A Model for Human and Machine Interaction: Human-Machine Teaming Grows up

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Security operation centers (SOCs) are struggling to keep up with attackers, and artificial intelligence (AI) has failed to deliver significant improvements. The industry has been successful at applying AI to malware detection and user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) using deep neural networks and anomaly detection. But other core SOC jobs such as monitoring, triage, scoping, and remediation remain highly manual. Some repetitive and low-value tasks can be assisted with automation, but tasks that require analysis and creativity are hard to capture in code. Even worse: Imagine trying to automate the investigation of an undiscovered attack technique.

Automation and current AI solutions depend upon a human observing and understanding a threat, then building a model or writing code. The time gap between the human observing a phenomenon and the machine helping is the reason why attackers often have the upper hand. In order to get ahead, we need to make AI systems learn and interact directly with practitioners at the SOC.

The idea behind human-machine teaming (HMT see [1] and [2]) is to put the human in the AI algorithm loop. In a SOC context, the human has the intuition to find a new attack technique and the creativity to investigate it using company tools. Using human input, the machine gathers information and presents it back in a summary to manage the human cognitive workload. As a result of the human-machine interaction, the machine learns to better proceed in new scenarios, while the human continues to adapt, focusing on higher-value tasks.

Several products put the human in the loop, but few empower the human to perform high-order cognitive tasks.

Research shows that unsupervised anomaly detection can be improved by asking the human to examine alerts when classification confidence is low. This approach improves detection by 4X and reduces false positives by 5X [3]. More importantly, the system teaches itself to address adversaries’ changing tactics.

Our assessment of the current SOC tools landscape shows that several products put the human in the loop, but very few empower the human to perform high-order cognitive tasks. In order to understand where we stand as an industry and what the gap is, we clustered tools into four groups.

Most cybersecurity products today deliver HMT1 and HMT2 capabilities. McAfee Investigator delivers HMT3 and our engineers are working toward HMT4.

On the vertical axis, we have ascending levels of cognitive tasks that humans bring to the team, while on the horizontal axis we have machine capabilities. An assumption of this model is that a human is not able to exercise high-order tasks if she also has to perform low-level functions. This is similar to a Maslow pyramid psychology model. As the machine starts to interact with the human at a higher level of cognition, the team becomes more effective and the degree of human-machine teaming increases from HMT0 to HMT4.

Most of the products in the industry today revolve around the first two iterations of human-machine teaming, known as HMT1 and HMT2. In these scenarios, humans interact with products by analyzing data and providing explicit orders on how to drill down and gather additional data. In some products, humans are able to elevate their work by getting insights and applying their intuition and context to them.

What is clearly missing are products that can take directional feedback, for instance: “Get me evidence that supports potential lateral movement on this case”. We are also missing products that can learn by  observing the human at work, for instance, learning to dismiss the alerts that humans have investigated and dismissed in the past.

At McAfee we are using this HMT maturity model as a guide to building better features and tools for the SOC. We recently launched McAfee Investigator [4] to help triage alerts faster and more effectively. Investigator, which uses a question answering approach to leverage expert knowledge [5], can take directional feedback from the human to pivot an investigation (HMT3). Our goal is to develop Investigator to a point where it can learn directly from practitioners (HMT4).

Learn more about human-machine teaming here.

[1] S. Grobman, “Why Human-Machine Teaming Will Lead to Better Security Outcomes,” 13 July 2013. [Online]. Available: https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/executive-perspectives/human-machine-teaming-will-lead-better-security-outcomes/

[2] B. Kay, “News from Black Hat: Humans Collaborate and Team with Machines to Work Smarter,” 25 July 2017. [Online]. Available: https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/business/news-black-hat-humans-collaborate-team-machines-work-smarter/
[3] K. Veeramachaneni, I. Arnaldo and V. Korrapati, “AI^2 : Training a big data machine to defend,” IEEE 2nd International Conference on Big Data Security on Cloud, 2016.
[4] “McAfee Investigator,” [Online]. Available: https://www.mcafee.com/us/products/investigator.aspx
[5] F. M. Cuenca-Acuna and I. Valenzuela, “The Need for Investigation Playbooks at the SOC,” 2017. [Online]. Available: https://www.sans.org/summit-archives/file/summit-archive-1496695240.pdf
McAfee does not control or audit third-party benchmark data or the websites referenced in this document. You should visit the referenced website and confirm whether referenced data is accurate.
McAfee technologies’ features and benefits depend on system configuration and may require enabled hardware, software, or service activation. Learn more at mcafee.com. No computer system can be absolutely secure.

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To See Mugshots of Today’s Bank Robbers, Look at a World Map

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In Depression-era America, bank robbers John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, and Pretty Boy Floyd were household names. Newspapers detailed their heists, radios narrated their getaways, wanted posters plastered their mug-shot scowls from coast-to-coast. Every detail of their bank robberies and personal lives was seized upon, scrutinized, circulated, and discussed.

Eight decades later, bank robbery is a digital, systematic crime practiced – with methods constantly improved – by organized syndicates. The stubbled faces of Dillinger, Nelson, and Floyd have been replaced by shapes on the world map tracing the borders of Russia, North Korea, and Iran. A former NSA Deputy Director said publicly in March that “nation states are robbing banks.”

A 2015-16 campaign stole hundreds of millions of dollars from banks in the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) network. SWIFT network banks in. That campaign, which targeted developing countries, was linked to the North Korean Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB), security analysts believe.

In 2017 North Korean hackers targeted at least three South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges, capitalizing on Bitcoin’s anonymity to circumvent international sanctions. The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology has begun offering its computer science students classes in Bitcoin and blockchain.

The best cybercriminals in the world live in Russia, where they are largely immune from prosecution. For instance, one of the cybercriminals who hacked Yahoo at the behest of Russian intelligence services, compromising millions of accounts, used the stolen data for spam and credit card fraud for personal benefit. Iran’s DDOS attack on leading U.S. banks exemplify its coercive strategy to exert influence through disruption and destruction.

Hackers in these countries, whether affiliated with the state or not, account for much of the cost of global cybercrime. The latest strategy of their sophisticated operations is to target the “seams” between well-defended networks, exploiting weak points in the global financial network to pull off massive heists and in some cases further their national rhetoric.

To combat these operations, major international financial institutions are investing in defense, better fraud prevention, and transaction authentication. One report says that banks spend three times as much on cybersecurity as non-financial institutions to fight what has become a systematic risk to financial stability.

In the 1920s and ‘30s, the world sat back and watched John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, and Pretty Boy Floyd do their dirty work as the FBI slowly closed in. We can’t do that today. Governments, financial institutions, companies with banking records, and anyone with an ATM card should be invested in stopping financial cybercrime.

Banks have banded together to share information in near real time in order to protect the stability of the broader electronic financial system on which the world economy to heavily depends. Ultimately, they have determined that no one organization can go it alone with faced with such organised and well-funded adversaries. With the stability of the global financial system in play, unprecedented collaboration has become the new norm

We at McAfee embrace the same spirit by building all of our technology to facilitate the sharing of critical data across hundreds of technology partners. It appears sharing and collaboration will be the only way to counter this new breed of adversary and no one can go it alone anymore. The banks are leading  the way in this new reality of Together is Power.

Source : Securingtomorrow.mcafee.com

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MWC Preview: Tailoring Security to the Modern Connected Lifestyle

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In 2018, we’re officially living in the “future” imagined by popular 80s movies. No, we still don’t have flying cars, but what we do have is many unique internet-connected devices. These devices can do it all – track our fitness, turn our lights on and off, allow us to live in a virtual reality – the list goes on. Even our mobile devices have become multi-purpose, giving us the ability to stay in touch with loved ones in a multitude of ways. So, as we’re about to enter the biggest collection of mobile innovation, Mobile World Congress (MWC), let’s take a look at the current state of the connected lifestyle, and the important role security plays in it.

The modern connected lifestyle

Looking back at the takeaways from last year’s MWC, it’s clear providers are tailoring mobile devices to our modern needs. Specifically, they designed new and improved features in order to meet those needs, including: high-quality photography, waterproof hardware, and improved charging capabilities and battery. The same goes for IoT devices – manufacturers are creating more personalized and advanced products in order to keep pace with how we live our lives in 2018. And the trend has seen traction amongst consumers, as users are practically glued to their devices now more than ever and live a completely connected lifestyle these days. What’s more – entire ecosystems will be connected as well with 5G just around the corner, making it clear this trend shows no signs of slowly down.

Protecting what matters

So, as we embrace our digital future, it’s important that we ensure our online activity and personal data stays secure. We’ve seen the threats coming after our devices adapt and become more advanced – some transform hundreds of apps into trojanized versions of themselves, others infect our devices only to enslave them into a botnet army. That’s why at this year’s MWC, McAfee is excited to display how we plan on protecting the ”connected everything” world we live in.

McAfee and our partners aim to keep our 400M+ customers safe in this modern age by recognizing that security is more than just anti-virus. Whether you’re at home, work, or on the go, your personal information will be safeguarded by solutions that will help keep you safe online and allow you to enjoy your ‘digital life’ to the max. Mind you, we can’t do it alone – as our partners, such as Samsung and Telefonica, share our belief that security needs to be built in from the start​, and support us in our mission to secure the entire digital lifestyle.

To discuss how we’re achieving this even further, McAfee CEO Chris Young will be a keynote speaker at this year’s MWC. He will be exploring how the digital economy is catalyzed by the rapid proliferation of mobile technologies in the hands of billions of people, and how this growth will continue to transform how we do business.

So, whether you’re headed to MWC or just watching from afar, be sure to stay tuned to learn more about McAfee’s mission to secure  the digital future. And, of course, stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats by following me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listening to our podcast Hackable? and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Source : Securingtomorrow.mcafee.com

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McAfee Endpoint Security – Why You Don’t Have to Take Our Word for It.

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It’s an unfortunate fact that evaluating security vendors today can often mean sifting through a sea of marketing hype to understand which products should be added to your short-list. Exclusive claims about what makes one product different from another may be vague, hard to find or even harder to believe.

That’s why when it comes to our endpoint security platform, McAfee believes the proof is in the product, and that your experience with it will clearly demonstrate the real-world benefits you’re looking for. However, we understand that being invited to your security discussion table depends on a few things like accuracy, trust and reputation. So, rather than make claims of my own, I’m writing this to share what others have had to say so that you don’t have to take our word for it.

First up,  McAfee Endpoint Security (ENS) recently earned a Top Product Award from AV-TEST Institute and scored high detection rates against the threats thrown against it. But that’s not an isolated incident. In fact, here are three more findings by non-McAfee firms on the abilities of ENS to protect, provide value and reliability.

 mcafee-endpoint-security-dont-take-word

NSS Labs

The NSS Labs Advanced Endpoint Protection (AEP) Test is one of the most exhaustive tests of advanced endpoint defenses in the industry. NSS gave McAfee ENS a Recommended product rating. According to NSS, this “…indicates that a product has performed well and deserves strong consideration. Only the top technical products earn a Recommended rating from NSS.” Coming from a test specifically designed to evaluate how effective a solution is at detecting advanced malware, that should tell you McAfee’s endpoint and machine learning defenses are ready for the best disguised malware you may face.

SC Magazine

Return on investment matters, and you undoubtedly strive to get the best bang for your buck. SC Magazine conducted a product group test of endpoint security systems, awarding McAfee ENS a 5 out of 5-star rating, as well as “Best Buy” in the side by side vendor comparison of products. Further, SC Magazine summarized their findings as, “Solid performance, straightforward operation and tight integration” with “no weakness found” during assessment.

Frost & Sullivan

Frost and Sullivan awarded McAfee with the 2017 Global Endpoint Security Growth Excellence Leadership Award, finding that “McAfee has seen high growth in 2016, at 17.7%, outpacing the overall market. All other top competitors either slipped or were essentially flat.” With ~40 total vendors in view, that not only means that McAfee is growing in a crowded market, but that your peers are continuing to choose to invest in McAfee ENS.

At McAfee, we are committed to being your security partner for the long haul. But we don’t want you to just take our word for it. Instead, listen to what others are saying and decide if you can afford to not see how McAfee ENS can help you stop more threats, see more in your environment, manage less and get the return your investment deserves. If you’re a current McAfee customer using McAfee VirusScan Enterprise, McAfee Site Advisor or Host Intrusion Prevention, you already own McAfee ENS. Learn about how to migrate, or download it here.

Source : Securingtomorrow.mcafee.com

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Could You Have a Toxic Relationship with Your Smartphone?

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It’s the elephant in the room no one wants to talk about: our devotion to and dependence on our smartphones. For most of us, our children included, smartphones have become an appendage; a limb of voracious digital consumption and social obligation that keeps us scrolling, smartphone,refreshing, swiping, and responding with no end in sight.

Any friend or psychologist would encourage us to rid ourselves of toxic relationships that hinder — even threaten — our emotional and physical well-being, but what if that relationship is with a smartphone? Would you be willing to give it up (or reset the relationship) if you knew it was toxic?

Researchers are increasingly debating the impact of the smartphone on our emotional well-being, and the debate often returns to striking a balance between the ethical design of technology versus corporate profitability. One of the most compelling arguments is that of researcher Tristan Harris, a former Google Design Ethicist, on a crusade to inspire people to stop clicking and start caring about how technology is intentionally designed to shape the behavior of the people who use it. Harris has launched a nonprofit called Time Well Spent. His viral TED Talk proposes a renaissance in online design that can free tech users from being manipulated by apps, websites, and advertisers as the race for user attention increases.

From Facebook notifications to Snapstreaks to YouTube auto plays, Harris argues that our online behavior is anything but random. Instead, our toxic_relation_with_you_smartphonethoughts and feelings are being carefully manipulated by technologists behind the scenes persuasively competing for more and more our attention.

Not convinced you among the tech lemming crowd? I wasn’t either. But the discussion got me thinking and inspired me to make some specific changes to test my smartphone dependence.


5 Ways to Drastically Reduce Smartphone Dependence

  • Turn your phone to grayscale mode (google how to do this – it’s amazing)
  • Turn off all push notifications (reclaim your attention span).
  • Park your phone in one physical location (stop carrying it everywhere).
  • Stand up when you use your phone (no more getting cozy for hours).
  • Ban your phone from the bedroom (get an alarm clock).

I made these changes for a week and here’s what happened.

could_you_have_toxic_relation_with_you_smartphone_03
Not as interesting, right?
could_you_have_toxic_relation_with_you_smartphone_02
Grayscale mode, iPhone.

Absolutely no fun in sight for the first three days. Initially, I felt overcome with a sense of vulnerability, panic even that suddenly, somehow, I wasn’t in control of something. I felt an overwhelming need to check my phone every 15-30 minutes. That time gradually increased to about an hour by the third day. Not having my phone nearby, I was sure I’d miss out on something important. For the first few days, I constantly felt as if I had lost something and I’d get up and wander around before realizing my phone was docked safely in the kitchen — just like when I was growing up and had to physically walk to the kitchen to use the phone. I resolved to check my phone once every three hours rather than carry it with me from room to room. When I did check it, surprisingly, the world had not collapsed without my attention to it. I found an average of three texts (two from family with non-critical comments, and usually, one discount text from a retailer).

Because I turned my screen grayscale (wow, what a game changer!) I didn’t feel the anticipation of checking social media, scrolling, reciprocating, uploading, or commenting. My phone in the grayscale mode made using it stale, almost irritating. I realized looking at my phone in grayscale that I being overly influenced and pulled by pretty pictures and all the colors, sounds, links, and prompts, which had come to own my attention. Sadly, I was giving my time to this relationship without any meaningful, lasting benefit coming back to me. I was in a toxic relationship, and something had to change.

By the end of the week, I felt awesome, empowered almost. I had successfully distanced myself from a toxic relationship and redefined it on my terms. I also realized something profound: There’s an unspoken cost to unbalanced technology use I’m not willing to hand over any longer, and that is my time.

When I parked my phone in the kitchen, banned it from the bedroom, and refused to sit down with it, I noticed patches of extra time magically appear in my day. What could I do with all the time I once poured into my phone? As it turns out, quite a lot.

I’m keeping my new habits, and I’m encouraging my family to do the same for a good reason. Here’s what we know: Kids are spending more time on digital devices than ever before, and that trend has no reason to reverse. Anxiety disorders linked to social media use is at an all-time high. Also, researchers are confirming the link between technology, depression, and suicide among youth.

I’m not willing to just go with the flow on this one. There’s just too much is at stake.

Take the challenge: Are you willing to take specific steps (like the ones listed above) to rethink and redefine your relationship with your smartphone?

Source : Securingtomorrow.mcafee.com

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Inside the Capabilities and Detection of UDPoS Malware

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Imagine a job that changes every day of your life, where you get to do something new each week – that’s what it’s like working in the cybersecurity industry. For me, this is ideal—smarter adversaries, new challenges, and the constant struggle to predict and prepare for the future of security in information technology makes this feel a lot less like work. However, it’s important to remember that we do this only because people are getting hurt, often literally. And that’s a sobering and humbling perspective. In many scenarios, a successful campaign can have drastic effects on the victims’ lifestyles and finances. In today’s example, the victims, point-of-sale systems, are being attacked by a POS malware and are being targeted for identity and financial theft.

This particular attack leveraged a POS malware dubbed UDPoS, aptly named for its somewhat uncommon data exfiltration method over UDP, specifically via DNS queries. Although this malware is definitely not the first of its kind (see Multigrain POS malware, DNSMessenger), it certainly is an uncommon technique, and intelligent in that many organizations deprioritize DNS traffic for inspection as compared to HTTP and FTP. Coupled with the fact that UDPoS allegedly leverages a popular remote desktop service known as LogMeIn, and you have a malware campaign that could have a broad reach of victims (in this case unpatched or dated POS systems), and a unique ability to avoid detection for data exfiltration.

Although uncommon, and perhaps somewhat covert in its ability to transmit data over DNS, this malware does offer an upside for defenders — attackers will continue to use protocols which do not employ encryption. The move to SSL or other encryption methods for data exfiltration has been surprisingly inconsistent, meaning detection is relatively simple. This makes the need for communication and visibility of these kinds of techniques essential.

As defenders, McAfee’s Advanced Threat Research team actively monitors the threat landscape and tracks both new and current techniques for every stage of malware—from reconnaissance to infection, lateral movement, persistence, command and control, and exfiltration. We will stay closely tuned to determine if this technique grows in popularity or evolves in capabilities.

We are constantly playing a game of cat and mouse with the adversaries. As we adapt, protect, and attempt to predict new methods of malicious activity, we can be certain the same efforts are being made to evade and outsmart us. Our challenge as a security community is to work together, learn from each other, and apply these learnings toward recognizing and mitigating new threats, such as the DNS exfiltration method employed by UDPoS.

Source : Securingtomorrow.mcafee.com

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How You Can Protect Against W-2 Theft This Tax Season

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Benjamin Franklin once said only two things are certain in life: death and taxes. And practically everyone can agree – taxes are certain. So, it’s only natural that cybercriminals are trying to take advantage of the certainty of taxes by finding ways to steal all the crucial personal data floating around during tax season. From deceptive phishing scams, to physical theft  – we’ve seen the exploitation of W-2s becoming a major trend as tax season is underway.

We saw W-2 phishing scams run rampant last year, and unfortunately this year is no different.

Just this past week, we saw a deceptive phishing attack compromise the personal information of 100 Waldo County employees in Maine. It began with a cybercriminal impersonating a county official and requesting confidential employee information, including W-2 forms and social security numbers. Easily deceived, an employee sent over the data and just like that, Waldo County employees were faced with potential identity theft. And this isn’t the first case we’ve seen in 2018, as earlier in February the City of Pittsburg was hit by a phishing scheme in which an employee was tricked into giving up the W-2 information of both current and former employees.

W-2 theft isn’t just digital either, as there’s a chance that thieves may head to physical mailboxes and open them in the hopes of discovering envelopes containing W-2 forms. In fact, authorities in Minnesota are expecting such thing to occur and have been warning residents to be extra vigilant with their mail.

So, whether the thievery is digital or physical, it’s important we all start taking action to protect against W-2 theft and secure our personal identities this tax season. To do just that, follow these tips:

  • File before cybercriminals do it for you. The easiest defense you can take against tax seasons schemes is to get your hands on your W-2 and file as soon as possible. The more prompt you are to file, the less likely your data will be raked in by a cybercriminal.
  • Obtain a copy of your credit report. FYI – you’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the major bureaus once a year. So, make it a habit to request a copy of your file every three to four months, each time from a different credit bureau. That way, you can keep better track of and monitor any suspicious activity and act early if something appears fishy.
  • Beware of phishing attempts. It’s clear that phishing is the primary tactic crooks are leveraging this tax season, so it’s crucial you stay vigilant around your inbox. This means if any unfamiliar or remotely suspicious emails come through requesting tax data, double check their legitimacy with a manager or the security department before you respond. Remember: the IRS only contacts people by snail mail, so if you get an email from someone claiming to be from the IRS, stay away.
  • Consider an identity theft protection solution.  If for some reason your personal data does become compromised, be sure to you an identity theft solution such as McAfee Identity Theft Protection, which allows users to take a proactive approach to protecting their identities with personal and financial monitoring and recovery tools to help keep their identities personal and secured.

Source : Securingtomorrow.mcafee.com

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World Economic Forum Sets High Bar on Public-Private Cybersecurity Partnerships

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This week’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland featured the launch of the World Economic Forum System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Digital Economy and Society, a global platform for coalitions of public and private sector entities to “collaborate and accelerate progress against shared digital economy goals and to shape a digital future that is sustainable, inclusive, and trustworthy.”

The Forum has partnered with The Boston Consulting Group to produce a report entitled Cyber Resilience Playbook for Public-Private Collaboration, which contextualizes cybersecurity policies through 14 key areas of potential cooperation between governments and corporations. While countries and cultures must make their own choices on how to address the public-private policy challenges facing us in the years ahead, we at McAfee argue that the government and business leaders meeting in Davos this week must answer critical policy questions in four critical areas to truly have a constructive, positive impact in shaping the evolution of cyberspace in 2018 and beyond.

The Uncertainty of Attribution

Attribution is among the most complex and challenging aspects of cybersecurity, and the implications of getting active defense responses wrong based on faulty attribution are particularly daunting. Government and business leaders must be wary of these dynamics as cyber-attacks inflict greater levels of damage, and as cyber-attack victims demand accountability and retaliation based on such imprecise attribution.

Digital forensic work can suggest a perpetrator behind a cyber-attack, but it rarely does so with certitude. Level-headed attackers will naturally seek to implicate some other party in their handiwork, so false flags and red herrings often litter the cyber-attack scene.

For instance, it could be risky to draw conclusions about a cyber-attack’s origin and perpetrators solely on things such as the presence of Cyrillic, Mandarin, Korean, Arabic, or Persian characters or words within an identified piece of malware. Once such methods of attribution become accepted best practices, attackers undoubtedly seek to manipulate that acceptance to hide their tracks.

This marks a profound difference from nuclear strategy or conventional terrorism, where proven techniques can source an incoming missile or trace a bomb’s origin. Cyberspace can allow a bit player terror group seeking to pit nation-states against one another with cyber aggression that appears to come from those countries.

There is a clear need for both the private and public sectors to understand where they add value. Pinpointing blame for a cyberattack takes a blend of cutting-edge digital forensics from the public and private sector, and traditional intelligence from public sector intelligence service or law enforcement partners.

The Unpredictability of Active Defense—Hacking Back

Offensive cyber weapons can be programmed to focus on an intended target. In some ways, they are the ultimate precision ordinance—at least in theory.

In actuality, active defense or “hacking back” cyber-attacks can have unpredictable consequences due to the complex interconnectedness of the today’s internet, and the ability of attackers to use that dense complexity to cover their tracks.

Even in capable, officially-sanctioned hands, retaliatory strikes can inadvertently, directly or indirectly impact online services, third-party assets, and individuals in addition to their intended targets.

Add to this wild card exercise any software bugs or coding errors within these cyber weapons, and small flaws could have large consequences, as cyber-attacks could go awry, damaging more unintended networks and third-party actors.

The unpredictable dynamics of “hacking back” should place a tremendous priority on the responsible governance and coordination of active defense efforts by public and private entities.

Zero day vulnerabilities

Governments must always recognize that the private sector’s willingness and commitment to cybersecurity collaboration reliant in part on how transparent governments are about knowledge critical to their mission, including disclosures of zero day vulnerability discoveries.

Private sector actors must always recognize that governments have the unique responsibility to balance vulnerability disclosures with the necessity to protect real human lives by any means necessary, including digital cyber-weapons exploiting such vulnerabilities.

Once such software vulnerabilities are discovered and publicly released “into the wild,” technology vendors can take action to address those vulnerabilities with security updates. Public knowledge of these vulnerabilities also provides hackers blueprints for exploiting them through cyber-attacks. If withheld, governments can use their knowledge of the zero day vulnerabilities for cyber-espionage or cyber-warfare campaigns.

While it is reasonable to assume that governments should take an active, responsible role in the research and timely public disclosure of such vulnerabilities, it is also reasonable to assume that governments should “stockpile” their knowledge of zero day vulnerabilities for use in future covert cyber activities.

After all, isn’t there real humanitarian value in using cyber-attacks to digitally disable power plants or other physical military targets without the physical destruction and loss of life caused by a kinetic weapon such as a bomb?

Successful public-private cybersecurity partnerships must involve an ongoing dialogue, and a pragmatic give and take exchange between actors. Only by addressing this and other potential trust issues can governments, technology vendors, and other private sector actors hope to work together to gain a step on the cyber-attackers working furiously to uncover and take advantage of the same vulnerabilities.

Threat intelligence sharing

Ultimately, information is the lifeblood of cyber-defense. It’s not an exaggeration to say that success in the previously mentioned critical areas of public-private cybersecurity collaboration relies heavily on getting policies right in the crucial area of threat research, data, and other intelligence sharing. “Getting it right” requires that policies reflect the limitations as well as the advantages of sharing.

Data collected and shared by governments could be out of date in the minds of cybersecurity industry actors. There will always be concerns that government or industry members of information sharing communities might play “free rider,” benefiting from drawing volumes of other organizations’ data and intelligence, while contributing little information of their own.

Strong processes must enable effective, real-time sharing of the data that matters most to enable coordinated responses to security events, such as the cross-industry response to major developments like the WannaCry and NotPetya malware outbreaks, and the Meltdown and Spectre firmware exploit revelations of earlier this month.

Beyond episodic collaboration, information sharing must seek to achieve real security improvements over the long-term, while strong privacy protections must be in place to maintain the trust of those whom security efforts are meant to protect.

While leaders at Davos and beyond may understand that cybersecurity is one of the greatest digital challenges of our time, it’s even more important that they understand that no one organization, entity or sector can solve it alone. There’s a reason McAfee believes in the “Together is Power” mantra. The solutions to cybersecurity lie in collaboration and innovation, and public-private partnerships present one of the greatest challenges and opportunities facing us.

Source : Securingtomorrow.mcafee.com

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Share Your Heart, Not Your Identity: Here’s How You Can Stay Safe on Valentine’s Day

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I love Valentine’s day, it’s the one day of the year exclusively dedicated to sharing: we share our feelings, our affection, and special gifts with our loved ones. It’s a great time to show the people in our lives just how much they mean to us. Thanks to social media and mobile friendly retailers, giving your loved ones the world is just a few clicks away.

Tech devices have made it so much easier to share our hearts with the people we care about. But, could our emotional vulnerability ultimately leave us vulnerable to cyber-attacks? Historically, Valentine’s day has been a big day for cybercrime. Criminals have found clever ways to take advantage of retail, online dating platforms, and social media to launch attacks against romantic hopefuls. If you’re wondering how to avoid the most common V-day scams, here are a few things to remember when sharing the love online, and some useful tips to keep your precious data safe.

Dating Apps Are a Data Goldmine

Apps like Tinder or Zoosk are very attractive to hackers around this time of year. Considering the amount of intimate details shared on these platforms, dating apps are prime targets for cybercriminals looking to gain access to personal data and even payment information. In fact, online dating has seen a growing number of cyber-threats since 2015.

If you’re wondering “what’s the worst that could happen if my Tinder account is hacked?”, look no further than the hundreds of pages of data that the app keeps stored on its users. This particular dating app doesn’t just match singles looking to spark a connection, it also collects behavioral data, such as how often you connect, when and where you connect, and even your “likes” and posts from other associated accounts. Some of this data might seem trivial to unsuspecting users, but if placed in the wrong hands this information could be detrimental to the security of your identity.

Florist Are a Favorite for Phishing Scams

A bright, beautiful bouquet of roses is my favorite gift to receive when February 14th rolls around. Unsurprisingly, flowers make one of the most common gifts given around Valentine’s Day but, sending and receiving flowers may not be as harmless as it seems. In 2016, cybercriminals leveraged the popularity of flower services to attack unsuspecting vendors through a series of DDoS attacks designed to extort money from them. While these attacks did not result in leaked information, it’s important to be cautious of which vendors you allow to keep your credit card information on file. After all, you’re expecting your florist to deliver an assortment of beautiful flowers, not a bouquet of personal data to cyber criminals!

If an attack on your friendly florist isn’t enough to peak your senses, hackers have also been known to take advantage of admirers looking to send flowers. Cybercriminals prey on the likelihood that you’ve sent flowers to your loved ones to launch phishing scams, using bogus packages and “Failure to Deliver” notices to collect your data.

Social Media Isn’t Always Your “Friend” 

Valentine’s day is easily one of the most socially sharable days of the year. With so much love in the air, you can’t help but share pictures and posts about your loved ones with other friends and family online. Although most people associate cyber-attacks with some form of malware, many do not realize how vulnerable they are when sharing personal information on social media. Through social engineering, hackers use the information you share online to exploit you. The more personal information you choose to share on social media, the easier it is to exploit that information. Through social media, hackers can find out information about your job, the places you frequent, and even your mother’s maiden name. But don’t worry, we’ve got a few tips up our sleeve to help you share all of the love you want across social.

Seasonal events, like Valentine’s Day, present an opportunity for cybercriminals to leverage their schemes. But don’t be deterred from sharing the love— here’s how you can connect securely and keep your data safe from hackers:

  • Get friendly with your privacy settings on your social media apps. Social platforms like Facebook are making it easier to adjust your privacy settings through a  “privacy center” so you can stay on top of the information you share and who you share it with.
  • Be careful of which accounts you link. Being connected to your online community is great, but linking accounts across platforms only gives cybercriminals easier access to your data. While Tinder does require you to link your Facebook account to sign up, you can turn off Tinder Social so that Tinder won’t be able to post anything to Facebook. And, when possible, avoid linking your dating profiles to other personal accounts.
  • Think before you click that link. Hover over it to see if the URL address looks legitimate to avoid phishing scams. If you know you didn’t send flowers, send that scam to your spam.
  • Double up on your security software. There are plenty of apps that keep your phone safe from malicious attacks. Consider using a service for your phone that offers web protection and antivirus.

Source : Securingtomorrow.mcafee.com

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Are We Dating Our Devices? How Our Online Interactions Impact Our Personal Security

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L is for the way you look at your technology, O is for you’re not the only one looking at it. We L-O-V-E our connected devices, our apps, and all the online social interaction that comes with them. But unfortunately, we’re not the only ones who love them, as cybercriminals are attempting to capitalize on our connected lifestyles in order to swoop valuable personal information. Let’s explore why this is happening, how our increased device use impacts our lives, and what we can do to show our personal security some love.

Sharing data during modern dating

We love our devices largely for the connectedness and information they provide us with. For example, modern romance has shifted towards dating apps largely because these apps connect us with world quickly and easily. On these dating apps, you share information about yourself with strangers. But could you be sharing that info with strangers that aren’t even on the app? Just a few weeks ago, security researchers discovered that popular dating app Tinder still lacks basic HTTPS encryption for photos. Just by being on the same Wi-Fi network as any user of Tinder’s iOS or Android app, potential hackers could see any photo the user did, or even inject their own images into his or her photo stream. These crooks could even watch a user swipe left or right. By trying to stay connected online, these dating app users could be helping cybercriminals connect to their personal data instead.

The effects of our device devotion

Ironically enough, our efforts to engage socially online don’t exactly help us strengthen real-life relationships. In fact, we know from last year’s Connected Relationships survey that as we use our connected devices more and more each day, our relationships are negatively impacted by that use.

The Connected Relationships survey respondents said that they spend an equal amount of time at home online (38%) as they do interacting with others face-to-face. And 40% felt their significant other paid more attention to their own device when they were together one-on-one. You could even say that, for many, these devices have become the “other (wo)man” in the relationship.

Though devices have managed to cause some minor riffs between couples, that doesn’t stop couples from sharing even when they shouldn’t. Out of those surveyed, nearly 30% of couples share passwords to social media accounts, 28% share passwords to personal email accounts, and most shockingly, more than 20% share their work-specific devices and accounts with their significant other.

Spread the love to your personal security

So, whether you’re sharing your private data with a dating app, or your account info with a loved one, it’s important you show your personal security some love too. To do just that, follow these tips:

  • Limit how personal you get. Whether its Tinder, another dating app, or just any regular app, only provide the program with information that is absolutely necessary — this especially goes for financial data. Additionally, take the time to remove unnecessary personal information from your devices in general that could compromise your security. The less personal data you have on a device, the safer your information will be.
  • Make passwords a priority. Ensure your passwords are secure and strong by including numbers, lowercase and uppercase letters, as well as symbols. If you’re someone who knows the struggle with generating and remembering multiple unique passwords, use a password manager, like the True Key app. A password manager can help you create strong and secure passwords and log you into your favorite websites automatically using multi-factor authentication.
  • Focus on what really matters. We love our devices, but it’s important to disconnect every now and then to spend time with the important people in our lives, like friends and family. Don’t worry: your social networks will be right there waiting for you when you get back.

And, of course, stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats by following me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Source : Securingtomorrow.mcafee.com

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