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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.
Data Requests Put Amazon Between Rock, Hard Place
June 23, 2015
Amazon's recently released first report on government requests for information revealed that from January to May, it received 813 subpoenas and 25 search warrants. The company fully responded and provided all the requested information sought for 542 of the subpoenas. It provided only some of the requested information for 126 of the cases, and it did not respond to 145 requests.
AT&T, Verizon and WhatsApp Flunk Privacy
June 22, 2015
An Electronic Frontier Foundation survey published last week gave AT&T, Verizon and WhatsApp the thumbs down when it comes to protecting user privacy. Google and Twitter also got a black eye. The five were among 24 companies the EFF evaluated on criteria worked out over the past four years. WhatsApp, now owned by Facebook, also took criticism in the EFF's fifth annual report, "Who Has Your Back?"
Skies May Soon Be Friendlier to Amazon Drones
June 19, 2015
Amazon on Wednesday appealed to members of Congress to approve use of its fleet of drones for package deliveries. Electrically powered drones could deliver packages to consumer homes and offices faster, more efficiently and with less environmental impact than automobiles, Paul Misener, vice president of global public policy at Amazon, suggested in testimony before the House Oversight Committee.
US Internet Handoff Generates Sparks in Congress
June 19, 2015
The U.S. government has played a central -- perhaps critical -- role in the development of the Internet. Currently the U.S. retains a stewardship position in the worldwide operation of the Internet through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, an agency within the Commerce Department. That stewardship is slated to end, however.
Google Takes It to the Streets
June 18, 2015
Google last week announced the formation of a new company that will develop technology to improve city life for residents, businesses and governments. Google has teamed up with Dan Doctoroff -- former Bloomberg CEO and ex-deputy mayor of economic development and rebuilding for the City of New York -- to advance the effort. Doctoroff will be CEO of Sidewalk Labs, which will be based in New York.
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."
Senators Aim to Ground FBI's Warrantless Spy Planes
June 17, 2015
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., on Wednesday introduced legislation that would require federal government agents to get a warrant before snooping from the sky. "Americans' privacy rights shouldn't stop at the treetops," Wyden said. The issue came to a head following the revelation earlier this month that the FBI was engaged in warrantless aerial surveillance across the U.S.
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.
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.
Robots Meet DARPA Challenge Despite Pratfalls
June 8, 2015
Robots from Korea and the U.S. staggered off with the top three prizes at the DARPA Robotics Challenge, held in California over the weekend. In all, robots from 23 teams participated in the challenge, which consisted of an obstacle course simulating conditions similar to those following the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. DRC-Hubo, the entry from South Korea's Team Kaist, took first prize.
AT&T May Leave Anti-Net Neutrality Ranks
June 3, 2015
AT&T has just revealed what it would take for it to change its stance on Net neutrality: regulators' approval of its purchase of DirecTV. The company has offered to accept the rules adopted by the FCC early this year, according to reports. It was just last month that the FCC denied petitions from a slew of companies -- including AT&T -- to delay its implementation of the rules.
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.
FBI to Dig Into IRS Data Breach Debacle
May 29, 2015
The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into a hack of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service that led to personal data being stolen from at least 100,000 taxpayers' accounts of the 200,000 that were hit. The hackers got the data by accessing the Get Transcript application, which lets taxpayers download data they filed with the service, the IRS announced Tuesday.
No Wrongdoing at NCIS, Says Defense Watchdog
May 28, 2015
The U.S. Department of Defense's Inspector General has rejected allegations that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service engaged in questionable domestic intelligence activity. The finding concluded a DoD IG probe spurred by allegations that NCIS was making available to military intelligence agencies its Law Enforcement Information Exchange, a database of 506.3 million law enforcement records.
Putting the EU's E-Commerce Puzzle Together
May 27, 2015
A substantial number of Europeans shop online, but few make purchases outside their own country. The European Commission aims to change that through a broad initiative to create a Digital Single Market for the European Union, announced earlier this month. One of the 16 steps the EC has taken toward achieving that goal is undertaking an antitrust investigation of the e-commerce sector.
Hush! Everybody's Listening!
May 27, 2015
Americans have been spied on by their own government for far longer than most realized, it turns out, and the United States National Security Agency's surveillance activities are just the tip of the iceberg. The FBI, which repeatedly has expressed dismay at Google and Apple securing their mobile OSes reportedly has become a major player in administering the NSA's warrantless surveillance program.
Are Feds Losing the Cybersecurity Fight?
May 27, 2015
U.S. government agencies have invested time, effort and significant funding in the last several years to meet the challenges of cybersecurity threats, but the payoff has been disappointing, according to a report from the ISC2 Foundation. As part of its seventh Global Information Security Workforce Study, the foundation included a section that involved a survey of 1,800 federal IT professionals.

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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.