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Hack of Half a Billion Records Takes Shine Off Yahoo's Data Trove
September 23, 2016
Yahoo on Thursday disclosed that a data breach in late 2014 resulted in the theft of information from at least 500 million customer accounts. It appears that state-sponsored hackers carried out the attack, the company said. Account information compromised includes names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords, and security questions and answers.
Opera's Free VPN Takes On Internet Privacy Challenge
September 22, 2016
Opera earlier this week released a new version of its browser, Opera 40, which comes with a free virtual private network service built in. The official rollout follows five months of user experimentation with a beta version. After evaluating beta users' feedback, the company brought on additional servers, added options for global or private browsing, and created iOS and Android versions.
Congress to Bureaucrats: Trust No One
September 20, 2016
Congress earlier this month lowered the hammer on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in a report on the massive data breach that resulted in the theft of 4.2 million former and current government employees' personnel files, as well as 21.5 million individuals' security clearance information, including fingerprints associated with 5.6 million of them.
How China Could Take Over the World's Tech and Automotive Markets
September 12, 2016
Nvidia and Baidu recently made an announcement with regard to self-driving cars that deserves closer attention. China currently is behind the U.S. in automotive technology, but it has passed the U.S. and Japan in automobile production -- I actually thought Japan was still ahead. China is producing twice the number of cars the U.S. is producing right now.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
Alexa Takes On Smart Home Security Responsibilities
August 5, 2016
Millions of customers using Amazon's Alexa voice assistant technology now can add locks that can be controlled remotely to the growing ecosystem of smart home capabilities. August Home last week announced that Amazon's line of voice-assisted products, including the Echo, now support its smart products, allowing users to lock and unlock their doors using voice commands.
Samsung Hones Galaxy Note7 to a Fine Point
August 4, 2016
Samsung on Tuesday unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy Note7. It has an iris-scanning feature that combines with Samsung Knox for security, as well as a fingerprint scanner. The Galaxy Note7 has a water resistant body, a 5.7-inch QHD Super Amoled screen with a front-to-back symmetrical dual-edged curve, HDR video-streaming capabilities for immersive entertainment.
Windows 10 Is About to Get More Secure, Easier to Use
August 1, 2016
Microsoft is poised to roll out its Windows 10 Anniversary Update on Tuesday. The free update includes two security innovations for individual customers: Windows Hello for apps and websites; and Windows Defender. Enterprises will get Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, which detects, investigates and responds to advanced malicious attacks on networks; and Windows Information Protection.
KeySniffer Follows the Scent of Cheap Wireless Keyboards
July 29, 2016
A vulnerability in inexpensive wireless keyboards lets hackers steal private data, Bastille reported this week. The vulnerability lets hackers use a new attack the firm dubbed "KeySniffer" to eavesdrop on and capture every keystroke typed from up to 250 feet away. The stolen data is rendered in clear text. It lets hackers search for victims' credit card information, passwords and more.
The Wonderful, Worrisome World of Self-Driving Cars
July 29, 2016
There seem to be warning stickers for everything. There may soon be a new sticker for the autonomous car era: "Warning: Self-Driving Cars Get Hacked." Despite all the positive news about self-driving cars, there is a darker side to this story that's very important. It's one that can be particularly frightening if you happen to be riding in an autonomous car when it gets hacked.
Public-Private Team Leads Assault on Ransomware
July 28, 2016
Ransomware has become a scourge on the Internet -- but two information security companies, along with a pair of law enforcement agencies, this week launched an initiative to do something about it. No More Ransom is the centerpiece of a collaborative effort involving Kapersky Lab, Intel Security, the Dutch National Police and Europol. The new portal aims to educate the public about ransomware.
BlackBerry Offers Android Users a Secure New Smartphone
July 27, 2016
BlackBerry on Tuesday made a play for security-conscious Android users with the announcement of its new DTEK50. Running Android 6.0 Marshmallow and BlackBerry security software, the new unit is the "most secure Android smartphone" in the world, the company claimed. Many Android users have concerns about the their phone's security, according to a recent survey.
New Office 365 Features Help Build a Better Research Paper
July 27, 2016
Microsoft on Tuesday announced a slew of cloud-powered intelligent services in Office 365 apps that aim to assist research and writing efforts. Researcher lets users access the Bing Knowledge Graph to find and incorporate sources and content for research papers without leaving Word. Editor uses machine learning and national language processing, combined with input from Microsoft's linguists.
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.
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What do you think of politically inspired Internet memes?
They tend to be brutally honest about their targets.
They're usually cheap shots based on lies.
They're often stupid but amusing.
They can have a dangerous influence on uninformed people.
They don't impress me one way or the other.