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Can Cook Stir Up That Old Black Magic?
September 08, 2014
Excitement is mounting as the countdown to Apple's mysterious Tuesday event ticks away. Apple is widely expected to unveil two new iPhones -- one in the usual smartphone form factor and the other a phablet. There's also a good deal of anticipation for an iWatch or other stylish wearable that will kick the sector into high gear. Some expect Apple to go full blast into the healthcare industry.
Celebrities Are Fools to Use Apple Products
September 08, 2014
"Celebrities are stupid" seems to be the message Apple delivered last week as it attempted to recover from the release of an impressive number of nude pictures of celebrities on the Web. Fans of BlackBerry, which used to be the preferred platform for celebrities, had a field day over this. Apple has the most loyal customer base, but without Jobs, it seems clear it has no clue how to protect it.
Apple's Cook Promises Feeble iCloud Security Upgrades
September 05, 2014
Apple is taking steps to improve security in the wake of the furor generated by hackers' posting nude photos of celebs on the Internet, CEO Tim Cook said. Apple will alert users via email and push notifications when someone tries to restore iCloud data to a new device. It already does this when someone tries to change an account password or when a device first logs in to an account.
Bad News Hounds Apple Days Before iPhone Gala
September 05, 2014
Apple has been forced to do some serious damage control when it no doubt would rather be rallying fans for its big iPhone launch next week. The company on Tuesday learned that a number of celebrity accounts on its iCloud service had been cracked and some embarrassing photos posted. Then two activist groups on Thursday released a report critical of work conditions at an Apple supplier in China.
We Can Fly to the Moon, but We Can't Secure the Cloud?
September 04, 2014
The entire freaking tech industry is falling down on the job, and Apple, my favorite company in the world, is stumbling around too. What's worse is that it doesn't seem to care. Apple is the most profitable consumer tech company in the world, with billions of dollars in the bank. Yet the company can't seem to be bothered to imagine how easily iCloud user accounts could be compromised.
Sizing Up the Cloud's Risks
September 04, 2014
The iCloud security issue that's been in the headlines all week should be a great big wake-up call to everyone. The cloud is coming; however, we are still in the very early days. Security threats keep growing, so it is important for both individuals and companies to be prepared. The news this week suggested an iCloud security flaw allowed private nude photos to be stolen.
Home Depot All But Confirms Doozy of a Data Breach
September 03, 2014
Home Depot may have experienced a massive security breach -- possibly on a greater scale than last year's Target breach, which affected an estimated 110 million people. Home Depot said it was investigating the possibility, following security researcher Brian Krebs' Tuesday alert. It appears the perpetrators are the same hackers responsible for the data breaches at Target and elsewhere.
Admins Grapple With Shadow Tech
September 03, 2014
If you want to see an IT pro twitch, bring up Shadow IT in a conversation. "Shadow IT" is a term applied to technology deployed by an organization's users outside the purview of the IT department. It's bothersome to system shepherds because it can open up an organization to data leakages. It's also growing. Many Shadow IT programs run in the cloud, but all clouds are not created equal.
Other Shoe Drops in CyberVor Hack Attack
September 02, 2014
Domain name registrar Namecheap on Monday reported that it was besieged Sunday night by cyberattackers who employed username and password data possibly stolen by the so-called CyberVor hacker gang. "CyberVor" is the name Hold Security used last month when it reported the theft of 1.2 billion online credentials. However, the "vast majority" of the malicious login attempts were unsuccessful.
Victimized Celebs Blamed for Their Indecent Exposure
September 02, 2014
Apple on Tuesday issued a statement blaming the posting online of more than 100 celebrities' photos in various stages of dishabille on a highly targeted hack attack to gain access to their usernames, passwords and answers to security questions. None of the cases investigated resulted from any breach in the company's systems, including iCloud or Find my iPhone, Apple maintained.
Russian Hackers Sack US Banks: Report
August 29, 2014
Hackers appear to have stolen data from JPMorgan Chase and at least one other U.S. bank in retaliation for economic sanctions against Russia. The raid on the banks' computer systems reportedly resulted in the theft of gigabytes of sensitive data. JPMorgan did not confirm the incident. However, the FBI is conducting an investigation into reports of cyberattacks on U.S. banks.
Hacker Attacks on Healthcare Providers Jump 600 Percent
August 28, 2014
The recent data breach at Community Health Systems, in which Chinese hackers stole the personal information of 4.3 million patients, was another sign of a disturbing trend: Healthcare providers are coming under cyberattack at an alarming rate. "We've seen a 600 percent increase in attacks on the healthcare sector in the last 10 months," said Carl Leonard, senior manager at Websense Security Labs.
California Lays Down the Kill-Switch Law
August 27, 2014
Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed into law a bill requiring that anti-theft measures be incorporated into all smartphones sold within California. It doesn't specify the particular technologies used to enable that capability, but it does require that the feature, also known as a "kill switch," give smartphone users the ability to remotely disable their devices in the event they're lost or stolen.
NSA Shares Its Data Wealth
August 26, 2014
The United States National Security Agency secretly shares the communications data it has amassed over the years with nearly 24 U.S. government agencies using a search engine resembling Google Search, according to documents released by Edward Snowden. That's more than 850 billion records of phone calls, emails, cellphone locations and Internet chats.
Sony DDoS Attack May Have Been Smokescreen
August 25, 2014
Sony's PlayStation and Sony Entertainment networks were taken down over the weekend by a distributed denial of service attack. The hackers, who call themselves the "Lizard Squad," also forced authorities to divert a plane Sony Entertainment president was on by tweeting that there might be a bomb on board. A hacker with the handle "FamedGod" later claimed responsibility for the DDoS attack.
Twitter Tromps on Spammers
August 25, 2014
Twitter has reported success with its BotMaker spam-prevention system. Because Twitter operates in real time, BotMaker is designed to work fast to eliminate spammers. Its main goals are to bar spam accounts from being created, to reduce the time they spend on Twitter if they do show up, and to reduce Twitter's reaction time in responding to spammer workarounds that bypass its protection systems.
Security Researchers Lay Bare TSA Body Scanner Flaws
August 22, 2014
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration, part of the Department of Homeland Security, has spent more than a billion dollars on full-body scanners designed to strengthen airport security. It turns out that at least one model of scanner in use for four years -- the Rapiscan Secure 1000 full-body scanner -- easily could have been foiled by a savvy bad actor.
It's Time Companies Put Mobile First
August 21, 2014
A growing number of consumers are becoming mobile-first or even mobile-only, so why not businesses? Granted, it is hard to image the company whose computing power and data could be accessed and manipulated only through a mobile device. However, a company that gives mobile the same status and resources as its other IT initiatives? That is a little easier to envision.
Google Gets in a Trusted Stores Encryption Tangle
August 21, 2014
A conflict between Google's push to make the Web more secure and its Trusted Store program may be costing at least one business money. Pegasus Auto Racing Supplies, which encrypts all the pages on its website, reportedly has had its application for Google's Trusted Stores program turned down. Think of the badge as the equivalent of the Good Housekeeping Seal.
Is Open Source an Open Invitation to Hack Webmail Encryption?
August 21, 2014
In a move influenced by Edward Snowden's revelations about the NSA's email snooping, Yahoo and Google last week announced that they were cooperating on end-to-end encrypting their webmail products. While the open source approach has proven its value over and over again, the idea of opening up the code for security features to anyone with eyeballs still creates anxiety in some circles.
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.

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