links for 2009-01-22

  • The Washington Post has reported that Heartland Payment Systems, a payment processor that services "more than 250,000 businesses," has had more than 100 million transactions compromised via malicious software that was installed on its network; it will likely turn out to be the largest data breach ever reported. The "good" news is that the criminals were only capturing credit card numbers, the names on the cards, and expiration dates—the info encoded onto the magnetic strip on the card. Because no addresses, SSNs or PINs were stolen, the prospect of full-blown identity theft is pretty small—which must explain why Heartland isn't offering any sort of credit monitoring package as compensation. Instead, their CFO says, "We recognize and feel badly about the inconvenience this is going to cause consumers."
  • WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama's first public act in office Wednesday was to institute new limits on lobbyists in his White House and to freeze the salaries of high-paid aides, in a nod to the country's economic turmoil.

    Announcing the moves while attending a ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to swear in his staff, Obama said the steps "represent a clean break from business as usual."

    The pay freeze, first reported by The Associated Press, would hold salaries at their current levels for the roughly 100 White House employees who make over $100,000 a year. "Families are tightening their belts, and so should Washington," said the new president, taking office amid startlingly bad economic times that many fear will grow worse.

  • WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama's first public act in office Wednesday was to institute new limits on lobbyists in his White House and to freeze the salaries of high-paid aides, in a nod to the country's economic turmoil.

    Announcing the moves while attending a ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to swear in his staff, Obama said the steps "represent a clean break from business as usual."

    The pay freeze, first reported by The Associated Press, would hold salaries at their current levels for the roughly 100 White House employees who make over $100,000 a year. "Families are tightening their belts, and so should Washington," said the new president, taking office amid startlingly bad economic times that many fear will grow worse.

  • WASHINGTON (Jan. 22) – President Barack Obama is ready to trumpet Hillary Rodham Clinton's installation as secretary of state while turning to veteran politician and dealmaker George Mitchell to guide the new administration through the Mideast thicket.
    It amounts to a new-look U.S. foreign policy by four senators — Obama and Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden, who served together until after this year's election, and Mitchell, who served much earlier as Senate majority leader. Obama was going to the State Department Thursday to join Clinton in addressing diplomats there and — very likely — setting forth major elements of the administration's emerging national security strategy.
  • KSDK — A police-owned vehicle that was stolen Wednesday afternoon according to police has reportedly been recovered.

    The car belongs to the Metro East Auto Theft Task Force. Police said the vehicle was stolen by a man in the vicinity of Wood River.

    Investigators said they were investigating an auto theft ring when it happened. The suspect, identified as Derek Union, was apparently leading police to a location where they could find stolen and wrecked cars. When an officer got out to take pictures, Union wriggled his way out of his handcuffs, got into the front seat and took off.

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