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Privacy Groups Bring WhatsApp Worries to FTC's Door
March 07, 2014
The consumer privacy backlash stirred up by Facebook's recent deal to purchase WhatsApp for $19 billion is now in full swing. The Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy jointly filed a complaint about the deal with the FTC. Following the announcement of the agreement, both companies offered reassurances that WhatsApp user data would be safe from Facebook.
Watch Out, NSA - Here Comes the Snowden Phone
March 06, 2014
Brash startup mobile carrier FreedomPop, which leases bandwidth from Sprint and has launched several aggressive programs to help it take off, on Wednesday unveiled the Privacy Phone -- nicknamed the "Snowden Phone" -- a Samsung Galaxy SII tweaked to be highly secure. The fully encrypted device costs $189, which includes unlimited talk, text and 500 MB of data for three months.
Russia Implicated in Ukrainian Cyberdisruptions
March 06, 2014
Security forces in Ukraine, where tensions are running exceedingly high after weeks-worth of turmoil, have accused the Russian army of tampering with its mobile communications. In addition, Ukrainian news websites and social media have been smeared with pro-Russia propaganda. In other words, an entirely new element appears to be in play: cyberconflict between Kiev and Moscow.
Beijing to Officials: Please, No Smartphones During Session
March 05, 2014
Officials partaking in China's National People's Congress, which began Wednesday, have been asked to please not mess around on their mobile devices during the session. A state-owned newspaper published a list of rules for attendees, including this one: "Do not use your phones to send text messages or make phone calls during meeting; do not use your computer or phone to play games."
Galaxy S5 Could Win Over Mobile Payment Skeptics
March 04, 2014
Consumers love their smartphones, but a substantial number of them don't love using them to pay for purchases. With Samsung's introduction of its Galaxy S5 phone last week, the company is betting it can change some of those consumers' minds on that subject. Like Apple's iPhone 5s, the S5 has a fingerprint scanner. Unlike the Apple product, though, the S5's scanner can be used to pay for things.
F-Secure's Hypponen: RSA Lost Trust
March 03, 2014
Less than two months after publicly announcing that he was pulling out of the RSA Security Conference because RSA had accepted a $10 million contract from the NSA, F-Secure chief researcher Mikko Hypponen appeared somewhat mellowed. He alternated between criticizing RSA and offering an olive branch when speaking to reporters last week in San Francisco, where the conference was under way.
Wiliest Ways to Keep the NSA at Bay
February 28, 2014
The death of online privacy had already been proclaimed long before Edward Snowden landed in the international spotlight, but if it wasn't confirmed back then, Snowden's NSA revelations surely must have extinguished the last vestiges of hope in even the most die-hard optimists. "We're in a predicament," said Phil Zimmermann, Pretty Good Privacy creator and cofounder and president of Silent Circle.
Mt. Gox Scrambles for Chap. 11 Cover
February 28, 2014
Mt. Gox, the largest Bitcoin exchange, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in Tokyo, Just days after going offline following the publication on Scribd of an internal memo that alleged hackers had stolen nearly 745,000 Bitcoins from its servers over the years. Blaming a weakness in the company's systems, CEO Mark Karpeles apologized publicly but said the Bitcoin industry was healthy.
Report: Britain Snooped on Yahoo Users' Sexy Times
February 28, 2014
Britain's Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, reportedly intercepted and collected millions of images of people via Yahoo webcam chats, some of which were sexually explicit. As part of the surveillance program, dubbed "Optic Nerve," GCHQ saved images from webcams on agency databases regardless of whether or not the individuals were an intelligence target.
Brits Hoovered Yahoo Webcams, Say Snowden Papers
February 28, 2014
A British intelligence agency indiscriminately collected photos from the webcams of Yahoo users and reportedly stored them on its servers over a period of several years as part of a surveillance program called "Optic Nerve." The operation was run by the UK's NSA counterpart, GCHQ, according to a top secret documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Boeing Unveils Suicidally Secure Smartphone
February 27, 2014
Boeing this week filed an application with the United States Federal Communications Commission for a secure Android smartphone called the "Black" that will self-destruct if anyone tries to physically open the case. The company will offer it to the U.S. defense and security communities. The Black has endless modularity capabilities, according to Boeing.
White House Leaps Onto NSA Surveillance Merry-Go-Round
February 26, 2014
The U.S. Department of Justice and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence reportedly have submitted four proposals to reform the National Security Agency's phone surveillance program. The recommendations come well before the March 28 deadline set by President Obama. Three deal with having the data stored by some other organization, and the fourth calls for scrapping the program.
Target Reels From Customer Data Breach
February 26, 2014
Target reported financial results for the quarter during which it suffered a high-profile data breach, revealing how badly the company was stung by the security lapses. In the three months ending Feb. 1, net earnings dropped by 46 percent compared with the year-ago fourth quarter, from $961 million to $520 million. Profit dropped by more than 40 percent from the same period a year earlier.
Apple's Better Late Than Never With OS X Security Fix
February 26, 2014
Apple has pushed a large update to its OS X Mavericks OS that includes a patch for a significant security flaw. The vulnerability allows Net predators to hijack a secure communication channel from a device running the latest version of OS X and perform mischief such as intercepting user names and passwords. The flaw affects Apple programs that use SSL encryption.
The Rise of the Ethical Hacktivist
February 25, 2014
When Saul Alinsky wrote Rules for Radicals more than four decades ago, the world was a very different place than it is today. Protests and demonstrations were among the most common tactics for bringing about social change, and they were used on such a broad scale that they helped define the Vietnam War era and counterculture movement of the 1960s and 1970s.
Windows XP to Live On in China
February 25, 2014
A handful of Chinese Web companies are banding together to provide user support -- system upgrades, security services and the like -- to domestic users after Microsoft turns out the lights on Windows XP. Microsoft announced that it's going to punt on Windows XP in early April. Alas, an estimated 25-plus percent of China's computers run on the operating system. But fear not!
FTC Explores Scope of Federal IoT Regulation
February 25, 2014
The explosion of the Internet of Things, or IoT, promises great opportunities for improving quality of life -- but also for creating both seen and unforeseen dangers. The IoT generally refers to a network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to sense, communicate and interact with their internal states or their external environment, according to Gartner.
Security Firms Scour Mobile Apps
February 24, 2014
Security pros weren't very kind to mobile applications last week. A number of firms knocked apps produced for the smartphone market for all kinds of risky behaviors that could lead to trouble not only for mobile device owners, but also for their employers. While Android has been a poster child for misbehaving apps in the past, competitor Apple's apps aren't as pristine as is commonly believed.
Spanish Woman's Twitter Musings Lead to Terror-Related Conviction
February 24, 2014
Twenty-one-year-old Spaniard Alba González Camacho was convicted of inciting terrorism thanks to some ill-conceived tweets about a far-left terrorist organization. She became the first person in Spain to be convicted of such charges for Twitter posts. González Camacho implored the terror group "Grapo" to murder politicians. Grapo was responsible for 80-some killings, mostly in the 1970s and 80s.
Google Gets Spider.io to Take a Bite Out of Click-Fraud
February 24, 2014
Google on Friday announced its purchase of online ad fraud fighter Spider.io. It initially will include Spider's fraud detection technology in its video and display ad products. Over time, Google will incorporate Spider's iFramed ads view technology in its products. "This is an excellent move for Google," said Mukul Krishna, senior global director of digital media at Frost & Sullivan.

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