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Chinese National Cops Plea in Defense Secrets Case
March 29, 2016
A Chinese aviation and aerospace businessman last week pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to steal sensitive military and export-controlled data from major U.S. defense contractors and send the information to China, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Su Bin, also known as Stephen Su and Stephen Subin, entered the plea before Judge Christina A. Snyder.
Ransomware's Aftermath Can Be More Costly Than Ransom
March 24, 2016
Downtime caused by a ransomware attack can cost a company more than paying a ransom to recover data encrypted by the malware, according to a report released last week by Intermedia. Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of companies infected with ransomware could not access their data for at least two days because of the incident, and 32 percent couldn't access their data for five days or more.
Apple Ransomware Reveals Cert Problem
March 17, 2016
Researchers last week discovered the first ransomware in the wild aimed at Apple's hardware platform. While the threat was subdued quickly, it exposed the weakness of digital certificates in authenticating software to devices. The ransomware appeared as a legitimate application because it contained a digital certificate stolen from a bona fide Mac developer in Turkey.
White House Proposes $3B IT Update Fund
March 10, 2016
The Obama administration is seeking $3.1 billion for a modernization fund to update federal IT resources that need to be replaced with more efficient systems. The fund would bolster the government's annual spending on IT, which is set for a modest increase to $89.8 billion in the administration's proposed budget for fiscal 2017. Upgrading older systems has been a concern for some time.
Quantum Computer Leap Could Make Today's Encryption Passe
March 8, 2016
Researchers at MIT and the University of Innsbruck last week announced that they had designed and constructed the world's first scalable quantum computer, a development that could make existing encryption technology obsolete. They built the computer using five atoms in an ion trap. The researchers used laser pulses to carry out an algorithm on each atom to correctly factor the number 15.
Malvertisers Use Digital Fingerprints to Avoid Detection
March 4, 2016
In the world of computer security, fingerprints are found in more places than where the tips of hands touch. That's because the term is applied to any data set that can be used to make a unique identification. Antifraud programs online retailers use can identify customers by the structure of the files on their computers. In fact, the technique works so well, malicious actors use it.
For Federal Cloud Investing, Change Is the Only Constant
March 4, 2016
Vivek Kundra, the former federal CIO, envisioned that 25 percent of the funds the federal government spends each year on IT could productively be deployed through cloud-based systems. Two recent reports show that for government IT managers, market and technical factors that were nonexistent or modest in their impact when Kundra was serving as federal CIO will affect future cloud deployments.
Cryptography Pioneers Win Million-Dollar Turing Award
March 3, 2016
The Association of Computing Machinery on Tuesday named Whitfield Diffie and Martin E. Hellman recipients of the 2015 ACM A.M. Turing Award for their contributions to modern cryptography. Their invention of public key cryptography and digital signatures revolutionized computer security, the organization said. The award includes a $1 million prize, with financial support provided by Google.
Report: 3.5 Million HTTPS Servers Vulnerable to DROWN
March 2, 2016
A report released Tuesday on the DROWN vulnerability raises concerns about possible attacks that could expose encrypted communications. DROWN is a serious vulnerability that affects HTTPS and other services using SSL version 2, according to the team of security researchers who compiled the report. The protocols affected are some of the essential cryptographic protocols for Internet security.
Microsoft Bolsters Cloud Security
February 29, 2016
Microsoft last week announced measures to improve security management and transparency for Azure cloud services and Office 365. The features, which come from technology Microsoft acquired last year when it purchased Adallom, will bolster security in cloud apps such as Office 365, Box, Salesforce, ServiceNow and Ariba. The reinforcements are the first of a series of planned measures.
Operation Blockbuster Brings the Fight to Sony Hackers
February 25, 2016
Operation Blockbuster, a coalition of security companies led by Novetta, on Wednesday published a report detailing the activities of the Lazarus Group, the organization responsible for the 2014 cyberattack against Sony Pictures Entertainment. Researchers last week published detection signatures to the companies' respective software in the hope of disrupting the group's activities.
The Downside of Linux Popularity
February 25, 2016
Popularity is becoming a two-edged sword for Linux. The open source operating system has become a key component of the Internet's infrastructure, and it's also the foundation for the world's largest mobile OS, Google's Android. Widespread use of the OS, though, has attracted the attention of hackers looking to transfer the dirty tricks previously aimed at Windows to Linux.
Security Pros to Users: Do as We Say, Not as We Do
February 24, 2016
IT pros -- the gatekeepers of company security policies -- are willing to bend the rules to get things done, according to Absolute Software, based on survey findings it released last week. Forty-five percent of IT pros confessed they knowingly worked around their own security policies, according to the survey. Moreover, 33 percent admitted to hacking their own or another organization's systems.
Dell's Embedded PCs Take the IoT to the Mainstream
February 23, 2016
Dell on Tuesday announced the release of its first purpose-built industrial PC products for the mainstream market: the Embedded Box PC 3000 Series and 5000 Series. The products are a response to the growing embedded computing market and the lack of reliable devices, Dell said. The embedded systems market is expected to reach $23.1 billion in 2019, according to a Technavio study.
Hollywood Hospital Succumbs to Hacker Shakedown
February 19, 2016
Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center on Wednesday announced that it paid approximately $17,000 to resume normal operations after digital extortionists knocked its computer systems offline. The Los Angeles hospital discovered its computer network infected with ransomware earlier this month. After paying the ransom, the hospital was able to bring its electronic medical record system online.
New IBM Mainframe Promises Advanced Security for Hybrid Clouds
February 18, 2016
IBM on Tuesday introduced the z13s, a mainframe computer system optimized for hybrid cloud deployment. The z13s is designed to provide advanced cryptography for mid-sized firms that need a high level of data protection. The advanced cryptography includes built-in hardware security features that effectively double the speed of data encryption and decryption over prior generations of computers.
DHS Ready to Share Intelligence With Private Sector
February 18, 2016
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security this month will start sharing threat information with a small number of hand-picked companies under the newly enacted Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act. DHS hopes to collect threat indicators from companies and redistribute them to other companies so everyone gets a better view of threats and can use that knowledge to bolster defenses.
Hollywood Hospital Hacked Back to Paper Age
February 17, 2016
Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center last week revealed its computer systems were offline after a ransomware attack scrambled the data on its systems. Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts data and system files on a computer and demands a ransom payment to unscramble the files. Since the attack, HPMC medical personnel have resorted to faxes and handwritten charts to perform their tasks.
NIST Risk-Assessment Framework Shapes Federal Cybersecurity Strategy
February 12, 2016
The U.S. government is under pressure to improve cybersecurity and is meeting that challenge with a commitment to enhance spending for protecting IT systems. The Obama administration projected the budget for cybersecurity spending in fiscal 2016 would be about $14 billion -- an increase of $1.4 billion from 2015. That represents strong support to safeguard operations and protect personal data.
IRS Halts Hack Attack
February 11, 2016
The Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday said it recently discovered and halted an automated bot attack on its electronic filing PIN application website. Identity thieves used malware in an attempt to generate E-file PINs for 464,000 Social Security numbers stolen from another source, the IRS said. The hackers succeeded in accessing an E-file PIN for 101,000 of those numbers.
Hacker Posts Stolen Data on FBI, Homeland Security Employees Online
February 9, 2016
The U.S. departments of Justice and Homeland Security on Monday announced they were investigating reports that a hacker broke into government computer systems and stole sensitive information about employees at the agencies. The hacker posted stolen information for about 9,000 DHS employees online Sunday and made public data on 20,000 FBI employees Monday.
New Safe Harbor Pact Offers Temporary Port in Storm
February 9, 2016
Through an eleventh-hour maneuver, the United States and the European Union last week avoided action that could have choked the movement of data between the regions and caused financial harm to U.S. companies. It may be only a temporary respite, however. The problem stems from a European Court of Justice decision in October that blew up an agreement between the regions.
Keybase Releases Encrypted File-Sharing iPhone App
February 8, 2016
Keybase last week announced the alpha release of the Keybase app for the iPhone with a cryptographically secure file mount. Users can write data in an automatically created folder in this format: /keybase/public/username. Files written in the folder are signed automatically and appear as plain text files. The folder prevents server-side and man-in-the-middle attacks, Keybase said.
Report: 100 Ways to Improve Federal Cybersecurity
February 8, 2016
The U.S. government was shaken last year when the Office of Personnel Management disclosed that employment records affecting 21.5 million people had been breached. The Obama administration initiated several comprehensive actions designed to shore up federal data protection. A parallel initiative revealed that federal agencies still have a long way to go to strengthen cybersecurity performance.
Harvard Researchers Debunk Warnings of Terrorists 'Going Dark'
February 2, 2016
The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University on Monday released a report that questions the so-called "going dark" phenomenon. The U.S. government and surveillance and law enforcement agencies have been calling for an end to encryption because they say it lets terrorists communicate with impunity and is responsible for the inability of law enforcement to monitor communications.
Oracle Pulls Plug on Java Browser Plug-In
January 30, 2016
Oracle earlier this week announced its decision to scrap its Java browser plug-in. The plug-in, a frequent target of hackers, won't be included in the next version of JDK 9, which is expected to ship in September. Oracle's action was motivated by browser makers' withdrawal of support for the plug-in. Developers of applications that depend on it need to consider alternatives, the company said.
GM Bug Program Gets Mixed Notices
January 21, 2016
Two white-hat hackers, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, made headlines last year when they demonstrated how they could hijack the control systems of a moving motor vehicle over the Internet. The move got the attention of the auto industry, and last week General Motors put in place a program to encourage more digital dabblers to alert the company when they find bugs in GM vehicles.
Zero-Day Flaw Puts Millions of Linux Machines, Android Devices at Risk
January 21, 2016
Tens of millions of Linux PCs and servers, as well as 66 percent of all Android mobile devices, are vulnerable to a zero-day flaw that could allow users with lower-level privileges to gain root access, according to Perception Point, which announced its discovery last week. The local privilege escalation vulnerability, which affects Linux Kernel v3.8 and higher, has existed since 2012, the firm said.
FTC Issues Regulatory Warning on Big Data Use
January 20, 2016
The Federal Trade Commission is extending its regulatory reach to the e-commerce impact of big data. For years, the FTC has asserted vigorously its authority to apply existing consumer protection laws to emerging developments in the IT realm. Now it is signaling that it will apply that same vigor to big data under the regulatory authority it possesses through the FTC Act and other laws.
Cook Slams Door on Backdoor Discussions
January 19, 2016
Privacy advocates from around the globe have taken heart from reports that Apple CEO Tim Cook pushed hard against the Obama administration's efforts to reach a compromise on encryption during a recent Silicon Valley meeting. Cook reportedly lashed out at administration officials who were calling for a way to grant law enforcement officials limited, backdoor access to computer systems.
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What do you think about Hillary Clinton's use of private email servers during her term as Secretary of State?
She broke the law and should go to jail.
She violated guidelines -- the issue is overblown.
She placed important state department information at risk.
Her servers might have been more secure than the government's.
I really don't care one way or the other.