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Tag: cyber security

FBI Faces Enormous Hurdles in Crackdown Against Proliferation of Hackers

Data securityBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Cyber security experts are facing incredible hurdles as they try to crack down on an increasing number of hackers worldwide.

Business Insider reports that the underground market for cybercrime is thriving and includes a range of people from experts to amateurs. Complicating the effort are the myriad barriers to overcome, including extradition, when conducting global investigations.

Hackers are from all over the world, and many are sophisticated crime rings.

“We need to know that the criminal is in a territory that we can do the arrest or that we know that some of the criminal infrastructure we’re going to disrupt is in a territory that we can exercise jurisdiction,” said Ilias Chantzos, senior director of government affairs EMEA at Symantec. “Some of it will not be there and we need to accept that so often the effectiveness will be as good as it possibly can be.”

Also complicating the effort is getting enough cyber security employees. A recent report found that the FBI was struggling to fill job openings because of relatively low pay and the thorough background checks.

FBI Wants to Ban Cell Phone Encryption; Congress Shows Cluelessness

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

If the FBI had its way, security encryption would be outlawed on cell phones.

FBI Director James Comey is lobbying Congress to create a law that would require tech companies to “create a backdoor into any communications device that uses encryption,” Gizmodo reports.

Only trouble is, many Congressional members don’t know the first thing about encryption, Gizmodo wrote.

I don’t know anything about this stuff,” Rep. John Carter, chairman of the subcommittee on Homeland Security, said.

“There you have it—a man in charge of doling out billions of dollars of cybersecurity money openly admits that he knows nothing about cybersecurity. The scene would be hilarious if its implications weren’t so disturbing,” Gizmodo wrote.

 Other Stories of Interest


FBI Director Comey to Explain Why FBI Believes North Korea Was Behind Sony Attack

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Cyber-security experts have expressed skepticism about the FBI’s claims that North Korea was involved in the hacking attacks of Sony, Gizmodo reports

After days of silence, FBI Director James Comey is expected today to present the bureau’s case that North Korea was involved during a speech at the International Conference on Cyber Security at Fordham University.

The FBI also caught criticism after saying the same hackers wanted to attack a news media organization. Authorities believe that threat was a hoax.

Some cyber-security experts don’t believe there’s enough evidence to link North Korea to the attacks, and some experts have said that former Sony employees were behind the attack.

FBI Warns That Iran Is Preparing for Potential Cyber Attack on U.S. Businesses

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Federal investigators have an ever-evolving threat that John Edgar Hoover could never have anticipated – hacking.

The FBI issued a warning to businesses recently about a sophisticated Iranian hacking operation that could soon target energy firms, defense contractors and educational institutions, Reuters reports.

The operation hacked at least 50 businesses in 16 countries last week, according to cyber security firm Cylance Inc.

The firm believes the Iranian government is behind the attacks, but the FBI stopped short of making that conclusion.

Tehran has been spending a lot of money on its cyber abilities.

“They are good and have a lot of talent in the country,” said Dave Kennedy, CEO of TrustedSEC LLC. “They are definitely a serious threat, no question.”

Amber Alert Website Restored After Outrage Expressed Over Shutdown

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The federal government’s Amber Alert website was restored Monday morning after people expressed outrage.

The site, www.AmberAlert.gov, was temporarily taken offline because of the government shutdown.

“The Amber Alert system was never interrupted, but to eliminate any confusion, the informational site maintained by the Justice Department has been restored,” Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon told CNN.

While the website was taken down, the Amber Alert system was still functioning, Justice Department officials said. They said Amber Alerts were still issued, and the system was not impacted.

Keeping the website up requires bringing in furloughed employees, Fallon said.

“It’s a cyber-security risk for sites to be posted but not maintained or supervised,” Fallon said.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Gordon Snow To Head FBI’s Cyber Security Division

Gordon Snow/ fbi photo
Gordon Snow/ fbi photo
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Gordon M. Snow, a Detroit native, gets a bump up, going from deputy assistant director of the agency’s Cyber Division to assistant director of the division, which protects U.S. from cyber attacks and high tech crimes.

“The FBI considers the cyber threat against our nation to be one of the greatest concerns of the 21st century,” FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III said in a statement. “Protecting the United States against cyber crimes is one of the FBI’s highest priorities and, in fact, is the FBI’s highest criminal priority. Gordon’s broad range of investigative and leadership experience will serve the Cyber Division well as they carry out this mission.”

Snow started as an agent in 1992 Huntsville, Ala., where he investigated violent crime, drug, civil rights, public corruption, and white-collar crime.

In April 1996, he jointed the Critical Incident Response Group as a member of the Hostage Rescue Team. His assignments included “assessment, protection, and investigative support missions after the bombing of the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen, and the embassy bombings in Nairobi, Kenya.,” the FBI said.

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Virginia Official Says Feds Probing Hackers and Theft of Health Data Info and Ransom Demand

computer-photoUnless we want to see these types of attacks become even more popular, state and federal authorities  need to beef up their cyber defenses – and fast.

By Brian Krebs
Washington Post

Hackers last week broke into a Virginia state Web site used by pharmacists to track prescription drug abuse. They deleted records on more than 8 million patients and replaced the site’s homepage with a ransom note demanding $10 million for the return of the records, according to a posting on Wikileaks.org, an online clearinghouse for leaked documents.

Wikileaks reports that the Web site for the Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program was defaced last week with a message claiming that the database of prescriptions had been bundled into an encrypted, password-protected file.

Wikileaks has published a copy of the ransom note left in place of the PMP home page, a message that claims the state of Virginia would need to pay the demand in order to gain access to a password needed to unlock those records:

“I have your [expletive] In *my* possession, right now, are 8,257,378 patient records and a total of 35,548,087 prescriptions. Also, I made an encrypted backup and deleted the original. Unfortunately for Virginia, their backups seem to have gone missing, too. Uhoh :(For $10 million, I will gladly send along the password.”

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