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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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
Consumer Advocates Bemoan Senate Vote to Lift ISP Privacy Restrictions
March 25, 2017
Privacy advocates and consumer groups are fighting back against the U.S. Senate's Thursday vote to undo privacy restrictions on Internet service providers. In a 50-48 party line vote, the Senate approved the Congressional Review Act, S.J. Res. 34. If the House of Representatives gives it the green light, it then will go to the president to be signed into law.
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.
Facebook Gets Tough on Spy Apps
March 15, 2017
Facebook has updated its Facebook and Instagram policies to prohibit developers from using data obtained from those platforms in surveillance tools, according to Rob Sherman, deputy chief privacy officer. Facebook already has taken enforcement actions against devs who created and marketed surveillance tools in violation of the company's previous policy, he noted.
Donald Trump Should Channel Steve Jobs on Security
March 13, 2017
We saw yet another government breach last week, and more secrets went out to WikiLeaks. I'm of a mixed mind on this one, because the CIA tools disclosed likely were emulated by others, and WikiLeaks is helping consumer technology companies ensure they no longer work. I don't know about you, but I really don't want any organization spying on me -- not even my own government.
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.
Twitter Adds Heft to Anti-Harassment Toolbox
March 2, 2017
Twitter on Wednesday announced that over the next few months it will roll out changes designed to increase the safety of users, including the following: Its algorithms will help identify accounts as they engage in abusive behavior, so the burden no longer will be on victims to report it; and users will be able to restrict their tweets to followers for a set amount of time.
What a Linux Desktop Does Better
February 23, 2017
After I resolved to adopt Linux, my confidence grew slowly but surely. Security-oriented considerations were compelling enough to convince me to switch, but I soon discovered many more advantages to the Linux desktop. For those still unsure about making the transition, or those who have done so but may not know everything their system can do, I'll showcase here some of the Linux desktop's advantages.
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."
Dozens of iOS Apps Vulnerable to WiFi Snooping
February 9, 2017
Dozens of applications for Apple's mobile devices are vulnerable to WiFi snoopers, according to Will Strafach, CEO of the Sudo Security Group. He identified 76 popular iOS apps available at Apple's App Store that were vulnerable to wireless eavesdroppers, even though the connections were supposed to be protected by encryption. There have been 18 million downloads of the vulnerable apps, he said.
Yahoo and the Year of Living Dangerously
January 20, 2017
If there is a lesson to be drawn from Internet search giant Yahoo's hellish past year, it is a grimly illustrative one: Never assume a cybersecurity disaster can't get worse. Last September, the Internet portal disclosed that it had suffered the most damaging and far-reaching data breach in history -- only to then announce in December the discovery of a second, earlier, and even larger hack.
Evernote Toes the Privacy Line
December 31, 2016
Caught off guard by a huge backlash, Evernote recently abandoned its plan to let staffers read customer notes under certain circumstances. The plan would have allowed staffers to review private customer notes as a means of assessing the accuracy of its new machine learning technology. The company made a mistake in judgment, Evernote CEO Chris O'Neil acknowledged.
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.
Yahoo Suffers Major Data Breach Deja Vu
December 16, 2016
Yahoo has revealed that Net bandits stole data associated with 1 billion of its user accounts -- one of the largest data breaches in Internet history. The theft, which occurred in 2013, is distinct from the theft disclosed earlier this fall, in which 500 million accounts were compromised, Yahoo CISO Bob Lord explained. Stolen data may include names, email addresses, telephone numbers and more.
Friend Finder Data Breach Exposes 400M Swingers
November 19, 2016
Hackers have stolen information of more than 400 million users of Friend Finder Networks, which runs several adult dating and pornography websites, LeakedSource reported. This is Friend Finders' second breach in two years. Last year, hackers accessed 4 million accounts, exposing information on users' sexual preferences and extramarital affairs. More than 412 million users were compromised.
iPhone Call Logs Easy Pickings on iCloud, Says Russian Security Firm
November 17, 2016
Russian digital forensics firm ElcomSoft on Thursday reported that Apple automatically uploads iPhone call logs to iCloud remote servers, and that users have no official way to disable this feature other than to completely switch off the iCloud drive. The data uploaded could include a list of all calls made and received on an iOS device, as well as phone numbers, dates and times, and duration.
Commerce Dept Signs Up Private Sector IT Partners
November 9, 2016
The U.S. Commerce Department recently launched a new effort to jump-start more efficient ways to manage the vast amounts of data that reside within the federal government and put it to productive use. The National Technical Information Service, a unit within the department, is leading the effort. NTIS has selected 35 joint venture partners, or JVPs, to support the program.
Tech Industry Lambasts New FCC Privacy Rules
November 1, 2016
The U.S. FCC last week adopted privacy rules for both wired and wireless broadband ISPs aimed at giving consumers greater control over their data, more privacy, and stronger security safeguards for that data. The rules implement Section 222 of the Communications Act. They establish a framework of customer consent required for ISPs to use and share their customers' personal information.
Social Media Analytics, Meet Big Brother
October 26, 2016
The ACLU recently uncovered evidence that led Twitter, Facebook and its Instagram subsidiary to stop sharing data with Geofeedia, a firm accused of improperly collecting social media data on protest groups, and sharing that information with numerous law enforcement agencies. Geofeedia, a developer of location-based analytics, had been marketing its technology to law enforcement agencies.
Assange Lives to Leak Another Day
October 19, 2016
The status of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange grew a bit murky on Tuesday after the group accused the U.S. State Department of pressuring Ecuadorian officials to block him from posting additional emails linked to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The Ecuadorian foreign ministry on Tuesday acknowledged restricting Assange's access, saying it did not wish to interfere in a foreign election.
This Election May Be Scarier Than You Think
October 17, 2016
Not that it isn't scary enough -- but if you look at both candidates, who have had their images destroyed largely by technology, i.e., tapes and emails -- there is a huge warning inherent in the process. Email really wasn't a big thing until the late 1990s and even having your own email server wouldn't have been likely before 2005, let alone thinking through the security aspects.
Report: Apple Shares Unencrypted iMessage Metadata With Cops
October 5, 2016
Apple last week faced renewed scrutiny for its data-sharing practices, following news that it retains iMessage metadata and shares it with law enforcement when presented with a court order. The company has insisted that it would not share data that would jeopardize the privacy and trust of its millions of customers. Metadata includes contacts, IP addresses, and dates and times of conversations.
Snap Unveils Eye-Popping Camera Spectacles
September 27, 2016
Snap, the company formerly known as "Snapchat," on Saturday announced sunglasses that take videos through a built-in camera in the frame. Snap's Spectacles let users take 10-second videos by tapping a button on the top left-hand corner of the eyeframe. Users can tap on the record button to record two more 10-second segments, for videos of up to 30 seconds long in all.
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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.