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Samsung Jams Up Windows Security Updates
June 25, 2015
Samsung has been disabling Windows updates by means of an executable file, Disable_Winduwsupdate.exe, that is part of its SW Update software. The issue came to light on Tuesday, when Microsoft MVP Patrick Barker published a blog post about his discovery when helping a user who was having problems. It seemed that Windows Update kept getting disabled.
Will LastPass Breach Poison Trust in Password Managers?
June 25, 2015
A data breach is no picnic for any organization, but for a company that makes its potato salad by protecting other people's passwords, it's the mother of all nightmares. Yet, that has happened to LastPass twice. In 2011, the service found anomalies in its network traffic that forced it to reset all its users' master passwords. Recently, it came under attack again.
US, Brit Spooks Bedevil Security Software
June 24, 2015
The United States' National Security Agency and the UK's Government Communications Headquarters reportedly have been attacking antivirus and other security software since at least 2008. The aim is to infiltrate networks and track users. The agencies apparently have reverse-engineered security and antivirus software, sometimes under dubious legal authority.
Data Requests Put Amazon Between Rock, Hard Place
June 23, 2015
Amazon's recently released first report on government requests for information revealed that from January to May, it received 813 subpoenas and 25 search warrants. The company fully responded and provided all the requested information sought for 542 of the subpoenas. It provided only some of the requested information for 126 of the cases, and it did not respond to 145 requests.
AT&T, Verizon and WhatsApp Flunk Privacy
June 22, 2015
An Electronic Frontier Foundation survey published last week gave AT&T, Verizon and WhatsApp the thumbs down when it comes to protecting user privacy. Google and Twitter also got a black eye. The five were among 24 companies the EFF evaluated on criteria worked out over the past four years. WhatsApp, now owned by Facebook, also took criticism in the EFF's fifth annual report, "Who Has Your Back?"
Routers Becoming Juicy Targets for Hackers
June 18, 2015
Most consumers pay as much attention to routers as they do to doorknobs. That's not the case with Net marauders. They're finding the devices ripe targets for mischief. "We've seen a big increase in malware designed for home routers," said Incapsula researcher Ofer Gayer. "Every week, we see a new vulnerability in a vendor's routers," he said. "They're low-hanging fruit if you're a hacker."
Swiftkey Security Slipup Exposes Samsung Smartphones
June 17, 2015
At least 600 million Samsung smartphones are vulnerable to remote attacks because of the way the company implemented the SwiftKey keyboard, NowSecure researcher Ryan Welton warned Tuesday. A phone can be attacked if it's connected to a compromised or malicious WiFi network and the SwiftKey app is updating existing languages or adding a new language pack.
Senators Aim to Ground FBI's Warrantless Spy Planes
June 17, 2015
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., on Wednesday introduced legislation that would require federal government agents to get a warrant before snooping from the sky. "Americans' privacy rights shouldn't stop at the treetops," Wyden said. The issue came to a head following the revelation earlier this month that the FBI was engaged in warrantless aerial surveillance across the U.S.
San Jose to Dabble With Smart City Tech
June 16, 2015
The city of San Jose, California, recently decided to undertake an Internet of Things pilot project. Under a deal finalized last month, anyCOMM, will deploy WiFi sensors on 166 streetlights, to collect data on traffic, sense movement on the streets, turn off streetlights when sidewalks and roads are empty, detect ground shifts and send earthquake warnings, and act as WiFi hotspots.
Duqu 2.0 Makes Other Malware Look Clunky
June 12, 2015
Duqu 2.0 may have just snatched the title of "most sophisticated malware ever," according to Kaspersky Lab, which published a report on the new threat this week. Kaspersky discovered Duqu 2.0 after the malware penetrated its own internal networks. "The philosophy and way of thinking of the Duqu 2.0 group is a generation ahead of anything seen in the APT world," said Kaspersky's Kurt Baumgartner.
Patch Tuesday Sunset Will Be a Mixed Bag for Windows Security
June 11, 2015
Microsoft will phase out Patch Tuesday -- its monthly potpourri of software product fixes -- when it rolls out Windows 10, which could be a mixed bag for the operating system's security. Patches will be applied automatically as they're ready. That means users no longer will have to wait until the second Tuesday in the month to secure their systems from potentially troublesome vulnerabilities.
US Snooping Costs High-Tech Sector $35B and Counting
June 10, 2015
Other countries' concerns over U.S. government surveillance programs likely will cost American businesses more than $35 billion, according to a report released Tuesday by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. Originally it was thought that the fallout from Edward Snowden's revelations of U.S. mass surveillance programs would be limited to cloud service providers.
US CIO Orders Federal Websites to Get More Secure
June 10, 2015
U.S. federal CIO Tony Scott on Monday sent a memo to the heads of executive departments and agencies requiring that all publicly accessible federal websites and Web services use HTTPS -- "the strongest privacy and integrity protection currently available for public Web connections." Some federal websites currently use HTTPS, but there has not been a consistent policy across the federal government.
OPM Security Was a Data Breach Waiting to Happen
June 9, 2015
Things could get worse before they get better as the FBI, US-CERT and Office of Personnel Management investigate a data breach that may have compromised the personal information of some 4 million current and past federal employees. Additional exposures of personal identifying information could be discovered, officials have warned. The OPM made the breach public last week.
BitTorrent's Bleep Hides Messages From Prying Eyes
June 4, 2015
BitTorrent's Bleep, a secure peer-to-peer messaging service, last month reached the end of its third trimester in alpha testing, and an official version became available for iOS, Android, OS X and PC. The official release is the first to reach iOS. Bleep's Whisper feature enables ephemeral messaging, along with the service's cloudless, end-to-end encrypted calling function.
Google's Android Permissions Get Granular
June 4, 2015
Google appears to be heeding warnings of security experts who say Android users need better control over what apps do with information from their phones. At I/O, its worldwide shindig for developers held last week, the company announced that the next version of its mobile operating system, Android M, would take a more granular approach to permissions for data requested by apps.
Google Creates One-Stop Privacy and Security Shop
June 2, 2015
Google has rolled out "My Account," a hub that lets users manage their Google settings, along with a new site that answers questions about its privacy and security practices. In addition to letting users manage their password and account-access settings, My Account allows them to review their security settings and activity. My Account also lets users manage personal information about themselves.
Feds' Photobucket Strategy Could Hobble White Hats
June 2, 2015
There's a new twist in the way feds are seeking to penalize bad actors for making and distributing software used in crimes, suggest recent arrests by Justice Department and FBI officials. "There's a more concerted campaign to go after go after those folks who are distributing in the underground," said Tom Kellermann, chief cybersecurity officer at Trend Micro.
Senate Ready to Rumble Over Freedom Act Amendments
June 2, 2015
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted to close debate on the USA Freedom Act, a measure that would prohibit the NSA from the indiscriminate collection Americans' phone call data. The bill already has passed in the House. However, the brawling over the bill is not quite over. The Senate has yet to address several proposed amendments to the legislation before voting on it later on Tuesday.
The Painful Persistence of Ad Injections
June 1, 2015
Some of those annoying ads that pop up when you visit a site on the Web or do a search may be served up by, for want of a better word, "hijackers." They use binaries, extensions, or network ISPs to modify a page's content to insert or replace ads with or without the user's consent. It's called "ad injection," and the problem is extensive. The problem begins with software infecting users' browsers.
FBI to Dig Into IRS Data Breach Debacle
May 29, 2015
The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into a hack of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service that led to personal data being stolen from at least 100,000 taxpayers' accounts of the 200,000 that were hit. The hackers got the data by accessing the Get Transcript application, which lets taxpayers download data they filed with the service, the IRS announced Tuesday.
No Wrongdoing at NCIS, Says Defense Watchdog
May 28, 2015
The U.S. Department of Defense's Inspector General has rejected allegations that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service engaged in questionable domestic intelligence activity. The finding concluded a DoD IG probe spurred by allegations that NCIS was making available to military intelligence agencies its Law Enforcement Information Exchange, a database of 506.3 million law enforcement records.
Linux/Moose Malware Wreaks Havoc on Social Networks
May 27, 2015
Internet security researchers at Eset on Tuesday published a security research paper on Linux/Moose, a major threat to social networks that turns routers into conduits for grabbing users' log-in credentials, employing them for network fraud and to further spread malware to client devices that connect through them to the Internet. The paper, "Dissecting Linux/Moose," details a months-long investigation.
Hush! Everybody's Listening!
May 27, 2015
Americans have been spied on by their own government for far longer than most realized, it turns out, and the United States National Security Agency's surveillance activities are just the tip of the iceberg. The FBI, which repeatedly has expressed dismay at Google and Apple securing their mobile OSes reportedly has become a major player in administering the NSA's warrantless surveillance program.

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