Month: June 2015

Avira Wins the Case against Angry Birds-Styled Game

A lawsuit against Avira was filed when the security software had earlier blocked a bundle of software downloads from a game. Freemium GmbH has filed the lawsuit against the antivirus giant stating that Avira has dismissed the software updates released by the game firm. Freemium had claimed up to six months in prison sentence and a whopping amount of €250,000 fine against Travis Witteveen, the managing director of Avira on the ground of violation of trade regulations in Berlin District Court. Freemium GmbH has filed a cease-and-desist order against Avira in Berlin District Court when the German security firm has issued warnings of bundle of additional software released by Moorhuhn Remake game. The security firm warned that the software bundle might pose threat to gamers’ computers. However, the three-judge panel in Berlin District Court has rejected the lawsuit on the ground of lack of adequate evidences and also ordered Freemium to bear the court costs of €500,000 (US$551,000), as per the latest updates released by Avira of the case. Earlier in May, Berlin District Court has given verbal verdict and now, the court has given written orders. Avira has warned users that the download manager of Moorhuhn Remake software is a Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP). This PUP category of software is not directly marked as malicious software, but such software may enable other malicious software such as, adware to...

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China-US Cyber War Update: Chinese Hackers Had Access to US Security Clearance Database

Chinese hackers have kept the World Wide Web busy with as the news of their cyber onslaught of US government systems revealed over the weekend. Over the five years, US intelligence agencies were tracking multiple groups of Chinese hackers who were extracting information from various US segments including energy plants, defense contractors, and electronics manufacturers. However, US agencies have lost track of some Chinese hackers over the one year as they shifted their target to US government systems and hit the Office of Personnel Management. And how they cracked and burrowed deep into those systems is recently discovered as New York Times released a spine chilling update. NYT’s findings revealed that Chinese hackers not only attempted to hook in top the database, but they actually had access and inside help into the database. NYT said: “Undetected for nearly a year, the Chinese intruders executed a sophisticated attack that gave them “administrator privileges” into the computer networks at the Office of Personnel Management, mimicking the credentials of people who run the agency’s systems, two senior administration officials said. The hackers began siphoning out a rush of data after constructing what amounted to an electronic pipeline that led back to China, investigators told Congress last week in classified briefings. Much of the personnel data had been stored in the lightly protected systems of the Department of the Interior, because it had...

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OPM Data Hack: What the Initial Findings Reveal about the Incident

Investigation of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) hack is still on. While not much is released about this incident yet, the department has nonetheless provided some kind of explanation surrounding it.   There have been a few observations that were compiled and shared by different agencies; though not particularly comforting to the US workforce who is currently battling this data breach, this information can no doubt give their worries some direction. This hack is the second such incident to have occurred, after the Anthem and Premera data breach instance. It is also worth mentioning here that the OPM was breached last year in a similar incident. However, this time the attack is larger in nature and the number of people affected is bigger than the previous one. China is being held responsible for the attack although the Chinese government has promptly denied all the accusations. Over 4 million federal government employees have been touched by this data hack. This attack was launched last December and discovered in April –this is enough to put in peril the information of many more users, other than the initial number of 4 million affected that was quoted. To substantiate the general claims that more than 4 million people have been affected, Bloomberg and the Associated Press have reported that the figure is around 14 million. This staggering number includes current and ex-federal...

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Office of Personnel Management Data Hacked; Chinese Hackers the Top Suspect

US Health Insurance firms Anthem and Premera learnt it the hard way last year when personal data of more than 78 million and 11 million users respectively were stolen. This time, sensitive files of employees at the Office of Personnel Management have been stolen and not less than 4 million users are at stake. The common element in both these instances, other than the obvious security breach, is perhaps the perpetrators that are behind this doing. Like in the previous case, it is suspected that Chinese hackers are behind this breach and the US government agencies are working on compiling more data to substantiate their claims. The OPM hack, the common reference to this security breach instance, has put in peril personal information of current employees and former employees including government contractors. This security breach is definitely one of the biggest hacks of recent times and the fact that none of the stolen identities have yet been used to create fraudulent credit cards or take part in other online crimes make the intentions of the hackers even nastier and scary. It appears that they are simply collecting large databases of personal information of the Americans and waiting to strike at the right time. Till the time FBI and other US government agencies that are investigating this case come up with the final details of this hack, the wait is...

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NSA Launched But, Failed to Infect North Korean Nuclear Plant with Stuxnet Virus

The National Security Agency tried to infect a Stuxnet-variant virus to sabotage the nuclear plant of North Korea, but eventually it failed, reported Reuters. Earlier, NSA launched a similar cyber attack campaign on Iran’s nuclear program in 2009 and 2010, jointly with Israeli forces. Anonymous U.S. Intelligence sources who were familiar with this covert campaign told Reuters that right around the same time of the year when US deployed the Stuxnet virus on Iranian nuclear program back in 2009 and 2010, NSA tried to launch a Stuxnet-style virus which failed to debilitate Korean plant. According to the news, NSA designed the virus which would be enabled when accessed any computer settings in Korean language. Despite its high-end attempt of virus attack, NSA agents failed to access the core systems which were connected to the nuclear weapon program of North Korea. North Korean security system is widely marked for closed secrecy – so much so that any civilian requires a police permission to even buy and own a computer and even certain restriction is applied to Internet access. The one primary connection which is given to North Korea comes from China. The United States has been deeply concerned about the strength and efficacy of the nuclear program of Iran and North Korea. Since NSA had already successfully disrupted the nuclear plant by allying with Israeli forces five years back, so...

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