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The end of the year is a good time to take stock of the main cyberthreat incidents that took place over the preceding 12 months or so.

To reflect on the impact these events had on organizations and individuals, and consider what they could mean for the overall evolution of the threat landscape.
Accenture is the latest in a string of major companies to expose sensitive cloud data this year, following Verizon, Deloitte, and Dow Jones.
Story claims Jobs arranged the $9 billion acquisition in his will.
Security pros expect to see more incidents like the Dow Jones leak, which exposed customers' personal information following a public cloud configuration error.
S3 bucket was set to authenticate all AWS users, not just Dow Jones users Dow Jones has emulated Verizon by saving various internal databases (including Wall Street Journal subscribers) in the cloud without properly securing it.…
Chinese government blocked Microsoft product purchases after NSA leaks.
UberPopUber has been hit with a €800,000 fine (~$900,000) for running an illegal transport service and breaking privacy laws in France, the New York Times reports. The penalty was dished out to the ride-sharing app by a French court on Thursday.

Additionally, Uber’s EMEA director Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty and Thibaud Simphal—the company’s boss in France—were slapped with fines of €30,000 (~$34,000) and €20,000 (~$22,500) respectively.

The two men were taken into custody by French authorities a year ago. Half of those sanctions—and the €964,000 (€800,000 plus court fees, for a total over $1 million) that Uber must pay—are “suspended sentences,” meaning they need only pay 50 percent of the fines providing there are no further breaches of the law. “The acts committed constituted violations, repeated over time, of laws related to two major and distinct areas of social life: the laws organising the public transport of people, and those protecting personal data,” said judge Cécile Louis-Loyant according to a Dow Jones newswire account. The company suspended its UberPop operations in July 2015 after a new taxi law, widely seen as targeting the ride-sharing app, came into force in 2014.

The so-called Thevenoud law requires cars to return to base between rides, and it limits the use of software to find customers in the street. Uber hit back by filing a formal complaint in which it argued that the law breaches the right to free enterprise—the European Commission is currently considering its legality. The UberPop service—which differs from UberX and UberBlack in using drivers who don't hold a special chauffeur licence—has additionally faced legal challenges in Italy, Belgium, Spain, and the Netherlands. Elsewhere on Thursday, a court in Frankfurt rejected Uber’s appeal against a ban on the service in Germany. Uber said it would appeal against the French ruling, but its woes in the country don’t end there.

The company is also under investigation over its arrangements with the firm's drivers. Uber maintains they are not employees; they're independent contractors.

The French regulators may see it differently, however. This post originated on Ars Technica UK
An illustration of Dataminr's data-mining of TwitterDataminrIn another sign that tensions between Silicon Valley and the US government are strong, Twitter is now barring US intel agencies from a service that analyzes the micro-blogging service's entire feed. San Francisco-based Twitter has informed business partner Dataminr to cut off access to the CIA, NSA, and other government surveillance outfits.

Twitter was concerned about the "optics" of appearing too cozy with the US intel community, The Wall Street Journal first reported Monday. In a statement to Ars, Twitter downplayed the development. "Dataminr uses public Tweets to sell breaking news alerts to media organizations such as Dow Jones and government agencies such as the World Health Organization, for non-surveillance purposes," Twitter said. "We have never authorized Dataminr or any third party to sell data to a government or intelligence agency for surveillance purposes.

This is a longstanding Twitter policy, not a new development." Dataminr, of New York, did not immediately respond for comment.

But the company, in which Twitter holds a 5 percent stake, has access to the entire tweet stream from Twitter's millions of users.

Dataminr alerts subscribers—including media and financial services companies—to events like the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California. A former US intelligence official said that Twitter was being "hypocritical." John Inglis, a former deputy director of the NSA told The Wall Street Journal, "I think it’s a bad sign of a lack of appropriate cooperation between a private-sector organization and the government." The development comes amid what can best be described as an ongoing Silicon Valley public relations battle against the US government.
It began with the disclosures of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013 and has escalated ever since. One of the biggest clashes with the US government involves Apple, which had been fighting demands from the FBI that it write software to crack a locked iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters.

The government dropped its demand after reportedly paying $1 million from a private company for a hack that allowed it to access the data stores on the phone. Microsoft and Twitter have also been battling the government on other fronts. Microsoft is fighting the US position that it may search its overseas servers with a valid US warrant in a case that is pending before a federal appeals court. Just last week, Twitter lost a court fight in which it was seeking to release more details about the nature and number surveillance orders it receives about its users. Dataminr is a seven-year-old company founded by Yale University students.
It was valued last year at $700 million.

The service uses algorithms and geolocation data to discover news developments and behavior patters.
Same hacker attacked BBC, Vice websites, offered user databases for sale.
Computers at The Wall Street Journal were taken offline after it was discovered hackers had infiltrated networks at the brand, its publisher Dow Jones & Co has said. The computer systems, which contained Wall Street Journal's news graphics, were hacked by an outside party and have been disconnected from the rest of the network in order to prevent the spread of additional cyber attacks. According to those familiar with the matter, taking the system offline is merely a precaution and no evidence of data being damaged or stolen has been found as of yet. "We are investigating an incident related to wsj.com's graphics systems. At this point we see no evidence of any impact to Dow Jones customers or customer data," a spokesperson for the Wall Street Journal said in a statement. However, a hacker using the Twitter handle 'w0rm' has posted screenshots of what they claim to be a successful hack of the Wall Street Journal website. They're also reportedly offering to sell user information and details of how to control the server and modify WSJ content for those willing to pay in Bitcoin. The hacker's claims have been verified said Andrew Komarov, chief executive of IntelCrawler, the security firm that brought the hack to the attention of Dow Jones & Co. "We confirmed there is the opportunity to get access to any database on the wsj.com server, a list of over 20 databases hosted on this server," he said, adding that the initial vulnerability that allowed access to the server came from maps in the graphics database. If the Wall Street Journal has indeed by infiltrated by ‘w0rm,' it isn't their first successful attack on a media site, with the computer hacker having previously infiltrated the servers of Vice media. Hackers are increasingly starting to target the press, advocacy group The Committee to Protect Journalists has previously warned.
Tens of thousands of electronic surveillance orders are sealed from public view.
When News UK’s flagship brands The Times and The Sunday Times went behind a paywall, some dismissed the move as a “foolish experiment” while others looked on curiously. The brands are moving slowly from loss to profit, a triumph that can be attributed to the company's IT and cloud strategy. In fact, the program has made such a difference that Chris Birch, IT Director at News UK, will also oversee cloud implementation at News UK’s sister brands Harper Collins, Dow Jones and Wall Street Journal Europe. “At News UK, we don’t like to use the term ‘paywall’, we call it access control,” Birch says, before elaborating on News UK's IT strategy. News UK built its content "access control" system in 2010, around the same time that it its then CIO Paul Cheesbrough adopted a “cloud-first” strategy. As part of the cloud-first strategy, News UK began using Amazon Web services' (AWS) infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Salesforce's platform as a service (PaaS) and Google Apps ' software as a service (SaaS), as part of its public cloud infrastructure. “When we started, we had about 30,000 subscribers. But in a year, it reached 100,000,” Birch says. “Our datacentre would have been incapable to handle such a load or cope with such scalability needs.” Today The Times and The Sunday Times have 375,000 monthly subscribers and the IT team is able to deliver the subscription-based content on to the readers’ device of choice. Public Public cloud has given us huge power and the agility to meet changing business requirements at News UK The IT team uses AWS platforms, including Amazon EC2 – which provides organisations with unlimited set of virtual machines – Amazon S3 for storage, RDS for database, ELB for load-balancing, CloudWatch for monitoring and Elastic MapReduce for data analysis. It uses Google’s public cloud services for email and collaboration and uses Salesforce.com cloud products too. “Public cloud has given us huge power and the agility to meet changing business requirements at News UK,” says Birch. So how is News UK’s IT strategy translating into business opportunities and revenues? For one, the organisation has saved between £1m and £1.5m on capital expenditure in the first two years by using the cloud services. But for Birch, auto-scaling is one of the biggest advantages of a cloud infrastructure. Because of a scalable, responsive IT, News UK could easily implement its new business idea, Sun+, making The Sun the first red top newspaper to start charging for content, he says. But that’s not all. The cloud infrastructure allows News UK to focus on time-bound revenue-generating projects. For instance, it bought exclusive content rights for English Premier League and Scottish Premier League seasons and exploited this exclusivity to increase revenue. In four months, Birch and the team built sophisticated access control systems to manage this exclusive content, such as sports video clips, for its subscribers and even built mobile apps around them. AWS’s auto-scaling capabilities even enabled us to build a timely app for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee “If we had to use our legacy infrastructure and traditional datacentre for this project, it would have taken me four months to just procure the infrastructure to provide it to the apps team,” he says. “What’s the use of having exclusive content rights, if the IT cannot deliver the project on time?” After the Premier League season, the IT team can scale down the infrastructure to save costs. News UK will then also be able to buy exclusive rights to, say, cricket video clips and follow the same revenue-building strategy. Scaling the infrastructure helps the IT team respond to business requirements quickly while at the same time, cut IT spend by scaling down during quieter periods. “AWS’s auto-scaling capabilities even enabled us to build a timely app for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee,” he said. “We built the app in just two weeks.” It was scaled down soon after the jubilee event. Birch and his team do some clever stuff using the cloud architecture such as cloning The Sunday Times app to quickly build the Jubilee app. This means there is no need to have a bunch of idle infrastructure lying around anticipating new projects such as the Jubilee app.  “With the cloud, IT is no more seen as a necessary evil. It is easier for us to drive the point of technology investment in the board,” he says. I don’t buy into private cloud. It is essentially a datacentre – maybe a better one, but still a datacentre with hardware infrastructure For Birch, IT is all about enabling the business to deliver time-bound projects on time and at scale. “I don’t want to sit there and plan the technology for a project one year in advance and then spend some more time post-project deciding what to do with the idle infrastructure,” he says. With a robust IT, Birch is able to cater to the company’s IT demands of brand extensions such as Times Education, Times Money, Times Tutorial etc. The future is cloud Like his predecessors, Birch is an IT visionary who bets on the public cloud. “I don’t buy into private cloud. It is essentially a datacentre – maybe a better one, but still a datacentre with hardware infrastructure,” Birch says. He wants to consolidate it further by moving more workloads and applications on to the public cloud. Taking the cloud-first strategy a bit further, he now wants News Corp to exit the datacentre business altogether. He and the IT team have already laid the foundation for the move – the IT at News UK is 95% virtualised. “Our aim is to exit the datacentre business completely. Datacentres are expensive and don’t provide us with the agility our business needs and it is not our core-competency,” he says. At its peak in 2010, News Corp had 65 datacentres spread globally. Today, with virtualisation and cloud adoption, that figure is down to 46. Because of the success of News UK’s IT and cloud strategy, News Corp has charged Birch with the task of overseeing the cloud implementation at News Corp’s seven other brands including WSJ and Harper Collins. “As much as 80% of News Corp’s IT can go on to the public cloud,” he says. Birch has set himself a lofty task – migrating at least 75% of this planned IT estate on to the cloud within three years. The Sun’s editor, David Dinsmore, recently said: “Sun+ will be made up of three pillars: Sun+ Goals, Sun+ Digital and Sun+ Perks. With access to Sun+ Goals, members get exclusive access to near-live video clips of every Barclays Premier League goal on the go – hours before the football round-up programmes have even started.” All of which is enabled by Birch and his team’s IT strategy. Email Alerts Register now to receive ComputerWeekly.com IT-related news, guides and more, delivered to your inbox. By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy Read More Related content from ComputerWeekly.com RELATED CONTENT FROM THE TECHTARGET NETWORK This was first published in May 2014