U.S. court rules that FBI can hack into a computer without a warrant

The case involves the FBI arresting a child pornography suspect

A U.S. court has ruled that the FBI can hack into a computer without a warrant — a move which is troubling privacy advocates.

The criminal case involves a child pornography site, Playpen, that had been accessible through Tor, a browser designed for anonymous web surfing.

Continue reading

Windows 10 spies on emails, images, credit cards, more

Software ‘collecting data on much of what you do’

Americans are still waiting for a resolution to the controversy that erupted when it was discovered that the National Security Agency was spying on everyone’s telephones – lawsuits still are pending and Congress is working on making changes to the law.

Now they’re learning that while the NSA was collecting telephone data, the newest version of the ubiquitous Windows software, version 10, is watching everything that’s on their computer.

“From the moment an account is created, Microsoft begins watching. The company saves customers’ basic information – name, contact details, passwords, demographic data and credit card specifics,” explains a new report from the online Newsweek.

“But it also digs a bit deeper,” the report says.

Continue reading

U.S. Power Grid Being Hit With ‘Increasing’ Hacking Attacks, Government Warns

One can only imagine how much more the threat is multiplied because of the “patch and pray” culture America was warned about as early as 1998. Nobody in the industry cares until after the problem happens, then they stick a band-aid on it.

 

Potential to ‘take down’ U.S. power grids, water systems and other critical infrastructure

While experts have long signaled that the U.S. power grid and related systems are vulnerable to physical attacks by terrorists and other individuals, the U.S. government is now warning that sensitive computer systems that maintain the grid are increasingly being attacked, according to a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report that was not made public until the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) disclosed it this month.

These types of computer viruses are able to comb internal systems for private information in a clandestine manner; they can also be used to wrest control of certain computers away from their owners.

“In recent years, new threats have materialized as new vulnerabilities have come to light, and a number of major concerns have emerged about the resilience and security of the nation’s electric power system,” the report says. “In particular, the cyber security of the electricity grid has been a focus of recent efforts to protect the integrity of the electric power system.” Continue reading

With a series of major hacks, China builds a database on Americans

China is building massive databases of Americans’ personal information by hacking government agencies and U.S. health-care companies, using a high-tech tactic to achieve an age-old goal of espionage: recruiting spies or gaining more information on an adversary, U.S. officials and analysts say.

Groups of hackers working for the Chinese government have compromised the networks of the Office of Personnel Management, which holds data on millions of current and former federal employees, as well as the health insurance giant Anthem, among other targets, the officials and researchers said.

“They’re definitely going after quite a bit of personnel information,” said Rich Barger, chief intelligence officer of ThreatConnect, a Northern Virginia cybersecurity firm. “We suspect they’re using it to understand more about who to target [for espionage], whether electronically or via human ­recruitment.” Continue reading

How the Pentagon Could Soon Share Americans’ Data With Foreign Militaries

The new cyber strategy could provide allies with Americans’ information gathered under proposed legislation.

As Ashton Carter unveiled the Pentagon’s new Cyber Strategy last week, he underscored its importance by revealing that DOD networks had been infiltrated by actors within Russia. The defense secretary did not emphasize a provision of the strategy that could send private data about U.S. citizens and companies to foreign militaries.

Here’s what it says: “To improve shared situational awareness DOD will partner with DHS [Department of Homeland Security] and other agencies to develop continuous, automated, standardized mechanisms for sharing information with each of its critical partners in the U.S. government, key allied and partner militaries, state and local governments, and the private sector. In addition, DOD will work with other U.S. government agencies and Congress to support legislation that enables information sharing between the U.S. government and the private sector.” Continue reading