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August 26, 2016

Monthly Attack Alert: Biggest cyber attacks in August

List: Sage, DCNS, the World Anti-Doping Agency, the New York Times and GTAGaming feature on CBR's list.

By Alexander Sword

August is generally a quiet month for news, but this summer the cyber security industry has been rocked by cyber attack after cyber attack. For example, both the Democratic and Republican parties in the US have been subject to attacks, as have several major organisations.

CBR looks at some of the big breaches  and attempted attacks in August 2016.


1. Sage

The UK software company informed its customers in mid-August that it had been hit by a data breach.

In the immediate aftermath, the hack was suspected by Sage to have come from an internal login being used to gain unauthorised access to the data of some of its UK customers.

Sage contacted businesses whose data had been compromised to tell them to be wary of unusual activity.

Currently it is unclear whether the data has been stolen or viewed.

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DCNS, a French shipbuilder, suffered a serious data breach which could have been an act of industrial warfare.

Currently engaged in a contract to build six submarines for India, DCNS has seen 22,000 documents leaked that detail the combat capabilities of the Scorpene u-boats it is building.

The £2.6 billion deal was signed in 2005 with the vessels being built in Mumbai currently.

Indian and French authorities are both investigating the leak.

An internal audit of procedures to rule out a security compromise is also being undertaken.

In a later statement, the Indian navy said that the leaks “do not pose any security compromise as the vital parameters have been blacked out.”


3. World Anti-Doping Agency

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was hit by attacks that targeted the account on the agency’s management system of Yuliya Stepanova, who was the key whistleblower in the exposure of widespread doping amongst Russian athletes.

WADA found that somebody other than Stepanova had accessed her account.

They locked her account and notified her of the situation.

WADA also confirmed that some users had received illegitimate emails that appeared to be from WADA, asking users to click on a link and enter their personal credentials. The agency informed its users via email and a warning banner on its homepage.

On Wednesday, WADA became aware of a YouTube video alleging that its website had been hacked. WADA has since determined that the website was not compromised.

ThreatConnect, a security company, conducted research suggesting that the attacks were carried out by FANCY BEAR, the same collective behind the current spate of hacks on the Democratic National Party.


4. The New York Times (and other US news outlets)

An attack on the New York Times’s Moscow bureau also surfaced this month.

The attack does not appear to have been successful.

There were also said to have been attacks on other news outlets.

It was reported by CNN, who cited government sources, that the hackers were of Russian origin. It was also claimed that Russian intelligence was involved. However, no evidence for this claim has been made public.

The FBI is currently investigating the breach at the New York Times, according to the Times itself. However, there are no investigations underway of incidents at other news organisations.

“We are constantly monitoring our systems with the latest available intelligence and tools,” said Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for The Times. “We have seen no evidence that any of our internal systems, including our systems in the Moscow bureau, have been breached or compromised.”


5. GTAGaming

The details of nearly 200,000 Grand Theft Auto fan site users are being traded online after a major breach of the site.

The leak included email addresses, hashed passwords, and any other details that users of the site may have saved in their profiles.

The site is used by fans of the infamous video game series, in which users play as a usually violent and murderous criminal.

The hack was uncovered by Vice’s Motherboard site, with the site’s administrator having already been aware of a hack but unaware that information had been taken.

As with many of these hacks, the danger is not from hackers using the details on the fan site itself. The danger is that the users of the site might have used the same logins and personal details in the same combination on other websites.

A post by the site said that users would be required to change their passwords and recommended changing their passwords if they had used them on other sites. It also suggested the site might have to shut down.


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