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Operation Blockbuster Brings the Fight to Sony Hackers
February 25, 2016
Operation Blockbuster, a coalition of security companies led by Novetta, on Wednesday published a report detailing the activities of the Lazarus Group, the organization responsible for the 2014 cyberattack against Sony Pictures Entertainment. Researchers last week published detection signatures to the companies' respective software in the hope of disrupting the group's activities.
The Downside of Linux Popularity
February 25, 2016
Popularity is becoming a two-edged sword for Linux. The open source operating system has become a key component of the Internet's infrastructure, and it's also the foundation for the world's largest mobile OS, Google's Android. Widespread use of the OS, though, has attracted the attention of hackers looking to transfer the dirty tricks previously aimed at Windows to Linux.
Hollywood Hospital Succumbs to Hacker Shakedown
February 19, 2016
Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center on Wednesday announced that it paid approximately $17,000 to resume normal operations after digital extortionists knocked its computer systems offline. The Los Angeles hospital discovered its computer network infected with ransomware earlier this month. After paying the ransom, the hospital was able to bring its electronic medical record system online.
Hollywood Hospital Hacked Back to Paper Age
February 17, 2016
Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center last week revealed its computer systems were offline after a ransomware attack scrambled the data on its systems. Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts data and system files on a computer and demands a ransom payment to unscramble the files. Since the attack, HPMC medical personnel have resorted to faxes and handwritten charts to perform their tasks.
Encryption Bans and Backdoor Efforts Are Misguided, Harvard Study Finds
February 16, 2016
Any effort to ban encryption or provide government agencies with backdoor access would be unenforceable and prone to failure, according to a Harvard University report released last week. Bruce Schneier, a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Security, collaborator Kathleen Seidel, and student Saranya Vijayakuma, identified and surveyed 865 encryption products from 55 countries.
NIST Risk-Assessment Framework Shapes Federal Cybersecurity Strategy
February 12, 2016
The U.S. government is under pressure to improve cybersecurity and is meeting that challenge with a commitment to enhance spending for protecting IT systems. The Obama administration projected the budget for cybersecurity spending in fiscal 2016 would be about $14 billion -- an increase of $1.4 billion from 2015. That represents strong support to safeguard operations and protect personal data.
Hacker Posts Stolen Data on FBI, Homeland Security Employees Online
February 9, 2016
The U.S. departments of Justice and Homeland Security on Monday announced they were investigating reports that a hacker broke into government computer systems and stole sensitive information about employees at the agencies. The hacker posted stolen information for about 9,000 DHS employees online Sunday and made public data on 20,000 FBI employees Monday.
New Safe Harbor Pact Offers Temporary Port in Storm
February 9, 2016
Through an eleventh-hour maneuver, the United States and the European Union last week avoided action that could have choked the movement of data between the regions and caused financial harm to U.S. companies. It may be only a temporary respite, however. The problem stems from a European Court of Justice decision in October that blew up an agreement between the regions.
Europe, US Cut 11th Hour Safe Harbor Deal
February 3, 2016
Europe and the United States on Tuesday announced a new Safe Harbor agreement that neutralizes the threat of enforcement actions against domestic companies handling overseas data. The EU-US Privacy Shield aims to protect the privacy of data belonging to European citizens when it's handled by U.S. companies. It "will protect the fundamental rights of Europeans," said EU Commissioner Vera Jourová.
Harvard Researchers Debunk Warnings of Terrorists 'Going Dark'
February 2, 2016
The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University on Monday released a report that questions the so-called "going dark" phenomenon. The U.S. government and surveillance and law enforcement agencies have been calling for an end to encryption because they say it lets terrorists communicate with impunity and is responsible for the inability of law enforcement to monitor communications.
Panel: Time Is Running Out to Address Killer Robot Threat
January 25, 2016
The rise of autonomous war machines is outpacing policies and technological countermeasures, weapons and robotics experts warned last week at the World Economic Forum. Autonomous weaponry potentially is a $20 billion industry that has taken root in 40 countries, said BAE Systems Chairman Roger Carr. He was one of four panelists at the session titled "What If: Robots Go to War?"
California Bill Would Ban Encrypted Smartphone Sales
January 25, 2016
California State Assemblyman Jim Cooper last week introduced a bill seeking to ban the sale of smartphones that include unbreakable encryption. It would require smartphones made on or after Jan. 1, 2017, and sold in California to be capable of being decrypted and unlocked by manufacturers or OS providers. Knowingly failing to comply would subject a seller or lessor to a fine of $2,500 per device.
Snap-Happy Trojan Targets Linux Servers
January 22, 2016
Security researchers at Dr.Web on Tuesday revealed details of the Trojan Linux.Ekoms.1, which takes screen shots and records audio to acquire sensitive and personal information, mostly from Linux servers. Malware for Linux is becoming more diverse and includes spyware programs, ransomware and Trojans designed to carry out distributed denial-of-service attacks, according to Dr.Web.
GM Bug Program Gets Mixed Notices
January 21, 2016
Two white-hat hackers, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, made headlines last year when they demonstrated how they could hijack the control systems of a moving motor vehicle over the Internet. The move got the attention of the auto industry, and last week General Motors put in place a program to encourage more digital dabblers to alert the company when they find bugs in GM vehicles.
Digital Ad Fraud Could Top $7 Billion in 2016
January 20, 2016
Bot fraud will cost digital advertisers $7.2 billion worldwide this year, according to a report released Tuesday by the Association of National Advertisers. For the "2015 Bot Baseline" report, 49 ANA members deployed detection tags from White Ops on their digital ads to measure bot fraud over 61 days. Bot fraud impacted up to 37 percent of ads, compared to up to 22 percent in a study in 2014.
Phishing Attack Could Net LastPass Credentials
January 19, 2016
LastPass has boosted security for its users after a security researcher alerted the company of a phishing attack he devised to steal users' login and two-factor authentication credentials. Sean Cassidy, CTO of Praesidio, demonstrated the phishing attack, which he calls "LostPass," last week at ShmooCon. "We think this is a very serious problem," said Praesidio CEO Edgardo Nazario.
Privacy as a Service Advocates Promise Better Data Protection
January 14, 2016
There's been a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth about the Sisyphean task of protecting privacy in the Digital Age, but that hasn't stopped innovators from searching for ways to preserve it. One of the latest ideas to emerge in the field is Privacy as a Service. As with many emerging technologies, the definition of "PaaS" (not to be confused with Platform as a Service) is in flux.
ProPublica Launches News Site on Dark Web
January 12, 2016
ProPublica last week reportedly launched what's believed to be the first major news site on the dark Web. The site's purpose reportedly is to maximize the privacy of readers. The Tor hidden service goes beyond SSL in that visits to sites are hidden from eavesdroppers and ISPs. Anyone monitoring Tor nodes can track visitors who use a Tor browser to view ProPublica's regular site.
Iranian Cyberattack on American Dam Viewed As Rarity
January 7, 2016
Just days before Christmas, a rare event occurred: the report of a successful intrusion into America's infrastructure by overseas hackers. The event -- penetration of the control system of a dam 20 miles from New York City -- happened more than two years ago but wasn't made until last month. Cloaking such incidents in secrecy is standard operating procedure for industries that use control systems.
Security Execs Sweat Insider Threats
December 31, 2015
Insider threats are becoming increasingly worrisome to corporate security executives. That is one of the findings in a survey of C-level businesspeople Nuix released last week. "The insider threat seems to be a bigger concern this year than it was in previous years," said Nuix's Keith Lowry. "People are recognizing that it is a significant weakness that has yet to be fully addressed."
Major Challenge to FTC's Cybersecurity Authority Evaporates
December 28, 2015
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Wyndham Worldwide earlier this month reached a settlement over allegations that the company violated federal law regarding the protection of customer records. The settlement could have a significant impact on e-commerce in that it ended a major legal challenge to the FTC's extension of its authority into the realm of cybersecurity.
All Security Pros Want for Christmas: Smarter Users, Decoy Networks
December 24, 2015
People like to see gifts from their wish lists under the Christmas tree, and security pros are no exception. Here are things some cyberwarriors would like old St. Nick to deliver to them. "It's probably never going to happen, but it would be fantastic to get smarter users who are less susceptible to social engineering," said Proofpoint's Ryan Kalember.
Congress Passes Budget Bill With Controversial Cybersecurity Provision
December 18, 2015
Congress on Friday passed an omnibus budget bill that included the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA. The Senate earlier this year passed CIS, which many conservative and liberal politicians, high-tech firms, and privacy and civil liberty advocates oppose. The latest version includes amendments that will allow corporations to share customers' information with the government.
Three Charged in Hacking Case That Spammed 60M
December 17, 2015
Federal prosecutors in New Jersey on Tuesday charged three men in a $2 million identity theft scheme to hack corporate computer systems and blast spam messages to more than 60 million people. The defendants face up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines on wire fraud charges, and up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines on email and computer conspiracy charges.
Creating Rules of War for Cyberspace
December 17, 2015
The idea of a "Cyber Geneva Convention" has gained steam in the last five years. Based on the original Geneva Convention, it would ensure that certain types of attacks and specific targets would remain off-limits in a cyberwar. The concept of rules dictating what shouldn't be allowed in war came about after Henry Dunant visited wounded soldiers during the Second Italian War of Unification.
UK Police Pinch Suspect in VTech Hack
December 16, 2015
UK police have arrested a 21-year-old man as part of their investigation into last month's hack on VTech's systems. The man was arrested in Bracknell, 30 miles west of London, on suspicion of unauthorized access to a computer to facilitate the commission of an offense and suspicion of causing a computer to perform functions to secure or enable unauthorized access to a program or data, police said.
Twitter Alerts Users to State-Sponsored Cyberattack Threat
December 15, 2015
Twitter last week began warning some of its members that they may be the target of a state-sponsored attack on their accounts. Coldhak posted to its Twitter account a copy of the warning it received. It's among a small number of accounts that state-sponsored actors may be targeting in an attempt to obtain information such as email addresses, IP addresses and phone numbers, Twitter warned.
FBI Chief: High-Tech Firms Need to Rethink Encryption Stance
December 11, 2015
FBI Director James Comey on Wednesday told members of a U.S. Senate committee that high-tech companies may need to adopt a new business model regarding encryption in order to get on the same page with law enforcement. "Encryption is getting in the way of our ability to have court orders effective to gather information we need in our most important work," he told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
'Tis the Season for Online Predators
December 3, 2015
While visions of holiday shoppers dance in retailers' heads, those visions are also on the minds of online marauders. Net predators are sticking to scams that have made them money throughout the year. "Over the last 12 months, we've seen a return to attachments with innocuous macros in them," said Kevin Epstein, vice president of advanced security and governance at Proofpoint.
More Things, More Cyberattacks
December 2, 2015
Not a day passes without mention of the Internet of Things in the media, as it appears to expand exponentially. Roughly 6.4 billion things will be connected to the Internet in 2016, at a rate of 5.5 million new things per day, according to Gartner. More than 20 billion devices will be in use by 2020. As a result, everyone must be more cognizant of cyber-risks.
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We need new laws to curb government spying.
It's dead -- Google, Facebook and others killed it.
Personalized advertising is the worst -- it's creepy.
It's achievable through encryption and other tech.
It's an overblown issue -- I have nothing to hide.