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ICT50220 Information Technology : Internal Security System

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Part A:

Answer the following question:
Search the web for news on computer security breaches that occurred during September-December 2015. Research one such reported incident. Prepare a report focusing on what the problem was, how and why it occurred and what are the possible solutions.

Part B:

Research about any popular hack case on the web which happened between 2012 and 2016 (For example, one very popular hack case is JPMorgan chase hack case (2015)) and prepare a report focusing on the following questions:
What was the problem?
Who were affected and how?
How was the attack carried out?
What could have been done to prevent the attack? 

Answer:


Introduction 

Internet has two aspects, the positive one and the negative one. Security breaches are the negative side of internet which poses severe harm on the organizations. Breaching is the illegal action in which the person with ill intention “the hacker” hacks the account or database of organizations in order to extract sensitive and confidential information illegally. In today’s era, these security threats are very common and many organizations have to face it. These breaches can happen with government as well as non-government organizations. People and companies from all over the world are suffering heavily from these breaches.

This report discusses two popular security breaches which have occurred in the world and have affected the organizations heavily. The first incident discussed occurred between September to December 2015 and the second one occurred between 2012-2016. The first hack described here is the “Internal revenue service (IRS) security hack” and the second hack that took is the “Yahoo security breach”. Various measures have been described which would have been taken by the companies to prevent the security breaches. In order to make the report more clear, it has been divided into sections.  

Part A

Link from where the data was taken-

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/irs-thieves-stolen-info-220000-additional-tax-accounts/story?id=33140918

Background of the problem 

The attack on “Internal security system (IRS)” was a massive attack on the government organization. The hackers stole the records of around 720,000 people from the database of the system. In numerical figures, around 114,000 taxpayers from all across the nation were affected by the breach (Stone, 2016). The hackers got the access of the accounts through the “get transcript” application which was introduced by the government so that people could know the stats of their tax accounts.

What was the problem 

The attack was posed on the internal revenue system and in numerical figure; around 720,000 records were stolen by the hackers. The hackers accessed the account of around 114,000 people illegally and they got the access through the get transcript application which was supposed to help the citizens. The application was introduced so that the people could get more knowledge and information about their accounts. The application asked for the personal informations about the customers such as name, date of birth and social security numbers. The hackers cracked this system and thus they got the access of the application’s database and hence they gathered all the persona information of the clients (Kermani, Azarderakhsh & Mirakhorli, 2016). In numerical figures the accounts of around 114,000 taxpayers were accessed by the hackers. The amount of the tax was affected by the breach. Thereafter, the government had shut the “get transcript” application. Free credit monitoring services was promised by the government to those who suffered the scam occurred. According to the firm, the firm was trying its best to safeguard the accounts of the taxpayers.

How and why did the problem occur

The hackers got the access of the information of the taxpayers through the application named “get transcript”. The hackers got the access of the personal information of the people. They used the social security numbers of the citizens to get the access of the accounts. Thereafter, the hackers viewed the prior tax returns of the customers. The theft could not be detected because it occurred in the peak season of the organization and everyone was busy in the work (Pang & Tanriverdi, 2017). Hackers made 200,000 attempts to get into the system and around half of their attempts were successful. The core business of the company remained secure but the breach affected the taxpayers on a huge basis.

The PIN system used in the organization was considered as the major reason behind the hack. The system was not considered thus it resulted in the hacking of those accounts. the E-file PIN was a two digit authentication used by eth organization meant to safeguard the account from breaches and keep the account safe from the breaches and other security hacks. The applicants had to solve few queries of the application regarding their daily and personal life so that their accounts could be more secure from the safety thefts. The hack affected various people from all across the country.

Possible measures which could have prevented the solutions 

The organization could have prevented the hack if proper security measures would have been taken to prevent the situation. After the hackers get the access to the identification verification layer, the layer which safeguards the account is the behavioral analytics. The organization must have used that defense layer to safeguard the accounts of the users (Loy, Brown & Tabibzadeh, 2014). IRS relied on the static verification procedure which caused fatal effects to the firm. The firm could have done earlier investigation procedures such as location/questionable email domains, geo-location and verification of the IP address.

The employee of the organization must have been given proper training on the ways to prevent security breaches (Hovav & Gray, 2014). The employees would have been trained about the fatal affects that could be resulted on the organization through sharing of data.

These were the safety measures that could have been taken by IRS in order to safeguard the accounts of the taxpayers.

Part B

Link from where the data was taken

https://finance.yahoo Trautman, L. J., & Ormerod, P. C. (2016).com/news/twitter-falls-after-hacks-hostess-jumps-on-strong-sales-oracle-results-on-tap-140430709.html

Background of the problem 

Yahoo is considered as one of the most renowned and popular brand in the world. The company had to suffer continuous breaches in the year 2016. The company had to suffer the breach for two times. The first breach was identifies in the year 2016 but according to the findings, the breach had occurred in the year 2014 onwards. The breach affected around 500 million people from all over the world. The other breach on yahoo was reported in December 2016 but it too was reported to have taken place in august 2014 (Lim et al., 2014). This breach affected around 1 billion yahoo users. These two continuous breaches are considered as the largest breaches in the history of internet. The personal details of the yahoo users such as their telephone numbers, email address, encrypted and unencrypted security questions and date of birth of the persons were stolen by the hackers. The brand was criticized by customers from all over the world because of the breaches. It resulted in the loss of confidential and sensitive data of the users. As said by Yahoo, the breach took place in 2014 and was carried by a “state sponsor actor” and the theft has also claimed that these types of breaches and thefts are frequent now-a-days.

What was the problem

The Russian hackers hacked the most popular search engine and the parent company of various other famous companies such as oracle and twitter for two times. In the year 2014, the site was hacked for the first time but the hack could not be reported instantly and it was reported in the year 2016. The major target of the hackers was the U.S government officials, employees from various renowned companies and Russian journalists. Many user of Yahoo were affected by the breaches as they lost their sensitive data. As stated by Yahoo, the breaches were state sponsored and were related to one another. The hack occurred in 2013, was tied to the forged cookies and these allowed the attackers to get the access to the accounts of the users without providing any passwords. This way the sensitive and confidential information from the accounts of various employees and officers was stolen by the hackers. The major factor of the breach was the number of times it took place. The breach affected the database security of the organization on huge basis as the information was stole by the hackers through the database of the firm. Several lawsuits were put on the firm and the firm had to pay several fine because of the loss that the officers had to face. An organization named Verizon agreed to the fact that it had been buying the online business of Yahoo since past few days.

Who were affected and how 

The hacker’s main targets were the U.S government officials, employees and the journalists from Russia in the breach. The accounts of some specific people were hacked. These officials and the victimized people lost all the details from their accounts. The data stolen indulged the confidential and sensitive information of important officers and thus it could do more harm to the nation and several multinational companies. These customers of Yahoo had to suffer heavy loss of confidential data.

The company also had several loss as its brand image was totally down-hilled because of the continuous breaches occurred. Several lawsuits were resulted on the company which made it suffer heavy loss of brand image. Customers from all over the world criticized the company for the ill safeguarding of the customer data. The company had to face several financial losses as well because it had to pay many penalties for the loss of customer data.

How was the hack carried out 

First of all the hackers had deepened their roots in the network of the company which gave them access of the technological skeleton keys and thus they could unlock the user account without any password (Chen et al., 2016). This way the hackers gained control of the user accounts. the strength of the hacker was deep rooted in the organization.

The hackers gained the access of the accounts of the users and reset their passwords to get the access of the accounts of the users.

What could have been done to prevent the attack 

There are various measures which could have been taken to prevent breaches. The measures are

  • Users must have changed their passwords frequently and on a regular basis (Trautman, & Ormerod, 2016).
  • The firm must have encouraged the users to use two factor authentications for the safety of their data which would send a code to verify the user.

Conclusion 

Hence from the above discussion, it can be concluded that security breaches are the negative side of internet which poses severe harm on the organizations. Breaching is the illegal action in which the person with ill intention “the hacker” hacks the account or database of organizations in order to extract sensitive and confidential information illegally. The companies must have taken several measures to prevent the breach. The employee of the organization must have been given proper training on the ways to prevent security breaches. The employees would have been trained about the fatal affects that could be resulted on the organization through sharing of data.

References 

Stone, E., 2016. IRS hacked again: identity thieves used stolen social security numbers in an unsuccessful attempt to access personal taxpayer data. Strategic Finance, 97(9), pp.12-13.

Kermani, M.M., Azarderakhsh, R. & Mirakhorli, M., 2016. Education and Research Integration of Emerging Multidisciplinary Medical Devices Security.

Pang, M. S., & Tanriverdi, H. (2017). Security Breaches in the US Federal Government.

Loy, S. L., Brown, S., & Tabibzadeh, K. (2014). South Carolina Department of Revenue: Mother of Government Dysfunction. Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies, 20(1), 83.

Hovav, A., & Gray, P. (2014). The ripple effect of an information security breach event: a stakeholder analysis. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 34(50), 893-912.

Lim, I. K., Kim, Y. H., Lee, J. G., Lee, J. P., Nam-Gung, H., & Lee, J. K. (2014, June). The Analysis and Countermeasures on Security Breach of Bitcoin. In International Conference on Computational Science and Its Applications (pp. 720-732). Springer International Publishing.

Chen, Y., Dong, F., Chen, H., & Xu, L. (2016, August). Can Cross-Listing Mitigate the Impact of an Information Security Breach Announcement on a Firm's Values?. In IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering (Vol. 142, No. 1, p. 012133). IOP Publishing.

Trautman, L. J., & Ormerod, P. C. (2016). Corporate Directors’ and Officers’ Cybersecurity Standard of Care: The Yahoo Data Breach.

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