Cybersecurity

July 29, 2015
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The hackers who stole data on tens of millions of U.S. insurance holders and government employees in recent months breached another big target at around the same time — United Airlines. The world’s second-largest airline detected an incursion into its computer systems in May or early June, said several people familiar with the probe. According to three of these people, investigators working with the carrier have linked the attack to a group of China-backed hackers they say are behind several... Read More
July 21, 2015
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Federal regulators want tighter controls on the export of cyber weapons, with the Commerce Department seeking to ensure that software that can attack a network—the kind that can break in, bypass encryption and steal data—can’t be shipped overseas without permission. According to human rights reports, government agencies in Bahrain, Turkmenistan, Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates have used spyware to monitor and crack down on activists. Leaders from about 40 countries, including the...

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July 15, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

The personal data for 21.5 million people was stolen in the Office of Personnel Management hack, but for national security professionals and cybersecurity experts, the more troubling issue is the theft of 1.1 million fingerprints. Unlike a Social Security number, address or password, fingerprints cannot be changed—once they are hacked, they’re hacked for good. And government officials have less understanding about what adversaries...

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July 10, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

All federal employees soon could get free credit- and identity-theft monitoring services. The Office of Personnel Management said it would propose providing the benefit to all federal workers, whether or not they were affected by breaches that together affected millions of employees, contractors and other individuals. OPM said it will “work with federal employee representatives and other stakeholders” to develop the plan. Source:...

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July 2, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

Some of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s luxury hotels have been hit by a credit card hack, according to data shared by several banks, which traced fraudulent debit and credit card charges to accounts that had been used at Trump hotels. “We have been alerted to potential suspicious credit card activity and are in the midst of a thorough investigation to determine whether it involves any of our properties,” a Trump Organization...

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July 1, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

An analysis from Vocativ has discovered that some of the information taken in the Officer of Personnel Management breach might be for sale on criminal dark net websites such as Agora, Alpha Bay and Nucleus. Vendors were charging between 50 cents and $10 per data set, Vocativ reported, meaning that if the entire trove of data went on sale, it would be worth $140 million, though only a fraction of the stolen files appear to be available...

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June 30, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

Three weeks after officials said foreign hackers may have stolen sensitive government records tied to tens of millions of people, the Office of Personnel Management has shut down a system tied to the breach, essentially stopping background checks for new federal employees, contractors and others. The Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing system “will be down for an extended period of time for security enhancements.”...

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June 29, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

Chinese hackers have penetrated some FBI agents’ personnel files in a breach with potentially dangerous national security implications. The FBI, along with the Department of Homeland Security, is not only responsible for investigating the breach of the Office of Personnel Management by suspected Chinese cyber thieves, but is principally responsible for detecting domestic terrorist plots and foreign spies. The extent of the FBI...

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June 26, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

Google has removed an extension from Chromium after privacy activists alleged that the extension allowed the tech giant to spy on users. The software uses a computer’s microphone to listen for the “OK, Google” phrase, which triggers voice searches. Open-source developers and privacy activists said Chromium was automatically downloading the “Chrome Hotword” extension, giving users no warning and making it impossible to stop the download...

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June 25, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

With 1.4 million people enrolled, California’s health insurance exchange plans to collect insurance data on prescriptions, doctor visits and hospital stays for every Obamacare patient. Covered California says the data-mining project is needed to measure the quality of care that patients get and to hold insurers and medical providers accountable. The plan raises questions about patient privacy and whether the state is doing enough to...

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