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Artificial Intelligence vs. Echo's Eavesdropping and Google's Home Invasion
October 19, 2017
There's a lot of excitement about all the new artificial intelligence technology hitting the market -- like Amazon's Echo and Google's Home smart speakers, among many other products. However, there's also growing concern over how these devices may invade our privacy. Despite the companies' assurances to the contrary, some people worry that they could be listening to every word we utter.
WPA2 Flaw Could Blow WiFi Systems Wide Open
October 17, 2017
A security flaw in WPA2, the security protocol for most modern WiFi systems, could allow an attacker to steal sensitive data including emails, credit card numbers and passwords, Researchers at Belgian university KU Leuven reported Monday. Depending on the network configuration, the flaw also could allow an attacker to inject or manipulate information in the system.
Anticipating the Smart World of 2027: A Billion Cameras and AI, Oh My...
October 2, 2017
Nvidia went to China last week and made a series of interesting announcements having to do with smart cities and autonomous cars. IBM made an announcement on advancements in tying the Weather Channel to its Watson artificial intelligence engine, and improvements in targeted marketing. We also found out about Oculus' Fall in Love VR project which is kind of like the The Bachelor.
FTC Confirms Probe Into Equifax Data Breach
September 15, 2017
In a rare move, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Thursday confirmed that it has opened an investigation into the data breach at Equifax that compromised the sensitive personal information of 143 million U.S. consumers. The FTC announcement came less than a week after Equifax revealed that an unknown party had gained access to names, addresses, Social Security Numbers and other data belonging to nearly half the U.S. population.
How Many Ways Might iPhone X's Face ID Go Wrong?
September 14, 2017
When Apple unveiled its iPhone X on Tuesday, officials highlighted the device's advanced functionality, including what truly could be a game changing feature, its facial recognition technology. The new handset allows users to unlock it simply by looking at it. The 10th anniversary edition of Apple's flagship mobile device is the first Apple handset to utilize Face ID.
Credit Agency Equifax Cracked, 143 Million Consumers Exposed
September 8, 2017
Consumer credit reporting agency Equifax suffered a major criminal data breach that exposed personal information of as many as 143 million consumers in the U.S. between mid-May and July of this year. The attack exposed a range of sensitive personal data, including names, addresses, Social Security Numbers, dates of birth, and in some cases driver's license numbers, Equifax said.
Why We Should Care More About Who's Watching
September 7, 2017
George Orwell wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four in 1949. When the year 1984 rolled around, Rockwell's haunting song, Somebody's Watching Me, featuring Michael and Jermaine Jackson in the background, made its debut and went on to become a classic. Fast-forward to 2017. Today we are living the creepy life Orwell and Rockwell imagined, with technology increasingly intruding on our privacy.
Vivaldi CEO Claims Google Retaliated for Privacy Criticism
September 6, 2017
Vivaldi CEO Jon von Tetzchner, the brains behind both the new Vivaldi browser and the early Opera browser, has accused Google of retaliating against his company after he questioned its customer privacy practices. Vivaldi's Google Adwords campaigns mysteriously were suspended just two days after von Tetzchner's criticisms of Google's handling of customer data were published this spring, he said.
Cyberthieves Train Their Sights on US Mobile Phone Customers
August 29, 2017
A relatively new form of cybercrime recently has been plaguing American consumers. Thieves have been hijacking mobile phone account numbers and then transferring services to a different device. Further, hackers have begun using mobile numbers to raid digital wallets and similar accounts. This type of theft has been successful even against the most sophisticated of consumers.
Google Connects Mobile Searchers to Depression Assessment Tool
August 25, 2017
The National Alliance on Mental Illness on Wednesday announced that Google on mobile now provides people who search for the term "clinical depression" with a direct link to the PHQ-9 questionnaire used by medical professionals in the United States to evaluate patients for the disorder. People can conduct a self-assessment by filling in the questionnaire online.
The Smart Home Appliance and You
August 22, 2017
The recent rumor that iRobot had engaged in talks with Apple, Amazon and Google parent Alphabet to sell the data its Roomba vacuum cleaner gathers caused widespread privacy concerns. Roomba maps homes -- the spatial dimensions of rooms and distances between furniture and other objects -- and the data it collects would be valuable to any of the major players battling to control the smart home.
Comcast, Google Can Publish Users' Email Contents
August 2, 2017
Comcast's Terms of Service for its Xfinity Internet service gives it, its agents, suppliers and affiliates the right to "reproduce, publish, distribute and display" the content worldwide. It also lets third parties copy, republish or distribute material posted or transmitted using Xfinity Internet. This would include confidential information sent by a company employee or an independent contractor.
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.
Open Source Flaw 'Devil's Ivy' Puts Millions of IoT Devices at Risk
July 21, 2017
Millions of IoT devices are vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks due to a vulnerability initially discovered in remote security cameras. Senrio found the flaw in a security camera developed by Axis Communications, one of the world's biggest manufacturers of the devices. The Model 3004 security camera is used for security at the Los Angeles International Airport, according to Senrio.
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.
Vendor Exposes Millions of Verizon Customers on Amazon Cloud
July 17, 2017
Verizon, the largest wireless carrier in the U.S., has confirmed that data belonging to about six million of its wireless customers was exposed after the information mistakenly was allowed to remain unprotected on an Amazon cloud server. The disclosure follows reports that an engineer at Nice Systems allowed the data of 14 million Verizon customers to reside on an Amazon Web Services S3 bucket.
Amazon's Echo Show: The Future Is Here
July 13, 2017
Amazon recently launched its Echo Show, which brings a visual screen to its smart speaker device. I wonder whether we're ready to start living in what seems like a futuristic Star Trek world. The Echo Show experience is sort of like having a laptop sitting on your table -- one that uses AI, allows you to speak to it, speaks back to you, and shows you relevant things on its screen.
Google Gives Up Scanning Personal Gmail
June 30, 2017
Google recently announced the end of its policy of scanning user emails for targeted advertising purposes -- a controversial practice that riled privacy advocates and spurred legal challenges. Gmail is the world's most widely used email provider, with more than 1.2 billion users. Google attributed its decision to gains it has made in the enterprise.
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.
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.
BitKey Unlocks Mysteries of the Bitcoin Universe
June 1, 2017
BitKey is a Debian-based live distribution with specialist utilities for performing highly secure air-gapped bitcoin transactions. This distro is not for everyday computing needs, but if you are obsessed with the use of bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, it might be just what you need. I am a high-tech sort of guy with a keen interest in diving through Linux distros both simple and complex.
Leaked Docs Spotlight Complexity of Moderating Facebook Content
May 23, 2017
The public got a rare view into how Facebook tries to keep offensive and dangerous content offline in a report published Sunday. Leaked confidential documents exposed the secret rules by which Facebook polices postings on issues such as violence, hate speech, terrorism, pornography, racism and self-harm, as well as such subjects as sports fixing and cannibalism.
Intertwining Artificial Intelligence With Blockchain
May 18, 2017
Except for those folks living under rocks, everyone knows about or at least has heard of bitcoin. However, not everyone understands the technology of bitcoin, which extends well beyond Internet-based currency. For the rock people, bitcoin is an Internet-based currency that allows for transparency with respect to each transfer of the currency through the use of a distributed database.
Microsoft's Timely Response to Shadow Brokers Threat Raises Questions
April 18, 2017
Just as the Shadow Brokers hacker group started crowing about a dump of never-seen-before flaws in Windows, Microsoft announced it already had fixed most of the exploits. "Today, Microsoft triaged a large release of exploits made publicly available by Shadow Brokers," said Microsoft Principal Security Group Manager Phillip Misner. "Most of the exploits are already patched."
House Votes to Kill Privacy Rules Binding ISPs
March 30, 2017
The House of Representatives has approved the Congressional Review Act, undoing privacy restrictions imposed on ISPs during the Obama administration. The Senate passed the CRA last week in a 50-48 vote along party lines. The White House has expressed support for the CRA. "This is one time I believe the White House," remarked John Simpson, privacy project director at Consumer Watchdog.
Why Are Health Records So Valuable to Cybercriminals?
March 29, 2017
Protecting the data in electronic health records did not start with the advent of HIPAA, as many people think. Protecting health records has been a critical requirement in the healthcare space since the computers became a fixture in hospitals. However, HIPAA added public reports of fines issued for covered entities' failure to properly protect data contained within EHRs.
Consumer Advocates Bemoan Senate Vote to Lift ISP Privacy Restrictions
March 25, 2017
Privacy advocates and consumer groups are fighting back against the U.S. Senate's Thursday vote to undo privacy restrictions on Internet service providers. In a 50-48 party line vote, the Senate approved the Congressional Review Act, S.J. Res. 34. If the House of Representatives gives it the green light, it then will go to the president to be signed into law.
Group Demands Apple Pay Ransom for iCloud Credentials
March 24, 2017
Apple has received a ransom threat from a hacking group claiming to have access to data for up to 800 million iCloud accounts. The hackers, said to be a group called the "Turkish Crime Family," have threatened to reset passwords and remotely wipe the iPhones of millions of iCloud users if Apple fails to hand over a total of $700,000. They have given the company an ultimatum to respond by April 7.
Facebook Gets Tough on Spy Apps
March 15, 2017
Facebook has updated its Facebook and Instagram policies to prohibit developers from using data obtained from those platforms in surveillance tools, according to Rob Sherman, deputy chief privacy officer. Facebook already has taken enforcement actions against devs who created and marketed surveillance tools in violation of the company's previous policy, he noted.
Donald Trump Should Channel Steve Jobs on Security
March 13, 2017
We saw yet another government breach last week, and more secrets went out to WikiLeaks. I'm of a mixed mind on this one, because the CIA tools disclosed likely were emulated by others, and WikiLeaks is helping consumer technology companies ensure they no longer work. I don't know about you, but I really don't want any organization spying on me -- not even my own government.
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