After More High-Profile POS Breaches, a Permanent Fix Remains Illusive...

It’s been over 10 months since the Target security breach that rocked the retail industry, and that turned out to be only the beginning. Hundreds of other POS systems have been successfully attacked by hackers looking to gain customer payment information. Earlier this month, Sears announced that almost every Kmart location in the U.S. had been compromised, and Dairy Queen wasn’t far behind. 400 of the restaurant’s locations were breached. Businesses as diverse as P.F. Chang’s, Neiman Marcus and Supervalu have followed in Target’s now-notorious footsteps, and even a few independent businesses, like local pizzerias, have been affected by breaches. Kmart and Dairy Queen both report that the breaches have been dealt with and customers will be provided with free credit reporting, but why do the attacks keep succeeding in the first place? Many security researchers suspect that cybercriminals are managing to stay one step ahead as retailers everywhere strengthen their defenses. Most of the companies were breached through their point-of-sale systems, which are typically used to streamline purchasing processes and organize sale systems by suppliers and parent relationships. The malware found on Kmart’s POS system was reportedly undetectable by current anti-virus technology. Dairy Queen pointed to Backoff, a form of malware that’s been found on many breached systems. Backoff gains access to administrator accounts through functions like remote desktops, and steals customer data without ever entering a store. The Secret Service, the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center and several security experts warned retailers about Backoff in July, but it hasn’t been enough. Even once Backoff was identified, the process to fortify antivirus programs against it isn’t a simple one, especially since each deployment features several technical differences. It doesn’t help that successful cybercriminals are likely investing their profits in better malware. Experts are concerned that...

Home Surveillance Systems Lead Trend in Hi-Tech Home Improvements...

American homeowners spend $134 billion each quarter on improvements to their homes. Traditionally, this money is spent on improving plumbing, fixing little dents and dings around the house, repainting or papering the walls, and replacing old furniture. However, as a recent report from WPTV, an NBC News affiliate in West Palm Beach, shows, homeowners are increasingly moving away from spending their hard-earned money on traditional fixes and are instead opting for high-tech improvements to their homes. Home surveillance systems are among the most popular of these improvements. Increasingly advanced hardware and software allows homeowners to keep an eye on their property, whether they’re at work, on the bus, or just upstairs. A smartphone is the only thing required to monitor the home and its contents around the clock. Homeowners Increasingly Looking for Security and Convenience in the Home The last few years have seen a wave of new technologies meant specifically to improve homeowners’ lives. As the most popular new options show, it’s not just security that an increasing number of Americans are looking for; convenience is a big seller, too. Nest Labs, owned by Google, has enjoyed significant popularity among homeowners, due in large part to its family of smart thermostats that can be controlled remotely. The home tech company recently announced plans to buy Revolv and Ivee. The former produces wearable technology that can work in tandem with smart thermostats, refrigerators, and other appliances, with the latter focused on voice-activated technology that can better control these increasingly common smart homes. Of the new technology being developed this year for home consumption, wearable technology, like that offered by Revolv, is set to become the most popular. Homeowners can use wearable technology to monitor those security systems that are increasingly used to make us feel safe, and as Wired reports,...

NYC Woman Out $100,000 to Matchmaking Service Sues After Bad Dates...

Finding your perfect match can be tricky, and one New York woman found out the hard way that even money can’t buy love. Audrey Ruden, 61, is suing New York City matchmaker Richard Easton for not delivering on his promise to find her a husband, after she paid him $100,000. Ruden, a successful real estate broker, paid Easton $100,000 in May for the promise of 15 quality introductions within 13 months. She claims Easton’s website promised compatible men who were marriage material, but this was not her experience. “These claims are patently false,” the Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit charged. “Defendant made two matches which wholly and categorically disregarded plaintiff’s stated desires.” Ruden went on two dates, both of whom were only interested in a casual fling, not at all marriage material. One date even told her specifically that he was not interested in marriage, and questioned Ruden’s own interest. “The second introduction was to a man who declared on the date that he was not interested in marriage and even asked plaintiff why she was pursuing marriage,” the suit claims. When Ruden tried to register her complaints to Easton, he turned nasty, before ignoring her completely. “Easton belittled her in a condescending and sarcastic manner,” the suit charges. “Defendant became unresponsive to emails and voicemails and was generally unavailable thereafter.” Under New York State law, any dating service that charges more than $25 must provide a minimum number of referrals per month, and if this minimum is not met, the client is entitled to cancel the contract for a full refund, minus a cancellation fee. With an average of 180 marriages per day in NYC, it shouldn’t be so hard to find love in the city, but unfortunately, as more and more people turn...

Can One of the World’s Biggest Producers of Junk Food Help Solve the Latest World Health Crisis? Oct16

Can One of the World’s Biggest Producers of Junk Food Help Solve the Latest World Health Crisis?...

As the threat of Ebola hammers ever more loudly home, many Americans are left wondering whether or not we have the capabilities to fight off the disease, should it ever find a foothold in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said on multiple occasions that they have protocols in place and specialized treatments ready to go. Yet, with reports of American healthcare workers in Texas having contracted the virus — the first cases of Ebola being contracted on American soil in the nation’s history — many are skeptical that the CDC can handle the job alone if these isolated incidents turn into something more widespread. Hoping to ensure Americans’ fears are never realized, Coca-Cola, the American soda behemoth known for its exceptionally successful marketing campaigns that transformed the simple Coke logo into an international icon, has given $200,000 worth of protective equipment to healthcare organizations in the West African nations most affected by the disease. Additionally, The Coca-Cola Foundation, the corporation’s charitable branch, has partnered with the CDC, promising ongoing financial support for research that will hopefully yield an effective treatment. Coke’s Campaign Isn’t One of Pure Altruism Coca-Cola’s commitment to fighting Ebola can only be seen as a good thing. A recent BBC report puts the death toll from the outbreak at more than 4,400 people, and Coca-Cola’s donations could do a lot in keeping that number down. All of that said, it’s not as though this is a purely altruistic endeavor on the part of the soft drink company. Coca-Cola has sought to rebrand itself this year as a company that is interested in being part of a healthy lifestyle. The brand’s image has taken a beating over the last few years, as increasing numbers of studies...

Tough Texas Medical Malpractice Laws May Mean Duncan’s Family Doesn’t Have a Case Oct14

Tough Texas Medical Malpractice Laws May Mean Duncan’s Family Doesn’t Have a Case...

The Texas man who was afflicted with the Ebola virus died this week, leading his family to ask for an investigation into the care he received at the Texas hospital where he was treated. According to Chicago Tribune, Thomas Duncan died of Ebola on Wednesday. Top infectious disease doctors have said that Duncan may have lived if he has received treatment earlier, and it is on the basis of these statements that the family is asking for an investigation. Duncan first went to the emergency room at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas on September 25. After being seen, he was given antibiotics and sent home. Though Duncan had expressed to a nurse that he had just come to the United States from West Africa, that information never made it to the physician who treated him. The hospital first claimed that there was a flaw in the electronic records keeping system that caused the information to go unnoticed, but later retracted that statement and asserted that there was no flaw in the system and that the information was in fact available to the doctor. There is no apparent explanation of why Duncan was not suspected of having Ebola. The other Ebola patients who were treated in the U.S. were all diagnosed early. This means that their bodies received the right supportive care to allow their organs to function while their bodies fought the virus. Duncan was not treated for days after his symptoms appeared. He also could have received an experimental drug, called brincidofovir. Duncan’s nephew, Josephus Weeks, told the Chicago Tribune that though the family begged for more treatments, the doctors only treated Duncan with “saline, oxygen and water.” The speculation now is that Duncan’s family will attempt to file a wrongful death suit...