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To Pay or Not to Pay - That's the Ransomware Question
June 24, 2014
Ransomware is a growing problem for consumers and businesses alike. In Symantec's most recent quarterly security report, the company's researchers found all targeted attacks -- including ransomware -- grew 91 percent year-over-year. That's raising a big question for those targeted by cyberextortionists: Should the ransom be paid? Security experts generally say no, but some insert a caveat or two.
Godzilla Foreshadows Trouble for Internet of Things
June 16, 2014
The Internet of Things has come under attack by pranksters in recent days. The events could signal tumultuous things to come as more and more everyday objects connect to the Internet. Homeland Security has advised the customers of digital sign maker Daktronics to "take defensive measures" following a series of cyberpranks on the company's traffic signs.
5 Myths of Virtualization Security: You May Be More Vulnerable Than You Think
June 11, 2014
Businesses increasingly are relying on virtual machines to handle more critical data and tasks than ever before. The reality is that virtualization is growing as a platform for managing customer data, financial transactions and the applications that businesses use. Simply put, virtualization is a core component of today's mission-critical IT infrastructure.
US-Led Posse Scatters GameOver Zeus Botnet
June 04, 2014
A worldwide operation led by the U.S. involving law enforcement, private sector cybersecurity firms and software vendors has disrupted the GameOver Zeus botnet for now. The U.S. also has filed criminal charges in Pittsburgh, Penn., and Omaha, Neb., against Russian national Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev, and has charged a number of other suspects in the Russian Federation and the Ukraine.
Spammers Quick to Exploit eBay Breach
June 03, 2014
If you're a spammer, big news like the recent breach of eBay's computers is like striking oil in your back yard. Spammers live for headline-grabbing events that they can use to separate gullible Web wanderers from their money, so the eBay breach is a perfect vehicle for a scam. In this case, they try to convince recipients their eBay credentials could be used to give them a criminal record.
Iranians Caught Cyber Snooping on High-Value US Targets
May 29, 2014
A cyberespionage campaign with links to Iran for at least three years has been targeting U.S. military and congressional personnel, journalists and diplomats, as well as U.S. and Israeli defense contractors and members of the U.S./Israel lobby, according to a report released Thursday by iSight Partners. The spy ring used more than a dozen phony identities on online social networks.
Con Artist Harasses Aussie Apple Customers in Ransomware Attempt
May 28, 2014
Apple on Tuesday aimed to calm anxiety among its iCloud users with reassurances that the service hadn't been breached in a ransomware-style attack. "Apple takes security very seriously and iCloud was not compromised during this incident," reads a company statement. The referenced "incident" is a collection of reports on Apple forums by iPhone users, most of them in Australia.
Anonymous Philippines Harasses China
May 20, 2014
Anonymous Philippines, the Philippines branch of the hacktivist collective Anonymous, defaced more than 200 Chinese websites over a territorial dispute between the two countries. The group announced the move on its Facebook page, offering a detailed list of all websites it had infiltrated. The hacking spree stems from the dustup over Scarborough Shoal, also known as "Huangyan Island."
US Toughens Stance on Chinese Cyberspying With 5 Criminal Indictments
May 20, 2014
The U.S. Justice Department on Monday kicked up a notch the Obama administration's efforts to curb China's economic espionage activity against American businesses. A grand jury indicted five members of the Chinese army on DoJ allegations they conspired to hack into the networks of U.S. companies to steal information that would be useful to their competitors in China.
Hackers Paint Bull's-eyes on Cybercurrencies
May 19, 2014
Another digital currency was brought to its knees last week when the administrators of Doge Vault had to suspend operations after they discovered their online wallet service had been attacked by hackers. Following an investigation of the incident and the reconstruction of some of their damaged information from a backup, the administrators contacted users.
Ransomware Gang Targets Android Phones
May 13, 2014
The Reveton Gang is at it again. This time, though, they're targeting users of Android phones -- typically visitors to porn sites. The gang that pioneered the idea of locking up a target's computer and demanding a ransom to unlock it has turned its attention to the rapidly growing mobile market. Once Reveton mobile infects a phone, it will display a bogus warning.
AOL Users Waiting to Exhale
April 29, 2014
AOL on Monday disclosed that a "significant number" of user accounts had been hacked, confirming rumors swirling around the issue for a week and denying its week-ago statement that users' email accounts were being spoofed. The hackers stole users' email and postal addresses, address book contacts, encrypted passwords and encrypted answers to security questions, and "certain employee information."
Heartbleed's Never-Ending Drip, Drip, Drip
April 21, 2014
The Heartbleed vulnerability in OpenSSL has sent just about everyone who uses the Web for fun or profit gibbering madly in search of a solution, creating fertile ground for spammers, scammers and marketing types. Canada is in an uproar following a disclosure by the Canada Revenue Agency that a hacker had exploited Heartbleed to steal about 900 social insurance numbers from it over a six-hour span.
German Media Mogul Rips Google in Open Letter
April 18, 2014
The head of one of Germany's biggest media companies penned an open letter criticizing Google, saying that his company is afraid of Google and its ever-swelling power. The letter, written by Mathias Dopfner, the chief executive of media giant Axel Springer, opines that Google's technology platforms spread more quickly and more efficiently than anything in the world -- save "biological viruses."
White Hats Use Heartbleed to Steal Keys
April 14, 2014
The tech industry reeled last week when security researchers discovered a flaw in a key security technology in the Internet's infrastructure. The bug, ghoulishly named "Heartbleed," was found in an open source library, OpenSSL, used by the protocol, SSL, used to encrypt data in transit on the Net. By exploiting the flaw with a specially crafted packet, hackers can extract data from a server's memory in 64K chunks.
SDF Cofounder Chris Davis: Bad Guys Will Need a New M.O.
April 09, 2014
In the war against malware, a new strategy is taking shape. The good guys are preparing to demolish the bad guys' most effective weapons: rogue websites. The Secure Domain Foundation will tackle the identification and prevention of Internet cybercrime through a series of steps designed to interfere with the way cybergangs operate online. SDF made its debut last month at ICANN 49 in Singapore.
Clock Counting Down on Windows XP Support
April 01, 2014
As Microsoft prepares to cut off support for Windows XP, hackers are sharpening their knives in anticipation of carving up the operating system's carcass. Web predators will pounce on XP 10 minutes after Microsoft pulls the support plug on the software, predicted one former military computer specialist and network engineer. Indeed, it appears that information highwaymen are stockpiling ammunition.
Rocket the Vote! NASA Asks People to Vote on New Space Threads
March 26, 2014
NASA is asking people to vote on their favorite design for the outer shell of the new Z-2 spacesuit. While the Z-2 models may descend from their Apollo 13-style ancestors, there are some decidedly 21st Century twists. The "Biomimicry" design, for example, has a reptilian flare; "Trends in Society" has a more everyday look -- at least, as far as spacesuits go.
Headless Web Traffic Threatens Internet Economy
March 25, 2014
Bogus web traffic is creating a crisis for advertisers on the Web. Advertisers pay for page views. They assume that those views are tied to living eyeballs. When those views aren't tied to eyeballs, advertisers can get testy. That's what's starting to happen, and a recent comScore estimate of the automated traffic on the Internet -- 36 percent -- isn't helping matters.
Microsoft Does Some Scroogling to Catch a Thief
March 24, 2014
Microsoft, which has been mocking Google's searching of Gmail subscribers' emails with its "Scroogled" campaign, is fielding criticism for having itself searched the email of a Hotmail user. The search was conducted after Microsoft found that an employee, Alex Kibkalo, who worked for it in Lebanon, had stolen proprietary code and shared it with the Hotmail user, who is a blogger.
Big Blue Dons Big Data Gloves to Fight Fraud
March 21, 2014
IBM on Thursday launched a set of software and consulting services to help fight fraud and financial crime. The so-called smarter counterfraud initiative draws from more than 500 fraud consulting experts, 290 fraud-related research patents, and the $24 billion IBM has invested in its Big Data and analytics software and services capabilities over the past nine years.
Report: NSA Listens to International Calls From the Past
March 19, 2014
The National Security Agency reportedly possesses a system that enables it to record telephone calls -- all telephone calls -- in a foreign country, and review conversations for up to a month after they took place. The system is said to be akin to a time machine, allowing for retroactive snooping on foreign targets. Billions of calls are stored in a 30-day rolling buffer.
Target Breach Lesson: PCI Compliance Isn't Enough
March 18, 2014
"Target was certified as meeting the standard for the payment card industry in September 2013. Nonetheless, we suffered a data breach." Those words by Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel affirmed what security experts know as gospel: Compliance does not equal security. "Just because you pass a PCI audit does not mean that you're secure," said HyTrust President Eric Chiu.
Target Missed Bull's-Eye in Data Breach
March 14, 2014
Target acknowledged Thursday that it put information on a back burner that led to the compromise of more than 100 million customer records. "We learned that after these criminals entered our network, a small amount of their activity was logged and surfaced to our team," said spokesperson Molly Snyder, which "determined that it did not warrant immediate follow up."

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