A nasty computer virus that had some of the hallmarks of a “ransomware” attack hobbled the Salisbury Fire Department recently, destroying computer files and temporarily forcing staffers to resort to pen and paper.
The Salisbury Fire Department’s problem began about two weeks ago, when Souliotis’ desk computer started acting strangely when he went to use it that morning. He went through the normal procedure used by just about everyone when computers aren’t working right.
“We shut down the computer so we could reboot,” he said. “When we turned it back on, it just started to download a ton of stuff.”
The department called in its computer consultant, who went to work, Souliotis said, but nothing good resulted.
“I lost every (computer) document I ever had,” he said. “It’s unbelievable. Who would ever think someone would do that.”
Target and MasterCard say they’ve agreed to settle lawsuits over the discounter’s pre-Christmas 2013 massive data breach.
Target said late Wednesday it has set aside up to $19 million for banks and credit unions issuing MasterCards that were caught in the data breach that compromised 40 million credit and debit card accounts between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, 2013.
MasterCard Inc. said the money will be available to banks and credit unions for operating costs and fraud-related losses on cards believed to have been affected. The settlement will go into effect if at least 90 percent of eligible issuers accept the offer by May 20.
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A lawyer representing three Fort Smith police officers in a whistleblower case said Monday that someone tried to hack into his computer by giving him an external hard drive contaminated with malicious software.
Matthew Campbell of the Pinnacle Law Firm in North Little Rock has been representing three current and former Fort Smith police officers in the lawsuit since January 2014.
Campbell had requested emails from the Fort Smith Police Department, and Sebastian County Circuit Judge James O. Cox ordered on May 9, 2014, that they be provided to Campbell as part of discovery in the case.
Campbell said he became suspicious when Douglas Carson, the attorney representing Fort Smith and its Police Department, sent him the computer hard drive in June 2014 by Federal Express. Normally, Campbell said, the defendants had provided him with requested documents via email, the U.S. Postal Service or through a cloud-based Internet storage service.
Mueller told Campbell the hard drive contained four “Trojans,” one of which was a duplicate.
At Georgia State University, algorithms alert advisers when a student falls behind in class. Course-planning tools tell students the classes and majors they’re likely to complete, based on the performance of other students like them. When students swipe their ID cards to attend a tutoring or financial-literacy session, the university can send attendance data to advisers and staff.
Colleges are analyzing all kinds of student data to figure out who needs extra support and when advisers and faculty should intervene. But as technology advances, and students’ offline and online lives become more intertwined, data analytics—particularly, predictive analytics—may raise more ethical questions.