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Court Lifts NSL-Imposed Gag Order on Warrantless FBI Probing
December 1, 2015
Calyx founder Nicholas Merrill -- who made history in 2004 when he sued to lift a nondisclosure order imposed by an FBI National Security Letter -- has won his 11-year battle. The ruling, handed down this summer by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, was stayed for 90 days to give the government time to file an appeal. It became public when the stay expired on Monday.
Massive Hack Attack on Educational Toy Company Exposes Parents, Kids
November 30, 2015
Officials of several U.S. states on Monday have opened investigations into a massive data breach that occurred last month at VTech. The award-winning Hong Kong-based maker of electronic learning toys for kids on Friday announced that its Learning Lodge database was breached in a hack attack on Nov. 14. Learning Lodge offers apps, learning games, e-books, and other educational content.
BlackBerry to Pull Out of Pakistan on Privacy Grounds
November 30, 2015
BlackBerry on Monday announced that it will cease operations in Pakistan at the end of the year. The move is the result of a shutdown order from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, which in July notified the company that its BlackBerry Enterprise Service servers would no longer be allowed to operate in the country beginning in December for what it said were security concerns.
How Technology Could Prevent Another Paris-Like Attack
November 30, 2015
What I find fascinating is that with all of the focus members of the intelligence community place on violating our privacy, they still aren't able to stop attacks like the one in Paris. Currently they are complaining that it is our fault for implementing encryption that blocks their often-illegal views into citizens' personal lives. I think that even if encryption didn't exist, they still would be ineffective.
Security Certificate Issues Plague Dell
November 28, 2015
Dell earlier this week announced that it was notified of a security flaw linked to a certificate that it installed on computer systems starting on Aug. 18. The eDellroot certificate was installed by Dell Foundation Services application as a means to help users more easily perform maintenance and service tasks on their computers. The certificate is not malware or adware, according to Dell.
Austrian High Court to Rule on Class Action Status in Facebook Privacy Case
November 27, 2015
The Austrian Supreme Court will consider whether a suit against Facebook Ireland can proceed as a class action. Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems brought the suit to challenge the transfer of private data to Facebook's European subsidiary in Ireland. The Vienna Court of Appeals previously had ruled that the suit could be filed locally, as Schrems' claim fell under local privacy laws there.
Walmart to Jump the Gun on Cyber Monday
November 24, 2015
Walmart on Monday announced it will release all 2,000 Cyber Monday deals at 8 p.m. EST Sunday. That and other retailer moves are making it look as if Cyber Monday might be a nonevent this holiday season: Amazon is running an eight-day Black Friday sale that will take it through Cyber Monday, leading Walmart to launch a price-matching event to compete.
New Tech Targets Enterprise Ransomware
November 23, 2015
SentinelOne last week introduced an addition to its behavioral solution designed to address the problem of ransomware scrambling files on a computer. Ransomware has been a scourge not only for consumers, but for the enterprise, too. The malicious software can be particularly nettlesome for enterprises because they have to protect many endpoints -- phones, tablets, laptops, desktops and servers.
Gadget Ogling: A Dumb Watch Dock, a Smart VR Phone Case, and a Fantastic Fireball Thrower
November 21, 2015
No longer leaving it up to third-party companies to create charging docks for its Apple Watch, Apple has released its own official dock. It allows Watch owners to rest the smartwatch in nightstand mode -- a feature introduced in the latest version of the operating system that essentially turns the Watch into a bedside clock -- without tangling it up with the standard magnetic charger.
Telegram Shutters 78 ISIS Channels
November 20, 2015
The team behind the Telegram secure messaging app on Wednesday reported that it had shut down 78 channels, across 12 languages, used by ISIS and its supporters. However, the app's privately used channels weren't affected by the sweep. After the attacks on Paris last weekend, the Telegram team learned that the terrorist group had been communicating openly on its secure messaging platform.
Dojo Stands Cybersecurity Guard for Smart Homes
November 20, 2015
Dojo-Labs on Thursday introduced Dojo, a device that plugs into the router of a home network and acts as a watchdog to ensure that everything connected to the network is operating on its best behavior. The device brings some of the advanced technologies used to protect corporate networks to the home. It can prevent attacks and detect intrusions by observing how a device behaves on the network.
FBI, Carnegie Mellon Deny $1M Contract to Crack Tor
November 19, 2015
The FBI has denied allegations that it paid Carnegie Mellon University security researchers $1 million to crack a network designed to protect the anonymity of its users. The Tor Project, which operates the network, last week accused the FBI of cutting the CMU deal. The attack on Tor occurred from January to July 2014. The attackers discovered a way to strip the anonymity of Tor users.
Docker, Yubico Team Up to Secure App Development
November 19, 2015
Docker this week announced new security enhancements at DockerCon EU in Barcelona, Spain, including hardware signing of container images -- an industry first -- through a partnership with Yubico. Docker Content Trust offers hardware signing through support for Yubico's YubiKey. The YubiKey 4 lets Docker users digitally sign code during initial development and through subsequent updates.
Surveys Reveal Lax Mobile Security Among Federal Workers
November 18, 2015
The use of mobile devices provides significant benefits in convenience and workplace productivity. However, two recent reports indicate that U.S. government workers often ignore security protocols associated with mobile IT. The Office of Personnel Management hack revealed earlier this year drove an effort to address federal IT security. That effort largely has bypassed mobile device security.
Paris Attacks Deepen Encryption Debate
November 18, 2015
Encryption once again has come under fire in the wake of last week's terrorist attacks in Paris. Western intelligence agencies reportedly blamed the technology for enabling communications among the attackers, and some officials renewed their calls for technology companies to give them decryption keys. However, the terrorists may have communicated through private messages on the PlayStation 4.
FBI Paid Carnegie Mellon $1M to Crack User IDs, Claims Tor
November 17, 2015
The Tor Project last week claimed the FBI paid Carnegie Mellon University $1 million to crack the anonymity of Tor users. The claim appears to have been triggered by a report that said the FBI's arrest of an alleged member of Silk Road 2.0 was based on "information obtained by a 'university-based research institute' that operated its own computers on the anonymous network used by Silk Road 2.0."
Nadella: Microsoft to Be Stealth Operator for Cloud Security
November 17, 2015
CEO Satya Nadella on Monday made a bid to reintroduce Microsoft to professionals working in a brave new cyberworld of virtual, interconnected computing. Speaking at the Microsoft Government Cloud Forum in Washington, Nadella presented a broad new vision of a cloud- and mobile-first enterprise that promises to make personal and client security a central theme of its business.
Report: Botnets Help Bump Cyberattack Attempts by 20 Percent
November 17, 2015
ThreatMetrix last week reported that it had detected and prevented more than 90 million attempted cyberattacks in real time across industries from July to September. The attempted attacks covered fraudulent online payments, logins and new account registrations, and represented a 20 percent increase over the previous quarter, according to ThreatMetrix Cybercrime Report: Q3 2015.
Gmail to Warn Users of Unencrypted Email
November 16, 2015
Google last week announced that it is developing features for Gmail that will notify them when they get messages through a nonencrypted connection. Regions of the Internet are preventing message encryption by tampering with requests to initiate SSL connections, and malicious DNS servers are publishing fake routing information to email servers looking for Gmail, a study found.
Gadget Ogling: Comfy Earbuds, Barking Bots, and USB Killers
November 14, 2015
If you're a human being who listens to music using earbuds, chances are you've run into some issues along the way in keeping the infernal things nestled into your ear canal. Manufacturers have tried to find solutions, such as offering different-sized rubber molds, but we're still hewing to a few-sizes-fit-all model. Enter Revols, a company that might have the answer.
Apple Faces Twitter Storm Over Mac App Security Glitch
November 14, 2015
Apple faced the wrath of legions of Mac users after it reportedly allowed a security certificate to expire on Wednesday, leaving customers unable to use some apps. The expiration appeared to impact a number of apps, including Acorn, Byword, Daisy Disk, Tweetbot and 1Password. It's likely that the incident occurred due to problems with the security certificate management system.
Alibaba Crushes Global Online Shopping Day
November 13, 2015
Alibaba on Wednesday settled $14.3 billion worth of gross merchandise volume via Alipay, the company's online payment solution, during China's 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. That surpassed last year's $9.3 billion. Mobile GMV settlements accounted for about 70 percent of this year's sales. By 2 p.m. China time, more than 70 million mobile buyers had made purchases worth $7 billion.
Microsoft Hands Cloud Data Control to German Trustee
November 12, 2015
Microsoft announced it will offer its Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM cloud services to business clients using two Germany-based data centers hosted by a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. The arrangement will protect the integrity and privacy of customer data, the company said. The data centers will be under the control of T-Systems, a unit of Deutsche Telekom, which will act as data trustee.
Users Balk at Mobile App Permission Requests
November 12, 2015
The Pew Research Center on Tuesday released a report on permissions and mobile applications found in the Google Play store. The number of permissions requested by a mobile app can be a deal breaker for six out of 10 smartphone users, Pew found. Applications request permission from users to access a variety of functions on a smartphone -- accessing the Internet, for example, or using the camera.
Microsoft to Add Secure Islands to Its Cloud
November 11, 2015
Microsoft on Tuesday announced that it has agreed to purchase data security firm Secure Islands. It will pay between $78 million and $150 million, according to reports, but company spokesperson Joel Sider declined to disclose the terms of the acquisition, which requires regulatory approval. Secure Islands' products will be integrated into the Azure Rights Management Service.
Decryption Tool Foils Linux Server Ransomware Attacks
November 11, 2015
Bitdefender on Monday released a free decryption tool designed to wrest data from the grip of a rare type of ransomware that's been plaguing Linux servers. Details for performing the decryption are available on the company's website. Essentially, the solution takes advantage of a flaw in the ransomware, which Bitdefender discovered through reverse-engineering.
NIST Seeks Review of Email Safety Doc
November 11, 2015
Email systems have become so routine that consumers and workers often regard them as simply part of the furniture. However, the technology is more complex than most users appreciate -- and that complexity makes it vulnerable to cyberthreats. Increased use of email has resulted in a corresponding increase in criminal and nuisance threats, NIST said in a recent advisory on email security.
Deep Learning App Targets Malware
November 10, 2015
Here's the problem with most programs aimed at killing malicious software: They need someone to tell them something's malicious. What if, however, the programs had the smarts to identify bad code on their own? That's what a company called Deep Instinct says its security solution, launched last week, can do. The offering works its magic with a technology called "deep learning."
NSA Keeps Some Security Bugs Under Its Hat
November 10, 2015
The U.S. National Security Agency is getting a collective side-eye after posting what it characterized as proactive information: the fact that it discloses 91 percent of security vulnerabilities that pass through its internal review process. While the agency appears pleased with its newfound transparency, it's being called out en masse for the things it's not reporting.
BlackBerry's Priv Puzzles the Tech World
November 9, 2015
BlackBerry on Friday released its Priv smartphone, its first Android-based device. The Android 5.1.1 Lollipop slider is driven by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor and an Adreno 418 GPU. It's stocked with 3 GB of low-power RAM and 32 GB of storage. There's an 18-MP shooter on its backside and a 2-MP chat cam on its face.
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I plan to do my holiday shopping…
Online only -- I like the convenience and comfort.
Online only -- I'd shop in stores if their stock weren't so limited.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I like to see what I'm getting.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I enjoy the holiday shopping atmosphere.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I want to support local merchants.
Online and in stores -- I want the best of both worlds.
I'm not planning on doing any holiday shopping.