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Why Russian Hackers Are Doing the US a Favor
September 19, 2016
Colin Powell's hacked email once again showcases that what people in office tell us and what they actually think are two very different things. Politicians work for us -- we are supposedly their employers. Yet we seem to know far less about what they do and think than what we need to know in order to vote intelligently. Powell's comments are actually far more damaging to Clinton than Trump.
Cyberattacks on Athletes May Be Russian Distraction Tactic
September 16, 2016
Confidential information about international athletes surfaced on the Internet Wednesday -- the second such exposure this week. Russian hackers allegedly stole the information from the World Anti-Doping Agency. It includes confidential data on medical drug exemptions given to 25 athletes from eight countries. Information about four athletes appeared online earlier in the week.
Nation States May Be Plotting Internet Takedown, Warns Cybersec Pro
September 14, 2016
Unknown attackers have been testing the defenses of companies that run critical parts of the Internet, possibly to figure out how to take them down, cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier warned. Large nation states -- perhaps China or Russia -- are the likely culprits, he suggested. "Nation state actors are going to probe to find weaknesses in all of our technologies," said Tripwire's Travis Smith.
Alphabet Think Tank Spearheads Online Counterterrorism Campaign
September 14, 2016
Alphabet think tank Jigsaw and startup Moonshot CVE last week demonstrated a new counterterrorism technology tool. The groups have been collaborating to steer social media users away from terrorist propaganda. They have developed sophisticated algorithms to target potential ISIS sympathizers with counter narratives when they search for certain terms online or through social media.
Attack-for-Hire Teens Collared in Israel
September 14, 2016
At the FBI's request, Israeli authorities last week arrested two teens for operating vDOS, a DDoS-for-hire service that raked in more than half a million dollars in two years. DDoS attacks flood websites with garbage data in order to disrupt their operation and deny users access. The pair were questioned and released after posting bond of about $10,000 each.
Dropbox Drops Other Shoe in Years-Old Data Breach
September 8, 2016
Dropbox has confirmed that more than 68 million emails and passwords have been compromised from a hack that originally was disclosed in 2012. Exposure from the breach was limited to email addresses, Dropbox originally claimed. However, the hackers actually stole hashed and salted passwords. Even so, there have been no indications that they succeeded in accessing user accounts, the company said.
Obama Warns Against Cyber Cold War
September 6, 2016
President Obama on Monday urged de-escalation of a potential arms race involving cyberweapons. The president's remarks followed his meeting with world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China. The U.S. has more offensive and defensive capability than any other country on Earth, Obama noted. The president urged adoption of new cybersecurity norms.
Feds Warn States to Batten Down Hatches Following Election System Attacks
September 2, 2016
The FBI has launched investigations into malicious cyberattacks on the electronic election infrastructures in Illinois and Arizona, and federal officials last month warned states to take steps to protect their systems as the presidential campaign heats up, according to reports. The attacks, dating back to June, led to the illegal download of information on more than 200,000 Illinois voters.
FairWare Hackers May Take Ransoms, Keep Stolen Files
September 2, 2016
The latest ransomware intrusion that targets Linux servers, dubbed "FairWare," may be a classic server hack designed to bilk money from victims with no intent to return stolen files after payment in bitcoins is made. The attack reportedly targets a Linux server, deletes the Web folder, and then demands a ransom payment of two bitcoins for return of the stolen files.
Massive Data Breach Puts French Sub Maker in Crosshairs
September 1, 2016
Officials in France and India are investigating a massive data breach involving thousands of documents belonging to defense industry contractor DCNS, which was scheduled to deliver six Scorpene-class submarines to the Indian navy later this year. Hackers stole more than 22,000 pages of documents that included detailed technical information on the vessels, some of which was published online.
Election Season Spawns Scams With Political Twist
August 30, 2016
Dirty tricks during political campaigns are nothing new, but the Internet and the proliferation of mobile devices have allowed tricksters to up their games a notch. It came to light last week, for example, that Donald Trump's campaign app was hoovering the address books on his supporters' phones. Trump's app wasn't doing anything illegal. It wasn't even trying to hide what it was doing.
Innocents Exposed as WikiLeaks Gushes Information
August 27, 2016
WikiLeaks reportedly has leaked sensitive personal information belonging to hundreds of innocent individuals worldwide, including some residing in several highly repressive countries. The organization has revealed private credit card data, medical information, personal addresses and other data of various individuals, including the identification as gay of a Saudi Arabian who had been arrested.
Apple Speeds iOS Patch to Bring Down Pegasus
August 26, 2016
Apple on Thursday issued a patch that addresses three recently discovered critical iOS zero-day vulnerabilities, and advised users to update their systems immediately. State-sponsored actors exploited the flaws to target United Arab Emirates human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor, and a Mexican journalist who reported on government corruption. Researchers have dubbed the flaws "Trident."
US Government's Social Media Vetting Idea Draws Fire
August 26, 2016
A coalition headed by the Center for Democracy & Technology, the Internet Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union this week filed objections to a Department of Homeland Security proposal to collect social media information from visitors entering the United States. The proposal, published in June, calls for the addition of a request to the I-94W form required for aliens seeking entry.
WhatsApp Shaves Off a Little More Privacy
August 25, 2016
WhatsApp on Thursday announced an update to its terms and privacy policy -- the first in four years. Among other things, the changes will affect the ways users can communicate with businesses while continuing to avoid third-party banner ads or spam messages, according to the company. However, WhatsApp will begin to share some personal details about its 1 billion users with Facebook.
25 Years of Linux: What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been
August 25, 2016
Happy Birthday Linux! You're 25! When Linux was born on Aug. 25, 1991, it was little more than a hobby for 21-year old Linus Torvald. Today the Linux community is estimated to be upwards of 86 million users strong. It has become the backbone of large enterprises, and it is installed in government systems and embedded in devices worldwide. It has grown into a major mainstream computing platform.
Twitter Steps Up Counterterrorism Efforts
August 24, 2016
Twitter last week announced it had suspended 235,000 accounts since February for promoting terrorism, bringing to 360,000 the total number of suspensions since mid-2015. Daily suspensions have increased more than 80 percent since last year, spiking immediately after terrorist attacks. Twitter's response time for suspending reported accounts has decreased dramatically.
From the Olympic Non-Robbery to Ford Getting Out of Cars, to Evil NSA: A Strange Week
August 22, 2016
There were three stories that caught my eye last week that I think deserve some additional discussion. One is the alleged robbery of U.S. Olympians followed by questions of whether it really happened because their phones weren't stolen. There may be a legitimate reason for that, and it's one that suggests a lot of folks will be getting huge cellphone bills next month.
To Protect Enterprise Data, Secure the Code
August 20, 2016
Responsibility for securing enterprise applications has been moving down the development lifecycle, and for good reason. It not only makes the enterprise more secure, but also saves companies time and money. For example, the average time to fix a vulnerability in IBM's application security solution has dropped from 20 hours to 30 minutes, according to Forrester Consulting.
Russian Gang Suspected of Hacking Oracle's POS System
August 20, 2016
Oracle has been investigating a point-of-sale system breach that may be the work of Russian cyberthieves. Hackers compromised at least 700 computers on the MICROS POS system, used by hundreds of thousands of hotels, restaurants and retail outlets worldwide to process credit card transactions, Krebs on Security reported earlier this month. More than 330,000 cash registers worldwide use MICROS.
Edward Snowden Sheds Light on Shadow Brokers
August 18, 2016
Edward Snowden has injected himself into an escalating cyberstruggle that could affect the U.S. presidential election. The reported hack of The Equation Group might have been a warning shot from Russia, Snowden claimed. The group, which is widely believed to be a front operation for the NSA, apparently was hacked over the weekend by a previously unknown outfit called the "Shadow Brokers."
Super-Sophisticated Spyware Spotted After 5-Year Run
August 16, 2016
Symantec and Kaspersky Lab last week separately announced the discovery of a highly sophisticated APT that had eluded security researchers for at least five years. A previously unknown group called "Strider" has been using Remsec, an advanced tool that seems to be designed primarily for spying. Its code contains a reference to Sauron, the main villain in The Lord of the Rings.
The Big Tech Election Stories No One Else Is Covering
August 15, 2016
Most analysts earn their daily bread by focusing on a particular subject area and following that direction. However, I rebelled against that established pattern. I tend to look between the lines more than many of my peers do. That means when major news media outlets focus on a story, I'm more likely to see what they missed. What interests me isn't what's been covered but what hasn't been covered.
Hackability of Volkswagen's Keyless Entry System Exposed
August 12, 2016
Hackers using cheap wireless devices pose a threat to millions of cars equipped with Volkswagen's keyless entry system, according to a study from the University of Birmingham. Scheduled for presentation Friday at the USENIX security conference in Austin, Texas, the study shows that thieves can use a simple wireless device to unlock the doors of millions of cars remotely.
TCP Flaw Opens Linux Systems to Hijackers
August 11, 2016
A flaw in the RFC 5961 specification the Internet Engineering Task Force developed to protect TCP against blind in-window attacks could threaten Android smartphones, as well as every Linux computer on the planet. The flaw is described in a paper a team of researchers presented at the 25th Usenix Security Symposium, ongoing in Austin, Texas, through Friday.
Russia Plays the Cybervictim Card
August 11, 2016
Russia's FSB recently reported that it found a cyberspying virus in the computer networks of more than 20 state authorities and defense contractors. The claim that malware has infected various government and defense companies came in the midst of a flurry of accusations that Russia has engaged in cyberattacks against U.S. targets in an effort to impact the presidential election.
DARPA Rewards Best Bug-Bombing Bots
August 11, 2016
The code warriors of the future literally might be computer code acting as warriors to defend against attackers on computer networks. DARPA gave us a glimpse into that future last Sunday, when it announced the winners of its Cyber Grand Challenge at DEF CON. Seven teams participated in the challenge to create systems that used bots to find and fix software problems without human intervention.
900 Million Androids Could Be Easy Prey for QuadRooter Exploits
August 9, 2016
Four newly identified vulnerabilities could affect 900 million Android devices, Check Point researchers disclosed. The vulnerabilities, which the researchers dubbed "QuadRooter," affect Android devices that use Qualcomm chipsets. They exist in the chipset software drivers. The drivers, which control communications between chipset components, are incorporated into Android builds.
Apple to Enlist the Aid of a Few Good Hackers
August 6, 2016
Apple has introduced its first bug bounty program, set to launch in September. Ivan Krstic, head of Apple security engineering and architecture, announced the program at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. The focus reportedly is on an exceptionally high level of service, and on quality over quantity. Participation in the program initially will be by invitation only.
Linux Botnets on a Rampage
August 5, 2016
Linux-operated botnet Distributed Denial of Service attacks surged in this year's second quarter, due to growing interest in targeting Chinese servers, according to a Kaspersky Lab report released this week. South Korea kept its top ranking for having the most command-and-control servers. Brazil, Italy and Israel ranked among the leaders behind South Korea for hosting C&C servers, according to Kaspersky Lab.
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