Pete recommends – weekly highlights on cyber security issues – February 16 2018

Source: GAO Today’s Reports & Testimonies

Cybersecurity Workforce: Urgent Need for DHS to Take Actions to Identify Its Position and Critical Skill Requirements

GAO-18-175, February 6

Source: the blog at

Identity theft and credit card fraud are on the rise. Advisory firm Javelin Strategy & Research reported a 16 percent increase in the “identity fraud incidence rate” in 2016, the highest since the firm started tracking in 2003. The result? A massive $16 billion of losses during a single year.

Although the majority of these incidents involved credit card fraud, account takeovers (in which someone steals your information to access your financial accounts) increased by 31 percent, totaling a $2.3 billion loss in 2016. What’s more, this type of fraud is one of the toughest to combat.

Tough to combat doesn’t mean impossible, however. The sooner you go on the defensive after identity theft, the quicker you can regain control of your credit. Here’s how.

Source: FCW – The Business of Federal Technology (formerly Federal Computer Week)

The Trump administration announced a proposal to create a new State Department bureau to handle cyberspace and the digital economy.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the announcement in a Feb. 6 letter
that was offered into the record at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing convened to discuss the repercussions of the State Department’s decision
last year to downgrade its cyber coordinator office.

Under Tillerson’s proposal, the new office will be led by a Senate-confirmed assistant secretary.

The move appears intended to check the progress of the Cyber Diplomacy Act, a House bill sponsored by Foreign Affairs Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) to re-establish the former cybersecurity policy structure at State. That bill passed the House
<> by voice vote Jan. 17 and remains
without a sponsor in the Senate.

Source: USA Today — Talking Tech

Consumer Reports just analyzed smart TVs from the five biggest US TV brands — Samsung, LG, Sony, TCL and Vizio — and found several problems. All can track what consumers watch and two of the brands failed a basic security test.

How bad is the security? So poor, according to its report, that it was able to take over complete remote control of the TVs from Samsung and TCL’s branded Roku TV, which included changing channels, upping the volume, installing new apps and playing objectionable content from YouTube.

These new TVs have a technology add-on called Automatic Content Recognition, which monitors what you watch, in an attempt to do a better job than Nielsen at measuring viewership.

So hypothetically you could watch the show “This is Us,” and the next thing you know, your computer and phone will start showing you ads for the NBC show, similar to how we’re tracked online.

Regulators have also started to look more closely on the information gathered by Web-connected TVs. A year ago, Vizio agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle claims from the Federal Trade Commission and the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General over collecting viewing data without consumers’ consent. That information, along with demographics data including sex, age, income, marital status and home ownership, was sold to third parties who used it for targeting advertising and other purposes, the agencies charged.

Source: Reuters

Whenever the U.S. stock market nosedives, retirement portfolios seem to get all the attention.

And no doubt about it: the sharp market pullback that began two weeks ago is causing headaches for anyone on the verge of retirement. The big concern is so-called sequence of return risk – that is, the risk that a sharp downturn near the start of retirement will lead to a long-term shortfall in resources available for spending.

[knowing that, it would make sense for planning purposes to mentally reduce your retirement nestegg by say 20% and figure out if that $ is sufficent before you retire /pmw1]

But put this in the category of “a good problem to have.” Just over half (52 percent) of U.S. households own retirement accounts and a similar number hold stocks directly or indirectly, according to Federal Reserve data.

And if you are part of that lucky half, your portfolio still is much larger than a year ago – the S&P 500 on Tuesday closed 17.6 percent higher than it did exactly a year earlier and an astonishing 34 percent higher than at the start of 2016.

Moreover, the very economic trends that seem to be worrying Wall Street actually will be good news for many older Americans.

Posted in: Computer Security, Cybercrime, Cybersecurity, Government Resources