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Updated: 9 min 22 sec ago

Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo Balk At UK's Investigatory Powers

Fri, 08/01/2016 - 8:00am
Mark Wilson writes: The Investigatory Powers Bill may only be in draft form at the moment, but the UK government has already received criticism for its plans. Today, scores of pieces of written evidence, both for and against the proposals, have been published, including input from the Reform Government Surveillance (RGS) coalition. Five key members of the coalition are Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo. In their written evidence, the quintet of tech companies express their concerns about the draft bill, seek clarification from the UK government, and issue warnings about the implications of such a bill. The evidence (document IPB0116) says that any surveillance undertaken by the government need to be 'targeted, lawful, proportionate, necessary, jurisdictionally bounded, and transparent'. The coalition notes that many other countries are watching to see what the UK does.

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DoD Award To Recognize Drone Operators

Fri, 08/01/2016 - 5:27am
wiredmikey writes: According to a Pentagon memo due out today, the US military will create a new way to recognize drone operators and other service members who contribute to America's fighting efforts from afar. The military is set to introduce a new "R" designation — known as a "device" — that can be attached to medals given to drone operators and other non-combat troops, such as cyber warriors who hack enemy networks. Former defense secretary Chuck Hagel nixed a proposed new combat medal for US troops who launch drone strikes or cyber attacks, after a torrent of criticism from veterans and lawmakers. Drone pilots have complained of low morale, long hours and of the psychological impacts stemming from killing people remotely.

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Judge Tosses Class Action Over Michaels Data Breach Citing Lack of Damages

Fri, 08/01/2016 - 3:02am
chicksdaddy writes: Data breaches have become so common that they've taken on a kind of formality. One of the phrases that often accompany such incidents goes something like this: "[Company X] has no evidence that any of the stolen information has been used inappropriately." Or you might read that "there is no evidence of fraud linked to the stolen data." Such assurances are generally interpreted as wishful thinking. But when courts are asked to weigh in on the question of damages resulting from cyber incidents in civil suits, the question of what harm resulted from the incident is very different – and very real. To put it simply: if nobody can prove harm resulting from a cyber incident, a company can't be held liable for those damages. That fact was underscored again late last month, when a federal judge in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York dismissed a class action suit against arts and crafts giant Michaels Stores that was filed in the wake of that company's widely-reported data breach. As part of her ruling, the judge, Joanna Seybert, cited a legal precedent set by the recent Supreme Court ruling in "Clapper v. Amnesty International," concluding that the plaintiffs hadn't proven that any harm resulted from the Michaels breach. "Simply put, Whalen has not asserted any injuries that are 'certainly impending' or based on a 'substantial risk that the harm will occur,'" Seybert wrote in her decision, referring to Mary Jane Whalen, the Michaels customer in whose name the class action suit was filed. "Thus, Whalen's claims are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE for lack of subject matter jurisdiction," Seybert concluded. This isn't to say that Whalen or other Michaels stores customers were not the target of fraudsters. In fact, Whalen's attorneys presented evidence that her stolen credit card (or a clone of it) was presented for payment fraudulently in Ecuador: at a local gym and at a venue that sold concert tickets. But regulations in the U.S. exempt consumers from paying the cost of credit card fraud, and Whalen wasn't asked to pay any unreimbursed charges as a result of the fraudulent use, the court noted. Whalen's other attempts to establish "costs" associated with the breach were also disregarded. They included the cost of credit monitoring services and the cost (in time and effort) to obtain replacement cards, the intrinsic value of her credit card information and the risk of future fraud tied to the theft of her credit card data.

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Drupal Update Process Flawed By Multiple Bugs

Fri, 08/01/2016 - 1:12am
An anonymous reader writes: The Drupal CMS, a favorite with large enterprises, has a few bugs in its update process, affecting both the Drupal core update and its modules. The biggest flaw of the three discovered by IOActive researchers allows an attacker to take over the sites via poisoned updates. What's worse is that Drupal's team had known of this issue since 2012, but only recently reopened discussions on fixing the problem.

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BlackBerry To Release More Android Phones In 2016, But No New BB10 Devices

Fri, 08/01/2016 - 12:31am
LichtSpektren writes: BlackBerry Ltd. launched its first Android smartphone in October 2015, the BlackBerry Priv. CEO John Chen has commented "so far, so good" on the Priv's sales, two months in. Also in the same month, the BlackBerry developers' blog posted that there are no plans to make enhancements to BlackBerry OS 10 except for privacy and security updates. Now CNET is reporting that BlackBerry will release "one or two" new Android phones in 2016, but nothing with BB10.

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Android-Based Smart TVs Aren't That Smart When You Install Malware On Them

Thu, 07/01/2016 - 11:48pm
An anonymous reader writes: Smart TVs running older versions of the Android operating system are being infected with malware that was specifically built to target smart TVs. Infections occur via applications downloaded from a series of sites ran under the H.TV brand. These are websites that offer applications specifically built for Android smart TVs that allow users to watch TV channels from other regions of the globe. As usual, these apps are side-loaded from unofficial app stores. Fortunately, it's not a smart TV ransomware.

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Cuba's Nationwide Sneakernet: a Model For Developing Nations?

Thu, 07/01/2016 - 11:03pm
lpress writes: Cuba has little Internet infrastructure, but they have a well-organized sneaker net called El Paquete Semanal (the weekly packet). El Paquete distributes a terabyte of digital entertainment nationwide every week using portable drives. The system is reliable and the organization is said to be Cuba's largest private employer, but it is technically illegal and the content is pirated. A legitimatized Paquete would save scarce Internet resources for other applications. El Paquete is also a possible model for other developing nations. Vox has a short documentary about the system.

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Intel's Next Gen Compute Stick Beefs Up Processing With Core M3 and M5 Models

Thu, 07/01/2016 - 10:22pm
MojoKid writes: Intel is taking another stab at the PC-in-your-pocket form factor with their next gen Compute Sticks. These over-sized thumbstick devices plug into the HDMI port of any TV or monitor and offer a full-fledged computing experience and Intel has now made them faster and more capable. New for 2016, there are three new base model Compute Sticks to choose from. The first is an entry-level option running a quad-core Atom x5-z8400 quad-core processor clocked at 1.44GHz to 2.24GHz with 2GB of RAM, 32GB of eMMC storage, a pair of USB ports, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Windows 10. But perhaps more interesting are the new 6th Generation Intel Core M models. The higher end of the two is powered by a Skylake Core m5-6Y57 vPro processor while the lower end version is equipped with a Core m3-6Y30. Both models boast 4GB of DDR3-1866 RAM, 64GB of eMMC storage expandable via microSD card slot, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and three USB 3.0 ports (one on the Compute Stick and two on the power adapter). Without an OS, the Core m3 model runs $300; Windows 10 adds $100 to the price tag. The Core m5 Compute Stick will run $500 and, at least for now, doesn't appear to offer a version with Windows 10 pre-installed. The new Compute Sticks will be available in February.

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Seismic Data From North Korea Suggest a Repeat of 2013 Nuclear Test

Thu, 07/01/2016 - 9:41pm
Lasrick writes: Seismologist Jeffrey Park has done an initial analysis of the seismic data from North Korea's reported nuclear weapon test and found 'an uncanny resemblance to the signals recorded for the February 12, 2013 detonation.' Park's analysis pretty much destroy's the North Korean claim that they detonated a hydrogen bomb, and he postulates that P'yongyang is desperate for attention during the US presidential election cycle. Siegfried Hecker, one of the world's top experts on the North Korea nuclear program, is nonetheless concerned that the DPRK has now completed its fourth test, and with it a greater sophistication in their bomb design. Hecker is also skeptical that the test was an H-bomb. However, as he says, "We know so little about North Korea's nuclear weapons design and test results that we cannot completely rule it out."

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