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OTA Report: Consumer Services Sites More Trustworthy Than .Gov Sites
June 22, 2017
The Online Trust Alliance on Tuesday released its 2017 Online Trust Audit & Honor Roll. Among its findings: Consumer services sites have the best combined security and privacy practices. FDIC 100 banks and U.S. government sites are the least trustworthy, according to the audit. The number of websites that qualified for the honor roll is at a nine-year high.
3 WannaCry Talking Points to Win Security Buy-In
June 21, 2017
By this point, most technology practitioners -- and nearly all security practitioners -- know about WannaCry. In fact, you might be sick of people analyzing it, rehashing it, sharing "lessons learned" about it, and otherwise laying out suggestions -- in some cases, contradictory -- about what you might do differently in the future. The level of unsolicited advice can border on the annoying.
Deep Root Analytics Downplays Giant Voter Data 'Oops'
June 20, 2017
A data contractor working on behalf of the Republican National Committee earlier this month allowed the personal data of 198 million voters to be exposed online, marking the largest ever leak of voter data in history. Deep Root Analytics exposed 1.1 terabytes of sensitive information -- including names, home addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers and voter registration information.
Apple Centers Health Data Strategy on iPhone
June 19, 2017
Apple quietly has been strategizing to expand its growing healthcare business to include the management of digital health records, with the iPhone operating as a central data hub. Apple reportedly has been in talks with numerous health industry groups that are involved in setting standards for the storage and sharing of electronic medical records, in a way that would give consumers more control.
The Art of Manipulation and Misdirection
June 19, 2017
Last week, I listened to an economist talk about Apple's complaints that Qualcomm had charged Apple too much for access to patents. What was fascinating was that Apple had folks focused on the 5 percent Qualcomm had charged it instead of on the massive profit that Apple made on each phone. The price of the iPhone 8 likely will be well over $1,000 -- but it could cost well under $500 to build.
Broader Scope of Russian Election Cyberattacks Revealed
June 15, 2017
Federal and state officials have confirmed that cyberattacks against state voting systems during the 2016 election were more widespread than previously disclosed to the public, but they said the heightened activity did not impact final vote tallies. The confirmations follow a report that attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election were much greater than previously disclosed.
Securing Your Linux System Bit by Bit
June 13, 2017
As daunting as securing your Linux system might seem, one thing to remember is that every extra step makes a difference. It's almost always better to make a modest stride than let uncertainty keep you from starting. Fortunately, there are a few basic techniques that greatly benefit users at all levels, and knowing how to securely wipe your hard drive in Linux is one of them.
Microsoft Buys Hexadite to Toughen Windows Security
June 9, 2017
Microsoft on Thursday said it has agreed to buy a Hexadite, which incorporates artificial intelligence in its automated responses to cyberthreats. The acquisition will help bolster the company's efforts to help commercial Windows 10 customers deal with advanced attacks on their networks, Microsoft said. The acquisition will include Hexadite's endpoint security automated remediation.
BitKey Unlocks Mysteries of the Bitcoin Universe
June 1, 2017
BitKey is a Debian-based live distribution with specialist utilities for performing highly secure air-gapped bitcoin transactions. This distro is not for everyday computing needs, but if you are obsessed with the use of bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, it might be just what you need. I am a high-tech sort of guy with a keen interest in diving through Linux distros both simple and complex.
Hacking and Linux Go Together Like 2 Keys in a Key Pair
May 31, 2017
Ever since taking an interest Linux, with the specific aim of better understanding and enhancing my personal digital security, I have been fascinated by hacker conferences. As soon as I learned of their existence, I made a point of keeping tabs on the major conferences so I could browse through the latest videos in their archive once each one wraps up. I thought that was the closest I would get.
Leaked Docs Spotlight Complexity of Moderating Facebook Content
May 23, 2017
The public got a rare view into how Facebook tries to keep offensive and dangerous content offline in a report published Sunday. Leaked confidential documents exposed the secret rules by which Facebook polices postings on issues such as violence, hate speech, terrorism, pornography, racism and self-harm, as well as such subjects as sports fixing and cannibalism.
Intertwining Artificial Intelligence With Blockchain
May 18, 2017
Except for those folks living under rocks, everyone knows about or at least has heard of bitcoin. However, not everyone understands the technology of bitcoin, which extends well beyond Internet-based currency. For the rock people, bitcoin is an Internet-based currency that allows for transparency with respect to each transfer of the currency through the use of a distributed database.
Crate.io Packs New Features, Services Into DB Upgrade
May 17, 2017
Crate.io on Tuesday announced an upgrade to its open source CrateDB, and introduced a commercial version. The database now is available as a managed service as well. CrateDB 2.0 features clustering enhancements and SQL improvements. The enterprise edition adds authentication and authorization features for enhanced security, which are not provided in the open source version.
Massive Ransomware Attack Reaps Meager Profits
May 17, 2017
The WannaCry ransom attack that quickly circled the globe last week is not yet fully contained. So far, it has impacted more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries. However, one of the remarkable things about it is that only a trifling $100,000 in ransom, give or take, apparently has been paid. That represents a surprisingly low response from an attack generally considered the biggest ever.
Microsoft Bashes NSA Following Massive Ransomware Attacks
May 15, 2017
Microsoft this weekend unleashed its wrath on the National Security Agency, alleging it was responsible for the ransomware attack that began last week and has spread to thousands of corporate, government and individual computer systems around the world. Microsoft Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith launched a blistering attack on the NSA and governments worldwide.
British Hospitals, FedEx Among Thousands Hit by Ransomware
May 13, 2017
Authorities are investigating a massive ransomware attack that reportedly hit more than 45,000 computers in 74 countries worldwide, including the UK's NHS England national health service, international delivery service FedEx, and Spanish telecom firm Telefonica. Security experts have linked the exploit to an earlier leak by the Shadow Brokers, who allegedly pilfered hacking tools from the NSA.
The IoT's Scramble to Combat Botnets
May 11, 2017
With shadowy botnet armies lurking around the globe and vigilante gray-hat actors inoculating susceptible devices, the appetite for Internet of Things security is stronger than ever. "If you throw IoT on a con talk, you've got a pretty good chance to get in," remarked information security professional Jason Kent, as he began his presentation at Chicago's Thotcon conference last week.
Flaw in Intel Chips Could Open Door to Botnet Armies
May 9, 2017
A 7-year-old flaw in Intel chips could enable hijackers to gain total control of business computers and use them for malicious purposes. The Intel AMT vulnerability is the first of its kind, according to Embedi, which released technical details about it last week. Attackers could exploit the flaw to get full control over business computers, even those turned off but plugged into an outlet.
Surviving the Security 'Skills Desert'
May 8, 2017
If you've ever spent time in a desert, it may seem inconceivable to you that creatures actually can live there. The fact that animals not only survive, but also thrive in those conditions seems counterintuitive. In fact, a number of animals do so -- in many cases, they are aided by an array of specialized adaptations that allow them to leverage the environment to their advantage.
Google Neutralizes Docs Phishing Scam
May 5, 2017
A phishing scam that surfaced earlier this week used Google Docs in an attack against at least 1 million Gmail users. However, that amounted to fewer than 0.1 percent of Gmail users were affected, according to the company. Google last year put the number of active monthly Gmail users at more than 1 billion. Google shut down the phishing scam within an hour, it said.
The Grim Upward Trajectory of Mobile Fraud Risks
May 1, 2017
More than 8,600 retail locations will shut down this year, following the 5,077 that closed last year, based on data from Credit Suisse. Moreover, 2017 could surpass 2008 -- the worst year for retail closures on record -- when 6,163 stores shut down operations. However, unlike 2008, when overall consumer spending declined with the onset of a global recession.
Millions May Have Picked Up FalseGuide Malware at Google Play Store
April 26, 2017
As many as 2 million Android users might have downloaded apps that were infected with the FalseGuide malware, security research firm Check Point warned on Monday. The oldest of the infected apps could have been uploaded to Google Play as long ago as last November, having successfully remained hidden for five months, while the newest may have been uploaded as recently as the beginning of April.
New Strain of Linux Malware Could Get Serious
April 25, 2017
A new strain of malware targeting Linux systems, dubbed "Linux/Shishiga," could morph into a dangerous security threat. Eset disclosed the threat, which represents a new Lua family unrelated to previously seen LuaBot malware. Linux/Shishiga uses four protocols -- SSH, Telnet, HTTP and BitTorrent -- and Lua scripts for modularity, wrote Detection Engineer Michal Malik and Eset researchers.
Microsoft Inches Toward a World Without Passwords
April 20, 2017
Microsoft has announced the general availability of its phone sign-in for customers with Microsoft accounts -- a system that could be the beginning of the end for passwords. The new system requires that customers add their accounts to the Microsoft Authenticator app, which comes in both iOS and Android versions, noted Alex Simons, director of program management of the Microsoft Identity Division.
Report: Commercial Software Riddled With Open Source Code Flaws
April 19, 2017
Black Duck Software has released its 2017 Open Source Security and Risk Analysis, detailing significant cross-industry risks related to open source vulnerabilities and license compliance challenges. Black Duck conducted audits of more than 1,071 open source applications for the study. There are widespread weaknesses in addressing open source security vulnerability risks across key industries.
Microsoft's Timely Response to Shadow Brokers Threat Raises Questions
April 18, 2017
Just as the Shadow Brokers hacker group started crowing about a dump of never-seen-before flaws in Windows, Microsoft announced it already had fixed most of the exploits. "Today, Microsoft triaged a large release of exploits made publicly available by Shadow Brokers," said Microsoft Principal Security Group Manager Phillip Misner. "Most of the exploits are already patched."
Burger King Ad Creates Whopper of a Mess for Google Home
April 13, 2017
Burger King in essence hijacked the voice-activated Google Home speakers in some consumers' homes. In a 15-second television ad, the camera zooms in on a young man wearing the company uniform who says, "OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?" The trigger phrase for Google's AI Assistant activated Home speakers situated nearby, prompting them to read Wikipedia's description of the Whopper.
Spam Czar Nabbed in Spain May Have Link to Election Tampering
April 12, 2017
An alleged spam kingpin with possible ties to election meddling in the U.S. was arrested in Spain last week under a U.S. international warrant. Pyotr Levashov had been vacationing in Barcelona with his family. Levashov was arrested for interfering with the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, the Russian news outlet RT reported, but the DoJ said the arrest was not connected to national security.
Samsung's Tizen OS Riddled With Security Holes
April 4, 2017
There are more than three dozen previously unknown flaws that pose a potential threat to consumers using some Samsung TVs, watches and phones, a security researcher has reported. Hackers could exploit the vulnerabilities found in Samsung's Tizen operating system to gain remote access and control of a variety of the company's products, according to Amihai Neiderman, head of research at Equus Software.
House Votes to Kill Privacy Rules Binding ISPs
March 30, 2017
The House of Representatives has approved the Congressional Review Act, undoing privacy restrictions imposed on ISPs during the Obama administration. The Senate passed the CRA last week in a 50-48 vote along party lines. The White House has expressed support for the CRA. "This is one time I believe the White House," remarked John Simpson, privacy project director at Consumer Watchdog.
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What do you think of today's voice recognition technology?
It's great -- the tech has improved vastly in recent years.
It's the wave of the future, but quality is still hit or miss.
I like it for texting, especially when I'm driving.
I only use it when I have to, like with IVR systems.
I avoid using it, because most voice systems are still terrible.
It's an unnecessary frill that I can easily live without.