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This Week in Computer Security

Anonymous Arrests, NASA hacks, and more this week

Linode Hacked, Bitcoins Stolen:

Linode.com, popular provider of virtual private servers (VPS) systems responded to a morning breach of it’s control panel software, which apparently enabled a malicious attacker to gain control over several virtual servers of a bitcoin service named Bitcoinica. The Register has a conflicting report mentioning that attackers gained administrative access to Linode networking gear but this hasn’t been substantiated in other reports. It is estimated that the value of the bitcoins stolen total over $70,000 which would deal yet another blow to the somewhat-troubled bitcoin community. A link to the official announcement of the breach can be found here: http://status.linode.com/2012/03/manager-security-incident.html

NASA Loses a Laptop:

Wedensday, NASA’s inspector general told the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology that the Agency has lost a laptop which contained control methods for the International Space Station. This isn’t the first time that such devices have been stolen, however. The Inspector-General had this to say:

“For example, the March 2011 theft of an unencrypted NASA notebook computer resulted in the loss of the algorithms used to command and control the International Space Station. Other lost or stolen notebooks contained Social Security numbers and sensitive data on NASA’s Constellation and Orion programs”

NASA is also becoming more self-conscious about the number of computer security attacks it is encountering in its operations. Reporting on Advanced Persistant Threats to NASA computer security, the Inspector said:

“In FY 2011, NASA reported it was the victim of 47 APT attacks, 13 of which successfully compromised Agency computers. In one of the successful attacks, intruders stole user credentials for more than 150 NASA employees – credentials that could have been used to gain unauthorized access to NASA systems. ”

The full transcript is available here: http://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/hearings/HHRG-112-SY21-WState-PMartin-20120229.pdf

Suspected Anonymous Members Arrested:

Interpol executed 25 arrests in an operation dubbed “Operation Unmask”, so named because the operation targeted suspected hackers involved in the Anonymous movement. The individuals were targeted for their alleged responsibility in carrying out Denial of Service (DoS) attacks against web presences of various public services and Governments. Among the 25 arrested, 10 of them were reported to have been arrested in Argentina. Read more about this HERE.

Hackers outpacing Terrorists as Biggest Threat:

The director of the FBI expressed concern over the rise of the hacker threat to the United State, predicting that hackers will soon eclipse terrorists as the number 1 threat to the security of the United States. The associated press has more details about the directors comments HERE.

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