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US Charges 2 Russian Intel Agents, 2 Hackers in Yahoo Case
March 16, 2017
The Justice Department has announced charges against four individuals, including two officers of Russia's FSB, for carrying out a massive cyberbreach that affected about 500 million Yahoo account holders. A federal grand jury in Northern California charged the defendants -- the FSB officials and two Russian cybercriminals -- with using stolen data to gain illegal access to numerous accounts.
Tech Companies Weigh Responses to WikiLeaks Exposure
March 11, 2017
Following WikiLeaks' publication earlier this week of classified documents stolen from the CIA, major technology companies, including Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and Cisco, have been scrambling to assess the risks posed to their customers by the revelations. The so-called "Vault 7" leak includes information about methods and tools the CIA crafted to hack into products produced by those companies.
Despite Intense Scrutiny, Uber Lays Another Egg
March 10, 2017
Already under the microscope for claims of sexual harassment and questionable labor practices, Uber this week said it would ban the use of a controversial technology to block regulatory authorities from monitoring its operations. The company's "greyballing" technology is designed to hide the standard city app view in specific cases -- for example, from former riders blocked for being abusive.
Autonomous Delivery Robots to Hit Virginia's Streets
March 10, 2017
Autonomous delivery robots will be able to travel on sidewalks, crosswalks and shared-use paths throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia this summer. Gov. Terry McAullife recently signed a law permitting the use of Starship Technologies' Personal Delivery Devices. The six-wheeled robots, which resemble coolers, are designed to deliver parcels, groceries and food within a two-mile radius.
WikiLeaks Dumps CIA Hacking Docs Online
March 8, 2017
WikiLeaks on Tuesday dumped thousands of classified documents onto the Internet, exposing hacking programs used by the CIA. The torrent of data is just the first in a series of dumps WikLeaks is calling "Vault 7." This first installment includes 8,761 documents and files stolen from an isolated high-security network within the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virginia.
FCC Reverses Course on Internet Privacy Rules
March 2, 2017
The Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday issued a joint statement following the FCC's temporary stay of data security regulations. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and FTC Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen issued the statement to address the FCC's decision, in essence, to overturn rules designed to bolster broadband consumer privacy.
How Deeply Could Bribery Scandal Wound Samsung?
February 28, 2017
South Korean prosecutors on Tuesday indicted Samsung head Lee Jae-yong and four other executives on bribery and embezzlement charges, following a lengthy investigation into Lee's ties with impeached president Park Geun-hye and her confidant, Choi Soon-sil. Charges against Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Group, include pledging bribes to organizations tied to Choi.
Uber Wants Fleeing Customers to Know It's Hurting
February 23, 2017
Uber has been responding to recent requests to delete customer accounts with a statement that claims "everyone at Uber is deeply hurting" and "it's everyone's number one priority to create change in the coming months and years." The pop-up statement, which Twitter users began circulating on Wednesday, appears to be Uber's latest effort to stem the flow of customers from the company.
Federal IT Acquisition Worth $50B Cleared for Takeoff
February 22, 2017
A major federal acquisition opportunity with a potential contract value of $50 billion for IT vendors is back on track. The GSA recently resumed processing vendor applications after a legal challenge to the contract was resolved in its favor. As a result, the GSA this fall will reveal the names of approximately 60 vendors who will be eligible to participate in the Alliant 2 IT contract vehicle.
US Rep Likens Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to 'Tyranny'
February 21, 2017
The Financial Protection Bureau has come under increasing fire from Republican lawmakers who now have the Trump administration to back their efforts. Long-time critic Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R.-Texas, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, compared the bureau to a tyranny in a recent interview. Hensarling reportedly is preparing legislation to enact CFPB reforms.
Microsoft Makes VR Drone Fight Simulator Available on GitHub
February 21, 2017
Microsoft has introduced an open source virtual reality toolkit for the training of autonomous drones. The beta software became available on GitHub last week. The toolkit is designed to allow developers to "teach" drones how to navigate the real world by recreating conditions such as shadows, reflections and even objects that might confuse a device's on-board sensors.
Microsoft Seeks Global Cybersecurity Accord
February 18, 2017
Microsoft has called on governments around the world to create a "digital Geneva Convention" as a way to normalize international cybersecurity rules and protect civilian use of the Internet. President Brad Smith, who is also Microsoft's chief legal officer, addressed the issue at the annual RSA conference held earlier this week, saying that governments need to establish international rules.
Toshiba Plunges on Massive Nuclear Writedown, Earnings Delay
February 15, 2017
Toshiba shares fell 8 percent on Tuesday as the company took a $6.3 billion writedown related to its struggling nuclear power business and delayed the release of its fiscal Q3 earnings. Shigenori Shiga, Toshiba's chairman and representative executive officer, resigned effective Wednesday. His resignation in part reflects management taking responsibility for the Westinghouse fiasco.
FTC's Lawsuit Should Make You Feel Very Insecure About the IoT
February 14, 2017
Even though D-Link expressly promised that many of its wireless devices had the highest level of security available, the FTC last month filed a lawsuit that alleges otherwise. The FTC filing includes copies of online marketing materials and technical specifications for D-Link's products, and flatly declares that "thousands of Defendants' routers and cameras have been vulnerable to attacks."
Anonymous Hacker Pulls Plug on Thousands of Dark Net Sites
February 7, 2017
Twenty percent of the Dark Net was taken offline last week, when a hacker compromised a server hosting some 10,000 websites on the Tor network. Tor, designed to hide the identities of its users, is widely used on the Dark Web, which serves as a hub for illegal online activities. Visitors to the affected pages were greeted with the message, "Hello, Freedom Hosting II, you've been hacked."
Silicon Valley Firms Lock Arms Against Trump Immigration Order
February 7, 2017
At least 127 United States companies -- including Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Intel and other tech giants -- filed a friend of the court brief in a lawsuit the state of Washington brought against President Trump, which argues that his executive order to halt the entry of refugees and all travelers from seven Muslim nations would inflict significant harm on U. S. businesses.
EC to Take a Hard Look at E-Commerce Practices
February 3, 2017
The European Commission on Thursday announced three separate investigations into online pricing and other sales practices that may have breached EU antitrust rules. The EC investigations will assess whether consumers were able to enjoy cross-border choice when it came to buying video games and consumer electronics, and making hotel accommodations online.
Tech Industry Reacts to Trump's Immigration Order
February 3, 2017
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick on Thursday resigned from President Trump's business advisory council amid fierce blowback against the president's recent executive order on immigration, and in the wake of reports that several major Silicon Valley firms, including Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and Google, have been circulating a draft letter opposing Trump's action.
Silicon Valley Up in Arms Over Proposed H-1B Overhaul
January 31, 2017
Silicon Valley is in an uproar over a proposed new executive order that would overhaul existing foreign worker visa policies. The Trump administration's goal apparently is to prioritize the hiring of American workers and change the way U.S. companies can recruit skilled professionals from other countries. Policy should "prioritize the protection of American workers," the draft reportedly states.
Trump Clings to Personal Phone Despite Security Risks
January 27, 2017
President Donald J. Trump apparently has continued to use his personal Android smartphone despite security concerns. Trump was concerned about losing access to his personal phone even prior to taking his oath of office, according to a report citing unnamed aides who said he worried about how isolated he could become in the White House without his phone to keep in touch with friends.
Facebook Taps Barra to Push VR to the Next Level
January 27, 2017
Facebook has announced that Hugo Barra will be onboarding the company to head up its virtual reality business, including the critically important Oculus team. Barra just days ago announced his departure from Xiaomi. Barra will fill the void left last month, when Brendan Iribe stepped down as CEO of Oculus to head up a new Facebook unit that will develop the PC side of its VR business.
New FCC Chair Ajit Pai Vows to Kill Net Neutrality Rules
January 24, 2017
President Donald Trump on Monday named Ajit Pai chairman of the FCC. Pai, who has been a Republican commissioner for the agency since 2012, replaced Tom Wheeler, whom President Obama appointed to the top post in late 2013. With the new administration, Republicans gain the expected majority of the commission. Pai has been known to be a foe of former President Barack Obama's Net neutrality rules.
Luckey Dons Virtual Flak Jacket for Zenimax Testimony
January 19, 2017
Palmer Luckey on Wednesday denied that he stole proprietary code from ZeniMax Media, in the little-known company's blockbuster $2 billion lawsuit against Oculus VR and Facebook. ZeniMax has alleged that in 2012, when Luckey was just a video game enthusiast, he corresponded with John Carmack, who allegedly used proprietary hardware and software information to develop the Oculus Rift VR headset.
US Pushes Cybersecurity Acquisition Tools as Contracts Flow
January 16, 2017
Vendors of cybersecurity offerings are finding that the U.S. government is serious about improving the protection of federal IT assets. A steady stream of data protection contracts has been flowing to providers, including some notable high-value transactions during the last half of 2016. One example is a Department of Homeland Security contract, with a potential value of $395 million.
Did BuzzFeed Just Commit Suicide?
January 16, 2017
Remember the oldie, "You Don't Mess Around With Jim"? The chorus goes like this: "You don't tug on superman's cape, You don't spit into the wind, You don't pull the mask off that old lone ranger, And you don't mess around with Jim." One of the lessons we learned last year is that what goes for "Jim" likely also goes for Peter Thiel, who is one of President-elect Donald Trump's leading supporters.
Yahoo Makes Plans Amid Doubts Over Verizon Deal
January 10, 2017
Yahoo has disclosed in an SEC filing that following the sale of its operating business to Verizon, the company will restructure its board and change its name. It also warned that a massive hack disclosed last year could imperil its $4.8 billion sale to Verizon. Yahoo will operate as an investment company after the Verizon deal closes, it reported in the filing.
Bitcoin Rides the Uncertainty Wave
January 4, 2017
The price of bitcoin soared to a new three-year high on Monday, surpassing the $1,000 mark for the first time, in response to economic and geopolitical uncertainty in China following the U.S. presidential election. The price of bitcoin stood at more than $1,025 in late trading on Tuesday, after rising to nearly $1,030. The market cap was $16.49 billion, according to the CoinDesk index.
Germany Could Ding Facebook for Fake News
December 30, 2016
The frenzied 2016 election cycle mercifully is over, but Facebook's fake news problem isn't going away. The company may face steep fines in Germany if it fails to address it satisfactorily. A bill slated for consideration next year would establish fines of up to $500,000 euros per day for each day that a fake news story persisted after notification of its falsehood was provided.
Apple, Ireland Balk at EU's Bill for Back Taxes
December 29, 2016
Apple and the Irish government are fighting what some view as a European Union tax grab. The two recently filed a formal appeal of the EC's decision ordering Apple to pay nearly $14 billion in back taxes, based on its finding that Ireland had given Apple several illegal tax breaks. The EC found that Ireland had allowed Apple to determine its tax based on the activities of its subsidiary firms.
Uber Staff Still Stalking Customers, Claims Suit
December 17, 2016
The controversy over Uber staff using the company's tech to track people's movements was reignited this week when information in a pending lawsuit began circulating in the tech press. Uber employees can pull customer data at will, alleged Ward Spangenberg, the company's former forensic investigator, in a court declaration filed earlier this fall.
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