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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.
Amazon and Apple's 'Tough Slog' on Madison Avenue
February 21, 2014
Amazon and Apple just can't seem to catch a break with the advertising elite on Madison Avenue. In fact, advertising sales are a "tough slog" for both companies, mourns a feature published this week. The problem? Apple and Amazon won't reveal enough information about their customers. This is the best news I've heard all year. In fact, it just reinforces my loyalty to both companies.
Internet of Things, Part 2: The Lighter Side
February 20, 2014
So there I was, grinding my coffee beans when the grinder's AMOLED screen lit up with a message. "We're watching you, boy," it read. OK, I must've spilled some grinds, so I cleaned up the machine and brewed me up some coffee. Ten minutes later, cup in hand, I wandered down to the laundry room and began loading up the washing machine. "Peekaboo!" read the message that appeared on its screen.
CDT's New Global Civil Liberty Aspirations
February 18, 2014
This is the best of times and the worst of times for privacy and civil liberties. Almost every day, new revelations about the U.S. National Security Agency's surveillance activities make headlines. Meanwhile, some U.S. intelligence chiefs have called for the execution of whistleblower Edward Snowden and have painted journalists who run stories based on his material as his accomplices.
New Gender Identity Options Let Facebook Users Be Themselves
February 14, 2014
Facebook on Thursday added custom gender options for users to identify themselves other than "male" and "female." Users now can identify themselves as bigender, androgynous, cisgender, or in one of more than 50 ways. The move initially applies only to the company's 159 million monthly users in the U.S. Facebook plans to provide the additional options to users outside the U.S. as well.
High-Tech Suits a Suspect in Weak US Speedskating Performance
February 14, 2014
The U.S. speedskating team's high-tech suits -- which theoretically are supposed to help shave seconds and accrue medals -- have been identified as a suspect in the team's stunning faceplant at the Sochi Games. Before the Games, the suits, designed by U.S.-based sportswear giant Under Armour, were deemed to be on the cutting edge of racing technology.
Hackers Perfectly Time Largest DDoS Attack Ever
February 12, 2014
"Very big NTP reflection attack hitting us right now. Appears to be bigger than the #Spamhaus attack from last year. Mitigating." That Monday evening tweet from Matthew Prince, CEO of CloudFlare, signaled what's being touted as the largest distributed denial of service attack ever launched on the Internet. The attackers leveraged a known vulnerability in the Internet's infrastructure.
Internet of Things, Part 1: God's Gift to the NSA
February 12, 2014
The NSA's salivary glands no doubt started working overtime when it became apparent that technological advances were moving the world toward an Internet of Things -- a world where everything would be connected to everything else wirelessly or over the Web. Almost two years ago, David Petraeus, then director of the CIA, enthused that the IoT would transform surveillance techniques.
Kaspersky Details Sophisticated 'Mask' Robber Ops
February 11, 2014
Kaspersky Lab has released research findings on Careto, a malware toolkit that has hit more than 380 victims in 31 countries so far since 2007. "Careto" means "mask" in Spanish, Kaspersky notes. The word also could point to an ancient tradition incorporated into Portuguese and Brazilian Carnival festivals. Because they are so highly sophisticated, the attacks could be the work of a nation-state.
Mass Surveillance: The Day We Fight Back
February 10, 2014
Well it's been roughly eight months since the first major leaks about the NSA's PRISM surveillance program began to appear, and at last a coordinated global protest is imminent. Scheduled to take place on Tuesday, Feb. 11, The Day We Fight Back involves thousands of participating websites as well as protests, speaking events, street theater performances and more.
Defense Contractors Shore Up Security Post-Snowden
February 10, 2014
Defense contractors have begun to bolster their cybersecurity practices in the wake of the massive leaking of government data by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Seventy-five percent of defense contractors said the Snowden Affair had changed security procedures for their employees in a recent survey. "I'm surprised that number isn't higher," said security researcher Dodi Glenn.
Unable to Dent Wallet, France Attacks Google's Pride
February 10, 2014
France's top administrative court ruled that Google must display a notice on its French search page saying that the company was fined by a local privacy watchdog. Google plans to fight the fine, but will have to adorn its Google.fr page with the humiliating message in the meantime. In January, French privacy regulators followed through on previous threats by fining Google roughly $200,000.

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