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The Emperor Is Naked and We're All Idiots
July 20, 2015
An old fable keeps running through my mind about the scam artist who convinced an emperor that he had created clothing only smart people could see. Everyone says they see the clothing because they don't want to look stupid. Walking around in clothing stupid people can't see doesn't sound enticing anyway, but lately it has seemed clear to me that the folks reporting the news think we are idiots.
Swipes, Taps and Cursor Movements Can Foil Cyberthieves
July 16, 2015
Swipes, taps, cursor movements and other ways of interacting with electronic devices can be used to protect online merchants from Net fraudsters. Many people are familiar with biometric authenticators like irises, fingerprints and voices, but it turns out that how we behave with our machines, including typing speed and the use of keyboard shortcuts, can authenticate our identities, too.
Feds Deliver Darkode's Doomsday
July 16, 2015
United States law enforcement agencies and their counterparts in 19 countries on Wednesday announced they had dismantled the Darkode hackers' forum. Charges, arrests and searches were launched against 70 Darkode members and associates around the world, and 12 people associated with the forum were indicted in the U.S. The agencies also served several search warrants in the U.S.
NYSE, United Shutdowns Spark Cyberattack Rumors
July 9, 2015
The New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday halted all transactions for three hours, due to what it maintained was a technical glitch. Trading continued on the other exchanges belonging to its owner, holding company Intercontinental Exchange. "The markets did not plummet with the shutdown," said Jim Wright, chief investment officer at Harvest Financial Partners.
Security Pros Shine Light on Shadowy Cyberspy Ring
July 8, 2015
A highly sophisticated group of hackers who use cutting-edge techniques to shield their attacks from detection has been bedeviling corporations around the world for several years. The group, which Symantec dubbed "Morpho" and Kaspersky Lab calls "Wild Neutron," has hit multibillion-dollar corporations in the Internet, software, pharmaceutical and commodities sectors in at least 11 countries.
Is Isolating the Internet Key to Bulletproof Security?
July 7, 2015
With so many cybersecurity pros drowning in an ever-rising tide of hack attacks on their computer systems, an emerging approach to defending those systems may be the life preserver they've been looking for. The approach doesn't involve beefing up perimeter defenses, carefully scrutinizing network traffic, or applying analytics to employee behavior.
Hacking Team's Dingy Laundry Hung Out Online
July 6, 2015
Fireworks of a different kind rocked the security world this Fourth of July weekend, when news surfaced that hackers breached Hacking Team, an Italy-based firm that develops malware for governments and law enforcement. The attackers reportedly exposed 400 GB of data stolen from its servers. "It appears [Hacking Team] were compromised through social engineering, said Bugcrowd's Jonathan Cran.
FBI Hunts SF Bay Area Fiber-Optic Cable Cutters
July 2, 2015
The FBI for the past year has been on the hunt for people slashing fiber-optic cables throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. The FBI called for the public's assistance in June, after 10 attacks had taken place. The 11th occurred on Tuesday, when someone severed cables used by Wave Broadband. "We have been in consultation with the FBI," said Wave Broadband spokesperson Mark Petersen.
The Encryption Software Scuffle
June 29, 2015
In the face of encryption that could block brute force attempts for years, law enforcement agencies at every level have been calling for keys that allow investigators to crack open smartphones and court cases alike. Some of the world's leading tech companies and privacy advocates have called for the White House to stand against any proposal to weaken the security software on consumer products.
Samsung Jams Up Windows Security Updates
June 25, 2015
Samsung has been disabling Windows updates by means of an executable file, Disable_Winduwsupdate.exe, that is part of its SW Update software. The issue came to light on Tuesday, when Microsoft MVP Patrick Barker published a blog post about his discovery when helping a user who was having problems. It seemed that Windows Update kept getting disabled.
Will LastPass Breach Poison Trust in Password Managers?
June 25, 2015
A data breach is no picnic for any organization, but for a company that makes its potato salad by protecting other people's passwords, it's the mother of all nightmares. Yet, that has happened to LastPass twice. In 2011, the service found anomalies in its network traffic that forced it to reset all its users' master passwords. Recently, it came under attack again.
US, Brit Spooks Bedevil Security Software
June 24, 2015
The United States' National Security Agency and the UK's Government Communications Headquarters reportedly have been attacking antivirus and other security software since at least 2008. The aim is to infiltrate networks and track users. The agencies apparently have reverse-engineered security and antivirus software, sometimes under dubious legal authority.
Routers Becoming Juicy Targets for Hackers
June 18, 2015
Most consumers pay as much attention to routers as they do to doorknobs. That's not the case with Net marauders. They're finding the devices ripe targets for mischief. "We've seen a big increase in malware designed for home routers," said Incapsula researcher Ofer Gayer. "Every week, we see a new vulnerability in a vendor's routers," he said. "They're low-hanging fruit if you're a hacker."
San Jose to Dabble With Smart City Tech
June 16, 2015
The city of San Jose, California, recently decided to undertake an Internet of Things pilot project. Under a deal finalized last month, anyCOMM, will deploy WiFi sensors on 166 streetlights, to collect data on traffic, sense movement on the streets, turn off streetlights when sidewalks and roads are empty, detect ground shifts and send earthquake warnings, and act as WiFi hotspots.
Duqu 2.0 Makes Other Malware Look Clunky
June 12, 2015
Duqu 2.0 may have just snatched the title of "most sophisticated malware ever," according to Kaspersky Lab, which published a report on the new threat this week. Kaspersky discovered Duqu 2.0 after the malware penetrated its own internal networks. "The philosophy and way of thinking of the Duqu 2.0 group is a generation ahead of anything seen in the APT world," said Kaspersky's Kurt Baumgartner.
Patch Tuesday Sunset Will Be a Mixed Bag for Windows Security
June 11, 2015
Microsoft will phase out Patch Tuesday -- its monthly potpourri of software product fixes -- when it rolls out Windows 10, which could be a mixed bag for the operating system's security. Patches will be applied automatically as they're ready. That means users no longer will have to wait until the second Tuesday in the month to secure their systems from potentially troublesome vulnerabilities.
US Snooping Costs High-Tech Sector $35B and Counting
June 10, 2015
Other countries' concerns over U.S. government surveillance programs likely will cost American businesses more than $35 billion, according to a report released Tuesday by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. Originally it was thought that the fallout from Edward Snowden's revelations of U.S. mass surveillance programs would be limited to cloud service providers.
US CIO Orders Federal Websites to Get More Secure
June 10, 2015
U.S. federal CIO Tony Scott on Monday sent a memo to the heads of executive departments and agencies requiring that all publicly accessible federal websites and Web services use HTTPS -- "the strongest privacy and integrity protection currently available for public Web connections." Some federal websites currently use HTTPS, but there has not been a consistent policy across the federal government.
OPM Security Was a Data Breach Waiting to Happen
June 9, 2015
Things could get worse before they get better as the FBI, US-CERT and Office of Personnel Management investigate a data breach that may have compromised the personal information of some 4 million current and past federal employees. Additional exposures of personal identifying information could be discovered, officials have warned. The OPM made the breach public last week.
BitTorrent's Bleep Hides Messages From Prying Eyes
June 4, 2015
BitTorrent's Bleep, a secure peer-to-peer messaging service, last month reached the end of its third trimester in alpha testing, and an official version became available for iOS, Android, OS X and PC. The official release is the first to reach iOS. Bleep's Whisper feature enables ephemeral messaging, along with the service's cloudless, end-to-end encrypted calling function.
Google's Android Permissions Get Granular
June 4, 2015
Google appears to be heeding warnings of security experts who say Android users need better control over what apps do with information from their phones. At I/O, its worldwide shindig for developers held last week, the company announced that the next version of its mobile operating system, Android M, would take a more granular approach to permissions for data requested by apps.
Google Creates One-Stop Privacy and Security Shop
June 2, 2015
Google has rolled out "My Account," a hub that lets users manage their Google settings, along with a new site that answers questions about its privacy and security practices. In addition to letting users manage their password and account-access settings, My Account allows them to review their security settings and activity. My Account also lets users manage personal information about themselves.
Feds' Photobucket Strategy Could Hobble White Hats
June 2, 2015
There's a new twist in the way feds are seeking to penalize bad actors for making and distributing software used in crimes, suggest recent arrests by Justice Department and FBI officials. "There's a more concerted campaign to go after go after those folks who are distributing in the underground," said Tom Kellermann, chief cybersecurity officer at Trend Micro.
Senate Ready to Rumble Over Freedom Act Amendments
June 2, 2015
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted to close debate on the USA Freedom Act, a measure that would prohibit the NSA from the indiscriminate collection Americans' phone call data. The bill already has passed in the House. However, the brawling over the bill is not quite over. The Senate has yet to address several proposed amendments to the legislation before voting on it later on Tuesday.

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Yes -- I have some smart things, and I want more.
Yes -- I'm looking forward to all the conveniences.
Not sure -- I have security and privacy concerns.
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