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Someone to watch over me

By Byron Acohido, ThirdCertainty

All federal employees soon could get free credit- and identity-theft monitoring services. The Office of Personnel Management said it would propose providing the benefit to all federal workers, whether or not they were affected by breaches that together affected millions of employees, contractors and other individuals. OPM said it will “work with federal employee representatives and other stakeholders” to develop the plan. Source: Government Executive

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Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard—and Cyber Corps?

It might be time for the nation to create a sixth branch of the military, one solely dedicated to cybersecurity, suggests Andrew Rubin, founder and CEO of Illumio, a cybersecurity company. Information technology is inside every good and service we produce and consume, he says, and a component of our national defense. “Increasingly, it is the new proving ground for warfare and economic espionage, and it requires bringing the same discipline of national security strategy and engineering ingenuity to protect it,” he said. China is said to have more than 100,000 cyber professionals conducting military and economic espionage, former NSA director Mike McConnell has said. Source: Fortune

When being hard at work is bad

Reuters reports that Symantec has provided research about how a private hacking group has been infiltrating systems such as those of Apple, Facebook and Twitter, and now has a portfolio of highly skilled employees targeting the corporate entities for profit. “They are very focused, wanting everything valuable from the top companies of the world; the only way they could use it, in our opinion, is through some financial market or by selling it,” says Vikran Thakur, manager at Symantec. He added that his company, along with cybersecurity firm FireEye, are tracking another half-dozen hacker groups around the world. One of them, FIN4, is in the business of breaching publicly traded companies’ information, Symantec says. Reuters reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating large-scale breaches of publicly traded companies. Source: Bidness Etc.

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Posting a ‘No Phishing’ sign

Google Gmail’s spam filter now uses an artificial neural network to detect and block “the especially sneaky spam,” which means you may be less likely to see messages that are meant to pass for wanted email. The filter can root out email impersonation. New machine learning signals help the service figure out whether a message actually came from its sender, which in theory should reduce the effectiveness of phishing scams. Source: Venture Beat

Safety before modesty

Having your financial information stolen or compromised is worse than having naked pictures of yourself leaked online, said 55 percent of those polled in MasterCard’s Emotion of Safety & Security Research survey. Even more would rather have their homes robbed (59 percent) or email hacked (62 percent) than have financial data stolen or compromised. Nearly half (48 percent) feel personally responsible for keeping their data safe, and virtually everyone (92 percent) reports doing at least something to protect themselves. Source: Money magazine

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United, we fall; divided, we stand

Polyverse, a company founded by former AOL and Microsoft official Alex Gounares, has raised $1 million in capital to help protect companies from large-scale data breaches. The company is developing software that helps companies protect their databases, mobile apps and websites from cyber attacks. The goal is not necessarily to prevent an attack, but to limit their effectiveness by partitioning all of a company’s data, so if intruders do get in, they may only access a small number of records. Limiting how much information hackers can get may make hackers think an attack isn’t worth the trouble. Source: Geek Wire

Extra-large coverage for extra-large demand

Wholesale insurance distributors AmWINS Group launched an excess facility to meet the demand for cyber liability insurance. This is an alternative to the traditional practice of brokers approaching insurers and putting together quota share placements. “You could almost call this a prepackaged quota share,” said David Lewison, AmWINS financial services national practice leader. The cyber liability product provides an additional large capacity. The attachment points can be as low as $5 million. No classes or industries are excluded, AmWINS said. There are eight undisclosed Lloyd’s of London syndicates participating. Source: Business Insurance

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A model of indignation

Model Charlotte McKinney denies that she posted nude images of herself to Instagram. A topless image appeared on her social media account late on July 8, but was taken down the next day. She says she was a victim of a cyber attack and that her Instagram account was hacked. The model, who rose to fame in a commercial for burger chain Carl’s Jr., said on Instagram, “To all my followers, I’ve once again become a victim of hacking.” Source: The (U.K.) Daily Mail

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