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(CNN) - Large-scale ransomware attacks will continue, and they'll likely get worse, experts warn.
Ransomware, you may remember, is a nasty computer virus designed to hold data hostage until you pay a specific fee.
Massive attacks this year have amounted to a wake-up call for some about the dangers of ransomware. Extorted companies lose productivity, and people's health may be at risk if ransomware targets hospitals.
Last February, officials at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital in Los Angeles said they paid the Bitcoin equivalent of $17,000 to cybercriminals after patient and doctor records were locked for almost two weeks. The hospital says it had to resort to handwriting to cope with the computer lockdown.
"The quickest and most efficient way to restore our systems and administrative functions was to pay the ransom and obtain the decryption key," said Allen Stefanek, president of Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, in a statement. "In the best interest of restoring normal operations, we did this."
A huge attack in May that spread around the world and hit more than 300,000 machines in over 150 companies was blamed on ransomware. Hospitals, major companies and government offices were among those that were affected.
Another attack in June, initially suspected of being ransomware, affected dozens of Ukrainian, Russian, European and American firms. Researchers later determined that the attack, nicknamed NotPetya, was a sophisticated virus, but not a ransomware.
Read more here: www.news4jax.com/tech/ransomware-a-malicious-gift-that-keeps-on-giving
Hackers have broken into the networks of HBO and reportedly leaked unreleased episodes of a number of shows, as well as the script for next week’s “Game of Thrones” episode. Altogether, they have reportedly obtained a total of 1.5 terabyte of data.
HBO confirmed the intrusion in a statement sent to Variety:
“HBO recently experienced a cyber incident, which resulted in the compromise of proprietary information. We immediately began investigating the incident and are working with law enforcement and outside cybersecurity firms. Data protection is a top priority at HBO, and we take seriously our responsibility to protect the data we hold.”
Entertainment Weekly was first to report about the hack, and allegedly leaked content, Monday.According to that report, the hackers have already leaked unreleased episodes of “Ballers” and “Room 104.”
HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler addressed the hack in an email to employees, calling it “disruptive, unsettling, and disturbing for all of us.” Plepler said that the problem is being addressed by “senior leadership and our extraordinary technology team, along with outside experts,” and went on to call the efforts to mitigate the hack “nothing short of herculean.”
Read more here: variety.com/2017/digital/news/hbo-hack-episodes-released-1202510837/
(Bloomberg) -- Many doctors still can’t use a transcription service made by Nuance Communications Inc. three weeks after the company was hit by a powerful, debilitating computer attack.
Hospital systems including Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center said eScription, a Nuance staple product that allows physicians to dictate notes from a telephone, still isn’t functioning. The outage obliterated doctors’ instructions to patients, forcing some to revert to pen and paper.
The computer virus, called Petya, has sent ripples through health care, among the last industries to make the switch to digital record keeping and one of the most frequently targeted by hackers, said Michael Ebert, a partner with KPMG who advises health and life-science companies on cybersecurity.
“Health care has been late to respond to the need for protected information, and the information is worth more,” Ebert said. “It’s amazing how far behind we are, and we know we have to do something.”
Hackers increasingly use viruses to encrypt companies’ information systems, unlocking the data only when a ransom is paid. After the Petya attack began in late June, companies from Oreo-maker Mondelez International Inc. to Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc warned of a blow to their sales. Information systems used by FedEx Corp.’s TNT unit may never fully recover, the shipping company said Monday.
Read more here: www.msn.com/en-sg/news/techandscience/cyberattack-on-medical-software-shows-industry-vulnerability/ar-AAoxf55
A surge in computer hacking has led to the breach of more than six billion records so far this year, topping the total for 2016, security researchers said Tuesday.
Virginia-based Risk Based Security said in its mid-year report that it identified 2,227 publicly disclosed data compromise events through June 30 affecting business, government, medical and educational data.
"It is stunning to see the steady increase in the number of breaches impacting one million or more records," said Inga Goddijn, Executive Vice President for Risk Based Security.
The report said hackers are increasingly targeting employment and tax records. Some attacks successfully used "phishing" or spoofing or emails to obtain tax information from US citizens. Other targets included human resources departments, employment agencies and aggregators of employment data.
"While news of politically motivated foreign interference in election systems continues to dominate the headlines, the breach activity we are tracking this year is a stark reminder of just how many data compromise incidents are motivated by financial gain," Goddijn said.
"As long as information can be quickly monetized and systems remain vulnerable to attack, we should not expect to see any slowdown in breach activity."
Read more here: www.yahoo.com/tech/six-billion-records-hacked-far-researchers-161650358.html
Computer users in New Hampshire are three times more likely to get a malware infection on their computers than computer users in general across the United States.
That’s according to data released recently by Enigma Software Group, maker of the SpyHunter anti-malware program.
Enigma analyzed more than 1.5 million infections detected on its customers’ personal computers in all 50 states in the first half of 2017. That research brought results showing that, on average, New Hampshire has an infection rate that’s 201 percent higher than the average infection rate for all 50 states.
Colorado, Virginia, New Jersey and Oregon ranked as the next highest states.
“It’s hard to tell exactly why some states have higher infection rates than others,” said Enigma spokesman Ryan Gerding, in a statement. “In the top five alone you’ve got East Coast and West Coast states, highly populated states and sparsely populated ones. Regardless of where you live, it’s always important to stay vigilant for infections all the time.”
Read more here: www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/how-to/technology/2017/07/these-states-should-be-on-high-alert-for-malware.html
FARGO, N.D. (KVLY) -- You may have heard of malware, a malicious software that may damage your computer system, but have you heard of "scareware?"
The scareware may not damage your computer, but it could scare users into giving their credit card information to scammers.
Dianne Farha often surfs the web for new recipes but she nearly clicked on a recipe for disaster. When the website opened, the screen started flashing and saying, “warning, warning, warning,” and that if she turned off her computer, all data would be lost. The North Dakota woman had clicked on a website that was infected with scareware, a tactic used to scare people into giving up their personal information to scammers.
The flashing warning told her to call a phone number, and a man who said he was a Microsoft told her, “I’m a computer specialist and I need to get onto your computer,” Farha said.
But something didn’t seem right, so she hung up. Farha said she had heard of scammers who pose as computer technicians to trick you into giving up your credit card number so they can “fix” the problem.
Even though she hung up the phone, the screen still said that if she turned off the computer, it would be wiped, so she called Microsoft.
“The Microsoft man said, 'Well, just completely shut down your computer,' and everything was fine then,” Farha said.
Farha feels lucky that she knew better than to let someone on her computer or get her personal information, but says this isn’t the first time someone has tried using technology to scam her.
Read more here: www.wcjb.com/content/news?article=436519353
Mac users typically think they're immune to malware. But a new strain used for spying reminds us even Macs can be compromised.Researchers have found an unusual piece of malware, called FruitFly, that's been infecting some Mac computers for years.
FruitFly operates quietly in the background, spies on users through the computer's camera, captures images of what's displayed on the screen and logs key strokes.
Security firm Malwarebytes discovered the first strain earlier this year, but a second version called FruitFly 2 subsequently appeared.
Patrick Wardle, chief security researcher at security firm Synack, found 400 computers infected with the newer strain and believes there's likely many more cases out there.
It's unclear how long FruitFly has been infecting computers, but researchers found the code was modified to work on the Mac Yosemite operating system, which was released in October 2014. This suggests the malware existed before that time.
It's unknown who is behind it or how it got on computers.
Thomas Reed of Malwarebytes called the first version "unlike anything I've seen before."
Read more here: money.cnn.com/2017/07/24/technology/mac-fruitfly-malware-spying/index.html
Intel Celeron processors are being sold as AMD Ryzen chips
Consumers reported buying AMD Ryzen processors on Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and eBay Inc(NASDAQ:EBAY), and receiving products that were clearly manufactured by different company.
There was one Reddit user who posted pictures of his AMD Ryzen 7 1700 processor purchase on Amazon, which looked legitimate at first. He then realized that the device was clearly developed by a different company as it was an Intel Celeron (NASDAQ:INTC) processor.
Another user posted images of a processor he bought from Amazon, which appeared to be real as it has the Ryzen markings. However, it is different as some of its features are clearly part of a different microchip.
The notches and overall integrated heatspreader (IHS) are not the ones that the Ryzen 7 1700 processor brings, and it only has the company label through a transparent sticker that makes it look like a different brand.
It is unclear whether these devices are being sold through Amazon directly or through a third-party vendor.
Read more here: investorplace.com/2017/07/fake-amd-ryzen-chips-amazon/#.WW4-3ojyuUk