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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.

- South Korea suffered a volume of DDoS cyberattacks that coincided with the 63rd anniversary of the start of the Korean War. South Korean government websites were hit, which some security firms, including Symantec, traced to the DarkSeoul gang.

- In what we can easily call the biggest SNAFU for the first half of 2013, the super-secretive National Security Agency (NSA) found its spying methods on display as Edward Snowden, the former Booz Allen Hamilton contractor who worked at the NSA for three months, blabbed about its surveillance methods to the media. The world learned that not only does the NSA collect phone records from the U.S. telecom firms, it can get user data from Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype, AOL and Apple, including e-mail, chat, video, photos, stored data, VoIP, file transfer and other material under what's called its PRISM program. The NSA's massive global surveillance effort is done with help from Great Britain's Menwith Hill facility as well as The Guardian's journalist Glenn Greenwald, a main contact for Snowden, described. 

NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander had to go before Congress to defend the NSA's operations. The U.S. government is now in pursuit of the 29-year-old Snowden as a traitor. Snowden had earlier shown up in Hong Kong, saying he wanted to defend his actions in a court of law. But he has now been on the run, as WikiLeaks supporters helped him fly to Moscow, where he's holed up in an airport (his passport has been revoked) while negotiating asylum somewhere, perhaps Ecuador or Cuba.President Obama said he wouldn't engage in "wheeling, dealing and trading," or scrambling jets, to get Snowden extradited to the U.S., but he's concerned over what other classified information Snowden may still try to disseminate. Obama said the fact that Snowden had these documents revealed significant vulnerabilities at the NSA. Clearly, this story, worthy of a Cold War spy novel, is spilling over into the second half of 2013!


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