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Cyber Security News of the Week, March 16, 2014
by Fred F. Farkel, Monday, March 17th, 2014


Guest column by Citadel Information Group

Cyber Crime

Missed Alarms and 40 Million Stolen Credit Card Numbers: How Target Blew It: The biggest retail hack in U.S. history wasn’t particularly inventive, nor did it appear destined for success. In the days prior to Thanksgiving 2013, someone installed malware in Target’s (TGT) security and payments system designed to steal every credit card used at the company’s 1,797 U.S. stores. At the critical moment—when the Christmas gifts had been scanned and bagged and the cashier asked for a swipe—the malware would step in, capture the shopper’s credit card number, and store it on a Target server commandeered by the hackers. BusinessWeek, March 13, 2014 Probes Possible Card Breach: For the second time since Aug. 2013, online retailer has hired a computer forensics team after being notified by Discover about a potential breach of customer card data, KrebsOnSecurity has learned. KrebsOnSecurity, March 12, 2014

Cyber Privacy

NSA’s plans reportedly involve infecting millions of computers with surveillance malware: The U.S. National Security Agency has reportedly been working for the past several years on expanding its ability to infect computers with surveillance malware and creating a command-and-control infrastructure capable of managing millions of compromised systems at a time. PCWorld, March 12, 2014

Snowden Tries to Rally Tech Conference to Buttress Privacy Shields: AUSTIN, Tex. — Edward J. Snowden wants the technology industry to get serious about protecting the privacy of its users and customers. The New York Times, March 10, 2014

Identity Theft

Experian Lapse Allowed ID Theft Service Access to 200 Million Consumer Records: In October 2013, KrebsOnSecurity published an exclusive story detailing how a Vietnamese man running an online identity theft service bought personal and financial records on Americans directly from a company owned by Experian, one of the three major U.S. credit bureaus. Today’s story looks deeper at the damage wrought in this colossal misstep by one of the nation’s largest data brokers. KrebsOnSecurity, March 10, 2014

Financial Fraud

Report: Cybercriminals Bank Nearly $4 Billion On Tax Fraud: Attackers collect almost $4 billion by filing fraudulent tax returns, stealing taxpayer identities, ThreatMetrix report says. DarkReading, March 11, 2014

Cyber Warning

Experts warn of coming wave of serious cybercrime: The rash of attacks against Target and other top retailers is likely to be the leading edge of a wave of serious cybercrime, as hackers become increasingly skilled at breaching the nation’s antiquated payment systems, experts say. The Washington Post, February 9, 2014

Cyber Secrity Management – Cyber Update

Adobe, Microsoft Push Security Updates: Adobe and Microsoft today each released software updates to fix serious security flaws in their products. Adobe pushed an update that plugs a pair of holes in its Flash Player software. Microsoft issued five updates, including one that addresses a zero-day vulnerability in Internet Explorer that attackers have been exploiting of late. KrebsOnSecurity, March 11, 2014

APPLE IOS 7.1 FIXES MORE THAN 20 CODE-EXECUTION FLAWS: Apple has fixed a slew of vulnerabilities that could lead to code execution on the iPhone, along with a number of other security vulnerabilities in the latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 7.1. The new release comes just a little more than two weeks after Apple released iOS 7.06 to fix the SSL certificate validation error. ThreatPost, March 11, 2014

Cyber Security Management – Cyber Defense

Blogs of War: Don’t Be Cannon Fodder: On Wednesday, KrebsOnSecurity was hit with a fairly large attack which leveraged a feature in more than 42,000 blogs running the popular WordPress content management system (this blog runs on WordPress). This post is an effort to spread the word to other WordPress users to ensure their blogs aren’t used in attacks going forward. KrebsOnSecurity, March 13, 2014

Securing the Village

Financial Networks Increase Collaboration To Improve Information Security: One of the types of business networks that we have previously described on this blog is Financial networks. The nodes in these networks are central and commercial banks, businesses and not-for-profit organizations, individuals and machines. Essentially, financial networks exist to move printed currency and financial instruments, as well as digital equivalents, between those nodes. Forbes, March 10, 2014


ISSA-LA Sixth Annual Information Security Summit on Cybercrime Solutions: Cybersecurity Expert Richard A. Clarke and Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey to Keynote as well as other numerous prominent information security experts and representatives from law enforcement. PRWeb, March 12, 2014

Tevora to Sponsor the Sixth Annual ISSA Los Angeles Security Summit: Tevora is proud to announce its silver sponsorship of the Sixth Annual ISSA Los Angeles Security Summit at the Universal City Hilton, on Friday, May 16, 2014 from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm. The Information Systems Security Association (ISSA)® is a not-for-profit, international organization of information security professionals and practitioners. It provides educational forums, publications, and peer interaction opportunities that enhance the knowledge, skill, and professional growth of its members. The Information Security Summit is the most renowned event hosted by the local ISSA chapter. For more information please visit:, February 12, 2014

National Cyber Security

Feinstein: CIA searched Intelligence Committee computers: A behind-the-scenes battle between the CIA and Congress erupted in public Tuesday as the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee accused the agency of breaking laws and breaching constitutional principles in an alleged effort to undermine the panel’s multi-year investigation of a controversial interrogation program. The Washington Post, March 11, 2014

NSA misguided, Edward Snowden says: WASHINGTON — America’s spy agencies are so focused on ‘‘mass surveillance’’ that they have missed clues about terrorism, such as last year’s Boston Marathon bombing and an attempted attack on a jetliner on Christmas in 2009, former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden said Monday. Boston Globe, March 11, 2014

‘What does ISP mean?’ – how government officials are flunking security challenges: Policy on national security and protection is in the hands of people without critical technological understanding, warns cybersecurity expert. The Guardian, March 8, 2014

Cyber Underworld

McAfee warns of ‘Cybercrime-as-a-Service’ as hackers settle in the ‘Dark Web’: Cybercriminals are settling into a comfortable place in the “Dark Web” where they test, refine and distribute malware for online thievery. RawStory, March 10, 2014

New crimeware tool Dendroid makes it easier to create Android malware, researchers warn: A new commercial tool designed to allow cybercriminals to easily transform legitimate Android applications into malicious software has hit the underground market, paving the way for cheap and easy development of sophisticated Android malware. PC World, March 6, 2014

Chinese Government Hacking, One Year Later: A year after first issuing his landmark report titled, ‘APT1: Exposing One of China’s Cyber Espionage Units’, Kevin Mandia gave an update on the report’s aftermath. eSecurity Planet, March 3, 2014

Cyber Misc

Hackers Hit Mt. Gox Exchange’s CEO, Claim To Publish Evidence Of Fraud: The Bitcoin community has been angrily pressing for details on what the Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox has described as a massive hacker attack that stole hundreds of millions of dollars worth of its users’ bitcoins and left the company bankrupt. Mt. Gox’s staff isn’t talking. So another group of hackers say they’ve broken into the company’s servers to provide answers of their own. Forbes, March 9, 2014

Stop Glorifying Hackers: I WAS at the Museum of Modern Art in New York not long ago, soaking in Edward Hopper’s retro downer mystique, when I got a call that opened up brave new all-night-diners of doom and gloom. The New York Times, March 8, 2014

Cyber Calander

ISSA-LA Sixth Annual Information Security Summit, May 16, Universal City Hilton. Speakers include Richard Clarke, former Assistant to the President; Jackie Lacey, Los Angeles County District Attorney; Roland Cloutier, CSO of ADP. For more information and to register, visit ISSA-LA.

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