Breakout

Cybersecurity: Heartbleed bug drives home the need for more protection

Breakout

Remember the holiday hack at Target (TGT) which stole information on as many as 40 million credit and debit card customers and personal information on 70 million more, or the hack at luxury retailer Neiman Marcus involving more than a million credit cards that fall?

Now there's a lot more for you to worry about. Security experts have recently discovered a computer bug called Heartbleed that exposes a popular security protocol known as SSL to a possible major breach. Your personal information such as passwords, credit card information and social security number could potentially be stolen. It's as if you thought you closed the door to your home so no one could get in but actually left it slightly ajar.

Initially it was thought the bug would affect only Internet servers but the latest reports indicate Heartbleed could impact routers, switches and firewalls, even personal mobile devices and printers if they're connected to the Internet.

Major websites like Yahoo (YHOO), Facebook (FB) and Google (GOOG)  and Cisco (CSCO)  are working on the problem, but you should too. At a minimum security experts advise consumers to monitor their online transactions closely, looking for any breaches, and update passwords.

Heartbleed is the just the latest technology threat to consumers. Last week The New York Times reported that a computer breach at a big oil company--which remains unnamed--that came through ... wait for it ... a Chinese takeout menu. A Chinese takeout menu! When workers at the oil company read the online menu, hackers who had infected it with gained access to the company's computer network.

Now The New York Times is reporting a computer breach at a big oil company--which remains unnamed--that came through ... wait for it ... a Chinese takeout menu. A Chinese takeout menu! When workers at the oil company read the online menu, hackers who had infected it with gained access to the company's computer network.

Related: Today's Trending Ticker: Market favorite FireEye sliding

One very vulnerable sector is the U.S. power grid, which underpins everything, says Stephen Boyer, the chief technology officer and co-founder of BitSight Technologies, which advises companies on how to reduce cybersecurity risks.

"The retail sector certainly took a big hit. The energy power generation upon which we all rely is an area of concern. If it were to lose power what are all the other things that would follow on?" asks Boyer. BitSight last year graded the cybersecurity of the energy sector below that of retail.

Some examples of such power grid breaches: Central Hudson Gas and Electric in Poughkeepsie, New York last year reported that hackers accessed as many as 110,000 customer accounts and Telvent Canada Ltd, a Canadian energy firm, reported the theft of project files in September 2012.

Related: Target's lost opportunity to say it's sorry

Another vulnerable area for cybersecurity breaches, according to Boyer: the government itself. A report commissioned by the Republican staff of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee recently found that hackers had "penetrated, taken control of, caused damage to and/or stolen sensitive personal and official information from computer systems at the Department of Homeland Security, Justice, Defense, State, Labor, Energy and Commerce, NASA, the Federal Reserve, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, FDA" and more.

The report also found that hackers broke into the federal Emergency Broadcast System and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission stored sensitive cybersecurity details for nuclear plants on an unprotected shared drive and that the SEC exposed sensitive data about its networks supporting the NYSE including the exchange's cybersecurity measures.

"We're relying on the government to provide certain services and it's also certainly vulnerable along with the power grid," says Boyer.

He advises that the government and corporations look to "patterns of success" in cybersecurity for guidance. Chief among those: the financial industry. It's been performing the best when it comes to cybersecurity, says Boyer. "Cybersecurity is a board level [and] executive level issue and they've been managing risks longer. They've had people trying to rob banks for quite a while."

Follow Breakout on Facebook and Twitter @Yahoo Breakout.

More from Breakout:

Starbucks’ mastermind faces his greatest challenge

Birdies and Bogies: The impact of Tiger Woods' Masters absence

Jeff Saut: The bull market will survive a rough spring

WWE body-slammed again, Nike just doing it, Nokia gets ring of approval

 

 

 

Rates

View Comments (58)

Recommended for You

  • Bill Gates Is At Least $6 Billion Richer Than He Was Six Months Ago, But Not From Microsoft

    In July, Bill Gates may or may not have lost his title as the world's richest man. According to Forbes, Gates has a net worth of almost $82 billion, which puts him in the No. 2 spot behind Mexican telecom magnate Carlos Slim, who's worth $85.4 billion. According to Bloomberg, Gates is still the…

    Business Insider
  • Often Overlooked Method to Pay Off Mortgage

    If you own a home and pay for a mortgage, you could reduce your payments by an average of $4,100 a year. Here is how it works.

    AdChoicesRateMarketplaceSponsored
  • 3 Lessons An Investor Learned After Losing His Job, Reputation, And $1.6 Million

    The late Jim Paul went from a poor Kentucky boy to serving on the board of governors of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange through a series of lucky breaks and smart investments. By 1990 he was working in the futures research department at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., managing a team that…

    Business Insider
  • Silver Is Getting Crushed

    Silver is getting crushed. On Friday, Silver fell more than 3% to less than $18 an ounce, its lowest level in more than four years. The price of gold also fell about 0.8% and touched its lowest level since January.

    Business Insider
  • Bitcoin tanks, is Alibaba to blame?

    The price of bitcoin has plummeted in the past few days, and some are blaming the Alibaba IPO for the virtual currency's fall. Members of the bitcoin community are pointing fingers at the e-commerce giant's IPO, suggesting that tech-minded China-centric money is being pulled out of the currency in…

    CNBC
  • Can Sears Close 2,300 Stores?

    In a widely publicized note to investors, Gary Balter of Credit Suisse said that it is best that Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) close its Sears and Kmart locations while they, and the inventory they sell, still have value. Sears Holdings operates about 2,350 stories. Sears is generating negative…

    24/7 Wall St.
  • Chinese buyers lead charge in iPhone 6 global debut

    Buyers from China, deprived of the latest iPhone launch at home, were Friday among the first in line in Japan to grab the "6" and its new large-screen cousin as Apple hit back at rivals. Licensing problems in China meant the global rollout went ahead without the huge and lucrative market, in a blow…

    AFP
  • Eric Holder’s Shameful Legacy on Wall Street Fraud

    Right in the middle of the midterm election season, and just before Attorney General Eric Holder reportedly might step down, he made it known that the Justice Department will really really indict Wall Street executives in financial fraud cases. “We expect to bring charges in the coming months,”…

    The Fiscal Times
  • Best Womens Wrinkle Creams 2014

    Mom reveals simple wrinkle solution that has researchers very excited. Try this free solution today to look and feel years younger.

    AdChoicesBellaLabs.comSponsored
  • Live blog: What’s happening with Alibaba’s IPO?

    The big day has arrived, and the Chinese company that 88 percent of Americans have never heard of is making history on the New York Stock Exchange. We’re rounding up all the facts, sass and stories you need to hear as Alibaba’s IPO unfolds. For the business

    Gigaom
  • Play

    Analyst: Alibaba Stock Is Priced Conservatively

    Morningstar director of equity research R.J. Hottovy joins MoneyBeat and explains why he views the company's shares priced conservatively at its IPO.

    WSJ Live
  • 'Bubble in everything, everywhere': Marc Faber

    Even after the Dow (Dow Jones Global Indexes: .DJI) and the S&P 500 (^GSPC) closed at new all-time highs, closely followed contrarian Marc Faber keeps sounding the alarm. Faber has long argued that the Federal Reserve's massive asset purchasing programs and near-zero interest rates have inflated…

    CNBC
  • Cramer: This is how you bottle Alibaba's magic

    On Wall Street, the Alibaba IPO feels every bit as magical as its exotic namesake as investors clamor for a piece of this exciting story and dream about its hidden riches. If you're about say "Open sesame" Jim Cramer doesn't want you to get carried away. "I am blessing paying as high as $80 a…

    CNBC
  • Stock Market Blogger 'Jesse Livermore' Is Calling The Top

    On Friday, Alibaba is set to make its debut on the NYSE in the largest IPO ever.  Jesse Livermore, the pseudonymous blogger of Philosophical Economics, on Thursday night noted that in 2012, Facebook's IPO marked the market bottom for the year, and sees Alibaba's debut as potentially marking the top…

    Business Insider
  • Personal Finance: Use 401(k) to pay down mortgage?

    Veteran personal finance journalist Robert Powell answers your questions for USA WEEKEND.My wife and I are thinking of paying down the mortgage on our house with money in our 401(k) plans. — David Love, Bedford, TexasAt a very high level, you will owe income tax on any pre-tax portion of the…

    USA TODAY
  • AARP® Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford

    50+? Request a free quote and you could save $404* on Auto Insurance from The Hartford!

    AdChoicesThe HartfordSponsored
  • How Boeing's bumpy 787 launch is paying dividends

    New Boeing 787 Dreamliners taking off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington. It took Boeing Co. 10 bumpy years to turn its 787 Dreamliner concept into a commercial success. At least that's the conclusion from aerospace analysts at Jefferies, who in a note published Thursday write that all those…

    MarketWatch
  • Jack Ma set to be one of the world's 20 richest?

    Jack Ma -  If you don’t know his name already, you’ll likely know it before the week is out. Ma is the richest man in China, and stands to add billions to his net worth before the end of the week. In the early 90s, Jack Ma was a schoolteacher in China.

    Yahoo Finance
  • Bears’ Jeffery Joins Fantex for 13% of His Future NFL Earnings

    Alshon Jeffery of the Chicago Bears has become the fifth National Football League player to enter a brand contract with Fantex, Inc., which bought 13 percent of his future earnings for $7.94 million in advance of selling shares in the Pro Bowl receiver to the public. Fantex also has agreements with…

    Bloomberg
  • Play

    A Favorable Prognosis for This Pharma Stock

    Recent clinical success in cystic fibrosis positions Vertex as a dominant player in this attractive rare-disease market.

    Morningstar
  • 3 Chinese Stocks That Are Better Bargains than Alibaba

    All eyes are on Alibaba Group Holding (BABA) as the Chinese e-commerce giant makes its U.S. Alibaba dominates Internet sales in the world's most populous nation, moving more merchandise than Amazon.com (AMZN) and eBay (EBAY) combined and serving up healthy profits. When the stock begins trading on…

    Kiplinger
  • Lacker Says He Opposes Fed Plan to Hold Mortgage-Backed Assets

    Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker said he couldn’t fully support the central bank’s revised exit strategy released this week because he opposes a measure to hold mortgage-backed securities. “I believe this approach unnecessarily prolongs our interference in the allocation of…

    Bloomberg
  • Norwich Information Security MS

    Online, accredited, top ranked. NSA Center of Academic Excellence. Recognized by the Department of Homeland Security. Download your free brochure!

    AdChoicesNorwich UniversitySponsored
  • What Roth Owners Should Do if They Exceed the Income Limit

    You can avoid the 6% penalty on the money you contributed if you take your 2014 contributions (and any earnings on them) out of the Roth before the tax-filing deadline on April 15, 2015 (or October 15, 2015, if you file an extension). You can also avoid the penalty and taxes if you have your IRA…

    Kiplinger