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It's a Whole New World With Alexa
August 7, 2017
Voice computing is replacing the graphical user interface, Shawn DuBravac, chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association, said early this year at CES. Digital assistants will be integrated into many household objects, he noted. About 5 million voice-activated digital voice products had been sold as of January, and Bravac estimated 5 million more would be sold this year.
Comcast, Google Can Publish Users' Email Contents
August 2, 2017
Comcast's Terms of Service for its Xfinity Internet service gives it, its agents, suppliers and affiliates the right to "reproduce, publish, distribute and display" the content worldwide. It also lets third parties copy, republish or distribute material posted or transmitted using Xfinity Internet. This would include confidential information sent by a company employee or an independent contractor.
Open Source Flaw 'Devil's Ivy' Puts Millions of IoT Devices at Risk
July 21, 2017
Millions of IoT devices are vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks due to a vulnerability initially discovered in remote security cameras. Senrio found the flaw in a security camera developed by Axis Communications, one of the world's biggest manufacturers of the devices. The Model 3004 security camera is used for security at the Los Angeles International Airport, according to Senrio.
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.
Vendor Exposes Millions of Verizon Customers on Amazon Cloud
July 17, 2017
Verizon, the largest wireless carrier in the U.S., has confirmed that data belonging to about six million of its wireless customers was exposed after the information mistakenly was allowed to remain unprotected on an Amazon cloud server. The disclosure follows reports that an engineer at Nice Systems allowed the data of 14 million Verizon customers to reside on an Amazon Web Services S3 bucket.
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.
IoT Fuels Growth of Linux Malware
July 5, 2017
Malware targeting Linux systems is growing, largely due to a proliferation of devices created to connect to the Internet of Things. That is one of the findings in a report WatchGuard Technologies released last week. The report, which analyzes data gathered from more than 26,000 appliances worldwide, found three Linux malware programs in the top 10 for the first quarter of the year.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Why Are Health Records So Valuable to Cybercriminals?
March 29, 2017
Protecting the data in electronic health records did not start with the advent of HIPAA, as many people think. Protecting health records has been a critical requirement in the healthcare space since the computers became a fixture in hospitals. However, HIPAA added public reports of fines issued for covered entities' failure to properly protect data contained within EHRs.
UK Home Secretary: Apps Shouldn't Serve as Terrorist Hiding Places
March 27, 2017
UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd on Sunday called for greater government access to encrypted content on mobile apps. Apps with end-to-end encryption, like Facebook's WhatsApp, should not be allowed to conceal terrorists' communications from law enforcement, Rudd said in a television interview. "There should be no place for terrorists to hide," she said.
Don't Let the Next Catastrophic Phishing Scandal End Your Career
March 27, 2017
What I think is amazing about all of the massive data breaches we hear about is that we know most are not reported. For every email, customer record, or financial theft in the news, there likely are hundreds that remain in the shadows. Yet another incident came to light last week. A clever Lithuanian individual was able to pull a whopping $100 million from a bunch of unnamed Internet companies.
Group Demands Apple Pay Ransom for iCloud Credentials
March 24, 2017
Apple has received a ransom threat from a hacking group claiming to have access to data for up to 800 million iCloud accounts. The hackers, said to be a group called the "Turkish Crime Family," have threatened to reset passwords and remotely wipe the iPhones of millions of iCloud users if Apple fails to hand over a total of $700,000. They have given the company an ultimatum to respond by April 7.
WikiLeaks Exposes CIA's Device Surveillance Tricks
March 23, 2017
WikiLeaks has released more Vault 7 documentation online, including details about several CIA projects to infect Apple's Mac computer firmware and operating system. The site unloaded its first batch of stolen Vault 7 data earlier this month. The CIA's Embedded Development Branch developed malware that could persist even if the targeted computer were reformatted and its OS were reinstalled.
Crafty Phishing Technique Can Trick Even Tech-Savvy Gmail Users
March 17, 2017
Gmail users recently have been targeted by a sophisticated series of phishing attacks that use emails from a known contact. The emails contain an image of an attachment that appears to be legitimate, according to Wordfence. The sophisticated attack displays "accounts.gmail.com" in the browser's location bar and leads users to what appears to be a legitimate Google sign-in page.
Pro-Turkey Hackers Hit Prominent Twitter Accounts
March 16, 2017
Hundreds, if not thousands, of Twitter users, many of them high-profile, were hacked Tuesday by someone who appeared to support Turkey in its diplomatic row with the Netherlands. Their accounts displayed a Swastika -- reversed to face to the right -- as well as the Turkish flag and hashtags to the Nazialmanya and Nazihollanda accounts, which displayed comments on the attack.
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How do you feel about flying on a pilotless plane?
No way -- if there's a screw-up, you can't just jump out.
I'd do it -- flights are pretty much entirely automated anyway.
I'm skeptical but open minded, especially if fares would be much less.
I would try it if there were *someone* on board to take over in a pinch.
It's the wave of the future -- I'm resigned to it.