Week of September 16, 2016


Week of September 16, 2016

Obama Appoints Retired General To New Cybersecurity Job

  • President Obama has appointed the first Federal Chief Information Security Officer to "drive cybersecurity policy, planning and implementation across the federal government."
  • The new hire is retired Brigadier Gen. Gregory J. Touhill.
  • He previously served in the US Air Force, and has most recently been working as deputy assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications in the Department of Homeland Security.
  • According to the blog post, Touhill will lead a team in the White House's Office of Management and Budget that will be "at the forefront of driving policy and implementation of leading cyber practices across federal agencies."
  • His team will also lead reviews to make sure that federal agencies are putting cybersecurity plans into place.

Source: CNET, September 09, 2016

Everyone Should Cover Up Their Laptop Webcams Right Now

  • The FBI has advised everyone to cover up their computers’ webcams to stop them being spied on.
  • Leaving webcams open means that hackers can break into them and watch everything that users are doing, security experts have claimed.
  • Now those warnings have been backed by FBI director, who says that it is one of the “sensible things” that people can do.
  • Though the webcams on laptops might be useful, they’re also one of the most valuable things a hacker can get access to.
  • Previous leaks have suggested that governments including the US have likely tapped into webcams as a way of gathering information on citizens.

Source: Independent, September 15, 2016

VoIPtalk Admits To Possible Data Breach

  • VoIPtalk has warned users of a potential data breach but insists the alert is only a "precautionary measure."
  • The voice-over-IP (VoIP) provider emailed customers a security notice, later posted to VoIPtalk forums, which informed users of a "potential security incident" involving user accounts.
  • VoIPtalk has decided to work on the assumption that user accounts have been exposed, although there are no reports at the time of writing that information belonging to users has been used fraudulently.
  • VoIP Office and connect Assure customers have not been affected by the potential data breach.
  • VoIPtalk is implementing a new set of security measures to better protect user accounts, including enforcing password changes and notifying authorities.
  • If users notice any unusual activity passing through their account, the company asks that they are notified immediately.

Source: ZDNET, September 13, 2016

Watch Out For This Nasty New MacBook Malware

  • For years, the running joke was that only Windows users had to worry about viruses.
  • The Mokes malware was discovered earlier this year on Windows and Linux, but researchers from Kaspersky have found an OS X variant.
  • It can steal virtually any data from your machine, including using the webcam and microphone, recording keystrokes, taking documents, and watching your screen.
  • Once it establishes itself on the victim’s Mac, it sets up an encrypted link with a server for communication, making it more difficult to spot. It also establishes a number of backdoors, making it hard to remove.
  • There’s no official response from Apple yet, but hopefully a patch will be in the works.
  • It’s as good a time as any to make sure that you have a backup of all your important documents, easy to do with Apple’s Time Machine software and a cheap external hard drive.

Source: BGR, September 09, 2016

Colin Powell Shows Scorn For Trump And Irritation At Clinton

  • Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell has long been one of the high priests of the Washington establishment, staying quiet in this year’s raucous presidential campaign while tending to his reputation as a thoughtful officer and diplomat.
  • There has been an expectation that Mr. Powell, who waited until the final weeks to endorse Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, would do the same for Mrs. Clinton this year.
  • A hack of Mr. Powell’s email revealed that if Mr. Powell endorses Mrs. Clinton, he will be motivated by intense feelings about Mr. Trump, whom he also called an “international pariah.”
  • In several emails, Mr. Powell suggested that speaking out against Mr. Trump would only add to the attention the Republican nominee was getting from the news media.
  • Mr. Powell also made clear in a series of exchanges how much he was offended by Mr. Trump’s attacks on the issue of Mr. Obama’s birth.
  • A few months later, in a discussion about Mrs. Clinton’s email scandal, Mr. Powell lamented that “everything H.R.C. touches she kind of screws up with hubris.”

Source: New York Times, September 14, 2016

Multi-Factor IT Authentication Hampers Progress

  • Multi-factor authentication is losing its popularity as protection against hacking and is ignored by nearly half of US organizations as they believe it slows down progress of end users, says a survey by IT security provider IS Decisions.
  • The study found workers in the US lose around 22 minutes per week because of complicated security steps, with 47% of the companies interviewed saying these measures hindered production.
  • The survey revealed that 28% of companies rejected multi-factor verification because of infrastructure issues and 18% because they felt it took up too much time.
  • The report also cites the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which recently advised against using SMS as a second factor of authentication because it could be too easily exploited by cybercriminals.

Source: Dark Reading, September 09, 2016

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