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News from Target, Ukraine and RSA Conference Have Security Community Abuzz

By TC Doyle
March 05, 2014 - News

Several seemingly unrelated news events have put a spotlight on cyber security, underscoring technical vulnerabilities and amplifying anxieties worldwide this week.

On Wednesday, Target Corp., again made headlines when Chief Information Officer Beth Jacob resigned. Jacob is taking the fall for the massive security breach that compromised as many as 40 million customers over the 2013-14 holiday aeason.

Since the breach became public, shares of Target stock have slumped 10 percent and executive management has said the debacle cost the company $61 million ($44 million of which has been paid by insurers).

Jacob’s post became especially vulnerable after news reports surfaced suggesting that the company had been warned about its vulnerabilities and that hackers went undetected for three weeks.

Also this week: Pro-Western Ukrainian news outlets and social media sites report massive denial-of-service-attacks launched at them by Pro-Russian forces, according to the BBC. (Of course, Pro-Russian Web sites are also levying charges of cyber-attacks aimed at them.) In addition, Ukrainian authorities confirmed that communication networks had been the targets of cyber-attacks, as well.

Finally, National Security Agency (NSA) Director Gen. Keith Alexander said on Tuesday in Washington that Congress needs to overhaul a pair of privacy laws to allow the government to communicate with private companies and foreign nations, according to a report in The Hill.

“The spy chief, speaking at Georgetown University on Tuesday, said that the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and the Stored Communications Act need to be amended to let companies and agencies share critical information about cyber threats," the paper reported.

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