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Is the Path to Secure Elections Paved With Open Source Code?
August 8, 2017
Increased use of open source software could fortify U.S. election system security, according to former CIA head R. James Woolsey and Bash creator Brian J. Fox. The two made their case for open source elections software after security researchers demonstrated how easy it was to crack some election machines at the recent DefCon hacking conference in Las Vegas.
WannaCry Hero Arrested on Kronos Malware Charges
August 5, 2017
In a stunning twist, U.S. authorities have arrested a British cyber-researcher credited with stopping the spread of the WannaCry ransomware virus on charges he helped develop and deploy the Kronos banking trojan that attacked financial institutions around the world in 2014. A federal grand jury in Wisconsin last month handed down a six-count indictment against Marcus Hutchins, a citizen of the UK.
New Service Promises Help Winning Government Contracts
August 1, 2017
Onvia on Tuesday launched a new service for companies selling to the public sector. The service provides access to detailed materials associated with a given solicitation, including all submitted proposals, the awarded bid, the final contract, and the agency's scoring criteria. Onvia "helps clients succeed in pursuing government contracts," said Ben Vaught, director of Onvia for Government.
EPIC Claims Google Violates Consumer Privacy in FTC Complaint
August 1, 2017
A new technology that Google uses to track billions of credit card transactions is unsafe, overly intrusive, and possibly in violation of federal law, according to a complaint EPIC filed Monday with the FTC. EPIC urged the FTC to investigate Google over its Store Sales Management program, criticizing it as unfair and deceptive to consumers, and lacking an easy way to opt out.
Russian Head of $4B Bitcoin Exchange Charged in Massive Money Laundering Scheme
July 28, 2017
A grand jury in the Northern District of California indicted a Russian man for running a massive money laundering operation through the BTC-e bitcoin exchange, a group of federal officials announced Wednesday. The exchange allegedly received up to $4 billion in proceeds from various criminal activities, including the 2014 hack of the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange.
FTC to Take a Gander at Amazon's Discount Pricing Practices
July 25, 2017
The FTC reportedly is looking into Amazon's discount pricing practices in response to a complaint filed by Consumer Watchdog over the company's pending $14 billion purchase of the Whole Foods grocery chain. "Asking informal questions about issues potentially related to a corporate acquisition is a natural part of the FTC review process," observed Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.
New Cybersecurity Policy Will Impact Federal IT Market
July 24, 2017
Federal agencies already under the gun to modernize their information technology capabilities have a new set of standards to meet as a result of an executive order President Donald Trump issued this spring. The directive not only will affect agency managers in their IT operations and acquisition activities, but also will have a significant effect on IT vendors.
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.
Trump's Plan to Make Government IT Great
July 19, 2017
The American Technology Council, which President Donald Trump established this spring by executive order, has four years to rebuild the federal government's information technology structure. A massive reboot of both hardware and software will be necessary to bring government computers up to modern standards. The effort will force many government agencies to shift years of floppy disk and other outdated storage technologies to the cloud.
Major Tech Firms Pressure FCC to Stay the Net Neutrality Course
July 18, 2017
The Internet Association, which represents 40 leading technology companies -- including Facebook, Google, Amazon and others -- on Monday filed comments with the FCC, urging it to maintain Net neutrality regulations enacted during the Obama administration. The rules have created a level playing field that has helped fuel innovation in the broadband Internet space, according to IA.
Microsoft Aims to Boost Internet Connectivity in US Heartland
July 11, 2017
Microsoft has unveiled an ambitious plan that would use technology found in the television white space spectrum to develop affordable broadband Internet access for at least 2 million consumers. The aim is to bridge the technology gap between urban and rural American communities. The spectrum is a currently unused portion in the 600 Mhz frequency range.
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.
Could Tech Nerf North Korea?
July 10, 2017
When a hostile country regularly lobs missiles into the ocean with the stated objective of transforming a U.S. state into a radioactive cloud, we have a problem. One "oops" and we could suddenly become a 49-state nation again. Approaches to North Korea tend to be in-the-box thinking, but there are new technologies that effectively could neutralize the threat it poses.
The Stupidly Dangerous Politics of Blame
July 3, 2017
I hope that, like me, you are off this long holiday weekend and have a chance to think about the drama that now surrounds the U.S. administration. What I find fascinating isn't that the government is a bit of a mess but that the accidental transparency of this administration is focusing us more on the visibility of the problems rather than on the problems themselves.
VA Gives Thumbs Up to Commercial IT Software
June 30, 2017
A Veterans Affairs decision to pursue a new direction in processing health records has created a highly visible endorsement of the use of COTS information technology by federal agencies. President Trump cited the VA's action as an example of the administration's commitment to vastly improve federal IT management. The sheer size of the VA makes the decision to use an outside contractor noteworthy.
Will Record Fine Cramp Google's Style in Europe?
June 29, 2017
The European Commission has walloped Google unit with a record $2.7 billion for giving its own shopping comparison site preference above smaller competitors, and thus abusing its dominant position as a search engine. Google must end the conduct within 90 days or face penalties of 5 percent of its average daily global revenue, the EC said. Google expressed disagreement with the EC's findings.
Petya Ransomware Sinks Global Businesses Into Chaos
June 28, 2017
A new ransomware exploit dubbed "Petya" struck major companies and infrastructure sites this week, following last month's WannaCry ransomware attack, which struck more than 300,000 computers worldwide. Petya is believed to be linked to the same set of hacking tools as WannaCry. Petya already has impacted a Ukrainian international airport and shut down radiation monitoring systems at Chernobyl.
Cyberattackers Kick Down a Few Parliament Email Doors
June 27, 2017
The United Kingdom's Parliament on Monday reported a cyberattack on its email system over the weekend, when hackers attempted to access user accounts without authorization. Due to the "robust measures" in place to protect the legislative body's accounts and networks, fewer than 1 percent of the 9,000 accounts on the network were compromised, officials said. Accounts that were compromised reportedly had weak passwords.
DHS to Congress: The Russians Are Coming Back
June 22, 2017
The House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday conducted a hearing focusing on the impact of Russian hacking on the 2016 elections. Members heard testimony from former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, who was in charge of the department when the actual hacking took place during the final months of the Obama administration. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the cyberattack, Johnson said.
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.
Trump Wants Tech Leaders to Help Save $1 Trillion
June 20, 2017
President Donald Trump aims to save taxpayers $1 trillion over the next 10 years with a little help from America's high-tech industry. "Our goal is to lead a sweeping transformation of the federal government's technology that will deliver dramatically better services for citizens," the president said Monday at a roundtable session of the American Technology Council.
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.
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.
Hearing Crickets at Apple's WWDC and a Pin Drop in the Senate
June 12, 2017
The two mammoth events last week were the Apple WWDC keynote and ex-FBI chief James Comey's appearance at a Senate committee hearing. Now I'm sure a lot of folks didn't have the time to watch both events -- and particularly for the Comey event, I'm sure the coverage has the right and the left believing very different realities. Apple is becoming more and more like a typical tech firm.
Amazon Courts Low-Income Customers With Deep Prime Discount
June 7, 2017
Amazon on Tuesday introduced a Prime membership priced at $5.99 monthly for people on government assistance who have a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer card. A Prime membership ordinarily costs $10.99 per month, or $99 per year. Prime membership offers unlimited fast, free two-day shipping on more than 50 million eligible items and a variety of other benefits.
Tech Titans Pledge Continued Paris Accord Support
June 3, 2017
Reacting to the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, several high-tech industry leaders have pledged renewed environmental efforts. "Disappointed with today's decision. Google will keep working hard for a cleaner, more prosperous future for all," tweeted CEO Sundar Pichai. "We will double our efforts to fight climate change," tweeted Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.
Kaspersky to US: Check Our Source Code
May 27, 2017
Cybersecurity expert Eugene Kaspersky reportedly has volunteered to turn over his company's software source code to allay fears about possible ties with the Russian government. Kaspersky made the offer public at CeBIT Australia last week. Some U.S. officials have expressed concerns that Kaspersky Lab might have a close working relationship with the Russian government.
How Deep Learning Could Fix Trump and Healthcare
May 22, 2017
Nvidia earlier this month launched a massive new push for intelligent machines, including what is likely the most expensive volume workstation in the world designed for this purpose. IBM, which has a tight relationship with Nvidia, launched a quantum computing processor that has a good chance of massively increasing the speed and intelligence of thinking systems.
Report: Cybersecurity Dangerously Lax at Mar-a-Lago
May 19, 2017
Internet security at Mar-a-Lago -- the private club President Trump owns and has dubbed the "Southern White House" -- is weak, based on a recent investigation. Trump has used the resort to meet with staffers and foreign heads of state on official business. In February, he took a call about a North Korean ballistic missile launch in Mar-a-Lago's dining room, with members and waiters present.
Data Watchdog Cautions Google and UK Health Partner
May 19, 2017
A British data watchdog has raised questions about whether it was appropriate for a healthcare trust to share data on 1.6 million patients with DeepMind Health, an AI company owned by Google. The trust shared the data in connection with the test phase of Streams, an app designed to diagnose acute kidney injuries. However, the sharing reportedly was performed without an appropriate legal basis.
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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.
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It's the wave of the future -- I'm resigned to it.
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