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Careless, Reckless Staff Are Corporate Security's Biggest Threat
February 07, 2014
We have met the enemy and he is us. Pogo's philosophical observation perfectly describes the way IT and security professionals view their end users' attitude toward data security. An overwhelming 80 percent of corporate security professionals and IT administrators indicated in a recent survey that "end user carelessness" constituted the biggest security threat to their organizations.
Google's Long European Antitrust Nightmare May Be Over
February 06, 2014
It looks like Google and European regulators have, at long last, reached a settlement to allay antitrust concerns. Google has struck a deal with EC competition regulators, which now awaits formal approval. Under the terms laid out, Google would have to swallow its stiffest-ever antitrust penalties, but it would nonetheless avoid a finding of wrongdoing and a potentially massive fine.
Google Offers Higher Bounties for Security Bugs
February 05, 2014
Google is taking the fight to hackers by increasing the rewards it hands out to researchers who flag vulnerabilities in the company's products. Its security reward program now covers additional services including Chrome browser apps and extensions that the company has developed and branded as "by Google." Researchers who report vulnerabilities can now grab between $500 and $10,000.
Target Fiasco Shines Light on Supply Chain Attacks
February 03, 2014
The holiday data breach at Target was opened up with stolen credentials from a vendor in the company's supply chain, according to reports that surfaced last week. That kind of attack is getting more and more common these days. "About 80 percent of data breaches originate in the supply chain," said Torsten George, vice president of marketing for Agiliance.
IT Weaknesses Paved the Way for Target Hackers
January 30, 2014
The Target data breach exposed more than 100 million customers, riled up U.S. intelligence agencies, sparked a Justice Department investigation, involved the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, triggered congressional hearings, and led several banks to re-issue their credit cards. The hacker has variously been identified as a 17-year-old Russian or one or more other cybercriminals.
US, British Intelligence Scoop Data From Smartphone Apps
January 28, 2014
Don't get angry, but... U.S. and British intelligence agencies have long been mining data from smartphone apps such as the wildly popular Angry Birds. The National Security Agency and its British brethren at the Government Communications Headquarters reportedly have targeted the swell of data moving to and fro on mobile apps, based on previously secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
Biz Brass Kept in Dark About Breaches
January 27, 2014
With breaking news about data breaches a common occurrence, you'd think security threats to an organization's data would be something CEOs and their management teams were kept in the know about. Apparently not. Some 80 percent of IT pros in the U.S. and UK said they did not frequently communicate with executive management about potential cyberattacks to their organizations in a recent survey.
SEA Hackers Muck Up CNN Sites
January 24, 2014
CNN on Thursday became the latest media outlet to fall victim to hacking by the Syrian Electronic Army. The SEA hacked into and defaced various CNN social media accounts and blogs, the network's Catherine Shoichet reported. "Tonight, the #SEA decided to retaliate against #CNN's viciously lying reporting aimed at prolonging the suffering in #Syria," the SEA tweeted Thursday.
Neiman Marcus Alerts Customers to Hack Attack
January 24, 2014
Neiman Marcus has announced that some 1.1-million customer credit and debit cards may have been exposed in a hack attack. The retailer was first alerted to the intrusion at the beginning of the year. It appears that "sophisticated, self-concealing malware" able to obtain payment card information was active in the company's systems between July 16 and Oct. 30, 2013, CEO Karen Katz said.
Syrian Electronic Army Takes Another Poke at Microsoft
January 22, 2014
The Syrian Electronic Army, which is notorious for launching cyberattacks against the media, on Monday defaced the Microsoft Office blog site. The hack occurred after Microsoft redesigned the blog site following an SEA attack earlier this month. "A targeted cyberattack temporarily affected the Microsoft Office blog and the account was reset," said exec Dustin Childs.
Bitcoin's Popularity Attracts Malware Writers
January 22, 2014
Most folks know the value of money, but few know the latest value of a Bitcoin, a virtual currency prone to wide price swings. Those swings haven't deterred those on the digital leading edge from speculating in the currency -- or bad app writers from plotting ways to steal it. "Bitcoins -- and indeed any digital property of any value -- will be a theft target," said Bitcoin developer Jeff Garzik.
Crowdfunders Send Jamaican Bobsled Team to Sochi
January 21, 2014
The Jamaican bobsled team, which qualified for the Olympics for the first time since 2002, is heading to the Sochi Olympics, thanks in large part to a group of supporters who raised more than $25,000 worth of "Dogecoins," an Internet currency. The team needed about $40,000 total, and after the Internet came through with $25K, Jamaica's Olympic committee picked up the difference.
Internet Crimes Led to Long Jail Sentences in 2013
January 11, 2014
With all the headlines about Internet cybersecurity breaches, there seem to be few headlines about the consequences for cybercriminals. That is because not all cybercriminals are caught, and when they are it often takes months, if not years, before trials. Even when the cybercriminals plead guilty, the sentencing phase often occurs months after the trial.
Other Shoe Drops in Target Customer Data Breach
January 10, 2014
The security breach that initially appeared to affect as many as 40 million customers may put many more at risk, Target revealed Friday. In addition to accessing those customers' payment card data, hackers stole the names, mailing addresses, phone numbers or email addresses for up to 70 million people. The personal data theft was uncovered in the investigation of the payment card data heist.
Snapchat Manages to Cough Up Brief Apology
January 09, 2014
Snapchat on Thursday finally apologized for last month's data breach. A website dubbed "SnapchatDB.info," which went live on New Year's Eve, published the user names and phone numbers of 4.6 million Snapchat accounts. The company now allows users to opt out of the Find Friends functionality that harvested the leaked data. "We are sorry for any problems this issue may have caused you," it said.
New Year's Resolutions: Be More Secure in 2014
January 07, 2014
If you're inclined to make resolutions this time of year and you're concerned about your online and offline security, here are some suggestions that can keep you safer in the days ahead. At the top of the list: You should vow to change the passwords to your important accounts on a frequent basis. Using the same password for many websites is also something you should vow to avoid in 2014.
Security Firm Spills the Beans on Snapchat Vulnerabilities
December 28, 2013
After its discovery of a security hole in Snapchat was ignored for months, Gibson Security earlier this week released the API for the Snapchat application along with two exploits. One exploit lets hackers match phone numbers with Snapchat users' names en masse; the other enables hackers to create huge numbers of fake Snapchat accounts.
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.
40 Million Target Customers Fall Prey to Hackers
December 19, 2013
Target on Thursday disclosed that 40 million customer accounts might have been accessed by hackers between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. Customer names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and the three-digit security codes on the backs of cards were compromised when they were swiped through machines in stores. The data breach did not extend to online transactions.
Jailbroken Phones Targeted by Hacker Jammers
December 16, 2013
Smartphones hacked to run unauthorized programs or unlock features are being targeted by hackers and can pose a threat to enterprise networks, warned Marble Security. Modifying a smartphone to enable unauthorized behavior -- called "rooting" in the Android world and "jailbreaking" in the iOS realm -- makes the mobile vulnerable to infected jammer software, the firm said.
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.
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.
Chinese Supercomputer Gets a Job Forecasting Smog
December 10, 2013
Scientists in China will use the country's Tianhe-1A supercomputer to forecast and analyze smog in major cities. The Tianhe-1A will be used to create a simulation that will collate data from across more than 100 Chinese cities. Theoretically, this will enable scientists to predict the density of smog, how long it will linger, and where it might go next.
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.

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