In the last couple of decades, law enforcement and intelligence agencies have been quite successful in disrupting various terrorist and organized crime groups by going after their financing. That’s one of the key methods the U.S. government used in attacking al Qaeda after 9/11 and the FBI and DEA have employed the same strategy for years in narcotics investigations. Now we’re beginning to see the same strategy applied to anti-cybercrime operations.
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In the aftermath of the election, many people in the security and privacy communities have expressed renewed concerns about the possibility the federal government might again try to implement backdoors or otherwise weaken encryption. It will likely be months before we see any movement on that front, but for now, a new report from the European Union’s information security agency says in no uncertain terms that backdoored encryption is bad for users and undermines the security of the network for everyone.
There are an unknowable number of significant organized cybercrime rings operating at any given time, so when one of them falls, it’s easy to gloss over it. But in recent days, law enforcement officials on two continents took down a group that was responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in losses in the last couple of years and was operating one of the larger phishing and malware infrastructures ever seen.
While most of America was emerging from a tryptophan-induced coma on Friday morning, the security team at San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency was waking up to find that ransomware had infected hundreds of the organization’s computers.
It’s the most painful time of the year, when millions of us go home for the holidays and get accosted by relatives desperate for tech support. Our civilian brethren are going to be looking for advice about security and privacy, and, this year, perhaps more than any other in recent memory, it’s vital that we get the right information to them.
In two weeks, the federal government will gain significant new authority to perform remote searches of devices anywhere in the country, with a single warrant. The new power will go into effect on Dec. 1, and though Congress has the ability to prevent that from happening, it’s looking less and less likely that they will.
The adage that there is nothing new under the sun is especially relevant in the security field. Attacks and the technologies that spring up to defend against them tend to run in cycles, and the recent resurgence of DDoS attacks of various stripes has shown once again that we still don’t have a real handle on how to stop this problem.
There’s a silent battle going on for consumers’ browsing habits, shopping preferences, location data, and other sensitive information. Marketers and technology providers have teamed up to implement advanced tracking systems that can follow users from device to device and around the web, and the vast majority of people have no idea it’s happening.
Things are getting weird out here in IoT security. And that’s saying a lot. Because IoT security, along with being an oxymoron, is also one of the weirder corners of the tech industry right now, and it’s getting weirder by the day. It’s so weird that even Congress is trying to figure out what the hell is going on.
As what is sure to be one of the more contentious presidential elections in recent memory approaches, The Cyber has become one of the dominant talking points for both candidates. Unfortunately, neither candidate seems to have a clear understanding of the basics of information security or a concrete plan for how to address the many security issues facing both consumers and businesses in the United States.