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Internet of Things, Part 1: God's Gift to the NSA
February 12, 2014
The NSA's salivary glands no doubt started working overtime when it became apparent that technological advances were moving the world toward an Internet of Things -- a world where everything would be connected to everything else wirelessly or over the Web. Almost two years ago, David Petraeus, then director of the CIA, enthused that the IoT would transform surveillance techniques.
Kaspersky Details Sophisticated 'Mask' Robber Ops
February 11, 2014
Kaspersky Lab has released research findings on Careto, a malware toolkit that has hit more than 380 victims in 31 countries so far since 2007. "Careto" means "mask" in Spanish, Kaspersky notes. The word also could point to an ancient tradition incorporated into Portuguese and Brazilian Carnival festivals. Because they are so highly sophisticated, the attacks could be the work of a nation-state.
Defense Contractors Shore Up Security Post-Snowden
February 10, 2014
Defense contractors have begun to bolster their cybersecurity practices in the wake of the massive leaking of government data by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Seventy-five percent of defense contractors said the Snowden Affair had changed security procedures for their employees in a recent survey. "I'm surprised that number isn't higher," said security researcher Dodi Glenn.
Unable to Dent Wallet, France Attacks Google's Pride
February 10, 2014
France's top administrative court ruled that Google must display a notice on its French search page saying that the company was fined by a local privacy watchdog. Google plans to fight the fine, but will have to adorn its Google.fr page with the humiliating message in the meantime. In January, French privacy regulators followed through on previous threats by fining Google roughly $200,000.
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 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.
Feds' Shift to Mobile Creates Security Cracks
February 05, 2014
Federal employees quickly have become strong adherents of mobile devices. In a recent survey, 90 percent of government employees said they used at least one mobile device -- laptop, smartphone or tablet -- for work purposes. However, the enthusiasm by federal workers for the use of mobile devices has not been matched by appropriate concerns for security.
The Perils of Mobile App Insecurity
February 04, 2014
Smartphones and tablets have become ubiquitous -- and so convenient that we often download apps and approve permissions without giving them much thought. Such behavior exposes the data we store on our prized devices to increasing risk. That blind trust is just what app makers count on. Android users, especially, are complacent about synchronizing apps on multiple devices.
An SMB's Guide to PCI 3.0 Penetration Testing
February 04, 2014
By now, if you're an IT professional and you're in an organization that has PCI-DSS in your scope -- that is, you store, process or transmit credit card data -- you probably already know that an update to the standard, Version 3.0, was released late last year. With this update come a few changes to the technical measures that organizations handling credit card information must implement.
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.
Slipshod Security, Human Frailty Made @N Ripe for Plucking
January 30, 2014
GoDaddy reportedly has admitted one of its employees handed out customer information to a scammer who carried out a scheme to obtain a prime Twitter account. Naoki Hiroshima, a developer at Echofon, this week detailed how the scammer was able to force him to hand over his prime Twitter account, @N. The scammer used social engineering to accomplish his goal.
Worried Retail Shoppers Bury Heads in Sand
January 28, 2014
Consumers are getting increasingly nervous over retailers' ability to protect their personal data -- yet they are not changing their shopping habits, according to findings from an AP-GfK poll. In the wake of the Target breach, nearly half of those surveyed expressed extreme concern about their personal data while shopping in stores, and 58 percent had deep worries about online spending.
Google Buys DeepMind to Dig Deeper Into Data
January 27, 2014
News that Google is purchasing artificial intelligence company DeepMind for between $500 million and $650 million surfaced Monday. The first commercial applications of DeepMind are in simulations, e-commerce and games. "These are the areas most likely to benefit from -- and generate revenue from -- AI," aid Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.
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.
Privacy Board Urges Shutdown of 'Illegal' NSA Data Dig
January 23, 2014
The United States National Security Agency should end its controversial bulk telephone metadata collection program, recommended the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. The board's report, issued Thursday, says Section 215 of the U.S. Patriot Act, which provides the foundation for the NSA's authority, "does not provide an adequate legal basis to support the program."
With AirWatch in Tow, VMware Arrives Late to Mobile Party
January 23, 2014
VMware on Wednesday announced it is acquiring enterprise mobile management and security solutions provider AirWatch. The deal, which is expected to close later this quarter subject to the usual regulatory approvals and closing conditions, will expand VMware's reach into the mobile space. AirWatch has more than 10,000 customers worldwide and more than 1,600 employees across nine offices globally.
English Soccer Player Lobs One at Twitter
January 22, 2014
Stan Collymore, a retired soccer player from England, accused Twitter of sitting on its hands when it comes to combating abusive messages -- of which he has received many. Collymore, now a broadcaster, became a troll target after he suggested Liverpool forward Luis Suarez faked a foul -- "diving," in soccer parlance -- in a game played last Saturday.
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.

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