NEWS THIS WEEK: Details of Russia’s election hacking emerge; ‘Fireball’ infects 250 millions PCs; American travelers may get phones confiscated

By Byron V. Acohido

In the news this week, Russian military intelligence executed a cyber attack on at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials just days before last November’s presidential election, according to an intelligence report. The top-secret National Security Agency document analyzes intelligence very recently acquired by the agency about a months-long Russian intelligence cyber effort against elements of the U.S. election and voting infrastructure. The report indicates that Russian hacking may have penetrated further into U.S. voting systems than was previously understood. It states that it was Russian military intelligence, specifically the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, that conducted the cyber attacks described in the document. Source: The Intercept

FBI looks into potential hack of Trump Organization, questions president’s sons

The FBI is investigating an attempted overseas cyber attack against the Trump Organization, summoning President Trump’s sons, Don Jr. and Eric, for an emergency session with the bureau’s cybersecurity agents and representatives of the CIA. Law enforcement officials confirmed the attempted hack and said the subsequent meeting took place at the FBI’s New York headquarters on May 8, the day before Trump fired FBI director James Comey. “We absolutely weren’t hacked,” Eric Trump said. Source: ABC News

Fireball malware might be on up to 250 million PCs

Security firm Check Point counts 250 million PCs infected with malicious code they’ve called Fireball, designed to hijack browsers to change the default search engine, and track their web traffic on behalf of a Beijing-based digital marketing firm called Rafotech. Check Point says it found that the malware also has the ability to remotely run any code on the victim’s machine, or download new malicious files. Source: Wired

Companies, organizations plan rally to back net neutrality

Amazon, the American Civil Liberties Union, Greenpeace and other tech companies and organizations are planning a day of action July 12 to rally support for the net neutrality regulations passed by the Federal Communication Commission two years ago. Net neutrality regulations prohibit internet service providers from blocking and throttling content or from prioritizing some content over other content, possibly for payment. The rules also include an internet conduct standard preventing ISPs from unreasonable interference with consumer’s access to destinations on the internet. Source: USA Today

Kmart credit card activity scrutinized after possible security attack

Kmart was the victim of a security incident involving unauthorized credit card activity following some customer purchases. The company did not provide details on how long the attack took place or what specific stores were affected. Source: The Consumerist

Uber executive ousted after getting raped passenger’s medical records

A top Uber executive has been fired after obtaining medical records of a female passenger who was raped during a ride in India. A 26-year-old female passenger was raped during a ride in Delhi in late 2014. Uber executives reportedly began to discuss the idea that competitor Ola was behind the incident in an effort to damage the company’s operations. Some Uber staffers said executives were considering the scenario, based on the medical report, that the woman’s story was not true. Source: Tech Crunch

New Apple assistant HomePod set up to protect privacy

Apple’s new HomePod, a new Siri-powered smart assistant, can interact with messages, relay sports scores, the news, general knowledge, provide translations, and control the home. Siri will now share its learned and personalized data across devices with end-to-end encryption—so that Apple doesn’t know your preferences. Source: ZDNet

Chef’s father-in-law jailed in conspiracy to hack his computer system

Gordon Ramsay’s father-in-law has been jailed for six months for conspiring to hack a computer system relating to the celebrity chef’s business interests. Christopher Hutcheson, 68, and his two sons, admitted plotting to unlawfully access Gordon Ramsay Holdings’ system. The sons got four-month jail terms, suspended for two years. Hutcheson senior was involved in a public falling out with Ramsay during which he tried to break into the chef’s emails and find financial details. Source: BBC

Americans on overseas flights might see phones confiscated when they get home

A TSA agent searches luggage at an airport. (12MP camera, NO model release, editorial only)

American citizens coming to the United States from overseas risk having their cell phones confiscated and searched at airports or other border crossings, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly confirmed. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents have been demanding access to visitors’ cell phones for several years. But critics are worried the new administration has scaled up the use of such searches as part of its promise to counter extremism, with a particular focus on Muslims and people of Arab heritage. Source: Newsweek

Facebook to reveal location data during disasters

Facebook will provide aid organizations with location data for users in affected areas. The “disaster maps” will be provided to UNICEF, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent, and the World Food Program to start. Location density maps will provide rough estimations of where people are distributed. Movement maps show how users changed locations and when. Safety Check maps show where people have marked themselves safe. Source: Tech Crunch


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