Market watchdog warns on danger of cyber attack

By Sam Fleming in London, August 24, 2014

A global watchdog has sounded the alarm about the growing danger of cyber attacks, on financial markets, warning that companies and regulators around the world need to address the “uneven” response to the threat of online assaults.

Greg Medcraft, chairman of the board of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (Iosco), predicted that the next big financial shock – or “black swan event” – will come from cyber space, following a succession of attacks on financial players.

He warned that there needed to be a more concerted effort to tackle cyber threats around the world as current approaches varied widely.

Copyright: The Financial Times, 2014.

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Android Phones Hit by ‘Ransomware’

You are guilty of child porn, child abuse, zoophilia or sending out bulk spam. You are a criminal. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has locked you out of your phone and the only way to regain access to all your data is to pay a few hundred dollars.

That message — or variations of it — has popped up on hundreds of thousands of people’s Android devices in just the last month. The message claims to be from the F.B.I., or cybersecurity firms, but is in fact the work of Eastern European hackers who are hijacking Android devices with a particularly pernicious form of malware, dubbed “ransomware” because it holds its victims’ devices hostage until they pay a ransom.

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For German, Swiss Privacy Start-Ups, a Post-Snowden Boom

By Stephan Dörner

US and Chinese tech companies are not the only ones profiting from the “Snowden effect.”

Since news broke that former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden disclosed alleged U.S. government surveillance methods worldwide, secure messaging and so-called ‘NSA-proof’ products and companies have sprouted across Germany and Switzerland, two countries who take their privacy laws very seriously.

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The Gyroscopes in Your Phone Could Let Apps Eavesdrop on Conversations

By Andy Greenberg for

In the age of surveillance paranoia, most smartphone users know better than to give a random app or website permission to use their device’s microphone. But researchers have found there’s another, little-considered sensor in modern phones that can also listen in on their conversations. And it doesn’t even need to ask.

In a presentation at the Usenix security conference next week, researchers from Stanford University and Israel’s defense research group Rafael plan to present a technique for using a smartphone to surreptitiously eavesdrop on conversations in a room—not with a gadget’s microphone, but with its gyroscopes, the sensors designed measure the phone’s orientation.

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Community Health Systems says Chinese hackers stole patient data

Community Health Systems, the US hospital operator, said that Chinese hackers have stolen private information about 4.5m of its patients, the largest number of accounts compromised in such an attack, adding to long-running tensions between  the two nations over cyber crime.

In a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, the company said it believed its computer network was hacked in April and June this year.

It said that forensic experts believe the attack was carried out by a China-based group using advanced malware and technology, though it did not specify the name of the organisation it believes is responsible for the hack.

The theft is the largest of its kind in terms of the number of people affected, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, which has kept a list of breaches of unsecured protected health information since 2009.

Copyright: The Financial Times, 2014

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New From 500-Year-Old Deutsche Post: Self-Destructing Encrypted Chats

By Friedrich Geiger, The Wall Street Journal

The number of letters delivered by German mailing group Deutsche Post AG has been on a downtrend for years due to Internet-based alternatives for communication. But half a year after Facebook Inc. agreed to acquire WhatsApp for $19 billion, the former state monopoly, now a private company, has entered the market with the launch of its own free messaging app, SIMSme.

SIMSme’s advantage: Messages are safe from snooping, the company says.

“All messages are automatically encrypted by the sender and can only be decrypted by the recipient,” said Deutsche Post.

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Is Encrypted Messaging Entering the Mainstream?

By Javier Espinoza, The Wall Street Journal

As people grow more aware of government and criminal surveillance of their mobile devices and computers, a flurry of companies have recently launched products they say provide fully private communication. The encryption products allow people to text, call, email or browse the Internet without having to worry about a third party intercepting their communication – or so the companies promise.

But will these technologies ever take off in a mass consumer market?

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Samsung ups the Internet of Things ante by snapping up SmartThings

Samsung moves on the fast-growing start up

By Chris Smith 

Samsung has once again signaled its intentions to be a big player in the burgeoning Internet of Things market by agreeing on a deal to acquire one of the sector’s hottest start ups.

Following reports it had tabled a $200 million offer (about £116m, AU$213m) last month, Samsung confirmed it has bought the Washington DC-based SmartThings for an undisclosed fee.

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Ukraine PM’s office hit by cyber attack linked to Russia

By Sam Jones, Defence and Security Editor

Dozens of computers in the Ukrainian prime minister’s office and at least 10 of Ukraine’s embassies abroad have been infected with a virulent cyber espionage weapon linked to Russia.

The cyber attack has also affected embassies in eastern Europe of at least nine countries including Germany, China, Poland and Belgium. Sensitive diplomatic information has been made available to the perpetrators of the attack as a result.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2014.

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Every iPhone Has A Security Backdoor

Gordon Kelly, Contributor,

Phone and iPad users have long been able to laud the superior security of their devices over rivals. But it seems one crucial aspect has been forgotten: what if the hacker is Apple?

Responding to an eye opening talk from forensic scientist Jonathan Zdziarski at the Hackers On Planet Earth conference on Friday Apple has issued a formal statement acknowledging the existence of services running on iOS which can bypass encryption to access user data (the classic ‘backdoor‘), but claims they do not compromise user privacy or security.

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