Google has launched a page and a set of tutorials aimed for webmasters whose site was hacked.
Specifically, Google explains webmasters how to deal with Google’s search warning that a site is dangerous, which usually appears if a hacker has infected the site with harmful code.
“Every day, cybercriminals compromise thousands of websites. Hacks are often invisible to users, yet remain harmful to anyone viewing the page — including the site owner,” claims Google on the site titled “Webmasters help for hacked sites.”
Google starts with a video tutorial (above) which explains the basics of how and why sites get hacked, and then goes into more advanced territory with info on how to quarantine a site, identify its vulnerabilities and clean it up from harmful code.
How do you like Google’s latest initiative? Do you think the material is too advanced or perhaps too simple for the average webmaster? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Image credit: Google MORE
Will hackers ever stop harassing Sony?
Sony said today it had locked down 93,000 user accounts on its online gaming and entertainment networks after detecting a large number of unauthorized attempts to gain access to the accounts.
Intruders “using very large sets of sign-in IDs and passwords” had brief access to 60,000 accounts on the PlayStation Network and Sony Entertainment Network and another 33,000 accounts on Sony Online Entertainment’s servers, Sony said.
The attacks occurred from Friday through Monday and affected “less than one-tenth of 1 percent” of PSN, SEN, and SOE consumers, Sony said in a statement. Hackers succeeded in verifying sign-in IDs and passwords, but Sony said credit card information was “not at risk” during the attack. Sony locked the accounts after confirming the attempts were unauthorized.
“In this case, given that the data tested against our network consisted of sign-in ID-password pairs, and that the overwhelming majority of the pairs resulted in failed matching attempts, it is likely the data came from another source and not from our Networks,” Sony Chief Information Security Officer Philip Reitinger said on thePlayStation blog.
The compromised accounts also “showed additional activity prior to being locked,” but that information has not been detailed. “We are continuing to investigate the extent of unauthorized activity on any of these accounts,” Sony said.
Reitinger somewhat hinted at what the “additional activity” could be: “We will work with any users whom we confirm have had unauthorized purchases made to restore amounts in the PSN/SEN or SOE wallet.”
Sony is actively sending e-mails to affected consumers who have locked accounts and is requiring them to perform a secure password reset.
PSN hacking is a sensitive subject for many following a month of outages earlier this year that were ultimately pegged to cyberbattacks.
The sheer scope of the recent hacking scandal, which compromised the personal information of millions of gamers–was a huge smudge on the public perception of the gaming network. In the damage-control department, Sony issued multiple apologies and the promise of a strengthened network, along with giving affected users a $1 million identity theft insurance policy and free games. It also gave all PSN members affected by the outage access to PlayStation Plus for a month.SRC
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Remember Zach Braff (Did his parents really choose this name for him?), star of hospital comedy series Scrubs where he played the hapless and endearing character Dr John Dorian?
Well, yesterday Braff announced on Facebook that his website was hacked to display a bogus letter to loyal fans admitting that he was gay.
According to several media reports, Braff’s publicist says that the website was old and hadn’t not been updated since 2006.
The hackers allegedly added the following statement to the site:
"To all my loyal fans, I have been hiding this secret inside me for too long...I am excited and proud to announce that I am an open member of the homosexual community. This is not news to those closest to me, and I honor that they have kept it a secret for such a long time."
The news must have come as a surprise to Taylor Bagley, the actor’s girlfriend.
Soon, everything was clearer, as the 36-year-old Scrubs actor released a statement on his Facebook page in an attempt to stamp out the rumours about his sexuality:
"My old website got hacked. Someone issued a "coming out" statement on my behalf. I'm still straight and in love with my girlfriend. But not too straight; I still love musicals, brunch and Doogie Howser."
I doubt many of us care whether Braff is gay or not. I certainly don’t. But this story underlines the importance of not forgetting about websites we may have created in the past.
If you have a website that you no longer care about, get rid of it. At the very least, you should keep its security up to date. Old sites are much easier targets for hackers than those with up-to-date defences.
To learn some great tips and tricks on how to better protect your website, check out SophosLabs’ free technical paper, Securing Websites.
Image source for picture of Zach Braff and Taylor Bagley: http://www.globalnews.ca
Toshiba announced this weekend that a web server run by its US sales subsidiary had been hacked, and the email addresses, telephone numbers and passwords of hundreds of customers had been compromised.
The Japanese electronics firm said that the server was run by Toshiba America Information Systems Inc., and held personal data relating to 7,520 customers. Fortunately, according to the firm, the personal information exposed did not include any credit card data.
Nevertheless, you don’t want your email address and password falling into hands of malicious hackers.
Not only could cybercriminals “try out” your passwords to see if they unlock any of your other online accounts (too many people use the same password on multiple websites), but they could also target you with attacks pretending to come from Toshiba.
After all, you have a business relationship with Toshiba – so you would be less suspicious of opening an email or clicking on a link which appeared to have been sent by them. Especially if some clever social engineering made the email appear particularly enticing.
A Toshiba spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal, that the Toshiba subsidiary’s IT staff first noticed a problem with the web server on July 11th, and confirmed on July 13th that it had been hacked.
"We will continue the investigation and intend to thoroughly protect customers' information and manage (related computer) systems to prevent a recurrence."
All customers potentially affected by the hack are said to have been informed of the problem by the firm.
If you run a website it’s essential to ensure it is as secure as possible from hacker attacks.
A gang of hackers known as SwagSec announced at the tail end of last week that they had hacked into Lady Gaga’s UK website and made off with a database of names and email addresses of fans. To prove their point, they published the stolen data online.
The press reported that a source close to Lady Gaga said that she was:
"upset and hopes police get to the bottom of how this was allowed to happen"
If she was upset, she made no mention of the hack on her Twitter page, and posted no apology to her UK fans for the poor website security. She wasn’t, however, too upset to tweet about Emmy award nominations or to drop a line to Cher about doing a duet remix.
Although it’s right that the authorities should be informed regarding SwagSec’s illegal activities, there should surely be some recognition at Gaga HQ that perhaps the website was doing a lousy job at securing its fans’ information?
Lady Gaga’s record label, Universal, said it had confirmed that the hack had occurred and said that police had been informed:
"The hackers took a content database dump from http://www.ladygaga.co.uk and a section of email, first name and last name records were accessed. There were no passwords or financial information taken. We take this very seriously and have put in place additional measures to protect personally identifiable information. All those affected have been advised."
The risk to users who had their details compromised, of course, is that they could have been the subject of targeted attacks. Imagine how many of them might have opened an attachment or clicked on a link if they received an email claiming to be about free tickets for a Lady Gaga concert, or a sneak preview of her new video.
But although Universal says that it has contacted everyone who was affected – can they be confident that they know the extent of SwagSec’s hack? After all, the hack is claimed to have occurred weeks ago, but was only made public by SwagSec at the end of last week.
Wouldn’t it be more open and transparent to have a message to fans of the Lady Gaga UK website, telling them all what occurred. I went looking and couldn’t find anything to warn the wider array of Lady Gaga fans.
You may remember that the SwagSec hacking group defaced Amy Winehouse’s website earlier this month as well.
One wonders what eccentric female troubadour they will target next..
By my count this is unlucky hack number 13 for Sony. A Lebanese hacker known as Idahc dumped another user database at Sony Europe containing approximately 120 usernames, passwords (plain text), mobile phone numbers, work emails and website addresses.
The attacker claims that he used standard SQL injection techniques to acquire the database. I think it is fair to say it appears that Sony has not learned anything from the previous 12 attacks.
SQL injection flaw? Check. Plain text passwords? Check. People’s personally identifiable information totally unprotected? Check.
Idahc is the same attacker who targeted the Canadian Sony Ericsson site in May, 2011. In his note on pastebin he states: “I was Bored and I play the game of the year : ‘hacker vs Sony’.” He posted the link to pastebin with the simple note “Sony Hacked: pastebin.com/OMITTED lol.”
If you are a database administrator (especially a Sony one) and want to avoid your sensitive data from ending up in the headlines I recommend you actually test your web applications for SQL vulnerabilities.
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In a self-titled hack attack called “F**k FBI Friday” the hacking group known as LulzSec has published details on users and associates of the non-profit organization known asInfragard.
Infragard describes itself as a non-profit focused on being an interface between the private sector and individuals with the FBI. LulzSec published 180 usernames, hashed passwords, plain text passwords, real names and email addresses.
Where did the plain text passwords come from? Considering LulzSec was able to decrypt them it would imply that the hashes were not salted, or that the salt used was stored in an insecure manner.
One interesting point to note is that not all of the users passwords were cracked… Why? Because these users likely used passwords of reasonable complexity and length. This makes brute forcing far more difficult and LulzSec couldn’t be bothered to crack them.
In addition to stealing data from Infragard, LulzSec also defaced their website with a joke YouTube video and the text “LET IT FLOW YOU STUPID FBI BATTLESHIPS” in a window titled “NATO – National Agency of Tiny Origamis LOL”.
defaced website below…pics.proof.
Aside from defacing their site and stealing their user database, they tested out the users and passwords against other services and discovered many of the members were reusing passwords on other sites – an violation of FBI/Infragard guidelines.
LulzSec singled out one of these users, Karim Hijazi, who used his Infragard password for both his personal and corporate Gmail accounts according to the hackers.
They’ve published a BitTorrent with what they claim are nearly 1000 of Hijazi’s corporate emails and a IRC chat transcript that proclaims to be a conversation they had with him.
They also disclosed a list of personal information including his home address, mobile phone and other details.
It’s hard to say when these attacks will end, but a great start would be to carefully analyze your security practices and ensure that your data isproperly encrypted and to regularly scan your servers for vulnerabilities.
As for LulzSec? It appears they have declared war on one of the premier police forces in the world… Their fate remains a mystery.
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