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Facebook Unfazed by $5B FTC Settlement
July 18, 2019
The Federal Trade Commission this week announced its approval of a $5 billion settlement with Facebook, ending a long-running investigation into the company's privacy practices. The commission's 3-2 vote was along party lines. The United States Department of Justice must finalize the settlement before the matter is closed. The DoJ's action will end the investigation that began early last year.
Mnuchin Sounds Alarm Over Facebook's Money-Minting Plan
July 17, 2019
The Treasury Department has "very serious concerns" about Facebook's new Libra cryptocurrency, according to Secretary Steve Mnuchin. "Libra could be misused by money launderers and terrorist financiers. Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, have been exploited to support billions of dollars of illicit activity, like cybercrime, tax evasion, extortion, ransomware, illicit drugs, human trafficking."
Isn't It Time to Buy Cyber Insurance?
July 15, 2019
Every day we read stories about data breaches and cyberattacks on business and government websites, and the resulting the loss of personally identifiable information. Cybercrime is on the rise, and given the ever-evolving methods of attack, meaningful relief and reliable measures to fend off cybercriminals are unlikely in the foreseeable future. Companies need to insure against cybertheft.
E-Commerce Startup Bolt Snags $68M to Grow Checkout Biz
July 11, 2019
E-commerce checkout platform vendor Bolt has raised $68 million to help it increase its engineering team, invest in additional enterprise functionality, partner with best-in-breed e-commerce platforms, and build and expand advanced features and functionality. Bolt's platform combines checkout, payments and fraud detection to provide a better buying experience and maximize conversions.
Zoom Flaw Turns Mac Cam into Spy Cam
July 10, 2019
A security researcher has found a flaw in the popular video conferencing app Zoom that could be used to turn on the camera on a Macintosh computer without a user's permission. The vulnerability allows any website to forcibly join a user to a Zoom call, with their video camera activated, without a user's permission, explained Jonathan Leitschuh, a senior software engineer at Gradle.
The Router's Obstacle-Strewn Route to Home IoT Security
July 10, 2019
It is newly minted conventional wisdom that not a single information security conference goes by without a presentation about the abysmal state of IoT security. While this is a boon for researchers looking to make a name for themselves, this sorry state of affairs is definitely not beneficial for anyone who owns a connected device. IoT device owners aren't the only ones fed up, though.
FBI, ICE Turn Drivers' Licenses Into Facial Recognition Gold
July 9, 2019
State motor vehicle departments have become a rich source of facial recognition data for and FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Researchers at Georgetown Law's Center on Privacy & Technology reportedly used public records requests to gather a cache of documents that show the agencies have turned state DMV databases into the foundation of a vast surveillance infrastructure.
The Threat of a Deepfake Fiasco
July 5, 2019
An AI technology called "deepfake" may be the next big threat we face as a society. Consider a recent video clip of Facebook CEO Marc Zuckerberg saying some outlandish things. You might think it is real -- but it's a deepfake. It's his image, and it sure sounds like him, but he never actually made that speech. "Can't be," you might think. "That has to be Zuckerberg talking." Wrong.
Can You Hear Me Now? Staying Connected During a Cybersecurity Incident
July 3, 2019
While good communication is pretty much universally beneficial, there are times when it's more so than others. One such time? During a cybersecurity incident. Incident responders know that communication is paramount. Even a few minutes might mean the difference between closing an issue vs. allowing a risky situation to persist longer than it needs to.
NSA Admits Improper Collection of Phone Data, 2nd Time Around
June 27, 2019
The ACLU has released documents showing the NSA improperly collected Americans' call and text logs in November 2017 and in February and October 2018. The unauthorized collections occurred just four months after the agency announced it was deleting more than 620 million call detail records acquired since 2015 under Title V of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Chinese Hackers Linked to Global Attacks on Telcos
June 26, 2019
Chinese hackers likely are responsible for a series of cyberattacks against telecommunications companies around the world, security researchers have reported. The campaign, dubbed "Operation Soft Cell," has been active since 2012, according to Cybereason. There is some evidence suggesting even earlier activity against the telecommunications providers, all of whom were outside North America.
Firefox Users Warned to Patch Critical Flaw
June 20, 2019
Firefox users should update their browsers immediately to fix a critical zero-day vulnerability. Anyone using Firefox on a Windows, macOS or Linux desktop is at risk. Mozilla issued a patch Tuesday, but the vulnerability was discovered by Samuel Groß of Google Project Zero on April 15. Mozilla's fix came after Coinbase reported exploitation of the vulnerability for targeted spearphishing attacks.
In Zuck We Trust: Facebook to Launch Own Cryptocurrency
June 19, 2019
Facebook's plans to mint its own digital coin will test the company's consumer credibility. After being savaged for months for its cavalier attitude toward users' privacy, the social network will be asking those same users to trust its new cryptocurrency. The currency, called "Libra," will be stashed in a digital wallet, the first product of new Facebook financial services subsidiary Calibra.
Instagram Targets Account Hijacking
June 18, 2019
Account hijacking has become a nettlesome problem at Instagram so it has decided to do something about it. The social media company has begun testing a simpler method for users to reclaim their compromised accounts. It allows users locked out of their hacked accounts to ask for a six-digit code to be sent to the email address or phone number originally used to open the account.
Can Brands Protect Privacy While Personalizing?
June 14, 2019
I sometimes think personalization is the best thing that happened to humankind in terms of marketing. As a consumer, I love getting suggestions on what to buy, especially when it's exactly what I need. Sometimes I feel as though I'm under constant surveillance, however, so I turn on my ad blockers, I surf in private mode, and I report ads that are not relevant to me.
Fraud Siphons Billions of Ad Cash Into Digital Hole
June 11, 2019
Fraudsters have been stealing online advertisers blind -- to the tune of $23 billion, based on a report from Cheq. Indirect economic and social costs might increase the total to $30 billion. Marketers have been wasting billions of dollars on digital ads that never reach buyers' eyes. Up to 30 percent of ads are impacted by fraud that affects 21 trillion online ads each year.
Apple Spotlights Privacy, Big Iron at WWDC
June 4, 2019
Privacy, a new muscular Mac Pro workstation, and the debut of iPadOS were topline items at Apple's WWDC keynote. During its more than two-hour presentation, Apple emphasized new features in its products aimed at protecting users' data and privacy. "At Apple, we believe privacy is a fundamental human right and we engineer it into everything we do," Craig Federighi told the enthusiastic crowd.
Stripe Offers SMBs Chargeback Fraud Relief
June 4, 2019
Payment processing company Stripe has launched Chargeback Protection, a machine learning-based system to limit the impact of fraudulent credit card transactions on merchants. A chargeback is a demand by a credit card provider for a retailer to make good on a fraudulent or disputed transaction by repaying the full purchase amount plus a chargeback fee.
The Importance of Strong Domain Security to Brand Value
June 3, 2019
Building and sustaining a brand has gotten more challenging. The global marketplace, empowered by the Internet, has delivered a raft of opportunities to businesses, but it also has opened the door for challenges. These challenges include increased competition as the result of a wider market, and increased possibilities for brand abuse. Added to that mix is the ever-present cyberthreat.
Amazon Debuts Echo Show 5: Smaller, Cheaper, More Private
May 30, 2019
Amazon has announced the Echo Show 5 and is taking preorders. This third-generation Echo Show is called the "5" because it has a 5.5-inch diagonal display. he Echo Show 5 is available in the line's standard Charcoal and Sandstone colors. It is priced at $90. New Alexa routines are available on the Echo Show 5, such as a nighttime routine that turns off the bedroom lamp and plays soothing sounds.
Cybercriminals Score Billions in Cryptocurrency Thefts
May 21, 2019
Is anyone surprised to learn that in just the first quarter of 2019 more than $1.2 billion worth of cryptocurrency was stolen? Probably not. This story follows the old line from bank robber Willie Sutton who is credited with saying that he robbed banks "because that's where the money is." So not much has changed. Cryptocurrencies are not exactly money, though, even if they do have a market value.
5 Effective Talent Retention Strategies for Security Teams
May 20, 2019
In IT, we've been hearing about the "cybersecurity skills shortage" for a few years. There is no shortage of statistics and data about it: More than 70 percent of participating organizations reported being impacted by the skills shortage, according to an ESG/ISSA research report. Likewise, more than half of the organizations surveyed for an ISACA report noted unfilled cybersecurity positions.
Zombieload, Fallout, and 2 Other CPU Flaws Have Intel on the Hop
May 16, 2019
The high-tech industry once again is in a tizzy over flaws discovered in Intel CPUs -- four new MDS vulnerabilities have come to light. MDS is a sub-class of previously disclosed vulnerabilities that sample data leaked from small structures within the CPU using a locally executed speculative execution side channel. The practical exploitation of MDS flaws is a very complex undertaking, however.
Software Bug Gives Spyware Free Rein With a Single WhatsApp Call
May 15, 2019
Many users of Facebook's WhatsApp messaging software are scrambling to patch the program in response to news of a flaw that allowed spyware to be installed on mobile phones running Android and iOS. "This new type of attack is deeply worrying and shows how even the most trusted mobile apps and platforms can be vulnerable," said Mike Campin, vice president of engineering at Wandera.
Flexa Launches Crypto-Based Payment App
May 14, 2019
Flexa has launched a new digital payment network that uses cryptocurrencies to cut processing costs, eliminate fraud and preserve users' privacy. The network uses Flexa's Spedn app to process consumer transactions at cooperating merchants. The new payment platform makes it possible to spend Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash and the Gemini dollar at any of the merchants currently accepting payments.
Baltimore Held Hostage in 2nd Ransomware Attack
May 10, 2019
Baltimore officials have admitted that the city government once again has been victimized by ransomware -- the second such attack in just over a year. City computers reportedly were infected with the RobinHood ransomware virus. Hackers told city officials that they would unlock the computers in return for payment of three bitcoins per system, or 13 bitcoins for the entire system.
Google Showcases AI, Preaches Privacy at I/O Keynote
May 8, 2019
Google showed off its chops in AI and ML, renewed its commitment to giving users greater control over their data, and introduced a new economically priced smartphone during a keynote presentation at its annual I/O conference. "They were there to hammer home the point that when it comes to AI, they are ahead of their peers," said Paul Erickson, a senior analyst at IHS Markit.
Spring Cleaning Your Network Security
May 7, 2019
Spring may be my favorite time of year. The snow is melting, the sun is shining, and the air smells just a little bit fresher. It's as though the world is setting an example for the rest of us, letting us know that it's time to start fresh. It's time for spring cleaning -- and in the security world, spring cleaning means more than just wiping down countertops and lighting a few scented candles.
The Critical Role of Artificial Intelligence in Payments Tech
May 2, 2019
Long an obsession of science fiction writers, "artificial intelligence" in the modern era of fast-paced technological innovation is a term that is as ubiquitous as it is nebulous. For the payments technology industry, however, the term describes advanced analytical technology that has an outsized potential to improve the payments ecosystem for banks, payments processors, merchants and consumers.
AI Raises the Bar for Home Network Security
May 2, 2019
Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the hacking of their devices and data as they hear about more data breaches and have their own experiences with issues such as ransomware, identity theft and botnet attacks. Concerns about data security also have been shown to increase with ownership of more connected devices. Currently, U.S. broadband households own an average of 10.4 connected devices.
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