Category Archives: Cyber Attacks

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Major Cyber Attack on Britain’s National Health Service

A widespread cyber attack has breached healthcare services across England and Scotland, possibly impacting up to 33 NHS organizations and additional general practitioners. The Prime Minister has confirmed the attack, and that the National Cyber Security Centre is already working with NHS digital to safeguard patient data. More information can be found here.  …

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IRS Student Loan Application Program Breach Affecting up to 100,000 Taxpayers

On April 6, 2017, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified during a Senate Finance Committee meeting that the personal data of up to 100,000 taxpayers may have been compromised by hackers accessing both students’ and parents’ tax information through the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), a free application for federal student aid data retrieval connected with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Obtaining such information allowed these hackers to file fraudulent tax returns and steal refunds. The last breach of this magnitude occurred in 2015,…

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computer crime

Lessons in Cyber-Hygiene: How John Podesta was Caught by Phishing

Instead of a Hollywood-style cyberattack into an underground bank of highly secure servers, it appears Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta fell victim to a run-of-the-mill phishing email appearing to come from Google. On March 19, 2016, Podesta received an alarming email to his Gmail account indicating someone had accessed his account, inviting Podesta to click on a Bitly URL (a service providing shortlinks, or smaller URL addresses) pointing to a longer URL that looked like a Google link. According to Bitly’s statistics, the URL…

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Credit Card Payment Coverage Declined: Cyberinsurer Not Obligated to Reimburse P.F. Chang’s for PCI Liability

In the most significant cyberinsurance coverage decision to date, an Arizona federal district court in P.F. Chang’s China Bistro v. Federal Insurance Co., No. CV-15-01322-PHX-SMM (D. Ari. May 31, 2016), granted summary judgment to Federal Insurance Company, acknowledging it had no duty to reimburse P.F. Chang’s China Bistro for payment card industry liability assessments under the CyberSecurity policy issued by Federal to P.F. Chang’s corporate parent. This decision represents a significant victory for cyberinsurers insofar as it upholds insurers’ marketing strategy of making available…

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Forty Percent Increase in New York State Data Breaches

On Wednesday, May 4, 2016, New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced a 40 percent increase in reports of data breaches during 2016 as compared with the same time frame last year. As in a growing number of states and federal agencies, New York’s Information Security Breach & Notification Act, enacted in 2005, requires all individuals and organizations conducting business in New York to report any unauthorized access to personal information to affected individuals, law enforcement and other government officials. According to the…

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Iranians Use Cellular Modem to Hack Suburban NYC Dam

Any machine, if it’s connected to the internet, can be hacked; including the automated equipment controlling dams, steel mills and nuclear power facilities. As we previously reported here, criminals were able to take control of a German steel mill’s computerized production system, forcing an unscheduled shut-down causing “massive damage” in 2014. Likewise, in 2010, a cyberattack was able to disable Iran’s uranium enrichment centrifuges by targeting the software installed in the electronic equipment. This week, the Wall Street Journal reported that in 2013, Iranian…

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Sony Cyberattack Lawsuit Settles for $8 Million and Establishes the New Mass Tort Class Action

The emergence of the cyber attack class action as the new mass tort was further evidenced when Sony, less than one year after the first class action was filed, has agreed to pay up to $8 million to reimburse current and former employees for losses, preventative measures and legal fees related to last year’s data breach. The agreement must still be approved by a federal judge in the Central District of California, but, under the proposed terms, Sony will pay “up to $10,000 a…

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Data Breach “Sky Is Falling”

Much like Chicken Little, data breach vendors and pundits continue to decry that the data breach sky is falling!  But is it?  A group of researchers set out to answer this very question. “Neither size nor frequency of data breaches has increased over the past decade,” concludes a new statistical analysis by Benjamin Edwards, Steven Hofmeyr and Stephanie Forrest presented during the June 2015 Workshop on the Economics of Information Security in the Netherlands. Instead, the three argue, the increases that have attracted recent media…

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computer crime

PwC Issues 2015 Cybercrime Survey Results

“It’s been a watershed year for cybercrime,” explains PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC in its 2015 report analyzing data from 500 executives across US businesses, law enforcement and government agencies.  The survey and report, co-sponsored by PwC, CSO, Carnagie Mellon University and the United States Secret Service, provides a comprehensive analysis of trends in cybercrime and cyberthreats, as well as security spending and overall manage of these growing business risks. This year, a record 79 percent of respondents detected a security incident during the past 12 months, with…

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Military Retaliation in the Age of Cyber Warfare

The Obama administration has concluded that the recent Chinese cyberattack on the Office of Personnel Management rises above the level of traditional espionage, and that retaliation is the most suitable response to the theft of 20 million American’s personal information. Exactly what the retaliation may entail and when it will come, however, are open questions. Over the past year, United States government and military computer systems have been compromised by what many believe are foreign governments, including Russian attacks on the White House, State

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