A majority of U.S. Internet users polled in a recent survey report taking steps to remove or mask their digital footprints online, according to a report from the Pew Research Center's Internet Project and Carnegie Mellon University.
While 86 percent of the Internet users polled said they made some attempt hide what they do online, more than half of the Web users also said they have taken steps to avoid observation by organizations, specific people or the government, according to the survey.
The survey's findings are based on telephone interviews among a sample of 1,002 adults, age 18 or older in July, with 792 Internet users among the respondents.
For all the privacy concerns raised by Edward Snowden's leaks about government data collection activities, the U.S. is not alone or even always the most demanding when it comes to law enforcement requests for customer data from Internet service providers.
A whitepaper released by Washington-based law firm Hogan Lovells this week shows that law enforcement agencies in several other countries in Europe and elsewhere have equally, if not even more, voracious appetites for such data.
The conclusions in the whitepaper are based on a review of all the transparency reports released by Google, Microsoft, Twitter, LinkedIn and Skype that detail all requests for customer data made by law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and elsewhere. Read more...
A Japanese local government has come up with a rather unusual solution to the problem of Windows XP migration – keep the venerable OS but disconnect the remaining PCs running it from the internet.
In around a year’s time, April 8 2014 to be precise, Microsoft will end free support for the operating system which is still installed on around a third of machines in the Land of the Rising Sun.
This will mean an end to free security patches and fixes for knackered code – exposing organisations to a host of potential info-security risks. Read more...
Although this week's large-scale DDoS attack against Spamhaus may not have been as crippling as early reports suggested, they were noteworthy in that they shined spotlights on a couple of the Internet's many underlying weaknesses. Among them are open DNS resolvers, which enable a technique called DNS amplification wherein attackers bombard target servers with as much as 100 bytes of network-clogging traffic for every one byte they send out. Read more...
By the time Apple ships its rumored "iWatch" smartwatch, the company will be entering a crowded market.
A smartwatch is a wristwatch device that connects to the Internet (directly or via a smartphone) and runs apps.
The Financial Times this week reported that Google's Android group (not the company's X Lab) is developing a smartwatch. That suggests Google plans to ship a smartwatch soon, possibly this year, and could even announce it at the Google I/O developers conference on May 15.
A Samsung executive this week not only announced that his company is working on a smartwatch, but that they've been working on it for a long time.
A Chinese company called Gouke plans to sell both an Android version of its Bambook Smart Watch by this summer as well as another version running the Firefox OS. Read more...
New legislation in the U.S. Senate that would allow Internet users to tell companies to stop tracking them is unnecessary and could slow e-commerce growth, some tech groups said.
Senators John "Jay" Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, and Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, reintroduced do-not-track legislation on Thursday. The Do-Not-Track Online Act, similar to legislation Rockefeller introduced in 2011, would require all online companies to honor do-not-track requests from consumers.
Online companies have failed to live up to promises to honor do-not-track requests, Rockefeller said in a statement. Read more...
Researchers from security vendor Damballa have identified malicious Internet traffic that they believe is generated by a new and elusive variant of the sophisticated TDL4 malware.
The new threat, which has been assigned the generic name DGAv14 until its true nature is clarified, has affected at least 250,000 unique victims so far, including 46 of the Fortune 500 companies, several government agencies, and ISPs, the Damballa researchers said in a research paper released Monday.
On July 8, Damballa sensors that operate on the networks of telecommunication operators and ISPs that partnered with the company detected a new pattern of DNS (Domain Name System) requests for non-existent domains. Such traffic suggests the presence on the network of computers infected with malware that uses a domain generation algorithm (DGA),
Some malware creators use DGAs in order to evade network-level domain blacklists and to make their command and control infrastructure more resilient against takedown attempts. Read more...
A Federal Communications Commission-led initiative has launched a program that will allow U.S. organizations to donate used computers to low-income people.
"The costs of digital exclusion are rising," said Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski at a press briefing in Washington, referring to how low- income people suffer from not being connected to the Internet.
"Broadband is our central platform in the 21st century for economic growth, information and opportunity," Genachowski said.
The nonprofit organization Connect2Compete (C2C) will redistribute the computers to the poor so they can be used to access the Internet and develop basic digital literacy skills.
Genachowski pointed to the ways that low-income individuals miss opportunities by not being connected. Many jobs -- including the many engineering positions U.S. companies now have difficulty filling -- require computer savvy. Even finding a job requires a computer. "Job postings are almost exclusively online now," Genachowski said, noting that 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies do all of their job postings online. Read more...
A final copy of Windows 8 leaked to the Internet on Thursday, just a day after Microsoft stamped the new operating system as finished. Identified as Windows 8 Enterprise N -- the "N" marks it as aimed at European users -- on several BitTorrent file-sharing websites, it was unclear yesterday whether the leaked build was legitimate.
Although some who downloaded the leaked copy asserted it was an invalid build, the consensus early Friday was that it was the real deal.
"Legitimate. It works. Looks real," said one commenter on a popular file-sharing site. Numerous downloaders posted screenshots to back up their contention that the leak was the actual Windows 8. Read more...
The group of hackers calls itself "the D33Ds Company" and claims to have hacked into the database by exploiting an SQL injection vulnerability found on a Yahoo subdomain.
"The subdomain and vulnerable parameters have not been posted to avoid further damage," the hackers said in their release notes.
The leaked information includes MySQL server variables, names of database tables and columns, as well as a list of 453,492 email addresses and passwords in plain text.
The exposed log-in credentials don't only include yahoo.com email addresses, but also email addresses from other public and non-public email providers. Read more...
As many as 300,000 PCs and Macs will drop off the Internet in about 65 hours unless their owners heed last-minute calls to scrub their machines of malware.
According to a group of security experts formed to combat DNSChanger, between a quarter of a million and 300,000 computers, perhaps many more, were still infected as of July 2.
DNSChanger hijacked users' clicks by modifying their computers' domain name system (DNS) settings to send URL requests to the criminals' own servers, a tactic that shunted victims to hacker-created sites that resembled real domains.
At one point, as many as 4 million PCs and Macs were infected with the malware, which earned its makers $14 million, U.S. federal authorities have said.
Infected machines will lose their link to the Internet at 12:01 a.m. ET Monday, July 9, when replacement DNS servers go dark. Read more...
Cisco Systems has taken a step back from its Cisco Connect Cloud service, removing it as the default setting for management of its Linksys EA Series Wi-Fi routers after a firestorm of complaints from customers about automatic firmware updates and the service's terms of service.
The default method for managing the high-end Linksys routers has been changed to traditional setup and management over the local network, Cisco said in a blog entry posted on Thursday. When the company brought Cisco Connect Cloud online last week, it made the Internet-based administration service into the default tool for the routers. Read more...
If it is July 9 and you don't know where your Internet went, you might want to get in touch with the DNSChanger Working Group (DCWG).
Monday is the "drop dead" date for people whose computers are still infected with the DNSChanger Trojan to get rid of it. Those who haven't may not lose Internet access entirely, but Paul Vixie, of the nonprofit Internet Systems Consortium (ISC), said, "some of them will lose the ability to look up domain names, which will stop their Internet access in most cases. Others will see significant slowdowns." Read more...
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is set to host the first of several meetings seeking input for its effort to develop new codes of conduct for handling private consumer date on the Internet and mobile networks.
The meeting, scheduled for July 12 at the U.S. Department of Commerce building in Washington D.C., is open to all and will focus primarily on mobile application privacy.
NTIA expects that the initial meeting will attract industry stakeholders, rights groups and Internet marketers looking to offer views on privacy issues related to the use, consumption and sharing of consumer data stored on mobile devices and shared by mobile applications. Read more...
Google's Internet search engine receives more complaints about websites believed to be infringing on Microsoft's copyrights than it does about material produced by entertainment companies pushing for tougher online piracy laws.
A snapshot of Microsoft's apparently chronic copyright headaches emerged in new data that Google released Thursday to provide a better understanding of the intellectual property abuses on the Internet.
Google has a good vantage point on the issue because it operates the Internet's dominant search engine with the largest index of websites. About 97 percent of the copyright removal requests sent to Google are found to be valid by the company, prompting the offending links to be blocked from its influential search results. Read more...