Ransomware Attacks Increase and Demand Bigger Payouts

An increasing number of cities, hospitals and businesses are being attacked by ransomware, by which bad actors shut down the victim’s computer network until a ransom is paid. Up until now, these attacks have been hard to measure since many of those impacted quietly paid the ransom without notifying any authorities. Security firm Emsisoft just reported a 41 percent increase in ransomware attacks between 2018 and 2019, with 205,280 businesses and other groups submitting evidence of such intrusions in 2019. Continue reading Ransomware Attacks Increase and Demand Bigger Payouts

Apple Drops iCloud Encryption Plan Based on FBI Concerns

According to six sources, in response to FBI concerns, Apple dropped the plan to allow iPhone users to encrypt backups in its iCloud service. Although this took place two years ago, it is just now being reported. Stress between Apple’s stance on privacy and law enforcement’s push to have access to its phones re-emerged a few weeks ago when a Saudi Air Force officer killed three Americans at Naval Air Station Pensacola. U.S. attorney general William Barr and President Donald Trump urged Apple to unlock the killer’s two iPhones. Continue reading Apple Drops iCloud Encryption Plan Based on FBI Concerns

Russia Boosts Efforts to Foil Extradition of Hackers to U.S.

Russian hackers have been responsible for serious cybercrimes in the last few years, including Sandworm, a group of hackers who attacked the 2018 Olympics, among other targets. Now, Russia is seeking to replace the 2001 Budapest Convention on Cybercrime with a new agreement that will align with its interests. The country is playing hardball in its attempt to prevent its citizens arrested abroad to be extradited to the U.S. for trial, including holding an Israeli citizen for trade with a Russian hacker held in that country. Continue reading Russia Boosts Efforts to Foil Extradition of Hackers to U.S.

Municipalities Increasingly Targeted for Ransomware Attacks

Cyber criminals recently hacked the municipal computers of Rockport, Maine, demanding $1,200 in Bitcoin to unlock them. That’s just one example of a surge of ransomware aimed at municipal computer systems, both large and small, including the city of Atlanta and a St. Louis library system. According to Ponemon Institute, an information systems research firm, these kinds of public sector hacks are increasing faster than those on private ones. City officials are often unprepared to deal with the consequences. Continue reading Municipalities Increasingly Targeted for Ransomware Attacks

Advice on Keeping Smaller Businesses Safe From Cybercrime

The threat of ransomware and malware are growing. The “WannaCry” attack impacted at least 200,000 computers in 150 countries before peaking last week. Adylkuzz is another piece of malware currently threatening computers around the world. As computers become increasingly connected, so opportunities for cybercrime expand, say the experts. Part of the problem is that the Internet wasn’t designed with cybersecurity protections, and criminals are attracted to cybercrimes for the relatively easy profits they can make. Continue reading Advice on Keeping Smaller Businesses Safe From Cybercrime

Uber and MasterCard Moving to Selfies for Identity Verification

Uber Technologies, MasterCard and the Alabama Department of Revenue are among the handful of companies and government agencies beginning to use selfies, rather than passwords, as proof of identity. Smartphone cameras take better quality photos than before and facial recognition software is more accessible and affordable, which makes this a new option. But some experts in cybercrime aren’t as sanguine, worried that this way of proving identity is riddled with both security and privacy issues. Continue reading Uber and MasterCard Moving to Selfies for Identity Verification

Re-Used Passwords a Major Culprit in the Rise of Data Abuse

Recently, the chief executives of Facebook, Google and Twitter all had their email accounts hacked. They regained control of their accounts within hours but many others — especially those who re-use passwords — haven’t been so lucky. Hackers can use software that gleans new passwords from old ones, and nearly two billion old passwords are for sale for as little as $2 on LeakedSource, a database operated anonymously. The pattern of re-using corporate passwords on LinkedIn and other sites is a growing concern. Continue reading Re-Used Passwords a Major Culprit in the Rise of Data Abuse

Info Sharing: Companies on the Verge of Becoming More Open?

Lee Lanselle of Entertainment Development Group and AsiaParks Partners Limited forwarded us a write-up from The New York Times regarding how the information-sharing habits of open source software may soon become a standard in other parts of business. Many companies are discovering the benefits of exposing things once kept secret to a larger population. The pursuit of efficiency, speed and positive change may soon even lead to companies sharing information among competitors. Continue reading Info Sharing: Companies on the Verge of Becoming More Open?