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DDoS Attack Causes Waves of Internet Outages
October 22, 2016
Hundreds of websites -- including those of biggies such as Netflix, Twitter and Spotify -- on Friday fell prey to massive DDoS attacks that cut off access to Internet users on the East Coast and elsewhere in the U.S. Three attacks were launched over a period of hours against Internet performance management company Dyn. The first attack started at about 7:10 a.m. EDT.
Airbnb Offers to Give a Little in NY, SF Tussles
October 21, 2016
Airbnb recently proposed changes to its listing policies for short-term rental property owners in New York City and San Francisco, possibly in response to threats of aggressive action from state and local lawmakers. With respect to New York operations, Airbnb on Wednesday proposed a set of five changes in an article penned by Chris Lehane, the company's global head of public policy.
Red Hat and Ericsson Forge 5G, IoT Open Source Alliance
October 20, 2016
Red Hat and Ericsson on Wednesday announced an alliance meant to speed adoption of open source solutions in the information and communications technology space. The alliance will help promote a range of fully open source and production-ready cloud solutions, spanning OpenStack, software defined-networking and software-defined infrastructure, the companies said.
New Tag Helps Google News Readers Unearth Facts
October 19, 2016
Google last week launched a Fact Check tag to help readers find fact-checking in major news stories. Readers will see tagged articles in the expanded story box on news.google.com and in the Google News & Weather apps for iOS and Android. One factor the Google News algorithms consider in determining whether an article might contain fact checks is the Schema.org ClaimReview markup.
Twitter Hopes Fade as Salesforce Deal Slips Away
October 18, 2016
Salesforce, the last known suitor for Twitter, last week officially bowed out of the running for an acquisition deal, a move that forces the embattled company either to look for a new savior or find some internal answers to its lingering inability to find a winning growth strategy. Salesforce walked away from the deal because it wasn't the right fit, CEO Marc Benioff said.
This Election May Be Scarier Than You Think
October 17, 2016
Not that it isn't scary enough -- but if you look at both candidates, who have had their images destroyed largely by technology, i.e., tapes and emails -- there is a huge warning inherent in the process. Email really wasn't a big thing until the late 1990s and even having your own email server wouldn't have been likely before 2005, let alone thinking through the security aspects.
Big Data and Analytics: Creating New Value
October 14, 2016
The massive amount of data available from connected devices creates an unprecedented opportunity for increased optimization of products and services -- and, consequently, revenue. The deep investment in big data gathering and analytics is fueled by an ability to create added value for companies based on actionable business insights, and for consumers by providing lifestyle benefits.
Amazon Music Unlimited Rolls Gently Down the Stream
October 13, 2016
Amazon on Wednesday rolled out its Music Unlimited cut-rate subscription streaming service, available on its Echo, Echo Dot and Amazon Tap devices for as little as $4 a month for a single device. Setting a low-entry price point "is a logical move, given that the company has invested heavily into the AI and voice recognition powering Alexa," said IHS Markit analyst Paul Erickson.
Snap Lines Up Bankers for Spring IPO
October 13, 2016
Snap this week hired Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group to manage its IPO, according to multiple reports. JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, Allen & Co., Barclays and Credit Suisse Group reportedly also will play a role. The IPO, expected as early as this spring, could result in a valuation of $25 billion or more. That would make Snap one of the highest-profile IPOs in years.
Amazon Throws the Books at Prime Subscribers
October 13, 2016
Amazon last week launched Prime Reading -- a new benefit for subscribers to its US$100-a-year Amazon Prime service that lets them access content for free. That content will come from more than 1,000 top Kindle books, Kindle Singles, magazines, comic books, children's books, and classic works from writers such as Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer and Gloria Steinem.
Gadget Ogling: Google Embraces a Hardware Future
October 12, 2016
The first smartphones Google has made by itself, Pixel and Pixel XL, are the first to bear Android 7.1 and the first to have the impressive Google Assistant built in. The Pixel has a 5-inch HD screen, while the Pixel XL offers a 5.5-inch QHD display. The phones have a quad-core processor and 4 GB of RAM. I like that the fingerprint sensor is on the back.
Yahoo Makes It Harder for Email Users to Jump Ship
October 11, 2016
Yahoo in recent days disabled autoforwarding for Yahoo Mail -- and in at least one corporate client's case, it disabled the webmail deletion feature. The autoforwarding feature "is under development," reads a statement on the Yahoo site. "While we work to improve it, we've temporarily disabled the ability to turn on Mail Forwarding for new forwarding addresses."
Google: There's No Hub Like Home
October 6, 2016
Google on Tuesday officially launched Google Home, its long-awaited wireless hub. Google Home is an interactive personal assistant and entertainment center that takes full advantage of the company's deep advantages in Web search, AI and machine learning. Google's vision is to place a customized version of its Google Assistant technology into the hands of every customer.
IoT Could Become Playground for Botnets Gone Wild
October 6, 2016
The source code for Mirai, the malware behind the botnet that launched a massive attack on the Krebs on Security website -- the largest DDoS attack on record -- has been released in the wild, according to Brian Krebs. A hacker who goes by the handle "Anna-senpai," apparently because of increased scrutiny from the cybersec industry, last week announced the release on Hackforums, Krebs said.
The Lack of Strategic Thinking in Election 2016
October 3, 2016
One of the problems facing the technology industry right now is the critical lack of strategic thinking. Hedge fund managers and activist investors increasingly are forcing tactical decisions that raise stock prices over the short term, largely by destroying the firm's long-term viability. Most top executives don't seem to understand they are destroying their companies until it's too late.
Gadget Ogling: Streaming Merrily, Snapping Happily, and Listening My Way
October 1, 2016
Roku has refreshed its lineup of media players with lower prices, so bringing streaming video to every screen in your home just got a little more accessible. At the lower end, the Roku Express costs $30. The lineup includes $40, $50, $80 and $100 models with a variety of feature combinations. At $130, the Roku Ultra, pictured here, is the feature-loaded top-of-the-line option.
Trump Hauls Out Google Conspiracy Theory for Another Airing
September 30, 2016
Perhaps still reeling from what's widely viewed as the bruising he took in a debate watched by more than 80 million people on TV earlier this week -- countless more online -- Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday opened a campaign rally with a previously discredited attack. Google's search engine was biased in favor of his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, he claimed.
GE, Bosch Combine Resources to Bolster IoT
September 30, 2016
GE and Bosch Software Innovations have partnered to jump-start the development of an open source Internet of Things platform. Open source will encourage greater interoperability and application development, the companies said. Both firms have sought help from the Eclipse Foundation to speed up the process. The companies will create a core IoT stack comprised of open source software.
Surviving the Internet's Troll Apocalypse
September 29, 2016
Social media has sharpened humans' age-old appetite for public shaming, providing a stage and unlimited seating for an endless stream of immorality plays. Those who share even the simplest identifying details about themselves are vulnerable to being pushed into the glare of the spotlight. Anonymity frees many individuals of the consequences they might face offline for being abusive to others.
Germany Dope Slaps Facebook Over WhatsApp Data
September 28, 2016
Germany's data protection regulator on Tuesday ordered Facebook to stop collecting and storing data from WhatsApp users in the country. Facebook also must delete any data it already may have harvested from German WhatsApp users, according to Johannes Caspar, Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, who issued the order. Facebook purchased WhatsApp two years ago.
Abuse of Trust, Lack of Transparency: HP Shows How to Kill the IoT
September 26, 2016
There's been a lot of virtual ink spilled about the glorious future promised by the Internet of Things: just-in-time service, data-assisted performance optimization for devices, automatic software upgrades, and a host of other hands-off solutions that make life easier for customers and results better for businesses. Over the last 18 months, many have come to see the IoT as an inevitability.
Tech Big Shots Rumored Lining Up for Twitter
September 26, 2016
Twitter shares remained strong Monday after Friday's sharp rise on reports that it was considering a possible sale, with Google parent Alphabet and Salesforce emerging as two of the most likely buyers. Twitter has faced enormous pressure, both internally and from investors, to consider a major shakeup. It has struggled to find ways to monetize its core 140-character microblogging property.
Music Industry Rebounds on Streaming Subscription Surge
September 23, 2016
The music industry is showing its best surge in revenue in nearly two decades, led by a major shift toward streaming subscription services by Apple, Spotify and others firms, according to a new mid-year report the RIAA released this week. The report shows an 8.1 percent gain in retail revenue to $3.4 billion during the first half of 2016, the strongest growth since the late 1990s.
Social Networks Prep for Key Role in Presidential Debates
September 23, 2016
The Commission on Presidential Debates, which has run them since 1988, last week announced initiatives with social media, academics, and media organizations to engage the American public in substantive conversations before, during and after this year's debates. The first debate between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is scheduled for Monday at Hofstra University in New York.
Senate Leadership Rebuffs Cruz's Shutdown Threat Over Internet Control
September 23, 2016
It appears that the Senate is poised to quash a government shutdown threat from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in spite of presidential candidate Donald Trump lending his support to his former primary opponent's cause. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Thursday filed a continuing resolution to fund the government without any language geared toward blocking the administration's IANA transition.
Opera's Free VPN Takes On Internet Privacy Challenge
September 22, 2016
Opera earlier this week released a new version of its browser, Opera 40, which comes with a free virtual private network service built in. The official rollout follows five months of user experimentation with a beta version. After evaluating beta users' feedback, the company brought on additional servers, added options for global or private browsing, and created iOS and Android versions.
The Internet's Shameful Role in Propagating Body Shaming
September 21, 2016
A problem once associated mainly with school playgrounds often follows people into adulthood, and the anonymity of the Internet has aided its proliferation. People have been shamed for being overweight, underweight, too conservative, too revealing, too young, too old, too plastic or too real. Bullying and harassment are very real problems not only for children, but also for countless adults.
Pandora Plus Trades Ad Views for Extra Features
September 16, 2016
Pandora on Thursday launched Pandora Plus, a replacement for its $5-a-month Pandora One streaming music service. The 4 million Pandora One subscribers will be switched over to Plus, which will continue to offer ad-free listening at the same price. However, Pandora Plus also offers an opt-in video advertising feature that lets users skip or replay songs. Plus also has an offline mode.
Google Pursues Both Fiber and Wireless Broadband Ambitions
September 16, 2016
Google Fiber is reaching its tentacles into North Carolina's Research Triangle, a move that seems to contradict the gloom-and-doom rumors of layoffs and low consumer interest. The Triangle is Google Fiber's eighth incursion. It's already available in Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri; Nashville, Tennessee; Provo, Utah; and Salt Lake City.
Nation States May Be Plotting Internet Takedown, Warns Cybersec Pro
September 14, 2016
Unknown attackers have been testing the defenses of companies that run critical parts of the Internet, possibly to figure out how to take them down, cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier warned. Large nation states -- perhaps China or Russia -- are the likely culprits, he suggested. "Nation state actors are going to probe to find weaknesses in all of our technologies," said Tripwire's Travis Smith.
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What's your alarm level over cyberattacks on the Internet's infrastructure?
Red: A deadly cyberwar will occur -- It's when, not if.
Orange: A big one could be costly and threaten public safety.
Yellow: We need to improve cybersecurity at a faster pace.
Blue: Regional outages will become more frequent and more annoying.
Green: There's no way anyone could take out the entire Internet.