Score One For Amazon Security!
People who have read my blog for a while know that I am a big fan of two factor authentication. That little bit of extra security usually gets thrown out the window if you call in to customer service instead of logging in to the company’s web site. Two factor is not a silver bullet, but it does help security, dramatically.
Apparently, at Amazon, two factor means two factor, even on the phone.
I was having a problem with a delivery and had to call in to get it handled. They refused to do anything at all unless I confirmed the one time password (second factor). They said that even if I escalated the call to a supervisor, the system WOULD NOT ALLOW THEM to access my account without the second factor authentication.
KUDOS TO JEFF BEZOS AND THE AMAZON SECURITY TEAM!
Usually, companies decide that being customer friendly, even at the expense of massive fraud, is more important than security.
Thank you Amazon for being a tad bit more sane!
And, if you don’t have two factor authentication turned on for your Amazon account, you should. Amazon accounts are a massive target for thieves. They usually don’t use it to buy products, although I have seen that too, but they use it to guy electronic gift cards which get used immediately, before the fraud is reported.
Usually People Don’t Die From Security Failures, but in this Case, Dozens Did Die
This is not a joke; this is a serious story and people did die as a result of poor Internet security.
Word is just now coming out that the CIA had a serious security breach of their Internet based covert communications system used by field people, for years. Apparently, the Iranians figured out how the system worked and that exposed the identities of CIA sources and maybe agents. Dozens of sources in countries hostile to the U.S. were rounded up and disappeared (meaning, likely, tortured and/or murdered).
Apparently, when the CIA set up this covert communications system, they didn’t consider that state actors might try to hack into it. For four years they did, successfully.
In defense of the CIA, apparently, the system was not really designed for the way it wound up being used, but, one more time, convenience won out over security and until the CIA was able to figure out what the source of why people were disappearing, they didn’t stop it.
Sometimes people don’t grasp the consequences. A quote from one former official:
The CIA’s directorate of science and technology, which is responsible for the secure communications system, “says, ‘our s***’s impregnable,’ but it’s obviously not,” said one former official.
In May 2011, Iran said that they had broken up a ring of 30 CIA spies.
In a statement that is not very comforting, the article says that “the Iranian compromise led to significantly fewer CIA agents being killed than in China”.
This just goes to show that real security is hard to do and we need to remember that. In this case, it appears that it cost a lot of people their lives. Source: Yahoo News.
Sen. Ron Wyden Introduces Bill That Punishes CEOs with Possible Jail Time for Security and Privacy Lapses
The draft Consumer Data Protection Act Would give the FTC more power to hand down harsher penalties on companies that violate users’ privacy.
The bill includes a national “do not track” registry, similar to the do not call registry, that would allow people to opt out from tracking for all websites that store their data.
Wyden is targeting companies that make more than $50 million and store data on more than 1 million users.
Those companies would have to submit an annual data protection report (similar, I suspect to the Sarbanes or NY DFS requirements).
Executives that INTENTIONALLY mislead the government could be held criminally liable, fined up to $5 million and jailed for up to 20 years. These executives include the CEO, CPO and CISO. Source: CNN .
Colorado Cities and Counties Ignore FCC Warning
Last week I wrote about an FCC commissioner who said that city run Internet services risked resident’s freedom of speech (I assume because he figured the town would censor speech somehow, if they ran the Internet service). This FCC commissioner didn’t address that many people in the U.S. only have the choice of one Internet provider (like me), not counting satellite Internet (which is a joke) and that lack of choice, it seems to me, is a much bigger risk to consumers than locally run Internet, where the users meet the councilpeops running their Internet in the local cafe or grocery store and give them a piece of their mind. I am not sure how to effectively give Comcast a piece of my mind.
Well, in 2005, Comcast bribed (probably not in the legal sense) the Colorado legislature to make it illegal for cities and counties to run municipal Internets. EXCEPT. They put a back door in the Comcast Law that said the law was null and void if a municipality put a ballot measure out that approved offering municipal Internet services.
So far, about half of Colorado counties have passed such a measure and this week there are another 18 on various ballots.
This past September, the town of Salida, West of Colorado Springs and Pueblo, voted on such a measure. It passed with 85% of the vote.
Apparently, Colorado voters don’t agree with the FCC. Big surprise. Source: Motherboard.
UK Hands Investigation Results Over to Ireland’s GDPR Police
It just hasn’t been a good year to be Facebook (the stock price is down to $150 from a high this year of $215). A pro-Brexit organization was fined 135,000 Pounds for running misleading ads. And, there is a BUT. The British Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) handed over the results of the investigation to Helen Dixon, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner as the Brits felt that was targeting of ads and monitoring of browsing habits (which I am sure that they are), in violation of GDPR. So now Facebook has to deal with yet another GDPR investigation. Source: Forbes .