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Thread: Hackers Attack Wayland: Your Credit Card and Data May Be At Risk

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    105

    Default Hackers Attack Wayland: Your Credit Card and Data May Be At Risk

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    Did you read about hackers who broke into the Wayland Treasurer's office and almost made off with $4 million of your taxpayer money?

    Unfortunately, that was the tip of the iceberg according to Mark Hays, a digital security expert. He found major security problems that affect the entire Wayland netw0rk, Town and School. "No Wayland department is safe and no Wayland data is secure," said Hays.

    A member of the FBI / DHS InfraGard program, Hays has been urging Wayland IT management to upgrade security for the past two and a half years. "Even though problems were obvious, almost nothing was done," said Hays, "This allowed hackers to seize complete control over a computer in the Treasurer's office. No one knew they had broken in until UniBank stopped the transfer of $4 million to an off-shore account."

    Following two break ins, Town management hired an IT consultant to assess the Wayland network. "Unfortunately," noted Hays, "they did not hire someone who is CISSP certified to do security work. This is like hiring an unlicensed electrician to rewire the Town Building." The Town Administrator and Board of Selectmen are now waiting for the IT consultant's report.

    To emphasize the urgency of the situation, Hays sent a public letter this week to the Wayland Board of Selectmen, Town Administrator and members of the Finance and School committees. (A copy is attached to this post.) Confidential details were included on each of the major security problems and solutions.

    Hays is also concerned about the personal risk to Wayland families, employees, teachers and students: "Everyone who used a Wayland computer over the past three years, including the hundreds of Mac laptops distributed to high schools students, should be notified. If you entered a credit card number to purchase something online, replace the card immediately and watch for bogus charges on your bills. If you logged into a website, e.g. for online banking, Facebook, Linked In or other Web services, update your username and password ASAP. And do not use a Wayland computer for any confidential transactions until these problems are completely fixed."

    How much will these security upgrades cost? $200,000 to $300,000 in this fiscal year, according to Hays, "Unfortunately the bill is coming due all at once, thanks to years of neglect. Everything needs to be fixed ASAP."

    There is some good news. Dr. Stein, Superintendent of Wayland Schools, has been very involved and helpful, according to Hays.

    Why is Hays so concerned? "Cybercrime teams are professional and international. Wayland has been hacked twice that we know of, and it is likely that other Wayland systems were hacked multiple times -- but no one was aware. This is a crisis for our Town, and we need to move much faster.
    They will be back."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    105

    Default Wayland security problems: What should you do?

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    Given Wayland's major security problems, what should you do?

    If you or your child purchased something online from a Wayland computer, any time in the past 3 years, replace the credit card immediately, notify your credit card company of the potential for fraud and watch for bogus charges on your bills.

    Order a current credit report and look for evidence of identity theft, e.g. loans or purchases made by unknown people.

    Report all suspected instances of identity theft to the Wayland Police Department.

    If you logged into a website from a Wayland computer, e.g. for online banking, Facebook, Linked In or other Web services, update your username and password ASAP.

    Do not use a Wayland computer for any confidential transactions until these problems are completely fixed.

    This is a crisis for our Town, and the people who manage Wayland need to move much faster. Cybercriminals will be back. They may be stealing more of your data as you read this.

    Please let me know if you have any questions: MarkAllenHays@Gmail.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    105

    Default NSA recommendations for Wayland security

    OK, I am sure you are wondering, "National Security Agency?!!! Their recommendations must be designed for the Department of Defense or nuclear facilities!"

    The NSA also provides security guidelines for every US organization that needs to protect confidential information, including towns and schools. These recommendations are entirely appropriate for the Wayland Town and School networks and computers:

    1.Segregate network systems: Departments and groups of users need to be separated on the network to keep malware and hackers from easily moving from computer to computer. This is a key issue with the Wayland network.

    2. Protect and restrict administrative privileges: Wayland employees, teachers and students should never be granted full Admin rights – which creates risk and makes it much easier for malware to attack and compromise the system.

    3. Deploy, configure and monitor application whitelisting: Software that can be installed on Wayland Town and School computers needs to be restricted to an authorized ‘white list’. Wayland employees, teachers and students should not be able to install any software they choose.

    4. Limit workstation-to-workstation communications: This step limits data and file exchange between computers and departments, to block the spread of malware infections.

    5. Implement robust network boundary defense capabilities: Every organization needs effective firewalls and perimeter defenses. I agree with the firewall upgrades that Mike McCann plans to recommend.

    6. Maintain and actively monitor centralized host and network logging solutions: This is techno-speak for an “intrusion detection system” -- a network ‘burglar alarm’ to spot attacks like the breach of the Wayland Treasurer’s office. The Wayland BoS, FinCom and School Committee must approve this upgrade.

    7. Implement Pass the Hash (PtH) mitigations: This is a very important and technical upgrade; see the documents linked to the NSA report.

    8. Deploy Microsoft Advanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET): This is another important upgrade for any network with Windows based PCs -- including the Wayland Town and School network.

    9. In addition to anti-virus services, employ anti-virus file reputation services: More advanced anti-virus / anti-malware apps constantly check for new threats via the Web, e.g. Symantec Insight, McAfee GTI and Webroot. Wayland needs to upgrade anti-virus / malware defenses.

    10. Implement and tune Host Intrusion Prevention: These systems constantly monitor your network for changes and activity that may be linked to an attack. This would have detected the breach in the Wayland Treasurer’s office, for example, before the cybercrime crew tried to wire $4 million to their offshore account. The Wayland BoS, FinCom and School Committee must approve the purchase of a vulnerability management solution.

    11. Update and patch software in a timely manner: If computer operating systems, applications and components are not updated as soon as new patches are available, major security vulnerabilities are exposed. The computer in the Wayland Treasurer’s office, for example, was missing a security patch for Adobe Reader that should have been installed in 2013. The BoS, FinCom and School Committee must purchase a solution for this problem.

    12. Prepare for incident response and recovery: Wayland clearly needs a security incident response plan, with training for Wayland IT staff. Critical evidence was inadvertently destroyed, for example, after the recent breaches in the Wayland Treasurer's office.

    Please let me know if you have any questions. I would also be happy to offer (free) recommendations for ways you can protect your home computer systems.

    Mark Hays
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    105

    Default Data Breach Cost: How Much Would Wayland Have to Pay?

    How much would Wayland taxpayers have to pay, if a data breach occurs?

    The cost of identity theft will be significant for you and your family, but what would Wayland taxpayers have to pay if a data breach occurs on the Town and/or School networks?

    The Ponemon Institute recently published their 2015 study of data breach costs in the USA. A copy is attached to this post for your review. A few key points:

    > Ponemon's study included both commercial and government sectors.
    Breach costs are much higher for commercial companies, including the loss of customers and revenue and damage to the company's reputation and brand.

    > The average cost-per-personal record
    = $225 for education records, e.g. Wayland Public Schools. The average cost-per-record for a government breach = $73, e.g. the Town of Wayland.

    > The cost of data breaches increased 11%
    compared to 2014.

    > In addition to immediate breach costs,
    Ponemon breaks out longer term "post data breach costs", which average $1.64 million per incident.

    Most of the costs shown are averages per event.
    If Wayland suffered more than one breach, the numbers multiply.

    If anyone still thinks that a laid-back, lowest-cost approach to digital security is still appropriate for Wayland Schools or the Town, these numbers should be a wake up call. Wayland families and taxpayers would have to pay these bills in the event of a breach -- and the budgets of Wayland Public Schools and Town departments would suffer.

    A copy of this document was sent to the members of the Wayland Board of Selectmen, FinCom, School Committee, Nan Balmer and Dr. Stein.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Mark Hays

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