March 1, 2013

A February Gone Hackuary

Can you believe it’s almost been a year since Breach Week? That’s when LinkedIn, eHarmony, and Last.fm were victims of hacks that compromised passwords, sending millions of users into password changing frenzies. February 2013, or what we’re dubbing as Hackuary, hasn’t been kind to some of the world’s most recognizable companies either. The New York Times, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and Twitter had security issues that PC antivirus software could not protect against. Here are the details on the hacks and how you can stay protected:



The New York Times: After reporters concluded an investigation looking into a fortune the Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of China had inherited, Chinese hackers were thirsty for more information. Instead of doing more research, or perhaps even writing the reporters, they decided to infiltrate the New York Times network with 45 pieces of custom malware— go figure. In doing so, they stole the email passwords of reporters on the Prime Minister story with the ultimate goal of uncovering their sources.

Facebook/Apple/Microsoft: All three of these technology juggernauts were attacked by the same hack, mere weeks apart, when company employees visited a site feigning as a software developer tool. Upon doing so, the webpage exploited a vulnerability in the Java plug-in for browsers to execute its malicious code. These Zero-Day threats, or hacks that have never appeared in the wild before, could not be stopped by PC antivirus software. The good news is that none of these attacks showed evidence of customer data being taken.

Twitter: @Jeep and @BurgerKing were the latest victims here. Their handles tweeted bogus content, like being sold to competitors, among other things.

So what can you do to help prevent yourself from falling under similar circumstances? Change your password, and change it often. For smartphones, make sure you have a mobile security app like Lookout installed. And if you’re employed, make sure your company has the right security measures in place. We can help with that too.

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