Think this pill is gonna cure your ills?

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The Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion has agreed to review a rev­o­lu­tion­ary, first-of-its-kind “dig­i­tal pill” from Otsu­ka Phar­ma and Pro­teus Dig­i­tal Health that will let third par­ties snoop on you and nag you if they see you’re not doing what the doc­tor ordered. The new pill includes a sen­sor that can trans­mit a sig­nal. It is com­bined with Otsuka’s psy­chi­atric med­ica­tion Abil­i­fy, a drug used to treat bipo­lar dis­or­der and depres­sion. Patients using the pill also will wear a patch. Once you swal­low the pill, a mes­sage can be sent back to who­ev­er is reg­is­tered to get it — doc­tor, phar­ma­cist, nurse, pro­ba­tion offi­cer or all of the above. If you aren’t tak­ing your psy­chi­atric med­i­cine pill the way you’re sup­posed to, it’s pos­si­ble a lot of peo­ple could know. Source: NBC News

Sun­shine, palm trees and iden­ti­ty theft

sh_identity theft_280FBI agents broke up an iden­ti­ty theft ring whose mem­bers stole Social Secu­ri­ty num­bers and cred­it card infor­ma­tion to buy elec­tron­ic gad­gets and oth­er items through­out South Flori­da, accord­ing to fed­er­al court records. Two defen­dants have been charged with access device fraud relat­ed to the theft of per­son­al cred­it card infor­ma­tion from retail store cus­tomers, accord­ing to a fed­er­al grand jury indict­ment. Fed­er­al offi­cials said that South Flori­da is a hotbed for iden­ti­ty theft. A Feb­ru­ary Fed­er­al Trade Com­mis­sion report on stolen IDs ranked the area as No. 1 in the num­ber of con­sumer com­plaints about the prob­lem for large met­ro­pol­i­tan areas in the Unit­ed States. Source: The Mia­mi Herald

Putting on their best guest behavior

sh_U.S. China_280Major intru­sions by Chi­nese hack­ers of U.S. com­pa­nies’ com­put­er sys­tems appear to have slowed in recent months, pri­vate-sec­tor experts say, ahead of a meet­ing between China’s pres­i­dent and Pres­i­dent Oba­ma. “The pace of new breach­es feels like it’s tem­per­ing,” said Kevin Man­dia, founder of Man­di­ant, a com­pa­ny that inves­ti­gates sophis­ti­cat­ed cor­po­rate breach­es. A point of fric­tion in U.S.-Chinese rela­tions, cyber­se­cu­ri­ty will be a major focus of talks with Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping this week in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., Oba­ma has said. The pres­i­dent has called for a glob­al frame­work to pre­vent the Inter­net from being “weaponized” as a tool of nation­al aggres­sion, while also hold­ing out the prospect of a force­ful U.S. response to Chi­na over recent hack­ing attacks. Source: Reuters

A sign of the cyber times

A dig­i­tal road sign in Mililani, Hawaii, was hacked, caus­ing con­fu­sion for some com­muters. The offen­sive mes­sage was short, and it was only up for a few hours, but tam­per­ing with portable road signs is ille­gal and can be poten­tial­ly dan­ger­ous to dri­vers. GP Road­way Solu­tions said they have issues with van­dals steal­ing the bat­ter­ies used to pow­er signs, but they say this is the first time any­one has changed the mes­sage. Is it easy to hack into a dig­i­tal road sign? “Unfor­tu­nate­ly, not too dif­fi­cult,” said Tim Caminos of SuperGeeks. “Some of the things com­pa­nies can do is just have bet­ter pro­tec­tion on their devices, bet­ter locks, change the pass­words, or maybe cre­ate stronger pass­words.” Source: KHON, Hon­olu­lu

Look! Up in the sky! 

sh_air force plane_280A new Air Force project involves using a plane to pro­vide an air­borne hack­ing plat­form, says Maj. Gen. Burke Wil­son, who made the com­ments at the Air Force Asso­ci­a­tion Air & Space con­fer­ence. Mil­i­tary net­works around the world usu­al­ly use air-gapped sys­tems (with­out access to Inter­net con­nec­tion) to pro­tect sen­si­tive data from being hacked. The only way to hack such mil­i­tary net­works is by infil­trat­ing the net­works using infect­ed USB dri­ves or infil­trat­ing the network’s local Wi-Fi capa­bil­i­ties from some­where in its vicin­i­ty. Air Force researchers have mod­i­fied an EC-130H Com­pass Call air­craft to per­form cyber attacks on ground-based ene­my mil­i­tary net­works. The EC-130 air­plane often is used by the U.S. Air Force to jam ene­my trans­mis­sions in war zones. Source: Tech Worm

With health care data breach­es come class-action cases

A class-action law­suit claim­ing neg­li­gence and breach of con­tract was filed against Excel­lus Health Plan and Life­time Health­care fol­low­ing a data breach that poten­tial­ly exposed the per­son­al infor­ma­tion of mil­lions of peo­ple. The com­plainants are seek­ing nation­wide and New York class sta­tus and awards of unspec­i­fied dam­ages and legal fees. There is a request for a jury tri­al. “To the best of my knowl­edge, this is the first one to be filed,” said Hadley Mataraz­zo, part­ner with Faraci Lange, who filed the suit in U.S. Dis­trict Court. The law­suit was filed slight­ly more than a week after Excel­lus Blue­Cross BlueShield and par­ent Life­time Health­care announced a “sophis­ti­cat­ed cyber attack” of their infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy sys­tem. Source: The Rochester (N.Y.) Demo­c­rat and Chronicle

Chi­na chat choked up for a bit

WeChat_180China’s Ten­cent said that its pop­u­lar mes­sag­ing app WeChat—with more than 600 mil­lion users—was hacked through a secu­ri­ty flaw, but has been patched. No user data or mon­ey was stolen from Ten­pay eWal­lets, which lets users in Chi­na buy goods and ser­vices from with­in the app, the com­pa­ny said. “A secu­ri­ty flaw was recent­ly dis­cov­ered affect­ing iOS users only on WeChat ver­sion 6.2.5. This flaw, based on an exter­nal hack attempt, has been repaired and will not affect users who install or upgrade WeChat ver­sion 6.2.6 or greater, cur­rent­ly avail­able on the iOS App Store,” Ten­cent wrote in a blog post­ing. Source: Ven­ture Beat

Com­mu­ni­cat­ing in code

AT&T has sued three for­mer employ­ees and an IT com­pa­ny, alleg­ing that the group con­spired to install mal­ware on com­pa­ny com­put­ers that would illic­it­ly gen­er­ate unlock codes for cus­tomer phones. Accord­ing to the suit, Swift Unlocks worked with cus­tomer ser­vice reps in an AT&T cen­ter to unlock codes for phones that were still under con­tract (so not eli­gi­ble to be moved to anoth­er carrier’s net­work), then sell them for a prof­it. Report­ed­ly, the cus­tomer ser­vice reps installed mal­ware on their com­pa­ny com­put­ers that gave Swift Unlocks access to their machines. The Swift Unlocks team then is accused of run­ning a pro­gram that gen­er­at­ed the unlock codes using the ser­vice reps’ cre­den­tials. Accord­ing to the law­suit, the reps were paid $2,000 every two weeks for their coop­er­a­tion, and Swift Unlocks gained access to “hun­dreds of thou­sands” of unlock codes. Swift Unlocks has not respond­ed to a request for com­ment. AT&T says no cus­tomer infor­ma­tion was com­pro­mised. Sources: Engad­get; Geek­Wire

From the toolbox

sh_password_400Almost every cyber­se­cu­ri­ty expert agrees that fre­quent­ly chang­ing your pass­words is a way to fight cyber crime and ID theft. Many cyber crimes affect peo­ple with easy-to-remem­ber pass­words. What you need is an incred­i­bly long and com­plex pass­word, a com­pli­cat­ed mix­ture of num­bers, sym­bols, upper­case let­ters and low­er­case let­ters. Plus, you need a dif­fer­ent pass­word for all your pro­grams. One way to cre­ate and store com­pli­cat­ed pass­words is through a pass­word man­ag­er, such as KeeP­ass or Dash­lane. These are often free, or low-cost, tools that secure­ly save pass­words, and help you cre­ate new ones. All you have to remem­ber is one mas­ter pass­word. Source: PC Tech Mag

Trad­ing cards with a dig­i­tal lesson

Fed­er­al offi­cials are launch­ing Project iGuardian to fight cyber crime aimed at chil­dren and teenagers. U.S. Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforcement’s Home­land Secu­ri­ty Investigations—in part­ner­ship with the Nation­al Cen­ter for Miss­ing & Exploit­ed Children—is par­tic­i­pat­ing. Project iGuardian has cre­at­ed trad­ing cards com­plete with fic­tion­al sta­tis­tics for iGuardian char­ac­ters. These trad­ing cards are a tool offi­cials are using to explain facts about online preda­tors in an easy way for chil­dren to under­stand. Spe­cial agents, Proxy, Pro­to­col, Firewire and their neme­sis, the want­ed online preda­tor Deceiv­er, make up the trad­ing cards. Each card includes an online safe­ty tip, such as: “Don’t respond to offen­sive con­tent or for­ward images or info that might hurt or embar­rass some­one.” Source: The Brownsville (Texas) Herald