Morning Security Brief: Russia Beefs Up Security, Yahoo Hacks Explained, Cybersecurity Threat Report, And More

By Holly Gilbert


► As Russia prepares to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, the nation is tightening its security, putting its armed forces on combat alert today, Reuters reports. Two recent suicide attacks in Volgograd which killed 34 people highlighted the threat of terrorism from Chechen insurgent leader Doku Umarov, who has “urged militants who want to carve an Islamic state in Russia's south to use ‘maximum force’ to prevent the Games going ahead,” according to the article. Russia’s emergency situations manager put out a statement reassuring that "all security issues for the Winter Olympics are being dealt with at the highest international level,” and several access roads to Sochi have been restricted. In addition, tens of thousands of police and interior ministry troops are being deployed to the city.

► The Washington Post is reporting more details about a security breach at Yahoo that allowed hackers to gain control over users’ computers via online advertisements. The article answers questions about whose computers could have been compromised and what people can do about it. “Users visiting were served ads from That part is normal. But some of those "advertisements" weren't actually ads. They were malicious software that redirected visitors to a Web site that attempted to take over their computers,” the article states. “If successful, the malicious software….can spy on you, collect passwords or credit card numbers, order your computer to automatically generate fraudulent page views for a third-party Web page to generate advertising revenue, or even hijack your computer to generate bitcoins.” The article says that while the attack is apparently over, it lasted for a window of at least four days between December 31 and January 3, but did not affect users in the United States, nor users with Mac devices. is the fourth most visited site in the world, and the hacks also apply to ads featured on Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Messenger.

► Cybersecurity vendor Sophos has released its annual cybersecurity threat report which forecasts the cyber landscape for 2014, ITWeb reports. The latest Security Threat Report points out that cybercriminals will continue to operate as sophisticated, organized professionals with “easy-to-buy-and-use services” fueling their activities. “The threat report highlights new security concerns, ranging from stealthy malware tools that offer dynamic camouflage and provide attackers with long-term persistent access to users' data, to the proliferation of connected devices that represent new and often ill-protected targets,” according to the article.

► In other news, McAfee Security's name is changing to Intel Security. The company was bought in 2010 but had not yet undergone a rebranding. Blackberry is opening a tech center in Washington, D.C. to work on improvements to mobile security. And in its first aqcuisition, Palo Alto Networks has purchased cyber startup Morta.


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