Security

Robert Cookson

What does Bitcoin have in common with 3D printing, besides both being technologies loved by geeks? On the face of it, not much: one is a digital currency and the other allows you to reproduce almost any small, solid object in the world.

But as lawmakers are starting to realise, there is a key similarity: both Bitcoin and 3D printing have the potential to reduce the power of the state and put it into the hands of individuals. 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 aren’t many markets where, when the old products have failed, customers flock back for more.

That could explain why the leading lights of computer security – who have converged on San Francisco this week for their industry’s biggest gathering – have been struggling to strike the right tone.

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Richard Waters

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

Tim Bradshaw

Apple and the FBI have both denied any involvement in the alleged hacking attack which AntiSec, an offshoot of Anonymous, disclosed on TuesdayRead more

Chris Nuttall

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

Twitter became the latest internet company to reveal attempts by governments to access user data and remove content, as the micro-blogging service followed in the footsteps of Google and released its first transparency report on Monday.

The report revealed that Twitter received government requests for user details from 1,181 accounts in the first half of 2012.  Twitter complied with just under two-thirds of all government requests for user data. Read more

At a cybersecurity conference in Tel Aviv yesterday, the Russian antivirus expert who discovered the Flame computer virus, a type of malicious software, appealed to the US and Israel to cease deploying cyberweapons. They “are a very bad idea”, he said. “My message is: stop doing this before it’s too late.” How right Eugen Kaspersky was.

Until now, cyberwarfare has been largely confined to Hollywood or to the prophecies of a few Cassandras warning darkly of a “digital Pearl Harbor” or “Cybergeddon”. But two closely linked events last week should give everyone cause for concern. An arms race in cyberspace is a distinct reality.

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Maija Palmer

As UK companies scramble to comply with new laws requiring them to disclose and get permission for all the cookies they use, a new study has found that more than two thirds of all the bits of tracker code on websites are from third parties. Which means they are essentially for delivering targeted advertising or analysing behaviour across the website.

It helps explain why compliance with the new cookie laws has been so slow and difficult for many companies. It is very likely they don’t want to broadcast to the world just how many different organisations are grabbing data about their customers.  Read more

Last month Mark Thompson, the BBC’s director-general, pointed the finger at the Iranian authorities for allegedly intimidating employees at its Persian service.

Now the corporation’s chief is taking things a step further by accusing Iran of masterminding a “sophisticated cyber-attack” that involved jamming satellite feeds in an effort to wreak havoc with broadcasts into the country. Read more