Overnight Briefing & General Reality Check - Jan 27, 2014
January 27, 2014
Getting up to speed:
Mailing a letter today?
Those of you who still use the US Mail will find that a first-class letter will cost you 49 cents to send today instead of 46. It's the largest rate increase in 11 years, but will only be in effect for about 24 months. That's because the Postal Service is using it to recoup the millions of dollars it lost during the recent economic downturn.
Also, the cost for mailing a postcard will go up to 34 cents; there are additional costs for other postage rates as well.
Today's data breach:
First there was Target, then Nieman Marcus. Now, another possible data breach may have happened at Michaels Stores.
The arts-and-crafts company announced on it's website that it may have been the victim of an attack involving theft of credit or debit cards that had been used at Michaels. It's working with federal law-enforcement authorities and computer-security experts to determine exactly what happened.
Big Money, Big Problems:
A warning to shoppers: The FBI warns that more cyber attacks like the massive breach at Target stores are coming.
According to a three-page confidential FBI report seen by Reuters, that's the Bureau's conclusion after finding some 20 hacking cases in the last year used the same type of malware as in the Target hacking. Specifically, it's "memory-parsing" software known as a "RAM scraper," and it steals the transaction data from a credit or debit card's magnetic strip during the brief moment of the transaction process where the info isn't encrypted.
It's not a new software, just a beefed-up one that avoids detection by anti-virus software, and it's being sold in underground forums for relatively cheap --about $6,000 in one case-- which makes the crime attractive to a wide range of crooks.
A cyber security expert tells NPR that magnetic strip cards are "totally unprotected" and "about the worst security that you can put into a payment system." While chip-enabled cards are far more secure --with data hidden behind encryption-- Visa says it had only issued about 3.5 million chip cards as of mid-last year; the majority of users probably won't have them in their hands until next year. Upgrading merchant terminals and ATMs will take even longer.
KRISTEN STEWART wants to shave her head and slap a tattoo on her scalp before she dies. In an interview with the beauty website Into the Gloss, the "Twilight" star said: "If I wasn't an actor, I would definitely do things to my hair... At some point I want to do a total boy cut. Not a pretty, girly version --like a straight up JAMES DEAN haircut. I'm definitely going to shave my head before I die. I will definitely tattoo my head while it's shaved before my hair grows back. I'm not sure which part, probably the bottom quadrant in the back." (Bartha)
Crooks too stupid to live:
Today's nominee for Criminal Mastermind of the Week is brought to you by Tuscaloosa, AL, where police say a man robbed a pizza delivery driver after phoning in the order from his own address.
The driver says he showed up at the home, knocked, was immediately surrounded by armed men who stole his money and pizzas. Police canvassed the neighborhood armed with descriptions, and people kept pointing them back to the original house. Inside they found 20-year-old MICHAEL LONG, the stolen pizzas, and even the bag they came in. More arrests are expected to follow.
A police spokesman said, "We don't typically see a suspect call a delivery driver to their actual address to commit a robbery."
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