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This Week in Getting Hacked: The Spam King Edition

cybersecurity news
06.16.16
Chris L

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!

On to the links…


In the wake of the tragedy of the LGBT nightclub shooting in Orlando, many have been trying to help any way they can—donating blood, sending food and care packages, and attempting to enact legislation to curb continued gun violence. Hackers have been doing their own part, however, by breaching pro-ISIS Twitter accounts and spraying gay pornography and pro-LGBT messages across them. YAAAAAAAS!


Nigerian Princes beware! The “Spam King”—real name Sanford Wallace—sent out over 27 million spam messages containing links to malicious sites between 2008 and 2009 on Facebook. Now, the Spam King is headed to jail for 30 months and will have to pay a fine of $310,000 USD for impacting nearly 500,000 Facebook accounts.


Hackers stole over 45 million passwords from various sites. Just a friendly reminder to change your password from “password” to something more complicated.

45 million passwords got hacked

Photo Credit: hothardware.com (linked above)

Like, “passw0rd”.


Here’s a nice little article from Politico about the DNC hack, but there’s a little paragraph you shouldn’t skip over:

THE ENCRYPTION FIGHT IS BACK — As soon as today, the House could vote on an amendment that would block the government from mandating encryption backdoors or conducting searches of information collected under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act for information about U.S. citizens without getting a warrant first. The amendment has been adopted overwhelmingly in previous years (and then was stripped during Senate negotiations), but opponents this time around are raising the specter of the Orlando shooting.


Whatever decision the House makes, it won’t really matter, as Apple stated at their recent WWDC that all of their apps will be required to enact HTTPS for connections.

apple apps requiring https

Photo Credit: techcrunch.com (linked above)

By the end of 2016, Apple will require ATS (App Transport Security, a feature debuted in iOS 9) to be on by default. Currently, developers can switch off ATS for their app if they’d like. Hooray for security!


And finally…

Wait, I take back that “hooray for security” thing. Turns out, Facebook is going to start tracking the stores you walk into, because that’s not creepy or Big Brother-y at all. They’ll begin doing it to show advertisers that their ads are actually getting your butt into stores to buy stuff.

facebook starting to track mobile locations

Photo Credit: gizmodo.com (linked above)

Apparently, it’s great for storefront businesses to see if their advertising works, but horrible for people who don’t want to be tracked while walking into a bakery for the fourth time that day.

That’s it for this week! Stay safe out there and definitely change your passwords.

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