The Finnish psychotherapy clinic Vastaamo was the victim of a data breach and theft. The criminals tried extorting money from the clinic. When that failed, they started extorting money from the patients:
Neither the company nor Finnish investigators have released many details about the nature of the breach, but reports say the attackers initially sought a payment of about 450,000 euros to protect about 40,000 patient records. The company reportedly did not pay up. Given the scale of the attack and the sensitive nature of the stolen data, the case has become a national story in Finland. Globally, attacks on health care organizations have escalated as cybercriminals look for higher-value targets.
Vastaamo said customers and employees had “personally been victims of extortion” in the case. Reports say that on Oct. 21 and Oct. 22, the cybercriminals began posting batches of about 100 patient records on the dark web and allowing people to pay about 500 euros to have their information taken down.
Posted on December 10, 2020 at 1:48 PM •
Greg Priore, the person in charge of the rare book room at the Carnegie Library, stole from it for almost two decades before getting caught.
It’s a perennial problem: trusted insiders have to be trusted.
Posted on September 2, 2020 at 7:02 AM •
South Africa’s Postbank experienced a catastrophic security failure. The bank’s master PIN key was stolen, forcing it to cancel and replace 12 million bank cards.
The breach resulted from the printing of the bank’s encrypted master key in plain, unencrypted digital language at the Postbank’s old data centre in the Pretoria city centre.
According to a number of internal Postbank reports, which the Sunday Times obtained, the master key was then stolen by employees.
One of the reports said that the cards would cost about R1bn to replace. The master key, a 36-digit code, allows anyone who has it to gain unfettered access to the bank’s systems, and allows them to read and rewrite account balances, and change information and data on any of the bank’s 12-million cards.
The bank lost $3.2 million in fraudulent transactions before the theft was discovered. Replacing all the cards will cost an estimated $58 million.
Posted on June 17, 2020 at 6:21 AM •
BusKill is designed to wipe your laptop (Linux only) if it is snatched from you in a public place:
The idea is to connect the BusKill cable to your Linux laptop on one end, and to your belt, on the other end. When someone yanks your laptop from your lap or table, the USB cable disconnects from the laptop and triggers a udev script [1, 2, 3] that executes a series of preset operations.
These can be something as simple as activating your screensaver or shutting down your device (forcing the thief to bypass your laptop’s authentication mechanism before accessing any data), but the script can also be configured to wipe the device or delete certain folders (to prevent thieves from retrieving any sensitive data or accessing secure business backends).
Clever idea, but I—and my guess is most people—would be much more likely to stand up from the table, forgetting that the cable was attached, and yanking it out. My problem with pretty much all systems like this is the likelihood of false alarms.
EDITED TO ADD (1/14): There are Bluetooth devices that will automatically encrypt a laptop when the device isn’t in proximity. That’s a much better interface than a cable.
Posted on January 7, 2020 at 6:03 AM •
A malicious Chrome extension surreptitiously steals Ethereum keys and passwords:
According to Denley, the extension is dangerous to users in two ways. First, any funds (ETH coins and ERC0-based tokens) managed directly inside the extension are at risk.
Denley says that the extension sends the private keys of all wallets created or managed through its interface to a third-party website located at erc20wallet[.]tk.
Another example of how blockchain requires many single points of trust in order to be secure.
Posted on January 3, 2020 at 6:09 AM •
Long article on the manipulation of GPS in Shanghai. It seems not to be some Chinese military program, but ships who are stealing sand.
The Shanghai “crop circles,” which somehow spoof each vessel to a different false location, are something new. “I’m still puzzled by this,” says Humphreys. “I can’t get it to work out in the math. It’s an interesting mystery.” It’s also a mystery that raises the possibility of potentially deadly accidents.
“Captains and pilots have become very dependent on GPS, because it has been historically very reliable,” says Humphreys. “If it claims to be working, they rely on it and don’t double-check it all that much.”
On June 5 this year, the Run 5678, a river cargo ship, tried to overtake a smaller craft on the Huangpu, about five miles south of the Bund. The Run avoided the small ship but plowed right into the New Glory (Chinese name: Tong Yang Jingrui), a freighter heading north.
Boing Boing article.
Posted on November 21, 2019 at 6:26 AM •
Reuters has a long article on the Chinese government APT attack called Cloud Hopper. It was much bigger than originally reported.
The hacking campaign, known as “Cloud Hopper,” was the subject of a U.S. indictment in December that accused two Chinese nationals of identity theft and fraud. Prosecutors described an elaborate operation that victimized multiple Western companies but stopped short of naming them. A Reuters report at the time identified two: Hewlett Packard Enterprise and IBM.
Yet the campaign ensnared at least six more major technology firms, touching five of the world’s 10 biggest tech service providers.
Also compromised by Cloud Hopper, Reuters has found: Fujitsu, Tata Consultancy Services, NTT Data, Dimension Data, Computer Sciences Corporation and DXC Technology. HPE spun-off its services arm in a merger with Computer Sciences Corporation in 2017 to create DXC.
Waves of hacking victims emanate from those six plus HPE and IBM: their clients. Ericsson, which competes with Chinese firms in the strategically critical mobile telecoms business, is one. Others include travel reservation system Sabre, the American leader in managing plane bookings, and the largest shipbuilder for the U.S. Navy, Huntington Ingalls Industries, which builds America’s nuclear submarines at a Virginia shipyard.
Posted on July 10, 2019 at 5:51 AM •
New research from Science: “Civic honesty around the globe“:
Abstract: Civic honesty is essential to social capital and economic development, but is often in conflict with material self-interest. We examine the trade-off between honesty and self-interest using field experiments in 355 cities spanning 40 countries around the globe. We turned in over 17,000 lost wallets with varying amounts of money at public and private institutions, and measured whether recipients contacted the owner to return the wallets. In virtually all countries citizens were more likely to return wallets that contained more money. Both non-experts and professional economists were unable to predict this result. Additional data suggest our main findings can be explained by a combination of altruistic concerns and an aversion to viewing oneself as a thief, which increase with the material benefits of dishonesty.
I am surprised, too.
Posted on July 5, 2019 at 6:15 AM •
Not email, paper mail:
Thieves, often at night, use string to lower glue-covered rodent traps or bottles coated with an adhesive down the chute of a sidewalk mailbox. This bait attaches to the envelopes inside, and the fish in this case—mail containing gift cards, money orders or checks, which can be altered with chemicals and cashed—are reeled out slowly.
In response, the US Post Office is introducing a more secure mailbox:
The mail slots are only large enough for letters, meaning sending even small packages will require a trip to the post office. The opening is also equipped with a mechanism that grabs at a letter once inserted, making it difficult to retract.
The crime has become more common in the past few years.
Posted on March 25, 2019 at 9:39 AM •
This system claims to detect suspicious behavior that indicates shoplifting:
Vaak, a Japanese startup, has developed artificial intelligence software that hunts for potential shoplifters, using footage from security cameras for fidgeting, restlessness and other potentially suspicious body language.
The article has no detail or analysis, so we don’t know how well it works. But this kind of thing is surely the future of video surveillance.
Posted on March 7, 2019 at 1:48 PM •
Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.