The continued political unrest in Iraq has led to armed conflict, but has led to a rise in something a bit more surprising: a cyberwar that has used social media and coordinated malware and other cyberattacks against rival political factions.
The use of the "Njrat" malware, to compromise PCs and create a rudimentary botnet, has drawn interest among cybersecurity experts - and other similar tactics are being deployed. The criminals are interested in stealing data and using hijacked microphones and cameras to see what is happening in select regions.
"The key parties are local groups within Iraq using malware for targeted intelligence on each other," said Andrew Komarov, Intel Crawler chief of security, in a statement. "It is very hard to confirm who is the author, as some of the malware is used from public sources, but it is very visible that it is used within Iraq, and not outside against foreign countries, which may explain the beginning of internal local cyberwar."
Nonprofit organization Goodwill Industries reportedly suffered a data breach and customer credit card data is at risk. The company was first contacted last Friday by federal authorities, informing them of the potential data theft affecting American stores.
It's unknown how many stores have been impacted, but fraud details have been tracked to a pattern that hit at least 21 states, including California, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and others spread across the country. Goodwill is investigating with a newly created "response team":
"We are proactively engaged with the payment card industry contacts, the Secret Service and all Goodwill headquarters to identify what problem, if any, exists so that we can take prompt and appropriate actions as well as communicate appropriately to any affected parties."
Businesses that are worried about a software skills shortage are setting up the first university in Wales, UK to be dedicated to the subject.
However, there will be no dedicated campus for this University - instead it will offer a mixture of online and applied learning with complementary work experience, or internship, schemes. It is being set up either to be paid for privately, through a charity, or publicly. However it comes to be, the degree courses will be real and last for two years, and accredited by another university.
One of the people behind the plan, Simon Gibson, suggested there's an upcoming crisis regarding the lack of young people with qualified software skills. "It's not just software engineers writing things for mobile phones now," he said, speaking with the BBC. "Software engineers are needed in the insurance business, finance, bioscience, anything that involves economic development requires good software skills." The plans are said to be "well advanced" but further details are not clear quite yet.
Cyberattacks are increasingly difficult to detect and defend against, with foreign state-sponsored hackers sometimes able to compromise large amounts of data. Both businesses and customers struggle following data breaches, and the direct cost of cybercrime negatively hurts everyone, security specialists continue to warn.
Heartbleed gained attention because of the threat it posed to casual consumers, but these issues remain a significant problem for businesses and security leaders.
"I think that these kinds of issues are really symptoms of a bigger problem," said Richard Ford, head of Florida Institute of Technology's Department of Computer Science and Cybersecurity, in a press statement. "Our entire computing infrastructure - and that includes embedded devices and control systems - is highly vulnerable to attackers. We have built a very complex ecosystem around us, and it is both critical to the smooth functioning of our lives and very fragile. I worry not about a cybercriminal, but an attacker who simply wants to destroy."
Consumers for electronic goods outside America pay hundreds more than their US counterparts, according to a new report.
British consumer rights magazine Which? found that manufacturers and stores are pushing up the price for tech in the country, including almost 1,000 dollars more for a Samsung TV. Americans buying an Apple Macbook Pro 13in will get their models 600 dollars cheaper than on the other side of the Atlantic, the report claims. Sony's PS4 or Microsoft's Xbox One were 160 dollars cheaper in the States.
Which exec director Richard Lloyd pushed manufacturers to explain why their prices are hiked so much abroad. "UK consumers are getting a raw deal by paying up to hundreds of pounds more for the same tech products on sale in the US," he said. "Manufacturers should play fair and explain why consumers are paying more for buying in the UK."
Xiaomi is a Chinese smartphone marker that also has device like tablets and wearables to its credit. The company has unveiled two of its latest products including the Android Mi 4 smartphone and a wearable wristband. The smartphone has a 5-inch screen promising 17% higher resolution than the iPhone.
The wristband is an accessory for the phone that acts as an identifier to unlock the smartphone without a password. The smartphone has a 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 processor with four cores. Internal storage is 16GB or 64GB depending on the version and the phone has 3GB of RAM.
The 5-inch screen has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and power for the device comes from a 3080 mAh internal battery. Android is the OS with the Xiaomi MIUI skin on top. The smartphone will hit China first priced at the equivalent of $322 in the US.
Gift cards are the go to gifts for many people around the world for birthdays and holidays. Gift cards might be impersonal, but many people like to get and give them. Word has surfaced that Netflix is gearing up to sell gift cards in stores in 40 different countries around the world where it operates.
The gift cards will be available in select stores in the US, Germany, Mexico, Canada, and other places. The gift cards will allow users to pay for Netflix service without having to use a credit card for sign up. A note from Netflix about its gift card plans included an image of a $30 gift card; the service starts at $7.99 monthly.
"In mature markets, gift cards will extend our brand presence and make it easier to access Netflix," the company said in its letter. "In newer markets, gift cards help build the brand and provide an easier alternative for consumers to join Netflix in markets with developing online payments."
Sources are reporting that Yahoo has made a significant purchase spending over $200 million to purchase mobile analytics company Flurry. Flurry is more than a mobile analytics firm and has its hand in mobile advertising. Sources claim that the price paid for Flurry could be in the $200 to $300 million range.
Rumors had been swirling that Flurry was on the market with one source indicating it was looking for $700 to $800 million. If the sources in the Yahoo purchase are correct, the purchase price came nowhere near that price.
So far, no official confirmation from Yahoo or Flurry has been made on the deal. Flurry was founded in 2005 and is one of the largest firms in mobile app analytics.
We've all been there at birthdays or during the holiday season, someone gives you a gift card to a place you don't like and you silently think that gift card will sit in your sock drawer forever. GameStop has announced a new gift card exchange program that is powered by Cardpool that will let you trade those unwanted gift cards for credit for stuff you do want- games and accessories.
The new gift card exchange program allows users to exchange physical plastic gift cards and e-cards to get a digital GameStop gift card that can be spent online or in GameStop retail stores. The trade process is very easy with three steps to swapping unwanted cards for GameStop cards.
The page for the trade in program lets you check gift card balance, fill out your information to get a trade quote, and then get the GameStop card via email. It's unclear if this is a dollar for dollar exchange program; presumably, Cardpool is going to take a cut of the money in the trade.
For something that we've been teasing for a little while now, NVIDIA has just taken the official wrap off of its Shield Tablet. We now have confirmed specs, with the new device being an 8-inch tablet featuring the slightly higher than Full HD resolution of 1920x1200.
The new Shield Tablet is powered by the company's more than impressive Tegra K1 processor, is compatible with the new Shield wireless controller, something that will let you get your game-streaming fun on. This will allow you to run your games remotely from your PC at home. With its mini-HDMI connection, you can throw up 1080p content to the Full HD TV near you.
Because it's an Android-based device, you get the best of both world's - the Android games, as well as PC games. This is something most other devices don't even begin to offer, especially at $299. NVIDIA is doubling down with the Shield Tablet, by turning the Shield brand into a product family. The new NVIDIA Shield Tablet is also the first global launch that the company has taken on. The new Shield Tablet starts off with the Wi-Fi-only 16GB version priced at $299. The 32GB model with LTE capabilities is priced at $100 more, at $399.