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How to Protect Yourself from Online Security Threats of 2013

Where the Internet is stored

Where the Internet is stored (Photo credit: debs)

Next year will be the year of the mobile security threat, according to Internet security software giant McAfee, based on the predictions report it released today of the leading security threats expected in 2013. With online technology rapidly moving from computers to the palms of our hands, cybercriminals and hackers are evolving their methods to fit the times. Whether it’s the new Windows 8 OS or the trendy HTML5 browser language, cybercriminals will be stepping up their game in 2013 to capitalize on the newest technology.

So what can consumer expect to see in the way of cyber threats in 2013? We read through the report and focused on some of the biggest threats you should look out for in 2013, and what you can do to protect yourself.


Pirate Bay Down After DDoS Attack

Front page of The Pirate Bay, 20th June 2009. ...

Front page of The Pirate Bay, 20th June 2009. Screenshot. Text – “Click here to help Iran” “The Persian Bay” Licensing: TBP website carries the Kopimi license (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Pirate Bay has been down for over 24-hours as a result of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, according to the website’s Facebook account.

It’s not uncommon for the popular file-sharing website to be down for a few hours, but an outage this long is rare.

Torrent Freak and ZDNet have speculated that Anonymous may be behind the attack. Last week, The Pirate Bay criticized Anonymous for taking down Virgin Media’s website after the service provider blocked The Pirate Bay under an order from the British High Court.

The Pirate Bay responded to the attack on Virgin Media by saying, “We do NOT encourage these actions. We believe in the open and free internets, where anyone can express their views. Even if we strongly disagree with them and even if they hate us.”

The BBC reports it is unlikely that Anonymous is behind the current Pirate Bay DDoS though, since they typically defend–not attack– sites like The Pirate Bay.


Facebook Offers Cash To ‘Bug Bounty Hunters’ At DefCon Hacker Conference

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

At the DefCon hacker conferencethis weekend in Las Vegas, a team from Facebook has been making the rounds and delivering an unusual message: Please hack us. We’ll pay you for it.

The team, led by Facebook’s Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan, is promoting the company’s new “bug bounty program,” which pays researchers to report security flaws in the social-networking site of more than 750 million active users.

Facebook will pay a minimum of $500 for valuable information so long as the hacker agrees to not disclose the flaw until the company has fixed it. Since the program was announced last week, Facebook has already paid out one bounty of more than $3,000, Sullivan said.


Cyber Defense Agency Faces Challenges From Within

Image via Wikipedia

Last year, the nation’s computer systems reported more than 100,000 cyber threats, or one every five minutes. The job of analyzing and preventing them was assigned to a government agency that has faced repeated criticism for lacking enough resources and authority, as well as a consistent leader, to help it accomplish an increasingly daunting task.

That agency, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, faced more turnover at the top last Friday when Randy Vickers abruptly resigned. His replacement, Lee Rock, is the agency’s fifth director in the past six years.

The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the agency, said Vickers resigned for personal reasons. But former directors and outside experts say the job of leading the agency has become overwhelming as the threats of cyber attacks continue to mount.

“Imagine being a firefighter in West Texas where there’s no fire code and the entire state is filled with arsonists,” said Tom Kellermann, chief technology officer of the security firm AirPatrol Corp. “Would you keep the job for long?”


Data stolen from 35 million South Korean social networking users

Image via CrunchBase

Hackers have broken into the popular South Korean websites Nate and Cyworld earlier this week, and stolen information about 35 million social networking users.

Names, email addresses, phone numbers and resident registration numbers of users are said to have been compromised.

The BBC reports that the Korean Communications Commission has pointed the finger of blame at Chinese hackers, after it was discovered that the IP addresses of intruding computers were based in the country.