10 May 2019

IRM Weekly Cybersecurity Roundup: Binance cyber-attack and more

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Over $40 million in bitcoin stolen from crypto exchange Binance

A large-scale security breach was announced on 7th May after hackers stole more than 7,000 bitcoin from crypto exchange Binance in one hit, the world’s largest by volume. Binance announced the attack was due to malicious actors including phishing attacks and viruses.

Hackers were able to access user API keys and two factor authentication codes, meaning they were able to withdraw over $40 million in bitcoin from the exchange.

The withdrawal triggered internal alarms causing a ‘withdraw freeze’, which will remain suspended for the next week as hackers may still control certain user accounts. Binance will be conducting a thorough security review on its systems and data during the freeze.

The exchange will use its Secure Asset Fund for Users (SAFU fund) to cover the loss, which won’t impact users and replacing the lost cash.

You can read more here.

Israel hit Hamas with an airstrike after a failed cyber-attack

Last weekend, Israel sent out a military airstrike in response to an attempted cyber-attack launched by terrorist group, Hamas.

The Israeli warplanes targeted a building in the Gaza Strip where Hamas cyber operatives work. After the airstrike, Israel Defense Force (IDF) tweeted: “We thwarted an attempted Hamas cyber offensive against Israeli targets,” the IDF tweeted. “Following our successful cyber defensive operation, we targeted a building where the Hamas cyber operatives work. HamasCyberHQ.exe has been removed.”

It is not known who the Hamas terrorist group were targeting with their cyber-attack in Israel, but it’s said that the attack aimed to endanger the lives of Israeli citizens.

You can read more here.

A ‘cyber event’ disrupted US grid operations 

Last month, an energy company providing power in several western US states experienced a cyber-event that interfered with electrical grid operations.

The attack didn’t cause outages or affect reliability of the grid due to it being a relatively basic hack. The event does, however, cause concern over what might happen if a more malicious attack occurred, such as a mass blackout for millions of people.

The cause of the disruption was caused by a ‘denial of service incident’. This means the Energy Department was overwhelmed with fake web traffic, which causes disruption and in some cases can halt all utilities.

There was no evidence the attack was coordinated or ongoing.

You can read more here.

Quick Fire Updates:

A viral Snapchat app Yolo, raises abuse concerns: A new app for Snapchat called Yolo, let’s you ask anonymous questions to users, causing concerns of comments being easily misuse to send abusive or upsetting messages. You can read more here.

A machine that can copy your handwriting: A robot has been developed to mimic an individual’s writing style, which could then mass produce your handwriting, handy for wedding invites and even political parties, but could it be dangerous? You can read more here.

Fewer 16 year-olds are getting computing qualifications: According to an annual study by the University of Roehampton, computing in schools is in a steep decline. GCSE ICT exams are no longer an option for students. You can read more here.

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If you have any questions about this week’s roundup, or want to understand how you can improve your cybersecurity strategy, get in touch with IRM.