28 June 2019

IRM Weekly Cybersecurity Roundup: US and Iranian counter cyber-attacks

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US ‘launched cyber-attack on Iran weapons systems’

The US launched a cyber-attack on Iranian weapons systems on Thursday as President Trump pulled out of air strikes on the country, US reports say. The cyber-attack was said to have disabled computer systems controlling rocket and missile launchers.

The attack had been planned for several weeks, the sources told US media outlets, and was suggested as a way of responding to the mine attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman. It was aimed at weapons systems used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which shot down the US drone last Thursday and which the US says also attacked the tankers.

On Saturday the US Department for Homeland Security warned that Iran was stepping up its own cyber-attacks on the US. They have been using “destructive ‘wiper’ attacks”, he said, using tactics such as “spear phishing, password spraying and credential stuffing” in a bid to take control of entire networks.

You can read more here.

Six arrested in European heist that netted $27.3M in cryptocurrency

Six people in the UK and Netherlands have been arrested on charges for the theft of €24 million, $27.3 million worth of cryptocurrency.

The arrest was carried out by the UK’s South West Regional Cyber Crime Unit in a joint operation with the Dutch police, Europol, Eurojust and the UK’s National Crime Agency after a 14-month long investigation.

The investigation stemmed from a case of typo squatting in which a well-known online cryptocurrency exchange was spoofed to gain access to victims’ Bitcoin wallets and steal their funds and login details.

Five men and one woman were arrested at their homes and the heist is believed to have affected at least 4 000 victims in 12 countries, but more may have been affected.

You can read more here.

Universities recognised for excellence in cybersecurity

Two UK universities have been added to the growing list of Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research, further enhancing the UK’s leading position in cybersecurity research.

The two new centres are De Montfort University and Northumbria University and have been recognised by the National Cyber Security Centre and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council as having first rate research capabilities.

Their strengths include improving our approaches to help people better understand how to protect themselves online, and developing new technologies to protect critical infrastructure like telecommunications.

They join a list of 17 other institutions across the whole of the UK which are regarded as strategic partners to Government, and are producing cutting edge research in cybersecurity.

You can read more here.

Quickfire updates

Second US town pays up to ransomware hackers: A town in Florida has paid $500,000 (£394,000) to hackers after a ransomware attack. After multiple attacks the total paid by Florida municipalities over ransomware in the last two weeks now stands at $1.1m. Read more here.

Cyber Essentials evolves: Cyber Essentials is an important part of the NCSC’s mission to, “make the UK one of the safest places to live and do business on-line.” As such, they have been engaged in a detailed consultation exercise intended to ensure that the scheme evolves to meet the cyber security challenges of today, and tomorrow. Read more here.

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. 

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