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Hackers meet at Black Hat convention to tackle cybersecurity risks

Reported by: Fatima Rahmatullah
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Updated: 8/09 8:18 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Some of the best minds in cybersecurity are in Las Vegas this week showing off and debating the latest in hacks and newly-found computer bugs.

"The Black Hat Convention" is underway at Mandalay Bay, and the timing couldn't be better. Massive security breaches have compromised more than a billion passwords and millions of debit card codes from shoppers at places as diverse as Target, PF Chang’s, and Neiman Marcus, putting private information at risk.

Experts on the leading edge of cyber-security claim they are tackling the threat: “We're finding that there are vulnerabilities pretty much everywhere,” said Meredith Corley, spokeswoman for Black Hat. “Payement systems is a pretty big thing this year in terms of vulnerabilities. It kind of goes with the territory after all of the retail breaches that we've seen. I think people are increasingly realizing that their privacy is at risk every time they go out and swipe their credit card.”

Cyber Criminals hacked PF Chang’s and Target’s point-of-sale systems, gaining customers' credit card information. During the 19-day Target data breach, more than 40 million credit and debit card numbers were stolen, and 70 million customer records.

Security experts Jon Butler and Nils outline how easy it can be to steal credit card data from a business. “We’re looking at vulnerabilities that can be triggered by crafting our own cards, or a lot of them have a wireless interface to connect to a mobile device,” said Butler.

“To all our knowledge, these vulnerabilities are not being used by malicious people currently. The goal of our presentation is to prevent something like that from happening,” said Nils. “We work together with the vendor of the terminals in order to fix these issues before criminals figure out how to do similar things.”

Security experts agree that internet-connected devices are a catastrophe waiting to happen unless practices change, but part of the problem is that they're still debating on what the new standards should be. According to the consultants at Risk-Based Security, more than 822 million records were exposed in data theft events last year. Security experts at Black Hat say they're working together to secure internet-connected devices and keep Americans safer.

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