Category Archives: Allgemein

Mirko Ross berät die ENISA

Stuttgarter IT-Experte in Top-Gremium der Europäischen Union berufen.

Große Ehre für Geschäftsführer Mirko Ross vom Stuttgarter Software-Dienstleister digital worx: der 44-jährige wurde durch die EU zum beratenden Experten für Sicherheit im Internet der Dinge berufen. Er gehört künftig einem internationalen Gremium der European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) an; der zentralen EU-Agentur für Cyber-Sicherheit.

Computerviren in der Hand von Terroristen oder international agierenden Banden: ein Schreckensszenario, das in den vergangenen Jahren mehr und mehr als reale Bedrohung wahrgenommen wird. Die mögliche Manipulation von Märkten, Wahlen oder militärischen Einrichtungen beschäftigt weltweit die Experten. Bereits im Jahr 2004 wurde zur Abwehr derartiger Bedrohungen die Agentur der Europäischen Union für Netzwerk- und Informationssicherheit (ENISA) gegründet.

ENISA ist ein Kompetenzzentrum für die Cyber-Sicherheit in Europa. Sie befindet sich in Griechenland mit Sitz in Heraklion (Kreta) und einem operativen Büro in Athen. Die ENISA wurde ins Leben gerufen, um die Netzwerk- und Informationssicherheit (network and information security / NIS) zu stabilisieren und damit zu einem ordnungsgemäßen Funktionieren des Binnenmarktes beizutragen. Die Agentur arbeitet eng mit den Mitgliedstaaten der EU und dem privaten Sektor zusammen, um Beratung und Lösungsvorschläge zu erbringen. Dazu gehören europaweite Cyber-Security-Übungen, die Entwicklung nationaler Cyber- Security-Strategien, die Zusammenarbeit und der Aufbau von Kapazitäten ebenso wie Studien über die sichere Cloud- Adoption, die sich mit Fragen des Datenschutzes befassen. Das Schützen der Privatsphäre bei neuen Technologien und die Identifizierung der Cyber-Bedrohungslandschaft sind weitere zentrale Aufgaben der Agentur.

„Ich freue mich sehr auf die Zusammenarbeit mit den international führenden Experten für Cyber-Sicherheit“, so Mirko Ross heute in Stuttgart.

Mirko Ross

Mirko Ross

Mirko Ross ist Gründungsgesellschafter und CEO der digital worx GmbH, einer mobilen Software Developing Company mit Sitz in Stuttgart-Vaihingen. 1998 gründete er sein erstes Unternehmen im Technologiebereich. Seit 2012 unterrichtet er Web Engineering und mobile Softwareentwicklung an der Hochschule Heilbronn.

Der 44-Jährige ist an öffentlichen und privaten Forschungsaktivitäten für offene Standards im Internet der Dinge beteiligt. Er ist Mitglied des Internet Of Things Council, einem weltweiten IoT Think Tank.

Im Rahmen des Internet- Programms der Europäischen Kommission unterstützt er Start- ups in den Bereichen eHealth und Industrial IoT.

Ransomware is not the biggest threat in the Internet of Things

data debates Berlin

No doubt, ransomware is a serious problem. And operators of critical infrastructures are doing well, to keep their system infrastructure up to date to prevent them from being high jacked of ransomware. Because the damage could be high, as we have seen when UK hospitals have been hit by Locky and Wannacry ramsomware.

I had the pleasure to listen to Francesco de Meo, CEO of Germany’s biggest private healthcare and clinic enterprise at the data debates event in Berlin. He pointed out that ransomware is one of the biggest security threat for hospitals and that IT security is highly aware to protect against it.

(c) Robbert van der Steeg / Flickr

(c) Robbert van der Steeg / Flickr

For sure he is wrong. Ransomware is a big threat, but also easy to defend. All you need is a proper implemented update process for you IT Systems.

The biggest threat for Hospitals are cyber weapons

In the past Hospitals have been always targets on warfare – irrespective of the Geneva Protocol or Hague Conventions. Even today we see hospitals hit in Syria by conventional weapons, with more over than 1000 airstrikes on 117 hospitals in 2016.

But if hospitals are a target on conventional warfare, what does it mean for cyber war?

It’s a serious consequence that they are priority targets for cyber weapons. As far we know from cyber weapons – their attacking vectors are much sophisticated. Using zero date exploits to intrude unnoticed by security guards, operating as sleeping agents waiting for remote commands and cover their tracks of attacker’s origin.

So how an ordinary hospital IT security infrastructure can prevent from being a target of cyber weapons?

They can’t.

Cyber commands worldwide are paying millions of dollars to acquire zero day exploits from black hat hacker markets. Cyber weapon carrier will not disclosure this exploits as are the “warheads” of cyber-attacks, providing a military advantage.

As long governmental programs will foster the undisclosure of zero day exploits, we are running into an unsecure internet infrastructure. That’s why the biggest threats for hospital is not ransomware. It’s military and intelligence attackers. No critical infrastructure can prevent from being hit unless we define a worldwide proscription of cyber weapons.

The Lessons of WannaCry for IoT

Moreover than 230.000 computers in 150 countries had been infected by the ransomware WannaCry. This figures sounds like a success. But compared to former ransomware cyberattacks WannaCry failed. In 2016 the ransomware locky was taking the world in storm. In its peak locky infected about 90.000 computers per day.

IoT securit risks

IoT security risks by automatically attacks

Locky infected its victims by fake E-Mail Attachment. This attack uses “human fail” as vector. While WannaCry was using a “wormable” security exploit, which allowed to infect systems automatically. From a technical level the WannaCry attack is high dangerous, as it allows compromising systems automatically, while locky is always depending on user interaction. But the automatically attack vectors also allows to defend easily by patching the security holes in the affected systems.

It’s the patch, stupid!

WannaCry attack is based on a SMB exploit published by Shadow Broker Hacking Group. One month later Microsoft was publishing security patches for all Windows Versions with long term support. And most systems worldwide had been successful patched, when WannaCry stepped into world. So the WannaCry worm did not found enough unpatched systems to get feed fat. WannaCry’s automatically attacks starved.

But what if we get wormable IoT exploits?

For IoT devices the WannaCry attack vector is a nightmare. Automatically attacks are a reasonable way to highjack IoT devices as we will have billions of connected micro controllers which are running in the background. If you want to attack them, you can’t rely on user interactions to infect them as most of them will never require interfaces for direct users interaction. Keep in mind all the sensor nodes and gateways to collect environmental or industrial data for running smart cities, smart home and industry 4.0 applications. So attackers are relied on “wormable” exploits to infect those IoT systems by mass.

Feeding the worms in IoT

And they will find feed for such exploits in IoT world. Patching IoT systems is a nightmare compared to a Windows Systems ecosystem. In IoT there is no well-organized patching infrastructure in behind, which will provide security patches in a reasonable time and has the ability to deliver them worldwide to system administrators.

The IoT world is splitted in many vendors. Providing often low cost components, where maintenance is not part of the system concept or business model. By that the number of unpatchable IoT components is increasing every day dramatically. It’s in your smart city, smart home and industry.

All what attackers need is a common automatically security exploit to run a successful infection campaign. As most IoT systems are based upon embedded software there will be a plenty of options to attack. For example, the SMB exploit of WannaCry also affects LINUX Samba SMB services and makes some of them vulnerable for remote execution.

So, when did you patched your IoT system?

IoT Council

IoT Council is one of the best think tanks we know. A strong community of IoT geeks, nerds, business, researchers and NGOs.

IoT Council

Iot Council

Let’s me give a big hug to IoT founder Rob van Kraneburg. You did a great job in the past as a forerunner on IoT and it’s impact on business, society and mankind.

The council is an open space for beautyful minds. I am looking forward the next years to contribute.

As the IoT council is open to everyone supporting it’s agenda, you can join here.

KATANA Bootcamp 08.07. in Stuttgart

The 100 best Start Up Companies out of more than 500 application for KATANA will meet at the KATANA Bootcamp in Stuttgart.

KATANA Bootcamp: 08.07. Stuttgart

KATANA Bootcamp: 08.07. Stuttgart

digital worx supports the winner and contributes to coaching sessions on Internet of Things – IoT for Agriculture Business. It’s our goal to form and find the best 10 Teams in KATANA, which can receive up to 100.000 Euro each!

Let’s prepare ideas and business to go for market at the KATANA Bootcamp 08.07. in Stuttgart!

More information about KATANA:

I am cyber stalked!

After 20 years of business I never expected that this could happen to me. But now it did.

First of all, I am sorry if friends, partners or customers are involved in attacks to my person and company. I deeply concerned that you are get roped into a struggle with a former employee of our company. At the end this struggle ends into cyber attacks to harm customer, my company, my family and at the end myself.

Hacker-2 (c) iaBeta / flickr - CC License

Hacker-2 (c) iaBeta / flickr – CC License

Let me tell you some few words what happened and why I am posting about this incident:

Sometimes ago we hired a developer to support our project team. Nothing unusual on this. He worked on project and did his code sprints. First sprints were fine. Nothing to complain. After a while I recognized fails on quality and delivery on time. Also not unusual, sometimes this happens.

In lean management philosophy it’s important to identify reasons of fail in quality management and to solve problems. So we did a review of the developer team reports and delivery. By that we recognized problems of one developer. Also nothing unusual at this time. Just simple review reports and the deliveries to get failures corrected.

But at this stage something unexpected was happening. The developer did not react on my concerns. Even more he was claiming for correct delivery and was slipping problems to other persons and circumstances. No chance to talk reasonable.

So I did, what I hate most: stop working with that guy and my team was fixing the remaining quality problems.

At this point the story could have an end. I didn’t know that this becomes a new journey.

First of all: the developer did not accept to be set out of duty. Also he was claiming money. We offered to settle but he refused.

Then he started to yell threaten towards me and our development team: he will disclosure code, if we do not pay. I am not susceptible to blackmail. And of course we always have Non Disclosure Agreements with all our developers. So I refused to talk further about that case.

A week later this happened: packages of code from customer projects had been placed on GIT HUB and BITBUCKET. Also customers had been informed by and russian E-Mail account that we as “digital worx” are publishing this code. I can only imagine that this was done in a blackout – as no one with a normative mindset will try to force his interests in that way. The source of this action was clear as the sources published had been a date before we set free the developer.

So we did several actions:

  • check if disclosures are critical (it’s not the productive codebase – but at all it’s a disclosure…)
  • Start abuse reports
  • Contact the developer and set an ultimatum to remove the content from the web, otherwise we will report the case to the police.

The content was removed. And this could be the end of this sad story.

But today I had to realized that there is no way to settle on a rational level. The attacks by the former developer starting again. And even on a broader attack than before by trying not only to hit my customers or company. Today he tried attack my family.

It’s the first time I get cyber stalked. And I believe the best way to defend are not attorneys or the police. The best way is talk frankly about it with you – the web.

Several things happened today:

  • First the known pattern to publish again the old customer codes and sending E-Mails in the name of our company.
  • Second publishing fake advertisements on websites with personal contact addresses.
  • Third writing fake E-Mails to contacts of my partner, accusing him to be criminal in the past
  • Fourth publishing a website with picture of me and a text where I am accused to raped prostitutes in the past

It’s impossible to defend just in time by that kind of cyber stalking, blackmail and fake news. I know the web and that it takes time to remove such offending fake content – or the impossibility to get rid of it.

So it’s the best way to talk about this experience. With you: my friends, colleagues, partners, customers and my wife. I’ve got a great feedback of you all. To resist this kind of stalking by talking frankly about the uncomfortable personal experience.

Thanks for this overwhelming response.

Of course legal actions are on the way. But as this will take time I am glad to have you all on the backup.

Mirko Ross, CEO, digital worx

Vom Kuhstall ab in den online Shop

Beim Thema Landwirtschaft haben Viele noch das Bild vom idyllischen Hof und dem fleißigen Bauern im Kopf, der mit purer Muskelkraft Land und Vieh bearbeitet. Die moderne Agrarwirtschaft hat damit aber nicht mehr viel zu tun.

Schon längst haben technische Helfer Einzug gehalten, werden Arbeitsabläufe per Computer genau analysiert und das Stichwort Smart Farming macht die Runde – alles, um die größtmögliche Effizienz zu erreichen. Das EU-Projekt KATANA fördert innovative Ansätze auf dem Weg zur Agrartechnologie der Zukunft. Partner des Programms ist digital worx, Stuttgarter Softwareanbieter für webbasierte und mobile Anwendungen.

KATANA Storefront of IoT Platform to support selling of agrifood products

KATANA Storefront of IoT Platform to support vendors of agrifood products

digital worx hat bereits etliche Projekte rund um das Internet of Things (IoT) umgesetzt. Das Thema Landwirtschaft ist aber auch für die Stuttgarter neu, wie Geschäftsführer Mirko Ross berichte. Seitdem ist digital worx Partner des EU-Projekts KATANA und verantwortlich für den Aufbau einer IoT-Plattform für die Vermarktung von Agrarprodukten. Wie das konkret aussehen kann? „Hofläden können beispielsweise zukünftig Ihre Produkte über eigene Online-Shops, Apps und sogar im Auto verkaufen“ erklärt Ross.

Neben Lösungsangeboten wie der IoT-Plattform von digital worx läuft beim KATANA-Förderprojekt parallel ein Ideenwettbewerb. Die besten Ideen von Unternehmen und Start-Ups gesucht, die mit insgesamt 1,2 Millionen Euro gefördert werden. Darüber hinaus gibt es Coaching-Unterstützung, verschiedene Veranstaltungen sowie ein internationales Investmentforum, bei dem die Teilnehmer ihre Ideen potenziellen Partnern präsentieren können.

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