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14 Feb 14. Military web site ‘targeted by cyber criminals. ’A website for current and former US military personnel has been targeted by cyber criminals in an attack which may have been designed to steal military intelligence, a report by a cyber security company claims. FireEye, a cyber threat detection company, said it discovered a “zero day exploit” – a vulnerability in software – being used to compromise the US
Veterans of Foreign Wars website by Chinese cyber criminals who have previously targeted the US government. Active military personnel accessing the website using Internet Explorer 10 could be compromised by criminals who then enter their computers and steal any sensitive information, the company said. The exploit, which FireEye dubbed “Operation SnowMan”, appeared to be “very recent” so cyber criminals may be trying to take advantage of a lightly staffed IT department as workers are stuck at home amid a paralysing snowstorm in Washington DC and ahead of a public holiday. “A possible objective in the SnowMan attack is targeting military service members to steal military intelligence. In addition to retirees, active military personnel use the VFW website,” it said in a blog post. “It is probably no coincidence that Monday February 17th is a US holiday and much of the US Capitol shut down Thursday amid a severe winter storm.” Darien Kindlund, a FireEye researcher, said the hack had the hallmarks of a group of Chinese cyber criminals who have previously targeted US government entities, Japanese companies, defence contractors, law firms, technology companies, mining companies and non-governmental organisations. The Veterans of Foreign Wars organisation did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The Financial Times could not independently verify the attack. Cyber attacks are growing – up 14 per cent last year according to one report – and the weapons needed to mount an attack and the information found on compromised computers are both now readily trading on a bustling black market. FireEye tries to detect so-called advanced persistent threats – knowledgable groups, especially government-sponsored hackers – which target the networks of other governments and companies. FireEye has previously accused Chinese hackers of breaking into the systems of five European governments ahead of the G20 summit in September. Mandiant, which FireEye bought for $1bn at the start of the year, shot to fame after claiming a Chinese military unit had targeted over 100 US companies. (Source: FT.com)
11 Feb 14. Memex: The next generation of deep-Web search? Web search engines are a great way to find information quickly, and they’re always improving the quality of their results. Google “Winter Olympics” and you get 1.69bn results in 0.29 seconds, along with the schedule for the day’s events in Sochi and the current medal standings right there on the results page. But those results would be the same whether you’re a government employee monitoring security at the games or a third grader wondering what time ice skating will be on. And it would take anyone a long time to go through those 1.69bn results, which, despite their number, don’t include information the search engine hasn’t indexed — what’s called the deep Web. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency wants to change that, by developing a domain-specific search engine that would be useful for government projects or missions, expanding the reach of search capabilities, sorting, organizing and storing results according to the a specific interest. With the new program, called Memex, DARPA wants to create the next generation of search technology, giving agencies better access to mission-critical information, the agency said in announcing the program.
“We’re envisioning a new paradigm for search that would tailor indexed content, search results and int