Sept 1 – 7

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This week’s headline story: More from Edward Snowden

edward_snowdenFrom his hideout in Russia, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has released more top secret government documents to the Washington Post. The latest leaked documents reveal that the U.S. intelligence community utilizes one fifth of its $52.6 billion annual budget to fund cryptography-related programs and operations. These programs make it possible for the NSA to decrypt just about any information flowing over the Internet including business and bank transactions, email and other communications.

The leaked documents also reveal that the U.S. intelligence services carried out 231 offensive cyber-operations in 2011 in what was the leading edge of a clandestine campaign to embrace the Internet as a theater of spying, sabotage and war. Under one extensive cyber-effort code-named GENIE, U.S. computer specialists broke into foreign networks and placed them under surreptitious U.S. control. The report indicates that China was among the top targets of cyber operations carried out by U.S. intelligence services.

and elsewhere in Tech News.

and in Information Security news this week…

  • Father of the Internet and chief Internet evangelist for Google, Vint Cerf, says that the Internet needs a “cyber fire department” to tackle online issues that arise so that risks found on websites or services do not spread. Cerf argues that like a fire brigade a response force would help protect those without the means to defend themselves.Internet needs ‘cyber fire department’ to protect web users, claims Vint Cerf [v3]
  • Researchers at the International Computer Science Institute and UC Berkeley want teens to understand how much private information can be gleaned from their social media updates. Specifically, they hope teens will learn that the metadata accompanying a casual tweet or photo on Instagram can be used to “cybercase” a person’s home, a technique commonly employed by robbers to discover the best time to break into a home. Backed by a $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, the researchers have built a privacy app called Ready or Not that shows a heat map of 30 days’ worth of geographic coordinates taken from a user’s Twitter or Instagram account. The group has also posted a website that teaches ten principles of social media privacy at teachingprivacy.icsi.berkeley.edu.

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Microsoft is purchasing handset maker Nokia for $7.2 billion. The purchase highlights the struggle that the Finnish handset maker has experienced since its switch to developing Microsoft Windows smartphones. The purchase provides Microsoft with Nokia’s thick portfolio of patents, and tighter integration between software and hardware. Microsoft stock fell 4.6 percent after the news, but Nokia’s stock increased by 47%. In related news, Verizon announced it would pay Vodafone $130 billion for the 45 percent of Verizon Wireless that it didn’t already own. That makes Verizon Wireless roughly 40 times more valuable than Nokia.Microsoft Takeover of Nokia Fans Fears in Finland [NewsFactor]

    The Numbers in the Microsoft-Nokia Deal Are Telling [MIT Technology Review]

  • A company named Oyster is using the Netflix subscription model for ebooks. For $9.95 a month, the Oyster mobile app provides unlimited access to over 100,000 ebooks. The new service is currently only available for iPhone via invite.Oyster Takes a Crack at E-Book Subscriptions [Ecommerce Times]
  • Apple is holding a press event this Tuesday to announce the iPhone 5S. Invitations for the event featured colorful polkadots hinting at a wide range of colors for the new iPhone.Colorful Invites to Apple Press Event Mean… [NewsFactor]

and finally…

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