Feeds

Security firms shrug shoulders over GCHQ cyberattack warning

Spy chief may have over-hyped threats

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

Security firms reckon GCHQ's well-publicised warnings about the threat from cyber attacks earlier this week are timed to coincide with the run-up to the UK government's comprehensive spending review announcement.

We spoke to several security consultants who believe the threat warnings were aimed at making sure GCHQ's line of funding remains assured. If this was the case, it seems the approach has already been successful.

Iain Lobban, head of the GCHQ, warned that the the UK government is targeted with over 1,000 cyber attacks a month.

Sean Sullivan, security advisor for F-Secure, commented: "Iain Lobban’s comments seem strategically timed to protect GCHQ’s funding ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review announcement on 20 October."

"One could even argue they are over-hyped because the sort of attacks or worms he refers to are very common and have been for some time. They are experienced by all sorts of different organisations failing to implement best security practices - not just Government agencies," Sullivan added.

F-Secure reckon the number of targeted email attacks has risen across all sectors of the UK economy. "The US's cyber command also recently spoke of worms 'targeting' them but, once again, most of these worms target everybody," Sullivan added.

As we reported on Thursday, the government is expected to earmark more than a billion pounds to finance an effort to bolster Britain's cyber security over the next three years, including plans to develop "active defence" capabilities that will surely tap the expertise of GCHQ.

Rik Ferguson, a security consultant at Trend Micro, argued it was important to ignore the "white noise" generated by the random scanning activity of worms such as Conficker in favour of concentrating on targeted attacks. "You need to make a judgement and cut through the stuff that looks like an attack to focus on the stuff that actually is an attack," he explained.

GCHQ's Lobban argued that co-operation between government agencies and the private sector is needed to combat complex and targeted threats, a point welcomed by security firm M86 Security.

Back in July, M86 Security identified a targeted attack aimed at an as yet unnamed UK high street bank and involving the Zeus crimeware toolkit. Since then more than 30 suspects - alleged money mules and organisers of the fraud - have been arrested in the UK, US and the Ukraine. ®

The next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.