Colleges: A Playground for Hackers

The recently detected cyberattacks at Pennsylvania State University may spell bad news for other colleges and universities, according to IT security experts. Hackers such as those that targeted Penn State don’t set their sights on individual institutions, but on entire industries.

“I don’t want to be the harbinger of doom, but usually when you see one breach, there’s more to follow,” said Ken Westin, a security analyst with the IT security company Tripwire. “Penn State is an indicator that there have been more breaches and there will be more breaches that are targeting similar kinds of information.”

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Healthcare industry, listen up: you’re a prime target for cyberattacks.

“Cybercriminals view healthcare organizations as a soft target compared with financial services and retailers,” said Lynne Dunbrack, research vice president of IDC Health Insights, a health IT research and consulting firm. “Historically, healthcare organizations have invested less in IT, including security technologies and services, than other industries, thus making themselves more vulnerable to successful cyberattacks.”

“This should serve as yet another wake up call for those who haven’t gotten it yet….”

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Medical ID theft could kill you

Imagine you’re rushed to the hospital while unconscious. As the doctor in the emergency room assesses your condition, she quickly reviews what she believes to be your medical record on file at the hospital. The doctor reads that during a previous admission you indicated you’re not allergic to the medication she believes will be most beneficial for your current diagnosis. Relying on the prior medical record, the doctor administers that drug which – in reality – you’re severely allergic to.

Unknown to you and the doctor, someone previously stole your identity for the purpose of receiving medical treatment without paying and created a false medical record.

The result? You’re fighting for your life because you’re the victim of medical identity theft….

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Why Hackers Love Healthcare Organizations

If you look at all the data breaches that took place in 2014, you might conclude that healthcare organizations have lax cybersecurity protocols. You’d be wrong, but it’s not hard to see how you might reach that conclusion. Last year, the healthcare sector reported more breaches—333 in all—than any other industry.

Like any symptom viewed in isolation, diagnosing the real ailment in the healthcare industry requires a more thorough examination. Want to know why hackers are so intent on breaking into healthcare organizations’ systems—and so successful? Here are the top reasons:

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Identity Theft Boom Should Spell the End of the Password

Following the news the identity theft is on the rise in Britain, please find below comment from Richard Parris, CEO of cybersecurity company Intercede.

“The sharp rise in identity theft in the UK over the last year is a direct result of the widespread lax security procedures seen as consumers and companies alike persevere with outdated username and password-based authentication. This already porous level of security is then made even less effective by the continued use of basic password combinations, which are then used for multiple logins.”

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Giant hack may be first step in pursuit of bigger US secrets

WASHINGTON (AP) — A giant hack of millions of government personnel files is being treated as the work of foreign spies who could use the information to fake their way into more-secure computers and plunder U.S. secrets.

Federal employees were told in a video Friday to change all their passwords, put fraud alerts on their credit reports and watch for attempts by foreign intelligence services to exploit them. That message came from Dan Payne, a senior counterintelligence official for the Director of National Intelligence.

“Some of you may think that you are not of interest because you don’t have access to classified information,” he said. “You are mistaken.”

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VIDEO: How this woman tracked down her identity thief

When Jessamyn Lovell’s wallet went missing at an art gallery in 2009, she took all the right precautions. She canceled all of her credit cards and put a fraud alert on her credit report to prevent anyone taking out new lines of credit under her name.

Despite these efforts, a year and a half later, Lovell, 38, received a phone call from a police officer who had strange news: A woman in San Francisco had been arrested for using Lovell’s driver’s license to check into a swanky hotel. Lovell recently recounted her story on NPR’s This American Life. She had gotten a new license but….

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How Can I Protect Myself from Identity Theft Online?

Eight key steps to preventing identity theft online:

1. Protect your computer and smartphone with strong, up-to-date security software. If your computer or phone is infected with malicious software, other safeguards are of little help because you’ve given the criminals the key to all your online actions. Also be sure that any operating system updates are installed.

2. Learn to spot spam and scams. Though some phishing scams….

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US Passport Agency contractors harvested Americans’ data for identity theft

Chloe McClendon worked for a State Department contractor, and conspired with two others to steal the identities of passport applicants by photographing their applications while processing them.

The State Department has dealt with the problem by banning phones and cameras in passport processing centers. They have not ended the practice of collecting titanic amounts of information on Americans, indefinitely retaining it, and letting contractors handle it….

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