Just weeks after internet security experts scrambled to patch up vulnerabilities exposed by the Heartbleed bug, a flaw has been found in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer software that is so serious the US department of homeland security is warning people and companies to avoid using the browser.
Should I be worried? Read more
Concerns about children’s privacy and security have prompted the closure of one education technology start-up backed by $100m from supporters including Bill Gates’ foundation. Read more
The Heartbleed bug, a flaw discovered on encryption software used on about two-thirds of all websites, was created unintentionally, the programmer responsible has said.
Robin Seggelmann, a German programmer, described the flaw as the consequence of a “trivial” error in an update to OpenSSL, the software widely used to enable secure connections, writes Jeevan Vasagar. Read more
A National Security Agency employee who co-chairs an influential cryptography standards group has survived an attempt to oust him following accusations that he promoted a flawed security protocol.
Kevin Igoe, a senior cryptographer at the NSA, is joint chair of the Crypto Forum Research Group. The CFRG plays an important role in online security because it provides guidance on cryptographic techniques to the Internet Engineering Task Force, a standard-setting body that helps shape the internet. Read more
Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, has thrown his weight behind a new campaign to encourage people across the world to fight back against online censorship and surveillance.
In a letter to the Financial Times on Thursday, Sir Tim wrote that “now is the time for citizens to mobilise to demand that governments and companies respect and protect our basic freedoms online”. Read more
Getting a new global online payment standard adopted is a tall order, but the involvement of the big three – Visa, Mastercard and American Express – in the latest effort must give it a fighting chance of success. Read more
You’re wearing Google Glass. A stranger walks past in a T-shirt emblazoned with a QR code. Suddenly, your world changes: images you didn’t expect start appearing on the tiny Glass screen above your eye. It quickly becomes clear that someone has taken complete control of your eyewear. Read more
As apps go, Ant Smasher sounds simple enough. The free game, which has been downloaded more than 50m times from the Google Play app store, allows mobile phone users to entertain themselves by squishing digital ants as they scurry down the screen. Splat, splat, splat.
But Ant Smasher has a dark side. It is one of a growing wave of apps that contains “adware” – aggressive advertising technology that displays ads in a phone’s notification bar and other places outside of the app itself, without consent. Read more
The inventor of the world wide web is not happy with the direction his creation is going.
For several years, Sir Tim Berners-Lee has been warning about incursions to the founding principles of the web, from the UK’s Digital Economy Act and SOPA to Facebook’s “walled gardens”.
This week’s reports about the PRISM system, through which the NSA extracts huge amounts of personal information from Google, Facebook, Apple and other internet companies, are “deeply concerning”, he says. Read more
In trying to reconcile the tech companies’ denials of involvement in the NSA’s PRISM programme and the agency’s presentation that suggests it has “direct access” to their servers, some have looked to private Silicon Valley company Palantir as a possible bridge between the two. Read more
Google’s Gmail is suffering disruption, with many corporate users reporting they are not receiving emails from the webmail service, which has more than 400m users worldwide.
While Google’s Apps Status Dashboard is reporting that Gmail is working normally, it indicates the related Postini Services are suffering from disruption. Read more
Strike one up for the humble firewall, veteran of network security software.
McAfee, the 25-year-old security software maker founded by John McAfee and bought by Intel in 2011, has made a conditional offer for Finland’s Stonesoft, which makes military-grade firewalls for securing networks. Read more
There seems to be a sea-change underway in the willingness of companies to admit when they have been the victims of cyber attacks. More have been coming forward, even when they appear to have no legal obligation. But the timing and nature of the disclosures differs greatly.
Take Microsoft’s apparent admission that it has succumbed to the same attack that has hit several other big tech companies. Compared even with Apple, traditionally the tech industry’s most secretive company, its disclosure was both late and light on detail. Read more
Google has agreed to pay a $22.5m fine to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived users about tracking “cookies”, which it used to serve them targetted ads in the Safari browser.
The penalty, the same as expected when we reported its likelihood a month ago, represents a record sum for the FTC but a piddling amount for the search giant. Read more