#408 April 6, 2015 – Whitehouse Serious About Cyber Retaliation!

This week’s headline story: Whitehouse Serious About Cyber Retaliation!

obamaPresident Obama has launched a sanctions program to target individuals and groups outside the United States that use cyber attacks to threaten U.S. foreign policy, national security or economic stability. In an executive order, Obama declared such activities a “national emergency” and allowed the U.S. Treasury Department to freeze assets and bar other financial transactions of entities engaged in destructive cyber attacks. This order brings to bear the economic might of the United States against people who are robbing us blind and putting us in danger,” said Joel Brenner, who headed U.S. counterintelligence during President George W. Bush’s second term.

Coincidentally, the same time as the President was announcing his tough new sanctions, GitHub, the largest public code repository in the world, was recovering from its largest cyberattack ever. The company fought off a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that interrupted service for four days. The source of the attack was from computers primarily in China, and the targets of the attack were GitHub pages that linked to copies of Web sites banned in China, including Greatfire.org that monitors online censorship in China, and one Chinese-language version of the New York Times.

The Chinese government has been accused of several major cyber attacks against the U.S. Will Obama’s sanction program be used against China? Apparently not. Senior U.S. administration officials said the new program was focused on activities rather than countries or regions.


in other tech news…

  • Google awarded a patent for technology that will give robots customizable personalities [Computerworld]
    Google is apparently planning for the day when robots have human personalities. The company has been awarded a patent for a robot personality technology. The patent application states “A robot may access a user device to determine or identify information about a user, and the robot may be configured to tailor a personality for interaction with the user based on the identified information.”
  • IBM To Invest $3 Billion in Internet of Things Unit [NewsFactor]
    IBM is seriously invested in the Internet of Things. Big Blue announced plans to invest $3 billion over the next four years to build an Internet of Things (IoT) unit. The company is also building a cloud-based open platform to help clients and ecosystem partners build IoT solutions.

in Information Security News…

  • Google Says Ad Injectors Infect Millions of Users [NewsFactor]
    More than 5 percent of all visitors to Google’s Web sites have at least one ad injector knowingly or unknowingly installed on their operating systems, according to a research report from Google and the University of California-Berkeley. Often simply unwanted — but sometimes outright malware — ad injector software inserts additional or replacement advertising into sites during online browsing.
  • Dyre Wolf Banking Malware Steals More Than $1 Million [NewsFactor]
    A new, coordinated attack called “The Dyre Wolf,” is responsible for stealing more than $1 million from corporations. The attack takes advantage of the fact that employees often open email attachments without concern for viruses. IBM recommends that companies increase employee training, and test out the training by conducting periodic mock-phishing exercises where employees receive e-mails or attachments that simulate malicious behavior.

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Amazon Wants to Help Clean Your House [Ecommerce Times]
    Amazon has launched a new marketplace for professionals who can help with everything from basic home cleaning to skilled labor, including electric, plumbing and appliance installation. Amazon Home Services enlists professionals who have been prescreened through background checks and are officially licensed and insured, and it guarantees service satisfaction. It provides upfront pricing on prepackaged services, as well as customer reviews.
  • Microsoft Unveils Office Lens Document Scanning App for Android, iOS [NewsFactor]
    One of the most popular free apps for Windows Phone is now coming to Android and iOS devices. Office Lens document scanning app turns your phone camera into a documents scanner. It allows users to scan documents, whiteboards, and other hand written text and uses optical character recognition to convert written images into searchable, editable text, and imports it into OneNote.
  • Comcast Unleashes 2 Gbps Internet Speeds in Atlanta [NewsFactor]
    Comcast is getting into the Gb fiber business. The company now boasts the fastest Internet available in Atlanta, with download speeds clocking in at 2 Gb/second.
  • European Union Prepares To File Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google [NewsFactor]
    Google lawyers may soon have their hands full. It appears that the European Union is about to slap the Internet Giant with formal antitrust charges. The EU is focusing on four main areas of alleged antitrust behavior by Google: 1) skewing search results to favor other Google products, 2) “scraping” content from search competitors, 3) advertising contracts that prohibit dealings with competitors, and 4) making it difficult to switch advertising from Google to other companies.

and finally,

  • Amazon’s New Dash Button Was Not an April Fools’ Joke [NewsFactor]
    Amazon double-fooled everyone by offering a new service that seems like an April fools prank but isn’t! Amazon’s New Dash Button, is a physical button, that when pressed automatically re-orders a preprogrammed product. For example, you could place a button by your coffee maker and press it when you need to re-order coffee. The device is free, connects directly to Wi-Fi and is about the size of a pack of gum, It’s currently available to Amazon Prime members by invitation only.

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