Cyber Security Today: Jan. 4, 2019 — New year breaches, privacy law and Mac utility software update

Lots of New Year’s breaches to report, a survey on what Americans think about privacy law and update this Mac software.

Welcome to Cyber Security Today. It’s Friday January 4th. To hear the podcast, click on the arrow below:

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It didn’t take long for the new year to start with bad news. First came a report that a number of U.S. newspapers were hit by ransomware. Then a company that makes the Blur password manager admitted that an unprotected file on a server exposed information about subscriber who registered before January 6th 2018, including their names, email addresses, password hints and encrypted passwords. The information could have been copied by anyone. Blur recommends all users change their passwords.
There was also word from Australia that part of the employee directory of the state of Victoria was stolen. The list included work email addresses, job titles, work phone numbers and possibly mobile phone numbers of 30,000 public servants. From Ireland there’s a report that the website of Dublin’s streetcar operator was defaced, followed by a ransom demand.

A hacker group called Dark Overlord released what is says are hacked files from a U.S. law firm that paid a ransom, then went to police. So the gang demanded a second ransom payment. One report says the law firm denies it was hacked, but somehow someone got hold of old company documents. And a security company confirmed some 7 million subscribers to the online video game Town of Salem had personal information hacked including usernames, emails and protected passwords. The developer says no credit card information was stolen. However, the passwords might be cracked, so users of this game should consider changing it, particularly if they use the same password on other sites or games.

After a number of Congressional hearings in 2018 involving Facebook, Twitter, Google and other tech companies it’s no surprise privacy is a hot issue in the U.S. However, what to do about it is the question. A just-released public opinion survey conducted for a tech company called ExpressVPN has some results technology firms should keep in mind. Ninety per cent of respondents think tech companies SHOULD do more in 2019 to self-regulate how they collect and share your online personal data. But only 52 per cent think big tech WILL do more. Also, 82 per cent think the U.S. Congress SHOULD do more in 2019 to regulate how technology companies collect and process your online personal data. But only 40 per cent think Congress WILL do more in 2019. Many states have privacy and data protection laws. A federal law was introduced in the Senate called the Data Care Act by a number of Democrats.

Finally, if you’re a Mac owner and use an application called CleanMyMac 10, make sure you update to version 4.2. There are bugs in it that could allow an attacker to access the computer.

That’s it for Cyber Security Today. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or add us to your Flash Briefing on your smart speaker. Thanks for listening.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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