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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 […]

Homeland Security: Hack Attempts On Energy, Manufacturing Way Up in 2013

Attempted cyber attacks on critical infrastructure in the U.S., including energy and critical manufacturing jumped sharply in the first half of 2013, according to a just-released report from the Department of Homeland Security’s Industrial Control System Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT). ICS-CERT said that cyber incidents across all critical infrastructure in the U.S. are on pace to double in 2013. The agency has responded to 200 such incidents so far  in fiscal year 2013 (October of 2012 to May of 2013), compared to 198 incidents for all of fiscal year 2012. A majority of those incidents – 53% – were against organizations in the energy sector, ICS-CERT reported. The report is just the latest from DHS about threats to the energy sector. The agency warned energy firms after seeing a sharp jump in attacks during 2012, when attacks on energy firms accounted for around 40% of the malicious activity directed […]

Richard Clarke: Car Hacking Possible In Crash That Killed Michael Hastings

OK – let me start by saying that The Security Ledger isn’t a web site that’s going peddle in rumor or unfounded conspiracy theories. Period. AND let me note that Richard Clarke, the former Cyber Security Czar and U.S. National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection and Counter-terrorism just told the Huffingtonpost.com that he thinks a car hack may have played a role in the suspicious, single car accident that killed investigative reporter Michael Hastings last week. Whoa! If you don’t know, Hastings was a Polk Award winning correspondent for the web site Buzzfeed.com, where he covered national security. He died, at age 33, in a fiery, single car crash in Los Angeles last week after the Mercedes he was driving hit a tree and burst into flames. The car was almost totally destroyed. The Los Angeles County Coroner confirmed Hastings identity but said it would likely take weeks to determine the cause of […]

FDA: Medical Device Makers, Hospitals Need To Boost Cyber Security

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued guidance to medical device makers and hospitals that use their products to pay more attention to cyber security and the potential for cyber attacks on vulnerable medical instruments.   The FDA released its “Safety Communication for Cybersecurity for Medical Devices and Hospital Networks” on Thursday – the same day that the Department of Homeland Security’s ICS (Industrial Control System) CERT issued a warning about the discovery of hard coded “back door” passwords in some 300 medical devices from 40 separate vendors, including drug infusion pumps, ventilators and patient monitoring systems. The FDA said it expects device makers to “review their cybersecurity practices and policies to assure that appropriate safeguards are in place to prevent unauthorized access or modification to their medical devices or compromise of the security of the hospital network that may be connected to the device. Hospitals were instructed to harden […]

Wardriving Goes Corporate: Comcast Turning Residential WiFi Into ‘Millions of Hotspots’

One of the big challenges to the growth of the “Internet of Things” is access. It goes without saying that, without access to the Internet, almost all of the benefits of connected devices disappear. Your smart phone becomes a dumb phone. Your ‘net connected watch or running shoes or car scream into the void – trying desperately to connect to a network that isn’t there. Here in the U.S., that problem has typically been addressed by routing traffic through 3G or – depending on where you live – 4G wireless networks. However, access to those networks is spotty, especially in the sparsely populated Western U.S. According to a survey by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), much of the Western U.S. is a 3G wasteland, with little or no access to broadband wireless networks. One solution is to tap the loose network of residential broadband subscribers, allowing them to peel […]