PRIVACY + SECURITY BLOG

News, Developments, and Insights

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The Mail Machine Ate My Thumb Drive

USB zDrive - Thumb DriveIn the annals of what must be one of the most ridiculous data security incidents, a law firm employee sent a client file on an unencrypted thumb drive in the mail.  The file contained Social Security information and other financial data.

Seriously?

Envelope

The envelope arrived without the USB drive. The firm contacted the post office.

What happened next is most bizarre.  Here’s an excerpt from the law firm’s letter notifying the state attorney general:

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The Funniest Password Recovery Questions and Why Even These Don’t Work

Passwords

 

A recent article in Wired argues that it is time to kill password recovery questions. Password recovery questions are those questions that you set up in case you forget your password. Common questions are:

In what city were you born?

What is your mother’s maiden name?

Where did you go to high school?

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Ransomware on a Rampage

Ransomware Training 01

Ransomware is on a rampage!  Attacks are happening with ever-increasing frequency, and ransomware is evolving and becoming more powerful.

Several major media sites, such as the New York Times, BBC, AOL, and the NFL, were recently infected with malware that directed visitors to sites attempting to install ransomware on their computers.

Ransomware Malware Training

Ransomware has the potential to attack the Internet of Things.  In one instance, a researcher was able to infect a TV with ransomware.

Ransomware is now attacking smart phones.

Last month, one hospital paid $17,000 in ransom when ransomware attacked its computer system.  The computer network was down for more than a week, and patients had to be transferred to other hospitals.

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The Kafkaesque Sacrifice of Encryption Security in the Name of Security

Encryption Backdoors - Kafkaesque

By Daniel J. Solove

Proponents for allowing government officials to have backdoors to encrypted communications need to read Franz Kafka.  Nearly a century ago, Kafka deftly captured the irony at the heart of their argument in his short story, “The Burrow.”

After the Paris attacks, national security proponents in the US and abroad have been making even more vigorous attempts to mandate a backdoor to encryption.

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OPM Data Breach Fallout, Fingerprints, and Other Privacy + Security Updates

OPM Fallout

By Daniel J. Solove

Co-authored by Professor Paul Schwartz

This post is part of a post series where we round up some of the interesting news and resources we’re finding. For a PDF version of this post, and for archived issues of previous posts, click here. We cover health issues in a separate post.

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News

Mayer Brown survey of executives: 25% of organizations lack both a CPO and CIO (March 2015)

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