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Cyberspies Help Themselves to DHS Contractor's Data
August 08, 2014
USIS, the contractor that did the background checks on Washington Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis and NSA leaker Edward Snowden, on Thursday reported that its computer systems have been breached. "Our internal IT security team recently identified an apparent external cyberattack on USIS' corporate network," said US Investigation Services in a statement.
Russian Cybergang Stockpiles 1.2B Unique Stolen Credentials
August 07, 2014
A Russian cybercriminal gang so far has stolen 4.5 billion credentials, of which 1.2 billion appear to be unique, Hold Security has announced. The credentials belong to more than 500 million email addresses. Two reports released Tuesday may help explain why the cybergang was so successful. About 92 percent of the 800 top consumer websites evaluated failed the OTA's 2014 Email Integrity Audit.
A Fresh Look at OpenStack
August 06, 2014
The OpenStack project continues to be something of a lightning rod and also something of a dichotomy in the industry. On one hand, it has drawn the involvement of hundreds of supporting vendors and more than 17,000 individual members. It ranks highly among priorities, particularly for private clouds. Yet critics are quick to point out issues, such as installation and implementation difficulties.
Wikimedia Blasts Europe's 'Right to Be Forgotten'
August 06, 2014
The Wikimedia Foundation has released its first-ever transparency report -- and along with it a protest against Europe's "right to be forgotten" law. Wikimedia is the nonprofit owner of Wikipedia and other sites. "Denying people access to relevant and neutral information runs counter to the ethos and values of the Wikimedia movement," wrote Wikimedia attorneys Geoff Brigham and Michelle Paulson.
DoT May Rule Out In-Flight Cellphone Talking
August 06, 2014
The U.S. Department of Transportation is drafting a notice of proposed rulemaking that could restrict consumers' ability to talk on their cellphones during airplane flights. The DoT earlier this year issued an invitation for comment as to whether it should adopt a rule to restrict voice communications on passengers' mobile wireless devices on scheduled flights within, to and from the U.S.
Qstream Runs Broader and Deeper
August 05, 2014
Qstream, which has developed a gamification-based app to help sales reps learn complex sales-related content, has broadened and deepened its functionality so the platform can be used in new scenarios. It has expanded the types of situations in which a company can use its Qstream license, said CEO Duncan Lennox, because it has proven to be wildly popular with companies beset by a common problem.
Apple's Big Blue Dilemma
August 05, 2014
Apple reportedly is gearing up to do what it does best -- introduce a new gadget or two. Word is the company will hold a spellbinding iPhone event come Sept. 9. With the dust not quite settled over Apple's recently announced liaison with IBM, it will be interesting to see whether there are any new corporate nuances in the upcoming presentation. Will Apple maintain its strong consumer focus?
Retailers Harassed by Backoff Malware
August 05, 2014
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security last week sounded an alarm warning retailers of a family of malicious programs aimed at compromising point-of-sale systems. Attackers used such software last year in massive data breaches that nicked millions of consumer records at Target and Nieman Marcus. Variants of the Backoff family have turned up in at least three forensic investigations.
Accelerating Hadoop's Big Data Momentum
August 05, 2014
The concept of "collaboration" has become such a messaging mainstay that it often verges on cliché. So, does the recently announced Pivotal and Hortonworks plan to improve Hadoop operations by collaborating on Apache Ambari qualify as anything new or special? In fact, it does. Hadoop has struggled to develop the practical features enterprises demand for dependable management and performance.
Microsoft May Put an Attractive Price Tag on Win 9: Free
August 04, 2014
The "free Windows 9" rumor once again is making the rounds. The buzz over Microsoft's supposed plan to offer users of Windows XP, Win 7, Win Vista and Win 8 a free upgrade to Windows 9, which began in June, has been amplified -- once again, by unnamed sources. The second Windows 8.1 update will be delivered Aug. 12, which is Patch Tuesday, but it's expected to be a low-key offering.
Federal Judge Unswayed by Microsoft's Objections to Data Demands
August 04, 2014
Microsoft's objections to a court order requiring it to turn over a customer's emails held on a server in Ireland have been rejected. Judge Loretta Preska of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York last week issued an oral ruling in the case, reportedly saying the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1996 authorizes such extraterritorial collections of data.
Federal Cloud Adoption Blossoms
August 04, 2014
The U.S. government's foray into cloud computing could hardly be called "mature," but it appears to be moving from infancy to something akin to pre-teen status. Agencies increasingly are embracing the cloud, and the pace of acquisition reflects more comfort with the solution. Several recently launched initiatives affect federal agencies and technology vendors in the cloud acquisition process.
When It Comes to Technology, Humans Are Idiots
August 04, 2014
There are a lot of things going on at the moment. Israel is tactically defending itself against Hamas -- winning the battles but losing the war, because the Israeli government can't see the big picture. The U.S. is still blaming Snowden for leaks, even though Russia clearly is able to pull damaging information pretty much anytime it wants without Snowden's help.
Google Hangouts Get Down to Business
August 01, 2014
Google has unveiled a handful of new features for Google Apps for Business designed to attract more enterprise customers. Google Hangouts, its video chat service, will be further integrated into Google's enterprise suite, entitling Google Apps for Business customers to 24/7 phone support and 99.9 percent guaranteed uptime, the same support level they get with Google Drive and business Gmail.
Oracle's Pricey In-Memory Database Feature Triggers a Row
August 01, 2014
Oracle is taking flak over the in-memory database option in Oracle Database 12c, released publicly on Wednesday. The trouble began when Kevin Closson, formerly the performance architect in Oracle's Exadata development group, pointed out that the option is turned on by default. Oracle has denied his assertion. However, the option is easy to turn on by accident, Closson maintained.
Russia Cites Surveillance Concerns in Apple, SAP Source Code Demands
July 31, 2014
Russia wants Apple and SAP to turn over their source code in yet another instance of fallout resulting from leaks about NSA surveillance activities. The suggestion reportedly came last week, when Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov met with executives of the two companies: Peter Nielsen, Apple's general manager in Russia; and Vyacheslav Orekhov, SAP's managing director in Russia.
LittleBits Leaps to the Cloud
July 31, 2014
LittleBits, the maker of what might best be thought of as electronic Legos, last week launched cloudBit, a module that provides users with access to the Internet. LittleBits offers modules that are used, like Legos, to build gizmos with electronic capabilities. The modules are held together by magnets, and no soldering or wiring is needed. "This is serious cool," said tech analyst Jim McGregor.
Leahy Bill Aims to Rein In Government Snooping
July 30, 2014
Government snooping on Americans would be curtailed under a bill introduced Tuesday in the U.S. Senate. The measure, sponsored by Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., would ban bulk collection of domestic information, limit the scope of searches by government agencies, and add transparency and reporting requirements. Further, it would reform procedures of the FISA Court.
Symantec, CA Squirm Under DoJ's Unfair Pricing Allegations
July 30, 2014
The TV game show The Price is Right may be an entertaining diversion, but for federal information technology vendors, getting the price right in government contracts is serious business. Two major software providers, Symantec and CA Technologies, recently found out how serious it can be as a result of separate U.S. Department of Justice investigations.
China Trumps Up Anti-Monopoly Charges Against Microsoft
July 29, 2014
China's State Administration for Industry & Commerce on Tuesday announced it has launched an investigation into Microsoft under the country's antimonopoly laws, according to press reports. The announcement comes days after SAIC officials reportedly raided Microsoft offices in four cities, seizing documents, emails and other data from servers and computers, among other things.
Chinese Turn the Screws on Microsoft
July 28, 2014
China is ramping up its campaign against Microsoft, following its ban in May on the installation of Windows 8 on government computers. Officials of China's State Administration for Industry & Commerce reportedly have made unannounced visits to Microsoft offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu. They apparently questioned staff in at least one office.
Do Facebook Searches to Show Disability Fraud Violate the Constitution?
July 28, 2014
Looking for evidence of disability fraud, the district attorney for Manhattan last year obtained 381 search warrants and served them on Facebook as part of a long-term investigation into a massive scheme. The search warrants were "sealed," which means they were not made public. Ultimately, 106 former New York police and firefighters were arrested.

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