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Archive for August, 2011

Hackers Shift From Vandalism to Massive Data Theft

Cyber-attacks have dominated headlines this summer as government agencies, large organizations and small businesses have been hit by malware, distributed-denial-of-service attacks and network intrusions. On the personal front, individuals’ email and social networking accounts have been hijacked.

Most cyber-attackers are motivated by money, whether it’s by looting bank accounts or selling stolen information to other criminals, said Josh Shaul, CTO of Application Security. However, there’s been a surge in politically motivated attacks in the past few months as a number of groups—including the notorious hacker collective Anonymous—turned to cyber-attacks as a form of protest.

PandaLabs researchers predicted this past December that the cyber-protests that have added the word “hacktivism” to the English language will continue to grow in frequency because it’s been so effective in getting attention.

In the past few months, even hacktivism has been transformed as tactics and motivations have evolved. In the past, cyber-protesters generally defaced Websites or launched DDoS attacks to express their discontent.

In these DDoS attacks, Websites were overwhelmed with large volumes of server and database requests and became inaccessible to legitimate site visitors. For the most part, the majority of hacktivists relied on low-tech techniques for its activities, Shaul said.

Source: Eweek

Data thieves target hotels and resorts

If you’re a business traveler who books hotel rooms via the Internet, you may be at higher risk of being victimized by computer hackers and identity thieves.

Insurance claims for data theft worldwide jumped 56% last year, with a bigger number of those attacks targeting the hospitality industry, according to a new report by “Willis Group Holdings”, a British insurance firm.

The report said the largest share of cyber attacks — 38% — were aimed at hotels, resorts and tour companies.

That could spell trouble for business travelers who submit credit card numbers and other personal information to hotel websites, said Laurie Fraser, global markets leisure practice leader for Willis.

Fraser said large hotel chains are most vulnerable because hotel management companies may not be able to monitor how data is collected and stored at dozens or even hundreds of properties throughout the world. Independent contractors who work for individual hotels can also open the door to hackers and computer viruses, he said.

“There are various ways hackers can get into a hotel system,” Fraser said.

Sherry Telford, a spokeswoman for “InterContinental Hotels Group”, one of the world’s largest hotel companies, said InterContinental continually reviews its security measures.

Source: LATimes

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