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SANS NewsBites is a semiweekly high-level executive summary of the most important news articles that have been published on computer security during the last week. Each news item is very briefly summarized and includes a reference on the web for detailed information, if possible.

Spend five minutes per week to keep up with the high-level perspective of all the latest security news. New issues are delivered free every Tuesday and Friday.

Volume XVI - Issue #89

November 07, 2014

Very cool! A cybersimulator with full kinetic cyber range capabilities - - CyberCity - in a SANS course environment. The new course provides hands-on immersion training in a small-scale physical city with a real power grid, water system, traffic lights, an ISP, and several enterprise environments. It's a little like the FBI training range at Quantico - but for cyber. You'll work through in-depth missions, with real-time streaming video showing 5 independent views of the kinetic actions inside the city and you'll have top SANS instructors helping tune your skills. It's called SEC562: CyberCity Hands-on Kinetic Cyber Range Exercise and it will debut in 5 weeks in Washington DC. Check it out at



FISMA Reforms Stalled
Home Depot Says Breach Affected eMail Addresses
Phishing Just Got Easier for the Bad Guys


Apple Revokes Certificate Used to Sign WireLurker Malware
Authorities Arrest Alleged Silk Road 2.0 Kingpin
FBI Arrests Man Wanted in Data Theft and Financial Fraud Case
Microsoft to Issue 16 Security Bulletins on November 11
Pirate Bay Co-Founder Neij Arrested in Thailand
UK Information Commissioner's Office Issues Warning About SQL Injection Attacks
Justice Department Seeks to Expand Judges' Search Warrant Purview
Clarification of iCloud Autosave Issue



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FISMA Reforms Stalled (November 5, 2014)

Changes to the 2002 Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) may not be as easily brought about as legislators would like. The compliance requirements of the original plan were correctly criticized for generating vast quantities of paper reports (and vast fees for consultants) while providing little true assurance of security. The changes would require a move toward continuous monitoring. While including the FISMA changes in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act is one a possibility, sources say that its inclusion is unlikely, particularly because "there are provisions in FISMA that are raising concerns."

[Editor's Note (Henry): Congress continues to kick the can down the road on FISMA reform year-after-year, and as citizens we should all be outraged. Government officials and Congressional representatives (rightfully) stand up and shout about the threat daily. DHS put out an advisory two weeks ago about an ongoing sophisticated malware campaign compromising Industrial Control Systems, and there's speculation it's tied to Russia. I work DAILY with companies whose computer networks are completely OWNED by foreign governments, and I've investigated intrusions into US government agencies that, likewise, reveal complete compromise of those networks. There is some value in "checking the box" as a start, but proactive monitoring, detection, attribution, and disruption are necessary elements for protecting networks. How many more years do we stick with the status quo? I've spoken to Congressional representatives about this dozens of times...we need to demand more. ]

Home Depot Says Breach Affected eMail Addresses (November 6 & 7, 2014)

Home Depot says that in addition to payment card information, thieves stole 53 million email addresses in a security breach of the company's computer system earlier this year. The company also says that the intruders gained access to the system with stolen credentials.


Phishing Just Got Easier for the Bad Guys (November 5, 2014)

In a new twist on phishing, attackers have been targeting online shoppers of a Japanese department store. Instead of creating a phony duplicate website to trick people into divulging their access credentials, the new technique involves establishing a proxy to act as a relay between the target and the website. When targets go to make a purchase online, the attack serves up a page to steal information.


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Apple Revokes Certificate Used to Sign WireLurker Malware (November 6, 2014)

Apple has revoked a cryptographic certificate that was being used to sign malware known as WireLurker that targets both OS X and iOS. So far, the malware appears to be affecting users in China. WireLurker has been infecting devices through apps downloaded to OS X machines from unauthorized, third party app stores. The malware then infects iOS devices when they are plugged into infected OS X machines. Apple urges customers to obtain apps only from the legitimate app store.


Authorities Arrest Alleged Silk Road 2.0 Kingpin (November 6, 2014)

International law enforcement authorities have arrested Blake Benthall, who has allegedly been operating the criminal underground marketplace known as Silk Road 2.0. International law enforcement agents have also seized the website. Benthall was arrested in San Francisco, California.




FBI Arrests Man Wanted in Data Theft and Financial Fraud Case (November 6, 2014)

The FBI has arrested a man from its "Most Wanted Cyber Fugitives" list. John Gordon Baden was arrested in Tijuana, Mexico. He allegedly stole sensitive personal information and used it to commit fraud, taking funds from banking and brokerage accounts. As many as 40,000 people were affected. Baden allegedly worked with two accomplices, Jason Ray Bailey and Victor Alejandro Fernandez, to gain access to a mortgage broker's system, where they obtained the misused data, including names, birth dates, Social Security numbers (SSNs), tax information and driver's license numbers.

Microsoft to Issue 16 Security Bulletins on November 11 (November 6 & 7, 2014)

Microsoft plans to issue 16 security bulletins on Tuesday, November 11, to address vulnerabilities in Windows, Office, Microsoft.NET Framework, Microsoft Server Software, and Internet Explorer. Five of the bulletins have been given critical ratings.

Pirate Bay Co-Founder Neij Arrested in Thailand (November 4 & 5, 2014)

Pirate Bay co-founder Fredrik Neij was arrested in Thailand when he tried to cross the border into Laos. Neij is that last of the four founders of the Pirate Bay to be apprehended. He has evaded authorities for five years. He will be sent back to Sweden to face punishment for his conviction on copyright violation charges there.


UK Information Commissioner's Office Issues Warning About SQL Injection Attacks (November 5, 2014)

The UK Information Commissioner's office (ICO) has issued a warning about SQL injection attacks after a popular travel website lost credit card numbers to such an attack. ICO fined WorldView Limited GBP 7,500 (US $11,880) for the attack, which compromised payment card details of nearly 4,000 customers. Although the stolen data were encrypted, the decryption key was stored with those data.


ICO's SQL Injection Attack Warning:

Justice Department Seeks to Expand Judges' Search Warrant Purview (November 5, 2014)

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has petitioned the Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules to expand magistrate judges' reach in granting search warrants. Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure allows judges to issue search warrants within their judicial district. DOJ wants to broaden the judges' purviews to allow them to issue warrants for electronic surveillance regardless of the device's location. Opponents say that the change DOJ is asking for would threaten the Fourth Amendment's limitations on search and seizure, and that it could allow for unprecedented access to foreign networks.


Clarification of iCloud Autosave Issue

Earlier this week we ran a story about documents being saved to iCloud without notifying users. The headline suggested that the issue affected all documents, when in fact, the feature is on by default for iWork apps, Preview, and TextEdit. It does not affect Word. Apple describes the autosave default in an August 2014 support document:


EFF rates Messenger Applications

Using QEMU to Reverse MIPS binaries (and develop exploits)

GnuPG Version 2.1 Released

Flash Script used to inject malicious iframe

Visa responds to contactless card foreign currency fraud potential

Undisclosed Wordpress Vulnerability Disclosed by Finish Paper

Rootpipe: Relax and await patch

DDoS Used Against HK Pro-Democracy Sites

|The Editorial Board of SANS NewsBites

John Pescatore was Vice President at Gartner Inc. for fourteen years. He became a director of the SANS Institute in 2013. He has worked in computer and network security since 1978 including time at the NSA and the U.S. Secret Service.

Shawn Henry recently retired as FBI Executive Assistant Director responsible for all criminal and cyber programs and investigations worldwide, as well as international operations and the FBI's critical incident response. He is now president of CrowdStrike Services.

Stephen Northcutt teaches advanced courses in cyber security management; he founded the GIAC certification and was the founding President of STI, the premier skills-based cyber security graduate school,

Dr. Johannes Ullrich is Chief Technology Officer of the Internet Storm Center and Dean of the Faculty of the graduate school at the SANS Technology Institute.

Ed Skoudis is co-founder of CounterHack, the nation's top producer of cyber ranges, simulations, and competitive challenges, now used from high schools to the Air Force. He is also author and lead instructor of the SANS Hacker Exploits and Incident Handling course, and Penetration Testing course.

Michael Assante was Vice President and Chief Security Officer at NERC, led a key control systems group at Idaho National Labs, and was American Electric Power's CSO. He now leads the global cyber skills development program at SANS for power, oil & gas and other critical infrastructure industries.

Mark Weatherford is a Principal at The Chertoff Group and the former Deputy Under Secretary of Cybersecurity at the US Department of Homeland Security.

William Hugh Murray is an executive consultant and trainer in Information Assurance and Associate Professor at the Naval Postgraduate School.

Sean McBride is Director of Analysis and co-founder of Critical Intelligence, and, while at Idaho National Laboratory, he initiated the situational awareness effort that became the ICS-CERT.

Rob Lee is the SANS Institute's top forensics instructor and director of the digital forensics and incident response research and education program at SANS (

Tom Liston is a Senior Security Consultant and Malware Analyst for InGuardians, a handler for the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Center, and co-author of the book Counter Hack Reloaded.

Dr. Eric Cole is an instructor, author and fellow with The SANS Institute. He has written five books, including Insider Threat and he is a founder with Secure Anchor Consulting.

Mason Brown is one of a very small number of people in the information security field who have held a top management position in a Fortune 50 company (Alcoa). He leads SANS' efforts to raise the bar in cybersecurity education around the world.

David Hoelzer is the director of research & principal examiner for Enclave Forensics and a senior fellow with the SANS Technology Institute.

Gal Shpantzer is a trusted advisor to CSOs of large corporations, technology startups, Ivy League universities and non-profits specializing in critical infrastructure protection. Gal created the Security Outliers project in 2009, focusing on the role of culture in risk management outcomes and contributes to the Infosec Burnout project.

Alan Paller is director of research at the SANS Institute.

Brian Honan is an independent security consultant based in Dublin, Ireland.

David Turley is SANS operations manager and serves as production manager and final editor on SANS NewsBites.

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