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Study: Chinese Hackers Are Savvy, Surgical
August 13, 2015
A clandestine group of sophisticated Chinese hackers have infected scores of sites on the Web and stolen documents from industrial and government organizations with surgical precision, according to a Dell SecureWorks study released last week. Dubbed "Threat Group 3390," the cybergang has used infected websites of some 100 organizations across the globe.
Feds Break Up Hacker-Powered Insider Trading Ring
August 12, 2015
In two indictments unsealed by the U.S. Department of Justice in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Newark, N.J., nine people were charged in federal court with carrying out an international scheme to hack into three business newswires, steal yet-to-be published press releases, and use them to make trades that generated approximately $30 million in illegal profits.
Chinese Hackers May Have Burrowed Into Airlines
August 11, 2015
The China-based hacking team that has been infiltrating U.S. government and business computer systems appears to be behind two newly discovered attacks -- this time on travel reservation processor Sabre and American Airlines. Sabre confirmed that its systems -- which contain sensitive records on as many as a billion travelers -- recently were breached. American Airlines is investigating.
Google on Universal Right to Be Forgotten: Fuhgeddaboudit
August 7, 2015
Google last week asked French regulators to withdraw a demand to universally delist from search results links to information about French citizens who wish to be forgotten on the Internet. Any European can ask to have certain links about them removed from search results that appear in Europe, and Google will grant those requests if they meet specific criteria.
US House Opens Up to Open Source
July 31, 2015
Providers of open source software recently found another market: the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. That market easily will grow to many thousands of potential open source users when the staffs of representatives and House committees are added to the total. Certain procurement restrictions that had constrained the use of open source technology in the House have been clarified.
Commerce Dept. Caves on Security Export Rules
July 30, 2015
Some proposed federal rules on the export of security tools created a tumult in cybersecurity circles -- a tumult that's pushed the rules into limbo. The comment period for the rules, which the U.S. Department of Commerce first aired in May, ended July 20 -- and although the regulations have noble intentions, they also could have dire consequences.
AI, Robotics Wonks Urge Autonomous Weapons Ban
July 28, 2015
Leading artificial intelligence and robotics experts have issued an open letter arguing against the development of autonomous weapons. Its publication coincides with the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, which ends Friday in Buenos Aires. If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, a global arms race is "virtually inevitable," the letter says.
Major Tech Firms Join White House in Climate Change Pledge
July 28, 2015
President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and other senior White House officials on Monday met with a group of executives who pledged their companies' support for the administration's efforts to reach a strong climate change agreement in Paris this December. Thirteen major companies, including Apple, Google and Microsoft, signed the American Business Act on Climate Change.
Citibank Dinged $700M for Scamming Credit Card Customers
July 27, 2015
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last week ordered Citibank and its subsidiaries to pay about $700 million in relief to eligible consumers and a $35 million civil penalty for, in essence, scamming consumers into paying for unwanted credit card add-on products and services. This is the 10th action the bureau has undertaken against banks for deceiving consumers.
OPM Director's Resignation Draws Mixed Reactions
July 23, 2015
The resignation of U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta is drawing mixed reactions from the cybersecurity community. Archuleta's departure on July 10, in the wake of a massive data breach resulting in the theft of the personal information of more than 22 million people, is being characterized by security pros as everything from "necessary" to "unfair."
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.
EFF Launches Write-to-Congress Tool
July 17, 2015
Email has made communicating with elected officials easy, but a new tool from the Electronic Frontier Foundation is going to make it easier yet. Democracy.io allows you to send an electronic missive to your U.S. representative and senators with a minimum of clicks. Typically, you'd have to go to your legislators' websites separately to make your views known.
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.
DoD Sets Ambitious Cloud Goals
July 15, 2015
The U.S. Defense Department, often cited as a bit sluggish in taking advantage of the benefits of cloud computing, appears now to be emerging as a government leader in adopting the technology. In the short run, DoD has far outpaced other federal agencies in setting up cloud contracts. During fiscal 2015 Q1, the value of all federal contracts for cloud projects amounted to $668 million.
The Feds' Slow March to the Cloud
July 8, 2015
Where is the U.S. government going with the cloud? With annual federal spending on the technology now well over $2 billion, it appears that cabinet departments and a host of other federal agencies "get it" in terms of appreciating cloud benefits. Yet many view the same spending pattern as evidence that the pace of cloud development at the federal level is far too slow.
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.
Rick Perry and the Texas vs. California Tech War
July 6, 2015
A couple of weeks ago, I was waiting to do a CNBC slot on what to expect from the Apple Watch in Asia -- the entire smartwatch class is having a lot of issues for a variety of reason -- and I ran into Rick Perry, former governor of Texas, as he was coming out of the same studio I was about to enter. For some reason, I thought he was going to be a typical entitled stuck-up jerk, but he wasn't.
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.
Uncle Sam Wants a Hoverbike
June 29, 2015
The United States Army Research, Development and Engineering Command has commissioned two companies to develop hoverbike technology. The Army intends to operate the hoverbike as a new class of tactical reconnaissance vehicle. "This isn't for jungles or mountains, but could be ideal for patrols over deserts, swamps, or other open areas with mixed terrain," suggested tech analyst Rob Enderle.
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.
CFPB: Mortgage Servicers Still Rooking Consumers
June 29, 2015
Mortgage servicers got a bad name during the subprime mortgage crisis, but despite that reputation damage, and despite new laws designed to get them on the straight and narrow, they're still up to their tricks, the CFPB has found. Between January and April, many servicers violated Regulation X, which spells out requirements for soliciting, completing and evaluating loss mitigation applications.
Internet Players Wrestle with Proposals to Prevent Capture
June 24, 2015
The Internet is run by a bunch of geeks sitting in a darkened space, lit only by the glow from LED screens, right? That Hollywood image may be how the general public perceives what it takes to send and receive emails, deliver apps, enable electronic transactions, and store great gobs of data. There is much more to operating the Internet, however, including a challenging management environment.
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.

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Do you want to live in an Internet-connected home?
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.
No -- the technology isn't good enough yet.
No -- it's a ridiculous waste of money.