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Hacking & Security Posts - Page 44

Eight people charged with identity theft, using AT&T customer files

Eight defendants have been charged with one count of conspiracy for their role in a sophisticated identity theft fraud scheme using stolen information from AT&T. In total, there are 22 counts in the indictment, with some defendants charged with access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.

 

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One of the defendants charged, Couman Emily Syrilien, 25, from Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, worked for Interactive Response Technologies (IRT), an outsourced call center that provided sales and customer support for AT&T.

 

If convicted of the conspiracy charge, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years, while the access device fraud charge carries a 10-year max sentence, and each aggravated identity theft charge carries two years.

Continue reading 'Eight people charged with identity theft, using AT&T customer files' (full post)

North Korea wants to join in global cyberattack fun

The western world is closely watching North Korea's military ambitions, with government leaders in Pyongyang investing a large amount of research into cyberwarfare capabilities, the US government recently warned.

 

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Although not sophisticated as cyber arsenals from China or Russia, North Korea can still find partners to help foster its cyberattack capabilities. If matured further, the attacks will likely focus on South Korea, the United States and Japan, military advisors warned in the past.

 

"North Korea brings risk to the world's fastest-growing economic region, which is responsible for 25 percent of the world's [gross domestic product] and home to our largest trading partners," said Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, in a Department of Defense press release. "Against this real threat, our nation is committed to the security of South Korea and to our national interests."

Continue reading 'North Korea wants to join in global cyberattack fun' (full post)

Edward Snowden data disclosures hurt trust in companies, government

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden stirred an international debate about privacy rights, with 80 percent of those polled recently saying Congress should reign in NSA snooping, according to a new Harris Interactive survey.

 

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However, over half also said the NSA-related snooping helps reduce the likelihood of terrorism, while believing Internet companies should cooperate with the US government. Ironically, two out of three respondents said ISPs betrayed them while working with the NSA secretly, as a growing number of users aren't trusting of ISPs and other major tech companies.

 

"People clearly are thinking more about the relationship between privacy and security," said Stephen Cobb, Eset Senior Security Research, in a statement. "What the Snowden revelations have done is to surface the unresolved tension over this issue. People would like, on the one hand, to think the surveillance is necessary. But there is push back against unnecessary surveillance."

Continue reading 'Edward Snowden data disclosures hurt trust in companies, government' (full post)

KnowBe4: Ransomware threats goes beyond just Cryptolocker

Ransomware is becoming a major business for cybercriminals, and users can expect sophisticated attacks that go beyond just Cryptolocker, according to Web security company KnowBe4.

 

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Cybercriminals are developing next-generation malware designed to infect users and steal information, or hijack the computer with ransom demands to unlock affected machines.

 

"There is furious competition between cybergangs," said Stu Sjouwerman, KnowBe4 CEO, in a press statement. "They did their test-marketing in countries like the UK, Canada and Australia and are now targeting the US. CryptoDefense doesn't seem to be a derivative of CryptoLocker as the code is completely different, confirming this is a competing criminal gang."

Continue reading 'KnowBe4: Ransomware threats goes beyond just Cryptolocker' (full post)

EFF urges websites to use HSTS protocol to be more secure

Not enough websites and Internet browsers utilize the HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) policy to keep Internet users secure, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

 

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HSTS forces encryption by opening HTTPS sessions instead of just HTTP, so information to and from the website is encrypted. Using HSTS, websites never allow Internet users to interact with an HTTP session, with everything automatically converted.

 

The EFF believes not enough web developers know about HSTS, while browser support has also only increased slowly but surely. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera have long-supported HSTS, while Microsoft said it will use the Web standard with Internet Explorer 12.

Continue reading 'EFF urges websites to use HSTS protocol to be more secure' (full post)

Banks must work to mitigate against DDoS attacks, new rule orders

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) recently released a security notice of required steps that must be followed by banks and financial institutions operating in the United States. All banks under federal government regulation have to beef up security and pay attention to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks which plague bank servers.

 

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Specifically, these companies need to try and mitigate DDoS attacks to the best of their ability, to keep subscribers more secure.

 

"In the latter half of 2012, an increased number of DDoS attacks were launched against financial institutions by politically motivated groups," according to the FFIEC statement. "These DDoS attacks continued periodically and increased in sophistication and intensity. These attacks caused slow website response times, intermittently prevented customers from accessing institutions' public websites, and adversely affected back-office operations."

Continue reading 'Banks must work to mitigate against DDoS attacks, new rule orders' (full post)

One-third of phishing attacks aimed at financial institutions

One-third of all phishing attacks launched in 2013 targeted global financial institutions, and the attempts are getting even better, according to security company Kaspersky Lab.

 

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Customer information is a valuable commodity to cybercriminals, with the ability to steal identities, transfer money from accounts, and financially ruin victims. Cybercriminals enjoy using the brand names and logos of well-known companies, making it easier to lure users into clicking fraudulent links.

 

"Phishing attacks are so popular because they are simple to deploy and extremely effective," said Sergey Lozhkin, Kaspersky Lab Senior Security Researcher, in a press statement. "It is often not easy for even advanced Internet users to distinguish a well-designed fraudulent site from a legitimate page, which makes it even more important to install a specialized protection solution."

Continue reading 'One-third of phishing attacks aimed at financial institutions' (full post)

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern says Edward Snowden is no traitor

Former CIA intelligence analyst Ray McGovern believes Edward Snowden isn't a traitor to the United States, nor is he a hero.

 

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McGovern discussed how Snowden didn't appreciate a "clear violation of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution," which is one of the reasons the data disclosures were made public. Also, the former CIA analyst noted that National Intelligence Director James Clapper didn't face punishment for lying under oath in front of Congress.

 

"He's a patriot," McGovern recently said during a speech at Missouri Southern State University. "He took his oath seriously. He took the Constitution seriously."

Continue reading 'Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern says Edward Snowden is no traitor' (full post)

Music copyright holders sue Russian social networking site for piracy

The top social media network in Russia is now being sued by Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music, with vKontakte accused of "deliberately facilitating piracy on a large scale."

 

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Each of the top three music labels filed individual suits against vKontakte, spearheaded by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). In 2012, the social media site made $172 million in advertising revenue, but didn't pay the IFPI for copyrighted music shared through the site.

 

vKontakte says it allows copyright holders to submit removal requests of any content that violates copyright rules, but IFPI officials noted the process is too cumbersome. Both the US government and copyright holders have believed vKontakte provides large-scale music piracy - originally launched in 2006, vKontakte has 143 million global users, and 88 million Russian members.

Continue reading 'Music copyright holders sue Russian social networking site for piracy' (full post)

Power plants, oil refineries face lingering security problems

Security bugs in software could leave power plants, oil refineries, and similar infrastructure vulnerable to cyberattacks from foreign-based hackers, according to recent research.

 

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To make matters worse, around 7,600 plants worldwide have software that a cybercriminals with the "lowest skill in hacking" could still be successful. The Yokogawa Centum CS 3000, released in 1998 and designed for Microsoft Windows 98, while companies need to evaluate if they should make immediate software improvements.

 

"We went from zero to total compromise," said Juan Vazquez, security researcher with Rapid7, told BBC. "If you are able to exploit the vulnerabilities we have identified you get control of the Human Interface Station. That's where the operator sits or stand and monitors operation details. If you have control of that station as an attacker you have the same level of control as someone standing on the plant floor wearing a security badget."

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