government

Tue
28
May
John Lister's picture

Ransomware Attack Linked to NSA Breach

The National Security Agency (NSA) is refusing to comment on claims a tool it developed has been used in a ransomware attack on the Baltimore city government. The New York Times says the attackers used a tool called "EternalBlue." The attackers have ... encrypted Baltimore government systems and demanded between $76,000 and $114,440 (depending on the account) to restore access. Officials have refused to pay and used workarounds including some manual processing of files and switching to Gmail for internal communications. It seems the attack was carried out using EternalBlue, which is ... (view more)

Wed
13
Mar
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Apple Wants To Block Police Phone Tracking

Apple wants to patent a technology that would make it harder for police to track people's location through their phone. The technology wouldn't make messages and calls secret, but rather make it harder to prove who owned the phone in question. The ... patent is for end-to-end encryption for the mobile subscriber identification number (MSNI). That's part of a longer number that also identifies the country and mobile network a phone is registered to What's important here is that the MSNI identifies the specific handset. Police could then force a mobile carrier to hand over the ... (view more)

Thu
02
Aug
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Gov't Staff Revert to Typewriters After Ransomware Attack

Staff of a local government in Alaska have switched to typewriters after a ransomware attack crippled their computer network. Officials are currently rebuilding the system from scratch. The attack hit Matanuska-Susitna Borough, which covers the ... region just north of Anchorage. The problems began on July 24, though officials believe the malware may have been on the system for several weeks before activating. IT staff spotted the ransomware attack thanks to antivirus software , but had to start manually removing some of the more sophisticated elements. They also reset all passwords as a security ... (view more)

Wed
30
May
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Country Plans to Ban Facebook for a Month

Papua New Guinea is set to ban Facebook for a month. Unlike with bans in more authoritarian countries, it's designed to research cyber crime laws rather than stifle debate - or so the official explanation goes. However, the country's government have ... warned it might need to create a "more conducive" site that meets local laws. The government says its necessary to block access to the site while it investigates if and how Facebook helps users breach the Cyber Crime Act passed in 2016. The act was an attempt to update numerous laws to cover activity that was often already illegal in the "real ... (view more)

Thu
22
Mar
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US Blamed for Sophisticated Router Malware

Last week security researchers said a piece of malware named "Slingshot" was so sophisticated it was backed by a government. Now it appears that government was the United States and that the revelations may have compromised an anti-terror campaign. ... The original reports didn't name the country involved. That might not quell controversy, however the reports came from Kaspersky Labs, a security company based in Russia. Slingshot exploited a bug in a specific brand of routers. In simple terms, it was able to take advantage of the way the router updated its operating software on an ... (view more)

Thu
15
Mar
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Trump Blocks Broadcom, Qualcomm Tech Deal

President Trump has blocked a Singapore-based company from taking over a major American tech firm. He says the proposed Broadcom buyout of Qualcomm posed a credible national security risk. The deal would have been the biggest in tech history. ... Qualcomm makes a wide range of computer and gadget components with a particular emphasis on those used in communications devices such as phones. It helped develop key systems used to carry data over cellphone networks, allowing smartphones and tablets to get Internet access without relying on WiFi. Broadcom had offered $140 million to buyout Qualcomm. ... (view more)

Thu
13
Jul
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Kaspersky Labs Accused of Working for Russian Spies

Russian-based antivirus company Kaspersky Labs has denied working with intelligence agencies in Russia. The denial follows a crackdown on US government agencies using the company's software. The claims follow a series of previously unpublished ... emails sent in 2009 between company founder Eugene Kaspersky and colleagues. They mention a secret project "per a big request on the Lubyanka side." That's a reference to the headquarters of the FSB, the Russian security agency that's the modern-day equivalent of the KGB. In principle the project was to work on defensive software for the FSB, protecting ... (view more)

Thu
23
Feb
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Self-Driving Cars Could Change Insurance Rules

The British government says insurers should have to pay out if a customer's self-driving car crashes, whether or not the human was in control. It's the latest in a series of legal questions raised by the technology. The government has published the ... Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill and will now try to make it law through the country's parliamentary system. If adopted, the rules would mean the government would legally classify cars as self-driving on a model-by-model basis. With any car that fits into this category, the legally-required insurance policy would have to be set up ... (view more)

Thu
22
Dec
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New Yahoo Breach Affects 1 Billion Accounts

Stolen Yahoo account details could be changing hands for as little as three-hundredths of a cent according to security researchers. It follows a hack of more than a billion accounts. It's the second Yahoo breach reported this year. Back in September ... the news broke that details of more than 500,000 accounts had been accessed by hackers in 2014. Now Yahoo has confirmed a separate attack in 2013 involved the theft of data for more than a billion accounts, something security experts believe makes it a record breach. It's suggested that the stolen data includes email addresses and passwords, ... (view more)

Wed
16
Nov
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Report: 700M Android Phones Contain Chinese Spyware

Some cheaply made Android phones are reportedly sending copies of text messages to a Chinese source every 72 hours. The official explanation is that international customers have unintentionally received handsets with a "feature" designed for Chinese ... users. A security firm named Kryptowire made the discovery. It found that hidden software preinstalled in phones was contacting a Chinese server every three days and passing on details including contacts lists and call logs. The software also sent back daily updates with the full content of text messages and location data. (Source: ... (view more)

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