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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.
Apple's App Yanking Switches On Data Monitoring Red Light
October 12, 2015
Apple last week revealed that it had removed from its App Store several apps with root certificates that could allow data monitoring. The monitoring could compromise SSL and TLS protocols, the company said. It suggested users delete the apps and their associated configuration profiles. However, it did not name the apps users should delete.
Verizon Supercookie to Let Advertisers Gorge on Customer Data
October 8, 2015
Verizon has announced it will begin sharing customer data with its AOL Advertising Network, triggering concerns about privacy and customer tracking. AOL will use Verizon's supercookie -- which is difficult to get rid of -- to track users. "This is a huge privacy problem, but carriers have never really cared that much about customer satisfaction," said tech analyst Rob Enderle.
Canonical Plays With Internet of Toys Idea
October 7, 2015
Canonical last week announced plans to launch the Internet of Toys, an open source initiative calling on toy makers, hackers, Internet of Things fans and innovators to build the next generation of Web-accessing toys. Participants will build the next generation of toys around open source tools such as Cylon JS, Gobot, Snappy Ubuntu Core, Snapcraft, ROS and Erle-Spider.
EU Data Transfer Ruling Leaves Tech Companies in Quandary
October 6, 2015
Europe's highest court has ruled that a 15-year-old agreement regulating electronic data transfers with the U.S. was invalid, potentially striking a blow to thousands of U.S. technology companies that rely on a uniform legal standard do business overseas. The European Court of Justice ruled that the U.S. Safe Harbor agreement was inadequate to protect the privacy rights of ordinary citizens.
Apple Trumpets New Privacy Policy
October 1, 2015
Apple has updated its privacy policy with new information regarding features in iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan. The company attempts to set itself apart from rivals by noting that it doesn't build profiles about its customers to sell to advertisers. For example, unlike Google Maps, which tracks a user's journey end to end, Apple Maps separates data about users' trips into segments that are not linked.
Black Hats Offer Million-Dollar iOS 9 Bug Bounty
September 30, 2015
Zerodium has posted a million-dollar bounty for juicy iOS 9 bugs or jailbreaks. Zerodium runs a market where exploits and vulnerabilities are bought and sold, according to Damballa. "While there is no insight into a specific buyer, we can assume if an exploit for iOS 9 is found, Zerodium will sell it for way more than $1 million," wrote Loucif Kharouni, senior threat researcher at Damballa.
BlackBerry Sees the Android Light
September 28, 2015
BlackBerry on Friday announced that it would introduce an Android smartphone later this year. The announcement came during the company's Q2 earnings call. The device will be known as the "Priv" and will be built around user privacy, said CEO John Chen. BlackBerry didn't offer any specifics about the Priv beyond the name -- nothing about pricing, U.S. carrier partners or any handset specs.
OPM's Latest Bad News: 5.6 Million Fingerprints Lifted
September 25, 2015
The Office of Personnel Management on Wednesday revealed that the hackers who penetrated its records system stole 5.6 million fingerprints of federal employees -- five times the 1.1 million originally reported. The cyberattack, which came to light this spring, compromised the Social Security numbers and other sensitive information of 21.5 million people.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Timeline
September 24, 2015
That trip down memory lane may never be the same. Those who feel their Facebook Timeline leaves out any important moments in their lives can call up Google Maps' Timeline to fill in the blanks. With tech tools like these, who needs enemies? There may be some things you'd rather not remember -- and there probably definitely are things in your past that you'd rather others didn't know.
Patched Android Lockscreen Still a Threat
September 21, 2015
Google recently issued a patch for Nexus mobile devices to fix an Android Lollipop vulnerability that lets hackers bypass the lockscreen and gain control of mobile devices. However, it could take weeks to months for manufacturers and service providers to roll out the patch for other Android devices. University of Texas security researcher John Gordon discovered the vulnerability.
Hackers Home in on Health, Education, Government Sectors
September 16, 2015
A New York healthcare provider, California's higher education system and the Department of Energy have become the latest targets of data bandits. The latest massive data breach at a healthcare provider reportedly took place at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, which last week revealed that the personal data of more than 10 million people was at risk due to an attack that dates back to December 2013.
Spotify's 'Sorry' Fails to Cut Through Confusion
August 22, 2015
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek on Friday issued a public apology for poor communications regarding the company's new privacy policy. The new policy, which took effect Wednesday, immediately triggered alarm. Several tech publications railed against the terms, and Minecraft creator Markus Persson engaged Spotify CEO Daniel Ek in a Twitter debate that ended with Persson and others quitting the music service.
Ashley Madison Hackers: Catch Them if You Can
August 20, 2015
The Ashley Madison hacker gang will be tough to apprehend. The hackers this week dumped nearly 10 gigabytes of stolen personal data onto the Web -- details gleaned from accounts established on the site, which is dedicated to matching up people who want to engage in extramarital affairs. It's "nearly impossible" to track down attackers, noted Bit9 + Carbon Black's Ben Johnson.
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad Ashley Madison World
August 19, 2015
Hackers have dumped personal data of about 37 million members of the Ashley Madison website onto the Dark Web. The data was stolen in an attack on the site, which aims to hook up people who want to cheat on their spouses. Parent company "Avid Life Media has failed to take down Ashley Madison and Established Men," the Impact Team wrote in a post online. ... Now everyone gets to see their data."
AT&T Went Above and Beyond for NSA, Say Snowden Docs
August 18, 2015
The National Security Agency considered its relationship with AT&T unique and particularly productive, accordingto a report published Saturday. The information about the company's close ties with the agency came from the trove of documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. NSA lauded AT&T for its "extreme willingness to help," giving it access to billions of emails among other things.
Windows 10 FUD Fades Fast
August 14, 2015
Complaints about Windows 10 keep rolling in, but so far none appears to have stuck. The latest brouhaha is over certain privacy settings. Windows 10 gives users many options to disable certain data-gathering and reporting features, but it appears that some communications to Microsoft servers still slip through. So far, there doesn't seem to be anything shifty or harmful about those interactions.
Twitter Goes Long With Historic Tweet Access
August 13, 2015
Twitter on Tuesday announced a search API that will give business users instant and complete access to every historical public tweet about a subject of interest. Based on the Historical PowerTrack and 30-Day Search API tools developed by Gnip, which Twitter purchased last year, the API lets users search tweets back to March 2006, when the first one was posted.
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.
Windows 10 Raises Some Hackles
August 7, 2015
"Tablet view is showing saved porn images," wrote Reddit user "FalloutBos." "Woke up to wife asking why I set it to rotate all my porn images right on the desktop view. I have no idea [how] to shut that feature off and that computer is staying shut down until I do." That incident raised howls of laughter, but it points to one of the problems early users of Microsoft's new OS have reported.
Philanderers, Scarlet Women Cower After Ashley Madison Hack
July 21, 2015
About 40 million swingers and sexual sophisticates have been whimpering in fear since hearing Sunday's news that hackers broke into the servers of Avid Life Media, the parent company of online cheating site Ashley Madison. The hackers reportedly stole large caches of personal data after breaking into the servers hosting Ashley Madison and related sites Cougar Life and Established Men.
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.
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.
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.
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Should social media sites be held accountable for terrorists' communications?
Yes -- They are providing a platform to facilitate murder and mayhem.
Yes -- Everything must be done to protect society from danger.
Maybe -- I'm not sure they have the technological capability to stop them.
Maybe -- I'm not convinced terrorists are using them for serious plotting.
No -- Authorities should monitor social networks to gather intelligence.
No -- Social networks are no different than phone carriers or mail services.