News & Analysis

June 11, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

Minneapolis police say at least 36 people are the victims of a recently discovered identity theft ring in the metro area. The client of a personal care assistant reported her credit card was stolen and being used for fraudulent purchases, including $3,000 in gold necklaces. Surveillance photos from the jewelry store’s security cameras helped identify the suspects—the woman’s personal care assistant and her male friend. Search warrants...

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June 10, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

Current and former Cabinet secretaries are among the millions of federal employees whose personal information may have been compromised by a data breach at the Office of Personnel Management. Last week, OPM revealed that it had identified a data security breach and said it would be notifying the approximately 4 million current and former federal employees whose data may have been affected. FBI, Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service and...

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June 9, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

The official public Army website was hacked by unknown intruders demanding the U.S. stop training rebel fighters inside Syria. Officials say the website has no official classified information or private personal data of any personnel, military or civilian. It’s not clear yet whether the Army or the hackers shut down the website. The website is for general public access with general information about the Army, press releases and Army...

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June 8, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

The Office of Personnel Management database penetrated by Chinese hackers didn’t use encryption or other technology to protect the Social Security numbers of federal workers. The breach, affecting the records of 4.1 million current and former federal employees, may be linked to a Chinese state-backed hacker group known as “Deep Panda,” which recently attacked health insurers Anthem and Premera. Encryption and data-obfuscating...

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June 5, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

China accused the United States of “groundless accusations” and being “irresponsible” in blaming Chinese hackers for a data breach that could be the biggest cyber attack in U.S. history. Four million federal workers may have had their personal data exposed, and officials said the hack could affect every U.S. government agency. U.S. officials and lawmakers identified the likely culprit as China. However, China Foreign Ministry spokesman...

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June 4, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

The Associated Press is reporting that the Obama administration is preparing to go public with the disclosure of another major data breach.  Quoting a congressional aide and a second U.S. official — both unnamed — AP reports that the Office of Personnel Management and the Interior Department were hacked. Expect a public announcement of the breach Thursday night or Friday morning, the second source advised AP. The Office of Personnel...

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June 3, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

 Mortgage lenders routinely require borrowers to sign IRS form 4506-T, which lets underwriters get transcripts of past tax returns. Your lender gives the form to a third-party vendor to access taxpayer transcripts. Vendors must submit information about their businesses and check a box agreeing to “Safeguard Taxpayer Data.” Curtis Knuth, of transcript vendor NCS, says his firm and others have urged the IRS to “toughen...

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June 2, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

Google has rebranded its Wallet payment system as Android Pay, and plans a big push for it. The payment system uses near-field communication to securely transmit payments to stores equipped with readers. The payment is authorized like a regular credit card swipe, but the retailer never gets your card information, which should offer increased security. That might make it the answer to some of the data breaches that have harmed a number...

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June 1, 2015
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The Senate reconvened Monday to look at changes to a House bill to curtail government authority to gather telephone records after parts of the Patriot Act expired Sunday. Presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., blocked an extension during debate Sunday. Procedural rules mean the Senate can’t restore the lapsed authorities before Tuesday. Votes expected Tuesday or Wednesday are expected to send a compromise version, called the USA Freedom Act, to the president for his signature. Paul...

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May 29, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

In 2013, health care provider Cottage Health System discovered that security on a server was disabled, leaving thousands of patients’ files potentially exposed, including names, addresses, dates of birth and, in a few cases, a diagnosis, lab results and procedures performed. Cottage was sued, along with inSync, a company responsible for securing the records. The health care provider had insurance to cover a data breach, but insurer...

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