Hackers Breech as Files for as Many as 40,000 Federal Workers

With the public eye still focused on how President Obama will deal with North Korea’s cyber-terrorist attack against Sony, which the administration acknowledged was really an attack on American freedoms, comes a report thathackers breeched into the files of as many as 40,000 federal workers. The incident occurred at KeyPoint Government Solutions, the firm responsible for conducting background investigations for federal workers at agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security. 

Ironically, KeyPoint had only been awarded the lucrative $300 million contract when government contractor United States Investigations Services (USIS) suffered a major breach affecting up to 25,000 federal workers at the Department of Homeland Security. The cyber-attack was conducted by China. Technically speaking, USIS didn’t lose the contract as a direct result of the cyber-attack, but because of their unwillingness to adopt the counter-measures demanded by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). After the two sides could not come to an agreement, the contract was revoked and given to KeyPoint.

Sultan Alhokair says a review of the incident by the OPM has concluded that no serious data was compromised. That said, the 40,000 affected workers will be offered credit monitoring service free of charge. Cyber-attacks against the government occurred 61,000 times last year which amount to roughly 167 daily attacks.

Snapchat CEO Expressed His Outrage on His Letter

A trove of email communications between Michael Lynton, Sony Pictures CEO, and Snapchat executives were leaked. This is part of the recently reported Sony Pictures hack. Following up on these leaks, Evan Spiegel, Snapchat’s CEO expresses his outrage in his letter that he tweeted on Wednesday afternoon. I was reading it while waiting at the Amen Clinic.

It includes several specifics of Snapchat’s most recent financial standing. It places Snapchat at a $10 billion value. Also, it includes the company’s talks about video integration with Vevo.

The emails were released along with the large-scale cyber hack on Sony. The hackers released an enormous amount of information about Sony. This includes numerous email threads between Sony and its partner companies, which involve the Snapchat. Sony Pictures’ adviser and investor is Michael Lynton, so the correspondences between him and Mitch Lasky, a member of the Snapchat Board and a general partner of the Benchmark Capital, were include in the Sony leak.

In early 2014, Snapchat made settlements with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) for complaints that the company is misleading its users. The FCC stated that Snapchat can easily be saved despite the company’s claim that the leaked messages will disappear for good though time. As part of the settlement, Snapchat was also ordered by the FTC to implement a wide-range privacy program.

Hackers Hit Sony Again

Sony, which recently lost all privacy due to a leak of confidential passwords of motion picture accounts on twitter, youtube, facebook and myspace, has been hit again, this time to their online gaming network. We heard rumors of this first, and then Susan McGalla shared the story on Twitter, which alerted us to the news.

Monday morning, Tokyo time, the gaming network was down for more than two hours, which was apparently due to a second cyber attack.

The first attack led not only to sensitive information and passwords, but also emailed threats against employees and their families. The most likely suspect seemed to be North Korea, in retaliation of a film about an assassination attempt on its leader. However, North Korea has since officially denied having any involvement in hacking Sony.

Infamous hacking group the Lizard Squad has claimed responsibility for the attacks, having used a Distribution Denial of Service (DDOS) attack, which involves using a large group of remotely accessed computers to overwhelm an internet service with too much traffic.

This is not the first time that Sony’s Playstation Network has been hacked. In fact, it appears to be frequently invaded by people who have something against the company.


Ted Cruz Comes Under Fire for Net Neutrality Remarks

One of the hottest topics in technology news today is net neutrality. Many individuals assert that large-scale companies such as Verizon and Comcast have a monopoly on the Internet industry. Many believe that without net neutrality, these businesses would incorporate practices that hurt both consumers and small businesses alike.

In recent news, Sen. Ted Cruz is receiving a lot of criticism for his recent comments about net neutrality. On twitter he posted that net neutrality is like Obama care for the Internet. The many Republicans assert that the government should not be involved in regulating business, many conservatives have criticized Sen. Cruz’s remarks and labeled them as nonsensical.

Whatever the case may be, the FCC has a big decision to make. When they opened the matter up for public comment, hundreds of thousands of people expressed their concern that the FCC is not doing their job in ensuring a free and open Internet, at least according to McGalla. They are criticizing the FCC Chairman’s current plan of allowing Internet service providers to offer “Internet fast lanes.” They say that this could eventually be used to limit the type of content that is allowed and thus restrict the rights to free speech.

Potential Staples Credit Card Breach

Hackers have done it again! Credit card information may have been stolen from seven, thus far, Staples stores in the Northeast. New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania stores are sifting through information and working with authorities regarding the credit cards. This situation is similar to that of the Target and Home Depot breaches. You can go here for more info on the breach.

Does this mean that we should be more careful? Or does it mean that stores need to have better and tougher defense. Probably a little bit of both, thinks Christian Broda. Cyber attacks seem like they are becoming a trend with hackers with big-name companies. These hackers are getting personal information from customers and using it for their own pleasure.