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