[mpoverlay]BY CHRIS LUCAS
Cyber Intelligence Specialist
The Source Intelligence Center (TSIC)
TSCB sources indicate on February 25th, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said that the Pentagon plans to add an additional $900 Million in spending towards cyber defense measures in the coming year. There is a great deal of worry among military leaders of being targeted by an array of hacker groups that includes nation-state actors such as North Korea and ‘non-sovereign players like the Islamic State’. Ash Carter was quoted in saying, “given the increasing severity and sophistication of the threats and challenges we’re seeing in cyberspace — ranging from (IS’s) pervasive online presence to the data breaches at the Office of Personnel Management –- the budget puts a priority on funding our cyber strategy.” Spending by the Pentagon on these measure will total $6.7 billion in FY2017 and $34.6 billion over the next 5 years. The latest intelligence reports by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper notes that the risk of cyber-attacks is significantly high.
A spike in funding for improved cyber security capabilities is no doubt welcomed within Pentagon circles, but also is seen as long overdue. We expect those numbers to be revised as time goes on, especially in the event of another major cyber-attack occurring. It is important to note that known cyber capabilities of the Islamic State (ISIS) are still nowhere near measured levels of threat posed by countries such as North Korea, China or Russia despite recent progress.
Experts at TrendMicro discovered that threat actors behind the Fighter Point-of-Sale(PoS) malware have further modified their software with a worm capabilities. PoS malware is regarded as an incredible threat to Payment Card Infrastructure (PCI) as well as to the retail and hotel industry. FighterPoS was discovered originally in Brazil where it infected systems of over 100 organizations and stole more than 22,000 credit card records. This malware was offered for sale for more than $5000 worth of Bitcoins and infections have spread outside Brazil with a reported six percent of infections not being documented in the United States. A version of FighterPOS targeting the United States has been modified with strings written in English as opposed to Portuguese according to sources. We assess Malware like FighterPOS will continue to spread and present a new challenge for US-based cyber security teams in the PCI industry.
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