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Civil Rights Office Issues Ransomware Guidance
July 22, 2016
Ransomware infections are on the rise, and healthcare organizations are ripe targets, which may be why the federal government addressed the subject last week. Ransomware attacks have risen from about 1,000 a day last year to 4,000 a day this year, Symantec has reported. Many of those attacks are for small change, but some of the larger ones have been directed at healthcare providers.
Snowden Puts His Mind to Designing Spy-Proof Smartphone Cases
July 21, 2016
NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden and noted hacker Andrew "Bunnie" Huang on Thursday published a paper on their collaboration to design a smartphone case that will protect user privacy. The pair developed a prototype compatible with the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, as it's "driven primarily by what we understand to be the current preferences and tastes of reporters," the paper states.
Twitter Lets Anyone and Everyone Apply for a Blue Badge
July 20, 2016
Twitter on Tuesday announced it has opened up the application process for verified account status, which previously was reserved for celebrities and other high-profile users. Any user may now file an online application to have an account verified. Twitter account verification, denoted by a blue badge icon, flags individuals and organizations as authentic, the company explained.
Google Transparency Report Shows Government Data Demands Rising
July 20, 2016
The number of government requests to Google for citizens' personal data rose in the second half of 2015, according to the company's latest Transparency Report, released Monday. The number has been trending upward for the past few years as the number of people connected to the Internet has increased. The growth also coincides with almost-daily reports of terrorist attacks.
The Internet of Medical Things, Part 3: Safety First
July 20, 2016
Though quick to capitalize on connected health devices and the coming Internet of Medical Things, hardware manufacturers may be moving too slowly when it comes to building the necessary protections into the back end. The National Security Agency last month told participants in a defense technology summit in Washington that it was looking into hacking connected medical devices.
Hackers Claim Credit for Pokemon Go No-Go
July 19, 2016
Pokemon Go, the augmented reality overnight sensation, experienced sluggish performance over the weekend, possibly from a hacker attack on its login servers. Shortly after Pokemon Go devs tweeted that the game was rolling out to 26 additional countries, this tweet appeared: "Trainers! We have been working to fix the server issues. ... We'll post an update soon."
Congressional Committee Report Finds Something Rotten at FDIC
July 18, 2016
Officials at the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insures deposits in U.S. banks, made false statements to Congress and failed to make timely notification of serious cybersecurity breaches, according to a U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology's interim staff report. FDIC CIO Lawrence Gross has created a toxic work environment, it also says.
Pokemon Go Devs Scramble to Fix Big Privacy Goof
July 14, 2016
Just days after Pokemon Go sent Nintendo shares soaring in Tokyo, the game's developers were scrambling to close a massive privacy hole. The iOS version of the mobile game -- which superimposes figures onto real-world environments through augmented reality technology -- apparently had a default setting that required users to grant broad permissions to access their Google accounts.
Facebook Lets Messenger Conversations Go Dark
July 13, 2016
Facebook last week said it would begin testing long anticipated end-to-end encryption capabilities in its Messenger app, enabling users to have secret conversations. The new level of security means that a message will be visible only to the sender and the recipient -- Facebook won't even be able to read it. Users can set a timer to limit the amount of time that a message remains visible.
Mobile Ransomware Has Mushroomed: Report
July 8, 2016
The number of mobile ransomware victims across the globe has increased fourfold compared to a year ago, suggests a Kaspersky Lab report. Kaspersky software protected 136,532 users targeted by ransomware from April 2015 to March 2016 -- up from 35,413. "The growth curve may be less than that seen for PC ransomware, but it is still significant enough to confirm a worrying trend," the report notes.
Feds Probe Philanderers' Site Ashley Madison: Report
July 6, 2016
The United States Federal Trade Commission reportedly has launched an investigation into philanderers' dating site Ashley Madison. The company, which suffered a massive data breach last year that resulted in extortion attempts and ruined lives, as well as class-action lawsuits, earlier this week announced that it hired a new CEO and a new president in April.
HummingBad Mucks Up Android's Works
July 6, 2016
More than 85 million Android devices worldwide have been taken over by the Yingmob, a group of China-based cybercriminals who created the HummingBad malware, according to Check Point. HummingBad establishes a persistent rootkit on Android devices, generates fraudulent ad revenue, and installs additional fraudulent apps. HummingBad reportedly has been generating revenue of $300,000 a month.
Pichai Account Trespassers Claim Their Hacking Heart's in the Right Place
June 29, 2016
Hackers late Sunday broke into CEO Sundar Pichai's Quora account and through it accessed his Twitter followers, according to reports. The group taking credit for the breach, OurMine Security, previously hit other prominent high-tech figures, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Spotify CEO Daniel Elk, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels and former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo.
Google Makes It Easier to Do the 2-Step
June 21, 2016
Google on Monday began rolling out a new two-step authentication feature, Google Prompt, targeting enterprise employees. The new option consists of a pop-up that displays a mobile user's name and profile image, and that specifies the location and device involved in the attempted sign-in. The device owner is asked whether to allow or deny the sign-in.
Crime Pays: Ransomware Bosses Make $90K Annually
June 14, 2016
If crime doesn't pay, Russian ransomware bosses wouldn't know it. The average Russian ransomware boss makes $90,000 a year -- or 13 times the average income for citizens in the country who stick to the "straight and narrow," according to a recent Flashpoint study. What does a ransomware honcho do for those rubles? Basically, the job calls for supporting and maintaining the malware.
Twitter Users Snared in Dark Web's Brisk Password Trade
June 10, 2016
Data stolen from more than 32 million Twitter users has been offered for sale on the dark web for 10 bitcoin, or around $5,800, LeakedSource reported Wednesday. LeakedSource has added the account and email information to its searchable repository of compromised credentials. The data set came from someone who has been connected to other large collections of compromised data.
Hacks Highlight Zuckerberg's Cavalier Attitude Toward Security
June 7, 2016
Facebook top dog Mark Zuckerberg had several of his social media accounts breached and defaced, according to reports that surfaced Sunday. Zuckerberg's Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest memberships were hacked, but evidence of the attacks quickly disappeared. In addition to requiring passwords, Twitter and LinkedIn protect their accounts with optional two-factor authentication.
Banking Trojans Take Backseat to Ransomware
June 4, 2016
The banking trojan -- a type of malware used to steal credentials for bank accounts -- has been a staple of cyberthieves for years. However, ransomware, which has proven both easy to use and highly successful, has started eroding its popularity. In a typical banking trojan attack, a robber mounts a phishing campaign to entice a target to open an attachment or click on a link.
Myspace Crowned King of Mega Breaches, With More Likely to Come
June 1, 2016
Myspace and Tumblr this week emerged as the latest in a string of mega breaches that resulted in the theft of millions of user IDs -- not just recently but years ago. "Over the period of this month, we've seen an interesting trend of data breaches," wrote security researcher Troy Hunt, operator of the Have I Been Pwned website. "To see a cluster of them appear together is quite intriguing."
Google's Abacus May Count Out Passwords
May 24, 2016
By the end of the year, Android devs will be able to use a trust API from Google's Project Abacus in their apps, Google ATAP Director Dan Kaufman suggested at last week's I/O conference. The API, which will run in the background continually, is aimed at doing away with passwords. It will use a smartphone's sensors to create a cumulative trust score that will authenticate users.
Hacker Hawks 2-Year-Old Cache of 117M LinkedIn User IDs
May 23, 2016
A hacker reportedly has offered to sell the account information of 117 million LinkedIn users, which was stolen in a 2012 hack. The data includes users' email addresses and passwords.The hacker, who goes by the handle "Peace," reportedly offered the data on The Real Deal -- a site on the dark web -- for 5 bitcoins -- about $2,200. LeakedSource last week announced it had more than 167 million stolen records.
Flaw Puts a Billion Wireless Mice at Risk
May 20, 2016
Wireless mice and keyboards are the perfect accessories for a world in which devices increasingly are shuffling off their connection coils, but those accessories -- especially untethered rodents -- also can create new threats for those who use them. One such threat is Mousejack. The attack exploits a vulnerability found in 80 percent of wireless mice.
Reddit Tech Forum May Ban Sites That Circumvent Ad Blockers
May 11, 2016
A forum on Reddit, /r/ Technology, on Monday announced it was considering blocking links to websites that require visitors to turn off their ad blockers before viewing content on the site. "It has come to our attention that many websites such as Forbes and Wired are now requiring users to disable ad blockers to view content," said creq, the moderator of the site. "We see this as a security risk."
Feds to Take a Hard Look at Mobile Device Patch Practices
May 11, 2016
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission on Monday announced a joint investigation into the issue of mobile device security updates. The FTC issued an order requiring Apple, BlackBerry, Google, HTC America, LG Electronics USA, Microsoft, Motorola Mobility and Samsung Electronics America to provide information about how they issue security updates.
ISIS Cyberthreat: Puny but Gaining Power
May 5, 2016
The Islamic State group's cyberwar capabilities are unsophisticated, but they won't be that way for long. That was the conclusion of a 25-page report released last week by Flashpoint. The report, "Hacking for ISIS: The Emergent Cyber Threat Landscape," found that the Islamic State's "overall capabilities are neither advanced nor do they demonstrate sophisticated targeting."
Russian 'Collector' Sells Stolen Email Credentials for a Song
May 5, 2016
A hacker dubbed "The Collector" turned over 272 million stolen email credentials in his possession, Hold Security announced Wednesday. The hacker bragged online about the stash, which included usernames and passwords, the firm said. It got a copy of the data -- which the hacker was peddling for 50 rubles, or less than US$1 -- after giving him a shout-out in the forum.
Researchers Hijack Samsung's SmartThings IoT System
May 4, 2016
Researchers at the University of Michigan on Monday announced they had uncovered a series of vulnerabilities in the Samsung SmartThings home automation system that essentially could have allowed hackers to take control of various functions and break into a user's home. The researchers, working with Microsoft, were able to perform four proof-of-concept attacks.
Law Affords More Protection to PINs Than Prints
May 3, 2016
A federal magistrate in Los Angeles ordered the girlfriend of an alleged gang member to open her phone using her fingerprint so prosecutors could look at the data on it for a case they were working on, according to a news report published last week. After Paytsar Bkhchadzhyan pleaded no contest to identity theft, a judge issued a warrant to force her to press her finger to her iPhone to open it.
Treasury Department Examines Internet's Impact on Finance System
April 25, 2016
Information technology -- especially the Internet -- can have a positive impact on the U.S. financial system. Used improperly, however, such tools can wreak havoc on the financial sector and consumers. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a unit of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, has launched an initiative on the future of e-commerce finance in light of technology innovation.
With Latest Opera Browser, Everybody Gets Free VPN
April 22, 2016
Opera on Wednesday announced that it would add a free VPN service to the latest version of its browser. VPNs, or virtual private networks, add an extra level of security for Web surfers. Companies use them to provide secure communications for employees remotely accessing office systems, and consumers use them to block unwanted snooping on their online activity.
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