Tag Archives: security

Is Cyberwarfare Already Happening?

Are international governments already engaging in cyberwarfare by hacking into each other’s computer systems? According to recent Reuters articles, at a minimum, a war of words is brewing suggesting that this already is the case.

First, it is reported that via a flaw in Adobe software, hackers were able to target government computer systems in Europe. Apparently, the systems were not actually compromised, but the specifics of the attack are being shared with NATO member states in an effort to remain ready for potential further attacks.

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HHS (Finally) Issues HIPAA/HITECH Amendments

On January 17, 2013 the federal Department of Health & Human Services (“HHS”) announced a final omnibus rule that details amendments to the privacy, security, data breach and enforcement rules under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”). The 2013 HIPAA Amendments (which, with commentary from HHS, weighs in at 563 pages) are closely based on statutory changes under the HITECH Act of 2009, and were previewed in proposed and interim rules issued by HHS several years ago. Continue reading HHS (Finally) Issues HIPAA/HITECH Amendments

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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