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China's Great Cannon Could Point Anywhere When Next Fuse Is Lit
April 16, 2015
China, which censors the Internet with its Great Firewall aka the "Golden Shield," has a new censorship tool that is causing alarm. It's known as the "Great Cannon." The University of Toronto's Citizen Lab identified the tool in a report released last week. The Great Cannon was first used in March, to launch a large-scale DDoS attack on GitHub and GreatFire.org, Citizen Lab said.
Ransomware Perps Put the Squeeze on Police
April 14, 2015
Five police departments in Maine, whose networks are linked together so they can share files, recently deposited bitcoins worth 300 euros into a Swiss bank account as ransom for their records. The departments' management system was locked down by ransomware that scrambled their data and rendered it unusable. The police decided to pay up after their experts failed to crack the ransomware code.
Chrome Web Store Gives Bad Extensions the Boot
April 10, 2015
Google recently purged some 200 extensions from its Chrome Store inventory. Extensions and add-ons let users add functions and features to the Chrome Web browser, but bad extensions can expose users to a greater risk of spyware and malware. A major problem with many browser add-ons is ad injectors. The clean-up resulted from increasing user complaints.
Heartbleed Threat Won't Fade Away
April 9, 2015
This week marks the first anniversary of the Heartbleed vulnerability that caused a panic across the Internet last year. While the flaw appears to have faded from the recollections of Net denizens, it still poses danger at many sites in cyberspace. Heartbleed was discovered in April 2014 in an open source library, OpenSSL, used by the SSL protocol.
No Need to Waste Brain Space on Yahoo Passwords
March 16, 2015
The way to permanently cure someone's headache is to cut off their head, and that appears to be the principle Yahoo has adopted with a new security policy announced Sunday. Users of Yahoo Mail no longer have to rack their brains to remember passwords, said Chris Stoner, director of product management. Instead, they can opt for on-demand passwords after signing in to their Yahoo.com account.
The CIA Has Been Hacking iOS for Years: Report
March 12, 2015
The CIA for years has been working to break iOS security, according to a report published Tuesday. The allegations are based on documents provided by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Researchers working with the CIA have presented their tactics and achievements at Trusted Computing Base Jamborees, secret annual gatherings that have been going on for nearly a decade.
Schumer to FAA: Straighten Up Cybersecurity and Fly Right
March 10, 2015
The United States Federal Aviation Administration should implement cybersecurity upgrades recommended by the U.S. Government Accountability Office immediately, or risk hackers taking over its computer systems, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., has warned. The GAO last week released a report that found significant security control weaknesses in the FAA's computer systems.
Bracing for the Cyberthreat Deluge
March 6, 2015
Almost 17,000 malware alerts surface every week, the Ponemon Institute recently found. Only 4 percent of alerts were investigated, and traditional antivirus products missed nearly 70 percent of malware in the first hour, researchers discovered in a recent Damballa study. Rescanning led to identification of 66 percent of the malware in 24 hours and 72 percent after seven days.
Malicious Emailers Find Healthcare Firms Juicy Prey
February 26, 2015
Healthcare providers have garnered growing interest from hackers in recent months. More evidence of that trend appeared last week in a report on email trust. An email that appeared to come from a healthcare company was four times more likely to be fraudulent than an email purportedly from a social media company like Facebook, one of the largest creators of email on the Internet, Agari found.
Cyberthieves Bag a Billion in Snail-Speed Bank Heists
February 18, 2015
Criminals using Carbanak malware have stolen up to $1 billion from 100 financial institutions in Russia, China, Germany and the United States, Kaspersky Lab has revealed. The gang is expanding operations to other countries. Kaspersky has advised financial institutions to scan their networks for intrusion by Carbanak. "These are advanced threat actors," said Lancope CTO TK Keanini.
NSA Suspected of Spreading Super-Resistant Malware
February 17, 2015
Kaspersky Lab on Tuesday announced the discovery of what may be the most sophisticated malware ever. The malware's creators, whom Kaspersky has dubbed "The Equation Group," use a never-seen-before tactic to infect hard drives' firmware. The technique "makes traditional antivirus and antimalware software practically useless," said Protegrity VP of Products Yigal Rozenberg.
Bug Bounties Entice Researchers to Don White Hats
February 10, 2015
Bug bounty programs are used by individual software makers to improve the quality of their products, but they can have incidental benefits for all software makers, too. One of those is to encourage bug hunters to wear a white hat instead of a black one. When you make it easy for hackers to do the right thing, the majority will," noted Alex Rice, CTO of HackerOne.
Infected Android Apps From Google Play Affect Millions
February 4, 2015
The malware harbors fake ads that pop up when users unlock their devices, to warn them about nonexistent infections, or that their devices are out of date or have porn. Victims are then asked to take action. If they agree, they are redirected to poisoned Web pages that contain a variety of hazards. Google spokesperson Elizabeth Markman did not confirm how many devices had been hit.
Is It Time to Trash Flash?
February 4, 2015
On Monday, Adobe Flash Player users were hit by a zero-day flaw for the third time in two weeks. The company issued a security advisory for the vulnerability, which it dubbed CVE-2015-0313. The flaw exists in Flash Player 16.0.0.296 and earlier versions on Windows and Macintosh platforms. Successful exploitation could crash the desktop and potentially let hackers take control of it, Adobe warned.
Good and Samsung Partner to Harden Android Security
February 4, 2015
Good Technology on Tuesday announced a merger of its app container and app ecosystem with the Samsung KNOX enterprise security platform for Android. The product merger is aimed at eliminating virus and malware concerns that come with Android adoption in the enterprise. The hardened security for Android targets the OS's deployment with U.S. government and Department of Defense agencies.
POS Terminals Rich Vein for Gold-Digging Hackers
January 28, 2015
Hackers are like gold miners. Once they find a rich vein for their malware, they mine it until it's dry. Point-of-sale terminals are such a vein, and it doesn't appear that it's one that's about to run dry any time soon. Following the success of the Target breach in 2013, the hacker underground was quick to rush more POS malware to market.
Businesses Waste Big Bucks Fighting Phantom Cyberattacks
January 21, 2015
Businesses spend an average of $1.27 million a year chasing cyberthreats that turn out to be dead ends. That is one of the findings in a report released last week on the cost of containing malware. In a typical week, an organization can receive nearly 17,000 malware alerts, although only 19 percent of them are considered reliable, the researchers found.
Yikes! Ransomware Could Take Over Your Hard Drive
January 5, 2015
Malware is running rampant on the Internet, affecting smartphones, tablets and PCs. Relatively new malware allows bad guys to encrypt devices until a ransom is paid. Usually the ransom is required in bitcoin, rather than U.S. currency, as it cannot be traced. What are the legal and other risks associated with ransomware? Ransomware is largely directed at personal devices and small businesses.
Misfortune Cookie Crumbles Millions of Security Systems
December 29, 2014
Check Point Software Technologies recently revealed a flaw in millions of routers that allows the devices to be controlled by hackers. The company detected 12 million Internet-connected devices that have the flaw. The vulnerability, which Check Point dubbed "Misfortune Cookie," can be found in the code of a commonly used embedded Web server, RomPager from AllegroSoft.
No Respite for Sony
December 12, 2014
Since the hacker group calling itself "Guardians of Peace" announced its attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment late last month, things have gone downhill for the company. After confidential documents were leaked to the Internet over several days, a denouement of sorts was reached last week, when a security company examining the stolen data discovered nearly 50,000 Social Security numbers.
Turla Trojan Unearthed on Linux
December 9, 2014
Turla, a Trojan that has infected hundreds of 32- and 64-bit Windows computers at government institutions, embassies, military installations, educational institutions, and research and pharmaceutical companies over the years, has been found on Linux systems, Kaspersky Lab reported. The company has discovered two variants of the malware running on Linux.
Sony's Cyber-Whodunit Is a Page-Turner
December 5, 2014
Who breached Sony Pictures' network and why continues to be a puzzle a week after news of the hack first emerged. Some speculate it was an inside job. A few have pointed fingers at North Korea, which returned its own one-finger salute in response. Others discount that possibility. In the meantime, the FBI has issued a warning stating destructive malware is on the loose.
Cybersecurity Threats 2015: More Espionage, More Apple Malware
December 3, 2014
Cyberspies will flourish and hackers will target Apple devices more often in 2015. Until now, Russia, China and the United States have dominated the cyberespionage scene, but their success will start to attract new players to the practice. "We can expect some of the developing economies ... to engage in these activities to protect their growth status," said Websense's Carl Leonard.
Did North Korea Get the Last Laugh Against Sony?
December 2, 2014
Upwards of 1.2 million people reportedly have used pirate sites to download Brad Pitt's unreleased World War II drama Fury. That was one of five films hackers leaked onto the Web following an attack on Sony Pictures' network last week. Sony has called in the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. It's rumored that the hack was launched by North Korea.

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