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Hackers Find Slim Pickings in Washington Post Attack
December 19, 2013
For the third time in three years, computers at The Washington Post came under attack by hackers. The intrusion targeting the usernames and passwords of Post employees was relatively short in duration -- a few days, at most. No subscriber information was accessed. Publishing and email systems were not hacked, and employee personal information was not compromised.
Surveillance Report Blasts NSA, Recommends Overhaul
December 19, 2013
A task force set up by President Obama to review the National Security Agency's surveillance activities has suggested a list of what it calls "significant" reforms, including restrictions on spying. Among the recommendations: changes in surveillance of both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens to protect their privacy; and an overhaul of the NSA and the secretive FISA Court.
NSA's Latest Threat: Constitutional Law
December 17, 2013
A federal judge has ruled that the NSA's collection of telephone metadata is likely a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, adding another point of debate to this volatile issue. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon's ruling has extra impact because he is a conservative appointed by George W. Bush. "That sets a serious precedent," said CREDO Mobile's Becky Bond.
Snowden Amnesty Idea Kicked Around
December 17, 2013
NSA official Rick Ledgett, who has been with the agency for 25 years, suggested offering whistleblower Edward Snowden amnesty, but Gen. Keith Alexander squashed the idea. About 31,000 of the possibly 1.7 million documents Snowden stole from the agency contain information that could be helpful to enemies of the U.S., Ledgett said, and it would be worth discussing a Snowden amnesty to secure them.
A Cybersecurity Strategy for Citizens
December 14, 2013
The era of Big Data has scary implications for both personal privacy and national security and puts our society at significant risk. The impact of a cyberattack on a large financial institution or a security breach at a government's secure data house, for example, would have dire consequences. As a result, cybersecurity is one of the greatest challenges facing the world today.
Australian State Outlaws Non-Consensual Sexting
December 12, 2013
The Australian state of Victoria has made it illegal to distribute explicit images without consent. The new law specifically outlaws "non-consensual sexting," which generally takes place when lovers split and there is post-breakup payback in the form of intimate photos of the former partners. The law does exempt children in order to ensure that they aren't charged with child pornography.
NSA Hackers Help Themselves to Google's Cookies
December 12, 2013
The United States National Security Agency reportedly is using at least one type of Google cookie -- PREF, which stores a user's preferences -- to home in on the PCs of targets it wants to hack. NSA's Special Source Operations division apparently is sharing information with Tailored Access Operations, the agency's cyberwarfare intelligence-gathering unit.
Malware Drop, Ransomware Rise Forecast for 2014
December 09, 2013
A malware decline and ransomware rise are in the security crystal ball for 2014. There will be less malware spreading through networks next year as hackers focus on obtaining credentials that allow them to access systems. "Malware will still be important in establishing a foothold in the network, but we don't see malware moving laterally in networks," said Websense's Alex Watson.
Chinese Banks Warned About Bitcoins
December 06, 2013
China's central bank said Thursday that the nation's banks and payment systems were prohibited from handling Bitcoins. Bitcoins are "virtual goods" and have no legal weight, the banking body said. Individuals can still toy with them at their own risk, but financial institutions and payment systems can't touch -- no selling, no trading and no storing of Bitcoins.
Akamai Buys Prolexic to Beef Up DDoS Protection
December 02, 2013
Akamai Technologies is buying Prolexic, which offers protection against distributed denial of service attacks. The deal, which is expected to close in the first half of 2014, will cost Akamai about $370 million in cash plus the assumption of outstanding unvested options to purchase Prolexic stock. "Akamai aims to extend its optimization and security solutions," said spokesperson Jeff Young.
Potential for Abuse Stalls Cellphone Kill Switch Debate
November 26, 2013
Law enforcement officials and mobile phone makers last week knocked heads with wireless carriers over planting "kill switches" in smartphones. Led by San Francisco's DA and New York's AG, law enforcement wants smartphones to contain firmware that allows a consumer to "brick" a mobile that's lost or stolen. The largest mobile phone maker in the world, Samsung, is on board with the program.
Yahoo to Tie Up Data With Neat Encryption Bow
November 19, 2013
Yahoo said it will extend 2048-bit encryption planned for Yahoo Mail across its entire network. CEO Marissa Mayer reiterated that the company "has never given access to our data centers to the NSA or to any other government agency." However, documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden indicate the NSA reimbursed Yahoo for costs incurred to meet the demands of its Prism surveillance program.
Securing the Internet of Things: 5 Easy Pieces
November 15, 2013
The Internet of Things has been receiving quite a bit of attention. Definitions vary, but at its core the concept is a simple one: Extend computing and data-processing capability to the physical world around us. The earliest manifestations of this are starting to be seen already in the growth of smart devices: televisions, automobiles, appliances, electric meters, etc.
KitKat Raises Android Security Bar
November 11, 2013
Google's mobile operating system Android has been a whipping boy for some segments of the security community, but the latest version of the software may begin to rehabilitate its reputation. Android 4.4, or KitKat, contains a number of new and improved features that are garnering the praise of malware fighters -- especially improved implementation of SELinux.
Brit Spies Spoof LinkedIn Pages to Track Targets
November 11, 2013
British intelligence agency GCHQ reportedly has spoofed LinkedIn profiles of employees at mobile communications companies and mobile billing firms to gain access to their corporate networks. The first known attack was on Belgacom, a telecom firm partly owned by the Belgian government, according to a top secret GCHQ presentation revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
North Korea Gets Its Hands on Electromagnetic Pulse Weaponry
November 08, 2013
North Korea is developing electromagnetic pulse weapons designed to disable enemy electronics, according to South Korea's National Intelligence Service. North Korea reportedly purchased EMP technology from Russia and is now in the process of replicating it. Some American politicians, including Republicans Newt Gingrich and Rep. Trent Franks, have issued dire warnings about EMP technology.
Starting the Cyberinsurance Conversation
November 02, 2013
"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes," wrote Benjamin Franklin in 1789. You have to wonder if Old Ben wouldn't add cyberattacks to that list were he alive today. We live in a world in which hundreds of thousands of new threats are created every day. Nary a day goes by without a new piece of malware or other threat finding its way into a network.
Steer Clear of Google, Yahoo, German Journalists Advised
November 01, 2013
The German Federation of Journalists advised members to quit using Google and Yahoo because those providers are vulnerable to U.S. and British intelligence agencies. Citing "scandalous" reports, the warning implored journalists to look elsewhere for both "research and digital communication." The announcement was likely prompted by news that the NSA had tapped into communications links used by Google and Yahoo.
NSA Caught Siphoning Data from Google, Yahoo Servers
October 31, 2013
The National Security Agency has reportedly tapped fiber-optic cables that connect Google's and Yahoo's overseas servers and accessed vast amounts of data including email and other personal information. Included in the data culled by the NSA is information on hundreds of millions of users, many of whom are American.
Adobe Hack Victim Count Skyrockets to 38M
October 31, 2013
After initially estimating that a mere 3 million customers had been affected by the security breach it announced at the start of October, Adobe on Wednesday admitted that the actual number now looks to be closer to an eye-popping 38 million. In addition, the breach seems to be more far-reaching than initially thought, extending to the Photoshop family of products as well.

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