Google in rescue of journalist whose website was hacked

Journalist Brian Krebs is being helped by google massive server infrastructure after been victim of cyberattack on his website.

Last week there was a massive distributed denial-of-service(DDoS) attack on Kreb's site, Krebs Security was hugely compromised .There was nearly double the traffic his host Akamai had seen in previous cyberattacks, which was almost a record of its own kind.

Two men were arrested after Krebs reported, and the site was taken offline.
"Why do I speak of DDoS attacks as a form of censorship?" Krebs asks in a post on Sunday. "Quite simply because the economics of mitigating large-scale DDoS attacks do not bode well for protecting the individual user, to say nothing of independent journalists."

Krebs didn't blame  Akamai for pulling the plug on his site. The company was hosting the website for free, and in the  massive DDoS attack,it affected other paying customers as well.

Google offers Project Shield to independent news organizations, along with human rights and election monitoring sites that are frequently targeted in cyberattacks, the idea being that small websites don't have the money or tech to counter such an influx of traffic. So instead of letting them be taken offline and silenced, Project Shield keeps them online.

Since last Tuesday, Krebs' site had been under sustained distributed denial-of-service, or DDoS, a crude method of flooding a website with traffic to deny legitimate users from being able to access it. The assault flooded Krebs' site with more than 620 gigabits per second of traffic.

To put it more plainly: It's the digital equivalent of jamming a bunch of gunk into a drain pipe. Eventually, water won't be able to pass through.

Now he's back online, though it's unclear whether he is still under assault over at Google.

"I sincerely hope we can address this problem before it's too late," Krebs wrote. "And I'm deeply grateful for the overwhelming outpouring of support and solidarity that I've seen and heard from so many readers over the past few days. Thank you."

College student hacked college system to change grades

Chase Arthur Hughes , 19 , an ex-college student was arrested last week for felony charges for allegedly hacking into the school's computer system to change grades .He is charged with allegedly raiding computers at Kennesaw State University, Georgia , starting in May till now.

As Fox 5 reports, police say that during that time, Hughes used a professor’s account to access sensitive information, including employment history, credit, financial and medical information.
He will be facing Criminal penalties for computer trespassing, computer invasion of privacy, and computer forgery. Criminal penalties for these crimes include up to $50,000 in fines and/or up to 15 years in prison.

Hughes also allegedly scribbled down usernames and passwords of at least 36 faculty members in a notebook that police say they found in his home.

He’s accused of changing grades in two separate classes, reportedly changing some students’ grades from an “F” to “A” and another from a “C” to “A”. For himself, police say, he bumped up a “B” to an “A.”

According to WSB-TV in Atlanta, a professor realized something was up when he got an email from the university computer system about a grade change he didn’t make and alerted school officials, who then took the matter to police.

KSU interim CIO Lectra Lawhorne told police that the system worked as it should, sending alerts to professors about the grade changes. But following this intrusion, the college has added more measures to help detect unauthorized access in the future, Lawhorne said.

Hughes, formerly a business major with a concentration in finance, was enrolled at the university from fall 2015 to summer 2016.

Scan of Michelle Obama's passport appears online

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The White House is looking into a cyber breach in which hackers have posted documents online has revealing the passport information of First lady Michelle Obama.

The US attorney general, Loretta Lynch, said it was “something that we are looking into”. The US Secret Service, responsible for the first lady’s safety, also expressed concern.

"The Secret Service is concerned any time unauthorised information that might pertain to one of the individuals we protect, or our operations, is allegedly disclosed," said communications director Cathy Milhoan.

The scan appears to have come from the breached personal Gmail account of a low-level part-time contractor at the White House hired to aid in travel logistics.

Confidential information including travel details, names, social security numbers and birth dates of members of staff were also published online.

The documents were posted on, the same site on which emails from former Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared last week.

IBM new business unit to deliver blockchain solutions

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IBM had recently launched its very own industry platforms business unit in an attempt  to deliver blockchain solutions to its customers. According to eWeek, the company claimed that the release of last week’s blockchain unit will entirely concentrate on financial services organizations in addition to other business units.

IBM said:

The Industry Platforms unit will focus on Watson for financial services, blockchain and strategic partnerships.

Bridget van Kralingen, a fast-tracked IBM executive who has served as head of IBM Global Business Services, will be in charge of the unit. Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-It informed to eWeek about the  new unit's capability to increase the company’s commitment to blockchain and highlights the company’s belief that the technology has the potential to enhance its commercial interests.

This is not the first time that the company has taken an interest in developing  the blockchain technology. It is an investor in the blockchain startup, Digital Asset Holdings and is a member of the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project.

Apart from investing, the company opened a Bluemix Garage in New York focusing on blockchain, fintech, and financial services in June. In July, IBM joined the Chamber of Digital Commerce (CDC), a Washington-based advocacy group and trade association that emphasizes on digital currencies and blockchain technology.

Jerry Cuomo, vice president of Blockchain Technologies at IBM recently stated that it was important from a national competitive point of view for U.S. companies and government agencies to lead the world in understanding blockchain and how to utilize it.

Google,Yahoo,Microsoft to block prenatal selection ads

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Google, Yahoo! Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have all agreed to block ads for Indian services that are meant to determine a baby’s sex before birth, adhering to laws that are intended to address one of the world’s worst gender imbalances.

All three companies pledged to honor bans on the promotional content of sexual-determination tests and related products, the health ministry informed India’s Supreme Court on Monday. The court was hearing a case that sought the abolition of all content on search engines that promote such services.

India’s highest court this year reproached the search giants for disregarding domestic regulations, and warned them to abide by the law or cease their operations in the country. But the trio of companies had said sweeping bans on offending key-words would also take away non-promotional content such as research reports and news articles. The health ministry didn’t say during Monday’s testimony how the companies intended to effect the ban with regard to all the articles and reports.

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Female foeticide and infanticide are serious issues in India, where the sex ratio was 943 females per 1,000 males according to the last nationwide census in 2011. Conducting, selling and advertising fetal sex-selection services was made a punishable offense in 1994, thus outlawing sex-determination and abortions in the country. Yet thousands of female fetuses are aborted secretly every year in clinics across local communities where there is a strong preference for sons.

Some parents prefer sons because they’re considered more reliable bread-winners and better able to carry on the family name. Male children are known to get better nutrition and education and a 2015 United Nations report said India has one of the world’s most skewed sex ratios in the under-five age group. The UN added that 100 girls die by the age of five, compared with 93 boys.

Google said it has applied filters to prevent searches and advertising to comply with local laws. That includes disabling auto-complete predictions for relevant terms on its site and showing a warning that tells users pre-natal gender screening or testing is illegal in India.

Yahoo said in an e-mail the company can’t comment because the matter is subjudice. Microsoft didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment as well given that the changes will hamper the primary result originality.

21-year-old hacker who helped ISIS sentenced to 20 years in US prison

A 21-year-old hacker from Kosovo has been sentenced to 20 years in a U.S. prison after found guilty of passing on personal details of more than 1,000 American military and government personnel to the terrorist organization ISIS.

Ardit Ferizi pleaded guilty to charges of providing material supporting  the terrorist organization, at a court hearing in Virginia.

Ferizi was arrested in Malaysia in October last year and was extradited to the US in January 2016. He used to work online with under a name Th3Dir3ctorY. He has been sentenced  much higher than the 6-year term. Whereas his lawyer argued that he didn't do any real harm and is not a true supporter of the Islamic State.

“He was a nonsensical, misguided teenager who did not know what he was doing,” said public defender Elizabeth Mullin. “He has never embraced ISIL’s ideology.”

However, US Assistant Attorney General John Carlin has dismissed the defense lawyer's defense and described the attack as a dangerous threat to the national security.

While, the Islamic state had published the names that they received from the hacker.

He has admitted of hacking  a private company and pulling out the names, email passwords and phone numbers of about 1,300 people with .gov and .mil addresses.

Both machines in US government offices and corporate computers were his targets.

Once after completing his sentence, Ferizi  will be sent back  to Kosovo and he won't be allowed to re-enter  the US.

Germany accuses Russia of cyber attacks on Political Parties

German officials said on Wednesday (September 21) that hackers infiltrated the computer systems of several political parties which have raised fears of foreign interference ahead of country’s general elections scheduled next year.

Politicians and employees of several parties reportedly received emails purporting to be sent from North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) headquarters but they contained a link which installed spyware on the recipient's computer. The email had foreign links had the evidence showed that a Russian hacker group, APT28 carried out the attack.

Investigators have tied APT28 to cyber attacks last year on a French-language TV broadcaster and the German lower house of parliament, which forced the legislature to shut down its computer system for several days.

The incident comes after Berlin's domestic spy agency accused Russia of a series of operations aimed at spying and sabotage. German media also accused state-backed Russian hackers of August 15 and 24 attacks.

A document circulated by Germany's Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), seen by AFP on Wednesday had warned lawmakers of the attacks as they had seen previous instances of cyber attacks which hit US Democrats this year. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign has also blamed Russia for the intrusion that resulted in an embarrassing leak of emails in July.

A spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Berlin rejected the German officials’ accusations, describing them as lacking evidence.

BSI has growing fears that the hackers could leak confidential party information in a bid to influence public opinion.

Unlike last year, this attack has targeted wider party operations such as the regional network of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s the Christian Democratic Union or the federal offices of the Left party and several dozen members of the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag.

The German government’s information security specialists have urged political parties to increase their cyber defenses.

Journalists attacked on social media, NUJP urges to take action

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemned the social media attacks allegedly made by pro-government supporters on two female journalists including a freelancer Gretchen Malalad and Al Jazeera correspondent Jamela Alindogan-Caudron for collaborating with the Time magazine and urging President Rodrigo Duterte to investigate threats media killings and penalise the perpetrators.

While Malalad was called a traitor on social media by many for assisting TIME Magazine on a report on deaths related to the anti-drug war, Alindogan received threats for her reporting on the military operation against the Abu Sayyaf.

In a statement made on Monday (September 19) Chairperson of NUJP Ryan Rosauro said the attacks against the two on Facebook “have gone beyond legitimate criticism of their professional output to outright threats on their persons.” They have been receiving rape threats and harm to their families. Rosauro said they welcome engagement, including criticism from the audience however he made it clear that they won’t take threats lightly.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and NUJP called on Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Tuesday (September 20) to take action against threats thrown at journalists, specifically Malalad and Alindogan and ensure none of these are carried out. The NUJP has also urged journalists to report any and all threats directed against them for proper documentation and action by law enforcement bodies.

On September 10, Duterte said that it is the sworn duty of media to ask questions. It is also their duty to their country to provide "true and accurate" reports, he added.

NUJP vowed to continue to push against efforts that threaten press freedom in the Philippines.

“It is our duty to report events as faithfully as we can. To blame us for the consequences of what those we cover utter or do is tantamount to asking us to abrogate our duties and be silent. This we cannot and will never do,” said Rosauro.

This incident again brings to light the horrific environment of Philippines for practicing journalists where around 145 media workers have been killed since 1990.

This incident demonstrates the need to ensure the protection of journalists under the special task force.

Medical device cyber attacks on rise

Cyber threats pose a growing danger to companies and individuals and the risks are constantly evolving like a moving target but recently, it has been seen that the cyber thieves are targeting more of medical devices to get their hands on sensitive information. According to KPMG’s 2015 survey, over the past two years, 81 percent of health care organizations were the victims of cyberthreats and had their data compromised.

Hackers exploit internet connected devices which have poor cyber threat monitoring, cyber security policies and weak data access controls as well as inadequate device disposal practices.

From the Banner Health data breach in Phoenix to the Excellus BlueCross BlueShied breach in 2015 leaking data back from 2013 to the breach of 11 million subscribers of Premera, experts consider the issue serious enough which is not going away anytime soon.

Some common types of cyber attacks on devices include:

Web application attacks-In this type of attack thieves access information through third-party applications.

Malware infection-In this attack, hackers release malware, including viruses, worms and spyware on devices that can steal information.

Ransomware-In this attack a hacker demands monetary payment to unlock a malware on a device.

Though health care companies are concerned with the issue but they do little to protect their data. It’s high time that device makers and healthcare organizations that use medical devices should increase their cyber security to avoid the sensitive data of being leaked. Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released new guidelines that encouraged medical device makers to implement practices to improve the cyber security of their products, including sharing cyber threat information with other manufacturers.

Experts have recommended organizations to implement new FDA guidelines by following ‘one policy’ approach which will allow addressing cybersecurity through a single policy across all departments. This will involve building stronger device access controls, conducting assessments on a habitual basis and implementing ongoing software updates.

Other than the above method, organizations can also build cyber security features into new products, enforce stronger device access controls and only authorize access to employees who require it and establishing set procedures for dealing with any vulnerability found in the routine assessment conducted in the organization.

Many organizations take little measures until they become the victims themselves but all these measures are important because one in three Americans are victims of health care data breaches. If this is the condition of the biggest power and the most advanced country in the world, the health care organizations of other countries surely will need to be on their toes against cyber attacks.

YouTubers charged over video game gambling site

Two  men YouTubers have appeared in court charged with unlawful Gambling Act, first prosecution  involving  gambling on video game sites.

Craig Douglas (NepentheZ), a prominent FIFA YouTuber, and Dylan Rigby, owner of the now deactivated FUTgalaxy channel, both from Essex are charged with promoting an unlawful gambling, while Douglas is also charged with inviting children to gamble.

According to the BBC report, “The two men appeared at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court. The case has been adjourned until 14 October.

The Gambling Commission, which brought the prosecution, has been looking into the rise of video game gambling.

It is warning parents that children can be drawn into betting on so-called skins - virtual goods such as weapons or clothes that are a feature of many popular games.”

The nearly worth of   £4bn is being  generated around the world in betting on video games.