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Millions of users will remain on Microsoft Windows XP following the OS end of support deadline on April 8, with security experts providing input to try and keep users safe from increased security threats.
Research firm Gartner offers several steps for companies still running XP, though recommends having a plan to migrate to Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 as the most pressing step. Furthermore, user rights on XP machines should be restricted and only a select few applications should be available, with critical applications migrated to a newer platform.
"Even in organizations without Windows XP, a user that puts an unpatched Windows XP machine on the network can introduce problems," noted Michael Silver, Gartner VP and distinguished analyst, in a recent blog post.
Law enforcement agencies trying to clamp down on the vast underground market for child pornography are now attempting to find methods to track criminals down without being accused of snooping.
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and his countless cases of US and British snooping, have made companies and Internet providers "wary" of cooperating with the government, according to British politicians.
"The Snowden affair has made the industry wary of government interference," said Damian Green, British Minister of State for Police and Criminal Justice, during a recent conference. "That is why I emphasize to the industry that they should treat child abuse images as a separate case from anything else."
Former Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles has been ordered to the United States by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Stacey Jernigan, in an effort to get him appear to discuss Mt. Gox's current bankruptcy case.
Following news the bitcoin exchange lost $400 million of customers' bitcoins, the company shuttered, while customers believe the money was stolen by company officials. As Mt. Gox goes through the bankruptcy court, Judge Jernigan is curious to hear what happened to the bitcoin currency.
"If he avails himself of this court, my God, he is going to get himself over here," Judge Jernigan said.
In early March, it was discovered that Sally Beauty Store became the latest retailer to suffer a data breach, with an unknown number of customers compromised.
Shortly after, Sally Beauty said less than 25,000 customers were affected, though has more recently changed its mind and said a larger number were hit.
Although the company didn't disclose an exact number yet, it is believed to be higher than 25,000, with debit and credit card information exposed. "As we have said previously, we will not speculate on the scope of our recent data security incident until the forensic review progresses because experience with such incidents at other retailers has taught that it is difficult to ascertain the extent of a data breach incident until the required forensic review is complete."
Prior to former contractor Edward Snowden disclosing the NSA's mass surveillance efforts, many people turned to the Tor Web browser for anonymous Internet searching. However, the free and popular tool is no longer as secure, with law enforcement agencies also able to identify users they suspect of criminal activities.
"There's not a magic way to trace people [through Tor], so we typically capitalize on human error, looking for whatever clues people leave in their wake," said James Kilpatrick, Homeland Security Investigations agent, in a statement.
It was only a few years ago when law enforcement and federal agencies believed they couldn't crack Tor, but multi-agency efforts led to better data collection and social engineering patterns.
The mystery surrounding Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and its unusual disappearance has captivated the world, with cybercriminals and scammers cashing in on the tragedy. The scam email says the flight wreckage has been found and invites users to click on a link to learn more, as many email viewers are curious to learn what happened to the flight.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently issued a memo warning users to hover over links to see the URL address, don't trust friends' online tastes for liking and sharing, and report suspected scam posts.
Cybercriminals often use holidays, major events, and disasters to influence the spread of malware aimed to compromise users and steal personal information.
A new clever cryptocurrency mining malware has been located on digital video recorders (DVRs), in a continuing evolution of connected devices being targeted by security threats.
The malware actively searches for vulnerable devices, and then the exploit comes later. Researchers are still unsure how the camera DVRs are being infected with the malware, though with many home users installing custom surveillance systems at home, this could be a growing concern.
"After accessing a couple of the DVRs, we noticed that the malware was running on the
DVR itself," said Johannes Ullrich, from the SANS Technology Institution, which discovered the bug. Two pieces of malware typically ran: a customized version of minderd, the Bitcoin miner - [we] actually learned today that, in this case, it may mine Litecoin, not bitcoin - [and] a piece of software called cmd.so, which initiated the scans for Synology devices that we observed before and that led us to investigate the DVR."
Americans are still unsure what to think about former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's disclosures of widespread NSA spying, though appreciate the knowledge of such snooping activities.
In a recent poll, 33 percent of Americans believe Snowden leaking information was "the right thing to do," with 33 percent believing It was "the wrong thing to do," and 36 percent still on the fence regarding the entire situation. Interestingly, 45 percent believe Snowden should face prosecution if returned to the U.S., while 35 percent would support a full pardon.
However, more than half of those surveyed believe Americans have the right to know about the NSA surveillance programs revealed by Snowden.
Just days away from the Microsoft Windows XP end of service, to take effect on Tuesday, April 8, there are still millions of users relying on the aging operating system.
Between business computers and consumer PCs, XP market share is still 28 percent worldwide, amounting to about 300 million PCs - many of them including ATMs, electric and water, and similar critical infrastructure.
"[It's like] there's a big air bubble on the side of your tire and it's going to fail,"said Mark Bernardo, General Electric GM of automation software, when speaking to WSJ. "It's not a question of if, it's a question of when."
Microsoft and security vendors have repeatedly warned current XP users they will face significant security threats after the April 8 deadline.
The United States military is boosting its cyber capabilities as the Defense Department has almost 1,800 employees as part of its Cyber Mission Force. By the end of 2016, that staffing figure is expected to increase up to 6,000 before the end of 2016, while the US government continues to support in cyberattacks.
To try and increase the staffing level in such a short amount of time, military officials hope to recruit current military personnel - Silicon Valley cybersecurity specialists are unlikely to leave behind high-paying jobs to join the government's new programs.
"We spent a lot of time in the last two years in particular figuring out what the [recruiting] model would be,"a senior defense official recently told reporters. "Initially sometimes people will think about recruiting highly skilled people from the outside, and that is one option... but quite honestly, the way we're going to be most successful is using people within the force [including those with no cyber background] and giving them the training.