News & Analysis

May 12, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

Give it to me straight, Doc: Because health care files contain a lot of personal information, the going rate for a medical file is $50 in online criminal marketplaces, compared with $2 for a stolen credit card. Medical records provide enough information to file false insurance claims and tax returns. Small hospitals, physician and dental practices are becoming targets, and stolen medical identities can be used for 10...

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May 11, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

United we stand: Deputy Commerce Secretary Bruce Andrews is leading a cybersecurity trade mission to Romania and Poland to discuss defenses against cyber attacks from Russia and Eastern Europe. Companies such as Microsoft, Lockheed Martin and FireEye are among about 20 firms sending representatives. “Poland and Romania (are) in a challenging neighborhood when it comes to cyber threats,” Andrews said. Part of the focus...

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May 8, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

In your hands: Google’s next Android update will give users more detailed choices on what information apps can access. That includes access to photos, contacts and location data. Apple added similar security features more than two years ago. The announcement is expected at the Google IO developer conference later this month. Source:...

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May 7, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

Patriotic duty: The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Patriot Act was never written to authorize the sweeping surveillance the NSA interpreted it to allow. The judges said bulk collection of Americans’ phone metadata wasn’t authorized, as the intelligence community has argued. The ruling doesn’t immediately halt the domestic phone records surveillance program, but if it’s not overturned, it could force...

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May 6, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

Helping the helpers: As 911 services move to an Internet provider-based environment, cybersecurity is more important, said Rear Adm. Ronald Hewitt, of the Office of Emergency Communications at the Department of Homeland Security. More local public safety agencies are rolling out next-generation 911 services, including the ability to text emergency calls and share images with first-responders. With about 80 percent of...

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May 5, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

A losing bet: The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is alerting customers of a data breach involving credit and debit card data involving customer names, card numbers and card verification codes, but doesn’t include PIN information. The breach affected transactions from Sept. 3, 2014, to April 2, 2015, at restaurant, bar and retail locations at the Hard Rock Las Vegas property. Customers are being advised to review card...

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May 4, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

Better shred than read: The Federal Trade Commission advises consumers to shred any papers they don’t need for the long term. “Destroying documents with your personal information reduces the likelihood of becoming an identity theft victim,” said Lisa Weintraub Schifferle, with the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Consumer and Business Education. Shred credit card or utility bills as soon as you pay them, as well...

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May 1, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

Bad diagnosis: Partners HealthCare said hackers might have gained access to the medical and personal information of about 3,300 patients. The breach occurred when some employees responded to phishing emails, which allowed access to email accounts. Some emails had private patient information, including Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and notes on treatments and insurance. Those affected include...

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April 29, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

Don’t tune in for this: Caddo Parish, La., authorities say they’ve cracked a $3 million identity theft scheme involving at least 11 suspects. The investigation involved thousands of cases of fraudulent Comcast cable, phone and Internet sign-ups, with one suspect being a Comcast employee. The company and a contract sales company lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and more than 1,200 customers could see their credit...

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April 28, 2015
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By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

On the uptick, and that’s bad: There were a record 783 data breaches in 2014, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center, a major rise from both the previous year and 2010’s peak. The Federal Trade Commission recorded 332,646 identity-theft complaints in 2014. All forms of fraud, including identity theft, cost Americans about $1.7 billion in 2014, an average of more than $2,000 per incident. The Consumer Sentinel...

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