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Data Breach Assignment on Facebook, Wannacry and Petya


Part A: Search the web for news on computer security breaches that occurred during January-August 2018. Research one such reported incident. Prepare a report focusing on the following issues:

  • What the problem was;
  • How and why it occurred;
  • What could have been done to prevent it.

Part B:Research the WannaCry and the Petya cyber-attacks and prepare a report comparing the two, focusing on the following issues:

  • What the problem was;
  • Scope of the attack;
  • Operational details of the attack;
  • What could have been done to prevent the attack.


Part A: Facebook Security BreachIssue: The first issue of this data breach assignment deals with the security breach occurred in Facebook. Facebook is one of the most significant social media sites in modern times consisting of users all over the world. Many of the users even use Facebook for business processes, marketing and promotion, thus providing their banking details and personal information. Around April 2018, Facebook experienced a data breach issue which included the collection of personal details of people all over the world (Cnbc, 2018). Cambridge Analytica, an organization, known for its political influence and providing support for the campaign of Donald Trump, acquired the contact details of 87 Million users all around the world (Theguardian, 2018). Christopher Wylie, a member of Cambridge Analytica, stated that information was collected on around 50 million people. The information was collected in order to develop an algorithm that can influence people to vote for Trump (Theguardian, 2018). The aim of the organization was to receive information on Facebook users worldwide in order to develop a target audience for motivation and influence on the voting processes. Additionally, the organizations have been collecting data since 2015. However, Facebook did not offer any warnings or develop privacy methods to deal with the issues.

Method of Occurrence: Cambridge Analytica is known for the development of fun Facebook apps and games which can have a positive effect on the mindsets of Facebook users. These apps and games include personality tests, future visualization tests and more. Cambridge Analytica collected the information with the use of an app known as thisisyourdigitallife (Theguardian, 2018). The app required users to provide personal details in order to join, which were stored in a database system developed by Cambridge Analytica (Irishtimes, 2018). Additionally, Kogan also developed various Cryptographic Algorithms that could be used to collect information such as photos and bank details provided by various Facebook users and business pages.

The app developed by Kogan used highly sophisticated AES systems in order to deploy a programmed algorithm in order to collect data from the databases containing user information. However, the app was used only to collect personal details like names, user ids, address and phone numbers. However, the data collected did not include banking details of Facebook users (Theguardian, 2018). However, Mark Zuckerberg is highly discontent with the preventive methods developed to deal with the attack and is worried about future data breach attacks. In addition to thisisyourdigitallife, various other apps have also been collecting data. Facebook app site is known for collecting data in the same methods used by Cambridge Analytica and released the user information of over 10 million users (Economictimes, 2018). The high number of cyber attacks and data breaches in recent times is due to a lack of privacy and monitoring. Facebook was warned by the US Congress about a potential data leak in 2012 right after Facebook went public and provided their IPO (Initial Public Offering). However, Facebook did not heed the warnings, and the security added was not enough to prevent data theft issues. Thus, it is highly important for Facebook to develop new methods to prevent these issues.

Preventive Methods that can be used: By this data breach assignment we recommend some preventive methods to avoid such security breaches. Various malicious activities can have an adverse effect on organisations and their goals. These malicious activities include the development of Trojan systems, spyware, malware and ransomware. Trojan systems and spyware are used in order to steal data from servers or individual systems (Scaife et al., 2016). Malware is used to cause software-related harm to various organisations. , on the other hand, is used in order to collect data or cause harm to software systems and ransom for a certain amount for the provision of accessibility. Thus, it may lead to enormous losses for concerned organisations and is highly necessary to be mitigated.

Due to the recent increase in data thefts and breaches, it is highly relevant to develop data security goals and systems. The development of security goals is highly necessary in order to provide user privacy. The various methods by which data breaches and data collection can be prevented are the following:

Development of Alternating Algorithms: The cryptographic algorithms are designed in order to collect information presented within the server system or a database. Facebook usually uses programming developed using PHP in order to hide their databases, ideas and program codes. However, the cryptographic algorithms often use SQL injections that can alter the programs embedded using PHP (Scaife et al., 2016). Thus, the development of alternating algorithms and programs can help to alter the cryptographic algorithms, thus preventing a data theft attack. Additionally, preventing the attack will also allow the network security personnel to develop the means by which they can locate the source of the intrusion code. Finding the source can help in dealing with future data theft issues.

Educating users about Phishing: Due to the increase in Phishing in recent times, there are high chances of data thefts. Various apps and websites are developed to look like Facebook, but however, have embedded programs and SQL injections. These programs and SQL injections are used to collect user ids and password information of people all over the globe (Scaife et al., 2016). Thus, providing users with the necessary knowledge about phishing can help them to prevent further issues.

Background checks and monitoring of information collected by Apps: Facebook apps such as Name tests and this is your digital life collect background information provided by users all around the world. Monitoring the extent of data collected by these apps can help Facebook to deal with future attacks.

Part B: Contrast between Wannacry and Petya Cyber Attacks
Issues: The second issue of this data breach assignment pertains with the difference in the security breach occurred in Wannacry and Petya Cyber Attacks. Wannacry is one of the most common data breach and ransomware system used in modern times. Various hacker groups and individual data thief used Wannacry in order to collect information from highly public organisations. Moreover, Wannacry was used in order to target information databases that were vulnerable and had minimal security. The ransomware was used in May 2017 by a group of data thieves and hackers in order to collect organizational plans, and highly significant information from Microsoft Windows operated devices (Cnbc, 2018). Moreover, the hacker groups stated that these organizational plans and ideas would be released unless the organisations provided ransom amounts through Bitcoin crypto currency.

Petya was developed in 2016 as spyware and was modified to be used as ransomware. Petya was used by hacker groups to target Microsoft Windows-based systems of organisations in Ukraine and Russia (Abc, 2018). The National Bank of Ukraine faced one of the earliest attacks. Petya is used in order to target Windows systems and affect the Master Boot Records, thus preventing the systems to boot. The hacker groups then asked for ransom amounts of $300 in order to unlock the systems (Theguardian, 2018). Over $10000 were collected from individual organisations in 2016.

Attack scope: The scope of Wannacry attacks includes a worldwide attack of Microsoft Windows systems. The Petya system as well can be used to attack global systems. However, Wannacry can only be used to collect information and ransom users. Petya, on the other hand, can be used to affect the Master Boot Record of Windows-based systems. However, it cannot operate on Linux, SUSE and UNIX based systems (Bbc, 2018). Additionally, NASA did not face the same issues due to the use of Sun Solaris systems.

Wannacry is used in order to collect information from various organisations. However, Petya is used to affect the master boot record (MBR) of Windows-based systems. According to Kharraz et al., (2016), Windows systems are used by over 80% of the worldwide organisations. Thus, the use of Wannacry and Petya on a global scale can lead to massive losses.

Cryptographic Algorithms are developed in order to collect and encrypt data. According to Scaife et al., (2016), Cryptographic algorithms are usually used by organisations and individual hackers indulging in the collection of data by non-standard methods. The common types of Cryptographic Algorithms include Triple DES (Data Encryption Systems), RSA, Blowfish, Twofish and AES (Advanced Encryption Standards). All of these methods include the development of Data Encryption programming ideas that can retrieve information from a particular data server or information database.

Operational Details of Attack: The Wannacry attack of 2017 was initiated from an infected source within an Asian Server. The ransomware spread with the use of USB and SMB ports. Additionally, the ransomware was sent to the internet within small bytes worth of packages (Bbc, 2018). Wannacry infected over 230000 windows based systems within a day all over the globe (Theguardian, 2018). Wannacry was not able to affect old systems based on Microsoft Windows. Systems such as XP and Server 2003 were designed based on Kryptos Logic and a shell system that was not compatible with Wannacry (Bbc, 2018). However, over 99% of Windows 7 systems were compromised due to the Wannacry attacks. Some of the large organisations hit by Wannacry include Deutsche Bahn, FedEx, Nissan and Hitachi.

The hacker groups used Wannacry in order to ransom large amounts from organisations. Due to heavy organisational losses, the organisations resorted to providing the hacker groups with the ransom money. On June 14, 2017, approximately $130634.77 worth of money was transferred to the hacker groups (Bbc, 2018). Windows released new patch systems and updates in order to mitigate the issues due to Wannacry. However, Wannacry was still able to operate within Windows 7 systems. Moreover, Wannacry also infected various online websites, software and games. The execution of these software and digital games left to an infestation of Wannacry within a particular group of users. Users connected within the same LAN or WAN network were affected by Wannacry as well.

Sources of the Petya attacks of 2016 were not found. However, UK, France, Germany and Italy were the first countries to experience the Petya attack. The attacks spread to various parts of Ukraine and Russia, affecting Microsoft Windows systems. However, Kaspersky Labs and Mcafee developed new security systems that were able to block the Petya programs. Additionally, Windows released new security patches, thus mitigating the issues.

Preventive measures that can be used
By this data breach assignment we recommend some preventive methods to avoid such security breaches. The preventive measures that can be used in order to deal with Wannacry and Petya include the following:

Updating Windows-based systems: Microsoft offers frequent updates and patches in order to deal with security issues of various Windows-based systems. Thus, it is highly essential for organisations and individuals with Windows systems to update to the latest patches (Scaife et al., 2016). Additionally, organisations using older versions of Windows such as XP and Server 2003 need to upgrade to new operating systems.

The use of Linux, SUSE or Solaris based systems: Linux, SUSE and Solaris systems do not provide opportunities for spyware or ransomware to collect information. Windows executive files do no work on these systems which contributes to the mitigation of security and data breach issues (Kharraz et al. 2016). Even though Solaris systems have high costs, the SUSE and Linux systems can easily be used by some organisations to deal with ransomware issues. Additionally, Linux systems such as Mandriva can be used in order to identify the ransomware and remove it visually. Data breach assignments are being prepared by our IT assignment help experts from top universities which let us to provide you a reliable assignment help service.

Database System: Database containing personal information, Ids and Passwords of users
Database System: Database containing personal information, Ids and Passwords of users
Non-standard data collection: Collecting data using spywares and ransomwares
Trojans and Malwares: Viruses causing harm to computer systems
Spywares: Utilities to collect information from a computer systemRansomwares: Software programs used to collect information which are later utilized for ransom

Reference List, (2018) Petya cyber attack: Ransomware virus hits computer servers across globe, Australian office affected Retrieved from Retrieved on 16th August, 2018, (2018) Cyber-attack: US and UK blame North Korea for WannaCry Retrieved from Retrieved on 16th August, 2018, (2018) Facebook has been worried about data leaks like this since it went public in 2012 Retrieved from Retrieved on 16th August, 2018, (2018) Facebook responds to government notice; data of 5 lakh users compromised Retrieved from Retrieved on 16th August, 2018, (2018) Facebook to connect with 87 million users hit by data breach Retrieved from Retrieved on 16th August, 2018, (2018) Facebook hit with another data breach, 3M users exposed Retrieved from Retrieved on 16th August, 2018, (2018) Facebook data breach affected up to 87 million users Retrieved from Retrieved on 16th August, 2018

Kharraz, A., Arshad, S., Mulliner, C., Robertson, W. K., & Kirda, E. (2016). UNVEIL: A Large-Scale, Automated Approach to Detecting Ransomware. In USENIX Security Symposium (pp. 757-772). Retrieved from Retrieved on 16th August, 2018

Scaife, N., Carter, H., Traynor, P., & Butler, K. R. (2016). Cryptolock (and drop it): stopping ransomware attacks on user data. In Distributed Computing Systems (ICDCS), 2016 IEEE 36th International Conference on (pp. 303-312). IEEE. Retrieved from Retrieved on 16th August, 2018, (2018) Facebook fined for data breaches in Cambridge Analytica scandal Retrieved from Retrieved on 16th August, 2018, (2018) Facebook to contact 87 million users affected by data breach Retrieved from Retrieved on 16th August, 2018, (2018) WannaCry, Petya, NotPetya: how ransomware hit the big time in 2017 Retrieved from Retrieved on 16th August, 2018

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