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Automakers want to embrace connected technology in new vehicles, but have failed to ensure proper cybersecurity protocols are available, according to Sen. Edward Markey (D - Mass.). The Senator believes almost all connected vehicles are vulnerable to some type of security risk, according to Markey's staff.
Following a number of security-related incidents showed connected cars are vulnerable, Markey wants to know what safeguards are being put in place to keep car owners secure. The report indicated "there is a clear lack of appropriate security measures to protect drivers against hackers who may be able to take control of a vehicle or against those who may wish to collect and use personal driver information."
"Drivers have come to rely on these new technologies, but unfortunately the automakers haven't done their part to protect us from cyberattacks or privacy invasions," Sen. Markey said in a statement.
The recent breach of Anthem was a brutal wakeup call that cybercriminals want personal records, and healthcare data is near the top of their list. UnitedHealth Group, Aetna and other groups have issued cybercrime-related warnings since 2011, but it didn't seem like a major concern among members until recently.
"A name, address, social and a medical identity... that's incredibly easy to monetize fairly quickly," said Bob Gregg, CEO of ID Experts, in a statement published by Reuters. Cybersecurity experts have warned that health-related data tends to be extremely lucrative on the black market.
Organized groups will try to target healthcare providers in an effort to compromise insurance companies, hospitals, doctor's offices, and medical equipment makers - with companies urged to improve their cybersecurity protocols.
More than 60 percent of popular dating mobile apps pose significant cybersecurity risks, with personal user information and corporate data at risk.
Twenty six of 41 dating apps available for Google Android had medium or high severity vulnerabilities, according to the IBM Security researchers. In addition, dating apps are being used to download malware, along with credit card data stolen and GPS information used to track movements.
"Many consumers use and trust their mobile phones for a variety of applications," said Caleb Barlow, VP of IBM Security. "It is this trust that gives hackers the opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities like the ones we found in these dating apps. Consumers need to be careful not to reveal too much personal information on these sites as they look to build a relationship."
The introduction of smartphone kill switches by manufacturers and wireless carriers helped reduce the number of device thefts in New York City, San Francisco, and London, supporters say. Apple iPhone theft in San Francisco dropped 40 percent, reported incidents slid 25 percent in New York, and thefts in London were cut in half.
The software kill switch allows phone owners to lock lost or stolen devices, along with bricking devices so they cannot be used or sold on the black market.
"The huge drops in smartphone theft have occurred since the kill switch has been on the market are evidence that our strategy is making people safer in our cities, and across the world," said Eric Schneiderman, New York State Attorney General, in a statement.
It's not just the United States and UK launching sophisticated cyberespionage attacks against foreign government states, with China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and other nations increasingly jumping into the fun. Groups in China and Russia have been linked to major data breaches, such as Target, The Home Depot, Anthem, Sony Pictures, with future breaches expected to happen.
China is the most active country involved in launching cyberattacks, routinely targeting US infrastructure - and other lucrative targets, such as financial institutions and government departments. As witnessed by CrowdStrike, skilled Chinese hacker groups are able to adapt their strategies while avoiding detection.
The Obama administration has publicly criticized China for its cyberespionage activities, but has been unable to launch any meaningful political crackdowns.
Consumers and business users face a wide variety of different cyberattacks, and security experts are increasingly concerned about ransomware. Ransomware, a custom form of malware designed to hijack computers and work files, typically encrypt vital documents - unless a ransom is paid.
Microsoft Windows PC users face the largest threat from CryptoWall, a ransomware variation that has uncrackable encryption and uses anonymity networks to avoid detection.
Another nasty form of ransomware recently discovered is Invincea, which delivers the payload straight to system memory instead of targeting files on a hard drive. "This particular strain is new and quite harmful as it takes advantage of file-less infections that can communicate through the TOR network," said Stu Sjouwerman, CEO of KnowBe4. "We are going to continue to see more and more ransomware this year and this is just the latest innovation."
Cybersecurity incidents are going to occur, and companies should rethink their current security strategies. Instead of focusing on preventing criminals from accessing their data - which has become increasingly difficult - decision leaders should have a plan in place for when a breach finally does occur.
The median length cybercriminals have inside a compromised victim's network is 229 days, which gives them a significant amount of time to access data, find additional loopholes, and plan what information they will take. Companies often are unaware a breach has taken place, and don't have an appropriate strategy to boot the hackers and secure their networks.
Typical cybersecurity defenses need to focus on having "a description of the bad guys before they can help you find them," said Dave Merkel, CTO of FireEye, in a statement published by the San Jose Mercury News. "That's just old and outmoded. And just doesn't work anymore. There's no way to guarantee that you never are the victim of a cyberattack."
The United States publicly unveiled its Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC), a new program designed to study cyber threats facing government agencies.
The idea of increased communication between federal government agencies, law enforcement and private sector corporations seems like a wise idea - but is going to be extremely difficult. The CTIIC wants to create a first step towards that goal, with government agencies and law enforcement coordinating to discuss current cyberattack patterns.
Even though the US government is being pressured to become more proactive in the fight against cyberattacks, some have questioned if the CTIIC will be an effective tool. "In principle, having a single 'belly button' is a nice idea," said Jeff Williams, CTO and founder of Contrast Security, in a statement to NBC News. "But in reality, it's just one more agency with cybersecurity responsibility."
The main Twitter page for Newsweek was hacked by CyberCaliphate, a mysterious pro-ISIS group, with a new profile picture, main image and number of tweets posted. A series of tweets also took aim at the first lady Michelle Obama and her family, threatening them - and the FBI is now investigating the matter.
"We apologize to our readers for anything offensive that might have been sent from our account during that period, and are working to strengthen our newsroom security measures going forward," said Kira Bindrim, Managing Editor of Newsweek, in response to the data breach.
Newsweek was able to regain control of its Twitter account in 20 minutes, but the hijacked Twitter messages were tweeted and shared among the news organization's 2.51 million followers.
Popular fast casual restaurant Chipotle has issued an apology to its Twitter followers, after being hacked over the weekend. Insensitive tweets were published to more than its 634,000 followers, including racist messages aimed at President Obama - before Twitter could suspend the account. A separate tweet claimed the company would be shutting restaurants before the end of the year.
We apologize for the very offensive messages sent out from our account earlier tonight. We were unfortunately hijacked temporarily. -Joe- Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) February 8, 2015
The attack also reportedly hit the official Chipotle website, which led visitors to a different website.
"Our Twitter account was hijacked overnight for about two hours during which a series of offensive tweets was posted to the account," said Chris Arnold, communications director of Chipotle. "We apologize for the nature of the posts that were made during that time, and we are now conducting an investigation to try to determine what happened and who might have been involved."