The hackers responsible for the Anthem and U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) data breaches recently may have attacked United Airlines as well. And as a result, United tops this week's list of IT security news makers to watch, followed by the University of Connecticut (UConn), Franciscan St. Francis Health and the HAMMERTOSS malware. Here are four IT security stories to watch during the week of Aug. 3.

Dan Kobialka, Contributing writer

August 3, 2015

3 Min Read
IT Security Stories to Watch: Was United Airlines Breached?

The hackers responsible for the Anthem and U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) data breaches recently may have attacked United Airlines as well.

And as a result, United tops this week’s list of IT security news makers to watch, followed by the University of Connecticut (UConn), Franciscan St. Francis Health and the HAMMERTOSS malware.

What can managed service providers (MSPs) and their customers learn from these IT security news makers? Check out this week’s list of IT security stories to watch to find out:

1. Hackers target United

United, the world’s second-largest airline, allegedly was victimized by the Chinese hackers tied to the Anthem and OPM data breaches.

Bloomberg reported that United detected an intrusion into its computer systems in May or early June. Some of the data that may have been stolen included flight passengers’ origins and destinations. 

FireEye (FEYE) also pointed out that the Chinese cyber attackers have hacked at least 10 organizations to date.

2. UConn gets breached

UConn has begun investigating a criminal cyber intrusion in which hackers may have gained access to servers at its School of Engineering.

The data breach was first detected by some of the university’s IT staff members in March. UConn’s School of Engineering has already notified alumni, faculty, staff, students and visitors about the incident.

“UConn places the highest priority on maintaining the security and integrity of its information technology systems,” UConn Chief Information Officer Michael Mundrane told UConn Today. “That’s why, in addition to assisting individuals and research partners in responding to this incident, we’re taking steps to further secure our systems.”

3. Cyber attackers target Franciscan patients

Franciscan last week released details about a widespread data breach it originally identified in May.

The Indianapolis Star reported that patient names, addresses, birth dates, Social Security numbers and health records may have been compromised.

“Unfortunately, data breaches have become a far-too-common phenomenon,” Franciscan CEO Dr. James Callaghan said. “As hard as all of us work to protect confidential information, there are highly sophisticated hackers who work just as hard to steal it.”

4. Introducing the HAMMERTOSS malware

FireEye has identified a new type of malware that is designed to evade detection.

The cybersecurity company said the malware, called HAMMERTOSS, is likely used by Russian government-backed advanced persistent threat (APT) group APT29. HAMMERTOSS consists of multiple malware tactics, FireEYE noted, and follows a step-by-step retrieval of commands via common web services that make it difficult to detect.

“The novel approach APT29 takes to carry out its attacks and maintain their persistence in networks represents a level of difficulty that security professionals could see trickle down into their own network security operations,” Laura Galante, FireEye’s director of threat intelligence, said in a prepared statement. “As we continue to track APT29, we will be able to bring more intelligence to light that will help our customers improve their defenses against advanced attacks.”

What are your thoughts on this week’s IT security stories to watch? Share your thoughts about this story in the Comments section below, via Twitter @dkobialka or email me at [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Dan Kobialka

Contributing writer, Penton Technology

Dan Kobialka is a contributing writer for MSPmentor and Talkin' Cloud. In the past, he has produced content for numerous print and online publications, including the Boston Business Journal, Boston Herald and Patch.com. Dan holds a M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State College (now Bridgewater State University). In his free time, Kobialka enjoys jogging, traveling, playing sports, touring breweries and watching football (Go Patriots!).  

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like