Retail Breach - Who is Next?

Retailers Demanding Federal Action on Data Breach

Add retailers to the chorus of voices calling for federal legislation on cyber security and data protection. In an unusual move, retail groups from across the U.S. sent a letter to Congressional leaders that urged them to pass federal data protection legislation that sets clear rules for businesses serving consumers. The letter, dated November 6, was addressed to the majority and minority party leaders of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives and signed by 44 state and national organizations representing retailers, including the National Retail Federation, the National Grocers Association, the National Restaurant Association and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, among others.   “The recent spate of news stories about data security incidents raises concerns for all American consumers and for the businesses with which they frequently interact,” the letter reads. “A single federal law applying to all breached entities would ensure clear, concise and consistent notices to all […]

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Nest, Samsung and AMD Back Thread For Home Automation

A week that has already been full of standards news for the Internet of Things added more with the unveiling of Thread, a proposed communications standard backed by Google’s NEST group that promises a “new and better way to connect products in the home.” Google was joined by Samsung, Freescale Semiconductor, ARM, smart lock maker Yale Security and Big Ass Fans (favorite company name ever) in forming The Thread Group to promote Thread. In a press release on Tuesday, the group said that the Internet of Things presents unique challenges that are not well met by existing wireless communications technologies such as Wi-Fi, ZigBee and Z-Wave. In contrast to those technologies, Thread focuses exclusively on network connectivity, not application-layer exchanges and connection management. Thread Group says existing application protocols and IoT platforms can easily run on Thread networks. Specifically, it uses 6LoWPAN (IPV6 over Low power Wireless Personal Area Networks) to create 802.15.4-standard mesh networks of smart […]

Zombies Gone, Problems Persist With Emergency Alert System

More than six months after hacked Emergency Alert System (EAS) hardware allowed a phony warning about a zombie uprising to air in several U.S. states, a security consulting company is warning that serious issues persist in software from Monroe Electronics, whose equipment was compromised in the earlier attack. Software updates issued by Monroe to fix security problems with earlier versions of its software have introduced serious, new issues that could once again allow EAS devices to be compromised by a remote hacker, according to a post by Mike Davis, a researcher at the security firm IOActive on Thursday. Patches issued by Monroe Electronics, the Lyndonville, New York firm that is a leading supplier of EAS hardware, do not adequately address problems raised by Davis and others earlier this year, including the use of “bad and predictable” login credentials. Further inspection by Davis turned up other problems that were either missed […]

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Emergency Alert System: Vulnerable Systems Double, Despite Zombie Hoax

You’d think that the prospect of a zombie invasion would prompt our nation’s broadcasters and others who participate in the Emergency Alert System (EAS). Just the opposite is true. Months after a bogus EAS message warning about a zombie uprising startled residents in Michigan, Montana and New Mexico,  the number of vulnerable EAS devices accessible from the Internet has increased, rather than decreased, according to data from the security firm IOActive. In a blog post Thursday, Mike Davis, principal research scientist at IOActive said that a scan of the public Internet for systems running versions of the Monroe Electronics software  found almost double the number of vulnerable systems in July – 412 – as were found in April, when an IOActive scan of the public Internet using the Shodan search engine found only 222 vulnerable systems. IOActive first notified Monroe Electronics about vulnerabilities in its DASDECS product in January of […]