News & Analysis

May 28, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty Identity thieves are collecting unemployment benefits in a “tsunami of fraud,” says Wifredo Ferrer, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Bad guys are buying personal information stolen from places such as hospitals, medical offices, schools and retirement programs. They then log onto state websites and file for unemployment benefits. Since the priority is for states to get the money out quickly, they don’t wait for an employer...

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May 27, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

Tax time trouble

Hackers used an IRS online service to access information from more than 100,000 taxpayers, the agency said. “We’re confident that these are not amateurs, that these actually are organized crime syndicates,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. The thieves got past a security screen that required knowledge about the taxpayer including Social Security number, date of birth, tax filing status and street address. The IRS...

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May 26, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

How much is too much?

Lloyd’s of London wants to ensure it avoids a “dangerous aggregation” of insurance related to the risks of a catastrophic cyber attack. Current cyber risk capacity in London is about $440.3 million, said Toby Clowes, a broker at Safeonline. Lloyd’s introduced a risk code for cybersecurity property damage and updated its risk code for cybersecurity data and privacy breach coverage, which allows its performance management team to...

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May 22, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

Patriot Act: Going, going …: With hours to go until the National Security Agency begins to shut down its phone records collection program, the Senate may hold a weekend voting session to keep the Patriot Act alive. Democrats and some Republicans back an NSA reform bill called the USA Freedom Act, which would end the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records and reauthorize three portions of the Patriot Act that...

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May 20, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

Debit or credit? Criminals are stealing card data from automated teller machines at the highest rate in two decades, raising the risk of unauthorized bank withdrawals. If fraudulent transactions are made on a credit card account, there is no immediate financial hit while you straighten things out, notes Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at website Bankrate.com. But if a thief can withdraw funds from a bank account...

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May 19, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

Free, with a cost? Resistance is growing to Internet.org, Facebook’s project to bring basic free Internet services to regions where few people can afford it. More than 60 associations for civic and digital liberties in 28 countries signed an “Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg Regarding Internet.org, Net Neutrality, Privacy, and Security,” expressing concern that “Internet.org … violates the principles of net neutrality,...

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May 18, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

Who’s flying this thing? Cybersecurity researcher Chris Roberts said he caused a plane’s engine to climb after hacking its software, according to a court document. Roberts was questioned by the FBI after he tweeted that he was probing systems on a United Airlines flight on which he was a passenger. He has not been charged with a crime, although United banned him from its planes. FBI agent Mark S. Hurley wrote in a...

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May 15, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

Don’t take a pass: A State Department contractor was indicted in an alleged identity theft scheme using information she stole while working at a passport office. Two other women also were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Since 2010, the defendants are accused of using stolen names, addresses and Social Security numbers from passports to create fake documents and...

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May 14, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

Chipping in: Chip-and-PIN cards are better at protecting data, but experts say they’re not completely secure. Not all retailers have upgraded their equipment to read the chip, which devises a unique code for each purchase and is virtually impossible for thieves to duplicate. Most cards are hybrids, with both a chip and a traditional magnetic strip. When swiped at an old card reader, it offers no protection. “Having...

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May 13, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

Really big deal: After the announcement of Verizon’s planned $4.4 billion acquisition of AOL, privacy advocates are nervous about Verizon’s efforts to gather more data about users for advertising. “Whether or not the combination of a major online advertiser with the largest mobile-services provider raises substantial antitrust concerns, it raises extremely substantial and urgent privacy concerns,” said Harold Feld of...

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