London police charged five individuals under the Computer Misuse Act for their role in launching distributed denial-of-service attacks against commercial websites. Authorities believe the suspects are connected to the Anonymous hacking group, a loosely affiliated band of web savvy, politically motivated individuals. The hacktivist gang is being investigated for its role in taking down a number of high-profile websites.
The credentials of 30 million online daters were placed at risk following the exploit of an SQL injection vulnerability on PlentyOfFish.com. Creator of the Canada-based site, Markus Frind, said it was illegally accessed when email addresses, usernames and passwords were downloaded. He blamed the attack on Argentinean security researcher Chris Russo, who Frind claimed was working with Russian partners to extort money. But Russo said he merely learned of the vulnerability while trawling an underground forum, then tested, confirmed and responsibly reported it to Frind. He never extracted any personal data, nor had any â€œunethicalâ€ intentions.
Facebook announced a new security feature designed to deter attackers from snooping on users who browse the social networking site via public wireless networks. Users can now browse Facebook over â€œHTTPS,â€ an encrypted protocol that prevents the unauthorized hijacking of private sessions and data. The site was spurred on to add the security feature after a researcher unveiled a Firefox plug-in, known as Firesheep, that permits anyone to scan open Wi-Fi networks and hijack, for example, Twitter and Facebook accounts. HTTPS will eventually be offered as a default setting to all users.
For a third time, a California lawmaker introduced a bill that would update the state’s data breach notification law, SB-1386, to include additional requirements for organizations that lose sensitive data. The proposal by Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), would require that breach notification letters contain specifics of the incident, including the type of personal information exposed, a description of what happened and advice on steps to take to protect oneself from identity theft. Twice before, the bill has gone to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk to be signed but was vetoed.
Facebook, MySpace and YouTube are the most commonly blacklisted sites at organizations, according to a report from OpenDNS, a DNS infrastructure and security provider. The yearly report, based on data from some 30 billion daily DNS queries, found that 23 percent of business users block Facebook, 13 percent restrict reaching MySpace, and 12 percent ban access to YouTube. Meanwhile, the OpenDNS-run PhishTank database found that PayPal is the most phished brand, based on verified fraudulent sites.
Google, maker of the Chrome web browser, made a feature available that allows users to opt out of online behavioral advertising tracking cookies. The tool, called â€œKeep My Opt-Outs,â€ is available as an extension for download. The announcement comes on the heels of a Federal Trade Commission report urging companies to develop a â€˜do not track’ mechanism so consumers can choose whether to allow the collection of data regarding online browsing activities. Browser-makers Mozilla and Microsoft also announced intentions to release similar features for their browsers.
Verizon announced plans to acquire Terremark, a managed IT infrastructure and cloud services provider known for its advanced security offerings, for $1.4 billion. Verizon plans to operate Terremark as a standalone business unit. â€œCloud computing continues to fundamentally alter the way enterprises procure, deploy and manage IT resources, and this combination helps create a tipping point for â€˜everything-as-a-service,’â€ said Lowell McAdam, Verizon’s president and chief operating officer.