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Hacking & Security Posts - Page 20

Edward Snowden won't meet with German officials in Moscow

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden rejected a request from German officials to sit down and discuss NSA spying activity targeting Germany. The U.S. government reportedly spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and several German intelligence agency officials, and former cabinet members, Snowden revealed.

 

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"The [parliamentary] investigation committee must respect Edward Snowden's decision not to make himself available as a witness, even for an informal meeting," Roderich Kiesewetter, committee lawmaker on an eight-member investigation committee, told the media. "It's surprising that Mr. Snowden doesn't want to respond to the investigation committee's questions in detail, but rather just sees his role as one of an expert with specialist knowledge."

 

It seemed unlikely that Snowden would agree to an in-person meeting, but German officials still hope to chat with him via telephone or video conference.

Continue reading 'Edward Snowden won't meet with German officials in Moscow' (full post)

Mobile app Yo was hacked, investigation currently underway

Mobile app Yo, which only allows members to say "Yo" to one another, was recently hacked, company officials confirmed. Even if users try to delete the app from their devices, user personal information is now located on the company's databases.

 

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"Some of the issues have been fixed and we are still working on the others," said Or Arbel, Yo founder, in a statement. "I cannot reveal any information about the hacks to prevent misuse of this information. We brought in a specialist security team to deal with the issues, and we are taking this very seriously."

 

Students from Georgia Tech reportedly contacted Arbel about the breach, and received a phone call in return. The students claim they can snag phone numbers and spoof Yo's from other users, along with spamming other users. Other people have reported rather lax security protocols by the mobile app, and that should now be improved by the company.

Continue reading 'Mobile app Yo was hacked, investigation currently underway' (full post)

Apple iPhone thefts dropped following kill switch implementation

The addition of the "Activation Lock" on Apple iPhone smartphones, starting with iOS 7 last year, has led to a drop in iPhone thefts and robberies, according to police reports. San Francisco police authorities saw a 38 percent drop in iPhone robberies, while London saw a 24 percent drop, police said.

 

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"The introduction of kill switches has clearly had an effect on the conduct of smartphone thieves," said Eric Schneiderman, New York Attorney General, in an interview with the New York Times. "If these can be canceled like the equivalent of canceling a credit card, these are going to be the equivalent of stealing a paperweight."

 

A new survey from Lookout found that one in 10 smartphone owners have had devices stolen, and some of the thefts are violent robberies. Smartphone theft has led to a flurry of laws created to force mandatory kill switches, however, manufacturers and wireless carriers were initially hesitant. They gave in due to rising political pressure, able to work with lawmakers and police authorities.

United States most popular target of online banking malware attacks

The United States accounted for 23 percent of online banking malware attacks during the first quarter of 2014, according to security company Trend Micro's "TrendLabs 1Q 2014 Security Roundup" report. It's not a surprise to find the U.S. is the most popular target, with a growing number of malware-related bank attacks.

 

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Joining the United States were the following countries: Japan (10 percent), India (9 percent), Brazil (7 percent), Turkey (4 percent), France, Malaysia, Mexico, Vietnam, and Australia all with three percent. Online bankers are warned to make sure they run anti-virus and anti-malware security, along with directly accessing their bank accounts - and to avoid clicking on suspicious emails.

 

Security experts struggle to keep up with the large volume of overly sophisticated attacks targeting their networks - and customers are increasingly finding themselves in the cross-hairs.

Continue reading 'United States most popular target of online banking malware attacks' (full post)

AppRiver finds password-protected Zbot malware found in the wild

Cybercriminals are spoofing emails from a legitimate company, Berkeley Futures Limited, and the Zbot malware attached is now in the wild, security researchers have discovered. The attached ZIP file is password-protected so it cannot be scanned with anti-virus or anti-malware software until the user unlocks the file.

 

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Users need to be more aware of cybersecurity issues, because an attached password in the body of the email should be an immediate red flag to Internet users. However, the cybercriminals behind it must find success if they are using the same tactic to compromise users.

 

The attachment has two files, a fake SCR spreadsheet file and a fake invoice in the form of a PDF. The file attachment is really a RAR file and not a ZIP file - a unique twist on compromising users, because many people have programs to attach ZIP files, but not everyone can open RAR files.

GCHQ boss attacks British media over Snowden leaks

Sir Iain Lobban, the chief of British spy agency GCHQ, has publicly attacked the Guardian over its role in publishing information leaked by ex-NSA agent Edward Snowden.

 

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He asserted that GCHQ and its sister agencies in British intelligence are protecting the UK "despite the best efforts of some of the media." According to the Telegraph, Lobban said at the IA14 cyber security conference: "GCHQ has some world-class intellectual property but you'll understand that even in these revelatory times we really do need major parts of that to remain secret. But we are working to share where we can, including contributing it to the open source community to encourage further development."

 

He went on to claim GCHQ's reputation - despite the role the media has played in exposing its part in the worldwide, online surveillance dragnet - is "helping UK industry." "Allies around the world want to talk to us about cyber security and they want to do business with companies that we can vouch for," he said.

Continue reading 'GCHQ boss attacks British media over Snowden leaks' (full post)

Irish court raises questions on Facebook's relationship with NSA

Ireland's high court has passed a request on to the European Court of Justice to examine Facebook's compliance with data protection rules after its alleged role in providing data to the USA's National Security Agency.

 

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Ireland's High Court has conceded it is not able to force an investigation from the country's data commissioner, which acts as watchdog to companies all across Europe. High Court Justice Gerard Hogan did say this application for review is likely to fail, as the European commission already ruled the USA has provided an "adequate level of data protection." However, the application does bring about questions on whether the EU data protection directive is in line with the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights.

 

"The critical issue which arises is whether the proper interpretation of the 1995 directive and the 2000 Commission decision should be re-evaluated in the light of the subsequent entry into force of article 8 of the EU charter," Hogan said, in a statement which appeared to suggest laws were in dire need of an update for the technology age.

Continue reading 'Irish court raises questions on Facebook's relationship with NSA' (full post)

FBI arrests 20-year-old accused member of NullCrew hacker group

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has arrested Timothy Justin French, 20, an alleged member of the NullCrew hacking group on federal hacking charges. Known online as "Orbit," French contributed to attacks against two unnamed universities and three private companies. He has been charged with conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse, a common charge when the federal governments snags hackers.

 

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French was arrested without incident and the FBI is looking for other NullCrew members to prosecute. The FBI used a confidential witness, communicating with NullCrew members on Twitter, Skype and Cryptocat as they built their case against the hackers. During the investigation, the witness learned of past hacking operations, current plans, and future targets, while learning about the group's attack strategies.

 

The NullCrew first popped up on the radar after successfully hacking the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and World Health Organization (WHO), publicly publishing usernames, passwords, and email addresses.

eBay pulls plug on Chinese-made devices with pre-installed spyware

Auction house eBay has banned the sale of smartphones from Chinese manufacturer Star, as the company's N9500 cheap Google Android-powered device ships with the Usupay.D Trojan malware pre-installed. The device tracks phone user activity and cybercriminals can remotely control and manipulate the phone, if necessary.

 

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The only app shown running on the device is the Google Play Store icon, and the malware is completely hidden. After reports showed the phone was compromised, eBay decided to pull all sales of the Star N9500, which has become popular due to its low cost and close design to the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone.

 

"The options with this spy program are nearly unlimited," said Christian Geschkat, G DATA Product Manager of Mobile Solutions, in a press statement. "Online criminals have full access to the smartphone. G DATA customers reported a detection by our security solutions and thus alerted us to this criminal tactic."

Continue reading 'eBay pulls plug on Chinese-made devices with pre-installed spyware' (full post)

Nokia paid millions in ransom to criminals preparing to release code

Major phone manufacturer Nokia suffered a data breach more than six years ago that led cybercriminals to demand a ransom of a few million dollars. Alarmingly, the criminals stumbled across the mobile Symbian operating system's encryption key, and threatened to make the source code public. Nokia quickly paid the ransom.

 

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Coordinating with the Finnish police, Nokia officials made the drop in central Finland, but authorities lost track of the criminals. It's a felony blackmail case that is years old, but police haven't said if they have new leads in the investigation.

 

Following a drop in Symbian dominance, Nokia later switched to Microsoft Windows Phone OS - and the U.S. based company purchased the Finnish handset manufacturer in early 2014 for $7.6 billion.

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