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The "Guardians of Peace" hacker group threatened attacks against movie theaters that will show "The Interview," but the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) hasn't found any credible threats. Police in Los Angeles and New York City said they are taking extra precautions due to the GOP statement.
"We are still analyzing the credibility of these statements, but at this time there is no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters within the United States," according to a DHS official.
If nothing else, the hacker group is causing further financial damage to Sony - as some movie theaters already promised to pull the movie.
Sony Pictures Entertainment is being sued by two former employees, being blamed for not doing enough to keep employee personal information safe. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, with the former employees seeking monetary damages and class-action status.
"Sony failed to secure its computer system, servers and databases, despite weaknesses that it has known about for years, because Sony made a business decision to accept the risk of losses associated with being hacked," according to the lawsuit.
Considering SPE was reportedly told that its network wasn't fully secure, it's not too shocking to hear they have been targeted by one lawsuit. Former employee Michael Corona worked for the company from 2004 to 2007, while Christina Mathis worked there from 2000 to 2002. Corona and Mathis both had their personal information compromised.
Millions of Internet users have changed their Internet behavior and are doing more to keep their own personal data secure from possible surveillance, according to a survey from the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). The survey revealed 64 percent of respondents have increased privacy worries over just one year ago, as the NSA, GCHQ, and other organized surveillance programs target Web users.
Following former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's leaks, 39 percent have done more to increase their privacy protections.
"But it is absolutely extraordinary that 750 million people are disturbed enough about their online privacy that they will represent to a survey-taker that they did something about it," said Bruce Schneier, a security expert, in a statement published by BBC.
The ongoing drama for Sony Pictures Entertainment took a dark turn on Tuesday, with the hacker group responsible issuing a terrorist threat when 'The Interview' hits theaters. It would seem the threat is working, as some movie theater operators are considering pulling the movie.
"We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places 'The Interview' [will] be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to," the hackers said in a statement. "Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made. The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001."
The group also recommended people stay away from theaters after the movie is released.
Google has blacklisted 11,000 domains because of a new malware campaign targeting compromised WordPress websites. It's possible that the SoakSoak campaign has hit more than 100,000 WordPress-powered websites, the Sucuri Web security company noted.
"The biggest issue is that the RevSlider plugin is a premium plugin, it's not something everyone can easily upgrade, and that in itself becomes a disaster for website owners," Sucuri noted in a blog post. "Some website owners don't even know they have it, as it's been packaged and bundled into their themes. We're currently remediating thousands of sites, and when engaging with our clients, many had no idea the plugin was even within their environment."
Sucuri has a free site scanner that will be able to determine if your WordPress website is compromised. If compromised, site operators must locate code added to wp-includes/template-loader.php and purge suspicious looking code.
Re-gifting is a common practice, especially during the Christmas holiday season, and opens consumers up to potential security problems, according to identity protection company Protect Your Bubble. Consumers need to be fully aware of potential risks when they give PCs, laptops, smartphones and tablets to a family member or friend - many users forget about email addresses and social networking sites they are auto-logged into, financial details available on the storage drive, and other personal information.
"Identity theft has received a lot of awareness in the news media over the last few years, especially around the holidays," said David Anderson, Protect Your Bubble Director of Product. "However, someone's digital and personal footprint can still be acquired any number of ways outside the cash register or Internet shopping cart."
At a time when data breaches and identity theft are continually in the headlines, remembering to disable apps, uninstall programs, and delete financial information is important.
Cybercriminals are compromising US consumers and business workers on a large scale, able to steal personal information and payment details in bulk. Home Depot was compromised and 56 million payment card numbers and 53 million email addresses were taken in a single breach alone, along with Target, Neiman Marcus, and a number of retailers also falling victim.
However, trying to make use of stolen information forces cybercriminals to act quickly - if 10,000 cards are compromised, only around 100 could cash out, with an estimated 10 cars actually working, according to Alex Holden, from Hold Security.
"Cybercriminals don't have enough resources to monetize stolen data in big volumes," said Andrew Komarov, IntelCrawler CEO, in a statement to PCWorld. "It really has a small margin, and it is pretty complicated to resell it in big amounts."
Sony Pictures Entertainment employees heard from company CEO Michael Lynton and co-chair Amy Pascal during an open town hall meeting on Monday. The company is still painfully suffering after a major data breach led to emails stolen, employee personal information leaked, and other disruptions to its business.
"This will not take us down," Lynton said during the town hall meeting in front of employees. "You should not be worried about the future of this studio."
Lynton apologized that employee personal information and medical records were stolen - and then posted online - by the cybercriminals. During the two sessions held on Monday, there were no question and answer segments for employees to ask questions to Lynton or Pascal.
Billionaire investor Mark Cuban was caught up in the data breach suffered by Sony Pictures Entertainment, as Sony Pictures Television President Steve Mosko, Cuban, and Cuban Companies attorney Robert Hart were discussing contract negotiations for "Shark Tank." Cuban was not pleased to be offered $30,000 per episode in season 5, $31,200 per episode in season 6, and $32,488 per episode in season 7.
Cuban now speaks directly with Mosko via Cyber Dust, Cuban's free texting app, providing a secure platform in which messages and photos are purged after 30 seconds. Similar to SnapChat, however, it would appear Cyber Dust messages can be captured - but indicates a growing trend among users looking for more secure communications.
"For those following the Sony hack situation, you may have seen one of my emails about my Shark Tank salary and deal emerge," Cuban recently said via Cyber Dust. "What they don't know is that I moved all the rest of my discussions to Cyber Dust! That's why there was only one email. Moral of the story is that the 'no big deal' email you send today can easily be part of tomorrow's big hack leak. No matter who you are, someone you know is getting hacked and it could impact you."
The Anonymous hacker collective and Lizard Squad aren't happy with the Swedish government for dropping The Pirate Bay, and is launching cyberattacks to compromise government officials. Hackers provided the URL and IP addresses used by the Swedish police force, inviting other hackers to target its website. Additional attacks related to the remove of The Pirate Bay are expected to continue in coming weeks from a number of different groups.
Last week, Swedish ISP Telia also suffered cyberattacks, causing online services disruptions and connectivity issues for subscribers throughout the country. Usernames and passwords of numerous Swedish government officials were posted online by Anonymous. Hackers also targeted government email addresses for representatives in Argentina, Israel, India, Mexico and Brazil.
Trying to prevent these cyberattacks proves difficult for government agencies and companies, especially with Anonymous operating as an organized, decentralized collective of skilled hackers.