Security

Joseph Menn

Both the hacking supergroup calling itself Lulz Security and researchers fighting against it have borrowed tactics from WikiLeaks in recent days, dumping sensitive information onto the internet for others to comb through. Read more

The news was dominated on Wednesday by reports of the arrest of a suspected British teenage computer hacker, in connection with a range of security breaches including attacks on the website of the CIA and the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency, writes John Reid, a former British cabinet minister and co-author of ‘Cyber Doctrine’ published later this month. We can expect many more such events as our security agencies struggle to address the challenges of cyberspace.

Continue reading “Our salt risks draining into cyberspace”

Tech news from around the web:

Google has announced  its new solar energy fund for SolarCity, a residential solar power provider, ZDNet reports. Google’s $280 million dollar investment in the fund is the company’s largest in clean energy to date, the company said in a blog post.  Read more

A couple of months ago, the computer systems of Nonghyup, a large South Korean bank, crashed spectacularly, leaving thousands of customers stranded for several days. It never made headline news in the west. But perhaps it should.

The South Korean military believe the source of the crash was a carefully planned attack by North Korea, which used an infected laptop to infiltrate the banking system, to sow consumer panic. And while Pyongyang has denied the charges, the episode is thought-provoking for investors, particularly given this week’s excitement about the computing “cloud”Read more

Chris Nuttall

On the eve of the E3 video game trade show, Nintendo has admitted that its network is also vulnerable to hackers playing games. Sony has yet to restore fully the PlayStation Network after it was crippled by hackers in April, but the cyber break-in at one of Nintendo’s US web servers seems much less serious. Read more

From Twitter accounts and national news sites to Google’s email service, several widely used sites were reported to have been compromised this week in a spree of online cybersecurity breaches.

Update: On Monday, Congressman Anthony Weiner held a press conference at which he admitted that he sent a lewd photograph on Twitter and had lied about being hacked.

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Maija Palmer

EastWest Institute Second Worldwide Cybersecurity SummitIt was appropriate that the day that Google was unveiling details of a new Gmail hacking attack, an august group of politicians and business leaders gathered in London, at a security summit organised by the EastWest Institute,  to tell each other that, well, cyber security is a big problem. Read more

Joseph Menn

There has been an increasing amount of talk from high places, including the White House, about the urgent need for international  cooperation on cybersecurity. But a proposal to be released tomorrow calling for specific US-China steps shows, more than anything, how far we have to go. Read more

Many challenged my grim assessment early last year, when I called for America to develop a new strategy to address the kinds of cyberattacks that could cripple our nation’s infrastructure, writes Mike McConnell, director of the National Security Agency in the Clinton administration.

If there were a cyberwar, I told Congress, we would lose. The unfortunate truth is that, a year later, we are no better prepared – and the stakes have risen. Read more

Joseph Menn

Multiple members of the US Congress fired off letters to Apple this week about reports that iPhones not only store data about their owners whereabouts but leave unencrypted copies of the information on users’ main computers. Read more

Chris Nuttall

This seems to be the week of the big media guys beating up the little guys and the little guys fighting back. On Monday, the Motion Picture Association of America sued the new DVD streaming service Zediva. On Tuesday, Sony said its PlayStation Network had suffered outages as a result of attacks by the Anonymous group of hackers. On Wednesday, Google said it had removed an app for the Grooveshark music streaming service from the Android Market. Read more

Joseph Menn

Apple’s iPhone is more vulnerable to phishing attacks than users might realise because it can obscure the true addresses of the websites that phone owners are visiting. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

  • Google has announced a new extension to its Chrome web browser that will allow users to block ‘content farms’ – sites with little or low-quality content – from their web searches.  The extension also sends information on the blocked site back to Google, which will then use the feedback in its search rankings.

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Joseph Menn

In the year since Google revealed that some of its prize intellectual property had been stolen by hackers it associated with the Chinese government, the private sector and the FBI have increased their efforts on cybersecurity. But it isn’t nearly enough, according to outside experts including an influential panel of advisors. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

  • Microsoft says it is still considering whether to offer Office on Apple’s App store for its Mac computers, says AllThingsDigital.
  • Mashable reports that the Motion Picture Association of America, working with Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN, has cracked down on the file-sharing of pirated films and TV programmes by shutting down 12 “torrent” websites in the US and at least 39 sites abroad by filing copyright violation complaints with the sites’ hosting providers. 

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Under pressure from regulators, two more browsers are taking steps to help users avoid having their internet activity tracked–if the websites they visit cooperate. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

  • Twitter is set to more than triple its advertising revenue to $150m this year as more companies use it to spread marketing messages, according to Bloomberg, with ad sales set to hit $250m by 2012.
  • In a move that could let its users avoid having their online actions monitored, Mozilla Corp is planning to add a “do-not-track” feature to its Firefox browser, the Wall Street Journal reports. The announcement would make Firefox the first Web browser to heed the Federal Trade Commission’s call for the development of a do-not-track system.

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Joseph Menn

Normally in the business of making others embarrassed, Nick Denton’s Gawker Media empire had some awkward explaining to do itself on Monday after hackers breached the database containing hundreds of thousands of usernames and passwords that people used to comment on the sites in the network.

Gawker executives, who had initially denied the breach, were forced to reverse course and apologise after the hackers posted a large batch of the passwords online. The intruders also took Gawker’s own source code and perused internal chats and employee e-mails, which in turn provided log-in credentials for Google Apps, taking a similar trajectory to the 2009 electronic break-in at Twitter that unearthed sensitive financial information. Read more

Facebook and Twitter have removed accounts run by computer hackers who have made revenge attacks against services perceived to have abandoned WikiLeaks in recent days.

The online campaign, known as Operation Payback, has been using the social networking sites, as well as other chat rooms, to co-ordinate its computer assaults.

Joseph Menn

The version of Google’s Android operating system for smartphones due out in a few weeks can be used with specialised chips to authenticate the precise location of the mobile devices, paving the way for secure payments at physical stores, Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said Monday.

Because the Near-Field Communication chips can store and exchange precise data about the phones, well beyond ordinary GPS, their adoption will allow phone owners to tap their gadgets against a physical surface to confirm their presence and identity, Mr Schmidt said. Read more