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The Bitcoins Are Coming, the Bitcoins Are Coming
August 13, 2014
The United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued an advisory warning consumers about the risks of bitcoin and other virtual currencies. The bureau "is working to identify and understand potential consumer protection concerns raised by these emerging technologies to determine what action, if any, may be necessary to protect consumers," said spokesperson Moira Vahey.
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.
Smartphone Kill Switch Law Reaches California Governor's Desk
August 12, 2014
California is poised to enact a consumer-friendly law requiring smartphone manufacturers to install "kill switches" -- that is, antitheft technology that would be activated by the carrier when a consumer alerts it that a device has been stolen or lost. The technology not only wipes the device of personal data but also renders it inoperable. The state legislature passed the bill on Monday.
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.
Nvidia's Tegra K1 Stars in New Acer Chromebook
August 12, 2014
Acer America has rolled out a new Chromebook contender featuring a 13.3-inch display and an Nvidia Tegra K1 mobile processor. With a battery life of up to 13 hours, along with a light, fanless design, the Acer Chromebook 13 is available with a full HD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 2 GB of memory and a 16-GB solid state drive for $299.99; or 1366 x 768, with similar specs, for $279.99.
Desk.com Support: Video Is the New Manual
August 11, 2014
Salesforce.com has debuted a new feature for its Salesforce Desk.com Support Center: video support for knowledge-based self-service offerings. Desk.com Video Support Center allows users to embed video content from any of the major video platforms in their online customer service offerings. There is also analytics support that allows companies to assess which videos are working well.
Feds Struggle to Corral Data
August 11, 2014
U.S. government agencies are struggling to manage the huge amount of data they generate or process, despite the goals of a program designed to operate thousands of data centers more efficiently. The idea behind the FDCCI was to save space, energy and IT costs by consolidating woefully underutilized electronic data storage centers into fewer sites and servers.
Taking the Temperature of Java App Security
August 11, 2014
Current approaches to Java application protection place security at the application or the network layer, both of which are problematic. The first approach has proven to be too complex, too time consuming and too risky -- in other words, "too hot." Meanwhile, network level security that consists of perimeter devices lacks the intelligence to know what's going on inside the application.
Joining Forces to Harness the Internet of Things
August 08, 2014
A rising tide of interest has sparked a series of competitive moves among the widening array of software and technology providers vying for a share of the rapidly expanding IoT market. As with previous major IT industry trends, the enormous promise of the IoT has driven a growing number of large and small players to rebrand and reposition their product and service offerings.
Cyberspies Help Themselves to DHS Contractor's Data
August 08, 2014
USIS, the contractor that did the background checks on Washington Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis and NSA leaker Edward Snowden, on Thursday reported that its computer systems have been breached. "Our internal IT security team recently identified an apparent external cyberattack on USIS' corporate network," said US Investigation Services in a statement.
Russian Cybergang Stockpiles 1.2B Unique Stolen Credentials
August 07, 2014
A Russian cybercriminal gang so far has stolen 4.5 billion credentials, of which 1.2 billion appear to be unique, Hold Security has announced. The credentials belong to more than 500 million email addresses. Two reports released Tuesday may help explain why the cybergang was so successful. About 92 percent of the 800 top consumer websites evaluated failed the OTA's 2014 Email Integrity Audit.
A Fresh Look at OpenStack
August 06, 2014
The OpenStack project continues to be something of a lightning rod and also something of a dichotomy in the industry. On one hand, it has drawn the involvement of hundreds of supporting vendors and more than 17,000 individual members. It ranks highly among priorities, particularly for private clouds. Yet critics are quick to point out issues, such as installation and implementation difficulties.
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.
DoT May Rule Out In-Flight Cellphone Talking
August 06, 2014
The U.S. Department of Transportation is drafting a notice of proposed rulemaking that could restrict consumers' ability to talk on their cellphones during airplane flights. The DoT earlier this year issued an invitation for comment as to whether it should adopt a rule to restrict voice communications on passengers' mobile wireless devices on scheduled flights within, to and from the U.S.
Qstream Runs Broader and Deeper
August 05, 2014
Qstream, which has developed a gamification-based app to help sales reps learn complex sales-related content, has broadened and deepened its functionality so the platform can be used in new scenarios. It has expanded the types of situations in which a company can use its Qstream license, said CEO Duncan Lennox, because it has proven to be wildly popular with companies beset by a common problem.
Apple's Big Blue Dilemma
August 05, 2014
Apple reportedly is gearing up to do what it does best -- introduce a new gadget or two. Word is the company will hold a spellbinding iPhone event come Sept. 9. With the dust not quite settled over Apple's recently announced liaison with IBM, it will be interesting to see whether there are any new corporate nuances in the upcoming presentation. Will Apple maintain its strong consumer focus?
Retailers Harassed by Backoff Malware
August 05, 2014
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security last week sounded an alarm warning retailers of a family of malicious programs aimed at compromising point-of-sale systems. Attackers used such software last year in massive data breaches that nicked millions of consumer records at Target and Nieman Marcus. Variants of the Backoff family have turned up in at least three forensic investigations.
Accelerating Hadoop's Big Data Momentum
August 05, 2014
The concept of "collaboration" has become such a messaging mainstay that it often verges on cliché. So, does the recently announced Pivotal and Hortonworks plan to improve Hadoop operations by collaborating on Apache Ambari qualify as anything new or special? In fact, it does. Hadoop has struggled to develop the practical features enterprises demand for dependable management and performance.
Microsoft May Put an Attractive Price Tag on Win 9: Free
August 04, 2014
The "free Windows 9" rumor once again is making the rounds. The buzz over Microsoft's supposed plan to offer users of Windows XP, Win 7, Win Vista and Win 8 a free upgrade to Windows 9, which began in June, has been amplified -- once again, by unnamed sources. The second Windows 8.1 update will be delivered Aug. 12, which is Patch Tuesday, but it's expected to be a low-key offering.
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.
Federal Cloud Adoption Blossoms
August 04, 2014
The U.S. government's foray into cloud computing could hardly be called "mature," but it appears to be moving from infancy to something akin to pre-teen status. Agencies increasingly are embracing the cloud, and the pace of acquisition reflects more comfort with the solution. Several recently launched initiatives affect federal agencies and technology vendors in the cloud acquisition process.
When It Comes to Technology, Humans Are Idiots
August 04, 2014
There are a lot of things going on at the moment. Israel is tactically defending itself against Hamas -- winning the battles but losing the war, because the Israeli government can't see the big picture. The U.S. is still blaming Snowden for leaks, even though Russia clearly is able to pull damaging information pretty much anytime it wants without Snowden's help.

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