Author: Associated Press

Swiss authorities said Tuesday they have opened an investigation into allegations a Zug, Switzerland-based maker of encryption devices was a front operated by the CIA and West German intelligence that enabled them to break the codes of the countries that used their products. A joint investigation published Tuesday by Germany’s ZDF public broadcaster and The Washington Post based on documents from the CIA and Germany’s BND foreign intelligence agency revealed that Crypto AG made millions of dollars for the two agencies, while providing them with access to the encrypted communications of more than 120 countries for decades. The main adversaries…

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In 2014, the Obama administration accused five Chinese military agents of targeting Pittsburgh-area industrial companies including Westinghouse Electric, Alcoa and U.S. Steel. Since then, the number of companies allegedly targeted by Chinese hackers has only grown. Chinese President Xi Jinping assured th en-President Barack Obama in 2015 his military would stop stealing commercial secrets from U.S. companies. The evidence indicates that pledge was short-lived, if it was honored at all. The latest in a string of China-linked hacking incidents came with the Monday indictment of four members of the Chinese military for breaking into the credit-reporting agency Equifax in 2017.…

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Adam Pezen, Carlo Licata and Nimesh Patel are among millions of people who have been tagged in Facebook photos at some point in the past decade, sometimes at the suggestion of an automated tagging feature powered by facial recognition technology. It was their Illinois addresses, though, that put the trio’s names atop a lawsuit that Facebook recently agreed to settle for $550 million, which could lead to payouts of a couple hundred dollars to several million Illinois users of the social networking site. The lawsuit — one of more than 400 filed against tech companies big and small in the…

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Four members of the Chinese military have been charged with breaking into the networks of the Equifax credit reporting agency and stealing the personal information of tens of millions of Americans, the Justice Department said Monday, blaming Beijing for one of the largest hacks in history to target consumer data. The 2017 breach affected more than 145 million people, with the hackers successfully stealing names, addresses, Social Security and driver’s license numbers and other personal information stored in the company’s databases. The four — members of the People’s Liberation Army, an arm of the Chinese military — are also accused…

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Cyborgs, trolls and bots can fill the internet with lies and half-truths. Understanding them is key to learning how misinformation spreads online. As the 2016 election showed, social media is increasingly used to amplify false claims and divide Americans over hot-button issues including race and immigration. Researchers who study misinformation predict it will get worse leading up to this year’s presidential vote. Here’s a guide to understanding the problem: MISINFORMATION VS. DISINFORMATION Political misinformation has been around since before the printing press, but the internet has allowed falsehoods, conspiracy theories and exaggerations to spread faster and farther than ever. Misinformation…

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A judge in Brazil’s capital on Thursday dismissed accusations that journalist Glenn Greenwald was involved in hacking phones of officials, following weeks of criticism that his prosecution would infringe on constitutional protections for the press. Prosecutors last month leveled accusations that Greenwald helped a group of six people hack into phones of hundreds of local authorities, saying his actions amounted to criminal association and illegal interception of communications. Since last year, Greenwald’s online media outlet The Intercept Brasil has published a series of excerpts from private conversations on a messaging app involving current Justice Minister Sérgio Moro. The attempt by…

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Gov. John Bel Edwards called on Louisiana’s local government leaders Wednesday to protect their data, reminding them of recent cyberattacks across the state and saying they’re likely to face such a strike in the future. “You may not have been hit yet in your town or in your city. But it’s a question of when, not if,” the Democratic governor told a luncheon crowd of the Louisiana Municipal Association. A cyberattack on Louisiana’s state government computer servers in November disrupted some agency operations for weeks. Since July, at least eight of Louisiana’s public school systems have reported hackers that targeted…

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FBI Director Chris Wray said Wednesday that Russia is engaged in “information warfare” heading into the 2020 presidential election, though he said law enforcement has not seen ongoing efforts by Russia to target America’s election infrastructure. Wray told the House Judiciary Committee that Russia, just as it did in 2016, is relying on a covert social media campaign aimed at dividing American public opinion and sowing discord. That effort, which involves fictional personas, bots, social media postings and disinformation, may have an election-year uptick but is also a round-the-clock threat that is in some ways harder to combat than an…

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A prosecutor told a jury at the opening of an espionage trial Tuesday that an angry CIA employee got his vengeance by committing the agency’s biggest leak of classified information ever, but a defense lawyer said her client was innocent. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Denton pointed at 30-year-old Joshua Adam Schulte in a Manhattan courtroom as he blamed him for the massive leak of secrets that was published by WikiLeaks in March 2017. “This case is about the single biggest leak of classified information in the history of the CIA,” Denton said. The leak was “instantly devastating” to America’s interests…

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A new Maryland bill would ask the state’s Department of Information Technology to develop a baseline plan for localities within the state to help battle cyber attacks. Senate bill 120, introduced by Sen. Susan Lee, D-Montgomery, would give the Maryland Department of Information Technology the expanded responsibility of developing a cybersecurity strategy and helping agencies within the state implement it at their discretion. Under current law, the Department of Information Technology oversees the defense of state systems, but not that of counties, school districts and other similar entities. Having a sample plan in place could be beneficial in preventing future…

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