May 152019

Brad Racino and Jill Castellano report on what sounds like either willful or negligent handling of highly sensitive information of research participants bu a non-profit participating in some university-funded research.  In either event, the university was notified of a breach in October and STILL hasn’t notified the research participants with HIV whose data was available to those who never should have had access to it. That is totally unacceptable.  If ever a breach incident response deserved to be on a wall of shame, this is it. But because this is research that was not federally funded, it did not implicate HIPAA and OCR has no role or authority here, as I understand it.   The following is from the inewsource report:

University of California, San Diego officials stonewalled attempts to notify women in an HIV research study that their confidential data was breached more than seven months ago, an inewsource investigation has found.

UCSD researchers conducting the EmPower Women study told university officials in October that participants’ names, audio-taped conversations and other sensitive materials were made accessible to everyone working at Christie’s Place, a San Diego nonprofit supporting women with HIV and AIDS. They called the situation “very serious” and said the women affected are “within one of the most vulnerable and marginalized populations.”

But internal emails, reports and meeting minutes chronicle months of communication between lead researcher Jamila Stockman — who pushed for telling two dozen women enrolled in the project about the breach — and UCSD officials concerned about the consequences.

UCSD partnered with Christie’s Place to recruit subjects into a study that would examine how their experiences with domestic violence, trauma, mental illness and substance abuse affected their commitment to HIV treatment. The women’s information was supposed to be kept confidential and accessible only by authorized research staff.

According to university records, the breach occurred when Christie’s Place managers intentionally stored all study information in a database it uses to track patients receiving clinical care, which can be accessed by anyone at the nonprofit, allegedly to “inflate” their patient numbers and bill San Diego County for more services. Christie’s Place denied that allegation.

In a statement, UCSD told inewsource it is working on contacting the research subjects, a process it said will begin in about one to three weeks. It blamed the delays primarily on one administrator who was put on leave.

Read more on KPBS.

May 102019

The Daily Sabah reports:

Turkey’s Personal Data Protection Authority (KVKK) issued a 1,650,000 Turkish lira ($270,000) administrative fine against social media platform Facebook over data breach and failure to report the issue to authorities.

The watchdog launched a direct investigation against Facebook over Engineering Director Tomer Bar’s statement released on Dec. 14, 2018 over an API bug allowing third-party applications access to user photos. The company said at the time that the breach, taking place for 12 days between September 13 and 25, “may have affected up to 6.8 million users and up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers.”

Read more on The Daily Sabah.

Mar 212019

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced that Evaldas Rimasauskas pled guilty to a fraudulent business email compromise scheme that induced two U.S.-based Internet companies (the “Victim Companies”) to wire a total of over $100 million to bank accounts he controlled.

The two companies were not named in the press release but were described as a “multinational technology company” and a “multinational online social media company.” ZDNet’s Catalin Cimpanu names them as Facebook and Google.

According to the allegations contained in the Indictment and the press release:

From 2013 through 2015, Rimasauskas, registered and incorporated a company in Latvia (“Company-2”) that bore the same name as an Asian-based computer hardware manufacturer (“Company-1”), and opened, maintained, and controlled various accounts at banks located in Latvia and Cyprus in the name of Company-2.

Thereafter, fraudulent phishing emails were sent to employees and agents of the Victim Companies, which regularly conducted multimillion-dollar transactions with Company-1, directing that money the Victim Companies owed Company-1 for legitimate goods and services be sent to Company-2’s bank accounts in Latvia and Cyprus, which were controlled by Rimasauskas.  These emails purported to be from employees and agents of Company-1, and were sent from email accounts that were designed to create the false appearance that they were sent by employees and agents of Company-1, but in truth and in fact, were neither sent nor authorized by Company-1.  This scheme succeeded in deceiving the Victim Companies into complying with the fraudulent wiring instructions.

After the Victim Companies wired funds intended for Company-1 to Company-2’s bank accounts in Latvia and Cyprus, Rimasauskas caused the stolen funds to be quickly wired into different bank accounts in various locations throughout the world, including Latvia, Cyprus, Slovakia, Lithuania, Hungary, and Hong Kong. Rimasauskas also caused forged invoices, contracts, and letters that falsely appeared to have been executed and signed by executives and agents of the Victim Companies, and which bore false corporate stamps embossed with the Victim Companies’ names, to be submitted to banks in support of the large volume of funds that were fraudulently transmitted via wire transfer.

Rimasauskas was arrested by Lithuanian authorities in March 2017, pursuant to a provisional arrest warrant, and was extradited to the Southern District of New York in August 2017.

Rimasauskas, 50, of Vilnius, Lithuania, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 24, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. before Judge Daniels.

Mar 162019
Alex Hernandez reports:

A 21-year old Australian man has been arrested for allegedly selling Hulu, Spotify, and Netflix passwords online. The Australian man operated a website that generated passwords for popular streaming services including the aforementioned trio. It is being reported that the man made AU$300,000 (US$211,000) from his operation.

The man was arrested after an investigation that involved the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as the Australian Federal Police force. The name of the website this Australian man operated was named, which reportedly boasted over 120,000 users and nearly one million passwords and account details.

Read more on TechAeris.

Mar 042019

ANI reports:

Police have registered a case after a complaint was received against the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) for allegedly using the people’s data illegally through ‘Sevamitra App‘ to advance the party’s electoral prospects in the coming Lok Sabha polls in the state. Police have named four persons in the case.

The first information report (FIR) has been registered by the Madhapur police. The complainant Thummula Lokeshwara Reddy has stated in his complaint that “while studying about the practices of electioneering in view of the coming General Elections in Andhra Pradesh, he learnt about the use of certain mobile phone and tab-based software applications by the cadre of Telugu Desam Party (TDP), especially ‘Sevamitra app’ for advancing party’s electoral prospects as reported in the national newspapers.”

Read more on Business Standard.