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Google's Project Zero Cybersecurity Watch: No Excuses
July 15, 2014
Google on Tuesday announced Project Zero, an effort to speed up the security bug-fixing process. A team of cybersecurity experts will go after vulnerabilities in any and all software, notify the vendors, and then file bug reports in a public database so users can track the issuance of patches. The Project Zero team has promised to send bug reports to vendors in as close to real-time as possible.
What's Eating Internet Security?
July 15, 2014
It's a given that hackers can and do penetrate websites with laughable ease, ranging from those of retailers to those of the United States government. It certainly doesn't help the security-minded to know that the U.S. National Security Agency and other countries' spy agencies, including the UK's GCHQ and the West German intelligence agency, are tapping into online communications at will.
Critical Infrastructure Companies Lack Cyberdefenses
July 11, 2014
Companies providing the world's critical infrastructure are woefully unprepared for cyberattacks despite the increasing threat level, evidenced by the release of the Stuxnet worm and the Shamoon virus in recent years, found a survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute and Unisys. Nearly 70 percent of the 599 surveyed companies in the past 12 months have reported at least one security breach.
Report: Malware Poisons One-Third of World's Computers
July 09, 2014
Nearly one-third of the world's computers could be infected with malware, suggests a report released last week by the Anti-Phishing Working Group. Malicious apps invaded 32.77 percent of the world's computers, a more than 4 percent jump from the previous quarter's 28.39 percent, it estimates. The increase in infected computers has come hand-in-hand with a jump in the appearance of malware samples.
NSA's Eyes Trained Less on Terrorists Than on Average Joes and Janes
July 07, 2014
Nine out of 10 people whose information is being collected by the NSA are Americans who have nothing to do with people targeted by the agency. Data provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden includes some information pertaining to terrorist activities and possible threats to U.S. national security, as well as a few successes in antiterrorist work.
Civil Liberties Board Takes Heat for NSA Spying Report
July 03, 2014
The U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has come under fire for its latest report on NSA surveillance. The report essentially says collection of information under Section 702 of FISA "has been valuable and effective in protecting the nation's security and producing useful foreign intelligence." However, because certain aspects of its implementation have raised privacy concerns.
Dragonfly Swoops Down on Energy Firms
July 01, 2014
The energy industry in the United States and Europe is being targeted by a cybercriminal gang that's suspected of being state-sponsored and has links to Russia. Known variously as "Dragonfly" and "Energetic Bear," the group has been operating at least since 2011. Its focus appears to be espionage and persistent access, with a side dish of sabotage as required, Symantec said.
Google Aims to Defrag Android Universe
July 01, 2014
As any Android user knows, the version you're using can vary widely because it depends on parties other than Google. That's why nearly two-thirds of users are running a version of Android introduced in 2012 or earlier. With Android making the leap to wearables and the Internet of Things, however, Google is aiming to make that kind of fragmentation a thing of the past.
Card Fraud Hits 1 in 4 Consumers Worldwide: Report
June 25, 2014
As many as a quarter of the world's consumers were victimized by card fraud in the past five years, and financial institutions are losing customers as a result, suggests a new study. ACI Worldwide and the Aite Group, which jointly surveyed more than 6,100 customers in 20 countries, found that 23 percent of consumers hit by card fraud changed financial institutions because they were dissatisfied.
To Pay or Not to Pay - That's the Ransomware Question
June 24, 2014
Ransomware is a growing problem for consumers and businesses alike. In Symantec's most recent quarterly security report, the company's researchers found all targeted attacks -- including ransomware -- grew 91 percent year-over-year. That's raising a big question for those targeted by cyberextortionists: Should the ransom be paid? Security experts generally say no, but some insert a caveat or two.
White House Tilts Toward Public-Private Cybersecurity Cooperation
June 23, 2014
The Obama administration and the private sector -- often at odds over the regulation of everything from telecom issues to software protection to the environment -- apparently agree that a major issue dealing with cybersecurity should be addressed on a cooperative basis, largely free of federal regulation. The White House recently signaled its tilt toward a cooperative and voluntary approach.
Godzilla Foreshadows Trouble for Internet of Things
June 16, 2014
The Internet of Things has come under attack by pranksters in recent days. The events could signal tumultuous things to come as more and more everyday objects connect to the Internet. Homeland Security has advised the customers of digital sign maker Daktronics to "take defensive measures" following a series of cyberpranks on the company's traffic signs.
Project Galileo Offers DDoS Protection for Free Expression Online
June 13, 2014
CloudFlare on Thursday announced the launch of Project Galileo, a service designed to provide enterprise-grade protection against distributed denial of service attacks free of charge to certain sites, with the goal of protecting freedom of expression on the Internet. CloudFlare is working with a number of partners to identify at-risk sites that qualify.
TrueCrypt's Mysterious Vanishing Act
June 02, 2014
Anyone would be distressed to discover the disappearance of a favorite piece of software, but when the software in question was open source and endorsed by Edward Snowden -- and when the developer's site begins offering instructions for migrating to a Microsoft product instead -- alarm bells are sure to begin ringing throughout the FOSS world. That, sure enough, is just what's been going on.
Iranians Caught Cyber Snooping on High-Value US Targets
May 29, 2014
A cyberespionage campaign with links to Iran for at least three years has been targeting U.S. military and congressional personnel, journalists and diplomats, as well as U.S. and Israeli defense contractors and members of the U.S./Israel lobby, according to a report released Thursday by iSight Partners. The spy ring used more than a dozen phony identities on online social networks.
Chinese Media: Cisco Is Playing on US Cyberspy Team
May 28, 2014
Cisco has been accused of being in bed with U.S. cyberspying efforts, according to a Chinese state media outlet. Cisco "carries on intimately" with U.S. spying apparatuses, the outlet claims, and plays "a disgraceful role" in efforts to prop up U.S. power over the Web. Cisco denied the accusations. Beijing definitely seems to have taken umbrage with last week's U.S. indictments for cyberespionage.
Sony, China Strike PlayStation Deal
May 27, 2014
Japanese electronics giant Sony has inked a deal in China to manufacture and sell PlayStation consoles in the Middle Kingdom. The partnership creates two joint ventures with Shanghai Oriental Pearl, which will enable Sony to operate out of Shanghai's free trade zone. China's early-2014 approval of videogame consoles from foreign companies reversed a years-long ban.
China's Payback for US Hacker Indictments Begins
May 27, 2014
The Department of Justice last week unsealed indictments against five members of the Chinese military who were accused of hacking into the computer systems of U.S. companies to steal everything from trade secrets to confidential corporate correspondence. China's initial response was to deny any wrongdoing and charge that the U.S. had hacked into the systems of Chinese companies.
China Calls for Increased Testing of IT Products
May 23, 2014
The ever-testy cyberstandoff between the U.S. and China got a new twist when Beijing announced that it would start "cybersecurity vetting of major IT products and services" used for national security and public interests. The vetting is designed to prevent suppliers from using their products to control, disrupt or shut down clients' systems, or from using the systems to scoop up information.
Google's EU Migraine Rears Up
May 21, 2014
Yeah, about that breakthrough between Google and European antitrust regulators... The European Union's antitrust chief might pursue a tougher stance on Google than the one outlined in a February agreement, which was believed to have end -- finally -- the legal circus between the two sides. Google had agreed to display rivals' links more prominently in its search results, a chief concern.
Hackers Paint Bull's-eyes on Cybercurrencies
May 19, 2014
Another digital currency was brought to its knees last week when the administrators of Doge Vault had to suspend operations after they discovered their online wallet service had been attacked by hackers. Following an investigation of the incident and the reconstruction of some of their damaged information from a backup, the administrators contacted users.
Russian Rocket, Satellite Don't Quite Make It
May 19, 2014
A space-bound satellite designed to provide Internet access to remote regions in Russia and neighboring states was destroyed when its ride blew apart mid-flight. The Proton-M rocket, affixed with a European-built Express AM4R satellite, seemed to be doing just fine until nine minutes into the flight, when it exploded some 93 miles above Earth. The exact cause of the crash apparently was not known.
Vendors Quibble With US Procurement Cybersecurity Plan
May 16, 2014
Protecting supply lines is essential to military success. But the U.S. government has now launched an initiative designed to protect the supply chain of both civilian and military agencies from potential cyberattacks. The effort will be especially important in the e-commerce procurement process. The initiative is being managed jointly by the GSA and the DoD.
Fallout Begins Following EU Google Decision
May 15, 2014
This week's European high court decision against Google was "astonishing," according to Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, who called it "one of the most wide-sweeping Internet censorship rulings I've ever seen." Wales, like anyone who read the ruling, noticed that the parameters for judging whether content be removed were exceptionally ambiguous. This puts Google in dilly of a pickle, Wales said.

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