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Hacking & Security Posts - Page 47

Chinese government has no plans to slow down cyberattacks

The Chinese government is improving its cyberattack and cyberspying abilities, and western nations must work to improve their own cyberdefense, according to security researchers.

 

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The risk of cyberthreats continues to expand as criminals continue to find newer and more creative ways to compromise users.

 

"Cyberthreat actors are expanding the uses of computer network exploitation to fulfill an array of objectives, from the economic to the political," according to the report. "Threat actors are not only interested in seizing the corporate crown jewels but are also looking for ways to publicize their views, cause physical destruction and influence global decision makers. Private organizations have increasingly become collateral damage in political conflicts. With no diplomatic solution in sight, the ability to detect and respond to attacks has never been more important."

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Private sector, government agencies need to share threat data

There is a growing need for the US government and private sector to improve communication and work on sharing threat and attack information.

 

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The idea isn't necessarily a new one, with the private sector pestering government agencies to become more transparent regarding cybersecurity threats - especially with sophisticated attacks stemming from Eastern Europe and China.

 

"We've been trying for three years to get the government to create a protected avenue to share information from the government down to the private sector up to the government," said Tom Ridge, former US Department of Homeland Security secretary, during a recent security conference. "We've been unsuccessful."

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Pentagon plans to hire cybersecurity specialists, boost capabilities

The United States wants to improve its Cyber Command over the next two years, and will increase security staff to more than 6,000 employees, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recently said. Both military and civilian candidates will be included, as the US government wants to improve both cybersecurity and offensive weapons that can be used to target foreign operations.

 

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The government will likely need to work with universities and private sector companies to try and find candidates - especially with so much competition for skilled cybersecurity experts.

 

"It has to do with having the skills," said Michael Daly, Raytheon cyber business CTO, in a statement to SCMagazine. "I think that when the jobs are there, the people with the skills are seeking them out and going after them. What we are seeing is a huge backlog as far as being able to hire people into these jobs. The number of security jobs have grown, but these jobs are taking a lot longer to fill."

Massive FBI facial recognition database has privacy experts worried

The FBI is quickly expanding its Next Generation Identification (NGI) biometric photo database, which could balloon up to 52 million photographs by 2015, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

 

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The NGI database had around 16 million photos midyear in 2013, with growing concern of the "non-criminal photo" portion of the program - and how the information will be stored.

 

President Obama's administration recently started a discussion regarding facial recognition privacy, though after the NSA's spying revelations, there will be a lot of criticism and concern.

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bitcoin supporter Charlie Shrem indicted for money laundering

The former vice president of the Bitcoin Foundation, Charlie Shrem, has been indicted on money laundering charges related to the now defunct Silk Road website. Shrem and federal prosecutors were trying to work out a plea deal, but negotiations came to an end.

 

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Shrem plans to plead not guilty at arraignment later this month before U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, facing up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

 

Shrem previously worked with the Bitcoin Foundation and also operated the BitInstant bitcoin exchange company - and was arrested in January. Now facing two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.

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Personal data theft jumps 11% up to 18% in just six months

About 18 percent of U.S. Internet users have suffered some type of data breach in which personal data has been stolen, and the problems are only mounting further, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center. Just six months ago, the figure stood at just 11 percent of users in the United States, with user accounts and sensitive data under continued attack.

 

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In addition to the Social Security Number, credit card and bank account information that was compromised, 21 percent of online adults also had an email or social media account also compromised.

 

The massive Target data breach suffered in 2013 accelerated the problem - and the recently disclosed Heartbleed vulnerability will only make things worse.

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Some websites finding it difficult to fix security after Heartbleed

Many websites trying to boost security due to the Heartbleed vulnerability are finding it difficult and cumbersome, recent reports indicate. If left unpatched, Internet users could find their usernames, passwords, and other sensitive information vulnerable to theft, with two-third of the world's websites vulnerable.

 

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It's important for companies and website owners to fix the vulnerability, as the NSA reportedly used Heartbleed to snoop on users - and there are warnings that cybercriminals will use the vulnerability as long as they can.

 

There are many hidden costs in trying to boost security to fix Heartbleed, which may not be appreciated until it's too late.

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Computer hacker 'Weev' computer fraud conviction overturned

Accused hacker Andrew "weev" Auernheimer was released from prison following an appeals court overturning his hacking conviction, calling for the U.S. Justice Department to dismiss identity fraud and conspiracy to violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act indictment.

 

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The Third US Circuit Court of Appeals found that weev should not have been charged in New Jersey, instead facing charges in Arkansas. After discovering a vulnerability in the AT&T website, weev and a co-defendant allegedly disclosed personal information of almost 140,000 iPad owners.

 

Although New Jersey prosecutors haven't ruled out a retrial in the case, weev's attorneys said it would be considered double jeopardy.

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Mobile phone industry still uncertain about mandatory kill switches

Around 145 million Americans currently own smartphones, according to comScore, though there is a lucrative black market for stolen phones.

 

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A recent survey found 83 percent of consumers believe a kill switch would help reduce theft, while 93 percent of those surveyed don't want an added charge for a kill switch feature.

 

"My research suggests that at least half of smartphone owners would in fact reduce their insurance coverage if the Kill Switch reduced the prevalence of cell phone theft," said Dr. William Duckworth, Creighton University Heider College of Business, in a report. "Overall, it seems clear that Americans want the Kill Switch and that an industry-wide implementation of the technology could significantly improve public safety and save consumers billions of dollars a year."

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US government warns that cybercriminals could use Heartbleed

The US government is increasingly concerned that cybercriminals will use Heartbleed to steal personal information, with the Department of Homeland Security asking corporate victims to step forward and report breaches.

 

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The OpenSSL issue involved impacts two-thirds of all websites, with many companies frantically improving security to negate the threat.

 

"While there have not been any reported attacks or malicious incidents involving this particular vulnerability at this time, it is still possible that malicious actors in cyberspace could exploit unpatched systems," said Larry Zelvin, Department of Homeland Security National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center director, in a blog post.

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