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All Security Pros Want for Christmas: Smarter Users, Decoy Networks
December 24, 2015
People like to see gifts from their wish lists under the Christmas tree, and security pros are no exception. Here are things some cyberwarriors would like old St. Nick to deliver to them. "It's probably never going to happen, but it would be fantastic to get smarter users who are less susceptible to social engineering," said Proofpoint's Ryan Kalember.
Apple's Cook Goes to the Barricades on Encryption
December 22, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook brought the encryption battle between the high-tech industry and the nation's law enforcement authorities to prime time TV Sunday in an interview on the CBS news program 60 Minutes. During the interview, Charlie Rose asked Cook about the need for law enforcement agencies to access data that has been encrypted on Apple phones. There's all kinds of sensitive information on smartphones today, Cook noted.
Congress Passes Budget Bill With Controversial Cybersecurity Provision
December 18, 2015
Congress on Friday passed an omnibus budget bill that included the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA. The Senate earlier this year passed CIS, which many conservative and liberal politicians, high-tech firms, and privacy and civil liberty advocates oppose. The latest version includes amendments that will allow corporations to share customers' information with the government.
MacKeeper Loses Control of User Data
December 17, 2015
Kromtech this week revealed a vulnerability in the data storage system of its MacKeeper software. Security researcher Chris Vickery, who alerted the company to the problem with its server, pegged the number of MacKeeper users affected at about 13 million. Kromtech posted a security alert about the breach on MacKeeper's website. The company fixed the error within hours of its discovery, it said.
UK Police Pinch Suspect in VTech Hack
December 16, 2015
UK police have arrested a 21-year-old man as part of their investigation into last month's hack on VTech's systems. The man was arrested in Bracknell, 30 miles west of London, on suspicion of unauthorized access to a computer to facilitate the commission of an offense and suspicion of causing a computer to perform functions to secure or enable unauthorized access to a program or data, police said.
Twitter Alerts Users to State-Sponsored Cyberattack Threat
December 15, 2015
Twitter last week began warning some of its members that they may be the target of a state-sponsored attack on their accounts. Coldhak posted to its Twitter account a copy of the warning it received. It's among a small number of accounts that state-sponsored actors may be targeting in an attempt to obtain information such as email addresses, IP addresses and phone numbers, Twitter warned.
Hot Hacker Targets in 2016: Fantasy Sports, Professional Services
December 15, 2015
As 2016 approaches, it's time to get the crystal ball out and predict next year's cybersecurity trends. Here are some predictions from security pros TechNewsWorld interviewed. Fantasy sports sites in 2015 caught the attention of states' attorneys general, who wanted to treat the outfits as gambling enterprises. In 2016, the sites will get attention from another quarter: hackers.
FBI Chief: High-Tech Firms Need to Rethink Encryption Stance
December 11, 2015
FBI Director James Comey on Wednesday told members of a U.S. Senate committee that high-tech companies may need to adopt a new business model regarding encryption in order to get on the same page with law enforcement. "Encryption is getting in the way of our ability to have court orders effective to gather information we need in our most important work," he told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Apple Tweaks Music, Mail, News in iOS Update
December 10, 2015
Apple on Tuesday released a new version of iOS, and while it was largely a maintenance release of the mobile operating system, the upgrade included some treats for music and news enthusiasts. The release, iOS 9.2, improved Apple Music, the company's streaming music service, in a number of ways. For example, users can create new playlists when adding a song to a playlist.
Mozilla Launches Free Ad Blocker for iOS 9
December 9, 2015
Mozilla on Monday launched Focus by Firefox, a free ad blocker for Safari users on iOS 9. It lets users block the same trackers blocked by Private Browsing with Tracking Protection in Firefox for the Windows, Mac, Linux and Android platforms. The protection is based on Disconnect's open source block list. Focus by Firefox doesn't work with Firefox.
Gadget Gives Passwords Pocket Protectors
December 9, 2015
Denis Clermont and Jérôme Jadot last month launched a Kickstarter campaign for the OdyOne digital identity manager. As much as many Web travelers and security experts would like usernames and passwords to disappear from use, the pesky credentials aren't going away anytime soon. That's why password managers are seen as a way to make the best of a bad situation.
VTech Hires Mandiant to Shore Up Security for Kids
December 4, 2015
VTech on Thursday revealed it has hired FireEye's Mandiant to help improve security after reaction from parents around the world over news that its servers were hacked. It also is cooperating with law enforcement agencies worldwide to investigate the incident and has temporarily shut down several websites, its Learning Lodge app store, and its Kids Connect service.
EFF Sues Google for Snooping on Students
December 3, 2015
The Electronic Frontier Foundation on Tuesday filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, alleging that Google has used personal student data mined from its school Chromebook distribution, and requesting an investigation and an injunction against the practice. The EFF also launched a campaign to educate parents and school administrators about the risks of student data collection.
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.
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