After the news reports about the cyber attacks in China it’s no wonder that that more than “75,000 computer systems at nearly 2,500 companies in the United States and around the world have been hacked in what appears to be one of the largest and most sophisticated attacks by cyber criminals discovered to date.” Unfortunately those computer systems hacked included the US government, “educational institutions, energy firms, financial companies, and Internet service providers. “ Included were access to “e-mail systems, online banking accounts, Facebook, Yahoo, Hotmail and other social network credentials, along with more than 2,000 digital security certificates and a significant cache of personal identity information.” Doesn’t sound much security given these facts, and this is pretty scary since we now have a Cyber Czar to protect us.

Kneber bot

Amit Yoran, NetWitness’s chief executive reported how the Kneber bot was launched in this attack on the +75,000 computer systems:

The hackers lured unsuspecting employees at targeted firms to download infected software from sites controlled by the hackers, or baited them into opening e-mails containing the infected attachments, Yoran said. The malicious software, or "bots," enabled the attackers to commandeer users’ computers, scrape them for log-in credentials and passwords — including to online banking and social networking sites — and then exploit that data to hack into the systems of other users, Yoran said. The number of penetrated systems grew exponentially.

Clearly educating employees is critical to avoid such attacks in the future, but what’s the likelihood of avoiding these kind of disasters? Not good!

Privacy at Home? – School Official Defended in Webcam Spy Case

The Lower Merion School District (in suburban Philadelphia) acknowledged that the District remotely activated webcams inside students’ homes, but the District claimed it was only to find missing, lost or stolen laptops. However a student and his parents filed a federal civil rights suit alleging violation of wiretap laws and violation of privacy. Among other problems created was that allegedly the District thought a piece of candy was a pill and that the student was selling drugs. This reminds me of Big Brother from George Orwell’s 1984. he just missed the year!

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