Morning Security Brief: eBay Hacked, Bombing in China, Coup By Thai Military, And More

By Lilly Chapa

 In a historic cyberattack, eBay announced yesterday that hackers breached the Web site’s network three months ago, gaining access to and copying some 145 million user records, including passwords and nonfinancial personal information. An eBay spokesperson said the passwords were encrypted and therefore unusable, but the site still advised users to change their passwords immediately, according to Reuters. “There is no evidence of impact on any eBay customers. We don’t know that they decrypted the passwords because it would not be easy to do,” the spokesperson said. The site has hired FireEye Inc.’s Mandiant forensics division to help investigate the attack. Preliminary investigation shows that the hackers were able to access the information after obtaining login credentials for a small number of eBay employees, allowing them access to the corporate site. This could be one of the biggest breaches in history at a U.S. company, second only to the Adobe Systems cyberattack in October.

At least 31 people were killed in China in a terrorist bombing at an open air market on Thursday. It is the deadliest act of violence in the Xinjiang region in years. Vehicles packed with explosives drove into shoppers at the market and bombs were flung out the windows. The incident, which also wounded 94 people, was the latest in a series of knife and bomb attacks in the troubled region--the traditional home of the ethnic Muslim Uighurs, according to Reuters. A combination of separatist militants and the Chinese government’s heavy-handed policies marks the recent increase in violence, according to rights activists. “The volatility of the situation and Beijing’s repressive policies in the area have a direct relationship to this,” Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the exiled World Uyghur Congress, told Reuters. “I urge Beijing not to use this incident as an excuse to expand repressive policies.”

Thailand’s military has staged a coup d’état on Thursday, after martial law was invoked earlier this week to quell political turmoil. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s resignation over corruption charges sparked a polarizing political crisis in the country, according to USA Today. Thailand’s army chief said the coup is a bid to restore order and push through political reform. “It is necessary for the Peace and Order Maintaining Command, which includes army, navy, armed forces and police, to take control of governing the country,” the chief said in a national address. There have been no reports of violence or panic from the public, and the military promised to provide protection for foreigners.

U.S. facilities with ammonium nitrate—the chemical that detonated last year in West, Texas, killing 14 people—do  not have consistent safety and security reporting measures, according to a Government Accountability Office report. There are at least 1,300 facilities in 47 states with reportable amounts of ammonium nitrate, but the total number of facilities is unknown, and federal agencies do not have access to data on the facilities, resulting in limited oversight. The GAO recommends that federal agencies improve data sharing and revise regulations concerning the chemical.


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