November seems to have been the month of DDoS attacks. Targets included several email providers such as HushMail, VPEmail and Protonmail but also attacks against the Tor Network – where several exit nodes were attacked – and against the website of security blogger Graham Cluley.
This month also saw a good deal of hacktivism. After the Paris attacks, the hacktivist group Anonymous declared war against ISIS saying “Expect massive cyber attacks. War is declared. Get prepared.” Days later, they went on to expose many ISIS related Twitter accounts but they didn’t stop there and in November, the hacktivist group also exposed 1,000 KKK members.
So what other breaches happened last month? Countdown with us the top ten hacks, attacks and vulnerabilities of November 2015.
1. Protonmail DDoS attack – they paid ransom
DDoS attacks kept on coming this month but it was ProtonMail that made the news after paying the $6,000 ransom. Many condemned ProtonMail’s decision to pay up saying that kind of behaviors encourages the criminals behind DDoS attacks to continue in their pursuit. One of the commentators was security blogger Graham Cluley and a few days after he blogged about DDoS attacks, his website too was served a distributed denial-of-service attack.
2. The dangers of Social engineering
We have always said that cyber security awareness for your staff is as important as any other layer of security. Consequences of social engineering have cost Cox Communication $595,000 after an attack in August 2014 by a Lizard Squad member who tricked an employee into parting with the username and password that were then used to access Cox’s customer database. The $595,000 are just the fine served
3. Comast resets almost 200k passwords
On November 9, a market ad appeared on the Dark Web selling 590,000 Comcast accounts for $1,000. Of these, 200,000 were active and as a precaution, Comcast went ahead and reset all passwords on the matching accounts. In a statement, Comcast said that none of their systems of apps were compromised and the leak is still a mystery.
4. Patreon hacks keeps on bugging victims
Just last month, artist crowdfunding service Patreon suffered a data breach leading to the leak of user data online and in November the effects of the breach were still being felt. Cartoonist Stever Streza received an extortion email asking for bitcoin, or else personal data would be released. The email seems to have been received by those affected by the October hack but since, according to Patreon, no personal information was taken, these emails are nothing but empty threats.
5. Second Dell backdoor root cert found
On November 25, The Register carried a story about the discovery of a second Dell backdoor root cert, days after the first backdoor was revealed. “The DSDTestProvider certificate was first discovered by Laptopmag. It is installed through Dell System Detect into the Trusted Root Certificate Store on new Windows laptops along with the private key,” the Darren Pauli described. Dell said they were working hard to address the security issue with a Microsoft Security Advisory released on November 30.
6. Hilton Hotels confirm Cyber Attack
This month also saw the confirmation of a cyber attack on Hilton Hotels, an attack which was revealed by security journalist Brian Krebs back in September 2015. Hackers stole credit card information from point-of-sale systems between November 18 and December 5 of last year or April 21 and July 27 of this year and asked their patrons to keep an eye out for any unusual activity on their accounts.
7. Phishing scam targets London startups
Tech startups in the UK are being tricked by fraudsters to pay out thousands by sending an email to the payments department impersonating the CEO from a similar email addresses (through the registration of similar domain names). The story was reported by Wired which said that a particular company was conned out of £16,000.
8. Anonymous v The KKK
Anonymous had a very busy November and apart from waging war against ISIS they also made it a point to target the Ku Klux Klan. The hacker’s collective shared details of around 1,000 KKK sympathisers and said the data was “a form of resistance” against racial violence.
9. Vtech – 5 million users involved in breach
November ended with a bang when it was revealed that 5 million Vtech customers were exposed as a result of a database hack. The users affected come from all around the world including the US, UK, France and China. The hacking originated from the Learning Lodge app and Vtech said the data may also contain details about children.
10. Paysafe Group confirms leak
Yet another story which was revealed on the last day of the month was the confirmation of the Paysafe hack affecting 7.8 million customers. In an announcement to the London Stock Exchange the group said that “3.6 million Neteller accounts and 4.2 million Skrill users were leaked.”