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End of Year Goodies
December 8, 2015
The end of the year brings out some interesting goodies from various workshops competing with Santa for big kids' attention. Some of it is pretty good stuff. Here's a sampling of the best end-of-year product announcements from the cloud community designed to put you in the post-holiday, already-back-at-work spirit. For starters, cloud sales compensation firm Xactly announced Xactly Inspire.
Hello Barbie, Can We Talk About Your Security Issues?
December 8, 2015
New security issues that surfaced last week in connection with Mattel's Hello Barbie doll, which talks back to kids, have heightened fears that hackers could use the toy to steal information about its owners and their families. The Hello Barbie app, which is available for iOS and Android, uses an authentication credential that can be reused by hackers, Bluebox disclosed.
VTech Hires Mandiant to Shore Up Security for Kids
December 4, 2015
VTech on Thursday revealed it has hired FireEye's Mandiant to help improve security after reaction from parents around the world over news that its servers were hacked. It also is cooperating with law enforcement agencies worldwide to investigate the incident and has temporarily shut down several websites, its Learning Lodge app store, and its Kids Connect service.
Forces That Will Reshape the IT Landscape in 2016
December 4, 2015
There may be no better way to capture the state of the technology industry than to borrow Charles Dickens' famous opening from A Tale of Two Cities: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." It never has been a better time to launch offerings via the cloud, but the availability of low-cost computing power and open source software have created unprecedented competitive challenges.
EFF Sues Google for Snooping on Students
December 3, 2015
The Electronic Frontier Foundation on Tuesday filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, alleging that Google has used personal student data mined from its school Chromebook distribution, and requesting an investigation and an injunction against the practice. The EFF also launched a campaign to educate parents and school administrators about the risks of student data collection.
'Tis the Season for Online Predators
December 3, 2015
While visions of holiday shoppers dance in retailers' heads, those visions are also on the minds of online marauders. Net predators are sticking to scams that have made them money throughout the year. "Over the last 12 months, we've seen a return to attachments with innocuous macros in them," said Kevin Epstein, vice president of advanced security and governance at Proofpoint.
More Things, More Cyberattacks
December 2, 2015
Not a day passes without mention of the Internet of Things in the media, as it appears to expand exponentially. Roughly 6.4 billion things will be connected to the Internet in 2016, at a rate of 5.5 million new things per day, according to Gartner. More than 20 billion devices will be in use by 2020. As a result, everyone must be more cognizant of cyber-risks.
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.
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What is your reaction to the rumored
4-inch iPhone?
I'm in -- I'd love to have a smaller iPhone.
I prefer a larger iPhone, but it's good to have more options.
I expect innovation from Apple -- seems it's running out of ideas.
I'm not interested in an iPhone of any size.