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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.

- A bi-annual report from the Pentagon to Congress said the Chinese government has targeted U.S. government computer systems for intrusion, a more direct accusation than had been made previously.

- A hacker named "Guccifer" hacked into the online accounts of the Council on Foreign relations and also broke into e-mail and Twitter accounts of "Sex in the City" author Candace Bushnell, later posting images of a Word document containing the first 37,000 words of Bushnell's next novel.

- Domain registrar forced its customers to re-set their account passwords following a security breach on the company's servers that might have resulted in customer information being compromised, including usernames, email addresses, encrypted passwords, and encrypted credit-card information.

- Federal prosecutors in New York charged  eight suspects in what was described as a cyber theft ring with stealing $45 million from banks around the world by hacking into them and committing crimes such as drastically increasing amounts available through credit cards. Their crimes are said to include withdrawing $400,000 in 750 separate ATM transactions at more than 140 locations in New York City in less than three hours and later withdrawing $2.4 million in 3,000 ATM withdrawals in just over 10 hours.

- After Goldman Sachs Group complained that the Bloomberg news division had access to Bloomberg customer log-in and usage data, Bloomberg decided to "disable journalistic access to this customer relationship information for all clients."

- U.S. officials froze an account tied to the largest bitcoin exchange after regulators warned that organizations of this type should follow traditional rules on money laundering.

- It was learned that the U.S. Justice Department secretly examined two months of phone records of more than 20 lines belonging to the Associated Press and its reporters in what the Justice Department indicates is an investigation into whether any government officials gave the AP classified information about the CIA's infiltration of an al Qaeda cell in Yemen. It triggered widespread condemnation that the Obama Administration was infringing upon free-press protections.

- In London, four British men associated with the LulzSec hacker group received prison sentences of up to 32 months for their roles in cyberattacks launched by the group against government and corporate websites in 2011. Ryan Cleary, Jake Davis, Ryan Ackroyd and Mustafa Al-Bassam had pled guilty to charges of carrying out unauthorized acts with the intention of impairing the operation of computers. Some of LulzSec's targets included Sony, Nintendo, News Corp., Bethesda Game Studios, the CIA, the FBI, the Arizona state Police and the U.K.'s Serious Organized Crime Agency. Another LulzSec member, Cody Andrew Kretsinger from Decatur, Ill., had been sentenced in April to one year in federal prison for his role in LulzSec's attack against Sony pictures.


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