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CODE RED: Health care hack raises threat level
Feb 7th, 2015 by Warren Swil

Massive Anthem breach

more serious than

mere credit card heists

Healthcare data is secure no more.

The revelation this week that hackers stole about 80 million customer records of one of the largest health insurers has laid bare the vulnerability of vital personal data held by medical providers.
According to a widely quoted study, a stunning 90 percent of health care organizations reported at least one data breach over the past two years.
These losses are far more serious than mere credit card thefts. The data is much more permanent, easy to use for identity theft, and much more difficult to change.
It reveals the soft underbelly of massive, online healthcare databases that are difficult to protect and expose virtually everyone to devastating harm.


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2014: The year of the hack

BRAZEN ATTACKS SHRED FAITH IN DATA SECURITY
The major hacks of data at Target and Sony bookend a year in which data privacy and security have been a dominant theme in the news.
Never before has it seemed we are such risk from unseen, unknown threats. You are not alone if you have little faith that government and businesses cannot be trusted with your data.
Technical fixes are good, but there can be no substitute for exercising caution when using electronic communications of all types. Awareness is the most important starting point for all of us.


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Privacy lost: A pact with the devil?

Hidden cost of technology slowly becomes apparent
As we rush headlong into the era of constant connectivity through mobile devices, the price we are paying in surrendering our privacy is coming into sharper focus.
We are marching blindly into a future where even the most personal and private information is collected and stored on a server somewhere. We should do so with a heightened awareness of the hidden cost of the perceived convenience of hyper connectivity.


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A year into Snowden leaks, tech giants fight back

INTERNET FIRMS MAY CHANGE TERMS OF SURVEILLANCE DEBATE
Exactly one year after the revelations from Edward Snowden began, a coalition of nine of the biggest names in tech has rejoined the battle against government surveillance.
If their open letter to the US Senate reframes at least part of the debate as a business issue, it may yet gain some serious traction.
The political classes – especially the GOP (aka the party of big business) – might find the cover they need to do more than mere window dressing.
It is time for big business to really ratchet up the pressure.


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‘Big brother’ is watching: dark side of big data exposed

FEDERAL WATCHDOG URGES CURBS ON DATA BROKERS
In a new report, the Federal Trade Commission lays out in frightening detail how much data is being collected about all of us and the uses to which it is being and could be put.
The FTC unanimously calls for legislation to give consumers the right to learn about the existence and activities of data brokers and give them access to their data.
The recommendations should be enacted into law by Congress without delay.


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‘Internet of Things’ hits speed bump

HIDDEN COSTS OF UBIQUITOUS CONNECTIVITY BARED IN NEW SURVEY
Many experts responding to a Pew Research Center survey pointed to unforeseen problems raised by the looming Internet of Things, though the tone is overwhelmingly upbeat.
There is no stopping the onslaught of devices connected to the web.
But the interconnectivity of everything carries with it some not-too-obvious costs.
The Pew study should be required reading for everyone rushing to connect every device in the home for a marginal increase in convenience.


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AT&T, DirecTV mega deal poses new threat to everyone

‘MA BELL’ MONOPOLISTS POISED TO RULE TELECOM
AT&T’s plan to acquire DirecTV makes the consolidation of the communications industry seem unstoppable – and threatens consumers on several fronts.
It portends a throwback to the bad old days of Ma Bell, when one giant monopolized the entire phone system.
As broadband and cable providers merge, they will leave the consumer with few options: all, or nothing.


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Climate change debate enters twilight zone (with video)

DESPITE MOUNTING EVIDENCE, CONSPIRACY THEORIES FLOURISH
With evidence mounting that climate change caused by human activity has arrived and will grow worse, the tenor of debate in America is undergoing a disturbing transformation.
Instead of attacking the science – an increasingly futile pursuit but one which has worked wonders in the past – naysayers are now couching it in conspiracy theories bordering on lunacy.
It’s all a communist plot, they say.
It’s an alarming shift.
Appeals to emotion can be most effective when the science is conclusive. Anyone who cares about the future of the planet should be really worried by this shift in strategy.


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Spy vs. Spy: Journalists honored as target pilloried

Criticism directed at the National Security Agency ricocheted around cyberspace after an anonymously sourced Bloomberg story said the agency “exploited” the Heartbleed security bug for years.
Meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras – the journalists who first obtained documents from Edward Snowden revealing the NSA’s massive spying operations – visited the US for the first time since their blockbuster reporting to receive the prestigious Polk Award in a ceremony on Friday.


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Digital currency raises age-old question: What is money?

GYRATING VALUE OF BITCOIN CATCHES INTEREST OF PUBLIC AND REGULATORS
Bitcoin, the somewhat mysterious “cash” of choice for the so-called “dark web,” has raised anew the question: what is money?
If speculation is your goal, then investing in this unregulated, largely unknown netherworld of digital currency might prove fruitful.
But, apart from the recent huge run-up in its value, bitcoin has a credibility problem, no matter what officials in Washington may say.


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