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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 8th Jun 2016

Vast distances in space mean speed is essential for exploration beyond our solar system

The announcement this week of a plan to send a fleet of small, light-powered spacecraft to our nearest neighbouring star, Alpha Centauri, shows that starships of the future won't carry hundreds of crew, as they do in science fiction. If you want to go far and fast, you have to go small.

The plan, called Breakthrough Starshot, is being funded by billionaires Yuri Milner and Mark Zuckerberg. Support is coming from astrophysicists Stephen Hawking and Freeman Dyson, who worked on a starship project in the 1970s called Daedalus.

But unlike Daedalus, or fictional starships such as the Enterprise of Star Trek fame, which are huge vessels carrying hundreds of crew, the Breakthrough project involves a fleet of tiny spacecraft. Each one is only a few centimetres across and would be blown across space on a powerful laser beam, like leaves scattered by a leaf blower.

The extremely lightweight craft could potentially reach 20 per cent of the speed of light and arrive at the nearest star to our sun in just two decades.

While this concept has its challenges, such as building the world's most powerful laser, pointing it skyward while telling everyone it's not a space weapon or making sure the high velocity craft are not destroyed by a passing piece of space dust, the idea of sending something very small, very far away, has a lot of merit.

Britain Extraterrestrials
Russian tech entrepreneur Yuri Milner wants to deploy thousands of tiny spacecraft to travel to our nearest neighbouring star system. (Matt Dunham/Associated Press)

Space is so vast that if you want to go anywhere beyond our solar system, you need to travel extremely quickly.

Otherwise, it will take longer than your lifetime to get there. And when it comes to speed, small, light objects take much less energy to move than massive vessels that have to act as space colonies to keep the crew alive during the voyage.

You can also send a lot of small ones, so if some are lost, the mission can still succeed. A giant starship has all the eggs in one basket, so to speak.

Hard on the human body

The other reason to go small is for the health of the crew.

Astronauts such as Scott Kelly, who just spent a year aboard the International Space Station, have shown that spaceflight is hard on the human body.

Bones lose calcium, the immune system is depressed and vision problems can appear, in addition to the psychological stress of living in a tin can, separated from family, friends and the great outdoors for long periods of time.

Setting out on a journey that would take decades makes little sense from a health point of view. Instead, we can explore remotely, with tiny machines that carry artificial versions of our senses, to find out what's out there.

Future long distance space travel is unlikely to look like the Starship Enterprise. (Luke MacGregor/Reuters)

So, until faster-than-light travel is invented — which, so far, defies the laws of physics — interstellar ships will be small.

That raises an interesting question: Have other civilizations on other planets come to the same conclusion? Are there fleets of tiny alien spacecraft, wandering among the stars, that are too small for our telescopes to detect?

Maybe tiny alien spaceships do exist

In science fiction, alien spaceships are usually portrayed as large vessels, usually saucer-shaped, that carry strange-looking occupants of some kind.

But from an efficiency standpoint, that is not the best way to explore the galaxy. Perhaps tiny, robot, alien spaceships are passing by all the time, but they are too small to show up in our telescopes or we mistake them for interstellar space dust, micro-meteoroids or small asteroids.

I was thinking about this one warm summer evening, when a small insect began buzzing around my head. At one point, it hovered motionless right in front of my face, then made a series of very precise motions involving 90-degree angles.

I wondered, "Is this an alien spaceship checking me out?"

It gives new meaning to the definition of UFO.

Source: cbc.ca
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 8th Jun 2016

123456 is tops again, but lots of new entries are longer or Star Wars themed

If your password is on this list, you better change it ASAP. The 25 worst passwords of 2015 have been released by Los Gatos, Calif.-based SplashData.

The company, which makes password management software, compiles the annual list from the most common passwords leaked online each year — more than two million in 2015.

Fake answers make online security questions less secure
Think 1qaz2wsx is a strong password? Think again. It's based on the first two columns of keys on a standard keyboard, and it made No. 15 on this year's list.

It was among several new and longer passwords on the list for the first time, along with qwertyuiop and 1234567890. They suggest users and websites may be making more of an effort to make their passwords more secure, SplashData said.

"But they are each based on simple patterns that would be easily guessable by hackers," the company added in a news release, making their extra length "virtually worthless as a security measure."

Of course, not everyone is even making an effort.

The password 123456 and "password" itself remain the top two commonly used passwords, respectively – as they have every year since SplashData started compiling the annual list in 2011.

"Baseball" and "football" both made the top 10, as usual, but football (#7, up from #10) overtook baseball (#10, down from #8) in popularity.

Three new popular passwords on the list may be blamed, in part, on this year's release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens: starwars, solo and princess.

"As we see on the list, using common sports and pop culture terms is also a bad idea," SplashData CEO Morgan Slain said in a statement.

Three other new appearances were welcome, login and passw0rd.

Passwords: 7 ways to make them stronger

Here's the complete list, along with each word's place last year in brackets:

123456 (unchanged)
password (unchanged)
12345678 (#4)
qwerty (#5)
12345 (#3)
123456789 (unchanged)
football (#10)
1234 (#7)
1234567 (#11)
baseball (#8)
welcome (new)
1234567890 (new)
abc123 (#14)
111111 (#15)
1qaz2wsx (new)
dragon (#9)
master (#19)
monkey (#12)
letmein (#13)
login (new)
princess (new)
qwertyuiop (new)
solo (new)
passw0rd (new)
starwars (new)
Passwords: 7 ways to make them stronger

Source: cbc.ca
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 8th Jun 2016

Facebook founder's privacy breach demonstrates how bad many of us are at keeping data protected

Even tech billionaires get hacked sometimes.

Case in point — Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's Twitter and Pinterest accounts were recently compromised.

And according to CBC Radio technology columnist Dan Misener, it's a cautionary tale for all of us.

How did Mark Zuckerberg get hacked?

You might remember that back in May, LinkedIn confirmed that more than 100 million passwords had been leaked.

If you have an account on LinkedIn, you might have received an email about this. And it seems Mark Zuckerberg's LinkedIn password was part of the breach.

According to the group claiming responsibility for the hack, his password was pretty weak — "dadada." It was known that he'd recently become a father, so that's not a hard password to guess.

So it seems hackers were able to gain control of his Twitter and Pinterest accounts, by using that same password.

The implication is that Mark Zuckerberg, like many of us, used the same password for a number of different sites and services.

Are there other password leaks we should be worried about?

During the same weekend news broke about the Zuckerberg hack, news emerged that the social network VK was also hacked, and 100 million passwords were leaked. VK isn't big in here in Canada, but it is the largest social network in Europe, and it's especially popular in Russia.

These VK passwords were reportedly stored in plain text, with no encryption. And that leak gives us some interesting insight into the kinds of passwords people choose.

Spoiler alert: most people's passwords are not very strong.

The most popular leaked password was "123456." The second most popular password was "123456789." And in the third spot: "qwerty."

Another major breach came to light in May, when the website LeakedSource — which maintains a searchable database of leaked records — said more than 360 million MySpace accounts were being shopped around on dark web marketplaces.

Once again, the Myspace breach gives us a peek into our collective bad password hygiene. Among the most popular passwords were "password1," "abc123," and the ubiquitous "123456."

I'm not Mark Zuckerberg and I don't use LinkedIn. Do I need to worry about these breaches?

Yes. Even if you're not a high-profile target like Mark Zuckerberg, and even if your own personal password never gets leaked, these types of data breaches affect us all.

When millions of passwords get leaked — as we've seen with LinkedIn and MySpace and VK — that information helps hackers get better at their jobs, according to Carleton University computer science professor Anil Somayaji.

"In order to crack passwords, they have to guess passwords," he said.

"What's the best way of guessing a password, other than having examples of passwords? It's no question that these big data dumps teach the password crackers what kind of passwords people pick."

So even if your personal details aren't leaked, these massive data breaches have negative security consequences for everyone, because it's one more tool in the hackers' toolkit.

How do I know if my password has been part of a leak?

There are tools out there that can help with this. My favourite is a site called HaveIBeenPwned.com.

It's a searchable database of accounts that have been compromised in data breaches. You go to the website, enter your email address or username, and it searches through almost a billion records of accounts that have been leaked.

What I like most about the site is that it has an option to notify you about future breaches. So if, for instance, next month there's a major data breach of a social network, and your account is part of it, they'll email to let you know. And that, of course, is a good indication you should change your password immediately.

What can I do to keep my accounts safe?

It seems that Mark Zuckerberg's Pinterest and Twitter accounts got hacked because he used the same weak password across more than one site. So rule number one: don't re-use passwords. You want a unique password for every site and service you use.

Second, Anil Somayaji suggests that you turn on two-factor authentication for your most important accounts.

That may involve, for example, entering a code that's sent to you by text message along with your usual username and password combination.

"Do it for the ones that you really care about — your email accounts, which are generally the foundation of your online identity, and your financial institutions," he recommends.

Finally, you want a good strong password. That means easy for you to remember, difficult for someone else to guess.

And obviously, something better than "dadada."

Source: cbc.ca
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 7th Jun 2016

Five years ago, you had to have a couple of Michelin stars, your own TV show, or have concocted the next big food trend to earn a publishing deal that launched your new cookbook.

Now it's all about your followers on social media.

Thirteen-year-old Californian food blogger Chase Bailey - who has autism - has just written his first cookbook after gaining more than 200,000 views for his YouTube page, Chase 'N Yur Face.

His weekly posts see him cooking new recipes, working with established chefs and teaching his thousands of subscribers to cook soups and macaroni cheese dishes.

"Food influencers like Chase have definitely changed how we look for new authors," Chase's publisher, James Fraioli of Culinary Book Creations, tells the BBC.

US teenager Chase Bailey has just published his first cookbook
"Blogging and vlogging [video blogging] provide an additional and invaluable resource for connecting with people - it's information and trends that we might have otherwise missed."

The fact that publishers are increasingly thinking like this is an indication of how the digital economy is creating new types of jobs and shaking up the way traditional industries operate.

Where's the beef?

Food vloggers and bloggers are the new ones to watch.

Madeleine Shaw, author of cookbook Get The Glow, started by blogging her healthy recipes on her website.

As a nutritional adviser she built up her followers via social media. Now, with 40,000 followers on Twitter and nearly 250,000 on Instagram, her second cookbook, Ready, Steady, Glow, has just been released and she also regularly works with brands such as Brita, the water filter company.

Nutritionist Madeleine Shaw started by blogging about healthy recipes on her website

Brands are seeing the benefits of tapping in to these ready-made audiences.

For example, fast-food giant McDonald's recently worked with "food, travel and lifestyle" vlogger Doug Armstrong to tell the story of how McDonald's burgers are made.

The company allowed Mr Armstrong to record a video where he visited a beef farm, meat-processing factory, and kitchen. The aim was to promote directly to his fans how the Big Mac burger is made.

Although he was paid to make the video, Mr Armstrong was given full editorial control, McDonald's insists. That said, it's hard to imagine the video appearing had Mr Armstrong ended up advocating vegetarianism.

As it was, the video attracted more than 2.2 million views.

Doug Armstrong's video about a McDonald's Big Mac has had more than 2.2 million views
"Influencers single-handedly build a relationship with their audience based on expertise, authenticity, and trust," says Arya Alatsas, director at digital influencer agency, Nuffnang.

"They voluntarily give up their privacy, spend countless hours creating content and engaging with others, and passionately share what they care about by granting us an insight into their lives, thoughts, and interests."

Agencies like Nuffnang are popping up all over the world to make the most of popular people on social media.

This benefits the brand but also the influencer - allowing both of them to gain more followers on social media platforms.

"With social media and technology flooding the internet with over 200 million pieces of content a minute, it's essential that brands find a way to break through the noise," says Kirsty Sharman from online marketing agency, Webfluential.

"Influencer marketing is one of the proven ways to do this," she says. "In 2015, Google actually classified the search phrase 'influencer marketing' as a breakout trend - which means it experienced growth of over 5,000%."

Cook up a career

The sharing economy is also having an impact on the world of food.

VizEat is an online service that hooks up cooks who are happy to prepare meals in their own homes, with diners who fancy a unique, more intimate experience - like AirBnB for great homemade meals.

VizEat encourages food influencers from all over the world to tuck in - the social dining platform allows users to eat in hosts' houses all over the world, and encourages food bloggers and Instagrammers to sign up as hosts.

VizEat dinners are informal, intimate occasions - another example of the sharing economy
Alla Driksne, a VizEat host, doesn't just cook for guests every week, but also uses the app to promote herself online and offline.

The VizEat app combines her social media profiles and food vlogs, resulting in more shares, "likes" and exposure for her.

Recently one of her YouTube videos gained two million views in just a couple of weeks.

Ms Driksne sees it as a platform on which to be seen by others.

"It allows me to connect with a new, wider audience - outside of my networks. It is a means of advertising a service that I offer as well as helping me to boost my public profile - hopefully leading to me being able to do what I love full time."

Treasured recipe

Most people in the industry will tell you they expect this trend to continue, and that brands will push these popular bloggers and vloggers to spearhead international campaigns.

"What the industry will see more of in 2016 is influencer marketing strategies that span across different continents," says Webfluential's Ms Sharman.

Alla Driksne says being a VizEat host helps raise her profile

"One of the great things about influencer marketing is that brands producing global messaging can work with local influencers, in different markets, to localise the content and share the message in a way that's unique to each country."

The tricky part for influencers and brands is making sure they don't fall foul of local advertising regulations - making it clear to viewers and readers when content is paid-for promotional material, for example.

And influencers have to be careful not to associate themselves with brands that might lose them followers rather than gain them.
But however the digital economy develops, there can be little doubt that food will remain a perennially popular topic with people around world.

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 7th Jun 2016

T-Mobile US is to offer about 10 million of its customers free shares as the fast-growing company attempts to take on its larger rivals.

Pay-monthly customers can get one share - now worth $43.07 - with the chance of more for referring new customers.

"This has never been done before," by a public company, claimed chief executive John Legere.

T-Mobile, the third biggest US network after Verizon and AT&T, has a reputation for innovative promotions.

It styles itself as the "uncarrier", offering customers free video-streaming options, gifts, tie-ups with ticket agency StubHub, and customer-friendly data plans that have been copied by rivals.

The oversaturated US mobile market has sparked a price war with providers fighting for market share.

T-Mobile customers qualifying for a free share will be able to earn up to 100 more if they refer new subscribers.

The company said in a statement that some long-term customers will qualifying for two extra shares per referral.

Mr Legere, known for his boisterous presentations and love of social media, said: "Get ready for a gratitude adjustment, America.

This Un-carrier move is all about giving you a good thanking! No strings. No gotchas. Just 'thank you for being a customer'".

T-Mobile US chief marketing officer Andrew Sherrard told the Reuters new agency: "Some [free offers] will cost us some money but over time we think it will be a really good investment."

The company, controlled by Deutsche Telekom, said it added 2.2 million customers on a net basis in the first quarter ending 31 March.

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 7th Jun 2016

More than 30 north London teenagers who became trapped by rising coastal tides were rescued after using their mobile phones as distress beacons.

The 34 youngsters and two adults from the Ahavat Yisrael Community Centre were on a half term trip to the Kent coast.
They got lost in an area prone to rock falls and called Kent Police for help.

Mark Finnis, coxswain of Dover RNLI, said the group had passed "nine warning signs" deterring them from the walk.
"It could have ended up a whole lot worse," Mr Finnis told BBC London.

"None of the people we took on board our lifeboat were dressed in any attire that you would associate with clambering over rocks."

The youngsters used their phone lights to help rescuers find them

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the group were advised to use the lights from their phones to aid the search for them.
A rescue helicopter based in Lydd was involved in the operation, along with three lifeboats - two from Dover and one from 

"The group was located by one of the Walmer lifeboats in the area of active cliff falls and also spotted by a helicopter using the forward-looking infra red camera," said Richard Cockerill, UK Coastguard's senior maritime operations officer.
"All 36 people were recovered to safety by lifeboat and helicopter."

In a statement, the community centre in Stamford Hill, north London, said it was "hugely grateful" to the coastguard, whose "swift actions ensured that everyone was returned to the shore safe and well".

It promised a full investigation to "ascertain the facts".

The group was rescued from an area prone to cliff rock falls

Five of the group were airlifted to safety, but most were taken ashore by lifeboat
It is understood the group had descended on to the beach from a coastal path between St Margaret's Bay and Dover when they were caught by rising waters, a coastguard spokeswoman said.

After being spotted using night-vision cameras, 31 members of the group were taken ashore and the remaining five were airlifted to the Dover Coastguard station.

All members were accounted for by 23:00 and were "safe and well".

"Thankfully, the quick and well co-ordinated search and rescue response meant all 36 were rescued and were lucky to escape without serious injuries, but they've had a traumatic experience," Mr Finnis said.

The Port of Dover later tweeted that the group's rescue "was a lesson to us all to be careful around water and check tidal information".

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 7th Jun 2016

Google is going to pit its world-famous "AlphaGo" AI against humanity's current world number one Go player, according to Ars Technica, which cites a report from Chinese state news agency Xinhua that was published on Sunday.

The self-learning program, developed by Google-owned AI lab, DeepMind, successfully defeated Go grandmaster Lee Se-Dol over a five-match tournament in March, but Ars Technica writes that Lee was only ranked number four in the world at the time.

The world's best Go player, based on their "Elo score," is in fact an 18-year-old called Ke Jie, who turned pro in 2008 when he was just 10-years-old.

Go is a two-player turn-based strategy game. Each player puts down either black or white stones in an attempt to outmaneuver and surround the other player. It's easy to pick up but takes years to master.

Despite being relatively simple, it has been notoriously difficult for computers to master because of the sheer number of potential moves. While AI programs began being able to beat humans at chess decades ago, the best Go players in the world have always been able to outsmart Go-playing software — until recently.

Back in March, after AlphaGo beat Lee for the first time, Ke reportedly said: "I don’t want to compete with AlphaGo because judging from its matches with Lee, AlphaGo is weaker than me. I don’t want AlphaGo to copy my style."

He reportedly did a bit of showing off on his Weibo account too, writing: "Even if AlphaGo can defeat Lee Se-dol, it can’t beat me."

After watching AlphaGo continue to take on Lee, Ke changed his mind. He reportedly said: "AlphaGo was perfect and made no mistake. If the conditions are the same, it is highly likely that I can lose."

Citing Xinhua, Ars Technica says the match will take place before the end of the year. The publication reportedly said discussions are ongoing and both sides are "inclined to make it happen."

A Google DeepMind spokesperson told Ars Technica: "We're still exploring options for AlphaGo's next steps, but don't have anything to share at this time."

Source: uk.businessinsider.com
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 7th Jun 2016

6 June 2016 · By Zen Terrelonge

Virgin Trains has seemingly taken inspiration from Netflix with the launch of BEAM, a free on-board entertainment platform designed to deliver luxury and convenience with some 200 hours of content for passengers, including Captain America: The Winter Soldier, House of Cards, Top Gear and Frozen.

“At Virgin Trains we pride ourselves on continuously improving our customers’ on-board experience"
The complimentary service will run as an app available for Android and iOS from Google Play and the App Store respectively.

With the BEAM platform designed to offer a spot of luxury, customers have a huge of array of new and old films alike to choose from, with everything from The Wolf of Wall Street to breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Passengers can also tune into TV shows such as House of Cards and Poldark, while kids can view Peppa Pig and Ben 10. There are also magazines to read too, with Top Gear, Total Film, Grazie and Men’s Health among them.

Patrick McCall, co-Chairman for Virgin Trains, said: “The new BEAM app will make our passengers’ journeys fly by, feeling like they’ve arrived at their destinations before they know it. We’ve worked really hard to provide a fantastic range of entertainment to cater to all of our customers’ tastes and are really proud to offer this service that is the first of its kind to the train industry.”

The travel company teamed with GoMedia for the app’s development, while content will be updated on a monthly basis. Downloading the app to a smartphone or tablet before boarding means passengers can board and view content until leaving the train, and viewing can be continued from the same point during the return journey.

Virgin Trains is marking its entertainment-centric push with a celebration of the release of Independence Day: Resurgence. Director Roland Emmerich and stars Liam Hemsworth and Jeff Goldblum witnessed the unveiling of a new train design that revolves around the sci-fi movie.

McCall continued: “At Virgin Trains we pride ourselves on continuously improving our customers’ on-board experience and so will continue to update the content on BEAM to guarantee our passengers have the latest entertainment on offer.

“The new service is more advanced than the systems currently available on planes as customers use their own devices, which normally have larger screens with better picture quality than standard seat-back devices.”

Source: realbusiness.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 1st Jun 2016

CFO also departs after major blunder

An Austrian plane manufacturing company has fired its CEO of 17 years after he fell for an email scam that cost the company $56.79m (£39m).

Waltar Stephan was the CEO of FACC when he fell for a 'fake president' scam in which criminals pretend to be someone high up in a company and send a personalised email to someone equally high up in the company talking of the need for a secret transaction.

The company said: "In the supervisory board meeting, held on May 24 2016, Mr Walter Stephan was revoked by the supervisory board as chairman of the management board of FACC AG with immediate effect.

"The supervisory board came to the conclusion that Mr Walter Stephan has severely violated his duties, in particular in relation to the 'Fake President Incident'. Mr Robert Machtlinger was appointed as interim CEO of FACC AG."

The company has managed to recover about a fifth of the stolen money, but the rest has disappeared into accounts in Slovakia and Asia, wiping a huge chunk off the company's share value, which bounced back on news of the sacking.

The company's chief financial officer has also left the firm in the wake of the debacle.

FACC can take some comfort, though, as a Belgian bank lost its shirt in the same scam to the tune of $75.8m.

The scam relies partly on ego, i.e. the assumption that a senior person is important enough not to double check a huge financial transaction, possibly the result of a takeover.

Snapchat admitted earlier this year that employee details were accidentally sent to a scammer after a staff member fell for a phishing email that purported to come from the CEO.

These attacks, often dubbed 'whaling' because they go after high-profile targets, are increasingly common as the pay-off for a successful attack is enormous, and has to succeed only once.

Source: v3.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 1st Jun 2016

V3 looks at some of the biggest phishing scams to date

Phishing or spear phishing has been around for many years but, unlike many other cyber attacks, they aren't overly sophisticated. The idea is to get someone in a company or a group of people to click on a bogus link in an attempt to acquire sensitive information or access to systems.

The method is being increasingly used around the world. Nearly 100,000 people reported receiving phishing emails in 2015 in the UK alone, which equates to nearly 8,000 a day.

Here are some of the biggest phishing attacks so far:

5. The UK's biggest phishing scam

The Met Police's Action Fraud unit estimated that £59m worth of fraud was prevented in the UK after three men were convicted of launching sophisticated phishing scams to access the accounts of bank customers in 14 countries.

About 2,600 phishing pages that mimicked banking websites were analysed by the Met Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU), the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the US Secret Service.

The men behind the scam were traced to the UK, where they stayed in plush hotels in London while continuing to scam victims.

They were eventually caught using laptops to log-in to servers storing compromised banking data.

Officers later discovered servers containing details of 30,000 bank customers, 12,500 of which were in the UK, and 70 million customer email addresses to be used in phishing scams.

The men were jailed for a total of 20 years. Investigating officer DI Jason Tunn said at the time that it was the "biggest case the PCeU has dealt with to date and is likely to be the biggest cyber phishing case so far in the UK".

4. Operation Phish Phry

US and Egyptian authorities charged 100 people in 2009 for using phishing scams to steal account details from hundreds, possibly thousands, of people and transferring about $1.5m into fake accounts.

A two-year investigation dubbed Operation Phish Phry led to the discovery of a group of fraudsters who targeted US bank account holders using phishing techniques.

The bank fraud charges alone could have meant some of those charged would spend 20 years in jail.

The director of the FBI at the time called it the "largest international phishing case ever conducted"

3. CEO phishing for a new job after being scammed

Forrester suggests the CIO isn't respectecd by some business peers

Plane part manufacturer FACC fired its CEO of 17 years after he fell for a phishing scam that cost the company $56.79m (about £39m).

Criminals pretended to be someone high up in the company and sent an email to CEO Waltar Stephan talking of the need for a secret transaction. Stephan fell for the scam and was fired with immediate effect.

"The supervisory board came to the conclusion that Mr Walter Stephan has severely violated his duties, in particular in relation to the ‘Fake President Incident'," the company said.

The firm did manage to recoup about a fifth of the money, but the rest disappeared into accounts in Slovakia and Asia, wiping a huge chunk off the company's share value.

Stephan wasn't the only one to suffer as a result of the scam, as the firm's CFO also left the company.

2. Target data breach began with a phishing attack

The huge data breach that affected 110 million customers in 2013 is thought to have stemmed from a phishing attack.

The breach is likely to have been initiated through Fazio Mechanical Services (FSM), a heating, ventilation and air conditioning contractor in Pittsburgh. The firm was connected to Target's systems to provide electronic billing services, contract submissions and project management services.

Reports suggest that network credentials were stolen in an email malware attack at FSM that began at least two months before thieves started stealing card data from thousands of Target cash registers.

The breach cost Target hundreds of millions of dollars, and the firm fired its CEO and CIO. CIO Beth Jacobs, was accused of knowing about the flaws in her department, but doing too little to minimise the risks, while CEO Gregg Steinhafel was criticised for taking computer security too lightly.

1. Security firm gets hit by a phishing scam

What's worse than a CEO falling for a phishing scam, or indeed a huge retailer like Target suffering a colossal data breach? Yep, a security firm getting hit by a phishing attack.

RSA suffered a data breach in March 2011 but kept tight-lipped about how the attack occurred. Weeks later, the firm revealed that a spear phishing attack exploited an Adobe Flash vulnerability that was unpatched at the time.

The attack enabled criminals to get hold of master keys for all RSA SecureID security tokens, which were then subsequently used to break into US defence suppliers' networks.

Source: v3.co.uk
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