Well, the Lizard Squad tried to take credit for the short Facebook and Instagram downtime Monday night, but Facebook admitted that the incident was its fault. The outage hit users in the United States, with members in Asia, Australia and New Zealand briefly losing access, with the problem beginning just after 12:10 a.m. ET last night.
"This was not the result of a third-party attack but instead occurred after we introduced a change that affected our configuration systems," Facebook said in a statement following the short down time Monday evening. "Both services are back to 100 percent for everyone."
Kudos to the Lizard Squad for trying to get itself some glory for something that it had absolutely nothing to do with. Not surprisingly, users logged onto Twitter and other websites to complain about the sudden and unexpected Facebook downtime.
The FCC is attempting to expand the definition of broadband internet, but the usual suspects are lining up to oppose the move. The FCC wants broadband to be defined as 25Mbps down, and 3Mbps up, to match the reality of current generation internet connections. Unfortunately the entrenched ISP's want to leave the definition at a paltry 4Mbps download speed.
The map above illustrates just how depressingly slow the internet is at most locations in the US. The areas in blue all have access to speeds above 25Mbps, but the remainder of the map does not even have access to services that reach that speed.
The FCC has opened the floor for debate on the issue, and several cable companies have come forward to decry the new definition. The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) is one of the most vocal opponents to the new classification system. This isn't surprising in light of the fact that current regulations stifle competition in many markets, a system that President Obama is trying to change through executive actions that remove much of the red tape for new telecom companies.
There are 19 states that have very restrictive policies that discourage open competition. This results in only 25% of US household actually having a choice between two providers who offer the base speed of 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up. Chattanooga, Tennessee, took the step of providing their own internet service with amazing results. For only $70 a month their residents enjoy gigabit speeds, and other providers in the area have been forced to lower their price-gouging rates in response.
Launching cyberattacks against targets once was a time intensive, difficult and costly effort, but it has become easier and inexpensive to launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
Groups such as Anonymous and Lizard Squad are able to launch devastating attacks against large corporations and major targets using botnets of hijacked computers and routers. However, companies are becoming better at identifying these types of cyberattacks, but prove to be hugely inconvenient when the attacks succeed.
"There's been a massive jump in the number of very large attacks going on out there," said Darren Anstee, senior analyst at Arbor, while speaking to BBC. "In 2014 we saw more volumetric attacks, with attackers trying to knock people offline by saturating their access to the Internet."
The US government is no stranger to casting a large net in hopes of catching a few fish, so news of a new vehicle tracking database isn't entirely surprising. The Justice Department has a sophisticated database to track vehicle movements, and several other agencies are already using the data.
Several US law enforcement agencies already use automated license plate scanners mounted to police vehicles, and there also stationary systems that monitor highways and also take pictures of the vehicles. Some of these systems can actually be used to identify individuals inside of the vehicles.
The Justice Department has noted that there are already 343 million records in the database. This data includes the vehicle, time, and direction of travel. The primary intention is to find trafficking offenders for the DEA, but the Justice Department plans to expand the system to search for vehicles involved in rapes and murders. There is no word if the system will be expanded to encompass even more types of crime.
Google is announcing four new cities they are adding to the ultra-fast Google Fiber network. According to the Wall Street Journal the blazing-fast one gigabit connections will soon be added in Atlanta and Nashville. Lucky North Carolinians will get two cities added to the list, with Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte joining the ranks of those blessed with fast connections for as low as $80 per month.
The rollouts will not be offered to the entire city in each area, but instead will be deployed based upon customer interest. This expansion more than doubles the number of cities benefitting from Google Fiber connections, which are currently offered in Kansas City, MO, Austin, TX, and Provo, UT.
Google Fiber is challenging the status quo of normal ISP's, which charge prices well in excess of global averages for a fraction of the speed. The US lags woefully behind other developed countries in terms of speed and price, and much of that has to do with rules and regulations governing telecommunication firms. President Obama recently took to the airwaves to announce executive actions targeting these restrictive regulations, so there are some hopeful developments along that front.
Between PC gaming and console gaming, there is a lot that gamers have to be thankful for - but it could be a rather dull year, according to an industry analyst.
"My general thesis is that nothing is going to happen in 2015, it's going to be really, really dull," said Nicholas Lovell, founder of Gamesbrief and industry analyst, in a statement to the Guardian.
Don't worry, gamers, Lovell is speaking more towards an industry shakeup, not that new game titles won't be entertaining to play. There will be plenty of new game titles for PC, console, and mobile gamers, with studios excited to push the limits of recent hardware improvements.
Companies have struggled against cyberattacks and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, while mobile devices remain "the perfect target for attackers," said Thomas Tschersich, Deutsche Telekom's computer security chief.
Cybercriminals are able to easily compromise mobile devices, and with connection speeds via mobile topping many home broadband connections, can be exploited to launch attacks against targets. To counter this threat, Deutsche Telekom informs around 20,000 German subscribers per month about malware infection - and urges them to remove the malware.
Despite Deutsche Telekom's proactive efforts, attack bandwidth is estimated at several gigabytes per hour from these mobile devices. For just a couple hundred euros, criminals are able to launch attack and generate an impressive return on investment (ROI) for their efforts.
Coinbase has launched the first regulated bitcoin exchange in the United States, dubbing the new service Coinbase Exchange, available for residents in 24 states. The company has worked with federal regulators for more than one year, trying to create guidelines to promote safety for current clients.
The new service is designed "to bring increased stability to the bitcoin ecosystem," which has endured extreme volatility - and recent high-profile bitcoin heists. Coinbase serves as a storage facility so consumers and merchants are able to make transactions, and allows interested buyers to bid on and trade their cryptocurrency stash.
"A proper U.S. exchange that's trustworthy, that's insured, we were the first guys to get insurance on our bitcoin in some form, this will really help bring a dampening of volatility," said Fred Ehrsam, co-founder of Coinbase, while speaking on CNBC's Squawk on the Street. "I think the New York Stock Exchange sees this as an important trend."
With the ability to fly up to 61 mph, track emergency calls using a GPS for navigation and reach a patient within 12 square km in under 60 seconds - this drone is set to greatly increase cardiac-related survival rates for members of the public.
Once the drone arrives at the scene, an operator can observe, speak with and instruct any willing helper how to operate the devices located on-board. Still not impressive enough? As according to their official Facebook page, a 125 mph model is currently being worked on, achieved through more power and decreased drag.
Complete with the on-board camera, GPS capabilities and speaker system, this drone is set to carry a defibrillator, allowing passers-by to attempt a heart restart of any cardiac victim that may need this drones life-saving service.
Featuring a real-time traffic network that is community-curated, the Waze app by Google is making some US Sheriffs uneasy - they're claiming that it will aide cop stalking and allowing would-be cop killers to complete their tasks with ease.
Sergio Kopelev, a reserve deputy sheriff from California, and Sheriff Mike Brown from Virginia are two officers that have asked Google to abandon the police-tracker feature located within.
This feature has been located within Waze for some time now, however it's been brought to light though an Instagram conversation between 'dontrunup' and another user. 'dontrunup' is the Instagram username for the a well-known person responsible for the death of two police officers in NYPD last December, Ismaaiyl Brinsley - explained as a revenge act due to Eric Garner's death.