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Court Lifts NSL-Imposed Gag Order on Warrantless FBI Probing
December 1, 2015
Calyx founder Nicholas Merrill -- who made history in 2004 when he sued to lift a nondisclosure order imposed by an FBI National Security Letter -- has won his 11-year battle. The ruling, handed down this summer by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, was stayed for 90 days to give the government time to file an appeal. It became public when the stay expired on Monday.
Massive Hack Attack on Educational Toy Company Exposes Parents, Kids
November 30, 2015
Officials of several U.S. states on Monday have opened investigations into a massive data breach that occurred last month at VTech. The award-winning Hong Kong-based maker of electronic learning toys for kids on Friday announced that its Learning Lodge database was breached in a hack attack on Nov. 14. Learning Lodge offers apps, learning games, e-books, and other educational content.
BlackBerry to Pull Out of Pakistan on Privacy Grounds
November 30, 2015
BlackBerry on Monday announced that it will cease operations in Pakistan at the end of the year. The move is the result of a shutdown order from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, which in July notified the company that its BlackBerry Enterprise Service servers would no longer be allowed to operate in the country beginning in December for what it said were security concerns.
How Technology Could Prevent Another Paris-Like Attack
November 30, 2015
What I find fascinating is that with all of the focus members of the intelligence community place on violating our privacy, they still aren't able to stop attacks like the one in Paris. Currently they are complaining that it is our fault for implementing encryption that blocks their often-illegal views into citizens' personal lives. I think that even if encryption didn't exist, they still would be ineffective.
Austrian High Court to Rule on Class Action Status in Facebook Privacy Case
November 27, 2015
The Austrian Supreme Court will consider whether a suit against Facebook Ireland can proceed as a class action. Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems brought the suit to challenge the transfer of private data to Facebook's European subsidiary in Ireland. The Vienna Court of Appeals previously had ruled that the suit could be filed locally, as Schrems' claim fell under local privacy laws there.
New Tech Targets Enterprise Ransomware
November 23, 2015
SentinelOne last week introduced an addition to its behavioral solution designed to address the problem of ransomware scrambling files on a computer. Ransomware has been a scourge not only for consumers, but for the enterprise, too. The malicious software can be particularly nettlesome for enterprises because they have to protect many endpoints -- phones, tablets, laptops, desktops and servers.
Telegram Shutters 78 ISIS Channels
November 20, 2015
The team behind the Telegram secure messaging app on Wednesday reported that it had shut down 78 channels, across 12 languages, used by ISIS and its supporters. However, the app's privately used channels weren't affected by the sweep. After the attacks on Paris last weekend, the Telegram team learned that the terrorist group had been communicating openly on its secure messaging platform.
Dojo Stands Cybersecurity Guard for Smart Homes
November 20, 2015
Dojo-Labs on Thursday introduced Dojo, a device that plugs into the router of a home network and acts as a watchdog to ensure that everything connected to the network is operating on its best behavior. The device brings some of the advanced technologies used to protect corporate networks to the home. It can prevent attacks and detect intrusions by observing how a device behaves on the network.
FBI, Carnegie Mellon Deny $1M Contract to Crack Tor
November 19, 2015
The FBI has denied allegations that it paid Carnegie Mellon University security researchers $1 million to crack a network designed to protect the anonymity of its users. The Tor Project, which operates the network, last week accused the FBI of cutting the CMU deal. The attack on Tor occurred from January to July 2014. The attackers discovered a way to strip the anonymity of Tor users.
Paris Attacks Deepen Encryption Debate
November 18, 2015
Encryption once again has come under fire in the wake of last week's terrorist attacks in Paris. Western intelligence agencies reportedly blamed the technology for enabling communications among the attackers, and some officials renewed their calls for technology companies to give them decryption keys. However, the terrorists may have communicated through private messages on the PlayStation 4.
FBI Paid Carnegie Mellon $1M to Crack User IDs, Claims Tor
November 17, 2015
The Tor Project last week claimed the FBI paid Carnegie Mellon University $1 million to crack the anonymity of Tor users. The claim appears to have been triggered by a report that said the FBI's arrest of an alleged member of Silk Road 2.0 was based on "information obtained by a 'university-based research institute' that operated its own computers on the anonymous network used by Silk Road 2.0."
Nadella: Microsoft to Be Stealth Operator for Cloud Security
November 17, 2015
CEO Satya Nadella on Monday made a bid to reintroduce Microsoft to professionals working in a brave new cyberworld of virtual, interconnected computing. Speaking at the Microsoft Government Cloud Forum in Washington, Nadella presented a broad new vision of a cloud- and mobile-first enterprise that promises to make personal and client security a central theme of its business.
Gmail to Warn Users of Unencrypted Email
November 16, 2015
Google last week announced that it is developing features for Gmail that will notify them when they get messages through a nonencrypted connection. Regions of the Internet are preventing message encryption by tampering with requests to initiate SSL connections, and malicious DNS servers are publishing fake routing information to email servers looking for Gmail, a study found.
Users Balk at Mobile App Permission Requests
November 12, 2015
The Pew Research Center on Tuesday released a report on permissions and mobile applications found in the Google Play store. The number of permissions requested by a mobile app can be a deal breaker for six out of 10 smartphone users, Pew found. Applications request permission from users to access a variety of functions on a smartphone -- accessing the Internet, for example, or using the camera.
BlackBerry's Priv Puzzles the Tech World
November 9, 2015
BlackBerry on Friday released its Priv smartphone, its first Android-based device. The Android 5.1.1 Lollipop slider is driven by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor and an Adreno 418 GPU. It's stocked with 3 GB of low-power RAM and 32 GB of storage. There's an 18-MP shooter on its backside and a 2-MP chat cam on its face.
No Time to Respond to Email? Let Google Do It
November 6, 2015
Google this week unveiled Smart Reply for Gmail on iOS and Android. It uses machine intelligence and neural networks to suggest up to three possible responses for incoming email, based on the content of those emails. The system learns from users' responses to suggestions to fine-tune its offerings. Smart Reply will be available in English in Google Play and Apple's App Store.
Film Industry Claims Victory in Shutdown of Major Piracy Sites
November 4, 2015
The Motion Picture Association of America ran a victory lap after announcing the shutdown of movie and television torrent sites Popcorn Time and YTS. The shutdowns resulted from major legal wins in Canada and New Zealand. The MPAA last month obtained injunctions against the sites in those countries, effectively blocking them from further operation.
BackBox Takes Its Security Tools Seriously
October 30, 2015
BackBox Linux 4.4 is a great Linux distro for IT and other techies who want to do their own penetration tests and security assessments. The latest version, released this month, is an Ubuntu 14.04.3-based distribution that's speedy and simple to use. It's a fully functional Linux distro that comes well stocked with standard software and runs a desktop environment based on the Xfce window manager.
CISA Passes Senate Despite Privacy Advocates' Fear and Loathing
October 28, 2015
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted 74-21 to pass the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA, in the face of strong opposition from legal and cybersecurity experts, the high-tech industry, privacy and civil liberties organizations, and members of the public. The Act calls for several federal agencies to share cyberthreat indicators between the public and private sectors.
Google Pushes Transparency for SSL Certificates
October 27, 2015
The padlock on a browser's address bar is supposed to give Net travelers some security in insecure virtual space, but some dangerous flaws lurk behind the padlock. They can weaken the effectiveness of encrypted Internet connections and compromise TLS/SSL processes, including domain validation, end-to-end encryption, and the chains of trust certificate authorities have put in place, Google said.
TalkTalk Attacked, Hit With Ransom Demand
October 23, 2015
TalkTalk on Thursday announced that it received a ransom demand following a cyberattack that may have compromised the credit card and bank details of millions of customers. "TalkTalk constantly updates its systems to make sure they are as secure as possible against the rapidly evolving threat of cybercrime, impacting an increasing number of individuals and organizations," CEO Dido Harding said.
Global Attacks on Mobile Networks Jeopardize Privacy, Profits
October 21, 2015
Bad actors are exploiting an obscure technology found in telecommunications networks around the world to track mobile users and engage in fraud, and they could be costing carriers millions of dollars in lost revenues. Compromise of the technology, called "SS7," can cause significant damage to the reputation and finances of carriers around the world, AdaptiveMobile noted.
Healthcare Sector Security Woefully Weak, Survey Says
October 21, 2015
The healthcare industry has become the favorite playground for many cybercriminals, suggests a report Trustwave released earlier this month. Of the 398 full-time healthcare professionals surveyed, 91 percent of information technology respondents and 77 percent of nontechnical respondents believed criminals increasingly were targeting healthcare organizations.
JPEG Committee Proposal Stirs Image-DRM Fears
October 19, 2015
The JPEG Committee last week met in Brussels to discuss a proposal to secure privacy information such as metadata for published pictures, including geographical information enabling identification of people who have given anonymous interviews to journalists, and pictures posted on social media intended only for a limited audience. The proposal also seeks to address intellectual property rights.
Boffins Demo Remote Control of Siri, Google Now
October 19, 2015
Siri and other smartphone digital assistants may do your bidding -- but they may do a hijacker's as well. That's what two researchers discovered when they began to tinker with the effects of radio waves on smartphones. They could use the waves to issue commands to any Android or iOS phone running Google Now or Siri. The researchers first aired their findings at a Paris conference this summer.
Gadget Ogling: Smarter Smartphone Gaming, Modular Watches, and Vampiric Charging Cables
October 17, 2015
I don't enjoy playing complex games on a smartphone. Using the screen as both input and output device makes matters complicated, so I tend to steer clear of any game that requires more than single taps or simple swipes. There are a number of game controllers around for smartphones, however, and the Satechi Wireless Gamepad, a Bluetooth device, is compatible with iOS, Android and Windows phones.
Yahoo's New Email App Dumps Passwords
October 16, 2015
Yahoo on Thursday announced a password-free Yahoo Mail app that can manage email accounts from Outlook.com, Hotmail and AOL Mail. There was no mention of syncing with Gmail or Apple's iCloud Mail. Yahoo has been working to improve email security in the wake of repeated hacks of the service over the years, the most prominent a password theft that occurred early last year.
EU Court Decision Threatens US Cloud Dominance
October 16, 2015
Edward Snowden's legacy gained another chapter last week when the European Court of Justice rejected an agreement that created a Safe Harbor for U.S. companies handling personal data of overseas citizens. In essence, the agreement provided that a U.S. company's word that it had adequate privacy safeguards in place was all that was needed to permit overseas personal data transfers.
HP, 3M to Shield Laptop Screens From Visual Hacking
October 15, 2015
HP and 3M are collaborating on privacy screens to protect notebook PCs from visual hacking. "3M is developing an innovative light-enhancement film that can be incorporated into a system that enables light to be directed to other viewers when you want information sharing, and away from onlookers when you need private viewing," 3M spokesperson Jessica Walton said.
Mate Makes Robolinux Raptor Soar
October 14, 2015
Robolinux Mate Raptor v8.1 is a stunningly gorgeous and well-tuned operating system that soars with unmatched functionality. This release of the Robolinux line runs the newest iteration of the Gnome 2 fork desktop Mate. It is fast and slick. The integration of Mate as a modern desktop environment is growing on me -- especially the way it's paired with the really cool features in Robolinux.
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I plan to do my holiday shopping…
Online only -- I like the convenience and comfort.
Online only -- I'd shop in stores if their stock weren't so limited.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I like to see what I'm getting.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I enjoy the holiday shopping atmosphere.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I want to support local merchants.
Online and in stores -- I want the best of both worlds.
I'm not planning on doing any holiday shopping.