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Public-Private Team Leads Assault on Ransomware
July 28, 2016
Ransomware has become a scourge on the Internet -- but two information security companies, along with a pair of law enforcement agencies, this week launched an initiative to do something about it. No More Ransom is the centerpiece of a collaborative effort involving Kapersky Lab, Intel Security, the Dutch National Police and Europol. The new portal aims to educate the public about ransomware.
BlackBerry Offers Android Users a Secure New Smartphone
July 27, 2016
BlackBerry on Tuesday made a play for security-conscious Android users with the announcement of its new DTEK50. Running Android 6.0 Marshmallow and BlackBerry security software, the new unit is the "most secure Android smartphone" in the world, the company claimed. Many Android users have concerns about the their phone's security, according to a recent survey.
New Office 365 Features Help Build a Better Research Paper
July 27, 2016
Microsoft on Tuesday announced a slew of cloud-powered intelligent services in Office 365 apps that aim to assist research and writing efforts. Researcher lets users access the Bing Knowledge Graph to find and incorporate sources and content for research papers without leaving Word. Editor uses machine learning and national language processing, combined with input from Microsoft's linguists.
FBI Launches Probe Into DNC Email Hack
July 26, 2016
The FBI on Monday confirmed it has opened an investigation into allegations that the Wikileaks email dump of nearly 20,000 DNC emails over the weekend might be linked to the Russian government. Hackers connected to Russian intelligence agencies allegedly have been working to help tilt the U.S. presidential election. "The FBI is investigating a cyber intrusion involving the DNC," the agency said.
Civil Rights Office Issues Ransomware Guidance
July 22, 2016
Ransomware infections are on the rise, and healthcare organizations are ripe targets, which may be why the federal government addressed the subject last week. Ransomware attacks have risen from about 1,000 a day last year to 4,000 a day this year, Symantec has reported. Many of those attacks are for small change, but some of the larger ones have been directed at healthcare providers.
Snowden Puts His Mind to Designing Spy-Proof Smartphone Cases
July 21, 2016
NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden and noted hacker Andrew "Bunnie" Huang on Thursday published a paper on their collaboration to design a smartphone case that will protect user privacy. The pair developed a prototype compatible with the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, as it's "driven primarily by what we understand to be the current preferences and tastes of reporters," the paper states.
Twitter Lets Anyone and Everyone Apply for a Blue Badge
July 20, 2016
Twitter on Tuesday announced it has opened up the application process for verified account status, which previously was reserved for celebrities and other high-profile users. Any user may now file an online application to have an account verified. Twitter account verification, denoted by a blue badge icon, flags individuals and organizations as authentic, the company explained.
Google Transparency Report Shows Government Data Demands Rising
July 20, 2016
The number of government requests to Google for citizens' personal data rose in the second half of 2015, according to the company's latest Transparency Report, released Monday. The number has been trending upward for the past few years as the number of people connected to the Internet has increased. The growth also coincides with almost-daily reports of terrorist attacks.
The Internet of Medical Things, Part 3: Safety First
July 20, 2016
Though quick to capitalize on connected health devices and the coming Internet of Medical Things, hardware manufacturers may be moving too slowly when it comes to building the necessary protections into the back end. The National Security Agency last month told participants in a defense technology summit in Washington that it was looking into hacking connected medical devices.
Hackers Claim Credit for Pokemon Go No-Go
July 19, 2016
Pokemon Go, the augmented reality overnight sensation, experienced sluggish performance over the weekend, possibly from a hacker attack on its login servers. Shortly after Pokemon Go devs tweeted that the game was rolling out to 26 additional countries, this tweet appeared: "Trainers! We have been working to fix the server issues. ... We'll post an update soon."
Congressional Committee Report Finds Something Rotten at FDIC
July 18, 2016
Officials at the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insures deposits in U.S. banks, made false statements to Congress and failed to make timely notification of serious cybersecurity breaches, according to a U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology's interim staff report. FDIC CIO Lawrence Gross has created a toxic work environment, it also says.
Microsoft Wins Legal Victory in Fight Over Email Stored Abroad
July 15, 2016
Microsoft has won its nearly four-year battle against a warrant requiring it to turn over customer emails held on a server in Ireland. Microsoft had complied with demands to turn over account information stored on its servers in the U.S., but it had refused to give up the emails themselves, contending a U.S. judge did not have the authority to issue warrants for information stored abroad.
Pokemon Go Devs Scramble to Fix Big Privacy Goof
July 14, 2016
Just days after Pokemon Go sent Nintendo shares soaring in Tokyo, the game's developers were scrambling to close a massive privacy hole. The iOS version of the mobile game -- which superimposes figures onto real-world environments through augmented reality technology -- apparently had a default setting that required users to grant broad permissions to access their Google accounts.
Facebook Lets Messenger Conversations Go Dark
July 13, 2016
Facebook last week said it would begin testing long anticipated end-to-end encryption capabilities in its Messenger app, enabling users to have secret conversations. The new level of security means that a message will be visible only to the sender and the recipient -- Facebook won't even be able to read it. Users can set a timer to limit the amount of time that a message remains visible.
Mobile Ransomware Has Mushroomed: Report
July 8, 2016
The number of mobile ransomware victims across the globe has increased fourfold compared to a year ago, suggests a Kaspersky Lab report. Kaspersky software protected 136,532 users targeted by ransomware from April 2015 to March 2016 -- up from 35,413. "The growth curve may be less than that seen for PC ransomware, but it is still significant enough to confirm a worrying trend," the report notes.
Feds Probe Philanderers' Site Ashley Madison: Report
July 6, 2016
The United States Federal Trade Commission reportedly has launched an investigation into philanderers' dating site Ashley Madison. The company, which suffered a massive data breach last year that resulted in extortion attempts and ruined lives, as well as class-action lawsuits, earlier this week announced that it hired a new CEO and a new president in April.
HummingBad Mucks Up Android's Works
July 6, 2016
More than 85 million Android devices worldwide have been taken over by the Yingmob, a group of China-based cybercriminals who created the HummingBad malware, according to Check Point. HummingBad establishes a persistent rootkit on Android devices, generates fraudulent ad revenue, and installs additional fraudulent apps. HummingBad reportedly has been generating revenue of $300,000 a month.
BlackBerry Lets Go of Its Classic Phone
July 5, 2016
BlackBerry on Tuesday announced it will cease manufacturing the BlackBerry Classic. "The Classic has long surpassed the average lifespan for a smartphone in today's market," noted COO Ralph Pini. "To keep innovating and advancing our portfolio, we are updating our smartphone lineup with state-of-the-art devices." BlackBerry intends to continue supporting its BlackBerry 10 platform, however.
Symantec Scrambles to Fix Flaws After Google Sounds Alarm
July 5, 2016
Symantec last week confirmed that it had developed fixes for a series of eight vulnerabilities found in its portfolio of security products for enterprise and consumer customers, after an outside researcher identified the problem. A researcher from Google's Project Zero alerted the company, but there was no evidence of the vulnerability being exploited in the wild.
FCC's Internet Privacy Proposal Sparks Congressional Action
July 5, 2016
With breaches of consumer data occurring all too frequently, who could be against proposals to improve privacy on the Internet? Well, a broad swath of the e-commerce sector, ranging from CTIA-The Wireless Association to USTelecom and the National Retail Federation, is strongly opposed to a recent proposal from the Federal Communications Commission to regulate privacy.
Pichai Account Trespassers Claim Their Hacking Heart's in the Right Place
June 29, 2016
Hackers late Sunday broke into CEO Sundar Pichai's Quora account and through it accessed his Twitter followers, according to reports. The group taking credit for the breach, OurMine Security, previously hit other prominent high-tech figures, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Spotify CEO Daniel Elk, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels and former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo.
Senate Falls Short on Expansion of FBI Surveillance Authority
June 27, 2016
The United States Senate last week rejected a Republican-backed amendment that would have given the FBI expanded authority to access the browser histories and other electronic records of targets of terrorism and other national security investigations without first obtaining a warrant. The Senate voted 58-38 for the amendment, cosponsored by Sens. Richard Burr and John McCain.
Study: Third-Party Apps Pose Risks for Enterprises
June 23, 2016
Since mobile computing put an end to the good old days when IT departments had absolute control over software deployed in the enterprise, there's been a rise in employees' use of third-party applications -- a rise that poses security risks to corporate environments. That is one of the findings in a report CloudLock released last week.
Google Makes It Easier to Do the 2-Step
June 21, 2016
Google on Monday began rolling out a new two-step authentication feature, Google Prompt, targeting enterprise employees. The new option consists of a pop-up that displays a mobile user's name and profile image, and that specifies the location and device involved in the attempted sign-in. The device owner is asked whether to allow or deny the sign-in.
How Private Is iOS 10?
June 20, 2016
Almost lost among the deluge of new features in the upcoming version of iOS Apple touted last week was the company's announcement about privacy. "All this great work in iOS 10 would be meaningless to us if it came at the expense of your privacy," Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president for software engineering, told attendees at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.
Russians Hack DNC Servers to Get Goods on Trump
June 15, 2016
Two groups of Russian hackers burrowed into the Democratic National Committee's servers and spent months stealing information on Donald Trump, the Republican Party's presumptive presidential nominee, according to Crowdstrike. The security firm identified "two sophisticated adversaries on the network," noted CTO Dmitri Alperovitch, dubbed "Cozy Bear" and "Fancy Bear."
Crime Pays: Ransomware Bosses Make $90K Annually
June 14, 2016
If crime doesn't pay, Russian ransomware bosses wouldn't know it. The average Russian ransomware boss makes $90,000 a year -- or 13 times the average income for citizens in the country who stick to the "straight and narrow," according to a recent Flashpoint study. What does a ransomware honcho do for those rubles? Basically, the job calls for supporting and maintaining the malware.
Twitter Users Snared in Dark Web's Brisk Password Trade
June 10, 2016
Data stolen from more than 32 million Twitter users has been offered for sale on the dark web for 10 bitcoin, or around $5,800, LeakedSource reported Wednesday. LeakedSource has added the account and email information to its searchable repository of compromised credentials. The data set came from someone who has been connected to other large collections of compromised data.
Snowden and the NSA Gets Curiouser and Curiouser
June 8, 2016
Edward Snowden made a greater effort than originally believed to raise his concerns within the NSA before releasing thousands of classified documents detailing programs that allowed the agency to spy on U.S. citizens. The truth is more complex than the NSA let on, according to a report based on documents secured through two years of Freedom of Information Act litigation.
Hacks Highlight Zuckerberg's Cavalier Attitude Toward Security
June 7, 2016
Facebook top dog Mark Zuckerberg had several of his social media accounts breached and defaced, according to reports that surfaced Sunday. Zuckerberg's Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest memberships were hacked, but evidence of the attacks quickly disappeared. In addition to requiring passwords, Twitter and LinkedIn protect their accounts with optional two-factor authentication.
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