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Focused REWIND: Cyber Breach Roundup

  • A survey of IT practitioners conducted by the Ponemon Institute and Juniper Networks suggests that cyber attacks have recently become more harsh and recurrent. At least 90% of the IT practitioners surveyed claimed that they had experienced one or more cyber breaches within the last year, and 89% of these respondents could not identify the source of these breaches. Interestingly, employee mobile devices and laptop computers have been recognized as the top devices used in the unleashing of cyber attacks against a company. This survey suggests that ordinary network security methods are inadequate and companies need to make enhancements in order to prevent such cyber crimes.
  • According to, Tuesday’s Senate Banking Committee hearing on cybersecurity in the financial sector, showed the senate’s critical attitude toward institution’s negligence in informing its customers of security breaches they experience in a timely manner. Although waiting to release sensitive information regarding security breaches may prove to be beneficial to the federal agents involved in these investigations, customers should be notified as soon as possible so they can take action to safeguard themselves from future attacks.  In response to the increased number of attacks, the White House has presented legislative language that would require national notification of a security breach to the government and affected customers within 60 days of discovering a cyber attack. The seriousness of these cyber threats has forced government officials to set forth a new legislative race on cybersecurity related laws.
  • The government itself is also not immune from these cyber attacks, as suggested by the recent attacks on the IMF, Senate, and CIA. The group responsible for many of these attacks, Lulz Security, has teamed up with Anonymous, another team of computer hackers, to begin a cyber war against governments and companies around the world, which they call “Operation Anti-Security.”  According to a New York Times article, both groups have been interacting frequently via Twitter. Also via Twitter, Lulzsec has offered to help Sega in tracking down the hackers responsible for its recent cyber security breach. Although the group was deemed responsible for cyber attacks against Sony and Nintendo, its Twitter post showcased their loyalty to Sega’s Dreamcast system. The Sega breach compromised personal information of 1.3 million customers, including email addresses, passwords and birth dates. While financial information was safe, Sega Pass has been shutdown since the breach for security and investigation purposes and customers were promptly notified. The use of social networks, like Twitter, as a means of communication between hackers raises many questions surrounding the role of social media in security breaches. The unexpected shutdown of Netflix this Father’s Day left many believing that it was another cyber attack (see article on However, Netflix has not officially indicated the cause of the temporary outage. The frequency and severity of recent cyber crimes has left the world in a frenzy and upon the occurrence of any technological failure, people are not hesitant to suspect yet another cyber attack.
  • Lulz Security also successfully attacked an Arizona police website, releasing about a half a gigabyte of data, including dozens of internal documents it alleges are related to border control and other law enforcement activities, over the Internet.  The computer hackers oppose a tough anti-immigration law in Arizona.  Its headline was “Chinga La Migra,” Spanish for a more profane way of saying “Screw the Immigration Service.”

Priya S. Amin contributed to this post.

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