Jan 202018

Brinkwire reports:

A former Santander bank manager has pleaded guilty to £15,000 worth of computer misuse crimes after her boyfriend talked her into giving him illicitly obtained customer information.

This morning at the City of London Magistrates’ Court in England, Abiola Ajibade, 24, of Martock Court, Consort Road, Southwark, pleaded guilty to “causing a computer to perform a function to secure unauthorised access to a program or data” contrary to section 1 of the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

Her crimes took place over the course of a year, starting in August 2015 when she was aged 22.

Read more on Brinkwire.

Jan 202018

The arrest last week of a former CIA officer suspected of spying for China exposed one of the most significant intelligence breaches in American history. But the damage is even worse than first reported, sources familiar with the matter tell NBC News.

A secret FBI–CIA task force investigating the case concluded that the Chinese government penetrated the CIA’s method of clandestine communication with its spies, using that knowledge to arrest and execute at least 20 CIA informants, according to multiple current and former government officials.

American officials suspect China then shared that information with Russia, which employed it to expose, arrest and possibly even kill American spies in that country, said the current and former officials, who declined to be named discussing a highly sensitive matter.

Read more on NBC.

via @Reka_Niewidka

Jan 192018

Bracey Harris reports:

Mississippi education officials were unable to say Friday how many students’ personal information might have been obtained in the wake of a data breach at Questar one of the state’s testing vendors.

The Mississippi Department of Education said in a statement Friday that an unauthorized user accessed the information of two districts and three schools in the state. The release did not name the districts affected. The department said it does not share Social Security numbers or addresses with the vendor.

Read more on The Clarion Ledger.

via @DougLevin

Jan 182018

Jan. 18 -State Education Department Announces Breach of Data Held by Vendor Questar

The State Education Department’s grades 3-8 assessment vendor, Questar Assessment, Inc., experienced a data breach affecting a small number of students registered for computer-based testing (CBT) in spring 2017, Commissioner MaryEllen Elia announced today. Questar reported that its preliminary analysis shows 52 students in 5 schools are affected. This represents a fraction of one percent of the 28,000 operational CBT test takers and 60,000 CBT field test takers in spring 2017. The Department referred the matter to the New York State Attorney General’s office for investigation.

“While we are thankful this incident is isolated to only a small portion of students, any breach of data is unacceptable and we are holding Questar accountable,” Commissioner Elia said. “We have referred this matter to the Attorney General’s office for investigation. In addition, we have required that Questar take immediate corrective action to ensure this does not happen again.”

The Department is requiring that Questar take immediate action to ensure no further data breaches occur including to:

  • Force password resets on all user accounts and closing accounts of all former employees;
  • Hire an independent third party to perform a security audit of Questar’s systems and security protocols, policies and procedures.  Such security audit must be completed, and the results of such audit provided to SED, no later than February 20, 2018; and
  • Submit a written corrective action plan to the Department no later than January 26, 2018, detailing the actions Questar has taken and will take to ensure that this does not occur again in the future.

Questar informed the Department that an unauthorized user, whom the company suspects, is a former employee, accessed an internal Questar user account to view student data from Dec. 30, 2017 to Jan. 2, 2018. Questar reported that the data accessed includes personally identifiable information. Examples of data that was viewed in some cases included student names, New York State Student Identification numbers, school, grade level and teacher names.

The Department does not share student addresses and social security numbers with Questar and, therefore, this information was not accessed by the unauthorized user. Questar is continuing to investigate how the unauthorized user was able to access the account and advised the Department that it suspects that the unauthorized user is a former employee.

Questar first notified the Department about the breach on the afternoon of Jan. 16, 2018 but provided no details about the scope of the breach. The Department sent Questar a letter later that day demanding further information and details surrounding the security incident. In addition, Commissioner Elia called Questar President Steve Lazer that evening to stress the unacceptable nature of the breach and that swift action must be taken to identify the full scope of the breach and ensure it does not happen again. On Jan. 17, 2018, Questar provided some additional information to the Department but did not include information on the students and schools affected.

Earlier this afternoon, Questar provided the Department with the names of the affected students and schools. Today, the Department is in the process of notifying the schools, teachers and parents/guardians of the affected students. The schools affected by the breach are:



# of Students Affected

John F. Kennedy School Great Neck UFSD


Menands School Menands UFSD


School 2 Oceanside UFSD


PS 15 Jackie Robinson NYC Geog District 29 Queens


St. Amelia School Roman Catholic Buffalo Diocese


Jan 172018

Marcos Ortiz reports:

A teen claimed boredom caused him to hack into a school’s computer network.

It happened during last year’s school year at Taylorsville High School.  But the case was recently unsealed by a judge.

The 18-year-old who doesn’t want his name disclosed said he has not been charged with a crime but has been told the case is still under investigation.

“I very much regret what I did,” J.D. said.  “If I could go back I definitely would stop myself and others from engaging in that sort of thing.”

The teen said he was a member of a school club called “Cyberpatriots.”

Read more on Good4Utah.

This appears to be another example of why it helps to provide constructive and legal ways for young curious minds to pursue their curiosity.