343 Jan 06, 2014 Latest NSA Revelations

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This week’s headline story: Latest NSA Revelations

edward_snowdenMore documents leaked by Edward Snowden describe a $79.7 million NSA research program titled “Penetrating Hard Targets.” A good portion of that money is going towards developing a quantum computer capable of breaking nearly every kind of encryption used to protect banking, medical, business and government records around the world.

A German magazine has exposed a secret division of the NSA known as Tailored Access Operations, or TAO – an elite team of hackers specializing in stealing data from the toughest of targets. The report, based on NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden, describes how TAO operatives intercept computer deliveries to install spyware, hack computers by exploiting hardware vulnerabilities, and even monitor Microsoft’s internal reporting system to spy on their targets.

Meanwhile a federal judge has upheld the NSA’s practice of collecting telephone data stating that it does not violate the Constitution. U.S. District Court Judge William H. Pauley justified the collection of “metadata” as a necessary response to terrorism.

and elsewhere in Tech News.

  • Listen to Pandora, and It Listens Back [NYTimes]

    The popular music streaming service Pandora is beginning to target its advertising based on a listener’s taste in music. The company is mining each listener’s song choices to determine what products that listener is likely to be interested in buying. “It’s becoming quite apparent to us that the world of playing the perfect music to people and the world of playing perfect advertising to them are strikingly similar,” says Eric Bieschke, Pandora’s chief scientist.

  • Your next job, next year, may be self-employment [Computerworld]

    If you work or plan to work in the tech industry it is getting more likely that you will be working from home. The independent IT workforce is growing at the rate of about 7% per year. About 18% of all IT workers today are self-employed.

and in Information Security news this week..

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and in Tech Industry news…

  • In-Car Infotainment: The Next Google-Apple Battleground [NewsFactor]

    Some analysts believe that the next battle ground for the tech industry will be the automobile. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Google and Audi AG are planning to announce a joint effort to develop in-car entertainment and information systems that are based on the Android operating system. Apple and Microsoft are involved in similar efforts and have a head start.

  • Google Chromebooks Gain in U.S. B2B Market [NewsFactor]

    Google Chromebooks have gained a significant share of the notebook market, especially in the business market. 9.6 percent of businesses today are choosing Chromebooks for their employees. This is up from just 0.2 percent a year ago.

and finally…

  • Could Class Action Suit Ruin Facebook? [NewsFactor]

    Two Facebook users have filed suit against Facebook claiming that their private messages are being read. “Contrary to its representation, ‘private’ Facebook messages are systematically intercepted by the company in an effort to learn the contents of the users’ communications,” according to the suit, which was filed in California district court. The two are seeking a class action suit that would fetch as much as $10,000 for everyone of the estimated 166 million Facebook users who have sent or received private messages in the past two years.

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