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Microsoft Does Some Scroogling to Catch a Thief
March 24, 2014
Microsoft, which has been mocking Google's searching of Gmail subscribers' emails with its "Scroogled" campaign, is fielding criticism for having itself searched the email of a Hotmail user. The search was conducted after Microsoft found that an employee, Alex Kibkalo, who worked for it in Lebanon, had stolen proprietary code and shared it with the Hotmail user, who is a blogger.
Report: NSA Listens to International Calls From the Past
March 19, 2014
The National Security Agency reportedly possesses a system that enables it to record telephone calls -- all telephone calls -- in a foreign country, and review conversations for up to a month after they took place. The system is said to be akin to a time machine, allowing for retroactive snooping on foreign targets. Billions of calls are stored in a 30-day rolling buffer.
Target Breach Lesson: PCI Compliance Isn't Enough
March 18, 2014
"Target was certified as meeting the standard for the payment card industry in September 2013. Nonetheless, we suffered a data breach." Those words by Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel affirmed what security experts know as gospel: Compliance does not equal security. "Just because you pass a PCI audit does not mean that you're secure," said HyTrust President Eric Chiu.
The Internet of Things: There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow
March 18, 2014
When I was 10 years old, I took my first trip to Disney World. The futuristic rides in Tomorrow Land were my favorites. In particular, I loved "The Carousel of Progress," which, at the time, was an attraction designed by General Electric to showcase its new technologies at the 1964 New York World's Fair. The song, "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow," played as the curtains opened.
Zuckerberg Bends the President's Ear
March 14, 2014
CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted on Facebook that he called President Obama to complain about NSA surveillance. "The Internet is our shared space," he wrote. Most people "work together to create this secure environment and make our shared space even better for the world. When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we're protecting against criminals, not our own government."
Report: US Tech Titans Making Bank From Offshore US Treasury Securities
March 13, 2014
Apple, Microsoft, Google and Cisco have accumulated enormous amounts of money via interest payments from the U.S. government, according to a report from the UK's Bureau of Investigative Journalism. The companies together hold $163 billion in U.S. government debt. Of that $163 billion, $124 billion is in U.S. Treasury securities, much of which is held offshore.
Berners-Lee Dreams Impossible Dream
March 13, 2014
Tim Berners-Lee, known as the "father of the Internet," has called for an online bill of rights. Twenty-five years ago, Berners-Lee wrote a proposal for what would become the Internet as we know it today, making the case that it needed to move toward a decentralized, open architecture and away from the proprietary linear structure that was emerging at the time.
WhatsApp Flaw Opens Database Doors to Hackers
March 12, 2014
An Android developer's disclosure that it's possible to hack into the WhatsApp database and read the text of the chats from another application could be a big headache for Facebook, which has agreed to purchase the app for $19 billion. "This is not a bug, but a design decision of WhatsApp," said Bas Bosschert, chief technology officer of Double Think.
How to Encrypt a Windows 8 PC Drive
March 12, 2014
Real-life events -- the disclosures from website WikiLeaks; Edward Snowden's leaks of classified government documents to media outlets; credit card hijacks by the server load; and even Facebook's stumbles over its privacy policy explanation to the masses -- have created a general sense of unease when it comes to privacy these days, even at the consumer level.
2013: A Perilous Year on the Internet
March 11, 2014
Surfing the Internet last year was a dangerous proposition. On average, 200 samples of malicious software were collected every minute by McAfee Labs, the company reported in its threat report for the Q4 2013. All kinds of Internet nastiness increased last year -- from ransomware and suspicious URLs to bogus digital certificates, master boot record attacks, and poisoned mobile apps, the firm said.
Lenovo: IBM Strike's Not Our Problem
March 11, 2014
Chinese PC maker Lenovo is washing its hands of a wildcat strike at an IBM factory in Shenzhen, China. In January, Lenovo purchased one of IBM's server businesses, and the striking workers -- more than 1,000 of them -- are among those who will be absorbed by Lenovo. The $2.3 billion deal is not yet final, and Lenovo doesn't want to get stuck with any of IBM's headaches until the ink is dry.
Privacy Groups Bring WhatsApp Worries to FTC's Door
March 07, 2014
The consumer privacy backlash stirred up by Facebook's recent deal to purchase WhatsApp for $19 billion is now in full swing. The Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy jointly filed a complaint about the deal with the FTC. Following the announcement of the agreement, both companies offered reassurances that WhatsApp user data would be safe from Facebook.
Watch Out, NSA - Here Comes the Snowden Phone
March 06, 2014
Brash startup mobile carrier FreedomPop, which leases bandwidth from Sprint and has launched several aggressive programs to help it take off, on Wednesday unveiled the Privacy Phone -- nicknamed the "Snowden Phone" -- a Samsung Galaxy SII tweaked to be highly secure. The fully encrypted device costs $189, which includes unlimited talk, text and 500 MB of data for three months.
F-Secure's Hypponen: RSA Lost Trust
March 03, 2014
Less than two months after publicly announcing that he was pulling out of the RSA Security Conference because RSA had accepted a $10 million contract from the NSA, F-Secure chief researcher Mikko Hypponen appeared somewhat mellowed. He alternated between criticizing RSA and offering an olive branch when speaking to reporters last week in San Francisco, where the conference was under way.
Wiliest Ways to Keep the NSA at Bay
February 28, 2014
The death of online privacy had already been proclaimed long before Edward Snowden landed in the international spotlight, but if it wasn't confirmed back then, Snowden's NSA revelations surely must have extinguished the last vestiges of hope in even the most die-hard optimists. "We're in a predicament," said Phil Zimmermann, Pretty Good Privacy creator and cofounder and president of Silent Circle.
Report: Britain Snooped on Yahoo Users' Sexy Times
February 28, 2014
Britain's Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, reportedly intercepted and collected millions of images of people via Yahoo webcam chats, some of which were sexually explicit. As part of the surveillance program, dubbed "Optic Nerve," GCHQ saved images from webcams on agency databases regardless of whether or not the individuals were an intelligence target.
Brits Hoovered Yahoo Webcams, Say Snowden Papers
February 28, 2014
A British intelligence agency indiscriminately collected photos from the webcams of Yahoo users and reportedly stored them on its servers over a period of several years as part of a surveillance program called "Optic Nerve." The operation was run by the UK's NSA counterpart, GCHQ, according to a top secret documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
White House Leaps Onto NSA Surveillance Merry-Go-Round
February 26, 2014
The U.S. Department of Justice and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence reportedly have submitted four proposals to reform the National Security Agency's phone surveillance program. The recommendations come well before the March 28 deadline set by President Obama. Three deal with having the data stored by some other organization, and the fourth calls for scrapping the program.
Windows XP to Live On in China
February 25, 2014
A handful of Chinese Web companies are banding together to provide user support -- system upgrades, security services and the like -- to domestic users after Microsoft turns out the lights on Windows XP. Microsoft announced that it's going to punt on Windows XP in early April. Alas, an estimated 25-plus percent of China's computers run on the operating system. But fear not!
FTC Explores Scope of Federal IoT Regulation
February 25, 2014
The explosion of the Internet of Things, or IoT, promises great opportunities for improving quality of life -- but also for creating both seen and unforeseen dangers. The IoT generally refers to a network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to sense, communicate and interact with their internal states or their external environment, according to Gartner.
Amazon and Apple's 'Tough Slog' on Madison Avenue
February 21, 2014
Amazon and Apple just can't seem to catch a break with the advertising elite on Madison Avenue. In fact, advertising sales are a "tough slog" for both companies, mourns a feature published this week. The problem? Apple and Amazon won't reveal enough information about their customers. This is the best news I've heard all year. In fact, it just reinforces my loyalty to both companies.
Internet of Things, Part 2: The Lighter Side
February 20, 2014
So there I was, grinding my coffee beans when the grinder's AMOLED screen lit up with a message. "We're watching you, boy," it read. OK, I must've spilled some grinds, so I cleaned up the machine and brewed me up some coffee. Ten minutes later, cup in hand, I wandered down to the laundry room and began loading up the washing machine. "Peekaboo!" read the message that appeared on its screen.

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