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Chapter 2 Exercises & Case Exercises sample essay


1. Consider the statement: an individual threat agent, like a hacker, can be a factor in more than one threat category. If a hacker hacks into a network, copies a few files, defaces the Web page, and steals credit card numbers, how many different threat categories does this attack fall into?

a. Overall, I believe this attack falls into four major threat categories: deliberate acts of trespass, compromises to intellectual property, technical failures, and managerial failure. Furthermore, I believe this attack would be categorized as a deliberate act of theft/trespass which compromises intellectual property due to technical and managerial failures. b. It seems as this hacker was deliberately causing harm (i.e. copying files, vandalizing the web page, and theft of credit card numbers); due to their method of entry – hacking into a network – it leaves me to believe there were some technical failures, such as software vulnerabilities or a trap door. However, that is just one possibility as to what could have occurred. This could have also been a managerial failure; say the unknown hacker used social engineering to obtain the information to gain access to the network – proper planning and procedure execution could have potentially thwarted this hacker’s attack. 2. Using the Web, research Mafiaboy’s exploits. When and how did he compromise sites? How was he caught? c. Michael Demon Calce, also known as Mafiaboy, was a high school student from West Island, Quebec, who launched a series of highly publicized DDoS (denial-of-service) attacks in February 2000 against large commercial websites including: Yahoo!,,, Dell, Inc., E*Trade, eBay, and CNN. Calce also attempted to launch a series of simultaneous attacks against nine of the thirteen root name servers. d. On February 7th, 2000, Calce targeted Yahoo! With a project he named “Rivolta” – meaning riot in Italian. This project utilized a denial of service cyber-attack in which servers become overloaded with different types of communications, to the point in which they completely shut down.

Calce managed to shut down the multibillion dollar company and the web’s top search engine for almost an hour. His goal was to establish dominance for himself and TNT – his cybergroup. Over the next week, Calce also brought down eBay, CNN, Amazon and Dell via the same DDoS attack. e. Calce’s actions were under suspicion when the FBI and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police noticed posts in an IRC chatroom which bragged/claimed responsibility for the attacks. He became the chief suspect when he claimed to have brought down Dell’s website, an attack not yet publicized at the time. Information on the source of the attacks was initially discovered and reported to the press by Michael Lyle, chief technology officer of Recourse Technologies. Calce initially denied responsibility but later pled guilty to most of the charges brought against him – the Montreal Youth Court sentenced him on September 12, 2001 to eight months of “open custody,” one year of probation, restricted use of the Internet, and a small fine. It is estimated that these attacks caused $1.2 billion dollars in global economic damages. 3. Search the Web for the “The Official Phreaker’s Manual.” What information contained in this manual might help a security administrator to protect a communications system? f. A security administrator is a specialist in computer and network security, including the administration of security devices such as firewalls, as well as consulting on general security measures. g. Phreaking is a slang term coined to describe the activity of a culture of people who study, experiment with, or explore telecommunication systems, such as equipment and systems connected to public telephone networks.

Since telephone networks have become computerized, phreaking has become closely linked with computer hacking. i. Example of Phreaking: Using various audio frequencies to manipulate a phone system. h. Overall, a security administrator could use this manual to gain knowledge of terms associated with phreaking and the in’s & outs of the process (i.e. how it is executed). However, the security administrator should focus on Chapter 10 – “War on Phreaking” – this section (pg 71-73) deals with concepts such as access, “doom,” tracing, and security. An administrator could reverse engineer this information to protect his/her systems from such attacks. 4. The chapter discussed many threats and vulnerabilities to information security. Using the Web, find at least two other sources of information on
threat and vulnerabilities. Begin with and use a keyword search on “threats.” i.

ii. Dark Reading’s Vulnerabilities and Threats Tech Center is your resource for breaking news and information on the latest potential threats and technical vulnerabilities affecting today’s IT environment. Written for security and IT professionals, the Vulnerabilities and Threats Tech Center is designed to provide in-depth information on newly-discovered network and application vulnerabilities, potential cybersecurity exploits, and security research results j.

iii. Our security research centers around the world provide unparalleled analysis of and protection from IT security threats that include malware, security risks, vulnerabilities, and spam. 5. Using the categories of threats mentioned in this chapter, as well as the various attacks described, review several current media sources and identify examples of each. k. Acts of human error or failure:

iv. Students and staff were told in February that some 350,000 of them could have had their social security numbers and financial information exposed on the internet. v. “It happened during an upgrade of some of our IT systems. We were upgrading a server and through human error there was a misconfiguration in the setting up of that server,” said UNCC spokesman, Stephen Ward. l. Compromises to intellectual property:

vi. Today we bring news of action against a site that supplied links to films, music and games hosted on file-hosters all around the world. Authorities say they have charged three individuals said to be the administrators of a very large file-sharing site. vii. To get an idea of the gravity local police are putting on the case, we can compare some recent stats. According to US authorities Megaupload, one of the world’s largest websites at the time, cost rightsholders $500m. GreekDDL (according to Alexa Greece’s 63rd largest site) allegedly cost rightsholders $85.4m. m. Deliberate acts of espionage or trespass:

viii. The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell. ix. Snowden will go down in history as one of America’s most consequential whistleblowers, alongside Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. He is responsible for handing over material from one of the world’s most secretive organization – the NSA. x. Additional, interesting, read: 1. The government’s forensic investigation is wrestling with Snowden’s apparent ability to defeat safeguards established to monitor and deter people looking at information without proper permission. n. Deliberate acts of information extortion:

xi. Hackers claimed to have breached the systems of the Belgian credit provider Elantis and threatened to publish confidential customer information if the bank does not pay $197,000 before Friday, they said in a statement posted to Pastebin. Elantis confirmed the data breach Thursday, but the bank said it will not give in to extortion threats. xii. The hackers claim to have captured login credentials and tables with online loan applications which hold data such as full names, job descriptions, contact information, ID card numbers and income figures. xiii. According to the hackers the data was stored unprotected and unencrypted on the servers. To prove the hack, parts of what they claimed to be captured customer data were published. o. Deliberate acts of sabotage or vandalism:

xiv. Fired Contractor Kisses Off Fannie Mae With Logic Bomb xv. Rajendrasinh Babubha Makwana, a former IT contractor at Fannie Mae who was fired for making a coding mistake, was charged this week with placing a “logic bomb” within the company’s Urbana, Md., data center in late October of last year. The malware was set to go into effect at 9 a.m. EST Saturday
and would have disabled internal monitoring systems as it did its damage. Anyone logging on to Fannie Mae’s Unix server network after that would have seen the words “Server Graveyard” appear on their workstation screens. p. Deliberate acts of theft:

xvi. Four Russian nationals and a Ukrainian have been charged with running a sophisticated hacking organization that penetrated computer networks of more than a dozen major American and international corporations over seven years, stealing and selling at least 160 million credit and debit card numbers, resulting in losses of hundreds of millions of dollars. q. Deliberate software attacks:

xvii. China Mafia-Style Hack Attack Drives California Firm to Brink xviii. A group of hackers from China waged a relentless campaign of cyber harassment against Solid Oak Software Inc., Milburn’s family-owned, eight-person firm in Santa Barbara, California. The attack began less than two weeks after Milburn publicly accused China of appropriating his company’s parental filtering software, CYBERsitter, for a national Internet censoring project. And it ended shortly after he settled a $2.2 billion lawsuit against the Chinese government and a string of computer companies last April. xix. In between, the hackers assailed Solid Oak’s computer systems, shutting down web and e-mail servers, spying on an employee with her webcam, and gaining access to sensitive files in a battle that caused company revenues to tumble and brought it within a hair’s breadth of collapse. r. Forces of nature:

xx. Websites Scramble As Hurricane Sandy Floods Data Centers xxi. The freak storm flooded data centers in New York City, taking down several major websites and services — including The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and Gawker — that depended on them to run their businesses. xxii. Several websites stored their data at a lower Manhattan data center run by Datagram, whose basement was inundated with water during the storm, flooding generators that were intended to keep the power on. s. Deviations in quality of service from service providers: xxiii. China’s Internet hit by biggest cyberattack in its history xxiv.
Internet users in China were met with sluggish response times early Sunday as the country’s domain extension came under a “denial of service” attack. xxv. The attack was the largest of its kind ever in China, according to the China Internet Network Information Center, a state agency that manages the .cn country domain. xxvi. The double-barreled attacks took place at around 2 a.m. Sunday, and then again at 4 a.m. The second attack was “long-lasting and large-scale,” according to state media, which said that service was slowly being restored. t. Technical hardware failures or errors:

xxvii. A hardware failure in a Scottish RBS Group technology center caused a NatWest bank outage. xxviii. It prevented customers from using online banking services or doing debit card transactions. u. Technical software failure or errors:

xxix. RBS boss blames software upgrade for account problems xxx. The boss of RBS has confirmed that a software change was responsible for the widespread computer problems affecting millions of customers’ bank accounts. v. Technological obsolescence:

xxxi. SIM Cards Have Finally Been Hacked, And The Flaw Could Affect Millions Of Phones xxxii. After three years of research, German cryptographer Karsten Nohl claims to have finally found encryption and software flaws that could affect millions of SIM cards, and open up another route on mobile phones for surveillance and fraud.

Case Exercises

Soon after the board of directors meeting, Charlie was promoted to Chief Information Security Officer, a new position that reports to the CIO, Gladys Williams, and that was created to provide leadership for SLS’s efforts to improve its security profile.


1. How do Fred, Gladys, and Charlie perceive the scope and scale of the new information security effort? a. Charlie’s proposed information security plan aims at securing business software, data, the networks, and computers which store information. The scope of the information security effort is quite vast, aiming at securing each vulnerability – in addition to the aforementioned, the new information security plan also focuses on the company’s staff. Since extra effort will be required to implement the new managerial plan and install new security software and tools, the scale of this operation is quite large. 2. How will Fred measure success when he evaluates Gladys’ performance for this project? How will he evaluate Charlie’s performance? b. Gladys is appointed as CIO of the team, which is gathered to improve the security of the company due to virus attack that caused a loss in the company; I believe Fred will measure Gladys success by her ability to lead, keep the plan on track (i.e. time management) and successfully sticking to the proposed budget. Charlie was promoted to chief information security officer, a new position that reports to the CIO; I believe Fred will measure Charlie’s success by his ability to implement the new plan, report his/their progress and the overall success of the new system. 3. Which of the threats discussed in this chapter should receive Charlie’s attention early in his planning process? c. Portable Media Management (Ex. USB, DVD-R/W) should receive Charlie’s attention early in his planning process

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