Report: South Korea nuclear facilities targeted in cyberattack

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Dec 22, 2014 5:38 PM CST

South Korea is under cyberattack from an unknown source, as its Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. has been breached, with "non-critical" data being stolen. The country's nuclear installations and atomic reactors aren't at risk, but cybersecurity experts remain highly concerned the country's nuclear reactors could be at risk from future attacks.

"This demonstrated that, if anyone is intent with malice to infiltrate the system, it would be impossible to say with confidence that such an effort would be blocked completely," said Suh Kune-yull, from the Seoul National University, in a statement to reporters. "And a compromise of nuclear reactors' safety pretty clearly means there is a gaping hole in national security."

As organized cyberattacks from foreign states continue to launch attacks, stealing data from utility providers and other critical infrastructure remains high on the list.

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Chinese hackers aiming to compromise Afghan government website

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Dec 22, 2014 4:47 PM CST

The "Operation Poisoned Helmand" operation, as part of the "Poisoned Hurricane" campaign, is reportedly targeting visitors to Afghan government websites, according to the ThreatConnect cybersecurity company. The attacks reportedly originated from China and looks to compromise Internet users visiting gov.af websites - using corrupted JavaScript files.

"We found continued activity from Chinese specific actors that have used the Afghan government infrastructure as an attack platform," said Rich Barger, ThreatConnect CIO, in a statement to Reuters.

As the United States and NATO slowly wind down operations in Afghanistan, it looks like China wants to step up and become more active in the volatile country. This isn't the first time Afghan ministry websites have been targeted, with malware found on justice, foreign affairs, commerce, industry and education ministry websites in the past.

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Madonna is paranoid about piracy, songs still leaked online

Michael Hatamoto | Internet & Websites | Dec 22, 2014 3:33 PM CST

Madonna was forced to release six songs from her new album because 13 pre-released recordings - her entire album - were posted online. Madonna and her manager, Guy Oseary, have taken to Twitter in an effort to identify how the music, along with other data, managed to find their way to the Internet.

"We don't put things up on servers anymore," Madonna recently said in an interview with Billboard. "Everything we work on, if we work on computers, we're not on Wi-Fi, we're not on the Internet, we don't work in a way where anybody can access the information."

Despite increased security protocols Madonna tried to put in place, that doesn't mean her music was safe - it would appear it was an outside attack, as unpublished photos of Madonna were also made available at the same time "Rebel Heart," one of the songs from her album, were leaked online.

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Internet in North Korea bounced offline due to suspected DDoS

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Dec 22, 2014 2:02 PM CST

North Korea is having Internet problems, as the country - which has limited and restricted Internet access - with problems dating back a few days, though the nation's infrastructure took a severe beating over the past few days.

"Their networks are under duress," said Doug Madory, Dyn Research Internet analysis director, in a published statement. "I haven't seen such a steady beat of routing instability and outages in KP before. Usually there are isolated blips, not continuous connectivity problems. I wouldn't be surprised if they are absorbing some sort of attack presently."

Internet access in North Korea typically is reserved for government and military users, and it's unknown who is behind the attack. Internet outages wouldn't impact normal citizens of the country, but could set a dangerous precedent if the United States is responsible for the attack.

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Sony's decision to rely on Mandiant helping FireEye's stock value

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Dec 22, 2014 8:19 AM CST

Sony Pictures is working to rebuild itself following a nasty cyberattack and subsequent data breach, courtesy of the Guardians of Peace. As such, the company has chosen cybersecurity firm FireEye's Mandiant to help clean up the mess - and FireEye likely couldn't be any happier with its decision.

Following the news, FireEye's stock value has increased, because of the high-profile nature of the data breach - and the fact that Sony Pictures could have chosen a few other large, high-profile firms. On the first day of news Mandiant was chosen, FireEye's shares increased 4.8 percent up to $32.39, and should continue to receive additional stability.

Here is what The Street Ratings recently offered: "We rate FireEye a SELL. This is driven by some concerns, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its feeble growth in its earnings per share and deteriorating net income."

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Australian Rae Johnston claims Avatars are people too in TEDx talk

Chris Smith | Gaming | Dec 22, 2014 7:54 AM CST

Popular Aussie tech evangelist to the 'mainstream', gamer and cosplayer, Rae Johnston has recently been snapped up by Allure Media - she's been seen around various media entities including being on TV shows such as 'Mornings' on free-to-air offerings, alongside writing for multiple tech websites scattered around the globe.

Johnston has just completed a TEDx talk about gaming and social media in TEDx Ultimo, claiming that "Avatars Are People Too" - touching on a few points of interest and giving her own impressions on them.

Allure media services large-scale Australian websites such as Kotaku, Gizmodo and more.

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North Korea threatens the White House with retaliation

Chris Smith | Business, Politics & Money | Dec 22, 2014 6:58 AM CST

If the US sanctions North Korea for an alleged hacking attack, they have been told by the North's National Defense Commission that a retaliation shall be expected on the White House and other high-profile US targets.

US President Barrack Obama stated on Friday that "we will respond proportionately and we'll respond in a place and time and manner that we choose," once again mentioning that he believes North Korea is at fault for the large-scale Sony hacking controversy that has been happening over the last few weeks.

North Korea's NDC replied that they "are fully ready to stand in confrontation with the US in all war spaces including cyber warfare space to blow up those citadels," further commenting that "our toughest counteraction will be boldly taken against the White House, the Pentagon and the whole US mainland, the cesspool of terrorism, by far surpassing the 'symmetric counteraction' declared by Obama."

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Anonymous could release 'The Interview' for Internet users

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Dec 22, 2014 6:42 AM CST

The Anonymous hacker collective has criticized Sony Pictures for bowing down to the Guardians of Peace hacker group - and while Sony weighs its options to release "The Interview" - it appears Anonymous might be willing to do it for the company.

Anonymous released the following message (via Twitter): "You're gonna let Kim Junk Uno and his minions boss you, a multimillion dollar corporation responsible for billions of dollars in revenue? We're not with either side, we just want to watch the movie too... and soon you too will be joining us. Sorry, @sonypictures."

The hacker group also mentioned that it previously breached Sony Pictures' networks, and were surprised the company didn't work to improve its cybersecurity defenses.

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China opposes cyberattack against Sony Pictures, don't place blame

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Dec 22, 2014 6:19 AM CST

The Chinese government, which has been blamed for organizing cyberattacks against foreign interests, spoke out against the cyberattack that crippled Sony Pictures. However, the country didn't specifically call out North Korea for its likely role in the breach, which stemmed because of the government's disdain for "The Interview."

"(China) opposes any country or individual using other countries' domestic facilities to conduct cyberattacks on third-party nations," according to a statement issued by Wang Yi, the Chinese Foreign Minister, when speaking to US Secretary of State John Kerry.

North Korea and China have a strong political friendship - as one of Kim Jong Un's only foreign allies - and would be an important asset for any future cyberattacks. Pres. Obama's administration is weighing potential options to retaliate against North Korea, though China would likely strongly condemn any future actions.

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BIOSTAR implements #LAN surge protection for all new motherboards

Chris Smith | Motherboards | Dec 22, 2014 5:55 AM CST

If you're looking to add a little safety to your rig and already have a surge-protection power-board installed, Taiwanese motherboard manufacturer BIOSTAR are now offering built-in LAN surge protection for their whole product range.

They've added an integrated chip to strengthen the electrical stability of their newest motherboards, said to prevent any damage from lighting strikes and electrical surges. BIOSTAR is the first manufacturer of its kind to offer such a service, with this features official name being "SUPER LAN Surge Protection" as laid out in their recently issued press release.

All motherboard models released by BIOSTAR in 2015 and onwards will have this protection by default, set to reduce the risk of electrical surges blowing up your PC or components through random surges.

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