After Hackers Pwn Twitter, New York State Beefs Up Its Cyber Security

Categories: Cybercrime

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"In the 21st century, almost all of our daily activities are linked to the internet - from banking to shopping to using our telecommunications networks and physical infrastructure systems," Governor Cuomo said, announcing the creation of an all-star New York cyber security advisory board last week. "Just as we protect against crime on our streets, we must also work to defend New Yorkers from cyber threats, ranging from identity theft to consumer fraud to threats to our physical infrastructure."

For years, cyber security experts have feared that hackers might one day be able to control American power plants, utilities, or telecommunications remotely. Then, last Monday, a group of hackers supporting Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad briefly took over the Onion's Twitter account. "UN retracts report of Syrian chemical weapon use: Lab tests confirm it is Jihadi body odor," they tweeted using The Onion's handle. Two weeks prior, the same group hacked the AP, which caused the Dow Jones to plummet 143 points. Breaches of states' data, including tax or criminal information, is also not that unusual, points out James Lewis, cyber security expert and a director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. New York, he says, is particularly vulnerable.

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Bless My Bars, 30 More Subway Stations Are Getting WiFi!

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We've been hearing whispers of this for months, but today New Yorkers' ability to tweet in transit expanded dramatically. Governor Cuomo has formally announced that 30 subway stations are getting wireless voice and data service, putting the grand total of stations with WiFi capability at 36.

"This goes beyond providing cell service underground. It brings our customers a new level of security--with the ability to dial 911 in an emergency," the governor said in a statement. "Customers now know that when they see something, they can now say something using their device to call 911. And now with all the major carriers on board, the vast majority of MTA customers will have the ability to do so."

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Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Talks Cyberbullying

Manhattan DA's office
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance at a school visit this week.
We often write about the latest efforts of the Manhattan District Attorney to sentence criminals and stop crime in the city. His news releases alert us to crime activity throughout the borough, but today, we thought we'd update you on DA Cy Vance's initiatives to address a different kind of crime scene -- the internet.

This week, Vance has been tackling the issue of cyberbullying in a series of school visits aimed at raising awareness of the bullying that is increasingly taking place online and on cell phones.

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Talking Points Memo Brought Down in Apparent Hacker Attack

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Talking Points Memo (or TPM, as the kids call it), was down for about 8 hours overnight. This major site interruption comes after they ran 14 mugshots of alleged members of the hacker group Anonymous after their arrests. TPM obtained the mugshots through the Freedom of Information Act and were not the only site to post the images (Gawker posted the images as well, but their site didn't face any apparent issues). There is no direct evidence that it was an Anonymous attack, but the timing is one hell of a coincidence.

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Jake Davis, Alleged LulzSec Leader, Released on Bail

Jake Davis, an 18 year-old believed by Scotland Yard to be the leader of the hacker group LulzSec, was released on bail this morning. He appeared at a City of Westminster Magistrates' Court wearing "jeans, a black T-shirt, denim shirt and sunglasses," the Telegraph reports. Prosecutors say that Davis had a collection of 750,000 personal passwords on his home network of 16 computers.

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Gerard Denault, Ex-CityTime Project Manager, Indicted for Taking $5 million in Kickbacks (Updated)

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The private consultant on the CityTime debacle fired this week for failing to keep track of his time sheets has now been charged with taking $5 million in illegal kickbacks, the Department of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney's office said.

Gerard Denault, formerly of Science Applications International Corp., was also charged with wire fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering. He was arrested in Danbury, Connecticut, yesterday. He is accused of taking the kickbacks via international shell companies.
Denault, 49, is the sixth person indicted in connection with CityTime corruption charges.

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Gerard Denault, CityTime Project Manager, Fired for Raiding the Till

The beleaguered lead contractor in the $800 million CityTime debacle has fired the project manager for paying himself for hours he didn't even work, Comptroller John Liu reports.

Science Applications International Corp. tells the city that it has fired Gerard Denault, who was leading the company's development of the effort to automate the city's time card system. SAIC says it will return $2.4 million paid to Denault.

The project ballooned from an estimated $63 million to more than $800 million, sparking city investigations, the fraud indictment of eight people, and major embarrassment to the Bloomberg administration. The Voice reported on the scandal here.

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How Did 4Chan and Gawker Get Chris Hansen "Arrested" for Child Molestation?

Chris Hansen -- the host of NBC's infamous child sex scandal exploitation show To Catch A Predator -- was not arrested for child molestation. Yet "chris hansen arrested for child molestation" is a "volcanic"-level trending Google search, currently ranked in the top spot. How did this happen and what does 4Chan's kind deed from yesterday have to do with it?

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Somebody Hacked the Dalai Lama

Can you guess this man's password?
Let's say you're part of a gang of infamous, powerful Chinese hackers with a really cool name, say, "the Shadow Network." You've busted through the fortified security systems of sensitive targets "including foreign ministries, embassies, and even a computer at NATO headquarters." All in all, you've stolen confidential, privileged information from 103 countries and almost 1,300 computers.

But what do you really want?

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FBI Opens an Investigation Into PA High School's Webcam Spying

It all started when a 16-year-old was called into the assistant principal's office for eating Mike and Ikes. Now, the Lower Merion School District in an affluent suburb of Philadelphia is facing a federal class-action lawsuit, an FBI investigation, and a grand jury subpoena over allegations that they remotely accessed the cameras on school-supplied laptop computers to spy on students.

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