Security

Dunkin' Donuts drops some dough to glaze over lawsuit accusing it of covering up customer account hacks

No way to sugarcoat this: New York AG eclairs the 2015 data theft matter settled


Dunkin' Donuts today settled a lawsuit in which it was accused of hushing up the fact hackers siphoned its customers' personal information from its systems in 2015.

The US coffee-and-pastry slinger will refund said customers as part of an agreement [PDF] that will end a lawsuit brought against it by New York. The US state claimed Dunkin failed to warn its sugar addicts that miscreants had gained access to their DD accounts, downloaded their details, and sold them on underground internet forums. That information included their Dunkin' loyalty card details, which miscreants could use to buy stuff from the coffee houses using money stored on the cards.

In addition to refunding its sugar addicts for fraudulent charges made to their cards, Dunkin will pay New York $650,000 and agree to the standard "we won't let this happen again" promise.

"Long before the New York Attorney General filed suit in this matter, Dunkin’ had voluntarily implemented or enhanced the security measures identified in today’s settlement," Dunkin' said in a statement to The Register. "We did so not because we were required to by any regulatory or enforcement authority, but because we are committed to protecting our customers’ data. We are continually updating and enhancing our security measures to address ever-evolving cyber security threats, and we use robust information security and data safeguards."

The case goes back five years, when hackers used credential-stuffing to break into customer accounts. That's the technique in which a crook extracts a username and password from one website and tries it other websites to see if the login details also work. It's why you should have a unique password per site or online service you use.

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Once logged in, the criminals were able to get the numbers of the DD in-store cards customers could load up with cash and then use to pay for coffee and food. The stolen cards, around 20,000 of them, were then re-sold on dark web forums to other criminals who would then use them to get "free" food and drink at the chain.

The theft itself isn't exactly the crime of the century, though what really drew the ire of NY Attorney General Letitia James was the way Dunkin' handled word of the break-ins. It was alleged the chain's bosses more or less ignored any warnings from an outside software maker that people's accounts were being ransacked, and that the biz kept customers in the dark about the mass hijackings.

"Dunkin’ was repeatedly alerted to attackers’ ongoing attempts to log in to customer accounts by a third-party app developer," the AG's office said in announcing the settlement. "The app developer even provided Dunkin’ with a list of nearly 20,000 accounts that had been compromised by attackers over just a sample five-day period.

"Yet, Dunkin’ failed to conduct an investigation into the attacks to identify other customer accounts that had been compromised, determine what customer information had been acquired, or whether customer funds had been stolen."

The account thefts remained a secret to the public for three years, it is said. Over that time the hackers and their underworld clients were able to rack up charges on victims' accounts. At no time were the customer passwords reset or frozen. It was only in 2018 that the leak would come to light, and one year later the state would sue for alleged violations of its data breach notification and consumer protection laws.

Even as the suit was ongoing, the AG's office claimed, thousands of new hacked accounts were being discovered. The settlement covers those whose cards were compromised all the way up to April 30 of this year.

Now, at least, folks will be notified of the account thefts and have any fraudulent charges reversed. As part of the settlement package, Dunkin' will also agree to beef up its security protections to include "at a minimum, reasonable technological, administrative, and physical safeguards."

This, of course, is all depending on the settlement being granted final approval from a judge. ®

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Miscreants make off with $150m of digital assets in BitMart security breach

Or it might be nearer $200m. Even the amounts stolen seem to be volatile in the crypto world

Cryptocurrency exchange BitMart has coughed to a large-scale security breach relating to ETH and BSC hot wallets. The company reckons that hackers made off with approximately $150m in assets.

Security and analytics outfit PeckShield put the figure at closer to $200m.

"We have identified a large-scale security breach related to one of our ETH hot wallets and one of our BSC hot wallets today. At this moment we are still concluding the possible methods used. Hackers were able to withdraw assets of the value of approximately 150 million USD," BitMart said.

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MySQL a 'pretty poor database' says departing Oracle engineer

PostgreSQL a better option for open source RDBMS, he claims

You've collected your leaving card, novelty presents, and perhaps a bottle of wine – what's next on the list for the departing developer? For one, it's a blog rubbishing the technology he's been working on for five years.

That was the choice of Steinar Gunderson, a former principal software engineer at Oracle and member of the MySQL optimiser team.

In an online missive, the engineer, who has now taken up a role in Google's Chrome team, left no reader in doubt of his views on MySQL.

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Uber's gig economy business model takes a blow from London legal double-whammy

Free Now taxi app unlawfully registered by regulator – and Ts&Cs didn't comply with the law

London taxi-hailing apps cannot dump their legal obligations on gig economy drivers, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales has ruled in a blow to Uber.

The court said this morning [PDF] that Germany-based taxi app Free Now could not operate in the English capital without taking on legal liability for delivering the taxi journey, giving a rolled-up judgment on two separate but closely linked cases.

In the first, Free Now's UK arm – aka Transopco UK Ltd – argued that as a middleman it was not contractually obliged to deliver taxi journeys, saying this was the legal responsibility of its drivers. Judges ruled there was "no material difference" between Free Now's business model and Uber's.

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Helios-NG: An open-source cluster OS that links the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga

Does anyone have the stones to revive this long-forgotten software?

What is old is new again: linking open source Unix-alikes, native cluster OSes for massively parallel computers, and 1980s platform rivalries. You get all this in a somewhat dusty project hoping to "breathe new life" into Helios, a manycore OS from the '90s.

Parallel computing is back in fashion. Just last week, The Reg covered an inexpensive Arm cluster in a box; and support in the next Linux kernel for 24-core Atom chips and 64-core ARM ones.

Back in the 1980s, Intel couldn't build you a box with that many cores – but a small British outfit called Inmos could. While a remote descendant of Inmos provides one of the processors in relatively recent Amiga hardware, there's a much older connection.

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Cuba ransomware gang scores almost $44m in ransom payments across 49 orgs, say Feds

Hancitor is at play

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says 49 organisations, including some in government, were hit by Cuba ransomware as of early November this year.

The attacks were spread across five "critical infrastructure", which, besides government, included the financial, healthcare, manufacturing, and – as you'd expect – IT sectors. The Feds said late last week the threat actors are demanding $76m in ransoms and have already received at least $43.9m in payments.

The ransomware gang's loader of choice, Hancitor, was the culprit, distributed via phishing emails, or via exploit of Microsoft Exchange vulnerabilities, compromised credentials, or Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) tools. Hancitor – also known as Chanitor or Tordal –  enables a CobaltStrike beacon as a service on the victim's network using a legitimate Windows service like PowerShell.

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Graviton 3: AWS attempts to gain silicon advantage with latest custom hardware

Key to faster, more predictable cloud

RE:INVENT AWS had a conviction that "modern processors were not well optimized for modern workloads," the cloud corp's senior veep of Infrastructure, Peter DeSantis, claimed at its latest annual Re:invent gathering in Las Vegas.

DeSantis was speaking last week about AWS's Graviton 3 Arm-based processor, providing a bit more meat around the bones, so to speak – and in his comment the word "modern" is doing a lot of work.

The computing landscape looks different from the perspective of a hyperscale cloud provider; what counts is not flexibility but intensive optimization and predictable performance.

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The Omicron dilemma: Google goes first on delaying office work

Hurrah, employees can continue to work from home and take calls in pyjamas

Googlers can continue working from home and will no longer be required to return to campuses on 10 January 2022 as previously expected.

The decision marks another delay in getting more employees back to their desks. For Big Tech companies, setting a firm return date during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a nightmare. All attempts were pushed back so far due to rising numbers of cases or new variants of the respiratory disease spreading around the world, such as the new Omicron strain.

Google's VP of global security, Chris Rackow, broke the news to staff in a company-wide email, first reported by CNBC. He said Google would wait until the New Year to figure out when campuses in the US can safely reopen for a mandatory return.

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This House believes: A unified, agnostic software environment can be achieved

How long will we keep reinventing software wheels?

Register Debate Welcome to the latest Register Debate in which writers discuss technology topics, and you the reader choose the winning argument. The format is simple: we propose a motion, the arguments for the motion will run this Monday and Wednesday, and the arguments against on Tuesday and Thursday. During the week you can cast your vote on which side you support using the poll embedded below, choosing whether you're in favour or against the motion. The final score will be announced on Friday, revealing whether the for or against argument was most popular.

This week's motion is: A unified, agnostic software environment can be achieved. We debate the question: can the industry ever have a truly open, unified, agnostic software environment in HPC and AI that can span multiple kinds of compute engines?

Our first contributor arguing FOR the motion is Nicole Hemsoth, co-editor of The Next Platform.

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Sun sets: Oracle to close Scotland's Linlithgow datacentre

Questions for tenants as Ellison's gang executes its OCI strategy

Oracle's datacentre in Linlithgow, Scotland is set to close over the next few months, leaving clients faced with a cloud migration or a move to an alternative hosted datacentre.

According to multiple insiders speaking to The Register, Oracle has been trying to move its datacentre clients to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure – with mixed results.

The Linlithgow facility dates back to the days of Sun Microsystems, which opened a manufacturing plant there in 1990.

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The dark equation of harm versus good means blockchain’s had its day

Put crypto back in the crypt

Opinion In 1960, Theodore H Maiman made the first laser.

Famously described at birth as a solution in search of a problem, it delivered a Nobel prize four years later, was in barcode scanners in shops 10 years after that, and in 1979 gave birth to the compact disc.

Not content with enabling digital audio, revolutionising many sciences and much else besides, it has since become the glowing heart of the global internet. Yay lasers.

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How to destroy expensive test kit: What does that button do?

Fidgety fingers and boredom = trouble

Who, Me? All aboard for a nautical installment of Who, Me? where the words "Don't Touch That Button!" have an altogether damper meaning.

Today's tale comes from a reader Regomised as "Trev" and has a slightly naval tinge to it.

"I was involved in installing a system in a corvette for a Middle Eastern navy," he told us. "Our customer was equal parts naive, hopeful, and bloody difficult."

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