were compromised, but financial data remains safe.

In an unusual move, Amnesty has also provided attribution. Companies and cybersecurity vendors alike often do not like to provide direct attribution — especially while an investigation is underway — but Amnesty says that the cyberattack is the work of specific advanced persistent threat groups (APTs) and past campaigns which have been linked to the Chinese government.

“The first phase of the investigation found extensive evidence that the perpetrators belonged to a known APT group, utilizing tactics, techniques and procedures consistent with a well-developed adversary,” Amnesty says.

TechRepublic: Most SMBs would pay a hacker a ransom to get their stolen data back

This is not the first time that Amnesty has been targeted, given the group’s work with other NGOs, activists, journalists, and civil rights movements worldwide. 

Back in August, Amnesty said one of its staff members was the target of a malicious WhatsApp phishing campaign believed to be the work of Saudi officials. In March, Amnesty said that local human rights defenders, the media, and civil society organizations were being spear phished in a wave attributed to Egyptian authorities.

CNET: NSA reportedly recommends retiring phone surveillance program

Hong Kong’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data has been notified of the cyberattack.

“The privacy and safety of all those we work with remains our priority,” said Tam. “We took swift action to secure our systems and have provided guidance to help individuals ensure their personal data is protected.”

A technical report on the attack will be released once the investigation has concluded. 

Previous and related coverage


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Managing Vulnerabilities in a Cloud Native World

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This free 1-hour webinar from GigaOm Research brings together experts in Cloud Native Vulnerability Management, featuring analyst Iben Rodriguez and special guest from Palo Alto Networks, John Morello. The discussion will focus on optimizing cloud security posture and integration with enterprise tool sets.

We will review platforms delivering Security Posture Management and Workload Protection for Microservice based and Hybrid Cloud Workloads.

Registrants will learn how new customers can benefit from Prisma Cloud to better secure their complex multi-cloud environments. Existing customers will learn about new features they can take advantage of and how to optimize their limited resources.

Register now to join GigaOm and Palo Alto Networks for this free expert webinar.

The post Managing Vulnerabilities in a Cloud Native World appeared first on Gigaom.

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Security Tools Help Bring Dev and Security Teams Together

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Software development teams are increasingly focused on identifying and mitigating any issues as quickly and completely as possible. This relates not only to software quality but also software security. Different organizations are at different levels when it comes to having their development teams and security teams working in concert, but the simple fact remains that there are far more developers out there than security engineers.

Those factors are leading organizations to consider security tooling and automation to proactively discover and resolve any software security issues throughout the development process. In the recent report, “GigaOm Radar for Developer Security Tools,” Shea Stewart examines a roundup of security tools aimed at software development teams.

Stewart identified three critical criteria to bear in mind when evaluating developer security tools. These include:

  • Vendors providing tools to improve application security can and should also enhance an organization’s overall security posture.
  • The prevailing “shift-left” mindset doesn’t necessarily mean the responsibility for reducing risk should shift to development, but instead focusing on security earlier in the process and continuing to do so throughout the development process will reduce risk and the need for extensive rework.
  • Security throughout the entire software development lifecycle (SDLC) is critical for any organization focused on reducing risk.

Figure 1. How Cybersecurity Applies Across Each Stage of the Software Development Lifecycle *Note: This report focuses only on the Developer Security Tooling area

Individual vendors have made varying levels of progress and innovation toward enhancing developer security. Following several acquisitions, Red Hat, Palo Alto Networks, and Rapid7 have all added tooling for developer security to their platforms. Stewart sees a couple of the smaller vendors like JFrog and Sonatype as continuing to innovate to remain ahead of the market.

Vendors delving into this category and moving deeper into “DevSecOps” all seem to be taking different approaches to their enhanced security tooling. While they are involving security in every aspect of the development process, some tend to be moving more quickly to match the pace of the SDLC. Others are trying to shore up existing platforms by adding functionality through acquisition. Both infrastructure and software developers are now sharing toolsets and processes, so these development security tools must account for the requirements of both groups.

While none of the 12 vendors evaluated in this report can provide comprehensive security throughout the entire SDLC, they all have their particular strengths and areas of focus. It is therefore incumbent upon the organization to fully and accurately assess its SDLC, involve the development and security teams, and match the unique requirements with the functionality provided by these tools. Even if it involves using more than one at different points throughout the process, focus on striking a balance between stringent security and simplifying the development process.

Read more: Key Criteria for Evaluating Developer Security Tools, and the Gigaom Radar for Developer Security Tool Companies.

The post Security Tools Help Bring Dev and Security Teams Together appeared first on Gigaom.

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Key Criteria for Evaluating User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA)

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Cybersecurity is a multidisciplinary practice that not only grows in complexity annually but evolves nearly as quickly. A survey of the security landscape today would reveal concerns ranging from the classic compromised servers to the relatively new DevSecOps practices aimed at securing the rapid deployment of new code and infrastructure. However, some things remain constant no matter how much change is introduced. While technology evolves and complexity varies, there is almost always a human component in
risks presented to an organization.

User Behavior Analysis (UBA) was designed to analyze the actions of users in an organization and attempt to identify normal and abnormal behaviors. From this analysis, malicious or risky behaviors can be detected. UBA solutions identify events that are not detectable using other methods because, unlike classic security tools (an IDS or SIEM for example), UBA does not simply pattern match or apply rule sets to data to identify security events. Instead, it looks for any and all deviations from baseline user activity.

As technology advanced and evolved, and the scope of what is connected to the network grew, the need to analyze entities other than users emerged. In response, entity analysis has been added to UBA to create UEBA or User and Entity Behavior Analysis. The strategy remains the same, but the scope of analysis has expanded to include entities involving things like daemons, processes, infrastructure, and so on.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

The post Key Criteria for Evaluating User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) appeared first on Gigaom.

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