This Week In Blockchain and CyberSecurity News - December 21, 2018

Sensitive Employee Information Stolen From NASA

NASA confirmed that a possible compromise of servers may have given hackers access to social security Numbers(SSN) and personally identifiable information(PII). NASA stated they discovered the breach on October 23, and that any NASA Civil Service employee who joined, left, or transferred within the agency from July 2006 to October 2018 may have had their personal data compromised. NASA currently employs roughly 17,300 people. No details have been given on why the agency has waited almost two months to disclose the event, or what the specific scope of the breach is. Breaches like this further demonstrate the importance of staying on top of cybersecurity requirements as even NASA, which is long considered by many to be the epitome of high-tech, fall prey to hacking.

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3 Exploited EOS Gambling dApps Lose Over 200,000 Coins Combined

As every potential flaw or weakness will be exploited, it is not uncommon for cybercriminals to look for weaknesses in all types of cryptocurrencies. Recently, an attacker figured out a way to exploit several EOS nodes. Due to the time needed for API nodes and BP nodes to sync, attackers were able to exploit transactions which were not part of irreversible blocks allowing them to assert transactions in their favor. A vulnerability on the contract level for various gambling dApps is not a cause of the attack, but the underlying issue attributes to the characteristics of EOS nodes. The total damage is not yet known, however over 200,000($530,000) has been stolen.

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U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense Systems Fail Cybersecurity Audit

The U.S. Department of Defense Inspector published a report this week that revealed the inadequate cybersecurity practices being used to protect the United States Ballistic Missile Defense Systems. Some cyber-security failings described in the security audit included “no data encryption, no antivirus programs, no multi-factor authentication mechanisms, and 28-year-old unpatched vulnerabilities.” Ballistic missile defense systems are crucial components of the U.S. Defense Infrastructure as they aim to protect the country from short, medium, intermediate, and long-range ballistic missiles. A lack of cyber-security practices could increase the chance of cyber attacks against these systems launched by nation-state actors. On March 14, 2014, the DoD Chief Information Officer announced the DoD is planning on implementing the National Institute of Stands and Technology (NIST) Security controls to improve the cybersecurity of systems. However, more than four years later, the redacted report by the DoD has shown that many facilities have failed to implement security controls requested by the standard. In incidents like this, it is extremely important to understand the devastating effects that can occur if a cybercriminal infiltrates critical infrastructures like the BMDS.

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Cyberattacks Skyrocketed in 2018. Are You Ready for 2019?

As cyber attacks become more sophisticated board directors have continued to up their investment in cybersecurity measures. According to the 2018 BDO Cyber Governance Survey which consisted of 145 co-directors of public companies, 73 percent say that their organization requires third-party vendors to meet certain cyber risk requirements-up 30 percentage points from 2016. As businesses advance and collect large amounts of data, they become targets for cybercriminals. In 2018 there was a “350% increase in ransomware attacks, a 250% increase in spoofing or business email compromise (BEC) attacks and a 70% increase in spear-phishing attacks in companies overall.” The risk of cyberattacks have grown significantly along with the average cost of a cyber-data breach-which has surged from “$4.9 million in 2017 to $7.5 million in 2018, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.”

As attacks become more common manufacturers must focus on many aspects of cybersecurity such as:

  • Protecting their business information systems, including email.

  • Guarding their manufacturing information systems, including computer-aided-design and computer-aided-manufacturing (CAD/CAM) systems, as well as securing production machinery.

  • Securing their products that include software and/or internet-connected devices.

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Different Areas Where Blockchain Can Help Your Business

Blockchain technology allows businesses to work with a technology that is unlike any other. The tech brings a promise of huge rewards in efficiency, time, and cost. There are many use cases for the Blockchain and how it can be applied to different industries/businesses which will be discussed below.

If your company needs to share a database with a large number of people, the Blockchain can create a more efficient, and safe environment.

  • As the Blockchain is mostly decentralized it operates as a shared ledger, allowing everyone on the Blockchain network to have access to the same information. Changing that information will have to meet the rules of that specified Blockchain, and it will be reflected upon everyone else’s version of that ledger.

If a company requires transactions that need a verifiable audit trail, Blockchain technology is an excellent option as it can promote authenticity.

  • As Blockchain transactions are immutable and secured by cryptography, a verifiable audit trail is created all the way back to the first transaction, reducing fraudulent activities.

Having intermediaries to process or verify information on your behalf can be a complex process and can drain many resources.

  • The technology itself does not require central authorities or intermediaries, increasing efficiency, and saving many resources. The Blockchain also has its own set of rules and consensus mechanisms that can ensure everyone acts appropriately.

Having contracts to fulfill transactions between different parties, and the need for a transparent transaction log are also great reasons to use the Blockchain.

  • As smart contracts are “pieces of code laid on top of a Blockchain to perform a function once certain conditions are met”  it can be a great way to conduct different contract sales.

  • Using a Blockchain for transactions will allow anyone to see transactions on the chain and perform various audits to prove the legitimacy of those transactions, simplifying business reporting.

As Blockchain technology adoption increases, the efficiency and advantages that come with the tech will surely shock many.

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