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Philanderers, Scarlet Women Cower After Ashley Madison Hack
July 21, 2015
About 40 million swingers and sexual sophisticates have been whimpering in fear since hearing Sunday's news that hackers broke into the servers of Avid Life Media, the parent company of online cheating site Ashley Madison. The hackers reportedly stole large caches of personal data after breaking into the servers hosting Ashley Madison and related sites Cougar Life and Established Men.
The Emperor Is Naked and We're All Idiots
July 20, 2015
An old fable keeps running through my mind about the scam artist who convinced an emperor that he had created clothing only smart people could see. Everyone says they see the clothing because they don't want to look stupid. Walking around in clothing stupid people can't see doesn't sound enticing anyway, but lately it has seemed clear to me that the folks reporting the news think we are idiots.
Hacking Team's Dingy Laundry Hung Out Online
July 6, 2015
Fireworks of a different kind rocked the security world this Fourth of July weekend, when news surfaced that hackers breached Hacking Team, an Italy-based firm that develops malware for governments and law enforcement. The attackers reportedly exposed 400 GB of data stolen from its servers. "It appears [Hacking Team] were compromised through social engineering, said Bugcrowd's Jonathan Cran.
The Encryption Software Scuffle
June 29, 2015
In the face of encryption that could block brute force attempts for years, law enforcement agencies at every level have been calling for keys that allow investigators to crack open smartphones and court cases alike. Some of the world's leading tech companies and privacy advocates have called for the White House to stand against any proposal to weaken the security software on consumer products.
Data Requests Put Amazon Between Rock, Hard Place
June 23, 2015
Amazon's recently released first report on government requests for information revealed that from January to May, it received 813 subpoenas and 25 search warrants. The company fully responded and provided all the requested information sought for 542 of the subpoenas. It provided only some of the requested information for 126 of the cases, and it did not respond to 145 requests.
AT&T, Verizon and WhatsApp Flunk Privacy
June 22, 2015
An Electronic Frontier Foundation survey published last week gave AT&T, Verizon and WhatsApp the thumbs down when it comes to protecting user privacy. Google and Twitter also got a black eye. The five were among 24 companies the EFF evaluated on criteria worked out over the past four years. WhatsApp, now owned by Facebook, also took criticism in the EFF's fifth annual report, "Who Has Your Back?"
Senators Aim to Ground FBI's Warrantless Spy Planes
June 17, 2015
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., on Wednesday introduced legislation that would require federal government agents to get a warrant before snooping from the sky. "Americans' privacy rights shouldn't stop at the treetops," Wyden said. The issue came to a head following the revelation earlier this month that the FBI was engaged in warrantless aerial surveillance across the U.S.
San Jose to Dabble With Smart City Tech
June 16, 2015
The city of San Jose, California, recently decided to undertake an Internet of Things pilot project. Under a deal finalized last month, anyCOMM, will deploy WiFi sensors on 166 streetlights, to collect data on traffic, sense movement on the streets, turn off streetlights when sidewalks and roads are empty, detect ground shifts and send earthquake warnings, and act as WiFi hotspots.
US Snooping Costs High-Tech Sector $35B and Counting
June 10, 2015
Other countries' concerns over U.S. government surveillance programs likely will cost American businesses more than $35 billion, according to a report released Tuesday by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. Originally it was thought that the fallout from Edward Snowden's revelations of U.S. mass surveillance programs would be limited to cloud service providers.
US CIO Orders Federal Websites to Get More Secure
June 10, 2015
U.S. federal CIO Tony Scott on Monday sent a memo to the heads of executive departments and agencies requiring that all publicly accessible federal websites and Web services use HTTPS -- "the strongest privacy and integrity protection currently available for public Web connections." Some federal websites currently use HTTPS, but there has not been a consistent policy across the federal government.
BitTorrent's Bleep Hides Messages From Prying Eyes
June 4, 2015
BitTorrent's Bleep, a secure peer-to-peer messaging service, last month reached the end of its third trimester in alpha testing, and an official version became available for iOS, Android, OS X and PC. The official release is the first to reach iOS. Bleep's Whisper feature enables ephemeral messaging, along with the service's cloudless, end-to-end encrypted calling function.
Google's Android Permissions Get Granular
June 4, 2015
Google appears to be heeding warnings of security experts who say Android users need better control over what apps do with information from their phones. At I/O, its worldwide shindig for developers held last week, the company announced that the next version of its mobile operating system, Android M, would take a more granular approach to permissions for data requested by apps.
Google Creates One-Stop Privacy and Security Shop
June 2, 2015
Google has rolled out "My Account," a hub that lets users manage their Google settings, along with a new site that answers questions about its privacy and security practices. In addition to letting users manage their password and account-access settings, My Account allows them to review their security settings and activity. My Account also lets users manage personal information about themselves.
Senate Ready to Rumble Over Freedom Act Amendments
June 2, 2015
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted to close debate on the USA Freedom Act, a measure that would prohibit the NSA from the indiscriminate collection Americans' phone call data. The bill already has passed in the House. However, the brawling over the bill is not quite over. The Senate has yet to address several proposed amendments to the legislation before voting on it later on Tuesday.
No Wrongdoing at NCIS, Says Defense Watchdog
May 28, 2015
The U.S. Department of Defense's Inspector General has rejected allegations that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service engaged in questionable domestic intelligence activity. The finding concluded a DoD IG probe spurred by allegations that NCIS was making available to military intelligence agencies its Law Enforcement Information Exchange, a database of 506.3 million law enforcement records.
Hush! Everybody's Listening!
May 27, 2015
Americans have been spied on by their own government for far longer than most realized, it turns out, and the United States National Security Agency's surveillance activities are just the tip of the iceberg. The FBI, which repeatedly has expressed dismay at Google and Apple securing their mobile OSes reportedly has become a major player in administering the NSA's warrantless surveillance program.
Americans Hate Surveillance, Love Privacy: Report
May 21, 2015
Americans are deeply troubled by surveillance, data collection and the security of their data that's held by government agencies and private companies. The combined results of two Pew surveys suggest that the vast majority consider it important to be in control of their information. Eighty-eight percent of the respondents didn't want someone to watch or listen to them without their permission.
Venom Less Toxic Than Heartbleed
May 20, 2015
It was a little over a year ago that the Heartbleed bug shocked the Internet with its potential for mischief. Now another flaw in open source code has sent network administrators into damage control mode. The bug, called "Venom" for "Virtualized Environment Neglected Operations Manipulation," allows an intruder to jump out of a virtual machine and execute malicious code on its host.
Consumer Group Worries Over Safety of Google's Self-Driving Cars
May 14, 2015
Even though Google's self-driving technology was not at fault in any of 11 minor accidents involving the cars over six years of testing, Consumer Watchdog has raised an alarm over the vehicles' safety, even releasing a video that simulates a serious crash in a tech-failure scenario. The group frequently accuses Google of privacy violations and exerting undue influence on the U.S. government.
Cyanogen Taps Truecaller in Effort to Build a Better Mobile OS
May 8, 2015
Cyanogen, best known for its FOSS Android-based OS, CyanogenMod, soon will provide caller ID screening and spam blocking directly from the native dialer on Cyanogen OS, the commercial version of its operating system. These capabilities will be provided through the company's global partnership with Truecaller. They will be baked into future smartphone devices preloaded with Cyanogen OS.
Federal Appeals Court Rules NSA's Phone Data-Vacuuming Illegal
May 7, 2015
A U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled, in essence, that the NSA's collection of metadata concerning Americans' communications is illegal. The court vacated U.S. District Judge William Pauley's December 2013 ruling in ACLU v. Clapper, and remanded the case to the lower court. "The Second Circuit found the government incorrect in many of its arguments," said ACLU Staff Attorney Patrick Toomey.
Report: Top Endpoint Security Packages Perfectly Foil Drive-By Attacks
May 5, 2015
Drive-by attacks on the Internet are a particularly pernicious form of online threat, especially for individual Web surfers. On the corporate level, though, a company with good endpoint protection software can foil the malicious practice. A drive-by occurs when an infected website automatically downloads malware onto a Net traveler's computer. Endpoint solutions can thwart those kinds of attacks.
Our Bodies, Our Security: Biometrics vs. Passwords
May 4, 2015
Text-based usernames and password pairs should be replaced with biometric credentialing, such as vein recognition and ingestible security tokens, suggests Johnathan LeBlanc, PayPal's global head of developer evangelism. Celebrities have been mortified, Sony Pictures Entertainment brought to its knees, and Home Depot sent scrambling to EuroPay Mastercard Visa's chip and pin earlier than mandated.
House Passes Cybersecurity Bills Despite Privacy Fears
April 24, 2015
Two cybersecurity bills approved this week by the U.S. House of Representatives pose a threat to citizens' privacy, according to opponents of the measures. Both bills aim to improve sharing of cybersecurity information between businesses and government agencies. "'Information sharing' is a misnomer," said Gabriel Rottman, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.

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Is Microsoft starting to get cool again?
Yes - thanks to Satya Nadella's vision.
Yes - but only in certain areas, like AI and VR.
Maybe - it doesn't seem as stodgy as before.
No - it never was.