The United States House of Representatives has voted to pass the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), talk of which has swept the Internet over the past few weeks. The House vote was moved up to Thursday night, and CISPA passed as 248 members of Congress voted for the bill and 168 voted against. The bill is sponsored by Representatives Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Maryland), and it now faces further modifications in the Senate if it is to avoid being vetoed by the White House. President Barack Obama has indicated that he intends to veto the bill if it makes it to his desk, noting that as it is written now, the legislation would allow “broad sharing of information with governmental entities without establishing requirements for both industry and the government to minimize and protect personally identifiable information.” The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement following the vote. “Cybersecurity does not have to mean abdication of Americans’ online privacy,” said ACLU legislative counsel Michelle Richardson. “As we’ve seen repeatedly, once the government gets expansive national security authorities, there’s no going back. We encourage the Senate to let this horrible bill fade into obscurity.” More →
The controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which is supported by more than 100 members of the House of Representatives, is scheduled to be discussed in Congress on Friday, where it will be the first bill to go to a vote since the collapse of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in January. The bill looks to give businesses and the federal government legal protection to share cyber threats with one another in an effort to prevent online attacks. Internet privacy and neutrality advocates, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, feel the bill does not contain enough limits on how and when the government may monitor private information, however, and they fear that such power may be used to locate and punish file sharers and those who infringe on copyrights rather than hackers. More →
Security firm Trusteer warned this week of a trojan that is capable of stealing an individual’s credit card information from hotels. The firm’s intelligence team discovered the remote access trojan being sold on underground forums for $280. The malware is designed to capture screenshots from point-of-sale applications that access credit card numbers and expiration dates. These systems are located on front-desk computers at hotels, and they are often unmanaged and do not contain anti-virus protections software that would stop a trojan of this type. The malware’s creators also include instructions on how to use VoIP-based social engineering to trick front-desk clerks into installing the trojan. More →
Following a massive security breach, Visa has dropped Global Payments from its registry of providers that meet data security standards, The Associated Press reported on Monday. Global Payments CEO Paul Garcia said that the company will continue to process Visa transactions, however being dropped from the registry “could give our partners some pause that they’re doing business with someone who experienced a breach.” Garcia fully expects his company to be reinstated once it has been issued a new report of compliance, although he declined to specify when that might happen. The CEO maintains that the situation is “absolutely contained” and is being fully investigated. Global Payments confirmed on Sunday that hackers stole credit card numbers belonging to as many as 1.5 million MasterCard and Visa customers, however cardholder names, addresses and Social Security numbers were not compromised. The company plans to set up a website to assist consumers who might have been affected by the breach. More →
Hackers stole credit card numbers belonging to as many as 1.5 million MasterCard and Visa customers, Global Payments, Inc. confirmed on Sunday. The international credit card processor was blocked by Visa after it reported the possibility of a major security breach on Friday. The company did not indicate how the hackers gained access to its system or who might be responsible for the attack. “Based on the forensic analysis to date, network monitoring and additional security measures, the company believes that this incident is contained,” the firm told The Wall Street Journal while noting that cardholder names, addresses and Social Security numbers were not compromised. The company did say that the credit card numbers were downloaded during the attack rather than just being accessed, however, indicating that the perpetrators may intend to use the information to create counterfeit credit cards. Affected Visa and MasterCard customers have not yet been notified that their account information was stolen.
The world’s two largest credit card processors have notified U.S. banks of a potential security breach that may affect more than 10 million cardholders, Reuters reported on Friday. MasterCard and Visa have said that the issue was the result of a third-party vendor and not their own internal systems. MasterCard said it has taken the proper steps by alerting law enforcement officials and hiring an independent data-security organization to review the possible breach. “MasterCard is concerned whenever there is any possibility that cardholders could be inconvenienced and we continue to both monitor this event and take steps to safeguard account information,” the company said in a statement. “If cardholders have any concerns about their individual accounts, they should contact their issuing financial institution.” Visa made sure to emphasize that its customers are not responsible for any potential fraudulent charges. More →
Using nothing more than a few common tools, hackers can reportedly recover credit card numbers and other personal information from used Xbox 360 consoles even after they have been restored to factory settings. Researchers at Drexel University say they have successfully recovered sensitive personal data from a used Xbox console, and they claim Microsoft is doing a disservice to users by not taking precautions to secure their data. “Microsoft does a great job of protecting their proprietary information,” researcher Ashley Podhradsky told Kotaku in an interview. “But they don’t do a great job of protecting the user’s data.” In order to avoid potential data theft, Podhradsky recommends users remove the hard drives from their consoles and wipe them while connected to a PC using special software. The Drexel researcher warns that not taking this precaution could have serious consequences. “A lot of [modders and hackers] already know how to do all this,” she said. “Anyone can freely download a lot of this software, essentially pick up a discarded game console, and have someone’s identity.”
UPDATE: Microsoft contacted BGR via email with a statement regarding Kotaku’s report, which can be read below in its entirety. More →
Executive assistant director of the FBI Shawn Henry, who after more than two decades is preparing to leave the bureau, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that computer criminals are too talented and current defensive measures are too weak to stop them. “We’re not winning,” he said, claiming that the current public and private approach to fighting off hackers is “unsustainable.” Congress is currently considering two competing bills that are designed to strengthen critical U.S. infrastructures such as power plants and nuclear reactors. Henry believes that companies must make major changes in the way they use computer networks to avoid further damage to national security and the economy, however. He said too many companies don’t recognize the financial and legal risks they are taking by operating vulnerable networks. “I don’t see how we ever come out of this without changes in technology or changes in behavior, because with the status quo, it’s an unsustainable model,” Henry said. “Unsustainable in that you never get ahead, never become secure, never have a reasonable expectation of privacy or security.” More →
A new study suggests that more than half of all Internet traffic is generated by non-human sources such as hacking software, scrapers and automated spam mechanisms. The majority of this non-human traffic, according to cloud service provider Incapsula, is potentially malicious. The study is based on data collected from 1,000 websites that utilize Incapsula’s services, and it determined that just 49% of Web traffic is human browsing. 20% is benign non-human search engine traffic, but 31% of all Internet traffic is tied to malicious activities. 19% is from ” ‘spies’ collecting competitive intelligence,” 5% is from automated hacking tools seeking out vulnerabilities, 5% is from scrapers and 2% is from content spammers. “Few people realize how much of their traffic is non-human, and that much of it is potentially harmful,” Incapsula co-founder Marc Gaffan told ZDNet. Incapsula, coincidentally, offers services aimed at securing small and medium businesses. More →
Hacker group “Anonymous Operations” has confirmed that the custom Linux-based operating system released under its name earlier this week is not a platform it developed. “The Anon OS is fake,” the group posted on Twitter Wednesday evening. “It is wrapped in trojans.” The desktop operating system was released earlier this week by individuals claiming ties with Anonymous. It is based on popular Linux distribution Ubuntu, and it ships with a number of hacking tools pre-installed. According to Anonymous, it also ships with a variety of malware. The team behind Anonymous-OS responded to the group’s claims, denying that its platform contains any malicious software. “The #anonops on their twitter account say ‘That Anonymous-OS is wrapped in trojans,’ ” the group wrote on its Tumblr blog. “Please people… in our world, in Linux and opensource world, there is not virus. If any user believe that Anonymous-OS ‘is wrapped in trojans’ or ‘backdoored OS by any Law enforcement Company or Hacker’ please don’t download it! But don’t mislead the world that Linux is dangerous and has trojans!” Anonymous-OS has been downloaded more than 25,000 times.
Notorious hacker group “Anonymous Operations” on Wednesday released the first version of its own desktop operating system. Dubbed Anonymous-OS, the computer platform is built on top of the open-source Linux-based Ubuntu 11.10 operating system, and it also utilizes the open-source Mate desktop environment, The Hacker News reports. It is unclear exactly who is behind the operating system, which comes with a number of tools pre-installed that are apparently Anonymous-approved. Included are Anonymous HOIC, John the Ripper, SQL Poison and more. Version 0.1 of the hacker group’s Anonymous-OS is free and available immediately for download, though readers should obviously exercise caution.
UPDATE: The Anonymous-OS Tumblr blog states that the group’s operating system is “created for educational purposes, to checking the security of web pages,” and the page suggests that users should not “use any tool to destroy any web page.”
Hackers associated with the group “Anonymous” have published Symantec’s Norton AntiVirus source code on The Pirate Bay. The source code was stolen in 2006 and after alleged attempts to extort money from Symantec failed, the hactivist group released it late Thursday evening. The file is 1.07GB in size and includes the source code to a number of products within the software suite, such as the consumer version, the corporate edition, and other files for Windows, Unix and NetWare, according to a report from ZDNet. In addition to the source code, the torrent includes a note calling for the release of the LulzSec hackers who were arrested on Tuesday — with the exception of Sabu, the group’s leader who reportedly worked with the FBI to build cases against other members of the group. Symantec has previously said that the breach will “not affect any current Norton product,” claiming the “current version of Norton Utilities has been completely rebuilt and shares no common code with Norton Utilities 2006. The code that has been posted for the 2006 version poses no security threat to users of the current version of Norton Utilities.” More →
The laughs are reportedly over for five top members of the hacker group LulzSec who were arrested on Tuesday and charged as part of a conspiracy case filed in New York federal court. FoxNews.com reports that the arrests were part of a multinational sting across the United Kingdom, Ireland and the United States on Tuesday morning, and LulzSec leader Hector Xavier Monsegur, who operated online under the alias “Sabu,” provided the Federal Bureau of Investigation with information leading to the arrests. According to the report, Monsegur has been working with the FBI for months. “This is devastating to the organization,” an FBI official told FoxNews.com. “We’re chopping off the head of LulzSec.” Read on for more. More →