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Feds Wielded Baseball Bat to Win Yahoo's NSA Cooperation
September 12, 2014
The Obama administration threatened Yahoo with fines of $250,000 daily if it wouldn't comply with demands to hand over user information to the NSA, Yahoo has disclosed. Yahoo had filed suit against the demands in 2007, citing the Fourth Amendment. "They basically said you must do this thing that you don't want to do or we'll put you out of business," said ITIF's Daniel Castro.
If Google Were French
September 11, 2014
Europeans are relentlessly attacking Google: A German official called for its breakup, a French minister charged it was a threat to sovereignty, and a publisher compared it to a dragon, according to a report. Really? I would have thought the euro and the draconian austerity program needed to keep it functioning threatened sovereignty more than Google.
Millions of Gmail Users Victims of Latest Password Heist
September 11, 2014
About 5 million Gmail usernames and passwords have been published on a Russian bitcoin security forum as a text file. Sixty percent of the 4.93 million credentials in the file were valid, claimed the poster, who used the online handle "tvskit." The information reportedly was dumped on several Russian cybercrime forums and shared through a variety of peer-to-peer services.
IBM Enlists Intel to Shore Up Hybrid Cloud
September 10, 2014
Despite the growing momentum behind cloud computing in recent times, security concerns have been a drag on adoption. IBM sought to reduce that resistance by announcing on Monday that it would start using Intel chip technology to better secure its SoftLayer cloud platform. The Intel technology can be especially reassuring to enterprises running hybrid clouds.
Comcast Ad Tinkering Could Muck Up WiFi Security
September 10, 2014
Comcast has begun using JavaScript injection to serve ads for its services to devices connected to its publicly accessible Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the U.S. The ads are fleeting, but they can appear roughly every seven minutes. The program reportedly began months ago. "This practice is definitely concerning for multiple reasons," said the Electronic Freedom Foundation's Jeremy Gillula.
Couples Can't Keep Their Hands Off Each Other's Phones
September 08, 2014
Worried about the NSA spying on you? How about online hackers? Truth be told, the greatest threat to your confidential information is a lot closer to you -- namely, your partner. That's what a recent survey of more than 13,000 people in the United States revealed. Avast last week reported its findings. Among them: The majority of women snoop on their men's phones just because they're curious.
Celebrities Are Fools to Use Apple Products
September 08, 2014
"Celebrities are stupid" seems to be the message Apple delivered last week as it attempted to recover from the release of an impressive number of nude pictures of celebrities on the Web. Fans of BlackBerry, which used to be the preferred platform for celebrities, had a field day over this. Apple has the most loyal customer base, but without Jobs, it seems clear it has no clue how to protect it.
Apple's Cook Promises Feeble iCloud Security Upgrades
September 05, 2014
Apple is taking steps to improve security in the wake of the furor generated by hackers' posting nude photos of celebs on the Internet, CEO Tim Cook said. Apple will alert users via email and push notifications when someone tries to restore iCloud data to a new device. It already does this when someone tries to change an account password or when a device first logs in to an account.
Bad News Hounds Apple Days Before iPhone Gala
September 05, 2014
Apple has been forced to do some serious damage control when it no doubt would rather be rallying fans for its big iPhone launch next week. The company on Tuesday learned that a number of celebrity accounts on its iCloud service had been cracked and some embarrassing photos posted. Then two activist groups on Thursday released a report critical of work conditions at an Apple supplier in China.
Victimized Celebs Blamed for Their Indecent Exposure
September 02, 2014
Apple on Tuesday issued a statement blaming the posting online of more than 100 celebrities' photos in various stages of dishabille on a highly targeted hack attack to gain access to their usernames, passwords and answers to security questions. None of the cases investigated resulted from any breach in the company's systems, including iCloud or Find my iPhone, Apple maintained.
Hacker Attacks on Healthcare Providers Jump 600 Percent
August 28, 2014
The recent data breach at Community Health Systems, in which Chinese hackers stole the personal information of 4.3 million patients, was another sign of a disturbing trend: Healthcare providers are coming under cyberattack at an alarming rate. "We've seen a 600 percent increase in attacks on the healthcare sector in the last 10 months," said Carl Leonard, senior manager at Websense Security Labs.
NSA Shares Its Data Wealth
August 26, 2014
The United States National Security Agency secretly shares the communications data it has amassed over the years with nearly 24 U.S. government agencies using a search engine resembling Google Search, according to documents released by Edward Snowden. That's more than 850 billion records of phone calls, emails, cellphone locations and Internet chats.
Security Researchers Lay Bare TSA Body Scanner Flaws
August 22, 2014
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration, part of the Department of Homeland Security, has spent more than a billion dollars on full-body scanners designed to strengthen airport security. It turns out that at least one model of scanner in use for four years -- the Rapiscan Secure 1000 full-body scanner -- easily could have been foiled by a savvy bad actor.
Is Open Source an Open Invitation to Hack Webmail Encryption?
August 21, 2014
In a move influenced by Edward Snowden's revelations about the NSA's email snooping, Yahoo and Google last week announced that they were cooperating on end-to-end encrypting their webmail products. While the open source approach has proven its value over and over again, the idea of opening up the code for security features to anyone with eyeballs still creates anxiety in some circles.
Freedom Act Leaves IT Sector at Risk for Spy Program Costs
August 14, 2014
A recent U.S. Senate proposal to curb the impact of electronic surveillance conducted by the NSA could enhance privacy for citizens and benefit businesses as well. However, major information technology companies that help the government collect telecom and Internet data still will be vulnerable to the substantial costs of working with the NSA, even if the proposed bill becomes law.
Snowden Blows NSA's MonsterMind
August 13, 2014
The NSA is working on a new program codenamed "MonsterMind" that will automate the monitoring of traffic patterns on the Internet to look for attacks, whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed. When it detects an attack, MonsterMind will automatically block it from entering the U.S. cyberinfrastructure. It also will automatically fire back at the server from which the attack was launched.
Yahoo, Google Team Up to Fight Email Snoops
August 13, 2014
Yahoo and Google last week announced they'd be teaming up to secure their Web mail systems with encryption by the end of next year. "Our goal is to make end-to-end encryption fully available in 2015," said Yahoo Vice President of Information Security Alex Stamos. Yahoo will be releasing the code for its encryption solution to the open source community.
Russian Gang's Credentials Theft Exposes Web's Wild, Wild West Side
August 12, 2014
News that a Russian gang has stockpiled more than a billion purloined user name and password combinations has revved up the Internet's reputation as a post industrial Wild, Wild West. Just how much havoc will be raised by the gang remains to be seen. The data thieves so far appear content to use their ill-gotten trove for spamming, according to Hold Security, which discovered the credential cache.
Wikimedia Blasts Europe's 'Right to Be Forgotten'
August 06, 2014
The Wikimedia Foundation has released its first-ever transparency report -- and along with it a protest against Europe's "right to be forgotten" law. Wikimedia is the nonprofit owner of Wikipedia and other sites. "Denying people access to relevant and neutral information runs counter to the ethos and values of the Wikimedia movement," wrote Wikimedia attorneys Geoff Brigham and Michelle Paulson.
Cops Snag Child Pornography Suspect, Thanks to Gmail Scan
August 04, 2014
A routine scan of a Texas man's Gmail by Google has led to his arrest on child pornography possession and promotion charges. John Henry Skillern, 41, of Houston was arrested by police July 30 following a tip by Google to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He has been charged with one count each of child pornography possession and child pornography promotion.
Federal Judge Unswayed by Microsoft's Objections to Data Demands
August 04, 2014
Microsoft's objections to a court order requiring it to turn over a customer's emails held on a server in Ireland have been rejected. Judge Loretta Preska of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York last week issued an oral ruling in the case, reportedly saying the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1996 authorizes such extraterritorial collections of data.
Tor Has Been Breached - What Now?
August 01, 2014
News that two Carnegie-Mellon CERT researchers have developed an inexpensive way to breach the Tor network has the project, privacy advocates, and probably criminals who use the network equally concerned. The Tor Project posted has advised relays to upgrade to Tor 0.2.r.23e or 0.2.5.6-alpha to close the protocol vulnerability used by the researchers.
Facebook Staring at Fresh Privacy Class Action
August 01, 2014
Facebook is set for another legal battle over privacy, with a fresh class-action lawsuit fired up against the company. The legal action is the brainchild of Austrian law student Max Schrems, a noted campaigner against Facebook's treatment of user privacy. Schrems called on adult Facebook users around the world to join his suit after he filed a complaint in Vienna's commercial court.
Russia Cites Surveillance Concerns in Apple, SAP Source Code Demands
July 31, 2014
Russia wants Apple and SAP to turn over their source code in yet another instance of fallout resulting from leaks about NSA surveillance activities. The suggestion reportedly came last week, when Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov met with executives of the two companies: Peter Nielsen, Apple's general manager in Russia; and Vyacheslav Orekhov, SAP's managing director in Russia.

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