Monday, October 29, 2012

Sometimes it is what you get, rather than how much you get, that determines the value of a hack.
Experian Customers Unsafe as Hackers Steal Credit Report Data
October 29, 2012 by admin
Jordan Robertson reports:
When hackers broke into computers at Abilene Telco Federal Credit Union last year, they gained access to sensitive financial information on people from far beyond the bank’s home in west-central Texas.
The cyberthieves broke into an employee’s computer in September 2011 and stole the password for the bank’s online account with Experian Plc, the credit reporting agency with data on more than 740 million consumers. The intruders then downloaded credit reports on 847 people, said Dana Pardee, a branch manager at the bank. They took Social Security numbers, birthdates and detailed financial data on people across the country who had never done business with Abilene Telco, which has two locations and serves a city of 117,000.
The incident is one of 86 data breaches since 2006 that expose flaws in the way credit-reporting agencies protect their databases.
Read more on Bloomberg. Jordan’s report was inspired by data compiled on, some of which we obtained under Freedom of Information requests. He also cites a complaint I filed with the FTC in April about all the Experian-related incidents, a complaint I have not discussed previously on this blog. I’ll issue my own statement on his report and my complaint in a separate blog post.

“Yeah, but don't worry about it. We never do.”
NZ: Inland Revenue Department has had 32 privacy breaches in the past year.
October 28, 2012 by admin
ONE News in New Zealand reveals a government department has had a series of privacy breaches. Following soon after the breach involving the Ministry of Social Development, reports of inadequate data protection involving the Inland Revenue Department are just what the government doesn’t need. Even worse, the department is getting a black eye in the press for not informing those affected. ONE News reports:
ONE News viewers Ross Muir and his wife recently received a nasty shock in the mail – a letter from IRD with confidential tax details in unsealed envelopes – and contacted ONE News worried about their privacy.
Ross said he was “quite upset” by the discovery.
“It’s not the sort of information you would like shown to anybody else,” he said.
On further investigation ONE News reporter Georgina Ball discovered that in the past year, the IRD has breached the privacy of almost 6400 New Zealanders, in 32 separate incidents.
For 638 people the breach was so serious that IRD was forced to put security measures in place to protect them from identity theft.
However, the department failed to tell the 5741 others that they were victims, because it did not consider the breaches serious enough.
Read more on ONE News. The IRD’s statement is somewhat puzzling, as it refers to them improving their e-mail security. How many of the 32 breaches involved e-mail? How many involved postal mail? Hacks? A breakdown of the 32 breaches would be helpful.

I suppose the alternative would have been to fly a drone off the wing tip of his plane...
"According to reports, Imran Khan was detained yesterday by US officials for questioning on his views on United States drone strikes in Pakistan. Glenn Greenwald writing for the guardian: 'On Saturday, Khan boarded a flight from Canada to New York in order to appear at a fundraising lunch and other events. But before the flight could take off, U.S. immigration officials removed him from the plane and detained him for two hours, causing him to miss the flight. On Twitter, Khan reported that he was "interrogated on [his] views on drones" and then added: "My stance is known. Drone attacks must stop." He then defiantly noted: "Missed flight and sad to miss the Fundraising lunch in NY but nothing will change my stance."'"

(Related) ...and he could watch us watching him.
Most U.S. Drones Openly Broadcast Secret Video Feeds
Four years after discovering that militants were tapping into drone video feeds, the U.S. military still hasn’t secured the transmissions of more than half of its fleet of Predator and Reaper drones, Danger Room has learned. The majority of the aircraft still broadcast their classified video streams “in the clear” — without encryption. With a minimal amount of equipment and know-how, militants can see what America’s drones see.
Unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, have become the single most important weapon in America’s far-flung pursuit of violent extremists. Hundreds of American Predators and Reapers fly above Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan — watching suspected enemies, and striking them when necessary. Nearly 3,000 people have been killed in the decade-long drone campaign.

How do you know the storm is unprecedented?
New York Times, Wall Street Journal shed paywalls for Hurricane Sandy
Two major publications have stripped away their paywalls to give consumers unfettered access to up-to-date information on the arrival of Hurricane Sandy.
The New York Times removed its usual paywall on Sunday evening for both its Web site and its apps. Spokesperson Eileen Murphy told Poynter:
The New York Times is not the only media outlet that considers the category 1 hurricane severe enough to lower its paywall temporarily. Raju Narisetti, an editor stationed at the Wall Street Journal, tweeted that the whole site will be available free from today.
Meanwhile, other Web sites are also stepping up their Hurricane Sandy coverage. Google has launched an interactive map tracking Sandy's progress across the U.S. mid-Atlantic coast. There is also a map which details the storm's effects on New York City, which is expected to be an area hard-hit by the impending storm.
Hurricane Sandy has already hit one news outlet hard -- albeit online. has reported 960 million pageviews in the last three days -- an increase of around one-third on its normal traffic -- as the U.S. public scrabbles to stay informed.

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