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Attacks/Breaches

1/15/2015
04:55 PM
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In Wake Of Violence, France Reports Spike In Cyberattacks

19,000 French websites have been attacked since Jan. 7.

Since the deadly shootings in Paris Jan. 7, cyber attackers have hit 19,000 French websites, mostly with denials of service. Admiral Arnaud Coustilliere, head of cyberdefense for France's military, said today "that's never been seen before. This is the first time that a country has been faced with such a large wave."

The targets vary widely -- everything from military regiments to pizza shops, according to the Associated Press. The perpetrators, however, are mainly well-known Islamic extremist hacking groups -- including the Middle East Cyber Army, Fallaga team, and Cyber Caliphate, the group that took responsibility for hijacking some American organizations' Twitter accounts this week.

"I think what we're seeing in France is more or less natural escalation of cyberwarfare by non-organized groups of cyber-militia," says Guy Levy-Yurista, senior vice president at MicroStrategy. "While impressive in terms of scale, it's not surprising ... It's the next logical step in this overall cat-and-mouse game."

Levy-Yurista says that these attacks do not demonstrate the sophistication -- neither the tools nor the talent -- of nation-states and organized terrorist groups.

This flood of attacks may be unprecedented, but it is not the first time that cyberattacks have boomed during times of sociopolitical upheaval. Researchers from FireEye found a spike in malware traffic leading up to the intense conflicts between the Ukraine and Russia in March.

DarkReading spoke to Kenneth Geers, senior global threat analyst for FireEye at the time when the research was released. Geers theorized that nation-states may use malware to gather intelligence while planning a possible military maneuver:

'You can find cyber operations that will tip you off to something coming, a pending attack,' he says. 'Cyber activity is usually a reflection of real-world activity. You have to inform each with some knowledge of the other. Cyber war, for lack of a better term, is part of the landscape now.'

The widespread DDoS attacks in France this week differ in that they were reactive, not preliminary -- capitalizing on the killings at French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo after they happened. It would be interesting to find out if there was any spike in info-stealing malware preceding the events.

"When there is a real-world attack happening somewhere, then following on its heels we will see cyberattacks as a second wave," says Levy-Yurista. He suggests focusing not just on how and when attacks occur, but why. "What is the real impact on human life? ... What is the goal? The goal may not be to limit access in France ... I think the goal is to show prowess of the terrorists and instill terror literally in the hearts and minds of the people."

Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad ... View Full Bio

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Dr.T
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Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
1/19/2015 | 3:53:33 PM
Re: In Wake Of Violence, France Reports Spike In Cyberattacks
I agree. The fact that cyberattacks have no physical boundaries are the main reason making it impossible to stop or prevent from. DDoS is not something we can prevent from, unless we are ready to make good amount of investment with the risk of no ROI.
Dr.T
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Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
1/19/2015 | 3:48:45 PM
Re: Methods of Infiltration
It is more like denial of service to the regular users rather than malware infection I would think. 
Dr.T
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Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
1/19/2015 | 3:47:28 PM
Cyberattacks or regular traffics
 

I am just wondering if they are really DoS attacks or unexpected increase to normal traffic to the sites and French web sites are not ready to handle that much traffic. 
Dr.T
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Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
1/19/2015 | 3:46:21 PM
Cyberattacks and real-world activity
 

"Cyber activity is usually a reflection of real-world activity"

That may be true but, in my view there is nothing out of ordinary when cyberattcaks following a terrorist attack. When is the best time to course most disruption? It is the time making information not available when it is most needed. People go to those web sites and they could not reach the information needed, and bad guys win.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
1/18/2015 | 9:24:14 PM
Re: In Wake Of Violence, France Reports Spike In Cyberattacks

"...DDoS can be just a precursor to even more sinister attacks that can elevate to the level of the attack on Sony."

 

@GonzSTL    I like your points.   And I agree - it does seem as if DDoS attacks are just a precursor to larger efforts.

Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
1/18/2015 | 9:20:15 PM
Re: In Wake Of Violence, France Reports Spike In Cyberattacks

Warfare will never be the same.   Forever more it looks like cyber hits are here to stay.

GonzSTL
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GonzSTL,
User Rank: Ninja
1/16/2015 | 9:44:43 AM
In Wake Of Violence, France Reports Spike In Cyberattacks
This comes as no surprise, really. Think about countries with limited military power, who wish to inflict harm on another country. They know that a military incursion would be suicidal or even impractical, so how else can they inflict widespread harm? DDoS cyber attacks have virtually no physical boundaries or obstacles to cross, and are not really that difficult to orchestrate. This phenomenon is not limited to those countries, as we have seen militant organizations do exactly the same thing. One of their probable goals is to inflict as much harm as possible to the economic infrastructure of their target, in addition to instilling terror in the populace. I don't believe the attacks on France are a onetime event; I believe these attacks will be more prevalent in the near future, and will only increase in intensity and sophistication, and have catastrophic results for the targets. DDoS can be just a precursor to even more sinister attacks that can elevate to the level of the attack on Sony.
RyanSepe
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RyanSepe,
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1/16/2015 | 8:44:23 AM
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