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Posts Tagged ‘Homeland’

Homeland Security Wants You to Uninstall QuickTime for Windows

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On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a strange warning to Windows users: please uninstall QuickTime. Apple announced that they wouldn’t be upgrading the old QuickTime media player software for Windows users (like iTunes, QuickTime has a non-Mac version for Windows users) anymore.

Without regular updates, the program quickly became vulnerable to security exploits. As John Oliver explained last month, digital security is a constant war of attrition between software companies and malicious hackers. Discontinuing security updates for a program is a bit like pulling out your goalie, and then letting the whole team walk off the field — there’s nothing to stop the opposing team from scoring goals (in this case, program exploits).

Shortly after the announcement, the TrendMicro blog’s ZeroDay initiative discovered two vulnerabilities in the QuickTime software — while the technical details are pretty complicated, both bugs give hackers an easy way into a computer’s data, allowing “remote attackers” to “execute arbitrary code.” Basically, if someone that is not you can force your computer to run code, you have a problem. A similar “trojan horse” virus was even responsible for Anonymous hacking a NASA drone and trying to crash it into the ocean, which fortunately failed but was equal parts scary and hilarious.
The bugs do require “user input,” meaning the computer’s owner still has to download a dodgy file or visit an unsafe website — but that’s extremely common. According to Google their safe browsing software turns up as many as 90,000 new unsafe websites every week, so there’s no real way to protect yourself if your computer has a security flaw like the ones in QuickTime. On the map on the right side of this page, you can click on your country to see a “heat map” of how many of its websites Google classifies as unsafe (in the U.S., it’s less than one percent, but since there are almost 42 million registered web pages, that’s still a big-ass number).

As The Verge noted, Homeland Security’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team puts out warnings like this pretty often, but they’re rarely this explicit:

“…Using unsupported software may increase the risks from viruses and other security threats,” the statement reads. “Potential negative consequences include loss of confidentiality, integrity, or availability of data, as well as damage to system resources or business assets. The only mitigation available is to uninstall QuickTime for Windows.”

So, yeah. If you’re a PC user, it’s time to say goodbye to QuickTime (click here for help uninstalling!) If you’re like me, you’d completely forgotten you even had it on your computer, so it’s not like you’ll be missing much. Mac users, your QuickTime is fine. You probably don’t use it either, but if you do, no need to uninstall.
Source:https://www.inverse.com/article/14330-here-s-why-homeland-security-wants-you-to-uninstall-quicktime-for-windows

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Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate Announces New Cybersecurity Risk Analysis Tool

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced that a fifth cybersecurity technology has been licensed for commercialization as a part of the Cyber Security Division’s Transition to Practice (TTP) program. The TTP program builds on the S&T process of funding projects through the full research and development lifecycle through to the commercial marketplace. The Physical and Cyber Risk Analysis Tool (PACRAT) technology, developed by researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), assesses cyber risks simultaneously with physical risks. RhinoCorps, a small business and vulnerability assessment tool developer in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is licensing the tool and plans to integrate PACRAT’s capabilities into their physical vulnerability assessment tool called Simajin. The resulting assessment tool will enable users to examine how their cyber security and physical security postures impact one another. “S&T’s TTP program is leading the way in assisting the transition of government funded technology into the marketplace,” said DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Reginald Brothers. “Some of the most innovative technologies have been developed by our national lab partners and it’s essential we help them provide a positive impact on the nation’s cybersecurity posture.” In 2013, the TTP program […]

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Homeland Security Dept. Can Not Combat Cyberattacks As They Struggles to Hire Staff

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Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

WASHINGTON — At a time of increasing threats of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, the Department of Homeland Security is having trouble recruiting much-needed computer experts because it cannot match the pay of the private sector and does not have the same allure as intelligence agencies. Recent disclosures that Iranian hackers with ties to the government in Tehran had launched a cyberattack against a dam in New York highlighted the need for the department, which is charged with protecting government and private systems from cyberintrusions, to have a staff capable of responding to sophisticated enemies. “We are competing in a tough marketplace against a private sector that is in a position to offer a lot more money,” Jeh Johnson, the Homeland Security secretary, told senators at a hearing last month. “We need more cybertalent without a doubt in D.H.S., in the federal government, and we are not where we should be right now, that is without a doubt.” Concern about the potential for cyberattacks on infrastructure was heightened after a Dec. 23 hack of the Ukrainian power grid that caused a blackout for 225,000 customers. The department, which helped Ukrainian officials investigate the case, confirmed that it was a cyberattack. But […]

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‘Stoner hacked CIA Director AND Homeland Security Secretary’: Student leaks private information and claims to have accessed top-secret emails and voicemails

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

The FBI is investigating claims two of the highest-ranking national security officials in the US have had their personal emails hacked by a ‘dope smoking’ student hacker. Federal agents are probing reports that the personal accounts of CIA Director John Brennan and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson were breached. The hacker, who told CNN that he was ‘below the age of 22 years old, I smoke pot, and I live in America’ claimed that he had broken into Brennan’s personal email account and taken sensitive files, including a top-secret application for a security clearance. He also claimed he prank-called Brennan, who is America’s top spy, and taunted him by reciting his Social Security number. ‘He waited a tiny bit and hung up,’ the hacker said. As well as cracking Brennan’s personal AOL account, he claimed to have targeted Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, accessing his internet provider account and listening to his voicemails. An attachment was also released with the names, social security numbers and phone numbers of 20 people said to be affiliated with the CIA head. The unidentified youth told the New York Post last night that Brennan had stored sensitive information on his private email account. This included […]

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The post ‘Stoner hacked CIA Director AND Homeland Security Secretary’: Student leaks private information and claims to have accessed top-secret emails and voicemails appeared first on National Cyber Security.

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Homeland Security Gives Cyber Crimes Center a Major Upgrade

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

It’s not quite “CSI: Cyber,” but the the United States has its own cyber crimes task force, and its headquarters is getting a major upgrade. The ICE Cyber Crimes Center in Fairfax, Virginia, is getting a 5,000 square-foot forensic laboratory, more space for conducting cyber operations, and “an evidence vault,” the Department of Homeland Security announced on Wednesday. Also, conference rooms! The U.S. government’s ability to protect itself from hackers has come under fire recently after 21.5 million Americans had their personal information stolen from the Office of Personnel Management. This new center is meant to help the Department of Homeland Security defend against hackers who traffic in stolen information, credit cards, child pornography, fake documents and illegal drugs. The Cyber Crimes Center (known within the DHS as “C3″) claimed the take-down of the Silk Road, an illegal online marketplace, as one of its biggest victories. “The men and women of Homeland Security Investigations perform critical work in combating criminals that use the computer as their weapon, perpetrating crimes ranging from child exploitation to the theft of intellectual property,” Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “The development of this expanded Cyber Crimes Center provides this […]

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Dems, GOP senators push cyber bill for Homeland after breach

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

A bipartisan group of senators is pushing to strengthen the authority of the Homeland Security Department to thwartcyberattackson government networks and websites after a massive government data breach. Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who has spearheaded cyber legislation in the past, led lawmakers on Wednesday in introducing a measure that would allow the Homeland secretaryto take the offensive in intrusion detection and prevention. The legislation, which could be voted on as early as the first week in August, comes after hackers stole Social Security identification numbers and other highly sensitive data from more than 21 million people. Also backing the measure are Democratic Sens. Mark Warner, Claire McCaskill and Barbara Mikulski, and Republicans Dan Coats and Kelly Ayotte. Source: WUSA9

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HSI Forensic Laboratory assists in exhibit preparation for “Securing the Homeland — ICE” at the Crime Museum

Top Priority Sector:  border_security Recently ICE unveiled a temporary exhibit at the Crime Museum in Washington, D.C. entitled “Securing the Homeland — ICE. Read More….

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Government Technology & Services Coalition recognizes leaders in homeland and national security community

Top Priority Sector:  federal_agencies_legislative The Government Technology & Services Coalition, of Oakton, VA, an organization for small and mid-sized companies in homeland and national security, has recognized numerous public and private sector leaders and innovators at its Annual Awards. Read More….

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Immigration reform requires advanced communications capabilities for homeland security

Rick Lober Top Priority Sector:  border_security Image Caption: Read More….

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FIS strikes cybersecurity partnership with Department of Homeland Security

Top Priority Sector:  infrastructure_protection Banking and payment solutions provider Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) has reached an agreement with DHS to become a cybersecurity research partner. Read More….

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