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Potential for Abuse Stalls Cellphone Kill Switch Debate
November 26, 2013
Law enforcement officials and mobile phone makers last week knocked heads with wireless carriers over planting "kill switches" in smartphones. Led by San Francisco's DA and New York's AG, law enforcement wants smartphones to contain firmware that allows a consumer to "brick" a mobile that's lost or stolen. The largest mobile phone maker in the world, Samsung, is on board with the program.
Debit Card Brings Google Wallet Offline
November 21, 2013
Google on Wednesday introduced the Google Wallet Card, a debit card that gives people instant access to the funds they have stored in Google Wallet. The card works like a traditional debit card, so users can swipe it to pay at a restaurant or store, for instance, or use it to get money from an ATM. It offers a few advantages over traditional debit cards -- most notably, the absence of any fees.
US Carriers Nix Samsung's Smartphone Kill Switch
November 20, 2013
U.S. wireless carriers have rejected Samsung's proposal to preload theft deterrent software on its phones, said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón. Samsung wanted to preload Lojack for Android, which could brick phones and thus eliminate their value in the secondary market, "but only if it was made standard on all devices," Gascón continued.
Yahoo to Tie Up Data With Neat Encryption Bow
November 19, 2013
Yahoo said it will extend 2048-bit encryption planned for Yahoo Mail across its entire network. CEO Marissa Mayer reiterated that the company "has never given access to our data centers to the NSA or to any other government agency." However, documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden indicate the NSA reimbursed Yahoo for costs incurred to meet the demands of its Prism surveillance program.
KitKat Raises Android Security Bar
November 11, 2013
Google's mobile operating system Android has been a whipping boy for some segments of the security community, but the latest version of the software may begin to rehabilitate its reputation. Android 4.4, or KitKat, contains a number of new and improved features that are garnering the praise of malware fighters -- especially improved implementation of SELinux.
IE Gets Top Props for Thwarting Socially Engineered Malware
November 04, 2013
By duping an Internet innocent into making just one errant click, an online bandit can inflict a world of hurt. Socially engineered malware attacks attempt to deceive a user into downloading malicious software, typically through a link to an infected website. The best protections against those attacks are built into Microsoft's Internet Explorer, according to NSS Labs.
Adobe Hack Victim Count Skyrockets to 38M
October 31, 2013
After initially estimating that a mere 3 million customers had been affected by the security breach it announced at the start of October, Adobe on Wednesday admitted that the actual number now looks to be closer to an eye-popping 38 million. In addition, the breach seems to be more far-reaching than initially thought, extending to the Photoshop family of products as well.
'Paunch' Arrest Puts Blackhole Hackers on Data Diet
October 14, 2013
When Russian authorities nabbed the alleged master hacker behind the Blackhole malware kit last week, they sent a shockwave through the digital underground. As soon as news spread that Blackhole's author, known as "Paunch," and his partners had been arrested, the malware apparently began to suffer. Blackhole, typically updated once or twice a day, wasn't updated for four days.
Microsoft Pays First-Ever $100K Bounty for Windows Bug
October 09, 2013
Microsoft on Tuesday forked out what might be the biggest payment to a bug hunter yet: $100,000. The money went to James Forshaw, head of vulnerability research at Context Information Security, for coming up with a new exploitation technique that affects Windows 8.1 Preview. Microsoft did not disclose details of the mitigation bypass technique Forshaw discovered, and won't do so until it is addressed.
PayPal Digs Deeper Into the Bricks-and-Mortar World
October 09, 2013
PayPal on Tuesday announced Payment Code, a new tool that allows customers to pay for in-store purchases by simply presenting a QR code or four-digit number at the cash register. Similar in some ways to PayPal Beacon, which the company rolled out last month, Payment Code is intended both to simplify payment and to add a new layer of protection for consumers.
KeyCue, Secret Spy Folder Fight the Good Fight
October 08, 2013
Keyboard shortcuts can be a way to accelerate productivity, but their number can be overwhelming. The average OS X app alone has from 40 to 80 menu shortcuts. That's a lot of memorization for one program, let alone the multitude of programs an average user runs on a Mac. Wouldn't it be nice if, with a single key press, all the shortcuts for a program would pop up on your screen?
Hackers Purloin 2.9M Adobe Customers' Data
October 04, 2013
Adobe on Thursday announced what has become depressingly familiar news to consumers and security experts: It has been hacked, and on a large scale. "Very recently, Adobe's security team discovered sophisticated attacks on our network, involving the illegal access of customer information as well as source code for numerous Adobe products," said Brad Arkin, the company's chief security officer.
Twitter Alerts: One Emergency System to Aggregate Them All?
September 26, 2013
Twitter on Wednesday launched Twitter Alerts, a new emergency notification service. The feature "brings us one step closer to helping users get important and accurate information from credible organizations during emergencies, natural disasters or moments when other communications services aren't accessible," explained Gaby Peña, a product manager with the company.
Facebook Adds Autofill to Ease In-App Purchase Pain
September 25, 2013
Facebook this week began testing a new feature dubbed "Autofill with Facebook" that aims to simplify mobile purchases by filling in customers' credit card information for them. "Autofill with Facebook gives people the option to use their payment information already stored on Facebook to populate the payment form when they make a purchase in a mobile app," explained Facebook spokesperson Tera Randall.
LinkedIn Plays Defense in Email Hacking Class Action
September 24, 2013
LinkedIn has responded to claims in a class action lawsuit filed against it, maintaining that it does not break into users' email accounts and insisting that it asks for permission before using information from anyone's email accounts. Four LinkedIn users filed the suit, claiming it had appropriated their identities to send promotional emails to non-users.
Heavy Attacks Expected as Microsoft Scrambles to Fix IE Flaw
September 18, 2013
Microsoft revealed Tuesday it was investigating a previously unknown security flaw affecting all versions of its IE Web browser. Hackers have attempted to exploit the vulnerability in targeted attacks on users of versions 8 and 9, it reported in a security advisory. "The vulnerability may corrupt memory in a way that could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code," the advisory says.
Web App Firewalls Blunt Attacks
September 16, 2013
Web applications have become attractive targets for hackers because they allow bad actors to maximize the reach of their mischief with a minimum of effort. That's what originally attracted the Internet underworld to programs like Windows and Adobe Acrobat, and it's what continues to attract them to Java. A vulnerability in one of those programs can be exploited in millions of machines.
New iPhone Could Kick Biometrics Into High Gear
September 11, 2013
Perhaps the most exciting part of Apple's new iPhone launch is the realization of the long-rumored "Touch ID," the digital digit sensor technology featured in Apple's iPhone 5s. The premium model will sell for $199 with 16 GB of storage and a two-year service contract with wireless carriers in the United States. Touch ID can be used as a substitute for the pass code used to access a handset.
NSA Breaks Data Encryption, Tech Firms Break Trust
September 07, 2013
News that the U.S. National Security Agency has worked steadily for at least the past decade to systematically undermine security has sparked an uproar on the Internet. The agency -- whose motto is "Defending Our Nation. Securing the Future" -- reportedly has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption used to protect consumer data and communications.
Nymi Wristband Offers Device Security in a Heartbeat
September 04, 2013
Bionym on Tuesday unveiled the Nymi, a wristband designed to replace the need for passwords and locks by using individuals' unique heartbeats to authenticate a range of devices. To activate the Nymi, a user simply touches an embedded biosensor sitting atop the thin wristband. The touch generates the user's unique ECG for authentication. The Nymi then transmits that data to a registered device.

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