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Congress considers more power for government against cyberthreats to critical infrastructure

WASHINGTON – A developing Senate plan that would bolster the government's ability to regulate the computer security of companies that run critical industries is drawing strong opposition from businesses that say it goes too far and security experts who believe it should have even more teeth.

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How much is too much? When it comes to sharing personal information online, less is more

When it comes to sharing personal information online, less is more.  The less you share, the more you can protect your privacy and minimize the chances of becoming a victim. 

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Data breach harm assessment ‘more important than telling victims’

IT professionals believe that assessing the potential harm caused by data breaches is more useful to mitigating the effects of such incidents than notifying affected individuals, according to a survey published on the day the European Union’s proposed a 24-hour deadline for data breach disclosures.

Entitled “Aftermath of a Data Breach,” the study was sponsored by information services company Experian and was conducted by the Ponemon Institute, which surveyed 584 experienced IT professionals working for companies that suffered a data breach involving consumer records during the past 24 months.

The questions asked by the Ponemon Institute tried to establish the circumstances leading to the data breach, the company’s response and the incident’s impact on the affected organisation’s data protection practices.

One of the study’s most interesting conclusions was that while notifying victims and regulators are the most common steps taken by companies in the aftermath of a data breach, IT professionals don’t view them as the most important actions for reducing the negative consequences of such incidents.

Victim notification ‘not helpful’

Only 6% of survey participants said that victim notification is helpful for reducing the impact of a breach, a significant change of opinion compared to 2007 when 54% of IT professionals chose it as an important mitigation step.

Retaining outside legal counsel, carefully assessing the harm to victims and hiring forensic experts to investigate the breach were viewed as the most valuable actions a company can take in the aftermath of a breach by approximately half of respondents.

By comparison, contracting computer forensic experts was considered important by only 5% of survey participants in 2007. This suggests that IT professionals today are much more interested in learning how a breach happened before taking action.

Legislators in both the US and the European Union are pushing for legislation that would require companies to alert victims about data breaches in a more timely and uniform manner.

24-hour notification deadline

The European Commission proposed significant changes to the EU’s data protection laws yesterday that include a 24-hour deadline for companies to report data breaches. While the proposal was largely welcomed by consumer protection groups, it attracted criticism from the US Department of Commerce and business associations, which described the deadline as too short.

The Aftermath of a Data Breach survey also revealed that, despite making improvements to their data breach response practices, companies still have a long way to go as far as prevention is concerned. Only half of respondents believed that their companies made the best possible effort to protect customer and consumer information in advance of a data breach.

Negligent staff, disgruntled employees and third-party contractors remain the primary source of data breaches. Despite the large wave of cyberattacks that targeted companies last year, only 7% of respondents named such attacks as the cause for a data breach in their organisation.

According to the study, companies continue to avoid offering free credit monitoring or identity protection services to data breach victims, and when such services do get offered, they rarely exceed periods of one year.

Nearly half of respondents said that their companies suffered data breaches that involved log-in credentials and credit card or bank payment information. Sixty percent of them said that the data was not encrypted, while 16% were unsure.

Article source: http://rss.feedsportal.com/c/270/f/3551/s/1c26635f/l/0Lnews0Btechworld0N0Csecurity0C33328460Cdata0Ebreach0Eharm0Eassessment0Emore0Eimportant0Ethan0Etelling0Evictims0C0Dolo0Frss/story01.htm

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Apple malware became more sophisticated in 2011

Malware aimed at Macs is still insignificant compared to Windows but Apple users should to pay careful attention to the growing threat from social engineering attacks, a report has found.

The Year in Mac Security by Apple security company Intego divides 2011 into two halves before and after the day, 2 May, when the fake antivirus scam Mac Defender was discovered.

Before that point, the threat to Macs was much the same as it had always been, which is to say a clutch of interesting but low-level threats, including one earlier in the year based on the notorious Blackhole exploit kit well known in the Windows world.

The appearance of OSX/MacDefender.A changed the equation. As well as being the first significant rogue antivirus product to attempt to scam Apple users, it was designed using Java as a multi-platform attack that could also target Windows and Linux PCs too.

In the following days, more versions of the scam appeared under different programs names including Mac Protector and Mac Guard and MacShield, as Apple fielded a rising number of support calls from users fooled into installing the useless software.

Later in the year, Intego reports the appearance of further apps such as the Flashback Trojan, a bogus but convincing-looking Flash player.

In short, criminals are suddenly willing to write bogus apps (or ones re-purposed in Java) that seek the path of least resistance by attempting to trick Mac users into agreeing to install bad software.

“The year 2011 was the most active year for Mac malware since Mac OS X was released,” said Intego’s blog. ”Not only did Intego find more unique samples this year, but the Mac Defender fake antivirus brought Mac malware to the masses.”

The company even discovered a tool designed to bot Macs for use in DDoS attacks, something unthinkable only a year ago.

About the only good news during 2011 was the arrest of the Estonian gang accused of being behind the DNSChanger search redirection malware that has been a major nuisance to PC and Mac users for years.

Article source: http://rss.feedsportal.com/c/270/f/3551/s/1c2121e9/l/0Lnews0Btechworld0N0Csecurity0C33326730Capple0Emalware0Ebecame0Emore0Esophisticated0Ein0E20A110C0Dolo0Frss/story01.htm

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Google Plus has more than 90 million users, claims Larry Page

Google’s social networking platform has had a very encouraging quarter, as CEO Larry Page announced yesterday that Google+ now boasts more than 90 million users worldwide, more than double the number of users it had in the previous quarter.

Page also said that engagement on the social networking site has been “growing tremendously” as “over 60% of [users] engage daily, and over 80% weekly”.

Page did not provide data for how many user accounts were actually active, however. This prompted The Register to express skepticism that many users were actually using the site for social networking purposes instead of using it as a portal to check their email.

“It clearly hopes to ratchet up that user base, but sadly for Google, its failure to provide a breakdown of how much live activity is taking place on its network leaves the company open to ridicule,” writes Fiveash. “Google execs could learn a thing or two from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg here. He has previously described sign-up metrics as being a bit dull.”

While Google+’s reported growth has been impressive, the platform still has a long way to go to catch Facebook, which has upward of 800 million users. Google has been trying to heavily promote Google+ as a social networking alternative and has sparked controversy for its integration of Google+ results into its standard search results.

Essentially, Google has added a personal search component to its traditional searches, so if you search for a particular topic on the search engine, you’ll also be given recent postings from your friends who have written about that topic on Google+. Twitter and other companies have accused Google of using their search engine power to unfairly promote their own social networking content at the expense of others.

In addition to its “Your World” search addition, Google has also further integrated Google+ in Gmail by letting users add people to their Google+ circles through email.

Google has also debuted Google+ business pages that are designed to help businesses have more interaction and even face-to-face time with their customers. Similar to the “Your World” search integration, Google has created search functionality for its business pages that takes you right to a company’s Google+ page if you do a search with the “+” symbol as the prefix and the company name.

Article source: http://rss.feedsportal.com/c/270/f/3558/s/1c0e6f9c/l/0Lnews0Btechworld0N0Cnetworking0C33318470Cgoogle0Eplus0Ehas0Emore0Ethan0E90A0Emillion0Eusers0Eclaims0Elarry0Epage0C0Dolo0Frss/story01.htm

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Bamboozled: Bank guilty of nothing more than a slow response

Just what does the law require when someone is turned down for a credit card?

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ProtectMyID: #truestory: Muggers get more than the money you’re carrying. Know how to protect yourself if you lose your wallet. http://t.co/3VzGRD98

ProtectMyID: #truestory: Muggers get more than the money you’re carrying. Know how to protect yourself if you lose your wallet. http://t.co/3VzGRD98

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Israeli hacker posts ’100,000′ more stolen Facebook logins

Israeli hacker Hannibal claims to have stolen another 100,000 Facebook logins from Arab users of the social network. A quick analysis shows that the number is actually closer to 20,000 accounts.

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ProtectMyID: Never sell something to someone who sends more money than needed and asks that extra money be returned. That payment is probably bogus.

ProtectMyID: Never sell something to someone who sends more money than needed and asks that extra money be returned. That payment is probably bogus.

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ProtectMyID: Never sell something to someone who sends more money than needed and asks that extra money be returned. That payment is probably bogus.

ProtectMyID: Never sell something to someone who sends more money than needed and asks that extra money be returned. That payment is probably bogus.

View full post on Twitter / ProtectMyID

View full post on National Cyber Security

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