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The Home Depot suffered from a recent data breach targeting customer debit and credit card information, and the fraudulent transactions are currently taking place. Most major banks issued their customers new debit and credit cards, with JPMorgan Chase, Capital One Financial, and other companies sending out new account holders.
It appears the malware was on point-of-sale (POS) terminals from April to September, with an estimated 56 million customers affected. It's a costly proposition for banks to send out new cards, which can cost up to $5 per card to mail out. Capital One didn't say how many account holders will receive a new debit or credit card, but it's a proactive approach to keep customers safer.
There is at least one class-action lawsuit filed in Canada and another in the United States, with other legal actions expected in the future.
The Taiwanese government is investigating Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi over possible cybersecurity concerns, with a decision expected within three months. Xiaomi provides low-cost smartphones in Taiwan - but data being sent from Taiwanese customer devices to Xiaomi's Beijing headquarters has investigators worried.
Xiaomi was recently harshly criticized due to unauthorized data access, so Xiaomi provided users the chance to reject data collection.
Political tensions between the United States and China over cybersecurity-related matters have intensified as of late - but many tend to forget about the political battles between China and Taiwan.
Auction website eBay has been urged to take action against more than 100 fraudulent listings that reportedly put users at risk, tricking them to turn over personal information. Cybercriminals hijacked accounts, targeting users with 100 percent feedback over hundreds of transactions, as bank account information was requested.
eBay was hacked in May and auction website users were urged to change their passwords as soon as possible - and yet another security threat will only hamper the company further.
Lizard Squad, a hacking group, has claimed responsibility for taking down various low servers for Destiny and Call of Duty: Ghosts yesterday. The attack left some gamers unable to play the two games.
Last month, the group took credit for the DDoS attack on Sony's PlayStation network, as well as calling in a bomb threat on the president of SOE's plane, requiring it to be diverted. Players of both Destiny and Call of Duty: Ghosts took to Twitter to complain about the server outage, as it happened during peak times: the weekend.
The recent Home Depot breach has proven to be larger than retailer Target's breach late last year, with as many as 56 million credit card uses at risk. Former employees accuse the company of leaving data vulnerable, a charge that executives have denied, but there were alarm bells reportedly dating back to 2008. An estimate of the stolen data, which is becoming available online, could lead to $3 billion in illegal purchases over time.
This is a huge bungle by Home Depot," noted Jeff Macke, Yahoo Finance analyst. "It's more than an inconvenience... it's a huge, ridiculous hassle. We need an upgrade of the whole cycle."
Indeed, security experts are calling on banks to embed credit cards with microchips rather than rely on magnetic strips. Home Depot uses EMV chip-based technology for Visa and MasterCard in Europe and Canada, and plans to introduce it into the United States later in 2014.
Google said it was not hacked and a Gmail username and password list with more than 5 million accounts was harvested over time. It seems most likely that the email usernames and passwords were taken due to phishing scams and by trying to log into hacked websites, according to security experts.
"We're always monitoring for these dumps so we can respond quickly to protect our users," the Google security team said in a blog post following news of the username/password leak. "We found that less than 2% of the username and password combinations might have worked, and our automated anti-hijacking systems would have blocked many of those login attempts. We've protected the affected accounts and have required those users to reset their passwords."
Google recommends two-step verification anytime a Gmail user logs into an account from a new device or IP address. Users should also regularly change passwords and ensure they are using different passwords for their online bank accounts, email, and social networking websites.
Home Depot was recently compromised in a cyberattack that could number more victims than Target's data breach last year, but security experts warn different types of attacks were used. Home Depot was hit by FrameworkPOS, a clever piece of malware that stole data from store registers while being masked as anti-virus software.
Also, the Home Depot malware had lines of code that mentioned U.S. influence in Libya and growing support for the Ukrainian government against a growing regional conflict. It seems likely that Russian hackers were responsible for stealing the data for two purposes: to generate revenue from the stolen data, and to send a political message to the United States.
"The development of a new piece of malware is not something you take lightly - this required some engineering," said Dan Guido, Trail of Bits information security company CEO. "It's probably not the same group that (hit) Target."
There are now more than 15 million smartphones running with some type of malware, and security threats continue to emerge, according to Kindsight Security Labs, an Alcatel-Lucent company. At least sixty percent of infected phones are running Google Android, with around 40 percent of Microsoft Windows PCs accessing mobile networks making up the rest of the reported threats.
Four out of the 10 top threats facing smartphone owners is now spyware, with criminals able to monitor phone calls, text and photo images, GPS location, and Internet browsing history. However, most Android malware isn't overly sophisticated and cybercriminals are adjusting how to develop their attacks for smartphones and other mobile devices.
Even though Android and PCs running Windows make up most infected devices spotted by Kindsight Security Labs, criminals have shown greater interest in trying to compromise Apple iPhone devices. Security experts recommend users run anti-virus and anti-malware software on their phones, which offers an additional layer of protection.
Salesforce, a company specializing in enterprise CRM, warned that its customers are being targeted with the Dyreza malware designed to steal data and credentials. Specifically, Dyreza was known to target financial institutions, and aims for larger companies. Salesforce was careful to ensure its customers that this isn't a security vulnerability within its platform.
"We currently have no evidence that any of our customers have been impacted by this, and we are continuing our investigation," Salesforce said in a statement. "If we determine that a customer has been impacted by this malware, we will reach out to them with next steps and further guidance."
To counter this threat, Salesforce urged customers to deploy IP range restrictions from corporate networks and VPNs only - along with using two-factor authentication to ensure only approved users are accessing CRM databases. As more information is stored - and accessible - in the cloud, security concerns such as this incident can make it even more difficult for businesses to keep data secure.
The U.S. Army has steadily improved its Army Cyber Command abilities, and needs to double the amount of cyber-related positions in the next two years. Each cyber team is about the same size of a traditional platoon, with combat missions slightly larger. The teams consist of enlisted soldiers, NCOs, warrant officers, officers and Army civilian employees.
"These soldiers are so unique, and they're so skilled and they're so few," said Command Sgt. Major. Rodney Harris, Army Cyber Command, recently noted. "The chief of staff of the Army has asked us to focus hard on what we're doing for talent management..."
It's difficult to accurately determine what foreign militaries are doing to staff their cyber-related positions - but with select countries using their military to help launch cyberattacks - this is a major initiative for the U.S. military. As weapon systems are increasingly connected to systems that open up the possibility of cyberattacks, the military's cyber teams will be responsible for ensuring they aren't accessed by foreign enemies.