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Yahoo users’ personal data leaked

12 April 2013

yahooAccording to the experts of BitDefender, a developer of anti-virus tools, the hacking of a large number of mailboxes of Yahoo users was the result of a missed update of the WordPress CMS that was installed on the servers of the mail service.

The WordPress vulnerability that was used by the hackers had been known before and was only fixed in spring 2012. However, the CMS simply wasn’t updated on the portal. After WordPress was hacked, the intruders managed to gain access to the cookie files of user sessions for the entire domain.

They used the obtained files and special JavaScript constructs on fake sites to get session-based access to a large number of mailboxes of Yahoo users.

User passwords were not compromised, but the hackers could read and send emails on behalf of Yahoo users. They could, for instance, gain access to users’ social accounts associated with the hacked mailbox.

At the moment, the consequences of the compromise threat have been dealt with. WordPress has been updated.

Breaking a password is a matter of seconds

1 March 2013

The time that an average user spends to come up with a password is considerably longer than the time needed to break it. Furthermore, 90% of users’ passwords can be broken within seconds.
These are the results of a research conducted by Deloitte Canada.

The most typical mistakes that users make while selecting a password: use of the same password for different accounts (sites and services), predictable passwords, simple passwords (digital, same letter case, dictionary-based).

Considering today’s growth of available computing power and the possibility of using cluster computing (uniting many computers into a single network for solving a specific computing task), the efficiency of password breaking techniques has increased manifold.

Large companies are already working on additional user authentication method that will be more efficient than passwords in the long run.
It is assumed that these methods will include passwords delivered in text messages, fingerprint scanning and so on. Google, for instance, is working on special RFID tags for user authorization.
The most popular (and, therefore, the least reliable) passwords in 2012 were:

  • password
  • 123456
  • 12345678
  • abc123
  • qwerty
  • monkey
  • letmein
  • dragon
  • 111111
  • baseball
  • iloveyou
  • trustno1
  • 1234567
  • sunshine
  • master
  • 123123
  • welcome
  • shadow
  • ashley
  • football
  • Jesus
  • michael
  • ninja
  • mustang
  • password1

Russian hacker jailed in the U.S.

1 March 2013

Vladimir Zdorovenin, a Russian national, was sentenced to 2 years in prison by the New York court for a series of cybercrimes involving the theft of personal details and credit card information. The hacker committed crimes remotely from Russia, targeting American citizens.

Zdorovenin and his son used phishing and viruses since 2004 to steal the personal details of credit card holders. Apart from carding and other types of online fraud, Zdorovenin was also interested in the stock exchange market – he attempted to make money by manipulating stock prices and closing deals on behalf of people whose details he had previously stolen.

He was arrested in Zurich, Switzerland in March 2011 and extradited to the U.S. following an official order. The fraudster pleaded guilty to two charges.

Personal problems of McAfee’s founder impacted the company’s reputation

15 January 2013

The reputation of the anti-virus software developer has been seriously tarnished by the recent scandal involving its founder, John MacAfee. He is accused of murdering a Belize citizen.

McAfee Associates was founded by John back in 1987, but he left the company in 1994 (after it became one of the leading companies on the market). In early 2011, Intel purchased it for $7 billion.

A BrandIndex expert studied the rating of the McAfee anti-virus software brand and made an unusual conclusion: despite the fact that John hasn’t been with the company for over 20 years, his association with the brand is still so strong that his personal problems resulted in a -17 downslide of the company’s rating (on a -100 to 100 scale). This is the lowest rating of the McAfee brand since over 5 years ago when this monitoring was started.

McAfee’s brand rating plummeted after mass media announced that the Belize government had doubts as to the mental health of the company’s founder.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rules Revised

15 January 2013

Experts of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission are convinced that the technological progress has reached such a stage that we must revise the rules of protecting children’s online privacy.

This document was adopted in 1998 and obliged ISP’s to provide a certain level of protection for confidential information about children under 13.

FTC believes that most parents today are not fully aware of what information is being collected about their children, where it is stored and for what purpose. This is especially true for social networks, mobile platforms and various applications.

Amendments to COPPA contain several definitions of new terms that appeared since the adoption of the original document. The very notion of “personal data” has also been revised and redefined by including geolocation data, photos and videos.

The full list of proposed amendments is available on FTC’s website.


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Parental control in Google Chrome

15 January 2013

Google announced plans to implement parental control features in the settings of its Chrome browser. These features will help parents efficiently control their children’s web browsing.

This update will enable users to launch the browser with different settings under different accounts. Unlike the full-featured ”parent” account, a “child” account will not allow browsing of blacklisted websites. It will also be possible to restrict browsing only to a “white list” of allowed sites.

Moreover, the “child” account will not support the private browsing mode and deletion of browsing history. The release date of the updated version of Chrome with these features has not yet been confirmed.

If you are interested in parental control, feel free to check out Time Sheriff, our program that is currently distributed free of charge.

The Hackers Army: FBI servers hacked

20 December 2012

A group of hackers called The Hackers Army announced a successful breach of a server belonging to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). They claim to have hacked the authentication server and secured access to logins and passwords of FBI employees.

As a proof of this breach, the hackers provided details of server configurations and versions of software used on them, as well as login credentials of several employees.

The Anti-Malware.Ru analytical center has conducted a brief analysis of these data and concluded that “many of these addresses really exist, but it’s impossible to tell right now whether these passwords are valid.”

Traditionally, FBI representatives have not provided any official comments on this matter.

Security Flaw in Electronic Locks Exploited

20 December 2012

The thief entered a hotel room by opening its electronic lock using a special device and stole a laptop. Quite naturally, the police found no evidence of a break-in and none of the hotel’s keys were used. The investigation showed that the lock was opened using a special electronic tool. As the result, the police arrested the 27-year-old Matthew Allen Cook, who had been previously convicted for theft. He was caught trying to sell the stolen equipment.

He entered the hotel room using a security flaw in electronic locks made by Onity. Such locks are used in 4 million hotels around the globe.

The vulnerability was presented at the Black Hat Security conference by Cody Brocious, a security expert who used a sub $50 programming device to demonstrate how any hotel room can be easily opened. The vulnerability exists due to the fact that opened unencrypted ports of the lock allow any device to read device management data from its memory.

The manufacturer of electronic locks who obviously underestimated the value of information security, has been refraining from comments so far.

Phaedophile vs. Facebook

20 December 2012

facebookA US citizen formerly convicted for phaedophilia filed a lawsuit against Facebook demanding compensation for moral damage caused by the content of a user’s page. The man demands that the social network disable the page titled “keeping our kids safe from predators“.

This page is intended for sharing information about phaedophiles in Northern Ireland, which, its creators believe, helps prevent the impairment of children’s rights. The man’s personal details were published on the page, which resulted in the lawsuit being filed.

According to mass media, back in 1980, this man was found guilty in with 15 phaedophilia-related episodes and sentenced to a prison term, but has been out for some time now.
I am worried about my own safely and am currently under a lot of stress, since an assault on me is just a matter of time now,” he says.

This is not his first lawsuit against Facebook. In the first case, the court ordered the social network to block the page, but several clones appeared just a few days later.
At that time, the judge commented on the situation in the following way: “He has already been punished with his conviction, and his life at the moment is being substantially regulated by officials anyway.

CIA special unit for social networks monitoring

14 December 2012

For several years now, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has had a special unit for monitoring social networks all over the world. The official name of this bureau is “Open Source Center”. Its employees are mostly hackers and linguists.

The primary goal of the bureau is the collection, filtration and analysis of information coming from social networks, as well as local forums, TV channels and other mass media. The reports of the bureau go directly to the White House.

Linguists and professional hackers from OSC are capable of filtering millions of posts in Twitter alone and finding information that others don’t have a clue about.
The bureau was created after 9/11 and the official reason for this was, obviously, “war on terrorism”.