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Snowden Blows NSA's MonsterMind
August 13, 2014
The NSA is working on a new program codenamed "MonsterMind" that will automate the monitoring of traffic patterns on the Internet to look for attacks, whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed. When it detects an attack, MonsterMind will automatically block it from entering the U.S. cyberinfrastructure. It also will automatically fire back at the server from which the attack was launched.
Yahoo, Google Team Up to Fight Email Snoops
August 13, 2014
Yahoo and Google last week announced they'd be teaming up to secure their Web mail systems with encryption by the end of next year. "Our goal is to make end-to-end encryption fully available in 2015," said Yahoo Vice President of Information Security Alex Stamos. Yahoo will be releasing the code for its encryption solution to the open source community.
Russian Gang's Credentials Theft Exposes Web's Wild, Wild West Side
August 12, 2014
News that a Russian gang has stockpiled more than a billion purloined user name and password combinations has revved up the Internet's reputation as a post industrial Wild, Wild West. Just how much havoc will be raised by the gang remains to be seen. The data thieves so far appear content to use their ill-gotten trove for spamming, according to Hold Security, which discovered the credential cache.
Cyberspies Help Themselves to DHS Contractor's Data
August 08, 2014
USIS, the contractor that did the background checks on Washington Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis and NSA leaker Edward Snowden, on Thursday reported that its computer systems have been breached. "Our internal IT security team recently identified an apparent external cyberattack on USIS' corporate network," said US Investigation Services in a statement.
Secure Sites to Get the Google Bump
August 07, 2014
Google on Wednesday announced that it has begun factoring websites' use of HTTPS into its search rankings, resulting in more favorable results for those that use the security-minded protocol. Use of the protocol still is considered just a minor factor, though, affecting fewer than 1 percent of global queries and carrying less weight than high-quality content.
Russian Cybergang Stockpiles 1.2B Unique Stolen Credentials
August 07, 2014
A Russian cybercriminal gang so far has stolen 4.5 billion credentials, of which 1.2 billion appear to be unique, Hold Security has announced. The credentials belong to more than 500 million email addresses. Two reports released Tuesday may help explain why the cybergang was so successful. About 92 percent of the 800 top consumer websites evaluated failed the OTA's 2014 Email Integrity Audit.
When It Comes to Technology, Humans Are Idiots
August 04, 2014
There are a lot of things going on at the moment. Israel is tactically defending itself against Hamas -- winning the battles but losing the war, because the Israeli government can't see the big picture. The U.S. is still blaming Snowden for leaks, even though Russia clearly is able to pull damaging information pretty much anytime it wants without Snowden's help.
Tor Has Been Breached - What Now?
August 01, 2014
News that two Carnegie-Mellon CERT researchers have developed an inexpensive way to breach the Tor network has the project, privacy advocates, and probably criminals who use the network equally concerned. The Tor Project posted has advised relays to upgrade to Tor 0.2.r.23e or 0.2.5.6-alpha to close the protocol vulnerability used by the researchers.
Russia Cites Surveillance Concerns in Apple, SAP Source Code Demands
July 31, 2014
Russia wants Apple and SAP to turn over their source code in yet another instance of fallout resulting from leaks about NSA surveillance activities. The suggestion reportedly came last week, when Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov met with executives of the two companies: Peter Nielsen, Apple's general manager in Russia; and Vyacheslav Orekhov, SAP's managing director in Russia.
Hackers Back to Their Old Tricks
July 30, 2014
Old tricks that have helped hackers penetrate computers for months or longer worked again last week at Goodwill and Stubhub. Taking a page from the gang that pillaged payment card and personal information from Target last year, hackers clipped payment card information from an undisclosed number of Goodwill Industries International customers. It's believed point-of-sale systems were compromised.
BlackBerry Picks Secusmart to Tighten Mobile Security
July 29, 2014
BlackBerry on Tuesday announced plans to acquire Secusmart, a developer of high-security voice and data encryption and anti-eavesdropping technologies. Mobile devices increasingly are being used for more critical tasks and to store more critical information, noted CEO John Chen. "The acquisition of Secusmart underscores our focus on addressing growing security costs and threats."
Chinese Turn the Screws on Microsoft
July 28, 2014
China is ramping up its campaign against Microsoft, following its ban in May on the installation of Windows 8 on government computers. Officials of China's State Administration for Industry & Commerce reportedly have made unannounced visits to Microsoft offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu. They apparently questioned staff in at least one office.
Failure to Communicate Hamstrings Cyberdefenders
July 23, 2014
A failure to communicate between security pros and company brass may be contributing to the inability of a significant number of organizations to reduce the risk of cyberattacks on their systems. Thirty-one percent of the nearly 5,000 respondents surveyed for a recent study said their cybersecurity team never met with the executive team about cybersecurity.
Black Hat Tor-Busting Talk Nixed
July 22, 2014
The Tor Project is working to remedy a vulnerability in its anonymity software following the sudden cancellation of a talk at next month's Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas that would have revealed it. The planned talk would have demonstrated a way to unmask users of Tor, the privacy-minded Web browsing software. CMU researcher Alexander Volynkin was to deliver the briefing.
Cloud App Security: Foggy With Low Visibility
July 21, 2014
While the cloud promises faster time to market and reduced costs, it also presents a new landscape for hackers to attack and achieve their goals -- namely, to find and gain unauthorized access to data and information. Attackers follow the data they are after, and if that data is residing in the cloud, then they are going to start operating in the cloud as well.
Gameover Zombies on the March Again
July 17, 2014
The Gameover botnet is back, more or less, only six weeks or so after the Justice Department announced that an FBI-led multinational effort had disrupted it. Still, the botnet's downtime was longer than expected -- the UK's National Crime Agency had warned that the people running it would regain control within two weeks. Sophos this week spotted a new version of the malware.
Google's Project Zero Cybersecurity Watch: No Excuses
July 15, 2014
Google on Tuesday announced Project Zero, an effort to speed up the security bug-fixing process. A team of cybersecurity experts will go after vulnerabilities in any and all software, notify the vendors, and then file bug reports in a public database so users can track the issuance of patches. The Project Zero team has promised to send bug reports to vendors in as close to real-time as possible.
What's Eating Internet Security?
July 15, 2014
It's a given that hackers can and do penetrate websites with laughable ease, ranging from those of retailers to those of the United States government. It certainly doesn't help the security-minded to know that the U.S. National Security Agency and other countries' spy agencies, including the UK's GCHQ and the West German intelligence agency, are tapping into online communications at will.
Critical Infrastructure Companies Lack Cyberdefenses
July 11, 2014
Companies providing the world's critical infrastructure are woefully unprepared for cyberattacks despite the increasing threat level, evidenced by the release of the Stuxnet worm and the Shamoon virus in recent years, found a survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute and Unisys. Nearly 70 percent of the 599 surveyed companies in the past 12 months have reported at least one security breach.
Report: Malware Poisons One-Third of World's Computers
July 09, 2014
Nearly one-third of the world's computers could be infected with malware, suggests a report released last week by the Anti-Phishing Working Group. Malicious apps invaded 32.77 percent of the world's computers, a more than 4 percent jump from the previous quarter's 28.39 percent, it estimates. The increase in infected computers has come hand-in-hand with a jump in the appearance of malware samples.
NSA's Eyes Trained Less on Terrorists Than on Average Joes and Janes
July 07, 2014
Nine out of 10 people whose information is being collected by the NSA are Americans who have nothing to do with people targeted by the agency. Data provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden includes some information pertaining to terrorist activities and possible threats to U.S. national security, as well as a few successes in antiterrorist work.
Civil Liberties Board Takes Heat for NSA Spying Report
July 03, 2014
The U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has come under fire for its latest report on NSA surveillance. The report essentially says collection of information under Section 702 of FISA "has been valuable and effective in protecting the nation's security and producing useful foreign intelligence." However, because certain aspects of its implementation have raised privacy concerns.
Dragonfly Swoops Down on Energy Firms
July 01, 2014
The energy industry in the United States and Europe is being targeted by a cybercriminal gang that's suspected of being state-sponsored and has links to Russia. Known variously as "Dragonfly" and "Energetic Bear," the group has been operating at least since 2011. Its focus appears to be espionage and persistent access, with a side dish of sabotage as required, Symantec said.
Google Aims to Defrag Android Universe
July 01, 2014
As any Android user knows, the version you're using can vary widely because it depends on parties other than Google. That's why nearly two-thirds of users are running a version of Android introduced in 2012 or earlier. With Android making the leap to wearables and the Internet of Things, however, Google is aiming to make that kind of fragmentation a thing of the past.

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