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The biggest security snafus of 2013 (so far)

Ellen Messmer | July 2, 2013
Late last December ended with a hacker leaking data on 300,000 Verizon FIOS customers which was apparently stolen via a marketing partner of Verizon.

- The New York Times website came under a denial-of-service attack that made it unavailable for some users.

- Neither admitting nor denying wrongdoing, LPL Financial Holdings, Inc. agreed to pay a fine associated with failure to keep track of what brokers told clients by email and also agreed to create a $1.5 million compensation fund for clients, in order to end allegations by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Wall Street's self-regulator, that LPL had "systematic email failures" it did not adequately fix.

- The Department of Homeland Security warned employees and others that a years-old database hole since 2009 in software used by an unnamed contractor for background investigations for security clearances had put their personally identifiable information at risk.

- The CEO of pizza-delivery company Papa John's apologized to a Sanford, Fla., customer after a delivery man accidentally dialed the customer and left a racist rant on the man's voicemail as he complained about tips. In a video that later went viral, the customer played a recording of the voicemail and showed a receipt that he had given a $5 tip on a $15.26 delivery The driver was fired from his job.

- A New York Police Department detective, who thought his girlfriend was involved with another officer, was charged illegally using a restricted federal database and using an email hacking service to pry into others' lives. Edwin Vargas, 42, is accused of buying more than $4,000 worth of illegal services between 2011 and 2012 in order to obtain email login credentials and cell phone numbers belonging to at least 30 individuals, including 19 current NYPD officers, to try and spy on them. He faces a two-year sentence on computer hacking if convicted.

- A former Anonymous member, Jeremy Hammond, 28, of Chicago, pled guilty to participating in more than a half dozen attacks carried out in 2010 and 2011 by Anonymous and affiliated groups. According to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Hammond pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to engage in computer hacking and has agreed to pay a $2.5 million fine in restitution. Hammond admitted to participating in the attack on Stratfor in which information on 860,000 subscribers, plus emails, credit-card numbers and encrypted passwords, were released. The card data was used to make $700,000 in purchases, according to prosecutors. Hammond is due to be sentenced Sept. 6.

- The University of Florida sent letters to 5,682 pediatric patients or their parents telling them they may be victims of identity theft after learning a former employee at a pediatric care facility in Gainesville compromised patient information.

- A medical facility run by Idaho State University was fined $400,000 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services after thousands of patient records were left unsecured when firewall monitoring was disabled for several months.


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