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Do you want to know if the GCHQ illegally spied on you? Privacy International wants to help you find out, and has the chance to do so, after dragging the UK intelligence agency into court.
The GCHQ illegally acquired millions of private communication records from the NSA, with Privacy International, Amnesty International and Bytes for All bringing the case before a UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT). As such, anyone in the world can determine if the NSA and GCHQ unlawfully shared communications - with requests for emails, phone calls and Internet communication data to be deleted.
"The public have a right to know if they were illegally spied on, and GCHQ must come clean on whose records they hold that they should never have had in the first place," said Eric King, deputy director for Privacy International. "There are few chances that people have to directly challenge the seemingly unrestrained surveillance state, but individuals now have a historic opportunity finally hold GCHQ accountable for their unlawful actions."
Mobile phones are under attack by cybercriminals, trying to steal personal data and possible financial information stored on devices. Studying information collected on cellular networks, 0.68 percent of mobile phones suffer from malware infection, according to Alcatel-Lucent.
Google Android devices - the No. 1 mobile OS across the world - make up 99 percent of the infected devices, with infection rates increasing. Adware.Uapush, Trojan.Ackposts and SMSTracker are the top three infections, commonly hidden in legitimate looking mobile applications.
"Most importantly is the fact that there is less control - you can download the apps from third-party app stores and there is very little checking of the digital signature that you sign the app with," said Kevin McNamee, director of Alcatel-Lucent's Motive Security Labs.
Cybercriminals carrying out data breaches on organizations are helping create a suddenly booming cyberattack liability insurance market.
Traditional insurance companies - and a growing number of niche cyberattack insurance providers - are overwhelmed by an avalanche of new applications. The cyberattack insurance industry reached close to $2 billion in 2014, which is double the previous year, according to industry analysts.
"Think of a massive cyberattack as an intelligent hurricane," said Ty Sagalow, COO of the eBusiness division of AIG, in a statement published by the Los Angeles Times. "If it hits a house that doesn't fall down it learns why the house didn't fall and it changes. It is a scary thing... scary things sell insurance."
North Korea isn't a cyberespionage powerhouse like Russia or China, but the country has a budding cyber warfare program that could cause major headaches for the United States and South Korea. Pyongyang is investing more resources into its cyber capabilities, evolving attack habits to be highly disruptive.
"A prime example could be if we're imagining that North Korea was under attack from South Korea, which was being supported by the US Army," said Egle Murauskaite, trainer at the US National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, in a statement to the Christian Science Monitor. "North Korea could attack satellites to disrupt communication between the US and allies and imped the US ability to reach targets."
Along with satellites, precision guided missiles largely rely on electronics, so there are fears that attacks would be able to effectively disrupt these signals.
Companies and government agencies understand the need for improved cybersecurity to help defend against attacks and insider threats. It's a confusing mix of trying to defend against outside threats, and keeping reckless and improperly trained employees from causing harm.
Fifty-three percent of federal IT professionals believe insider threats, whether from intentional threats or untrained employees, remains the largest threat, according to a report from IT software firm SolarWinds. Furthermore, 64 percent of those surveyed think insider threats can be as damaging - or more damaging - than malicious external threats posed by hackers and cyberespionage.
"Contrasting the prevalence of insider IT security threats against a general lack of threat prevention resources and inconsistently enforced security policies, federal IT pros absolutely must gain visibility into insider actions to keep their agencies protected," said Chris LaPoint, group VP of product management at SolarWinds. "However, given the unpredictability of human behavior, the 'Why?' of those actions is an elusive query."
The surging biometrics market is predicted to reach $13.8 billion in 2015, largely due to government adoption, however, there could be growing interest in the private sector, according to the ABI Research group.
The United States and European Union nations will continue to adopt biometrics, with fingerprint recognition still the leading solution. Consumer and private sector biometrics spending could outpace government spending in 2018, according to ABI, as wearables and smartphones implement enhanced security protocols.
The healthcare industry is still trying to cope with news that Anthem suffered a major data breach - and there are increased talks regarding cybersecurity technologies that can be utilized to prevent future incidents. As more companies transition to electronic health records, biometrics supporters hope that it will present a great opportunity for hardware and software adoption.
According to some security researchers at Kaspersky, a group of hackers have used tricky malware to steal at least $300 million from bankers throughout 30 countries across the world.
The hackers tricked bank staff into installing a virus, or malware, through a spoofed email, where they spied on staff to learn their behavior. From there, they were able to mimic bank staff, to learn telltale signs that money is being taken from the bank, and transferred to various accounts. The attacks did just that, transferring money to other bank accounts, but some of it is sent to ATMs where criminals are monitoring specific ATMs.
The banks that were hit are now aware of the attack, but Kaspersky cannot name the banks due to non-disclosure pacts. Some of the firms don't want to admit they were hit, as they would be looked at as victims, and that their security has failed them. As for the breaches of security, the hackers injected malware into banks in the United States, Russia, Japan and many more countries.
Companies are scrambling to defend against cyberattacks in an effort to prevent data breaches, but are struggling to find success. Cybersecurity experts warn they must realize that hackers will likely enter their systems, and have to find ways to defend attacks after unauthorized access already occurs.
Worldwide IT security spending was around $70 billion in 2014, according to Gartner research group estimates - but that figure will top $109 billion by 2020 for just banks, energy and defense contractors. Spending is going to keep increasing with the number of attacks also reaching new levels, experts warn.
"Once an attack has made it past those defenses they're in the gooey center, and getting around is relatively simple," said Ryan Wagner, director of product management at vArmour, in a statement to Reuters. "You need to make sure that when you close the door, the criminal is actually on the other side of the door."
Insurance companies and other healthcare-related businesses can expect additional cybersecurity scrutiny in the future, after Anthem suffered a major data breach.
To better fight against cyberattacks - and subsequent data breaches - companies should conduct cyber vulnerability risk assessments and penetration testing. Just a few years ago, these types of activities were seen as luxuries that very few companies engaged in, but now business leaders must look to ensure their networks are secure.
Cybercriminals are extremely opportunistic and look for any opportunity they can manipulate for their benefit:
President Barack Obama claims he supports strong computer data encryption more than many law enforcement agencies, though sided with them regarding the need to keep the public safe.
To help address the issue, Obama wants a "public conversation" to discuss encryption and security efforts.
"And so this is a public conversation that we should end up having," Obama told Re/code. "I lean probably further in the direction of strong encryption than some do inside of law enforcement. But I am sympathetic to law enforcement because I know the kind of pressure they're under to keep us safe. And it's not as black and white as it's sometimes portrayed."
The US government and police authorities want access to smartphones and tablets, using everything from fear tactics, threats, and national security claims.