Hacking back: The plan was to hack the hackers. Cybercriminals had targeted a global bank’s customers with phishing emails to break into their accounts. The victim could just as easily have been a global food company. The legal option—waiting for law enforcement to investigate and perhaps apprehend the hackers—would have taken too long. This is the underground practice of “hacking back,” where private companies and individuals retaliate against hackers to protect their own networks or data, often breaking laws in the process. Despite being something of an open secret in the information security world, examples of what exactly happens behind the scenes of these hacking campaigns rarely make their way into the public, stifling the debate on whether this practice should be the norm. READ MORE

Cleaner infected with malware: A computer program used to help your PC run faster has reportedly become the latest victim of hackers looking to breach the security of millions of its users. CCleaner, the computer-optimizing tool made by software company Piriform, was successfully infected by malware, according to security firm Cisco Talos. The malware reportedly tried to connect to unregistered websites in order to remotely download even more harmful programs to users’ computers. READ MORE


Parasitic sea life disrupt global salmon industry: Salmon have a lousy problem, and the race to solve it is spanning the globe. A surge of parasitic sea lice is disrupting salmon farms around the world. The tiny lice attach themselves to salmon and feed on them, killing or rendering them unsuitable for dinner tables. Meanwhile, wholesale prices of salmon are way up, as high as 50 percent last year. That means higher consumer prices for everything from salmon fillets and steaks to more expensive lox on bagels. READ MORE

It’s official. Irma was catastrophic: Florida’s agriculture commissioner said Monday that the path of Hurricane Irma “could not have been more lethal” to the state’s farmers and that the scope of damage to the state’s fruits and vegetables is unprecedented. Commissioner Adam Putnam said the citrus crop in southwest Florida is particularly devastated. The scope of the damage is more evident this week because the dropped fruit is starting to turn from green to orange, leaving piles of ruined juice oranges in the groves. He added that some groves are still underwater, which will likely kill the trees. READ MORE

FSMA and food fraud: For food fraud prevention, the Food Safety Modernization Act refers to “economically motivated adulteration,” with a broad focus covering all hazards that are economically motivated. FSMA does not require companies do anything to pass an audit — but it does hold companies accountable for any and all hazards. After a food fraud incident, illness or death, it would be logical for a government investigator to ask, “How did you determine this was NOT a ‘hazard that requires a preventive control?’” READ MORE

About those peanut labels: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced new labels for peanut-containing foods suitable for infants this week, noting that they may reduce the risk of developing an allergy. In a statement Thursday, Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said the agency would allow updated labels on some peanut-containing foods in light of a recent study, as well as National Institutes of Health recommendations released in January. Read more HERE and HERE.

Amazon’s Whole Foods purchase paying off: After listing thousands of Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value items on its website, Amazon sold out of 93 percent of the 100 most popular items and logged nearly $500,000 in sales within a one-week period, said Spencer Millerberg, CEO of market insights analyst One Click Retail. Amazon.com Inc.’s $13.7-billion purchase of Whole Foods is paying off in other ways, Bloomberg reports .READ MORE


Free testing for Texas water: Texans who own private water wells in areas flooded by Hurricane Harvey now can have their water tested for contamination — and they don’t have to pay a penny. This free testing is available through Texas A&M University’s AgriLife Extension Service with help from Virginia Tech and the Rural Community Assistance Program. READ MORE

Water concerns in Florida county: A week after Hurricane Irma made landfall in Collier County, the county is facing health concerns with its water. County officials have warned residents not to swim at its public beaches due to the possibility of contamination. From flood water and damage done by Irma, the county has also suggested boiling all water used for cooking, cleaning and personal use. READ MORE


Amazon guides users to ‘frequently bought together’ bomb ingredients: Amazon’s algorithm guides users to the necessary chemical combinations for producing explosives and incendiary devices. Ingredients that are innocent on their own are suggested for purchase together as “Frequently bought together” products. Ingredients for black powder and thermite, for example are grouped together under a “Frequently bought together” section on listings for specific chemicals. Steel ball bearings often used as shrapnel in explosive devices, ignition systems and remote detonators are also readily available; some promoted by the website on the same page as these chemicals as products that “Customers who bought this item also bought.” READ MORE