Hackings in healthcare, education, and government

Recent hackings have been found to especially target three main platforms: healthcare, education, and government. This has compromised the security of healthcare provider Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, the Cal State University System, and the U.S. Department of Energy.

It was discovered last week that over 10 million people are at risk due to a Excellus computer system hacking that’s been occurring since December of 2013. It doesn’t appear that the hackers stole or utilized any important personal information, though they were able to access and view customer names, birth dates, social security numbers, and financial claims. The attack was one of the worst 20 breaches in healthcare of all time. The hacking also parallels recent incidences at Anthem, Office of personnel Management, Sony and Ashley Madison. In all cases, the attacks were committed by people disguised as employees, using stolen credentials to gain access to corporate networks.

Roughly 80,000 students from the Cal State University System lost general information after enrolling in a class on sexual harassment. Their names, numbers, emails, gender, race, and relationship status were provided to a contractor as part of a program on sexual harassment. The contractor, “We End Violence” was hacked, as reported in the Los Angeles Times earlier this month.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s computer systems were attacked 159 times between 2010 and 2014. Officials declined to comment, however, on the nature of what was accessed by hackers or whether any foreign governments were responsible.

Article via ECT News NetworkSeptember 16, 2015

Photo: Longmont Power and Communications-3 via You Belong in Longmont [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


Moving toward world peace through hackathons

Hackathons have proven to be a great way to use tech for good. Often described as a great equalizer, technology can be leveraged to bring voice to people that society often ignores. Social activists are turning to hackathons to help spread their message and develop solutions, instead of waiting on the government to initiate change.

One such activist is Hera Hussain, founder of the advocacy group Chayn. Chayn is a volunteer-led, open source project that leverages technology to empower women against violence and oppression so they can live happier and healthier lives. They offer tools to help abused women build a domestic violence case without a lawyer, and advise about how a person can be tracked on and offline, among other things. This organization is all about individuals empowered to make change. One of their main ways to get the community involved is hackathons.

Hussain says that hackathons are events that bring together important parts of society that isolate themselves when it comes to women’s issues. “You either have events that just focus on women…” Hussain says, “or you have events that are completely dominated by men and are either forgetting that women exist or have separate issues. There’s very little middle ground that uses an integrated women lens as part of a broader focus of solving societal challenges.”

Bringing together these problem solvers is crucial to making real progress in the future. Hussain states that Chayn is about solving problems with, and not for, women in different communities. This organization is dedicated to allowing women to choose what they want to do with their lives while being treated equally during the process. Hussain says, “We always come back to independence and happiness as our two biggest goals..”

Article via Good Magazine, 22 September 2015

Photo: Hacking for Women’s Empowerment via Bread For The World [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]