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Tech Execs Issue Dire Warnings on Impact of NSA Surveillance
October 10, 2014
The NSA's wide-ranging surveillance of people's communications worldwide is hitting America's high-tech industry hard, said panelists on Wednesday at a roundtable held by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden in Palo Alto, California. Wyden set the tone from the start: "This is going to cost America jobs." Several foreign governments are planning to build domestic Internets.
DEA Lifts Woman's Identity, Creates Fake Facebook Page
October 08, 2014
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency reportedly co-opted a woman's identity to create a fake Facebook page as a ruse to investigate suspects. The agency posted racy pictures of the woman, then known as "Sondra Prince," as well as a photo of her young son and niece, to the sham page. The photos were taken from her cellphone, which DEA had seized when Prince was arrested in connection with a drug ring.
Feds Seek Advice on Privacy Tech Spending
October 07, 2014
Various U.S. government agencies have been conducting research on how best to meet the challenge of privacy in the digital age, with investigations of a wide range of technology issues including encryption, data tagging, sensors, healthcare records and clinical informatics. As useful as this research eventually may become, the fragmented nature of these efforts poses a problem.
Phishers Find Apple Most Tasty Target
October 07, 2014
"Follow the money" isn't just the war cry of journalistic bloodhounds hot on the trail of political corruption. It's the mantra of Web predators, too. That's why PayPal consistently has been the top brand targeted by phishers -- although that appears to have changed. Apple now has the dubious distinction of most-phished brand, according to the latest report from the Anti-Phishing Work Group.
FDA Aims to Shore Up Medical Device Cybersecurity
October 06, 2014
The Food and Drug Administration last week released long-awaited recommendations aimed at better managing cybersecurity risks to protect patient health and information. The new standards recommend manufacturers take into account cybersecurity risks as part of the design and development of a medical device. They require device makers to submit documentation to the FDA about identified risks.
Being Facebook Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry
October 03, 2014
Facebook on Thursday announced it had developed a framework for conducting research on its 1.3 billion or so users. The announcement clearly is a response to the onslaught of criticism the company recently received, when it blithely reported the findings of a study about how News Feed content affected a user's mood. Facebook withheld certain posts and promoted others to see how users would react.
EFF Raises Alarm Over ComputerCOP's Spying Ways
October 02, 2014
ComputerCOP software, a parental monitoring application that long has been recommended and distributed by law enforcement agencies, is little more than spyware with significant potential for abuse, the EFF reported Wednesday. The software includes a keylogger that could expose a family's personal information by transmitting what's typed to third-party servers without encryption, the EFF said.
Apple Shrinks Market for Stolen iPhones
October 02, 2014
Apple on Thursday closed a gap in its efforts to combat mobile device theft with the announcement of a service for checking the Activation Lock status of its iPhone, iPad and iPod product lines. The Find My iPhone Activation Lock requires that an owner's Apple ID and passcode be entered into an iOS device before Find My iPhone can be turned off or the device can be erased or reactivated.
BYOD Privacy: Do Employees Have Rights?
October 02, 2014
Using personal devices to conduct business has become commonplace, whether employers require it or employees voluntary do so. The use of personal devices creates a privacy challenge. Employers want access to the devices, and employees want to protect their personal data contained on them. The term "devices" itself is deceiving. Many consider employee-owned devices to be smartphones and tablets.
'Data Divination: Big Data Strategies' Is a Great Hip-Pocket Tool
October 02, 2014
Most of today's books about Big Data delve into highly technical tools, cloud technology, and high-level computer-assisted math calculations and algorithms. For most people in the business world, this is far from motivating readers to appreciate just what Big Data does and how to let it get you there. However, that's not so with Data Divination: Big Data Strategies by Pam Baker.
Darkcoin Steps Out of the Shadows
October 01, 2014
Darkcoin has exited beta and is now ready for mainstream use. Also, the software's code is now open source. Darkcoin is the first fully open source cryptocurrency with financial privacy built directly into the software, its developers claimed. Open-sourcing financial software is vitally important, they said, because it instills confidence that users' financial privacy is protected.
Consumers Fed Up With Data Breaches
September 30, 2014
Consumers are beginning to lose their patience with the custodians of their personal information. Survey results from 2,000 consumers released last week by HyTrust, suggest that 51 percent of those polled would bolt from any business involved in a data breach that compromised personal information such as address, Social Security number or credit card details.
Banks, Businesses Scramble to Smash Bash Shellshock Bug
September 29, 2014
Banks and businesses toiled over the weekend to crush a bug in a widely used open source operating system. The flaw has been in Unix for some 25 years, but it was revealed just last week. If exploited, the vulnerability could be used to inject malicious code or take command of a system or device. Dubbed "Shellshock," it requires patching systems and devices running Apple's OS X, Linux and Unix.
FBI Director Comey Gives Apple and Google a Tongue-Lashing
September 26, 2014
FBI Director James Comey on Thursday strongly criticized Apple and Google for hardening information stored in smartphones by encrypting data, making it inaccessible to law enforcement even with a court order. The FBI has had conversations with both Apple and Google over the encryption features, Comey said, although he personally was not involved in those talks.
Bash Shellshock Bug Patched but Not Pummeled
September 25, 2014
Researchers on Thursday discovered proof-of-concept code that could take advantage of unpatched computer systems, and found evidence of attacks exploiting the BASH Shellshock bug in the wild. Shellshock, which came to light on Wednesday, could become a major threat to Linux/Unix and Apple operating systems if published patches to BASH are not applied before an attacker cashes in.
Self-Driving Car Security: No Room for Error
September 25, 2014
Walk into any electronics store and you will find antivirus software from companies like Norton, ESET, McAfee and Kaspersky. In the last few years, the risk has spread from our computers to our smartphones and our tablets. The next thing we will have to protect may be our cars -- and our lives could depend on it. We used to think the computer was the only device that needed virus protection.
Banking Trojan Targets Petrochemical Outfits
September 23, 2014
The pernicious program Citadel has been around for awhile, but it's using some new tricks on new targets. From its humble origins as a "man in the browser" thief of banking credentials, Citadel has become a knave of all trades. Once it lands on a computer, it can be configured in a number of ways with a file from a server operated by Web predators.
Phishing Scam Ensnares eBay Shoppers
September 23, 2014
Attackers for months have been using eBay listings to redirect visitors to password-harvesting scam sites. They use cross-site scripting to hijack shoppers and trick them into handing over personal data. Smartphones, televisions, hot tubs and clothing are among the items supposedly for sale in listings infected with malicious Javascript code. eBay reportedly has been slow to address the issue.
Home Depot Gives 56 Million Customers a Heads Up
September 19, 2014
Home Depot on Thursday said it had excised the malware demon from its computerized payment system after its recent discovery of a security breach in which thieves stole records of 56 million credit cards. Home Depot stopped short of admitting that an ongoing security upgrade may have contributed to the breach. Efforts to harden the system with enhanced encryption are under way.
Android L Will Keep Your Secrets Safer
September 19, 2014
Hard on the heels of increased security measures in Apple's newly released iOS 8, Google this week confirmed that encryption will be turned on by default in the next release of Android. Android has offered encryption for more than three years, and keys are not stored off the device, so they can't be shared with law enforcement, Google said. In Android L, encryption will be enabled by default.
Apple Fills iOS 8 Security Basket to Brim
September 19, 2014
With data thefts and cybersnooping making headlines daily, security has started to capture the attention of the disciples of the digital lifestyle -- and if the latest version of iOS is any indication, it's catching the attention of Apple, too. Along with nifty features like Hand Off and Family Sharing, iOS 8 contains a number of significant security and privacy enhancements.
Web-Surfing Adults More Infection-Prone Than Teens
September 16, 2014
American teens spend a lot more time online than older Web surfers, yet it doesn't seem to increase their vulnerability to malicious activity. Teens last year spent a little more than four hours a day on the Net, while adults in the 50-to-64 age bracket burned two hours, 41 minutes online daily, MarketingCharts found. Those numbers piqued the interest of Enigma Software.
XSS Flaw Burns a Hole in Kindle Security
September 16, 2014
Security consultant Benjamin Mussler last week warned that the Kindle e-book library had a cross-site scripting vulnerability. It appears Amazon previously had fixed the XSS flaw but two months ago reintroduced it in a new version of the "Manage Your Kindle" Web application, according to Mussler. People who download pirated e-books are at greatest risk, he said.
Feds Wielded Baseball Bat to Win Yahoo's NSA Cooperation
September 12, 2014
The Obama administration threatened Yahoo with fines of $250,000 daily if it wouldn't comply with demands to hand over user information to the NSA, Yahoo has disclosed. Yahoo had filed suit against the demands in 2007, citing the Fourth Amendment. "They basically said you must do this thing that you don't want to do or we'll put you out of business," said ITIF's Daniel Castro.

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