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Security News & Analysis

Thanks Google, I Can Manage My Own Bills - and Privacy

Google releases some pretty cool apps on a regular basis. But, it just doesn’t seem to get the whole privacy thing. This week, it announced that it is extending its Google Now personal assistant technology to enable it read your bills — and tell you when they’re overdue.

The first thing that will strike most people is that they don’t really need anyone to tell me when they owe money. It's a sure bet that they are painfully aware of that themselves.

The second thing is privacy. Google has already admitted that it snoops on your emails to produce personalized advertising. Why would it want to look at your bills?

Hackers Want Your CRM Data: Here's What To Do

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The cyberattack on JPMorgan Chase has affected 76 million household accounts, a far larger number than originally expected. The inroads hackers made into the bank has rattled the tech and financial community, to say nothing of Capitol Hill, where legislators are looking anew at cybersecurity legislation.

The reason for their nervousness is clear: JPMorgan Chase is probably one of the most protected institutions in the world. If hackers can successfully breach its security, what chance do other companies stand?

It's a sobering question and there is no pat response other than to treat the event as a wake up call: if a company or industry is perceived to have a rich treasure trove of data within its systems, know that it's fair game to hackers.

And what contains more rich, personalized data than customer relationship management (CRM) systems?

Did JPMorgan's Data Breach Need to Be So Massive?

It’s all over the morning news. Late yesterday, in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission,  JPMorgan Chase revealed that more than half of American households were affected by last summer’s data breach at the bank.

We’re talking about 76 million personal  and 10 million business accounts from which “user contact information – name, address, phone number and email address – and internal JPMorgan Chase information relating to such users have been compromised,”according to the New York Times.

It is reportedly the biggest such intrusion ever.

Rackspace CEO: We Screwed Up During Cloud Reboot

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Rackspace's CEO didn't mince words in an email to customers yesterday. He admitted the company made communication mistakes as it worked this week to patch a security vulnerability affecting certain versions of XenServer, a popular open-source hypervisor.

Taylor Rhodes, CEO and president of the San Antonio, Texas-based public and private cloud hosting provider, said the problem ultimately forced a reboot for about a quarter of Rackspace's 200,000 customers.

"In the course of it, we dropped a few balls," Rhodes said. "Some of our reboots, for example, took much longer than they should. And some of our notifications were not as clear as they should have been. We are making changes to address those mistakes. And we welcome your feedback on how we can better serve you." 

Oops! Is Rackspace Rethinking its 99.99% Uptime Boast?

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Eleven hours and counting. 

It's been a long haul of public-cloud downtime for David Björkevik and his team at Schemagi, a Linköping, Sweden-based company that makes schedules for nurses and other healthcare personnel using advanced optimization techniques.

Schemagi is one of the Rackspace public cloud customers experiencing downtime because of a maintenance reboot scheduled by the San Antonio, Texas-based managed hosting provider that offers public and private cloud hosting services.

Rackspace posted an "urgent notice" early Saturday morning ET on its website notifying customers of cloud server reboots in light of a potential problem with its public cloud environment.

The news comes around the same time the company 99.99 percent OpenStack API uptime guarantee for its new release of its private cloud software on its cloud computing open source OpenStack creation. 

Lost Your Phone? You're Probably a Guy [Infographic]

2014-25-September-battle-of-the-sexes.jpgIn the spirit of everything politically incorrect, let's talk about the superiority of women over men. OK, that's a stretch.

Let's talk about the documented, somewhat scientific finding that men can be much more irresponsible than women when it comes to losing their electronic devices.

That's the conclusion from TeamViewer, a provider of remote control and online meetings software. The company just announced the findings of its airbackup Employee Behavioral Study, which examined the behavior and attitudes of American office workers and how they affect on-the-job data loss.

Based on a sponsored Harris Poll of more than 2,000 American adults last month, men just can't keep their phones in their pockets.

Nearly half of employed men (46 percent) admit to being likely to lose the electronic device they use for work and all the important company files on it, compared to only 27 percent of employed women. And young men are the worst — with a whopping 60 percent of men ages 18 to 34 years-old owning up to likely device loss, compared to 30 percent of women in the same age group.

Google Lets App Users Bypass IT Administrators

Google has fulfilled every IT administrator's nightmare: It's given users of its app packages the ability to download and use new apps from its Marketplace without IT intervention. 

It’s hard to know what's behind this latest move. It may be that Google is eager to offer users of its Google Apps for Work, Google Apps for Education or Google Apps for Government as much functionality as possible as quickly as s possible.

Change Your Gmail Password - Now

Around five million Gmail usernames and passwords were published late Tuesday on a Russian bitcoin forum. But Google has told account holders not to worry.

According to a post on Google’s online security blog, only 2 percent of the usernames and passwords might have actually worked, and Google’s automatic anti-hijacking systems would have blocked many of those login attempts.

Is Microsoft the Caped Crusader of Email Privacy?

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Jumpin' Jehoshaphat, Batman! Looks like Microsoft is defending email privacy. This, after it confirmed over the weekend that it would not be handing over email data to US federal regulators.

The decision follows a ruling on Friday by a US judge, which instructed the company to turn over email stored in Ireland to US prosecutors. But Microsoft does not plan to turn over the emails, and plans to appeal, a company spokesperson said.

Risk Analysis: The Missing Piece in Authentication

Traditional identity and access management strategies aren't enough anymore. As modern threats continue to emerge and evolve, organizations need a multitude of authentication technologies to control and grant access to their resources, including multi-factor authentication. 

Multi-factor authentication has long been a staple for “secure” access to resources. It is usually a combination of at least two of the following:

  • Something you know (e.g. password, PIN, or pattern)
  • Something you have (e.g. smart card, mobile phone, X.509 certificate, hard token)
  • Something you are (e.g. biometrics)

That makes means it is much stronger authentication than username and password alone. 

Microsoft Secures SharePoint Online Data

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Microsoft has taken another step to secure data in SharePoint Online with the introduction of Data Loss Prevention (DLP). The only thing surprising is that it has taken this long to do it, given that Microsoft already provides DLP for Exchange, Outlook and Outlook Web App (OWA).

However, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to introduce DLP to SharePoint Online without also applying it to OneDrive.

So Microsoft has gone ahead and done that, too.  With it, users will be able to to search for sensitive content in the enterprise eDiscovery Center, but keep the content where it was originally located.

Say What? Most Consumers Clueless About the Internet of Things

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A lot of businesses and marketers spend a lot of time developing strategies around the Internet of Things (IoT). But guess what?

Recent research from the Acquity Group shows most consumers are clueless about the IoT — and companies and brands may be putting the cart before the horse by trying to sell smart technologies to consumers.

In fact, the research shows ignorance about the IoT is the biggest barrier to adoption. A stunning 87 percent of the people surveyed don’t know what it is — and consequently can't see any value in it.

'Lizard Squad' Targets Sony in New DDoS Attack

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Today brought more hacker woes for Sony's PlayStation Network (PSN) and Sony Entertainment Network in the form of a crippling distributed denial-of-service (DDoSattack from a vandal collective known as "Lizard Squad.”

In addition, the FBI is investigating the diversion of a flight carrying a top Sony executive amid reports of a claim that explosives were on board. An American Airlines flight carrying Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley from Dallas to San Diego was grounded because of a bomb threat.

It appears that the same group behind the current PlayStation Network outage is responsible for the bomb threat on flight 362, which was safely diverted to Phoenix. The group, in fact, retweeted Smedley's tweet: 

Google Dealing With 1M Data Takedown Requests Daily

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Google is attempting to sink information pirates by processing more than one million takedown requests every day. The number of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), requests has rocketed since Google started making the information public and looks set to grow for the rest of the year.

In the last week alone, according to figures that appeared on Google’s Transparency Report today, Google received 7.8 million requests, up 10 percent from the previous week.

Discussion Point: How Big are Data Security Threats?

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You may have heard that some cyber criminals in Russia recently stole more than a billion user IDs and passwords -- yes, that's billion with a "B."  

In the past year, online security and data theft has been making international headlines, as evidenced by huge security breaches at retailers like Target and Neiman Marcus.

How bad is it? With our lives becoming more digitally entwined, it makes sense that potential security threats are more visible. Think about how many times a day you exchange digital information using either an Internet connection or a mobile device.

Despite the security hysteria, experts say there are simple ways to take steps to tighten up your Internet security -- whether for your own personal or business use. CMSWire reached out to a collection of Internet security experts to find what's going on.

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