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Hacking & Security Posts - Page 73

South Carolina data breach report to remain sealed, despite criticism

There is a political fight in South Carolina to try and release a data breach report centered on how taxpayer personal information was stolen in 2012. State democrats say taxpayers deserve to know how the data breach occurred and what has been done to prevent future incidents, while republicans argue it's just a political ploy during an election year.


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"All I know is keeping things hidden for two years is not acceptable,"said Sen. Vincent Sheheen, democratic governor candidate, in a press statement. "All I know is you either believe in open, transparent government or you don't."


As cybercriminals try to breach large amounts of records, especially taxpayer information and medical records, there is a fight to try and keep information more secure. However, Sen. Sheheen's efforts have been rejected by Republican Governor Nikki Haley's administration, along with State Law Enforcement Chief Mark Keel - and the Secret Service also has reportedly recommended keeping the report sealed.

Suspect arrested in Texas reportedly not linked to Target breach

A suspect arrested with an alleged link to the massive Target breach was a "street-level arrest" and isn't involved in the federal investigation into the data theft, according to police authorities. Guo Xing Chen, 40, reportedly used stolen debit or credit card information to make gift card purchases at Target stores in Texas, and was arrested on a felony warrant from Arkansas related to credit or debit card abuse.


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"This appears to be strictly a street level arrest that is not tied to the larger breach investigation," said a police official with knowledge of the Secret Service investigation. "These credit card numbers could have come from a variety of sources."


The massive Target breach was a disaster for the popular retailer, and the Secret Service has been investigating the incident.

Continue reading 'Suspect arrested in Texas reportedly not linked to Target breach' (full post)

Piracy websites finding lucrative market for advertisers

Website operators streaming pirated content are greatly benefiting from automated ad-buying solutions, giving them a valuable line of revenue. Piracy websites don't pay for the content they stream, so it's possible to earn profit margins from 80 percent up to 94 percent - generating upwards of $100,000 per year in advertising revenue.


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Online websites that stream pirated TV episodes and movies generated $227 million in advertising revenue, according to a MediaLink study commissioned by Digital Citizens Alliance that analyzed 596 websites. Copyright holders are desperately trying to clamp down on Internet piracy, though have found it to be a very difficult battle.


"We work diligently to protect our content so it's unfortunate that ad dollars are finding their way to illegal video sites, most likely unbeknownst to the brands involved," said Jeff Cusson, HBO spokesperson, told Wall Street Journal.

Lockheed Martin embracing open source with enhanced cybersecurity

Lockheed Martin has partnered with the Open Information Security Foundation (OISF) to embrace an open source software platform that also has enhanced intrusion detection and other cybersecurity guidelines. The system allows for fast automated cyberthreat sharing, with machine-to-machine data analytics up to 40Gb/second, according to Lockheed Martin.


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Here is what Kelley Misata, OISF VP of community research, said in a press statement: "OISF is excited to welcome Lockheed Martin into the consortium. Our collaboration is already well underway to build several very exciting new features into Suricata to ensure yet another great set of tools in the network defenders arsenal."


Trying to keep software and networks secure is a major effort - and Lockheed Martin, which works closely with the U.S. government - will have a step up on competition while trying to defend against cyberattacks.

UK Internet service providers to send 'educational' letters to pirates

British Internet service providers have reached an agreement with copyright holders, and will begin sending out "educational" letters to suspected Internet pirates. Copyright groups will kick in $1.2 million to each ISP for initial setup costs, and up to $126,000 for any required administration fees.


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As part of the deal, which has Sky, BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk onboard, they worked for years debating with the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and BPI - and several key components copyright holders wanted were left out. The groups wanted to warn users about possible legal punishment, in addition to creating a database of suspected pirates, though the ISPs didn't want either aspect as part of the Voluntary Copyright Alert Program.


The first alert letters will be sent out in 2015, with no punitive punishment - and copyright holders will likely look to try and alter the program in the future, legal experts claim.

Orange hacked again, this time 1.3 million subscribers hit

Wireless carrier and Internet company Orange was hacked and the personal data of 1.3 million subscribers was stolen, with names, email addresses and phone numbers compromised. This is the second breach Orange has suffered in just three months, with Orange warning customers of being phished. The company has informed users affected in the latest data breach, and has opened up support lines to answer any questions.


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"For the people concerned, the data recovered includes their first names and surnames," an Orange spokesperson told BBC. "In addition, depending on the information supplied, email addresses, mobile and fixed-line phone numbers, the identity of the person's Internet operator and their date of birth, were also recovered."


Orange CEO Stephane Richard said his company would try to keep data more secure following NSA spy revelations, but the company is struggling with its cybersecurity efforts.

Another plea for PC users to migrate to Windows 8.1

As security threats continue to ravage PC users and companies trying to keep data secure, there has been another plea for users to upgrade to Windows 8, this time from eMazzanti Technologies CEO, Carl Mazzanti. Even though Windows 8/8.1 remains unpopular, it's significantly more secure than other versions of Windows - much to the dismay of dissatisfied PC users.


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"The rocket ship growth of malware and spyware runs across all platforms," said Mazzanti, in a press release. "Users should upgrade to Windows 8.1 to increase security and counter the threats. Each new version of Windows has a much smaller threat landscape, with Windows 8 having one tenth the attack surface vs. Windows XP."


Even with increased security compared to older versions of Windows, Microsoft has greatly struggled to promote Windows 8/8.1. Despite harsh criticism from users, Microsoft is pushing forward with Windows 9, scheduled for release during the spring of 2015.

Lookout: 1 in 10 US smartphone owners have had devices stolen

A new survey found that 1 in 10 U.S. smartphone owners have had a device stolen, and 68 percent are willing to put themselves at risk to try and recover a stolen phone, according to Lookout. The most likely place to have a smartphone stolen: restaurant (16 percent), bar or nightclub (11 percent), work (11 percent), on public transportation (6 percent), or on the street (5 percent).


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"The reality is that 1 in 10 U.S. smartphone owners are victims of phone theft and 68 percent of those victims are unable to ever recover their device after the theft occurred," said Kevin Mahaffey, Lookout co-founder and CTO, in a press statement. "This is an issue that is bound to keep growing. While there isn't one single solution that is going to alleviate phone theft, the problem can be stifled with industry collaboration, technology, and widespread awareness for how to stay safe."


To try and combat against smartphone theft, which is a major problem throughout metropolitan areas across the country, the California Senate approved mandatory kill switch legislation. The law would only be applicable in California, but its success could lead to similar efforts in other states.

California Senate passes smartphone kill switch bill on second try

In its second attempt, California Senate Bill 962, aimed at making smartphone kill switches mandatory for devices sold in California was approved, and must now be approved by California Governor Jerry Brown. Both Microsoft and Apple reportedly pulled their opposition to the bill, and received 26 "yes" votes, with 21 needed from the 40 members of the state Senate.


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Despite opposition from a non-profit domestic violence group, along with manufacturers and wireless carriers hesitant to support kill switches, though representatives that initially didn't vote chose to support the bill this time around. The bill could help save customers $2.6 billion per year, and many leading smartphone makers and carriers already agreed to support a voluntary kill switch for new devices.


"We have a crime wave on our hands," said Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), in a statement. "We are trying to keep our constituents safe on their streets and in their neighborhoods. That's why we're here today."

German authorities want to interview Edward Snowden about NSA spying

German authorities would like to interview former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, with the government currently hosting a parliamentary inquiry into U.S. spying on German citizens. The committee also is interested to speak with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, German intelligence agency officials, and former cabinet ministers, Berlin newspapers noted.


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Merkel's administration is worried about hurting its relationship between the United States and Germany, so she won't try to bring Snowden west. It's unlikely Snowden will travel to Germany for an in-person interview, the German government will either conduct a video interview - or send delegates to Russia, where Snowden has amnesty.


Due to Snowden's disclosures, there are quite a few companies, government officials, and lawmakers interested in trying to interview him - though he's comfortably staying in Russia, working for a private sector company.

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