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Dyn attack highlights 2016 security industry woes

Bob Violino | Dec. 19, 2016
A look back on another busy year fighting off the bad guys

A blockchain uses cryptography to enable each participant to manipulate the ledger in a secure manner without the need for a central authority.

“Blockchain itself is a technology with potential to transform our lives significantly, “ Kahraman says. “It’s regarded as a ‘secure’ way to perform decentralized, peer-to-peer transactions due to the inherent transparency and availability it provides. This is great for public data or data which is meant to be seen by others. But we are only just exploring how to secure ledgers and transactions when it comes to proprietary and sensitive information in private blockchains.”

Ransomware attacks on the rise

Ransomware attacks became more common in 2016 across all industries. But healthcare was easily the biggest target of the assaults. With the success of a number of high-profile attacks on hospitals, cyber criminals increasingly took aim at healthcare providers.

“There is a significant increase in ransomware overall, but we¹re also seeing the bad guys hone in on important operations like healthcare and fine tune their pricing to make it more cost effective for the victim to pay rather than fight,” says James Beeson, CISO and IT risk leader at GE Capital Americas.

Yahoo confirms massive breaches

In what some reports were calling the biggest data breach of all time, internet news and search site Yahoo announced in September that a recent investigation by the company confirmed that user account information had been stolen from its network in late 2014.

The account information might have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, and other data, according to a statement by Yahoo CISO Bob Lord. Based on the investigation, Yahoo suspected that information associated with at least 500 million user accounts was stolen.

Apart from the number of records, what makes the Yahoo incident stand out is that the company was in the midst of being acquired by communications provider Verizon for $4.8 billion. News of the breach led to speculation about the potential impact on the transaction.

“Clearly it's become a major sticking point in the negotiation and serves to remind us all of the financial magnitude an account breach can have on a company,” Beeson says. “I suspect it's also impacted the cycle time of the deal, which also costs both companies money.”

To make matters worse, in December Yahoo reported that data associated with more than 1 billion user accounts was stolen in August 2013. The incident is separate from the earlier breach Yahoo announced.

Stolen user data from the newer breach involves names, email addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, and hashed passwords using an aging algorithm known as MD5 that can be cracked.


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