Another Top NFT Company Has Been Hit By a Phishing Attack

The official Discord channel of the NFT marketplace OpenSea was recently infiltrated by cybercriminals who used it to distribute a phishing link.

According to The Verge, a bot in the channel made a fake announcement that the NFT marketplace was partnering with YouTube and that users should click on a “YouTube Genesis Mint Pass” in order to get one of 100 free NFTs before they’re gone forever.

Just like cybercriminals often do in phishing emails, this message instilled a sense of urgency to get users to click on a link to a site that that blockchain security company PeckShield has now flagged as a phishing site.

At the same time, as the NFT space tends to move rather quickly, users knew from past experience that they only had a limited time to claim one of the free NFTs and likely didn’t want to miss out.

Stolen NFTs

Although the malicious messages have been removed from OpenSea’s Discord channel and the phishing site has also been taken down, one user said they lost NFTs in the incident and pointed to an address on the blockchain that belonged to the cybercriminals responsible.

Viewing the address on Etherscan.io or on competing NFT marketplace Rarible shows that 13 NFTs were actually transferred to it from five users around the time of the attack and based on their prices when last sold, all five NFTs appear to be worth just over $18k.

While OpenSea hasn’t yet explained how its Discord channel was hacked, one possible explanation is that the cybercriminals leveraged the webhook functionality  that organizations utilize to control bots which make posts on their channels.

In a statement to The Verge, OpenSea spokesperson Allie Mack provided further details on how the company responded to the incident, saying:

“Last night, an attacker was able to post malicious links in several of our Discord channels. We noticed the malicious links soon after they were posted and took immediate steps to remedy the situation, including removing the malicious bots and accounts.

We also alerted our community via our Twitter support channel to not click any links in our Discord. Our preliminary analysis indicates that the attack had limited impact. We are currently aware of fewer than 10 impacted wallets and stolen items amounting to less than 10 ETH.”

Whether you’re on Discord or Telegram, you should avoid clicking on suspicious links especially in messages that try to instill a sense of urgency to prevent falling victim to phishing attacks.

Anthony Spadafora

After getting his start at ITProPortal while living in South Korea, Anthony now writes about cybersecurity, web hosting, cloud services, VPNs and software for TechRadar Pro. In addition to writing the news, he also edits and uploads reviews and features and tests numerous VPNs from his home in Houston, Texas. Recently, Anthony has taken a closer look at standing desks, office chairs and all sorts of other work from home essentials. When not working, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home. 

Source: Another top NFT company has been hit by a phishing attack | TechRadar

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Fighting Identity Theft With The Red Flags Rule

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An estimated nine million Americans have their identities stolen each year. Identity thieves may drain accounts, damage credit, and even put medical treatment at risk. The cost to business — left with unpaid bills racked up by scam artists — can be staggering, too.

The Red Flags Rule1 requires many businesses and organizations to implement a written identity theft prevention program designed to detect the “red flags” of identity theft in their day-to-day operations, take steps to prevent the crime, and mitigate its damage. The bottom line is that a program can help businesses spot suspicious patterns and prevent the costly consequences of identity theft.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces the Red Flags Rule with several other agencies. This article has tips for organizations under FTC jurisdiction to determine whether they need to design an identity theft prevention program.

An Overview

The Red Flags Rule tells you how to develop, implement, and administer an identity theft prevention program. A program must include four basic elements that create a framework to deal with the threat of identity theft.2

  1. A program must include reasonable policies and procedures to identify the red flags of identity theft that may occur in your day-to-day operations. Red Flags are suspicious patterns or practices, or specific activities that indicate the possibility of identity theft.3 For example, if a customer has to provide some form of identification to open an account with your company, an ID that doesn’t look genuine is a “red flag” for your business.
  2. A program must be designed to detect the red flags you’ve identified. If you have identified fake IDs as a red flag, for example, you must have procedures to detect possible fake, forged, or altered identification.
  3. A program must spell out appropriate actions you’ll take take when you detect red flags.
  4. A program must detail how you’ll keep it current to reflect new threats.

Just getting something down on paper won’t reduce the risk of identity theft. That’s why the Red Flags Rule has requirements on how to incorporate your program into the daily operations of your business. Fortunately, the Rule also gives you the flexibility to design a program appropriate for your company — its size and potential risks of identity theft. While some businesses and organizations may need a comprehensive program to address a high risk of identity theft, a streamlined program may be appropriate for businesses facing a low risk.

Securing the data you collect and maintain about customers is important in reducing identity theft. The Red Flags Rule seeks to prevent identity theft, too, by ensuring that your business or organization is on the lookout for the signs that a crook is using someone else’s information, typically to get products or services from you without paying for them.

That’s why it’s important to use a one-two punch in the battle against identity theft: implement data security practices that make it harder for crooks to get access to the personal information they use to open or access accounts, and pay attention to the red flags that suggest that fraud may be afoot.

Who Must Comply with the Red Flags Rule: A Two-Part Analysis

The Red Flags Rule requires “financial institutions” and some “creditors” to conduct a periodic risk assessment to determine if they have “covered accounts.” The determination isn’t based on the industry or sector, but rather on whether a business’ activities fall within the relevant definitions. A business must implement a written program only if it has covered accounts.

Financial Institution

The Red Flags Rule defines a “financial institution” as a state or national bank, a state or federal savings and loan association, a mutual savings bank, a state or federal credit union, or a person that, directly or indirectly, holds a transaction account belonging to a consumer.4 While many financial institutions are under the jurisdiction of the federal bank regulatory agencies or other federal agencies, state-chartered credit unions are one category of financial institution under the FTC’s jurisdiction.

Creditor

The Red Flags Rule defines “creditor” based on conduct.5

To determine if your business is a creditor under the Red Flags Rule, ask these questions:

Does my business or organization regularly:

  • defer payment for goods and services or bill customers?
  • grant or arrange credit?
  • participate in the decision to extend, renew, or set the terms of credit?

If you answer:

  • No to all, the Rule does not apply.
  • Yes to one or more, ask:

Does my business or organization regularly and in the ordinary course of business:

  • get or use consumer reports in connection with a credit transaction?
  • give information to credit reporting companies in connection with a credit transaction?
  • advance funds to — or for — someone who must repay them, either with funds or pledged property (excluding incidental expenses in connection with the services you provide to them)?

If you answer:

  • No to all, the Rule does not apply.
  • Yes to one or more, you are a creditor covered by the Rule.

Covered Accounts

If you conclude that your business or organization is a financial institution or a creditor covered by the Rule, you must determine if you have any “covered accounts,” as the Red Flags Rule defines that term. You’ll need to look at existing accounts and new ones6.  Two categories of accounts are covered:

  1. A consumer account for your customers for personal, family, or household purposes that involves or allows multiple payments or transactions.7 Examples are credit card accounts, mortgage loans, automobile loans, checking accounts, and savings accounts.
  2.  “Any other account that a financial institution or creditor offers or maintains for which there is a reasonably foreseeable risk to customers or to the safety and soundness of the financial institution or creditor from identity theft, including financial, operational, compliance, reputation, or litigation risks.”8 Examples include small business accounts, sole proprietorship accounts, or single transaction consumer accounts that may be vulnerable to identity theft. Unlike consumer accounts designed to allow multiple payments or transactions — always considered “covered accounts” under the Rule — other types of accounts are “covered” only if the risk of identity theft is reasonably foreseeable.

In determining if accounts are covered under the second category, consider how they’re opened and accessed. For example, there may be a reasonably foreseeable risk of identity theft in connection with business accounts that can be accessed remotely — say, through the Internet or the telephone. Your risk analysis must consider any actual incidents of identity theft involving accounts like these.

If you don’t have any covered accounts, you don’t need a written program. But business models and services change. You may acquire covered accounts through changes to your business structure, process, or organization. That’s why it’s good policy and practice to conduct a periodic risk assessment.

FAQs

  1. I review credit reports to screen job applicants. Does the Rule apply to my business on this basis alone? No, the Rule does not apply because the use is not “in connection with a credit transaction.”
  2. What if I occasionally get credit reports in connection with credit transactions?According to the Rule, these activities must be done “regularly and in the ordinary course of business.” Isolated conduct does not trigger application of the Rule, but if your business regularly furnishes delinquent account information to a consumer reporting company but no other credit information, that satisfies the “regularly and in the ordinary course of business” prerequisite.What is deemed “regularly and in the ordinary course of business” is specific to individual companies. If you get consumer reports or furnish information to a consumer reporting company regularly and in the ordinary course of your particular business, the Rule applies, even if for others in your industry it isn’t a regular practice or part of the ordinary course of business.
  3. I am a professional who bills my clients for services at the end of the month. Am I a creditor just because I allow clients to pay later?No. Deferring payment for goods or services, payment of debt, or the purchase of property or services alone doesn’t constitute “advancing funds” under the Rule.
  4. In my business, I lend money to customers for their purchases. The loans are backed by title to their car. Is this considered “advancing funds”?Yes. Anyone who lends money — like a payday lender or automobile title lender — is covered by the Rule. Their lending activities may make their business attractive targets for identity theft. But deferring the payment of debt or the purchase of property or services alone doesn’t constitute “advancing funds.”
  5. I offer instant credit to my customers and contract with another company to pull credit reports to determine their creditworthiness. No one in our organization ever sees the credit reports. Is my business covered by the Rule?Yes. Your business is — regularly and in the ordinary course of business — using credit reports in connection with a credit transaction. The Rule applies whether your business uses the reports directly or whether a third-party evaluates them for you.
  6. I operate a finance company that helps people buy furniture. Does the Rule apply to my business?Yes. Your company’s financing agreements are considered to be “advancing funds on behalf of a person.”
  7. In my legal practice, I often make copies and pay filing, court, or expert fees for my clients. Am I “advancing funds”?No. This is not the same as a commercial lender making a loan; “advancing funds” does not include paying in advance for fees, materials, or services that are incidental to providing another service that someone requested.
  8. Our company is a “creditor” under the Rule and we have credit and non-credit accounts. Do we have to determine if both types of accounts are “covered accounts”? Yes. You must examine all your accounts to determine which are “covered accounts” that must be included in your written identity theft prevention program.
  9. My business accepts credit cards for payments. Are we covered by the Red Flags Rule on this basis alone?No. Just accepting credit cards as a form of payment does not make you a “creditor” under the Red Flags Rule.
  10. My business isn’t subject to much of a risk that a crook is going to misuse someone’s identity to steal from me, but it does have covered accounts. How should I structure my program?If identity theft isn’t a big risk in your business, complying with the Rule is simple and straightforward. For example, if the risk of identity theft is low, your program might focus on how to respond if you are notified — say, by a customer or a law enforcement officer — that someone’s identity was misused at your business. The Guidelines to the Rule have examples of possible responses. But even a business at low risk needs a written program that is approved either by its board of directors or an appropriate senior employee.

How To Comply: A Four-Step Process

Many companies already have plans and policies to combat identity theft and related fraud. If that’s the case for your business, you’re already on your way to full compliance.

1. Identify Relevant Red Flags

What are “red flags”? They’re the potential patterns, practices, or specific activities indicating the possibility of identity theft.9 Consider:

Risk Factors. Different types of accounts pose different kinds of risk. For example, red flags for deposit accounts may differ from red flags for credit accounts, and those for consumer accounts may differ from those for business accounts. When you are identifying key red flags, think about the types of accounts you offer or maintain; the ways you open covered accounts; how you provide access to those accounts; and what you know about identity theft in your business.

Sources of Red Flags. Consider other sources of information, including the experience of other members of your industry. Technology and criminal techniques change constantly, so it’s important to keep up-to-date on new threats.

Categories of Common Red Flags. Supplement A to the Red Flags Rule lists specific categories of warning signs to consider including in your program. The examples here are one way to think about relevant red flags in the context of your own business.

  • Alerts, Notifications, and Warnings from a Credit Reporting Company. Changes in a credit report or a consumer’s credit activity might signal identity theft:
    • a fraud or active duty alert on a credit report
    • a notice of credit freeze in response to a request for a credit report
    • a notice of address discrepancy provided by a credit reporting company
    • a credit report indicating a pattern inconsistent with the person’s history B for example, an increase in the volume of inquiries or the use of credit, especially on new accounts; an unusual number of recently established credit relationships; or an account that was closed because of an abuse of account privileges
  • Suspicious Documents. Documents can offer hints of identity theft:
    • identification looks altered or forged
    • the person presenting the identification doesn’t look like the photo or match the physical description
    • information on the identification differs from what the person with identification is telling you or doesn’t match a signature card or recent check
    • an application looks like it’s been altered, forged, or torn up and reassembled
  • Personal Identifying Information. Personal identifying information can indicate identity theft:
    • inconsistencies with what you know — for example, an address that doesn’t match the credit report or the use of a Social Security number that’s listed on the Social Security Administration Death Master File
    • inconsistencies in the information a customer has submitted to you
    • an address, phone number, or other personal information already used on an account you know to be fraudulent
    • a bogus address, an address for a mail drop or prison, a phone number that’s invalid, or one that’s associated with a pager or answering service
    • a Social Security number used by someone else opening an account
    • an address or telephone number used by several people opening accounts
    • a person who omits required information on an application and doesn’t respond to notices that the application is incomplete
    • a person who can’t provide authenticating information beyond what’s generally available from a wallet or credit report — for example, someone who can’t answer a challenge question
  • Account Activity. How the account is being used can be a tip-off to identity theft:
    • shortly after you’re notified of a change of address, you’re asked for new or additional credit cards, or to add users to the account
    • a new account used in ways associated with fraud — for example, the customer doesn’t make the first payment, or makes only an initial payment; or most of the available credit is used for cash advances or for jewelry, electronics, or other merchandise easily convertible to cash
    • an account used outside of established patterns — for example, nonpayment when there’s no history of missed payments, a big increase in the use of available credit, or a major change in buying or spending patterns or electronic fund transfers
    • an account that is inactive is used again
    • mail sent to the customer that is returned repeatedly as undeliverable although transactions continue to be conducted on the account
    • information that the customer isn’t receiving an account statement by mail or email
    • information about unauthorized charges on the account
  • Notice from Other Sources. A customer, a victim of identity theft, a law enforcement authority, or someone else may be trying to tell you that an account has been opened or used fraudulently.

2. Detect Red Flags

Sometimes, using identity verification and authentication methods can help you detect red flags. Consider whether your procedures should differ if an identity verification or authentication is taking place in person, by telephone, mail, or online.

  • New accounts. When verifying the identity of the person who is opening a new account, reasonable procedures may include getting a name, address, and identification number and, for in-person verification, checking a current government-issued identification card, like a driver’s license or passport.
  • Depending on the circumstances, you may want to compare that to information you can find out from other sources, like a credit reporting company or data broker, or the Social Security Number Death Master File.10 Asking questions based on information from other sources can be a helpful way to verify someone’s identity.
  • Existing accounts. To detect red flags for existing accounts, your program may include reasonable procedures to confirm the identity of the person you’re dealing with, to monitor transactions, and to verify the validity of change-of-address requests. For online authentication, consider the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s guidance on authentication as a starting point.11
  • It explores the application of multi-factor authentication techniques in high-risk environments, including using passwords, PINs, smart cards, tokens, and biometric identification. Certain types of personal information — like a Social Security number, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, or mailing address — are not reliable authenticators because they’re so easily accessible.

You may be using programs to monitor transactions, identify behavior that indicates the possibility of fraud and identity theft, or validate changes of address. If so, incorporate these tools into your program.

3. Prevent And Mitigate Identity Theft

When you spot a red flag, be prepared to respond appropriately. Your response will depend on the degree of risk posed. It may need to accommodate other legal obligations, like laws about providing and terminating service.

The Guidelines in the Red Flags Rule offer examples of some appropriate responses, including:

  • monitoring a covered account for evidence of identity theft
  • contacting the customer
  • changing passwords, security codes, or other ways to access a covered account
  • closing an existing account
  • reopening an account with a new account number
  • not opening a new account
  • not trying to collect on an account or not selling an account to a debt collector
  • notifying law enforcement
  • determining that no response is warranted under the particular circumstances

The facts of a particular case may warrant using one of these options, several of them, or another response altogether. Consider whether any aggravating factors raise the risk of identity theft. For example, a recent breach that resulted in unauthorized access to a customer’s account records would call for a stepped-up response because the risk of identity theft rises, too.

4. Update The Program

The Rule recognizes that new red flags emerge as technology changes or identity thieves change their tactics, and requires periodic updates to your program. Factor in your own experience with identity theft; changes in how identity thieves operate; new methods to detect, prevent, and mitigate identity theft; changes in the accounts you offer; and changes in your business, like mergers, acquisitions, alliances, joint ventures, and arrangements with service providers.

Administering Your Program

Your Board of Directors — or an appropriate committee of the Board — must approve your initial plan.  If you don’t have a board, someone in senior management must approve it.  The Board may oversee, develop, implement, and administer the program — or it may designate a senior employee to do the job. Responsibilities include assigning specific responsibility for the program’s implementation, reviewing staff reports about compliance with the Rule, and approving important changes to your program.

The Rule requires that you train relevant staff only as “necessary.” Staff who have taken fraud prevention training may not need to be re-trained. Remember that employees at many levels of your organization can play a key role in identity theft deterrence and detection.

In administering your program, monitor the activities of your service providers. If they’re conducting activities covered by the Rule — for example, opening or managing accounts, billing customers, providing customer service, or collecting debts — they must apply the same standards you would if you were performing the tasks yourself. One way to make sure your service providers are taking reasonable steps is to add a provision to your contracts that they have procedures in place to detect red flags and either report them to you or respond appropriately to prevent or mitigate the crime. Other ways to monitor your service providers include giving them a copy of your program, reviewing the red flag policies, or requiring periodic reports about red flags they have detected and their response.

It’s likely that service providers offer the same services to a number of client companies. As a result, the Guidelines are flexible about service providers using their own programs as long as they meet the requirements of the Rule.

The person responsible for your program should report at least annually to your Board of Directors or a designated senior manager. The report should evaluate how effective your program has been in addressing the risk of identity theft; how you’re monitoring the practices of your service providers; significant incidents of identity theft and your response; and recommendations for major changes to the program.12

Source: Fighting Identity Theft with the Red Flags Rule: A How-To Guide for Business | Federal Trade Commission

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As Russia Invaded, Hackers Broke Into A Ukrainian Internet Provider. Then Did It Again As Bombs Rained Down

One of Ukraine’s major internet providers was hacked twice – once in February just as Russia was invading and again on March 9, a source says. A major Ukrainian internet service provider says it was hacked twice. Sources tell Forbes that the first hack was in February, the second on March 9, and that the hackers managed to reset devices to factory settings.

In the last 24 hours, with Russia continuing its heavy bombardment across Ukraine, parts of the country have seen severe internet outages. One cause appears to be a cyberattack on telecoms provider Triolan, which serves a substantial number of users across the country.

Unverified reports circulated earlier today suggesting Triolan had been hit by an attack. Asked over Facebook if reports of a cyberattack were true, a spokesperson responded, “Yes, unfortunately, there are no details. Engineers are now working on restoring the Internet.”

Three other sources within the company and a former cofounder of the business said a cyberattack had occurred, with one claiming some of Triolan’s internal computers had stopped working because the “attackers reset the settings to the factory level.” They added that recovery was proving difficult because some equipment required physical access to restore, which was not possible due to the risk of life to personnel.

“We haven’t been able to pinpoint the source of the problem and we can’t pinpoint anyone at fault,” the source added. Another added that the attack landed on March 9, when internet outages began.

A post on the company’s Telegram page revealed that the company had, in fact been hacked twice. A source within the company said the first hack hit on February 24 as Russia moved tanks into the country, with the second on March 9, and that they had much the same effect.

Read more: https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/internet-freedom-around-the-world-in-50-stats/

Triolan said “key nodes of the network” had been hacked and that some routers couldn’t be recovered. It said 70% of those nodes in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Poltava, Odesa, Rivne and Zaporizhia had been restored today.

There may be other reasons for disruption of telecoms at Triolan, given it is based in Kharkiv, which has been bombarded by Russian shelling. But a cyberattack on the internet service provider represents one of the more damaging hits in what has been a fairly muted cyber side to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Other attacks on Ukraine included attempts to install malware that would wipe PCs and a number of distributed denial of service attacks, which flooded government and banking websites with traffic to knock them offline.

The effects of the outage will have been felt across its subscriber base. “Triolan is one of the top destinations for internet traffic in Ukraine from our perspective, so it is safe to say that there are likely thousands of Ukrainians that are affected by this outage,” said Doug Madory, director of internet analysis at Kentik, an internet monitoring company.

Data from the Internet Outage Detection and Analysis at the Georgia Institute of Technology showed a sudden drop off in connectivity for Triolan late Wednesday, which has continued throughout Thursday. NetBlocks, another global internet outage tracker, saw similar downtime.

Various outages across Ukraine have been caused by physical destruction of infrastructure. Wednesday saw “major internet disruption” registered across Kherson Oblast, in southern Ukraine, with downtime at providers Ukrtelecom and Volia.

I’m associate editor for Forbes, covering security, surveillance and privacy. I’m also the editor of The Wiretap newsletter, which has exclusive stories on real-world surveillance and all the

Source: As Russia Invaded, Hackers Broke Into A Ukrainian Internet Provider. Then Did It Again As Bombs Rained Down

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Critics:

Network data from NetBlocks confirm a series of significant disruptions to internet service in Ukraine from Thursday 24 February 2022. Disruptions have subsequently been tracked across much of Ukraine including capital city Kyiv as Russia’s military operation progresses.

On the morning of Thursday 24 February 2022, internet disruptions were registered in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city. Also on the morning of 24 February, hours prior to the commencement of Ukraine’s invasion of Russia, the Viasat satellite internet network which serves Ukraine and much of Europe was knocked offline in a targeted cyberattack

On Saturday morning as the conflict reached Kyiv, a major disruption was registered to backbone internet provider GigaTrans, which supplies connectivity to several other networks.

While connectivity remained available through other routes and the disruption was brief, the incident is understood to have had significant impact to telecommunications infrastructure.

From 4 March 2022 NetBlocks tracked a loss of connectivity at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeast Ukraine, affecting fixed-lines and mobile services. The loss of communications was subsequently raised as a point of concern by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

On 9 March 2022, internet provider Triolan was targeted by a cyberattack for a second time, with the first instance having been observed on the morning of 24 February when invasion began. Both events have caused significant losses to connectivity at nation scale.

Read more: https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/internet-freedom-around-the-world-in-50-stats/

On the night of Thursday 10 March, an attack on the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology, which hosts an ADS neutron source facility, was labelled an “act of nuclear terrorism” by the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine. The incident following attacks at Zaporizhzhia and Chernobyl has heightened concerns that Russia might be intentionally targeting nuclear sites.

What’s happening in Ukraine?

Russian leader Vladimir Putin announced military mobilization on the morning of Thursday 24 February 2022 and artillery was fired while as moved into Kharkiv about 25 miles from the Russian border. The security situation deteriorated through subsequent days with Ukrainian authorities advising civilians to get off the streets and seek shelter.

Beside the disruptions to telecommunications infrastructure documented in this report, cyber-attacks have disrupted Ukraine’s defence and banking sectors.

Further reading:

Previously:

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This New 2022 Law Will Ban Use Of Dumb Passwords In Smart Devices

The U.K. government has, and not before time, many would argue, moved to introduce legislation that will ban the use of dumb passwords in so-called smart devices.

The Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure (PSTI) Bill has yet to become law; according to government sources that will happen as soon as parliamentary time allows. This means that we should see the law come into play in 2022.

However, what has happened already is that the legislation has been published, and we now know what the months and years of consultation and industry expertise have brought to bear.

What consumer security protections will the new law introduce?

In effect, the PSTI Bill will provide for three regulatory steps to shore up the security sinkhole as it applies to smart devices:

  1. Default, factory set, weak passwords will no longer be allowed. Instead, all relevant devices will need to come with unique passwords that cannot be set back to a single, universal, factory default.
  2.  A contact for researchers, hackers, bug bounty hunters and the like to report security vulnerabilities must be published publicly.
  3.  Consumers must be advised of the period for which the device they are buying will receive security updates, and so advised at the point of purchase. If the device cannot receive such updates or patches or won’t get any, that must be declared.

“One of the most commonly used attack vectors is through default passwords, which are easy to guess and preloaded on multiple devices,” George Papamargaritis, a director at Obrela Security Industries, said. “The fact that this new legislation bans default passwords is a huge step forward and it will encourage device manufacturers to consider security before marketing products, otherwise they could face business destroying fines.”

“We’re getting to a place where security by design will be a mandatory requirement and not an afterthought,” Laurie Mercer, a security engineer at HackerOne, said. “This is a significant milestone towards more secure consumer connectable products, and shows the U.K. is leading in creating a safe digital connected society.”

What smart devices will be covered by this new law?

What devices are covered? Well, it’s consumer goods legislation and covers routers, security cameras, games consoles, TVs, smart speakers and assistants, baby monitors, doorbells and, yes, smartphones. It doesn’t cover laptops and desktops, medical devices, cars, or smart meters.

This is a good step forward in that the law will apply to both manufacturers of the devices and those who import and sell them. It will be overseen by an as yet to be appointed regulator and come with fines of £10 million or 4% of global revenues; ongoing breaches can carry a daily £20,000 penalty. Of course, California already has Senate Bill 327 that requires similar password rules and came into effect on 1 January 2020.

Overall, it’s a good thing but has limitations as many smart devices are pretty stupid when it comes to security and have no ability for firmware patching; the law will only require it to be declared there are none. Even for those that can be patched, there’s no requirement for this to be automated. Without such automation, most consumers will not bother and declaring that vulnerability could make the device less secure as threat actors will then find exploits.

The expert opinion: an interview with David Rogers MBE

I’ve been chatting with David Rogers MBE, the CEO at Copper Horse and chair of the GSM Association (GSMA) Fraud and Security Group. Rogers also sits on the executive board of the Internet of Things Security Foundation. With more than 20 years of experience in embedded device security, David volunteered to draft a set of technical requirements, which ended up with the U.K. Code of Practice for Consumer IoT Security.

“The government always said if they didn’t see improvement to the market situation that they were prepared to legislate and regulate,” Rogers says, “and we’re here now where there is demonstrable market failure.” He points to research by his company that found four out of five IoT device companies didn’t have any way for security researchers to contact them, for example. “That is a truly shocking state of affairs and is really the tip of the iceberg,” Rogers continues, “what does it say about the ability of these companies to secure their own products?”

An important first step

Rogers agrees that the new PSTI Bill is a first step that addresses the top three mandates of the code of practice. “This to me hits the major issues, and if we only resolve those parts, we go a long way to protecting consumers,” he says. But it’s far from the end of the story, and the key message to the industry has to be, Rogers insists, “why wait? What is your excuse? Bad stuff is happening, and it’s IoT manufacturers’ responsibility to be part of the solution, not the problem!”Rogers admits it’s a difficult challenge because it should be a constantly moving target if you think about product security. If a vulnerability is discovered, it should be addressed and patched if possible. “That’s why it really comes down to that point about how long vendors are providing security updates for,” he says, “and providing that information clearly to consumers and retailers.”

A baseline of security across all electronic devices?

But what about the covered devices, or rather those that aren’t? “Of course, I want to see a baseline of security across all electronic devices,” Rogers continues, “but there are clearly sectoral differences and already existing regulation, particularly in the automotive and medical sectors. They cover safety aspects that go above and beyond where we are here, and it doesn’t seem to make sense to land grab those spaces.”

Rogers also thinks that an impact is being made even before the legislation gets Royal Assent and becomes law. “Interest in conformance schemes for IoT security in the industry has gone through the roof,” he says, “simply with the threat of legislation by a host of countries.”

To be fair to the responsible companies out there, Rogers points out that they have been pushing for this too. “GSMA’s excellent IoT security work was underway in 2014, already drawing on existing work from the mobile device space,” he says, “what we’ve seen is an alignment across government, industry and also the hacking community. Everyone knows what the problems are and, crucially, how to fix them. So, let’s do it!”

We can’t look back and fix the past

When it comes to the existing volume of smart devices already in the market, Rogers take a pragmatic view. “One thing many of us were conscious about was not adding to the already-existing mountain of IoT e-waste or unnecessarily penalizing people who can’t afford expensive products,” he says. “We can’t look back and fix the past,” Rogers concludes, “but we can look forward, and the lifecycle of technology is still very swift.

genesis3-2-1-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-2-2-1-1-1-1

More broadly, it is more about bad practices that we’re seeking to eliminate, and we’re seeing a broad swathe of work that is intolerant to poor and unacceptable engineering practices, whether it be around supply chain security or protecting people’s privacy.”

“This is the start of a huge movement towards a safer online society, but it won’t be changing overnight,” Jake Moore, a cybersecurity specialist at ESET, concludes. “These proposals are exactly what is required to help guide people in the right direction after typical security measures by design haven’t been strong enough to help those who desperately need it.”

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

Davey is a three-decade veteran technology journalist and has been a contributing editor at PC Pro magazine since the first issue in 1994. A co-founder of the Forbes Straight Talking

Source: This New 2022 Law Will Ban Use Of Dumb Passwords In Smart Devices

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