Data Security

The latest on data breaches and cybersecurity and data security by Adam K Levin.

It seems like there were more companies that had privacy-related problems in 2014 than didn’t. And the lucky ones that didn’t “get got” were separated by only one or two degrees from those that did. As we look ahead to 2015, I see a mix of old privacy concerns along with a few emerging dangers. Breaches are the new normal....
Location tracking
A New York Times report about the ways smartphone apps track users and sell their location data (on a far greater scale than most customers realize) has gotten much deserved attention this week. One data sample obtained by the Times showed records of a company updating users’ locations up to 14,000 times a day in 2017. While many users allow...
From mid-May to July, 143 million U.S. consumers were more vulnerable to hackers than usual. Or rather, they were actively vulnerable. Equifax, one of the three major consumer credit reporting agencies, reported that the company had suffered a massive data compromise that exposed their customers' Social Security numbers, drivers license numbers and other sensitive personally identifiable information. In a statement, they...
data leak
A collection of source code from companies including General Electric, Disney, Microsoft, Motorola, Qualcomm, Adobe, Nintendo and Microsoft has been aggregated and posted online.  The repository was released onto Gitlab by software developer and IT consultant Tillie Kottmann and was collected from publicly available leaked data that had been stored on misconfigured online servers. Kottmann has indicated that the bulk...
Facebook's privacy policies have always been the subject of debate among its users -- especially when they change, as they did this month for underage users. After all, when you're putting so much information online where anyone can see it, how upset can you be when the public sees it? But what if "the public" is law enforcement, and their...
Pensacola cyberattack
Pensacola, FL was hit by a cyberattack in the wake of what has been described as a terrorist shooting. "The city of Pensacola is experiencing a cyberattack that began this weekend that is impacting our city network, including phones and email at City Hall and some of our other buildings,” said Mayor Grover Robinson.  The cyberattack began early Saturday morning days...
hipaa telemedicine
The worldwide Covid-19 pandemic has created a massive strain on hospitals and medical facilities. In response to this, many medical professionals are taking elective and non-life-threatening appointments online. “We’re really ramping up telehealth, especially for elderly patients to limit their exposure, while still taking care of their medical needs,” says Dr. Brian Christine, an Alabama-based surgeon. “The current pandemic is pushing...
online advertising
Unless you live in a boot at the bottom of Loon Lake, you know that everything you do online is tracked. When you load a web page, an array of scripts, cookies, and code starts chugging away behind the scenes gleaning information about who you are, where you are, how you got to the site, what you're clicking on, and where you...
New Orleans Ransomware
New Orleans has declared a state of emergency following a ransomware attack. The city government has effectively been offline since December 13 when employees were instructed to turn off all computers and disconnect them from WiFi networks following reports of suspicious network activity.  “The city asks residents and vendors for their patience and understanding as our Information Technology team works to...
Spectre / Meltdown
Just when you thought it was impossible to use a connected device without getting hacked, 2018 arrives with the discovery of an entirely new class of network vulnerability built into the processors of virtually every computing device in active consumer and business use. Two distinct hardware flaws -- dubbed "Meltdown" and "Spectre" -- were recently disclosedby white hat researchers. They did this responsibly. The hackers first...