Cyber Security, Part 4: Current Events that Prove We Need to be More Vigilant than Ever Before
There have been several major cyber attacks in recent months that have made global headlines. At BlueRock Wealth Management, we have provided a few short excerpts about some of these different scenarios below:
- Shadow Brokers claim to have hacked the National Security Agency. The hacking group has put the stolen code (called “cyber weapons”) up for auction. Experts have confirmed that the malware originated from the NSA, although they are not sure how the group accessed the software. The specific software, SECONDDATE is allegedly used by the government to monitor millions of computers globally.
- Voting machines become less secure each year, according to a group of Princeton professors. Professor Andrew Appel bought his own voting machine online and set out to hack the machine. He found that many of the machines are less secure than our iPhones and worries that many states’ voting machines could be vulnerable to attack.
- Samsung Pay flaw exposed at DEF CON security conference. The mobile payment app used on Galaxy smartphones has a bug that would allow hackers to intercept payment card information from other users. The flaw allows hackers to see payment tokens. These “tokens” are codes generated by the phone which act as payment card information. While the tokens can only be used once, being able to intercept a large number could allow hackers to find patterns and create their own usable tokens. Samsung has said the claims are “inaccurate and misleading.”
- 900 million Android smartphones are at risk, according to security research firm Check Point. The security firm says Android phones using Qualcomm internal parts are at risk. The flaw could allow hackers to access data on the phone, control the camera, and also track the device’s location via GPS. Android flaws are much more difficult to address because so many different devices run Android software. Unlike iOS on Apple, there is no central manufacturer releasing updates to the devices. If you use an Android phone and do get an update notification, be sure to update immediately.
- Over 300 Eddie Bauer stores in the U.S. and Canada suffer malware attack. The outdoor clothing chain says payment cards used at stores between January 2016 and July 2016 may be at risk. Online purchases were not affected. If you shopped at Eddie Bauer in the last six months, you will be contacted by the company and offered identity protection services.
- Hackers send phishing emails from legitimate Walmart email address. Customers of Walmart.com report receiving multiple emails asking them to reset their Walmart account passwords in what appears to be a phishing attack. The emails, however, seem to actually be coming from a legitimate Walmart.com email address. Experts say this could mean that an employee is sending the messages or a hacker has been able to infiltrate Walmart’s email system.
- Democratic National Committee (DNC) hack much larger than originally thought. The hack, which first exposed private emails within the DNC, is now found to have affected the private email accounts of over 100 Democratic officials and groups, including the Democratic Governors’ Association. Experts believe Russia is responsible for the attack.
- Following hacks, DNC forms cybersecurity board. Acting DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile is working to create the Cybersecurity Advisory Board which will be made up of industry experts. The board will help prevent future attacks. Members include former Department of Homeland Security members and former White House chief technology officers, among others.
- 20 hotels breached exposing over 10,000 customers. HEI Hotels & Resorts, which owns Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt, and Intercontinental hotels, has discovered a breach dating back to March 2015. The hotel chain says its systems were infected with malware that stole payment card information in real-time. Names, credit card numbers, expiration dates, and verification codes are believed to have been exposed.
- Hackers bombard .gov email addresses with newsletter signups. Over 100 email addresses were fraudulently signed up for countless subscriptions and newsletters. The influx of signup emails caused the accounts to stop working for a period of time.
- Better Business Bureau provides tips to college students for preventing identity theft. The BBB reminds students that they are at particular risk of identity theft, since their clean credit is attractive to hackers. Some recommendations include using a safe in your dorm, protecting your computer with antivirus software, and checking your debit and credit card statements closely.
While it is important not to panic at every possible threat, it is important to communicate with us as quickly as possible when you notice a problem with your accounts. It is likely that we may also be trying to contact you about potential threats, especially if you are travelling abroad.
At BlueRock Wealth Management, we work tirelessly to protect you from potential threats and will always work to ensure that your financial information is safe. If you have questions about this series or would like more information about our products and services, please contact us at BlueRock Wealth Management today.