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Stacks of data

Palantir is a US data firm that has had long-term involvement in the analysis of large amounts of NHS public health data. Open Democracy, an independent global media platform, has taken legal action against the NHS over its contract and involvement with Palantir, also stating that the firm lobbied a top NHS official. Palantir has a history of being targetted by privacy campaigners. The firm has access to vast amounts of private data as it...

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Federal reserve bank

Last night the US Federal Reserve suffered a major IT systems outage which stopped all ACH transactions, wire transfers, as well as a number of other services from operating. The system outage affected the majority of electronic service provided by the Federal Reserve Bank. The outage prevented services such as Check 21, Central Bank, Account Services, FedLine Command, National Settlement, FedACH, FedCash, Fedwire Funds, FedLine Advantage, FedLine Direct, FedLine Web, and Fedwire Securities from functioning....

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Airport

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) used facial recognition scanners in order to monitor the arrivals and departures of more than 23 million travellers at over 30 different entry points in 2020. However, these systems failed to detect a single example of an imposter. The US CBP agency revealed these statistics in their annual report for 2020. The facial recognition scanners are placed at a number of entry points including seaports, pedestrian crossings, and...

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Handcuffed man holding money

On Wednesday, the European police agency, Europol, announced that it had assisted in the arrest of 10 hackers. The 10 individuals are being accused of stealing $100 million in cryptocurrency using "SIM-swapping" attacks. This type of attack allows criminals to gain access to their victims' phones, by tricking the phone company into deactivating a working SIM card and transferring its functions to the hackers. Europol stated that “the attacks orchestrated by this criminal gang targeted...

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Hospital Emergency entrance

Leon Medical Centers and Nocona General Hospital suffered a ransomware attack in November, in which attackers stole tens of thousands of patient records. The attack was only officially announced in January. Among the records stolen were scanned diagnostics results and letters to insurers, which include personally identifiable information such as names, addresses and birthdates.  The attackers demanded a ransom payment in return for a decryption key and a promise not to publish the records stolen....

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Macbook pro, lit up

The head of GCHQ spoke to Sky News about a secret cyber operation, targeting the Islamic State. The mission of this operation is to target the group's ability to fly drones, meddle with their phones and affect their propaganda. General Sir Patrick Sanders has warned the UK, that social media is being used to sow division, spread conspiracy theories and "tear the fabric of society apart". Both sanders and Jeremy Fleming, director at GCHQ, spoke...

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Google icon on desktop computer

Version 88.0.4324.150 of the Chrome browser was released today. The new version, compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux contains a bugfix for a zero-day vulnerability. The vulnerability was assigned the identifier CVE-2021-21148. Google described it as a "heap overflow" memory corruption bug, which was exploited in attacks before Mattias Buelens found and reported the issue on the 24th of January. Google's security team published a report two days after Buelen's report, detailing attacks carried out...

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Caution tape

Q4 of 2020 saw a decline in ransomware victims paying to recover their data. This is a result of being able to recover their data from backups, even if hackers threaten to leak the data before encryption. However, Coveware has picked up on a 'more insidious phenomenon' in which data is being destroyed during the attack. Companies have found this leaves them no option to recover the stolen data, even if they were to pay...

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Contact tracing application

On Tuesday, Singapore passed the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment) Bill, under a Certificate of Urgency. This allows the government to introduce new legislations they deem to be urgent. This bill was passed as a result of public discontent after it was revealed that the police were able to access the country's Trace Together contact tracing app for their criminal investigations. This contradicted the government's previous statements, that the information on the app would only be...

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Female silhouette in front of code

The 1.4 million reports of identity theft throughout 2020 highlights the need for awareness surrounding this crime. 2020's surge in identity theft can actually be attributed to the nationwide dip in employment. Reportedly, cyber criminals targeted government funds meant for individuals and small businesses that were hard hit financially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. From February 1- February 5 the FTC and its partners will co-host a series of free events. This will...

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