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Reports have confirmed that Representative Anthony D. Weiner intends to resign amid the scandal sparked by an alleged breach of his Twitter account. Initially, Rep. Weiner indicated that hackers were to blame for disseminating a provocative photo (that may or may not have been of him) from his Twitter account. We refer to that as “the breach that wasn’t.”
But in other news, a recent actual security breach involving a major financial services company has left many questioning the safety of stored online personal information in general. Reportedly, the breach was caused by a group of sophisticated hackers who gained access to sensitive information concerning over 200,000 Citigroup customers through a particular vulnerability in the browser. According to The New York Times, as older issue credit cards expire, thieves look for inventive ways to access new accounts and data which results in an increase in demand for personal information as the older credit cards become less useful. Although Citigroup has responded by setting up safeguards against future attacks, the process of online hacking has grown more complex and extensive. There are many other victims in these online attacks. The website for Bethesda Softworks, a video game developer and publisher, was recently hacked by Lulzsec, a hacker group linked to many of these attacks. The group was able to obtain usernames, passwords, and email addresses. While this stolen information doesn’t seem as significant as hacked financial records, a hacker may only need an email address and password to further harm an individual financially.
Some of the latest victims in these types of security breaches were the U.S. Senate and IMF. According to a CNN article, Lulzsec also attacked the U.S. Senate but the team of hackers was only able to access the directory and file structure of Senate.gov, parts of which were meant for public access anyway. Interestingly, in Lulzsec’s reference to their breach, the group presented its opposition to the recent announcement that the U.S. could possibly consider cyber attacks as acts of war. Additionally, a connection has been made to an unnamed foreign government in the major IMF security breach that took place sometime last week. Highly sensitive information was compromised during the attack and release of that information could lead to political and economical crisis. The World Bank has cut connections with the IMF for its own security. “
In response to all these attacks, California’s Mary Bono Mack has started to draft a bill for a national data breach notification. If the bill is passed, companies would be required to alert the government within 48 hours of discovering the breach and to safely discard old unnecessary information. Although versions of this bill exist in various states, this is an attempt to pass a federal law to protect customers of hacked companies.
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