Morning Security Brief: Typhoon in Japan, Anti-Malware Initiatives, and National Security Hacking

By Lilly Chapa

Japan is bracing for Typhoon Neoguri, one of the biggest storms to threaten the country in decades, and experts have raised concerns about the impact on the region’s infrastructure. The typhoon is headed towards Okinawa, with a population of 1.2 million people and is predicted to make landfall Wednesday, but government officials have already advised 480,000 people to evacuate to local municipal buildings, according to The Diplomat. The Okinawa and Kyushu region is already saturated with rain from a record-breaking storm last week, which increases the risk of floods, landslides, and power outages. Japan’s two main power companies are already struggling to meet peak summer usage and all of their nuclear reactors are offline. About 6,500 households have already been left without power, according to The Telegraph.

Standards body IIEE has released two anti-malware initiatives to assist software vendors in spotting malware, according to The Register. The program, Anti-Malware Support Service (AMSS), works to find hackers who hijack software from legitimate vendors and write malware into it. One aspect of the program, a clean file metadata exchange (CMX), allows software engineers to publish the metadata of an application, making it easier to detect a modified version carrying malware. IIEE has invited large vendors to take part in CMX, and the metadata will be available to registered users. Another aspect of the program identifies the license keys used to create malware and marks those as suspicious.

Chinese hackers are switching up their tactics by spying on national security think tanks, according to researchers at CrowdStrike. Several groups have been compromised in the defense, finance, legal, and government areas, and hackers are gathering information on Iraq and the Middle East. The cyberattack group, Deep Panda, has been able to infiltrate e-mail accounts, directories, and files from the think tank sites. "This is undoubtedly related to the recent Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) takeover of major parts of Iraq and the potential disruption for major Chinese oil interests in that country. In fact, Iraq happens to be the fifth-largest source of crude oil imports for China and the country is the largest foreign investor in Iraq’s oil sector. Thus, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Chinese government is highly interested in getting a better sense of the possibility of deeper U.S. military involvement that could help protect the Chinese oil infrastructure in Iraq,” according to CrowdStrike.


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