Doug Vitale Tech Blog

July – August 2015 News Archive

FBI: Social Engineering, Hacks Lead to Millions Lost to Wire Fraud

ThreatPost, 28 Aug 2015 – U.S. businesses are losing millions in fraudulent wire transfers that have their root in email compromises of accounts belonging to top executives. An FBI advisory issued Thursday warns businesses that regularly conduct wire transfer payments to be vigilant about potential email account compromises, related to social engineering or hacking. [More]

Passwords ‘No Longer Capable of Meeting Modern Security Demands’

Infosecurity Mag, 26 Aug 2015 – As many as 84% of people responding to a survey by mobile authentication platform provider LaunchKey would like to totally eliminate passwords in a world where a near majority have more than 10 passwords to manage. The survey also found that demands on users are exacerbated by the fact that such systems require them to change passwords frequently. [More]

Cybersecurity Market Expected To Lock Down $170 Billion, 25 Aug 2015 – The latest research from forecasts the global cybersecurity market to jump from $106.32 billion in 2015 to $170.21 billion by 2020. In North America alone, the market intelligence products and services provider predicts the cybersecurity market will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.32 percent over the period of 2014–2019. [More]

Healthcare industry badly needs a cyber security health check

Information Age, 25 Aug 2015 – After a slew of data breaches in 2014, the FBI warned the healthcare industry that cyber-criminals would be directing more attention their way in 2015. The healthcare industry, valued at $3 trillion, has become an increasingly valuable target for cyber thieves and, in some cases, a much easier target to attack due to their often less than adequate investment in cyber security. [More]

Say Hello to Google’s Kinder, Gentler Router

TechNewsWorld, 19 Aug 2015 – Google has unveiled OnHub — a router that is not only good looking but also fast, secure and easy-to-use. During setup, OnHub searches for the best channel for the fastest connection. It has a unique antenna design — 13 antennas are hidden in the unit’s body. Smart software works in the background, automatically adjusting OnHub to avoid interference and keep a network at peak performance. [More]

Hackers Post Stolen Ashley Madison Data

Wired, 18 Aug 2015 – Hackers who stole sensitive customer information from the cheating site appear to have made good on their threat to post the data online. A data dump, 9.7 gigabytes in size, was posted on Tuesday to the dark web using an Onion address accessible only through the Tor browser. [More]

Most Intel x86 Chips Have a Security Flaw

Softpedia, 10 Aug 2015 – A feature introduced in 1997 in the architecture of x86 chips can now be abused by attackers to install a firmware rootkit, make hardware modifications, or even take actions that lead to system destruction. The feature, System Management Mode (SMM), was introduced 18 years ago and works in the deepest levels of the x86 architecture, allowing any hacker that abuses it to gain access to a wide variety of further attack points. [More]

Health & Human Services hacked five times in three years

The Hill, 7 Aug 2015 – Hackers have breached at least five divisions of the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) over the last three years. That’s according to the House Energy & Commerce Committee, which on Thursday released its findings from a yearlong look into the security of HHS networks. [More]

Ransomware: the enterprise’s boogeyman

Security Intelligence, 21 Jul 2015 – Eight out of ten security leaders surveyed in the IBM 2014 CISO Assessment see the challenge posed by external threats rising to include not only financial and intellectual property theft but also ransomware. That’s because successful ransomware such as CryptoLocker and CryptoWall is now costing organizations millions globally. [More]

Hackers remotely compromise vehicles in transit

Wired, 21 Jul 2015 – Though I hadn’t touched the dashboard, the vents in the Jeep started blasting cold air at the maximum setting, chilling the sweat on my back through the in-seat climate control system. Next the radio switched to the local hip hop station and began blaring at full volume. [More]

Cybersecurity Professionals: The Government Wants You

IEEE Insight, 20 Jul 2015 – Just as the U.S. military needed soldiers at the start of World War I, now the U.S. government requires an army for a new war, one fought not with bullets and bombs but with zeros and ones. By all accounts federal, state and local government agencies needs tens of thousands of cybersecurity employees just to fill existing job slots. [More]

UCLA Health Data Breach Affects 4.5M Patients

Health IT Security, 20 Jul 2015 – UCLA Health System reported last week that it was the victim of a cyber attack, leading to a health data breach potentially compromising the information of approximately 4.5 million patients. Exposed information includes names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, medical record numbers, Medicare or health plan ID numbers, and some medical information. [More]

The 2015 Top Ten Programming Languages

IEEE Spectrum, 20 Jul 2015 – The big five — Java, C, C++, Python, and C# — remain on top, with their ranking undisturbed, but C has edged to within a whisper of knocking Java off the top spot. The big mover is R, a statistical computing language that’s handy for analyzing and visualizing big data, which comes in at sixth place. Last year it was in ninth place, and its move reflects the growing importance of big data to a number of fields. [More]

Phishing attacks targeting government agencies

CSO Online, 17 Jul 2015 – In an alert on Friday, the FBI has issued a warning about an active phishing campaign targeting various government agencies in the U.S. The alert says phishing emails in July and those from June targeted an Adobe Flash vulnerability discovered in the Hacking Team files. [More]

Watch what it takes to lay Google’s super-fast submarine Internet cable

Network World, 17 Jul 2015 – The FASTER cable linking the U.S. and Japan will have a peak capacity of 60 terabits per second when it starts operating next year. [More]

Researchers smash the fiber optic long-distance record

Tech Republic, 15 Jul 2015 – The distance record was trounced by a team of electrical engineers from the University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego). In their paper the researchers describe how they bested a different set of challenges to once again double the distance (12,000 kilometers [7,456 miles]) traveled before optical-signal regeneration is required. [More]

Ex-employees Have “Easy” Access to Corporate Data: Survey

SecurityWeek, 15 Jul 2015 – A little over half of United States-based IT leaders and a third United Kingdom-based leaders believe it would be “easy” for an ex-employee to log in and access systems or information with old passwords, Centrify found in its recent State of the Corporate Perimeter survey. Even though half of the respondents said ex-employees and contractors are “off-boarded” the day they are terminated, but it can take up to a week or more to completely remove access rights and passwords to sensitive data for those individuals. [More]

An Identity Thief Explains the Art of Emptying Your Bank Account

Bloomberg, 15 Jul 2015 – From 2007 to 2010, Naskovets was an identity thief—the voice on the phone that explained questionable purchases to banks and gave final approval for fraudulent wire transfers. He didn’t convince every agent; about a third of the time, the scam didn’t work, he says. Hang up, move on. But he was successful enough to smooth the way for more than 5,000 instances of fraud, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. [More]

Why the NSA is the Biggest Loser of the Hacking Team Incident

InsideSources, 8 Jul 2015 – This week, hackers apparently thoroughly infiltrated the Hacking Team corporate network and published internal records, invoices, and technical documents detailing the extent to which Hacking Team was consciously seeking to circumvent law and regulation. Additionally, it appears that their surveillance technology is being furiously examined by global security researchers and privacy advocates seeking direct and targeted countermeasures. [More]

Huge Increase in Cyber Security Attacks Against Federal Agencies

U.S. Government Accountability Office, 8 Jul 2015 – Threat actors use a variety of attack techniques that can adversely affect federal information, computers, software, networks, or operations, potentially resulting in the disclosure, alteration, or loss of sensitive information; destruction or disruption of critical systems; or damage to economic and national security. These concerns are further highlighted by recent incidents involving breaches of sensitive data and the sharp increase in information security incidents reported by federal agencies over the last several years, which have risen from 5,503 in fiscal year 2006 to 67,168 in fiscal year 2014. [More]

M-Disc optical media: Your data, good for a thousand years

PCWorld, 2 Jul 2015 – You’re done with optical discs as a means of data and media delivery, or soon will be. But when done right, as it has been with Millenniata’s M-Disc, optical has a particular advantage — longevity. Hard disk mechanisms fail, and the data stored on them can be erased by magnetic fields. Tape stretches and is also magnetically vulnerable. That leaves M-Disc looking pretty good in the media preservation, aka archiving role. [More]

XKEYSCORE: NSA’s Google for the World’s Private Communications

Intercept, 1 Jul 2015 – One of the National Security Agency’s most powerful tools of mass surveillance makes tracking someone’s Internet usage as easy as entering an email address, and provides no built-in technology to prevent abuse. Today, The Intercept is publishing 48 top-secret and other classified documents about XKEYSCORE dated up to 2013, which shed new light on the breadth, depth and functionality of this critical spy system — one of the largest releases yet of documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. [More]


Written by Doug Vitale

September 13, 2015 at 3:51 PM

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