#479 September 26, 2016 – Trump Fights to Keep Internet Under US Control

Donald Trump’s campaign says a government plan to give up managing key operations of the internet poses a threat of outside censorship of online information. The upcoming Oct. 1 transition is the result of planning that started under President Bill Clinton in 1998 and continued largely unopposed during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The U.S. government’s role has diminished as the behind-the-scenes, technical administration has increasingly been performed by a the Internet Corporations for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, a California-based nonprofit organization that coordinates with private experts around the world.

The exposure of NSA spying by the Edward Snowden leaks brought increased pressure from international allies to bring international governance to the Internet.

“If we don’t make a transition to a more global form of governance, many people will say, ‘Look, this is a U.S tool, and we’re going to make our own internet,'” said Michael Chertoff, former Homeland Security secretary under George W. Bush and Obama. “We have to realize that even though we know our motives are good motives, there are people who will argue that if we don’t give it up that we have bad motives. To maintain credibility we have to go through this process.”

The planned change “offers the best hope of protecting internet freedom,” NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling said. He said there are robust checks and balances that will be put in place after the transition to ensure the internet’s technical management is properly handled.

other Technology Headlines…

  • UPS Testing Drones for Use In Its Package Delivery System [newsfactor]
    UPS, one of the world’s largest package delivery companies, is stepping up efforts to integrate drones into its system. UPS has partnered with robot-maker CyPhy Works to test the use of drones to make commercial deliveries to remote or difficult-to-access locations.

in Information Security News…

  • Yahoo says 500 million accounts stolen [CNN Money]
    Yahoo has confirmed that data “associated with at least 500 million user accounts” have been stolen in what may be one of the largest cybersecurity breaches ever. The company said it believes a “state-sponsored actor” was behind the data breach, meaning an individual acting on behalf of a government. The breach is said to have occurred in late 2014. “The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers,” Yahoo said in a statement.

and in Tech Industry News…

  • Snapchat’s Spectacles Might Seem Silly, But Could Actually Be Cool [Apartment Therapy]
    Snapchat has announced that they are renaming themselves Snap, Inc. and releasing their first hardware product: a pair of video sunglasses. The new Snap Spectacles are a pair of sunglasses with two front-facing 115-degree cameras that record circular video that’s more similar to the human field of vision. When you tap on the button near the hinge, Spectacles shoot a 10-second video; tap again, and they’ll add another 10 seconds (you can record up to 30 seconds at a time).
  • LinkedIn Redesign Targets Global Workforce with Bots and E-Learning [Newsfactor]
    The social networking site for professionals, LinkedIn has experienced an upgrade. The site has a redesigned look for its desktop app, a new online learning platform and smarter messaging capabilities with support for bot-enabled assistance. The news comes a little over three months after Microsoft revealed plans to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, and on the heels of the company’s acquisition of the online learning firm lynda.com last year.

#478 September 20, 2016 – Samsung Recalls 1 Million Galaxy Note 7 Smartphones

This week’s headline story: Samsung Recalls 1 Million Galaxy Note 7 Smartphones
galaxynote7Samsung has formally recalled 1 million Galaxy Note 7 smartphones sold in the United States, replacing or refunding the flagship phones, whose susceptibility to catching fire has damaged the image of the Korean powerhouse. Samsung received 92 reports of batteries overheating in the United States, including 26 reports of burns and 55 cases of property damage, the company said as it announced the recall in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The recall is a costly setback for Samsung, which was counting on Galaxy Note 7 to bolster sales as rivals such as Apple Inc launch new devices. The scale of the recall is unprecedented for Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker.

other Technology Headlines…

  • Opera’s New VPN Promises To Keep Your Web Browsing Private [newsfactor]
    The latest version of the Opera web browser is the first browser to include an embedded virtual private network (VPN) services. A VPN can mask a device’s IP address, providing a high level of privacy. “We strongly believe that if more people knew how the Internet truly works, they would use a VPN — and we hope that by making our browser VPN free and easy to use, it will become an essential tool for everyone,” a representative from Opera posted.

in Information Security News…

and in Tech Industry News…

  • Comcast Takes the Wireless Plunge [Ecommerce Times]
    Comcast Plans To Launch Wireless Service Next Year [newsfactor]
    Comcast is planning to launch a cellphone service roughly in the middle of next year. The new service would be limited to areas of the country where Comcast provides cable service. Adding wireless service on to a cable bill could mean savings for Comcast customers.
  • Google Expected To Unveil New Pixel Smartphones on Oct. 4 [NewsFactor]
    A new smartphone announcement is expected from Google on October 4. A new wbesite at madby.google.com features a smartphone shaped image and the date October 4. Rumors about what might replace Google’s Nexus line have been circulating since earlier this year, when the company brought former Motorola president Rick Osterloh on board to lead a new hardware division. Several recent leaks have provided a few glimpses at the new smartphones known as the Pixel and the Pixel XL.
  • GoPro Unveils Its New Karma Quadcopter [NewsFactor]
    The rugged camcorder maker GoPro, has unveiled a compact drone designed to record people’s adventures from above. The Karma enters the burgeoning market for consumer drones as one of the first models to be more than a toy, but the quadcopter is coming out a time when several cities and businesses are restricting such aircraft from their skies.

#477 September 13, 2016 – Deliveries by Robot

This week’s headline story: Deliveries by Robot

robotvansWhile Amazon and Google are working hard on unmanned aircraft to make deliveries, Mercedes-Benz is developing “Robovan,” a vehicle designed to transport eight delivery robots from Starship Technologies and release them onto sidewalks to make deliveries. “By leaving the door-to-door part to delivery robots the van drivers’ productivity will significantly rise while reducing congestion on the streets and CO2 emissions,” said Allan Martinson, Starship’s chief operating officer. Left unsaid was that fewer van drivers will be needed for a given volume of business. The typical volume of deliveries is 180 packages per nine-hour shift, according to Martinson. The Robovan and its robots will more than double that, to 400 packages, he said.

Mercedes ‘Mothership’ Will Transport Robot Workers To Deliver Packages [newsfactor]

other Technology Headlines…

  • FAA Warns Airline Passengers Not To Use Samsung Smartphone [newsfactor]
    Samsung has ordered a global recall of Galaxy Note 7 phones after its investigation of explosion reports found the rechargeable lithium batteries were at fault. In one case, a family in St. Petersburg, Florida, reported a Galaxy Note 7 phone left charging in their Jeep caught fire, destroying the vehicle. U.S. aviation safety officials took the extraordinary step of warning airline passengers not to turn on or charge a new-model Samsung smartphone during flights following the numerous reports of the devices catching fire.

in Information Security News…

  • Authorities Nab Two Teens Connected to Massive DDoS-for-Hire Scheme [newsfactor]
    Alerted by the FBI, Israeli authorities have arrested two Israeli teens in connection with an online attack-for-hire service. In operation since 2012, the vDOS, “booter” service has earned more than $600,000 over the past two years by helping customers coordinate distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on Web sites around the world

and in Tech Industry News…

 

#476 September 06, 2016 – Vulnerabilities in the U.S. Voting System

This week’s headline story: Vulnerabilities in the U.S. Voting System

evotingRussian intrusions into U.S. election systems recently have shocked the public, but computer experts are not surprised. After the 2000 election where paper-based voting systems caused confusion and controversy, many states have moved to electronic voting systems and a new set of vulnerabilities.

“There are computers used in all points of the election process, and they can all be hacked,” Princeton computer scientist Andrew Appel, told the Washington Post. “So we should work at all points in that system to see how we make them trustworthy even if they do get hacked.”

The alleged Russian hacks to voter registration systems in Arizona and Illinois exposed one of the major weak spots in election systems. Deleting or altering data on voter rolls could cause mayhem on Election Day, disenfranchising some voters. But that’s just one point of failure. Many voting machines themselves also are vulnerable.

At stake are not just the election results, but faith in the reliability and transparency of balloting, which is crucial to democracy. This is especially true in a year when allegations of voting irregularities already have been aired by politicians like Donald Trump.

Read more about how Russian hackers could actually tip an American election, using the link in the show notes.

other Technology Headlines…

  • Des Moines’ city council is trying to ‘opt out’ of ‘Pokémon Go’ [Engadget]
    Some cities are looking to “opt-out” of Pokeman Go! The City Council of Des Moines, Washington is concerned about the droves of teenagers and other players walking around idly, looking down at their phones while crowding the public spaces, making noise, littering, partaking in certain legal and illegal vices, and disrupting local business. Council members voted unanimously to request that the entire area “opt out” from the game.

in Information Security News…

  • Secret commands in online videos could hack your smartphone [CNBC]
    Hackers are experimenting with gaining illegal access to systems through the voice-command interface. They are embedding hidden audio within YouTube videos that sounds like strange background noise to the human viewer, but sounds like audio commands to voice-controlled interfaces on phones and computers.

and in Tech Industry News…

  • Google Ditches Project Ara Modular Phone Ambitions [newsfactor]
    Google has been promising to launch a developer edition of its Project Ara modular smartphone by the end of the year, but now those ambitions have apparently been shelved. Reuters has reported that Google is making an “about-face,” and taking the ax to Project Ara.

 

#475 August 30, 2016 – Self-Driving Cars are Going Mainstream

This week’s headline story: Self-Driving Cars are Going Mainstream

ford_fusion

Autonomous Ford Fusion

Self-driving cars are slowly making their way onto public highways. Ohio’s toll road, a heavily traveled connector between the East Coast and Chicago, is moving closer to allowing the testing of self-driving vehicles. Testing is likely to begin soon, and possibly before the end of the year.

Uber passengers in Pittsburgh will be able to summon rides in self-driving cars with the touch of a smartphone button in the next several weeks. Uber says that an unspecified number of autonomous Ford Fusions with human backup drivers will pick up passengers just like normal Uber vehicles.

Cars capable of driving themselves may be on the showroom floor sooner than you think, but whether they should come with all the current essentials — including a steering wheel and pedals on the floor — has the auto industry at a fork in the road. Ford sided with the pioneering engineers at Google last week in announcing plans to introduce limited-use vehicles without traditional controls within five years. Some other major automakers — and virtually all of them are well along in their work on self-driving vehicles — say they will introduce automated elements one step at a time, until drivers accept that they no longer need to control their cars.

other Technology Headlines…

  • Yosemite and President Obama Head Into Virtual Reality [NewsFactor]
    President Obama is the first US president to project himself into virtual reality. National Geographic has produced a 360-degree representation of Yosemite National Park, into which the President is projected providing narration about the wonders of America’s national parks and warning of the threat posed by climate change. The experience can be enjoyed via Facebook 360, Samsung Gear VR headset and soon on Oculus Rift headset.

in Information Security News…

  • FBI Warns of Possible State Election-System Hacks [NewsFactor]
    The FBI is warning state officials to boost their election security in light of recent hack attempts. The FBI is investigating a pair of hacking incidents targeted at the voting systems in two states and advising states to scan their systems for specific signs of hacking.
  • Apple Urges Users To Immediately Update iOS Devices After Hack [NewsFactor]
    Apple is urging users of iOS devices to update to the latest version as soon as possible to patch a dangerous vulnerability that provides hackers with access to the device’s camera and microphone.

and in Tech Industry News…

  • Apple Told To Pay $14.5 Billion Irish Tax Bill; CEO Says No [NewsFactor]
    The European Commissioner is accusing Apple of taking an unfair tax advantage granted by Ireland. The penalty could be more than $14,5 billion in unpaid taxes. The commission’s investigation found that Ireland had “artificially reduced Apple’s tax burden for over two decades,” the European Commissioner said. Apple has a factory in Cork, but has been claiming taxes through a “so-called head office” that exists only on paper, claims the Commissioner. Both Apple CEO Tim Cook and the Irish Finance Ministry said they plan to appeal the decision.

and finally,

  • Verizon’s Faster LTE Tech Boosts Mobile Speeds by 50% [NewsFactor]
    A couple hundred million Verizon clients received a nice surprise this week. The carrier announced that it has launched a new technology, called “LTE Advanced” in 461 U.S. cities designed to make wireless data download speeds as much as 50 percent faster.

#474 August 22, 2016 – NSA Hacking Kit Leaked Online

This week’s headline story: NSA Hacking Kit Leaked Online

nsaGovernments and corporations around the world are preparing for the worst, as some of the most powerful hacking and espionage tools have been released into the wild over the dark web. Created by the National Security Agency’s elite group of hackers, known as Tailored Access Operations (TAO), the toolkit, packed full of sophisticated hacking tools,was released to the Internet by a group calling themselves “the Shadow Brokers”. They claim the kit can be used to hack into any computer. Edward Snowden, and some former NSA hackers suspect Russian involvement in the release of the toolkit, saying that it is a likely response to allegations against the Russian government for hacking the Democratic National Committee.

other Technology Headlines…

  • Ford Says It Will Have a Fully Autonomous Car by 2021 [NewsFactor]
    Ford Motor Co. has announced its plans to have a fully driverless vehicle — no steering wheel, no pedals — on the road within five years. The car will initially be used for commercial ride-hailing or ride-sharing services, with sales to consumers coming later.
  • SolidEnergy Says It Can Double Battery Power of Consumer Electronics [NewsFactor]
    Ready to get more life out of your cell phone battery? MIT alums at the company SolidEnergy have developed a new kind of lithium battery that packs the same energy as standard lithium-ion cells in half the size. The company aims to bring the batteries to smartphones and wearables in early 2017, and to electric cars in 2018.

in Information Security News…

  • Security Experts: Remotes Are Hackable on Many Vehicles [NewsFactor]
    These days, most of us click a button on our keychain to lock and unlock our vehical. I recently reported that the remote entry systems on millions of cars made by Volkswagen can be hacked to permit unauthorized access to the car’s interior. Now another exploit has been shown to offer the same keyless access to vehicles from Ford, Chevrolet and Renault.
  • Hacker Posts Personal Info of House Democrats and Staff [NewsFactor]
    A breach targetting the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and other Democratic Party entities, exposed personal information of hundreds of Democratic governmental officials. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she is changing her phone number and advised her colleagues to do the same after receiving scores of obscene calls, voicemails and text messages.

and in Tech Industry News…

  • AT&T Rolls Out New Mobile Plans, Eliminates Data Overage Fees [NewsFactor]
    Wireless Wars Heat Up with Even More Unlimited Data Plans [NewsFactor]
    The big wireless carriers are rolling out new data plans intended to do away with data overage fees. AT&T is launching new wireless plans that throttle download speeds when users reach their monthly data caps rather than charging penalties. Verizon made similar changes to its mobile plans last month with the addition of a “Safety Mode” app that lets customers slow down their data speeds to avoid overage charges. T-Mobile and Sprint have followed suite unveiling rival wireless plans with unlimited data usage and imposed data throttling when users reach a certain limit.

and finally,

  • Uber Buys Self-Driving Truck Biz and Tests Autonomous Cars [NewsFactor]
    Ride hailing giant, Uber, has purchased the self-driving truck startup, Otto. Otto has been testing sensor-equipped autonomous semi trucks, in an effort to improve highway safety and trucking efficiency.
    The purchase is expected to assist Uber in its own ambitions to develop a driverless vehical, which it plans to begin testing later this month.

#473 August 15, 2016 – Audi Cars Talk with Traffic Signals


This week’s headline story: Audi Cars Talk with Traffic Signals

TrafficlightGerman carmaker Audi is rolling out a brand new technology called Vehicle to Infrastructure or V-to-I technology to US car shoppers this fall. V-to-I allows vehicles to communicate with traffic signals and other roadway infrastructure to provide drivers with useful information for safer more informed driving. Audi’s system allows the vehicle to display a countdown before a red light turns to green. Knowing how much time there is before the light changes to green is intended to relieve the driver of anxiety. The countdown will also appear on the dashboard if the vehicle determines it will not be able to make an approaching light before it turns red, to allow the driver to begin to brake. Audi plans to roll out the capability in five to seven U.S. cities this year.

Future applications of the technology could see it linked to a car’s navigation system or its stop/start functions. The technology will also be valuable for driverless car technology. Another possible eventual use is for traffic signals to advise vehicles to keep to a certain speed in order to match the flow of traffic lights. Carmakers are trying to leverage technology – including vehicle-to-vehicle communications (“V-to-V”) allowing cars to talk to each other – to reduce accidents and reduce congestion.

other Technology Headlines…

  • Samsung Workers Sickened by Chemicals in Factories Speak Up [NewsFactor]
    Two Words Keep Sick Samsung Workers from Data: Trade Secrets
    [NewsFactor]
    An Associated Press investigation found South Korean authorities let Samsung withhold crucial information from sick workers and their families about the chemicals they are exposed to at its computer chip and display factories. A worker-safety group has documented more than 200 cases of serious illnesses including leukemia, lupus, lymphoma and multiple sclerosis among former Samsung semiconductor and LCD workers. Seventy-six have died, most in their 20s and 30s.
  • Judge Dismisses Suit Accusing Twitter of Supporting ISIS Group [NewsFactor]
    A federal judge in San Francisco has dismissed a lawsuit accusing Twitter of supporting the Islamic State group. The families of two men killed in Jordan claimed that Twitter had contributed to their deaths by allowing the group to sign up for and use Twitter accounts. The judge agreed with Twitter that the company cannot be held liable because federal law protects service providers that merely offer platforms for speech, without creating the speech itself.
  • Stanford-led experiments point toward memory chips 1,000 times faster than today’s [Stanford News]
    Stanford-led research has demonstrated an emerging memory technology called phase-change memory, based on a new class of semiconductor materials, that promises performance that is 1,000 times faster than current RAM memory, while using less energy and requiring less space.

in Information Security News…

  • Jeep Hackers Back at Black Hat with New and Scarier Method [NewsFactor]
    The Jeep hackers were back at the Black Hat Hackers Conference, this time demonstrating a new more dangerous technique to take remote control of a moving vehicle. The pair demonstrated how they can take control of the same 2014 Jeep Cherokee they hacked last year, this time by sending false messages to its internal network, overriding the correct ones. The new technique allowed them to do new — and scarier — things, such as making the vehicle turn sharply while it was speeding down a country road. They also were able to make the vehicle unintentionally speed up, or remotely slam on its brakes.
  • Quadrooter Bug Affects 900 Million Android Devices [NewsFactor]
    Researchers at security firm Check Point have discovered four new exploits that could impact as many as 900 million Android devices. The firm is calling the combined exploits the Quadrooter Bug. To gain access, an attacker just has to get the user to install a malicious app. From there the attacker has full access to saved data and can also change or remove system-level files, delete or add apps and gain access to the device’s screen, camera, or microphone. The security holes can only be fixed via patches from distributors or carriers once they get new driver packs from Qualcomm. Check Point is making available a free Quadrooter scanner app that scans users’ Android phones to see if the necessary patches have been downloaded and installed. The scanner app is available at https://www.checkpoint.com/resources/quadrooter-vulnerability-consumer/.

and in Tech Industry News…

  • Huffington Leaves Post to Focus on Health Startup [Ecommerce Times]
    Arianna Huffington has announced that she is leaving her position as editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, to focus on a new project named Thrive Global, a lifestyle, health and wellness website.
  • Walmart Buying E-Tailer Jet for $3.3 Billion To Do Battle with Amazon [NewsFactor]
    Walmart has announced that it will shell out $3.3 billion to acquire the online retailer Jet. Since launching a year ago, Jet has grown rapidly to reach $1 billion in merchandise sales. Walmart hopes the acquisition of Jet, will assist in catching online retail giant Amazon. In 2015, Amazon reported net sales of $107 billion, while Walmart’s online sales came to just $13.7 billion – a tiny fraction of its total sales of $482 billion. Walmart.com and Jet.com will continue to operate as distinct brands.

and finally,

  • Adblock Plus Mouse Roars at Facebook [Ecommerce Times]
    Facebook Hates Ad Blockers So Much It Now Blocks Them [NewsFactor]
    Ad wars have escalated between Facebook and ad-blocking software. Facebook updated the way that it serves up ads so that they are unrecognizable to ad-blocking software. Within days, AdBlock Plus announced that the open source community had created a filter to neutralize Facebook’s latest offensive, allowing it to once again block those ads. Meanwhile, Facebook is providing better tools for users to provide feedback on the ads they see, so that they are shown more useful and appreciated ads.

#472 August 8, 2016 – Vehicle Hacking 2.0

This week’s headline story: Vehicle Hacking 2.0

News regarding vehicle hacking seems to be getting worse! Last year, Hackers in St. Louis, Missouri were shown remotely controlling a Jeep Cherokee from their laptop. Shortly after, Nissan had to shut down its Leaf app because of vulnerabilities. Now, a pair of hackers in Houston, Texas, stole more than 30 Jeeps over a six-month period. The two were caught using a laptop to connect to and start a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. The vehicles were brought across the border to Mexico. Homeland Security is investigating more than 100 stolen Fiat Chrysler Automobiles that they believe were hacked using similar techniques.

Big RigBut it get’s worse! A group of University of Michigan researchers have conducted similar hacking tests on big rig trucks and industrial vehicles. By sending digital signals within the internal network of a big rig truck, the researchers were able to do everything from change the readout of the truck’s instrument panel, trigger unintended acceleration, or to even disable one form of semi-trailer’s brakes. And the researchers found that developing those attacks was actually easier than with consumer cars! “These trucks carry hazard chemicals and large loads. And they’re the backbone of our economy,” says Bill Hass, one of the researchers from the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute. “If you can cause them to have unintended acceleration…I don’t think it’s too hard to figure out how many bad things could happen with this.”

other Technology Headlines…

  • US police use machine learning to curb their own violence [New Scientist]
    The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in North Carolina is piloting an Artificial Intelligence system designed to tackle the police violence that has become a heated issue in the US in the past three years. A team at the University of Chicago is helping them feed their data into a machine learning system that learns to spot risk factors for unprofessional conduct. The department can then intervene before risk transforms into actual harm. The system has identified 48 out of 83 adverse incidents between 2005 and now – 12 per cent more than Charlotte-Mecklenberg’s existing early intervention system
  • Google’s Parent Company Alphabet To Test Drone Delivery [NewsFactor]
    Google’s parent company Alphabet will test its “Project Wing” drones for cargo delivery to help the federal government create policies for safely bringing goods to U.S. consumers by air. “Data gathered will be shared with government partners to help regulators answer critical safety and human-factors questions for (drone) cargo delivery operations,” the White House said in a news release.

in Information Security News…

and in Tech Industry News…

  • Latest to Quit Google’s Self-Driving Car Unit: Top Roboticist [NYTimes]
    Many of the top scientists that pioneered Google’s research and development on self-driving car, are leaving the company. This comes shortly after Google’s decision to hire John Krafcik, the former president and chief executive of Hyundai America, to be chief of the car project, as part of a plan to spin the effort out as a stand-alone company under the Alphabet umbrella.
  • Amazon Unveils Cargo Plane As It Expands Delivery Network [NewsFactor]
    Amazon is unveiling its first branded cargo plane, one of 40 jetliners that will make up the e-commerce giant’s own air transportation network as it takes more control of its delivery process.
  • Apple Gets Feds’ OK To Start Selling Electricity [NewsFactor]
    Federal energy regulators have approved Apple’s application to start selling electricity at market rates. This after Apple’s $850 million partnership with sun-farm company First Solar, at the California Flats solar project in southeast Monterey County. Apple’s 200 megawatts of generation capacity represents a “measurable fraction” of the more than 10,000 megawatts of solar-generated power that has come online in the U.S. this year. For Apple, investment in solar is also a step toward its goal of powering all its operations with clean energy.

and finally,

  • On-demand drone insurance launches in the US [Engadget]
    Tired of having to pay out the nose for damage you caused with your remote control drone aircraft? Verifly now offers on-demand drone insurance! next time, before you fly over a crowd, or near pesky buildings, just click the Verifly app on your phone and purchase insurance by the hour, starting at $10.

#471 August 2, 2016 – A Color-Coded Response to Cyberattacks


This week’s headline story: A Color-Coded Response to Cyberattacks

cyber-threat-scaleThe White House warned of a “revolution” of computer-generated threats to the U.S. stoked by growing cyber aggression by traditional U.S. foes like Russia and North Korea. The President has issued a policy directive featuring a color-coded response plan for the federal government to use after major cyberattacks. Lisa Monaco, President Barack Obama’s homeland security and counter terrorism adviser warns that “we are in the midst of a revolution of the cyber threat — one that is growing more persistent, more diverse, more frequent and more dangerous every day… Unless we act together — government, industry, and citizens — we risk a world where malicious cyber activity could threaten our security and prosperity. That is not a future we should accept.”

The directive establishes six levels of severity for attacks, a color-coded system that evokes the terror alert system formally used by the Homeland Security Department. A high-level federal response following the directive’s guidelines will be triggered anytime there’s an attack at or above a level three — orange — indicating an attack likely to affect public health or safety, economic or national security or other U.S. interests. A level 5 — black — is an emergency that poses an “imminent threat” to critical infrastructure, government stability or U.S. lives.

other Technology Headlines…

  • Transistors Will Stop Shrinking in 2021, Moore’s Law Roadmap Predicts [IEEE Spectrum]
    According to the 2015 International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, soon the transistor may stop its continuously shrinking trend. In defiance of Moore’s famous law, the report forecasts, that by 2021 it will no longer be economically desirable for companies to continue to shrink the dimensions of transistors in microprocessors. Instead, chip manufacturers will turn to other means of boosting density, namely turning the transistor from a horizontal to a vertical geometry and building multiple layers of circuitry, one on top of another.

in Information Security News…

  • Democratic Emails: All About the Hack, the Leak, the Discord [NewsFactor]
    President Barack Obama’s has identified Russia as almost certainly the culprit in hacking the Democratic National Committee and releasing politically embarrassing emails. His accusation fits his administration’s new penchant for openly blaming foreign governments for such break-ins. Even as the U.S. continues to secretly hack its own adversaries, Obama is raising the stakes for countries caught behind the keyboards engaging in cyber espionage, including major powers like Russia and China. In Moscow, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Russia would never interfere in another country’s election.

and in Tech Industry News…

  • Apple Supplier LG Display Puts $1.8B Into Flexible Displays [NewsFactor]
    LG Display, a supplier of Apple’s iPhone screens, plans to invest $1.75 billion to produce flexible displays for smartphones. The move is an indicator that more high-end smartphone makers – including Apple may adopt flexible screens in the near future.
  • Uber To Invest $500 Million in Its Own Global Maps [NewsFactor]
    Uber is tired of relying on Google Maps to help its drivers navigate city streets. The ride-hailing company is investing $500 million dollars to deploy its own map-building cars starting with the U.S. and Mexico. The company is also reportedly developing self-driving cars.
  • Oracle Buying Cloud Pioneer NetSuite for $9.3 Billion [NewsFactor]
    In its continued push to provide more cloud-based services to its customers, enterprise software giant Oracle has announced plans to acquire “the very first cloud company,” NetSuite, for $9.3 billion in cash.

and finally,

  • Microsoft Slashing Nearly 3,000 Jobs in Phone Business [NewsFactor]
    Almost 3,000 Microsoft employees will lose their jobs as the tech giant plans cut staff over the next year across its smartphone hardware business and global sales division. It’s the latest blow to Microsoft, following on the heels of news in May that 1,850 jobs in its mobile division would be lost.

#470 July 25, 2016 – Russians Hack DNC?

This week’s headline story: Russians Hack DNC?

The election season is in full swing, with both parties experiencing upsets and drama. Most recently Wikileaks published incriminating emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) one day before the start of the Democratic Convention. The email provided evidence that the supposedly unbiased DNC was working to derail the Bernie Sanders campaign in support of Hillary Clinton. Fallout over the emails led DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to announce her resignation Sunday. Wikileaks promised many more incriminating emails in the days to come casting a shadow over the Democratic Convention.

Meanwhile it was discovered that the leaked email messages appear to have come from Russian hackers associated with the Kremlin. Noting that Donald Trump has policies that are friendly to Russian interests, and Russian President Vladimir Putin is supportive of Trump’s campaign, the Clinton campaign is speculating that the release of stolen emails was intended to help the Trump campaign. “The FBI is investigating the cyber intrusion involving the DNC and are working to determine the nature and scope of the matter,” the agency said in a statement.”

other Technology Headlines…

  • Facebook Aims To Use Laser Beams for High-Speed Internet [NewsFactor]
    Facebook Successfully Tests Aquila Solar-Powered Internet Drone [NewsFactor]
    Facebook is hard at work developing technologies to provide Internet access to hard to reach areas of the planet. Recently the company successfully launched and tested a solar powered drone aircraft capable of circling at high altitudes to deliver Internet access. A Facebook team also published a paper in the scientific journal Optica demonstrating the feasibility of using commercially available fluorescent materials to transmit data via laser beams through open space at speeds up to 2.1 Gbps. Combined, these technologies could provide high-speed Internet access to anywhere on the planet. Google is involved in similar research using Balloons rather than drones.

in Information Security News…

  • Celebrity Hacker Gets Six Months in Prison [NewsFactor]
    A hacker who hacked into hundreds or Apple and Google accounts stealing scores of personal photos, including some belonging to celebrities, has been sentenced to 6 months in federal prison and a $3,000 fine. “He systematically searched for and stole intimate images and stored them in his own computer for personal use, which meant the victims continued to suffer as a result of his voyeurism,” said U.S. Atty. Eileen M. Decker. “His crime was a deep invasion of privacy that caused real harm,” she said.

and in Tech Industry News…

  • Yahoo sells internet biz to Verizon in $4.8B deal [Computerworld]
    Yahoo’s Sale to Verizon Ends an Era for a Web Pioneer [NYTimes]
    Verizon has agreed to pay $4.83 billion for Yahoo. Verizon, one of the nation’s biggest telecommunications companies, plans to combine Yahoo’s operations with AOL, a longtime Yahoo competitor that Verizon acquired last year. The idea is to use Yahoo’s vast array of content and its advertising technology to offer more robust services to Verizon customers and advertisers.
  • Dell/EMC: Biggest Merger in IT History Approved by Shareholders [NewsFactor]
    Shareholders of EMC voted overwhelmingly in favor of the company’s planned merger with Dell. — a more than $60 billion transaction that’s been described as the biggest tech deal in history. Dell is best known for being one of the leading PC makers, both on the consumer and business side, while EMC is well entrenched in the enterprise IT market, selling data storage, virtualization and cloud computing systems.

and finally,