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Yahoo and the Year of Living Dangerously
January 20, 2017
If there is a lesson to be drawn from Internet search giant Yahoo's hellish past year, it is a grimly illustrative one: Never assume a cybersecurity disaster can't get worse. Last September, the Internet portal disclosed that it had suffered the most damaging and far-reaching data breach in history -- only to then announce in December the discovery of a second, earlier, and even larger hack.
Microsoft Hardens Latest Windows Version Against Hackers
January 17, 2017
Microsoft has fortified the latest version of Windows to make it more secure than previous editions, but the strongest protections will be available only to those willing to pay a steep price for them. Windows 10 Anniversary Update has introduced many mitigation techniques in core Windows components and the Microsoft Edge browser, researchers Matt Oh and Elia Florio wrote in a blog post last week.
US Pushes Cybersecurity Acquisition Tools as Contracts Flow
January 16, 2017
Vendors of cybersecurity offerings are finding that the U.S. government is serious about improving the protection of federal IT assets. A steady stream of data protection contracts has been flowing to providers, including some notable high-value transactions during the last half of 2016. One example is a Department of Homeland Security contract, with a potential value of $395 million.
St. Jude Medical Patches Cardiac Machine's Cybersecurity Flaw
January 11, 2017
Medical device maker St. Jude Medical on Monday began deploying software designed to protect its remote monitoring system for implantable pacemaker and defibrillator devices. The move came on the heels of the U.S. food and Drug Administration's warning that the company's Merlin@home Transmitter contained vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers.
Pentagon Battle-Tests Micro Drone Swarm
January 11, 2017
The U.S. Department of Defense on Monday announced a successful demonstration of one of the world's largest micro drone swarms at China Lake in California. Three F/a-18 Super Hornet combat jets launched 103 Perdix drones in the exercise, which took place last fall. The micro drones demonstrated advanced swarm behaviors such as collective decision making, adaptive formation flying and self-healing.
Las Vegas Captures Ransomware Crown
January 7, 2017
Las Vegas is arguably the gambling capital of the world, but it's also the king city for ransomware, based on recent research. Among the world's nations, the United States ranked highest in ransomware incidents, according to a Malwarebytes report on the prevalence and distribution of extortion apps. The area of the country that logged the most incidents was the Las Vegas-Henderson, Nevada, region.
Norton Core Router Gives Home Security a New Design
January 3, 2017
Norton by Symantec on Tuesday announced the Norton Core secure router for smart devices in the connected home at CES. The router protects up to 20 PCs, Macs, Android and iOS smartphones and tablets on a home network, and unlimited devices connected to the IoT. It will update its firmware in background mode automatically, said Ameer Karim, GM of consumer IoT security at Symantec.
2017: More Apple Security Flaws, Cyberattacks, Hacktivisim
December 28, 2016
More security vulnerabilities will appear in the software of Adobe and Apple than in Microsoft's, more attacks on the Internet's infrastructure will occur, and cybersecurity events will stoke international tensions. Those are a few of the predictions for 2017 that security experts have made. Signs of hackers' increased interest in Adobe and Apple started appearing in 2016, Trend Micro noted.
Uber Staff Still Stalking Customers, Claims Suit
December 17, 2016
The controversy over Uber staff using the company's tech to track people's movements was reignited this week when information in a pending lawsuit began circulating in the tech press. Uber employees can pull customer data at will, alleged Ward Spangenberg, the company's former forensic investigator, in a court declaration filed earlier this fall.
Yahoo Suffers Major Data Breach Deja Vu
December 16, 2016
Yahoo has revealed that Net bandits stole data associated with 1 billion of its user accounts -- one of the largest data breaches in Internet history. The theft, which occurred in 2013, is distinct from the theft disclosed earlier this fall, in which 500 million accounts were compromised, Yahoo CISO Bob Lord explained. Stolen data may include names, email addresses, telephone numbers and more.
Ransomware Fighters Get New Free Tool
December 7, 2016
Ransomware has become a gold mine for digital criminals. In the first three months of this year, electronic extortionists squeezed $209 million from victims desperate to recover their data after it was scrambled by the malicious software, based on FBI estimates. At that rate, ransomware could funnel as much as $1 billion into criminal coffers this year.
Multinational Effort Halts Malware Avalanche
December 6, 2016
The DoJ on Monday released new details about the multinational takedown of Avalanche, a multimillion-dollar malware and money-laundering network, following a four-year probe led by German police and prosecutors. Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell, Acting U.S. Attorney Soo C. Song and Assistant Director Scott S. Smith of the FBI's Cyber Division made the announcement in Pittsburgh.
Gooligan Ransacks More Than 1M Android Accounts
December 2, 2016
More than 1 million Google accounts have been breached by Android malware dubbed "Gooligan," Check Point reported Wednesday. The malware roots infected devices and steals authentication tokens that can be used to access data from various Google apps including Gmail, Google Docs, G Suite and Google Drive. It potentially affects devices running Android 4 and 5.
China's Business-Unfriendly Cybersecurity Stance
November 30, 2016
China's parliament earlier this month passed a law aimed at addressing the country's concerns about hacking and terrorism, which has spiked concerns among foreign businesses and human rights advocates. One interpretation of the new law is that it only codifies China's existing cybersecurity practices. However, 46 global business groups across a variety of industries didn't see it that way.
Facebook Denies Ransomware Infiltration
November 29, 2016
Facebook has denied that its network and Messenger app were being used to spread ransomware to its users, contradicting the claims of a security firm. Two Check Point researchers last week reported they had discovered a new method for delivering malicious code to machines, which they dubbed "ImageGate." Threat actors had found a way to embed malicious code into an image, they said.
Feds Need to Bolster Cyberprotection Speed and Range
November 29, 2016
Providing cybersecurity adequate to meet increasing threats is a perpetual catch-up process. Public sector agencies are particularly sensitive targets, with high visibility not only to the citizens they serve, but also to cyberattackers. A recent survey uncovered both a lack of speed in detecting and responding to attacks, and weak defenses of the full range of possible attack channels.
SF Muni Hack a Wake-Up Call for Public Systems
November 28, 2016
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority, or SF MTA, was hacked on Friday. "You Hacked, All Data Encrypted," was the message reportedly displayed on computer screens at the authority's stations throughout the city. "Contact for Key (cryptom27@yandex.com)ID:681 , Enter." Fare payment machines at underground stations were out of order, resulting in free rides.
$5 PoisonTap Tool Easily Breaks Into Locked PCs
November 25, 2016
Proving once again that you can do a lot of damage with a little investment and a lot of ingenuity, security researcher Samy Kamkar recently managed to take down a locked, password-protected computer using a $5 Raspberry Pi. The low-tech cookie-siphoning intrusion is one of Kamkar's simplest hacks ever. He previously has unlocked car doors, garages, wireless remote cameras and other devices.
Cyber Grinches Could Disrupt Holidays' Biggest Shopping Weekend
November 23, 2016
Recent high-profile distributed denial of service attacks on the Internet's infrastructure and an investigative journalist's website have spiked concerns over possible disruptions of traffic during the biggest online shopping weekend of the year. Online spending last year exceeded $5.8 billion on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to Adobe, and that figure is expected to go up this year.
Friend Finder Data Breach Exposes 400M Swingers
November 19, 2016
Hackers have stolen information of more than 400 million users of Friend Finder Networks, which runs several adult dating and pornography websites, LeakedSource reported. This is Friend Finders' second breach in two years. Last year, hackers accessed 4 million accounts, exposing information on users' sexual preferences and extramarital affairs. More than 412 million users were compromised.
iPhone Call Logs Easy Pickings on iCloud, Says Russian Security Firm
November 17, 2016
Russian digital forensics firm ElcomSoft on Thursday reported that Apple automatically uploads iPhone call logs to iCloud remote servers, and that users have no official way to disable this feature other than to completely switch off the iCloud drive. The data uploaded could include a list of all calls made and received on an iOS device, as well as phone numbers, dates and times, and duration.
Google Clamps Down on Sneaky Malicious Sites
November 16, 2016
Sites that repeatedly violate Google's safe browsing policies will be classified as repeat offenders, the company said. A small number of websites take corrective actions after Google displays alerts on their landing pages warning visitors that they're harmful. However, they typically revert to violating the policies after Google verifies that they're safe and removes the warnings.
Conspiracy Theories in the Information Age, Part 2
November 15, 2016
In the past, heightened rhetoric and propaganda were the tools of choice for those looking to convince an electorate to vote them into office, and conspiracy theories were their bane. This election season has seen the rise of a new form of persuasion, one that's unique to the Information Age. For months, WikiLeaks creator Julian Assange had promised to rain bombshells.
Why Trump May Be the Better Technology President
November 14, 2016
Years ago, I worked as one of Rev. Robert Schuller's body guards (it was something to do on Sundays, I wasn't particularly religious) and one of his sayings was "when given lemons, make lemonade." Personally, I wasn't excited about either presidential candidate, but I actually think Trump could be a better technology candidate than Clinton would have been.
Defeating Malware With Its Own DNA
November 11, 2016
It's widely known that human DNA evidence has had a major impact in the criminal justice system. Now another kind of DNA may have a similar impact in the fight to eradicate malicious software. Malware DNA, also known as "malware provenance," is the art and science of attributing elements of one object to another object. The technique has applications outside information security -- for example, in genetics, or to test the authorship of student papers.
Election Day Cybershenanigans Highlight Need to Shore Up Security
November 10, 2016
Hackers last week launched DDoS attacks against both presidential candidates' campaign websites. The attacks were routed through HTTP Layer 7 of the OSI protocol. There were at least four 30-second attacks reported. "The websites were not penetrated by a cyberintrusion," said John Costello, a senior analyst at Flashpoint. The attackers were unsophisticated hackers and not a nation-state.
Russia's Fancy Bear Attacks Microsoft, Adobe as Election Nears
November 4, 2016
Microsoft earlier this week said it had fallen victim to "Strontium," its code name for the Russian hacking group also known as "Fancy Bear," which has been linked to recent attacks on Democratic Party systems. The group launched a spear phishing attack that targeted vulnerabilities in both the Windows operating system and Adobe Flash, according to Microsoft EVP Terry Myerson.
Microsoft: Google's Policy Endangers Windows Users
November 1, 2016
Google on Monday posted to the Internet a previously unpublicized flaw that could pose a security threat to users of the Microsoft Windows operating system. Google notified both Microsoft and Adobe of zero day vulnerabilities in their software on Oct. 21, wrote Neel Mehta and Billy Leonard, members of Google's Threat Analysis Group, in an online post.
Bot Armies Boost Candidates' Popularity on Twitter
October 29, 2016
Internet bots have many useful online purposes, but they have a dark side, too, as three researchers demonstrated in their analysis of Twitter traffic during the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Bots are used to automate functions on the Net. For example, if you belong to several social networks, you could use a bot to post a photo to all of them at once.
Tech on TV: A Little Realism Goes a Long Way
October 27, 2016
Watching TV shows often requires the suspension of disbelief -- that is, a willingness to press pause on one's critical faculties in order to believe the unbelievable. Realism often must be secondary to story, in other words. This very often is necessary when computers are used to advance plot lines, when programmers and hackers alike can produce tremendous results in seconds.
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