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Ransomware: To pay or not to pay

The crudely written ransom notes in movies 20-30 years ago may have been replaced by more modern, digital missives – like a texted photo a la Liam Neeson’s “Taken” – but the message remains the same: Pay up or else.   That is the quandary business owners, municipal governments, school administrators and even librarians are now…

“Cybersecurity as realpolitik”

27 nations ink cybersecurity pledge

Twenty-seven nations signed a statement today reaffirming their commitment to constructing a framework for responsible state behavior in cyberspace. The statement, Advancing Responsible State Behavior in Cyberspace, created a framework for the nations to show their continuing support for the international rules-based order, and encourage its adherence, implementation and further development, including at the ongoing…

Eight cities’ payment records impacted in Click2Gov portal breach

For the second time since 2017, the third-party government bill-payment portal Click2Gov has experienced a significant data breach affecting thousands of individuals in multiple cities across the U.S. Government entities use the Click2Gov portal to accept payments for permits, licenses, fines and utilities. Discovered by fraud intelligence experts at Gemini Advisory, this latest attack compromised…

FEMA offers free credit monitoring after mishandling disaster survivors’ data

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) last week publicly acknowledged that for roughly 10 years it unnecessarily exposed the personally identifiable information of roughly 2.5 million disaster survivors to a third-party contractor. FEMA does not believe citizens’ data was compromised due to the error, which was originally reported last month by the U.S. Department of Homeland…

Authorities arrest 281 alleged BEC scammers in ‘Operation reWired’ campaign

Law enforcement officials at home and abroad have arrested 281 individuals over a span of four months, in a massive crackdown on various business email compromise scams, the Justice Department announced yesterday. Dubbed Operation reWired, the coordinated campaign began in May 2019 and has resulted in 72 arrests in the U.S., and 167 in Nigeria,…

Facebook hosts election security meeting between tech companies, intel officials

Executives from leading technology and social media firms convened with U.S. intelligence representatives yesterday to discuss ongoing efforts to shield their platforms and users from election interference campaigns. According to Bloomberg and additional news outlets, Facebook used its Menlo Park, Calif. headquarters to host the meeting, which was attended by Google, Microsoft, Twitter and members…

Taxpayers stand strong against paying ransoms

Paying a ransom to regain access to a city’s data and systems has become increasingly common over the last few months. However, one study shows that most taxpayers are not happy when their elected officials give in to an attacker’s demand. Sixty percent of taxpayers said they are against giving in to the ransom demanded…

Google fined $170M for allegedly improper collection of kids’ data from YouTube channels

The Federal Trade Commission and New York Attorney General’s office today announced that Google and its subsidiary YouTube agreed to an unprecedented $170 million in fines for allegedly using cookies to harvest personal data from minors without parental consent and then serve behavioral ads based on this information. Such actions are in violation of the…

Report: Dutch agency recruited Iranian mole to help U.S. and Israel plant Stuxnet virus

The 2007 Stuxnet virus attack perpetrated against Iran’s then-budding nuclear program was made possible after U.S. and Israeli intelligence coordinated with Dutch intelligence agency AIVD to recruit an Iranian engineer as a mole who could infect Iran’s enrichment plant near Natanz, Yahoo News reported this week. The engineer initially provided data that helped Stuxnet’s authors…

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Report: SEC looking into First American Financial Corp.’s leaky website

First American Financial Corp. is reportedly the subject of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, following the discovery of a website defect that left 885 million documents exposed to the public. Earlier this year, the financial services company’s website was found to have allowed anyone with a web browser and a URL for a…

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