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Walmart to Jump the Gun on Cyber Monday
November 24, 2015
Walmart on Monday announced it will release all 2,000 Cyber Monday deals at 8 p.m. EST Sunday. That and other retailer moves are making it look as if Cyber Monday might be a nonevent this holiday season: Amazon is running an eight-day Black Friday sale that will take it through Cyber Monday, leading Walmart to launch a price-matching event to compete.
Gadget Ogling: A Dumb Watch Dock, a Smart VR Phone Case, and a Fantastic Fireball Thrower
November 21, 2015
No longer leaving it up to third-party companies to create charging docks for its Apple Watch, Apple has released its own official dock. It allows Watch owners to rest the smartwatch in nightstand mode -- a feature introduced in the latest version of the operating system that essentially turns the Watch into a bedside clock -- without tangling it up with the standard magnetic charger.
Dojo Stands Cybersecurity Guard for Smart Homes
November 20, 2015
Dojo-Labs on Thursday introduced Dojo, a device that plugs into the router of a home network and acts as a watchdog to ensure that everything connected to the network is operating on its best behavior. The device brings some of the advanced technologies used to protect corporate networks to the home. It can prevent attacks and detect intrusions by observing how a device behaves on the network.
Paris Attacks Deepen Encryption Debate
November 18, 2015
Encryption once again has come under fire in the wake of last week's terrorist attacks in Paris. Western intelligence agencies reportedly blamed the technology for enabling communications among the attackers, and some officials renewed their calls for technology companies to give them decryption keys. However, the terrorists may have communicated through private messages on the PlayStation 4.
Nadella: Microsoft to Be Stealth Operator for Cloud Security
November 17, 2015
CEO Satya Nadella on Monday made a bid to reintroduce Microsoft to professionals working in a brave new cyberworld of virtual, interconnected computing. Speaking at the Microsoft Government Cloud Forum in Washington, Nadella presented a broad new vision of a cloud- and mobile-first enterprise that promises to make personal and client security a central theme of its business.
Report: Botnets Help Bump Cyberattack Attempts by 20 Percent
November 17, 2015
ThreatMetrix last week reported that it had detected and prevented more than 90 million attempted cyberattacks in real time across industries from July to September. The attempted attacks covered fraudulent online payments, logins and new account registrations, and represented a 20 percent increase over the previous quarter, according to ThreatMetrix Cybercrime Report: Q3 2015.
Gmail to Warn Users of Unencrypted Email
November 16, 2015
Google last week announced that it is developing features for Gmail that will notify them when they get messages through a nonencrypted connection. Regions of the Internet are preventing message encryption by tampering with requests to initiate SSL connections, and malicious DNS servers are publishing fake routing information to email servers looking for Gmail, a study found.
Gadget Ogling: Comfy Earbuds, Barking Bots, and USB Killers
November 14, 2015
If you're a human being who listens to music using earbuds, chances are you've run into some issues along the way in keeping the infernal things nestled into your ear canal. Manufacturers have tried to find solutions, such as offering different-sized rubber molds, but we're still hewing to a few-sizes-fit-all model. Enter Revols, a company that might have the answer.
Apple Faces Twitter Storm Over Mac App Security Glitch
November 14, 2015
Apple faced the wrath of legions of Mac users after it reportedly allowed a security certificate to expire on Wednesday, leaving customers unable to use some apps. The expiration appeared to impact a number of apps, including Acorn, Byword, Daisy Disk, Tweetbot and 1Password. It's likely that the incident occurred due to problems with the security certificate management system.
Alibaba Crushes Global Online Shopping Day
November 13, 2015
Alibaba on Wednesday settled $14.3 billion worth of gross merchandise volume via Alipay, the company's online payment solution, during China's 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. That surpassed last year's $9.3 billion. Mobile GMV settlements accounted for about 70 percent of this year's sales. By 2 p.m. China time, more than 70 million mobile buyers had made purchases worth $7 billion.
Users Balk at Mobile App Permission Requests
November 12, 2015
The Pew Research Center on Tuesday released a report on permissions and mobile applications found in the Google Play store. The number of permissions requested by a mobile app can be a deal breaker for six out of 10 smartphone users, Pew found. Applications request permission from users to access a variety of functions on a smartphone -- accessing the Internet, for example, or using the camera.
NIST Seeks Review of Email Safety Doc
November 11, 2015
Email systems have become so routine that consumers and workers often regard them as simply part of the furniture. However, the technology is more complex than most users appreciate -- and that complexity makes it vulnerable to cyberthreats. Increased use of email has resulted in a corresponding increase in criminal and nuisance threats, NIST said in a recent advisory on email security.
Qualcomm Unveils Muscle Camera for Surveillance Systems
October 28, 2015
Qualcomm on Tuesday announced a muscle video camera for surveillance systems. Part of the company's Snapdragon 618 IP camera platform, it combines a six-core, 64-bit processor; next-generation graphics crunching; and embedded digital signal processing. The unit can perform advanced video analytics, which can reduce cloud processing and storage costs provide more reliable analytics, Qualcomm said.
CISA Passes Senate Despite Privacy Advocates' Fear and Loathing
October 28, 2015
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted 74-21 to pass the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA, in the face of strong opposition from legal and cybersecurity experts, the high-tech industry, privacy and civil liberties organizations, and members of the public. The Act calls for several federal agencies to share cyberthreat indicators between the public and private sectors.
TalkTalk Attacked, Hit With Ransom Demand
October 23, 2015
TalkTalk on Thursday announced that it received a ransom demand following a cyberattack that may have compromised the credit card and bank details of millions of customers. "TalkTalk constantly updates its systems to make sure they are as secure as possible against the rapidly evolving threat of cybercrime, impacting an increasing number of individuals and organizations," CEO Dido Harding said.
Researcher's Demo Sheds Doubt on Fitbit Security
October 23, 2015
Fortinet security researcher Axelle Apvrille demonstrated Wednesday in a presentation at the conference in Luxembourg. Apvrille showed how it was possible to access a Fitbit's Bluetooth connection and, in a mere 10 seconds, infect it with a malicious packet that later could be used to infect a PC, a feat she demoed earlier this month at a hacker conference in Budapest.
Global Attacks on Mobile Networks Jeopardize Privacy, Profits
October 21, 2015
Bad actors are exploiting an obscure technology found in telecommunications networks around the world to track mobile users and engage in fraud, and they could be costing carriers millions of dollars in lost revenues. Compromise of the technology, called "SS7," can cause significant damage to the reputation and finances of carriers around the world, AdaptiveMobile noted.
Healthcare Sector Security Woefully Weak, Survey Says
October 21, 2015
The healthcare industry has become the favorite playground for many cybercriminals, suggests a report Trustwave released earlier this month. Of the 398 full-time healthcare professionals surveyed, 91 percent of information technology respondents and 77 percent of nontechnical respondents believed criminals increasingly were targeting healthcare organizations.
Yahoo's New Email App Dumps Passwords
October 16, 2015
Yahoo on Thursday announced a password-free Yahoo Mail app that can manage email accounts from, Hotmail and AOL Mail. There was no mention of syncing with Gmail or Apple's iCloud Mail. Yahoo has been working to improve email security in the wake of repeated hacks of the service over the years, the most prominent a password theft that occurred early last year.
EU Court Decision Threatens US Cloud Dominance
October 16, 2015
Edward Snowden's legacy gained another chapter last week when the European Court of Justice rejected an agreement that created a Safe Harbor for U.S. companies handling personal data of overseas citizens. In essence, the agreement provided that a U.S. company's word that it had adequate privacy safeguards in place was all that was needed to permit overseas personal data transfers.
HP, 3M to Shield Laptop Screens From Visual Hacking
October 15, 2015
HP and 3M are collaborating on privacy screens to protect notebook PCs from visual hacking. "3M is developing an innovative light-enhancement film that can be incorporated into a system that enables light to be directed to other viewers when you want information sharing, and away from onlookers when you need private viewing," 3M spokesperson Jessica Walton said.
E-Commerce Firms Need to Wise Up to Cybercrime
October 15, 2015
Every business owner and executive must think long and hard about cybersecurity -- especially considering all the break-ins and data thefts during the last several years. Data breaches and security issues are in the headlines on a regular basis. One good source for getting a grip on some possible solutions to the problem is AT&T's new report, "What Every CEO Needs to Know About Cybersecurity."
Apple's App Yanking Switches On Data Monitoring Red Light
October 12, 2015
Apple last week revealed that it had removed from its App Store several apps with root certificates that could allow data monitoring. The monitoring could compromise SSL and TLS protocols, the company said. It suggested users delete the apps and their associated configuration profiles. However, it did not name the apps users should delete.
User Info Safe After LoopPay Attack, Says Samsung
October 9, 2015
Samsung has assured users that their information is safe following a computer intrusion of a key company linked to its mobile payment system. The intrusion may have occurred as early as March. Samsung purchased LoopPay for $250 million in February. Its technology allows mobile phones to perform payment card transactions with older POS terminals that recognize only cards with magnetic strips.
DDoS Attacks Create Smokescreens for Larceny
October 7, 2015
DDoS attacks have evolved from protest tool to criminal weapon. More than one in three DDoS attacks are used to plant malware or a virus on company systems, and 40 percent of them result in data theft, according to NeuStar's semiannual DDoS attack and protection report. "Until two years ago, DDoS attacks were really seen as just a disruption and annoyance tool," said NeuStar's Joe Loveless.
Another Day, Another Billion Android Users at Risk
October 5, 2015
Google on Monday released an over-the-air update for Nexus devices, which includes patches for the latest Stagefright vulnerabilities and other flaws. Android's Stagefright media processing feature, which recently imperiled 1 billion devices around the world, was once again putting them at risk, Zimperium revealed last week. Zimperium found two new vulnerabilities.
The Sluggish Crawl to Chip-Secured Shopping
October 5, 2015
For retailers that do not yet accept EMV cards -- credit and debit cards with chips embedded in them -- a spine-tingling deadline arrived last week. Liability for any payment fraud that results from acceptance of old-school plastic shifted to them. The magnetic chips in EMV cards will reduce in-store payment fraud, which affected 62 percent of companies, according to a recent survey.
Black Hats Offer Million-Dollar iOS 9 Bug Bounty
September 30, 2015
Zerodium has posted a million-dollar bounty for juicy iOS 9 bugs or jailbreaks. Zerodium runs a market where exploits and vulnerabilities are bought and sold, according to Damballa. "While there is no insight into a specific buyer, we can assume if an exploit for iOS 9 is found, Zerodium will sell it for way more than $1 million," wrote Loucif Kharouni, senior threat researcher at Damballa.
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.
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Should social media sites be held accountable for terrorists' communications?
Yes -- They are providing a platform to facilitate murder and mayhem.
Yes -- Everything must be done to protect society from danger.
Maybe -- I'm not sure they have the technological capability to stop them.
Maybe -- I'm not convinced terrorists are using them for serious plotting.
No -- Authorities should monitor social networks to gather intelligence.
No -- Social networks are no different than phone carriers or mail services.