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Tech Industry Rallies Around Microsoft in Data Privacy Battle With US
December 18, 2014
A coalition of supporting organizations filed 10 amicus briefs with the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in a case challenging a U.S. government search warrant for Microsoft customer data stored on a server based in Ireland. The coalition includes 28 technology and media companies, 35 computer scientists, and 23 trade associations and advocacy organizations.
BlackBerry Bucks Up Its Loyal Base With Classic Comeback
December 17, 2014
BlackBerry has unveiled the BlackBerry Classic, a handset with a full QWERTY physical keyboard, physical navigation keys, and a design that can be best described as "retro," in that its appearance is virtually identical to the BlackBerry Bold. The Classic, which is smaller than the company's recently launched Passport smartphone, targets users who still long for the traditional BlackBerry handset.
FIDO Pursues Vision of a Password-Free World
December 17, 2014
A group of some 150 companies last week moved closer to eliminating the bane of many an online user: the ubiquitous password. The FIDO Alliance, which counts among its members Microsoft, PayPal, Google, Bank of America, Visa and MasterCard, released version 1.0 of its open specifications for strong authentication on the Internet without the use of passwords.
Iowa to Lead Digital Driver's License Movement
December 12, 2014
Iowa plans to issue digital drivers' licenses in the form of a smartphone app by next year, Paul Trombino, director of the Iowa Department of Transportation, said earlier this week at a public state agency budget hearing. The digital license will be accepted by Iowa law enforcement officers conducting traffic stops, as well as by security officers who screen travelers at Iowa's airports.
No Respite for Sony
December 12, 2014
Since the hacker group calling itself "Guardians of Peace" announced its attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment late last month, things have gone downhill for the company. After confidential documents were leaked to the Internet over several days, a denouement of sorts was reached last week, when a security company examining the stolen data discovered nearly 50,000 Social Security numbers.
FIDO Alliance Launches 'Password Killer' Spec
December 11, 2014
The Google-supported FIDO Alliance this week achieved a key milestone in its mission to end the use of passwords by releasing version 1.0 of its namesake open standard. "Today, we celebrate an achievement that will define the point at which the old world order of passwords and PINs started to wither and die," said Michael Barrett, president of the alliance. FIDO stands for "Fast IDentity Online."
Blackphone to Peddle a Few Good Apps
December 10, 2014
Blackphone plans to open an app store for privacy-focused applications to run on its secure smartphone. The store is expected to launch in January. The Blackphone runs PrivatOS, a modified version of Android 4.4.2 that comes bundled with tools that encrypt phone calls, texts, emails and Internet browsing. The app store will feature curated apps selected for their security and privacy chops.
Dashlane, LastPass Promise Easy Password Changing
December 10, 2014
Two password manager makers on Tuesday announced new features that allow their users to minimize the hassle of resetting passwords. One of the first things online users are advised to do after a data breach -- and there have been more than few of those lately -- is to change their passwords. Few users act on that advice, though, because password changing is too onerous.
Hackers Derail Sony's PlayStation Network
December 09, 2014
Still reeling from a cyberintrusion that exposed massive amounts of personnel data from its entertainment division on the Internet, Sony was attacked again over the weekend. This time, hackers disrupted the company's PlayStation Network. However, unlike the foray against Sony Pictures Entertainment, which is still under investigation, the company quickly recovered.
Google Releases Consumers From the Scourge of CAPTCHA
December 04, 2014
Google on Wednesday announced the no-CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA, a kinder, gentler way of distinguishing human Web surfers from bots. The new system requires that users confirm their humanity by checking a box to the left of the statement "I'm not a robot." A privacy statement is displayed on the right. If checking the box doesn't work, a window containing distorted text will pop up.
Cybersecurity Threats 2015: More Espionage, More Apple Malware
December 03, 2014
Cyberspies will flourish and hackers will target Apple devices more often in 2015. Until now, Russia, China and the United States have dominated the cyberespionage scene, but their success will start to attract new players to the practice. "We can expect some of the developing economies ... to engage in these activities to protect their growth status," said Websense's Carl Leonard.
Wristband Heads Off Password Headaches
November 25, 2014
Has software glut got you down? Do you reuse passwords because creating unique ones for all your online accounts would cause a memory overload? If so, you may be interested in a bit of jewelry called the "Everykey," by a startup with the same name. Everykey is a wristband that removes the need to remember the countless log-in credentials we use every day.
EFF Spearheads Safer Web Initiative
November 24, 2014
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has announced a nonprofit organization that will aim to secure the entire Web. Let's Encrypt, starting in summer 2015, will offer free server certificates to help websites transition from HTTP to the more secure HTTPS protocol. EFF is partnering with Akamai, Mozilla, Cisco, iDenTrust and University of Michigan researchers.
NotCompatible Mobile Malware Gets Badder
November 21, 2014
A new version of the NotCompatible malware, which first appeared in 2012, is bigger, badder and pretty much indestructible, Lookout Security reported. And it can compromise corporate networks, thanks to the BYOD trend. The malware, called "NotCompatible C," focuses on Android devices. The NotCompatible Trojan is used to spread spam campaigns, among other nefarious activities.
Citadel Trojan Adds Keylogging to Arsenal
November 21, 2014
Cybercriminals are using a new version of the dangerous Citadel Trojan, which has been employed to attack the financial and petrochemical industries, to compromise password and authentication solutions, IBM Trusteer has reported. The new version begins capturing keystrokes, or keylogging, when some processes are running. It was discovered on a server that already had been infected.
Russian Site Exposes Thousands of Private Videocam Streams
November 20, 2014
A Russian website has been posting live video streams from unprotected webcams in homes and businesses around the globe, Britain's Information Commissioner's Office warned on Thursday. The website has gained access to the webcams using the cameras' default login credentials, which are freely available online but often don't get changed by their owners during the set-up process.
BitTorrent Sync Goes Pro
November 20, 2014
BitTorrent on Wednesday announced new plans for its Sync service, including a premium subscription option, along with other new paid products. Sync, which was released in beta in July, is billed as a cloud-free file-sharing solution. Currently in version 1.4, Sync soon will graduate to version 2.0, with both an improved free version and a Pro version offered by subscription for $39.99 per year.
WhatsApp Battens Down the Hatches
November 19, 2014
WhatsApp has added end-to-end encryption and enabled it by default in the latest version of its Android messaging application, partner Open Whisper Systems announced Tuesday. The new feature taps Open Whisper's open source TextSecure encryption protocol to ensure that only a conversation's participants can read the messages they exchange. WhatsApp itself won't be able to decrypt the messages.
China Suspected in Attacks on USPS, NOAA
November 19, 2014
The U.S. Postal Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last week confirmed that their computer systems were targeted in months-long cyberattacks that appear to have originated in China. The attack on USPS compromised information of an estimated 800,000 employees. Data at risk includes names, date of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses and dates of employment.
Researchers Shine Spotlight on OS X/iOS Masque Attack
November 12, 2014
Researchers at FireEye on Monday made public the existence of the Masque Attack, which threatens iOS and Mac OS X operating systems. Masque Attack exploits a flaw in Apple's OSes that allows the replacement of one app by another so long as both apps use the same bundle identifier. All apps, except those preinstalled on iOS, such as Mobile Safari, can be replaced.
USPS Employees, Retirees, Customers Exposed in Hack Attack
November 11, 2014
Hackers siphoned off data from United States Postal Service servers for more than eight months before being detected, the USPS said. The personal data -- including names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses, beginning and end dates of employment and emergency contact information -- of more than 800,000 employees and some retirees has been exposed.
New Tool Alerts Etailers to Suspicious Characters
November 11, 2014
As thoughtful as mobile phone makers are when they design their products, there are always punters who want something that isn't there and are willing to hack a device to get it. In the Android world such a hack is called "rooting" a phone; in the iOS world, it's called "jailbreaking." Regardless of what it's called, it can turn a phone into a can of worms for retailers.
Phishers' Attacks Pay Off Nicely: Report
November 10, 2014
The most successful phishing attacks manage to dupe their victims a full 45 percent of the time, according to a study released last week by Google. On average, phishing's success rate is about 14 percent, but even the most obvious scams still manage to lure 3 percent of the people targeted to a fake website and convince them to turn over personal information, the report found.
Apple-Pestering WireLurker Banished for Now
November 07, 2014
Palo Alto Networks on Wednesday reported that more than 400 apps infected with a malicious program it calls "WireLurker" have been downloaded 356,104 times by Chinese Mac owners from Maiyadi, an online app store unaffiliated with Apple. The malware does no harm to the Macs it infects but when the computer connects via USB to an iOS device -- an iPhone or iPad -- it delivers its malicious payload.

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