Morning Security Brief: Ukrainian Conflict Goes Cyber, Bitcoin Hacking Woes, and Sally Beauty Data Breach

By Lilly Chapa

 As a tense standoff between Russian and Ukrainian military troops continues, some activists have taken the battlefield online. Hackers from both countries have launched attacks on state government and news sites, highlighting the increasingly prominent role of cyber warfare in political conflict. Some attacks have already proved to be debilitating: phone networks in part of the Crimean peninsula have been damaged after attackers hacked into communication centers, and a Russian government watchdog ordered the shutdown of the social networks of Ukrainian national groups. Phone calls, voice messages, and e-mails between international players discussing the Ukrainian crisis have also been accessed and leaked. And U.S. intelligence analysts are keeping tabs on the cyberconflicts for clues as to how cyberattacks may be used in future conflicts, according to officials.

Virtual currency exchange service Flexcoin has been drained of its funds and forced to shut down after it was hacked. This is the second cyberattack on a major bitcoin exchange in less than a week and highlights the vulnerabilities of virtual currencies. Flaws in Flexcoin’s software allowed hackers to make off with bitcoins worth more than $600,000, devastating the company. “As Flexcoin does not have the resources, assets, or otherwise to come back from this loss, we are closing our doors immediately,” it said in a statement. The company will return to owners bitcoins that were held in offline computers unaffected by the attack.

Retail credit card hacking
woes continue as 282,000 credit and debit cards swiped at beauty products chain Sally Beauty surfaced on underground cybercrime shops. A Sally Beauty spokesperson said he company recently detected an intrusion into its network, but that neither the company’s information technology experts nor an outside forensics firm could find evidence that customer card data had been stolen from the company’s systems. And Target’s Chief Information Officer Beth Jacob has resigned in the midst of the massive credit card data breach investigation. Her resignation points to the changing roles and demands on CIOs, according to ABC News. As the public becomes more aware of big security breaches, CIOs must take a more active role in the security of the company.


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