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Hacking & Security Posts - Page 76

Outgoing NSA chief General Keith Alexander calls for reform

After being exposed by former IT contractor Edward Snowden last year, the NSA has the difficult task of trying to regain trust among the American people.


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It's not impossible for the NSA and federal government to earn trust back, but without a sign of good faith, people will likely remain skeptical.


"I think we need to step back, set a framework for discussion with the American people," outgoing NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander said during a recent Senate Armed Services Committee. "This is going to be absolutely important in setting up what we can and cannot do in cyberspace to protect this country. And from my perspective, that's going to be one of the big issues that we move forward. I think a precursor to that is getting the NSA issues resolved. We have to get those resolved because, ironically, it operates in the same space."


The NSA and President Obama's administration can promise reform and future changes, but it's likely a lot of people just believe the government will cover its tracks better. In addition to leaving the NSA with egg on its face, foreign governments accused of hacking and cybercrimes have leverage to say the U.S. cannot criticize anyone else.

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Mt. Gox trying to make amends, sets up support call center for users

Bitcoin exchange service Mt. Gox plans to open up a call center to help customers as the company continues to deal with bankruptcy and 750,000 lost customer bitcoins.


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After hackers successfully compromised the company's computer network, almost $500 million of bitcoins were stolen from Mt. Gox and its customers. Mt. Gox reportedly has around $31 million in assets, but now has $63.6 million in debt.


In a recent post on the Mt. Gox official website:


"A call center has been established to respond to all inquiries. The call center is planned to start on March 3, 2014. All inquiries to MtGox Co., Ltd. should be made to the following telephone number: Telephone number: +81 3-4588-3921. Working hours: Monday to Friday (10AM to 5PM) Japan Time"

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FTC: Identity theft was top consumer complaint in 2013

In a complex world, identity theft was the biggest consumer complaint in 2013, according to a new report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In 2013 alone, the FTC received 290,016 consumer complaints regarding identity theft - capturing around 14 percent of all complaints the FTC received.


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American consumers lost around $1.6 billion due to fraud-related activities last year, with the 20-29 age group reporting the highest number of incidents.


"Americans of all ages are vulnerable to identity theft, and it remains the most common consumer complaint to the Commission," said Jessica Rich, Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a statement. "We urge consumers to visit for tips to prevent and mitigate the damage from identity theft."

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Hackers compromised to replace the word 'Russian' with 'Nazi'

Russia's news website was recently compromised, and hackers have changes multiple articles with the word 'Russian' to 'Nazi'. Currently there's tension going between the country and Ukraine as Russia decides to move its troops towards the border and planning many military exercises.


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The hack was reported at about 11 pm EST, which lead to changed in many news headlines such as 'Thousands rally again 'illegitimate govt', raise Nazi flags in eastern Ukraine' and 'up to 143,000 Nazis requested asylum in Russia in two weeks'.

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Struggling retailer Sears now dealing with a reported cyber breach

Struggling retailer Sears is the latest company to suffer a security data breach that is now being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, according to unnamed resources.


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Details regarding the reported attack haven't been released, including time of the breach or how many customers could have been affected.


"There have been rumors and reports throughout the retail industry of security incidents at various retailers and we are actively reviewing our systems to determine if we have been a victim of a breach," said Howard Riefs, Sears spokesperson, in a statement. "We have found no information based on our review of our systems to date indicating a breach."

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Security firm blames Russian government for making Uroburos malware

Security experts like to point fingers at various sources of cyberattacks and malware creation, and quite a bit of attention is focused on Russia and Eastern Europe. The most recent example comes as German security firm G Data Security blames the Russian government for creating the "Uroburos" malware.


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G Data Security blog author "MN" believes the Russian government was behind the malware due to its sophistication - Uroburos is a rootkit that has a driver and encrypted virtual file system, with the rootkit hijacking infected machines while running commands anonymously.


"According to all indications we gathered from the malware analyses and the research, we are sure of the fact that attacks carried out with Uroburos are not targeting John Doe but high profile enterprises, nation states, intelligence agencies and similar targets," the company's blog reads.

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Chinese government continues to plague U.S. with cyberattacks

During his RSA Conference 2014 keynote last week, FireEye COO Kevin Mandia again said the Chinese government is a "nation-state sponsoring intrusions into businesses in the U.S.," continuing an increasingly popular tactic used by governments.


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China is notorious for using cyberattacks to try and gain trade secrets and private information which can then be used in China. In addition to rogue hacker groups, the Chinese government has been accused of secretly paying hackers to conduct cyber surveillance of networks and servers.


Of note, the Chinese government's Unit 61398, part of the national military, has launched more than 1,000 organized cyberattacks against select Western targets, according to security firm Mandiant. Following a break in the attacks, it appears the Chinese government is again attacking US government, military, banks, and other critical infrastructure on a near-daily basis.

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Will Mac OS X Snow Leopard be the next big target for cybercriminals?

After deciding not release a security update in six months, it looks like Apple might not bother keeping its OS X Snow Leopard users secure, according to recent reports.


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The OS is only four years old, so Apple trying to retire it so seen is a bit of a surprise, though Apple might want to avoid the need of continually supporting older OSes, which Microsoft has routinely done in the past.


If Apple is truly turning its back on Snow Leopard, that means the company also is leaving behind 19 percent of current Mac users - and cybercriminals, licking their chops over the upcoming Microsoft Windows XP end of support next month - could shift attention towards Snow Leopard. Apple has done a good job of keeping its products secure, but there is still belief that Apple products are fully secure, and this overconfidence could plague home users and businesses.

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Experts warn remaining bitcoin holders to prepare for malware

The supporters of the bitcoin currency, consumers and businesses alike, need to improve their security defenses and prepare for the numerous pieces of malware aimed at stealing the digital currency, according to Dell SecureWorks.


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"The problem is that most people are unprepared," said Joe Stewart, SecureWorks director of malware research, in a statement to Computerworld. "With bitcoins and altcoins, you're essentially acting as your own bank."


There are a number of different bitcoin-stealing malware in the wild, with the specific goal of targeting login credential information to bitcoin storage and exchange accounts. In fact, more than 100 types of malware have been designed specifically with the goal of stealing digital currency and giving cybercriminals access to the unregulated currency.

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British Spy Agency considered using Microsoft Kinect for Surveillance

Edward Snowden leaked new documents which shows that a UK spy agency GCHQ considered using Microsoft Kinect camera to conduct mass surveillance on unsuspected individuals. It was revealed that GCHQ ran a program called 'Optic Nerve' which would target 1.8 million Yahoo users and mass collect their webcam images.


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According to the news report, Optic Nerve project started with a prototype in 2008 and started by using Yahoo webcam to collect images. It also contained information about GCHQ considered using Kinect for a similar form of surveillance. Though the concept never came into play, many documents indicated that Kinect camera can provide 'fairly normal webcam traffic' as a part of Optic Nerve Program.

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