Imagine a world where a sleazy hacker can make your toilet overflow on a daily basis unless you pay him a daily fee. That’s the kind of nightmare scenario that researchers at Chicago security firm Trustwave are trying to prepare us for, as Bloomberg reports that they’ve figured out how to hack “a Bluetooth connection that controls toilets made by Japan’s Lixil Group,” which could “allow hackers to open or close the lid and even squirt a stream of water at the user’s behind.” More →
Nefarious hackers are lurking around every corner of the Internet, constantly working on new ways to beat Web security and steal our data. Some methods they employ involve remote digital attacks that utilize security flaws to steal data from corporate servers. And sometimes they perpetrate physical breaches, as was the case with the major Target attack we saw last year. Large corporations aren’t the only targets though, and one reporter recently found out firsthand what it’s like to be an Internet spy. More →
Snapchat now has to deal with yet another potentially large security vulnerability as Gibson Security released a new report reiterating that it is possible for hackers to obtain Snapchat users’ phone numbers. They initially revealed this hack four months ago and it went ignored by Snapchat. Now, after multiple app updates, Gibson Security says the exploits detailed in its initial report have still not been addressed. More →
The next time you take a seat in front of your laptop, keep in mind that the only thing standing between you and a serious invasion of privacy is a little warning light that signals that your webcam has been activated. Without that light, there wouldn’t be any way to tell if you were being watched or not, and now researchers have disclosed just how vulnerable our computers truly are. More →
It looks as though hackers have managed to swipe user names and passwords from some of the world’s biggest social networking and email platforms… again. Per CNN, security firm Trustwave claims that hackers have stolen more than 2 million Facebook, Google, Twitter and Yahoo user names and passwords through malicious keylogging software that’s been installed in an unknown number of computers. Facebook users have been the biggest victims of the malware so far, as an estimated 318,000 Facebook accounts have been compromised so far along with 70,000 Google-related accounts, 60,000 Yahoo accounts and 22,000 Twitter accounts. Trustwave says that it’s notified all affected companies about the security breach.
The United States government has accused five men from Russia and the Ukraine of masterminding the largest hacking scheme in U.S. history, The Wall Street Journal reported. The group allegedly hacked NASDAQ, Visa, J.C. Penney, 7-Eleven and JetBlue, among other companies, from 2005 until early last year. The men are accused of illegally obtaining roughly 160 million credit and debit card numbers, and allegedly stealing more than $300 million from at least three of the companies they attacked. The men are said to have scouted various retail locations to discover any vulnerabilities in their payment-processing systems. They are also accused of installing unauthorized software on corporate computers that granted them back door access to the systems at a later date. Two of the men are in police custody, while three others are on the loose and considered fugitives.
Here’s something that should sober enthusiasts of self-driving cars. Forbes reporter Andy Greenberg has been hanging out with hackers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, who have come up with their most terrifying hacking target yet: a car’s software. Greenberg says that the two hackers have “reverse-engineered enough of the software of the Escape and the Toyota Prius (both the 2010 model) to demonstrate a range of nasty surprises: everything from annoyances like uncontrollably blasting the horn to serious hazards like slamming on the Prius’ brakes at high speeds.” Even worse, Miller and Valasek have shown they’re able to take control of a car’s steering functionality so they can drive it into a ditch, a wall or just about anywhere they choose. In other words, they’ve found a way to transform cars into their own personal weapons. Greenberg says that the two hackers will present their unsettling findings to Defcon in Las Vegas next month.
That pesky 12-year-old Russian kid who infected your PC with malware that replaced all your photos with gifs of dancing bears is costing the American economy a lot more than you imagine. The Wall Street Journal reports that a new study conducted by McAfee and the nonprofit Center for Strategic and International Studies shows that cybercrime is costing the U.S. government and businesses around $100 billion per year, or roughly one-tenth of what other recent estimates have projected. The Journal says that “one of the key reasons the study’s estimate is lower than many previous ones is that it takes into account the shifting benefits of cybertheft,” since data that is stolen by hackers doesn’t actually disappear.
Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg is about to spend some time in the brig. TorrentFreak reports that a Swedish court has sentenced Svartholm Warg to two years in prison for his role in “hacking into Logica, a company carrying out work for local tax authorities.” Things could get even worse for The Pirate Bay co-founder in the coming months as well, since he also faces even more serious hacking charges in Denmark, where officials allege that he hacked into the country’s driver’s license database and its social security database and exposed the email accounts and passwords of thousands of government officials and law enforcement officers. Svartholm Warg, who in 2009 was convicted of violating copyright laws for his role in founding The Pirate Bay, could face up to six years in prison if found guilty of the Denmark hacking charges.
Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, a co-founder of the infamous Pirate Bay website, can’t seem to stay out of legal hot water. Ars Technica reports that Svartholm Warg has been charged in Denmark with “illegally accessing the country’s driver’s license database, social security database, the shared IT system across the Schengen zone, and the e-mail accounts and passwords of 10,000 police officers and tax officials.” News of the alleged hack has understandably caused an uproar in Denmark since millions of people’s vital information has been exposed. Svartholm Warg, who in 2009 was convicted of violating copyright laws for his role in founding The Pirate Bay, could face up to six years in prison if found guilty of the latest charges.
Spanish officials have arrested a Dutch citizen in northeast Spain for his involvement in what has been called the biggest cyberattack in Internet history. The suspect is said to have operated a hacking bunker in a van that was equipped with “various antennas to scan frequencies” that he used to evade authorities. The unnamed individual, who was only identified by his initials S.K., is accused of launching several large denial-of-service attacks on Internet servers in the Netherlands, United Kingdom and the United States, and also of attacking Spamhaus, a Swiss-British watchdog group that blocks spam advertisement for counterfeit Viagra and fake weight-loss pills from reaching Internet inboxes. The Associated Press reports that the 35-year-old male was arrested in the city of Granollers on Thursday by Spanish authorities acting on an arrest warrant issued by Dutch authorities. The suspect is expected to be extradited from Spain to the Netherlands where he will stand trial.
Anyone who’s ever had their website hacked and defaced by hacker collective Anonymous can have a good laugh at their expense, because it looks as though they aren’t immune to security breaches either. BBC News reports that Anonymous this week “has suffered an embarrassing breach, as one of its popular Twitter feeds is taken over by rival hacktivists.” The Anonymous Twitter hack follows other high-profile Twitter hacks that have occurred over the past few days, including the Twitter accounts for both Burger King and Jeep. Graham Cluley, a senior consultant at security firm Sophos, tells BBC News that the hacks likely resulted from poor password practices, such as either using weak passwords or using the same password across multiple different accounts across the web.