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The Connected Car, Part 3: No Shortcuts to Security
August 19, 2014
The connected car is becoming a reality, but the gadget-filled roadways it travels will be paved with several options for in-car technologies. These choices pose challenges for carmakers. Whichever technology wins the race, one of the biggest concerns for OEMs is their electronic security. The Linux Foundation wants an open source platform in the pole position.
Mobile App Attacks: No Malware, No Problem
August 19, 2014
Traditional attack methods, like those used with the recent mobile online banking Trojan Svpeng, involve the installation of malware on the device to steal information and commit fraud. However, new techniques are emerging that would enable an attacker to compromise a device and steal private information from the owner -- for example, the typical copycat app on a third-party app store.
Twitter to Review Toothless Policies on Cyberharrassment
August 15, 2014
A deluge of hateful tweets after the suicide of actor Robin Williams earlier this week forced his daughter Zelda to publicly quit Twitter and Instagram. "We will not tolerate abuse of this nature on Twitter," Del Harvey, the company's vice president of trust and safety, said in a prepared statement. Twitter has suspended "a number of accounts related to this issue for violating our rules."
Freedom Act Leaves IT Sector at Risk for Spy Program Costs
August 14, 2014
A recent U.S. Senate proposal to curb the impact of electronic surveillance conducted by the NSA could enhance privacy for citizens and benefit businesses as well. However, major information technology companies that help the government collect telecom and Internet data still will be vulnerable to the substantial costs of working with the NSA, even if the proposed bill becomes law.
Snowden Blows NSA's MonsterMind
August 13, 2014
The NSA is working on a new program codenamed "MonsterMind" that will automate the monitoring of traffic patterns on the Internet to look for attacks, whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed. When it detects an attack, MonsterMind will automatically block it from entering the U.S. cyberinfrastructure. It also will automatically fire back at the server from which the attack was launched.
The Bitcoins Are Coming, the Bitcoins Are Coming
August 13, 2014
The United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued an advisory warning consumers about the risks of bitcoin and other virtual currencies. The bureau "is working to identify and understand potential consumer protection concerns raised by these emerging technologies to determine what action, if any, may be necessary to protect consumers," said spokesperson Moira Vahey.
Yahoo, Google Team Up to Fight Email Snoops
August 13, 2014
Yahoo and Google last week announced they'd be teaming up to secure their Web mail systems with encryption by the end of next year. "Our goal is to make end-to-end encryption fully available in 2015," said Yahoo Vice President of Information Security Alex Stamos. Yahoo will be releasing the code for its encryption solution to the open source community.
Smartphone Kill Switch Law Reaches California Governor's Desk
August 12, 2014
California is poised to enact a consumer-friendly law requiring smartphone manufacturers to install "kill switches" -- that is, antitheft technology that would be activated by the carrier when a consumer alerts it that a device has been stolen or lost. The technology not only wipes the device of personal data but also renders it inoperable. The state legislature passed the bill on Monday.
The Cavalry Rides Into Auto Industry With Security Proposal
August 12, 2014
A grassroots group calling itself "I Am The Cavalry" has published an open letter to the automotive industry offering its services in ensuring security and safety. "Modern vehicles are computers on wheels and are increasingly connected and controlled by software and embedded devices," the letter reads. New technology "introduces new classes of accidents and adversaries," the group pointed out.
Russian Gang's Credentials Theft Exposes Web's Wild, Wild West Side
August 12, 2014
News that a Russian gang has stockpiled more than a billion purloined user name and password combinations has revved up the Internet's reputation as a post industrial Wild, Wild West. Just how much havoc will be raised by the gang remains to be seen. The data thieves so far appear content to use their ill-gotten trove for spamming, according to Hold Security, which discovered the credential cache.
Taking the Temperature of Java App Security
August 11, 2014
Current approaches to Java application protection place security at the application or the network layer, both of which are problematic. The first approach has proven to be too complex, too time consuming and too risky -- in other words, "too hot." Meanwhile, network level security that consists of perimeter devices lacks the intelligence to know what's going on inside the application.
Carrier Software Flaws Imperil Smartphones: Report
August 08, 2014
Wireless carriers pose a threat to mobile phone security, researchers have disclosed. Mathew Solnik and Marc Blanchou of Accuvant this week told an audience at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas that Android, BlackBerry and some iOS devices are vulnerable. The problem lies in a device management tool using the OMA Device Management Standard, which carriers embed into mobile devices.
Secure Sites to Get the Google Bump
August 07, 2014
Google on Wednesday announced that it has begun factoring websites' use of HTTPS into its search rankings, resulting in more favorable results for those that use the security-minded protocol. Use of the protocol still is considered just a minor factor, though, affecting fewer than 1 percent of global queries and carrying less weight than high-quality content.
Russian Cybergang Stockpiles 1.2B Unique Stolen Credentials
August 07, 2014
A Russian cybercriminal gang so far has stolen 4.5 billion credentials, of which 1.2 billion appear to be unique, Hold Security has announced. The credentials belong to more than 500 million email addresses. Two reports released Tuesday may help explain why the cybergang was so successful. About 92 percent of the 800 top consumer websites evaluated failed the OTA's 2014 Email Integrity Audit.
WiFi Insecurity: Crying Wolf or Big Bad Wolf?
August 07, 2014
Can a hacker take over a passenger jet by sneaking in through its WiFi or in-flight entertainment system? The possibility of that occurring, as suggested by cybersecurity firm IOActive, has security experts hot under the collar. Ruben Santamarta, principal security consultant at IOActive, is scheduled to present the team's findings Thursday at the Black Hat security conference.
Wikimedia Blasts Europe's 'Right to Be Forgotten'
August 06, 2014
The Wikimedia Foundation has released its first-ever transparency report -- and along with it a protest against Europe's "right to be forgotten" law. Wikimedia is the nonprofit owner of Wikipedia and other sites. "Denying people access to relevant and neutral information runs counter to the ethos and values of the Wikimedia movement," wrote Wikimedia attorneys Geoff Brigham and Michelle Paulson.
BlackBerry Ripe for Growth, Predicts CEO Chen
August 06, 2014
BlackBerry -- the "sick man of mobile" -- is poised for better times. That was the sentiment expressed by CEO John Chen in an internal memo distributed to BlackBerry employees last week. BlackBerry has completed its restructuring and the workforce reductions that started three years ago have been completed, Chen reportedly wrote in the memo. Better yet, it may soon be adding workers.
Retailers Harassed by Backoff Malware
August 05, 2014
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security last week sounded an alarm warning retailers of a family of malicious programs aimed at compromising point-of-sale systems. Attackers used such software last year in massive data breaches that nicked millions of consumer records at Target and Nieman Marcus. Variants of the Backoff family have turned up in at least three forensic investigations.
Cops Snag Child Pornography Suspect, Thanks to Gmail Scan
August 04, 2014
A routine scan of a Texas man's Gmail by Google has led to his arrest on child pornography possession and promotion charges. John Henry Skillern, 41, of Houston was arrested by police July 30 following a tip by Google to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He has been charged with one count each of child pornography possession and child pornography promotion.
Federal Judge Unswayed by Microsoft's Objections to Data Demands
August 04, 2014
Microsoft's objections to a court order requiring it to turn over a customer's emails held on a server in Ireland have been rejected. Judge Loretta Preska of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York last week issued an oral ruling in the case, reportedly saying the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1996 authorizes such extraterritorial collections of data.
Tor Has Been Breached - What Now?
August 01, 2014
News that two Carnegie-Mellon CERT researchers have developed an inexpensive way to breach the Tor network has the project, privacy advocates, and probably criminals who use the network equally concerned. The Tor Project posted has advised relays to upgrade to Tor 0.2.r.23e or 0.2.5.6-alpha to close the protocol vulnerability used by the researchers.
Facebook Staring at Fresh Privacy Class Action
August 01, 2014
Facebook is set for another legal battle over privacy, with a fresh class-action lawsuit fired up against the company. The legal action is the brainchild of Austrian law student Max Schrems, a noted campaigner against Facebook's treatment of user privacy. Schrems called on adult Facebook users around the world to join his suit after he filed a complaint in Vienna's commercial court.

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