Thursday, April 16, 2009
Cyber Gangs Blamed For Data Breaches
A handful of organized cyber crime gangs were responsible for a string of data breaches last year that targeted financial institutions, including some in the United States, security experts said yesterday.
Roughly 100 confirmed data breaches last year affected about 285 million consumer records worldwide, according to Verizon Business, a firm hired by some of the nation's largest companies to investigate the incidents.
Breaches at financial firms were responsible for 93 percent of all such records compromised last year, Verizon Business said. The intrusions exceeded the total number of data breaches the company investigated from 2004 to 2007.
Bryan Sartin, director of investigative response at Verizon Business, said many of the breaches were being orchestrated through Eastern Europe by organized groups.
One hacking group, which security experts say is based in Russia, attacked and infiltrated more than 300 companies using a sophisticated Web-based service.
That group's most lucrative haul last year came at the expense of Atlanta-based payment processor RBS WorldPay. In an attack, which the company disclosed in December, hackers siphoned nearly $10 million from the U.S. banking system by artificially inflating the balances on prepaid credit or cash cards. The cards were distributed to dozens of so-called "money mules," who used them to withdraw millions from ATMs across the country.
-- Brian Krebs
Investor Group Bids On GM's Saturn Brand
An Oklahoma City private-equity firm has teamed with a group of Saturn dealers in an effort to buy the money-losing brand from General Motors. The proposal from a group led by Black Oak Partners is among several that GM has received for the brand, said GM spokesman Mike Morrissey.
"We are working with all those groups," Morrissey said. "It's too early to speculate as to what the ultimate outcome is going to be."
A spokeswoman for the Black Oak group said it delivered a proposal to GM last week and is awaiting a formal meeting.
GM put the Saturn brand up for review and possible sale last year. The company must shed Saturn and other brands as part of its restructuring plan to justify billions in government loans that it has requested in order to stay in business.
-- Associated PressREGULATORS
SEC Weighs Tighter Rules on Rating Firms
The head of the Securities and Exchange Commission said the agency must do more to tighten oversight of Wall Street's credit-rating industry to help bolster investor confidence. Proposals to reshape the industry and its supervision were advanced at a public forum hosted by the agency.
The SEC is examining competition, potential conflicts of interest and government oversight of the $5 billion-a-year industry dominated by Standard & Poor's, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings. The firms have been widely criticized for failing to give investors adequate warning of the risks in subprime mortgage securities, whose collapse helped set off the global financial crisis.
"The status quo just isn't good enough," SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro said. She said the agency must determine whether increased competition would benefit investors and how it would be achieved.
-- Associated Press
About 155,000 Philips Senseo One-Cup Coffeemakers, made in China and Poland and distributed by Philips Consumer Lifestyle, are being recalled, according to the company and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
An electrical fault and calcium buildup from water can cause an obstruction in the coffee maker. As a result, the boiler can burst, posing a burn hazard to consumers. No incidents or injuries have been reported in the United States, but the company has received 17 reports of incidents in Europe, the CPSC said.
The recall includes coffee makers with the following model numbers: HD 7810, HD 7811, HD 7815, HD 7820, HD 7832 and HD 7890, according to the CPSC. The products were sold nationwide at Wal-Mart, Target and Safeway stores and online at Amazon.com between July 2006 through March 2009.
-- Associated Press