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John Oliver Tackles Surveillance in Surprise Snowden Scoop
April 6, 2015
Comedy talk show host John Oliver boldly went where few journalists from the mainstream media have dared to tread, grilling whistle-blower Edward Snowden about his leaking of thousands of NSA documents to the press. He raked Snowden over the coals for not having read every one of the documents, insisting there's a difference between understanding what's in documents and reading them.
Obama Draws Cyber Line in Sand
April 2, 2015
President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed an executive order that gives the Secretary of Treasury the authority to impose sanctions on entities found responsible for or complicit in carrying out a cyberattack harmful to U.S. interests. The Secretary of Treasury will have to consult with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General before enacting the powers granted under the order.
Proposed Amendments to US Cybersecurity Laws Under Scrutiny
March 31, 2015
The White House in January proposed updates to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act that have stirred controversy within the cybersecurity industry. "If the proposed legislation were to be enacted, it would certainly have a chilling effect on cybersecurity research," said Chris Doggett, managing director at Kaspersky Lab North America.
GitHub Defenses Hold in 4-Days-and-Counting Battle
March 30, 2015
After battling a DDoS attack for four days, GitHub has restored normal service levels. The primary target of the assault is GreatFire.org, which is hosted on GitHub. GreatFire has attracted the ire of the Chinese government for offering anticensorship tools. "Very clearly, the Cyberspace Administration of China is behind both of the recent DDoS attacks," said GreatFire Co-founder Charles Smith.
Compliance Mindset Can Lead to Epic Security Fail
March 30, 2015
The recent data breach at Premera Blue Cross -- in which the personal information of some 11 million customers was compromised -- raises questions about how effective government regulators are at ensuring that healthcare providers adequately protect their patients' data. There have been abundant warnings that compliance with government regulations alone would not be adequate.
CAPTCHAs May Do More Harm Than Good
March 26, 2015
If an annoyance contest were held between passwords and CAPTCHAs, passwords would probably win, but not by much. CAPTCHA -- Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart -- was created to foil bots attempting to mass-create accounts at websites. Once created, those accounts could be exploited by online lowlifes for malicious ends, such as spewing spam.
How Secure Is the Apple Watch?
March 19, 2015
Apple typically has impeccable timing for its new product introductions, but that may not be the case with its new smartwatch. In a gala event last week, the company announced model and pricing details -- but that came just six days after questions were raised about the security of Apple Pay. Those questions haven't gone away, and now they're also being asked about the Apple Watch.
Windows Hello Waves Off Passwords
March 18, 2015
Microsoft on Tuesday announced Windows Hello, a feature that allows users to access computers and devices running Windows 10 via face recognition, iris identification or fingerprint matching. In addition, the company raised the curtain on Microsoft Passport, a programming system that IT managers, software developers and website authors can use for signing in to websites and applications.
BlackBerry, IBM, Samsung Come Together on High-Price, High-Security Tablet
March 17, 2015
BlackBerry subsidiary Secusmart on Monday introduced the SecuTablet, a high-security tablet based on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5, at the CeBIT 2015 trade show in Dusseldorf, Germany. Developed in collaboration with IBM, the tablet targets national and international public sector markets and enterprises. IBM provided the secure app wrapping technology.
No Need to Waste Brain Space on Yahoo Passwords
March 16, 2015
The way to permanently cure someone's headache is to cut off their head, and that appears to be the principle Yahoo has adopted with a new security policy announced Sunday. Users of Yahoo Mail no longer have to rack their brains to remember passwords, said Chris Stoner, director of product management. Instead, they can opt for on-demand passwords after signing in to their Yahoo.com account.
Apple's Researchkit Could Be Gold Mine for Hackers
March 13, 2015
Apple earlier this week announced ResearchKit, an open source framework that will let medical and health researchers gather data through iPhone apps. ResearchKit will be released in April. Apps to monitor asthma patients and for studies on breast cancer survivors, cardiovascular health and Parkinson's Disease, already have been developed using ResearchKit.
The CIA Has Been Hacking iOS for Years: Report
March 12, 2015
The CIA for years has been working to break iOS security, according to a report published Tuesday. The allegations are based on documents provided by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Researchers working with the CIA have presented their tactics and achievements at Trusted Computing Base Jamborees, secret annual gatherings that have been going on for nearly a decade.
Security Experts Rap Clinton's Email Practices
March 11, 2015
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in hot water over her use of a private email server to handle emails for official business. The practice was very risky cybersecurity behavior for everyone involved, critics have alleged. In taking her mail outside the State Department's systems, Clinton appears to have turned up her nose at the agency's rules.
Schumer to FAA: Straighten Up Cybersecurity and Fly Right
March 10, 2015
The United States Federal Aviation Administration should implement cybersecurity upgrades recommended by the U.S. Government Accountability Office immediately, or risk hackers taking over its computer systems, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., has warned. The GAO last week released a report that found significant security control weaknesses in the FAA's computer systems.
Windows Caught in Path of FREAK Security Storm
March 6, 2015
Microsoft on Thursday issued a security advisory acknowledging a vulnerability in all versions of Windows that could allow FREAK exploits. Windows systems previously were thought to be immune to FREAK attacks. "The vulnerability could allow an attacker to force the downgrading of the cipher suites used in an SSL/TLS connection on a Windows client system," the advisory reads.
Bracing for the Cyberthreat Deluge
March 6, 2015
Almost 17,000 malware alerts surface every week, the Ponemon Institute recently found. Only 4 percent of alerts were investigated, and traditional antivirus products missed nearly 70 percent of malware in the first hour, researchers discovered in a recent Damballa study. Rescanning led to identification of 66 percent of the malware in 24 hours and 72 percent after seven days.
China's Cybersecurity Plans Draw US Fire
March 5, 2015
China should change its tune on new rules for purchases from American high-tech companies if it wants to do business with the United States, President Obama recently warned. China reportedly is planning to ask U.S. high-tech firms to hand over their encryption keys and install security backdoors in their systems to allow surveillance as a counterterrorism measure.
Monster Problem Threatens New US Cyberthreat Plan
March 3, 2015
President Barack Obama last week made good on his promise to establish a center for cybersecurity information gathered by agencies of the federal government. It's a laudable initiative -- if it works. The Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center will connect the dots regarding malicious foreign cyberthreats to the nation and cyberincidents affecting U.S. national interests.
Government Spies Came Up Dry, Says Gemalto
February 26, 2015
SIM card maker Gemalto, whose networks reportedly were breached by hackers from the United States National Security Agency and the UK's GCHQ, on Wednesday said the spies got nothing. The hackers stole cryptokeys for millions of SIM cards, according to The Intercept, which cited documents released by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Gemalto denied any SIM cryptokeys had been stolen.
Malicious Emailers Find Healthcare Firms Juicy Prey
February 26, 2015
Healthcare providers have garnered growing interest from hackers in recent months. More evidence of that trend appeared last week in a report on email trust. An email that appeared to come from a healthcare company was four times more likely to be fraudulent than an email purportedly from a social media company like Facebook, one of the largest creators of email on the Internet, Agari found.
Yahoo CISO, NSA Chief Slug It Out Over Security Backdoors
February 25, 2015
Yahoo CISO Alex Stamos on Monday confronted NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers over the United States government's plan to require built-in backdoors in hardware and software made by American companies. The exchange took place at the New America Foundation's cybersecurity conference. Building backdoors into cryptography is "like drilling a hole in the windshield," Stamos said.
FTC, Private Sector Lock Horns Over Consumer Data Protection
February 25, 2015
The major headline hacking event of 2014 involved data theft at a highly visible enterprise: Sony Pictures. Perhaps just as significant in e-commerce security was a 2014 federal court ruling which allows the FTC to continue penalizing commercial firms for failure to protect consumer data from hackers. That decision has been challenged, and in early March the FTC and its opponent will square off in court.
Citizenfour's Oscar Highlights National Divide Over Snowden
February 24, 2015
Citizenfour, a film documenting interviews director Laura Poitras conducted with whistle-blower Edward Snowden, won the Oscar for best documentary Sunday. The talks took place as Snowden blew the lid off the United States National Security Agency's surveillance activities. The award highlights the divisions in the U.S. over Snowden's actions and the question of national security.
Government Spies Steal SIM Card Cryptokeys
February 23, 2015
The United States' National Security Agency and British spy agency GCHQ have hacked into the internal computer network of Gemalto, the world's largest maker of SIM cards, and stolen the cards' encryption keys, according to information in files leaked by whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Gemalto makes about 2 billion SIM cards a year, and sells them to 450 major wireless network carriers worldwide.

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