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Robert Dubuc was sentenced to 21 months in prison after pleading guilty for breaking into banks and government agencies while trying to steal $15 million. He pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy, identity theft and conspiracy to commit access device fraud earlier in the year, as one of his co-defendants, Oleg Pidtergerya, will be sentenced later this year.
The ringleaders of the cybercriminal group have been indicted but haven't been arrested, likely in the Ukraine or elsewhere in Eastern Europe. They targeted the US Department of Defense, PayPal, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, among other companies - with stolen money transferred to their bank accounts.
The US federal government wants to take a more proactive approach against cybercrime - as the attacks continue to amount - but actually locking up prolific hackers remains extremely difficult.
Consumers are going to take to the Internet and retail stores in a big way this holiday shopping season, but with numerous significant data breaches, there is concern over shopper security. For shoppers preparing to head out and visit local retailers, if you're not paying cash, then the next best thing is using a credit card if worried about security. "You're just better off by and large paying with a credit card because you have more rights and you're not out the money," said Susan Grant, Consumer Federation of America Director of Consumer Protection.
Credit card companies can cancel charges - with very little impact to consumers - while compromised debit card information often leads to major headaches. Beyond having data stolen, criminals are able to drain accounts, while also cloning the card and making ATM withdrawals. It's not uncommon for bank customers to have a hold placed on their account while an investigation is conducted, and shoppers are out their own money.
Financial intuitions are given up to 10 days before they need to refund fraud related to debit cards, and that sometimes leads to missed rent, utility bills, and other significant headaches. Retailers are under siege, and it seems cybercriminals are preparing to launch additional point of sale (POS) malware attacks, cybersecurity experts warn.
New generations of vehicles rely on technology, but as this functionality becomes even more impressive, security researchers are concerned automakers are ignoring security. Adaptive cruise control, automatic parallel parking, automatic braking, and Web-based connections appeal to drivers, but security problems could one day become a significant issue.
"There's no culture of security," said Chris Valasek, IOActive computer security consulting firm director of vehicle security researcher, during a speech at SecTor IT. "Unlike regular PCs, if your car is breached, there's a chance for physical loss and not just financial loss. Smashing your car into a pole or braking and starting a traffic jam are things that aren't easily fixed."
There haven't been reported attacks on public vehicles, but security experts have showed remote attacks ranging from unlocking vehicle doors and starting the engineer to monitoring where vehicles go.
Estonian hacker Sergei Nicolaevich Tsurikov was sentenced to 11 years in prison, for his role in a cyberattack that stole $9.4 million in 2008. Tsurikov previously pleaded guilty to his role in hacking the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, creating fake payroll debit cards, and withdrawing funds from more than 2,100 ATMs in more than 280 cities.
Tsurikov and his team were described as "one of the most sophisticated cybercrime rings in the world," according to Sally Quillian Yates, Northern District of Georgia attorney. He will also have to pay $8.4 million in restitution.
Handing down actual prison sentences against cybercriminals has been difficult, but the US federal government wants to track down - and prosecute - as many of them as they can.
A phishing email mimicking an official notice from the World Health Organization might be compromising users, with email recipients willingly tricked into opening a compromised email attachment. Several hundred organizations have reportedly received the phishing email, though it remains how many were successfully infected.
"It follows the standard, successful formula for most phishing campaigns," said Karl Sigler, Trustwave threat intelligence manager. Cybercriminals often exploit major international news stories - especially regarding natural disasters, national elections, or tragedies - and criminals know when to strike. The malware logs keystrokes, records sounds via webcam, and captures images.
Even if this initial phishing campaign was unsuccessful, with the amount of media Ebola has received, cybersecurity experts warn of future attacks. Meanwhile, WHO confirmed it does not send any type of correspondence directly to the public, only sending news releases to public health experts and journalists.
After one year of multiple high-profile data breaches targeting point of sale (POS) software used by retailers, millions of customers were at risk of potential credit card fraud. However, the retailers and banks also have endured a heavy financial burden, and this Christmas shopping season could bring a new round of cyber breaches, security experts warned.
"The threat actors are going to be burning the midnight oil trying to get credit card data going into the holiday season," said Brian Foster, chief technology of the Damballa security firm. "Retailers need to be prepared and diligent in the fourth quarter."
Target suffered a breach that led to 40 million customers having their debit and credit card data stolen, only two days before Black Friday in 2013. The BackOff malware has successfully breached more than 1,000 businesses and retailers, the Department of Homeland Security noted.
After an avalanche of retailer data breaches, leaving millions of consumers affected, many US shoppers are now receiving new credit cards with microchips. Half of merchants are expected to support new cards with microchips by the end of 2014 - in place of magnetic stripes on most cards - as chip-and-pin helps increase cybersecurity.
Chip-and-pin cards are entered into a card reader, with data encrypted using a unique security code for each transaction - cardholders required to enter a PIN number.
Walgreens has rolled out the new terminals already, while Walmart is expected to begin replacing most of them by next month. The chip-and-pin technology has been successfully implemented in Europe, despite the cost of sending new cards, along with purchasing new ATMs and payment terminals at retailers. The cards cost up to $2.50 each, with terminals typically ranging from $300 to $400, and the new generation of ATMs
Chinese electronics company Xiaomi plans to begin migrating some data of overseas customers out of Beijing-based servers, as there are concerns related to privacy concerns. The effort will see data shifted to servers located in the United States and Singapore, Xiaomi confirmed.
Here is what Xiaomi said on its official Facebook page: "Our primary goal in moving to a multi-site server architecture was to improve the performance of our services for Mi fans around the world, cut down latency and reduce failure rates. At the same time, it also better equips us to maintain high privacy standards and comply with local data protection regulations. This is a very high priority for Xiaomi as we expand into new markets over the next few years."
While Xiaomi plans to move customer data outside of China, Apple iCloud data of Chinese users is being moved to China Telecom servers located inside of the country.
The large volume of cyberattacks aimed at U.S. infrastructure, including banks and private sector companies, has finally led the U.S. Justice Department to begin showing interest in prosecuting cyberattack crimes. Assistant Attorney General John Carlin is spearheading the project, with a more realistic emphasis on cyber security efforts.
"We need to develop the capability and bandwidth to deal with what we can see as an evolving threat," Carlin recently noted. He is building a team around him able to understand the seriousness of state-sponsored cyberattacks, especially by the Chinese and Russian governments.
Instead of worrying about rogue hackers, the government wants to work to dismantle organized hacker groups that victimize US companies - and consumers, with millions of victims racked up. This is an important step by the federal government, which tried to bury its head in the sand, though that not surprisingly hasn't worked.
Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers is the latest to speak out against former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, saying the American - currently living in Russia - should be charged with murder. Rogers currently is the chairman of the House of Representatives intelligence committee, and also described Snowden as a traitor to the United States.
"The [US] government has pressed charges on Mr. Snowden," Rogers recently said. "We are treating him, as I would argue, the traitor that he is. And by the way, and this is important, I would charge him for murder."
Although Snowden isn't popular among US lawmakers, Rogers took it a step further by saying Snowden's actions will end up causing American or British casualties on the battlefield. Other politicians already said enemies are changing their strategies to avoid being noticed by US and British intelligence agencies.