Sunday, December 20, 2020

Fireeye Founded by Pakistani-American Ashar Aziz Alerted US Government to Massive Cyber Hack

Massive cyberattack that recently targeted US government agencies and private companies, labeled the 'SolarWinds hack', was first discovered by US cybersecurity company FireEye, founded by a well-recognized Pakistani-American cybersecurity expert Ashar Aziz. Karachi-born Ashar served as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Fireeye from 2004 to 2012.  Ashar became the first Pakistani-American tech billionaire when the company stock soared after its initial public offering (IPO) in 2013. His net worth was last estimated at $268 million in 2015

Ashar Aziz

Solar Winds Hack:

Solarwinds is a cybersecurity toolset used by multiple US government agencies to detect and stop cyberattacks. It is alleged by American government agencies that some Russian-sponsored hackers managed to compromise Solarwinds software by adding malware to updates distributed by the company to its customers. It only came to light when the perpetrators attempted to break into the cybersecurity firm FireEye, which first disclosed a breach on December 9.  Here's how Fireeye describes it:

"FireEye has uncovered a widespread campaign, that we are tracking as UNC2452. The actors behind this campaign gained access to numerous public and private organizations around the world. They gained access to victims via trojanized updates to SolarWind’s Orion IT monitoring and management software. This campaign may have begun as early as Spring 2020 and is currently ongoing. Post compromise activity following this supply chain compromise has included lateral movement and data theft. The campaign is the work of a highly skilled actor and the operation was conducted with significant operational security". 

Solarwinds Cyrber Hack. Source: Fireeye

Fireeye Cybersecurity:      

Fireeye is a top global cybersecurity firm. New York Times says the company  "has been the first call for government agencies and companies around the world who have been hacked by the most sophisticated attackers, or fear they might be". Fireeye makes a living by identifying the culprits in some of the world’s boldest and most high-profile security breaches — its clients have included Sony and Equifax, according to New York Times.  FireEye has also been called in to investigate high-profile attacks against Target, JP Morgan Chase, Sony Pictures, Anthem and others, according to USA Today. 

Fireeye was founded in 2012 by Ashar Aziz, a Pakistani-American entrepreneur, in Silicon Valley, California. Aziz was born in Karachi, Pakistan. He has degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of California at Berkeley. He worked for Sun Microsystems before founding tech startups Terrasprings and Fireeye. 


Fireeye, a top global cybersecurity firm, was founded by Ashar Aziz, a Pakistani-American technologist. The company has been in the news for being the first to discover and report a massive cyberattack on US government agencies and private companies. New York Times says the company  "has been the first call for government agencies and companies around the world who have been hacked by the most sophisticated attackers, or fear they might be".

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Mayraj F. said...

With Hacking, the United States Needs to Stop Playing the Victim The U.S. also uses cybertools to defend its interests. It’s the age of perpetual cyberconflict.

By Paul R. Kolbe

The United States is, of course, engaged in the same type of operations at an even grander scale. We are active participants in an ambient cyberconflict that rages, largely unseen and unacknowledged, across the digital globe. This is a struggle that we can’t avoid, and there is no need to play the victim. Just as we use cybertools to defend our national interests, others will use cyberweapons against us.

The National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency exist to break into foreign information systems and steal secrets, and they are damn good at it. They, along with the Defense Department, regularly use cybertools to purloin intelligence from servers across the world and to place foreign information systems and industrial infrastructure at risk. Ones and zeros can be more effective weapons than bombs and missiles. The exposure of Stuxnet, the Snowden leaks and the theft of C.I.A. cybertools revealed the sophistication and extent of capabilities attributed to the United States.

The Pentagon’s cyberwar force, known as Cyber Command, overtly acknowledges, through its “defend forward” doctrine, that the government will target foreign entities and information systems to fight cyberattacks. In November 2018, Cyber Command reportedly disrupted the internet access of the computers of Russia’s Internet Research Agency, the organization responsible for the disinformation campaign during the 2016 U.S. midterm elections. In 2019, in response to Russian cyberincursions into the U.S. energy grid, Cyber Command reportedly placed malware tools on Russia systems that could enable the United States to turn out the lights in Moscow should a conflict between the two nations arise.

Riaz Haq said...

From CBS 60 Minutes:

Kevin Mandia (Fireye): Just like everybody working from home, we have two-factor authentication. A code pops up on our phone. We have to type in that code. And then we can log in. A FireEye employee was logging in, but the difference was our security staff looked at the login and we noticed that individual had two phones registered to their name. So our security employee called that person up and we asked, "Hey, did you actually register a second device on our network?" And our employee said, "No. It wasn't, it wasn't me."

Suspicious, FireEye turned its gaze inward, and saw intruders impersonating its employees snooping around inside their network, stealing FireEye's proprietary tools to test its clients defenses and intelligence reports on active cyber threats. The hackers left no evidence of how they broke in – no phishing expeditions, no malware.