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FTC Confirms Probe Into Equifax Data Breach
September 15, 2017
In a rare move, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Thursday confirmed that it has opened an investigation into the data breach at Equifax that compromised the sensitive personal information of 143 million U.S. consumers. The FTC announcement came less than a week after Equifax revealed that an unknown party had gained access to names, addresses, Social Security Numbers and other data belonging to nearly half the U.S. population.
IT Convergence Trend Alters Approach to Federal Market
September 14, 2017
Federal agencies have begun using an emerging information technology tool to manage the huge amount of data the United States government generates and stores. Federal IT managers recently have embraced the concept of convergence, which has been gaining traction in the private sector. Agencies also have indicated that the approach may be useful for other federal IT applications.
Putin: Whoever Rules AI Rules the World
September 12, 2017
Russian President Vladimir Putin last week poked the nest of anxieties over the use of artificial intelligence to gain power in a video address to students at 16,000 selected schools. "Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia but for all humankind," he said. "Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world."
Russia, Fake News and Facebook: 24/7 Manipulation
September 11, 2017
Back when the Internet first came to be, there was the belief that the result would be more facts, less censorship, more intelligent discourse and less successful manipulation. Being able to converse with each other would lead people to be more honest, and our world increasingly would resemble a utopian ideal of peace and prosperity. Now, decades later, "fake news" has proliferated.
Next US Elections: Open Source vs. Commercial Software?
September 7, 2017
San Francisco could become the first U.S. city to adopt open source software to run its voting machines. City officials last month authorized consulting group Slalom to prepare a report on the benefits and challenges involved in using an open source voting machine platform. Officials hope a move to open source will make San Francisco's voting software more transparent and secure.
Global Cyberattack on Energy Sector Stokes Deep Fears
September 7, 2017
The hacker group known as "Dragonfly" is behind sophisticated wave of recent cyberattacks on the energy sectors of Europe and North America, Symantec reported. The attacks could provide the group with the means to severely disrupt energy operations on both continents. Dragonfly launched a simililar campaign from 2011 to 2014, but it entered a quiet period in 2014 after its activities were exposed.
Has Google Become a National Threat?
September 4, 2017
The idea that Google might be becoming a national threat is what struck me when I read a column by Zephyr Teachout, a law professor at Fordham University. She makes a compelling argument that Google has reached a point where it no longer allows dissent outside the company -- though, given the recent firing of a Google engineer, that may be true inside the firm as well.
Congressional App Challenge Director Rachel Décoste: Get on Board the Tech Train
August 30, 2017
"Coding is one of the most in-demand skills. There's a myth out there that you need to have this skill only if you work with computers, but as society develops, you're going to see coding in every field. This is a skill that's needed in all job sectors," said Rachel Décoste, director of the Congressional App Challenge. "The jobs of tomorrow will require, if not coding, at least an understanding of how it works."
Tech Leaders Urge UN to Ban AI-Based Lethal Weapons
August 23, 2017
A group of the world's top technology leaders have published an open letter urging the United Nations to ban the use of AI in weapons systems, amid growing concerns that autonomous killer robots could wind up taking control. The group of 116 companies, most of which specialize in robotics or AI, argued that its growing use could revolutionize modern warfare in irreversible ways.
Kari's Law: A 911 Fix That Will Make the US Safer
August 22, 2017
The 911 emergency number was created back in the day when telephones were connected by wires, before cellphones or Voice over Internet Protocol in the home, and before Multi-Line Telephone Systems in the enterprise. In the early days, anyone could dial 911 for police, fire or medical emergencies. When consumers dropped land lines and started using Internet phone services, a 911 problem surfaced.
T-Mobile Starts Building Low-Band Wireless Network in the Sticks
August 22, 2017
T-Mobile last week announced that it has begun the long-anticipated rollout of its new 600-MHz LTE premium low-band spectrum network in Cheyenne, Wyoming, kicking off a massive rollout designed to provide wireless coverage to rural communities across the U.S. T-Mobile also plans to use the low-band spectrum to accelerate deployment of next-generation 5G mobile service.
Is the Path to Secure Elections Paved With Open Source Code?
August 8, 2017
Increased use of open source software could fortify U.S. election system security, according to former CIA head R. James Woolsey and Bash creator Brian J. Fox. The two made their case for open source elections software after security researchers demonstrated how easy it was to crack some election machines at the recent DefCon hacking conference in Las Vegas.
WannaCry Hero Arrested on Kronos Malware Charges
August 5, 2017
In a stunning twist, U.S. authorities have arrested a British cyber-researcher credited with stopping the spread of the WannaCry ransomware virus on charges he helped develop and deploy the Kronos banking trojan that attacked financial institutions around the world in 2014. A federal grand jury in Wisconsin last month handed down a six-count indictment against Marcus Hutchins, a citizen of the UK.
New Service Promises Help Winning Government Contracts
August 1, 2017
Onvia on Tuesday launched a new service for companies selling to the public sector. The service provides access to detailed materials associated with a given solicitation, including all submitted proposals, the awarded bid, the final contract, and the agency's scoring criteria. Onvia "helps clients succeed in pursuing government contracts," said Ben Vaught, director of Onvia for Government.
EPIC Claims Google Violates Consumer Privacy in FTC Complaint
August 1, 2017
A new technology that Google uses to track billions of credit card transactions is unsafe, overly intrusive, and possibly in violation of federal law, according to a complaint EPIC filed Monday with the FTC. EPIC urged the FTC to investigate Google over its Store Sales Management program, criticizing it as unfair and deceptive to consumers, and lacking an easy way to opt out.
Russian Head of $4B Bitcoin Exchange Charged in Massive Money Laundering Scheme
July 28, 2017
A grand jury in the Northern District of California indicted a Russian man for running a massive money laundering operation through the BTC-e bitcoin exchange, a group of federal officials announced Wednesday. The exchange allegedly received up to $4 billion in proceeds from various criminal activities, including the 2014 hack of the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange.
FTC to Take a Gander at Amazon's Discount Pricing Practices
July 25, 2017
The FTC reportedly is looking into Amazon's discount pricing practices in response to a complaint filed by Consumer Watchdog over the company's pending $14 billion purchase of the Whole Foods grocery chain. "Asking informal questions about issues potentially related to a corporate acquisition is a natural part of the FTC review process," observed Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.
New Cybersecurity Policy Will Impact Federal IT Market
July 24, 2017
Federal agencies already under the gun to modernize their information technology capabilities have a new set of standards to meet as a result of an executive order President Donald Trump issued this spring. The directive not only will affect agency managers in their IT operations and acquisition activities, but also will have a significant effect on IT vendors.
V2V's Place in an Increasingly Connected World
July 21, 2017
You're probably tired of reading that the Internet of Things is the hottest thing going, and that IoT is a boon to technology and, simultaneously, a potential disaster for security and privacy. However, over the past few years, another IoT-related technology has been growing: vehicle to vehicle. V2V is a way for automobiles to communicate directly with other vehicles on the road.
Trump's Plan to Make Government IT Great
July 19, 2017
The American Technology Council, which President Donald Trump established this spring by executive order, has four years to rebuild the federal government's information technology structure. A massive reboot of both hardware and software will be necessary to bring government computers up to modern standards. The effort will force many government agencies to shift years of floppy disk and other outdated storage technologies to the cloud.
Major Tech Firms Pressure FCC to Stay the Net Neutrality Course
July 18, 2017
The Internet Association, which represents 40 leading technology companies -- including Facebook, Google, Amazon and others -- on Monday filed comments with the FCC, urging it to maintain Net neutrality regulations enacted during the Obama administration. The rules have created a level playing field that has helped fuel innovation in the broadband Internet space, according to IA.
Microsoft Aims to Boost Internet Connectivity in US Heartland
July 11, 2017
Microsoft has unveiled an ambitious plan that would use technology found in the television white space spectrum to develop affordable broadband Internet access for at least 2 million consumers. The aim is to bridge the technology gap between urban and rural American communities. The spectrum is a currently unused portion in the 600 Mhz frequency range.
Petya's Ransomware Cloaking Device
July 11, 2017
Recent ransomware threats have escalated into a global crisis, and cybersecurity experts and government authorities have redoubled their investigative efforts. Of grave concern is the possibility that the recent Petya attack had more sinister motives than typical ransomware operations, and that state actors were involved behind the scenes. The Petya attack actually used ransomware as a cover.
Could Tech Nerf North Korea?
July 10, 2017
When a hostile country regularly lobs missiles into the ocean with the stated objective of transforming a U.S. state into a radioactive cloud, we have a problem. One "oops" and we could suddenly become a 49-state nation again. Approaches to North Korea tend to be in-the-box thinking, but there are new technologies that effectively could neutralize the threat it poses.
The Stupidly Dangerous Politics of Blame
July 3, 2017
I hope that, like me, you are off this long holiday weekend and have a chance to think about the drama that now surrounds the U.S. administration. What I find fascinating isn't that the government is a bit of a mess but that the accidental transparency of this administration is focusing us more on the visibility of the problems rather than on the problems themselves.
VA Gives Thumbs Up to Commercial IT Software
June 30, 2017
A Veterans Affairs decision to pursue a new direction in processing health records has created a highly visible endorsement of the use of COTS information technology by federal agencies. President Trump cited the VA's action as an example of the administration's commitment to vastly improve federal IT management. The sheer size of the VA makes the decision to use an outside contractor noteworthy.
Will Record Fine Cramp Google's Style in Europe?
June 29, 2017
The European Commission has walloped Google unit with a record $2.7 billion for giving its own shopping comparison site preference above smaller competitors, and thus abusing its dominant position as a search engine. Google must end the conduct within 90 days or face penalties of 5 percent of its average daily global revenue, the EC said. Google expressed disagreement with the EC's findings.
Petya Ransomware Sinks Global Businesses Into Chaos
June 28, 2017
A new ransomware exploit dubbed "Petya" struck major companies and infrastructure sites this week, following last month's WannaCry ransomware attack, which struck more than 300,000 computers worldwide. Petya is believed to be linked to the same set of hacking tools as WannaCry. Petya already has impacted a Ukrainian international airport and shut down radiation monitoring systems at Chernobyl.
Cyberattackers Kick Down a Few Parliament Email Doors
June 27, 2017
The United Kingdom's Parliament on Monday reported a cyberattack on its email system over the weekend, when hackers attempted to access user accounts without authorization. Due to the "robust measures" in place to protect the legislative body's accounts and networks, fewer than 1 percent of the 9,000 accounts on the network were compromised, officials said. Accounts that were compromised reportedly had weak passwords.
DHS to Congress: The Russians Are Coming Back
June 22, 2017
The House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday conducted a hearing focusing on the impact of Russian hacking on the 2016 elections. Members heard testimony from former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, who was in charge of the department when the actual hacking took place during the final months of the Obama administration. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the cyberattack, Johnson said.
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