Cyberspace Is The New Battlefield

We usually think of the Internet as a place where we can obtain information, communicate with others, and engage in various business and personal activities.

However, is it also a new battlefield?

Yes, according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Indeed, as reported by Reuters, he maintains that while hackers have already attacked financial institutions, they also have the capability to strike mission-critical domestic power grids and government systems.

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Displaced New Jersey Residents To Vote by E-mail or Fax

The New Jersey Department of State issued a directive to county elections officials to permit New Jersey registered voters displaced by Hurricane Sandy to vote electronically. Specifically, the directive permits voting by e-mail or fax. Of course, there are many security addresses that must be addressed to eliminate voter fraud. Of particular concern is how election officials plan to authenticate the e-mail and fax ballots they receive from displaced New Jersey residents.

This is the first time technology has been used in this way to vote and assuming that the security issues are adequately addressed, it will likely be studied to determine if it can used for the masses in future elections.

The release can be viewed on the New Jersey state website:
http://www.state.nj.us/governor/news/news/552012/approved/20121103d.html.

Hackers Increasingly Target Colleges, Universities

All sorts of businesses and organizations are potentially vulnerable to hackers. Educational institutions are no exception, as highlighted by a recent example involving Northwest Florida State College.

One or more hackers accessed a folder on the school’s main server from May through September, according to a memo from the College’s President to all employees. The folder contained multiple files.

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The London Olympics: A High-Tech Success

The London 2012 Olympics games were successful, and indeed spectacular, on many levels.

Of course, there were incredible performances by phenomenal athletes, including veterans like Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, as well as new breakout stars such as Missy Franklin and Gabby Douglas.

Great Britain also served up wonderful musical acts for entertainment purposes. Not only were we regaled by Paul McCartney, Annie Lennox, George Michael, and bits and pieces from Queen and Pink Floyd, but we also witnessed the reunion of the Spice Girls (oh my).

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FTC Imposes a Record $22.5 Million Civil Penalty on Google for Privacy Misrepresentations

On August 9, 2012, the FTC announced that Google agreed to pay a record $22.5 million civil penalty to settle charges that it made misrepresentations to users of the Safari Internet browser when Google represented that it would not place cookies or serve targeted ads to those users. In doing so, Google violated an earlier privacy settlement it had with the FTC.

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said “[t]he record setting penalty in this matter sends a clear message to all companies under an FTC privacy order. . . “[n]o matter how big or small, all companies must abide by FTC orders against them and keep their privacy promises to consumers, or they will end up paying many times what it would have cost to comply in the first place.”

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Lawyers Must Do More To Protect Cybersecurity

Lawyers should know how to protect information belonging to their firms and their clients, right? Well, perhaps they can do a better job, according to The Wall Street Journal. Indeed, it’s now more important than ever for lawyers’ cybersecurity skills to get up to speed.

According to the article, hackers intent on insider trading may target attorneys who handle merger and acquisition transactions. They could put links in text messages that, when clicked on smartphones, activate malware that could log keystrokes and record phone conversations.

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Trouble In Password Paradise

Many people use the same password for all of their accounts. Why? Because it is easy to remember just one password across all accounts.

But is that a good idea? Nope. If that password were to fall into the wrong hands, it potentially could be used more pervasively to the disadvantage of the true password holder.

And this is not a hypothetical concern. Indeed, recent press reports are rife with disclosures of major password hacks/leaks.

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FTC Released its Final Report Today on Best Practices for Businesses to Protect Consumer Privacy

Today, the Federal Trade Commission released its final report titled “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: Recommendations For Businesses and Policymakers.” http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2012/03/privacyframework.shtm

The report details best practices for businesses to protect the privacy of consumers. Recognizing the burden on small businesses, the FTC says that the framework should not apply to companies that collect and do not transfer only non-sensitive data from fewer than 5,000 consumers a year.

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Is Your Company At Risk For A Security Breach?

Business want to know whether they are potential targets for security breaches, and if so, they seek to identify the types of electric records that may be at risk.

The Trustwave 2012 Global Security Report sheds some light on these concerns by identifying top data-security risk areas. Highlights of the report include the following findings:

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FBI’s Social Media Monitoring Plan Must Balance Privacy, Security

A few weeks ago this blog pointed out that the Department of Homeland Security’s command center regularly monitors social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, popular sites like Hulu, controversial sites including WikiLeaks, and news and commentary sites like The Huffington Post and Drudge Report, according to a government document.

Now, there is an indication that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is developing a web application that will have the ability to monitor social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Such an application supposedly will give the FBI intelligence about potential security threats.

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