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Concerns Emerge About Samsung Smart TVs 'Bugging' Owners
February 09, 2015
The feature in question may transmit some voice commands, along with information about the device, to a third-party service that converts speech to text, Samsung's global privacy policy warns. If voice recognition is going to be on all the time, "that seems like really poor design, and certainly represents a privacy risk," said Justin Brookman, director of the consumer privacy project at the Center for Democracy & Technology.
Anthem Mega-Breach Jeopardizes 80 Million Consumers
February 05, 2015
Hackers broke into the databases of Anthem Inc., the second-largest health insurer in the U.S., and stole up to 80 million customers' personal information. The data includes current and former customers' names, birthdays, medical IDs, social security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information, Anthem president and CEO Joseph Swedish wrote in a note sent to customers.
FTC Argues Against IoT Law, For Now
February 05, 2015
The global "installed and connected base" of IoT units will reach approximately 30 billion in 2020, noted IDC in a November 2014 report. Yet now is not the time to enact privacy or security laws aimed directly at the impact of the IoT, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission says. The FTC argues that such specific legislation could stymie the development of IoT technology.
IoT Risky Business for Enterprise Networks
February 05, 2015
There were 9 billion Internet of Things units installed at the end of 2013 -- and analysts expect the figure to hit 28 billion by 2020. That's going to make life difficult for IT security admins. A Tripwire survey found that employed consumers who took work home had an average of 11 IoT devices on their home networks, and 24 percent of them had connected at least one of these devices to their enterprise network.
Infected Android Apps From Google Play Affect Millions
February 04, 2015
The malware harbors fake ads that pop up when users unlock their devices, to warn them about nonexistent infections, or that their devices are out of date or have porn. Victims are then asked to take action. If they agree, they are redirected to poisoned Web pages that contain a variety of hazards. Google spokesperson Elizabeth Markman did not confirm how many devices had been hit.
Is the FTC Jumping the Gun on IoT Security?
February 03, 2015
For months, the security community has been waving a red flag about how the nascent Internet of Things could become a cyber criminal's paradise. Last week, those admonitions were given some credence when the Federal Trade Commission recommended that the makers of IoT gadgets adopt some "best practices" to protect consumers from potential violations of their privacy and security.
Google Expands Bug Bounty Program
February 02, 2015
Since 2010, when it began paying security researchers to find flaws in its programs, Google has paid more than US$4 million to bug hunters. Now it's prepared to pay even more. The company announced Friday that it's expanding its Security Rewards Programs to include payments to researchers before they find bugs in Google's software. It's also broadening the reach of its Vulnerability Reward Program.
AWS Success Underscores Demand for Cloud Services
February 02, 2015
Despite several highly publicized cloud hacks last year -- including the iCloud and Sony breaches -- the demand for cloud services is skyrocketing. Amazon Web Services grabbed 30 percent of the global cloud infrastructure service market in Q4, Synergy Research reports. AWS grew 51 percent year over year (YoY). Why the mad rush to the cloud? Isn't security an issue any more? And who's buying into the cloud?
China May Write New Rules for US Businesses Selling Tech to Banks
February 02, 2015
A group of organizations representing American businesses last week requested urgent discussion and dialog with China's government. They expressed concern about the possible adoption of a policy to ensure that any Internet and information communications technology products Chinese banks purchase from companies outside of China are secure and controllable.
A Little Dab of Credit Card Data Can ID Customers
February 02, 2015
Credit card users may be dismayed by findings MIT Researchers reported last week in the journal Science: Just four pieces of vague non-identifying information were enough to identify 90 percent of people in a data set of 1.1 million credit card users. When the researchers went to work with three pieces of less vague information, they achieved 94 percent success.
Amazon WorkMail Lifts Back-End Email Burden From IT's Shoulders
January 30, 2015
Amazon is making a play for the enterprise email market. Offered by Amazon Web Services, WorkMail targets companies that want to move their on-premises email services to the cloud. WorkMail reduces complexity and cost. With all mail infrastructure relocated to Amazon's cloud, a company no longer need be concerned with buying hardware, installing patches, and installing mail backup systems.
Google Gives WebView the Cold Shoulder
January 30, 2015
Google has decided not to fix vulnerabilities in WebView for Android 4.3 and older, sparking heated discussions among developers. Those versions of WebView run on the WebKit browser. Fixing them "required changes to significant portions of the code and was no longer practical to do so safely," explained Adrian Ludwig, lead engineer for Android security.
Canada Levitates Data from File-Sharing Sites
January 29, 2015
Canada's spy agency, the Communications Security Establishment, has been eavesdropping on 102 free file upload sites, including Sendspace, Rapidshare and Megaupload, which has been shut down. A CSE program called "Levitation" lets analysts access information on 10-15 million uploads and downloads of files from such sites daily, according to documents released by whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
There's a GHOST in Linux's Library
January 28, 2015
Patches for GHOST, a critical vulnerability in glibc, the Linux GNU C Library, now are available through vendor communities for a variety of Linux server and desktop distributions. Qualys earlier this week reported its discovery of GHOST, a vulnerability that allows attackers to remotely take control of an entire system without having any prior knowledge of system credentials.
POS Terminals Rich Vein for Gold-Digging Hackers
January 28, 2015
Hackers are like gold miners. Once they find a rich vein for their malware, they mine it until it's dry. Point-of-sale terminals are such a vein, and it doesn't appear that it's one that's about to run dry any time soon. Following the success of the Target breach in 2013, the hacker underground was quick to rush more POS malware to market.
Businesses Seek Liability Protection for Cybersecurity Disclosures
January 28, 2015
"No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families," President Barack Obama told the U.S. Congress during the State of the Union Address last week. However, hunting down the perpetrators of cyberattacks that compromise national security or disrupt commerce is only going to get more difficult in the future.
Wikileaks Steamed Over Google's Lengthy Silence on FBI Snooping
January 27, 2015
Google may have contributed to violating the First Amendment rights of three journalists working for WikiLeaks two and a half years ago, when it turned over to the FBI all their email, subscriber information and metadata. Google informed the journalists about its actions last month, saying that it had been unable to do so earlier due to a gag order.
Coinbase Bitcoin Exchange Off to a Rocky Start
January 26, 2015
Coinbase on Monday launched Coinbase Exchange, the first regulated bitcoin exchange in the U.S. It got the jump on the upcoming Gemini exchange currently being established by Cameron and Tyler Winkelvoss. The firm debuted in 24 U.S. states, but the launch was bedeviled with problems. Some pages reportedly failed to load completely, and some users had problems with access.
Google to Add Mobile Carrier Hat to Its Collection
January 23, 2015
Google reportedly is planning to set up shop as an MVNO, purchasing bandwidth from Sprint and T-Mobile in order to offer its own wireless service. Details are sparse, but Sprint is said to be putting a volume trigger into its contract that would allow for renegotiation if Google's customer volume should exceed a predefined number. The project, led by Nick Fox reportedly bears the code-name "Nova."
White House Jump-Starts Cybersecurity Protection Programs
January 23, 2015
As members of the U.S. Congress started to prepare for the upcoming legislative session, President Obama lost little time in putting cybersecurity near the top of a to-do list for lawmakers. During a visit to the federal National Cybersecurity Communications Integration Center, Obama called for additional legislation to improve information technology protection.
Report: Dumb Password Use on the Decline
January 21, 2015
Millions of Net surfers use obvious passwords to log on to websites, but their numbers appear to be declining. SplashData on Tuesday published its annual list of the top 25 most common -- thus worst -- passwords leaked online. In the top spot was "123456," followed by "password" and "12345." Both "123456" and "password" claimed the top spots in 2013, too.
Businesses Waste Big Bucks Fighting Phantom Cyberattacks
January 21, 2015
Businesses spend an average of $1.27 million a year chasing cyberthreats that turn out to be dead ends. That is one of the findings in a report released last week on the cost of containing malware. In a typical week, an organization can receive nearly 17,000 malware alerts, although only 19 percent of them are considered reliable, the researchers found.
Keeping Score in the Google vs. Microsoft Zero-Day Games
January 20, 2015
Google's recent publication of Windows' vulnerabilities -- two within a week -- predictably raised Microsoft's ire. "Risk is significantly increased by publically announcing information that a cybercriminal could use to orchestrate an attack and assumes those that would take action are made aware of the issue," wrote Chris Betz, Microsoft's senior director of trustworthy computing.
IBM's z13 Emerges From Mainframe Fountain of Youth
January 19, 2015
IBM launched its newest mainframe, the z13, last week in New York City. Built for the mobile economy, the z13 can process 2.5 billion transactions daily. It enables real-time encryption on all mobile transactions at scale, and it includes embedded analytics that provide real-time transactions faster and cheaper than the competition, the company said.

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