Threat Level Thursday: Yo, Kill Switches, Health Records, and Miley Cyrus
Another week, another hack. In this week's threat level Thursday we'll touch upon Yo, kill switches, health records and, yes, even Miley Cyrus.
The simple messaging app fell victim to college hackers last week who were able to basically do anything they wanted through the app.
"We can get any Yo user's phone number (I actually texted the founder, and he called me back.) We can spoof Yos from any users, and we can spam any user with as many Yos as we want. We could also send any Yo user a push notification with any text we want (though we decided not to do that.)," one of the students told TechCrunch in an email.
Yo is an app that does just one thing: it sends out a Yo to those on the contact list. Call it contextual-based conversation, or just plain grunts, Yo shot to the top of App Store last week and the hackers dismantled it just a couple days after Yo received a $1 million investment. Founder Or Arbel did state the company has hired a security expert to come in and help. Arbel created Yo in eight hours -- perhaps that's why it was easy to hack?
Smartphone Kill Switches
With smartphone theft on the rise, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) held a workshop last week encouraging tech companies to implement kill switches in future devices. The kill switches would allow a victim of smartphone theft to remotely wipe the data on the device to keep prying eyes away. It could also render the device unusable.
"The issue has been identified. The low-hanging fruit solutions to this issue have been picked. It's time to climb higher up the tree," said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler during the event.
Tech industry heavy hitters such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, and Nokia have all stated they will equip every smartphone manufactured after July 15 and sold in the United States with a kill switch. The feature will not add to the price of the smartphone.
Montana Health Records Hacked
In what can only be called a slow nod, the state of Montana is now notifying 1.3 million people whose medical records could have been compromised by hackers. The potential breach was identified in late May, ten months too late.
"There is no information, no indication, that the hackers really accessed any of this information or used it inappropriately," said Richard Opper, director of the state Department of Public Health and Human Services. "We are erring on the side of displaying an overabundance of caution."
Interesting fact: Montana's population is 1.005 million.
Hannah Montana Hacked Too?
In what can only be a bizarre tale, it looks as if a fan hacked into Miley Cyrus' iCloud. What ensues is both disturbing, shocking, and another reason why you shouldn't meet your heroes. If the story is true, and the information revealed is also true, then Miley Cyrus fans can rest easy knowing there is no sex tape of her.
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