Enjoy our roundup of stories that piqued our interest this week.
This week we tackle the following:
- USPS reportedly fixes website bug that exposed data of 60M users - All USPS.com account holders could view each other's details, according to a Krebs report.
- Penn State drinking has been squeezed out of Greek life, but the bubble has hardly burst - But it remains difficult to curb underage drinking on campus
- Idaho lobbyist aims to reduce teen vaping - Officers report seeing vaping in Idaho schools
- Altria Is Said to Be Seeking a Stake in Juul - Here's hoping for a better corporate response to underage smoking
KrebsOnSecurity was contacted last week by a researcher who discovered the problem, but who asked to remain anonymous. The researcher said he informed the USPS about his finding more than a year ago yet never received a response. After confirming his findings, this author contacted the USPS, which promptly addressed the issue.
The problem stemmed from an authentication weakness in a USPS Web component known as an “application program interface,” or API — basically, a set of tools defining how various parts of an online application such as databases and Web pages should interact with one another.
Penn State said it has since taken “aggressive new measures” to focus its Greek life community on safety. Some of these include taking control of the fraternity and sorority organizational misconduct processes, establishing a team of “university-hired monitors” to perform regular, unannounced spot checks of off-campus fraternity houses, according to the university.
But anyone who might have hoped that clamping down on fraternity and sorority parties would reduce underage or excessive drinking would be disappointed.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has called teen vaping an "epidemic," and sources tell us Idaho's youth is catching on to the nationwide trend as well. On a local level, one lobbyist is making it his priority to minimize the issue.
E-cigarettes were originally developed to help adult smokers quit by providing a way to satisfy nicotine cravings without the carcinogens that come with combustible cigarettes.
The Altria Group, whose fortune was built on traditional cigarette brands like Marlboro, is in talks to buy a minority stake in Juul Labs, the start-up that has captured much of the market for e-cigarettes, two people briefed on the matter said on Wednesday.
Terms of the potential investment, including the size and price, were unknown, although Altria would probably have to pay a substantial amount. Juul, a three-year-old company that is privately held, was valued by investors this summer at about $16 billion. Altria’s value at Wednesday’s market close was about $103 billion, having fallen about 13 percent over the past 12 months.