Claims like these are common nowadays. However, Yahoo decided to conduct a deeper, separate investigation and, piece by piece, the company slowly accumulated evidence of an even larger breach. Earlier this week, the person said there was enough evidence to tell Verizon Communications Inc., which had agreed to buy Yahoo's web assets for $4.83 billion on July 25. The person asked for anonymity to discuss internal findings.
In a statement Thursday, Yahoo shared the news with its users and the rest of the world. The personal information of at least 500 million users was stolen in an attack on its accounts from 2014, about two years earlier, exposing a wide swath of its roughly 1 billion users. The attacker was a "state-sponsored actor," and stolen information may include names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, encrypted passwords and, in some cases, un-encrypted security questions and answers, Yahoo said.
"Aside from the sheer scale of this breach which impacts half a billion users, what consumers need to be most concerned about is how long it took Yahoo to either discover or disclose this breach," Usman Choudhary, chief product officer at ThreatTrack Security, wrote in an e-mail. "For nearly two years their data has been exposed, and it has been putting them at risk."
The continuing investigation doesn't indicate theft of payment card data or bank account information, or unprotected passwords, the company said. Affected users are being notified, accounts are being secured, and there's no evidence the attacker is still in the network, Yahoo also said.
"Yahoo is working closely with law enforcement on this matter," the company said in the statement. "Online intrusions and thefts by state-sponsored actors have become increasingly common across the technology industry."
The company encouraged users to review their accounts for suspicious activity, change their password and security questions, and take similar steps for other online accounts where they use the same or similar information.
The disclosure of the data theft comes at a particularly sensitive time for CEO Marissa Mayer, as she looks to close the Verizon acquisition by early next year. Mayer, who has dealt with difficulties and complaints about Yahoo's e-mail service in the past, needs to keep users logging in to drive traffic and draw the advertising that fuels the company's revenue growth, which has been sluggish under her leadership.
Verizon said it was notified of the incident within the last two days.
"We understand that Yahoo is conducting an active investigation of this matter, but we otherwise have limited information and understanding of the impact," Verizon wrote in an e-mailed statement. "We will evaluate as the investigation continues through the lens of overall Verizon interests, including consumers, customers, shareholders and related communities."
Mayer's handling of security issues in 2014 dismayed at least one senior executive, according to technology blog Recode. Former Yahoo information security head Alex Stamos tried to get management to act more strongly at the time, but was unsuccessful, Recode reported earlier Thursday. Stamos left for Facebook Inc. the following year. "Under Marissa's leadership at Yahoo, we've worked hard to ensure that our information infrastructure is more secure than ever," a Yahoo spokeswoman said.
While Yahoo learned in July about a possible breach, it's common for investigations to take weeks or longer as forensics experts sift through computer logs and government agencies comb databases of internet traffic for signs of computers communicating with known bad actors.
Deciding when to disclose a breach is a process driven heavily by companies' legal departments, which weigh state laws about what to disclose and when. Companies typically disclose only the data they can prove was taken. That's a daunting task when dealing with advanced adversaries who can easily delete records of where inside Yahoo's network they were and which computer servers they used to remove data.
If Yahoo's delay in discovering and reporting the hack is common, what's unusual is the size of the breach. It's easy to miss an initial intrusion. Not spotting a huge leak of prized assets, such as details on half a billion profiles, is a major failure, some security experts said.
Yahoo may have relied on older "perimeter" defenses, which miss the fact that once hackers are inside a corporate network they are "trusted and in a position to wreak havoc," Tom Patterson, vice president of global security solutions at Unisys Corp., wrote in an email.
Two other people familiar with the Yahoo investigation said the link to a nation state is not iron-clad. And Yahoo has yet to disclose the evidence on which it is basing the link to a nation state.
Claiming a hack was launched by a foreign government is the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card for embarrassed corporate executives. As Bloomberg News previously reported, senior leaders at JPMorgan Chase & Co. lobbied the White House and various federal agencies to attribute a hacking attack against the bank in 2014 as being sponsored by Russia, but the FBI disagreed, and later filed criminal charges linking the breach to a stock pump-and-dump scheme, although there remained debate in the intelligence community about a possible government link.
Yahoo said in August it was investigating claims that a hacker was offering to sell user account details. The same hacker, who previously sold data taken from LinkedIn and MySpace, posted information from 200 million Yahoo accounts on a dark web marketplace, Motherboard reported in early August. The stolen information being offered was most likely from 2012, Motherboard reported, citing the hacker, who uses the name Peace.
"All of this compromised information is very useful for criminals in order to hijack user identities and use them for fraudulent purposes," said Avivah Litan, an analyst with Gartner. "Identity impersonation has become a global criminal epidemic and there are no simple solutions."]]>
The award was announced Friday by U.S. Sen. Jack F. Reed, who was instrumental in helping secure a $2 billion increase for NIH medical research in the fiscal year 2017 Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. The grant is part of a $157 million commitment NIH is making in fiscal year 2016 in support of the Environmental Influence on Children's Health Outcomes initiative.
Rhode Island Hospital is part of the NIH's Institutional Development Award network, which helps bring NIH grant money to states and areas that previously received less NIH funding than others. The award will allow Rhode Island Hospital to build an IDeA States Pediatric Clinical Trials network to support the Rhode Island Child Clinical Trials Collaborative. The collaborative will be a four-year project that will enable Hasbro Children's Hospital, Women and Infants Hospital and Brown University to develop their own pediatric clinical trials network as well as participate in the national NIH network.
"This grant has great potential. It will allow some of Rhode Island's leading medical research institutions - including our state's major children's hospital and obstetrics delivery hospital - to conduct clinical trials that will have a major impact on the future of children's health in Rhode Island and across the nation," Reed said in a press release.
Dr. Phyllis Dennery, pediatrician-in-chief at Hasbro Children's Hospital, said while it is known pediatric health issues can impact a child for the rest of his or her life, early intervention can "drastically improve" the course of a child's long-term health and avoid negative outcomes altogether.
"So, better understanding of how maternal and environmental influences impact diseases such as autism, obesity and asthma amongst others, will be very important to the health of Rhode Island children and children across the country," she said in the release.]]>
In 2015, 55 million adult Americans had a mental or substance use disorder. That translates to one out five adults, yet less than 39 percent of those affected received treatment, according to Kana Enomoto, principal deputy administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Nationally, SAMHSA and the Health Resources and Services Administration are funding 144 new and continuing grants for a total of $44.5 million through the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) program, which supports clinical internships and field placements for professional and paraprofessional behavioral health disciplines and occupations.
"The program emphasizes integrating behavioral health, primary care, violence awareness and prevention, and the involvement of families in the prevention and treatment of mental and substance use disorders," HRSA Acting Administrator Jim Macrae said in a press release. "This emphasis helps strengthen the next generation of behavioral health workforce providers so they can work more effectively in a variety of 21st century health care settings."
HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said the grants are an important step toward ensuring Americans of all ages have access to quality mental health and substance abuse services "by creating an educational pipeline for future behavioral health providers so people in need can get the care they deserve."
For a complete list of fiscal year 2016 BHWET recipients, visit bhw.hrsa.gov/grants/mentalbehavioral/fy16bhwetawards.html.]]>
Although the ranking makes Rhode Island one of 40 "Sinkhole States," meaning it does not have enough assets to cover its debt, it is the third highest ranking state in New England. At 26th, New Hampshire is the highest ranking in New England with a $5,400 taxpayer burden. Connecticut is not only the lowest ranked state in New England, but it is second-to-last in the nation at 49th with a $49,000 taxpayer burden.
TIA reports that Rhode Island only has $3.8 billion in available assets to pay bills totaling $8.9 billion. That means each taxpayer would have to come up with $14,200 to close the $5.2 billion gap. The state's taxpayer burden rose by $700 from 2014.
While taxpayer burden figures may seem intangible, TIA believes they represent "the real cost that taxpayers will eventually have to pay," whether in the form of higher interest rates, tax increases or fewer government programs.
With regard to reported state pension debts, in many cases there were dramatic increases. This is due to an accounting rule change that now requires states to report the full amount of existing pension debt. Previously states only had to report a portion of their pension debt. With the new rule in effect, Rhode Island's reported pension debt grew to $3.2 billion in 2015 from $6.7 million in 2014.
TIA also tracks financial report timeliness. Rhode Island's financial report was released 170 days after its fiscal year end, which is considered timely according to the 180-day goal, the report said.
With a surplus of $52,600 per taxpayer, Alaska has the lowest tax burden in the U.S. and ranks first on the list. It is one of 10 "Sunshine States," or states that have enough money to pay their bills. North Dakota, Utah, Wyoming and Nebraska round out the top five.
In addition to Connecticut, the most financially troubled states include Massachusetts, Kentucky, Illinois and New Jersey, which has the highest taxpayer burden at $59,400.]]>
Citing concerns regarding noise, traffic, air quality and the environment, the council unanimously voted against allowing the 850- to 1,000-megawatt natural gas power plant proposed by Chicago-based Invenergy Thermal Development LLC.
"It is clear from the extensive reports that we have received from our consultants, and from the strong concern expressed by residents, that Burrillville is not an appropriate site for this new Invenergy power plant," said Town Council President John Pacheco in a statement. "There is no question this plant would have a severe and negative impact on the quality of life here in our rural community."
While the council's vote is noteworthy, it's largely symbolic, as the R.I. Energy Facility Siting Board will decide whether to allow or deny the facility. Other town boards have also rejected the power plant, but state offices - including the R.I. Public Utilities Commission, which is in charge with regulating the electricity market, and the R.I. Office of Energy Resources - have publicly supported the project.
Pacheco said he would present the town's position to the siting board before it reaches a decision, expected sometime this fall. Up until this point, the council had not taken an official stance on the power plant.
Although earlier this year, the local lawmakers publicly denounced proposed state legislation that
would have required local voters' approval for any tax agreement negotiated between local lawmakers and developers of the proposed power plant.
The Town Council called it "ill-conceived," as it jeopardized negotiated tax relief for the town. The proposed legislation was eventually voted down in the R.I. General Assembly.
Despite Thursday's opposition, however, the town is positioning itself to benefit financially should the power plant be approved. Currently, there's a tax treaty agreement proposed between Invenergy and the town totaling $94 million in tax revenue over the next 20 years, plus nearly $3 million in fees. (The deal changes slightly should ISO-New England, the region's electricity regulator, agree to buy more energy from the proposed plant).
The deal with the town also includes language that guarantees property owners with compensation should the project negatively impact their property values, and an agreement for Invenergy to decommission the plant after it expires.
The Town Council is expected to vote on that proposal Monday.]]>
Associate Justice Michael A. Silverstein approved the proposed settlement involving defendants Schilling, Thomas Zaccagnino, Richard Wester, Jennifer MacLean and their insurer, Starr Indemnity and Liability Co. The approval is the latest in a string of settlements from a lawsuit filed by the state, alleging former 38 Studios executives, underwriters and economic development officials misled the state in its decision to issue $75 million in taxpayer-backed bonds for the video game company; 38 Studios went bankrupt in 2012, leaving taxpayers on the hook to pay back the bonds.
The defendants will not pay directly out of pocket, as the $2.5 million settlement will come entirely through an insurance policy they hold with Starr Indemnity. The state was satisfied the $2.5 million available in the policy exceeded the total combined assets of the four executives, including Schilling.
The state has reached settlements totaling about $45 million in the case, and is still engaged in litigation with its former financial adviser, First Southwest Co., which is the only remaining defendant in the case.]]>
"I am arguing for modest, gradual tightening now, out of concern that not doing so today will put the recovery's duration and sustainability at greater risk," Rosengren said Friday in a statement. He was explaining his dissent from his colleagues' decision Wednesday to keep interest rates on hold for a sixth straight meeting.
Rosengren, who long favored keeping rates ultra-low in order to boost employment, said failing to tighten policy could generate "the sorts of significant imbalances that historically have led to a recession."
Rosengren was the most notable among three voters on the Federal Open Market committee who called for a rate increase when the group met this week in Washington. The rest of the committee's current 10 voters elected to keep rates unchanged "to wait for further evidence of continued progress" in the economy, according to a statement that followed the meeting.
Rosengren has swung in favor of rate increases in recent months as unemployment declined to 4.9 percent, at or very close to most estimates of its lowest sustainable level.
"By 2019, I expect the unemployment rate to have declined below 4.5 percent," Rosengren said Friday. "While I have a long track record of advocating for policy that supports robust labor market conditions, that is below the rate that I believe is sustainable in the long run."
Rosengren was joined in his dissent Wednesday by Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester and Kansas City Fed chief Esther George.]]>
WhatsGood took home the top prize in the event, a cash, telecom and marketing services, and coaching package worth $40,000. The competition took place Thursday evening at the Providence Biltmore in front of an audience of 250 entrepreneurs and business community members, as well as Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and R.I. Commerce Corp. President Darin Early.
The pitchers each had 2-and-a-half minutes to pitch their business, which was followed by five minutes of questions from a panel of four judges: James Ledbetter, the editor of Inc. Magazine; Melissa Withers, managing director of Betaspring and the Founders League in Providence; Tom Burgess, CEO of Linkable Networks; and Providence Business News Editor Mark S. Murphy. Moderating the evening was Ken Kraft, vice president of marketing for Cox Business.
The idea for WhatsGood sprang from Co-founder and CEO Matt Tortora's experience as a chef. He wanted to source as many of the ingredients for his restaurant as he could locally and sustainably. But it was quite time consuming to line up all the farmers or fishermen and connect with them. There had to be a better way.
By creating an online marketplace that connects the supply side - farmers, fisherman, ranchers and other food producers - with the demand side - restaurants, colleges with significant dining operations and other institutional food preparers - WhatsGood aims to remove the friction for creating a more consistent supply chain for food on a large scale. Already deployed, WhatsGood already has more than a dozen staffers, with food service experience of more than 100 years among them. And so far, according to Tortora, there is little competition for what WhatsGood is doing in the market. He reports that nearly none of the buyers or sellers that have used the service have stopped using it.
A cash prize of $1,000 determined by audience members also was given to Portela Soni Medical, the developer of a urinary catheter designed to cut down dramatically on urinary tract infections, one of the most common consequences of extended hospital stays.
Other pitchers for the event were:
Bootblack Brand, Barrington, which utilizes natural ingredients to develop uniquely flavored syrups that are utilized to develop cocktails, sodas and other culinary delights.
Droners.IO, South Kingstown, which connects Federal Aviation Administration-certified pilots with clients ranging from real estate brokers and architectural firms to anyone planning a special occasion. Clients can review pilots and quotes in order to make the best selection for them.
Nhuad, Providence, has created a universal one-handed video gaming controller. Originally developed for amputees to play games more effectively, this controller will be applied to assist with rehabilitation or free-up any serious gamer to multitask.
Spotter, Providence,has developed an Air BnB-style application for parking. Home and business owners can register available parking locations. Clients are able to locate, pay for and get directions to the nearest parking option.
Last year's winner was CBC LLC, which has designed and is making prototypes of compact wind energy turbines for residential and commercial use; it followed the 2014 winner, Food4Good, a nonprofit food truck that uses its weekday business to fund weekend soup kitchen activity. And in 2013, Care Technology LLC, which makes LED lighting products for commercial applications, was the winner.
In addition to Cox Business and Inc. Magazine, sponsors for the event included: Betaspring and the Founders League; Cumulus Providence; and Providence Business News.]]>
The number of closings rose to 1,112 homes in August, up 141 from the previous year. The median sale price rose by 4.3 percent, to $245,000, according to the Rhode Island Association of Realtors.
Home sales have been increasing every month in the Ocean State, compared to the prior year, since November 2014, according to the association.
Buyers may be reacting to talk of interest rate increases, and possibly even uncertainty over the upcoming election, according to association president Arthur Yatsko.
Home sales have been brisk this summer across all markets, including condos, where easier financing has made sales soar, he said.
"Some of the more stringent lending requirements that were holding up condo sales have been eliminated, so buyers have more access to affordable units," he said in a news release.
Condo sales rose 18.7 percent in August. The median sale price decreased by 2.4 percent to $199,749.
Multifamily sales increased 11.7 percent in August. The median sale price rose 9.9 percent, to $197,750.]]>
WARWICK - There's going to be a new way to get to Block Island.
The R.I. Division of Public Utilities and Carriers on Thursday approved an application filed by Rhode Island Fast Ferry Inc. asking permission to provide high-speed ferry service between Quonset Point, North Kingstown, and Old Harbor, Block Island.
"The division finds that RIFF (Rhode Island Fast Ferry) has adequately demonstrated that it is fit, willing and able to operate a water ferry carrier of person and properties between Quonset Point ... [and] Block Island," according to the order. "The division additionally finds that the 'public convenience and necessity,' requires RIFF proposed ferry services."
The decision has been a long time coming, as Rhode Island Fast Ferry filed its application more than three years ago. The process has been repeatedly delayed due to objections raised by opposition, including Interstate Navigation Co., known better as The Block Island Ferry, and the town of Block Island, known formally as New Shoreham. The Block Island Ferry, a year-round ferry service that runs from Point Judith, Narragansett, to Block Island, objected to the new service, saying it would siphon away business, forcing the company to increase rates. The town, likewise, argued against the proposed service, saying it would have a negative impact on the town and its residents.
The division, charged with regulating the transportation industry, rejected those arguments in its order.
"The division must reject [The Block Island Ferry's] and the town's contention that the general public interest will suffer if RIFF is permitted to operate a ferry," according to the order. "Although it is possible that [The Block Island Ferry] may experience reduced ridership in the future, the record does not support definitive conclusions that RIFF's ferry services between Quonset Point ... [and] Block Island will either force interstate from the high-speed ferry market or create any significant hardship for the general public. On the other hand, the record is replete with evidence that there is a public desire for RIFF's proposed ferry services. The division finds that the satisfaction of this need is paramount to the public interest."
Michael R. McElroy, a lawyer for Interstate, said in a statement it was "unfortunate that the division did not appropriately recognize Interstate's importance as the lifeline provider of crucial year-round ferry services," saying Rhode Island Fast Ferry was "cherry picking" Interstate's summer passengers.
"The only true beneficiary of this operation will be the owner of the proposed ferry, who will have driven up Block Island's rates solely to line his pockets with revenues skimmed from Interstate's lifeline ferry service," McElroy said.
Interstate is currently reviewing the division's order to determine whether it will appeal the decision to Superior Court.
Rhode Island Fast Ferry plans to use a 150-300 passenger catamaran to run the 30-mile route from Quonset to Block Island on a seasonal basis. Charles A. Donadio Jr., president and CEO of Rhode Island Fast Ferry, called the approval a new chapter for his company.
"We're looking forward to growing this company and providing quick access for the public to get to Block Island," Donadio said. "This is the latest and greatest in water transportation."
The trip is about 45-50 minutes, and will cost between $40 and $50 per round-trip ticket, according to testimony given during public hearings. The Block Island Ferry same-day, round-trip tickets cost $37.85 for its fast ferry services. The same ticket for the traditional ferry costs $22.75, according to the company's website.
Donadio says he's hopeful to get the service up and running as soon as next summer. He has several vessels in his fleet that could run the route, but isn't ruling out the option to invest in a new one.
The division in its order reserved the right to revisit the issue should problems regarding competition arise in the future.
"In the interest of promoting a proper regulatory framework to facilitate coexistence between RIFF and [The Block Island Ferry], the division finds that if it becomes necessary to examine and adjust the operating schedules of these two carriers, it will open a docket to address this concern," according to the order.]]>