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Report: NSA Stalked Prominent Muslim Americans
July 10, 2014
It's been known for years that the U.S. National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have targeted Muslim Americans. What hasn't been widely known is that their targets included lawyers and some who have served the United States at the highest levels. Five highly prominent Muslim Americans were listed on an NSA spreadsheet called "FISA recap."
Can I Get My Reputation Back?
July 09, 2014
Ray Donovan was U.S. Labor Secretary under Ronald Reagan and a colorful figure. During his tenure he was indicted by a Bronx, N.Y., grand jury on corruption charges stemming from a contract to build a subway line. The trial involved unions and the mob and was automatically sensational. The verdict turned on whether a construction company got a contract due to mob influence.
Your Abandoned Smartphone May Betray You
July 09, 2014
Doing a factory reset to wipe the data off smartphones does not work, and the data can be recovered, warned Avast. The company recovered tons of data, including more than 40,000 stored photographs, from 20 used Android phones purchased from eBay. Device owners need to overwrite their files to make them irretrievable, Avast said, touting one of the applications it offers.
Report: Malware Poisons One-Third of World's Computers
July 09, 2014
Nearly one-third of the world's computers could be infected with malware, suggests a report released last week by the Anti-Phishing Working Group. Malicious apps invaded 32.77 percent of the world's computers, a more than 4 percent jump from the previous quarter's 28.39 percent, it estimates. The increase in infected computers has come hand-in-hand with a jump in the appearance of malware samples.
Europeans Want Right to Be Forgotten - but Not for the Other Guy
July 08, 2014
Marie Antoinette may not have been too far off the mark when she intoned the immortal line, "Let them eat cake." When it comes to the right to be forgotten, it seems Europeans want both to have their cake and eat it. They are now up in arms over Google's having deleted links to various news stories from search results in Europe, calling the action part of a backroom campaign to change the law.
TSA Kills Dead Devices' Ticket to Ride
July 08, 2014
In a move that's bound to raise the power management consciousness of air travelers, the TSA on Sunday announced a ban on electronic devices that won't power up before they're carried onto a plane. During the security examination conducted by TSA officers before passengers board a plane, travelers may be asked to power up some electronic devices, the agency said.
NSA's Eyes Trained Less on Terrorists Than on Average Joes and Janes
July 07, 2014
Nine out of 10 people whose information is being collected by the NSA are Americans who have nothing to do with people targeted by the agency. Data provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden includes some information pertaining to terrorist activities and possible threats to U.S. national security, as well as a few successes in antiterrorist work.
Civil Liberties Board Takes Heat for NSA Spying Report
July 03, 2014
The U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has come under fire for its latest report on NSA surveillance. The report essentially says collection of information under Section 702 of FISA "has been valuable and effective in protecting the nation's security and producing useful foreign intelligence." However, because certain aspects of its implementation have raised privacy concerns.
Emotional Backlash Unlikely to Unsettle Facebook
July 02, 2014
It's unlikely that Facebook's psych experiment that turned some 700,000 of its users into involuntary lab rats will hurt its brand or advertising revenue. However, Facebook's research on the emotional impact of content in the News Feeds of its members has unleashed a torrent of criticism. Facebook has faced this kind of outrage before, though, and the results have almost always been the same.
Dragonfly Swoops Down on Energy Firms
July 01, 2014
The energy industry in the United States and Europe is being targeted by a cybercriminal gang that's suspected of being state-sponsored and has links to Russia. Known variously as "Dragonfly" and "Energetic Bear," the group has been operating at least since 2011. Its focus appears to be espionage and persistent access, with a side dish of sabotage as required, Symantec said.
Google Aims to Defrag Android Universe
July 01, 2014
As any Android user knows, the version you're using can vary widely because it depends on parties other than Google. That's why nearly two-thirds of users are running a version of Android introduced in 2012 or earlier. With Android making the leap to wearables and the Internet of Things, however, Google is aiming to make that kind of fragmentation a thing of the past.
Supreme Court Turns Deaf Ear to Google's Street View Appeal
June 30, 2014
The Supreme Court has declined Google's appeal of a lower-court ruling in a class-action lawsuit that alleges it violated federal wiretap laws with its Street View cars. The court left in place a decision the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed down in September. The appeals court declined to dismiss the case, ruling that Google was not exempt from liability under the federal Wiretap Act.
Manipulative User Research Earns Facebook a Shiner
June 30, 2014
Once again, Facebook is embroiled in a controversy over privacy. This time, hackles have been raised by publication of a study for which the company manipulated the News Feeds of nearly 700,000 subscribers. The study concluded that negative messages on social networks make people sad, and positive ones make them happy -- and those feelings can spread through a social network to third parties.
Facebook, NY DA Lock Horns Over User Data Warrants
June 27, 2014
Facebook, not known for respecting users' privacy, is battling a New York County district attorney's demand for all information pertaining to the accounts of several hundred of its subscribers. DA Cyrus Vance's office issued 381 secret warrants for the information in July of 2013 in a hunt for retired police officers and firefighters wrongfully claiming Social Security disability benefits.
Google Worms Its Way Into Nest
June 26, 2014
Google-owned Nest Labs, maker of smart thermostats and smoke detectors, this week launched a developer program along with partnerships that already have products on offer. Partners include Jawbone; LIFX, which makes smart WiFi-enabled light bulbs; Logitech; and Mercedes-Benz, which will offer models that allow owners to remotely control the Nest device.
Google Starts Purging Search Results in Europe
June 26, 2014
Google has started to remove search results in certain cases in Europe, in compliance with the EU's new "right to be forgotten" rules. The EU last month ruled that the company must allow individuals to request the removal of links to news articles, court judgments, and other documents that might turn up in results when searches are conducted on their names.
No Cellphone Search Without Warrant, Supreme Court Rules
June 26, 2014
Police need a warrant to search the cellphone contents of people they have arrested, the United States Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. Warrantless searches, in essence, would impact privacy to a far greater extent than is acceptable. The ruling also applies to individuals stopped for questioning by the authorities, said Jake LaPerruque of the Center for Democracy and Technology.
Card Fraud Hits 1 in 4 Consumers Worldwide: Report
June 25, 2014
As many as a quarter of the world's consumers were victimized by card fraud in the past five years, and financial institutions are losing customers as a result, suggests a new study. ACI Worldwide and the Aite Group, which jointly surveyed more than 6,100 customers in 20 countries, found that 23 percent of consumers hit by card fraud changed financial institutions because they were dissatisfied.
To Pay or Not to Pay - That's the Ransomware Question
June 24, 2014
Ransomware is a growing problem for consumers and businesses alike. In Symantec's most recent quarterly security report, the company's researchers found all targeted attacks -- including ransomware -- grew 91 percent year-over-year. That's raising a big question for those targeted by cyberextortionists: Should the ransom be paid? Security experts generally say no, but some insert a caveat or two.
Heartbleed Flaw Goes Unpatched on 300K Servers: Report
June 23, 2014
Two months after the Heartbleed vulnerability sent frissons of fear down the spines of IT managers everywhere, 300,000 servers still remain vulnerable, Errata Security said. When the flaw was announced in April, Errata found 600,000 servers vulnerable. "The norm is to do no patches at all for some systems, no matter how easy it is to patch," said Errata CEO Robert Graham.
White House Tilts Toward Public-Private Cybersecurity Cooperation
June 23, 2014
The Obama administration and the private sector -- often at odds over the regulation of everything from telecom issues to software protection to the environment -- apparently agree that a major issue dealing with cybersecurity should be addressed on a cooperative basis, largely free of federal regulation. The White House recently signaled its tilt toward a cooperative and voluntary approach.
Researchers Find Android Security on Par With iOS
June 18, 2014
The open source mobile operating system Android long has been considered by security experts to be the mobile OS most vulnerable to security threats, but iOS is just as vulnerable. However, the two OSes expose users to different types of threats. The perceived greater security of iOS rests on Apple's control of app distribution rather than on any inherent superiority of the OS over Android.
BlackBerry Unveils BBM Protected to, Ahem, Protect Market Share
June 18, 2014
BlackBerry, whose share of the mobile phone market has been on a downward spiral, this week launched BBM Protected, the first in its planned eBBM Suite of secure enterprise-class messaging products. BBM Protected targets regulated industries. It's claimed to be the only secure mobile instant messaging app that uses a FIPS 140-2 validated cryptographic library.
Godzilla Foreshadows Trouble for Internet of Things
June 16, 2014
The Internet of Things has come under attack by pranksters in recent days. The events could signal tumultuous things to come as more and more everyday objects connect to the Internet. Homeland Security has advised the customers of digital sign maker Daktronics to "take defensive measures" following a series of cyberpranks on the company's traffic signs.

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