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Two Risky Strategies Could Threaten Apple's Long-Term Survival
September 28, 2015
One of the ironies of my career is that when I first went to work for a tech company, I specifically wanted to work for a firm that was breaking the mold -- not representative of it. So, in my initial interview, I was concerned that IBM was going to buy the firm because it was the mold at that time. I was promised that there was a contract that said it couldn't. Then, six months later, it did.
Lockscreen Bug Fix Conspicuously Absent in iOS 9 Update
September 25, 2015
Apple has released the first update to its new iOS 9 operating system to clean up some bugs in the original version of the software. Bugs addressed in the update, iOS 9.0.1, include a system freeze on the slide to update screen, alarms and timers that would fail to go off, and frame distortion in paused videos. One bug Apple didn't address allows an intruder to bypass a device's lockscreen.
OPM's Latest Bad News: 5.6 Million Fingerprints Lifted
September 25, 2015
The Office of Personnel Management on Wednesday revealed that the hackers who penetrated its records system stole 5.6 million fingerprints of federal employees -- five times the 1.1 million originally reported. The cyberattack, which came to light this spring, compromised the Social Security numbers and other sensitive information of 21.5 million people.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Timeline
September 24, 2015
That trip down memory lane may never be the same. Those who feel their Facebook Timeline leaves out any important moments in their lives can call up Google Maps' Timeline to fill in the blanks. With tech tools like these, who needs enemies? There may be some things you'd rather not remember -- and there probably definitely are things in your past that you'd rather others didn't know.
What Goes Around Comes Around: Russia Gets Hacked
September 23, 2015
Russia has been a prime suspect in recent cyberattacks against U.S. government targets. However, Russia has been poked with the other end of the hacker stick. For more than two months, hacker attacks originating in China have bedeviled Russia's military and telecom sectors, Proofpoint researchers have revealed. Russian-speaking analysts working at global financial firms also have been attacked.
Feds Award $500M Credit-Monitoring Contract Following OPM Breach
September 23, 2015
The U.S. government spends millions of dollars on IT systems designed to prevent cybersecurity attacks, but they still occur. Government agencies are hopeful that the learning curve will improve dramatically, and breaches will be reduced. In the meantime, what happens to people affected by a breach after an attack succeeds? This year, the OPM was hit with one of the biggest hack attacks ever.
Exploding Chip Could Thwart Cyberthieves
September 22, 2015
Researchers at Xerox PARC have developed a self-destructing mechanism for microchips embedded on a hardened glass surface. The glass can self-destruct upon command and could be used to secure personal data such as health and banking records. It also can be used to destroy encryption keys stored on memory chips in standard consumer, enterprise and government electronic devices.
Malware Jumps Apple's Garden Wall
September 22, 2015
Developers who unknowingly used a malicious tool to code their programs uploaded hundreds of malware-infected apps to the iTunes App Store, China-based iOS developers reportedly discovered last week. Security researchers around the world have analyzed it. Called "XcodeGhost," the malware is hidden in an unauthorized version of a program Apple distributes to create iOS apps.
Tests, Lies and Volkswagen
September 21, 2015
German automaker Volkswagen on Sunday admitted that it installed software that doctored the pollution tests for diesel vehicles sold in the United States. Volkswagen stock, which is listed in Europe, fell more than 20 percent Monday morning on the announcement. The company apparently was concerned that meeting the federal emissions standards would require it to degrade the vehicles' engines.
Patched Android Lockscreen Still a Threat
September 21, 2015
Google recently issued a patch for Nexus mobile devices to fix an Android Lollipop vulnerability that lets hackers bypass the lockscreen and gain control of mobile devices. However, it could take weeks to months for manufacturers and service providers to roll out the patch for other Android devices. University of Texas security researcher John Gordon discovered the vulnerability.
Will the IoT Be Held for Ransom?
September 17, 2015
A perfect cybercrime storm is brewing, and two of the main ingredients are ransomware and the Internet of Things. Cybercrime has become an industry with all the operational trappings of any legitimate sector, McAfee Labs noted earlier this month. It has its own supply chain, market segments, service providers, and finance and trading systems. It has its own business models.
IoT Can Open Doors to Cybercriminals, FBI Warns
September 16, 2015
The FBI has warned businesses and consumers to be careful when deploying devices that connect to the Internet of Things. As more companies and consumers use IoT devices to improve efficiency and convenience, their connection to the Internet creates opportunities for cybercriminals, the FBI said. The "Internet of Things" is a broad term that encompasses myriad devices that connect via cyberspace.
Court Bolsters FTC's Authority to Regulate Cybersecurity
September 16, 2015
Companies that experience data security breaches have a lot to worry about -- but their problems encompass much more than responding to irate consumers. The business community also has to worry about the U.S. government, which can penalize e-commerce companies for failing to provide adequate protection for consumers' personal data. A recent federal court ruling could give the FTC more muscle.
Hackers Home in on Health, Education, Government Sectors
September 16, 2015
A New York healthcare provider, California's higher education system and the Department of Energy have become the latest targets of data bandits. The latest massive data breach at a healthcare provider reportedly took place at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, which last week revealed that the personal data of more than 10 million people was at risk due to an attack that dates back to December 2013.
Netflix Move Prompts Premature Antivirus Software Obit
September 11, 2015
Netflix reportedly is in the process of dumping its antivirus software and placing all its faith in an alternative solution to protect its more than 60 million subscribers from online nastiness, a move that prompted one pundit to pronounce the death of antivirus software yet again. Such dire pronouncements have been made for years, and they're likely to be made for many years to come.
Samsung's IoT Products Make Themselves at Home
September 9, 2015
Samsung last week plunged into the Internet of Things for the home market, unveiling a new hub to control connected gadgets, home and sleep monitors, and a smart washing machine. The company made the announcements at IFA 2015. The SmartThings Hub for home devices is built around a powerful processor that enables video monitoring, and it includes a battery backup that lasts up to 10 hours.
Laser Pointer Hack Easily Dupes Driverless Cars
September 8, 2015
A simple off-the-shelf laser pointer could be combined with a very basic computer to disrupt the multithousand-dollar Lidar systems installed in most self-driving cars, a security researcher warned last week. A setup that costs about $60 could trick the system, which autonomous vehicles use to sense objects in the road, into responding as though there were obstacles ahead when there were none.
Linux Foundation Security Checklist: Have It Your Way
September 6, 2015
The Linux Foundation's recently published security checklist may draw more attention to best practices for protecting Linux workstations, even if IT pros do not embrace all of its recommendations. Konstantin Ryabitsev, the foundation's director of collaborative IT services, developed the list for the use of LF remote sysadmins, to harden their laptops against attacks.
An Insider Betrayed Ashley Madison - Go Figure
September 4, 2015
When the giant data breach at infidelity website Ashley Madison made headlines last month, the CEO of the site's owner was quick to claim the caper was an inside job. He had the attacker's profile and work credentials, Avid Life Media's CEO Noel Biderman told ace cybersecurity blogger Brian Krebs. Though not an employee, the individual had accessed the company's technical services.
KeyRaider Malware Busts iPhone Jailbreakers
September 3, 2015
Data-robbing malicious software dubbed "KeyRaider" has stolen more than 225,000 valid Apple accounts and thousands of certificates, private keys and purchasing receipts, Palo Alto Networks' Unit 42 reported last week. The firm identified the malware in cooperation with WeipTech, which found the accounts on a server while it was analyzing suspicious user-reported iOS tweaks.
Baby Monitors Riddled With Security Holes
September 2, 2015
Rapid7 has released a report on an assortment of new vulnerabilities found in baby monitors: predictable information leaks; backdoor credentials; reflective, stored XSS; direct browsing; authentication bypass; and privilege escalation. "Many of the issues would allow video and audio from the device to be viewed by an attacker," said Mark Stanislav, senior security consultant at Rapid7.
Qualcomm Sics Fire-Breathing Snapdragon on Android Hackers
September 1, 2015
Qualcomm on Monday announced Snapdragon Smart Protect, a hardware-software product that could make the world a safer place for Android smartphone users. Snapdragon Smart Protect, which will become available with Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon 820 processor, will provide real-time, on-device machine learning designed to support accurate and effective detection of zero-day malware threats.
Shadow IT Feeds 'Man in the Cloud' Attacks
August 27, 2015
Shadow IT -- the use of unauthorized online services by company employees -- is a concern of cyberwarriors charged with defending business systems against network attacks. There's new evidence that those concerns are justified. A new attack vector on business systems leverages the synchronization features of services like Dropbox and Google Drive to perform malicious mischief.
Malvertising Headache Swells to Migraine Proportions
August 26, 2015
Online advertising that pushes malicious software to consumers has increased 325 percent over the past year, Cyphort Labs reported Tuesday. Malvertising is adding to what is already a significant problem for online advertisers. Ad fraud will cost global advertisers more than $6 billion this year, according to the Association of National Advertisers.
Cyber-Posse Aims to Round Up Ashley Madison Hackers
August 25, 2015
The Toronto Police Service on Monday reported on the progress of Project Unicorn, the official investigation into the hack attack on Ashley Madison, an adultery-promoting website. The Toronto police are working closely with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the RCMP, the FBI, and the Ministry of the Attorney General's criminal law office in carrying out the investigation.
Spotify's 'Sorry' Fails to Cut Through Confusion
August 22, 2015
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek on Friday issued a public apology for poor communications regarding the company's new privacy policy. The new policy, which took effect Wednesday, immediately triggered alarm. Several tech publications railed against the terms, and Minecraft creator Markus Persson engaged Spotify CEO Daniel Ek in a Twitter debate that ended with Persson and others quitting the music service.
Ashley Madison Hackers: Catch Them if You Can
August 20, 2015
The Ashley Madison hacker gang will be tough to apprehend. The hackers this week dumped nearly 10 gigabytes of stolen personal data onto the Web -- details gleaned from accounts established on the site, which is dedicated to matching up people who want to engage in extramarital affairs. It's "nearly impossible" to track down attackers, noted Bit9 + Carbon Black's Ben Johnson.
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad Ashley Madison World
August 19, 2015
Hackers have dumped personal data of about 37 million members of the Ashley Madison website onto the Dark Web. The data was stolen in an attack on the site, which aims to hook up people who want to cheat on their spouses. Parent company "Avid Life Media has failed to take down Ashley Madison and Established Men," the Impact Team wrote in a post online. ... Now everyone gets to see their data."
AT&T Went Above and Beyond for NSA, Say Snowden Docs
August 18, 2015
The National Security Agency considered its relationship with AT&T unique and particularly productive, accordingto a report published Saturday. The information about the company's close ties with the agency came from the trove of documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. NSA lauded AT&T for its "extreme willingness to help," giving it access to billions of emails among other things.
Windows 10 FUD Fades Fast
August 14, 2015
Complaints about Windows 10 keep rolling in, but so far none appears to have stuck. The latest brouhaha is over certain privacy settings. Windows 10 gives users many options to disable certain data-gathering and reporting features, but it appears that some communications to Microsoft servers still slip through. So far, there doesn't seem to be anything shifty or harmful about those interactions.
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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.