Chinese hackers successfully breached a U.S. government network that includes personal data of federal employees and their security clearance applications. The incident took place in March and specifically targeted the Office of Personnel Management, and files included everything from financial data to medical records and other sensitive information.
It's troublesome how easily foreign hackers are able to breach networks, especially when they contain personal data. An unnamed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official didn't announce that type of data was taken in the breach, but confirmed a security issue did occur.
"The administration has never advocated that all intrusions be made public," said Caitlin Hayden, Obama Administration spokesperson. "We have advocated that business that have suffered an intrusion notify customers if the intruder had access to consumers' personal information. We have also advocated that companies and agencies voluntarily share information about intrusions."
Two people with alleged ties to the Lecpetex botnet, compromising more than 250,000 computers to help mine for bitcoins, were arrested. Lecpetex brought infected PCs into the growing botnet, and compromised machines tried to infect machines using No. 1 social media website Facebook.
Facebook officials contacted Greek police and were able to identify multiple suspects allegedly involved in running the botnet.
"Late last year, our abuse-fighting teams started to see a distinct new botnet," Facebook said in a blog post. "Based on statistics released by the Greek Police, the botnet may have infected as many as 250,000 computers. In addition, the Lecpetex authors appeared to have a good understanding of anti-virus evasion because they made continuous changes to their malware to avoid detection."
The issues related to cybersecurity among utilities companies has a unique twist that sounds like something from a hacker movie made in Hollywood. A cyberattack to compromise a utility provider and demand cash ransom in exchange for access to the networks is possible if security measures aren't improved, according to Dr. Larry Ponemon, Ponemon Institute founder.
Ransomware attacks, made up of custom malware designed to encrypt files and interrupt business operations, is a successful technique that hackers from Eastern Europe and China have deployed. If altered to breach utility networks, the same type of attack might be extremely effective.
"With the increased convergence of cyber and physical world's, attacks are no longer limited to office computers and networks," said Steve Durbin, International Security Forum Managing Director, in a statement. "They can now have physical impact in the real-world."
A new teaser for the latest "Hunger Games" movie was recently released - showing a video broadcast of President Snow, however, it's hacked and the "pirate transmission from District 13," with Beetee proclaiming the Mockingjay lives. The film will be released later this year.
Part 1 is expected to be a platform to help set up most of the action in Part 2, as extending books into multiple movies has become more common in recent years. Although "Mockingjay" is the least bloody book in the series written by Suzanne Collins, it will be curious to see what happens on the big screen.
The German government remains upset that the NSA snooped on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other government leaders, requesting the top U.S. intelligence official in Germany to leave the country. It was an unexpected move by the German government, as the CIA official works at the U.S. embassy in Berlin - as parliamentary inquiries continue in Germany.
The German government wants to speak with Snowden, but the American turned down an in-person meeting that would have taken place in Russia. Even if German investigators are unable to chat with Snowden in the near future, there are obvious political tensions between Germany and the United States at the moment.
"The representative of the U.S. intelligence services as the Embassy of the United States of America has been requested to leave Germany," said Steffen Seibert, a Germany government spokesperson, in a statement. "The Federal Government takes these incidents very seriously. It remains vital for Germany, in the interest of the security of its citizens and its forces abroad, to cooperate closely and trustfully with western partners, in particular with the USA. To do so, however, mutual trust and openness are necessary. The Federal Government continues to be ready for this and expects the same from its closest partners."
North Korea is so upset about "The Interview" that an official protest has been filed with the United Stations by government officials. The Seth Rogen and James Franco movie features the two popular actors serving as tabloid journalists eventually tasked with trying to assassinate North Korean president Kim Jong Un.
The real North Korean government wants the U.S. government to stop the film from being released, with a scheduled release date of October 14. Instead of simply ignoring the movie, North Korea is helping indirectly promote the film, even though it won't be released for another three months.
"To allow the production and distribution of such a film on the assassination of an incumbent head of a sovereign state should be regarded as the most undisguised sponsoring of terrorism as well as an act of war," said Ja Song Nam, North Korea's U.N. Ambassador, in a statement. "The United States authorities should take immediate and appropriate actions to ban the production and distribution of the aforementioned film; otherwise, it will be fully responsible for encouraging and sponsoring terrorism."
As expected, the United States and China again discussed cyberespionage talks with China, following months of tense negotiations and stalemates from both sides. Washington and Beijing have an extremely fragile political relationship, and both sides have accused one another of organized cyberespionage attacks aimed at stealing information and disrupting network traffic.
Although U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed Washington raised cyber-related topics with China, though a large amount of dialogue is still necessary. The United States still accuses China of state-led global cyberespionage attacks, while Beijing criticized the NSA for its widespread surveillance activities.
"China is making preparations to adopt greater transparency including on foreign exchange, which will accelerate the move to a more market-based exchange rate," said Jack Lew, U.S. Treasury Secretary, when speaking of the cybercrime-related talks between both sides.
The controversial Cyber Information Sharing Act (CISA) was approved by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, aimed to help the government and private companies better defend against cyberattacks. The bill received a 12-3 vote, and is the latest step forward in an evolving battle to keep networks and users safe on the Internet.
As part of CISA, the director of national intelligence will need to increase classified and unclassified cyberthreat information - and individuals and companies are authorized to roll out countermeasures to keep their own networks and consenting customers secure.
There is a large amount of concern regarding the controversial program, especially following former NSA contractor Edward Snowden disclosed organized federal government spying operations.
If you are using an Android Wear device like a smartwatch, a new update to the official Google Camera app has landed that gives your smartwatch a new feature. The Android Wear platform now has the ability to act as a remote shutter button for your smartphone camera.
With the update applied, users can tap on the watch face to take a picture with their phone. Once the screen is touched, a countdown appears. The image taken can be previewed on the watch face as well.
The update is available via Google Play right now. Users wanting to take a different route can also sideload the update to the Android device.
One of the problems that many women face with birth control today is that it can take a long time after they stop taking pills or using other devices before they can get pregnant. In the future, that problem might be alleviated using an implantable device with a microchip that can be remotely turned on and off.
This implant could be used to deliver all sorts of medications, but the first use of it is expected to be for birth control. The implanted device could be left just under the skin for up to 16 years. Inside the device, the tiny microchip has small reservoirs of drugs gated by a titanium and platinum seal.
That seal will temporarily melt when an electric current is applied allowing the drug inside the seep out into the body. The reservoirs in the small 20mm square device are large enough for a 16-year supply of the contraceptive called levonorgestrel. The device is from a MIT spin off in Massachusetts and the project is backed by the Gates Foundation as well.