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Gadget Ogling: Comfy Earbuds, Barking Bots, and USB Killers
November 14, 2015
If you're a human being who listens to music using earbuds, chances are you've run into some issues along the way in keeping the infernal things nestled into your ear canal. Manufacturers have tried to find solutions, such as offering different-sized rubber molds, but we're still hewing to a few-sizes-fit-all model. Enter Revols, a company that might have the answer.
Apple Faces Twitter Storm Over Mac App Security Glitch
November 14, 2015
Apple faced the wrath of legions of Mac users after it reportedly allowed a security certificate to expire on Wednesday, leaving customers unable to use some apps. The expiration appeared to impact a number of apps, including Acorn, Byword, Daisy Disk, Tweetbot and 1Password. It's likely that the incident occurred due to problems with the security certificate management system.
Alibaba Crushes Global Online Shopping Day
November 13, 2015
Alibaba on Wednesday settled $14.3 billion worth of gross merchandise volume via Alipay, the company's online payment solution, during China's 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. That surpassed last year's $9.3 billion. Mobile GMV settlements accounted for about 70 percent of this year's sales. By 2 p.m. China time, more than 70 million mobile buyers had made purchases worth $7 billion.
Microsoft Hands Cloud Data Control to German Trustee
November 12, 2015
Microsoft announced it will offer its Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM cloud services to business clients using two Germany-based data centers hosted by a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. The arrangement will protect the integrity and privacy of customer data, the company said. The data centers will be under the control of T-Systems, a unit of Deutsche Telekom, which will act as data trustee.
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.
Microsoft to Add Secure Islands to Its Cloud
November 11, 2015
Microsoft on Tuesday announced that it has agreed to purchase data security firm Secure Islands. It will pay between $78 million and $150 million, according to reports, but company spokesperson Joel Sider declined to disclose the terms of the acquisition, which requires regulatory approval. Secure Islands' products will be integrated into the Azure Rights Management Service.
Decryption Tool Foils Linux Server Ransomware Attacks
November 11, 2015
Bitdefender on Monday released a free decryption tool designed to wrest data from the grip of a rare type of ransomware that's been plaguing Linux servers. Details for performing the decryption are available on the company's website. Essentially, the solution takes advantage of a flaw in the ransomware, which Bitdefender discovered through reverse-engineering.
NIST Seeks Review of Email Safety Doc
November 11, 2015
Email systems have become so routine that consumers and workers often regard them as simply part of the furniture. However, the technology is more complex than most users appreciate -- and that complexity makes it vulnerable to cyberthreats. Increased use of email has resulted in a corresponding increase in criminal and nuisance threats, NIST said in a recent advisory on email security.
Deep Learning App Targets Malware
November 10, 2015
Here's the problem with most programs aimed at killing malicious software: They need someone to tell them something's malicious. What if, however, the programs had the smarts to identify bad code on their own? That's what a company called Deep Instinct says its security solution, launched last week, can do. The offering works its magic with a technology called "deep learning."
NSA Keeps Some Security Bugs Under Its Hat
November 10, 2015
The U.S. National Security Agency is getting a collective side-eye after posting what it characterized as proactive information: the fact that it discloses 91 percent of security vulnerabilities that pass through its internal review process. While the agency appears pleased with its newfound transparency, it's being called out en masse for the things it's not reporting.
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.
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.
OpenWorld's Substance Feast
November 4, 2015
For once, Oracle OpenWorld went long on substance. That's hard to do when you have so many products to discuss and Larry Ellison pontificating, but he was both under control and substantive -- though he couldn't resist taking a few shots at competitors. Oracle's team hardly ever sees SAP and IBM in deals these days, he announced, and he gave due praise to cloud pioneers NetSuite and Salesforce.
Mobile Malware's Growth Slows, Nastiness Grows
November 4, 2015
The good news about mobile malware in 2015 is that growth has slowed down. The bad news is that the malware entering the market is more virulent than ever. While there hasn't been a sharp rise in the volume of mobile malware this year, the increasingly malicious nature of the types of malware and attacks is alarming, Blue Coat Systems said last week in its 2015 Mobile Malware Report.
NIST Seeks Business Partners to Boost Email Security
November 3, 2015
The controversy over the management of email systems by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been in the spotlight since March. More recently, the CIA director acknowledged that his personal email had been hacked. Both situations highlight the vulnerability of email. That's why NIST has launched an initiative to help both public and private organizations improve email security.
BackBox Takes Its Security Tools Seriously
October 30, 2015
BackBox Linux 4.4 is a great Linux distro for IT and other techies who want to do their own penetration tests and security assessments. The latest version, released this month, is an Ubuntu 14.04.3-based distribution that's speedy and simple to use. It's a fully functional Linux distro that comes well stocked with standard software and runs a desktop environment based on the Xfce window manager.
SXSW May Put Online Harassment in the Spotlight
October 28, 2015
SXSW Interactive reportedly might include a daylong event on combating online harassment. The news followed SXSW's cancellation of two planned panels that were expected to focus on opposite ends of the Gamergate debate. Threats of on-site violence spurred the decision to cancel both panels, according to SXSW officials. However, that decision immediately drew fire.
Qualcomm Unveils Muscle Camera for Surveillance Systems
October 28, 2015
Qualcomm on Tuesday announced a muscle video camera for surveillance systems. Part of the company's Snapdragon 618 IP camera platform, it combines a six-core, 64-bit processor; next-generation graphics crunching; and embedded digital signal processing. The unit can perform advanced video analytics, which can reduce cloud processing and storage costs provide more reliable analytics, Qualcomm said.
CISA Passes Senate Despite Privacy Advocates' Fear and Loathing
October 28, 2015
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted 74-21 to pass the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA, in the face of strong opposition from legal and cybersecurity experts, the high-tech industry, privacy and civil liberties organizations, and members of the public. The Act calls for several federal agencies to share cyberthreat indicators between the public and private sectors.
Google Pushes Transparency for SSL Certificates
October 27, 2015
The padlock on a browser's address bar is supposed to give Net travelers some security in insecure virtual space, but some dangerous flaws lurk behind the padlock. They can weaken the effectiveness of encrypted Internet connections and compromise TLS/SSL processes, including domain validation, end-to-end encryption, and the chains of trust certificate authorities have put in place, Google said.
TalkTalk Attacked, Hit With Ransom Demand
October 23, 2015
TalkTalk on Thursday announced that it received a ransom demand following a cyberattack that may have compromised the credit card and bank details of millions of customers. "TalkTalk constantly updates its systems to make sure they are as secure as possible against the rapidly evolving threat of cybercrime, impacting an increasing number of individuals and organizations," CEO Dido Harding said.
Researcher's Demo Sheds Doubt on Fitbit Security
October 23, 2015
Fortinet security researcher Axelle Apvrille demonstrated Wednesday in a presentation at the Hack.lu conference in Luxembourg. Apvrille showed how it was possible to access a Fitbit's Bluetooth connection and, in a mere 10 seconds, infect it with a malicious packet that later could be used to infect a PC, a feat she demoed earlier this month at a hacker conference in Budapest.
Global Attacks on Mobile Networks Jeopardize Privacy, Profits
October 21, 2015
Bad actors are exploiting an obscure technology found in telecommunications networks around the world to track mobile users and engage in fraud, and they could be costing carriers millions of dollars in lost revenues. Compromise of the technology, called "SS7," can cause significant damage to the reputation and finances of carriers around the world, AdaptiveMobile noted.
Healthcare Sector Security Woefully Weak, Survey Says
October 21, 2015
The healthcare industry has become the favorite playground for many cybercriminals, suggests a report Trustwave released earlier this month. Of the 398 full-time healthcare professionals surveyed, 91 percent of information technology respondents and 77 percent of nontechnical respondents believed criminals increasingly were targeting healthcare organizations.
Report: Cybersecurity Pact Fails to Deter Chinese Hackers
October 20, 2015
The cybersecurity pact the U.S. and China agreed to last month apparently has not stopped Chinese hackers from trying to steal intellectual property from U.S. companies. "Over the last three weeks, CrowdStrike Falcon platform has detected and prevented a number of intrusions into our customers' systems from actors we have affiliated with the Chinese government," said CTO Dmitri Alperovitch.
JPEG Committee Proposal Stirs Image-DRM Fears
October 19, 2015
The JPEG Committee last week met in Brussels to discuss a proposal to secure privacy information such as metadata for published pictures, including geographical information enabling identification of people who have given anonymous interviews to journalists, and pictures posted on social media intended only for a limited audience. The proposal also seeks to address intellectual property rights.
Boffins Demo Remote Control of Siri, Google Now
October 19, 2015
Siri and other smartphone digital assistants may do your bidding -- but they may do a hijacker's as well. That's what two researchers discovered when they began to tinker with the effects of radio waves on smartphones. They could use the waves to issue commands to any Android or iOS phone running Google Now or Siri. The researchers first aired their findings at a Paris conference this summer.
Yahoo's New Email App Dumps Passwords
October 16, 2015
Yahoo on Thursday announced a password-free Yahoo Mail app that can manage email accounts from Outlook.com, Hotmail and AOL Mail. There was no mention of syncing with Gmail or Apple's iCloud Mail. Yahoo has been working to improve email security in the wake of repeated hacks of the service over the years, the most prominent a password theft that occurred early last year.
EU Court Decision Threatens US Cloud Dominance
October 16, 2015
Edward Snowden's legacy gained another chapter last week when the European Court of Justice rejected an agreement that created a Safe Harbor for U.S. companies handling personal data of overseas citizens. In essence, the agreement provided that a U.S. company's word that it had adequate privacy safeguards in place was all that was needed to permit overseas personal data transfers.
HP, 3M to Shield Laptop Screens From Visual Hacking
October 15, 2015
HP and 3M are collaborating on privacy screens to protect notebook PCs from visual hacking. "3M is developing an innovative light-enhancement film that can be incorporated into a system that enables light to be directed to other viewers when you want information sharing, and away from onlookers when you need private viewing," 3M spokesperson Jessica Walton said.
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I plan to do my holiday shopping…
Online only -- I like the convenience and comfort.
Online only -- I'd shop in stores if their stock weren't so limited.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I like to see what I'm getting.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I enjoy the holiday shopping atmosphere.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I want to support local merchants.
Online and in stores -- I want the best of both worlds.
I'm not planning on doing any holiday shopping.