Personal Cybersecurity #15: Daily news

What you need to know for your personal cyber security life… 

Number Fifteen in a series of semi-regular daily current and topical computer threats that may affect your online, or even offline, digital and real life. Why cyber-security on SurvivalRing? Because EVERYTHING you do in your life everyday now is a part of the cyber world…even your offline plans. So, be aware, and pay attention. The bad guys WILL eventually get around to YOU…personally…so be prepared for it, by staying in the loop.  

evil inside

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Commander Reiterates Iran’s Preparedness to Confront Enemies in Cyber Warfare

  • February 18, 2014

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A senior Iranian military commander praised the country’s capabilities in using the state-of-the-art technologies in the military sphere, and stressed that Iran is fully prepared to counter any cyber threats.

“Iran is fully prepared to confront any kind of cyber attacks,” General Mohammad Aqakishi, the commander of the information technology and communication department at the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, said in a cultural ceremony in the city of Zanjan on Tuesday.

Highlighting the country’s eye-catching progress in the field of information technology, the commander stressed that Iran’s military forces have very well taken advantage of such technologies.

Aqakishi further referred to the cyber warfare as one of the common methods of modern confrontation in the contemporary era, and added, “One of the options on the table of the US and its allies is a cyber war against Iran. But we are fully prepared to fight cyber warfare.

He said the US has been making “empty threats” against Iran for several years, noting that Washington itself is mindful of the Islamic Republic’s military might in the arena of information technology and communication. Earlier in December 2013, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan unveiled a dozen home-made technological products that are aimed to be used in the country’s cyber sectors.

The 12 cyber products have been all developed and manufactured by local experts.

The defense minister also hailed Iranian military experts for making great progress in cyber fields, and said, “Producing new items and mastering cyber technologies are among the top priorities of the defense ministry.” The Iranian experts have in recent years made great headway in producing home-made defensive equipment and have also made progress in securing the country against cyber attacks.


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Immigration Department data lapse reveals asylum seekers’ personal details

  • By Oliver Laughland, Paul Farrell and Asher Wolf
  • 18 February 2014

The personal details of a third of all asylum seekers held in Australia – almost 10,000 adults and children – have been inadvertently released by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection in one of the most serious privacy breaches in Australia’s history.

A vast database containing the full names, nationalities, location, arrival date and boat arrival information was revealed on the department’s website, raising serious concerns that thousands of asylum seekers have had confidential details made public.

Every single person held in a mainland detention facility and on Christmas Island has been identified in the database, as well as several thousand who are living in the community under the community detention program. A large number of children have been identified in the release, which also lists whether asylum seekers are part of family groups.

The breach raises serious questions about whether those identified could be placed at risk of retribution if they are returned to their countries of origin.


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Las Vegas Sands now says hacking went deeper than previously realized

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Pastebin analysis reveals true scale of 2013 data breaches

  • By John E Dunn
  • Techworld
  • 18 February 2014

The true scale of global data breaches must reach into the hundreds of millions, according to Swiss penetration testing outfit High-Tech Bridge which has discovered that 311,095 user credentials were posted to the popular Pastebin website during 2013 alone.

That haul represents the number of user records (i.e. logins and other credentials) posted to the site although in some cases the records were deleted so the firm fished them out of Google’s cache.

Although it’s a small number in relation to the tens of millions of records stolen in November from US retailer Target, the 311,095 represents only a miniscule fraction of the total number of records hackers must have lifted from organisations and individuals during the year.

According to High-Tech Bridge, because hackers use Pastebin to post samples, what they found probably represents somewhere between a tenth of one percent and one percent of the total in play at any one time. The firm said it had been careful to remove fake hacks, duplicates and small crimes below 100 records.


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 Zeus banking malware hides a crucial file in a photo

  • By Jeremy Kirk
  • IDG News Service
  • February 18, 2014

A newly discovered variant of the notorious Zeus banking trojan is disguising a crucial configuration code in a digital photo, a technique known as steganography.

Zeus is one of the most effective tools to steal online banking details, hijacking login details as a person accesses his account and masking secret transfers in the background.

The variant, called ZeusVM, downloads a configuration file that contains the domains of banks that the malware is instructed to intervene in during a transaction, wrote Jerome Segura, a senior security researcher with Malwarebytes. He wrote the behavior was first noticed by a French security researcher who writes under the name Xylitol.

“The malware was retrieving a JPG image hosted on the same server as were other malware components,” Segura wrote.


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Nursing Homes Are Exposed to Hacker Attacks

  • The Wall Street Journal
  • February 18, 2014

Computer-security researchers have discovered on a website documents that could allow hackers easily to obtain electronic medical records and payment information from health-care providers.

The documents — found by two cybersecurity firms on a site commonly used by hackers — detail the type of equipment used in computer networks, the Internet addresses for computers and other devices, and the passwords to network firewalls run by health-care providers such as nursing homes, doctors’ offices and hospitals.

If such networks were accessed, cybercriminals easily could find personal details on individuals, security experts said. Such information could be used to sell credit-card data and medical information that could be used to commit insurance fraud.

A search by The Wall Street Journal of the website,, turned up information from three nursing homes: the Bronx Center for Rehabilitation & Healthcare in New York; the Glengariff Healthcare Center in Glen Cove, N.Y.; and the Campbell Hall Rehabilitation Center in Campbell Hall, N.Y.


Updated: February 20, 2014 — 9:04 am

The Author

Rich Fleetwood

Rich is the founder of SurvivalRing, now in it's 24th year, author of multimedia CDs and DVDs, loves the outdoors, his family, his geeky skill-set, and lives in rural southern Wyoming, just below the continental divide (long story, that...). Always ready to help others, he shares what he learns on multiple blogs, many social sites, and more. With a background in preparedness and survival skills, training with county, state, and national organizations, and skills in all areas of media and on air experience in live radio and television, Rich is always thinking about the "big picture", when it comes to helping individuals and families prepare for life's little surprises.

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