Reports regarding a nuclear power plant becoming the target of a cyber-attack has raised eyebrows across the board. But of course, with the all the headlines involving the U.S. elections these days, these news briefs may have actually gone unnoticed by many.
Little by little we are witnessing how WikiLeaks is at it again by publishing numerous email batches stolen by hackers from John Podesta’s account. Who cares, you may say. Well, Podesta is actually the chair of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign in the U.S. presidential election, and his Twitter account was also hacked this week. It is long overdue for Team Clinton to start getting their act together and getting back to the chalkboard regarding fundamental security tips. And if like me you are also feeling too confused and at times overwhelmed about all the developments around us, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has published an essay explaining how he had shed light on all this 10 years ago, and providing some insight on what the group may be attempting to accomplish during this election season.
Moving on, Signal, the encrypted communication app, provided a new feature that can be described as disappearing messages, while Internet of Things devices continue to be plagued by ongoing security glitches, and U.S. President Barack Obama is all of a sudden thinking about machines powered by learning-trained artificial intelligence will in the not-so-distant future pose a major cybersecurity threat or not. Typical for a president in his last 100 days in office.
UK cabinet meetings ban Apple Watches due to security worries
Despite the fact that under former UK Prime Minister David Cameron all cabinet minister were permitted to wear Apple Watches, they are now completely banned by his successor, Theresa May. Concerns regarding the watch being possibly turned into surveillance devices, especially by hackers in Russia, are gaining serious momentum. UK cabinet meetings have already banned any and all cell phones.
Data storage company leak unveils personal information from nearly 60 million accounts, more probable
Information about more than 58 million users has surfaced suddenly through a leak, sent across the web last week alone. Risk Based Security conducted research showing the database source of this dump is actually hosted by Modern Business Solutions, itself a company focusing on data storage and hosting. Risk Based Security has gathered considerable evidence indicating that above 260 million user entries may have truly become compromised. However, they are not able to confirm this fact as the database, compiled along with MongoDB, is no longer accessible as it has now been completely secured. Tens of thousands of notifications were sent regarding the breach, according to the containing email and IP addresses, all posted by the Have I Been Pwned? leak notification service.
Microsoft resolves undisclosed vulnerabilities
Microsoft took measures and on October 11 announced the patching of five previously undeclared zero-day vulnerabilities in software such as Internet Explorer and Edge, along with Windows and Office service platforms. This also includes some weak points that Microsoft says it was able to observe in the wild as being exploited. The major computer software company is also under transition into a new patch deployment system. This new design includes unified updates being pushed for its line of legacy operating systems: Windows 7 and 8, and Windows Server 2008 and 2012.
Nuclear plant impacted by hack, IAEA Director warns
International Atomic Energy Agency Director Yukiya Amano informed Reuters on October 10th of a disrupted nuclear power plant due to a cyberattack. Yet fortunately the plant was not forced to shut down in the attack that took place two or three years ago. Although he stopped short of providing any further details on the alarming incident, or providing any clues about what specific country was targeted, he did underscore the threat posed to nuclear plants by hackers.
“This actually happened and it caused some problems,” Amano explained. “This issue of cyber-attacks on nuclear-related facilities or activities should be taken very seriously. We never know if we know everything or if it’s the tip of the iceberg.”
Recent Google Transparency Report statistics indicates increase in government information requests
Goggle has used information regarding government information requests from the first 6 months of 2016 to update its transparency report. The total number of requests made has increased from the last reporting period–44,943 recently, in comparison to 40,677 for the second 6 months of 2015. Google rendered user information for 64% of all the requests, being equal to the last reporting period. For the first time Google received requests from people in the countries of Algeria, Belarus, Cayman Islands, El Salvador, Fiji and Saudi Arabia, all during the first 6 months of 2016. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) have also witnessed a gain this year. Google has said in 2016 it has received 21,000-21,499 requests so far, in comparison to 16,000 to 16,499 during the last period. (Companies are bound by legal terms to report only based on FISA requests, and also in ranges.)