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National Security Agency helps banks battle hackers

(Reuters) - The National Security Agency, a secretive arm of the U.S. military, has begun providing Wall Street banks with intelligence on foreign hackers, a sign of growing U.S. fears of financial sabotage.

The assistance from the agency that conducts electronic spying overseas is part of an effort by American banks and other financial firms to get help from the U.S. military and private defense contractors to fend off cyber attacks, according to interviews with U.S. officials, security experts and defense industry executives.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has also warned banks of particular threats amid concerns that hackers could potentially exploit security vulnerabilities to wreak havoc across global markets and cause economic mayhem.

While government and private sector security sources are reluctant to discuss specific lines of investigations, they paint worst-case scenarios of hackers ensconcing themselves inside a bank's network to disable trading systems for stocks, bonds and currencies, trigger flash crashes, initiate large transfers of funds or turn off all ATM machines. More...

10-26-2011 16:33

Researchers warn of new Stuxnet worm

Researchers have found evidence that the Stuxnet worm, which alarmed governments around the world, could be about to regenerate.

Stuxnet was a highly complex piece of malware created to spy on and disrupt Iran's nuclear programme.

No-one has identified the worm authors but the finger of suspicion fell on the Israeli and US governments.

The new threat, Duqu is, according to those who discovered it, "a precursor to a future Stuxnet-like attack".

Its discovery was made public by security firm Symantec, which in turn was alerted to the threat by one of its customers. More...

10-19-2011 15:30

Computer virus hits U.S. drone fleet

(WIRED) -- A computer virus has infected the cockpits of America's Predator and Reaper drones, logging pilots' every keystroke as they remotely fly missions over Afghanistan and other warzones.

The virus, first detected nearly two weeks ago by the military's Host-Based Security System, has not prevented pilots at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada from flying their missions overseas. Nor have there been any confirmed incidents of classified information being lost or sent to an outside source. But the virus has resisted multiple efforts to remove it from Creech's computers, network security specialists say. And the infection underscores the ongoing security risks in what has become the U.S. military's most important weapons system.

"We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back," says a source familiar with the network infection, one of three that told Danger Room about the virus. "We think it's benign. But we just don't know." More...

10-10-2011 15:47