All aboard the cybersecurity train! CHOOO CHOOOO! Each week we bring you the greatest and most terrifying cybersecurity and hacking-related news on the web. This is….THIS WEEK IN GETTING HACKED!
Are you on Twitter? Well, a government is FOR SURE spying on you through tweets. Notice how I said “a government” and not a specific government, and that’s because there are numerous “state-sponsored actors” that can hack your social media accounts, and now you can be notified when it happens. Twitter recently sent out a few messages to select accounts, stating that they were warned of a threat to their account security, but that no other details could be disclosed: “At this time, we have no evidence they obtained your account information, but we’re actively investigating this matter,” a letter sent to specific users was quoted as saying. This isn’t a new development, either, as both Facebook and Google have sent out similar messages in the past, warning of potential threats from those darn “state-sponsored actors”. Basically, the key is to lock down your accounts, use some two-factor authentication (if offered), and generally don’t be all loosey-goosey on the web. Tighten up your security, bro.
The House of Representatives is set to vote on a cybersecurity bill that has been a few years in the making. Taking parts from various versions over the years, the bill has drawn criticism from privacy and transparency advocates. The measure calls for companies to share data breach information with the government through an agency designated by the president—the major exclusion being the Defense Department (which includes the NSA, which as we already know, is spying on you). The big criticism is that there is not enough privacy in the data shared, as companies are urged to scrub any personal information unless it is in regards to a potential loss of life, economic disaster or other major threat, the personal info may be passed on to the agency. That vague language is what should be concerning, as the agency involved can deem whatever they want as a major threat and then they can get all the personal information they’d like. The only redeeming thing is that the further the information climbs up the ladder, the less and less personal information is shared, but again, the agency that acts as the portal for companies to give the information to can decide whether they’d like to see the personal info if it’s a “big enough threat”. The bill will be taken to vote on Friday.
The cybersecurity industry is heating up as cybersecurity firm Digital Guardian raised $66 million in new funding, totaling over $135 million for the company to date. This past year, DG bought Code Green Networks—a company specializing in data loss protection– and have begun incorporating DLP into their cybersecurity products to further mitigate the risks of a cyberattack. Digital Guardian is looking to turn their growing business into a successful IPO in 2016.
A lot of young teenagers get their first job, working at a minimum-wage part-time job just to raise some fun money for the summer or to save for college. One enterprising teenager decided not to take the traditional route and instead make one giant lump sum because slaving away over the fry machine wasn’t really for him. A 19 year-old Chinese teenager named Zhang hacked into an airline’s website, gathering the personal information of travelers, and then texting them to say that their flight had been cancelled and that they should re-book, and then stole the money from the re-booking fees once they complied. Over the whole scam, he pocketed nearly $150,000 USD which will definitely give him a really fun summer. Also, he’s probably going to go to jail, as he was arrested on November 11th. He’ll definitely be having a fun winter break, that’s for sure.
Top Chinese government officials and business executives are gathering in Wuhzen, China this week for their annual World Internet Conference along with a handful of Western tech firms, and the topic will be China’s continued prominence in Internet sovereignty. Basically, China wants to control the Internet in China and the data therein, as opposed to the open and free Internet in the US and other Western countries where information is freely spread across borders. China wants control of the Internet by the government, which not only allows for stricter censorship, but also stifles the flow of information that the Internet is built on, but they also need the help of Western technologies to do this, so they have to get on the good side of the various firms in attendance, which will be a hard sell considering what they are actually selling. The one thing they won’t be bringing up at this conference is their continual state-sponsored hacking of Western and US businesses, despite their insistence it’s not them, and despite the facts that says it kinda is them. That should be fun.
Stay safe out there! See you next week!