The 2014 Christmas shopping season will see a 4.1 percent increase in sales, up to $616.9 billion, and cybercriminals will be busy trying to find new ways to target retailers and shoppers. Since many smartphone and tablet owners don't bother anti-malware software, while some don't even password-protect their devices, there is an effort to hijack mobile technologies.
"Cybercriminals follow the flow of money, and this Thanksgiving, a very high number of transactions will take place through mobile channels," said Alisdair Faulkner, ThreatMetrix chief products officer. "Unfortunately, it can be difficult for retailers to use IP geo-location data to ensure mobile transactions are authentic. Instead, retailers should try to leverage trust intelligence networks to recognize customers with good mobile purchasing history, and complement this with finer grained authentication intelligence available with a native mobile application."
However, a more realistic approach will involve cybercriminals compromising retailers - especially as more consumers keep debit and credit card data stored with their favorite stores - as network security is still often overlooked.
T-Mobile expanded its Music Freedom plan yet again, adding support for Google Play Music, Xbox Music, Soundcloud, and 12 other music services. Full list of added carriers: Google Play Music, Xbox Music, SoundCloud, RadioTunes, Digitally Imported, Fit Radio, Fresca Radio, JAZZRADIO, Live365, Mad Genius Radio, radioPup, Radio.com, ROCKRADIO, and Saavn.
Pandora, Rdio, Spotify and others are available for subscribers on eligible phone plans, with streaming music not counting against monthly data caps.
T-Mobile has been extremely aggressive with its pricing and subscription plans to entice users away from Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and Sprint. Although T-Mobile's network isn't as large - or reliable - as Verizon or AT&T, the wireless carrier continues to grow its subscriber base.
It didn't take long before Sony pulled a new ad from its European YouTube channel due to an onslaught of criticism for the sexist ad. The ad featured a sexy female doctor that was mentioning masturbation innuendo, but it turned out it was related to playing the handheld PlayStation Vita gaming console.
Regardless of what people think of the ad, it wasn't overly funny or entertaining - and with some YouTube commenters upset - Sony decided to just pull the plug on the 50-second video.
What do you think of the ad?
The sophisticated Regin stealth malware, which has been in operation since at least 2008, was likely created by the US and UK governments to spy on other governments and businesses. Specifically, the NSA and GCHQ most likely spearheaded the project, with the malware's first target against the European Union (EU).
"Having analyzed this malware and look at the [previously published] Snowden documents," said Ronald Prins, security expert. "I'm convinced Regin is used by British and American intelligence services."
Russia was the most heavily infected nation, racking up 28 percent of Regin's wrath, while 24 percent was in Saudi Arabia, Ireland (9 percent), Belgium (5 percent), and Austria (5 percent) rounded out the list of most infected nations.
The grand jury empaneled to decide whether to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown has reached a decision, which will be released later today. Local, state, and federal law enforcement have been bracing for a spate of renewed protests and violent actions in the wake of the pending announcement. Ferguson law enforcement has been asked by community groups to warn them 48 hours prior to the release of the decision so they could brace for public reaction. Many have also decried that as merely a plan for protesters to get organized and prepared for mass violent protests.
Ferguson officials are apparently not providing the aforementioned warning, and plan to announce the verdict this afternoon. Businesses have been boarding up storefronts over the weekend in anticipation of the ruling, which is due any hour now. Even if there is a decision to indict Darren Wilson it may not be enough to assuage protesters.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said his company is chatting with German automaker BMW, with the two companies discussing a potential partnership to develop batteries and lightweight components. The two companies met earlier in the year to discuss charging stations that can support electric vehicles, and as electric vehicle development increases, sharing research would be able to benefit both sides.
"We [Tesla and BMW] are talking about whether we can collaborate in battery technology or charging stations," Musk said in the Der Spiegel magazine.
Tesla isn't against working with other automakers, as the US company has partnered with Toyota to research electric SUVs, and currently collaborates with Mercedes-Benz.
The use of military attack drones were pitched to US citizens as a way to launch organized airstrikes against specific targets, while also keeping US military personnel out of harm's way. However, the collateral damage - and accidental bombing due to poor military intelligence - has killed 1,147 people while the military targeted just 41 men, according to human rights groups.
Drone strikes against 24 targets in Pakistan, for example, have led to 874 deaths, with multiple unsuccessful strikes only lead to even more strikes. US Secretary of State John Kerry previously said the CIA and military only launch drone strikes against targets that have been vetted over a period of time, though cases of mistaken identity appear to be increasing as well.
"Drone strikes have been sold to the American public on the claim that they're 'precise,'" but they are only as precise at the intelligence that feeds them," according to Jennifer Gibson, US attorney and Reprieve staff member. "There is nothing precise about intelligence that results in the deaths of 28 unknown people, including women and children, for every 'bad guy' the US goes after."
Intel enjoys a 97.8% share of the server CPU market, and with AMD continuing to slide, it hasn't looked like anyone can break Intel's stranglehold. Popular new architectures in the datacenter have brought about customized low-power designs that can handle light-impact workloads. Right-sizing servers to the task at hand lowers cost and eases cooling requirements, and ARM processors have attractive low-power features that have always been an interesting alternative in the datacenter. Some Xeons operate within a TDP envelope of 90 Watts, but many 64-bit ARM designs operate between 10 and 45 Watts. Low cost is also another incentive to use ARM CPUs, but a lack of specialized chips and systems has hampered expansion.
This radical reduction in power consumption has led many enterprise powerhouses, such as Red Hat, to institute development projects to boost software development for 64-bit ARM platforms. Microsoft has even gotten in on the ARM-compatibility act by developing Windows RT. RT has been a failure of sorts, but many consider it to be the gateway to ARM-compatible Windows Server flavors. The expanding ecosystem development to further 64-bit ARM processors in the datacenter has placed the onus on suppliers to step up with competitive ARM offerings. One supplier with considerable heft in the ARM category has remained conspicuously silent on server CPU models, until now.
It appears Microsoft Xbox Live was not compromised after all, despite the "DerpTrolling" group saying they had stolen more than 1,000 Windows Live usernames and passwords.
"We immediately investigated reports regarding some Microsoft Accounts including Windows Live and Hotmail and can confirm that no Microsoft site or service was compromised," Microsoft told GameSpot. "Microsoft takes account security and privacy seriously. Should we identify any specific account at risk for any reason, we will take action to protect the account."
To stay better defended, Microsoft also recommended users create strong passwords, change their passwords frequently, and don't use the same passwords for multiple websites and services.
At a time when cybercrime has been pushed into mainstream media due to a large number of data breaches in 2014, victims of identity theft suffer from a financial and emotional toll that is potentially devastating. When a significant data breach occurs, consumers need to be increasingly vigilant of their bank accounts and personal information, to ensure they don't become a potential identity theft or fraud victim.
"When something is an ever-present part of your life, it can lead to feelings of depression," said Eva Velasquez, President and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC). "You feel that there's no way out and no end to it. We've heard from victims who actually compare this to having a disease where they feel that their identity theft issues are in remission, but they're never fully cured."
Identity theft victims suffer from emotional and behavioral effects, according to a recent ITRC survey, with 70 percent of victims saying they are worried about personal financial security. Around 50 percent felt helplessness and betrayal, while 65 percent were angry.