Category Archives: Cyber Attacks

Millions Exposed in Multiple Heath Data Breaches

This summer, millions of medical patients have learned that their personal information, including names, addresses, birthdates, Social Security numbers, Medicare or health plan ID numbers, and some medical information (conditions, medications, procedures and test results) may have been exposed as a result of two separate security breaches. California’s UCLA Health announced on July 21, 2015 that their information system has been attacked, possibly beginning in November 2014, and that the unencrypted medical information of over 4.5 million patients may have been accessed.  This latest breach…

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New Federal Cybersecurity Legislation and Regulations Proposed in Washington DC

This week, new legislation and regulations have been proposed to address cybersecurity concerns in new automobiles and the nation’s Bulk Electric System. On Tuesday, Senators Edward J. Markey (MA) and Richard Blumenthal (CT) introduced new legislation to address the hacking risks associated with “connected vehicles.”  The Security and Privacy in Your Car Act of 2015 would mandate that sensitive software systems be isolated and additional safeguards be added “to protect consumers from security and privacy threats to their motor vehicles”.  The legislation followed a 2014…

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US Capitol

Congress and the Internet of Things

Despite the trend toward the Internet of Things, some institutions are taking a slow and cautious approach given the possible security vulnerabilities. This includes the U.S. Congress. The Internet of Things usually refers to machine to machine communication.  For example, consider the Microsoft band that monitors heart rate, steps, calories, burned, etc. (which, incidentally, the co-chair of the Congressional Internet of Things Caucus wears). Recent breaches into government computers including the massive data breach at the Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”) clearly demonstrate…

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Can A SAFETY Act Designated Product Provide Cyber-Attack Liability Protection?

“So if you use FireEye’s product you basically are prevented from being sued in the criminal justice system of America, which can save a lot of money.” According to CEO Dave DeWalt’s recent comments, it sounds like the U.S. Government stamped FireEye with a seal of approval — a ringing endorsement that’s worth a closer look.  FireEye, Inc. was issued “Certification” under the SAFETY Act for its Multi-Vector Execution (MVX) Engine and Cloud Platform.  It isn’t the only SAFETY Act approved technology; DHS’s website…

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Sony Class Action Moves Forward

Because Sony’s former employees “face ongoing future vulnerability to identity theft” they can proceed with their class action, a California District Court ruled on Monday.  The case, Corona v. Sony Pictures Entm’t, Inc., is linked to the North Korean hackers who tried to stop Sony from releasing the movie The Interview.  It was filed less than a month after Sony became aware of the attack. Relying on the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Krottner v. Starbucks, the court held that the plaintiffs have…

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Federal Cybersecurity Problems “Decades in the Making”

Yesterday, the House Oversight Committee received testimony from federal officials regarding the April 2015 cyberattack on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which compromised the personal information of approximately 4 million government employees and retirees, including social security numbers.  The executive branch delayed reporting the incident until June 4, much to the dismay of the House Committee. OPM head Catherine Archuleta was under fire for what Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, called the “most devastating” cyberattack in United States’ history.  Ms. Archuleta attempted to avoid…

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DOJ Issues Best Practices for Cyber Incident Response

The US Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Cybersecurity Unit has issued a 15-page best practices document “to assist organizations in preparing a cyber incident response plan and…in preparing to respond to a cyber incident.”  The document explains in detail steps necessary before, during and after a cyber attack or intrusion, summarized in a “Cyber Incident Preparedness Checklist” (see below).  “Any Internet-connected organization” is advised to review and adopt these best practices in order to provide a prompt, effective response to incidents, minimize resulting harm, expedite…

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Senator Seeks Answers from President on White House Cyber Attack

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, John Thune, has sent an open letter to President Obama to address the cyber attack on the White House’s unclassified computer system in late-2014. The breach, allegedly by Russian hackers, was according to Senator Thune “more extensive than previously known,” and accessed “a great deal of sensitive information, such as schedules, policy discussions, and e-mails sent and received by” Mr. Obama, “including exchanges with ambassadors.” Following increased attacks across Executive Branch departments and agencies, Mr.…

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Target to Change Security Policies and Pay $10 Million to Settle Data Breach Lawsuit

U.S. District Court Judge Paul Magnuson has indicated that he will grant preliminary approval of a 97-page settlement agreement between Target and class-action plaintiffs.  Under the settlement, Target will pay $10 million to compensate injured customers, with court documents suggesting as much as $10,000 for a victim. In total, 42 million shoppers had their credit or debit information stolen, and 61 million had personal data stolen from November 27 through December 18, 2013. The settlement also requires Target to change its security policies within 10…

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Hackers Charged with Stealing 1 Billion E-mail Addresses

The U.S. Department of Justice has unsealed indictments against three hackers for having broken into eight email service providers (ESPs), stealing 1 billion email addresses and names, and receiving $2,000,000 for the sale of products to those email addresses through a “spam” sales scheme. According to the indictments filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Canadian David-Manuel Santos Da Silva and Viet Quoc Nguyen and Giang Hoang Vu from Vietnam used an email phishing scheme beginning in 2009 to gain…

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