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House Passes Cybersecurity Bills Despite Privacy Fears
April 24, 2015
Two cybersecurity bills approved this week by the U.S. House of Representatives pose a threat to citizens' privacy, according to opponents of the measures. Both bills aim to improve sharing of cybersecurity information between businesses and government agencies. "'Information sharing' is a misnomer," said Gabriel Rottman, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.
VCs Cough Up $100M for Cybersecurity Startup Illumio
April 23, 2015
Illumio, a 2-year-old cybersecurity startup, last week announced it had raised $100 million in a Series C round of financing, bringing its total funding over the past 27 months to more than $142 million. Illumio will use the fresh funds to meet demand for its Adaptive Security Platform software, to invest in R&D, to grow sales and marketing efforts, and to fuel international expansion.
Breach Outbreaks Fuel Encryption Adoption
April 22, 2015
As data breaches make headlines around the world, more companies are turning to encryption to protect their information jewels. That is one of the findings in a study released Monday, conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Thales E-Security. "Mega breaches and cyber attacks have increased companies' urgency to improve their security posture," says the report.
Government Surveillance: What to Do, What to Do?
April 21, 2015
The CIA has been trying to hack into iOS for years. British and American agencies reportedly have collaborated to create a map of the Internet and Web users. The United States National Security Agency has, together with the UK's GCHQ, reportedly stolen SIM card encryption keys from Gemalto. The FBI is frothing at the mouth over Google's and Apple's encryption of their mobile OSes.
Your Lawyer Is Vulnerable to Cyberattacks
April 20, 2015
Lawyers help their clients as they negotiate confidential business transactions, hold intellectual property, manage funds and litigate disputes, among many other business activities. In the ordinary course of business, lawyers also maintain numerous confidential documents and data of and about their clients. Lawyers therefore have a big bull's-eye drawn on their backs, visible to cybercriminals.
Opening Windows Source Code Could Improve Security
April 16, 2015
Microsoft Technical Fellow Mark Russinovich raised a few eyebrows at ChefCon earlier this month, when he aired the possibility of Windows becoming an open source program. Sure, Microsoft's attitude toward the open source movement has mellowed over the years, but the prospect of the company rubbing elbows with the likes of Linux overloads the imagination.
Ransomware Perps Put the Squeeze on Police
April 14, 2015
Five police departments in Maine, whose networks are linked together so they can share files, recently deposited bitcoins worth 300 euros into a Swiss bank account as ransom for their records. The departments' management system was locked down by ransomware that scrambled their data and rendered it unusable. The police decided to pay up after their experts failed to crack the ransomware code.
DEA Sued for Unconstitutional Phone Surveillance
April 10, 2015
The Electronic Frontier Foundation this week filed a complaint against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for secretly collecting data on all telephone calls to as many as 116 countries, possibly going back to the 1990s. The suit was filed on behalf of Human Rights Watch. Many of the calls were made to countries known to be heavily involved in the drug trade.
Heartbleed Threat Won't Fade Away
April 9, 2015
This week marks the first anniversary of the Heartbleed vulnerability that caused a panic across the Internet last year. While the flaw appears to have faded from the recollections of Net denizens, it still poses danger at many sites in cyberspace. Heartbleed was discovered in April 2014 in an open source library, OpenSSL, used by the SSL protocol.
FTC Upgrades IT to Protect Consumer Privacy, Data Security
April 8, 2015
The FTC, which is at the forefront of regulating the impact of information technology on consumers, is bolstering its technical resource capabilities through a new Office of Technology Research and Investigation. The FTC is concerned about the failure of commercial entities to make adequate disclosures or to properly address data breaches and privacy issues.
John Oliver Tackles Surveillance in Surprise Snowden Scoop
April 6, 2015
Comedy talk show host John Oliver boldly went where few journalists from the mainstream media have dared to tread, grilling whistle-blower Edward Snowden about his leaking of thousands of NSA documents to the press. He raked Snowden over the coals for not having read every one of the documents, insisting there's a difference between understanding what's in documents and reading them.
Obama Draws Cyber Line in Sand
April 2, 2015
President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed an executive order that gives the Secretary of Treasury the authority to impose sanctions on entities found responsible for or complicit in carrying out a cyberattack harmful to U.S. interests. The Secretary of Treasury will have to consult with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General before enacting the powers granted under the order.
Proposed Amendments to US Cybersecurity Laws Under Scrutiny
March 31, 2015
The White House in January proposed updates to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act that have stirred controversy within the cybersecurity industry. "If the proposed legislation were to be enacted, it would certainly have a chilling effect on cybersecurity research," said Chris Doggett, managing director at Kaspersky Lab North America.
The Futility of the Strong Password Solution
March 31, 2015
After experiencing a data breach, most companies take a number of measures to strengthen security, including advising users to change their passwords and to make them strong. Although it stopped short of confirming anything, Amazon-owned Twitch last week notified users that its network might have been hacked and that some user account information might have been exposed.
Compliance Mindset Can Lead to Epic Security Fail
March 30, 2015
The recent data breach at Premera Blue Cross -- in which the personal information of some 11 million customers was compromised -- raises questions about how effective government regulators are at ensuring that healthcare providers adequately protect their patients' data. There have been abundant warnings that compliance with government regulations alone would not be adequate.
Optimizing the Brick-and-Mortar Customer Experience
March 27, 2015
The retail industry has finally awakened to what customers always have known -- they don't distinguish too much between channels. Modern shoppers are happy to embrace the immediacy and experience of the physical store while also benefiting from the informed and personalized ease of shopping online. Retailers should translate the smartest online strategies into their in-store experience.
Amazon Fires 1st Shot in Storage Price War
March 27, 2015
Amazon on Thursday announced two new plans for unlimited storage in its Cloud Drive service. The Unlimited Photos plan includes 5 GB of additional storage for videos or other documents and files. It costs $11.99 per year. The Unlimited Everything option provides limitless cloud storage of photos, videos, movies, music and files for $59.99 per year. Both plans come with a free three-month trial.
CAPTCHAs May Do More Harm Than Good
March 26, 2015
If an annoyance contest were held between passwords and CAPTCHAs, passwords would probably win, but not by much. CAPTCHA -- Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart -- was created to foil bots attempting to mass-create accounts at websites. Once created, those accounts could be exploited by online lowlifes for malicious ends, such as spewing spam.
Google Glass Should Stay Gone
March 26, 2015
Here we go again. Most everyone who thought Google Glass crossed the privacy line was happy when it appeared the new technology was being shelved. Not so fast. Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt says Google is not giving up on Glass. Like everyone else, I love new technology. However sometimes companies and their tech staff cross over the line and don't see it the way the rest of the world sees it.
Glass Is Still a Twinkle in Google's Eye
March 23, 2015
Google hasn't killed Glass, its controversial Internet-connected eyewear, CEO Eric Schmidt said in an interview published Monday. In fact, Google plans to bring out a new version of Glass later this year, he said. Rumors of its demise seemed to be confirmed in January, when Google abruptly stopped selling the initial version of Glass and shuttered its Explorer program.
How Secure Is the Apple Watch?
March 19, 2015
Apple typically has impeccable timing for its new product introductions, but that may not be the case with its new smartwatch. In a gala event last week, the company announced model and pricing details -- but that came just six days after questions were raised about the security of Apple Pay. Those questions haven't gone away, and now they're also being asked about the Apple Watch.
Windows Hello Waves Off Passwords
March 18, 2015
Microsoft on Tuesday announced Windows Hello, a feature that allows users to access computers and devices running Windows 10 via face recognition, iris identification or fingerprint matching. In addition, the company raised the curtain on Microsoft Passport, a programming system that IT managers, software developers and website authors can use for signing in to websites and applications.
Talking Barbie Says Hello, Parents Say Goodbye
March 18, 2015
It's not so much Hello Barbie's talking -- it's her listening that has parents up in arms. Here's how Hello Barbie works: A kid presses on the doll's belt buckle and speaks into a microphone in the doll's necklace. An AI system processes and analyzes that speech in the cloud. Responses are then streamed back to the doll, who replies to the kid -- all over a secure WiFi connection to the Internet.
New Facebook Marketing Tool Chews Up Data, Spits It Out
March 17, 2015
Facebook has launched Topic Data, a new service that reveals to advertisers the subjects users discuss, the products they use, and the activities they follow. Marketers will be able to sift through data compilations of what users say about events, brands, subjects and activities. Data on all of Facebook's 1.3 billion users will be used -- anonymized and aggregated to protect their identities.

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