cyber security

Perspecsys Photos / Flickr

  Cyber attacks to the national and economic security of the United States are increasing in frequency, scale, sophistication, and severity of impact, according to the Director of National Intelligence’s (DNI) and a regulatory agency in Pennsylvania is trying to help.

“It ranks higher than terrorism, than espionage, than weapons of mass destruction,” said Pamela Witmer, Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), emphasizing the DNI’s comments.

Essential Pittsburgh: The Steel City's Role in Cyber Defense

Feb 20, 2015
Faruk Ates / Flickr

Today's topics include cyber security, a cross country fundraiser for Haiti, and the Pittsburgh connection to the Oscars.

Cyber Security

How devastating could a cyber 9/11 be? Tribune Review reporter Andrew Conte shares the results of his recent investigation into the vulnerability of the nation’s infrastructure to cyber attacks. 

Andrew gives his thoughts on what the government and corporations can do to maintain security in the cyber world:

The Blurred Line Between Cyber Crime and Cyber Terrorism

Nov 10, 2014
Gflores / wikipedia

Tribune-Review reporter Andrew Conte joins us to discuss how the lines between online thefts and all-out warfare continue to blur as hackers become more effective at attacks that threaten to cause serious economic damage.

Last week the Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin to cyber security insiders reporting that a destructive malware program known as "BlackEnergy" has been placed in key U.S. infrastructure systems.

We discuss this and other cyber crime issues Conte has investigated for his special series, Cyber Rattling: The Next Threat

Cyberattacks Under Investigation

Aug 28, 2014
Margaret Philbin

U. S. Attorney David Hickton’s interest in cyber crimes is getting noticed by the Justice Department. Hickton and his team have investigated the Pitt bombing threats and the PNC denial of service attacks. Their recent work has resulted in the indictment of Chinese military hackers. David Hickton joins us to explain why the Western PA Attorney’s office could be a model for cyber crime units across the country.

With new reports of cyber crimes targeting JP Morgan Chase and other financial institutions, Hickton talks about how we can protect ourselves from hacking.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

This week Russian hackers reportedly stole 1.2 billion internet credentials from major U.S. companies and others around the world in what may turn out to be the biggest data breach ever. The hackers stole usernames and passwords from 420,000 websites that range in size and popularity.

Tribune-Review reporter Andrew Conte covered cyber crimes by Russians earlier this summer and said what’s surprising is these data breaches happen all the time.

“We had a story the other day about different Russian hackers," Conte said. "One guy had 600 million credit cards that he had stolen and was selling. The U.S. government figured, ‘Well, $500 per credit card, $300 million in damages,’ but the fact is, it could have been much, much more than that.”

Courtesy U.S. Department of Justice

Law enforcement officials in Pittsburgh had a major hand in bringing down an international ring of cyber criminals, according U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton.

The indictment, unsealed Monday, names Russian citizen Evgeny Bogachev as one of five defendants, charged with conspiracy, computer hacking, wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering. The indictment alleges that Bogachev was the mastermind behind two malware programs that infected the computers of as many as one million people worldwide, 25 percent of whom were in the United States.

lizzardo / Flickr


An indictment out of Western Pennsylvania charges five military officers in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army with directing a conspiracy to steal information from Pittsburgh based organizations.

According to the indictment, the six organizations victimized include U.S. Steel, Westinghouse, Allegheny Technologies Incorporated, Alcoa, Solar World and the United Steelworkers International Union. The charges were announced Monday in Washington by US Attorney General Eric Holder and David Hickton, US Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

The Larger Implications of the Target Data Breach

Jan 13, 2014
j.reed / flickr

The massive data breach that occurred at Target stores at the beginning of the holiday season was thought to affect 40 million customers.

With estimates expanded Friday to more than 100 million, it’s believed that names, mailing addresses, phone numbers and email addresses have been compromised along with credit and debit card numbers.

The questions now are, "Is this attack different than other security breaches?" and "What should a person do who has been affected by this type of a security breach?" Answering these questions are Andy Tornasi, a Federal Project Manager for Tiversa, and Orion Czarnecki, a Cyber Forensic Analyst at Tiversa.

Tornasi says this breach is different from any case he has dealt with in the past.

“This is the first time that I ever heard of malware affecting the point of sale for a particular store."

Czarnecki has this advice for those who were affected by the Target breach or the recent breach at Neiman Marcus stores.

Michael Sias / Immunity Inc.

Edward Snowden is the source of leaks of government surveillance programs within the United States. Which have raised questions about our privacy and how much information the government is gathering about us by phone and on the internet. 

Mark Wuergler, Senior Security Researcher for the cyber security firm Immunity, says the NSA has the means and motive to spy on anyone. We'll talk with him about the NSA and security.

The government has been watching ever since the NSA was created. They've been finding and trying new ways of watching and listening and recording. And they're really good at it.